Live Blogging: Documenting post-war ethno-religious violence in Sri Lanka

Lecture by Dr. Farzana Haniffa; who is Smuts Visiting Fellow.

The Slides are very dense so I’m paraphrasing what I am here. All mistakes mine and not the speaker.

(1.) 1958 race riots (10yrs after independence). Violence against Tamil. Bandaranaike (then leader) was seen to pander.

(2.) Vittachi & Tambiah are important Sri Lankan political writers.

(3.) Muslims are concentrated in the East even though 9% of the population; they are 30-50% in the three Eastern provinces.

(4.) “Anti-Halal” posters spread around. Only exacerbated by the recent attacks. The Muslim Council of Sri Lankan refused to accept the terrorist bodies for burial.

(5.) Anti-Muslim violence seems imminent. There is a post-war Anti-Muslim movement.

(6.) Decisive anti-Tamil violence in 1983.

(7.) In the post-Independence Sri Lankan PM D. S. Senanayake distributed land. Muslims were given 200 acres and Singhalese were given 2 acres. When the latter complained he told them “you guys can’t even improve the 2 acres I have given you; go work for the Muslims and when you have the chance, you beat them up and chase them away.”

(8.) Muslim anecdotes during the Civil war would say, “when the Singhalese are done with Tamils they will come for us.”

(9.) Singhalese 71% Tamil 26% in 1983. It is a pivotal year in heralding the War. It begins the Tamil out-migration. UNP was the majority party and they held a referendum in order to stay another term without having to hold an election. Riots took place 6months after the referendum.

Some background:

In 1958, the Tamil political leadership acquiesced to a formula of Sinhala as the official language, but with a “reasonable use of Tamil” being allowed. Only the leftist parties opposed this, holding out for parity between the two languages. However, after the Tamil people gave an overwhelming mandate to the Tamil nationalist Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi(Federal Party), which had agreed to a subordinate status for the Tamil language, the leftist parties eventually abandoned their support for parity.

(10.) She’s quoting Tambiah in how “collective violence” is not necessarily spontaneous but is routinised and ritualised. There are intergenerational links since these riots are often recurrent.

(11.) Hate speech that has ready national resonance is now dispersed through social media. The idea is that these riots are seen as “corrective.”

(12.) Majority entitlement is a fact of life. Tambiah touches on that today maybe SL vs Tamil, then Muslim then Xtian.

(13.) SL looks at the past as historic (epistemological). Tamils look at the past as mythic (ontological).

The Singhalese are a normally peaceful people into violent and rampaging mobs. There is an element of “exorcism” in these surges of violence against the Tamils, who threaten the state. Lots of political historiographers notes included Kapferer, Daniel.

(14.) The Tamils are so “cowed” that we even hear Pandits (not just Monks) talk about the similarity of the Tamil & Singhalese cultures vis a vis Muslims.

The Monks cry out don’t rent to Muslims*, don’t eat in their restaurants**, Muslims think they are better than the Singhalese. Lots of “casteish” rhetoric used.

*Muslims carry out blood sacrifices in the house against the landlords. **Muslims spit on their food.

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32 Replies to “Live Blogging: Documenting post-war ethno-religious violence in Sri Lanka”

  1. “The Tamils are so “cowed” that we even hear Pandits (not just Monks) talk about the similarity of the Tamil & Singhalese cultures vis a vis Muslims”

    Aren’t SL Muslims ethnically either Tamils or Sinhalese? Or are they of some other ethnicity?

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      1. Mostly Tamil speaking, but at some later point in heyday of LTTE, visibly rejected the “struggle”. Pirabhakaran got mighty pissed off and there was some Tamil-Muslim violence.

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      2. I will try to provide some insight on the ethnicity issue by cobbling together some historical facts, anecdotes and speculation.
        Apologies in advance if some parts of this is written poorly, I am writing in a hurry.

        [1]
        At the onset, I’d like to make a terminological distinction: ‘Sri Lankan Muslims’ both refer to an ethno-linguistic group in Sri Lanka who mostly tend to be Tamil-speaking, Sunni-Shafi’i Muslims and citizens of Sri Lanka who practice some version of Islam—Malay, Memon and Bohrah. Henceforth I shall refer to the ethnolinguistic group using their Tamil name: Sonahar or Sona people.

        Genetics
        [2]
        The genetic dimension is probably the most straightforward since it maps pretty well to intuitions about the Island. Based on the 2009 study by Dr. Ruwan J. Illeperuma, Sonahar are genetically the least exclusive group on the Island. Allow me a make a rather careless extrapolation based on this: if Tamil and Sinhalese people are indeed distinct and you disallow ‘fuzzy-clustering’ when assigning ethnic membership, then it follows that ‘Sonahar’ refers to a multi-ethnic group. So, the conclusion is the following: if you are a Sona man from a Sinhalese city, you are probably Sinhalese and same for Tamil.
        Addendum: I don’t know enough about genetic studies, so may be the extrapolation is bunk; may be someone like Razib can opine.
        Source: https://www.fsigenetics.com/article/S1872-4973%2808%2900143-9/abstract

        Language
        [3]
        Per the 2012 census, about 98.3% speak Tamil, about 58.4% speak Sinhala (usually bilingual) and 30.4% speak English (usually trilingual but could be otherwise). In light of this, the conclusion is rather confounding. A competing conclusion is that Sonahar are actually Tamil. This was pushed by the Tamil nationalists throughout the 20th century –probably for their own ends; no one believes or argues this anymore. The term ‘Islamiya Tamizhan” (Tamil Muslim or Tamil who practices Islam) used in Tamil Nadu is a completely unintelligible term in Sri Lanka, both to Hindus and Muslims.
        Ideology aside, another reason to prefer this conclusion is that it explains something the genetic conclusion does not: if a southern Sona man is Sinhalese, why does he speak Tamil? For example, my grandparents from my Dad’s side, who were born in the 40’s and whose family have lived in the city of Galle, the southernmost city of Sri Lanka/Sinhalese stronghold, speak god-awful Sinhalese. If they were ethnic Tamils, that would explain why they began to speak it (re: they always have) and why they continue to cling to it, even at the expense of their (ostensibly) native Sinhalese tongue. Rather than criticizing this theory, which I am partial towards, I would like to posit an alternative explanation for the language issue: Arwi. Arwi is Tamil written in Arabic script, which is found both in TN and SL. Arwi-Tamil is the language of Islam in SL. As evidence, to this day, sermons are delivered in Tamil in most Sri Lankan cities, even in the places where everyone speaks Sinhalese. This means that learning Tamil was a necessary condition for being a practicing Muslim in SL, which would explain why southern Muslims speak it.
        Source: http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/index.php?fileName=FinalPopulation&gp=Activities&tpl=3
        Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arwi

        Further considerations
        [4]
        Suppose the Tamil-conclusion is true, then, when did the bifurcation take place? Zach says the civil war. I think this can untrue. I would refer you guys to the Sinhala-Muslim riots of 1915, when the Tamil-Hindu ‘champion’ Ponnambalam Ramanathan took the side of the Sinhalese over the (Tamil?)-Muslims. So, at the very least, the rift is a hundred years old.
        Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1915_Sinhalese-Muslim_riots#cite_note-1

        [5]
        An interesting episode of Sri Lankan Muslim history that is not talked about is the 16th century. I had a conversation with a Sri Lankan Sinhalese historian from ENS (France) who visited Yale two years ago. We were talking about counterfactual history and he made the interesting claim that “if the Portuguese did not arrive, Sri Lanka would have become a majority-Muslim, majority-Tamil speaking country”. Interestingly, countries to the East (Nusantara), to the South (Maldives, the ethnic cousins of Sinhalese who speak a very similar language, Divehi), to the west (Arabs but they are too far away) are all Muslim majority. Furthermore, to the North, the southern tips of the cities of Ramanathapuram, Thootukudi, etc in TN all have considerable Muslim populations; Alas, no Linguistic-ethno-religious state :<
        Also, Buddhism was on the decline, there were less than 5 monks on the Island was a few hundreds years until the Buddhist revival facilitated by the British (Look up Anagarika Dharmapala for info on this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagarika_Dharmapala)

        I bring this up to highlight the affect that Portuguese colonization had on Sri Lanka. The name Sri Lankan Moors come from the Iberian term, Moro. This was just after the Reconquista of Al-Andalus. They were overcome with zeal and killed about 1/3 of the Muslims in the island, stripped us of most of our business, converted a lot of our coreligionists in the west coast to Catholicism and scattered us throughout the Island (something similar happened to the Moors of the Philippines).
        Source: http://repository.kln.ac.lk/handle/123456789/6541
        This is speculation but, if a bifurcation took place, it probably happened at this time. It is evident that ‘identity’ is wound up with incentives, in a sense. Note the behavior of the Arab diaspora in the west and their flirtations with Talebian-WeWuzPheonicianism (Berberism, Levantanism, Ancient EgyptianKangzism etc). Portuguese were targeting Muslims due to their historical animus against the Andalusians, it was probably in the best interest of the Tamils to distance themselves from the Muslims. This is all speculation, however, it also explains why SL Muslims do not identify as Tamil but Muslims in TN do, since they were not conquered by the Portuguese.

        Indian-Sri Lankan Connection
        [6]
        Talk about Hindu and Muslim Sri Lankans are fine but I think it is important to consider the relationship between Muslims of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Muslims of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka, I would argue, belong to some supra-(ethnic?) group. Apart from dowry norms and stuff, they also share distinctive martial customs. For example, after marriage, the groom moves to the bride’s house and lives with her relatives. This is seen in all three states. Sharing a similar etiology would explain this. However, there seems to be some kind of sustained relation between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan Muslims that existed until the latter part of the 20th century. Yet another anecdote, my grandmother had given my mom a stone to place in the Nagore Dargah in Tamil Nadu back when my parents immigrated to the United States in the early 90’s. However, no young person seems to know what ‘Nagore Dargah’ even is anymore–I asked all my cousins and their friends. Speculation: the war severed ties between TN and SL Muslims in ways we do not even know, or remember; it matters because in Tamil Nadu, Muslims identify as Tamil and may be, if this relationship still existed, SL Muslims would consider ourselves Tamil.

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        1. Thanks. Very informative comment. Not sure my understanding of the complexity improved but I at least understood the richness of the complexity.

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        2. Sona is derived from Yona/Yavana which was the generic term for West Asians used in India. It was first used to describe Greeks of Ionia. Evidently the first Muslims to reach South India would have been Arab and would have been described as Sona in Tamil.

          This term has now been adopted by all Tamil speaking Muslims as an umbrella term for Muslims irrespective of actual origins (south indian or arabo-indian mix).

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        3. Hi Anbessa,

          For example, my grandparents from my Dad’s side, who were born in the 40’s and whose family have lived in the city of Galle, the southernmost city of Sri Lanka/Sinhalese stronghold, speak god-awful Sinhalese.

          Api Gallen (we are from Galle for the rest)

          Forget about the stuff,

          which part of Galle Town are you from.
          Galle Fort or Dangedra.

          My cousin is in Galle Fort, Parawa Street, Ranjan Perumal diver turned Evangelical Pastor. If you know Rajan, my mother is Ranjans mothers youngest sister, Peace.

          cheers

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          1. whose family have lived in the city of Galle, the southernmost city of Sri Lanka/Sinhalese stronghold, speak god-awful Sinhalese.

            Not the Southernmost, but close. Galle is supposed to be the Tarsus of the Bible.

            I would not say speak god-awful Sinhalese, accent, odd construction of sentences among the neighbors. I vaguely, recall the Muslim Aloysians (St Aloysius) being very fluent in Sinhalese (not naming names).

            In Jaffna (this is hearsay), the Tamils could spot a Muslim by the way he spoke Tamil.

            Had a commentor (Indian Tamil, cant recall who) in this forum who said, Muslims spoke fluent Tamil he could understand.

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          2. To Sbarrkum,

            Vanakkam!

            Response to your first post:
            Unfortunately, I have only been to Sri Lanka a handful of times (4 times) in my life and therefore I am not too familiar with the people there. I can ask my dad though!
            We are from a town directly East of Gintota.

            Response to your second post:
            I think someone from Jaffna can spot a Muslim, speaking Tamil, with remarkable accuracy. The further away from the North and East one gets, the more noticeably different it sounds.

            I think your Indian Tamil friend was conversing with someone who was formally educated in Tamil, therefore, he understood it well. However, those who are educated in Tamil speak a version that is not proper “Sona Tamil”(the colloquial dialect) with non-sona people.

            Muslims tends to channel our inner “tamil padam” accent when speaking to Indians. I have spoken colloquial Colombo Tamil (my mom is from Mount Lavinia and due to her influence I have picked up that accent) with Indian/Malaysian/Singaporean Tamil friends and they have a hard time understanding.

            Times have changed, Muslims in the west coast, and south, of SL speak better Sinhala now than they speak Tamil. All my cousins are fluent in Sinhala and opt to speak it and not Tamil at home (the so-called Sinhalization of the moors). They also speak in Sinhala to their children. There is a subset of kids who do not even understand Tamil.

            I suppose this is just the natural conclusion of not tethering mother tongue to ethnicity. It is sad!

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          3. Anbessa
            times have changed, Muslims in the west coast, and south, of SL speak better Sinhala now than they speak Tamil. All my cousins are fluent in Sinhala and opt to speak it and not Tamil at home (the so-called Sinhalization of the moors).

            I am ethnically a Tamil, whatever that means. My mother from Galle, the BeeBee’s from Siyambala Gaha Waluwwa on Cripps Road is half Tamil, Sinhalese and Irish.

            I assume you know the ancestry of the famous Geoffrey (architect) and Bevis Bawa, scions of Galle.

            My father is a Jaffna Tamil (ancestors from Kalinga), his ancestors changed religion, Catholic to Hindu to Protestant. I was educated in Sinhala Medium.

            Anyway, the Sri Lankan ethos is about integration.

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        4. Also, Buddhism was on the decline, there were less than 5 monks on the Island was a few hundreds years until the Buddhist revival facilitated by the British

          Sorry not by the British, by the Telugu Kandyan King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe.

          I was not in decline, it was “Gone”, there was not a single priest around who could anoint another priest. There is this inheritance of Buddhist Priests, that goes back to the Buddha.
          i.e. your ordination priest has to have a ordination genealogy going back to the Buddha.

          The king is credited for the revival of Buddhism and literature in Sri Lanka. Under the guidance and influence of Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thero, with Dutch assistance, king Kirti Sri Raja Singha successfully invited Bhikkus from Siam (Thailand) to revive the higher ordination of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirti_Sri_Rajasinha_of_Kandy

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          1. Breaking from my self-exposed exile, I return to comment on the very knowledgeable discussion by Anbessa:

            1. sBarkum is off by 100 years. It was the Kandyan king Vimaladharmasuriya, who brought back monks from Lower Burma in about 1600 and reestablished Buddhism. It kind of slowly died off again, until influence of Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thero, with Dutch assistance, king Kirti Sri Raja Singha successfully invited Bhikkus from Siam (Thailand) to revive the higher ordination of Buddhist monks , again. The siam connection can be seen in the Siam Nikaya Buddhist writings in bangkok (do not ask). It was the Dutch, not Portugese who helped closed the door on Islam and re-established Buddhism in Kandy; even if Portugese killed a lot of Muslims.

            2. I was the commenter who said it was easier to understand the Sonahar accent, but they indeed did the switch when talking from Sonahar accent to Tamil-educated accent when talking to me.

            3. I also enjoyed the reference to “Arab-Tamil”; this was in existence in nagore, ramanathapuram, Triplicane etc until 1970s.

            4. Loved the reference to Talebian; god that was pathetic.

            5. Srilankan (Tamil Hindu and Muslim) interest in Chaidambaram, nagore, Thiruchendur, was well established from 1850s to 1960s, but slowly disappeared in the late 70s through 90s.

            6. The coastal Indian Muslim culture starts near Udupi through Mangalore, northern Kerala, southern Tamilnadu all the way to Pondichery. There is considerable variation in sociological customs. However, I see the analogy between east coast Srilankan Muslims and coastal Indian Muslims, including the lack of affiliation to Arab causes and affiliation to local languages, until the very recent time. Indeed, if the Jaffna LTTE insurrection had not happened, Moors would have been firmly Tamil!

            Once again I have to say I greatly enjoyed the voice of Anbessa, shafiq, and sBarkkum here, and such a relief from the usual nonsense., before I go back to exile.

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          2. Anbessa
            times have changed, Muslims in the west coast, and south, of SL speak better Sinhala now than they speak Tamil. All my cousins are fluent in Sinhala and opt to speak it and not Tamil at home (the so-called Sinhalization of the moors).

            I am ethnically a Tamil, whatever that means. My mother from Galle, the BeeBee’s from Siyambala Gaha Waluwwa on Cripps Road is half Tamil, Sinhalese and Irish.

            I assume you know the ancestry of the famous Geoffrey (architect) and Bevis Bawa, scions of Galle.

            My father is a Jaffna Tamil (ancestors from Kalinga), his ancestors changed religion, Catholic to Hindu to Protestant. I was educated in Sinhala Medium.

            Anyway, the Sri Lankan ethos is about integration.

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          3. Xerxes the Magian
            Why r u in exile?

            Not every one can deal with a run down in 4 letter words.

            Online, I think using 4 letters is trying to imply one has a big thing.
            Maybe it is a generational, or just crude American.

            One can always be nasty with proper use of language.
            Maybe thats just being cultured and nasty.

            I really dont like using 4 letter words to run down comments. Maybe I am just a old man (60) .

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        5. Thanks, great comment and very informative. As an Indian Tamil Hindu married to an SL Tamil Brit, it filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding! Cheers

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  2. Strange. All of this , but i think make sense, i read somewhere that during the civil war, Muslims clandestinely supported the Sinhalese, so perhaps the break from the larger Tamil thing had already happened with the Muslims.

    But i can never get over the fact how the tamils pulled a fast one over the Sinhalese and the rest of Indians by making India support their separatist movement in SL while themselves trying to separate from India just couple of decades before the Civil war. And all along the Sinhalese got convinced (by tamils) that here come the “Indians” to swamp their tiny island. LOL

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    1. Nobody pulled off anything over anyone. Under Indira Gandhi, Indian Army was actively training LTTE early 80s, for our own strategic reasons.

      Rajiv, in flush of early international acclaim for a young PM and likely scarred by violence that killed mom, signed an accord with Jayawardane (besides Sikh Longowal and Assam accords in quick succession)- that was unpopular among both Tamil militants and conservative Sinhala elements, who esp. disliked a foreign army coming in. LTTE ruthlessly eliminated other Tamil leaders that signed onto the India-SL accord and contested elections as part of the accord. The Sinhala resentment precipated and became obvious in that famous televised incident where Rajiv was hit with a rifle by a SL naval soldier at his welcome parade in Colombo, which came as surprise to most Indians (guy seems a minor celebrity now).

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      1. Bro i was just making a larger point, here you are giving me history lessons. Come on, I know what happened and all.

        Just pointing out the funny (and ironic ) situation of (supposedly) helping out or trying to help out a population in a foreign country ,while they themselves are agitating in your own country , like on Tuesday. Pretty sure had there been no tamils in India , India would have stayed out of the whole thing (like we do with Rohingiyas, while Bangladesh is in there) . So rather than strategic reason i would say the Indian tamil population (and their sentiments) was bigger driver of why Indira Gandhi did all that in 1980s

        On the other hand, talking to Sinhalese folks it seems like they got an impression that Tamils had support of “India” which i feel is quite misleading considering outside of Tamil Nadu no one knew much or cared about what was going on in Sri Lanka.

        I just find all this sequence of events frankly bizarre.

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        1. Some of it is indeed bizzare, LTTE were ruthless in a way no other organization was. They managed to kill Prime Ministers of two different nations -both of whom had very enhanced security – which must be a unique feat for a militant group in the region.

          Cannot but feel sorry for Rajiv, who underestimated the emotions involved and thought issue was low hanging fruit, having no attachment and little familiarity with it (unlike say Khalistan issue). Ended with his life.

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    2. ?? Are you saying the Indian Tamils (who threatened to separate over the language issue) are one and the same as the Tiger Tamils ?

      Quite a stretch there.

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  3. Well Indian tamils themselves supported the tamil movement in SL. Just like Indian bengalis did for Bangladesh. Ethnically they are the same (Tamils of both countries) , i am not saying they used exactly the same methods or anything. Just making a larger point.

    Think of it this way, how enthusiast would India be in supporting the Bangladesh war had there already been a West Bengal separatist movement? In Iran Balochis are already agitating for a separate country, and that’s the reason Iran gave resources to Pakistan to crush Baloch movement of Pakistan.

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    1. India would have still supported Bangladesh war, even if there was a West Bengal separatist movement, as it would have broken Pakistan in two and created a friendly Bangladesh out of an unfriendly East Pakistan.

      In contrast, India would never support an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka, as it would have created an unfriendly Sinhala state in the south.

      India was more worried about the inroads the US was making into SL at the time, especially in regards to Trincomalee harbour, which the Indo-Lanka accord covered:

      **i. Your Excellency and myself will reach an early understanding about the relevance and employment of foreign military and intelligence personnel with a view to ensuring that such presences will not prejudice Indo-Sri Lankan relations.

      ii. Trincomalee or any other ports in Sri Lanka will not be made available for military use by any country in a manner prejudicial to India’s interests.

      iii. The work of restoring and operating the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm will be undertaken as a joint venture between India and Sri Lanka.**

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      1. “In contrast, India would never support an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka, ”

        As i said a thankless position to even begin with. No one went home satisfied.

        BTW what you said about Pakistan-Bangladesh could be applied to this scenario as well. A friendly Independent Tamil state (Bangladesh ) out of an unfriendly Sri Lanka (Pakistan).

        I understand the larger argument you are making. Perhaps India would still have gone ahead considering its animosity of Pakistan is nothing compared to Sri Lanka. But still India would have apprehensions of what an independent Bangladesh would have meant for its own Bengalis.

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    2. “Ethnically they are the same (Tamils of both countries)”

      I am not sure this is true. Ethnically, Sri Lankan Tamils (residents of Ceylon for millennia) seem to be distinct from Tamils of South India and from the plantation Tamils (19th century migrants from Tamil Nadu to Ceylon). I believe the languages drifted apart somewhat as well.

      I wonder if there’s genetic data showing whether Sri Lankan Tamils are closer to Sinhalese or to Indian Tamils

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  4. @Saurav

    “Just pointing out the funny (and ironic ) situation of (supposedly) helping out or trying to help out a population in a foreign country ,while they themselves are agitating in your own country ,”

    I believe the thinking was that by supporting SL Tamils, Indian govt was trying to appease Indian Tamils, showing them India cared for them.

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  5. so perhaps the break from the larger Tamil thing had already happened with the Muslims.

    This is a feature of Islam. Where in the world will you find a Muslim community organically connected to its cognate and co-linguist pagan community?

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  6. I dont’ know man, i just found this ironic (am not sure why others here dont) . Like India’s total act was perhaps the most disastrous “helping the separatist movement” in history of mankind. From day 1 , one side (tamils), who we were supposed to be helping, were totally sure India doesn;t have their best interest at heart, while the other side(Sinhalese) were totally sure “India” is invading them. Like even USA Vietnamese and Russia’s Afghan campaign had more clarity than this.

    I mean whose side we even were on?

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  7. I will give some points, a couple of anecdotes and then a short prognosis. (unhappily still long)

    Most important, keep in mind, the Sinhalese believe Sri Lanka is land chosen by the Buddha (not the chosen people like Israeli Jews)

    a)Sri Lanka is 80% rural, very few urban academics (specially Muslims) have resonance in rural area. All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) the top association are some Urban Muslim guys in suits, with very little influence in rural areas.

    b) DNA wise, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are closer to each other than to any other groups. That does not mean it is accepted or feel cultural similarity.

    c) The Tamils wanted a separate state. Extremist Muslims have voiced that they want Sri Lanka to become Islamic State. That is just a red flag to the Sinhalese bull.

    d) That has hardened the general feeling that Arabization is the proverbial camel in the Tent. There has been a backlash against “gains” of the Muslim community, eg historical Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, Halal certification and Abaya/Niqab.

    e) Most Sinhalese expect integration, not diversity and diverse laws.

    f) Tourism 20% of Foreign exchange has collapsed completely, and peoples livelihoods.

    g) When traveling by Bus numerous checkpoints. You have get down show your ID, bags checked and then walk a hundred meters or so and get back into bus. A two hour trip takes four hours now. Back to the days of LTTE war.

    h) Fast to death by a Buddhist Priest wanting 4 Muslim ministers to resign. All four have had ties and have tried to release suspects in Easter Bombing. The govt has not instituted investigation into these ministers. All Muslim cabinet ministers have said they are resigning, but have not handed their resignation or their perks remove.

    i) f, g and i All adds to the anger of the public against the govt and the Muslims.

    Anecdotes/Observations

    I have not seen a niquab, even in the nearby town which is 90% Muslim. Less black Hijabs and Abayas around as well.

    A Catholic nun helping Pakistan Ahamadi refugees was asked to remove her head dress by an Civil Defense Force person.

    Stories of women at hospitals, buses asked to remove Hijab.

    Mangala Samaraweera, former Foreign Affairs now Finance minister has said, Sri Lanka is NOT a Buddhist country and also condemned the Catholic Cardinal. He was also the co sponsor of the UNHCR resolution. Its the end of Mangala’s political career and I think he is padding the CV, probably trying to get a UN/NGO job. He is from the deep south, the Sinhalese heartland, and the Buddhists Priests have asked him not to step into the Temples in in the south.

    aside: Mangala Samaraweera is the only openly gay minister in this govt. Open secret of 7 others including the PM Ranil Wickramasinghe.

    Classmate of mine, Muslim reasonably liberal when in school seems to have become extremist. He will not attend get together unless ALL the food is Halal. Recently asked another school mate (nominally Muslim) in a committee why, he would not hire a Muslim caterer for functions.

    Another schoolmate, old money Muslim family has donated land to Islamic school. The family are the Trustees, but are not allowed into the school as it has been taken over by Wahhabi types.

    Prognosis

    A good possibility the Rajapakses will win and form a govt, without the minorities. Much like Modi’s win. Possible if rank and file of current govt also vote for the Rajapakses they might get over 2/3rds majority which allows for tinkering with the constitution.

    If the 2/3rds majority occurs, Sri Lanka is going to be a Malaysisa, with the Sinhalese becoming the Bumiputras, maybe not that extreme but getting there.

    The UNP (current govt, PM Ranil Wickramsinghes party) rank and file are disgusted. One of the platforms when campaigning was they were going to recover the Billions the Rajapakses purportedly stole, get much foreign Investment from the West. None of which happened and had to go begging to China. The economy has nose dived, even before the bombing.

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  8. Not every one can deal with a run down in 4 letter words.

    Very succinctly put. People running this blog don’t understand that many of the visitors of this blog are senior citizens from S Asia. In asian traditions, senior citizen expect a civil language when being talked to. Sudden barrage of cuss words can jolt them. Therefore they prefer to be just lurkers.

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