Sunday, March 02, 2008

Inviting Al-Qaeda

My friend Aufdius and MissingSandwich relates a story about how a group of Sinhalese nationalist types in Dehiwela have put up posters and dumped garbage to offend the Muslims in the area for attempting to build a mosque. More from Aufidius:
In Ramazan this year, some Muslims started a thakkiya (small mosque) on Kadawatha Road , Dehiwela and were conducting tharaweeh prayers. The mosque was operating on a very low key and causing no hindrance to anyone. However some Sinhalese villagers banded together, along with a few monks who then sent a delegation to this mosque demanding them to stop conducting prayers. The activities of the mosque were stopped overnight. Some Sinhalese villagers had already started intimidating Muslims in the area and dumping garbage right in front of the building in question.

Around February 23rd 2008, this building was reopened as "The All Ceylon Muslim Educational Conference" but some Sinhalese villagers banded under the leadership of some extremist monks, hung black flags in the vicinity and defaced the walls of the building with racist posters. A fresh pile of trash was also dumped just outside the parapet wall and some garbage thrown in over the wall as well.An ad hoc meeting was arranged adjacent to the mosque and presided by monks, where it is alleged that many racial statements were issued.

Some Sinhalese villagers then kept overnight vigil by assembling at close by Sinhalese houses and drinking through the night and singing and reveling. The police had posted two officers at the point to watch out for any mishaps, but a confrontation has been avoided.. [link]
I support unhindered freedom of expression as long as you do it on your own property (which in this case is not true) but people need to realize the 'blow back' that comes with this kind of intolerable behavior.

All terrorist groups - be it Tamil, Islamic or Catholic - are born and sustained by exploiting a perceived grievance of the 'people' they claim to represent. For LTTE it's the Sinhalese majoritarianism as perceived by the general population of Tamils, for Al-qaeda it's how the general Islamic population perceives American foreign policy. Objectivity matters little here, it's perception which counts.

Sri Lanka so far has somehow being lucky in avoiding Islamic extremism which has gripped some parts of the world, The Muslim lobby groups (including Muslim-dominated parties) have rarely invoked religious sentiment in political demands and has played only soft-ball identity politics. It's in everyone's interest to keep it that way. The last thing anyone would want now (including perhaps the LTTE) is another terrorist movement.


aufidius said...

a very well balanced and logical dedcution. I particularly endorse the fact that you have used the word "percieved" instead of phrasing it in such a way that may reflect the fact that all or most terrorist outfits represent a worthy/legitimate cause.

Aachcharya said...

What do you mean 'expolit' machan? Whereas i agree that LTTE and Al Quaeda are
exploiting the situation i would argue that an armed response is something that happens as part of a natural course of events when peaceful resoultion of disputes is not possible (as to when the threshold for justification becomes satisfactory is a subjective issue). And terroism as a tool of armed resistance also becomes inevitable though i have a moral issue with it.. The Tamil armed reponse to Sinhala majoritarianism was inevitable and 'natural'. Castigating terrorist outfits shouldn mean that armed struggle is bad altogether. I wont use the word 'perceived' when i describe all types of reisitance movements..

Deane said...

Exploit :use or manipulate to one's advantage.

Aa few things i've come to realize,

Armed struggle almost always means terrorism, Che Guvera was a terrorist, Bagat singh, LTTE,PLO,Hamas,Karuna, Maoist in india, formely the JVP,EPDP.. everyone. the lingo change comes when you are sympathetic to the stated cause. The only exception is when it's used soley for direct self-defence.

Terrorism is a murders tactic, it can never be justified, just understood.

Whether something is inevitable depends on the conditions on the ground, it could have been avoided given the right circumstances, There was no 'tamil' version of Gandhi or Martin Luther King in the situation here for example.

LTTE has really outlived its usefulness, and it's very much part of the problem now.

I'll use perceived in the current Sri Lankan conflict, a lot of the 'grievances' of 'Tamil's are quite similar to those faced by people in say.. Monaragala. Most of it caused by centralized governance. Not to say there were no specific grievances, but nationalist propaganda is packaged and rarely objective.

Nationalism is freaking stupid and primitive.