ImageVia The Sunday Leader

History documents humankind’s capacity for good and bad, mindless violence and committed peacebuilding, creativity and destruction. But it has taken an unquestioning acceptance of religious doctrines or preaching or a tribal affiliation to a race, to motivate good people to do bad things. History is at best a romanticised compilation of half-truths – useful only as much as we can learn from it without giving into the temptations of using history to justify our actions in the present. The only thing that can justify our actions at present is an uncompromising sense of what is right and wrong and the voice of our moral conscience which is independent of religious affiliation. As much as it is dangerous for a nation to be constitutionally bound to protect any religion, I sometimes feel that this could perhaps even be a strength in the Sri Lankan context if only we could create a legal precedence that the only way to ‘protect Buddhism’ is to adhere to its principles and thus declare that it is illegal for the government and people (which includes every citizen including V. Prabhakaran, members of the JHU and ‘Maha Sangha’) to engage in any activity that is contrary to the Buddhist doctrine! Wouldn’t that be the best safeguard of our human rights and dignity?

Don’t you think it ironic that despite Buddha’s invitation to his followers to actively question his philosophy in their search for higher truths and despite his advice to them to discover the truth for themselves, Buddhism has never gone through a reformation but has stagnated for 2500 years? Buddhists all over the world still unquestioningly believe in theories such as karma and re-incarnation without ever seeking better, more grounded evidence for their beliefs? Buddhists in Sri Lanka believe that the Gautama Buddha chose Sri Lanka as the seat of Buddhism where his philosophy would flourish and spread enlightenment to the rest of the world, but how come we are still a morally impoverished population at war with ourselves, ruled by a government that is far from enlightened and substantially funded by the proceeds from gambling?

Christianity and Islam on the other hand are based on dogma and as all monotheistic religions, demand unquestioning faith and obedience. Buddhists often cite this as a proclamation of their own superiority as adherents of a more rational doctrine. Yet the Christian faith has gone through reformations that have had a positive impact on the whole world – mostly unintentionally of course, but nevertheless very inspiringly and with wide implications. Almost every single democratic right, freedom and liberty we enjoy – or we can hope to enjoy – today is the direct or indirect result of the thoughts, philosophy and spirit of empowerment that was sparked off by Martin Luther a Catholic monk, in the protestant revolution that took place in medieval Europe. It is perhaps a coincidence of history, but as much as the negative impacts of colonialism in our country, Christianity provides the moral and practical foundations for the present day democracy, human rights, equal access to education and the encouragement of industriousness that we have inherited from our colonial past.

But I digress. This is not so much about the vices and virtues of religion in general – let alone of one religion or the other. It is more about the fact that dogmatic beliefs in religion and overly romanticised notions of ancient history have denied us the space to realise the importance of new thoughts and ideas that humanity has produced during the better part of the last two millennia. Despite the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and the so called great philosophers of ancient Greece, it was not until Thomas Jefferson did in 1776 that the universal equality of all human beings was publicly acknowledged or declared – let alone constitutionally enacted. Granted though – it took a couple of centuries to be realised even in the land of its birth and having a Black president is little more that an ironic symbol of racial prejudices that still persist in America.

It is arguable nevertheless that men like Einstein, Bhor, Plank, Feynman and Gelman have described their insights into the hidden mysteries of the universe more clearly and in more depth than perhaps any ‘Samma Sambuddha’ has ever done. The search for higher truth continues deeper and unabated long after the Buddha, by laymen and women of many faiths, out of sight and out of the consciousness of many Buddhists.

In the absence of a reformative process within the faith, preaching and practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, its followers today are faced with having to make a choice between a doctrine of militant nationalism and a philosophy of peace and enlightenment that has not produced a single ‘arahanth’ in a thousand years.

What Sri Lanka needs is a Buddhist reformation – for ordinary people to open their eyes and question the disparity between the essence of Buddha’s message and its practice and preaching in the land. For all their vices, the Taliban has done more in service of the enlightened man who instructed his followers not to erect his statues for veneration, than have most Buddhists who prostrate themselves before those statues and other worldly attachments in the hope of a cheap ticket to nirvana.

Granted – not everyone has the clarity of sight or the courage of their convictions to see the disparity between Buddha dharma and the corruption, cast segregation and child molestation that have become institutionalised in the very temples and relics they venerate. Those who fail to see this hypocrisy will consider it their duty to attack those who do and call them heretics.

Edited from article originally published here.


Source: BBC

Colombo, Sri Lanka – The leader of the National Fiefdom Front (NFF) Mrs Wimala Weerahansa continued her farce unto death in front of the Unverified Notions (UN) office near Bulls road in Colombo yesterday – only God knows why. Large crowds were seen gathering at the scene and shouting insults at a Chinese man in a show of moral support of the Cabinet Minister. Mr. Saman Gonagama – a protester at the scene speaking exclusively to Citizens News Diary said that he fully supported the minister in this brave, couragours, patriotic, wise, really productive and useful endeavour. “We really hope she farce unto death” he added.

Some political observers in Colombo speculate that Mrs Weerahansa is waiting inline to advise the UN panel appointed by Secretary General Kim Ba Noon to advise him on what he can and cannot do.

Sources close to the farcical Engineering Services Minister claim however that she was protesting the screening of “Three Idiots” in Sri Lankan cinemas – which would expose atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan film industry over last three decades. “If that is allowed, producers of films like ‘Aiyage malli’, ‘Chandiyage nangiya’ and ‘One shot’ may have to face charges of committing crimes against humanity and the destruction of a vast number of celluloid tapes” a film critic who wished to remain annonymous told Citizens News. The Sri Lankan media which cited his neighbours fuelled rumours that Mrs Weerahansa may have fled from her home with bed and mattress, as a result of a domestic dispute with her husband.

Secretary General Kim Ba Noon however, “strongly” objected to Mrs Weerahansa’s presence at his Organisations office compound, which he accused, was hindering its “vital work” – investigating Unverified Notions about alleged war-crimes perpetrated during the latter stages of Sri Lanka’s war with the LTTE fifteen months ago. Speaking to reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York, Mr Noon reiterated that investigating these unverified notions was an essential foundation for durable peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Minister for Externalising Affairs said something utterly ridiculous and unbecoming of a man of his intellect in reply, but was quick to blame it on the fact that it was nearly impossible to find a decent hair-dresser or ear-hair clipper in Colombo who could make him not look ridiculous no matter what he says.


The occult of warrior Mars and royal Jupiter on 26th January will dominate the planetary motions in our heads, guts, backsides and wallets for the next six years. The official Citizen’s News astrologer Mr Ahasrahas analyses the implications of the above cosmic event to determine the extent to which we will get screwed in the next phase of this rather predictably catastrophic and quasi-democratic cosmoastropoliticosociomasochistical cycle.

The cosmic collision on the 26th will have a profound effect on Aquarius and Cancer over the next six years. You survived the bloodshed and misery brought about by the Sun God who moved out of your fifth house last May and you may even have side-stepped a few landmines and escaped 81mm mortars in your time, thanks to your lucky stars. But the planets will continue to bring ‘mung-eta’ donated by Malaysia, ‘kadala-parippu’ donated by Canada and flour from the World Food Program for you to make vegetarian ‘kottu-roti’ until your villages are demined and your ailing bodies and broken spirits no longer pose a threat to the territorial integrity and national security of this Earthly paradise. Cancer can greatly improve their condition however by learning to walk in the direction their eyes are pointing.

Regardless of the outcome of next week’s cosmic showdown, it is likely that all the star signs will be ruled by Capricorn (a goat) or Taurus (a bull) for the next six years and be rooted deeper in conviction that they are victims of foreign government and INGO conspiracies.

The Gemini moon may tempt the holy custodians of the land with German cars and Scottish spirits. They will do well not to fall prey to such heathen conspiracies formulated to destroy the legacy of your two thousand five hundred year inheritance. However, limousines and booze will prove to provide adequate sustenance when the enlightened teachings and moral principles are betrayed. They will also help when there aren’t traitors or heretics left to bash up or any of their temples left to be torched.

The planets are constitutionally bound to line up at least every six years to pamper Aries and Cancer with promises of pay rises and tax-free vehicles, but thanks to a rare planetary sequence this year, they may even get a free, tax-payer funded meal in the first house of Jupiter! This bout of good fortune will not last for more than another week, so make the most of it even if it means you have to clap and whistle on queue like idiots at street rallies. Avoid rioting in the streets however, because all the Gods together will not be able to save you from the impulse and unbounded desire of opposing party members to disfigure or kill anyone wearing the wrong colour at the wrong time.

Those born into Taurus can continue to drive through the galaxy in their extravagant motorcades and enjoy their hefty perks regardless of the outcome of the Jupiter-Mars occult as long as they have the presence of mind and utter lack of principle to cross over to the right side at the right moment. Soon everyone will eventually realise that despite the astronomical number of stars and government ministers, there is no celestial or terrestrial body that is directly responsible for the current shortage of ‘bombai-motai’ in the market. However, the transition of Minor-Taurus Silva from Scorpio to Ur-anus may cause back-pains and groin injuries for many. Make offerings to the Gods beseeching them to keep him in the golden seventh house of the idiot box.

Battle weary Sagittarius may be confused about who their real boss is. Your ruling planet in the second house of dilemmas will lead to much confusion as your former boss will count on you to help him serve you as if you were his boss. His former boss who is your present boss’s boss (which kind of makes him your present boss) will come knocking on your door as if you were the boss and ask you to make him your boss. Try not to worry about who the real boss is, for the truth will reveal itself to you in another week.

Virgo will do well to stop bullying young undergraduates to boost their low self esteem and stay the hell away from politics until their mental age catches up with the chronological age. You’ve had everything given to you for ‘free’ all your life on the back of hardworking taxpayers, so it’s time to look for an alternative lifestyle instead of annoying the crap out of commuters in the morning and then picketing and crying for state jobs till dusk. Try, if you have heard of the process known as, ‘growing the hell up’!

The planets have been stirred ever since Libra dropped the sword which fell on Jupiter’s foot making him scream and kick the dog of envy which bit Saturn in his leg causing him to strike Libra’s scales tilting them on to one side sending hapless journalists to their graves and others to jail. The next six years will see Scorpio attempt to raise its tail once again while Leo goes through an identity crisis. The greatest challenge would come however from the swelling ranks of Aries who will continue to be exploited by all the planets and constellations until they submissively drive themselves into destitution.


Image from: daylife.com

10 January 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka – The government in an emergency press briefing today, announced that it will take steps to overhaul the national security strategy of the island. The government defence spokesman, Minister Kokila Bathalahitawanna admitted that a post-war review of the defence plan had exposed glaring gaps in the national security strategy that needed urgent attention.

Military Spokesman Brigadier Rajarathna T Pakshadeemana detailing the changes, said that the first step would involve a radical change in the uniforms of all armed forces personnel. “We found that current military uniforms do not provide adequate protection or camouflage in areas where soldiers are most often deployed” he pointed out. The role of the Sri Lankan military has dramatically changed in the post war context from jungle warfare against ruthless terrorists to running errands for the government in a primarily urban environment. The military spokesman observed that “they have now been issued with new camouflage kits that are better suited to this new environment”. Brigadier Pakshadeemana refused to explain what the new uniforms actually looked like, however noting that “the new uniforms of armed forces will provide them with adequate cover from the enemy in any city street that is overflowing with presidential campaign posters, cut-outs of men with moustaches, public funded hoardings for the incumbent and other piles of rotting garbage”. All military vehicles including olive green Armed Personnel Carriers (APC) as well as white Abducted Hostage Carriers (AHC) will be painted blue and red with a white lotus emblem in the front and rear.

Speaking further, the defence spokesman declared that the government will provide free karate training to journalists, who – more than any other segment of society – have been victims of intimidation, threat and violence in the past few years. “Our government has taken the initiative to treat even journalists as people of this country” he said. “Karate means ‘bare hands’ in Japanese” the minister noted with a sparkle in his eye. “The government will soon be able to expose that the saying ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is a western conspiratorial myth sponsored by the treacherous INGOs”. “We will take the pen away from journalists and teach them to defend themselves with noothing but their bare hands” he promised, pointing out that “In the past two and a half decades in particular, how many journalists who have tried to defend themselves with pens have been injured, maimed and killed?” he asked rhetorically. Last year, a newspaper editor was killed because, armed with only a pen, he could not adequately defend himself against four armed men in motorbikes?

Among a vast array of additional changes to the national security policy currently being planned by the defence establishment include importing special idiot proof limousines for government ministers, nurturing a traitor proof state media, establishing a law proof ‘dharmishta’ society and an election proof second term for the incumbent president.


Earth-apple

Earth-apple

Colombo, Sri Lanka – Officials investigating wacky behaviour in a large number of Sri Lankans that has escalated out of control since May this year have uncovered disturbing evidence, indicating that a significant majority of the population have been under the influence of illicit drugs for many years.

Citizen’s News spoke to Mr Upul Amarakoon, a community intervention officer working for the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) who had extensive experience in dealing with drug users. “To be honest, I thought I noticed peculiar behavioural patterns in the community for a while now!” he says. “I can’t exactly say for sure when I started, but what actually made me notice that something was wrong is the behaviour of foreigners who visited Sri Lanka”.

For many years, officials from International Humanitarian Organisations have shown distinct symptoms of drug use after visiting Sri Lanka that they had not shown during or after their visits to other conflict areas in the world such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Amarakoon points out that “Change in overall attitude and personality, excessive talkativeness, paranoia and tantrums, chronic dishonesty, difficulty in paying attention and forgetfulness are all classic symptoms of substance abuse.

The spread and intensity of peculiar behaviour was even more apparent among Sri Lankans and have caught the attention of the whole world in recent years. The lame public sector and corrupt politicians such as Mervyn Silva have for decades stood out as alarm calls about a deep-rooted social issue. However, the well known Sri Lankan terrorist group led by Velupillai Prabhakaran were notorious for their drug smuggling operations throughout South and Southeast Asia and many saw them as the root cause of the problem. All efforts to stem the substance abuse crisis in the country during the last three decades in particular, were therefore focussed on eradicating terrorism.

“Like many others, I expected the problem to ease once the LTTE has been destroyed” admits Amarakoon who was disturbed by the fact that the symptoms became even more acute after the war. Towards the latter stages of the war, Mr Amarakoon recalls stumbling on a group of people who were trying to get a fix by smoking an effigy of David Milliband in front of the British high commission. “I thought it was a sign that, with the demise of the LTTE, they were running out of supplies”.

Renowned public intellectual Anarkali who knows what it feels like to be stoned better than most others points out that even she recognised that the problem had penetrated deep into the social fabric of the country when the health minister blamed the Dengue epidemic on Mini Skirts and the army commander wanted to recruit another one hundred thousand soldiers after the war had ended! But experts realised the problem was really gotten out of control when the Buddhist monks started calling the president various names. “I mean, I have worked for many years with drug addicts and I know how doped you must get to come up with a names like “Vishva Keerthi Sri Thri Sinhaladheeshwara” and “Sri Lanka Rajawansa Vibooshana Dharmadeepa Chakravarthi”, Amarakoon whispered.

The unfolding events found investigators helplessly looking for explanations when a chance discovery by customs officials unravelled a drug syndicate smuggling heroin in ‘potatoes’. Random samples of devilled potatoes, potato curry, mashed potatoes and potato balls tested on suspicion from lunch packets of government officials, food offerings at temples, and buffets at army headquarters were found to contain heavy doses of illicit, brain-numbing and fattening chemicals.

Mr Amarakoon however is not satisfied with the immediate conclusions of these tests and urges the public to be careful about the kinds of food and thoughts they consume. “If you take the history of Sri Lanka”, he points out, “there is evidence that potatoes were not always the preferred way of doping people”. It’s true; Sri Lankans have been doped before with bread (at Rs 3.50) and free rice.


citizen has been doing what citizens sometimes have to do and hence have not been able to scramble your dose of daily news during the past couple of months. I will be back soon with a fresh look at stale news and a digestable (if not edible) dose of the latest ‘goings on’.


thalaivar

London, England – A new reality TV show titled “Diaspora Thalaivar” is taking over the streets of major western cities and causing major traffic jams and sanitary issues. Based on the reality TV franchise “Britain’s got Talent”, the new show scans the Sri Lankan Diaspora communities in the west to find a replacement for the deceased Thalaivar of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE).
The finalists were hand picked from thousands of aspiring Thalaivars at auditions held in Ottawa, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Geneva, Oslo, Paris, South India and Frankfurt, to participate in the finals in London where the winner will be chosen after weeks of intense competition.
The British Foreign Secretary and Prime Ministerial hopeful David Milliband who heads the panel of judges was impressed but the quality of talent on display. “Some of them show a lot o potential, but they need grooming and encouragement to make it to the top” noted the foreign secretary. Insiders say he had personally asked one of the more promising candidates to give up annoying non-violent tactics like fasting (which got Thileepan killed in 1987) and adopt more heartless and mindless tactics if he intends to emulate the revered Thalaivar.
Contesters are judged on their ability to attack law-enforcement officers, cripple cities, disrupt economic activity, demand for ceasefires, attack peaceful civilians, money laundering, extortion and similar illegal activities.
The show is sponsored by illegal weapons smugglers, extortionists and a secret consortium of weapons manufacturers. “We are adopting a radically new approach to solving the Tamil national question”, their unofficial spokesperson, Selvarasa Pathmanathan (alias KP, alias Pukadena Kanagalingam) told reporters.
“Diaspora Thalaivar” will be telecast daily on all major news broadcasts and the winner will be chosen through a process that combines violent and not-so-violent means of elimination based on the interests of those who stand to gain by prolonging conflicts and destabilising key economic regions in the developing world.




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