29 September, 2020

Blog

A Bit Embarrassed, To Say The Least!

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

The horrendous butchering of Nihal Perera, the manager of Noori Estate in Deraniyagala, has even left the major apologists of the current regime at a loss for words with which to distance those who look after their well-being from the direct results of a reign of terror without precedent.  Anyone simply trying to fulfill the obligations of management of resources honestly and without recourse to take-the-law-into-our-own-hands conduct with the aid of thugs and murderers is, obviously, at great risk of paying the ultimate price.

This killing has even shaken up the English-speaking middle class of Sri Lanka which has been only too willing to forgive the disappearance of the rule of law because their exercise paths have been paved and they are able to indulge their weight-reduction needs in greater comfort.  However, given the fact that future performance can be most accurately predicted by viewing previous history the killers will walk free after a “respectable” period of time has elapsed and with or without a show trial.  After all one has the example of the other high profile murder of Khuram Shaikh and the gang-rape of his Russian girl friend who was packed off home direct from what used to be the Apollo Hospital, without the investigative procedures usual in such circumstances and whose offer to waive anonymity traditional in such circumstances and return to give a deposition to the Sri Lankan authorities has not been accepted up to date.

As someone who once Chaired a district in the Planters Association of Ceylon (PA) and was, as well, a member of the Ceylon Planters’ Society (CPS) at a time that I was engaged in that profession, I think I am able to bring some perspective to something like Nihal Perera’s murder despite the passage of time (and the efforts of government apologists to shut me up!)

As a planter, I worked with and under those who held political beliefs directly at variance with mine.  I had, for close to a decade, a sibling of Mrs. Bandaranaike as my “boss” at The Public Trustee Department, the Chief Accountant of which was one of the heads of the Bauddha Jathika Balavegaya and with both of whom I enjoyed an excellent personal and professional relationship.  Dr. Colvin R. De Silva was the first Minister of Plantations to address an Annual General Meeting of the Kurunegala District Planters’ Association on my invitation, extended despite some opposition from colleagues who saw him as “the enemy!”

If I appear to be spending an inordinate amount of time on my own “credentials” it is because I hope thereby to stifle some of the more asinine criticism of anything that doesn’t constitute a hosanna to our current regime, born of ignorance and prejudice.  I hope my readers will forgive the seeming long-windedness in the circumstances!

The bone I have to pick is with the two organizations in which I once held membership, the Ceylon Planters’ Society and the Planters’ Association of Ceylon.

While, like every democratically-organized association of professionals, neither of them displayed monolithic unanimity of opinion at all times and I often enough disagreed with their “official” line, nobody could accuse them of toeing the line merely to be seen as supplicants to or allies of the government, refusing to criticize when criticism was merited or act when action was demanded.

How the mighty appear to have fallen!

Recently, the Sunday Island of July 28th reported that these two organizations, together with the Tea Exporters Association (TEA) and the Ceylon Estates’ Staffs Union had changed their minds about what they considered appropriate action subsequent to Mr. Perera’s murder, after they’d met with Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Secretary of Defence with command responsibility for and authority over the Sri Lanka police whose conduct in this whole sorry episode constitutes, at a very minimum, nothing less than an unbelievable dereliction of duty.

The simple facts of the preceding paragraph speak more eloquently than any attempt I can make at extensive analysis or judgement.  However, suffice it to say that I am truly ashamed of two organizations which I thought had retained at least a vestige of self-respect and pride from their past but which, instead, have more than bent the vassal knee to bare-knuckled power

If organizations, claiming to represent professionals who have, arguably, contributed more to Sri Lanka’s economy over the past couple of hundred years than any other, cannot, at least, demonstrate appropriate displeasure about an event of this magnitude and bell the cat responsible for this state of affairs, they hardly deserve to claim to represent the people who, very obviously, are trying to do very difficult work under trying and, literally, murderously dangerous conditions.  This is simply capitulation of the most abhorrent kind.

This would be beyond belief in any democratic country and it certainly would NEVER have washed in the “dark days” of immediately post-colonial Sri Lanka, or “Ceylon” as it was then.

However, the “mandarins” of one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and proudest professions which has contributed immensely to this nation’s economic survival have, very obviously, chosen a different path, a significantly more comfortable one than the alternative of standing up for what is decent and right with at least a token show of displeasure.  They have refused to bell a cat that stood right before them!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Never underestimate the discreet charm of the Secretary, Defence and Urban Development (and anything else that might crop up with which I can help). Clearly,the leaders of these august bodies were swayed by the suave and persuasive Gotabaya, so much so that they meekly capitulated to his sweet entreaties. This is par for the course in the ‘shape’ culture that has now firmly taken hold in our island paradise. Hark, I hear the gentle weeping of the ghosts of planters long gone to muster in the heavenly estate that awaits us all, but we must not be harsh on the weaker souls who have inherited the work that was done by men in times past. The pragmatism of today demands you save your skin first before honourable heriocs. But afore I go, how quaint to see that CEYLON still keeps its place in the grand order of things.Plus ça change…!

  • 0
    0

    “This killing has even shaken up the English-speaking middle class of Sri Lanka”

    Are Sri Lankans this stupid and superficial morons ?

    When they are middle class they speak only english ?

    • 0
      0

      Jim softy:
      It’s hard to tell whether your questions are being asked with a straight face or whether yours is an attempt at sarcasm.

      In any event I will leave you to ponder the answer to your first question and, as far as the second is concerned, my observation was intended to be specific to those elements that speak English as a first language and whose general attitude to current Sri Lankan events I am more familiar with. I do not claim any depth of knowledge about the attitudes of the Sinhala-only middle class of this country because very few of my friends who speak Sinhala can aspire to being members of that social group.

      I trust you will appreciate the fact that I try to avoid making sweeping generalization based on random samples as was the wont of that notorious American Senator, the late “Tail-gunner” Joseph McCarthy.

    • 0
      0

      Jim Softly,I cannot understand the head or tail of what you are saying. The writer is recalling the brutal slaying of one of your countrymen and the cancellation of plans by three professional bodies to mark their protest. If you cannot express a view on that could you please refrain from making a comment at all, at least out of respect for the dead. The dead man was a professional planter with a family. Every one knows that you are a hired hand, but that does not mean you cannot withhold your nonsense for once. How many rupees do you get every time you write?

  • 0
    0

    Sri Lanka’s deterioration is so stark that very soon, no decent person will be able to live there unless they pay pooja or kappang to ill educated barbarian political goons. The idiots are looking up and spitting on their own faces. When China walks in and buys the place, they will all get horse whipped and they will deserve it. Cruelty has become a way of life there. When I read of the way the Planter Nihal Perera was tortured and his mouth cut with scissors, one wonders what kind of animals walking on two legs are running Deraniyagala.

    Sri Lanka’s dogs behave better than its people. Reading the news makes one want to throw up. But talk to people there, they criticize other countries without looking at the goings on there!!! when the uncouth get into power, this is what happens. Such a beautiful country now inhabited by a bunch of lunatics.

    • 0
      0

      You are absolutely right. He was disemboweled and mutilated whilst being held down by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters. These are the thugs who get support in these columns by people like Jim Softly, K.A.Sumanasekera, and Muliyawakal. Disgusting.

    • 0
      0

      Disgusted, the main architect of this Timber racket, the Chief Minister Mahipala Herat being a very close associate of the CJ Mohan Peries, everything will be swept under the carpet for sure.

      • 0
        0

        gamini:
        Are you serious?

        • 0
          0

          Emil take it from me, this is the Truth. It will be proved in the future.

  • 0
    0

    A TRIBUTE TO A HERO – MR. NIHAL PERERA

    It is with deep sadness that I share the news of the death of my dear uncle, whose life was brutally taken by a group of ruthless thugs a few days ago. Podi Mama, as we called him, was my mom’s youngest sibling. A man who stood and fought against corruption, and never bowed down to injustice. A man who lived a simple life and devoted his entire career to the beautiful tea gardens of Sri Lanka for over 40 years. He was a well respected man in the planting community for his integrity and honesty, who started his planting career as an apprentice during the colonial era when the tea gardens were managed by foreign nationals.

    On many occasions during my school days, I had visited the tea gardens he planted. I remember the beautiful mountains blanketed by thin layers of white clouds that occasionally spread around miles and miles of lush green tea bushes as if they were being protected from the bright and shiny sun. As recently as a few years ago I had the opportunity to visit Podi Mama when he was planting in a beautiful garden in Maskeliya that had a breathtaking view of sacred Sri Pada. It was his calling. Even though he tried to settle into a sedentary lifestyle in Colombo, the mountains and tea gardens beckoned.

    To those of you who currently live in Sri Lanka, this cowardly and inhumane act may not come as a surprise. Our once beautiful motherland that went through years of terrorism is now at a crossroads with a new problem: extortion, murder, kidnapping, rape and many more. The underworld kingpins, goons of politicians who protect them, are terrorizing the society. They have taken away the rights of innocent citizens and civilians of the country and have no value for human life. Murdering innocent and vulnerable civilians in a gruesome manner – mutilation, torture, hacking and the dismemberment of body parts – shows that the country is in deep trouble. There is no law, nor order. These gruesome acts are carried out by blood thirsty goons who are intoxicated with power. It clearly indicates that the situation is extremely grave, and has gone out of hand. There is no way of getting out of this mess now, Mother Lanka. Sadly, it will only get worse. Innocent people will become victims of these gangs who will continue to carry out their cowardly acts, even sell their mothers, wifes or own daughters for personal gain.

    Podi Mama, you will be remembered for your courage and bravery for standing up for what you believed in; honesty and integrity. You sacrificed your valuable life to a bunch of cowards who have no regard and value for human life.

    The white clouds and bright sun that wrapped around the beautiful mountains, will look for the tall and handsome Planter who walked amongst the tea bushes every morning, touching and greeting them. The streams of crystal clear water that trickles through, and down the mountains will continue…… as tears shed by the tea bushes. For, that gentle and loving touch they enjoyed, is no more.

    Janaka Weerasinghe

    • 0
      0

      Janaka Weerasinghe:
      That was a touching tribute to an honourable man, sentiments that have been reinforced by everyone who spoken about Nihal Perera to me.
      “Wickremasiri” is also completely right in his condemnation of those writing under a variety of pseudonyms in defence and justification of this kind of thing invoking …………God knows what! They are very much part of the problem that confronts Sri Lankans of decency.
      What has this country come to when acts of bestiality like this not only occur but appear to be countenanced by those who are constantly paying
      lip service to every religious precept under the sun?

  • 0
    0

    Thank you for that tribute. I knew Nihal Perera for several decades and I condemn those despicable commentators like K.A.Sumanasekera, Jim Softly, Muliyawakal and others who defend murderers in the shadow of Mahinda Rajapaksa, just as much as I condemn the actual killers, because it is these writers that give succour to murderers and thieves in the name of patriotism.

    • 0
      0

      In the words of Ranjan Wijeyratne these buggers who try to cover Nihal’s and numerous others who have been killed, have no right to live in society.

  • 0
    0

    To:Spring Koha
    Can you please let me know where CEYLON is. I am 25 years old, I know Sri Lanka but I have not heard of a place call Ceylon now.Is was called Ceylon under british rule. SRI LANKA is over 2500 years old. It was and will be Sri Lanka forever.
    NO MATTER WHAT!!!
    LIHINIA

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.