Looks like Akon (real name: Allianz Bandaralage Acorn Thiam**) is not coming to Sri Lanka. But the show will go on without him, since there are other performers whose names I am not aware of. Akon will surely be missed, but at least the organizers don’t have to refund the tickets. I’m not sure if people will actually come for the show without Akon. Not that I’m too worried, because I didn’t even know about the show until the stone fight at Capital Maharaja.
I don’t know whose fault it was that Akon was denied visa. Or even if it was a fault at all. The people who protested did have a point, if their point was that Akon would damage our culture. But it is too likely that most of the protesters were actually there under the guidance of political enemies of Sirasa TV, not specifically because they cared about the Sri Lankan culture. Some say that the Maharaja guards tried to force the protesters away, and hence set off the defensive stone attack. Sirasa TV says that the protesters were there solely to destroy the property and possibly kill some people. As usual, it is impossible to believe anyone.
The fact is that Akon did release a music video in which bikini girls danced in front of a Buddha statue. I don’t like it much. For me, it shows the level of cultural ignorance of Akon and the people around me. I could generalise this to say that a lot of Americans are totally ignorant about other countries and cultures, but then again that is probably the image given by the comments on CNN.com.
Ultimately the government was faced with a major problem. If the situation was ignored, the opposition would complain that the President is ruining the younger generation. If Akon was not allowed into the country, the opposition would complain that the President was ruining the freedom of the people. They had to contend with the public as well, not just the opposition. So the government did the best thing, and essentially the same thing they always do. They ignored the opposition and did the thing that would look good in the eyes of the older (possibly wiser) generation. They denied visa for Akon.
End of story. **Akon’s real name is actually Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam.