Celebrating war victory and banning commemoration of dead civilians: this is “home grown & indigenous” reconciliation and freedom in Sri Lanka?

Today, 18th June 2010, has been declared a public holiday by the government. Many Sri Lankans, especially Sinhalese from the South are expected to respond enthusiastically to the government’s elaborate plans to celebrating the war victory over the LTTE. For several days, citizens in Colombo had to put up with closed roads in preparation. How much of our – citizens – tax payer’s money will be spent for this celebration is something I don’t know and dare not think.

Some media had highlighted on the fact that the General who led the war victory is likely to be in detention and not invited to celebrate the victory he led.

What seems to be forgotten, and what I do know for sure is that tens or hundreds of thousands of Tamils, particularly in the North, will not be celebrating this victory. Many of them infact, will be grieving and mourning for family members and friends killed, injured, missing and detained in during the course of the war, particularly the final months of the war.

However, now, even grieving and mourning appears to be criminalized in the newly “liberated” North.

On 17th May, amidst heavy showers and floods in Colombo (which had compelled the government to postpone the victory celebrations), I was with a group of friends, at an ecumenical (Christian) event to commemorate those killed in the war. As we were starting the event, I got a call from a good friend, a Catholic priest in Jaffna, who told me that he had got several threatening calls asking him to cancel a religious event he had organized in Jaffna to commemorate civilians killed in the war. In addition to the telephone calls, senior army officers had visited his office and asked him to cancel the event. He was in a dilemma – he was personally not keen to cancel the event, but was concerned about the safety of his staff and families due to participate in the event.

Later, I came to know that this was not an isolated incident and several other friends were subjected to similar threats.

On the same day, 17th May, Nallur Temple area in Jaffna, where an inter-religious event was being held to remember those killed in the war was held, was surrounded by the police and the army. The people who came to participate were threatened and told to go away. Those who insisted on going in they were asked to register their names and other details with the police. Many went away in fear and only few had participated. Later on, the army had questioned and threatened a priest who was involved in organizing the event. The priest was even summoned to Palaly military headquarters in Jaffna for questioning.

In Vanni, an army officer had told a villager that he will shoot a parish priest and drag him behind his jeep, because he (the priest) was organizing prayer services for those killed in the war. Another priest was prevented from celebrating a holy mass to pray for those killed in the war on 19th May in the Vanni.

So, it is clear the army doesn’t want Tamils to mourn and grieve for their loved ones killed during the war. The thinking appears that all these events are to commemorate the killing of LTTE leader Prabakaran. Or that May 17th – 19th is a victory day, and thus, no mourning should happen, and everyone should celebrate, even if your own mother or child or husband was killed.

This seems to be the official policy of the government, with the Minister of Media and Information reported as saying that Tamil people only have a privately commemorate their kith and kin killed privately and not publicly. (See http://www.lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=9568)

Of course the writing has been on the wall for some time. Ever since the end of war, I had seen many monuments built in the Vanni celebrating war victories and in honour of dead soldiers. At the same time, memorials for Tamil militants built by the LTTE have been destroyed, in the Vanni as well as in Jaffna, denying family members the opportunity to light a candle or lay a flower. At one such destroyed memorial site in Jaffna, army officers told me not to take photos since that place is now earmarked to be an army camp. I was not allowed to even get near another such well known memorial in Kopay, Jaffna.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t see a single memorial built to remember civilians killed in the war. A priest in Vanni who was trying to build a simple and small monument for civilians killed was warned by the army to stop building it.

Beyond a moral and ethical perspective, these incidents raise serious issues about freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.

Just a few days after some provisions of the emergency regulations, including restrictions on public processions and meetings were repealed, the military had prevented peaceful religious events from taking place and threatened organizers and participants.

The army had also curtailed religious freedom, despite freedom of religion being a right that cannot be restricted in any circumstances in the Sri Lankan constitution.

So, we Sri Lankans will have to live with a type of homegrown reconciliation in Sri Lanka that doesn’t allow its citizens, and especially families of those killed, to light a candle, lay a flower, say prayer to mourn and grieve.

We will have to live with an indigenous “liberation” and “freedom” which doesn’t include rights of religion and peaceful assembly to have religious events to commemorate family members and loved ones killed.

  • LankaLiar

    Just imagine if this is happpening the relatives of the dead and the one who have passed away, think of those who were captured especially the young girls mothers and children. No where in the world you find people of this calibre. may be Pol Pot was the last one. I am told even Idi Amin treated the dead with some respect. We have many Idi Amens but they all have the heart of Pol Pot. I do not know why Pol Pot was not born in Sri Lanka. After all we have the Pol Pot and his mentality in plenty. This country should bow down in shame for its actions.

  • Ratnam

    The government is asking the Tamils to forget about the past and to join the Sinhalese to create a unitary state. How can the Tamils forget the 40000 of their family members who were killed, and double the amount who are disabled?
    Tamils weren’t given a chance to cremate or bury their relatives with dignity. Now the Tamils cannot even hold a prayer meeting for the dead.
    But the government wants them to take a day off and celebrate??
    Very confusing….

  • rajivmw

    Scheduling the religious events you describe on that day in particular seems deliberately provocative to me. It’s not difficult to understand why it was seen by some as a prayer for Prabhakaran. I suspect the organizers have a political agenda, and I’m not sure it’s helpful.

    Having said that, I don’t think we should be having these bombastic Victory Day ‘celebrations’ either. Quite apart from being a questionable use of time and money, it’s grossly insensitive and there’s something disturbingly fascist about it.

    I think we should pick a date (not May 17th) and make it National Remembrance Day, when we can all quietly mourn the loved ones we have lost, reflect on the mistakes we have made, and pray for guidance and wisdom to make our country a better place for all her citizens.

  • http://-- MCM Iqbal

    In spite of all this, Sri Lanka is supposed to have a democratic State. What a fallacy ! There is no doubt those in authority are drunk with power. In their drunken state they are sure to do something that will trigger their own downfall. Already there are signs of such blunders. When the Defence Secretary is crying out loud that there had been no violations of human rights by the army during the war, yesterday, Minister Rambukwella is reported to have stated during a press conference that there could have been some human rights violations during the war and that the Reconciliation Commission would look into them and that there is no need for a War Crimes investigation. What a contradiction ! Coming events cast their shadows.

    There is no doubt we are heading for a state similar to what Germany has had under Hitler. The helpless people of the country are being dazzled by the victory the government over the LTTE, and are being prevented from seeing that they are being led down the road to disaster. The military that is emboldened by the cult of impunity that has pervaded them have now begun to call the shots in the areas under occupation.
    It is hoped that the crack that has already occurred among the supporters of the government in the Parliament would widen. Members of Parliament from the LSSP who do not support the extension of the term of the President have been asked to leave the government. This could be the harbinger of the eventual downfall of Mahinda Rajapakse.

  • Sidhartha

    Nobody needs any witness other than this to show specially to TAMILNAADU and its rulers HOW TAMILS are being TREATED in the former island of paraduse instead of THEIR assuranses from their MASTERS in delhi.

  • SomeOne

    Well,… for some people it is compulsory freedom, compulsory security, compulsory peace, etc, etc…. You have no option other than enjoying it.

  • Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    Hey, I’m just watching BBC coverage of the grand event in commemoration of the 60th anniversary Gen Charles De Gaulle’s speech from London, calling on his French countrymen ( ‘la patrie’) to resist the fascists. This is marked as the commencement of the French resistance.

    For a while after Liberation, the French busied themselves with outing traitors and collaborators, who were loyal to Petain’s Vichy regime.

    Does anyone think that ONE YEAR after the victory of the Vietnamese in April 1975, they would have permitted those who supported the South Vietnamese regime to commemorate their war dead?

    Do any of these planned memorials feature the commemoration of Neelan, Amirthalingam, Sarojini Yogeswaran, Kethesh Loganathan, K Pathmanabha and Lakshman Kadirgamar? Do these events feature a denunciation of the Tigers? If not why not and what do they mean?

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    I congratulate the President for celebrating this victory. He is providing further evidence to the UN on how the war crimes are glorified.

    When the UN probe begins next week the video of this event alone would prove how the Tamil civilains’ deaths in their thousands and the thousands of soldiers from the villages mostly killed cause such joy and triumph.

  • R.M.B Senanayake

    We must realize that countries dont celebrate victories over their won citizens who are killed. This s why Abraham Lincoln treated the Confederate Generals and their servicemen well despite some of them misbehaving.
    The war under President Mahinda became a war of the Sinhalese against the Tamils alhough the previous leaders among the Sinhalese like Chandrika and Ranil fought the war as Sri Lankan nationalism versus Tamil secessionist movement. The real challenge for the Presdient is wehtehr he can contain sinhala nationalism now. Normaly once nationalist feelings are roused they end up in wars and imperialism. German nationalism led to the two world wars. Italian nationalism led Italy into conquests in North Africa. Sinhala nationalism cannot afford to wage war against India but hostility is bound to take place and unlike the earlier Chola and Pandyan invasions we will have to deal with the whole of India. UnlessSinhala nationalism is contained the futrue of the country is at stake. The President has linked the fortunes of himself and his family to that of the Sinhalese nationalists. Will he ahve the wisdom to rebuild a Sri Lankan nationalism?

  • wijayapala

    Ok Dayan, you’ve gone off the deep end here.

    Do any of these planned memorials feature the commemoration of Neelan, Amirthalingam, Sarojini Yogeswaran, Kethesh Loganathan, K Pathmanabha and Lakshman Kadirgamar? Do these events feature a denunciation of the Tigers? If not why not and what do they mean?

    Probably not, but they don’t commemorate Theepan, Bhanu, Prabhakaran himself, or any other Tiger. Nor do they specifically honor Ariyanayagam Chandranehru, Joseph Pararajasingam, or Nadaraja Raviraj.

    The simple fact is that thousands of people were killed as the price of victory and these people simply want to grieve. If there is no denunciation of the SL military, then what is your problem?

    Does anyone think that ONE YEAR after the victory of the Vietnamese in April 1975, they would have permitted those who supported the South Vietnamese regime to commemorate their war dead?

    No, because N. Vietnam is a totalitarian communist state that does not brook dissent. Is that your vision for SL???

  • Vishnu Gupta

    Sad we don’t have a Lincoln, a Mandela or General Gowon (Nigeria) but its ok, the JVP can celebrate the death of RW and others…but not the death of our own citizens, oh I forgot, they are TAMILS… ok ok, they can’t grieve…and I can’t believe DJ studied at St. Joseph’s College, a Roman Catholic School, maybe the fact that he was in the Sinhala Medium makes him think that way.

  • Ratnam

    Democracy is in ruins, and human rights are thrown out of the window.
    -Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma is under house arrest in Burma for democratically fighting for people’s rights
    -Dalai Lama is in Exile and Tibet is under Chinese occupation.
    What has the UN and the International community done to restore human rights and democracy?
    Defending oneself with weapons from suppression and occupation has become a crime(it’s now called terrorism). The occupier and the aggressor who commits genocide and commits human rights violations are rewarded with business opportunities and trade agreements.
    Sri Lanka has been oppressing the minority Tamils for over 60 years. Seeing the political efforts taken by the Tamil leaders leading to a dead end, the youths of that time took up arms to fight the colonization and harassments. What did the UN lead by countries like China and Russia do? Helped the aggressor and punished the oppressed.

  • Ratnam

    Does Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka know that this government has used its hit squad to eliminate over 34 media personals in the past 4 years?
    Many Tamil MPs were killed too by these same units. This government used destrutive weopons on it’s own civilians like no other and killed over 40000 on this very day.
    The governmetn might have killed Pirabakaran, but where was he when the govrnment barred all media from reporting the actual events of the last days of the war, and after the war when 300000 Tamils were held in concentration camps? How many rapes and murders took place under the armed forces control. He calls Srilanka a democracy?

  • Sarath Fernando

    And Dyan J is the flag bearer of the civilized, educated Sinhalase?! God save the country!! To the extent education fails to civilize people, education is indeed wasted.

  • Nithyananthan

    @ “…unlike the earlier Chola and Pandyan invasions we will have to deal with the whole of India. Unless Sinhala nationalism is contained the futrue of the country is at stake”.

    Wisdom speaks – so well! It inspires me to realize that there are still peace-loving Sinhalese of gentle birth of dignified rank continue to strive in Lanka. As it comes out of the intellectual mind which is guided by one’s capacity and capability of intellection propelled by emotion and experience, I am really so pleased to read. Thank you Mr. R. M. B. Senanayake! Nithy!

  • Rodaro

    Even Sadam Husain had elections and won with more than 95% of the votes. But no one called it a democratic country did they? The fact that a country conducted a election doesn’t make it a democratic state. There is a lot more to it than that.

    Now who’s going to break the news to the ignorant sobs they they are not living in a democratic country anymore…

  • http://www.worldclasstamil.com Subramaniam Masilamany

    What can any ctizen do? Mahinda Rajapaksa has sucessfullt transformed the military into a cult of racism against Tamils and thuggerism against Singhalese.
    How do we dismantle this military- thuggery complex? It can only be done by the people fo Sri Lanka, and Mahinda Rajapaksa knows it very well that there is nothing any one can do. The real culprit is China blocking every thing at the United Nations and in the security council. Only weapon are sanctions again we need China. But as individuals we can stop buying sri Lankan and buying Chinese made goods.

  • Conscience

    Sri lnka has scored yet another big victory: it does not allow even grieving or praying for the dead! Viva big terror.

  • http://konnapubandara.blogspot.com Konnapu Bandara

    [The world has so far trod on this wrong path. Terrorism remains unvanquished because of this incorrect thinking. I must state that the countries that show sympathy towards terrorism and separatism will be the victims of terrorism. This is the lesson of the history.]

    Chaps, I really like this little snippet from Presidents speech yesterday. Terrorists can smell fear and softness in you. Only people who have resolved to utterly destroy the terrorists without mercy will win the fight.

    Cheers!

  • BOOBAMBA

    NGO Thinking !!

  • Ruki

    rajivmw, dayan,

    the events intimidated by army were not denouncing anyone, they did not seek to point fingers at who was responsible.

    they were not held with patronage of VIPs, large crowds, and probably we would have not even heard of these events, if they were not obstructed

    as wijayapala has observed, they didnt seek to commemorate well known personalities killed during the long years of the war such as neelan, ketheesh, raviraj, maheswaran, acf workers, 5 kids killed on trinco beach, fr jim brown, lasantha etc. certainly not prabakaran or any other ltte leaders. there no photos or placards of any of these people

    these were solomn religious events, simply meant for families of those killed to pray for their loves ones, and some events were particularly organized also as a way of helping surviving family members to cope with the trauma

    just like most people go say a prayer, conduct rituals, light candles, lay flowers for our family members who are dead – difference is perhaps that we go to place where the funeral was held, unlike these people who never had a burial as they had to run over the dead bodies to save their own lives.

    and unlike the likes of neelan, keetheesh, rajini, lasantha, fr jim brown, acf workers (and for the ltte leaders, when the ltte was still around, such as through their heroes day) there were no specific events organized by anyone to remember any of these people by name (although i do value public remembrance events for these people, and i have attended and supported to organize some for several of these mentioned.

    i also wonder whether it is by coincidence that dayan only mentions names of prominent persons killed by the ltte only??

    i think its a pity that the real issue raised is brushed aside by raising other questions…..the real issue i raised was taking away the opportunity to mourn and grive for dead according to religious and cultural traditions and the army clamping down on peacefully conducted religious events just a few days after emergency regulations related to assembly are relaxed

  • http://peramunerala.wordpress.com noframes

    The commemoration is good if commemorated are civilians. It will de generate in to commemorating LTTE carders quickly. We don’t want that. We don’t want to commemorate a mass murderer. When JVP commemorate the April and November heroes, the Sinhalese public say “WTF?” Because they condemn Wijeweera’s killings so much. Is Tamil public matured up to that level? Do they condemn Prabhakaran’s killings in public? Unless that happens there will be always needle between Tamils and Sinhalese. If tamils try to commemorate terrorists, there will be more and more pressure from Sinhalese not to devolve power because of negative impression they create.

  • http://peramunerala.wordpress.com noframes

    @ Wijayapala

    Do these commemoration include the Sinhalese and Muslims killed by LTTE by bombing, mass murdering of villages and ethnic cleansing?

  • rajivmw

    Ruki,

    I was just questioning the date chosen, that’s all. It can be open to misinterpretation, since it is the day that Prabhakaran apparently died. On the other hand, it is the government that has accorded this date such importance, so I’m beginning to feel a bit silly about this comment of mine.

    And you’re absolutely correct, the real issue here is about civil rights and the rule of law.

  • Belle

    R.M.B Senanayake,

    I would like to join Nithyananthan in enthusiastically applauding your post!

  • LankaLiar

    Have you heard of any country which bars any human being mourning the death of hiss loved one. Have you heard of even an animal which destroys and vandalise a dead body or a grave. have you heard of a race which celebrates its`cruelity. This a land of a special species. what is the point in talking about French resistance. With all these credentials you try to preach lots of things . You think the world is full of idiots. It is high time you start to look at yourself and get reformed soon before it is too late

  • wijayapala

    Hi noframes

    Do these commemoration include the Sinhalese and Muslims killed by LTTE by bombing, mass murdering of villages and ethnic cleansing?

    Why don’t you ask them?

  • wijayapala

    Dear RMB,

    The war under President Mahinda became a war of the Sinhalese against the Tamils alhough the previous leaders among the Sinhalese like Chandrika and Ranil fought the war as Sri Lankan nationalism versus Tamil secessionist movement.

    The other, and probably more fundamental difference is that Chandrika lost the war, while Ranil did not “fight” to begin with.

    The real challenge for the Presdient is wehtehr he can contain sinhala nationalism now. Normaly once nationalist feelings are roused they end up in wars and imperialism. German nationalism led to the two world wars. Italian nationalism led Italy into conquests in North Africa. Sinhala nationalism cannot afford to wage war against India but hostility is bound to take place and unlike the earlier Chola and Pandyan invasions we will have to deal with the whole of India.

    How many times did SL invade India in the last 3000 years?

  • Heshan

    Ruki,

    Your article brings many good points. Even though Christianity is all but dead in the West, it has imparted a sense of humanism to the dominant culture that has had a positive transforming effect. After the tsunami, I can recall how people who had never heard of SL willingly opened their pocketbooks – everywhere from churches to businesses to universities. Unfortunately, in SL, that sense of empathy has been totally trumped by nationalism. The sheer ignorance involved in desecrating grave is beyond all comparison. The only other group I know of that did it, besides the Sri Lankan military, are the Nazis. The refusal to allow civilians to commemorate their fallen is also deeply disturbing. It speaks of a more sinister and foreboding mindset – one that is firmly entrenched in the nationalist ethos. Finally, it is worth noting, who else would carry out such orders except a large group of uneducated, semi-literate soldiers? It seems as if the ultimate goal of GOSL is to turn the North into a permanent slum – divided between a barbarian army and poverty-stricken *caged-in* civilians and reap the commissions off high-interest *reconstruction* projects undertaken by rogue nations, e.g. China.

  • Heshan

    *brings up many

  • Heshan

    *desecrating graves

  • wijayapala

    Even though Christianity is all but dead in the West, it has imparted a sense of humanism to the dominant culture that has had a positive transforming effect.

    Like the Spanish Inquisition?

    Is Heshan saying that Christianity imparted the Nazis’ sense of humanism during WWII?

  • Sohan Fernando

    Thanks Ruki. Another eye opener. The Colombo public don’t seem to realize that even in the not so chauvinist segment of our Media, we are not being told most of the bad realities of what’s truly going on. And it is a pity that your Christian clergy friends’ experiences are not being reported by their Southern counterparts; shame on us.

    Some such as Dayan and Noframes seem to sidetrack, by asking whether these planned memorials also commemorate those public figures who were killed by the LTTE, and the mass of Sinhala and Muslim villagers killed by the LTTE; and whether the “Tamil public” is mature enough to publicly condemn Prabhakaran.

    Firstly, I would agree that it is correct and right to commemorate those victims, and to condem the wrong that Prabhakaran did.

    However, there are plenty of other similar things that are also correct and right to do. Some of these are what the various people, who Ruki mentions, are being forcibly prevented from doing. And it is wrong say that you cannot do one set of such things unless you also do all the other such things; that’s absurd (although it is a good goal to voluntarily strive for). If some people want to privately or public commemorate and/or have religious services for one set of dead people, it ought not to matter if they’re not commemorating certaian other victims.

    noframes says, “It will de generate in to commemorating LTTE carders quickly.” I think that’s unfair.
    If at all it might be a small number of such planned memorials that “degenerate” into such. That’s no grounds to stop everyone from holding such memorials.

    And on the same lines, while I agree with noframe’s statement “We don’t want to commemorate a mass murderer”, we should also put ourselves in others’ shoes: so, by the same thinking, surely it’s understandable if many people (Tamils as well as others) feel and conclude that the government’s/state’s celebrations are also partly a commemoration of another “mass murderer or murders”? That is, such an opinion or conclusion or feeling is even more understandable due to all the ambiguity and seeming contradictions on the whole issue of whether various government/state personages had responsibility for such mass killings, AND especially with the huge lack of transparency in investigations of the same, AND to top it off one of the thus accused goes on international TV and apparently threatens to execute a high ranking military personage if the latter gives evidence in such an investigation. Huh?!

    So then, just as we rightly do not want any LTTE mass murderer to be “commemorated”, how can you possibly expect people to condone the commemorations or congratulations of those controversial high ranking military or government personages, those alive or dead? So then, it is absurd for Dayan and others to talk about why the planned memorials do not commemorate victims of the LTTE. I’m not being clear I know, I gues I’ saying, it is very understandably that some of these Tamils won’t want to do so; and others who want to do so might understandably be fearful of doing so.

    noframes said “Do they condemn Prabhakaran’s killings in public? Unless that happens there will be always needle between Tamils and Sinhalese”. Well isn’t that partly an immaturity in the Sinhalese? As long as someone doesn’t say that and Prabhakharan did good things and emulate him, why should I be against that person, even if he doesn’t go to the extend of admitting that Prabhakhran is “bad”? Furthermore, again putting yourself into others’ shoes, why don’t you also see that it is equally true to say: “Do the Sinhalese publicly condemn Fonseka’s and others’ statements that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese; unless that happens, there will always be a needle between Sinhalese and others”.

  • Heshan

    The Nazis were not Christian. Perhaps they did not teach you the origin of the swastika, in the government school you attended? :)

    As for the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church no longer has any control over the West, period.

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Sohan has clearly articulated and argued what most impartial moderate Sri Lankans are thinking.

    Thank you Sohan.

  • SomewhatDisgusted

    Dear Heshan

    You said: “The Nazis were not Christian.”

    You sound like a Christian apologetic but that can’t really change the facts.
    http://atheism.about.com/od/adolfhitlernazigermany/Adolf_Hitler_Nazi_Germany_Christian_Nationalism_AntiSemitism.htm

    Would you care to address these points, especially as to where all the anti-semitism arose from?

    You said: “Even though Christianity is all but dead in the West, it has imparted a sense of humanism to the dominant culture that has had a positive transforming effect.”

    Seriously? Or are you just trying to pull our collective legs? Tell me, are you a christian, or a deist, as you claim?

  • Heshan

    SomewhatDisgusted:

    Welcome to the discussion.

    Atheist.com is not a valid reference with which to back religious arguments. It would be like me using data from http://www.marlboro.com to prove that smoking is not detrimental to one’s health.

    Anyway, let me give you the academic perspective on Nazism and Christianity:

    Accordingly, apparently secular movements like Nazism and Communism are often described as political religion or secular faith, a thesis which can be controversial. Heclo, who recently published a book Christianity and American Democracy, argues that “religion is to have a place in public life”[3] and emphasizes its importance for a developed democracy:

    “If traditional religion is absent from the public arena, secular religions are likely to satisfy man’s quest for meaning. … It was an atheistic faith in man as creator of his own grandeur that lay at the heart of Communism, fascism and all the horrors they unleashed for the twentieth century. And it was adherents of traditional religions – Martin Niemöller, C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, Martin Buber – who often warned most clearly of the tragedy to come from attempting to build man’s own version of the New Jerusalem on Earth.”[3]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Nazi_Germany

    The important point to remember is that the Nazis were fascist to the core. While Christianity could/can integrate itself to such movements and ideologies as the Enlightenment, liberalism, and capitalism, fascism could not. Fascism rejects individualism in favor of a single collective identity based solely on a nationalist ideology. Fascists believe the means of production – which partly dictate economic output – should be in proportion to military needs. In his book “Memories of The Third Reich”, Hitler’s architect Speer explains in detail how this process works – in simple terms, the military influences every sphere of production, and final decisions were made by the “Fuhrer” – or, if you have actually read the book – too often made solely by the latter. That is yet another thing – the fascists believe in a one-party state. In Speer’s book, the natural outcome of this is that you have an all powerful dictator and everyone below him – in terms of rank and file – squabbles with each other to get favors from him since his decision-making abilities are all powerful. Quite often, if the head of a ministry wanted to do something his own way, he would do it, and find an ingenious way to lie to the “Fuhrer”, since obtaining permission from the “Fuhrer” was a cumbersome, delicate process. The last point is that fascism openly justifies violence, which Christianity does not. I think Nietzsche makes this point clear in the “Anti-Christ”:

    ” Christianity has taken the part of all the weak, the low, the botched; it has made an ideal out of antagonism to all the self-preservative instincts of sound life; it has corrupted even the faculties of those natures that are intellectually most vigorous, by representing the highest intellectual values as sinful, as misleading, as full of temptation.”

    http://www.fns.org.uk/ac.htm

    Whereas for Hitler, the creation of the “Ubermensch” began at the lowest levels of education, e.g. Hitler Youth Schools, which were based on his vision of an education modeled on strenuous physical activity. As he wrote in “Mein Kampf”:

    “But a man who naturally possesses a certain degree of courage will not be able to develop that quality if his defective education has made him inferior to others from the very start as regards physical strength and prowess. The army offers the best example of the fact that the knowledge of one’s physical ability develops a man’s courage and militant spirit. Outstanding heroes are not the rule in the army, but the average represents men of high courage. The excellent schooling which the German soldiers received before the War imbued the members of the whole gigantic organism with a degree of confidence in their own superiority such as even our opponents never thought possible.”

    http://www.hitler.org/writings/Mein_Kampf/mkv2ch02.html

    You see, there was no such thing as religious instruction at these schools.

    The final point worth making is the influence of Judaism on Christianity, which I will not go into in detail here. Suffice it to say that for Hitler, history was essentially a struggle between different races, and that the degeneration of a civilization came about with racial mixing. Hitler saw Jews as the primary threat to Nordic-”Aryan” civilization, which he considered to be the highest civilization. At its base, though, Christianity is not anti-Semitic. It can’t be anti-Semitic because it lacks that instinct of self-preservation, which Nietzsche makes abundantly clear in the “Anti-Christ”:

    “Christianity is called the religion of pity.– Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities.”

    http://www.fns.org.uk/ac.htm

    Although Nietzsche was not himself anti-Semitic, the parallels between his insights and National Socialist ideology are extraordinary, to say the least:

    “The fact that the strong races of northern Europe did not repudiate this Christian god does little credit to their gift for religion–and not much more to their taste. They ought to have been able to make an end of such a moribund and worn-out product of the decadence. A curse lies upon them because they were not equal to it; they made illness, decrepitude and contradiction a part of their instincts–and since then they have not managed to create any more gods. Two thousand years have come and gone–and not a single new god! Instead, there still exists, and as if by some intrinsic right,–as if he were the ultimatum and maximum of the power to create gods, of the creator spiritus in mankind–this pitiful god of Christian monotono-theism! This hybrid image of decay, conjured up out of emptiness, contradiction and vain imagining, in which all the instincts of decadence, all the cowardices and wearinesses of the soul find their sanction!-”

    http://www.fns.org.uk/ac.htm

    In fact, with their belief in blood and soil (blut und boden), the Nazis did just that – try to engage the instincts of the Germanic peoples in a sort of racial self-preservation, not by resorting to pity, but a fascism embellished by pagan ideology and instinct.

  • Heshan

    Somewhat Disgusted:

    Regarding your other query, while I have agreed elsewhere on this forum that a society can function entirely without religion, it would be simplistic to downplay the impact that well-established mainstream religions have already had on a plethora of societies. In the case of Christian humanism, that impact has had a profound influence on the West. One need not be an apologist to acknowledge this – it’s a historical fact.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Heshan,

    The Nazis may not have been Christian, but their legacy quite disproves your notion that Christianity had a profound positive influence in the West. One would expect that this “Christian humanism” would have prevented the Holocaust.

    Good response to SomewhatDisgusted. Would you agree that the LTTE was a similarly despicable secular organization like the NSDAP with no regard for human life?

  • Heshan

    but their legacy quite disproves your notion that Christianity had a profound positive influence in the West. One would expect that this “Christian humanism” would have prevented the Holocaust.

    Your logic only makes sense if it is the case that Christianity has had an impact on every major event in the West.

    Would you agree that the LTTE was a similarly despicable secular organization like the NSDAP with no regard for human life?

    How would you explain the presence of Karuna in the Sri Lankan civil service? I can extend your logic to make the claim that GOSL has no regard for human life, since it gave a VIP post Karuna.

  • rajivmw

    Heshan,

    “Your logic only makes sense if it is the case that Christianity has had an impact on every major event in the West.”

    So what you’re saying, in effect, is that we can credit Christianity for all that is good about West, but must absolve it of all blame for that which is repugnant.

    In fact, you insinuate that it is actually the Indic religions that are responsible for Nazism because Hitler stole the swastika from them.

    And you’re lecturing Wijayapala on logic?

  • SomeOne

    Dear Nithy,

    ”..Wisdom speaks – so well! It inspires me to realize that there are still peace-loving Sinhalese of gentle birth of dignified rank continue to strive in Lanka…”

    Sinhalese are naturally gentle, kind, compassionate, and brave. British people hand picked the Tamils (in general) and peninsula men (in particular) to take the advantage of the above said characteristics of Sinhalese.

    Probably, the ones with “turban” and “pottu” from peninsula misjudged the Sinhalese.

    Here we are to pick up the pieces. Thanks

  • SomeOne

    Dear R.M.B,

    “…unlike the earlier Chola and Pandyan invasions we will have to deal with the whole of India…”

    Indeed. Harder we fight among ourselves easier for India to acquire this island. Thanks

  • Heshan

    rajiv mw:

    So what you’re saying, in effect, is that we can credit Christianity for all that is good about West, but must absolve it of all blame for that which is repugnant.

    That is not at all what I am saying. You completely fail to understand the meaning of Christian humanism:

    “Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles.”

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Christian_Humanism

    This is the reason why Christian priests in the West do not sit in the road doing satyagraha and expect politicians to listen to them, unlike your orange-robed friends in Taprobane.


    In fact, you insinuate that it is actually the Indic religions that are responsible for Nazism because Hitler stole the swastika from them.

    If the Nazis were Christian, they would not have harmed the Jews – fundamentalist Christians have a soft spot for Israel, since one-half of the Bible is essentially Jewish history. The Nazis were more interested in the Occult – in resurrecting the pagan Norse gods. Mythology and nationalism always go very well together.

  • rajivmw

    Heshan,

    As usual, your cut-and-paste lectures are entirely beside the point. The holocaust took place in a part of the world where, in your own words, Christian humanism had a ‘profound impact’. So of what use was it to the Jews then?

    You are happy to assign blanket blame to Buddhism for all the ills that plague Sri Lanka, but become extremely fussy when it comes to Christian responsibility for the crimes of the West.

    Face it Heshan, any religion can be twisted for nefarious ends, and Christianity is certainly no exception. You can’t cherry-pick some theology and then make the ludicrous claim that Christians just couldn’t and wouldn’t do very bad things. God knows they can and they have.

    And then there’s this nonsense:

    “This is the reason why Christian priests in the West do not sit in the road doing satyagraha and expect politicians to listen to them, unlike your orange-robed friends in Taprobane.”

    Really? Have you never heard of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, or the Christian Coalition? These guys don’t have to sit on the road for politicians to notice – they control a major American political party! Wait till they’re back in power Heshan, and you’ll experience their ‘humanism’.

  • Heshan

    rajivmw,

    No need to nitpick!

    As police looked on Tuesday, Weerawansa and a group of ultranationalist Buddhist monks led men waving national flags on a march to the U.N. office. The protesters initially tried to break into the compound, which sits inside a high security zone protected by checkpoints and soldiers, but failed to breach the high walls.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100706/ap_on_re_as/as_sri_lanka_un_protest

    Ho ho ho…. ultranationalist Buddhist monks? The same one’s who forced Bandaranaike to tear up his pact in ’56? The same ones who put a bullet in Bandaranaike? The same one’s who protested against Norway? Last time I checked, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and the Christian Coalition did not sabotage any UN offices!

    I think you’re running out of steam… try going back to 1405 for some examples. I’m sure you can find plenty of “Portugese” atrocities in Goa or the Catholic Church burning people at the stake. The problem is that the West has moved on since that time, whereas S. Lanka is still stuck in a time warp.

    The inability to move forward, to embrace progress and 21st century values such as humanism, freedom of thought and expression, rationality, etc. shows that nationalism in the South of SL has reached a bewildering state. Of course there are progressive, but they are few in number, and the danger is that radicals such as yourself will permanently silence them (witness Lasantha, Iqbal Athas, Takari, Kumar Ponnabalam, etc.)

  • Heshan

    *Of course there are progressives

    *Kumar Ponnambalam

  • Heshan

    rajivmv:

    The holocaust took place in a part of the world where, in your own words, Christian humanism had a ‘profound impact’.

    The Holocaust took place after WWI and would not have occurred had the Versailles Treaty not been extremely harsh to Germany. And as I have already pointed out, the Nazis were not Christian (witness Christian priests like Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer who ended up in concentration camps for speaking out). Unfortunately, no Sinhala-Buddhist monk has ever spoken out for the rights of Tamils. On the other hand, we can find plenty of interviews with monks where they give politicians and military leaders the “blessings” to go and protect the “territorial sovereignty and integrity” of the country.

    Here is a one definition of humanism:

    a secular ideology which espouses reason, ethics, and justice, whilst specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as a basis of morality and decision-making.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

    Now, how does that compare to the behavior of the Sangha? Are they espousing ethics and justice when they till politicians and military leaders that Sinhalese dominance of the island is more important than Tamil lives?

  • Heshan

    *when they tell

  • Manchula

    Thank you Rukii,

    To bring these into light. I don’t know very well about Sarath Fonseka only as a Tamil know well that he was a main character with Mahinda team in killing the innocent Tamils in North and East. May he has done bad for Tamils but now he need to get justice according to the international ethics of human rights.

    Why the celebrations of the victory? If Mahinda team wants to celebrate the victory they have to heel the scars of Tamils and give the peaceful life for them. Tamils cant at least pray for their loved once in temples or in churches who lived in the war.

    Even they can celebrate to show the world but not for the Tamils. KP, Karuna & Pillaiyan in five star hotels, innocent soldiers and families in prisons and in tents. Eu & other human right org.s are keeping silent, I don’t know why. Keep it up Rukkii. You are doing nice job.
    Nice to meeting you in Helsinki.