Islamic State pan-nationalism slams into ethno-religious hate in Sri Lanka: Bellwether

ECONOMYNEXT – In Sri Lanka, indoctrination and hate targeting communities not considered to be the ‘core-nation’ as defined in ethno-religious terms start early in state-funded schools. From Grade One, in fact.

‘Don’t call your Thaththa (father) Appachchi,’ a teacher tells 30 odd wide-eyed kids in a Sinhalese dominated class where there is only one Tamil child.

"Appachchi is Tamil. Don’t call him Thaththi. That is Sankara. We have to avoid being Sankara.’

This is told in Sinhala. How many hundreds of first-grade kids this teacher and others had indoctrinated is unknown.

The teacher then launches into a lecture about how Anagarika Dharmapala opposed ‘Sankara’ practices and how he led a revival of the Sinhalese race.

It is about the Sinhala race versus others, how it was dying, and how he revived it using Buddhism.

In the little majority kids, hatred is kindled against minorities.

History is worse. Kids are taught that Tamils are the Chola, Dravida or Damila invaders (these terms mean entirely different things). Christians – Catholics in particular – are generally the Portuguese invaders.

Minority kids are made to feel guilty and second class, presumably like black kids were made to feel in segregated societies in the West.

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None of the teachings of Anagarika Dharmapala that kids are taught at government schools are about underlying Buddhist philosophy.

There is no opportunity to debate or understand that there is a distinct difference between Buddhist evangelization activities, aimed simply at converting people or helping them know the words of Lord Buddha, versus hate directed at members of other communities, which tends to have unfortunate consequences later.

Fast forward to 2019.

A teacher at a school in Colombo, who had studied in a state school, tells a colleague. "Don’t shop at Cargills, it is owned by Muslims."

"I don’t shop at Arpico. It is owned by Catholics," retorts her friend.

Teaching Sinhalese kids Tamil will not solve the problem of years of indoctrinated hate, mixed up with an unhealthy dose of nationalist pseudo history.

Vijaya who deposed Kuweni and her lot (most probably some ancestor-worshipping community – note Yakshani – and replaced it presumably with Hinduism) is a hero.

There is no self-criticism or debate to question whether such acts are right or wrong or it was simply the way thing happened before European-style nation-states came into being.

In fact, Indian colonists had displaced, deposed or assimilated with native Austronesian tribal communities up to Indonesia and the Philippines (Mindanao) replacing older practices like ancestor worship with Hindu-Buddhism and later Islam.

Further away from India, some of the older practices remain intact to this day.

In Cambodia, for example, a foreign conqueror called Kaundinya or Hùntián (according to Chinese writings) is said to have married a ‘Naga’ princess and imported Indian customs and laws.

However, there is no story of her being kicked out later – children and all – like the colonists did in Sri Lanka.

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Naga people were probably serpent worshipers, also said to have been in Sri Lanka. Even today, many people in Sri Lanka are against killing cobras.

Only Papua New Guinea and Australia seem to have escaped the rolling Indian juggernaut and was left for later European settlers to colonize. To call the various dynasties and empires of South Asia ‘Indian’ is also misleading. ‘India’ is a British creation of a later age.

In any case in government schools, a peculiar kind of cherry-picked Sinhala-centric inward-looking ‘history’ is taught. Whether Madrasas also teach this kind of Muslim-centric history, this columnist has no idea.

‘Liberty! Liberty, give us, in order that we may suppress’

What is sure is that none of this history can provide any context to understand the present day predicament of the country, which is basically a European style nation-state with the popular vote.

Sri Lanka’s entire post-feudal administration machinery, the political system, and the unitary state had been imported from the West.

There is little in Sri Lanka’s monarchical or Wedawassam history or in India for that matter, that can be a reliable guide to understand how the system should work or why it has failed, triggering death and destruction.

Instead, all oppression of minorities and present-day problems are blamed on a convenient excuse of ‘divide and rule’. Post-1948 rulers, who got self-determination to run the country, disclaim all responsibility.

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Neither is anyone taught that this is a scene that had been played out at many other post-colonial states, the worst of which were in Eastern Europe from Romania to Hungary to Yugoslavia.

It was not only in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Rwanda and other African states that minorities were discriminated against and subject to mass-killing as soon as a majority got independence from an Empire or other foreign power.

Economist and philosopher Ludwig von Mises quotes Swedish novelist and playwright August Strindberg’s Road to Damascus to illustrate the point.

"FATHER MELCHER: At the Amsteg station, on the Gotthard line, you have probably seen a tower called Castle of Zwing-Uir; it is celebrated by Schiller in Wilhelm Tell. It stands there as a monument to the inhuman oppression which the inhabitants of Uri suffered at the hands of the German Kaiser! Lovely!

"On the Italian side of the Saint Gotthard lies the station of Bellinzona, as you know. There are many towers there, but the most remarkable is the Castel d’Uri. It is a monument to the inhuman oppression, which the Italian canton suffered at the hands of the inhabitants of Uri. Do you understand?”

"THE STRANGER: "Liberty! Liberty, give us, in order that we may suppress."

"However, Strindberg did not add that the three cantons Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden under nineteenth-century liberalism peacefully cooperated with the Ticino whose people they had oppressed for almost three hundred years," Mises points out.

Madrasas

State-funded education, with centralized syllabuses, were the tools that were used to corrupt generations of kids and made them into adults who were filled with hate in newly independent nations.

This was first seen in Eastern Europe, where the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire created many new nations, long before it happened in Asia and Africa.

"Western Europe developed a system of obligatory public education. It came to Eastern Europe as an achievement of Western civilization," writes Mises, who watched in his lifetime nation-states in Europe turn in to minority oppression as soon as nationalists got control of the governing machinery.

"But in the linguistically mixed territories, it turned into a dreadful weapon in the hands of governments determined to change the linguistic allegiance of their subjects."

"The philanthropists and pedagogues of England who advocated public education did not foresee what waves of hatred and resentment would rise out of this institution."

In Sri Lanka today, the question of Madrasas or Islamic religious centred schools have shot to the spotlight after Easter Sunday attacks.

It must be noted that some of the bombers had education not at Madrasas, but at Western universities and also the state-funded school system.

Though this columnist had not spoken to anyone who had studied at a Madrasa in Sri Lanka, it is unlikely to be a secular education, though whether the corruption of the mind is worse or less than at some state-funded schools, it is not known.

What is clear is that wherever a secular state has been undermined, and the clergy gets the upper hand, misery, the slaughter of innocents and destruction has been the result.

The Denominational School System

In Sri Lanka, the Denominational School system was a product of the 1867 Morgan Committee, which was commissioned to look into improvements in the existing education system.

At the time the system was dominated by mainly various Christian missionaries. The British administrators wanted a non-denominational Christianity to be taught as a subject. There were also government schools, including Royal College.

Government schools were in both local (vernacular) languages and English (with the focus varying depending on the views of the British Governor and top officials in charge) though after the Colebrooke Commission there was a push for English education, naturally viewed as ‘Imperialist’ by local commentators.

In 1965, the legislative council appointed a sub-committee to look into improvements. The Catholic Church at the time had French priests.

Before religious emancipation in Britain, Catholics (referred to as papists) had been severely discriminated against, due to the conflict between the Pope and the Anglican Church.

Christopher Ernest Bonjean, a French Catholic priest who came from India, had been lobbying for some time over education matters. He was called to the commission. He had proposed that all denominations and religions be allowed to teach their religion as part of the curriculum.

The British government had agreed for each religion to be taught provided rest of the education was secular under the assisted school system, where the government gave some tax money to supplement the revenue of the schools.

The Catholic Church and Protestant Churches being well organized in education benefited from it. It was much later that Buddhist organizations were set up to build schools. By that time, Christian schools were already in places demarcated for assistance.

Secular Education

In some Western nations, religion is no longer taught in schools. In Communist countries and some Western nations, ethics are taught and in others theology where students may learn about the basic principles of several religions.

France is a country which has strong secular education, and even religious symbols are banned.

After the French Revolution, the new government went about cutting down the influence of the clergy and confiscated Church assets. But they did not favour any other religion either, leading to a secular state.

Sri Lanka nationalized mainly missionary schools. However, it did not lead to secularization in the way of France.

Many schools were re-named after persons figuring in Hindu-Buddhist history (from present-day India), changing the original names, which were either the name of the particular missions that founded them or some names of Christian saints coming from Middle Eastern or European history.

In hindsight, it was a sign of things to come.

A secular-liberal Sri Lanka would have ignored the founders as a historical relic, and got on with their lives.

School names were brand names built over time, and there is no real need to change any of them at all except for nationalist reasons.

A secular-socialist oriented Sri Lanka could have re-named them – along with those founded by Buddhist and Muslim missions – into some un-connected names such as the place name.

But the bigger problem is how history is taught, and the anti-minority majoritarianism that has crept into centralized syllabuses officially as well as unofficially.

In 2012, Turkey, which for long years was a secular state, changed the laws which helped boost so-called Imam Hatip colleges without popular discussion, going in the reverse direction.

Madrasas proper were abolished in 1924 as part of reforms made by the father of modern (secular) Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Dhimmi

Turkey is, in fact, an excellent example of what happens when Empires break down. Unlike in Sri Lanka, there was no foreign power and ‘divide and rule’ to be blamed and distract reformers. The Allies had control of the territories only for a very short time after World War I.

Turkey was the centre of the Ottoman Empire, where the ruler was Muslim. In line with many countries with Muslim rulers, minorities following other religions had second class or Dhimmi status, dating back from a so-called Pact of Umar.

Under Dhimmi, non-Muslims were given certain protections, including property, and were allowed to live and marry according to their customs. They paid a jizra tax.

In Sri Lanka under the 1979 constitution, Buddhism was given foremost status, and everyone else was relegated to virtual Dhimmi status.

From the frequent riots since independence and how the police look the other way at times, it seems that the de facto Dhimmi status is pretty weak in Sri Lanka and there is poor protection for property and life.

The Ottoman Empire naturally ruled over many types of peoples it took in as part of its expansion. At one time the Ottoman Empire ran most of the present-day Middle East up to the Balkans in Europe as well as North Africa.

Armenians were one such group.

Anti-Minority Jealousy

Armenians belonged to several Christian denominations. Some were holding high posts in the Ottoman Empire as they had higher levels of education. Outside of the main centre, however, Armenians were extremely poor.

Science and education seem to have progressed initially in areas with Christian rulers despite attempts by the Church to snuff out science.

It is ironic that when Martin Luther reputed to have written his ‘Jews and their Lies’ in 1543 which helped fire anti-Semitism, Nicholas Copernicus also published the work saying that the Earth orbited the Sun, not the other way around.

Greeks also had economic power in the Ottoman Empire and were Christian.

Foreign minorities who are trading communities tend to have stronger economic power.

In ancient Sri Lanka when it was a centre of regional commerce, trading communities like Romans and Greeks and apparently Christian Persians were resident in the island.

But economic prosperity is not a zero-sum game. This is not well-understood by nationalists, though Kings, Emperors and also Sultans, seems to have understood it.

In Sri Lanka, Muslims are in business, just like Greeks were in the Ottoman Empire.

But nationalists will also want to eliminate poor minorities not just the rich. In India for example, Hindu nationalists complain that Congress party went out of the way to help Muslims who tended to be poorer than Hindus.

"Why are Muslims complaining that they are poor," one nationalist told this columnist. "They ran this country for centuries they should have done something then."

As the Ottoman Empire declined, minorities started to be oppressed, even with the Sultan in power, as his grip came under threat from reformist forces.

There was a movement to build a Republic and depose the monarch. They were inspired by Meiji Japan.

Like in Japan and during the French revolutions there were nationalists, liberals and statists in the mix.

The liberals wanted an inclusive Ottoman Republic.

Nationalists wanted a republic with a ‘Turkish’ identity. Ultimately a group of nationalists called Committee of Union and Progress gained the upper hand. Liberals were sidelined, and Young Turks took control.

Armenians, who served in the Army in the Ottoman Empire from the days of Sultans were removed.

In 1915 in the so-called Armenian genocide, more than 1.5 million Armenians were believed to have been killed. Hundreds of thousands fled and became stateless citizens.

They benefitted from so-called Nansen passports developed by Fridtjof Nansen, a Norwegian explorer who was tasked to help them by the League of Nations. He was the High Commissioner for Refugees for the League. The present-day UNHCR is a result of what he started.

The Nansen passport was developed initially to help Russians who were made stateless by Lenin. Lenin ‘revoked’ the citizenship of over 800,000 expat Russians who were made stateless as a result.

In earlier ages, citizenship was not an issue. People simply walked.

Ironically after Easter attacks, refugees from Pakistan who were in Sri Lanka under UNHCR protection (some of whom were Christian) were targeted by nationalists.

The massacres of Armenians and other Christians later led to the modern-day coining of the term ‘genocide’ according to some observers.

Turkey aligned itself with nationalist Germany in World War I (Central Powers) and lost the war. As a result, its empire was broken up.

It lost territory, and Saudi Arabia became an independent state, after a long series of internal conflicts, combined with and British moves to de-stabilize Ottomans during the war.

Turkey became a secular republic after World War I, under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The new rulers were statist but secular. The military was also secular. But all that is now changing.

Turkey also had a bad central bank and is still the sick man of Europe. An unstable central bank with a collapsing currency is a trait Turkey shares with Sri Lanka.

However, at the outer fringes of its former empire, countries like Saudi Arabia have excellent central banks which do not engage in fancy monetary policy and self-destruct.

Ethno-religious Nationalism

Ethno-religious nationalism is not really about economic power. While it is true that migrant trading communities tend to be rich, when territories with Muslims were annexed, those people are not necessarily wealthy.

Muslims in present-day India were annexed by Britain in the building of the Raj.

The problem with nationalists is that they want to eliminate people who they have never seen, simply because they are on the face of the Earth speaking a particular language or following a religion that is different from their own and is making up demographic numbers.

If there is economic power, all the good to fire up jealousy.

For Hitler and his followers, the fact that there were wealthy Jews and bankers certainly helped spread resentment.

But the Romany were not rich. Nor were homosexuals. Neither were the Slavs.

It is a mistake to think that nationalism is driven by economics. It is like saying that the Tamil Tiger problem was caused by poverty.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Millions of impoverished people have been eliminated by nationalists, and many people live in poverty without resorting to terrorism against another community.

An economically prosperous community or an educated one is a useful tool.

Sinhalese and Tamils were exported to Malaysia by the British to build the civil service. They have built Hindu and Buddhist temples. The Sultans of Malaysia allowed it under British rule. Many African nations import Sri Lankan accountants even now.

An economically prosperous person, of whatever community pays tax. Unless he is protected by import duties and is, therefore, exploiting the consumer, he is serving the people.

When Zimbabwe expropriated and drove out white farmers leading to a collapse in agricultural output neighbouring nations gave them land leases and bank credit, becoming net exporters of maize or tobacco or whatever they grew.

When Sri Lanka expropriated British tea farmers, Kenya let them come.

Irredenta and Triangular Nationalism

Most nationalists only want to create a homogenous nation-state within their country.

Rogers Brubaker, a US academic, has identified the following elements in a newly independent, nationalist leaning, nation-state.

The nationalists, which constitutes a majority, defines a ‘core nation’ as belonging to them. This could be Sinhalese, Buddhist, or Turkish or Muslim, German or Italian, or Jewish in the case of Israel.

However, it does not represent the actual citizenry since in the present day, as a country’s demography is always in a state of flux. Birth rates may wax and wane. People may change their language or religion, migrants may come and go. If the country was recently part of an Empire or under the control of a larger neighbouring nation, border are open.

Sri Lanka after independence brought in a tight citizenship law to freeze the population and expel Indian origin workers ending thousands of years of migration for various tasks, ranging from toddy tapping to catching elephants.

The lack of homogeneity and the state of flux triggers the idea that the core-nation is not flourishing, and state interventions are needed to fix it. Language or religion policies (anti-conversion laws), citizenship, and so on are then instituted.

Unlike capitalism, where transactions are voluntary, state intervention is coercive and are usually zero-sum leaving victims in their wake.

It is usually the case that wherever there is a minority, there is also a similar majority community living in the next country. This may be because people migrated during imperial or foreign rule, or that former feudal or imperial rulers drew the borders in across the land of a linguistic or religious group – as they have done for millennia – or the border was simply where the last war stopped.

When a majority discriminates against the ‘alien’ minority in the newly independent nation-state, the same ethnic group in the next country will then try to help the minority or irredenta – the unredeemed people.

The irredenta will insist that they have been living the land for centuries or millennia and is their homeland too and not just that of the majority, leading to a triangular power struggle or triangular nationalism.

That is why some people in Tamil Nadu helped the Tamil Tigers. They may not have any idea aim to annex Sri Lanka’s North, and indeed, the Northern people may not want to be annexed, but simply want self-determination.

Either way, the ground is set for killing and bloodshed.

Pan-Nationalism

Pan-Nationalism is a connected concept. Hitler wanted to create Greater or Pan Germany, which will annex countries where German speakers lived, the Third Reich.

This was supposedly the re-creation of glorious past (atheether sri vibhuoothiya in Sinhalese nationalism), where such a Greater Germany existed, such as the Holy Roman Empire or the German Empire unified by Bismark.

But the Second Reich was not homogeneous either. The Jews and other minorities also existed then.

Hitler annexed Austria, where Germans were a majority, to build a Pan-German state, and other countries where Germans were a minority. Russian Tsars – before communism – had also been trying to build a Pan-Slavic state.

The excuse to annex a country with a minority could be the oppressed irredenta.

Unlike a standard or successful Emperor, who wanted the land and people and their knowledge, the Nazis and other nationalist just want the land, not the people, a concept called Lebensraum.

This is the difference between ordinary colonial rule and Pan-Nationalism.

Eastern European philosophers had complained that the British never understood the nature of nationalism (Britain itself was a constitutional monarchy, where the king was ‘German’ and Scotland or Ireland could vote itself out if they wanted to, leaving aside the question of the Empire which was progressively let go and internal elections held), as it was a free trading – basically federal state – and as a result could not comprehend the plan to eliminate Jews and Slavs.

Hitler and his cohorts used to a concept of Aryanism made popular by the Thule Society and Helena Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society to include ‘superior’ people and exclude others.

Accordingly the British were Aryan. So were the Norwegian or the French.

It gets funnier, except that it is no joke. For South Asian nationalists, Tamils were Dravidian and not ‘Aryan’.

Hitler also wanted to eliminate Slavs their land was to be taken as part of expanding Germay into the East under General Plan East. They were also not ‘Aryans’.

 

GeneralplanOst (Europe, with pre-war borders, showing the extension of the Generalplan Ost master plan of Hitler. LEGEND: Dark grey – Germany (Deutsches Reich). Dotted black line – the extension of a detailed plan of the "second phase of settlement" (zweite Siedlungsphase). Light grey – planned territorial scope of the Reichskommissariat administrative units; their names in blue are Ostland (1941-1945), Ukraine (1941-1944), Moskowien (never realized), and Kaukasien (never realized). Source: Wikimedia

The entire Soviet Union was to be taken under Generalplan Ost, and the Slavs massacred on enslaved. About 27 million Soviet people, including nearly nine million soldiers, died during World War II.

In many countries, there were Nazi ‘fifth columns’ to welcome them and carry out sabotage before they came.

Even the US had a pro-Nazi fifth column especially in the Republican Party who opposed America joining World War II.

Islamic Pan-Nationalism

Islamic State is not new global terrorism as Ranil Wickremesinghe claimed. But merely an old concept coming back in religious garb.

What is called global terrorism is basically a network of fifth columns in countries to be included in the ‘Reich.’

The ISIS took control of a large swathe of Syria, which along with Iraq was previously ruled by the Baath Party, a secular – left-oriented (hence the link with the Soviet Union) political movement.

The ISIS wanted to create a Pan-Islamic state running up to Sri Lanka and the North African territories that had once been with various Muslim leaders including Ottomans.

However now that ISIS had lost their core state in Syria and Iraq from which they hoped to expand the Pan-Islamic state.

A suspected ISIS’s Pan-Islamic state included countries that were controlled by Muslim rulers in the past as well as those that were not. This map is from the Empire of Fear: Inside the Islamic State by Andrew Hosken.

It was not necessary for an oppressed minority to exist for ISIS to extend its tentacles, though it can certainly help gain recruits. With repeated anti-Muslim riots, Sri Lanka was undoubtedly an easy candidate.

But ISIS and Al Qaeda are, or were, active in many majority Muslim states, where there is no oppression of Muslims at all.

They are more active in secular states with a Muslim majority, where they feel Islam is not adequately respected.

This is where Wahabism comes in.

Wahabism

Saudi Arabia and Al Saud dynasty originated in the outer reaches of the Ottoman Empire, partly helped by Western powers like Britain after World War I.

However, the alliance between Muhammed ibn Saud and Muhammed ibn Abd-al-Wahhab dates back to 1744. It is a remarkable tale of triumph and defeat and comeback.

Under instruction from Wahabis, Al Saud’s decided to run a tightly Muslim state, which was unlike earlier and larger Muslim ruled empires, which were more cosmopolitan. Gaining control of Mecca and Medina after expanding out of his original stronghold of Nadj, helped increase the legitimacy of the Saud dynasty.

The collapse of the Bretton Woods and the inflationary rise in oil prices made Saudi Arabia more powerful.

Unlike Iran, which had a bad central bank which printed money and de-stabilized the country, Saudi Arabia had a good one, helping generate an economy at least as stable as the US, despite sea-sawing oil prices and deficit spending at times.

Helped by oil money, Wahabism spread.

Militancy increased after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the US and Saudi Arabia funded partisans inside the country. With Wahabi zeal, its citizens also went to fight.

It seems that the more modern Saudi Royals are becoming slightly uneasy with Wahabism. Wahabi driven militants are thinking on their own and operating on their own agenda.

Saudi Arabia has already closed its religious police.

Thowheed Movement

A characteristic of many religions that originated in the Middle East, including Zoroastrianism, Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions, is the concept of one god or monotheism.

Monotheism itself rejects the concept of any other god. Obviously, such a religion could be more susceptible to nationalism than other faiths, and its priests or activists will find it easier to push the idea of discrimination or intolerance to their followers.

Members of Thowheed groups are also in conflict with other more inclusive Muslim groups including Sufis, who have built shrines for example. The Thowheed movement also removes the love for money, according to those who are familiar with the ideology.

Trends in modern-day Islam as promoted by the Wahabi or Muslim Brotherhood go against what has happened with other religions, which have become more moderate as time went on.

Greeks and Romans, who had a vast pantheon, could quickly assimilate the God of the next city-state or country it conquered. The Indo-Greeks readily assimilated Buddhism, and the statues and Buddhist art now seen is the result.

History shows that it has been the practice of all monotheistic religions to slam any syncretism as heresy.

It is a bit peculiar that Nazi-style nationalism has erupted in Sri Lanka and Myanmar despite Lord Buddha not preaching monotheism or any hate whatsoever. The Buddha did not get involved in religion or even deny that gods existed.

But it is clearly happening in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Whether Theravada Buddhism – at least as promoted by some monks – is more susceptible than Mahayana to nationalism is also a phenomenon that may require further study.

But that nationalism against minorities worsened in Myanmar with the military dictatorship loosening its grip and trend towards popular vote is clearly seen.

History has shown that when a group of people promote that a sect or peoples as pure, whether pure race Aryanism or Thowheed, the consequences tend to be tragic.

Other observers have commented that in Sri Lanka, nationalists, including sections of the media and clergy are using the Mahavamsa as the Bible has been used, and the Koran is being used now to foment hatred.

Mixing politics and illiberal religion has always been a recipe for disaster, and it backfires on the people themselves, as it is now happening in the Middle East.

As some commentators have pointed out, the Muslim community must take note of these developments and take action. Secular nations with Muslim majorities are already taking action. Both the Wahabi and Muslim Brotherhood movements have been active in trying to uproot secular leaders of majority Muslim nations.

The Sinhalese who have control of the polity seems to have little knowledge that the path taken after independence necessarily leads to conflict and slaughter of innocents, and it is no longer possible to blame foreign domination after gaining self-determination.

Red Flags

Post-independent Sri Lanka has been too much like Germany or Romania or Hungary, which should have raised red flags long ago.

That it did not, is probably due to a gap in education. Not that education under the British gave any understanding of nationalism. But Nazism proper had not come at the time.

The July 1983 attacks, the current anti-Muslim attacks are dead ringers for the Nazi Kristallnacht of 1933.

The boycott of Muslim businesses is also a copy of Judenboycott. Calls for boycotts started long before Muslims displayed any type of militancy or even political action and dates back at least to the writings of Anagarika Dharmapala.

The Sinhala only act, and language requirements also had many precedents in Europe, including the Nazi Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service.

It is well accepted that no one other than a Sinhalese (or Sinhalese Buddhist) can become the Prime Minister or President of Sri Lanka, in a de facto ‘Aryan paragraph’.

De facto ‘laws’ accepted by everyone are sometimes more effective than actual legislated ones.

Sri Lanka’s relentless intellectual opposition to liberalism, the worship of power and authoritarianism, is also troubling and is a sign that things cannot improve fast.

One reason for the worship of dictatorship is the same reason it happened in Germany. The Social Democrats, messed up the economy and could rarely agree on anything, which led to a call for a ‘strong man’ to fix it.

The current administration also has no discernible economic ideology, there have been too many interventions followed by currency collapses.

Though they used the popular vote to come to power, Nazis had no respect for the parliament and made laws through gazette. The Nazi’s also did not like capitalism or free markets, which was common to all European fascists. All fascist economies also collapsed eventually.

“An over-refined democratic parliamentarianism that today seems almost grotesque found its last and highest expression,” Joseph Goebbels once said. “It provided the stage on which National Socialism rose to power.

“We told our opposition often enough that although we were using its weapons and rules for our purposes, we had nothing intellectually or politically in common with them.

 

“To the contrary, our goal was to use these means to put and end to them and their methods, to finally eliminate their theories and policies. Both in theory and practice, National Socialism opposes liberalism.”

World War II in particular and in many ways World War I also was driven by Pan-nationalist aggression based on a specific mindset.

The alignment of the Ottoman/Turkey with Germany and later Japan with Germany goes to show that they were not the same as wars fought in the past.

In Europe and the US, white nationalism is on the rise. India, which had long been a secular state, is changing under the BJP. Nobody seems to want to learn from the past.

 This column is based on ‘The Price Signal by Bellwetherpublished in the June 2019 issue of the Echelon Magazine. To read Bellwether columns as soon as they are published, subscribe to Echelon Magazine at this link. The i-tunes app can be downloaded from here.