HATE CAN­NOT DRIVE OUT HATE

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - POINT OF VIEW - By A.M.M. Muza­m­mil

Ge­orge San­tayana’s philo­soph­i­cal adage “Those who do not learn his­tory are doomed to re­peat it” still holds true to its procla­ma­tion. As his­tory keeps re­peat­ing it­self, the lessons are many, but in Sri Lanka’s con­text, I would like to chron­i­cle a cou­ple of his­tor­i­cal blun­ders where our lead­ers failed to study his­tory and learn lessons from the mis­takes and fail­ures of the past. Be­ing bla­tantly obliv­i­ous to his­tory has brought many cat­a­strophic con­se­quences to our moth­er­land.

Les­son num­ber one: On Septem­ber 4, 1951, del­e­gates from over fifty coun­tries gath­ered at San Fran­cisco to dis­cuss the mak­ing of a peace treaty with Ja­pan and other al­lied pow­ers. It marked the end of hos­til­i­ties be­tween sig­na­to­ries, pro­vided for the ter­mi­na­tion of the oc­cu­pa­tion, and spec­i­fied de­tails of the set­tle­ment of war-re­lated is­sues.

J.R. Jayewar­dene, then Fi­nance Min­is­ter, who rep­re­sented Cey­lon at the San Fran­cisco Con­fer­ence dis­played his or­a­tor­i­cal skill and cap­ti­vated the as­sem­bly with an im­pas­sion­ate speech in which he ar­tic­u­lated that Ja­pan should be al­lowed to live as a free and in­de­pen­dent coun­try with­out im­pos­ing any pay­ment of repa­ra­tions. He quoted the Dhamma­pada stanza, ‘ha­tred ceases not by ha­tred but by love’. He ended the same speech by say­ing “This treaty is as mag­nan­i­mous as it is just, to a de­feated foe”.

For the be­lea­guered Ja­panese na­tion, Jayewar­dene who ad­vo­cated tol­er­ance and re­quested the al­lied pow­ers to show mercy to­wards them was like manna from the heaven be­cause most coun­tries wanted to break the spirit of the Ja­panese na­tion. The rest is his­tory.

Les­son num­ber two: Fast-for­ward to July 23, 1983 which saw the an­tiTamil pogrom and ri­ots by Sin­halese ma­raud­ing mobs who took re­venge, killing over 350 in­no­cent Tamils around the coun­try and trig­ger­ing a civil war that lasted 26 years. This “Black July” ri­ots be­gan as a re­sponse to a deadly am­bush on July 23, 1983 by the LTTE against 13 sol­diers in the Jaffna.

Af­ter three decades, the same JR Jayewar­dene who un­der­scored those lofty words at the con­fer­ence in San Fran­cisco with re­li­gious zeal, be­came a mere spec­ta­tor when his coun­try was en­gulfed in com­mu­nal con­fla­gra­tion and con­tributed in mak­ing Sri Lanka a “pariah state” in the eyes of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

The word “peace” that he enun­ci­ated at the au­gust as­sem­bly in San Fran­cisco was dra­mat­i­cally bro­ken down into “pieces” by the same Jayewar­dene due to his in­ac­tion in curb­ing the vi­o­lence which was un­leashed against in­no­cent Tamils de­spite the fact that he held power, be­ing the Pres­i­dent as well as com­man­der-in chief at the time.

NO SYM­PA­THY

Only five days af­ter the ri­ots, on 27 July 1983, did J.r.jayewar­dene make his first speech on the events, of­fer­ing no sym­pa­thy to the mi­nor­ity who were vic­tim­ized by the car­nage. On the very first day per se, had he taken con­trol and zeal­ously put into prac­tice what he preached those im­mor­tal words of Bud­dha “Na hi ver­ena Verani” (‘ha­tred ceases not by ha­tred but by love’) at the San Fran­cisco peace con­fer­ence in 1951, the blood­bath and car­nage could have been averted.

Be that as it may, ha­tred does not cease by ha­tred, only by love; this is the eter­nal rule. Ha­tred can al­ways be con­quered by love. On the other hand, if you meet ha­tred with ha­tred, not only it will in­ten­sify but also add fuel to the flames al­ready kin­dled and will de­stroy ev­ery­thing in its wake with evil force. By stretch­ing a hand of love, we can not only neu­tral­ize pent-up emo­tion but even douse the sim­mer­ing fire of ha­tred. The power of love has such abil­ity to trans­mute even an arch­en­emy into a friend.

The power of love was man­i­fested in its in­trin­sic form re­cently in Sri Lanka by the timely in­ter­ven­tions of Mal­colm Car­di­nal Ran­jith to dif­fuse com­mu­nal ten­sion and pre­vent a violent back­lash on April 21 Easter Sun­day car­nage against in­no­cent wor­ship­pers at churches by hard­core Na­tional Thowheeth Ja­maath (NTJ) sui­cide bombers. The ex­em­plary man­ner in which he con­ducted him­self with calm­ness and com­po­sure in the af­ter­math of the Easter bomb­ings earned wide­spread com­men­da­tion and ap­pre­ci­a­tion among Sri Lankans and the global com­mu­nity.

Had it not been for the Car­di­nal’s fore­sight­ed­ness and gra­cious­ness, Sri Lanka would have plunged into a state of an­ar­chy and blood­bath much like the in­fa­mous Black July 83 where in­no­cent Tamils were rounded and hounded out in­dis­crim­i­nately by un­con­trolled mobs dur­ing their reign of ter­ror. To date, the mem­ory of Black July is deeply em­bed­ded in the Tamil psy­che.

Af­ter the Easter Sun­day mas­sacre, thou­sands of in­no­cent Mus­lims are liv­ing in fear and uncer­tainty. The sense­less car­nage per­pe­trated by a group of mis­guided fa­nat­ics can­not be blamed on the en­tire com­mu­nity or them to be made ac­count­able. They not only caused un­speak­able em­bar­rass­ment but also tar­nished the im­age of the en­tire Mus­lim com­mu­nity. Due to their vile ac­tions, even their dead bod­ies were not al­lowed into Mus­lim grave­yards. This is a clear ex­am­ple of how the Mus­lim com­mu­nity treats the ter­ror­ists.

Mus­lims have been peace­fully co-ex­ist­ing with other com­mu­ni­ties for hun­dreds of years with­out any re­crim­i­na­tions. The vi­tal in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the Mus­lim com­mu­nity to law en­force­ment agen­cies en­abled the au­thor­i­ties to round up the hide­outs of Na­tional Thowheeth Ja­maath (NTJ) at Sainthamar­uthu.

SE­VERE STRESS

At the mo­ment, the be­lea­guered Mus­lim com­mu­nity is un­der­go­ing se­vere stress and men­tal agony. Sen­sa­tion­al­iz­ing an is­sue will not only fur­ther ag­gra­vate but also have a detri­men­tal ef­fect in so­ci­ety. For in­stance, Puwakpi­tiya Tamil Maha Vidyalaya’s School De­vel­op­ment So­ci­ety de­barred 13 Hi­jab clad Mus­lim teach­ers to en­ter school un­less they wear saris. They bla­tantly al­leged that that those who don the hi­jab are sup­port­ers of the IS ter­ror­ists. Ha­rass­ment from su­per­mar­kets and hos­pi­tals have been re­ported as well. There were many videos that went vi­ral tar­get­ing Mus­lims women.

There are also me­dia chan­nels dis­sem­i­nat­ing fake and dis­torted news to­tally against the me­dia ethic which states that, “whoever en­joys a spe­cial mea­sure of freedom, like a pro­fes­sional jour­nal­ist, has an obli­ga­tion to so­ci­ety to use their freedom and pow­ers re­spon­si­bly.”

What is even more sur­pris­ing is the man­ner in which a group of goons went berserk and were able to torch and des­e­crate six mosques at the Ku­rune­gala dis­trict dur­ing an ac­tive po­lice cur­few time.

For all in­tents and pur­poses, it ap­pears that the law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties are not sin­cere enough to safe guard the in­ter­est of trau­ma­tized Mus­lims. This is noth­ing new, it hap­pened at Aluthgama, Gin­to­toa and Di­gana as well. It is the fun­da­men­tal duty of the state se­cu­rity agen­cies to safe­guard the life of their de­pen­dents, in this case the Mus­lim com­mu­nity against any threat and ha­rass­ments. It is morally wrong to sus­pect every Mus­lim and turn a blind eye when their life be­comes en­dan­gered. Fun­da­men­tally, it is against the spirit of hu­man­ity.

Un­less the govern­ment rigidly en­forces the Pe­nal Code and The In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion on Civil and Po­lit­i­cal Rights (ICCPR) un­der Ar­ti­cle 20 (2) against the of­fend­ers ir­re­spec­tive of eth­nic­i­ties, that pro­hibits any ad­vo­cacy of racial or re­li­gious ha­tred that re­sults in hos­til­ity and un­rest, hate speech and hate -fu­eled vi­o­lence can­not be oblit­er­ated from the so­cial fab­ric of Sri Lanka.

In this hour of dis­tress and na­tional con­cern, let every son and daugh­ter of Mother Lanka em­u­late the ex­em­plary man­ner of Mal­colm Car­di­nal Ran­jith and work to­wards peaceful co-ex­is­tence, eth­nic rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and na­tional har­mony. Hate can­not be driven out by hate; only love can help us over­come.

“Those who do not learn his­tory are doomed to re­peat it “

What is even more sur­pris­ing is the man­ner in which a group of goons went berserk and were able to torch and des­e­crate six mosques at the Ku­rune­gala dis­trict dur­ing an ac­tive po­lice cur­few time

The vi­tal in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the Mus­lim com­mu­nity to law en­force­ment agen­cies en­abled the au­thor­i­ties to round up the hide­outs of Na­tional Thowheeth Ja­maath (NTJ) at Sainthamar­uthu

(AFP)

Be­ing bla­tantly obliv­i­ous to his­tory has brought many cat­a­strophic con­se­quences to our moth­er­land. Here peo­ple are seen view­ing a dam­aged shop af­ter a mob at­tack in Minuwangod­a on May 14, 2019.

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