Jane Russell, in a Blog Comment, dated 21 March 2013, on an article by Izeth Hussain on “Racism and Irrationality as Bedfellows: The Halal Issue and Sinhala Buddhist Extremists”
Izeth Hussain’s article elegantly explains and confronts what on the surface looks like “good ole’ Sinhalese racism’ on the upsurge, after a few years of triumphalist satiation over its victory over the LTTE. Yup, as expected, money, amour propre and stupidity are at the root of it….a minor trade squabble has been inflated (at the speed of light it seems) by Buddhist monks greedy for power, status and money and a government inebriated with hubris and rotten with corruption into a “series of racist incidents”… and just in time for the UNHRC meeting!!! Indeed, as Izeth suggests, one suspects dark artistes of unnamed secret services must be at work here……Can any national government worth its name be this myopic? Sadly, it would appear so….poor Sri Lanka, mired for so long in a megalomanic miasma created by the petty-Bonapartist LTTE is now foundering in another fog of credulity orchestrated by Sinhalese petty-Bonapartists! Bah to all Bonapartists…go find yourselves an empire elsewhere and leave this poor island and its (by far the greater majority of) sweet vegetarian Sinhala-Buddhist people, obsessed with lighting lamps and throwing water on trees well alone!
Editorial Reflections in Point Form:
A. I was planning on inserting this comment about three days back and the Aluthgama violence sponsored by the BBS renders the idea horrendously pertinent.
B. It is a political truism that extremisms feed off each other. Way back in the 1960s the historian Sinnappah Arasaratnam reiterated this contention with reference to the Sinhalese and Tamil extremist forces at the opposite ends of the spectrum. We know how both poles have prospered since. They benefited from each other. Today, the Tamil chauvinists have their bases in such western lands as Canada, Britain, USA, Germany and France though there also are hidden seeds and sprouts in Colombo, Jaffna and elsewhere in the island. To such a force at one end of the pole Gnānasāra Thera and the BBS as well as the front known as Sīhala Rāvaya together constitute a godsend. They can smile and say “We told you so.” They will go further. They will express glee and point, with some validity, to the thrusts towards Sinhala Buddhist hegemony embodied within such movements, their hate-speech and their virulent violence. So, Tamil chauvinism will also prosper.
C. Jane Russell’s thoughts in the light of Izeth Hussain’s information and analysis of Sinhala Buddhist reactions of a chauvinist character are clearly informed by her scholarly awareness of the influence of Bonapartist currents in French and European history. Behind these comments, moreover, is her knowledge of Karl Marx’s classic booklet The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Her brief note compares the political thrusts and domineering character of Velupillai Prabhākaran to Napoleon Bonaparte and his legacy. But, however faintly, her comments also raise in my mind the class analysis in the Eighteenth Brumaire. They point to the petty bourgeois forces that provided the initial energies for the underprivileged Have-nots who energized and activated the triumph of Sinhala Only in 1956……. And to those better placed bourgeois elements and new lower middle class elements of the 21st century who, in my surmise, serve as motors for the BBS and their like.
What we need now is a Sri Lankan Marx who provides solid empirical foundations for this suggestion. Is there a “Middle Sinhala Lanka”, akin to “Middle America” and its right wing fundamentalism and Tea Party type of thinking, which serves as the seed bed for the educated intelligentsia and rurbanpetty bourgeois elements who drive the BBS. It is surely no accident that such localities as Homagama and Maharagama on the one hand and such spots as Bentota-Aluthgama seem to be BBS strongholds.
] The concept “rurban” denotes semi-rural or rural settings that are firmly linked, and even enveloped, by urban networks of work and life-ways.
Hate speech with English Subtitles by BBS secretary Galabodatthe Nanasara Thero. which sparked violence in the Aluthgama area directed at Muslims ….. Please circulate this pictorial illustration… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-fPMWD8f9lE
Al-Jazeera: “Who is behind Sri Lanka’s Religious Violence?’ 17 June 2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2014/06/who-behind-sri-lanka-religious-violence-2014617174319873584.html
***** IMAGES OF FERVOUR & DEDICATION — RELIGIOUS and/or QUASI-RELIGIOUS
**** ALSO SEE: Dayan Jayatilleke — “Is The BBS The Boss? The BBS Bid For Power And How To Beat It” ……. …………….https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/is-the-bbs-the-boss-the-bbs-bid-for-power-and-how-to-beat-it/
**** Comparative IMAGES from the 1950s