Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Morons And Extremists - The Real Threat To Sri Lanka

I was listening to the PHAT 30 countdown on Friday evening when YES FM RJ's Jeremy and Delano started talking about Oscar Pistorious, the famous South African athlete who had just been arrested and subsequently charged with murdering his girlfriend. As you probably know by now, what at first seemed like an accidental shooting, later turned into a 1st degree murder charge. It was a tragic and highly charged story; however, it seems the friendly RJ's of YES FM didn't quite share this sentiment.

Let me just say, Jeremy and Delano are easily one of the worst RJ duos I have ever had the misfortune of listening to. I have heard babbling toddlers hold better conversations than these two geniuses; they spoke of the Pistorious murder in the most childish, idiotic way, first discussing the mechanics of shooting someone blind and then trying to guess what kind of costume Pistorious' model girlfriend must have been wearing to scare him into shooting her dead. Then, after fulfilling their quota of inane and insensitive chatter between songs, they promptly dedicated the next song to Oscar Pistorious' dead girlfriend.

The song? Ke$ha's "Die Young".

Let this sink in for a minute. These two clowns, who are professional RJ's, thought it was amusing to dedicate a song about partying like you're going to die young, to the victim of a brutal shooting. I almost stopped the car in shock and disbelief. It was a moment so inappropriate, so repulsive and so disgusting, most people would think twice before making that joke to their best friend. Here were two people who felt it was fine to share this during prime time on national radio.

This is just one example of a growing trend I have noticed in Sri Lanka, where people who you thought would 'know better', simply don't. From matters that range from women's rights to politics, from common manners to religion and race, a growing number of the 'educated masses', as I like to call them, are standing not on the side of reason but of complete madness.

Of course this sort of thing is not restricted to radio; I've already blogged about the famous (for 15 minutes) Sri Lankan sisters Natalie and Nadiya Anderson, who went on to discuss the various 'servants' they kept at home while being interviewed for The Amazing Race. While their actions can be excused as more a blooper than a serious issue, it once again shows the lack of awareness to cultural and social norms, especially when they were in essence representing the country to an international audience.

This is starting to ring some alarm bells, because Sri Lanka is no country of unity and harmony, despite the various images of harps and angels the government propaganda machine is generating. The truth is that while we have ended the most visible of wars, we are still fighting an invisible war against the dictatorship of the Rajapakses, the corruption of his friends-and-family government, the unknown state of the North, the lack of any form of opposition, poor education standards and the plight of women that work home and abroad, just to name a few. Given all these serious matters, it's important that the general public are educated and show solidarity for justice and reason, and not side with the fanatics and extremists, such as our newest friends - the Bodu Bala Sena.

Over the last few months, this group of organised (and sometimes violent) Buddhist extremists have become more and more vocal, staging protests and demonstrations against Muslims in various parts of the island. While anti-muslim hate is not something new in Sri Lanka, it has rarely been taken to such lengths as these. We can all remember how the Dambulla mosque incident turned out, with the Muslims wisely taking a diplomatic and non-confrontational stance towards the violent thuggery depicted by the monks. One wonders how much longer they can maintain such a stance, given the type of protests the BBS have staged. In the area where I work, monks and locals gathered together holding up signs depicting Allah as being a pig. Recently someone shared a picture of an effigy of what can only be either a Muslim imam or perhaps the Prophet being burned.

The BBS are very serious, and have active support in the most surprising circles. Not only has the government almost been completely silent on their activities, but there are a growing number of supporters that have thrown their weight behind their extremist views. Facebook especially has been flooded with 'patriotic' hate groups, calling for Sri Lankan 'lions' to purge the country of all Muslims since we are after all a 'buddhist state'.

Here's the thing though; let's for a minute put aside the agenda of the BBS. They are, after all, just another extremist hate group, and the world has its fair share of them. What is truly disturbing is that a growing number of people, educated and intelligent people, have actually bought into their fear-mongering mandate. There are articles published in our national newspapers, proudly defending their actions and even justifying their actions. That particular article has been shared 1500 times on Facebook alone, and that just terrifies me. I'm saddened to say that even members of my close circle of friends and family are starting to question the 'purpose' behind the halaal certification, and whether it should in fact be abolished in Sri Lanka.
To cap it off, many of you must have heard of the One Billion Rising movement that I blogged about recently. The aim was to raise awareness regarding gender based violence, and was part of an international movement that spanned all the continents. We had our own One Billion Rising movement in Colombo, and this post nicely details all the fantastic work that was done leading up to it. However, today I was shown a blog post written by an anonymous blogger, who had shared a picture of the Lipton Circus protest, and written the following:

"One Billion Rising..Colombo style..errr...thats more like One Hundred Rising but..hey..still..it was a good show! a show of strength a definite show of power...women power..NGO power..check the Chicks..should have gone there yesterday.. could have definitely hit on one of those loose NGO women...could have had a different V. Day then!!!"

What follows are a series of anonymous comments, basically ridiculing the protest, claiming the protesters don't know anything about women in urban areas because they are from the English speaking middle class, that they are a 'pathetic bunch of stooges who dance to the tune of some organisations from the West', and that this is all a publicity stunt for 'patrons living in a cool Western country'.

There are more bizarre ravings involving government conspiracies, but I don't want to go on, and I don't want to link to them either since I don't want their idiocy to be advertised.
Bottom line: There are crazy people out there; that's a given. What I can't understand is how their numbers seem to be growing. I can't understand how every time I log on to Facebook there is more evidence of people whom I call 'friends' sharing all this extremist nonsense. I can't understand how  normal people, brought up in multicultural environments, can say and do the most insensitive things in public forums. I can't believe the voice of reason, peace, love and understanding is the one in the minority.
God help us all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Butterfly (A 'One Billion Rising' Post)

It's amazing how easy it is for us to ignore what is sometimes right in front of our eyes. Often, we get so conditioned to particular ways and accepted norms, that our senses become deadened and numbed to certain stimuli. Like spending too long in a cellar, our eyes grow accustomed to the gloom and dank surroundings, and before we know it we no longer ache for the fresh air and the sun upon our faces.

I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I am like that too, when it comes to violence against women. I tell myself that the overwhelming data and statistics are wrong, and that the situation may be slightly blown out of proportion, and that maybe this doesn't happen to all women, but just to women who are 'unfortunate' enough to come across a crazed pervert. I'm ashamed that I entertain such thoughts for even the briefest of nanoseconds.

The fact is that it's hard for a man like me to understand that women live through the fear of harassment on a daily basis. That at every juncture or turn, they have to be constantly vigilant, constantly vary of their surroundings and the circumstances they are in. Driving late at night is not even an option; women don't even attempt it anymore. Walking home from work after dark is an unknown activity if you are a woman. Travelling by bus becomes an exercise in strategy: is the bus too full, too empty? Are there enough seats with women seated adjacent, and if not, are the men at least decent human beings in appearance? If I have to stand, is my bag long enough to cover my front and/or my rear, should the need arise?

These are just a few examples of the dangers every women face in our world; I could go on and on if I considered the work environment, home, family, women of different ages, etc. We've come to the point where women are raped in our neighbourhoods, and we can only shrug when the perpetrators claim she was a prostitute, as if that is somehow relevant to the brutal assault. We've come to the point where little girls are violated in ways so graphic that they are unable to continue living, while their supposed protectors are given a slap on the wrist and told sternly to not do it again. We've come to the point where even some women believe it is their right to be only second-class citizens, and that any woman who dares claim otherwise is a godless, westernized anarchist.

I hope to be a father one day, in the not too distant future. I don't know how much the world will change between then and now, but I refuse to believe that there may be a chance I bring a girl into this world that can only hope the odds are stacked in her favour for a normal life, that can only cross her innocent fingers and wish that she can have an equal chance at success, that can only sit and pray she goes through life as one of the few lucky individuals who gets away from the leering, bullying beast that is rape culture.

I refuse to believe that there may be a chance my daughter will go through her entire life looking over her shoulders and running away from dark corners.

So today, I choose to rise.
If you want to rise with me, click here to join the One Billion Rising campaign in Sri Lanka. Add your voice to those who choose to speak out. Stand united and join the demonstration on Feb 14th in Colombo.


After 3 years and many headless cover videos, I finally wrote my very first song over the weekend, and it was inspired by the One Billion Rising campaign. I was very nervous, this being my first foray into writing and composing, but I hope you enjoy this simple tune; hopefully, the first of many.

Many thanks to Nishan for working on this with me over the weekend. Stellar, cuz!

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