Saturday, July 06, 2013

A little matter of perspective

Who is an extremist? Almost no one is willing to accept that their particular point of view may be termed "extremist". As far as the person is concerned they are moderates; it is others who are the extremists. The ugly, unwashed others.

The BBS claims they are not extremists and many of their supporters make the same claim.

I suppose this amounts to a difference in perspective; depending on their particular worldview coupled with an inability to see things from another persons point of view. In psychology this is referred to as egocentricism, a problem most often seen in young children. The phenomenon decreases with learning and experience and usually disappears by mid teens.

Where it prevails into adulthood it can make for a rather unpleasant individual. Unfortunately if such individuals rise to positions of power in (a company or organisation) it spells doom for the unfortunate underlings. In public office it can be disastrous.

Take for an example the perfectly normal, rational support expressed for the Burmese monk Wiranthu, in Sri Lanka as for example here.  He is being hailed as a hero.

Wirathu has been at helm of the anti-Muslim violence in Burma which has claimed at least 250 lives and left 15,000 homeless. Wirathu, on the other hand, seems to be quite flattered by press coverage that has focused on him. He does not consider himself an extremist and this idea never crossed the minds of his supporters here. Are his views now firmly in the mainstream?

In Sri Lanka we are not short of "heros" but it seems that our pantheon is not complete without the inclusion of Wirathu.

What does this say about the future of the minorities in Sri Lanka? Are following the Burmese example; the shining path that Wirathu has illuminated?



Anonymous said...

At the same time we must not ignore the extremist element among the minorities. Anyone who goes around claiming supremacy of their religion or race is a supremacist. What you're seeing is the groups of the majority in Sri Lanka and Burma finding themselvesthemselves wrapped up in the same supremacist ideology that is found in our context among the Tamil diaspora which supports the tigers' ideology and distinctly the Muslim community.

Being from a minority doesn't exclude one from being a racist ass.

Jack Point said...

Agreed, racists need not be confined to majority communities.