By Sarath de Alwis –
“Moral character is assessed not by what a man knows but by what he loves” ~ Saint Augustine
What is happening today is obvious. The Rajapaksa Family Monolith existed with the active encouragement and nourishment of a parasitic ‘Priestly Class’. The ordinary folk were cowed into silent acquiescing.
The ‘brothers’ thrived with the praise and applause of a loyal base that quietly dwindled with increasing economic pressure. A narcistic tyrannical rule cannot survive solely with the ‘Ape Hamuduruwane’ trickery. Without the passive acceptance of the people the edifice must crumble.
The 15th century French jurist Etienne de la Boétie called this phenomenon “voluntary servitude to tyrants.”
On the preposterous claim that he alone was responsible for winning the war Mahinda Rajapaksa demanded and received the voluntary servitude of a majority of the majority since the end of the war.
The people have decided enough is enough. A land where myth and legend obscured history, has finally arrived in the 21st century.
Young combative minds have carved out an enclave of reason and modernity in the heart of the old establishment.
Reason, tolerance, and diversity are flourishing. Once hibernating minds are active. After years of dull servitude to a rapacious family, the ordinary citizen has discovered the pleasure of living despite pain in queuing up for essentials.
The course of a social transformation is never clear. The path it takes is often unknown even to its initiators or the masses awaiting a change.
Only an alert people can ensure that it remains on track. What the people want is quite simple. For more than a decade they have watched the ‘Family’ deciding who gets what and in what quantity. 2015 to 2019 was an aberration where the political order changed but the entrenched system remained largely in its thrall.
The ‘Godfather’ is clinging on.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror Mahinda Rajapaksa has said ‘Masses are not protesting against me. But these protestors were always against me’.
Now, you may think that Mahinda Rajapaksa is cuckoo. He is not. In the world he inhabits, he is still the hero idolized and revered.
He is Sri Lanka’s version of the ‘Godfather’.
Around forty years ago, Mario Puzo American Journalist and novelist gave us the brutal yet likable villainous character of Don Vito Corleone in his trilogy – ‘Godfather.’
Don Corleone was the head of the family. There was the closed, highly protected ‘blood family’. Then there was the ‘Crime Family’ with its wider tentacles that enlisted the politically powerful including Church dignitaries and ruthlessly efficient enforcers of the gangdom of New York.
Don Corleone presided over his complex conglomerate never doubting that he was loved and feared. by admirer and adversary.
Anybody who reads Mario Puzo’s ‘Godfather’ will get an accurate insight in to the mind of Mahinda Rajapakse.
It is the story of Don Vito Corleone the charming monomaniac who emerges from humble beginnings to occupy a preeminent position in New York’s flamboyant social world and its fearsome underworld.
This ‘Monomaniac’ has a captivating superficial charm. He is an inventive genius who can say the most ludicrous without batting an eyelid. He can utter the blatantly false, with absolute conviction.
He doesn’t hide his contempt for accuracy or truth. His behavior is egocentric. He has a distorted sense of consequences of his actions.
Love, pain and sorrow are essentially reserved for the ‘blood’ family. His commitment to the wider ‘crime family’ or his business family is demonstrably shallow.
Don Vito Corleone the ‘God Father’ is a strange human being.
Our Mahinda too is a strange human being. He genuinely believes that people love him. His political gangdom – the Pohottu Party is quietly unravelling. The Redeemer Hero has become a liability.
Mahinda Rajapaksa will be remembered. History will record him as a leader who drove a sizable part of the population into a mad frenzy of counterfeit patriotism.
His genius was his ability to reengineer an ancient culture of tolerance into a belief system that served his politics.
What is happening to us has happened before elsewhere. W.H Auden in his celebrated poem “September 1, 1939” described the menacing mood of a Germany going mad under Hitler.
“Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives. “
The young people in ‘GotaGoGama’ are now reclaiming their private lives. They have watched their parents obsessed with anger and fear. They do not want the ‘brothers’ to darken their young promising lives.
That is why Mahinda must go first. Under the dodgy and debatable claim that it was his sheer artistry that ended the war he made sure that the war paranoia was institutionalized. The war ended but continued.
Mahinda made sure that a majority of the majority remained in that maladaptive mindset. A nation was trapped in mind and soul.
#GotaGoGama is the beginning of a process that will finally unshackle the sovereignty of the people.
Mahinda distorted the idea of progress. Just look at the lotus tower that stands out in Colombo’s skyline. His chief apostle who handled the Hambanthota Port Project Priyath Bandu Wickreme told us once, that after an inspection tour of the Hambanthota port, Singapore’s Ambassador has told him “We’d better find ourselves another job”.
Hitler had just one Joseph Goebbels. Mahinda had a score of them. The idea was to make the lie big enough to take hold as soon as it is uttered. Then you repeat it often enough to make it true by common consensus.
The idea stopped working with the smartphone. Mahinda Rajapakse’s hegemony of the Sinhala mind is now history. When the young repeatedly chant Nanda Malini’s haunting melody about a son manacled in chains, they voice what W.H. Auden also says in his poem about the Nazi menace. “September 1,1939.
“Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad.”
I was happy to see the Inter-university Students in procession undeterred by barricades with sharp needles hidden by plastic sheets. The nation’s young scholarship is on the march.
Mahinda must go. His ‘Sinhala-ness’ is a parody. His goodness is a farce. His Greatness is a cruel jest.