Grease yakas (grease devils) have been reported islandwide. Groundviews is somehow implicating the military. Graphic by Sunday Times
Groundviews has joined the Grease Yaka hysteria, linking them to the military. Their ‘ground report’ also alleges that people are collecting virgin blood for the President and/or to obtain the legendary crown and sword of Dutugemenu. This is complete nonsense that any responsible journalist or blogger would A) not publish or B) clearly label as unreliable to the point of being mad.
Instead, Groundviews says “we reproduce this content not as verified fact, but for open debate and discussion“. Well, it’s not a verified fact that there’s a bomb under everybody’s bed. Is that really responsible journalism? Here’s some of the content Groundviews wants to discuss:
MP Vijitha Herath stated in Parliament that some are attempting to get female blood in order to obtain the legendary gold crown and sword from Dutugemunu and that there is a connection between the Government and these incidents
At the same time there is another rumor spreading that a blood offering of 1000 young women is required for the reign of the president to continue
Some political commentators have stated that since the government is being pressurized by the international community to get rid of the emergency rule, the government is using the military to create a tense situation to justify the continuation of emergency regulations
Other researchers are of the opinion that this is an attempt to gain the support of the majority community and create ethnic disharmony among the communities in the light of the immense international pressure against the government on war crimes and gain political power. This could be the reason why the incidents relating to grease men are prevalent in Tamil and Muslim areas in the East.
Those who think on religious lines say that these are the spirits the dead coming to haunt us, particularly the spirits of those who faced violent deaths in the past.
I’ve always thought that Groundviews was partisan like the Huffington Post, but now they’re starting to sound like Glenn Beck. You seriously want to have an open debate about whether the military is collecting the blood of a 1000 virgins? I mean… uhhhh, no? Is Groundviews starting a discussion on whether the war created angry ghosts that are molesting women? This is nonsense and Groundviews should probably label it as such.
Instead they just push it out there like, oh, here’s what many people believe, when in fact they’re just fanning hysteria. For the love of God, many people believe that these are actual demons. It’s a fear psychosis which does involve fear of the military in the North and East, but that doesn’t make it true. Journalism should aspire to inform and give context, not spread verbatim crazy ‘for discussion’. Say that people are saying this, fine, and then say that it’s highly dubious, un-sourced, undocumented, and likely wrong. Instead they say:
With verification of incidents extremely challenging given the context, law enforcement itself sans public legitimacy and many, rightly or wrongly, who believe that the ‘grease devils’ have links to the Sri Lankan military, it remains to be seen how the government will deal with this emergent threat to public order and security.
Well, how challenging is it to verify that ghosts are not attacking Sri Lanka? How challenging is it to mention that Temple Of Doom blood rituals are probably not going on? Even the other specifics could be verified. Have any named ‘political commentators’ linked the military and grease yakas? Are there really more reports from Tamil/Muslim areas, or is it island-wide?
These are not serious questions. They are part of the hysteria which Groundviews is fanning to score points against the military, which they really don’t seem to like. That’s fine, but people are actually dying in mob violence, and responsible journalism should try to make readers more enlightened rather than more afraid. For example, how seriously should readers take any attribution of cause for a broad and disorganized panic? How responsible is it to implicate the forces trying to keep the peace?
That is the vital information that journalists and average citizens should be sharing. That it’s probably not dead people, that virgin blood does not unlock magic swords and to please refrain from blaming people or killing them until things calm down. Instead, when people are dying out of ignorance, Groundviews is spreading it, trying to score political points against the military of all things. Completely irresponsible.
For a better grip on reality, and dare I say, journalistic ethics, this Sunday Times article is worth a read:
Defence authorities have ordered a crackdown on vigilantes hunting down the so-called “grease yakas’ after five people were killed and several wounded in the ongoing drama which has reached such disturbing proportions that leave for policemen in the east has been cancelled with immediate effect.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Pujith Jayasundara said the situation had gone out of control and stern action would be taken against those found taking the law into their hands. He, however, conceded that the police must share part of the blame…
Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa also warned people against taking the law into their own hands, adding that the police must also take part of the blame for the current situation. Meanwhile tension was running high in Pottuvil in the Amparai district yesterday after one man was killed when police were forced to open fire on an unruly mob that had begun to stone the local police station. (Also: ‘What the devil is going on‘)
The blogger Padraig Colman also has a comprehensive and personal report from near Badulla (epicenter basically).
Defence authorities are actually trying to calm things down and prevent more people from dying. Groundview is outside, spreading rumors about virgin blood and throwing stones.