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The Opressed

All this talk of killing Akon makes me want to yawn in spite of myself. I’ve heard too many people wanting to kill other people mouthing off. Killing people may not be the answer. But then that depends on what the question is.

If Akon is waging a war against Buddhism through a sustained campaign fuelled by malice or simply because he hates saffron, the Dalai Lama etc then yeah, maybe you need to kill him. Cos that’s what opponents do in a war if peace talks fail. But then peace talks are mostly just a farce and most wars end by means of arm twisting. Nvm.

But Akon, as far as i know, does not fund a full-scale military/propagandist offensive against the religion of Buddhism. All accusations these kill Akon groups level against him centre around a Buddha statue used in a video of his. Now i understand how that can be offensive; to have a couple of scantily clad ‘ho’s’ dancing around something you consider to be sacred, and if someone did that in a mosque I’d be pretty pissed off too.

But going berserk on the news that he is to perform in Sri Lanka and threatening to kill the guy is not going to help anyone. Least of all the Sri Lankans. Right until I heard about this insulting Buddhism angle, I was under the belief that it was only the metal heads who intended on doing any killing. A friend suggested bombing the concert to get rid of ‘all the dumb people in Colombo’. Metal heads can sometimes suffer from superiority complexes.

Anyway if peace is the ethos of Buddhism, why not organize some peaceful non-testosterone driven demonstration or something to show Akon that Buddhists won’t take the way he used a statue of the Buddha in his video sitting down? That should serve the purpose of making the man realize that he is hurting feelings and that he should stop yeah?

I know I know, not very glorious no. And not very bloody. And a bit boring as well. But it might be just the solution they’re seeking. Someone said that the recent attack on Sirasa TV was motivated by anti-Akon sentiment. Some people say all this has subversive political intonations, but I promised my mother I wouldn’t write politics for a while so I will refrain from speculating on that angle.

It’s sad to see these elements use the name of Buddhism to achieve their own ends though. And its sadder to see people who call themselves Buddhists following them. I’ll be going to see Akon if I get my hands on a ticket insha Allah. I’ll probably even be waving my lighter to ‘Mr. Lonely’.

They say that we are a people prevented from exercising our free will when it comes to saying what we want to say, doing what we want to do and basic tenents of freedom that we are entitled to are trapped under a mire of ever spreading intellectual terrorism only half heartedly still maintaining its disguise as a fake brand of patriotism.

At least, this is what it seems like from a certain light. From another angle all seems rosy and sparkly and well oiled. The country is ‘united’, the bad seeds are dead and we are on the brink of a Parakumba esque era. The steady flow of economic benefits going away from the common man to a priviledged few is concealed under this happy veneer and the loss of basic freedoms are tolerated. The people are in a trance like state.

How can anyone assume that they are always right? That any dissenting views cannot be tolerated? What logic supports these arguments? Yet a vast majority of the people side with these lopsided views and the rest keep silent in fear of repercussions.

Maybe people have a tendency to believe blindly without reason in reaction to this shadow of force and fear that is applied behind the subtle wave of propaganda that is denouncing all dissent to the powers that be. The people here are the people’s very own worst enemy. Sounds like something Orwell would write about no?

I have heard people talk about some detention camp meant for people who talk shit about the government online. Isn’t this against the basic rights which we are supposed to have as human beings? This should be unconstitutional but that would only be the case in a nation that upholds the rule of law. Therefore this is nothing short of terrorism and I, as a blogger who is in fear of writing anything lest it pisses off the government, am terrorized.

Governance in this land saw its steady decline since governance started in this country it seems. Fuss-budget has a good write up on the whole thing at LBO, I strongly suggest you read it.

I have imagined myself being arrested for a lot of things, not that i get up to anything illegal, often. But the last thing I imagined getting arrested for was tweeting.

Rumor, and Lakibima, has it that a crack team of cyber thingummywhats are due to arrive from the Land of the Free that is China to help the government weed out rebellious netizens intent on sparking revolution through Facebook and Twitter. Now I don’t know any of these people supposedly arrested for talking unhealthy things on Facebook; but i am glad it is not me. To be honest.

There are to my mind two broad categories of netizens or social networkers here they could be targeting. One is the vastly numerous Sinhala blogosphere and the less populated but still substantially connected English blogosphere, the one I belong to. Now these two rarely mix due to the differences in language but that is not to say there are no crossover bloggers who manage to create an impact in both spheres.

So I’m hoping the nerdy Chinese that are going to be holed up in some LCD monitor laden hovel will be practicing their Sinhalese first because lets face it, the Sinhala sphere has the widest reach, and no one really cares what the minority of urban English people have to say anyway. We just like bitching about things for fun.

But I’m not taking any risks and I suggest you be vigilant too. Delete all your unknown followers on twitter for starters. You never know which of them could be a Chinese spy posing as a TwitterPorn babe or an obscure PC troubleshooter.

 ‘The city is the graveyard of the guerilla’
 
Che Guevara said that. What he meant was that the lifestyle of the city spoils the guerilla and makes him soft and weak. He needs the hardship and continuous challenge of the jungle in order for him to be on his toes and in fighting form.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
When Rohana Wijeweera was captured in 1989, he spilled the beans on the rest of the JVP before anyone could say ‘spill the beans on the rest of the JVP’, just like he did post 1971. Most of the other leaders of the JVP did the same. By contrast, many of the lower ranks resisted severely and endured harsh beatings and still kept mum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
At this disgraceful show Varadarajah Perumal the first Chief Minister of the Northern Province quipped;

I say, Prabhakaran wouldn’t have died like that. He would have died fighting. If he was in a tight spot he would take cyanide. But he would never be taken alive to be spat on by his enemies.’

(Source: Sri Lanka; the years of terror, C.A Chandraprema)

Varadarajah was being delusional. Prabhakaran (or Pirabaharan as it is fashionable to call him now), like Wijeweera, had everyone duped. Even i thought he’d swallow a pill rather than suffer the ignomity of capture. But most evidence so far uncovered about the bloody ending of the war points at exactly this. Prabhakaran surrendered/ was captured and subsequently was killed/ died. Just like Wijeweera.

One wonders if it is this underlying cowardliness of the leadership that doomed both these post independece movements of rebellion to a bloody end. The leadership was in both cases inherently corrupt and unscrupulous; terrorizing the very people they claimed to be liberating. Their revolutionary ‘struggles’ were undermined by their own greed and lust for power. The movements they led soon turned into a criminal war to attain benefits for the criminals who ran it. Their ideals, however noble in their origins they may have been, quickly decomposed and became demonized.

They both led priviledged lifestyles at the times of their capture. They were far removed from the ground level of their struggles and left the fighting and dying to their countless minions. In this context, Che Guevara’s statement is not even applicable to the likes of Prabhakaran and Wijeweera. Criminals probably thrive in city environments. And they all die like cowards in the end.

Rohana Wijeweera, source unknown

To all Sri Lankan journalists,

Desktop-warrior journalism

Being a journalist in Sri Lanka is somewhat of a thankless job right now. the public disses you cos you don’t put out any anti establishment content and the establishment abuses you if you do.

But if you have controversial stories that need to get out there, putting it up on a blog (anonymously or otherwise) is a good way to get the message across. If you want to fight media oppression then here is an outlet.

The blogosphere isn’t as on the radar as mainstream journalism. Granted, it also doesnt have the same kind of mass exposure. But this way you’re doing your part by telling the public what they need to hear. You are contributing to a better democracy and doing the job of a good journalist.

Now you wont get paid, true. But stories that are time sensitive have only a small profit making time window anyway. So if you find you can’t publish full details due to censorship, here is a more productive option to simply filing information away.

And don’t worry. Tracing you won’t be that easy. You can use various tactics to cover your tracks if you want to. It’ s also very easy to start blogging. Just go to wordpress.com or blogger.com and open your account. And get yourself syndicated on aggregators like kottu.org and achcharu.org  You can also blog in all three languages.

So please, give it a go. We need to know what they don’t want us to know!

Regards

Me

I think the feminist movement is fantastic. Their primary objective is to get women on an equal plain with men because women are ostracized on a daily basis. They are put down, manipulated and crushed by a system that treats them like second class citizens. The movement fights for equal rights and justice.

In doing so, they set themselves a vision, a goal. An ultimate picture of what the most liberated woman on earth would seem like. A woman who is free to wear anything she wants, work anywhere she wants, and do anything she basically wants to do, aka Superwoman. But while having a vision is commendable, this fundamental vision of the feminist movement has got its wires crossed.

The ideal that they aim for is somewhat disconnected with their core purpose. They tend to confuse ‘injustice’ with ‘values’, and what they fail to realize is that society built up some of these values to protect women in the first place, and not to limit them. If any limitation occurs at all, they are caused by the inherent socio economic nature of our environment. Values are more of a symptom of injustice than the other way around.

On the issue of clothing. Most modern clothing and ‘hipness’ is designed to accentuate beauty. It is mostly to make a woman more desirable. Whether it be form fitting apparel or make up (red lipstick and a painted face are associations to a sexually aroused woman) to ‘sexy’ outfits that reveal more than they conceal, The fashion industry is all about making a woman look attractive.

Feminists rebel against conservative society’s tendency to look down upon provocative clothing, and at the same time they demand that men ‘respect them for who they are no matter what they wear’. The inherent failure in this approach is the failure to realize that conservative society has adopted such an attitude towards such clothing in the first place only because of perversion that males could potentially direct towards women. The values exist because of perversion. Take away the values and the perversion will remain, but take away the perversion and the values may disappear.

This perversion, it is true, stems from bad morals. But to fix the problem then we have to go into the deepest roots of our socio-political-economic-moral-biological state of being. If you find the solution to the problem of male perversion in the presence of rampant skimpily dressed females then you have arguably found the solution to all the problems on earth. You’re possibly then in heaven where everyone is naked and no one has a problem with it.

But back down in Earth, most of the oppression women put up with is due to the erosion of values. It is because of the lack of equal rights and share of voice for women that the justice system discriminates against them. It is because of lack of respect and reverence for women that crimes like domestic abuse and marital rape happen. It’s because of a lack of appreciation and a bias that they are less capable that women find discrimination at the workplace etc.

So correct me if i am confused but the feminist movement shouldn’t be fighting against values but fighting for them. And the feminist movement should be fighting against the objectification of women rather than upholding it as the pinnacle of achievement. This objectified version of the independent woman is a manifestation of decades of marketing and clever branding. And the feminist movement has bought into this branded image of Superwoman so much that they’ve confused their core purpose of liberating women with the obsession of achieving this Superwoman state; blind to the direct contradiction that it represents.

It is possible that my burgeoning understanding of the whole issue is pretty basic and that there is more here than meets the eye. Perhaps certain social ‘values’ by default degrade women. And i have failed to identify them in classing all ‘values’ as being inherently good. I may be like a bleeding carp in the ocean of feminism, more than susceptible to fatal shark bites. But i stick by what I’ve said here on the issue of clothing, nevertheless.

reposted

The mainstream media of Sri Lanka has failed to do its job; again and again and again. Absurdity after absurdity of the government’s actions have passed repeatedly into the public limelight only to be cast aside by the media by the means of ridiculous well-quoted statements from top government officials.

Take Dayan Jayathileke for instance. He was reduced from hero to zero when he was quoted in the media implying that the government was realistically considering implementing the 13th amendment. This to the man who according to government propaganda ‘rescued us from unanimous defeat’ at the hands of the Western pro-human rights anti-Sri Lankan coalition at the UN.

Where is the media outcry? if not against the sacking of DJ, at least against the implications of the actions taken by the government to the very initiation of the 13th amendment; an integral part of our constitution. The upholding of which is the duty of any free media framework in a country.

Other Epic fails include the lack of initiative in the investigating and reporting of all the dead bodies turning up everywhere even after the war, not that I think dead bodies being found while the war was on is any less justifiable, but the war is over now, and there should at least be a more rational base to justify the revelation of the goings on behind such atrocious activities to the general public. Even to a media prepared to convolute the already very bendable set of ‘ethics‘ it is governed by.

Other epic fails include the complete lack of interest in questioning intelligently the apparent lack of power of the Sri Lankan judiciary (which is also an epic fail of its own but I’ll write about that later), the exorbitant and skewed taxing system and questionable economic policies (economic and financial critical analysis is almost unheard of except for a bit on LBO), the questions on the justification behind the implementation behind seemingly irrational laws (do i need to go into porno and mobile phones? its been well harped about in the blogosphere) and the apparent disregard to intimidation and coercion in undemocratic provincial council elections (like Jaffna for instance). And nobody even gives a rat’s behind about discussing the age old ‘problem’ of the executive presidency.

The media is a meek dog that barks only when the government wants it to. It is the government’s smokescreen, a tyrannical propaganda machine. Perhaps I wax too lyrical maybe? What; am I a paranoid conspiracy theorist then?

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