The second anniversary of the Easter attacks being commemorated at Kochchikade Church amid heavy security – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara
The 21 April Easter Sunday tragedy in Sri Lanka has close similarity in some key aspects with the 9/11 carnage in New York and Washington a decade ago.
In the case of 9/11, all independent inquiries concluded that neither Osama Bin Laden nor any Muslim organisation had anything to do with it. Instead it was an inside job involving America’s FBI, Israel’s Mossad and Britain allegedly using Saudi elements. There is evidence convincingly in favour of the independent inquiries than the US George Bush version.
What is noteworthy is how the US promptly exploited the tragedy as a launching platform to demonise Islam, accuse Muslims of terrorism and invade Muslim countries to revive the Western arms industry, suffering post 1985 after the ‘collapse of communism’ with dwindling sales of their ‘human killing machines’.
Within 24 hours of the tragedy President Bush accused Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda, a loose group of Afghan freedom fighters recruited, trained, armed and financed by America to fight Soviet occupation, of being responsible for the attacks.
What ensued in less than a month after 9/11, was the beginning of the 20 year war, against Afghanistan, with US troops’ ending last week the US pull out of Afghanistan with Talibans poised to take control of the country, after some possible bloody clashes with the US installed government. The enemy was pre-determined prior to 9/11 to fall in line with George Bush’s well planned new world order. The US lost the war but the Western arms industry won!
Within 27 days Bush, with then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, blackmailed helpless world saying that you are either with us or with the terrorists, invaded Afghanistan and turned that war-battered country into another never-ending war.
American troops massacred thousands of innocent men, women, children and the aged during the first week of the invasion, installed a puppet regime and established military bases threatening bordering countries especially cornering Pakistan and Iran.
Summing up the mood among the general public in America today, senior journalist Gordon Duff wrote; “America’s response to 9/11 was oppression at home and a tirade of frenzied phobic reactions around the world”.
Few Americans know that a team of Israeli intelligence agents were arrested on 9/11 after being observed using “video” equipment to what appeared to be recording the planes crashing into the towers. After the disaster, the Mossed agents, soon to be arrested and released by the FBI, began celebrating as though they had completed a successful operation. This enraged New Yorkers who mistook them for terrorists. In fact, New Yorkers weren’t wrong.
Only top members of America’s military knew the truth, the “dancing Israelis” had remotely guided the two planes into the World Trade Center, not that they were videoing the unfolding tragedy!
South Africa’s respected Archbishop Desmon Tutu called to bring George Bush and Tony Blair for war crimes trial in Hague.
The situation was so frightening that Wolfram Richter, the Economic Professor of the University of Dortmund, has expressed his fears that they would do to Muslims what the Europeans did to the Jews and the next holocaust would be against Muslims. And now this is happening?
Here in Sri Lanka the Muslims, as a community, had nothing to do with this carnage. However the entire Muslim community was accused of terrorism and unprecedented violence was unleashed, which poisoned the Sinhalese minds and divided the two communities. Divisions between the people, the arms mafia would love to see. It was on this anti-Muslim hate wave that the last Parliamentary and Presidential Elections were fought and won. Pseudo nationalists without realising the long lasting damage being caused to the country and its forward march, put Islam on the dock. Pity the nation where the pseudo nationalists benefitted at the cost of the minorities!
The new Government continues to persecute Muslims not realising the damage it is causing to the country, to Buddhism in the long run and for peace and economic progress. Sri Lanka is also fast losing its long built friendly ties with Muslim countries, where over a million Sri Lankans are employed, the highest foreign exchange earners of the country remitting $ 7 billion every year. But now, to our detriment, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has taken the whip hand with full time monitoring of the government, the parliament and the judiciary. We shall soon see where the government and the country will be driven towards. Not happy times here, as we see in the unfortunate Myanmar!
Many Muslim organisations had warned the establishment about Zahran and his team as early as 2014. Instead of preventing the tragedy President Sirisena went on pilgrimage to Tirupathi from where he went with his family on a three-day trip to Singapore while Prime Minister Wickremesinghe holidayed in Bentota.
Yet, in the wake of the 21 April bombings the Government unleashed a fierce campaign trying to destroy the very foundation of the religious belief of the Muslim community. The attacks had all the sophisticated hallmarks of Israel’s Mossad involvement.
A timely appeal to the country by Archbishop Malcom Cardinal Ranjith that Muslims as a community had nothing to do with the coordinated bombings, averted another major tragedy within the country.
President Sirisena who criminally neglected to prevent the tragedy, imposed emergency laws, began persecuting Muslims, deployed forces to search Muslim owned properties from mosques, houses and business establishments. Muslim men and women were taken to custody on ridiculous allegations.
Dismissing the religious sacraments of Muslims, troops entered mosques with boots accompanied by sniper dogs during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Government banned Muslim women’s face cover, burka and niqab, allowed harassing Muslim women and ordered mosques to submit copies of sermons given within their premises.
It was under such frightening atmosphere President Sirisena left to China to attend a conference leaving Muslims at the mercy of murderous thugs.
As he left the country attacks began on Monday 13 May. Mob of around 1,500 with iron rods, over 300 swords and other such items began their attacks and burning spree under the indifferent eyes of the police and the army. Mobs burnt around 500 houses, shops, business establishments and mosques in around 30 Muslim villages.
Fasting Muslim women grabbing their children ran to Sinhalese neighbours for safety. Some accommodated and even provided food while others chased them out. Sinhala three-wheel drivers refused to take a severely-beaten Muslim, dragged on the street, to hospital. In the process he died.
A group of five men slashed a fasting furniture shop owner Fouzul’s neck with a sword before pouring turpentine. This was the frightening situation of Muslims in almost around 30 villages which came under mob rule.
Adding insult to injury President Sirisena visited brainwashed extremist BBS leader Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, at his prison cell, released him under presidential pardon and entertained him.
Every Muslim man, woman and even child, was treated with suspicion, hatred and bitterness almost everywhere. So-called search operations using emergency regulations became nightmare for innocent Muslim families who remain frightened.
The distorted coverage by most sections of the mainstream media, mainly Sinhala media, added fuel, poisoning Sinhalese minds against Muslims.
However several Buddhist monks came on the television and reiterated that Muslims are an integral part of the island’s population and had made tremendous contribution throughout their more than 1,000-year-long history. They pointed out that during the civil war in Sri Lanka, Muslims contributed immensely in the war against the LTTE.
Where will all these racist politics end up?
This persecution continued, bringing to power what is perceived across the globe as the Sinhala Buddhist Government which continues this persecution. Regrettably, this would do more harm to Buddhism and the country, than understood by the ordinary Sinhala Buddhists.
The frightening question is where all these racist politics will end up especially at a time when the country is passing its worst economic period since independence.
Both here in Sri Lanka and even in the US masterminds of these tragedies remain at large. Both George Bush and Tony Blair, who led the invasion of innocent Muslim countries to keep the arms producers happy, remain free while the presidential commission that had probed into the Easter Sunday carnage in Lanka held both Sirisena and Ranil responsible.
And now comes the revelation, close on the second anniversary of the tragedy, by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith who declared that the 2019 Easter attacks were “politically” driven and had nothing to do with Islamic extremism. Suicide bombers were only pawns manipulated by powerful political forces.
He said: “Our brethren were attacked not by (Islamic) religious extremism, but by a group that used the attackers as pawns to strengthen their political power. What we see in this (Easter Sunday attack) is not religious fanaticism or a love for a religion, but the attempts of certain political forces to consolidate their position.”
This statement demolishes the artificially-created myth of Islamic terrorism and had exposed the political forces which benefitted from the disaster. The UN office of the HCHR has a difficult brief in their hands.
Disclaimer: 9/11 Tragedy In The US & 4/21 Carnage In Sri Lanka – Some Perspectives! - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view