I do not know whether Mangala Samaraweera is the adherent of a religion. I only know, from a photo published in the newspapers some time back, that he has no respect for the Lord Buddha. The photo showed him holding a Buddha statue by the neck and behind his person. I remember the strong criticisms levelled against him for that act, which if done by a Catholic with regard to a statue of Jesus, would have been considered as being sacrilegious. But Mangala S. as do other high ranking politicians, visits the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, pays his respects and obeisance, and then visits the Mahanayakes for the same purpose. In Sinhala you call all this ‘AS BANTHUNG’

But Samaraweera’s problems with Buddhism are of a wider scale. Recently even when Hindu and Muslim political leaders openly stated that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country, Samaraweera publicly declared it was NOT. Also a venerable monk recently pronounced Samaraweera to be a persona non grata in Buddhist temples. It was also said that Samaraweera’s name should not be displayed in the precincts of Buddhist Temples.

Since recently Samaraweera has been going hammer and tong against the Cardinal Archbishop. The latter was accused by Samaraweera of fanning religious conflicts. Now the Cardinal has been taken to task for his stand against the imposition of the ‘human rights’ ideology on Sri Lanka. Samaraweera’s view has been seconded by a lawyer who calls himself a Catholic. What the Cardinal said was that Sri Lanka with its religious background had nothing to learn from the West about human rights.

Delving into what the Cardinal said, religions are rooted in the human conscience, while concepts such as ‘human rights’ are mainly, even purely political weapons. Indeed when one reflects on all the ongoing military conflicts in the world, and the crimes against humanity that are being perpetrated, all ten fingers could only point at those ardent promoters and defenders of HUMAN RIGHTS.

This brings .us to the pivotal issue. Since when did this ‘human rights’ concept emerge and take root in the Western consciousness? That happened at a time the world was divided by the Western capitalist powers into two blocks: FREE and COMMUNIST. The West posed as defenders of PRO-HUMAN values while the communist block, literally the iron curtain countries were branded as anti-human. At that time the West prided itself and put on show its open arm policy about welcoming into its fold all who fled from the communist block.

But now the iron curtain has fallen. It will be remembered that the architect of that fall was no other than Pope John-Paul 11. It was the anti-communist revolution in Poland inspired and promoted by the Pope that brought about the domino effect on other iron curtain countries. Ever since the iron curtain ceased to be and since the two block division of the world has been done away with the emergence of new powers, the human rights issue has lost its universal impact and is seen as a partisan Western weapon to promote its political dominance, in spite of the erosion of its moral foundation. It is now nothing more than the cloth bandage over the eyes of nations ready to say ‘EHEY SWAMINI’ to them, the qualification for receiving loans.

Where do Sri Lankan non-adepts of religions stand in this matter? How were their consciences formed? Was it by Western human rights activism or by the religious foundations on which this country stands? The answer is so obvious that only a West dependent brain and loan money ambitions of Samaraweera and his ilk would fail to see.

The iron curtain fell a long time ago. They are now being replaced or intended to be replaced by concrete walls by the foremost proponent of HUMAN RIGHTS. Finally there is only one difference between the communist iron curtain, and the American concrete curtain. The former was set in place to keep the hungry, the starving, the sick, and the impoverished within the wall. The latter curtain has as its objective to keep all such people whose plight is largely due to American hegemony politics, outside the wall. ‘Human rights’ politics have lost every conceivable moral purpose for its being.

Mario Perera,

Kadawata

Etc-: Lankaweb