Wimal’s call to black out Lanka’s Light of Vesak
The most venerable Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters to whose feet Wimal Weerawansa sporadically rushes with his ata pirikara gifts to gain their blessings and whitewash his image, should take careful note and be wary the next time the supposed penitent drops by with his platter of offerings begging for another round of religious cleansing.
Ever since he broke away from the JVP ten years ago and joined the Rajapaksa creed of sinhale nationalism, he has draped himself with the Lion Flag to cover his nakedness and has striven to portray himself as the Greatest Living Sinhala Nationalist in the island – next to the Rajapaksa’s of course but on par with Gammanpila who is presently on trial for fraud.
But Wimal – who, last month, was set loose on bail from remand, where he had languished for over two months on charges of corruption – may not have noticed the four Bo leaves adorning the four corners of the Lion Flag or may have failed to fathom its symbolic presence.
In his mad, desperate scramble to embrace the sinhale standard to fuel with nationalistic fervor his own political career on the vanguard of patriotism and to don the lion mask and mane to conceal his dwarf stature and chinless goatee, it seems it has escaped his understanding of the Bo leaves profound relevance and its commanding place in the collective conscience of the Sinhala race.
If the lion symbolises the Sinhale on the national flag, the four Bo leaves symbolise Buddhism; and its joint presence reveals the indivisibility of the Sinhalese with Buddhism – with the Buddhist symbol depicted as being the guardian of the Sinhala race, from all four corners of the world.
And last week, by his utter failure to grasp the hold Buddhism has in the sinhale conscience and the degree to which it is embedded in its collective heart, the self appointed patriot of our times, Wimal Weerawansa revealed his true colours of his opportunistic and shabby patriotism and laid bare the blackness of his heart by calling the entire nation to drape the island in mourning by hanging black flags instead of commemorating the thrice blessed day of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and Nirvana with the soul inspiring colourful Vesak flag fluttering from every household.
HOIST BLACK FLAGS FOR VESAK? YOU MUST BE OFF YOUR ROCKER, MATE: Wimal’s outrageous call to the nation at JO’s May Day Rally to drape the country in black during Vesak
With raised hand, with clenched fist, with pirith nool bandaged wrist and with screaming voice he squirted, to the drunken roar of an intoxicated rabble caught in euphoric raptures – who, perhaps did not know what they were cheering – his exhortation to all of Lanka to wrap the land in a wreathe of black flags and thus to eclipse the nation’s light of Vesak merely to dishonour the Indian Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Lanka to participate in the 14th United Nation’s International Vesak celebration held in Lanka for the first time. He demonstrated his supreme contempt to what the nation holds most sacred and holds steadfast to its collective heart: The inspiring light of Vesak and the incomparable significance of the day to all Lankans. He called upon the people to display hatred on a hallowed day that radiates love and compassion to all beings.
In his May Day speech at Joint Opposition’s Galle Face May Day rally, this pseudo patriot declared: “The Indian Prime Minister Modi is not coming to see Vesak or pandals; they say he is coming for Vesak but he is really coming to sign the agreements that would betray this nation. We say to you that to demonstrate our protest against it to fill the whole country with black flags for Modi to see. Vesak kale thoran bala bala idhala hurry yanne nai. No use in seeing pandals during Vesak. “
And what has the Prime Minister of India done to deserve this dubious honour bestowed gratuitously upon him by this self proclaimed greatest son of Sri Lanka? Where flags – be they black or white- are asked to be flown from every Lankan rooftop in Modi’s name on Vesak Day – usurping from the nation’s mast the Vesak flag hoisted by the people in sacred homage to the Buddha on the full moon day in the month of Vesakha in commemoration of the birth, enlightenment and passing away of India’s greatest son?
According to Wimal the black flags of protest must replace the Vesak flag during this Vesak because: “Ranil want India to sign MOUs to give India not only Trinco’s oil tanks but the entire Trincomalee harbour and the entire Trinco town. “It is only because we were physically separated from India that we have been able to establish our own indigenous civilization and culture in this country. It is to erase that culture, to erase that cultured and civilised tradition that we enjoy here and to fill it with Indians that these MOUs have been signed.”
Three questions must be raised. On the question of the unused oil tanks the British left behind after erecting them during the Second World War to fuel their South Asian fleet and which had lain idle for nearly seventy years after Japan’s surrender in 1945, is there anything wrong in leasing these disused tanks to the Indians – in return for much needed foreign revenue – to be used as storage tanks for oil to be transshipped to Indian ports to meet the Indian demand? As Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said recently,” Being our closest neighbour, India has a need for it. If not to India, to whom should we lease it out to? North Korea?
The second is that while Wimal Weerawansa and his JO ilk find all things wrong with neighbour India, why was it that the new port city which they could clearly see from their Galle Face Green dais on that May Day afternoon, being built by the Chinese and rising from Lanka waters to be occupied by the Chinese for the next 99 years, did not attract their condemnation, and gave no patriotic prompting to any fancy saline fed farcical fast unto death until it is demolished and submerged a thousand leagued under the sea?
The Colombo Chinese Port City was a result of an unsolicited proposal put forward by the Chinese which the previous Rajapaksa regime accepted without question and was even prepared to give part of its acreage to the Chinese on freehold terms until the Maithri government rescinded the agreement and made the Chinese settle for a 99 year lease instead as a compromise. Why did it not provoke any patriotic protest over possible sovereignty loss or evoke any condemnation on having on the nation’s western coast right on the capital’s shore, a de facto permanent base for a regional superpower with the largest army in the world with an active military force of 2,330,000 personnel, to occupy ?
The third question is why does this A’ level drop out, this remand bird allowed temporary flight of freedom from his Welikada cage, think he is supremely qualified to lecture on the supposedly insular nature of Lanka’s culture and to claim that thanks to the geographical divide Lanka’s had been spared of any Indian influence on Sinhala thought, culture and civilization for the last two thousand years and more?
To him the 22 kilometre geographical divide enabled Lanka to develop her own culture and civilization and now India’s Modi is bent on using the indigenous papyrus as a palimpsest to draw India’s own cultural map on it. Before this Rasputin of Lanka’s politics, propelled by some misplaced patriotic pride, misleads the masses further and leads them up the garden path to behold the awe of Anuradhapura or the pomp of Polonnaruwa and to hail them all as the outpourings of Lanka’s original genius, it is best to point out that to India, Lanka’s culture and art owe a heavy debt of gratitude.
First and foremost the Sinhala psyche has for over two millennia been influenced by Buddhism. Ever since the day King Devanampiyatissa met the 32-year-old son of India’s Emperor Asoka in Mihintale in 250 BC who carried with him his father’s greatest gift to Lanka – Buddhism – the Lankan people have remained Buddhist to the core. And the soothing, tolerant non violent philosophy of the Buddha had given dynamic impetus to all fields of activity.
The genius of the Lankan mind lay not so much in its originality of thought and artistic creativity but in its willingness to accept with open mind the frankincense and myrrh, of alien thought and wisdom that blew from foreign climes and not to shut the window and bolt the door from foreign influence but to welcome as honoured guests the gusts of humanity’s trove of knowledge and art. The forefathers of this land did not spurn it; they did not condemn it as alien conspiracies to pervert the Sinhala mindset but embraced it and strove to improve on it. They had the foresight and the vision to reap the rewards of the artistic seeds that had blown Lanka’s way other races living faraway had sown to the wind.
But to this political toad recently leap frogging in the Welikada well who had managed to hop out and croak loud his black flag cry, the Palk Strait saved Lanka’s culture from falling under India’s sway. And India’s Prime Minister Modi, in collusion with his Lankan counterpart Wickremesinghe, was arriving to steal the thunder of the Sinhala identity and replace it with a counterfeit Indian coin to pass off in the future as the genuine Sinhala article.
Mahinda Rajapaksa who presided over the Joint Oppositions May Day Rally at Galle Face would, no doubt, have blushed blue, red yellow, orange and turned white with embarrassment when he heard Weerawansa make this reprehensible call to the thousands gathered before him and perhaps would have realised the dangers in giving the erratic primate the barber’s shaving blade. Perhaps he was thinking how he could attend the UN International Vesak ceremony at the BMICH on Friday and say namasthe to Modi when on his stage before him his acolyte was asking the entire nation to hang black flags and drown this nation in a flood of black over Modi’s visit and spitting on the greatest gift his ancestors had given Lanka 2267 years ago when his namesake, Asoka’s son Mahinda arrived with the bowl of the Buddha’s Dhamma.
In the avalanche of protest that followed Wimal’s call to hoist black flags during Vesak, perhaps former twice elected president Chandrika’s comment was the one most to the point which, no doubt, gave expression to the nation’s wrath. In a no-nonsense, short shrift message, she simply said: “I will say to those who called the public to hoist black flags during the Vesak festival that it will be better for them to jump into the Indian Ocean with a rock tied to their legs than to make such utterances.”
With her GROBR call to the vermin that dare desecrate Buddhism’s holiest day to advance their petty political agendas, no doubt, the vast majority of Lanka will concur and raise their own flag of approval to Chandrika’s short shrift to the JVP castaway now JO stowaway.
Especially when the masses realise that there is no real difference between Northern Wigneswaran’s call to ban Buddha statues in the north to advance his utopian Eelam and southern Weerawansa’s May Day call for the masses to roll up during this hallowed Vesak period the bright blue, red, yellow, white, orange five colour Buddhist flag which represents the spectrum of colours the Buddha emanated from his body upon attaining enlightenment, namely
BLUE (Nila): loving kindness or Metta
YELLOW (Pita): The Middle Path to enlighten avoiding extremes to reach the goal
RED (Lohitha): The practice of wisdom, virtue and its blessings
WHITE (Odata): The Dharma’s purity leadinng to liberation from sorrow’ s siege
ORANGE (Manjesta): Wisdom, the Dhamma the Buddha preached and in its stead raise full mast the black flags of hate.
Bodu Bala Sena chief joins in to sing the chorus to Wimal’s anti Vesak Gee
REVEALED: The Bodu Bala Sena sham Wimal Weerawansa is not alone in his May Day call to turn Vesak commemorative bliss to one long spell of black mourning. He has company. Stepping on to this ‘blasphemous’ stage to sing the chorus to Wimal’s revolting anti Vesak refrain is a group of ordained Buddhist monks. No prizes for guessing rightly the name and style under which they practice their religious calling.
Enter Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, the chief of Bodu Bala Sena infamy. As another great Sinhala patriot in the Wimal mould, he needs no introduction. His reputation for launching vicious attacks against the minorities of the country in the name of protecting Buddhism precedes the arrival of his bulky robe clad frame on the stage.
BODU BALA GNASSARA’S MESSAGE TO THE PUBLIC: Flaunt the Vesak flag from your rooftops but drape the black flag in your heart
Just as the Vesak moon was waxing to its climax to cast its soothing glow for the two thousand six hundred and fifth time since it beamed on Siddhartha as he attained enlightenment by the banks of the river Neranjana in the year 588BC, Bodu Bala chief Gnanasara Thera addressed the media at the Bodu Bala headquarters last Friday by the side of the Kirulapone canal.
He said: “Those days it was called Preethi Vesak. Today many say it’s Modi Vesak. There is talk of giving the oil tanks to India. Plans have already been laid to make this country an Indian colony. They are covering this with the Buddhist flag. There is a saying the dansala is the front, behind it is the tavern. There is a big doubt amongst the patriots as to the motives of this government. The patriotic forces have great doubts of Modi’s visit. We also have the doubt too. But as Buddhist we do not wish to raise any unwanted issues when this country is hosting the International Vesak Festival because it is not the Buddhist way of doing things. I think Wimal is raising this black flag issue on account of the doubts the patriots have on Modi’s visit and he may be right. Beneath the Vesak decorations, beneath the Vesak flags, beneath the Vesak pandals, beneath the Vesak Bakthi Gee, beneath the dansals, we must be aware of this conspiracy. Thus without hanging black flags outside in our homes we should wear black flags in our hearts. “
Reveals a lot, doesn’t it, of the great sham practiced by this brigand of renegade monks who, in the guise of self appointed guardians of Buddhism, unleashed a wave of religious terror against the Muslims in the reign of the Rajapaksas enjoying immunity from arrest and prosecution?
Gnanasara Thera’s call to the Buddhist public to fly the Buddhist flag on their sleeves and in their homes purely for show during Vesak but to house and hoist the black flag of hate in their heart in secret and have it flutter with each palpitating beat of the heart in vitriolic anger reveals the Bodu Bala humbug.
Inadvertently perhaps, Gnanasara let the Bodu Bala cat out of the bag when he exhorted the masses to flaunt the Vesak flag in the open but harbour hate in one’s heart. Perhaps that explains their past actions. They wore the saffron robe, the sacred shroud of the Buddha to which respect is accorded without question; they used it as their armour of protection from legal reprisals; they arrogated to themselves the mantle of Buddhism’s guardian deity; they assumed liberty and license to attack Muslim establishments in the name of the Buddha but with the protection of the Rajapaksas without fear of legal consequences; they did all that donning the robe of respect, the saffron shroud of tolerance whilst in their black hearts were embedded deep the very emotions of hatred, of intolerance, of violence which flouted and went against the grain of everything the Buddha preached.
Perhaps the most Venerable Malwatte and Asgiriya Nayake Theras should think it fit to summon the Sangha council to inquire whether the Bodu Bala monks have transgressed their Vinaya disciplines by calling on the people to practice such blatant hypocrisy – to wear the Buddhist mask in public and harbour evil in their hearts. And, on the eve of Vesak, to recommend to the Buddhist laity to wear such a sham countenance and promote it as the ideal stance to bear.
No black flags, no cry for patriot Wimal’s home
Apparently, for Wimal Weerawansa, patriotism does not begin at home. It may flower on another’s tree, it may bloom on another rose patch but definitely it will not be hoisted on his garden flag pole to announce to the world that he stands by his controversial call to damn Vesak’s mass bliss by burying the nation under a canopy of black flags raised in the name of India prime minister Modi.
ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS: No black flags fly in Wimal’s mansion though he urged the rest of the nation to fly black flags during Vesak in their home compounds
This is the scene of his palatial mansion in Hokandara on Thursday afternoon. Just 11 days earlier he had urged the Lankan populace to shunt aside the Vesak flag flown in homage to Gautama the Buddha on account of his Birth, Enlightenment and Nirvana and instead to fly the black flag of hate in the name of the visiting Indian Narendra Modi on account of his two day visit to Lanka to attend the 14th United Nations International Vesak Festival as chief guest.
As this photograph taken this Thursday the 11th reveals, not a single black flag, which he asked, in his May Day rally speech, the masses to hoist during Vesak in the name of saving Lanka from becoming another Pranth of India and to paint the terrain in mournful black, is present and flying from his palatial patriotic home. And no Vesak flag either. Only a small sign placed on the second storey balcony. It reads: ‘Mema nivasata budu saranai’, may this house receive Buddha’s blessings.
As long as he has his own house blessed and protected, it seems that Wimal doesn’t care for those who naively answered his May Day call to raise black flags for Vesak and attracted the opprobrium of the neighborhood. Thankfully, it seems no one did. And as this photograph clearly shows, neither did he.