Thursday 19 April 2018

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
19 April 2018                                         

Social Media – Addiction or Passion?

[When the Sri Lankan Government took action to impose the curfew, banning the social media and declaring the State of Emergency to control the Sinhala-Muslim unrest in the Kandy District in March, there were undue pressures from certain diplomats on the Government, President Maithripala Sirisena said on Tuesday in London.
“Certain diplomats spoke against the Government moves to take necessary action-including banning access to social media sites. Some of the diplomats acted beyond their mandate against the move,” the President told a group of Sri Lanka community in London Tuesday night.
“But despite those oppositions, the Government had taken necessary action, and because of that we able to prevent a major tragedy,” he said.
The President also said that at that time, an organization connected to the UN had stated that Sri Lanka had managed to impose a complete ban on the social media sites-something even the US couldn’t do.] – Daily Mirror article -  Social media ban: Undue pressure from diplomats: President

A Sri Lankan comparing her/himself with an American and taking credit is acting in breach of the laws of Equality which prohibit direct relationships between sovereign bodies. This habitual breach of crossing cultural borders is the root reason for Sri Lanka’s ethnic problems.
It was the same social media that influenced Starbucks Café to take internal action to address the problem reported as follows by SBS news:
[Starbucks announced Tuesday that it would close all company-owned stores and corporate offices in the United States on May 29 to conduct "racial-bias education," following outrage over the arrest of two black men in one of its cafes.
It was the latest move by the CEO of Starbucks to recover from damage to the mammoth chain's reputation by the incident, captured on video and posted last Thursday on Twitter, which has been viewed millions of times and drawn widespread condemnation.
The curriculum will be designed "to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome," the company said in a statement.

Starbucks boss apologises after arrests of black men spark accusations of racial profiling

Starbucks said more than 8,000 stores would be closed and training provided to nearly 175,000 employees and incorporated into company training going forward.
"While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution," said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, who earlier apologized for the incident.
"Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities."
The video posted by a Starbucks client shows uniformed police questioning and then handcuffing the two men, who offer no resistance, as a white client repeatedly asks an officer, "What'd they do? What'd they do?"
Philadelphia police said they received a 911 call from a Starbucks worker who said the men were trespassing, after sitting down and refusing to buy anything. Police said officers had "politely" asked the two to leave before finally arresting them.]

The Sri Lankan Government’s action was top-down and may suit Sri Lanka, where there are no special laws to confirm the existence of racial discrimination. In America, this law helps people have ‘reasoning’ on the basis of race as well, when someone of a different cultural group feels victimized. The parallel of such a law for majority Sri Lankans is Buddhism foremost article in the Constitution – so majority Sri Lankans would ‘understand’ each other through Buddhist values. But this requires for Buddhists to stay within their cultural boundaries and not infiltrate into another culture under the pretext of secularism. When attacking Tamil militants, a Buddhist Sri Lankan soldier who was/is outside the boundaries of rule of law, stands unprotected by Common Belief.  Likewise a Muslim. Given that the average Sri Lankan operates at cost-benefit level rather than policy level – they need rules through which they can measure each other and correct each other including through social media where the citizen is ‘free’ of pressure from unpractised rules that the formal media are bound by and more importantly are free of the bias that the formal media demonstrate when they think they are not accountable but that others are accountable to them.

In his Easter message, the Pope is reported to have shared the following message:
[The Pope recalled that the apostles  had been forbidden to preach, to announce Jesus and yet, after their release from prison by an angel, they return to teach in the temple. As narrated in the First Reading today taken from Acts (Acts 5: 27-33), they are brought before the Sanhedrin where the high priest reminds them they were forbidden from teaching in the name of Jesus. "We must obey God instead of men" : is Peter's answer. The word "obedience" returns, then, also in today's Gospel (Jn 3: 31-36). And the Pope underlined it because "a life of obedience" is what characterizes the apostles who received the Holy Spirit. Obedience to follow the path of Jesus who "obeyed to the end" as in the Garden of Olives. Obedience consists in doing the will of God. Obedience is the path that the Son "has opened to us", says Francis, and the Christian therefore "obeys God".] article - Pope: today there are Christians 'in prison, slaughtered and hanged because they proclaim Jesus'
The media ban by the Government of Sri Lanka is an example of requiring obedience to man. Obedience to God who has no particular physical form Common to all – is Obedience to Law. Like in the case of religions – a law would be given form by each cultural group as per their respective beliefs. Hence in the same country, one law would legitimately be interpreted in different forms by diverse cultural groups who carry distinct cultural identity. The interpretation of the victim is the appropriate form where it is different to that of an authority who shows no lawful reason for punishing the victim – as was the case in the Starbucks Café arrests.
If the arresting officers were Christians and America had ‘Christianity foremost’ article in its constitution they would not have been obedient to the receptionist who called them to the scene. They would have obeyed God / the law
The social ban happened due to there being pathway open to minorities to be heard first when especially when they are victims. While emotions could be kindled through social media those who value ‘freedom’ of speech that comes from obedience to God/Law, would cure each other through social sharing. Otherwise we would need more and more ‘irreconcilable items’ that would continuously keep separating us due to lack of trust in each other. This is what the President has confirmed by taking credit for media ban.
In the kingdom of God – we are all sovereign entities and therefore would protect our sovereignty as individuals. One who obeys God/the law that leads to Truth – is independent of man – any man or group with particular form.

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