18 October, 2017

A Truly ‘Chogasmic’ Week

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

If last week has a name it is CHOGM.  A wit quipped, ‘CHOGASM’, and that would be an appropriate descriptive, for multiple reasons and multiple forces including those at odds with one another.

The side events took center stage in the early parts of the week.  There was much pomp and pageantry, heart-warming speeches, deliberation and ‘final documents’.  The Youth Forum was inspiring, the Business Forum was as expected pragmatic with little concern about the political shenanigans surrounding the main event, and the People’s Forum marked with all the intrigue, backstabbing and sleight of hand that is par for the course when it comes to ‘civil society’ operations.

Then there were the other side events.  Prince Charles and his birthday party.  The stand-in for the Queen was offered a kevum or traditional oil cake by President Rajapaksa which he (Charles) was obliged to nibble.  When he turned, he was accosted by the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa who offered him kalu dodol, which too he couldn’t decline.  He was also obliged to follow suit when the President offered a banana to an elephant.  He took it all in good spirits and delivered a decent enough speech at the Opening Ceremony that was quite in contrast to the choreographed utterings of the Prime Minister of his country yesterday (16).  We’ll get to that later.

The week was also hogged by the self-labeled ‘journalists’, representing a self-labeled ‘media’ outfit called Channel 4, Callum Macrae and Jonathan Miller. Ill-willed, selectively informed, lacking in the most basic of journalistic skills (verification, checking source-reliability, letting fact speak instead of cut-paste exercises of de-contextualization), they came to turn CHOGM into circus. Macrae was honest in one thing. He said ‘I will make more films’.  Film is what he does; ‘documentary’ is what he calls what he does.

The United National Party predictably got itself into another mess thanks to its fixation with the idea that power is something that only someone like David Cameron can deliver to them.  Since the Camerons of this world have found ready and slavish allies in dollar and euro dependent NGOs, it was probably ‘sensible’ to show linkages and get into some serious mutual back-scratching.  This was done.  When it backfired, an UNP stalwart is reported to have said ‘we just rented our premises,’ another senior, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera was appalled by the excuse.

The Bodu Bala Sena, which stormed UNP party headquarters, ‘Sirikotha’, as is now a matter of habit, got into fisticuffs. This bull-in-China-shop operation, coming at a time where prudence should be privileged over emotional outburst, did neither government nor country any favors.  BBS has a pattern of stirring things up at critical moments; for example it whipped up anti-halal fervor during the UNHRC sessions in Geneva.

Chief of the UNP’s Leadership Council, Karu Jayasuriya, who has a good reputation for not having any truck with terrorists and their proxies, local or foreign, has remained silent on the issue as has sidelined leader-wannabe Sajith Premadasa. In the end the party decided to boycott the CHOGM and the only ‘jumbos’ seen at the BMICH were the highly decorated four-legged variety brought in especially to add pomp to the event.

There was another gate-crash of sorts.  During the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) in Hikkaduwa, Hugo Swire, Britain’s Minister in Charge of the Commonwealth Office, was smuggled into the hall by the Commonwealth Foundation without informing the Sri Lankan team involved in the organizing until the eleventh hour.  Swire indulged in a Cameron-like Sri Lanka bashing.   His antics quite overshadowed what was generally seen as a highly productive Commonwealth People’s Forum.

Channel 4 aside, the media operations during the week have been utterly fascinating.  Australia’s ABC was unabashed in its anti Sri Lanka bias, openly lying about India’s non-participating, attributing reasons that no responsible Indian politician or official had uttered. They were big, like BBC and Channel 4, on ‘Human Rights’ and ‘allegation’, but silent on context and fact. They distracted from important topics such as poverty alleviation, following the colonial line of their ancestors.  Who sent or facilitated the sending of food to the conflict areas, did these people wonder?  Were children vaccinated and were they attending school? If not, why not?  These are relevant questions.  As for war crimes, the evidence is on the table: there was nothing systemic in any transgressions that may have taken place, although the likes of Frances Harrison are trying to make ‘systemic’ the second Goebbelsian element of their campaign, the first being the Goebbelsian arithmetic, ’40,000 killed’; all to buttress the rump of the Tamil Pop Pot Velupillai Prabhakaran’s terrorist outfit, the LTTE.

ABC did not catch the importance of elections and the overwhelming victory of the TNA.  ABC quoted a lot of people but not a single member of the Northern Provincial Council.

By the way, there were two individuals who dominated CHOGM-related news over the past several months, Manmohan Singh and Stephen Harper. No one seems to have missed either of them.

David Cameron played the ‘Empire’s Minority Card’, in the classic exercise of divide and rule.  It was all about going to Jaffna.  No one heard him thanking the Government for getting rid of the LTTE so he could actually go that part of the island; the TNA didn’t prompt him either, for they can’t really say that and please the LTTE groups abroad whose pawns they are.  The TNA played along.  But Cameron pretty much undressed himself in Colombo yesterday at a stage-managed media conference.  He preempted any hard questions by reserving two entire rows for ‘friendly’ journalists.  Given that human shield of sorts, Cameron opened fire.  He didn’t have to dodge any bullets, for he orchestrated a no-fire zone by refusing to let anyone but his buddies ask questions.

And the man had the gumption to talk the language of democracy, freedom of expression, media rights etc.!

A local journalist had to shout as this dodgy politician strutted away, ‘what are you going to do about the Chilcot Report?’  Not a word, not a murmur.  His ears may have stung and gone red when they were grazed by a bullet called ‘HYPOCRITE!’ but few would bet on it.

The President seemed to take all this in his stride, good-humoredly taking all questions.  In stark contrast to Cameron’s disgraceful and cowardly behavior, the President, in a joint press conference with Commonwealth Secretary Kamalesh Sharma, went out of his way to solicit questions from the Channel 4 ‘journalist’, Jonathan Miller.

The agenda for CHOGM proper was set by President Rajapaksa during the opening ceremony.   He pointed out that before talking about the ‘common wealth’, the gathering must discuss ‘common poverty’.  The following excerpts are of particular relevance.

‘I am extremely thankful to all of you who have been firm in your support and understanding, of the related complexities in Sri Lanka’s post conflict phase. This confidence reposed by you in my country will greatly assist me in steering the Organization’s future in the best interest of our peoples.

‘We in Sri Lanka are stepping into a new era of peace, stability and renewed economic opportunities that have been long denied to my people, due to the menace of terrorism that existed for nearly three decades. In ending terrorism in 2009, we asserted the greatest human right, the right to life. I am happy to state that in the past four years, there hasn’t been a single terrorist related incident, anywhere in Sri Lanka.

‘There is a multitude of global challenges, arising from the uncertainty of the socio economic conditions, faced by our nations today. We, in the Commonwealth, must therefore collectively find means of effectively addressing these challenges to safeguard the values we hold dear.

‘It is in recognition of the urgent need to address the burning issues connected to growth and development, which directly impinge on the lives of our peoples, that Sri Lanka proposed the theme, “Growth with Equity: Inclusive Development” for this CHOGM.

‘We believe that this theme has broad relevance to the larger Commonwealth, and highlights the importance of equity in economic development, particularly in view of the existing disparities in the distribution of wealth, and economic benefits. Inclusive development promotes progress and contributes towards achieving Millennium Development Goals.

‘In the case of Sri Lanka, our current policy agenda, the Mahinda Chinthana, Vision for the Future, spells out clear strategies of improving the livelihoods of our people, ensuring that economic and social benefits reach every strata of society, and more importantly, taking Sri Lanka into the future, by aiming to be the ‘Wonder of Asia’.

‘I am happy to say that Sri Lanka has achieved success on a range of social indicators that comprise the MDGs, despite being a lower middle income country. Absolute poverty in Sri Lanka declined from 15.2 per cent in 2007 to 6.5 per cent in 2012, surpassing the MDG mid-term target. While reaching out to care for all our people’s needs, the Government has also taken a pro-active approach, to post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.’

President Rajapaksa posed some questions for the heads of governments and their representatives present in Colombo:

Can we realistically say that the need for basic facilities, healthcare, education, productive employment, access to food and safe drinking water, eradication of poverty and hunger, are of lesser importance than political concerns?

Should not the Commonwealth, collectively strive towards the realization of development goals, to enable its member countries to reap economic benefits?

Shouldn’t we be addressing more vigorously the issue of ‘common poverty’ before we talk about ‘common wealth’?

He seemed to have anticipated the kinds of antics that Cameron was to indulge in:

‘If the Commonwealth is to remain relevant to its member countries, the Association must respond sensitively, to the needs of its peoples and not let it turn into a punitive or judgmental body. We must also collectively guard against bilateral agendas being introduced into the Organization, distorting Commonwealth traditions and consensus. The strength of the Organization lies in keeping the member countries together, helping one another in a spirit of partnership, making the Commonwealth truly unique.’

He quoted the Buddha Siddhartha Gauthama:

Na paresaa vilomani – na paresam katakatam; Attanova avkkheyya – katani akatani ca

[‘Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone.’]

Clearly the Commonwealth or rather its vulgar elements which re-defined several times over what crimes against humanity, cultural erasure, genocide and grand theft really meant in the century or so that came before the ‘Commonwealth’ was formed, did not have ears to hear these words.

Not that anyone is really surprised. Sri Lanka proved to be an exemplary host; David Cameron an uncivilized guest who embarrassed his Queen.

One question remains: ‘What has changed?’

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

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Latest comments

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    “He quoted the Buddha Siddhartha Gauthama:
    Na paresaa vilomani – na paresam katakatam; Attanova avkkheyya – katani akatani ca
    [‘Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone.’]”

    Is he different Buddha from the one referred on this
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/accountability-president-rajapaksa-and-the-lord-buddha/

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    CT – ha ha ha.. I like it a lot. Like daddy said when at the rodeo, there’s a point here and a point there, with a lot of bull in between…

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      The Penetrator:
      I agree with you about the “bull” between the “points.” However the difficulty is finding the “points” since they don’t exist!

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    i think you can drop the letters CH from CHOGASM … thats what people like you ahd with the regime and his siblings

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    Malinda Sevalaratna looks more like a dented Bucket to me.malinda should also his Sir name to his master name Mahinda.

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    Malinda Seneviratne is at it again, twisting his thoughts to fit and defend his masters crazy actions. Malinda obviously tries hard to become the Joseph Goebbels of the Rajpaksians.
    Accountability – once upon a day – will be quite a task for Malinda. Coming up…

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      There the smart boy seems to take them as examples for his kind of essays.
      Just playing words not attacking the met ones – almost similarly to the acting of MR. Just nodding the head while smile ear to ear as if the issues being raised have long been addressed, an environment to address them have properly been made, so the new audience would feel, yes, man is making genuine efforts. But it needs time to see the fruits.
      What remains to us is click the tongue and watch the scene.

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    Malinda Seneviratne is at it again, twisting his thoughts to fit and defend his masters crazy actions. Malinda obviously tries hard to become the Joseph Goebbels of the Rajapaksians.
    Accountability – once upon a day – will be quite a task for Malinda. Coming up…

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      I dont think that CT readership would find his are the best. What are his main motives going on in this way ? It is better him to start writing novels rather than trying to sideline murderers. If he is a good educated academic, he should have decided to do so long back now.

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    Malinda, you have outdone yourself this time. Talk about Goebbels!!!

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    “The week was also hogged by the self-labeled ‘journalists’, representing a self-labeled ‘media’ outfit called Channel 4, Callum Macrae and Jonathan Miller.” Huh, this comes from Malinda? Your Master just said, ‘People living in glass houses must not throw stone at others’. “Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation'”!!!

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    CHOGM – What did we archieve?

    We put on a grand show which no one can deny. But, who is going to pay bills? That Packer guy from Australia? Or from the LTTE gold that KP has access to? Or the poor tax payers?

    We had all kinds of forums, press conferences, interviews, and protests. My question to all the Deshapremis, Deshamamaka and Deshapaluwanta, is this what Sri Lanka achieved after putting up a grand show? We put a grand show to win the Commonwealth Games and we came empty handed, did we come empty handed again?

    Now, that our patriotic citizens achieved their CHOGASM, is it time to use the CHOO GUM and glue our collective gaps and grin and bear this exorbitant expenses?

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    Malinda,

    You must indeed be a masochist. You LOVE to get pummeled in these columns, don’t you?

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    Same ‘long live the King’ adulations, inherent to subservient media. I think the President has missed a good opportunity to offer the CHOGM chair to someone from his own parliament , someone who he himself appointed, who has the expertise in Human Rights violations, terrorism and torture. I am referring to the guy, who was home delivered a British Passport to travel to UK as arranged by none other than President’s own brother. Then again you cannot blame the President who holds a SL passport, as his brother only holds a US passport and the President cannot get his brother to wear the SL national attire as other siblings and Rajapaksa family sons do. The brother likes the US suit- of course how can you fight terrorism in a sarong.? With the experience of running a corner store in US and holding a US passport he has done his best to seal the victory by, wearing an American Suit, calling to imprison and hang General Fonseka who was instrumental in defeating the war. As for the butcher Karuna I think the President has secured a place in the Buckingham Palace kitchen for him to make kalu dodol and kevun. President’s brother will make travel arrangements to home deliver the travel document.

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    May be you might getting one while you are writing

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    Malinda’s is a Sinhala point of view. Those who voted for the TNA in the North, have already voted Rajapakse out, and given an option between Cameron and Malinda, they will vote for Cameron and vote Malinda out. Its time that the Sinhalese are allowed to wallow in their propaganda and mind set, and allow the Tamils the space to do the same. Cameron did not introduce divide and rule, Sinhala only did.

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    Why is this [Edited out]’s articles even listed on this site. No one here wants to hear anymore lies from the Rajapaksa regime, and everybody knows that people such as you, The chief Editor of “The Nation” get large chunks of money from the Rajapaksa regime for carrying out your media campaigns to disgrace the individuals who do their honest work to reveal to the world of what’s really happening in the country. You can butter Rajapaksa’s ass all day long on state media and promote self-censorship through the intimidation of journalists, but the majority of people who read the rest of the articles from this site and many others like it will realize the truth. God knows how many journalists have died, disappeared or live in exile since Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power in 2005.

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    As a democracy, Sri Lanka defended and facilitated British PM’s right to express himself. Many wouldn’t agree with what he has uttered and the timing, the venue and the tone he used to do it. Certainly it is not a plus for a smart British PM like Mr. David Cameron, specially when he is just one (guest) among 53 (guests) heads of states. Sri Lankan President, on the contrary, represented and displayed clearly the common traditional belief of all Sri Lankans that a guest (even with a foul mouth) is still a guest and should be treated equally or even better. As the writer noted Sri Lanka proved once again that Sri Lankans as a Nation is an exemplary host! Bravo Sri Lanka!!

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    Malinda, you silly bugger!, you are singing like a canary, are you on the take our just scared?

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    Now that there was CHOGSM prepare to deliver at UNHRC in March.

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    /* Chief of the UNP’s Leadership Council, Karu Jayasuriya, who has a good reputation for not having any truck with terrorists and their proxies, local or foreign, has remained silent on the issue as has sidelined leader-wannabe Sajith Premadasa. */

    Malinda who are the proxies for terrorists like KP, Karuna, Pilliyan, Daya Master etc. ?

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    The Foreign Journalist at CHOGM aptly described Malinda and Rajpal as -tethered goats

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    Malinda now that you buggers have had a fantastic orgasm from CHOGASM with all those dancing girls, free booze,and had a whale of a time sucking up to the MARA just shut up for a change, and enjoy the free perks you get as a paid servant of a despotic crude arsehole of a crap sheet that you Edit. [Edited out] like you are the scum that should be despised by decent citizens of our beloved land. Go join the Bloody BBS and show your true colors you stinking racist [Edited out]. [Edited out]. Don’t insult my Alma Mater

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    Getting 2 warships free of charge was the moment of crowning glory.

    It is a big tick of approval of what SL Navy did and does.

    Well done SL Navy.

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      Dear Fuckashima you must be living in cuckoo freaked land. The wily bugger Tony abbot got rid of two old rust buckets due to go to the srap heap and got the silly Sri lankan navy to shoulder the bill to stop illegal migrants from s.l. From enteiring the Aussie paradise..the present S.l. High commission a navy man is hand in glove with these manipulations and already in line to get a permanent residency stays visas for him and his family.

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