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Thursday, 18 October 2018
Thursday, 18 October 2018 | Sri Lanka Watch
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Pursuit of Peace in Sri Lanka: Lessons learnt and unlearnt PDF Print E-mail

By Victor Karunairajan

Buddhism, the great religious faith continues to be raped and abused by some of its politically biased advocates giving the lie away that they have not understood, let alone appreciated the teachings of the Great Master.

Buddhism emphasizes peace and good relations especially in a pluralist society and is the vehicle of tolerance, compassion and coexistence.
Why then is it different in Sri Lanka?

It is because, unchecked it has been made into an opportunist political weapon of racial and religious bigotry. Extreme politicians have confused and cheated the Buddhist community over the decades since independence to capture political power and dominance at any cost. This is certainly a un-Buddhist activity.
The consequential result to the country has been chaotic with crisis after crisis tearing the nation apart with racial riots, ruthless terrorism and a horrendous civil war. Yet the lessons we should have learnt seems to remain unlearnt.

Last Friday a leader of the Sinhala Lawyers Association, Mr Manora Silva, appeared before the Commission on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation and treated this opportunity to express his views indicating that the terrible lessons have not been learnt. He went further to give the picture that in most important sectors, the Buddhists were the minorities. He even claimed that in the North the Buddhists are just a single digit minority.

He painfully manoeuvred his way through all kinds of data that must surely be suspect or twisted information on the trivial. He pathetically called for Sinhala colonization of traditional Tamil regions and was most insensitive towards a community that has suffered immense devastation. In other words he was spitting forth racial venom even at this hour.

The commissioners should have pointed out to him that theirs was not the place for lessons unlearnt.  The commission has been entrusted with a sacred opportunity to seek a solution to find peace and reconcile all communities as one nation.

We have had over sixty years of racial and religious conflicts that cannot be justified and the country has been greatly hurt in every sphere of human activity. There has to be an end to such divisive contentions. The country is at the threshold of a possible peaceful solution and we cannot miss this opportunity.
The danger Buddhism faces in Sri Lanka is from the bigots and certainly not from the adherents of other faiths.   

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