18 September, 2020

Blog

A Super Majority Is A Bad Idea

By Sarath de Alwis –

Sarath de Alwis

General, your tank is a powerful vehicle. 

It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

~ Bertolt Brecht 

Poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote this ‘General your tank’ poem when he was a refugee fleeing Nazi Germany moving from one land to another until he found sanctuary in America.  

That man can think is something that those who wish to manipulate people often overlook.

Man can be manipulated to fly or kill. Since man can also think at some point, man will think about what is right and wrong. 

In this masterpiece of sardonic disdain for the dictator, Brecht informs the autocrat holding his country hostage that power can do many things, but it cannot make human intellect impotent. 

The poem refers to types of machines and man conditioned to act as a supplement to the state machine. But at some point, man will abandon the futile pursuit and start thinking.  

When will the Sri Lankan voter start thinking? Before or after 5th August?

Democracy is not about voting. Voting is a mere mechanical function. It is not different from Brecht’s man operating the mindless, yet powerful tank in the service of a despot. 

Democracy is much more. It is about freedom of speech, the separation of executive from legislative power, judicial independence, and political equality. 

Flawed as it turned out to be, the 19th Amendment succeeded in setting up democratic institutions that prevented power from being centralized in arbitrary hands unaccountable to the people.  

The idea of the republic was born out of the need to replace the king who ruled either by ‘divine right’ or ‘tribal tradition’. The idea of democracy was born to resist the tyranny of one despot or a despotic clique.

The mere pretense of an election is not democracy. We have all heard the old saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely. It does more than that. Absolute power tends to drive absolute power holder absolutely nuts. 

Lord Acton credited with this original piece of wisdom followed it up with a further clarification. This is what he really said. 

“Holders of power tend to demand more power. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men even when they use influence and not authority.”

That is the problem with concentrated power. In addition to authority it radiates a pervasive influence that lets lose underlings, flunkeys and hirelings who will form a subordinate constellation of repression. 

The purpose of a republic is not to create or install an elected ‘king’. The purpose of a constitutional republic is to prevent power accumulating with either one person or a select few. 

That is where the idea of checks and balances come in. It avoids extremism, instills the value of compromise and enshrines the necessity for deliberation.

Why are we discussing the subject of a super majority when parliament can pass legislation with a simple majority?  Why should the parliament we elect on 5th August be given a mandate to constrain all future parliaments?  

A vote for a super majority at this election will make future voters –  our children and grandchildren, powerless zombies.  

A super majority will ensure a new ‘despotism’ more suffocating, more far reaching than any we experienced since 1978- the year the carnival of the dictator really took off.   

It will be an orderly, disciplined, acquiescent form of peaceful slavery. We will enjoy perfect equality in our capacity to celebrate the hallucinatory wellbeing in an orderly state. 

The demand for a supermajority is cynical politics. Cynical politics cripples’ reason, commonsense and basic ethics. 

Outrage is understandable. Anger will make voters sit up and look for answers and solutions. Cynicism makes the voter reckless. Let us not be cynical on next Wednesday. Let us not make human intellect impotent next Wednesday.  

This parliamentary election is about justice and fairness. 

Have you noticed? We are a society deeply split on the meaning and purpose of the concept of justice. 

We have been promised ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Spledour’. That is all well and good. 

A peaceful and prosperous nation requires good governance and a robust rule of law. The people need safety and security from violence in whatever form.

Their basic rights and fundamental freedoms must be protected. Society must ensure justice for all. 

Here lies the rub. What are the basic rights? Whose rights? What is freedom? Can the people defend their rights and freedoms from the justice system? These are questions for which we seem to have a wide variety of answers. 

When the system fails to provide credible answers to these questions, it means that the system is weak, fragile and inaccessible or accessible to a few and not to all.

Rule of law presupposes the consent of all to abide by the law. When the law is imposed by those who rule, or when the law is forced on a society by ad hoc, provisional instruments of state, or when applied to those who have no power, it will not be perceived as legitimate, moral or just.

A modern-day western legal philosopher John Rawls in his ‘Theory of Justice’ defined justice as fairness. His contemporary Amartya Sen the outstanding oriental philosophical mind rightly raised the question Fairness to whom? Determined by whom?    

In his phenomenal study – the ‘Idea of Justice’ Amartya Sen offers a classic parable that reflects the conundrum of justice and fairness.  

Three children – Anne, Bob and Carla are quarrelling over a flute. Anne claims the flute on the ground that she is the only one of the three who knows how to play the flute. Bob demands the flute on the basis that he is so poor that, unlike the other two, he has no other toys to play with and it would therefore mean a lot if the flute is given to him. Carla says that the flute belongs to her because she made it with her own labour. 

None of the three claimants challenge the rival arguments. All three rely on their own persuasive logic. 

Anne wants the flute because she is the only one who knows how to play it. Bob wants the flute because he is so poor that he has no toys to play with. Carla demands it because she made it. How do we decide between these three legitimate claims?

It is a question you can ponder over, on the way to the polling booth, wearing your face mask, observing social distancing.

Consider how you will resolve the riddle of the flute. One thing you can be certain of. To resolve it, you need a mind sensitive to the ethics of egalitarianism, libertarianism and utilitarianism.  

The utilitarian view would be to give it to the girl who will derive maximum pleasure out of it maximizing utility. The egalitarian will give it to the poor boy because it addresses social gaps. The libertarian would give it to the girl who made it because she would naturally own it as the producer of the flute. There are different types of justice. Justice can decide who gets what, how different people are treated, what is right and wrong and restorative justice that makes amends. 

The one-dimensional military mind trained to view the world in terms of a hierarchical good order would not care who or plays the flute and long as it emits the tune it wants to hear. 

Morality is larger than the debate on justice. Do not use your ‘bugle’- your ‘franchise’- to  play the ‘last post’- for freedom. 

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Latest comments

  • 43
    6

    We had a foretaste of abuse of power during the MR regime, which ended with his defeat in 2015. A two thirds majority will increase the abuse five fold and result in a dynasty similar to the Kim dynasty and the inauguration of a state similar to China or India under Mody. I hope people realize the danger and use their vote to save the democratic institutions in the 19th Amendment.

    • 23
      1

      Truth28

      “A two thirds majority will increase the abuse five fold and result in a dynasty similar to the Kim dynasty ……. )

      You are talking about Kim who is China’s major client state.
      Now it appears that our Defense Secretary Single handed Kamal is competing for the first or second place:
      China, Sri Lanka’s historical ally in many fronts; Defence Sec.
      http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/China-Sri-Lankas-historical-ally-in-many-fronts-Defence-Sec/108-193092

      A client state
      ” is a state that is economically, politically, or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (termed controlling state in this article) in international affairs.”

    • 13
      2

      Truth28 ,

      First of all , Srilanka does not understand democracy ! So , how on
      earth can they make use of such a government ? Imagine how many
      political outfits we have and what for ? Soon we are going to be
      empty of crocodiles in our popular rivers as all of them are invading
      Diyawannawa!

  • 22
    6

    `When the Kalla kallathoni disgusting bully of a war criminal filed his illegal nomination the swabasha borne Department of Elections conveniently or through threats made by the gangster Rajapuk gangs turned a blind eye and accepted his application.
    #
    He by frightening and cajoling the voting public with boru hour fancy tales aided and abetted by the amude wearing rouge racist monks were able to fool nearly 7 million Sinhala Buddhist/Catholic shitting on their tiny shit brain to vote for this undesirable vagrant to legally occupy the royal latrine.
    #
    On his assuming office and whilst squatting on the latrine, he suddenly realised the folly of his ways.
    He instantly came to the conclusion that he was nothing but a fish out of the water.
    Totally clueless and inept were the thoughts running through this not even holding a few passes at the O/L examination which he was able to obtain the necessary credits to join the army by having another bright spark to sit on his behalf. Another by the name of Goat Rajapakse due to his political connections and with the SLFP being in power it was all Christmas for these lives.

    • 17
      5

      The manner in which the greedy obnoxious 2/3rd majority demand is turning out to be a little birdy num numb tells me that there is a good chance that the much criminally corrupt most hated petty racist Klu Klux Lankan branch of the SLPP will not ever after a massive round of wilful cheating might not even get 1/3rd of the said votes concerned.?
      #
      What a pleasant enjoyable shame.?

      • 14
        4

        Oops,
        After my stern posting and with less than 2 days to go for the rotten cheating depending on the military always winning by bullying and dishonest means the swabasha petty racist minded sickly minded low life buggers have all got together to exhibit they’re see-through soiled stinking to high heaven amudes and give negative dislikes to all the democracy-loving free to write as they please comment writers.
        #
        I have been on the channels of available communication for the last few days, the feedback I have been able to obtain that the punters have not forgotten as to how during the previous draconian cheating presidency of wide arsed bullshitter kidnapper of his present wife Mahindan Rajapuka used his acquired stolen monies to buy over the needed UNP parliamentarians and change the constitution to enable the father mother son grandchildren hora boru combinations to be the lifelong rulers of this now the worlds biggest beggar colony.
        #
        Luckily for the people, the arrival of the corvid-19 has put a full stop demented greedy plans to rule under duress.

        • 3
          11

          Let Sinhalese loot the money, they are entitled to that because this country belongs to Sinhalese Aryans.

          Land of Heladiva (Sri Lanka) belongs to Sri Lankans (Helayans) Go to history you can see how Tamils dragged Sinhalese Lands(for example Wellawatta) cheated Sinhalese bygone days and Tamils telling Sinhalaya Modayas Kevum Kanta you days for this. Let Sinhalese Aryans loot the country no problem for that. See the Middle East, Arabs are looting and Arab leaders and Rulter knows that

          • 7
            1

            Disgusting comment!
            .
            Face up to it. We all have the same South Indian genes.
            .
            I was going to vote SJB. I now begin to feel it safer to vote NPP – if that’s what the JVP guys are called. Don’t I know yet? Yaaaaawn. All we have to do is to spend 10 minutes reading what will be up there in 3 languages.
            .
            To be honest, if the English versions are not up, I must be honest. It will take me 20 minutes to read in Sinhala.
            .
            So you see, not so difficult to do our bit and hope for the best. Irrespective of what I do, the JVP will do better than expected.
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe

          • 3
            1

            Nperera,

            ANYONE that represents slaves would agree with you.

            nperera, this country belongs to all. No matter you are sinhalaya or non sinhalese.

            So long any leaders would think the way you do, nothign can be achieved for the benefit of the masses. Basta.

      • 3
        5

        rj
        Why didn’t SJB demand a 2/3rd majority?

        Soma

        • 8
          2

          Some-ass,
          They must be happy with the 19th amendment and not greedy for power hora boru salli like your despicable greedy spit salivating villager crooks.
          Hopefully, they will get their widebodied arses whipped.

    • 5
      3

      The popularity of sj1952 “comments”, shows that there are some readers who are still just cheering the “side” that they are on.
      .
      A comment which shows no awareness of “the other side” is not usually worth much.

      • 3
        3

        Sinhala_Man,
        Wow, my suspicions have once again been proven right.?
        I have a male admirer who sprouts put evil-eyed postings.?
        #
        That’s one quality that I do not carry, I may dislike folks but am never hateful or jealous of any living 2 or 4 legged beast.?
        #
        I am in heaven of a nirvana. Thank you.

        • 5
          4

          Sinhala man,
          As I detest/dislike the Rajapuka’s SLFP-SLPP and them VIP included there is no point in my even acknowledging their sordid undesirable existence on good old planet earth.
          #
          I do not care a tuppence or two whether any of them are alive or not.?

      • 12
        1

        Sinhala_Man, have you ever tried explaining the piano keyboard to a cat? It is very frustrating and a complete waste of time.
        .
        By the way, what do you call a Chinese cat?
        Chairman Meow.

        • 2
          2

          `Stanley –
          Another who’s mentally affected by my style of happy writing.
          Why am only stating nothing but the truth in my own style?
          #
          as to your feeble attempt at being a puff of a stale dry joker keep on doing your night time job.?

          • 4
            0

            rj1952 old chap, I know you can laugh the hind legs off a donkey until the cows come home. Remember, that cow also jumped over the moon like Mrs B’s Poya Day holiday fiasco. You call that a style?
            .
            This has been written in rjspeak for his benefit. Anybody who wants to translate it into English is welcome to try.

  • 12
    24

    The writer quoted Amartya Sen on “Fairness to whom? Determined by whom?” and ended with the admonition “Do not use your ‘bugle’- your ‘franchise’- to play the ‘last post’- for freedom”.
    To apply Amartya Sens argument “freedom for whom? Determined by whom?” Before the Rajapaksha’s ended Terrorism in Sri Lanka, did the people have freedom to send their children to school safe from bombs, or Tamil politicians to voice their own opinion free from the threat of being eliminated? was even the Prime Minister of India free from being ‘done away’ with for opposing the desires of the Supreme Leader of the LTTE? Did the Tamil school children have the freedom to get about their school work and normal living without being abducted and brainwashed to becoming ruthless suicide bombers?
    Coming to recent times are we not happy with the freedom to be protected by the Coronavirus that has devastated most countries? Are the citizens not happy with the program to get us freedom from drug lords and criminals who have been plaguing our society and also infiltering the police (including the PNB!), prisons and excise dept? Are we not happy about the rounding up of extremists who would want to repeat a second ‘Easter Sunday massacre’?
    Are these freedoms any less important than what the self proclaimed guardians of ‘Freedom’ are imagining about?

    • 4
      9

      Rationalist
      Thanks, no one said it more clearly.
      .
      If a god appeared before me at the 2005 presidential elections and asked me to choose between a Rajapaksa who will eliminate the Tigers completely but ROB HALF THE COUNTRY and a Wickramasinghe who will further enhance the pact he had already signed with Prabakaran (which Prabakaran turned down as insufficient!) I would beg to give me Rajapaksa.

      We are free to breathe today thanks to Mahinda Rajapaksa.

      Again, if Gotabaya Rajapaksa did not take over in 2019 we would be witnessing today brisk continuation of the Yahapalana attempts to break the country into Federal units and the critical point in that process would be the beginning of the next round of bloodshed. We can sleep peacefully for another five years.

      Remember the last days of Tiger power when mother and father took different routes to work to save at least one parent to the children?

      I don’t know what the doctors call when ingratitude is mixed with dementia.

      Soma

      • 2
        3

        General Election 2020, one-horse race, and 2/3 majority are sure. As per the latest CIA report Heladive (Sri Lanka) Sinhalese Aryan Buddhists 78.9%, Sri Lanka Tamils 11.2% Indian Tamils 4.2%, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Muslims 9.2% others 0.05%. Sinhalese Buddhists 78.9% plus Sinhalese Muslims 9.2% (Total 88.1%) and Sri Lanka Tamils 11.2% and Indian Tamils 4.2% (Total 15.4%). That’s mean 88.1% huge majority and due to this 2/3 clear majority for SLPP party in this 2020 parliamentary election

    • 3
      0

      Rationalist

      Part I
      “Before the Rajapaksha’s ended Terrorism in Sri Lanka,…………”

      How correct is this? The Rajapakses came to power after the Presidential Election in Nov. 2005 when there was a Ceasefire and Peace Talks which broke down after the LTTE closed Mavil Aru in July, 2006, after which sporadic clashes followed. Following a decision to drive the LTTE out of the East and then use its Full Military to defeat the LTTE in the North, the Army began an Offensive in Dec. 2006, which ended in July 2007 when the last LTTE stronghold in the East, Thoppigala Jungles, was cleared of the LTTE. Having cleared the East of the LTTE in just over 6 months, the Army unleashed its Full might on the North towards the end of 2007 and took control of the North in May 2009, thus ending the War.
      What made this possible?

      1. The Firm opposition of the Muslims to the Ealam project and their unwavering support to the Forces throughout the War for which they paid a heavy Price in Lives, Property and day to day life. The Terrorists didn’t spare the Muslims even inside the Mosques while praying in Kattankudy and Eravur where hundreds were killed.

      • 3
        0

        Rationalist

        Part II

        2. The Defection of Karuna in March 2004 which was facilitated by Ali Zahir Mowlana. Karuna, in addition to vital Intelligence on the LTTE, had over 5000 fighters whom the LTTE had to contend with when the Army began its offensive in the East in Dec. 2006.

        3. The Tsunami of Dec. 2004 which took a heavy toll on the dreaded Sea Tigers and their Equipment

        4. Last, but not the least, the Forces being led by a very able Commander, Sarath Fonseka whom MR himself praised as the Best Commander in the world soon after the War was won.

        So, the Rajapakses did NOT end Terrorism in the country but a combination of other factors did so and only the Ignorant and the Rajapakse worshippers will credit the Rajapakses for ending Terrorism. It is just that the Rajapakses were there at the Right Time and Place.

  • 16
    29

    There is something commonly sad and funny about the wailings of people like De Alvis, David and Titssaranee Gunasekara.
    /
    They were part of the cheer squd of the (FAILED) Yamapalana conspiracy, and were ‘rent seekers’ behind the Yamapalana wagon. They got their agents (Radhika Kumaraswamy, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu et al) appointed to ruling positions under the 19A fraud.
    /
    Now they panic looking at their approaching irrelevance post August 5. No end to quoting known and unknown western literary hacks. (Their appalling ignorance of the literary and cultural history of the island prevents them fromunablequote from such literary masterpieces like Pujavaliya, Budugunalnakaraya or Kavyasekaraya).
    /
    There is one alternative these wailing brigades can try. Contest the election after announcing their ‘policies’, to find their place in the island’s democracy.
    /
    I bet they run to the shithouse at the mention of that alternative!

    • 27
      5

      Sanasa Pinbatha

      “I bet they run to the shithouse at the mention of that alternative!”

      First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
      ….
      ….
      ….
      …..
      Then they came for me an active Rajapaksa lackey —and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • 21
    2

    “To assume all the powers is not good for anybody. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. All those experiments have a bad ending”. Rafael Correa

    It is unfortunate that we are on the verge of giving all the power to one power hungry and dangerous family. Sri Lanka will forever be changed, and it will be too late for the country when realization hits us. We are in for some scary times.

  • 20
    3

    Srilanka s exports go most to EUROPE and USA. I dont think both these partners would be happy to work with Rajakashes. If that was the case, MR govt from 2010- 2015 could bring lot more good to the nation.
    :
    People shoul dnot forget the manner MR adminstiration with over 2/3 majority looted by 2015.
    :
    Yet today, PEOPLE are made enternal debtors thanks to the mismanagement of the statefunds by MR regime.
    :
    They made the nation enterla debtors being CAUGHT by chinese INVESTMENT injection as of 2015. The chinese CHOSE most stupid and tribal style leaders where they thought they could grab fortunes.

    • 3
      0

      leelagemalli ,

      I think foreign remittances are on top of anything else in terms of
      Forex earnings and much of foreign remittance flood in from the
      Mideast ! And majority part of it from the Export of Domestic Aids
      and hard labour ! The next in line is , Garments to the US and
      Europe , the enemies of SLPP’s most beloved Wimal and Gamman !
      Hypocrisy at its best ! Srilanka decides tomorrow , Economy or
      Hypocrisy !

  • 20
    3

    cONTD
    In srilanka and Angola they chose equally and pumped their funds into WHITE ELEPHANT projects. Our people thought, Rajakshe would bring luck more jobs to the country through such investments, but HE WAS CAUGHT as the NUMBER ONE chinese DEBT trap coutnry. That is why MS-RANIL govt had no other choice but to agree with a lease of 99% in terms of Hambantota harbour. Those from outside world know it but LOCALS are kept in dark tot he very same manner, many of the country going beyond 90% go after THAKKADIYAS AND KATTADIYAS believing superstious beliefs. IF MASSES would be asked to EAT – COW DUNG – 3 TIMES a day, even local graduates would line up to follow it. That was the case also with KELANIYA temple – relics that was said to have brought by a WATER SNAKE … as publicly added by a monk whose IQ is lower to that of a down syndrome patient – but with a Prof. title and being a RAJAPAKSHE SUPPORTER, .. madepeople believed that it was the true story. No physists or any others in local investigative journalism came forward to prove the truths since the cultural forces are dominated forces in the FALLEN country.
    Reply

  • 27
    5

    Yesterday, the Interdicted Superintendent of the Negombo Prison Anuruddha Sampayo who was finally arrested publicly appealed to the President to save him.
    And Yesterday, Vasudewa Nanayakkara urged voters to bring the convicted murderer Premalal Jayasekara to parliament while saying that a death sentence does not affect his candidacy.
    Need I say more?

    • 16
      3

      Bernard

      I suggest Pardoned death row war criminal Sunil Ratnayake for:

      President or
      Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter of Siyam Nikaya or
      Mahanayaka of the Malwatta Chapter of Siyam Nikaya or
      All at the same time.

    • 2
      0

      Bernard ,

      Vasudeva is a so-so leftist who is in the parliament among so many
      Premalals ! One more Premalal won’t be too much for him ! Vasu
      may even propose to make him the justice minister so that the Judge
      who sentenced him can be taught a lesson the same way Shani was
      dealt with ! Best episodes are still to be released !

      • 2
        1

        Dear Whywhy,
        in my schooling days I thought WASIDEWA was a great leftist. Also in my Alevel days I thought Wimal Buruwanse would become a good leftist. But both sitting with Rajapakshes looters and brought the country to all ends. How brutal these buggers should be, to ruin this country today. What ever locals would utter about the rulers, europe has blacklisted them today.
        They dont belong to the 54 countries, that they should be given visas entering the europe. How come ?
        Not even for VISA srilanken passport holders are entitled today. Why is that ?

  • 12
    4

    All imbeciles can howl now but racist Rajapaksa crooks will bulldoze all opposition and get about 130 seats and then use carrots and sticks to get 2/3. Then they will change the constitution. Serves them right! Justice delayed is justice denied.

  • 5
    3

    Royals were bad idea from the time CBK. . Sinhala Intellectuals couldn’t get it. Now it is too late. They raped JVP girls. build the Matara hospital over mass murder site. Killed their girls friends. Murdered the hit-men.Drained Hambantota help. Paid for CJs to give out injustice to victims. (Buffoon De Silva, Shiranee Bandaranake, Mokan Pieris all did that). Swindled NGO’s funds and went against NGOs telling to Modayas as they are pro Americans orgs. It all were confirmed when they murdered Kathirgamar.

  • 2
    3

    “General, man is very useful.
    He can fly and he can kill.
    But he has one defect:
    He can think. “

    In that case hire a Sinhala Buddhist. Isn’t it that why British Estate owners brought even indentured labors from South India.

    • 2
      1

      Malli, good idea. They were poor and obedient slaves of the British.

      • 1
        3

        Isn’t for what the Sinhala Buddhists annihilated Kandy Tamil King? Then they signed Kandy accord with Britain to take over their land. They fought with Muslims under the leadership of a Christian half Parangi, Don Stephen and made him as Sinhalese Buddhist National father for getting them freedom.

        • 5
          3

          Malli try posting the whole truth. ‘A few Kandyan chieftans’ instead of ‘the Sinhala Buddhists’. ‘The cruel Buddhist Tamil King’ instead of the ‘Tamil King of Kandy’. ‘Helped the British unseat’ instead of ‘annihilated’ and so on.
          .
          Then the picture is very different. Distortion and half-truths will get you nowhere.

          • 2
            2

            So do you from 1948, Don Stephen, Siri Ma 0, JR, Richard.P., CBK, Old King, New King, Ranil and King were the only bad people; but Sinhala Buddhist did their duty appropriately? Hopefully, then they will repeat one more time in 2020 too.
            May know how do call 7 million made sure Tamil and Muslims not getting in Sinhala Buddhists election in Nov, 2019?
            (There is full evidence Sinhala troops were fighting along British. He was Hindu King, the out of control his Athikaris forced him to become Buddhist. Then Uncle inflicted extremely cruel punishment to his nephew’s wife and children. It was only a family fight. King was not in that. As king king associated him with Buddhism, accepted the Buddhist cruel culture at then end. This is what happended to Pulasthini. Now she is called Tamil ISIS. But she was sleeted by Aanduwa for her excelent A/L results, converted, used in with Bombing gand, separated and murdred, now they say India has taken back their agent.

            • 3
              3

              Mallaiyuran you are correct . The last kings of Kandy were, Telugu origin , Tamil speaking Naickers from Madurai . Who considered themselves Tamils. He was a practicing Hindu but patronized Buddhism, as he was the king. His direct descendants still live in Tamil Nadu and are Tamil Hindus not Telugu Hindus or Buddhists. During the Naicker reign of Kandy Tamil was also an official and court language of Kandy a very important point , that Sinhalese Buddhist Fascists fail to mention, this is the reason half the so called Kandyan chiefs signed the Kandyan convention in Tamil. This includes the great great grandfather if one of the most anti Tamil Prime Ministers in the island Srimavo. It was during their rule the city if Kandy was beautified and the Kandy Lake and Pathirupuwa was built( Parthu Irrupu in Tamil meaing sit and observe) , It was these Tamil Naicker kings who were responsible for the revival of Buddhism in the island and the so called Lion Flag holding the sword is the flag of these Tamil Naickers . Meaning bravery. Now ironically appropriated by Sinhalese racist Fascists as a symbol of the so called lion race and of Sinhalese supremacy.
              ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Vikrama_Rajasinha_of_Kandy#:~:text=Sri%20Vikrama%20Rajasinha%20%281780%20–%20January%2030%2C%201832%

              • 2
                2

                ‘….this is the reason half the so called Kandyan chiefs signed the Kandyan convention in Tamil.’
                .
                Have you even seen the Kandyan Convention? How much Tamil can you see? I repeat, distortion and lying will get you nowhere.
                https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09/The_Kandyan_Convention_of_1815.jpg

                • 1
                  4

                  https://sangam.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Signatures-of-11-Sinhalese-Chiefs-in-1815-Document-593×1024.jpg

                  The deposition from the throne and the banishment of the last king of Kandy and the vesting of the dominions of the kingdom of Kandy in the British sovereign were effected by a proclamation of the Governor of Ceylon (popularly known as the Kandyan Convention) in 1815 which was written in English on one half of the pages and in Sinhala on the other. Now although the East Coast of India was well known at this time as the Coromandel Coast yet when the proclamation referred to the claim and title of the Malabar race to the dominion of the Kandy provinces and the expulsion of ‘all male persons of the Malabar Coast’ this could not be taken to mean the peoples of Kerala or of the West Coast of India. The king was not a Malayalee but a Tamil Nayakar from Madura. For some reason or other it was customary in Ceylon at that time and in the 18th century to refer to the Tamil language as the Malabar language and to the Tamils from Madurai or Tanjavur (Tanjore) as people of Malabar. Such references did not refer exclusively to the territory of Kerala.

                  • 1
                    4

                    It may be that because of the use of the Grantha script in a mixed script with Tamil and of the close similarity in the Tamil and Malayalam languages, or because the Grantha script was regarded only as a sophisticated Tamil script, the British and Dutch referred to all those who came from the former Cera and Cola kingdoms as peoples of Malabar reserving the Coromandel Coast to mean the Andhra hinterland….
                    Table 10 shows that all except one of the eleven Sinhala Chiefs who signed the document wrote their signatures not entirely in the modern Sinhala script but in a mixed script of Sinhala, Tamil and Malayalam characters. The handwriting is clearly their own as it shows that although they were literate they did not possess a high degree of literacy and mistakes in orthography and malformations of even the Sinhala letters which are apparent in the signatures would not have been made by their secretaries or scribes if the signatures were appended by them for their Chiefs. There is no evidence that any of the 11 Chiefs were of recent Tamil or Malayalee descent. But if they were, the order of expulsion on all male persons of the ‘Malabar’ race would have applied to them. The Sinhala version refers simply to such persons as ‘Demalas’ orTamils…

                    • 1
                      4

                      The explanation for the use of Tamil and Malayalam characters in the signatures may be found in the fact that the last dynasty of Sinhala kings was of Tamil origin from Madura and the Tamil script would have been frequently used in the court. The characters of the Sinhala script were fully developed at that time as shown by the script used for the Sinhala version of the proclamation written by the side of the English version. It can therefore confidently be assumed that as late as 1815 the Malayalam and Tamil scripts were so well known in Sri Lanka that the non-scholarly population were accustomed to use these characters in their writings in Sinhala rather than the artistic Sinhala characters equivalent to the Tamil and Malayalam characters which were used only by professional scribes and monks.

                    • 1
                      4

                      Ralph Pieris points out in a footnote that in the case of the Kandyan Sinhalese there was the admixture of Tamil blood particularly in court circles and that the original Kappitipolas were full blooded Tamils who came to the island with some Malabar king, presumably subsequent to 1739 when the Malabar dynasty was instituted. Yet it was these persons of the Malabar race i.e, Tamils who had come as courtiers from Madura who were banished in the Proclamation of 1815

                    • 0
                      1

                      “It may be that because of the use of the Grantha script in a mixed script with Tamil and of the close similarity in the Tamil and Malayalam languages…”
                      This is putting the cart before the horse.
                      “The Pallava script or Pallava Grantha, emerged in the 4th century CE and was used until the 7th century CE, in India” (Wikipedia)
                      Grantha itself was evolving for a few centuries to reach its last version.
                      Grantha has common features with Tamil Vattezuththu, but had to seek elsewhere for nearly 20 more consonant symbols.
                      Both Malayalam and Sinhala drew heavily on Grantha. Malayalam adopted it with minimal changes and Sinhala with more rounding of letters.

                  • 0
                    0

                    You mean to say that all our political villains and their idiot voters are actually Tamils? Interesting. Mallaiyuran and the Piglet have often said that all of us are mainly of Tamil ancestry. And yet we are called modayas. Even more interesting.

                • 0
                  0

                  Stanley and others,
                  Look carefully. Of the eleven signatures that I could identify on pages 13 & 14 I recognized at least six with Tamil letters, with Ratwatte’s name almost entirely signed in Tamil. (The seventh had a character that was not Sinhala, looked like Tamil, but did not make sense.)
                  It is dangerous to read too much meaning into such things.
                  It at best implies that Tamil played a considerable role in the court of the king and that the Sinhala literacy of many of the Disawas was weak.
                  That is nothing spectacular, as French dominated the court of the Russian monarch for a long time.
                  The awkwardness in English spelling is due to the dominance of the English royal court by French scribes and some Germans too.
                  Many European rulers were of alien or mixed birth. What does it prove? Pretty little in our context.
                  History should be read with an open mind and, most importantly, in context.

              • 0
                0

                PART ONE

                Dear Siva Sankaran Sharma,
                .
                The link that you have given did not work (you appear to have inadvertently left out the initial “h”: I navigated to this simpler looking link) after I got to the Wikipedia entry on King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, which I skimmed through:
                .
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Vikrama_Rajasinha_of_Kandy
                .
                After this comment gets put on, let’s see if it works.
                .
                This has been an interesting exchange of views, triggered by Stanley giving me a link to the famed “Kandyan Convention”. I saw the facsimile of it for the first time as far as I know (although it is so much talked about, so thanks Stanley).
                .
                I agree that it’s such a little bit of paper, signed by near illiterates, for us to be arguing over. Yes, there seems to be little doubt that “Ratwatte” signed in Tamil. I can’t make out where he was the Disawe of. I’ve been to “their” house at Mahawalatenna, many decades ago when Sirima’s brother, Clifford Ratwatte, was the owner. I didn’t then attach all this importance to that visit.

              • 0
                0

                PART TWO
                .
                Perhaps, what does matter is that when I voted on the 5th at the General Election, there wasn’t, at my Polling Station, a Tamil copy (I don’t know the language at all – although I’d recognise the script) of the names of the Parties/ Independent Groups and the list of 12 candidates in each Group in Tamil. Two Sinhalese copies. I have subsequently come to feel that the list was displayed in three languages (including English) at other polling stations.
                .
                Knowing enough of my fellow-Sinhalese, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Presiding Officer had deliberately left out the other two languages. This is mainly a Sinhalese area (the Officer is unlikely to have known that), but there would have been Tamils incapable of reading Sinhalese coming to vote. In any case, a regulation has to be followed by an Official.
                .
                Let me stop, since I’m sure that I wrote about it below. What is important is that today, we counter racism where-ever we sense it. It would be “unwise” for a Tamil to protest. No problem for me.

  • 6
    1

    The super majority is a bad idea, may be,

    But who is responsible for this calamity?

    The Yalpanaya government?, the voters who voted for the Yalpanaya government? the intelligentsia who kept silent? Who?
    .
    The utter incompetency, ineffectiveness, disillusionment, corruption, infighting had compelled the voters or the majority of voters to this dilemma.

    Many of those who had voted for yalpanaya guys are now compelled to vote for SLPP out of frustration.

    All are appealing the voters. The appeals may be in good faith. But?

    Now in hindsight could you honestly say that the voters were right in voting out Mahinda and bringing in Yalpanaya rascals in 2015 and wrong in the expected about turn in 2020.

    Voters are in a quandary.

  • 6
    1

    The entire article, based on generic concepts, clearly are directed at those currently in power. But it is very well true had the other side been in power. While appreciating the scholarship of the author to give references to sayings of many what needs to emphasized is that the basic attitude of the Sri Lankan politician is almost the same and the party divisions are immaterial. These are classic symptoms of a failed state. We need to go a long way for every Sri Lankan to agree to minimal set of values that must be upheld by everyone.

    • 4
      1

      Good Sense

      “These are classic symptoms of a failed state. We need to go a long way for every Sri Lankan to agree to minimal set of values that must be upheld by everyone.”

      True.
      However this is not a new phenomenon as if we have discovered now. It’s been there since the early 1950s albeit there were warnings of huge outbreak of the disease. Parochial nationalism blinded majority of the islanders. Embolden unchecked nationalism now manifests in the form of real threat to democracy.

      This is no longer a case of “refugees looking for economic greener pastures” abroad (in the much maligned West) however it could turn into a disastrous Exodus.

      You should relax and enjoy while freedom lasts.

      • 1
        1

        Dear Native,

        It is the very attitude of relaxing and enjoying while freedom lasts is the cause of the declination of state of affairs since a long time and you can count things since 1950. Freedom and Values do not fall on to the lap of individuals or nations. There should be a lot of effort to nurture, cherish and preserve it for the future.

  • 2
    1

    Donno…..must have some JVP also, ne. China : India : USA :United Communist Sri Lanka = 2 : 0.5 : 0.1 : 1.5

    • 4
      1

      ramona grandma therese fernando

      Is this a coded message to Old Codger?

  • 5
    0

    As usual a brilliant essay by the author worthy of being a reference study material for students leading to tertiary education. Excellent references quoted to give effect to educative and inculcating trend into the minds of the readers. The amazing poems “General your Tank” by Poet and Playwright Bertolt Brecht are good lessons in relation to Sri Lankan politics in the present context.
    The author has tacitly quoted “The idea of Justice” by Amartya Sen who raised the question – Fairness to whom? Determined to whom?
    I am sure these two questions will serve as guide-lines to emulate by the voting population before they cast their precious democratic right, Vote.
    Thank you

    Thank you

  • 7
    2

    Folks enjoy the final day of our “DEMOCRAZY”. Come tomorrow it will be nothing but vistas splendour and prosperity in a disciplined and virtuous Lanka.

  • 3
    0

    Once the Top policies tasted power they will ask for more power to enhance their wealth. In that situation, Democracy has no value. Frequent changes in the constitution are the weakness of the Every political party wants to change the constituion so that they will be benefited. The fate of the country depends on the bye-laws in the constituion Misuse of the laws will lead to destruction of the country. This is what is happening in Sri Lanka. We have too many constitutional experts with politically aligned thoughts. No one is interested in the life of a common man or the economy of the country. No multi-ethnic country will prosper unless all ethnic groups have equal rights. It is a pure chance that you are born a Singles, Tamil, or Muslim., What will be your next birth. The karma you accumulated determines your next birth In a Buddhist country I wish that any Buddhist voter will base the voting based on Karma they have committed

  • 4
    0

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” So said Winston Churchill.

    The latest Democratic choice, in 2016, for the most powerful position of President of the most Advanced country in the world and the Sole Super Power, is Trump, who is probably the Worst of them All. He will have another shot later this year, and if he is re-elected, that will remind us all of Churchill’s words.

    If Democracy produces the likes of Trump as leaders in the 21st Century in the Most Advanced country in the world which is also the 7th Oldest Democracy, what can we expect in Sri Lanka?

    May be it is time that some limitations are introduced in the political life of the MPs like the number of terms they can serve, retirement age etc., so that Politics will become very much less attractive for the undesirables and we, the helpless voters. will be spared the sight of the same Miserable Faces again and again.

  • 9
    1

    In my opinion, The Rajapakshe’s chances of getting 2/3 rds are quite unlikely unless the election is rigged. Even when their popularity was sky-high in 2010 after winning the war I don’t think they got closer to a 2/3, at all. Of course, we all know how they later bought over MPs from the UNP to make up the numbers.
    But then who knows what’s up the Rajapakshe family sleeve? With plenty of looted wealth to throw about, cabinet portfolios on offer, some opposition MPs may well decide to prostitute themselves and bed with the Rajapakshes rather than be in the opposition benches for the next 5 years.
    This is not my imagination just look at our 72-year political history !!

    • 5
      0

      Mr Burns, excellent!

  • 3
    1

    Thanks, Mr Sarath de Alwis for all these wonderful articles.
    .
    We jus ton’t know to what extent what we say will affect the outcome of tomorrow’s polling.
    .
    On Saturday night Prof. Jeevan Hoole turned up at my Bandarawela home, and I accompanied him to Badulla and Nuwara-Eliya on Sunday, He left for Anuradhapura via Nuwara-eliya and Kandy on Monday morning.
    .
    I’ve begun putting the details here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-super-majority-is-a-bad-idea/
    .
    No, I don’t think that there’s anything controversial that you will find there.
    .
    What we need is clear thinking, not argument and invective.

    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka Sinhala_Man

  • 3
    1

    Oh, dear, dear,
    .
    I’d given you the wrong link, hadn’t I?
    .
    It should have been this:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-edr-the-lynchpin-in-clean-elections/
    .
    Well, that illustrates what I’ve been saying; it’s high time we old guys handed over to younger people.

  • 1
    2

    MR after voting told media, we will get 2/3 CRATED in parliamentif if not at polls. Openly admits to horse trading. Now wait for prosperity and splendor in a disciplined and virtuous Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    At this election, Dictatorship cannot be avoided in Lankawe, unless Royal wants to spare. Sinhala Buddhists are wishing for strong president. Ayatollahs are longing for Hitler. Available to elect are Kasiyappas and Anulas.
    Hunger or pain or love or sex is not an urge for freedom. Those feeing are generated by chemical reaction happening in body. But urge to freedom is one come out of thought. This is why the lizard kept on the bed sneaks to wall crack. Urge to breathe the fresh air leaving behind the hot meal and comfortable home is astonishing behavior we observe even in pets too. Unless the mind asks for it there is no point in filling one’s stomach with freedom. You may have heard “The price of Freedom” which is decided slightly different way of Economics’ demand and supply decides the price of an article. In an economy, if supply exceeds the demand, you get a better price, which means you spare fewer resources to get what you want. Unfortunately if demand is high, your will have hard time to get what you want. If freedom is not in high demand to overwhelm tyrants, freedom seeker pay high price. Freedom is demanders’ product; economic goods are sellers’ objects.

  • 0
    1

    A tyrant is not freedom supplier, but only steals freedom. Of cause if the thieves are more or the path are easy for theft (no resistant) of freedom, you again pay high price to protect your freedom. So economics supplier role is not what a tyrant play. We took economics’ supply demand as metaphor because it is well known concept and can be easily compared and contrasted with the freedom delivering mechanism. Tyrant is a person feels satisfaction in, beyond commanding people against their will, seeing their pain, suffering and dismay and be entertained out of that. Like thieves and guards are, in all societies, freedom fighters and dictators are in all society. Like what price you pay for freedom, how much guards you need for the society is determined is how easy for thieves to steal. Society’s wealth does not determine the thieves’ ability to steal, but the lack of guardianship. If leaders and followers not on alert of which way the thief is coming, they leave open their previous property, freedom, let go stolen by dictator. In Lankawe the thieves started to throw a piece of meat – racism, to dog, i.e. to those who alert ignorant, (the Wiseman and freedom activists), stole the freedom from all.

  • 0
    1

    Democracy, which is the fruit of the freedom, becomes axe handle by working with tyrant when he starts to grow, by the equality for criminal and victim, culture. So the freedom fighter will have hard time to fight against the tyrant and restore the freedom. As we saw earlier, the fighting process difficulty dependent on the society’s culture, style of life, ability to understand (education). 1948 Sinhala leaders started their antidemocratic and tyrannical destruction of the nation by removing the voting right of a citizen composition, a clever churning technique of Sinhala Buddhist Modaya cream. This was about creaming aside the Modayas from other compositions. So, the tyrants’ successful shifting action has delivered them what they needed. On 7th, Sinhala Majority will be delivering them the mandate to rule Lankawe under dictatorial administration. As we always advocated, it is not the ignorant Sinhalese are responsible for yesterday’s voting. It is the educated imbeciles- the pretentious, learned section takes this responsibility. Ranil claims as his victory, against Tamils, the Royals escaping not just local, but even IC’s judgement. He personally defused 2018 court cases against the coup organizers. There were many Sinhala lawyers, doctors and Polices worked on saving Royals from all murders they committed. Only one Tamils man, Pillaiyan witnessed in court the murders hired him to kill. So Hypocrisy Yahapalanaya put him in prison for ever without any case.

    • 0
      0

      Mr. Mallaiyuran,
      .
      Want a tissue….??

  • 0
    1

    Yahapalanaya protected the 4/21 planners by bombing the Sainthamaruthu home where they kept hidden the bombers relatives, wives and Children. A paradesi, no-country citizen stood for election as EP. Law clearly says only a Lankawe citizen can stand for election. The chairman of the commission over ruled the other members’ concern. Not one, educated, fair minded Sinhala intellectual wanted to file a case against the Election commission. All what is happening now in CT is building the dam after flooding. Unlike the Muslim leaders, though they too are minorities, but who stood with Sinhala leaders shoulder to shoulder for the past 70 years, Tamils are no contributors to the nurturing and bringing up of this authoritarianism, which was first intended to keep Tamils under the jackboot of rapist army. By the fate being in the same Island with the freedom haters, the Sinhalese, who willingly handed over their Kingdoms to foreigners, later never picked up a stone to throw, but offered Trinco Navy port to Britain to get unitary government against their brethren, Tamils have paid extreme price for their freedom. Now IC has to recognize their self-determination right and set them separately from Lankawe.

    • 0
      0

      Mr. Mallaiyuran,
      .
      Want a tissue….??

  • 0
    0

    I wonder whether what I’ve said here, while, the results were coming in amounts to anything useful to readers:

    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/after-the-elections-2/comment-page-1/#comment-2354480
    .
    Many of us tried, God probably knows how hard we tried.
    .
    We have failed.
    .
    This all comes from not properly educating people. So many are pundits!
    .
    Yes, yes, I know many will say that I’m the most guilty pundit of us all.
    .
    Let History judge us all!

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