imal Weerawansa, our rabble-rousing politico, fulminates that Sunny Leone, the Canadian- Indian adult film star turned Bollywood actress is tipped to visit Sri Lanka, allegedly at the behest of the government. This, he says, is a plot to promote the casino business and, like everything else, is part of a ‘conspiracy.’
In those desperate times, Weerawansa seems to be juicing on Sunny Leone for his political survival. Those like Weerawansa, who were political hit-men of the ex-president have found their political lifespan fast running out, since the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was Rajapaksa who utilised Weerawansa, Ven. Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara and other least salubrious individuals to expand the reach of his regime.
Rajapaksa set the agenda and his goons followed it, though, some time, trying to do better, they drove their myopic campaign to extreme ends, even inconveniencing the ex- president (in the incidents such as the attack on Muslims in Aluthgama.)
"Both Sunny Leone and Wimal Weerawansa are part and parcel of it; Ms Leone, perhaps, the positive attributes of it: freedom; freedom to indulge and individualism."
Notwithstanding such infractions, Weerawansa and Gnanasara et al were effective organs through whoom the ex-president thought he could manipulate impulses of certain core groups of his constituency. However, at the end, a larger and saner segment of the public, who increasingly felt disenchanted with his regime voted him out and later denied him the majority in Parliament.
Now, desperation in Wimal Weerawansa is quite understandable. And he seems to believe Sunny Leone would give a boost to his waning political life. After all, the Canadian-Indian porn star is among the most searched names on Google by the Indians.
However, if we are worried about people who are visiting this country, Sunny Leone, or for that matter, those Chinese prostitutes, who get regularly deported, are among the least dangerous. We have welcomed demagogues, fanatics, hate preachers in the past.
Last year, the Burmese monk Ashin Wirathu, who is accused of instigating anti- Muslim violence in Myanmar visited Colombo on an invitation by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and addressed a stadium packed with monks and laymen. Wirathu’s visit came in the wake of an anti- Muslim campaign waged by the BBS.
Then, we have quite a number of radical Islamic preachers from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent who visit here. In public, they speak about peace and love, but to their own congression, they preach the polar opposite, the radical austere Islam.
If we want to keep our country safe and ethnic peace intact, those are the people we have to be worried about- and definitely not Sunny Leone. They instigate people to kill.
Those people are particularly dangerous for one reason: they can easily find a modest receptive audience here. That is exactly why people like Weerawansa can keep spewing his usual garbage. There are enough people to root for his every word.
And many of them are unhappy. If you glance through comment sections in some of the Sinhala websites catering to that audience, you may come across a bunch of people seething with anger.
Of course, a vast majority of them are harmless, and would not seek to give practical expression to their words. Still, some can easily be manipulated.
Eleven years ago, when another Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan performed in Colombo, angry puritans held violent protests and finally bombed the mega concert, killing two, including a photo journalist. Their grouse was that the concert was held on the eve of the death anniversary of Ven. Soma Thera, a pioneering monk of recent Buddhist radicalism.
However, Wimal Weerawansa, Ven Gnanasara et al constitute only one part of the problem. There are other unholy forces that stand on the way of enlightenment of vast swathes of public.
One such is an arch enemy of the BBS and Weerawansa; the otherwise insignificant renegade JVPers of the Front Line Socialist Party which exerts a pernicious influence in student politics in universities.
Those discarded hard Lefties are leading a sizeable portion of the country’s gifted minds in a zombie sacrifice to achieve their political ends.
Our universities are not so much the places of intellectual inspiration mainly because of monolithic student politics of FSP affiliated ‘Antharee’, which suppresses all other dissenting thoughts.
This was what the communists did from Soviet Union to Cuba to China. And the student leaders, who are in fact naive kids, who seek an identity away from their desperate village lives that they left behind, and find solace in an ideologically regressive student activism (Which shuns free market in education, and by competition and meritocracy) take the rest of students hostage, and virtually enslave them, in classic Communist style.
Why our university politics are dominated by discarded fancies of Marxist communism, when the respectable universities in the rest of the world have become liberal bastions is because a bunch of village idiots are ruling the roost there, depriving the rest of the lot, their freedom of thought. They should cease, and perhaps watch Sunny Leone.
We should be concerned more about political bosses who manipulate those raw youth as part of a myopic political project, than Sunny Leone. They rob the future of this country.
However, in the past, much of the bigotry is State orchestrated and unleashed by the government’s point-men . It was the covert and overt government backing that emboldened a few bigots and helped swell their ranks. After the defeat of Rajapaksa and with the State patronage being discontinued, most of them now risk falling into oblivion. And, those like Weerawansa and BBS are desperately striving to remain politically relevant. They may have a limited success.
After all, idiosyncrasies are part of democracy, and are in fact, beauty of it. Both Sunny Leone and Wimal Weerawansa are part and parcel of it; Ms. Leone, perhaps, the positive attributes of it: freedom; freedom to indulge and individualism. Weerawansa is about how that freedom is exploited and manipulated to deny and roll back the very freedoms of others. But, he has a right - a constitutionally guaranteed right, to be specific - to spew his garbage.
His regular drivel is inconveniencing many, but still music to many others. The same applies to BBS demigods. Still, that is democracy. Weerawansa is part of it; so is Sunny Leone.
Follow Ranga Jayasuriya @ RangaJayasuriya on twitter