19 May, 2022

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A Patriotic Citizen And A Military Officer

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Meanwhile in a parallel universe called Humility…

A patriotic citizen obtains perspective

I supported our troops in their efforts to rid the country of the terrorist menace.  I am grateful to them for many reasons.   I cheered their victories for they were my triumphs too.  I sang their praises for they, most of all, were deserving of praise; they put their lives on line for me.  The immense relief of finally being able to live in a terrorism-free country blinded me to some ancient truths.

The security forces that felled Prabhakaran of the LTTE were the same men and women in uniform who had struggled but failed in their mission for a quarter of a century.  Today, as I reflect on the question ‘why not before?’ I realize that all the equipment, training, numbers, intelligence and synergy among the forces would have come to naught without the green-light, confidence and determination of the political leadership.  On that occasion, for once let’s say, the political leadership did not waver, did not lie, and most importantly shared the sentiments of the vast majority of the people.  I knew that terrorism could only be defeated militarily and was confident that our forced could get the job done.  The political leadership shared this view, obviously.   Our troops delivered.  I cheered.

What I forgot in the rush of joy at war’s-end is that it was produced by a key convergence: the sentiments and aspirations of the masses being shared by the political leadership.  That kind of agreement on one matter does not imply agreement on all matters across the board.

The political leadership can (and will, if history means anything) deploy troops to achieve ends that may not be to the liking of vast sections of the population.  Troops follow orders.  They are deployed, most often, when other state agencies have failed to resolve a particular problem.  They are a last line of defense, sure, but what they are defending could be people’s interest (shared by the political leadership) or political interest (irrelevant to the general public).  They can err, they can be excessive.  What I forgot was that they follow orders and that the order is not always mandated by the people.

I should not give blank cheques to anyone.  Not the troops, not the political leadership.  I can cheer of course, but not without relinquishing my right to criticize.

A military officer takes stock

Some may say that I put my life on line.  I did.  That was a choice; let’s say an occupational hazard.  It was for country, sure, but it was a salary-based decision too.  A livelihood. I was shadowed by death and for that reason I am saluted by the public, but that neither gives me bragging rights nor a license to do as I please.

Being human I reveled in the adoration showered on me by one and all after the security forces rid the country of the greatest threat to independence, sovereignty and peace, the LTTE.   Being a member of a regimented outfit with a well-defined structure of authority where orders are given and obeyed, such things don’t easily seep under my skin.

But maybe, deep down, I took that adoration and gratitude for granted.  In the case of the military offensive to liberate the people and country held siege by the LTTE, there was following-of-order and also heart, the fulfilling of a personal need on account of love for country, identification with way of life, consciousness of history and heritage.  Not all assignments come with such additional incentives.

In the end, I am a soldier following orders.  Orders of superiors flowing from their superiors and in the end from the political leadership.  They are not always people-friendly.  They need not coincide with my interests.  But I am contracted to execute orders.  As long as I remain a soldier.

I cannot and should not count on adoration and gratitude on all counts from all people.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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    “In the end, I am a soldier following orders. Orders of superiors flowing from their superiors and in the end from the political leadership. They are not always people-friendly. They need not coincide with my interests”
    – Isn’t it disturbing that the Nazi’s said the same thing?

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      zee:
      Why would this journalistic creature be disturbed by any similarities between Hitler and his own messiah? M.S. is not some innocent babe in the woods. He is an integral part of a cruel and vicious regime, no less and gets paid for his services by The Family and that is a simple, incontestable FACT.

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    Meanwhile in a parallel universe, the editor of an apologist paper confesses that he had been wrong and apologises for singing hosannas to the ruthless regime. He apologises for falsifying facts and supporting the government propaganda. He confesses that he deliberately refused to question whether it was possible that excessive force was used in the war against the Tamils. While it may make the ordinary Singhalese think that it is possible that if the troops may be so violent against their own kind how much more violent they are likely to have been against alien Tamils, the Editor confesses that he knew it all along. He openly calls for an inquiry, an impartial inquiry – knowing how inquiries are wont to go in Sri Lanka.

    In that parallel universe the Editor dares to challenge the government openly without sugar coating his mild criticisms or trying to be argumentative….

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      In a “parallel universe” where justice prevails, Malinda Seneviratne would be summarily executed for what he has ACTIVELY and CONSISTENTLY supported.
      CT please stop publishing this monster’s monstrous rubbish.

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    This fellow is a sewela (slimy) journalist.

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      You are spot on – MS is either gonthadiyek or trying to beat about the bush.. as always has been. What can he achieve by this kind of articles ?

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      I agree. Full of usual Bullshit from Malinda S.
      It really is an understatement of this racist-chauvinist apologist of the regime/Sinhala State terrorist and war criminals.

      Donald Gnanakone.

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    “The imense releif of finally being able to live in a terrorism-free country………….”
    Are we living in a terrorism free country?
    Go to north and east and ask the citizens there.
    LTTE terrorism has been replaced by State Terrorism.
    What happened at Weliweria is the state terrorisng citizens who protested against contamination of groundwater by a factory – just one of many happenings in the recent past.

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    Oh Dear another MS baila.
    I gave up halfway.
    So bloody Boring.

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    Malinda times his article after the weliwiraya shooting,poor malinda has to earn his meals via these articles,dont be too harsh on this kid !

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    no point reading or commenting about this fellows thoughts, big BS, autistic

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    Once you dress up to dance you have to dance matter what, that is this
    well paid off pen pusher doing please excuse him he has to follow the orders from “superiors flowing from their superiors and in the end from the political leadership” as he said in his article at least he has the courage to telling the truth about following…………………

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      well said.
      actually he is dressed down and dancing….’Horu samaga heluwen’….

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    I have no respect for the members of all three forces and police. I am well aware that everyone who is not able to pursue a decent education join these forces. In other words failures like Gotabhaya who did only cadetting during his school days at Ananda College joined the Army. His brother Basil who did nothing at Ananada is a prominent minister. These idiots rule the country and turned it into a military state. Look what has happened at Weliveriya. The soldiels who killed thousands of Tamils to win a so called war have killed Sinhalese this time. An eye-witness to the incident at Weliveriya has alleged that “when the Sister in the church locked some of the protestors in a room, a soldier placed his rifle at her chest. She pleaded with them not to harm anyone. One of the soldiers shouted “kawda umbalawa deng balaganney. Api kotith paradduwa. Umbala vedak nehe. (Who is there to look after you now? We defeated the Tigers. You are of no use).”” This is the behaviour of the so called war heroes. Are they really war heroes? Big NO! They just did a job because they did not join the army to save the country. They joined the army because they could not get any other decent job like Gotabhaya in 1970s. So in my opinion these guys are not war heroes. There is no reason to cheer about a war victory achieved by these criminals.

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      Patriot, the Forces and the LTTE fought before MR commenced the so called Propaganda War. During the propaganda war there was no fighting between the Forces and the LTTE. The LTTE buried all their heavy weaponry and retreated for the Forces to take over the land mass including their stronghold Kilinochchi. They converged on a beach front with the promise of a way out offered by the Americans and the Indians. In the end Gota unleashed the Forces to decimate all with the full knowledge of the Americans and the Indians. Since then both America and India have been trying to cover MR at the UN lest the truth will be out. Are you serious that if VP fought a War that he will bury heavy weapons and abandon his bunker in the stronghold Kilinochchi and expose himself on a beachfront with nowhere to hide? Come on use your common sense.

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    Oh dear! Another pile of bullshit under the ‘parallel universe’ farce. Is there no hope for you at all?

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    Malinda which politician’s idea is the Weliweriya incident ?

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    Malinda has shown his bad side by trying to be a fake journalist.

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    Army made a public relationship blunder, big time.

    Who gave the order ?

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    Malinda Seneviratne

    “They can err, they can be excessive. What I forgot was that they follow orders and that the order is not always mandated by the people.”

    What you forgot? Don’t you know the military is suppose to protect civilians, not shoot and kill them even if they are ordered to. Any sane soldier would know that. There is also talk that some of these soldiers attacked the Weliweriya St. Anthony’s church, which is sacred ground.

    These soldiers should be stripped off their ranks and sentenced to life in prison.

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      Well said the should be sentenced to life. Why only the innocent goes to gallows.

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    Bullshit….

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    In another universe called Rajpaksistan the King recieved a call from one of his loyal subjects. ‘They are are attacking our kingdom’ he said. The King said ‘Dont worry Dhammika, Gota will look after this matter’. So the King decreed and the loyal foot soldiers launched a humanitarian operation to rid the kingdom of this pestilence. After that all lived happily ever after.

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    MS – Another Ambassador in making.

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      ..and Lose his passport again?

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    Malinda Seneviratne’s article is an attempt at apologizing, in a round about way, for his blindness in writing rubbish in support of the troops during and after the war. As one commentator quite aptly put it, so did the Nazis. By alluding to a “parallel universe” he is in fact saying that his conscience lies there even though he lives and works for his supper here in Sri Lanka!

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    And in this universe a kid got murdered by the military and many more severely beaten. Maybe you’ve also forgotten that there are laws against such crimes and that they carry stiff penalties.

    In this new found perspective in this universe will you call for those responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice Dear Malinda? Will you cheer when they are convicted for their crimes Dear Malinda? Will we eat kiri bath together Dear Malinda?

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    Waliweriya incident is a Parallel Universe! If the undisciplined Sri Lankan army can take orders from the DS and do this to innocent people who were asking for drinking water, can you imagine what they would have done to those who were in Jaffna? Let the hearts of those who live outside Jaffna learn from this.

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    Mailinda,

    ” In the end, I am a soldier following orders. Orders of superiors flowing from their superiors and in the end from the political leadership.”

    Since you are not a military personal. Time to stop fantasizing about being one.

    What about calling your self a Bum Sucker ?

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    Have you seen the American movie ‘A few Good Men’? In spite of being called repressive and other ‘names’ the US govt allows these films to be made and shown to the world. They even win awards.

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      Yes very true
      No one should give orders to fire live bullets at a crowd. You don’t compare this with tiger attacks. They never fired rubber bullets. There are so many casualties, even during IRA where British opened fire on the crowd.
      This is not an excuse. The guilty are to be prosecuted.
      Nothing to shout at Malinda.

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    The essence and spirit of the Nuremberg Trials following WW2 established soldiers in the front can refuse to carry out orders from superiors of an illegal, criminal and genocidal nature. Punishment in War Crime Tribunals following events in Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda
    gave effect to these directions.

    Our ranks and officers should be educated more in the laws of the modern world governing the conduct of war and other forms of conflict
    to prevent the unfortunate events at Weliveriya that has taken more than 3 civilian and non-combatant lives already.

    Senguttuvan

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    What a shameful journalist you are. You say here that
    “They need not coincide with my interests. But I am contracted to execute orders. As long as I remain a soldier. Orders of superiors flowing from their superiors and in the end from the political leadership. They are not always people-friendly.”
    Aren’t good journalists are those who all ways stand as ‘People friendly’ who go an extra mile to tell the truth to the world. You should be ashamed to admit that what you have written all these years are for pecuniary and other benefits, which means that you have sold your soul. How can we believe you in the future.
    Using your ability use the pen well, even here without telling us the truth direct, you have used the method of ‘beating round the bush’. Why can’t you call a spade a spade. Isn’t that what you advocate to the others in your many writings. This confession of his reveals you are a robot of the ‘political leadership’.

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    When the LTTE diaspora are trying justify similarities between Weliveria incident with the War our brave soldiers had with LTTE brutes in 2009 and a pro-Tamil diaspora’s english daily working overtime by publishing exaggerated unlimited comments processed by LTTE diaspora and by suppressing pro-Sinhala readers comments largely in order to tarnish the image of the Sinhala nation, we are of the view that MS’s article is a welcome shower to a droughty dessert.

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    Malinga, don’t get disheartened. A tree bearing fruits only will be thrown with missiles and stones. So keep writing. Though we are small in number compared with LTTE diaspora and anti-government propaganda elements we always admire your invaluable articles. During pre-war era you wrote extremely interesting articles. We look forward to read your invaluable articles in the future as well.

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    Malinda,

    You are one of 20 million of your countrymen all racists in my view except a tiny minority. So what you say or write does not surprise me and as long as you express your views in your personal capacity.
    But from your position as the Chief Editor of The Nation you owe it to the readership both Sinhalese and Tamil to write your views in an unbiased Historical Context. No doubt you feel proud to be an ardent supporter of your armed forces and reminisce the achievement of your gallant soldiers in ( in your own words and that of many of your countrymen 99.9 %) getting rid of the menace as you put it of terrorism.
    But even a racist like you I am sure would know deep down that what you have written is a load of rubbish for the following reasons.

    1) Sri Lanka gained independence in 1950 and since independence there have been many race riots which was a one way traffic. Atrocities committed on innocent and defenceless Tamils by Sinhalese mobs urged on by politicians. But your Gallant Soldiers of whom you are proud of stood by and watched thousands being slaughtered.
    2) The birth of LTTE and Prabakaran was the product of your barbarism which I am sure you don’t and wont admit because it is typical of your race.
    3) Sri Lanka has one of the worst human rights record in the modern world but it doesn’t matter to you as you don’t understand the meaning of Civilised behaviour and standard.
    4) If you say there was terrorism ( if you conveniently forget what happened before that ) for the last 26 years sadly it has been replaced by State Terrorism headed by thugs like MR and his clan.

    Every murderer who is associated with this Government has got away with it because the witnesses have been threatened and many have withdrawn their statements to stay alive.
    Ordinary Sinhalese are now paying a price but they are too frightened to voice any opposition for fear of being killed.
    So when you say: In the end, I am a soldier following orders. Orders of superiors flowing from their superiors and in the end from the political leadership. Who are these political Leadership? They are a bunch of racists unelected and preaching a message of hatred like the BBS and giving orders to the army and that is the nature of your society and the Country has descended into anarchy and back to the dark old ages.

    IF YOU HAVE ANY CIVILTY LEFT IN YOU, YOU SHOLD RESIGN FROM YOUR POST AS CHIEF EDITOR AND MAY BE SWEEP THE ROAD AND EARN AN HONEST LIVING

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    What the hell?? Has Malinda Seneviratne lost the plot entirely? What the hell is this parallel universe bullsh*t?

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    These men are not Tamils and LTTE for the army to kill. They should not have fired at civilians. If they want to shoot go to Jaffna and shoot the enemy.

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      You mean shoot the Tamil people? Why?

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    Malinda,

    When the Hamdawa were looking for you in Peradeneya, you left your JVP Sahodaryas and went abroad to return after your Sahodaryas are done with. Now your Sahodarayas are gun fodder and you are with the Hamadawa. Your Shaodarays have no need for you. Those who have had some use for you have none – because the levels you stoop to gives your game away !

    All pretends that you carefully built in this forum is now lost. Like me you are just a Yakka. At least I am Kiri Yakka. You appear to be a Moda Yakka.

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