COLOMBO - THE GARDEN OF EDEN
the 39th Anniversary of the first day of the attacks on Colombo Tamils
by Sinhalese. Yet most Sri Lankans, including Tamils, seem occupied with the
attack by Armed Forces on the alleged ‘Protestors’. No one sent me messages
about Black July.
But I remembered
with feeling, former Daily News journalist Pearl Thevanayagam who wrote that she had asked her mother
after losing their home in the 1983 riots, ‘Are we poor mother?’. Back then, on
the 2011 Anniversary, I felt the bewilderment of the 28 year old –
as if I was on the streets. Pearl being a genuine journalist shared her own
experience of the 1983 civil riots:
[When school boys from Royal, Ananda and Nalanda set about
looting, burning and plundering the properties of Tamils in Colombo with the
blessings of the government of J.R. Jayewardene under the direct guidance of PM
Ranasinghe Premadasa and ministers Gamini Dissanaike and Cyril Matthew, tens of
thousands of Tamils who made South their homes were herded into camps in
Kovils, airports, schools and temples.
While I stood outside a Sinhalese
neighbour’s house in Nugegoda who gave refuge to us for a few hours after our
possessions belonging to several generations were set on fire before our very
eyes until a matriarch asked us to leave and we were on the streets I asked
my mother, “Are we poor now?”. She replied, “ Yes”.]
Pearl is physically no more with us but
her journalistic work is a soul-value exponentially shared with her readers who
shared in her true experience, as if it were theirs. In terms of the 1983 riots, such sharing protects
those who remember and feel, from future attacks. They may be attacked
physically, but mentally they would take it positively – as Gandhi did.
Relative to Black July 1983, the
dismantling of the ‘Protestors camps’ by the Armed Forces and the resulting
pain is like a mosquito bite. From Australia to USA – mainstream media are publishing
report after report as if that was the worst pain
that happened in Colombo. What a farce!
Truth alone can redeem us from this
mess. A place has karma. Hence some places are sacred and others are haunted. Foreign
media need to be careful not to be infected by the haunting spirits of Colombo
that continue to be restless due to destruction of People, hard earned and sacrificially
saved property. If they are casual about what’s happening – they would get
infected and manifest it in their own homelands.
Karma cannot be ‘settled’ through
current benefits. It can be made positive by feeling the victim’s pain as ours.
The rest will lead every related action of the perpetrators – in this instance –
the ‘civilian protestors’ – whose predecessors ‘set about looting, burning and plundering
the properties of Tamils in Colombo’
Until an action becomes a sin,
we can correct it or be punished for it. But once it is beyond its period of
correction, like the evil serpent in the garden of Eden, the sin leads the person/group, including those who were
responsible for disciplining wrong-doers but failed to do so.
In 1977, the UNP government won an overwhelming majority which led to the formation of the Executive Presidency. The group that gave the power acted as if it were the Executive President. Likewise, in 2019 – war hero Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa won majority power to renew the Executive powers of the President. The group that elevated his status took over power – all with the support of the media. Majority power is registered as Executive power not only by government but by the group that has majority vote. It is to prevent this that Opposition is recognized as Equal power in Parliament. But where the opposition is also driven by majority power in its area of governance, it becomes a dependent junior. Ranil came to power due to his demonstrated commitment to law. So long as his current actions are within the law, no foreign power has jurisdiction to intervene. The leader respectful of law, will not abuse Executive power as majority power. That respect and therefore the law will not let him.