27 October, 2020

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A Tribute To Carlo Fonseka

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

I was delighted to know Professor Carlo Fonseka’s popular writings are now published in one volume under the title “Essays of a Lifetime” (Godage, 2016). I came to know it through Kumar David’s succinct and witty review in the ‘Sunday Island’ and ‘Colombo Telegraph.’ Although I have not seen the book yet, I believe I am familiar with many of the articles as they were published individually before. My purpose however is not exactly to review them but to reminisce my recollections and encounters with him for whatever they are worth.

Scientific Firewalker

It is true that Carlo didn’t walk on fire, except perhaps once or twice, but he had many volunteers to do so in refutation of the supernatural power behind ‘fire-walking.’ Many of us of the ‘generation of 1960s’ used to admire Carlo along with Dr Abraham T. Kovoor for their rationalist views on many matters, most popular being on religious superstitions. These were the influences, apart from my own ‘Mahappa,’ who became a Buddhist in 1955, that drew me away from the Church for good. Therefore, Carlo was one culprit for my deviations.

Carlo Fonseka colombo telegraphI vividly recollect the picture of a young man hanging on hooks with a microphone in hand flanked by Carlo and Kovoor. Carlo being young, handsome and charismatic looking at that time, caught our attention most. This must have been late 1960s or early ‘70s. They were proving there was nothing supernatural about ritualistic hanging from hooks or fire-walking in religious festivals, Hindu or quasi Buddhist.

Those days, I believe, he was not yet drawn to left politics or Sama Samaja Party. Otherwise I could have met him as a ‘comrade,’ yet on the opposite or ‘revolutionary’ side.

I first met Carlo ‘man to man’ a long time after, when he came for a public lecture on ‘the mind,’ at the University of Peradeniya, somewhere in late 1970s. It was held at the Science Faculty auditorium. He brought a person, Sarlis, if I remember correct, a school teacher, who had exceptional brain capacity, as a demonstration tool. His argument was that the ‘mind’ is nothing but a product or functioning of the brain.

Towards the end of his lecture, Carlo introduced Sarlis and showed that as soon as you give a date (month and year), he could reveal the day of the week, after a quick mental calculation. There were calendars available to verify. Sarlis was spot on. After several rounds of testing by the audience, Professor Maheswaran from Mathematics, who was my neighbour at Upper Hantana at that time gave the current date as the question. It was a Friday. But Sarlis was doing his mental calculation, and the audience started giggling. He gave a wrong answer and the audience was overwhelmed by the giggle. He failed again and again without even a probability luck.

Carlo quickly came to Sarlis’ rescue. Carlo also took the opportunity to deliver another discourse on the brain. Sometime thereafter, Carlo also came to our Faculty of Arts and delivered some useful lectures to the students on Science.

Devastated Carlo

I next met a devastated Carlo when he came for a conference in Oslo somewhere in 1989 during his self-exile in Helsinki. That time I was working for the World University Service in Geneva. Some may not know, or have forgotten, that Carlo had to flee the country immediately after the assassination of his treasured nephew, Vijaya Kumaranatunga, in February 1988, because of death threats to him as well. I understand that Carlo delivered an emotional speech at Kumaranatunga’s funeral.

Those were some dark days in Sri Lanka not dissimilar to the mayhem that the LTTE created in the country until 2009. Therefore, Carlo’s consistent averse to any kind of violence, including perhaps a ‘violent revolution’ is also experiential. He has always been a kind, peaceful and a thoughtful person.

Unrepentant Socialist

During this period, even before, and after, Carlo was quite involved in political matters. He can be considered an unrepentant Socialist, mostly associated with the LSSP. I believe I am not wrong in recollecting ‘his story’ about how he came in contact with NM (Perera) who was ‘standing on his head’ (as a physical exercise!) next door, and became attracted to the policies of the LSSP through his conversations with NM.

Perhaps Carlo’s orientation towards socialism was ingrained in his personality, and the scientific methodology that he expounded. He has also noted his disagreements with socialism or Marxism constructively. This may be the same attraction drew him towards ‘Scientific Buddhism,’ and not ‘Sinhala Buddhism.’ He has written much on these subjects.

I came to know him closer during my brief stint as the director of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI), where he was a board member, and a regular speaker at many seminars and workshops. By this time, he had regained his energy and enthusiasm. He had never lost his reasoning and rationality, I believe.

There were new aspects that I came to know about Carlo during this period. When there was a felicitation for W. D. Ameradeva at SLFI in 1995, I had the happy occasion to sing with him and others, Ameradeva songs. Apart from his flavour for music, song and art, Carlo also had a penchant for the media, TV and radio. I had occasion to participate at a particular radio program he conducted on ‘philosophy and science’ in Sinhala at the SLBC. We were discussing political philosophy, liberalism to socialism, useful for the listeners.

It was during this period that I came to know clearly about his respect and knowledge about Buddhism and its scientific relevance. His expositions on ‘Kalama Sutta’ (among others) were quite revealing in this respect. During the last several decades, there had been numerous studies abroad emphasising the scientific relevance of Buddhism or some of the Buddhist teachings.

If there is anyone in Sri Lanka who could be considered pioneered this venture, amongst the Scientists, that is undoubtedly Professor Carlo Fonseka.

His recent essay on “Buddhism and Empiricism” is another landmark in this venture giving due recognition to the studies of Professors K. N. Jayatilleke, D. J. Kalupahana and Asanga Tilakaratne from other fields. I must add that Dr Upul Wijayawardhana also has contributed much to our knowledge in recent times on this subject highlighting some failures of ‘nominal’ or ‘popular’ Buddhism.

Closest Encounters

My closest encounters with Carlo was at the National Centre for Advanced Studies for Humanities and Social Sciences (NCAS), at Sukhastan Gardens, sitting next to each other almost every month at board meetings for around two years (2007-2009), he as the Chairperson and me as the Director.

After few opening remarks, he used to allow me to ‘run the show’ while attentively (or sleepily) listening to sometimes boring discussions. So much so I tempted to oust him, quite politely though, during a necessary overhauling of the NCAS Ordinance. Then I became both the Director and the Chairperson! I hope he didn’t have any grumble on this matter.

Carlo didn’t come to NCAS only for the board meetings. As also a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC), he used to shuttle between the UGC and the NCAS. There were many other institutions he was involved in. When he came, he always had a new book in hand. He always had a new point to discuss, most of the time with amusement. Sometimes we could have a good laugh at quite ‘higher-ups’ in politics and authority.

Conclusion

Reflecting back on his first public lecture I heard on ‘the mind’ at Peradeniya in late 1970s, and also his later writings directly and indirectly on the subject, I am not sure whether he considers the ‘mind’ merely as “brain-matter in action” as Professor Kumar David has phrased it (Sunday Island and Colombo Telegraph, 20 March 2016).

It could be, and nothing wrong in that to ‘my knowledge or experience,’ however given that this intense brain action when accumulated produces our ‘consciousness,’ ‘conscience’ and ‘ideas’ which are themselves forces in life and then in society. If he were my ‘chairperson,’ I could have asked him directly, but from a distance of nearly 9,000 km now it is not possible.

It is better Carlo clarifies this matter sooner than later.

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Latest comments

  • 12
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    This is the person who went to court to abolish FCID because of Mahinda and his family. Do not even look at his Funny book.

    • 15
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      This Carlo Fonseka chap is in the same boat as Dr Dayan J and Prof GL Peries .

      • 2
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        I would never compare DJ with any of the name profs. [Edited out]

      • 6
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        Dear Dr Laksiri Fernando ,

        I’m sorry to say this , the fact that you got all wrong by supporting then the dictator Mahida R ;then, that selfish creature Dayan Jayatilake . please ponder as to what went wrong in your initial assessment on those both despicable characters , you were a staunch supporter of MR when he was contesting for the second term despite all the obvious misdeeds/crimes which he had committed. same thing goes with DJ , you went extra mile to protect DJ’s character by claiming that you knew DJ from his UNi days at Peradeniya and it was DJ’s nature ; therefore, justifying his absurd , selfish actions.

        This Carlo Fonseka chap is pretty much similar to the above mentioned two low life characters , may be he is a close colleague of yours , but it doesn’t mean he is a worthy character for us fellow Sri Lankans. Carlo Fonseka is yet another selfish sycophant torch carrier for the mass murderer Mahinda ; thus, he doesn’t deserve to be felicitated or praised in any way what so ever , rather he deserves to be highlighted/scrutinised as to how far he went on strengthening MR’s hands ;in-other-words, directly de-prying our basic human rights. MR was a desperate man who was looking for so called intellectuals to back him , Carlo fonseka like all the other opportunists never bothered to think twice before jumping to the band wagon . not only he directly supported his Mafia rule then but also continuing to extend his support to bring him back , seriously is there any difference between Rohitha A , Mahindanada A or Johnston and Carlo Fonseka ? may be he is an Academic , but is it really worth ?

        • 3
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          Dear Srilal,

          you have articulated it as no other. Great. Any right thinking ones would not disgree with you.
          These men you mentioned above regardless of their titles were intoxicated by Rajakashe abusive nature to the very same degree as Hambantota or other villagers were cheated. Academic titles are valid only for the Universities. See how GLP ticked… see how Rajeeva ticked.. how so called most abusive DJ ticks /ticking.. all these men have something in common – they all fall before any low tricks being played by Rajpakshes men.
          I thought professiors or highly educated in general see what the average folks would not notice easily. They are broad thinkers. This seems unforutnately no validity with lanken born professors/Docs (I am afraid, at least looking at the mentioned profs).
          DJs misbehavoiur is idiosyncratic to him- that may have other reasons, though the guy coming from a good parent house, seem to have gone through all the hurdles being unable to get with colombo elites. Today putting his personal vendetta above on the timeworthy list, he has been making every efforts to attack CBK and RW – just fully neglecting alarming levels of current politics.

          • 3
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            Dear Sama ,

            Thanks Sama ,it’s always good to hear that section of people are willing to stand up against all the injustices , you guys give me the strength and courage to continue what i am doing.

            All the best.

        • 2
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          Dear Srilal,

          As I have observed even before, there is a considerable difference between you and me in approaching political change and/or assessing people.

          In commenting on a person like Prof. Carlo Fonseka or even DJ, I go mainly by what they say or what they politically do, and not by their ‘character.’ I don’t see people in black and white as you do. I don’t have a God given infallibility to judge people personally. I have had occasion to criticize Carlo Fonseka and the following link is one.

          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/apparent-bias-and-prejudice-of-prof-carlo-fonseka/

          Of course you would say I have contradicted myself by going from a critique to a tribute. Yes, my present piece is a Tribute and in my opinion he deserves it in overall. The immediate purpose of my article should be clear from my conclusion. Unfortunately, except one or two commenters, others including you go by personal matters and nitpicking. This seems to be an unhealthy trend in social media.

          I don’t regret supporting MR (conditionally) during the country’s battle in defeating terrorism. This was irrespective of some personal odds. However, I didn’t condone his excesses. If I may ask, whom did you support during the war? Please answer. I am not an arm chair puritan. I never had any hesitation in taking risks in my clear cut positions. I don’t regret supporting him at 2010 elections either, as I considered an Army General becoming the President immediately after a war victory would pose a major danger. That was my judgement. I have always been committed to democratic political change in Sri Lanka and always against terrorism, violence or military takeover. I also did my bit to oust MR. I hope I did. I see things in an evolutionary process.

          I am saying these personal things because you criticized me personally. If you think you have always been correct and others were wrong, why don’t you come out of your closet and at least write articles and show the correct way that the country or the ‘whole humanity’ should proceed.

          I know you are Srilal. But Srilal …who? Can I expect an article from you within next couple of weeks? May be to criticize Carlo, DJ or even Laksiri Fernando! I say this not just to counter your comments, but I strongly believe that people not only have rights but also responsibilities. Take up your responsibility. Don’t just limit yourself to comments.

          • 3
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            Dear Dr Laksiri Fernando ,

            It looks like , you have been hurt , if so , let me apologize , honestly i didn’t mean to attack you personally ; furthermore , i hold you in high regard. it seems you haven’t taken it in the right spirit though.

            My whole intention was to highlight Prof CF’s past conduct and behaviour against a tragic political turmoil in our SL history.in order to do it logically , i had to back my argument with some relevant substances , your previous judgements on both MR and DJ were a classic point in case ;thus , i had to quote the above two instances with much reluctance.believe me , i didn’t want ridicule or humiliate you in any way, even-though you tend to disagree with me. a person’s character is the mirror image of what he/she does and say in a very vulnerable/compromising situation. when the country was in an absolute anarchy , what was this genius doing ? wasn’t he singing hosannas for the dictator ? even after his expulsion , this so called genius was trying to bring him back to power . what is the use of his academic credentials if he can’t see right from wrong ?

            Dear Laksiri , you have gone to personnel level assuming that i had personally attacked you ,contrary to your belief , i was in a totally different wavelength , be that as it may be.

            to answer for your queries , i don’t have god given power or psychic power to judge people , instead, i just use basic common sense ; moreover , i just analyse the particular person’s past history and then come to a logical conclusion . case in point , before MR started contesting , i had gathered MR’s all the relevant data i.e His childhood , family back ground , Academic achievements , love life , family life , honesty , integrity etc . believe me , MR’s report card was a dismal one . 2004 Tsunami scandal , leaking cabinet secrets to media , Mulkirigala double murder episode, close associations with underworld figures like Chandimalli , Julampitiye Amaraya , the manner in which had passed his law degree , suspect of the couple of southern provincial politician’s murder case in mid 90’s etc were some of the high lights of MR’s profile ; hence , i came to a conclusion , under no circumstances Mahinda Rajapakse character should come near that extremely powerful/dangerous Executive president chair , contrary to my liking and other millions , he outmanoeuvred everybody and struck a deal with Praba , rest is history.

            DJ’s case is second to none , when Hitler was ruling Germany , he had managed to attract very many great intellectuals to his side i.e Albert Einstein ( i’m not trying to compare DJ to Einstein) . DJ’s sudden change of heart towards MR came only after seeing the perks which he was going to get , you can check DB’s trans-current archives and host of other articles about DJ’s thoughts about MR policies . in a nutshell , what i’m trying to say is , who ever went along with MR’s suicidal, autocratic governance style has had no clear concious , they were merely hanging on to popular ” LTTE “rhetoric for their own selfish agendas. Dr Laksisri you were/are excused from that accusation , as you have clearly realized the great danger which we were in; thereby, distancing yourself from MR. even though you distanced yourself from MR and started highlighting the imminent danger which we were all facing , you miserably failed to read DJ’s selfish actions , as oppose to confronting DJ , you shielded DJ’s actions by merely calling that is his nature. fortunately or unfortunately you were compelled to defend yourself against DJ’s usual barrage of unfair criticism at you on this very platform.it was ironic , indeed!
            you have questioned me , as to whom did i support during the war time , i’m sure , after reading my above comment , you wouldn’t have any doubts about my loyalty towards MR. as a matter of fact , i’m an anti war person ;hence, i didn’t go with the popular flow !
            As to Gen SF candidacy in 2010 , your explanation suffice to justify your inner feelings , contrary to your argument , MR had made SL a living hell after his illegal 2 nd term i.e 18 th Amendment , Jailing SF , sacking CJ , raping the country left, tight and center . had SF come to power , worst could have been taking the revenge against his opponents , at least corruption and lawlessness would have been eradicated by now . MR’s second term achieved every thing , i mean negative , hadn’t he taken revenge mercilessly against his all opponents , didn’t he let his henchmen to rape the country without any shame or guilt ? my question is , why couldn’t you foresee that danger in him during his first term ?
            War against terror was a very popular rhetoric , but that was NOT the only way to eradicate the LTTE menace , i always believe Ranil’s strategy was a very far superior approach than MR’s head on collision strategy , of course many people wouldn’t agree with me , everybody wanted to consume the same version of MR’s story , i’m afraid , i wan’t in that line of thinking.

            As to my identity ,i’m just an average Joe , nothing spectacular to boast about.you have asked me to write my own article , tell you the truth , there is no immediate necessity as of now for me to engage in a such endeavour ;furthermore , i don’t think i have the right temperament , skill level either , above all ,the time ; hence , i would rather stick to which i’m somewhat good, that is writing comments .finally . i have never, ever said that i’m always right , that part was your own interpretation , i just try to put my own thoughts in a very rational manner , that’s all.

            Let me say again , i didn’t mean to hurt or embarrass you Dr Laksiri, if i had , please forgive me.

            Good luck and take care.

          • 3
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            The world is living the dream of the socialist menace from WW2 and Lanka is living the same dream propped by university staff. Like the nutter Indian Dr Subramanim Swami.
            The world is bored of it and the poverty it brings along to the majority. Eating humble pie Lankans would have to be content like cows if L.K. ideas are implemented. We have seen Peaking Wall Cotta Road come up too.

            Now for a change we got a Donald Trump saying it in the only way the media with an agenda permits.
            When Chairman Mao met US Republican president Richard Nixon in 1972, he expressed his fondness for right-wing politicians. “I like rightists,” Mao told Nixon. “I am comparatively happy when these people on the right come into power.” Common Chinese see the flamboyant New York billionaire as an inspiration rather than an antagonist.

      • 0
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        But i dont think his programme – Kandula is proxy former Mafia Man.

        I really like that father Charles. He has been unique to his presentations. Many of the like MINDED brave lankens can help opening the eyes of masses that have been intoxicated by Rajaakshe abusive nation for the last 10 years.
        This particular singing father s energies can outreach masses no doubt abou that.
        I really dont think that Prof. Carlo Fonseka or any other profs except Rajiva andGlp would praise Mahinda Jarapakshe and his politics today.

    • 6
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      Dr. Laksiri Fernando

      RE: A Tribute To Carlo Fonseka

      A Tribute To a Shill of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Carlo Fonseka, who lies for personal advantage.

      Now he says, it was the LTTE who burned the Jaffna public Library.He is postulating that there were stupid Tamils then. Is it really True?

      There was SJV Chelvanayagam and a host of others including VP.

      The Sinhala who burned it knows otherwise.

      However, the LTTE expelling Northern Muslims, is true. Too many people.

      • 1
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        Amarasiri, LTTE and racist separatists, killed or expelled not only Muslims, which was done during the conflict in a single day, but they also systematically killed or expelled Sinhalese from the North for a long period, from the time the country was ruled by Colonial powers.

        • 0
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          CC.
          Muyslims are pirates to asia. while Christians have no issues in asia because they give charity and education.
          So you are right from 1505 the portugese started the castration of pirates because they were castrated for 800 years.
          Perhaps your rightful place is with ISil

    • 1
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      According to irrational blind supporters of the Governing regime, anyone who criticise the Government, is a stooge of the previous regime. How irrational are these people, who cannot enter into a productive discussion, but jump into conclusions and resort to insults and abuse of those dare say anything to embarrass the regime.

      Whether I agree or not, I respect very much, both Carlo Fonseka and Dayan Jayatileka, for their intellectual and well reasoned contributions, as opposed to those politicians who are there mainly to make money for themselves and their kith and kin.

      To understand the real Carlo Fonseka, why not listen to the words in the songs he had composed and sung by greats like Amaradeva, available on CD! He is a compassionate man who understands life more than the vast majority of us.

  • 12
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    If I remember right Carlo took a huge sum for a consultancy he did for the Min of Education when Tara De Mel was the Secretary. He took 50,000 a day. After that I lost all my regards for him

    Also i heard that he walked on fire and burnt his sole. I do not know how far this is true.

    • 9
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      maali karunaratne

      Excerpt from Carlo Fonseka’s article

      Who Burnt The Jaffna Library?
      February 2, 2013
      Colombo Telegraph

      Arson

      Finally let me come to the burning question in this book: Who burnt the Jaffna Library? EG a Master of Science in Criminal Justice has marshaled the evidence to demonstrate beyond any manner of doubt that it was the LTTE that master-minded this crime against civilization. Why did the LTTE do it? Evidently to prove to the world that Sinhalese Buddhists are barbarians. By and large the world believed the LTTE propaganda. Because at that time I was anti-government and because I felt that the UNP – government in power was anti-Tamil (it had unleashed violence on them in 1977 and 79 and 81) I readily believed that Mr.Gamini Dissanayake was the villain who had got the Jaffna library burnt. So during the 1994 presidential election campaign I verbally crucified Mr.Gamini Dissanayake for the crime which I believed he committed. Now after reading Edward’s account I have realized that I committed that atrocity because I believed the absurdity that Gamini Dissanayake burnt the Jaffna Library. Let me spell out the way in which I came to excoriate Mr. Dissanayake.

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/
      index.php/who-burnt-the-jaffna-library/

      “After that I lost all my regards for him”

      You have another reason for not to liking him.

    • 9
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      maali
      It is true that the man degenerated as a rationalist as well, but he did not burn his soles fire walking. The fire walking brotherhood was unhappy with his exploding the myth.

      It is probably true that he received a large fee from the Ministry of Education. But 50k a day is a bit over the top. The treasury would have hit the ceiling. Kindly check the figures.

      Presidential advisers used to receive 50k a month. So it is likely that it was the total fee, or he received a higher total fee. accuracy of information is important in such matters.

      • 1
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        Thanks about the remarks about fire walking. Did he successfully did the fire walking without burning his sole ( feet).

        Also I also vaguely remember supporting Mahinda and filing a case

      • 3
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        Thank you.
        As far as I know, he got a few to do it without making the formal religious observances.
        I doubt if he claimed to have done it himself.
        He was a decent man then and a great follower of AT Kovoor, the veteran rationalist fighter.
        The last few decades of his life are not years to be proud of.

        • 3
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          Sekera,

          Is’nt successful fire walking about intense concentration permitting one to walk on slightly ash covered embers without disturbing the ash. The thin layer of ash protects the sole. I have read somewhere that this is the scientific explanation. It is a state of mind, derived from religious belief or any other means. May be the endorphins released by the body induced religious fervor permits this.

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

        • 2
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          Thanks. But I am not well versed in theories of mind over matter. I am inclined to think that there is a good bio-physical explanation for it.

          The time was when Kovoor was combating superstition on many fronts ranging from the local kattadia to India’s Saibaba claiming to materialize goods out of nothing.

          I am not sure what kind of spiritual coaching Carlo F gave his men. The report was that they were consumed spirits and meat before they walked. The point made was that there was nothing divine or supernatural about fire walking.

          Yet, superstition and prejudice are resilient and take more than one Kovoor to overcome. It has to be a ceaseless battle for reason.

  • 7
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    Carlo is a chap who can sell anything to become controversial and be in the limelight. He has no principles, he knows only him, his desires and his popularity

  • 7
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    Like some have said here I have lost all respect for Carlo for him becoming a sycophant of a shameless crook like Mahinda. But Mahinda is a charmer, there has never ever been someone like him in SL before and one can see why people get duped – one has to admit, he still is the most popular politician in SL. I wonder if Carlo, an old fashioned leftist, realizes that Mahinda is a million miles away from Karl Marx. :) Ah, how time make people come down from lofty ideals of their youth!

    Not to throw the baby out with the bath water one has to look at the different sides of Carlo. If you cast aside his latter-day foolish self-serving politics and the showy attention-getting science-circuses of fire-walking etc, there still is the Medical School professor. I don’t know Carlo personally but I know people who were his students – 2 who came back to give the Bull Seneviratne Memorial Oration and where Carlo did the introductions – and they have nothing but the highest regard for him on that score. When, for a father, no man is good enough for his daughter, I’ve also heard that practicing what he believes he let his daughter marry a boy (without Carlo’s academic achievements) she met in the Middle East.

    In fairness to Carlo, a man who has gone through the many usual upheavals of this crazy and zany journey of life, a little foolishness here and there is allowed, I suppose.

    • 7
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      To add to what I wrote,

      In a country lacking true genuine icons, I, like many other Lankans want desperately to respect Carlo, if he would only give a chance. Unfortunately Mahinda’s bribes – not necessarily always monetary – has stripped away any self-respect he would have once had. Is there any Lankan still left with principles?

      There was a poet in a Cuban jail for 32 years, all he had to do to gain his freedom was to withdraw a single derogatory line he had written about Fidel Castor in one of his poems. But he wouldn’t. That’s principle; that’s commitment.

      What is the use of any man’s intellect if he becomes a lackey/sycophant of a man who breaks all principles and decency to gain and remain in high office?

      I thought the only leftist with any principles still left in SL is Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne. Then he goes and buddies up with Ranil ………..

      Ah! We all live in hope, even though living in hope is what kills us all in the end.

  • 1
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    I regret that I never had the priviledge to hear Dr Carlo Fonseka at any venue in SriLanka .but I always read his bulletins yes his bullets targeting and challenging issues of controversy just to make us stop and think .I admired his capacity to switch from science to humanities for we of that generation had a narrow compartmentalized education . the division leading to snobbery and alienation . much to the detriment of our environment designed for humane people to share and live together . Today we are striving to find humane scientist and humane economist . to day we are trying to pan out the Gems of philosophy of our religions and cultures from the gravel heavy with ritual and unwanted crusades . I believe Dr Carlo Fonseka did just that and was despised and thought to be a deviant or an opportunist who challenged issues for personal gain . . I read this tribute with joy and hope that many would stop and think and use their brains what ever definition we give to understand its function and help all living beings to live in peace .

  • 2
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    Seems like a case of Rata Carlo Fonseka?!!

  • 4
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    This man’s track record as a contributor to the Rajapaksa legacy which he is now attempting to better by having the FCID done away with, speaks FAR LOUDER than the praise that is being heaped upon him from, for me at least, totally unexpected quarters.
    The word for Fonseka is DESPICABLE and don’t tell me that Hitler wasn’t such a bad chap because he did good water colours!

    • 4
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      “The word for Fonseka is DESPICABLE and don’t tell me that Hitler wasn’t such a bad chap because he did good water colours!”

      This despicable chap needs to be educated on the meaning of the word DESPICABLE, i.e. he should learn to refer a dictionary.

      While we are at it, He should also learn that if not for Hitler (and the Japanese) countries like Sri Lanka will still be under the jackboot of the REPREHENSIBLE hymie Winston Churchill. So we don’t need to care about Hitler’s water colours.

      So Hitler deserves some thanks from true Sri Lankans, may be not from colonial relics.

      • 5
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        Sena Veddagala

        “So Hitler deserves some thanks from true Sri Lankans, may be not from colonial relics.”

        I am sorry how did Hitler help this country to get rid of its colonial masters?

        • 4
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          Sorry to get in to an argument between two Veddhas.

          But pray me, since when did the colonisers become our MASTERS?

          They can be called thieves, blood suckers and various other names, but MASTERS? Certainly not.

          • 3
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            Bertie Handunge

            “They can be called thieves, blood suckers and various other names, but MASTERS?”

            When they were ruling your ancestors and copulating with your women folks.

            Certainly they were.

  • 2
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    It seems the main purpose of this article “A Tribute To Carlo Fonseka” is to tell the world the positions that Dr. Laksiri Fernando held during his career span.
    1.Worked at Peradeniya university as an academic in 70s
    2.Worked for the World University Service in Geneva in late 80s
    3.Was the director of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) and carlo was just a board member in 1995
    4. Had a flavour for music and had sung Amaradeva songs with Amaradeva in 1995
    5.Director, National Centre for Advanced Studies for Humanities and Social Sciences (NCAS), at Sukhastan Gardens 2007-2009 and carlo was the chairperson.
    6.He became both the Director and the Chairperson after ousting(undercutting) Carlo!!

    Conclusion:Dr. Laksiri Fernando is a highly conceited person!

    • 3
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      Daham,

      Have you met and personally interacted with Prof. Laksiri Fernando? I have not either. However, the reasons you have listed, do not justify your conclusion. He is listing the circumstances through which he came to know Prof. Carlo Fonseka. Prof. Laksiri has the credentials to express his impressions on Prof.Carlo. He has seen the best of Prof. Carlo under these circumstances.

      Dr.RN

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        I do not know Dr Laksiri Fernando personally. However, [Edited out]

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        OK, Dr Narendran, Wish to replace the word “conceited” with “vain”. My point is there was no need to write the titles of the positions held. One should be humble enough to just mention the place where one worked to show the circumstances. I bet he wouldn’t have mentioned the positions if he was just a pauper.

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        Listing the circumstances is perfectly alright but the use of one’s titles should be used appropriately. True when some one earns a doctorate the title Dr. goes with the name. However, one should not say “I am Dr. so and so” all the time. Now, you have given Dr Laksiri Fernando a title prof. which is wrong. he is not a professor now. Professor is a profession in a university just like lecturer, senior lecturer, associate professor etc. Mr. somebody could be a professor. Most professors in Sri Lanka have not obtained doctoral degrees. Similarly medical doctors without doctoral degrees should not use Dr in front of their names because doctor is the profession.

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        Dr Rajasingham,

        Thanks for your intervention. I think we should forgive these people who try to preach others to be ‘humble.’ They expose their ‘humbleness’ when they get edited out by the CT or even otherwise. They thrive on personal attacks perhaps without knowing head out of tail of what is written in an article.

        Now again we have another expert on titles, one Kalhari! He or she wants even medical doctors not to use their titles! What a mess we have in Sri Lanka! Very sad indeed.

        Laksiri

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          He or she wants even medical doctors not to use their titles! What a mess we have in Sri Lanka! Very sad indeed.

          Ha ha its funny because its not about character and assassination but the `behaviour` that is being challenged.

          Why do they call it `doctors practice`? ;)

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      Daham

      This is what I would call a low-blow. Forgive me, but it smacks of pettiness and trivia. Men like Laksiri do not have to publicise
      their academic and professional achievements. They are there for all to see.

      Kettikaran

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    [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

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    [Edited out] Please avoid typing all capitalized comments – CT

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    Carlo Fonseka is essentially a racist in disguise and his Marxism was a facade. Bensen

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    The great Sidarth Gautama said that all component things are subject to ‘decay and destruction’. He, like all of us, is subject to having faults and failures, but I earnestly implore you to consider his supreme Humane qualities, which surpassses all his shortcomings!
    My wife and I were married as students. GWe were in a very desperate situation, with nothing to eat,nowhere to live and virtually, nothing to look forward to! On being made aware of our plight, Prof Carlo Fonseka and his charming wife , stepped into display their magnanimous qualities!
    They both offered us an abode, provided me with delicious food and shelter, for a month -until we overcame our spell of misfortune! We made it a point to repay this generous couple in the very little cash we could have afforded at that time!
    Both of them accepted our humble ‘offering’, but immediately turned it round to offer the same, as a’ wedding gift’ they had not given us! Both my wife and I would never been as successful as we are today, if not for their act of selflessness! Try going through hunger,poverty dejection and insult, and you will know what I mean!
    Hope all readers would consider primarily, this man’s excellent qualities of human nature. No human being can be perfect. Prof Fonseka has been by mentor and an everlasting inspiration in life!

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      what you are saying is common in the west- Christianity is charity.
      It does not mean it does not happen even in caste ridden India.

      Brahmins have provided boarding and lodging to Muslim Afghan students when they have been without as the black-market has not delivered their exchange etc. or because the Russians destabilised the nation.

      Some do make it a political issue to do it. The pope made a symbolic gesture washing the feet’s of Muslim refugees.

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    I really cant imagine why a person like prof Laksiri F has to write about this notorious character

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    Carlo Kalama Suthraya kala.

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    This is one more fine contribution by Dr. Laksiri Fernando – who, to our benefit – contributes regularly on matters of public interest. Prof. Carlo Fonseka is an erudite Scholar with an, admittedly, Marxist orientation. His personal close association with our Leftist greats of the calibre of NM, Colvin et al is well known. I am no fan of Marxism or this misnomer “Socialism” (that ruined Russia, Cuba, North Korea enslaving their countries and peoples in the name of socialism)I know CF has made doctrinaire errors in his long socio-political journey. Who amongst us has not? But these should not be held against one of the finest just and secular minds of our time.

    I have personally known CF – though we do not fall under the category of “close friends” The Kovoor’s were family friends. I have
    attended some of his talks at the Rational Association/Thurstan College.
    CF and I have met in the company of our mutual friend Dr. Kumar Rupasinghe, who is also not a total stranger to animated conversation. When I had CF as a Guest Speaker in a body of which I was the head then, when I introduced him to the others and said they come from all communities CF, in his well-known and refreshing humour asked “do you have Veddahs too”? I did not want to tell him that day our Secretary that day came from Mahiyangana and there was some talk that among his class maters in his early student days some were from the tribe of the Maha Oora.

    I will always remember CF as a brilliant speaker – in English and Sinhala. Reading him in the media for decades, in a myriad of subjects, is not only a pleasure but an exercise in education no less.

    I will remember him for long for his principled defence of singing the National Anthem also in Tamil despite opposition from the established forces of demagoguery and racism. If we are to create a society of Sri Lankans – as opposed to Sinhalese, Tamils and so forth – the popular CF should be honoured with a place in the front seat. I wish him long health and greater public service.

    Kettikaran

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    Maali.

    Your Line…..
    Also I heard that he walked on Fire and burnt his sole….

    Even if he had not burnt his SOLE to prove his point,he burnt his SOUL on the issue of the burning of the Jaffna Library!

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    Politically, Carlo is an opportunist at the highest level. Socio-culturally a refugee who never had any business with the mainstream culture. Mentally an upset-jockey who is always in an identity crisis. History has a place for these fellows.

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    Carlo was a member of the board of the infamous International Open University for Alternative Medicine (Medicina Alternativa) headed by Anton “Katu” Jayasooriya that gave Mervyn Silva an honorary doctorate. Let him deny this. Was it because they both came from the same clan?

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