Avurudu at my maternal family village, Kitulgoda.
To some people, the term Sinhala-Buddhist means racist warmonger. Without much evidence, they ascribe all sorts of terrible things to the ‘Sinhala-Buddhist mind’. It’s not true, and it’s not fair. It’s just racist and dumb.
I won’t deny that they are douchey Sinhala-Buddhists, but there are douchey Tamils as well, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Lithuanians. It’s really equal opportunity douche. To write off any race as something or the other does a great disservice to millions of people, and reality.
For example, I am a Sinhala-Buddhist. It’s not really my core identity, but technically, yeah. My family is from the south, I speak terrible Sinhala (but better than Tamil) and I’m a Buddhist (albeit without much of the cultural forms). Hence I was surprised to see the following views ascribed to me:
Although the comprehensive military victory over the LTTE was celebrated on a massive scale and the entire Sinhala-Buddhist populace responded to it as if they achieved the ultimate victory over the Tamil North. There is also wider acceptance, at the same time, that the mission is not fully accomplished. There are a number of fronts to fight in: taming and de-nationalizing Tamil politics, discrediting the Tamil Diaspora, changing the demography in the North, etc. In addition, the reconstitution of the “historic” Sinhala-Buddhist North (and East) is also recognized as a prominent task. (Groundviews, obvs)
I’m a member of the Sinhala-Buddhist populace, I guess, and that wasn’t my reaction at all. Nor do I want to subjugate the Tamils. I’m a Sri Lankan and I want to live. For someone to dismiss me and millions of diverse people like me for our race is just not cool, and it’s not right.
I’m always suspicious when people ascribe anything to populations greater than 10. When you’re talking about millions of people, any statement is simply bound to be not true. When you’re saying something mean, it’s bound to be both offensive and wrong.
You simply cannot say anything much about the entire Sinhala-Buddhist population because we’re really a diverse lot. To ascribe such negativity to us, just based on race, is deeply unfair. I understand that I’m an outlier, but the idea that there’s some collective unconscious that all Sinhala-Buddhists tap into is just mad. Seriously, talk to 11 different people and you’ll get some pretty diverse opinions.
Say the same things about another race and see how it sounds. All Jews want to eliminate Palestinians. All Americans support war on Iran. Really? Any intelligent person can think of multiple counter-examples immediately, if they’ve ever met or heard from the people in question. It’s just a lazy argument, pathetic if it weren’t also so dangerous.
There is nothing wrong with being Sinhala or being Buddhist, no more than there is anything wrong with being Tamil, Muslim or whatever you are. While they are bad apples in all of these bushels, race and religion are just but one way to slice up humanity, and it’s not like asshole is correlated with these traits alone. So please, show a little respect to different races and religions. Including the Sinhala Buddhists. We’re really not so big and bad at all.