Though this poster is very easily debunked, the intent is clear. It is not just aimed at discrediting those who organised the vigil. The purpose it serves is larger and holds currency for longer. The intent here is to mislead and spread hate against identity groups targeted by Sinhale as being somehow anti-patriotic, alien and invasive. The intended audience is called upon to act by stirring up emotion, and though this poster is debunked here on Groundviews, it is very unlikely this analysis will permeate the audiences on Facebook and over instant messaging this poster has already taken seed in.
And herein lies the rub. A single poster reveals that campaigns against hate, and countering violent extremism (CVE) in Sri Lanka, still encounters violent reactions. It suggests that in person and online, in geo-spatial domains as well as virtual platforms, Sinhale proponents will through volume, violence and vigour seek to establish their lies and propaganda in the political, social and religious mainstream. The poster is easily debunked, but the ideology that gave rise to it, is less easily addressed and its entrenchment a serious challenge not just for the occasional vigil, but for constitutional reform, transitional justice and our democratic potential writ large.
Read the full post here.