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> Meeting of Sinhala Ethnonationalists in Stockholm - Report by Peter Schallk
SINHALA BUDDHIST ETHNO nationalism
- Masquerading as Sri Lankan 'Civic Nationalism'
Meeting of Sinhala Ethno Nationalists in Stockholm
Report by Peter Schalk
31 October 2000
On Saturday, October 28, a meeting about the conflict in
Lanka took place in Stockholm arranged by the Christian socialists and the
Olof Palme Foundation. The theme was Obstacles to Peace. Both organisations
are serious in their approach to conflicts in the world and their ambition
is to find a way out of the conflict for all parties involved. In May 2000,
they had organised one meeting with Rohan Gunaratne confronting the
professors John Neelsen, Margret Trawick, and me. This time, they had
invited three Lankans only. The plan was to invite an Ilavan also, but there
was none that wanted to join. The following Lankan speakers were invited:
there was a Pautta (Buddhist) monk, the Ven. Kurunegoda Piyatissa from NY.
There was a debater from London, chairman of Federation for Sinhala
Organisations, Mr Douglas Wickremaratne, and a professor of history, H B N
Ilangasinha from Kälaniya.
The monk spoke first. He had a special theory about the origin of the
conflict. He identified the originators as Christian Tamilar who had been
converted by colonial priests. Pauttar and Caivar can agree, but Pauttar and
Christian Tamilar cannot. So, the obstacle for peace is the Christian
Tamilar. He also said that the first Tamilar to arrive in the island was in
the 15th century. When confronted with the name of Elalan, he said that
Elalan was a Colan and THEREFORE he could not be a Tamil. This monk was
corrected not by me, but by professor Ilangasinha. It was an embarrassing
incident to find a Lankan hami corrected by a Lankan professor in public.
But the professors own slogans were not better.
The professor of history spoke next. His slogans were: "There
is no ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. There is only a terrorist problem".
"There was no kingdom of Yalppanam". "The Aryaccakkiravarttin were not
Tamilar". -We have heard this many times before, but I was astonished to
hear it in the year 2000 again. The speech was an atavism.
The debater from London spoke last. He spit out all well-known defamation
about the Ilavar.
The speakers' conclusion of the meeting was: The main obstacle to peace are
There was one single, but important point with this meeting. It showed the
low level of education that these propagandists had. The Swedish listeners
lost all respect. The meeting became counterproductive to the speakers’
intentions. Now the Swedish people started to understand why there is no
peace in Lanka. The Lankan Ambassador in Stockholm has already lost dignity
and confidence among Swedish intellectuals when she intervened in two
meetings in May 2000. She violated elementary rules of conduct in Sweden and
of international civil law. She behaved as if she was in Lanka.