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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Decent Human Beings Against Bodu Bala Sena - A Links Round Up For 4/12/13 Protest Against Buddhist Extremists In Sri Lanka

Image from Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena

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Yes, believe it or not Buddhists can be extremists.  Has happened quite often in Sri Lanka's history, where the majority are Sinhala (ethnic group) Buddhists (religion).  However, the vast majority of Sri Lankans are decent human beings - caught between the politics and violence of power hungry extremists, corruption, poverty, a bad economy, & under-development due to a 30 year long civil war that just ended in 2009.  The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is a Buddhist extremists group (like all ethno-religious fascism, they want a Sri Lanka for one group only - or that is primarily (or perhaps all) Sinhala & Buddhist, even though the island has always been a multi-ethnic, multi-religious (& also some "no religion", & secular) nation since 1948 (& prior to that, an old civilization with various kingdoms going back thousands of years, started by immigrants from various parts of the world - Sinhala Buddhists from India, Tamil Hindus from India, Europeans from the Netherlands, Portugal, England who brought Christianity to the island, Muslims, the native people of the island - Veddahs, etc).  Recently Bodu Bala Sena have been targeting Sri Lanka's Muslim minority - with protests &  attacks on Muslim owned businesses.  This naturally alarms many Sri Lankans since the island is trying to recover from a 30 year civil war (or separatist war, or terrorist war, however one feels about it - an evil thing whatever the name, with over 100,000 people killed most likely) between a rebel group from the Tamil minority and the rest of the country - mostly Sinhala Buddhists.  So, a group of activists called Buddhists Questioning Bodu Bala Sena (BQBBS) decided to stage a peaceful candle light vigil in front of the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters in Columbo on Friday 4/12/13 to remind the Buddhists monks who lead the BBS movement and their lay followers about the Buddha's advice regarding how a monk should speak and right speech in general (yes, Buddhism, on paper, is against speech that will strike fear & hatred into the hearts of the listeners, which is the opposite of what the BBS monks & other leaders practice).  The BQBBS candle light vigil was broken up by Sri Lankan police officers, who were reportedly assisted by BBS members.  Though it was a small protest, it perhaps (let's hope) marks the end of the silence against this recent brand of evil actions & speech on that conservative, mostly Buddhist island.  More protests against the BBS are being planned.  It appears that some Sri Lankans are not interested in letting their fellow citizens target & abuse minorities - their other fellow citizens - on the island.  Which is a very good thing for those who love peace, & want to see Sri Lanka become a more peaceful, just, tolerant, well developed nation.  Here is a list of links to coverage of protests, articles about same, from around the web (for more updates, visit the BQBBS page on Facebook):

1 - News First, with video - Police disperse a candle-light vigil in Columbo

2 - cpasrilanka - audio Interview with participant at vigil

3 - iSrilankan - For those who pooh-pooh the Colombo protestors at the disrupted vigil

4 -- (a response to this confusing & unflattering article) - The 'Vigil' that I saw

5 - The Straits Times - Sri Lanka blocks anti-hate protest in capital

6 - Groundviews - Police in Sri Lanka show their true saffron colours

7 - Groundviews - Sheep no more

8 - Meg's Soapbox - Who's side is the law on? 


Related:

- Anti Bodu Bala Sena page on Facebook

More links coming as I discover them.  Leave any relevant links in Comments.  Thanks!

- Sujewa

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