The Game of Robes – Can we help stop bigotry beyond changing our profile pictures?

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So! Riots huh? Shops torched eh? Tear gas lu, curfew lu, 3 killed, few Muslim folks thrashed, a Muslim deputy minister tries to not get thrashed while another one of em minister’s contemplates whether to hand over his resignation. Oh and it seems like the president is taking shit for being in some Bolivian summit which no one gives a shit about. All this takes place while the media is operating at snail pace. And the citizen journalism folks are most certainly seizing the opportunity to thrive on it. Quite an eventful Sunday leading to buckets full of opinions on a Monday morning. Full of Drama. We can write a television series of it no? I call it the Game of Robes.

Of course, in reality, the sane masses of all races in LKA are not pleased. Muslims all around the country are PISSED OFF, agitated and worried.

Including mom, a devoted Muslim (unlike me) was very worried this morning. To an extent where she wanted me to drop her at work and pick her up after, simply because she was afraid to drive alone wearing a hijab. I can’t really say she was overreacting because I was afraid for her safety too. How, when and for what purposes these ruthless cults strike are very unpredictable. And it’s safe to say that the forces CAN’T keep us safe. Epic Fail.

When we log into facebook feeds and twitter timelines… we see almost everyone putting up posts and tweets condemning the activity that’s happening around us. I mean it’s nice to see all these profile pictures changing and people voicing their thoughts and all. That’s when we are immediately brainwashed right? We think the MAJORITY stands against racism. The majority in YOUR world agrees with you. And remember there are only approximately 2.5 million facebook users in an over 22 million population.

There is a world out there bigger than your news feeds and timelines. A very real world filled with hate, jealousy and a mindset we can’t fathom. And most of these folks are nowhere near where us Colombo folks closely associate with or stay.

Lots of these folks are people who work and reside outstation. They have limited access to free media, and their facebook feeds are filled with opinions from uneducated goons of their own culture. Let’s face it, people who are exposed to Colombo have a very different culture.

So how can you and I do a little extra and reach out to these folks apart from changing our profile pics and spreading the word online?

This morning a non-Muslim friend of mine who manages a luxurious boutique hotel in Colombo was annoyed after overhearing some waiters discuss their pleasure over the incidents that occurred over the Muslims in Aluthgama. What the Muslims ever did to the waiters, I have no clue. Unlike the horror stories you hear in the middle-east, us Sri Lankan Muslims are very nice sorts you know. We have a habit of going out of our way to help others. Unless, you try to get it on with a Muslim lady that belongs to a conventional Sri Lankan Muslim culture, you’ll get another thing coming your way. Who knows, maybe they were stood up. Idiots.

But getting back to the point, Colombo approximately has a population of over 670,000 people, but in reality there are lots and lots more it accommodates due to it being the business hub of the country. Just like my friend, you too would come across these people from out of Colombo, working amidst you. They may be executives, waiters or even the cleaners of your building premises. Speak to them. Spread the good word. Make them feel that racism is uncool, and keep them aware of its outcomes, so that they could carry some sense back to their hometowns. Become self motivated ambassadors of peace. Who knows, MAYBE, your act could stop one person from raising a hand against another in the name of bigotry. Now this is not something WE Muslims can do alone, for we are the victims here, and they probably won’t listen to us. This must come from you Sinhalese folks who believe that what is going on around the country is atrocious. If you hear something you don’t like, don’t argue or make them your enemies. Remember, they too are entitled to their thoughts. They are enemies of your mindset but as the old saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer, for you need them to respect you, and listen to your ideologies.

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11 thoughts on “The Game of Robes – Can we help stop bigotry beyond changing our profile pictures?

  1. Well said machan. I guess the facebook activism is convenient, and honestly this is a multi dimensional issue that requires hours and hours of debating.. but my stance is that violence is unwarranted and disputes should be resolved through dialogue. Sadly, some people don’t share my views.

  2. Pingback: A Call to Action | The Fight In Me

  3. Good read. We also should not forget that social media was the main vector in spreading racism in the first place. Well then if this platform can do that, we should also be able to spread peace and harmony.

  4. I appreciate your candor but it’s sad that all of us should, ultimately, consider ourselves enemies and be wary of each other pretending to be friends simply because we ought to “keep our enemies closer” (no offense If I have misunderstood your final insinuation). I personally don’t condone this violence as nothing can justify this insanity. I’m surprised that you haven’t touched upon the fact that this situation was ignited by the actions of a few Muslims who beat up a monk and present yourselves (all Muslims) as victims. Shouldn’t you ask yourselves why that too happened and condemn such actions as deplorable?? And you wonder why the Buddhists have taken offence and that there is illl will in the air against Muslims. Now, don’t misunderstand me; again, I’m not condoning or justifying the violence that has ensued. All, I’m saying is that the responsibility to eliminate extremism from out society lies in the hands of all ethnic/religious groups involved, not just one. Denying the existence of such elements in your own group or proverbially, “wiping that under the carpet” is by no means satisfactory. Passing the responsibility to one group alone doesn’t cut it for me either. I don’t appreciate the brandishing of all the Sinhalese Buddhists as extremists/enemies based on the actions of a few just as much as I hate all the Muslims being condemned due to the actions of those who beat-up the monk. In my opinion, all of us who are trapped between extremist groups in our respective religious/ethnic groups are also victims and it’s about time we accept this reality and work together to eliminate such elements from our society. You too, being Muslim, have a huge responsibility and a stake in this.

    • Dear brother, Are you sure Muslims beat up a Buddhist monk? From what HEARD, there was an altercation between a Muslim and a driver of a Buddhist monk. That created the problem.

  5. Excellent article, but easier said than done. For instance, how would you remain calm and rational while explaining to nitwits like Ruwantha Kulathunga above, what a racist, ignorant, bigot he actually is? Fuckwits who seem to think that a couple of thugs who happen to be Muslim beating up one monk justifies the dominant power majority of a country orchestrating an organized attack on ALL Muslims – their homes, their livelihoods, their places of worship, a fucking pre-school for God’s sake! These are not the actions of a couple of thugs who happen to be Buddhist extremists. This is a state-supported movement spear-headed by the Sri Lankan Buddhist priesthood that exploits the Singhalese everyman’s simmering resentment at his circumstances and relies on the casual racism of gits like Ruwantha Kulathunga, who genuinely believe they are good people who’s fear of people not like them are justified and well-founded and not racist at all. I can only assume they believe this through a combination of arrogance, ignorance, denial, delusion, and most repulsive of all, a sociopathic lack of empathy toward his fellow man.

    • That was said on a lighter note. The majority of the Muslim culture in Sri Lanka frowns upon relationships or marriages outside the community. A situation that most often results in heartbreak 🙂

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