Friday, December 16, 2011

The Good Old Days by JB Muller

The Good Old Days -Anglophiles, Eurocentric arrogance and Reality

by J. B. Müller

(This dissertation is written from almost 50 year’s of on-the-job experience in the print and electronic media and from first-hand knowledge of people and events and from careful, objective research. It is written to illuminate a ‘grey-area’ that is often obscured or concealed. As a human being my aim is that the Truth be told with no holds barred and so that the oppressed, the marginalized, and the discriminated-against could come out of the shadows. That can only happen if we change our warped attitudes and acknowledge that great wrongs have been done to harmless people because of various evil motives.)

After 62 year’s of independence we still have in our midst persons who not only admire but who also hunger for colonial rule by Britain. These individuals, men and women, look at the past through rose-tinted spectacles and pine for the ‘good old days’ when decisions were made in Whitehall. Astonishingly, they sincerely believe that the British had a divine right to rule this country for its own good. They are fond of pointing to the roads and railways, the post and telegraph services and the administrative infrastructure as some noteworthy sections of the Colonial legacy bequeathed us by the British. Their naïve beliefs fly in the face of this country’s modern history because they do not go beyond the surface veneer. Their near-fanatical admiration for the Anglo-Saxon ‘Way-of-Life’ is strongly influenced by legend, mythology, and fallacious beliefs that were wrapped around colonial empire-building by such people as Rudyard Kipling and latterly, Winston Churchill.

One of the predominant driving forces behind colonial expansion from the beginnings of the 16th century was Eurocentric Racism. Europeans strongly believed that they were a ‘Chosen People’ superior to the rest of Mankind. The holdovers of this sickening legacy are still with us in the form of some of those of mixed parentage and those anglicized natives who think they were born here accidentally. I actually knew one such warped individual, scion of a Kandyan family who lived at the ‘British’ Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Institute. He lived here because the name of the place had the word ‘British’ in it. He used to meet me at breakfast, sharp 7:30 AM. He used to imperiously summon the white-clad waiter by calling-out ‘Boy, bring me my breakfast.’ That was bacon and eggs (sunnysides up) with toast and marmalade washed down by a cup of English Breakfast Tea! He read only "The Times" from London (about five days old!) and disdained all local newspapers stating that they were only good enough to clean windows or for use in the toilet! Of course, he was a ‘High’ Church Anglican who attended St. Michael & All Angels in Kollupitiya and, occasionally, St. Peter’s Garrison Church in the Fort.

Do these people, these anglophiles, really know the sordid history of British rule in this Island? A rule soaked in the blood to those who dared to resist that rule? Have they ever read the extensive correspondence of Sir Robert Brownrigg to General Hay McDowall available in the British Colonial Office, Series 54? Have they read the General Order (one of several documented by the late Prof. Tennekoon Vimalanda) issued in 1818 that stated: "Kill every man, woman and child including the babes suckling at their mother’s breast. Destroy all dwelling houses. Burn all crops. Cut down all fruit trees. Slaughter all cattle; take what meat is necessary to feed the troops and burn the rest. Destroy all reservoirs, canals and channels. Poison the wells. Lay waste utterly the countryside denying any relief whatsoever to the rebels." This Order was carried out, laying waste Uva and Vellassa, a destruction from which it is yet to fully recover. British writers commented that every tree from Ratnapura to Badulla was festooned with the hung bodies of rotting human beings that gave off a revolting stench. The word ‘genocide’ was coined in the 1940s meaning the wiping-out of a people, but if this wasn’t genocide then, what is? Kandyan Sinhalese survivors of this colonial holocaust reported that the East African Askaris (Negro) were encouraged by their British officers to barbecue captives and eat their flesh! To the freedom fighters watching horrified from the edges of the jungle, these weren’t human beings but demons. They fled into the deep fastness of the southeastern jungles and all resistance collapsed. I have talked with the descendants of some of these survivors in hamlets near Kumana and they confirmed this.

Their records in Africa, Asia, America and Australia have been extensively documented. They wiped-out or enslaved millions of Africans; they slaughtered millions of Asians; they butchered the Amerindian tribes, and they almost decimated the Australian aborigines. In addition to this bloody record of unbridled carnage, European diseases such as syphilis, smallpox and other communicable diseases destroyed entire populations who did not possess the immunity to resist these new-to-them diseases. They also introduced alcohol and to this day it is as blight amongst indigenous peoples throughout the planet.

Even at this moment the Amerindian tribes in South America are being annihilated as precious minerals and oil has been discovered on their ancestral lands. White-owned multi-national corporations are involved in the business of obliterating these indigenous peoples. Those who inhabit Borneo and Papua-New Guinea are also losing their habitats before the inexorable onslaught of giant corporations that either want the tropical hardwood timber or valuable natural resources that lie underground.

Millions died as slaves, treated as sub-human beings. It was preached in churches up to recently that the non-European peoples had no salvation because they were Black, Brown, Yellow, or Red. A well-known lady resigned from a Calvinist congregation in Colombo and sought to join another church because the minister preached a sermon in which he stated that biblically, there was no salvation for non-Whites! She was quoted by Riccardo Orizio in his book "Lost White Tribes" (© 2000.) Another mixed-descent Sri Lankan clergyman walked out of a Christian pastoral conference in South Africa when he was barred from entering a ‘Whites Only’ toilet and directed to a    "Coloured’s/Blacks’ toilet. Didn’t these pastors know that Jesus was an Asian, a Jew, and coloured to boot? And, it is also a fact that non-Europeans were not permitted to even enter ‘Whites Only’ clubs throughout Sri Lanka. One such club in Colombo displayed prominently a notice which stated: "Natives and Dogs Not Allowed." It was removed in 1961 on a government directive. Another club at a popular Up-country resort had a rule that said that you had to be dressed in a European suit plus tie or be denied access to the Dining Room. The Club kept several coats of different sizes and ties for patrons who arrived ‘undressed.’!I worked in one such establishment where the waiters addressed all Whites as ‘Master Sir.’ Jesus Himself couldn’t have used a ‘Whites Only’ toilet in South Africa or entered a ‘Whites Only’ club in Sri Lanka.

In the region of the Plantation Raj, I came to know a man in his Sixties by the name of Kalu Banda. He had a sinister furrow carved diagonally across his face from above his right eye to below his left ear-lobe. He told me that the road on which we were standing was once a horse-track and the European who owned a tea plantation a few miles away was to ride this way often. He met him one day and failed to remove his turban and bow. For this act of ‘disrespect’ the European struck him across his face with his leather riding quirt, drawing blood and leaving a huge gash which healed slowly. He told me tales of labourers being tied to trees and whipped until their backs were shreds of torn flesh. There was no one to complain to he said. Then, pretty women or girls as young as 12 years from the Labour Lines or the village were ordered to be brought to the bungalow at dusk—properly bathed and with the coconut-oil in their hair washed-out thoroughly. The plantation areas have many bastard children—some with blue eyes and blonde hair—the result of the sexual exploitation the voiceless were subject in the ‘good old days.’ Lorna Wright has documented this in her book: "Just Another Shade of Brown" (© 1976), followed by Dr. Kumari Jayawardenain her "Erasure of the Euro-Asian." (© 2007), andDonovan Moldrich in his "Bitter Berry Bondage." Writing about the indentured labour brought from the Ram Nad district of present-day Tamil Nadu, he wrote: "The trail from Talaimannar to Matale was marked by the whitening bones of thousands of men, women and children who perished on the way from infectious diseases, malnutrition, snake-bite, and attacks by bear, leopard, wild buffalo and elephants. When they arrived at Matale they were auctioned off to different White plantation owners: the man here, the wife there, the children somewhere else. The heartless tearing-up of families went on year after year. That became bitter berry bondage as the coffee estates gave way to tea, all built up on the blood, the sweat, and the heart-rending tears of these wretched people." They were like this for 125 years, from 1823 to 1948 when they were deprived even of their citizenship and became stateless non-citizens. The writings of John Capper, William Knighton, Dr. Henry Marshall, P.D. Millie, C.R. Rigg, William Sabonadiere, Edward Sullivan, and Herbert White, among others add grist to the mill and vividly describe some of the many, varied and unpleasant facets of British rule.

Old marriage registers available at the National Archives provide enlightening reading where it is stated in black-and-white: "John Brown* of the 20th Regiment married a native woman." (Name not recorded.) The only redeeming factor was that the issue were no bastards—they were designated ‘half-castes’ and despised by both sides. (*For obvious reasons a pseudonym is used here to illustrate the point being made.) The very reason that the Paynter Home was established by the Indian Christian Mission was to take care of these unacknowledged offspring produced through the unrestrained sexual exploitation of helpless local women. Another home was set-up in Badulla by Methodist missionaries and elsewhere.
Sri Lankan publicists had the courage of their convictions to expose the injustices that were perpetrated on the people of this country. Let me quote the well-known social activist Susil Siriwardena here: "Long was the line of those distinguished practitioners, who provided leadership to their institutions, were gurus to the juniors and who contributed to the profession:Tarzie Vittachi, Denzil Peiris, J. L. Fernando, H. E. R. Abeysekera, Donovan Moldrich, Fred de Silva and Victor Gunawardena.Viewed within the setting of the intellectual milieu of the second half of the 20th century, Mervyn de Silva, both the craftsman and the personality, stands out as an exemplar of a meritocratic age, where the values of excellence, quality, disciplined labour, and commitment to professionalism, a multicultural sensitivity and an intuitive grasp of truth, were the norms of those who set out to reach for the stars. It as an age when youth were inspired by idealism, for which independence provided a supplementary value addition. The whole country, Asia, the Tricontinent, and the world itself, provided the intellectual canvas." These highly-respected commentators despised the entire raison d’être of colonial rule and the utter arrogance of Eurocentric racism that drove it forwards and outwards and its latter-day metamorphosis into ‘decolonization.’ This was its new face with its indirect domination through trade, aid, and military alliances that sought to conceal the hidden hands of command and control.

When people from this part of the world visit London, Paris, Rome, and other European capitals they are awed into profound silence by the magnificent edifices: The palaces, museums, and monuments to greatness that they see around them. Do they realize that all this exists on the bitter and unrelenting exploitation of man by man? Or the enslavement of innocent peoples? On their labour in the cotton fields of the American South, the coffee plantations of Brazil, the cocoa estates of West Africa, the diamond mines of South Africa, the tobacco fields of Zimbabwe, the tea gardens of Sri Lanka, the rubber estates of Malaysia, the sheep farms of Australia, the sugarcane fields of Mauritius? These are the places where people laboured for a pittance in wages or no wages at all. They laboured on lands that were stolen from the indigenous peoples? They laboured in inhuman conditions so that a few White men in London, Paris, Antwerp, New York or Basel could amass fortunes beyond the dreams of avarice. Then, is there any justification whatsoever that Man (created in the image of God), any man, should enslave another and exploit him to the death? In"Roots" (© 1976) written by Alex Haley we read with feelings too deep even for tears a story of how a man rudely torn from his family in Africa in 1750 ends with this recounting of that odyssey seven generations later. Indeed, for a human being whose mind has been opened by the LORD God to the Truth it is abominable that human beings, brethren all under the Fatherhood of God, could countenance, much less, justify the conduct of those who issued forth from the European continent 500 years ago to despoil the Earth. The insoluble problem of global warming, the depletion of the Earth’s water resources, the pollution of the environment (earth, air, and sea) and a score of other grave problems could all be traced back to these arrogant Eurocentric racists. Their attitudes should not be allowed to influence us in any way or manner. The LORD chose to bring His Word to Mankind through an Asian people, the Israelites and, latterly, their descendants, the Jews. Jesus, the Christ was a Jew, of the House of Judah, born on the Western edge of the Asian continent. The Mediterranean Basin in which His Word was first preached is the Melting Pot of three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. The Word of God went to Armenia, Ethiopia and Egypt long before it reached England. The Mar Thoma congregation in Malabar was established during the lifetime of the ApostleThomas whose grave is to be found in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A Nestorian Christian congregation existed in Anuradhapura and another in Vavuniya in the 4th century of the Common Era, that is, in the 300s. If one blindly follows the blind both will assuredly fall into a ditch. Open your eyes to reality. Only the utterly naïve and those who would be ignorant would want to be anglophiles# and believe that the Anglo-Saxon peoples represent the zenith of civilization; what they actually represent is the nadir of barbarism. This quote which ends my dissertation puts it quite succinctly:

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington