19 September, 2020

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Abject Cowardice Vs Common-Or-Garden Fear

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

As someone who has been accused of foolhardiness up to and including exhibiting suicidal impulses in the matter of criticizing the most violent government in Sri Lanka’s post-independence history and, perhaps of all time, I suppose I bring to this piece some experience, if not expertise, in matters associated with its title.

At the outset let me say that I have been wearied by the constant admonitions from my friends, almost without exception, not to provoke a government that has given ample evidence of its capacity to respond to those who are seen as its “enemies” with less than the application of the rules and philosophy attributed to the Marquess of Queensbury.  Worse than the veiled and not-so-veiled-threats has been the advice of friends and relations to “back off,” “not act as a cat’s paw for people lacking the intestinal fortitude to call a spade a spade,” etc.  Some of this has even come from those I know to be acolytes of the current regime and I can but guess at their motivation!

As I might have answered in another time and in another place, “I have not now nor ever had” ambitions of being a Horatius prepared to sacrifice life and limb in defence of some bridge of democracy.  No, mine is a far more mundane motivation, one that is driven by a belief that it is one’s right (and duty) as a thinking human being to apply whatever skills are at one’s disposal to the defence of those elements of behavior that separate human beings from the lesser mammals.  As simple and, maybe, as complex as that!

Even if I did have pretensions of being some heaven–sent saviour of Sri Lankan democracy and good governance, the recent reality is that I would not have had to fight to be some kind of primus inter pares in that regard  in this country.  The reason for that state of affairs is that I have seen few, if any, certainly among those writing for publication, that fit in the category of outspoken opponents of Fascism as it is being practiced in Sri Lanka.  The exception to this rule has been the coterie of women journalists of skill and courage who have given evidence of being prepared to face the wrath of the Rajapaksa Regime in their search for the truth and the exposure of the (totally rotten) status quo in Sri Lanka.

While the beginnings of this piece have been sitting in the bowels of my laptop, Tisaranee Gunasekara has written a chilling piece to Colombo Telegraph on a truly Orwellian dimension of intrusion into Sri Lankans’ private lives under the guise of issuing an Electronic ID Card.  If it hasn’t already happened, the usual suspects will trot out their defence of this, the final nail in the coffin of anything resembling personal privacy, falling back on the very tired “explanation” that  “those who have nothing to hide, need have no fear.”  That kind of blatant rubbish hardly deserves comment except to look at what that kind of intrusion has led to.  And pardon me if I have no patience with those who are going to trot out the examples of the United States’ security services of various kinds having targeted the likes of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden as an excuse for what an US citizen is seeking to do in this country to Sri Lankan citizens.  In case the ranks of Sri Lankan dolts don’t comprehend the fact, principles are supposed to be applied across the board, not reserved for selective application to one country, to the exclusion of another.  It is just as reprehensible that a so-called democratic country brutalizes those not prepared to march in lock-step with a junta that happens to rule it as it is for the land that gave birth to Magna Carta or that which provided Lincoln with the means of making the journey from log cabin to White House to do so.  In matters of principle, ethics and morality there aren’t “different strokes for different folks” as much as the Rajapaksa Regime believes that it rules by divine right and The Family and its acolytes, no matter how criminal, are above the common weal in anything and everything.

I might have taken longer than I intended to in the effort to distance myself from any claim to bravery of a historic dimension, however, I believe that just as much as there have been certain risks to the enterprise, one has a duty and responsibility to stand up for what one believes to be right.  If you claim to belong to the human race, to abjure such responsibility is to forfeit that membership.  Simple as that?  Yes, simple as that.

If this sounds like yet another diatribe against the lily-livered of this nation who must have a veritable treasure chest of excuses for demonstrating sniveling cowardice purely and simply for personal gain parading it as a survival instinct, I make no apologies.  When history deposits on that Great Garbage Heap in the Sky the horde that looks on while their “leaders” are making life intolerable for all but the bribe-takers and dope-dealers of this country, I will not shed a tear.  In fact, I might just wear a little smirk because they would be getting their just desserts in advance of those whose fortunes they have advanced by their deliberate inaction and silence.

There is no room in this conflict for bystanders.  To use what the Rajapaksa Regime constantly intones in slightly modified form, “Those who will not actively support democratic practice are against it” and deserve to meet their maker on their knees if that has been their chosen posture in life.  Fear is certainly a more than acceptable emotion for any human being living in this nation and opposed to its willy nilly descent into darkness. However, paralytic, abject cowardice is not.  The alternative? Stretching every sinew for the democratic removal of the pestilence that has plagued this country, under one political banner or another, for far too long.

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  • 6
    4

    “sitting in the bowels of my laptop, Tisaranee Gunasekara has written a chilling piece to Colombo Telegraph on a truly Orwellian dimension of intrusion into Sri Lankans’ private lives under the guise of issuing an Electronic ID Card.”

    Of the EU only UK does not want a national ID card but they are quick to ask others to produce an identity card.

    Of the EU only UK has not signed the treaty on investigating international contracts- because only they don’t bribe.;)

    If there is a change in the UK government and a labour comes in there will finally be a national ID card. It was postponed due to typical British bickering and the amount quoted was exorbitant.

    To renew the chip and pin it takes 15 minutes in all and cost just Euro’s 5 only at any large police station or airport police (the scanner/card producer is just A5 size and networked with a cable).

    This card does curtail criminals travel abroad. I can use my card on the internet the same way I use it for banking to check and update if any changes take place. But this card is not linked to Master Card and Nigeria going with master card is good for a country corrupt country like Lanka. For eg. if the card is produced to identify to a banker he cannot see all our details – there are limits to the password access even to the police personnel. If a foreigner commits a crime and he has a national ID then its possible for the foreign police to access the info he needs rather than wait for months for diplomatic sachets to move to and fro from foreign office of one to the other then to home office etc- the bureaucracy of protocol. This takes 3 months and one is stuck in a foreign land. Even super markets now have self-checkouts which is great when in a hurry. The card has been used for travel in europe even outside the EU than a passport by me- what more do we need.- There are thieves everywhere its just we have to be careful.
    Even the drug smuggling Italian mafia, tax evader all have a national ID card so what?? Its just the Brits want to be different and we learnt it from them to issue our first national ID to include the tamil for tamils only which the village police used that is the J. Tam`ill` problem imposed by them alone on the rest of the tamils and others finally.
    The ruthless government must change but the people have to change too for the better because they elected this monster to overcome the monster they themselves created.

    • 5
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      Javi:
      There is, in case you haven’t noticed, a rather significant difference in democratic practice, freedom of expression and freedom to dissent between the places you seek to compare and SL. There’s the rub! Giving our current lot anything like the additional ability to eavesdrop on our lives is akin to providing monkeys with ladders (and razors!).
      Also, your attempt to insert an element of blatant racism into this discussion is rather unfortunate, to say the least, don’t you think, particularly when the threat from the LTTE is certainly a thing of the past?

      • 1
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        Emil,

        Ja_vi is a Canadian Jihadist driven to the depth of hatred for the Tamils because of the treatment of his and that of his fellow muslims at the hands of the LTTE who drove them out. He is deeply bitter and all he wnats to do is kill ads many Tamils as possibe.
        He was born and brought up in Kolumbuthura and enaged in a business of smuggling Sarees from Tamilnadu. When he was driven out he intially went to Uddau and from there went to Canada and claimed Asylum.
        Democracy is a language alien to Muslims as they are Allergic TO anything Western. His RACISM is only towards Tamils for understandanble reasons and he has never criticised BBS. He will die a disappointed man.
        As for the change you are all hoping for it is not going to come from within. It will come when the following fall into place.

        1) The UNHCR reoprt is published
        2) Sanctions are imposed and there are signs that Insurance Companies have taken the lead anticipating Sanctions.
        3) The Nation grinds to a halt and there will be a clear choice.

        Food vs MR. The chioce will be for the 20 Million Electorate.

      • 5
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        Emil van der Poorten,

        ltte dead is only seeming- the flags fly high and mighty. jaffna tam`ills` -from the fisherman kuttimani they all want to be Mudaliar and have made other tamils worldwide disgusted. When Tamils can live anywhere in Hindia and speak the language of the native what is the specialty of these vermin?? Go over to TN and have a close look at tamil billboards- mostly tamil scrawled in english. Top it most Tamils of TN don’t understand the Tamil movies of even the 70’s.
        The language need not be killed because it is dying like latin or plain english. Today its Microsoft English because its the way the world thinks.

        universal truth,
        every action there is an equal and opposite reaction except in so far as it is compelled by a third force.

        Every positive value has its price in negative terms… the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.- Pablo Picasso

        • 0
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          Ja_vi you Jihadist:

          You can utter any rubbish you wont and nothing is going to Change. The North & East belongs to us and no one is going to take it from us. Not MR not BBS and not even IS.

          Man as of today the attack ” Muslims on Muslims” has claimed THREE million lives and is rising by the minute.

          (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕)(^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕) (^‿◕)

      • 0
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        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 2
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      As a casual reader of CT, I am amazed by the “synchronicity” of thoughts, complaints and the writing style of diatribes between Titsaranee Gunasekara and Van der Poorten.

      I am compelled to think that their menstruous cycles are also synchronised. That should explain a lot of things.

      • 0
        0

        Panikkar:
        Pray tell what are a “menstruous cycles?” In any event, I suppose I should leave the judgement of whether the blatherings of your ilk are simply moronic or monumentally stupid to the garbage collectors of this site.

  • 5
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    Blimey….

    I thought our Mervyn Silva has brought Kudu Nuwan and his Gang to bash up poor Poorten and his Durian Security guard.

    Ms T herself said the other day that 70 % of our inhabitant population , whom by the way Sinhala Buddhists , are on empty stomachs since Nanthikadal.

    What do theses people have to hide from the person whom Mr Poorten calls a US citizen although he is on a Green Card which is like the protection Visa which , hundreds of thousands of Mr Poorten’s mates have around the world.

    This mass of 70 % don’t do Twitter, Face Booking, Skype, ,Web cam or Tinder

    They don’t receive funds from dodgy NGOs overseas.

    They don’t do money laundering , recycle large sums of Aussie Dough , or Greenbacks,

    They don’t have shelf companies in Seachelles to channel funds to Swiss Accounts.Banks.

    They don’t take other peoples Missus to romantic dinners at hip and posh places like Waters Edge, German Restaurants in Old Race Course and Mr Poorten’s Old Dutch hospital.

    So this Electronic ID with face recognition, pupil and thumb reading technology is an absolute waste of time and money on them. .

    But on the other hand the rest 30 % whom Ms T implies are on full stomachs is another story.

    But I am sure there are some in that group who are not on full stomachs although Ms T tries to make us believe otherwise.

    Here I am referring to out Dalit brother and sisters who are in the same boat as as the other 70 %.

    These high Tech IDs may even help the Poortens friends when they travel overseas and do transactions on the Net like On Line Shopping for Goods , Services and even partners.

    Also they get one hundred percent protection against their Identity theft totally free of premiums ,thanks to this Green Card Holder whom Mr Poorten is afraid of or telling us so.

    Is it worth poor Mr Poorten sacrificing his dear life to prevent his beloved mates enjoying these 21 century Tech benefits, specially when they don’t have to pay for them?….

    • 1
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      “I did have pretensions of being some heaven–sent saviour of Sri Lankan democracy and good governance”.

      This fool IS suffering from megalomania.

      • 1
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        Emil is being self-deprecating and humorous. Try and understand.

        • 1
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          Paul:
          Are you attempting to educate someone who gives the word “moron” a bad name in the use of basic English? That is a wasteful exercise and best left to a “tuition master” paid for by the people who “look after” the Sang Yongs of this world!

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    6

    Sri Lanka had a identity card for many years. The purpose of the identity card, whether manual or electronic is the same. The electronic version simply allows more efficient capture of data.

    In countries without and identity card, they demand either passport or driving license with a mugshot. Then they demand another document to prove your address. In other words, instead of relying on one piece of document it relies on a few to identify someone.

    On Google nothing is private. Once you launch their Chrome browser and sign in, they capture all your communication, behaviors and habits. They then sell it to advertisers. They also pass it on to CIA so they filter it for their own intelligence gathering.

    When you walk on a street multiple surveillance camera monitor you. Some have smart image detection that it can identify you using image analysis.

    Rajapaske or not, information about you is no longer private. The governing bodies will require to know who you are. They will make the process as seamless as possible. Its your responsibility to ensure its not misused once your data has been captured.

  • 5
    0

    K.A. Sumanaskera:
    I know it would be a waste of time to suggest you don’t continue to spout lies and fabrications because that is your ONLY stock-in-trade. However, when you ask “What do theses people have to hide from the person whom Mr Poorten calls a US citizen although he is on a Green Card which is like the protection Visa which , hundreds of thousands of Mr Poorten’s mates have around the world,” I’d suggest you simply check out your paymasters and patrons whose primary(?) source of income is container-loads of heroin. Also, there is a difference between a Green Card Holder and a citizen of the US and you’d best not keep repeating that particular lie .

    • 1
      2

      Mr Poorten,

      Wonder who buys these container loads of Heroin?.

      Surely the 70 % Sinhala Buddhists are out of question.

      But a few daring ones might try to sell them but at great risk, like Kudu Lalith who was forced to say adios only a couple of days ago.

      The FF still may take up his case to the HR authorities to prove Police brutality against innocent inhabitants.

      How can Inhabitants who live on empty stomachs digest let alone buy them.

      Mervyn’s son and cousin Hirunika on their own couldn’t handle such loads either.

      That leaves the 30 % Ms T recons are doing ok.

      Obviously a US passport holder wouldn’t dare handle this sort of stuff specially when they are from Afganistan and transported by Taliban.

      US officials wouldn’t even allow FR petitions to the SC , if they decide to extradite their citizens to face jthe music in Yankee Courts.

      Would the BASL allow FR petitions to the SC by US citizens.?.

      • 3
        0

        K.A Sumanasekera

        “Obviously a US passport holder wouldn’t dare handle this sort of stuff specially when they are from Afganistan and transported by Taliban.”

        Would the US passport holder mind if it is imported by Prime minister’s office from Pakistan?

        “Wonder who buys these container loads of Heroin?”

        Are you looking for retail distribution rights? You need some muscle to protect your turf. Please contact Mervyn Silva or Karuna Amman if you need extra pairs of hands.

  • 3
    5

    It is not cowardice to be afraid to criticize the government. Besides there are also many who support the government which is why they don’t criticize it much.

  • 1
    2

    Emil,
    Please don’t try to overate yourself. I don’t think think Rajapaksas‘ would consider you as an opinion leader, hence a threat to their continuity. I am even not sure if you have a vote. Judging by the written diarrhoea you always come out with, 90% of sri lankan voters will not understand what you are on about anyway. Here is an example:

    “If this sounds like yet another diatribe against the lily-livered of this nation who must have a veritable treasure chest of excuses for demonstrating sniveling cowardice purely and simply for personal gain parading it as a survival instinct…”

  • 0
    1

    Good one Panikkar. You could not have put it across any better..:-)

    • 0
      2

      Thanks. Its a pleasure to be able to expose the conspiracy Poorten is involved in.

      Back to Belgium, one of these days…

  • 0
    0

    Biometrics! Diometrics!

    My man Saman who advises me on all loopholes tells me that it will be a ‘very long time’ before the system is made ‘watertight’. Saman has a closely guarded reputation for having delivered perfect ‘identities’ including National Identity Cards, driving licences, etc. I understand that there are others too who specialise in the work. It will be fun when the expatriates have to renew their passports – but for them there is hope that Saman can fix them up with something back in the mother country.

    Ready or not, Big Brother is coming to a Grama Niladhari near you!

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