Troubled Times

N.B. – Jillinthebox’s opinions are her own. Facts are subject to approximation.

Everyone seems to be speaking of the recent attacks against the Muslims in SL and it only seems right that I contribute my two cents to it as well. Not only because I am a believer, but also because the ‘beginnings’ so to speak, began at a time when I was around as opposed to the beginnings of the (first?) ethnic conflict. Further, if these riots do kick off to an extent we don’t want it to, I know that I’ll be safe with my half-bred majority-ethnicity-ness. Yes, I am a self-centred bitch. Aren’t we all.

My tweet a few hours back read, “Osari is the shit man \m/”. This was a follow-up to the International Students’ Day event we hosted on Sunday for while I wore the osari and seem to be a fan of. The made-up is so easy to wear and doesn’t fall off like normal saris! Total win indeed. In wearing the osari, I represented myself as a Sri Lankan. All other Sri Lankans, some in osari, some in ridiculously short and hideous clothing would look and smile in recognition of our national costume. In response, I attempted to smile a not-so-complacent-elitist-smile and acknowledge their presence. Minions, she said. That Sunday night, I did not represent my ethnicity, not either of the halves.

I am not going to dive into a whole bucket of patriotism or Benedict Anderson’s theorisation of the nation being divided only upon ‘imagined communities’. That doesn’t matter to me. I can make a home out of most places I stay, if it comes to that. To be honest, there isn’t the slightest tinge of patriotism in me. I try to mix with the local by adopting bits of their culture, mainly food, clothing and a varied dialect of language. I think the experience accumulated in this process is not only diverse but subjectively speaking, richer.

Keeping that in mind, when I first read about what happened in Tamil Nadu – the Tamils stoning a bus load of Sri Lankans, if I recall correct – and the recent series of discriminating offences against the Muslims in Sri Lanka, I was obviously angered – after all, most if not all of us are ethnocentric in our practices. Followed by a non-display of anger, I began to think of the rationale behind the recent turn of events.

Reading Megara’s article and DMR’s Editorial today put things in to perspective and also clarified a few I had formed on this matter.

Last semester, for one of my papers, our lecturer was analysing the discourse of Hollywood (action) blockbusters throughout the years. He spoke on how the industry first looked at USSR as an enemy, then post 9/11 their eyes seem to turn towards every abaya and jubba on the street, then with the advent of Crash, the black man and the Hispanic was questioned again and then we found ourselves staring at the UFO-enemy and Heaven knows what else is in store.

As DMR’s Editorial too goes on to say, I firmly believe that the recent offences against Muslims is driven purely by the need to cause instability in a non-war-waging country. Or even perhaps as an alternative to counter the resurgence of what supposedly ended in 2009. I find the term ‘peaceful’ problematic here. As the editorial too quotes, the absence of war does not necessarily mean the presence or practice of peace.

Frankly, I don’t see why those practising non-peaceful activities have the need to do so. Don’t get me wrong. I am not going Gandhi on you and calling for non-violence. If that comes across in the process, well and good but that is not my main intention. As Megara says, all religions or cults or whatever else people have or don’t have faith, invariably calls for peace. The end result being, co-existence.

So I don’t see what the problem is really. 

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