Something I wrote a few months ago when Islamaphobia was raging. It may yet return.
I have been watching, with growing fear the racism directed towards the Muslims of Sri Lanka.
What makes it difficult to understand is the rapidity with which it emerged and the sheer intensity of the emotions involved. People seem to be turning against colleagues, neighbours, associates and even friends. Were the Tamils as hated and as ostracised as this?
I have been observing the development of Sri Lanka's conflict since the early 2000's and I dont recall anything like this.
The sensation I have is like observing, in slow motion and at a distance, an unfolding train wreck. One can see it happening, even as we speak, yet unable to do anything to stop it.
What is inexplicable to me is how few people seem to be able to see what is happening and how little people seem to care. How quickly have we forgotten the last war that we no longer see the ground being prepared for another ? How can other minorities, particularly Tamils now indulge the very invectives that were once directed at them?
We know the venality of the political class but to think that they can once again stoke the flames of racism and hope to contain the resulting fire? Bandaranaike succumbed to the very forces he unleashed. Premadasa parried with Tigers, collaborated supplying arms to eject the Indian Peace Keeping Force-and then fell victim. Prabhakaran collaborated to with the regime in waiting, to enforce a Tamil boycott of elections that scuttled the peace, before it eventually consumed him.
J R Jayewardene alone, the Old Fox, who contributed more than any other survived to die of old age.
I have been writing about this but it feels like screaming into a hurricane.