14 December, 2019

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An Appeal To The People Of Sri Lanka

By Ahimsa Wickrematunge

Many people say that this election is a simple choice between democracy and dictatorship. What I see is more personal. I see a young child who grew up in the shadow of an invincible, incredible and beloved father. I see someone whose life was turned upside down the moment their father was murdered in a despicable and cowardly act of terrorism. I see someone who faced the terrifying challenge of trying to inch forward their father’s mission. In so telling the story of how candidate Sajith Premadasa came to be, I cannot escape the feeling that his journey, his anguish and his struggles have closely mirrored my own. The events that shaped Sajith Premadasa into who he is today resonate strongly with me because the same experiences and challenges made me who I am. At this election, one choice is a man forged in the same fires that moulded my own soul.

Ahimsa

The alternative is the coward who celebrated my father’s murder on television. Even Prabhakharan did not boast about his senseless slaughter of President Premadasa. But Gotabaya Rajapaksa could not hide his glee when a death squash killed my father. When evidence emerged linking the military to this attack, he did not promise to investigate or protect other journalists. He vowed to shield the perpetrators from justice. Only cowards meet words with bloodshed. In my lifetime, I cannot recall a challenge Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not fled. In the face of countless criminal charges, he has never proved his innocence. Instead, he has always wriggled out through delays and technicalities. When he was in power, those who crossed him were beaten, murdered or forced to flee. During this election campaign, he has avoided debating or confronting his opponents at all costs. When journalists ask tough questions, he looks to others to answer. His every public appearance is carefully scripted and choreographed by the media moguls whose families need him as President so they can escape their own trysts with justice. In times of adversity, he has fled to America, returning to Sri Lanka only when his family safely rolls out the red carpet.

I have never met or spoken to Sajith Premadasa, but even from afar, he seems different. His is not a path of least resistance. He fought his way into Parliament in 2000 and 2001 against all odds, soundly defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa in Hambantota. On January 31, 2003, while he was building his political career as Deputy Health Minister, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was renouncing Sri Lanka, pledging allegiance to the American flag and living the American dream.

Despite Sajith Premadasa’s role as a minister in this government, which has let down many of us who fought for justice, I have watched him distinguish himself through his deeds, not least of which defending the Constitution against his personal interests during the coup when the Rajapaksas tried to illegally seize power last year. We saw him fight for his party’s presidential nomination and forge a new path. He is not promising results beyond his control, but to get politicians out of the way and let the police and professionals do their job. That is all we can ask. In my mind, a man as candid, fearless and dedicated as him would make a remarkable president.

I am terrified that if Gotabaya Rajapaksa becomes President, many brave police officers, prosecutors, witnesses, judges and journalists who have crossed his path in the line of duty will find themselves on the firing line. Gotabaya Rajapaksa fans flames of extremism that set the country alight, and then promises that only he can put them out. Ten years ago, it was my father who tried to warn the country about him. Tomorrow it could be your father, or sister, or brother, or son or mother, husband or wife who speaks out against him, and becomes the next to die or disappear. The danger in relying on such a man to keep you safe is that no one can keep you safe from him.

I would feel safer under the presidency of a man who suffered horrifically at the hands of terrorists, not one who took a page out of their book and made others suffer for his own personal gain.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    7

    Looks like the only rope that Gota apologists hang on is to stupid Ranil’s story that SF was behind it. We know Ranils supidity but these Gota hangers on are surely not stupid by looking for an excuse called Ranil. All the evidence so far in the public domain of the Courts point to a army gang under special authority of Gota stationed at Tripoli Camp did it AND are charged in Court. SF is nowhere near. Gota supporters are ostrich-like.

  • 9
    5

    I believe Sajith is not a perfect candidate for the presidency, but right-minded people should vote for him to prevent a murderous regime coming to power. When Sajith gets elected, he should make arrangements to reinvestigate all crimes, including Lasantha Wickramatunge’s and punish the culprits.

    • 1
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      Jayantha!

      Even Sajith’s father Ranasinghe Premadasa was responsible for the murder of a few, which includes Richard de Zoysa and the leader of the then JVP without trial, it is said. This does not mean that you should put Sajith too in the same category. Under the present context, we have to select the lesser evil. May be Anura, Mahes,Sivagilingam or, Jayatunga’s hands could be devoid of scarlet Red paint. But looking at the situation practically and to prevent an ‘American’ coming in to lead our country, our half hearted consideration centers round the ‘pody putha’ of the gang contesting.
      If Ranil and Maithree ‘ conducted themselves’ during the Yahapalanya regime, our task would have been easy.

  • 0
    0

    It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.All planners and the truth is exposed these days one who massacred our people on April 21st 2019. Those who cover the truth or Truth crushed to earth shall rise again

  • 6
    10

    Lasantah Wickramtunge was killed by Sarath Fonseka ‘s related that an unknown gunmen. @ @@@@.
    Ex-president Mahinda Rajapakese has no responsibilities of that killing that Lasantah do not blame to him.! That is histrionically that wrong perception of daughter of Lasantaha ?
    She wanted take personal revenge against Gotabaya R…. is/was an .unjust and unreasonable to him.. Be fair for this case against GR of that to be your mind on consciousness .
    Ranil .Wicrmasinghe of hard core Christen theologian has delivered speech in Parliament that explain killer was Sarath Fonseka no one other than Sarth F… is accountability of that ?

    • 1
      1

      You have stated very correctly

    • 0
      0

      Wewagedera Appuhamy:
      Despite the fact that you have chosen to write in a language other than English, there is no denying the fact that you are a prime candidate for Village Idiot though it would be hard to find a village that would accept you, leave alone crown you.

  • 4
    7

    with gota hora comes no future. chineese will takeover, buddhist must wake up now, or will be a zimbabwe for all.

  • 2
    0

    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

  • 1
    2

    ?I would feel safer under the presidency of a man who suffered horrifically at the hands of terrorists, not one who took a page out of their book and made others suffer for his own personal gain.?

    This is super comical. Gota ended Terrorism for his personal Gain or that of the country?

    I cannot for the life of me figure out he personally gained .

    Typical egoistical millennial.

    • 0
      0

      Abhaya Premawardena:
      Would you mind having someone translate into English any of your future contributions to CT?
      And to CT: PLEASE stop publishing this kind of incomprehensible material.

  • 2
    1

    The PEN IS MFHTIER THAN THE GUN. A man who ran away from the army on medical grounds and now back as mentally sound to kill people whom he hates If Sri Lankans are sensible and think baout thie lives the will vote aginst Gotabaya

  • 2
    2

    Looks like there are some surprise developments taking place in Lanka. 1) one individual met press and admitted that he was one of the drivers of Gothas “white van fleet ” and prepared to give evidence in seeing two murders under his watch. 2) Rajapaksas are getting their own medicine , two Monks have gone on fast demanding Gotha to prove giving up US citizenship . 3). The recent US list of people who gave up citizenship dosent show Gotha,s name. So as of today (next list is not due before elections) Gotha has not officially given up, because the US official list until now has NOT included his name. 4) None of the challenges thrown at Rajapaksas , has been effectively countered. Mangala, SP, Rajitha, SF all have challenged in different areas of interest. The public is gradually seems to realize , it is one too many for them to keep avoiding and NOT to answer. (not even giving alternate facts ). I always see a common adage used by Rajapaksas followers, here in CT too ,there is “no smoke without fire”. YES you are absolutely right, your stinky ” ARSES are right now on fire”.

  • 2
    1

    A demonstration of blind hate. Ranil said in parliament that the culprit is SF. Yet Gota haters want somehow to pin it on Gota. Lasantha’s killing has to be condemned whoever ordered it though the living Lasantha was a gutter journalist who thought he was untouchable. Yet his right to life should not have been robbed by anyone. On that score I am with Ahimsa. But not the rest. Ahimsa may be too young to remember how people were relieved to hear Sajith’s father’s death and shared milk rice on the roadsides. Something both Ahimsa and Sajith should contemplate. Sajith is just a puppet and a comedian. His handlers will make sure he delivers what they want (including those 13 points) if he wins which appears unlikely.

  • 2
    0

    This is the Sri Lanka of the Rajapaksa Age. The overriding feature will be the many unsolved murders and disappearances that had the blessings of those at the highest levels of government. A murder committed in broad daylight in a city under the highest level of security. This can only happen with the blessings of those at the very highest level of the government of the day. When the response of the man responsible for our security says “who is Lasantha? He is a nobody: nothing” then all hope is lost. There must be at least two dozen, maybe more, who know who did it, and who gave the order. They all continue to hold the secret – fearing for the welfare of themselves and their families. Now here’s the thing: none of the present politicians are likely to ‘rat’ on the other. The oath of omertà (the mafia code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to the police) lives on in sunny Sri Lanka. A sad indictment of those responsible for upholding the rule of law. Poor Ahimsa is right to keep afresh her demand for justice (with or without her backers) and most people will have sympathy for her efforts, but many who are still looking for justice for other misdemeanours will simply say “welcome to the club”. In fifty years from now, the kavi karaya’s will sing in bus-stands around the country the The Ballad of Lasantha to remind future generations of the dangers that await those who criticise the political leaders of our shiny happy land.

    • 4
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      Spring Koha

      The issue of Gota’s citizenship was never raised when he committed serious war crimes, other crimes, human rights violations, forced disappearances, and being giver of impunity, ……….. between 2005 and 2015 nor was his illegal appointment as being the defence secretary.

      I wonder why?

      Was it because he was only hurting OTHERS who deserved it?

      • 3
        0

        Native Vedda

        Very pertinent point. Mahinda Raja allowed his rabid brother to do whatever was necessary to bring him ‘victory’ regardless of whether those he hurt/’terminated’ deserved it or not. I think the unspoken understanding was ‘take no prisoners’.

        On the matter of citizenship – under our political standards, it is one law for President-thuma and his closest buddies and another law for the rest of the citizens.

        This is a curse that needs a capable exorcist. Where to find one?

  • 0
    0

    Although Ahimsa is full of praise for Sajith, he does not deserve such praise. Although he is the best candidate to beat Gotabaya, the way he manoeuvred to secure the nomination smacks of selfishness./avariousness. He should have allowed the party to decide the nominee instead of adopting pressure tactics to win his nomination. His off the cuff speeches shows his immaturity.

    No doubt the man behind Lasantha’s killing is Gotabaya. He as then-Secretary of Defence knows who pulled the trigger.

    When the BBC correspondent asked Gotabaya as to who killed Lasantha, he (Gotabaya) flew into a rage!
    After losing his composure, he replied that Lasantha was critical of several powerful personalities and any one of them could have planned his murder.

    An honest public servant, if he was asked about Lasantha’s murder, would have politely responded by saying “This dastardly murder, We will not rest until we bring to justice all those who were behind the foul murder of Lasantha.

    Of course, Mahinda was lying when he said Scotland Police will be brought in to probe the murder. No Scotland Yard police came to Sir Lanka.

  • 0
    0

    Beloved father.

    ‘Sadly, my father is neither the first nor the last missing person in the history of the country. His murderer said that he killed my father due to having been agitated by nationalustic feelings…
    What happened to my father was persistentlynleft unresolved by all governments of this country…
    I had the best father in the world. I knew him very well and remember him. He was a great man. More tgan that he was a good man. A great father. Very unusual.
    My father taught me…
    About nature, about trees, the birds. He taught me to fish..
    He was always funny, always the heart of any gathering, with his anecdotes and jokes. With his enjoyment in Living….’
    – Filiz Ali-
    ( daughter of Turkish journalist
    Sabahattin Ali)
    Dear Ahimsa, we feel much for you.
    The Lord sees your pain and will hear you. Cry to Him.
    ” You shall not afflict
    any widow or fatherless child.
    If you afflict them in any way, and they cry to Me, I will surely
    hear their cry;”

  • 0
    0

    anyone overwhelmed with hatred can make allegations what is important is proving beyond doubt that the alleged person had in fact actually committed the crime and or actively planned and involved in executing the crime merely gota was dence secy doesn’t prove his committing the crime this woman Ahimsa seems thinking big simply because she is in USA. loosing father is really a tragedyand this fact alone does not make daughter entitled to charge anyone of committing the crime merely based on personal whims and fancies

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