28 September, 2022

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A Brave President, A Benumbed Nation

By Sarath de Alwis –

Sarath de Alwis

I know that I have a highly inconvenient habit of speaking what I consider to be the truth rather than saying what may be expedient at the moment.” ~ Yevgeny Zamyatin, Letter to Stalin 1929 

On Tuesday 17th March, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa concluded his address to the nation with a forthright fearless statement. “This country, that’s yours and mine, is secure today.”

He exuded Confidence. Confidence makes a leader to go forward with faith. The leader’s demeanor dispels doubt amongst officials. The President in the statement embodied courage and sincerity. 

He was wrong of course. There is more to national security than contending with separatist terrorists and suicide bombers. Surveillance of religious fanatics, political dissenters and blabbering civil activists is not the same as discovering, observing, controlling and containing communicable microorganisms. 

Natural outbreaks of unknown disease pose challenges to national and global security. They undermine national economies, international trade and travel and, public health. Such outbreaks undermine people’s trust in their governments. Biosafety and Biosecurity are different disciplines. Bio safety is about protecting humans from germs. Bio security is about protecting germs from humans so that humans don’t infect other humans.  

I have said it before. I will say it again. I did not vote for Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa. I do not want him to get a rubber stamp parliament at the next parliamentary elections. I would be happier if he does not get a parliamentary majority at all. An efficient no nonsense executive president with the patience of a Marcus Aurelius is too much to hope. Last I heard, hoping for accountability from an elected President was not unpatriotic or treasonous. 

Although I question his purpose, I do not doubt that he is a purposeful president. We must appreciate his sincerity. We must comprehend the source of his confidence. 

In these scary uncertain times, exploring the source of his courage and the fount of his sincerity  is the  point of departure of this essay. 

After his address to the nation, on 18th March, the President made some consequential remarks at an official strategy meeting.  

“As a country which did not go through a lock-down even during the 30-year war, there is no need to go for a lock-down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country needs to function.’

As Defense Secretary under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he reminded the gathering, he was able to bring the war to an end without shutting down any area.

We managed to defeat LTTE terrorism unlike other countries in the world. Other countries may have the best medical facilities, but we managed to cure infected people with our efforts.’

The gazette declaring COVID-19 as a quarantinable disease under the Quarantine and Disease Prevention Act was issued on March 20th.

At the time of writing this essay, the government has extended the police curfew until 27th March. We don’t look for the light at the end of the  tunnel. We don’t know the length of the tunnel. 

When he said that the nation was secure, the President was earnestly erroneous and felicitously fallacious. Bio safety of the nation was seriously breached. Our Bio Security was severely undermined. 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not the first head of state to miscalculate the ferocity of the spread and to misjudge the scope of the e horror that the COVID-19 pandemic would unleash on a global scale. 

Xi Jinping the President of China was ahead of him.  

On 31st December 2019, the Chinese President heralded the new year by delivering the longest speech he has made since he attained supreme power as President for life. 

Xi Jinping dismissed pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and asked the great people of China to look ahead for challenges and opportunities in 2020.

He promised, they would win a decisive victory in eliminating poverty. He called it a milestone significance in realizing the first centenary goal. 

He carefully avoided reference to the mysterious pneumonia reported by health officials in Wuhan in Hubei province. As he was speaking, the Chinese government was alerting the World Health Organisation. The people of China were in the dark. 

Xi Jinping wouldn’t allow some odd pestilence in Wuhan to unnecessarily worry the people of China. 

The baffling new pneumonia virus had been noticed by Li Wenliang a self-effacing ophthalmologist at the Wuhan central hospital. On the App WeChat he discussed the virus that intrigued him, with some of medical school batchmates. Around seven patients were infected with an unspecified corona virus. It reminded him of the Sars virus. 

This innocent exchange on WeChat landed the poor eye doctor in serious trouble. The local police questioned him and reprimanded him for his curiosity that was professional to him but inconvenient for the all-powerful party apparatus. 

He went back to work and contracted the unknown virus himself. 

In the following two weeks, the Wuhan hospital authorities claimed that matters were well under control. 

But viruses are not deterred by despotic presidents. Unchecked the virus spread with the speed and consistency that nature intended for it.  

On 20th January President Xi finally and publicly acknowledged the outbreak. The virus should be resolutely contained, he decreed. 

Please note. These Presidents big or small are very resolute in what they do. 

On 23rd January Wuhan was placed in a lockdown. On 26th January Sri Lanka established our own task force to combat the virus. 

We discovered the Chinese lady infected with the virus on 27th January. She was admitted to the IDH and recovered fully. 

Our lady Minster of Health, daintily oblivious to the impending load of crap that will soon hit the fan, gave her a bigly big kiss and she left the island on 19th February. 

Sri Lanka had expressed its solidarity with China in its hour of discomfort. Sri Lanka did not know the peril, the big brother of road and belt fame was really in.  

Back in China the Covid-19 virus followed its own dynamics. Wuhan the epicenter of the pandemic is known as China’s Detroit. It is home to hundreds of auto parts suppliers.  On 12th February, Germany confirmed two  cases of coronavirus infections  in the southern state of Bavaria. The two new cases of coronavirus infections were detected among staff at an automotive plant in the Starnberg district west of Munich. 

A Chinese employee of the auto parts maker Wabasso had  tested positive for the virus upon returning to China following a visit to the headquarters near Munich. The employee apparently infected several German colleagues during the visit. That is the problem with the virus. It is carried by people who do not show any signs of the infection. 

In Wuhan city, corpses lay unattended on pavements. The Guardian newspaper refers to a woman on a balcony of a luxury tower block striking a gong and crying to the heavens “My mother is dying, rescue me!” 

Li Wenliang the ophthalmologist was by this time lying on his deathbed. He was a loyal party member. That did not stop him from doing what he thought he must do. He spoke about the official failure of the state to impart essential and vital information about the virus to the public. 

He told the Beijing based journal Caixin something that will outlast the horrid memories of the pandemic as one of the unscalable summits that the free human spirit could reach in the last reflexes of a dying brain. “A healthy society cannot just have one voice.” 

Tyrants can dream of neatly arranged societies that will work to a dead beat. But a vibrant harmonious human experience must have a ‘plurality of voices’ and not the single croak of a tyrant. 

I am 77 years old. I have undergone coronary bypass surgery ten years ago. A recent angiogram has shown two blocks which the good doctor with the reassuring name ‘Vivek’ says could be managed by medication. 

My pendulum swings. Unless it comes to a pause I would like to live, to see my bright grandchildren finish university in particular ‘Bins’ who will attend Cambridge next year. With great patience I explained to her that we should not hold Cambridge responsible for GL. Just as Pandemics, aberrations happen to visiting  fellows of Cambridge as well.  

I don’t wish to be asphyxiated by Covid-19 induced pneumonia. So, I scrupulously observe the lockdown. There is plenty to learn on the internet. 

Two medical anthropologists Marcia C. Inhorn of University of California, Berkeley and Peter J. Brown of , Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia have produced a paper in 1990 under the ambitious title -The Anthropology of Infectious disease.

Though lengthy its introductory remarks should earn the attention of the average perceptive mind. 

Diseases caused by infectious agents have profoundly affected both human history and biology. In demographic terms, infectious diseases-including both great epidemics, such as plague and smallpox, have devastated human populations from ancient to modem times. 

The lives claimed by unnamed viral and bacterial infections have claimed more lives than all wars and other natural disasters. 

In the face of such attack by microscopic invaders, human populations are forced to “adapt to infectious agents on the levels of both genes and culture. As agents of natural selection, infectious diseases have played a major role in the evolution of the human species.” 

Infectious diseases have also inspired or rather provoked cultural transformations. 

Human groups have often unwittingly facilitated the spread of infectious diseases through culturally coded patterns of behavior or through changes in the crucial relationships among infectious disease agents, their human and animal hosts, and the environments in which the host-agent interaction takes place. 

The paper written in 1990 has anticipated the plight of the Chinese ophthalmologist in Wuhan and our lady Minster of Health who reached out to President Xi Jinping with her brave ‘kiss and tell’. 

At the outset I said that point of departure of this essay was to find the source of the courage and the fount of the sincerity of the president when he said those memorable words “This country, that’s yours and mine, is secure today.” His courage comes from the delusion that the war victory against the LTTE has no parallel in military history since Homers ‘Iliad’ and Vyasa’s ‘Mahabharata’. 

His sincerity is the ‘Stupor’ inevitable with untrammeled authority. 

The Romans had a phrase for the predicament: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who guards the guardian/guardians? The 19th Amendment was a feeble attempt. The President is not pleased with it. 

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Latest comments

  • 18
    1

    What a fine essay Mr.Sarath De Alwis. With this lock-down this is the Vaccine to check-mate Covid-19.
    Take care; We need [No intention to be pretentious by using WE ] you around for many more moons.

    You have delivered the message; Defeating the LTTE without a Lock-down is quite different from controlling,let alone defeating the Corona-Virus!
    Both are as different as Chalk is from Cheese.
    By the way GL went to Oxford and not Cambridge. It is impossible to retrieve him now from his present Avatar;!

    • 13
      0

      Mr. Sarath de Alwis,

      “This country, yours and mine, is secure today”. -President Gon Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

      Thanks for your well-researched succinct article. Certain things can be pushed under the rug, not the COVID-19, for the Chinese, Sri Lankan American and other Presidents and Prime Ministers

      The schoolboys wanted the so-called Royal-Thomian cricket match to continue despite the impending coronavirus outbreak, and the President appeased them. The monks wanted the butterfly mountain pilgrimage, and the President appeased the monks. The blind faithful wanted the Katchithuevu festival continued, and the President appeased them.

      In the meantime the corona virus is going around in circles , infecting the citizens, and the leaders were giving false assurances.The ignorant believed them, those who knew, generally the scientists, did not.

      Didn’t the Catholic Church and the Infallible Popes assure that the Sun went around the Earth, based on Joshua in the Bible and the Sun rising from the East and setting in the West.

      The Coronavirus -19, rose from Wuhun, and setting across the whole world. Evolution is still working, being speeded up by the jet age. Appeasing monks and schoolboys, worsens the pandemic.

      • 6
        0

        Mr. Sarath de Alwis,

        “This country, yours and mine, is secure today”. -President Gon Gotabaya Rajapaksa, March 17, 2020.

        Mar 24, 2020, Colombo: The number of COVID-19 coronavirus infections in Sri Lanka has risen to 97 by this morning, the Ministry of Health said.

        However, according to the Health Promotion Bureau, no new new cases have been confirmed today.

        While there are no deaths reported in the country from the infection, 229 people including five foreign nationals are in 16 hospitals under observation or receiving treatment.

        March 17 – 1 Case
        Match 24, 97 cases identified.

        The question is the unidentified cases, and cases at large who are spreading until they are identified.This window is about 7 days.

        15 days to slow the COVID-19, not 2 days. May need more days.

        https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf

        Poor science knowledge is hampering containment. The “lowly” RNA is outsmarting the “intelligent” DNA’s.

        Some of the politicians, initially, were acting, as if ignorance is a virtue. Some were prostrating to saffron clad monks and appeasing them,

        • 5
          0

          Mr. Sarath de Alwis,

          “This country, yours and mine, is secure today”. -President Gon Gotabaya Rajapaksa, March 17, 2020.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_coronavirus_pandemic_in_Sri_Lanka

          Growth looks like about 11 percent per day, a geometric progression , with r=1.11.

          2020 coronavirus pandemic in Sri Lanka

          COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka (vte)
          Deaths Recoveries Active cases
          Date
          # of cases
          # of deaths
          2020-01-28 ​ 1(n.a.)
          ⋮ ​ 1(=)
          2020-03-11 ​​ 2(+100%)
          ⋮ ​ 2(=)
          2020-03-13 ​​ 3(+50%)
          2020-03-14 ​​ 6(+100%)
          2020-03-15 ​​ 11(+83.33%)
          2020-03-16 ​​ 19(+72.72%)
          2020-03-17 ​​ 29(+52.63%)
          2020-03-18 ​​ 42(+44.83%)
          2020-03-19 ​​ 53(+26.19%)
          2020-03-20 ​​ 66(+24.53%)
          2020-03-21 ​​ 72(+9.09%)
          2020-03-22 ​​ 78(+8.33%)
          2020-03-23 ​​ 87(+11.54%)
          2020-03-24 ​​ 97(+11.49%)

          • 2
            0

            Mr. Sarath de Alwis,

            “This country, yours and mine, is secure today”. -President Gon Gotabaya Rajapaksa, March 17, 2020.

            Tuesday 24 March, a vital message, from Dr. John Campbell.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6JrkLvsKtw

            What is the Ro for Sri Lanka? 1, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 or 3?

            Looks like it is 0.1 per day, every 10 infected people infect 1 person per day, based on the known cases.

            “This country, yours and mine, is secure today”. -President Gon Gotabaya Rajapaksa, March 17, 2020.

      • 5
        0

        It is believed, that the infected SWISS national, a cathelic priest that is reported to have held preaching sessions in Jaffna, had been protected by SRILANKEN police.
        :
        Police is under BP Mahinda Rajakshe in the current govt, so, what has PM taken against this priest. The kind of total ignorances have led JAFFNA people to live with anxities today.
        :
        I have no doubt, Rajakshes and their henchmen were promised with COLLOSSAL amounts of funds, by that SWISS priest.
        :
        Rajakashes never forseen people real problems.
        :
        May all gods punish BP Mahinda for his abusive acts on Tamil people.
        :
        I am sinhalaya but I have learnt to know Tamils in Europe.. most of them I met are real hearted people.
        Even if that racial BP from DOWN under would call them DEMALA, but they are thousand times human than our SINHALA people as a whole.

      • 1
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 6
      0

      He is a visiting fellow at Cambridge.

      • 6
        0

        Only God Shiva can save Canbridge

        • 7
          1

          Mr Sarath de Alwis, brave or not he had walked into a deep pit. I have heard lot of English speaking, moneyed class speaking of how brave he was to declare a long curfew.
          What no body seem to realise is the obverse of the curfew.
          1. majority of the Sri Lankans are self employed ie their daily income sustains thir families.The curfew has made their calculations go hay wire.
          2.Distribution of food is not the only essential service. There are many more. Few simple ones(i) supply of telephone cards to prepaid phone owners.The sale shops are closed.Mobitel which I use, had telecard of Rs 1000. That had been abandoned may because when you print cards of lower values, the commission paid by the printer is bigger.
          3.I tried to listen to Trumps recent contraverial speech, and the moment the page was opened my computer was attacked by a virus, it cannot be opened,I am using somebody else’s computer.My computer cannot be repaired until the curfew is over.

          These are some of the problems create by the curfew in short the country’s economy is adversely affected, which is not good for a governing party about to face an election. neither is it good for the country. Other ways and means has to be found to circumvent the virus.

    • 9
      2

      Mr Alwis,

      My granny was used to say, so long even a DOWN syndrome patient would utter nothing, people would believe that he even could be a wise and intelligent person.


      We perfectly noticed the SPEECH held by incumbent President few days ago – he was very proud about the manner he had then been DEFENCE secretary, and he thought, the manner he handled it is above than any handlings being carried out by world today regarding taking every actions against this DEADLY CORONA Virus. Entire world is on still mode today. but our UNEDUCATED leaders to express this way as if almost everyone inthis country would have been equally STUPID.

      If NEPAL could handle it, with their poverty levels, WHY cant SRILANKA handle this ? They talk high by but they reacted very late.

      These men should learn the BASICS of Microbiology. Then they could react properly.

      There are news items on TV screens that say, some people would not have to undergo quarantine … why as a govt, they tolerate such denials of people… these candidates should be taken to custody and be asked them to surrender to the law. ‘
      Tail waging tactics would not help CULPRIT minded LOCALS. they should be taught a lession if they would not respect the law… as is the case in UK and Germany, … get him by force away… for the sake of the masses. Rule of law should be applied to the letter then only bALLIPE puthas filled srilanken would turn out be a better nation.

    • 2
      1

      The title was misleading; almost suggestive of a lackey – with political undertones – at work. Then i checked who the author was.

      Sarath de Alwis is always worth a read, has always been.and i am sure will always be. i am mightily glad i read him on this occasion.

      Well done!

  • 8
    0

    Bio security is about protecting germs from humans so that humans don’t infect other humans.

    Provide medical insurance for all people, coverage that provides for the payments. If it is imposible if there was no response virus will make it possible.

    All person cannot approch for the doctor incurring medical expenses, spreading the risk over numerous persons. assured cashless approval This lets you avail timely medical services.

    • 19
      1

      Today there were thousands of people waiting in miles-long queues to get into supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries and whatnot.The aged suffered with the young in the blazing sun.. Most were patient and there were no queue-jumpers. But is this the efficient professional management that our superman President promised? I think not. The presidential tub-thumpers keep ballyhooing their line about Gota’s sagacious handling of the virus.We are told that SL is in 5th place in the world.But let’s look at some facts:
      SL has about 100 confirmed cases. India has 460 cases with a population 50 times that of SL. Given that India in our popular mythology has no toilets, how is it that their infection rate is lower, and that too without the Draconian measures that have caused panic and confusion here?. India has not even reduced the price of parippu!
      Are we to infer that the govt. is indulging in knee-jerk reactions based on the military mentality of those at the top? Isn’t it about time they realized that Nandikadal tactics won’t work in Colombo?

      • 6
        0

        OC
        The pattern of the spread in India varies with state.
        Tamilnadu is commendably low.
        Kerala, surprisingly, is high; but it is returnees from abroad that were the source.
        Open defecation is safer than the use of toilet seats in many contexts.

        • 4
          0

          SJ,
          The toilet is a new- fangled innovation , less than 500 years old I think. Even the Westerners used to throw their waste out of the window. Still, better sanitation has removed old scourges like cholera and typhoid. But if those were still around, we wouldn’t be worrying about Covid-19.

          • 3
            0

            OC
            Thanks.
            But throwing out of the window will spread infection.
            Open defecation is scattered and risk of spread is less.
            Toilet seats infect and reinfect unless used with utmost care. Public toilets are a source of infection.

            BTW
            There are claims to seat toilets in ancient civilizations of Asia.

        • 2
          1

          SJ,
          I am sure you know that even Westerners used to throw their waste out of the window not that long ago.

      • 5
        0

        Old codger

        “But is this the efficient professional management that our superman President promised? “

        You ain’t seen nothing yet

        While you are on Nandikadal I hope you will remember reddish Kalyani river in the past.

        Do you know as to why SJ and Sinhala/Buddhists are obsessed with Indian toilets or lack of it. They seem to be seasoned toilet watchers. According to 2011 census about 95,000 Sri Lankan household do not have access to toilets.

        Can you persuade SJ to look into the Sri Lankan toilet problem and find solutions rather spending his time as a seasoned Indian toilet watcher?

  • 21
    5

    most parts of the world are stumped by this china’s gift to the world the coronavirus pandemic.
    the Chinese are now hoodwinking the globe stating that they are now on top of it and that the numbers of those being affected are now on the decline.?
    what a joke.?
    =
    whilst now is sad sorry Lanka it is the military junta is in full bloom, they are walking all over the peasants especially the poor who before this curse did not know where their next meal was coming from and are now surviving on love, air and maybe h20 water.?
    =
    the government is lost and being blinded they are stabbing all over and they are only inflicting harm on to the citizens from whom they are dependent to obtain a 2/3rd parliamentary majority to enable the SLPP to continue raping and plundering bankrupt Kota uda once upon a time fairyland isle.?
    =
    all that the president can gloat about is about how he’s used his magic impotent wand to price control parrippu and sardines.
    most in the trade has, in no uncertain terms have told him to get lost and keep on flying many a kite.
    which he is magnanimously doing so now.?
    =
    from now onwards, democracy has been swept out of the windows and the funny animation movie known to one and all as the ‘ dictator ‘ has assumed control lock stock and barrel the rajapuka gangs of lusting for illicit wealth mongrels have begun to rule the roost.
    =
    meantime the kallathoni is now in a wide thought disappointed that nobody is dying with this corona curse and is now in deep thought to recommence his white van syndrome to feed his vegetarian man/woman eating sharks who are supposed to be the pets of his battered sad-looking wife.?
    =
    cheers, R. J.

  • 30
    2

    Well said
    An arrogant medically ignorant President and the militarized advisors can not ensure bio Security. The way President and his team has behaved has caused all the problems. We should taken measures such quarantine visitors after the first visitor identified with Corona Virus . It would have saved the lives and economy
    Even amongst the Presidential advisors, not a single brave doctor like the Chinese heroic doctor.
    Curse of the country is the President and the army commander who is heading anti Corona war. This is.not a LTTE war to win by ethinic cleansing and committing war crimes.
    Coronavirus is God.given chance to the Sri Lankans to expose the idiocityof the President that is crippling the country’s economy. Hope they will learn and vote properly in the Genwral election

  • 26
    3

    President is not a medical doctor or an experts in virology . He must listen to experts’ advice on this issue. he should act as experts advice him.. So far, Sri Lanka is fine and yet, we hope it does not become another Italy. All what he should do is to listen to expert and act accordingly not on his own whims

  • 12
    2

    I want to extend my gratitude to all the staff at Keels Havelock & my sincerest gratitude to all The police offices and a special salute to The OIC , for personally supervising the operations ,
    I had stood in the hot burning sun for six hours and feel my limbs are going to come apart , just realised the forces on duty and especicially our Traffic Officers , the difference is, we can complain and most, once we done go home, but our officers from the forces and police have no choice .
    One has to go through pain to appreciate what others are doing for us.

    Thank you
    Fahim.Hameed

    • 3
      0

      Six hours, Fahim! I must look out for you the next time I go there — I’d love to meet you in person. Will you be wearing anything on your head?

  • 8
    13

    In times like this, is it not necessary for the head of state to instill confidence in the government? If the people feel that the government is inept, then the probability of them following government directives will be low. The need of the hour is for act in unison and following government directives to stop the scourge spreading, irrespective of their likes or dislike of the leader.

    Obviously, this challenge is different to the Eelam War. This requires different techniques to manage the spread and overcome the pandemic. But in both, the Eelam War and the pandemic, a strong and effective leadership is a prerequisite for success. The first step in that process is to instill in the people absolute confidence in the leader and his ability to handle the challenge. All what the president was saying, if I understood correctly, is this: “Look. I was successful in the war. Likewise, I’ll be successful in this new challenge too. Have faith in me!” Anything wrong with that?

    • 5
      2

      Anything wrong with that? Yes. Everything.
      .
      Dear Goonatilake, You continue to ignore my advice. When are you going to start looking at things, deep. War was won with the support of others. Other countries have no place in helping to contain the Virus.

      • 3
        1

        I dont agree with you Thappu. Take a look at this article about Cuba’s sharing of its latest achievements.

        https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/cuba-time-coronavirus/ of its

        • 3
          1

          Manel , How does your ‘story’ affect my view? ‘We’ have to implement the steps ourselves. Cuba may only be a guide.

    • 6
      1

      Everything is wrong .
      First is arrogance, couple with stupidity. If we have won the LTTE war, this is simple. Only country to defeat terrorism. Other countries would have won as well., if they were to commit war crimes., by killing their own people with.impunity.
      Other countries would have also done.like what we are doing killing the Evonomy completely and trying to get the name we beat Cotona.virus. it is.like operation success but patient died.
      We should have allowed economy continue but encourage people to stay indoor. Should have advised foreign return for self quarantine with supervision instead putting every one one place risking those not.infected.
      If people do not doe Corona in few weeks months people will die of hunger if the do not have b(m)if money

      • 1
        2

        Thappu/Dishan/Lankan and others:

        This isn’t a question about the rights and wrongs of the LTTE War. My own view about war is that it is immoral and a human aberration. And that those who suffered most are the innocents (including combatants who were in it not, mostly, by their own volition). The culprits who are the cause of it were, and still are, the manipulative politicians and racial bigots on both sides of the divide.

        That said, current crisis requires a firm and an authoritarian leadership. And the public has to support that effort. True, some decisions made as of now may not pass medical advice. But it is an evolving situation. I cannot imagine Sirisena, Ranil or Sajith being able to do a better job. The need of the hour is to rally round the leader, whether we like him or not, and defeat this scourge.

  • 16
    2

    “Look. I was successful in the war. Likewise, I’ll be successful in this new challenge too. Have faith in me” Such a brave statement is right and yet, he should not take law into his hands without medical experts advice. Lock down or not to lock down is not in the hands of president. it should be done in accordance with advice from experts. Politicians should go with experts advice otherwise, we will see chaotic situation. A good intention alone is not enough, he needs good advice too from medical experts. Sri Lanka is a poor country and yet, rich with so many medical experts. We understand president’s dilemma and yet, health of the nation should be number one priority over finance. to compare war victory to corona pandemic is not rationally acceptable analogy

  • 11
    0

    Regarding the Real Chinese Facts, I had mentioned many a time. Did the Chinese Method of controlling this highly contagious disease work, I guess so, because most countries who are affected by it are now following the same segregation by means of Lock Down. But was the Chinese Government transparent to its own citizens or rest of the world, “Not At All”. From day one they tried to suppress the infor until they just could not do so any more. At the end when Chinese President visited the disease ravaged area, epicenter, as confidence building step, The party/Govt tried taking the credit but the citizens of Wuhan , just shut them down with their anger and protest. It was so much that the Govt had to immediately withdraw their official statement. The Whistle Blower Doctor gave his life who is The Real Hero, and an inquiry commission (like Lanka style), who looked into abuse of power came of with the answer “the doctor was not guilty of the charges”. The typical finding we get in Lanka. It is not about what party/and govt did but the doctor cleared of charges posthumous ???? Leader is not about one single statement,act, heroism or chivalry. It is about personality, maturity and bottom line “the ability to do the most right thing. (not about success and failure). The difference was obvious during SARS epidemic in 2003, where two entities China and HK , managed the same epidemic in different ways.

    • 2
      4

      Was the Government of China Transparent???
      Chiv…. Chinese had been transparent enough to informed the WHO of the disease on the 10th January and provided to the Western Countries the composition of the Virus.
      Who is Patient Zero or the Patient One from Fort Belvoir??
      And who attended the Intl War Games in Wuhan in 2019?

      • 2
        1

        China informed WHO only on 10th January. Chinese Ophthalmologist blew the whistle in December about Corona Virus, which means it had been there prior to that. Why did Chinese government take so long to inform WHO. Instead of that they reprimanded the ophthalmologist, asked him to withdraw from social media as false about his concerns posted, keep him under house arrest and pronounce him dead of the disease. They knew the composition of the virus because it is they who created it. When there was pressure mounting about their involvement, they had to cooperate with the rest of the world. Does all these appear like fairy tale, and who are they trying to hoodwink.

  • 3
    12

    Mr. Sarath de Alwis: I understand your intention. But, read and see, you contradict yourself. Those who talk negative are those who lost in the LTTE war Other than that, what Sri lanka is doing is exactly what most of the countries that were late to respond are doing. There is nothing different. Additionally, they were late. It affects their industrial and export economy. They had to lay off lot of workers. So, they are preparing and have prepared financial aid programs to cash strapped workers,. At least one Leader wants to use it politically to help his business friends. So, there is a scuffle there. The problem in Sri lanka is Sri lankan politicians are very good at just talking and put the country or the incumbent govt at trouble. That is because of the election. Eventhen, I see that irresponsible politicians only in Sri lanka (we are poor country) as well as money is everything and not anything else type country(s).
    What is happening in Sri lanka may be biosafety. As the Army is handling it they get very good experience if there is a need for biosecurity arises. See Italy lost 17 doctors in just one day I heard. I think, Sri lanka should have bio-security plans in case infected – foreigners roam around in Sri lanka. already north is locked down, I suppose.

    • 5
      0

      @JD, Those who talk negative are those who lost in the LTTE war Other than that, what Sri lanka is doing is exactly what most of the countries that were late to respond are doing?

      TFN, are you seriously kidding me? So the Sinhalese who are speaking the hard truth (in your opinion negative comments) are also upset that the LTTE lost? But the LTTE buggers are all working for the Rajapaksas and the Rajapaksas also gave Rs. 182,000,000 to the LTTE. So what are you going to say for that? I am not sure whether God ever put a brain in that small scull of yours.

  • 10
    0

    This is the time to diagnose and dispose all deaths as dengue and cremate them under draconian laws. .Deaths in China to date are 3277 . 0000 deaths in SL ,who is hood winking who?? Plenty of human flesh to feed the Sharks, and organ transplant sales I guess.
    Make hay while the sun shines, yes while the sun shines again in Sad SLANKA. Internal / Civil war , Easter bombings , ect ect in this pathetic island’s history . Dumb Lankans believes everything said on media and pat their backs of theirs and the exterminators.
    God save SL and its gullible fools.

  • 13
    0

    Government inefficiency at its best.
    Lockdown required no doubt.
    However the curfew needed to be relaxed in an organised manner. It was relaxed for a short window before the next curfew. Obviously people would crowd to get foodstuffs. It needed to be better planned. Thanks to government inefficiency most of Colombo is exposed to risk of infection. We are now worse off than without a lockdown. A very inefficient and poor show by the government

  • 4
    0

    I thank the author in bringing out a different perspective of a whole gamut of issues. The inevitable curfews, bordering to lockdowns is a terrible inconvenience that people are bearing without cursing anyone. The author’s expression of views, at times bordering to a psycho-analysis, is respected. But the need of the hour is not the politics nor the theatrics. To me this politician or that politician is the same and I keep on saying that the two main contenders in fact are two sides of the same coin. The real challenge is how to maintain certain essential services from a public point of view without compromising the safety of health. If a prominent LP gas distributor can come up with a solution to deliver gas to the house, (the solution may have shortcomings but a bold approach and the shortcomings can be mended.) why not other services, most important being delivery of groceries. That would alleviate some of the difficulties people have to undergo.

  • 3
    0

    I thank the author in bringing out a different perspective of a whole gamut of issues. The inevitable curfews, bordering to lockdowns is a terrible inconvenience that people are bearing without cursing anyone. The author’s expression of views, at times bordering to a psycho-analysis, is respected. But the need of the hour is not the politics nor the theatrics. To me this politician or that politician is the same and I keep on saying that the two main contenders in fact are two sides of the same coin. The real challenge is how to maintain certain essential services from a public point of view without compromising the safety of health. If a prominent LP gas distributor can come up with a solution to deliver gas to the house, (the solution may have shortcomings but a bold approach and the shortcomings can be mended.) why not other services, most important being delivery of groceries. That would alleviate some of the difficulties people have to undergo. I wish the author could pen an article on these lines.

  • 4
    0

    Kathai Kadda oruvan Piranthuviddal Kannaki Vazhvilum Kalangam Undu. Kaaparra silapeer irunthuviddal Kalvar Vaazhvilum Niyam Undu” If there is a real story teller, Pathini is prostitute and if a lawyer is there to thieves lives honest life” . here is how the author justifying the King the Hitler.
    “ He (President XJ) carefully avoided reference to the mysterious pneumonia reported by health officials in Wuhan in Hubei province
    ……………………..
    When he (King the Hitler) said that the nation was secure, the President was earnestly erroneous “
    This is what you call as Sinhala Only Jury Justice! One justice for President Xi Jinping and another one for King the Hitler. That is the kind of gimmick all Wildlife Sanctuary Sinhala Intellectuals play in all issues.

    There is proverb in Sinhala. Don’t fall in the day time in the same pit fell in the night. The only explanation all these years for geocoding Tamils from Don Stephen time was that America was doing war crime so the Sinhala Intellectuals are also justified. Thus they explained for having done the Genocide planning from Don Stephen time and killing 150,000 in Mullaitivu, after 60 years. Why Coronavirus spreading in Lankawe? Because, Jinping has allowed infected people freely in China four month ago! Comedy Thamai!
    Then the marvelous Mahanama claim is “We the Sinhala Intellectual have curbed Terrorism that even America could not do”. Those Sinhala Intellectual who write that kind of sentence never ever heard a leader as Lincoln, who fought a terrorists’ side war to liberate the Blacks slaves and killed 1/10 of the White Americans. That is why the America is most secure nation in the world today, while Wild Sanctuary SinhaLE Lankawe will be shared by superpowers soon. That is Ultra-shame for this gentleman, not just for misunderstanding the American history, but felicitously fallacious on his cook ups. We do know when New King, took the EP in 2015, said if UNP had allowed Bana-Chelva pact implemented, the country would not have gone through Aanduwa created the war.

  • 6
    1

    There is proverb in Tamil, going as, pinching the baby and rocking the cradle. This is how the Balangoda Veda Buddhist Sinhala Intellectual runs the Appe Aanduwa. They create racism, pogrom, even pandemic to run their government. Lankawe is not the only country in the world abolished terrorism, but it is only country allowed Chinese workers and tourist freely even after China introduced lock down in its country. That is how they spread the pandemic all over Lankawe, to side the economic down fall and exchange rate nightmare. Further, the Bloody Rascals in the airport took money from all kind of citizens and let all infected people inside the country without quarantine. But what Appe Aanduwa did was closing down the Jaffna Airport, for which they have been looking for an opportunity from the time thy came to power. Otherwise why only the curfew implemented in all 5 Districts of North, while main airport and all Chinese projects are in South? Is this a first time mistake in Wildlife Sanctuary? NOooooooooooo……..This the Aappa diplomacy the Aanduwa has been using to control Tamils
    The whole essay is prejudiced rubbish!

  • 3
    3

    Great article Thank you. I feel sad by all the negative comments. I am sure the President is doign the best he can with the situation. I just returned from SL first week of March and live in the US. Things are not better here, there is utter chaos , The Doctors say one thing and the top man totally contradicts him self and others. These are not normal times so have some patience.

  • 8
    0

    Writer must be looking for Brownie points from the President. The article is painting the President as a brave one, who gave a good national address durig this time. Many politicans have criticised the Presidential address. First, national address must be from a national TV channel, not friend’s channel Derana. Second ,the address was announced for 20.30. It came out at 20.50. Not practices that instill confidence. Most of the address was to highlight the need for a 2/3 majority. Then drastic reduction of Parippu and Mackarel. Failed to thank the medical and other staff addrssing Corona issues.
    Shockingly, the President stated that there is no need for a lock down as the victor of the LTTE war never had the need. But today we see the reality. We are in an indefinite lockdown.
    About 60% of the article is about what .China did in Wuhan. Fail to see the relevance.
    Good luck with the Brownie points

  • 5
    0

    It is no time to take political advantage over this issue. Enemy is dangerous. Lives are important. Every one is important. We have to praise every one who sacrifice in this war whether it is president or an ordinary health worker, Whether it is Buddhist or a Hindu or Islamist or Christian. The country belongs to all, not for particular community or particular religion. Politicians should learn from this episode of virus. Humans are not superior or inferior to anything.

  • 1
    2

    The President’s method of locking down is 100% correct , infact we should have done this when we heard of the first case , but better late than never .
    However I am not conviced the method of shutting down essential food items and that will cause a severe problem time to come and at the same time getting people to stand in ques for 6 to 8 hours to buy a little food is very harsh and not practical.

    I kindly appeal To The President to consider to allow small grocerries and super markets to remain open and instead of Uber and Pickme delivering cooked food to give them a special pass to deliver Essential food items , then he can impose the lock down very smoothly .
    This is what I heard from almost the entire lot of Citizens standing in the queues , lot of ladies were greived , some had to keep there kids locked in Vehicle for at least six hours .

    I sincerely believe HE.The President need to.consider this suggetion
    Thank you.
    ——-‘
    I think some young do not know how our grandmothers and mothers
    Handled chickenpox virus,, we were totally segegated ( gorm.of lockdown)and The Hindus had a very practical approach they would hang certain leaves outside to let people know the households were infected with chickenpox , thst was the extend of responibility our older folks had and it worked absultely well, and most houses would fumigate the house daily and wipe areas with detol, etc.
    This virus has no other option but to use lockdown until a Vaccine is found .
    Meanwhile its best to offer amnesty to those returnees who went into hiding , most of them.had left the Island through unofficial.channels and have no documents to prove , end of the day , based on humanity its best to show some clemency , after all they did not travel to engage in anything to harm anyone , desperate hardships of livilihood that drove them to leave.
    Lets stay united.

    • 1
      0

      Fahim Knight,

      “This virus has no other option but to use lockdown until a Vaccine is found .”

      As per WHO, it might even take 12 to 18 months for a vaccine to be on the shelves. A trishaw driver earns if he works on that day, there are hundred of thousands of laborers who get only paid if they work on that day. Shop keepers of any size, earn only if they open the shop on that day.

      Talk practical and with some sense.

  • 6
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    ” We must appreciate his sincerity,” says, Sarath in this essay. Agreed and appreciate that remark. This, plague, “COVID 19” was a blessing in disguise, for this President to quicken his “Sincerity” in “MILITARIZATION” of every possible segment of a “Civil Administration”. The citizenry, including the “Political Pandits”, have completely forgotten, how the President planted “ex-Military Generals” in command to hold “Civil Administrative” positions. For example, he (the President) appointed an RTD. Army General to Head the Customs and another to Head the Lotus Tower and so on. There were many more before “COVID 19”. Now with the “COVID 19 INVATION”, as per “Mind Set” of this President, he appointed the Commander of the Army to “HEAD” the “Task Force” set up to “COMBAT” the spread of the virus. As per the “Media Reports” , even the WHO, appraised Sri Lanka to be one of the “BEST” counties that had set up the “Mechanism” to “Combat’ the plague. Why that appraisal was made? No other country in the world had so far set up such a “Task Force” headed by an “Army Head”. So, his “Sincerity” although a part of his “Hidden Agenda” had already received applause by a world body. In the midst of this “Combat Situation”, another “RTD Chief of the Navy” has emerged to be the “Governor” of the Western Province. So this “Sincerety” of “PURPOSE” mainly “Militarization” will be planted in a subtle manner during this “COVID 19 INVATION”.

  • 0
    3

    All the crooked politicians want to involve in this and make the fight to control Corona virus a AANDI HATHDENAAGE KENDAHELIYA. President should not do that. Instead use his powers to control this. All parliamentary crooks are elected or appointed for an electorate or electoral district. PRESIDENT IS ELECTED FROM A ISLAND-WIDE VOTE. As China has proved that the origin of the COVID-19, they also ha been careless at the beginning and they did not like the OPTHALMOLOGIST’s warning. Probably, their secret services also did not think about that aspect. ANYWAY, Sri Lankan president must remember he was elected by the people and he has more powers than the crooked parliament.
    Highest impact, if it was a natural occurrence is among four geographically unrelated countries but politically some similarities.
    Sri Lanka did not have leaders and they wanted easy money via tourism and foreign remittances, so we have this.

  • 4
    0

    Thondamany, if Chinese were transparent why would they book the good doctor under madeup charges ??? Is that called Chinese Transparency ???? Today there was a man who died within hours after his test came positive for Hunta Virus. Did that come from Int war games or from those rats (urine/feces) natured and nutured for their own meals. Did SARS in 2003 come from war games??? Mind you SARS and now covid pretty close family members of the same kind. Denial can get people very far not just to defend self but thge close buddies of the same ilk. But medical facts are stright forward and mostly accurate. Once there was Typhoid breakout in USA and the experts narrowed it do exact person, who did NOT have the the disease but was a carrier and spread it to fifty more because she was a cook in a restaurant . Her name is Mary Mallon but was later infamously named as “Typhoid Mary. Chinese did try to pass the buck , but it was immediatly put to an end by Trump , who addressed it as “Chinese Virus” and his Republic colleagues named it as “”Kungfu Virus”. Just like MR (dasardly act ????) , the chinese too immediately started crying foul. Except you Chinese are not making those accusitions anymore.

  • 3
    0

    Thondamany, if Chinese were transparent why would they book the good doctor under madeup charges ??? Is that called Chinese Transparency ???? Today there was a man who died within hours after his test came positive for Hunta Virus. Did that come from Int war games or from those rats (urine/feces) natured and nutured for their own meals. Did SARS in 2003 come from war games??? Mind you SARS and now Covid are pretty close family members of the same kind. Denial can get people very far not just to defend self but their close buddies of the same ilk. But medical facts are stright forward and mostly accurate. Once there was Typhoid breakout in USA and the experts narrowed it do exact person, who did NOT have the the disease but was a carrier and spread it to fifty more because she was a cook in a restaurant . Her name is Mary Mallon but was later infamously named as “Typhoid Mary”. Chinese did try to pass the buck , but it was immediatly put to an end by Trump , who addressed it as “Chinese Virus” and his Republic colleagues named it as “”Kungfu Virus”. Just like MR (dasardly act ????) , the chinese too immediately started crying foul. Did you notice, except you, Chinese are not making those accusitions anymore.

  • 0
    1

    Mr. De Alwis
    As a pal of mine recently said , an “ un put downable “ piece of writing , again . I wish you good health and many more happy years . Rest assured though, that millions of Lankans from across the political divide are relieved that there is a semblance of leadership in this country today – a far cry from the Sirisena/Wickramasinghe combination.

  • 4
    1

    For me the fundamental of Gota’s inaugural speech was ” I am the President for all Sri Lankans”. Over the last 4 months we have seen that he has not been the President for all, but has been acting as the President of Pohottuwa Party and a Father Figure wanting to establish Rajapakse clan and military rule in Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    0

    All the virus attacks had been connected to eating meat and animal carcasses associated. In 2010, there had been a similar SWINE FLU attack, Bird Flu or chicken Flu, SARS (corona virus), Mers (camal meat but corona virus). Anew speculation I suppose say it is connected with MEAT INDUSTRY WHICH HAS A HEAVY USE OF ANTI-BIOTICS OR FATTENING chemicals with anti-biotic properties. European countries and USA took the virus attack as a HOAX and now they suffer. China has controlled it. If Sri Lanka gets a second attack which can be inbron need to consider meat and poultry industry too. Right now, they do not allow poultry to move around as that is an energy waste which is used for movement and not for fattening.

  • 3
    1

    I am glad Prez Nandasena has called the All Party Leaders to help him control the Corona Virus ,
    And protect the inhabitants from Respiratory Failure .

    Dr Rajitha has already donated One Lakh of Ruppiahs to Corona Help Fund
    What a generous philanthropist gesture that is in this hour of need.

    Just imagine how much funds will now pour in from his ex Cabinet mates and supporters of All those All Party Leaders.

    Most of all just imagine the wealth of expertise in Intelligence , Logistics , Security, and Human Resources Management those dudes have gathered from the catastrophe which our inhabitants were subjected to even late as last Easter.

    May God Bless the All Party Conference and the President to look after our long suffering inhabitant Population….

    • 2
      1

      KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

      ” Dr Rajitha has already donated One Lakh of Ruppiahs to Corona Help Fund
      What a generous philanthropist gesture that is in this hour of need.”

      Is it the tsunami hora who is incharge of Corona Fund?

      “May God Bless the All Party Conference and the President to look after our long suffering inhabitant Population….”

      You mean you want all party leaders to unite and raise fund in the name of Corona and hand it over to the tsunami hora?
      It’s a good idea.

  • 1
    0

    In my humble view , with an election already announced and nominations
    accepted and some rejected , under pressure election postponed , highly
    controversial figures would do everything to stage a drama to win a battle.
    The Covid-19 is still not without politics in our country by all major parties .
    They are forced to cooperate until the election time re-emerges and heats up !
    Election talks misleading and full of lies and after winning , all white Saints ?

  • 2
    1

    Brave? No.
    A determined sociopath doing his best to play the fools? Yes.
    Many have been swooned.
    The president is using this as an opportunity to progress his self-serving agenda. He readily has the blessing of the 52.25% electorate; as far as they are concerned, he can no do wrong.
    Many seem to be blind to the fact our medical experts and scientists have been placed at the very back of the decision making chain while military has been pushed to very front. Military should not be making health and safety decisions for the citizens with respect to any disease. They must be used as manpower only.
    The government is confused; starting with a two day holiday, then extended by three days, then a two day curfew, and then extended, and… It clearly lacks direction and foresight. It’s confusion. Confusion is not good for compliance.
    An average Lankan’s struggles haven’t been addressed or decisions swiftly made to appease and offer guarantees so as to lessen the panic.
    The stubborn mule of a president playing the presidential role like a Hollywood actor; no substance, but the acting out calm.
    Mr. Sarath De Alwis, good try at playing fair but you are lost on the reality of the situation.

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