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Military Dictatorial Regime or Radical Democracy? (Part 2)

Asanka Abeyrathna

“Just started the next presidential election campaign with a black Sunday” has been my Facebook status after few minutes of the Easter attack on 21st April 2019.  The idea of most social media platform users was the same. They thought such a thing would not have happened if Gotabhaya Rajapaksha was ruling the country. It is clear that this concept is a well-organized campaign for the upcoming presidential election. When Gotabhaya Rajapaksha was officially informing his presidential candidacy, his prominent statement was “I compete for the presidency in the upcoming election to eradicate religious extremism in the country”. The new frenzy of the right-wing populism which we experience today can be identified as a Military Sinhala Buddhist Dictatorial. This concept has been brought up as a political campaign to the platform of the presidential election by the advertising force of Podu Jana Peramuna which is named as ‘Viyathmaga’. In this political project, the opinions of the religious leaders were crucial. 

Asgiriya Maha nayaka thero claimed that this country needs a ruler like Hitler when the elections were nearing. It has been the cruellest argument of Sinhala Buddhist racism. Who can wish for another Hitler according to their conscience? Can such a wish be done by a person who appreciates human values and norms? It can only be done by a person who approves or contribute to massacres. Therefore, being a Sinhala Buddhist has not become the only qualification to be a racist.  They also need a Sinhala Buddhist Military Force. Hence Sinhala Buddhist racists seem to be facing a challenge in the present society. The challenge is either to show how to protect Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism while criticizing the army or to protect the heroism in war while criticizing Sinhala Buddhist opinions. 

Nowadays the control of most of the fields in the country is being handed over to the military forces. In 2018, the opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksha has made an important statement when he was contributing to the protest conducted by Jana Bala Sena. “Military forces are being given the powers of the police. It is going to be a dangerous situation.” This has been his statement. Even though he made such statements against militarization, he did not hesitate to present his brother, Gotabhaya Rajapaksha who comes from a military background as a candidate in the presidential election. Therefore, they have used the phobia of the Easter attack in the minds of the citizens as a political advantage and succeeded in creating the myth that ‘military forces are the only saviours’ of citizens. Most of the religious leaders also supported this scenario. Therefore it is clear that Sinhala Buddhist opinions have the ability to suppress democracy in the country. That is the reason why Sinhala Buddhist racism has been used in this process of the political campaign. According to them, the prominent qualification to be a Sinhala Buddhist is to accept that the military forces are the only saviours of citizens. Accordingly, the military dictatorial ruling system which is developing in the country is based on five aspects.

  1. Only Sinhala Buddhists have an impression regarding the country.
  2. Therefore Hindu, Islam, Catholic and other minority communities should remain under the major community. Or else they can migrate to another country.
  3. Nobody can play with the decisions of Gotabhaya Rajapaksha.
  4. This is the only chance to save the country. If not Sinhalese community will be destroyed.
  5. Everything will be alright if military forces start controlling the country. 

These five aspects are popular among citizens. But the military dictatorial which is being developed in the country is even more dangerous than Nazism which prevailed in Germany. Military dictatorial which is prevailing in the country in present is armed with some cruel opinions of Sinhala Buddhist racism. The anti-Muslim Sinhalese Buddhist violent parties who attacked the Sinhalese communities who visited Muslim textile shops seven years ago have opened the political path for a military dictator like Hitler to rule the country. The political campaign of Hitler’s Nazi regime was done by native German Chauvinism. The myth that ‘Hitler is the saviour of Germans’ was popularized among the citizens in Germany under the guidance of Gebels. Unfortunately that Fascist ruling system came to an end with the massacre of Jews.

Therefore, it shows that there is a truth in the saying ‘History repeats.’ Typical Fascists preached about the unity among nationalities. In other words, it has been a model of a united Germany. As this model has been glorified with some ambiguous political literature, almost all the Germans started having hopes on it. Thus Hitler succeeded in popularizing ‘National Socialism’ among the citizens either by force or by creating ambiguity in their minds. They were asked to stand for that concept collectively even though they liked it or not. According to them, serving racism is the responsibility of the whole society. Therefore, the Nazi regiment could succeed in suppressing the intelligence of Germans just to get their purpose done. 

Sri Lankan right-wing politics holds a totally racist ideology. Nowadays it has become exclusively racist with the division of major and minor communities. They preach about uniting all the races. They have decided on the limits by preaching ‘the nationality is in danger’. Therefore, it is clear that they are highlighting the progress of only one nationality/community regarding this matter. They are being engaged in an effort of breaking the history in the country into pieces to get their intentions fulfilled. It can be named as a speedy journey that is dangerous and fruitless in the end. Racism always created some close intimacy towards some one’s own race or community. Hence, it is problematic to identify whether this effort is to create one major racist community or a few minor racist communities in the country. Anyhow this has been split into different paths now.  This can be identified as the cruellest model of Sinhalese Buddhist Racism which is moving hand in hand with the military ruling system. It is none other than Sri Lankan Nazism.

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

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