The chosen nation for fingerprinting
By Durand Appuhamy (Pinner, UK)
It had been reported that many prominent businessmen had complained that they had been subjected to the humiliating indignity of queuing in the hot sun and for fingerprinting. Given that they are usually the frenzied admirers of the British and everything that is British, it is good education that they also know and experience the ugly side of the British! My rejoinder is that at least now they will realize how ordinary Appuhamys, Pereras and Silvas are treated by the BHC. The imperialists of yesterday have not shed their imperial toga, they still do and behave like the abhorrent imperialist they were not many moons ago. It is easier to exploit the ex-colonial subject so long as he is singled out as not a fellow-man. His subjugation and domestication is brought about by the conditioning of his reflexes by utilizing various humiliating processes in his contacts with the imperialists of yesteryear. The minions need to be constantly reminded of their inferiority and that they were once a subjugated people.
In days gone by we were also a chosen nation for sadist adventures of British soldiers. Proud as they have been and are, the many British governments over the years, have not shown any remorse over those atrocities. This only goes to prove that when it concerns ex-colonial people, Human Rights, civility, decency and dignity do not matter. The persistent mindset is still the colonial master/slave mentality.
In Jan 1818 in a cave near Madulla, many Kandyans hid themselves from the marauding British soldiers of Col.Hookís regiment. They were found out and wiped out without mercy, even though those men and women came out of the cave unarmed and shouting "donít shoot". Lt. Maclaine was another rank sadist. He was fond of hanging just outside his quarters, without any trial, the Kandyan prisoners as an accompaniment to his breakfast. Col. Hook was no better. He hanged without mercy anyone he suspected. One such victim was Mawattagama Nileme, a close relation of the then Nayakke Thero of Asgiriya. The atrocities committed by the British are too numerous to list here. However, Governor Brownrigg was fully aware of the abuses. Yet he represented his soldiers to his superiors in London as men of " preserving zeal and ardour which cannot be surpassed but rarely equaled". The Kandyans fought the British on and off right through to 1848. Then another massacre of 200 Kandyans took place in the jungle surrounding the Wariapola estate bungalow in Matale. Capt. Watson was the man responsible for this and many other murders, arson and looting. He literally terrorized the Matale District Governor Torrington recommended to Earl Grey in London, that "the zeal displayed in the active discharge of public duties induce me to think his (Capt. Watsonís) case is deserving of the outmost consideration and indulgence" (CO/54/260). Capt. Watson remained a free and admired soldier!
This brief sojourn into history is to show that the attitude of the British towards the Sri Lankans have not changed since the colonial days. In Fanonís words "the native is declared insensible to ethics; he represents not only the absence of values, but also negation of values. He is the corrosive element, destroying all that comes near him" (The Wretched of the Earth). Therefore he should be distanced, dehumanized and humiliated so that "he is reduced to the level of superior monkeys"(Sartre) to reinforce the superiority of the white imperialist.
What can we do against this degrading imposition? Everyone should make the loudest protest. Those who need the Visa should also register the fact that they were coerced to consent to fingerprinting. It is a disgrace to the very memory of Puran Appu that a descendant of his, in his official capacity, did not even make a whimper of protest agaipst this humiliation of his countrymen! With the Kandyan genes still in me, I call upon HMG to stop forthwith the fingerprinting of my countrymen and tender the Crown Apology still due to the Kandyan Buddhists for all the oppression and barbarity imposed on them.
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