The Daily Mirror in its Editorial yesterday and on several other occasions spotlighted the subtle and sophisticated strategies through which rich and powerful countries are continuing to plunder the remaining wealth and resources of third world countries like Sri Lanka.
Earlier the imperial colonial powers did it through their military forces and battleships. Now they are doing it through what is known as economic neo-colonialism and the armies for these strategic operations comprise mainly the multi-million dollar trans-national corporations (TNCs).
The TNCs are operating in vital areas such as health, food and milk, agriculture and industries. On Thursday a widely-viewed international TV channel focused on how some TNCs were promoting the “white is right and white is might” misconception literally and otherwise. The TNCs are making billions of dollars annually by encouraging or hoodwinking hundreds of millions of people in third world countries, mainly India and Nigeria to make their black or brown skin white. For this purpose they are told to buy many creams, lotions and other substances, some of which are now found to be acidic or toxic.
While the TNCs are taking advantage of the centuries long dilution that white people are more civilised than black or brown skin people, millions in the third world also suffer from some misconception that being black or brown skin is a curse or a negative factor that needs to change even at a high cost or sometimes at a risk of some major disease.
This epidemic of white is right or white is beautiful appears to have hit the younger generations in Sri Lanka also. On August 6 the Daily Mirror featured an article headlined "Whitening Creams; Check before using them”. It was another case of what the enlightened Reggie Siriwardena described as “pompous artifacts of colonised generations”. It may be only skin deep or have only face value but there are undercurrents of the rich white world’s continuing agenda for domination and plunder and the third world’s shocking and shameful slavery to white ways and values despite clearcut evidence that the west to a large degree is hypocritical, self-righteous and deceptive. The Daily Mirror article said, a study by researchers Chalani Rubesinghe and Hemantha Withanage had conclusively proven that some of the whitening creams found in the local market, including both foreign and local products contained mercury, which is a toxic element for people. We as the people of a country in the tropical belt have more Melanin than European and other people who are fair in complexion. Melanin is a skin-darkening pigment located on skin cells and it is also a protective agent. Our skin is made in a way to resist harmful rays from the sun and that protection process is carried out due to the presence of Melanin, according to Dr. Varuna Gunathilake, Head of the National Centre for Medical Toxicology and Poison Information of the National Hospital. He warned that excessive use of Mercury would stop the formation of Melanin. When no more Melanin is formed, the skin gets fair apparently but people are not aware of the short-term and long-term effects it could have on the human body. He said skin irritation, skin burning and neurological symptoms were among the harmful effects of mercury in creams.
Young people who are being skinned alive literally by this get white epidemic and have been mislead by the white lies of the foreign and local promoters, could get more information from the Medical Toxicology Centre of the National Hospital on the hotline 0112686143.
In a multitude of areas ranging from medicinal drugs food and milk and agro-chemicals to whitening of the skin we often act as jackasses though we are supposed to be having a 90 percent literacy rate. Perhaps the modern era of technology is training specially young people to press buttons instead of thinking. That may be one reason why we are allowing TNCs to use, abuse, misuse and dupe us at a heavy cost to ourselves and our country.