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Fundamentalism

After stewing about it for more than two days ‘Team Mobitel’ appears to have finally come up with a response.

Mobitel response

It’s actually quite ridiculous. They apologize for any ‘inconvenience or pain of mind’ caused but reiterate that the racist ringtone will remain on their site on a ‘revenue share basis’. Apparently they still care about upholding the ‘true values of unity and ethnic harmony’ by allowing an organization that stands for just the opposite to make money off its site, and on a revenue sharing basis too.

The image is accompanied by an expanding thread of comments of largely unimpressed people. Mobitel’s social media team and at least one fake account is also feebly attempting to respond, but are only succeeding in digging itself deeper into this hole.

Many are asking if Mobitel would allow an LTTE song to be put up to fund the terrorist group on a ‘revenue sharing’ basis too. The answer, even though it has not been articulated yet, is obviously no. Why in the world would Mobitel do that? Therefore Mobitel definitely does NOT consider the Bodu Bala Sena to be a hate group or a group with any negative social connotations at all.

The utter chutzpah of this response is rather hard to digest, I will say that at my next tea party. The lyrics of the BBS song call for a “Holy War” to destroy the “rallying cry of the unrighteous” and “the heathens” “who have all united into one camp”. Yup, practically dripping with peace and harmony there.

Actually if this song came from any other group, or was just a song released by an individual artist. Its message could have been construed as one meant purely to inspire and provoke steadfastness on a personal level or whatever (the lyrics are actually quite well written). But the BBS has made its intentions clear through its actions, they possibly really do want a holy war. In denouncing imaginary Islamic terrorism in Sri Lanka and countless other made up threats, the BBS is fast mirroring its non-existent worst enemy.

Therefore by allowing the BBS to make money from its ring back tone services (and sharing in the moolah no less) Mobitel is sending a strong message that they support, or at least are indifferent, to its extremist standpoint.

Here’s a poster being shared around on Facebook, which carries the full lyrics of the song and calls for a boycott of all Mobitel products.

-the truth may hurt, but Jack Baur hurts more

The Economist ran a piece recently on how people are taking Jack Baur seriously. I mean seriously, this is Jack Baur we’re talking about. An excerpt;

During a televised debate in 2007, Tom Tancredo, a Republican presidential candidate, was asked what methods he would authorise to extract information from a terrorist suspect in a “ticking bomb” scenario. “I’m looking for Jack Bauer at that time, let me tell you,” he said. Bauer routinely tortures terrorists in disgusting ways to save innocent lives. Being a fictional character, he never tortures the wrong guy or extracts false information. Real life is not like that. Yet a Pew poll last year found that half of Americans think that torturing terrorist suspects can “sometimes” or “often” be justified. Only a quarter said “never”.

The amount of ‘terrorists’ tortured by the Bush administration was no small number. Maybe Jack Baur helped constrain public opinion to the level of what it was. Maybe he convinced Obama not to prosecute Bush. Whatever.

The movie industry trying to belittle atrocities created by wars their home country’s are engaged in are nothing new. I don’t know if this is done on purpose. If i was in more conspiratorial mood, i would tell you it was all the fault of the Jewish Lobby. But it comes down to a question of what impresses people about the movies they see. Its how the people see it that matters and not for what purpose the movies are made.

Batman, in last year’s The Dark Night, went completely batshit on international regulations and the rule of law. The message was clear; you fight fire with fire, and when fighting the lawless, you can’t let little things like laws get in your way.

Mot people, on the surface would probably like to think that movies don’t really influence the way they think. But most people really don’t know what influences the way they think. We think through ideas, through mental constructs we have built up that help us see the world in a particular light. And i assume that the foundations of these constructions are located in the subconscious. They build up beased on externalities that influence them. This is probably where Jack Baur comes in; he creeps into our subconscious and fucks with it.

Western society holds ‘science’ in high esteem. That said, even Eastern society holds it in high esteem. So do individual human beings, and so do i. But science is a futile art, it is a means to an end and not an end in itself; but die hard ‘belief’ in it has driven the human race to the edge of destitution.

What is science? Simply put, it is the cumulation of all human knowledge; amassed for centuries from the beginnings of current civilisation. All logically provable facts and figures fall into this realm of certainty; and certainty is something that we humans cannot seem to do without. But certainty, while being commendable, has taken the guise of perpetuity, and that is not at all good.

‘Believers’ of science not only see it as the come all, but also the be all of existence. This in itself is a self defeating philosophy; for scientific theory is constantly changing and being renewed, what science does not know today, it may come to know tomorrow; science itself knows that it is merely a neophyte in the vast unknown, but its blind believers unfortunately, usually leave their sense behind when engaging in so called ‘logical reasoning’; which, to them, is simply a process of deducing what is proved by mainstream sciences, and what is not.

They discard what cannot be proved and embrace only what is proved beyond a doubt. their philosophy is this; if it is not scientifically proven, it doesn’t exist.

Is this a bad thing? Well of course it is! It is only the very belief in the unknown and the unprovable that drives Science forward in the first place! If all scientists thought like laymen, scientific institutions the world over would simply shut down. Why? because if anything that science hasn’t proven does not exist, then that means science can never prove anything else, because nothing else exists to be proven. So why continue with science at all?

Geddit?

But this mass illusion is not the fault of science. Actually, ‘science’ is not futile at all. It facilitates the advancement of the species so i’ll drink (a non-alcoholic beverage) to that. No. In my opinion it is the people, the mainstream public; their fear of the unknown and the subsequent effects of ‘groupthink‘ that leads to this breakdown of critical thought.

Even so called ‘intellectual circles’ show extreme aversion to sprouting what they consider to be mystic, insane, unprovable mumbo jumbo out loud. So instead of original thought, their members prefer to recycle only what their gurus of science have proven to be true beyond a doubt; they build their lives on the seemingly solid foundations of established truth. But what they choose to ignore is the soil that these foundations rest on; soil that is also known as the great unknown.

Some examples; God, the meaning of life, the fate of the human after death, the nature of the life force; our very being, the very workings of our minds and brains, the construction of the universe in its totality, morality etc. The list of scientifically unproved and unknown things go on and on. ‘Respectable society’ abhors such heretic; because respectable society doesn’t have answers to questions like that. It has carved itself a system that thrives on ignoring the greater unknown, it is a system that only grows with the growth of science.

God is disruptive. Death is disruptive. Admitting the existence of a human soul is disruptive. ‘Faith’ is disruptive. Religion is criminal. Belief is unnecessary where facts exist. And where facts exist, non-facts become fabrications and lies. And the system is built on lies. Lies full of facts.

That is not to say however, that most people do not believe in at least some aspects of the unknown; most do, and on a conscious level too. But the nature of the world is such that everyday life has forced these thoughts into the edge of the subconscious, and the public lives in a state of doublethink; constantly holding two contradictory beliefs in mind simultaneously, while accepting both of them.

Thoughts?

London Mystic - Leonard - Art

London Mystic - Leonard - Art

So whats the relationship? Does oppression necessarily result in fundamentalism? This is a theme explored in a book i’m reading right now. As per the authors and evidence put forward there is a clear correlation between the rising of fundamentalist groups and the opression of those classes of a society.

This is plainly obvious generally, one has just got to look at numerous examples all over the world like the Uighurs, the Iraquis, Hezbollah, Christian fundamentalists in the US and not to put too fine a point on it; the LTTE.

Tamils in Sri Lanka are still, if not opressed, a very restricted group in terms of movement in society. Take their representation in the government and public sector for instance, this has spiralled down at an alarming rate since the de-nationalization of the Tamil language since 1956; an act seen by many Tamils as aimed at disowning the Tamil speaking population from Sri Lanka.

Now there is only scant representation of Tamil youth in Sri Lankan governance and none of it can be called particularly strong. Older and more powerful tamil politicians are few and far between.

Language is a major issue here. Its almost impossible to get anything done at most public services if you cannot communicate in Sinhalese or perhaps English. This arguably, is one of the first issues that needs to be addressed, along with the issue of the devolution_of power. (TEDx Colombo will be hosting a talk by Dr. Rohan Samarajiva on language policy for the future, this weekend.)

More power to provincial governments will give them incentive to serve the local population. In turn giving more power to voters in deciding who they want to take office. These are but some of the changes brought on by the 13th ammendment and its many modifications aimed at promoting diversity rather than supressing it; which has seemed to be the general overall trend of politics since independence from the Brits.

Barriers to devolution like strong vested interest in the Executive Presidency continue to bar progress. the EP is almost a tyrannical representation of everything wrong with the current system of governance to some; above the law, all powerful, unquestionable. It throws the concept of a government that ‘serves the public’ right out the kitchen window.

Change is needed, and it is needed now. Opression at this point will only create outlet to more fundamentalism and resentment among the unfairly treated. The LTTE is down, but not completely out. They still have support from the diaspora who burn from the wounds suffered a long time ago.

If the government avoids making serious long term policy changes to secure equality and yeilds to the easy way out and decides to rule the country with an iron fist-like approach by supressing dissent; perhaps it wouldn’t not that far fetched to imagine a re-emeregence of the LTTE or some other similar group in the next few decades, if they manage to raise enough grassroots level support from a group of people that feels ‘left out’ of Sri Lankan society.

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