20 October, 2017

A Common Strategy

By Baron A Kumara

Momentum is gathering. At the mention of an unlikely common candidate, in the form of Wigneswaran (Kusal Perera’s contribution), mainstream English editorials were quick to respond with what can only be called reactive political propaganda. One editorial was called, ‘President Rajapaksa, the undisputed choice’ [1], another editorial was called ‘Masses hail President Mahinda Rajapaksa’,[2] a opinion was called ‘President’s political acumen incomparable’,[3] and a feature was called ‘The President: quintessential common candidate.’ [4] The pro-government paper The Island, contained a feature called ‘MR can head next government democratically.’ [5] It is clear therefore that for every statement made in the press about a common candidate, the mainstream media will be abused into producing ten more that support Rajapaksa.

MahindaBut as is clear to all those who have been following recent events in Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa will not head the next government democratically. He has subordinated the mainstream media and the judiciary, he has compromised the civil and foreign service, he has induced fear and self-censorship into what he calls a ‘peaceful’ democracy, and his regime has villanized, bullied and intimidated all those brave souls who stood, who still stand, against him. Those who yet believe that by siding with the President they have more to gain than by standing against him, have only to look at the Muslim community’s (SLMC sadly still tows this line) futile calls for peace in the wake of Aluthgama. None were arrested, the police stood by. Further, the North is militarized, despite the wipe out of the LTTE, and upon the least hint of dissent in the South, of declining Presidential popularity; will there be hesitation at militarizing the rest of our nation?

No, despite the claim that ‘MR can head next government democratically’ the choice we are facing today is between a President and a democracy or a dictator and a nepotistic military state. And Rajapaksa is not a benevolent dictator, protest about unclean water, speak out and big brother will come for you. Do not speak out and by that time, there will be no one left to speak for you. Momentum is gathering. How does one defeat the ten-headed demon? What instruments does the rebelling citizenry have against such formidable forces?

Reason and truth, of course, but this election we need more. We also need faith – we need to emerge from the cynicism and disillusion that has gripped so many of us, and may prevent us from voting and persuading others to vote intelligently with us. It is inevitable that at the onset of Presidential elections, the government’s mainstream media puppets will be mobilized to sing the tune, in fact they already have. Indeed, according to Colombo Telegraph, the President will utilize sophisticated 3D projection so he can appear everywhere, all the time.[6] There will be intimidation, imprisonment and harassment of the common candidate(s) and whoever is brave enough to stand with him/her. We need to emerge from the fear psychosis that has compelled so many of us to stay silent. Those of us, who will not vote for Mahinda, must arm ourselves with facts, reasons and faith and persist wilfully. Each clear thinking individual must become a locus of persuasion, an activist, reaching out to one or two people who will vote with Mahinda, and compelling him to do otherwise.

The strategy must revolve around delegitimizing the common enemy. It should be targeted towards swing voters, the young and undecided, the patronage networks of the Presidency, and the low and middle class sympathizers that have bought into the rags to riches dream that the President embodies. We must move beyond the audiences of Colombo Telegraph and Groundviews, or share these persuasive pieces to our extended and unlikely networks, using new media (online and social media) as platforms for persuasion. The message should be an end to the intimidation, the silencing, the corruption, and the ethnic violence. It should be a campaign to reclaim our media, our judiciary, our military, and to redefine our constitution, our parliament, our economy and our very Sri Lankaness to the peaceful, multi-ethnic, vibrant democracy that we deserve post war. In doing so, each of us has to explore ourselves, our fears and our reasoning, our very identities, to inspect the inherent contradictions and overcome the institutional chaos that has prevailed over the last decade and that threatens to impose itself on our very beings. In-fighting amongst the potential common candidates can and will lead to a Presidential victory. At this juncture, it is vital for those who attended the common candidacy conference yesterday to realize that it is common sense and a common strategy that is necessary. Momentum is gathering. The campaign begins now.


[1] Sunday Observer, May 11, Page 8

[2] Sunday Observer, May 25, Page 8

[3] Sunday Observer, May 18, Page 8

[4] Daily News, May 13, http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/president-quintessential-common-candidate

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    Was Baron born after Nanthikadal?…

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      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Was Baron born after Nanthikadal?…”

      You are not the absentee father are you? Of course you are not for Baron seems to possess some sense.

    • 2
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      All wrong.. Most SL voters don’t care about truth and yesterday/past is forgotten. Their vote wold be decided by lunch packet & kashippu bottle offered on the election day. But there is one civilized or humanized fact there. SL voters prefer to accept the Lunch packet & Kashippu from the same party as their forefathers did, family tradition.. So if CBK comes, these voters get confused whether to accept CBK Kashippu or MR kashippu…

  • 3
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    Baron A Kumara –

    “No, despite the claim that ‘MR can head next government democratically’ the choice we are facing today is between a President and a democracy or a dictator and a nepotistic military state. And Rajapaksa is not a benevolent dictator, protest about unclean water, speak out and big brother will come for you. Do not speak out and by that time, there will be no one left to speak for you. Momentum is gathering. How does one defeat the ten-headed demon? What instruments does the rebelling citizenry have against such formidable forces?”

    Use All available resources.

    Expose, Expose and Expose

    Posters, Flyers, etc.

    Facebook, Twitter and U tube

    E-mail whatever you can get your hands on…

  • 1
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    Another Nanthikadal win can seal MR’s win in 2015.

    Remember he won in 2010 because he won the war. Nothing else.

    Obama won the second term because he killed Osama few months before the election.

    Modi won because he won the war in Gujarat.

  • 0
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    Hey Fat-shit-ma fuck-u-shima the great [Edited out]

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    There are enough issues-mundane that relate to the cost of living , moral that prick and jolt our conscience and political that are undermining, brutalising and de-civilising our society – that can be used to defeat MR and his government. The MR government has created many ropes that can hang it! The people are aware of these issues, although the degree of awareness and the significance of these issues singly or collectively may vary at different levels of society. The opposition has to campaign on multiple issues while highlighting those that are of greater concern and consequence to each segment of society. A single issue campaign highlighting only the Executive Presidency will not work, because it is too abstract and to anyone capable of giving it deeper thought reveal itself as a constitutional design, political culture and occupant related problem, rather than a problem with the concept of an executive presidency.

    The greater picture- irresponsible and uncaring governance, lack of accountability, rampant impunity, corruption, poor policing, injustice, lack of freedom freedom, insecurity, lack of safety, political chicanery, blatant attack on democracy, militarisation of civilian life, shameful self aggrandisement, political gluttony, rampant drug culture, thuggery in governance, the quality of our politicians and of course the increasingly difficult task meeting the cost of the basic needs of life- should be projected to the people in terms that they can identify with, depending on where they live, how they live and the social strata they belong to.

    Baron, what you have advocated is quite right. This government is ready to fall. It is already rocking on its foundations. It needs only the strategic push to topple it. I hope the opposition is up to this task.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 1
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    the tide is turning against Jarapasse family.
    The common strategy gather all the common support and get rid of the Jarapasse.
    Yes it can be done, what is needed unity among common strategy and executing a good election campaign.

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    These Americans reprimanding the MR govt is mere bluff, to mislead the masses. They are only theatrics, otherwise the Americans are hand in glove with the Rajapaksas. What is interesting is the other day MR has berated the Intelligence Officers that they are only gathering information for Gota of what is happening in the President’s Office and not informing MR of what is going on in the country. I hear through a reliable source that the present strategy of Gota is to allow MR to lose the upcoming Presidential Election that will pave the way for Gota to take over the country Militarily. This way Gota kills two birds with one stone. One is to see that MR exits from presidency and politics for Gota to take over. If MR is not aware of this strategy, it will not be the end of the road for MR alone but effectively for Namal as well. Sooner or later MR will realise this and he will be left with no option but to remove Gota from office. There again it entails the same consequences sans all the niceties that exist between them as brothers now. These are all American mechanizations and the Americans will not hesitate to recognize a Military Leader like Gota if he succeeds.

    It is interesting to note that the current leadership in India and Indonesia are two individuals with no proper educational qualifications or background to have become the leaders of those countries over many who have the requisites to become the leaders, but strangely these two have overcome all. This is typical American Mechanization to select whom they prefer as elected leaders to carry the US brief.

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    I am writing for those confused souls.MR has no legitimacy to govern. In 2005 he won because Prabhakaran prevented the Tamil people from voting. In 2010 soon after the so called victory MR s victory is doubtful as it was manouvourd.This shows that MR is no darling of the masses but a media built hero who runs a race binding the legs of his competitor

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    Readers:

    From my above comment you will see that I am not a Muslim although I write under an assumed Muslim Name. I am a Sinhalese Nationalist and I hate all Tamils and Muslims.
    That is why I said Modi won the election because he killed thousands of bloody Muslims and never said sorry. I love him and hopes he makes sure Muslims disappear from India.

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