Sri Lanka commentator makes U-turn over Hitler remarks
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s international cricket commentator Roshan Abeysinghe apologised profusely and begged for forgiveness Thursday after a backlash on social media over his comments glorifying Hitler.
After resisting for days to remove his offending tweet and calling his own fans fools, stupid and uneducated for criticising his remarks wishing for a Hitler to rule the country, Abeysinghe did a 180-degree turn with the online equivalent of begging on his knees.
"I realise that my ill thought out words have caused much hurt to many," Abeysinghe said on facebook as well as on Twitter.
"I am deeply sorry for depicting a despicable figure like Hitler who was nothing more than a genocidal maniac in favourable light….I would also like to apologise for calling some of you stupid for questioning my judgement."
“I should never have used such a derogatory term on people who were only trying to make me understand that they strongly disagreed with my conclusion about Hitler. It was callous and insensitive of me to say what I did and I am deeply sorry for my mistake.”
His original comment on June 9 calling for a Hitler has now been deleted though he vowed to many tweeps who tried to reason with him that he would never take down the offending remark.
"Sri Lanka truly needs a Hitler to put these elements in their places and not the compassionate government that once we wanted," he had said on Twitter on Monday.
It immediately drew a firestorm of protests on social media with followers as well as others asking him to withdraw the remark and issue an apology.
Some said he was worthy of an Asgiriya Anunayake, a reference to last month’s remark by venerable Venduruwe Upali who asked former defence secretary to be like a Hitler and establish a military dictatorship in the country.
Unlike Abeysinghe, the monk has not retracted his comments and said he meant "Hitler" in a positive way while Rajapaksa has criticised those who objected to the remarks saying only those with "wisdom" could understand the true meaning of the monk’s counsel.
In the case of Abeysinghe, he rejected attempts to liken him to the Asgiriya monk.
Some fans reported Abeysinghe to the International Cricket Council as well as foreign broadcasters who employed him.
"Anyone who even says a Hitler is needed to curb crimes is in need of a big lesson in history," said Twitter user Chamara Sumanapala. "Hitler surrounded himself with criminals. He legalised crimes (esp. agnst Jews)…"
Another Twitter user asked if Abeysinghe knew about the Holocaust in which over six million Jews were killed by Hitler.
There was fresh speculation on social media Thursday on what may have prompted a once adamant Abeysinghe to say mea culpa and issue an unqualified apology.
Sirisumana Dissanaya asked what role a Dutch cosmetics manufacturer and foreign broadcasters played in his unexpected apology.
"Thank you for the apology. What role did Dutch company @KeuneHQ, @ICC and @TenSports_tv play for your unqualified apology @ESPNcricinfo," Dissanayake said referring to Keune which is represented in Sri Lanka by him.
Another tweep had pointed out that Keune was run by a Dutch family which had protected Jews when they were persecuted by Hitler during World War II and asked what his Dutch principles would think about Abeysinghe’s affinity to the German dictator. (COLOMBO, July 12, 2018)