16 December, 2017

Blog

A Greek Tragedy In The Indian Ocean?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“…the Greeks never said that the limit could not be overstepped. They said it existed and that whoever dared to exceed it was mercilessly struck down. Nothing in present history can contradict them.”  – Camus (Helen’s Exile)

The Commonwealth was the last sigh of the British Raj, the consolation price the British awarded themselves when they were forced to abandon their global political holdings.

The Commonwealth is the superfluous memento of a once gigantic empire on which the sun could not set.

This embodiment of imperial nostalgia never had much relevance on the international stage. The British need the Commonwealth for political and psychological reasons. It is the most tangible heirloom from their ‘glorious past’; it is also a façade which helps them to forget their rather reduced global status as a smallish island on the outskirts of a growing Europe.

Britain’s former colonies remain in the Commonwealth not because the organisation confers any material advantages or international prestige but because its membership is not burdened by real obligations. There may be a lot of talk about new Commonwealth values and Latimer House principles. However laudable these may be, they are largely unenforceable. The British have no way of ensuring that the Commonwealth member countries play by these rules. The former global hegemon is not rich enough to offer sufficiently generous blandishments nor powerful enough to wield a sufficiently punitive stick.

The desperation with which the Rajapaksas of Sri Lanka yearn to host this internationally irrelevant construct cannot but be somewhat flattering to the British. Nobody really makes that sort of a fuss about the Commonwealth anymore. Usually the Commonwealth and its gatherings excite very little global interest. It is thanks to the Rajapaksas’ execrable reputation the Commonwealth is enjoying an unprecedented albeit ephemeral topicality these days.

Imagine the excitement of a feudal-minded peasant of the middle ages at the impending visit of his liege-lord – that is how the Rajapaksas are behaving vis-a-vis the Commonwealth Summit. Colombo is being turned upside down; pavements are uprooted, roads re-done, walls painted, trees root-planted, homeless people and homeless dogs evicted and fountains constructed in a desperate effort to create a façade of wealth and prosperity totally at variance with our everyday reality. Even the ‘Temple Trees’ is getting a makeover with its front perimeter transformed into a vertical garden/green wall.

The Rajapaksas might be on the way to becoming Chinese stooges but their heart belongs to the White-West in general and Britain in particular. If the British (and the Americans) are willing to cut the Siblings the same slack they did for other notable human rights violators (such as Augusto Pinochet), the Rajapaksas will be perfectly happy to ensconce themselves in Western arms. The embarrassing eagerness they are displaying vis-à-vis the Commonwealth is only the latest indication of the Rajapaksa desire to gain the favour of London and Washington.

The Colombo Commonwealth is not about bringing honour and glory to Sri Lanka. It is about giving the Rajapaksas the impression that they too are global somebodies.

The entire hullabaloo might be funny – especially coming from a bunch of self-proclaimed anti-imperialists – had it not been for the cost it will impose on an already overburdened people and a nation tottering on financial ruin.

Rajapaksas Unlimited

The regime hiked import taxes on potatoes by Rs.15 per kilo and import taxes on Bombay onions by Rs.5 per kilo in August.

Sri Lanka has a dangerously lopsided tax system which favours the haves and is punitive towards the poor and the middle classes. Lanka’s direct/indirect tax ratio is an abnormally distorted 20:80. A country which is dependent on indirect taxes for 80% of its tax revenue cannot achieve financial stability or inclusive growth. As the UNDP pointed out, this abnormal system “shifts the burden of taxation on to the poor”[i].

The UNDP suggested that the Lankan government might want to reform this highly iniquitous tax system “to spread the burden of taxation more evenly, to improve revenue collection, to achieve better governance and accountability and to ensure that revenue is in line with growth”[ii]. The Rajapaksas will do nothing of the sort. On the contrary, post-Commonwealth, they will increase indirect taxes at an even faster pace in order to cover up some of the beautification and conference costs.

The Siblings seem well aware of the devastating effect their Commonwealth Extravaganza will have on the ordinary people. That is why they are planning to hold presidential – and probably parliamentary – elections in early 2014. According to media reports, the Supreme Court has been asked about the legality of early elections. Given the nature of the de facto CJ, that query can have only one answer. The regime will be given the legal clearance to have any election they fancy whenever they want.

Once that hurdle is cleared, the burdening of the people – including the very voters who cast their ballots for the Rajapaksas – can begin in earnest.

And if aggrieved people dare to protest, peacefully and democratically, they can be administered a dose of ‘Weliweriya Treatment’.

This week Minister Sarath Amunugama revealed in parliament that the richest 20% of the country account for 54.1% of the national income while the bottom 20% receive just 4.5%[iii].  The ILO has already warned that Sri Lanka’s income inequality is on the rise. Another worrying indicator is youth unemployment. According to the ILO’s Asia Pacific Labour Market Update of April 2013, “…in Sri Lanka youth unemployment rate was more than four times the overall unemployment rate….”[iv]

The ILO has also cautioned that our employment growth is sourced mainly in the informal and not formal sector, with particular preponderance of day labourers and household (domestic) workers. This is a highly volatile situation, both economically and socio-politically. To make matters worse, the Rajapaksas often favour policies which have a devastating effect on this vital informal sector, especially in the name of urban development. In a rare – and welcome – display of sympathy for Rajapaksa-victims, Ranil Wickremesinghe drew attention to the plight of 455 Slave Island families who are about to be evicted from their legally occupied homes (especially the fate of the children who are supposed to sit for OL exam in December) and the fate of 99 small businesses which will be removed: “A city must develop. Still the city dwellers should never undergo any punishment nor their lifestyle be disrupted in the process…”[v] (Hopefully the ‘something-old-something-new’ UNP will move from words to deeds, and do something to protect the basic rights of Colombo’s poor who also happen to be bedrock UNP supporters).

The Commonwealth bash may give the Rajapaksas the glory and acceptance they so desperately and childishly desire. But for the people of Sri Lanka, this Extravaganza will be an unmixed curse. Prices of essential products and services will increase even further and less money will be available for vital public services as a result of the regime’s limitless spending on an economically unproductive and politically irrelevant venture.

The interrelationship between hubris and nemesis was a constant theme of Greek tragedies. The Rajapaksas can reach for the stars, but the price will be equally steep, for them and for us.

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Latest comments

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    How comical is this?.

    Ms T taking the shovel to heap it on her darlings in the British land when her paymasters and supporters are begging Cameron to stay away like their mate Harper in Canada,

    Ms T’s ally the TNA is also in shatters over Manmohan’s tactics.

    If this CHOGM is so useless, why did Ms T wait so long to convince her loyal followers?.

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      Thanks Thisarani. Pl disregard comments from subhumans like this KA Sunanawathi…

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      Bravo Thisaranee! Hats of to you.
      Wish this had come a long time ago.

      Please translate into Sinhala so that the Sinhala Modayas may be educated about how the national wealth is being squandered and wasted to celebrate British Colonialism and racism – NOT by the UNP BUT by the ultra-Sinhala Buddhist home grown Nationalist Rajapassa military dictatorship!

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      Tsunamisekera:
      You DON’T have to convince us that you are a bigger idiot than even your paymasters, but you will keep up your trail of verbal diarrhea because CT, unlike the publications that your tribe own and control, permits dissenting views. In this case, the practice of democracy is most unfortunate!

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        Palayang Yako,

        Man Diarrhea comes out of your backside not mouth. May be yours comes out of your mouth. hak

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          Ouch, looks like somebody touched a nerve in the rectum of K.A Sumanasekera, and disturbed the abode of ‘kali’.

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      This Thisaranee woman has only one thing on her mind.That is in bashing her motherland.When the defeated Tamil terror thugs were in full swing,we never heard of this woman.A [Edited out]

      • 0
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        Yo Maxi boy…

        Neither did we see any action from you in the north in those dark days. You let the village yakkos fight so that you can live to give your two cents worth. Api Wenuwen Api!

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        Max – Too bad you never read Tisaranee’s scathing attacks on the LTTE during those dark days. As objective as she was (and is), she would call a spade a spade even when the criticism was directed towards the GOSL at that time. Obviously you were either ignorant of her writings or chose to ignore them. In the unlikely event that the GOSL undergoes some miraculous change of heart and policy, I’m sure Tisaranee will be the first to acknowledge and praise them for it.

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          Peter, this should show you the caliber of the apologists for Rajapaksa like Max Silva. These are “contract insulters” for the Rajapaksa regime and are unlikely to have read a newspaper or a web-article prior to taking up the contract to insult anyone critical of the regime.

          Not long ago I met a guy trying to run a vegetable stall who had previously been a driver for one of the ministers. He has fallen out of favor for some reason but it was apparent he had married from a respectable family while the going was good. It was also clear he didn’t even have the skills to run a vegetable stall and later I noticed that the stall was closed down. From my conversations with him I know the guy is extremely bitter with that minister and the Rajapaksas.

          Condoms like Max Silva will also end up bitter when they are tossed away by the Rajapaksas. I just feel sorry for the women and kids of these a-holes.

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            Katmai,
            For you it’s condoms or women’s undies.No doubt that the defeated Tamil terrorists have gone absolutely nuts since that unfortunate incident at Nandikadal!

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        Max you Moron,

        Tisa Maha Ranee was behind Tiger Lines eavesdropping on the Greek Tragedy which was unfolding.

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          Kali,
          What was she doing behind Tiger lines?Having some sort of pleasure?What were you doing?Acting as a peeping Tom?

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            Max you Moron,

            She was eavesdropping on the Greek Tragedy that was unfolding man. Thec fact that you Barbaric brothers character has been exposed has upset you hasnt it and that is why you are rattled.

            Do you understand English stop asking silly questions.

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        Max Silva,

        You stupid fool.

        The writer is bashing the Rajapaksas not her motherland.

        To you it may appear that both are one and the same- Rajapaksas and motherland!

        To us the Rajapaksas are the curse of our motherland.

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          Hello Kunu Karola,
          I can understand your feeling.That unfortunate incident(nightmare)at Nandikadal must surely be haunting you day and night. How cruel life can be to some unfortunates!

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        Max You Moron,

        I should have added that because she was behind Tiger lines that she had a Honour intact ( credit to LTTE). But imagine if she was behind barbaric Sinhala Soldiers they would have RAPED their sister and killed her like ISAIPRIYA.
        Lucky girl Tisaranee.

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          She was not raped by the Tamil terrorists because she was a willing partner!

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            Max You Moron,

            You really are a Sinhalese Animal just like your barbaric Brothers. This is the first time I have heard that the Sinhalse Soldiers have sex with a willing partner and then kill her.
            If proof is needed as to why you lot are half Animals according to history you have proved it.

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              It needs an animal to kill a bunch of monsters!

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                Max you Animal,

                You have just confirmed that the Sinhala Race are Animals just as history has taught us. I had to finally drag it out of your Mouth.

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      Well said, K>A> Sumanasekera……. This joker tisaranee gunasekera,, from what this subhuman has written is a manic hallucinator. Morally and financially bankrupt “colombo telegraph” and others like Sri Lanka e news (aks goo news) gladly publish this kind of crap.

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        Vis8,

        “Morally and financially bankrupt “colombo telegraph” and others like Sri Lanka e news (aks goo news) gladly publish this kind of crap”.

        Why do you so eagerly read it then?

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      Geez K.A Sumanasekera, any chance you’d grow a conscience anytime soon?

      Even if what you are implying is true that Tisaranee Gunasekara is living off of “paymasters” from the West, at least she is not a burden on the people of Sri Lanka. You on the other hand, who lives off of public funds funneled by Rajapaksas for your “service”, is a true parasite in all its ugliness.

      There are many who hope a day will come that all you parasites will be forced to regurgitate every cent you’ve embezzled from the public.

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    from Commonwealth bash MR is achieving his glory to be THE MAN with big imperialist.

    For him it is a great achivement. a village man achieving par status with suddha buggers.

    GIving visa to Callum Macrae, the director of the controversial Channel-4 films is another example that our buggers will eat any shit to achieve petty goals.

  • 0
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    Brilliant analysis ….Thanks Tisaranee

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      Brilliant ,eh?What a shame that the defeated Tamil terror thugs going behind skirts!

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        Max you Moron,

        What a Shame MR The Thug, The Criminal, The Looter, The Briber,
        The Beggar going behind Dr.Shiranees skirts

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        “terror thugs going behind skirts!”

        Max the Amude

        The used Elastoplast wearing itchy underwear :)

        0:3

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          Javi,
          Don’t you have anything to talk other than underwear?Of course how can you,when you were [Edited out] since that unfortunate incident at Nandikadal!Hak hak hak!

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            Max you Moron,

            Now that you have revealed what Animals like you do with a willing partner. You have sex and then kill her. When was the last time you had sex man was the partner willing and was it

            An Animal , Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and how did you kill. Shot her Strangled her Stabbed her

            ANSWER IT MAN you Sinhalese ANIMAL

            Every time you open your mouth that will the first question put to you.

  • 0
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    Nicely crafted, Tisaranee.

    The brown sahibs will be out in force and the pictures of the man in the kurakkan satakaya with his ‘friends’ (particularly the pale variety) from around the globe will beamed into every Sri Lankan village. Tarzie’s words reverberate ‘all we need is for the people to be gullible’.

    Let’s just hope that nobody gets hurt at the tamasha.

    May your ink never run dry.

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    Mahinda Rajapakse – the great anti-Imperialist who sent his sons to a Anglican private school (that his family has no connection to), then sent one to a British University and another to the Royal Naval College in Darmouth.

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      Our Mahinda….the peoples ‘reddha assae mahathaya’ or should we say the original ‘brown sahib’….

  • 0
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    dream of Mahinda chinthana and fooled the people
    you can fool the people some times not all the time
    Mahinda regime moving forward to another bloodshed

  • 0
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    A detailed analysis of what is in store post CHOGM. An excellent bit of Journalism.

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    “…..Even the ‘Temple Trees’ is getting a makeover with its front perimeter transformed into a vertical garden/green wall.”

    It is true that all this is being done, in the cause of beautifying the City of Colombo, before CHOGM.
    But has anyone one thought about removing the Hoardings of the grinning Rajapakse Faces from the approach to the City?. Where else in the World do you see such Self Advertisement?

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    Thanks Tisaraneee. The pariah dogs bark but the caraven moves.

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    T.G. has finally realised that she along with all the anti- Sri Lankan elements have failed in preventing Sri Lanka & the Mahinda Rajapakse govt. from having their time in the sun. And so, her whole article is pretty much an exercise of giving vent with a whole lot of sour grapes;)

    Though T.G. does not attach much importance to this event, the tiger lobby thinks otherwise, and rightly so. They continue to work overtime still believing in miracles and desperately trying to convince member states to give the Colombo summit a miss. But, the fact of the matter is that the Commonwealth Summit is only second to the UN summit in terms of participation of global states.

    Btw, I’m so glad that T.G. is looking forward to the next round of elections in early 2014. T.G., I hope your vote makes a difference, but then again, I really doubt it. It would not even be a ripple in the ocean :)

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    Spot-on about the irrelevance of Commonwealth, over doing the preparations and secret longing to belong with their former masters. But claiming that economy is going to collapse because of spending a few billions is so childish. Didn’t some of these experts wanted us to believe that economy will collapse if we were to opt for military operations against LTTE?

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    Great article Tisaranee, the Commonwealth..

    How funny it is about these monarchy devils.. Why do you need to control the people, when you can just control the money??? This is exactly what the British (Or you could say the devils Royal Family) did when they left Sri Lanka, India, Africa, etc..

    What’s the saying.. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

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      Penetrator – Your quote is spot on – just take a good look around!! Although I’m not sure how “great” they are in this case!

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    We can see more bloated photographs of our great leader especially with the British P.M, the Australian P.M and likewise along our roads after CHOGM. There is already one on the Colombo Katunayake road with Barack Obama which he managed to obtain after several visits & attempts.Surprisingly this photograph with Barack Obama cannot been seen anywhere ON THE ROADS in the USA.I suppose these are for our guillible(Moda) masses.What a laugh the world is having.!!

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    Max Silva

    My mother land is Sri Lanka.
    What is your?
    Is it rajapakistan, Bandustan Sinhala Baudistahan, or some other God forsaken Stan.

    I love Sri Lanka. Please find a way to pay back the debts.(Sins) of MR &Co.to China.

    We are still not being able to meet relatively easy repayments of Norichcholai.

    How are we going to service the Por, Air port and the expressway.

    Are we going to expose our, your and your darlings backs or front to the Shylocks from Shankai.

    Levi.

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    Tisaranee,

    1) Britain’s former colonies remain in the Commonwealth not because the organisation confers any material advantages or international prestige but because its membership is not burdened by real obligations.

    *** I disagree with you on the above for the following reasons as GOSL see it differently.

    Sri Lanka hopes to attract foreign investment through CHOGM

    Nov 4 (PTI) Sri Lanka plans to use this month’s Commonwealth summit to achieve its social justice goals through economic development and hopes to attract an increased flow of foreign direct investment (FDI). “We set out to gain maximum benefit to the country from the historic event that is CHOGM,” Minister G L Peiris told a gathering today in Kandy. The biennial conference is to be held here between Nov 15 and 17

    2) There may be a lot of talk about new Commonwealth values and Latimer House principles. However laudable these may be, they are largely unenforceable. The British have no way of ensuring that the Commonwealth member countries play by these rules. The former global hegemon is not rich enough to offer sufficiently generous blandishments nor powerful enough to wield a sufficiently punitive stick.

    The desperation with which the Rajapaksas of Sri Lanka yearn to host this internationally irrelevant construct cannot but be somewhat flattering to the British. Nobody really makes that sort of a fuss about the Commonwealth anymore. Usually the Commonwealth and its gatherings excite very little global interest. It is thanks to the Rajapaksas’ execrable reputation the Commonwealth is enjoying an unprecedented albeit ephemeral topicality these days.

    *** After watching the shocking Interview of Kamalesh Sharma the Bribe Taker it is there for all to see that MR (like the Drug Barrens clean their dirty money by large scale circulation) is deriving maximum benefit from the CHOGM to clean his Blood ( Tamil) Stained hand.

    After watching the interview I am convinced that Kamalesh the bugger should be tried for aiding and abetting when MR is taken to the HAGUE after March 2014.

    3) The Commonwealth bash may give the Rajapaksas the glory and acceptance they so desperately and childishly desire. But for the people of Sri Lanka, this Extravaganza will be an unmixed curse. Prices of essential products and services will increase even further and less money will be available for vital public services as a result of the regime’s limitless spending on an economically unproductive and politically irrelevant venture.

    The interrelationship between hubris and nemesis was a constant theme of Greek tragedies. The Rajapaksas can reach for the stars, but the price will be equally steep, for them and for us.

    *** MR is not going to pay the Loan which he borrowed from the Loan Shark China but it will be the Future Sinhalese Generations as we would have parted Company.
    Good Luck

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    The Ruling party’s rhetoric is ‘we win elections’ So the power of democracy is with us. The steeple will continue to vote them in until ‘Bankrupcy’ steps in. Until such time ‘eat’ ‘drink’ ‘waste’ the available resources and let the future generation sort out the mess left behind. That’s the ethos of the Rulers.

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      ya, if possible join the Ruling party circles and rob the country daylight. today the people who are happy in Sri Lanka, are the people of the ruling family, ruling party and the henchmen. SO join them make the hay while sun shines.

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        Despots and Dictators are time bound in power and they will face humiliation just as the North African leaders in recent times. Their ill gained wealth will be swallowed up by the very regimes who they are friends. RIP Gaddafi

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    Tisaranee Gunasekara, I know you like to blame the Rajapaksas for their despicable behavior but isn’t it time we looked at the real problem? Even prior to 2005 there has been plenty of evidence to show what type of low-lives the Rajapaksas are. But it is the people who have REPEATEDLY given their vote of approval to these rascals. Why are we surprised when a dog acts like a dog?

    I have wondered why so many people support such an immoral leader. Think of our past; honor has not been one of our strong suites. In fact, history is littered with betrayals and dishonesty by the leaders of this country and that should give you an indication of the values of ordinary people at the time.

    So what about the religious leaders who are suppose to shape the moral compass of the society? You can see that they are too busy trying to get a piece of the action that they don’t have time for morality or self liberation. When you see people defending a child abusing monk in order to “prevent damage to the religion” you realize messed up the priorities of people are. It was recently that I watched a ministerial secretary being scolded for acknowledging that women are being sexually abused by Buddhist monks. Doesn’t anyone else see the irony of this situation?

    So, I ask you, is it the fault of the Rajapaksas who act the only way they know how, or the fault of a society that has no sense of morality or honor the way we see it? May be it is neither. May be it is us who expect the regime or the society to be something that they are not.

    I’m not asking you to stop being critical of the regime; God knows, we do need the remaining few to put it down on “paper” at least for posterity. But isn’t it appropriate to, at least, look at your GPS and train your guns at the civilians, just like the Rajapaksas did?

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      Katmai,

      Stop pussy footing. You cant be both Clever and Ignorant.

      If you are clever I am sure you know the reason why the Thugs from the Gutter were propelled to Power and that is because they played the Race Card to the Gallery. The vast majority of the Sinhalese ( 99% ) are born RACISTS whether you agree or not. I dont know whether you are Sinhalese, Tamil (like Karuna) , Muslim or an Alien from Outer Space.
      But we Tamils are the victims in this sorry Sga which you will never admit.
      The problem in Sri Lanka is two seperate families are trying to live under one roof which will never work.
      We have a claim to this Land just as much you have. If Sinhala Lanka is the only Country where the Sinhalse have a Claim why do you have Mahabodhi in India.
      If the Tamils had their own place the Sinhalese I am sure wouldnt have to play the Race Card and elect Thugs like MR .You have to face facts.

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      There is a serious flaw in the system of governance in most countries. Democracy in essence is enforcing man made laws; which, erodes the ethical and moral values of a society. Example legalisation of psychedelic drugs, alcohol, gay marriage, gambling, speculative financial instrument to name a few. The Sri Lankan rulers are considering Buddhist values should not be applicable to foreigners. Can anyone see the democratic hypocrisy where Halaal (lawful) is considered Haraam (prohibited).

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    I think, Sri Lankans deserve this. “Wapurapu dewal thamay nelanna wenne”

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    KAlu Suddha’s favorites – British Common wealth, Latimer House Principals, Greek Tragedy.

    All because of Rjapakses and Sinhala buddhists.

    For the Sinhala medium blog, It is the govt’s wastage, corruption…blah…blah..blah.

    For the English medium blog it is the Rajapakses and the sinhala buddhists who are at fault, worship the European tradition and the middle eastern political-religious ideology….Greek and Roman ideals.

    What a tragedy.

    Is this how your own psyche works ?

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