23 October, 2020

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A Time For Moderation: Extremist Fonseka Now Seems The Preserve Of Gota

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

The last couple of weeks have seen momentous changes. Basil Rajapaksa has been to Delhi and Shivshankar Menon to Colombo, reminding one of the very successful manner in which relations between the two countries were conducted during the conflict. Even before the visits, the President announced the long delayed elections to the Northern Provincial Council, a move that Basil Rajapaksa is reported to have described as ‘a big victory in democratization’.

Given that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had come out swinging as it were against the 13th Amendment and Provincial Councils, this would suggest that the new situation represents a defeat for him, and a resurgence of moderation. But it would be a mistake to think that the viewpoint represented by Gotabhaya is either negative, or that it has been negatived. After all, it should be remembered that he was part of the troika (along with Basil and Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunge) who were responsible for relations with India during the conflict period, and he was at that stage perhaps the Sri Lankan in whom the Indians had the greatest confidence.

That was understandable, for he represented at that stage what I would call the pluralistic perspective in the Sri Lankan Defence establishment. In those days he made no bones about the fact that, while he was determined to achieve a military victory, he knew this was not enough, and it was up to the politicians to ensure a political solution.

Tragically, the TNA was not in a position to work towards this while the LTTE still survived, and sadly they did not immediately take advantage of the destruction of the LTTE to talk to government. I believe they were grossly misled at this stage by those elements in the international community that began to persecute Sri Lanka immediately with regard to war crimes, and unfortunately we did not use the good offices of India to engage in dialogue with them swiftly. Even though immediately after the conflict concluded India and Sri Lanka issued a joint communiqué that was eminently balanced and civilized – and not just Basil Rajapaksa but the President himself categorically made very clear commitments about the political solution envisaged – the TNA was sulking, and they were encouraged to sulk by some of the internationals who also bitterly resented our victory over terrorism.

This set the stage for what I find profoundly ironic, namely that the more extremist mindset represented by Sarath Fonseka now seems the preserve of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. This is ridiculous, for the latter, as all those who had dealings with him during the conflict testify, was eminently civilized, and committed to policies that are a far cry from those now attributed to the military. This does not mean to say that Sarath Fonseka took a different course, but those who dealt with him found a mindset that was perhaps less careful.

That may have made him the more effective warrior, but we must always be thankful, as Sri Lankans, that the dominant mindset in the army, as represented most forcefully by the Secretary of Defence, and so effectively put into practice by Commanders such as Jagath Jayasuriya and Daya Ratnayake, was that civilian casualties were to be avoided. Indeed the manner in which the East was cleared, in a strategy devised by Ratnayake, meant that there were no allegations even of civilian casualties, except in one case where the army had deployed mortar locating radar when the LTTE had brought weapons into a refugee camp and fired from there. This incidentally was when Human Rights Watch began its vicious campaign of denigration, alleging indiscriminate attacks on civilians, even though its own detailed report mentioned just this one incident.

What happened then to make the Defence Secretary seem now hardline in a manner that recalls the pronouncements of Sarath Fonseka during and indeed after the conflict, when he wanted to expand the army, and when he did not want the displaced people of the North resettled quickly? He complained in his letter of resignation about the President over-riding his views in these areas, and indeed I have vivid memories of the first phase of Resettlement that Basil Rajapaksa had authorized being delayed because Fonseka insisted on those who had been sent from Manik Farm being checked again (fortunately his juniors in the field, who understood better the need for restoring normality soon, while not able to ignore him altogether, followed his instructions cursorily and sent the displaced home swiftly).

Gotabhaya Rajapakse gave full support in all this to his brothers, and not to Sarath Fonseka. But, very sensibly, he also advised the President (as he told me dismissively, in saying that only Gota and I had recommended this) against having the Presidential election first. And with that election, Pandora’s Box was opened. A few elements in the international community – to the horror of others, as a couple of European ambassadors indicated to me – decided to back Sarath Fonseka. The more enlightened amongst them, such as Robert Blake, may have thought this was a way of applying pressure on the President, but others I believe were just unremittingly negative about Mahinda Rajapaksa. And sadly the TNA followed suit, making it very difficult for the President to trust their bona fides, or indeed their commitment to the welfare of the Tamil people, as opposed to their determination to get him out of the way.

Even more worryingly perhaps, contrary to the assumption of the less knowledgeable Westerners that the chauvinist vote would split, the politically more astute hardliners backed President Rajapaksa to the hilt. This has meant that he owes them a debt of gratitude and, while some of us may worry about the perspectives they advance, we cannot deny the importance of their support in the campaign against Sarath Fonseka. Even worse, we can understand why the President would not want to alienate them, when he knows that there are some elements in the international community who would have no qualms whatsoever about stitching together yet another coalition of disparate forces, with the shared aim only of defeating him.

My own view is that, as an experienced politician, he could do better than them at stitching up a coalition of moderate forces that would be, in Menon’s words, ‘successful in building a Sri Lanka in which every community feels at home, feels master of their own destiny and feels that they have strong stake in the success of society and country as a whole’. But unfortunately for the last three years the running has been left to those forces determined to do us down, principally through allegations of war crimes and targeting, not of Sarath Fonseka, but of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, and for this reason, on the other hand, those who have opposed this. Given the total disfunctionality of our Ministry of External Affairs, which has not as yet issued a clear refutation of the Darusman Report (or the Weiss book or the Harrison book), this latter task has been left to extremist forces which of course then also advance their own political agendas.

Fortunately the effort to get rid of the 13th Amendment has meant that moderate forces have begun to speak more forcefully. My own view is that the SLFP is a moderate party, and though some of its leaders feel diffidence (understandably so, given the campaigns conducted against them, as I have illustrated before, by those who have no love for this government or this country), they will I think affirm their commitment to devolution and pluralism. At the same time they, and I think moderate elements in the TNA too, should keep in mind the concerns of those they now label as extremists – just as moderates in government should look at the concerns even of extremists in the Tamil body politic.

I can understand the fears of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that the hard won achievements of his forces may be undermined by the encouragement of separatism by those in the international community who dislike the President. It is no secret that his views hardened after what I see as the turning point in our international standing, namely the President having to leave Britain hurriedly in 2010 when he had gone, against the advice of our High Commission in London, to address the Oxford Union. It is no coincidence, I think, that those who guided him them were precisely those who tried to create trouble with India, as well as with the senior leadership of the SLFP, following the first resolution in Geneva, when we foolishly squandered the support that India had initially been willing to offer us.

I believe then that all moderate forces, including India, should use the opportunity presented by this ‘victory in democratization’ to assuage the fears of those who feel threatened, whether Sinhalese or Tamil. India can do much to reassure us that the international community will not be allowed to make Sri Lanka a playground – but for that purpose we need to restore and enhance the trust between our two countries that stood us in such good stead during the conflict.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    ouch!

    • 0
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      Is that the sound when the white van hits Rajiva ?

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      Gota the goon is a mad Rotweiller – remember how he barked and howled at Fredricka Janze editor of Leader because she inquired about a puppy dog.

      The mad dog Gota belongs in ANGODA..

      • 0
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        No, no gota the goon belongs in the dog pound!
        Actually, since he is quite mad he should be put down – with an injection up his ass!

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      DONT NEED TO DRAG SF INTO THE MUSLIM HATING WHITE-VAN COWARD’S ISSUES
      TAMILS VOTED FOR THAT MAN AND CAN SEE BEYOND SOME STERN WORDS
      CANNOT COMPARE THE WORLDS GREATEST GENERAL TO A MONKEY
      PROFESSOR YOU ARE QUALIDFIED TO CLEAN THEIR MUCK & WHITE-WASH THE BLOOD STAINS

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    Canada,and Britain are the two countries who are hell bent on rolling the Rajapaksa reigime to,

    – Please the Tamil voters in marginal seats in poor suburbs in particuar.

    – Get the Capitalist UNP in to power

    – Grab as much contracts as possible in the current development.

    US,s main interest is the UNP although the ex Tigers still contribute to Democrats coffers.

    Will they ever change their priority and work towards the wellfare and wellbeing of the great majority of the inhabitant population?.

    As a small time punter my self, I wouldn’t put money on that.

    Having the support of the majority of the inhabitant population alone is not an insurance for survival of poor inhabitant friendly Govts.

    Thankfully Gota has been a loyal and caring leader to the Srilnkan Armed Forces.

    Watching Morosi and his supporters who are the great majority of rural poor ,our inhabitants in the same category must be thanking their daities that Fonseka was kicked out just in the nick of time.

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      Leela (lee potter) who writes as K A Sumanasekera

      you got it all worng mate

      1st of all Tamil voters in UK is insignificant and none of the Sri Lankan migrants in UK are in poor suburbs

      2ndly,whichever the Govt US and UK get the contracts (eg:rolls royce engine,remember even you wrote on tht)

      You talk about “wellbeing of the great majority of the inhabitant population”

      Please tell us does thrwing pork into a mosque or harrasing Muslems and Christians while turning a blind eye to the mad monks is the ‘wellbeing’ you talk of

      BTW:imagine the day the Lee Potter victims come for you mate the way depositors went for Lalith K heheheehehehe

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        Isn’t it all about Democracy mate?.

        Like chasing the Lankan Prez from the holy Democratic Turf in London by your “Srilankan” mates in rich suburbs.

        BTW. Tell your mates not to buy off the plan, from overseas based developers,especially from the UK and Canada and not forgetting your mates in India.

        There are nice pads with sea views going under 100 thou and you can even try before you buy.

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          you have not replied to the Lee Potter part raised by the reply to your post neda?

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          Leave the Peace bugger alone Sumane, for the bugger is gone completely mad. I see he is on an ego trip to Allah’s heaven riding on porkchops to screw the eternal virgins.

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            ah so ur Sumanasekeras fan huh,i always had a suspicion of his preferances hahahahahaahahah

            hey sumansekera you didnt answer my question

            You talk about “wellbeing of the great majority of the inhabitant population”

            Please tell us does thrwing pork into a mosque or harrasing Muslems and Christians while turning a blind eye to the mad monks is the ‘wellbeing’ you talk of

            you also talk of ‘Democracy’ please clarrify it in Sri lankan sense…?

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    Imagine a Sri Lanka without an international community,
    or a World where the rest have gone to sleep.
    Oh, what horror! Wither Sri Lankan politicians?
    Would they drown themselves trying to wake up sleeping sharks?

  • 0
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    I honestly don’t understand why CT gives this guy any space, surely its readers don’t want him. Just look at the responses his articles bring normally you skip it but his pic is smack on your face when you open the page.
    CT can call a on line vote whether to publish from this individual or not.

  • 0
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    Rajiva You again…. mmm, you are one of them

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    Rajiva Wijesinha

    “reminding one of the very successful manner in which relations between the two countries were conducted during the conflict.”

    It was indeed a disgraceful relationship or a sham marriage of convenience.

    India used the LTTE to teach Sri Lank a bloody lesson. Sri Lanka used LTTE to teach India a lesson. India then used Sri Lanka to teach LTTE a lesson.

    The tragedy continues.

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      What a bloody triangle of tragedy, traitors to common innocent civilians

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        manisekaran

        “What a bloody triangle of tragedy, traitors to common innocent civilians”

        Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to device.
        -Walter Scott

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        manisekaran

        “What a bloody triangle of tragedy, traitors to common innocent civilians”

        I am sorry the quote should read as follows:

        Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
        -Walter Scott

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          Hey Vedda, Do your trials before posting.

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    Dr Rajiva reveals an insiders view of the situation post 2009. It is a view commonly not known or held. So it would be interesting to see if logic, commonsense and the path of moderation prevails.

    In the absence of a strong opposition, MR and GR are key to the situation and if they choose the path of moderation that Dr RW says they pursued in 2009, then half the battle is won. On the other hand if they pursue the extremist view of JHU / BBS / NFF, then we will be in for another long period of political conflict and instability.

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    people like Kumar David and Rajan Philips who supported Fonseka.s bid for the president, writing strident articles supporting Fonseka, recently began to fly the theory that there is a “division” between the president and his brother Gothabya. Now this stuttering gentleman has also, in his usual rambling prose attempted ato put out the same red herring. Gotahbaya is using what ever forces that appear on the horizon to good use in his quest to hold the fort — that is his job. But the chattering class has to go on chattering

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    Hallucinations??

    Worse than the the “internationals who bitterly resented our victory over terrorism”.

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    Rajiva this is tame, PATHETIC SPIN, and plain dishonest! Blame everyone else by the real culprits – the corrupt and criminal Rajapakss brothers and cronies… So TNA is blamed for Rajapassa’s power grab and 18th Amendment to the constitution, and SF is blamed for Gota’s crimes..
    Shame on you Rajiva! Academics should not lie and twist truth to serve base political ends..

    The Rajapassa brothers are corrupt to the core and constructing a military dictatorship. Gota is the architect of the DEEP STATE, or state within the state – with a Facade of Democracy. YOU are merely the facade – a spinner of their spin..

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    Rajiva this is tame, PATHETIC SPIN, and plain dishonest! Blame everyone else but the real culprits – the corrupt and criminal Rajapakss brothers and cronies… So, TNA is blamed for Rajapassa’s power grab and 18th Amendment to the constitution, and SF is blamed for Gota’s crimes..
    Shame on you Rajiva! Academics should not lie and twist truth to serve base political ends..

    The Rajapassa brothers are corrupt to the core and constructing a military dictatorship. Gota is the architect of the DEEP STATE, or state within the state – with a Facade of Democracy. YOU are merely the facade – a spinner of their spin..

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    Prof Rsajiv Wijesinghe:

    I think you are still not exposing why you are doing what you are doing.

    My assumption is that you are a Christian and is helping the Church what they want to achieve.

    If not you are an idiot.

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      I am in full agreement with you.

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      Jim softy

      “If not you are an idiot.”

      A Sinhala/Buddhist.

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    Our President indeed is capable of much good and he is the kind that enjoys it. However, the people advising him, like Gota have failed him of course without intent. When they do realize it, it would be too late. Gota has no sense of diplomacy and is a great asset if the war were still on, like Gen. Fonseka would be a great war time commander. However, things have since changed and Gen. Daya Ratnayake is vertsinly a positive, overall good man and a begitting Commander. He stays clear of politics and guards his mouth. He is a gentleman. Unlike is predecessor, he dies not hold the torch or candle for antbody. That’s not Daya! Now that we have good commander, just like Gen. Kayani of Pakistan (is well respected across), time is in dire need of a Gota replacement and a Gota disconnection. He should be put under a policy making body thay draws up a national plan for infrastructure and hands it to him fir implementation after all approvals are obtained. Since a demotion is not goung to take place, we are in fir collision and trouble! Bubble has to explode..

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    I came to CT. Read Rajiva. Since no one now comments on his articles, I did. (Apologies to the anonymous poet who scribbled on the Sigiriya wall- I came to Sigiriya. Saw its beauty. Since all others wrote verses, I did not).

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    This individual continues to harp on the War Victory of MR when two simple questions can not be answered regarding the War.

    1. Why did the LTTE bury their heavy artillery that were exhibited for the Public at the Deyata Kirula Exhibition without using them in the War?

    2. Why did the LTTE not fight it’s last battle from their strong hold Kilinochchi that had bunkers for cover but moved to a beach front with no cover at all to be annihilated?

    As I have always maintained the list of casualties of the Forces for thirty months from Jan 2007 to May 2009 will reveal the truth of this HOAX of a War made use to bloat MR’s image.

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    Relax everybody. Dont get taken in by all this spin. Do you think Rajiva will go for Gota like this without the consent of his broth brother? Do you think the brother would have not dumped Gota the minute he fell out of line (regardless of his apparent popularity) like he did Sarath Fonseka (regardless of his popularity)?

    The Govt. today feels the need to say different things to different people. They want to concentrate power within the family and rule Jaffna via the military. So Basil goes to India with the message that we wouls oh so love to give more devolution but mad bad Gota who commands the loyalty of the forces will not allow it. Gota goes to his Sinhala Nationalist champions and tells them I will never give in to the International community. You have nothing to worry.

    It is the age old game of good-cop , bad-cop to confuse the people and the international community. To confuse and give hope to potential adversaries without ever delivering. I am sure, in reality they are thick as thieves and Gota is on script as far as his brother is concerned, and they have a drink and laugh at our expense at the end of every day.

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    Rajivas constant write-up is in the agenda of MR and cabal. The hidden
    agenda, co-written by Rohan G is being implemented whilst Rajiva is
    entitled to reveal out-dated talk.

    [Edited out]

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    I dont trust rhis writer any more than a second hand car dealer. He always talk rubbish. I wonder who ever elevated him to be a professor: more like a professor of weather COCK! His only cleverness seems to be able to hang on his source of income, no matter where it comes from.

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    Tamil people reject 13 amendment.

    They want Tamil Elam.

    Last time it killed 89,000 Tamil married men making their wives widows. This time the number will be 1,000,000 and solve the ethnic problem for good.

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      And also get bags full of free Air Drone Parippu straight into Araliya gaha Bedroom.

      Pretty safe and stay fresh.

  • 0
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    Too bad Rajiva. The President has stated clearly NO land or police powers to the NPC!

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      How many things the President has said in Sri Lanka and overseas has he followed? His edicts are good for people like you who swallow everything that the Presidents tells.

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