August 21, 2012

Sri Lanka prosecutes 3 French tourists for photographs of themselves pretending to kiss Buddha statues.

Somehow in this age of digital photography they were using a photo lab and they didn't wait until they got home to process the photos. The local lab called the police.
On Tuesday a magistrate sentenced the trio to six months in prison with hard labour, suspended for five years - which means they will not actually serve any time in jail. The court also levied a small fine on them.

They were convicted under a section of the Penal Code which outlaws deeds intended to wound or insult "the religious feelings of any class of persons" through acts committed in, upon or near sacred objects or places of worship.

Last month there were reports that five Arabs visiting the island were arrested for distributing "literature insulting to Buddhism."

21 comments:

bagoh20 said...

But how is kissing Buddha an insult?

Ann Althouse said...

"But how is kissing Buddha an insult?"

If you can't answer questions like that, don't go to foreign countries and make gestures.

Scott said...

In Buddhist countries it's sort of like lese majeste.

We're also turning into a society that can't differentiate between offense and injury.

hawkeyedjb said...

Another primitive society to avoid. Like most societies infested with insecure true believers.

Joe said...

While completely anecdotal based on my own person experiences, this reinforces my observation that Europeans are much ruder tourists than Americans. (By far the worse I've ever encountered are college-aged Germans.)

edutcher said...

I thought Buddhists were all chill out and mellow.

The Crack Emcee said...

edutcher,

I thought Buddhists were all chill out and mellow.

That's the western version.

The real thing is closer to a weird version of hardcore, old-old school Catholicism, with a heavy dose of I'll-set-myself-on-fire thrown in for the cameras.

I crack up when I see Western liberals scraping before the Dalai Lama because it's obvious they have no idea what he stands for,...

bagoh20 said...

"If you can't answer questions like that, don't go to foreign countries and make gestures."

I don't even understand the religious rules here. I didn't understand them in my own home. So that's a given.

I think the lesson is really about how to handle your digital information in any form, especially in a foreign country.

Sorun said...

I have a photo of an old girlfriend getting simulated oral sex from a dead-white-male statue in Boston. But this is America.

Ann Althouse said...

"I thought Buddhists were all chill out and mellow."

Get Christopher Hitchens's book "God Is Not Great" and read the chapter on Buddhism.

Ann Althouse said...

How to make people placid...

Think about it.

ken in sc said...

When I was in Korea, a conflict was shown on TV news between two groups of Buddhists, over control of a shrine. They were attacking each other with iron bars that they had ripped down from an iron picket fence. They were in their robes and everything. The idea that Buddhists are naturally peaceful is a total crock.

Bryan C said...

"Somehow in this age of digital photography they were using a photo lab and they didn't wait until they got home to process the photos."

Quite a lot of people still prefer analog photography for various reasons. My Leica M3 still works just fine.

"which outlaws deeds intended to wound or insult "the religious feelings of any class of persons""

Primitive screwheads hunting witches and heretics. And yet his fellow Americans are Andy's Taliban.

Michael said...

Why they need to bring Pussy Riot into this. They have made blasphemy and desecration a fashionable free speech issue. The Buddah wont mind. OM.

BarryD said...

"How to make people placid..."

Not by mentioning Hitchens' book, that's for sure... :)

I miss Hitch, though I did disagree with him about Single Malt. It's worth it. But I'm probably less interested in quantity.

BarryD said...

"Quite a lot of people still prefer analog photography for various reasons."

Just like they prefer public transportation: only when other people use it.

Martin said...

Reminds me of the following:

Once, a group of people saw a Ch'an (Zen) master spit on a buddha statue. They were repulsed and reprimanded the Ch'an master, "What is the matter with you? How can you spit on the statue of the Buddha?" The Ch'an master, who was not a bit offended, replied calmly, "Please show me a spot where the Buddha is not present? I need to spit again."

Anders Carlsson said...

It's all a matter of showing respect for people in a country you visit and respecting their beliefs and traditions. Westerners are very bad at that. And the ignorance of Buddhism and what it stands for among the commentators to the news item seem to be monumental!

Robert Cook said...

"(By far the worse I've ever encountered are college-aged Germans.)"

While granting a priori that the word I've bolded above may just have been a typo, I see this error enough--and it bugs me enough--that I must point out:

You mean worst.

Bad; worse; worst.

Robert Cook said...

"Just like they prefer public transportation: only when other people use it."

????

Whatdo you mean with this statement?

Do you mean that people who espouse public transportation as preferable to private transportation don't really mean it? That they're hypocrites?

Or something more elusive?

I, for one, DO prefer public transportation.

But then, I live in NYC, which has comprehensive public transit which can easily get one anywhere one wishes to go.

(Even when I lived in Florida, I didn't get my driver's license until I had graduated college. While having a car is convenient and driving can actually be enjoyable--particularly on long drives on uncrowded stretches of road or highway--I do prefer to leave the driving to others. I can look out the window or read or take a nap.

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