25 September, 2020

Blog

An Entente Cordiale In Sri Lankan Politics?

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

When one sees what is going on in the matter of endless parades of prominent and not so prominent people to the multiplicity of investigating/inquiring bodies set up by the Maithripala Sirisena/Ranil Wickremesinghe (MR2) government and the total absence of anything resembling prosecutions coming out of these investigations/inquiries, the question that I have posed as the heading of this column seems almost redundant.

I have in the days that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime (MR1) ruled all of Sri Lanka and, like “Britannia,” the waves around it subsequently, referred to that Maximum Leader’s chosen modus operandi, whenever something contentious arose. He let all of his “spokespersons” and goodness knows he had some to spare in that category, express views that ranged from the proverbial soup to nuts. He then held up the metaphorical whetted finger to the breeze, decided which one suited a dispensation that was distinguished by its total and absolute lack of policy or principle and claimed it as the “official” version.

Sound familiar?

It should, because that is increasingly becoming the rule with the Maithripala/Ranil government (MR2) whose pattern of public pronouncements bears an eerie similarity to what went before. The Avante Garde fiasco in public relations if not in bringing to book those attempting to set up a private army and navy is only one case in point. Here we have a widely bandied-about accusation that probably the most lily-livered of the MR2 gang, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, the MINISTER OF JUSTICE, no less, has played a very interesting role in the matter of a part of the Rajapaksa Royal Family seeking to set up their own private armed force with both a maritime and land wing and the “investigations” that followed. Political talk is cheap and wild accusations even more modestly priced in this country. However, the matter of setting up private armies a la the George “Dubya” Bush model Black Watch in Iraq, is nothing new. In fact, I wrote at some length some years ago about this whole sinister exercise. That journalistic effort seemed only to raise the threat level against me at the time. However, the shilly-shallying by MR2 in investigating this continuing menace, is beyond explanation. At least those who believed that MR2 would, even in minimalist mode, do “something” to prosecute those responsible have to be bitterly disappointed.

If this mess is to be cleared, and it better be without further ado, unless we are to be faced with the return of a resurgent MR1 mob, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena need to get their behinds in gear and move the judicial system to display at least a minimal commitment to such glorified concepts as the Rule of Law. Nothing less will suffice.

Instead, what do we get? The earlier-mentioned Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, at best, not moving a finger to investigate and prosecute the single most dangerous initiative of MR1. Instead, if media reports from a variety of sources are to be believed, his efforts could only have been interpreted as intended to impede any such action.

Someone once said that all you could expect from a pig was a grunt and when one views the conduct of many of the “leading lights” of the current government during the time that MR1 ruled the roost, the truth of that aphorism is self evident.

You have the abomination of the Impromptu Tent Creator prancing around the stage uttering his usual vacuities but, nevertheless, occupying a very important seat in the current MR1 dispensation.
You have a man whose conduct towards Mahinda Rajapaksa, his progeny and his hangers-on was little less than genuflectory placed in the new pantheon of MR2.

You have one of the most reprehensible of “journalists” who was reduced to a “mea culpa” in one of the highest courts of this country for having defamed one of Sri Lanka’s most honourable and respected civil servants appointed as a “media advisor” to the President.

You have a past Prime Minister whose office was directly responsible for enabling the movement of the largest single shipment of heroin in Sri Lanka’s history, all 260 Kgs of it, out of the port of Colombo on the basis of a “letter of clearance” issued by the said PM’s office appointed as yet another Presidential Advisor. Not irrelevant to that whole episode was the fact that the said Prime Minister freely admitted to friendship with the alleged mastermind (now absconding internationally) which included ‘breaking bread’ at the PM’s table and bank-rolling the said PM’s son’s political campaigns.

The role that Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe played in the most significant attack on law and order in this country, the impeachment of Ms. Bandaranayake, a Chief Justice of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s own choice no less, might not merit repetition at any length but should not go unremarked because his conduct as a member of the MR2 regime qualifies for the simple comment that a leopard doesn’t change its spots.

The appointment of a plethora of politicians booted out by their own constituencies, some of the more reprehensible mouthpieces of the previous regime and others who have no business in any entity claiming anything resembling morality or principle, impedes any effort to find a common thread of decency and commitment to simple democratic principles. The excuse that a two-thirds majority was needed in Parliament to effect necessary constitutional change does not hold water in the context of what is going on because the simple question is, “What constitutional change?” In fact, what significant change in public morality of any kind? Period.

Many of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s opponents, from within his own party, documented the enhanced “goodies” that MR1 doled out to him after first depriving him of what he was entitled to as Leader of the Opposition. From famine to feast, as it were. The new “goodies” included significantly more luxurious modes of transportation, massively enhanced funding for his position as Leader of the Opposition etc. etc. It is said that after being hit over the head with a ten pound club, being beaten on the same part of one’s anatomy with club half that weight gives one a sense of well-being! Also, given Ranil’s conventional middle-class upbringing, cosseted against the cold winds of periodic adversity by wealth and “connections,” has this led to a misguided attachment to the concept of “gratitude” which that sector of our population fall back on, only too often, to justify their equivocation and unprincipled behaviour?

Or are we back to the simple Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s claim that “Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai” (They are all the same), which they advanced when viewing their political opponents through their allegedly revolutionary spyglass?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 11
    1

    Emil, you are (once again) verbalizing what many of us who voted these shits in, are thinking.

    Instead of keeping their promises the way we expected them to, they have acted conversely and seem not to give a damn for our reactions.

    Pouring water on that proverbial duck’s back may not do the trick right away, but what happened to the Rajapakses could well befall the Sirisenas and their coterie of creeps!

    Keep on keeping on and more power to you!

    • 5
      1

      Is “Entente Cordiale” something like passion cordial? Don’t understand.

      Have mercy on us the ignoramus, Pooton.

      • 2
        3

        Know Nothing:
        One of those very rare times when a pseudonym does more than cover personal identity: it accurately describes the writer for what he/she is.
        Bravo!

      • 2
        0

        Entente cordiale: The “Entente Cordiale” was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and France, marking the start of the alliance against Germany and Austria-Hungary that fought the First World War.

        • 3
          3

          Thank you Leelawathie.

          Now I understand. This is the subject of Ethel Smith’s last (farcical)opera that was performed in the Proms at the Queen’s Hall in 1925?

          That was based on the mishap a British soldier in a small French town got in to by misreading the ‘cordiale’, especially the private ‘Erb Iggins’ trying to buy a chook for mess dinner, mispronouncing poulet (chicken) as ‘poule’ which sounds like French filth.

          Our erudite writer probably was not much better than Iggins when he chose to use this inappropriate analogy for the subject he has tried to address.

          You are much better than unhappy senile idiots like these who get in to trouble trying to big ticket themselves as “know-alls”, without realising they are half-baked at best!

          • 3
            1

            Hardly agree with you. Our people s intolerance nature should be proved in their genetics.

            In Germany we are used to ” Jedem das seine” – ” to each his own”. English has been a vast langague – why not the writer uses his own pharases.

          • 1
            0

            Know Nothing:
            Are you in some kind of competition to produce “Incoherence of the year” (parading as erudition)?

  • 5
    0

    Well said Emil. Although I am not an admirer of the JVP, they were damn right in pinning that “Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai” slogan on this Ranil +Marru-Sirra government. What sounds more familiar and startling to me is to how we elect those with vacuous common sense to lead us to doom. The common denominator of all these “Lei-misserables” is putting the “MOADAYA’s” in power of our legislature. No matter where or what potfolio is given to any of our sahibs with a name like “Raja+Puk(s)ha”, they only know to cohabit with thieves in our “pukkah” paradise.

  • 2
    0

    Mr. Pooten:

    Now I understand you little by little.

  • 2
    0

    Jim softy:
    Should we greet that with a thumbs up or a thumbs down?!

  • 2
    1

    I think You should write in a simpler language.

    Having said that I think the JVP slogan ” “Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai”” can also be said JVP. JVP was no better than the others. They can critcize but they never act. Did they prepare the code of ethics. It is easy to criticise but not act.

    • 2
      0

      You may be right.

      See JVP is rightly without their long serving leader -Somawansa.
      So, their rise against corrution and abuses are okay-but the country furhter remains uncvilized, devleopoing sort – you cant expect things to turn out to be 100% fine within shorter period of time… I have no doubt, born lankens with some knowledge about lanken systems would agree with me here.

      Sure, JVP reacts as some german political parties, that woudl stand against lack of justice and courrption, but in paractical life, it is no easy to make lanken average clear aboutthe need. Go and check it by yourself – please, how many among so called educated folks within lanken nation, would know what GOOD GOVERNANCE means and why we have to achieve those values with the time. Not many would be clear .. what that means – will be the result.
      Like wise, we cant expect 6% GDP to invest for lanken education so long all the very same men remain in action in the system. It is not like that a blood cancer patient could feel better after full blood transfusion is done..
      Almost each and every level of lankan institutions are corrutped. Every 2nd or more than in the population is highly corrupted. So is it easy CURRENT Duo to magically change the system as you guys expect ?

      • 4
        0

        Sinchoappu:
        NOBODY is asking for miracles overnight. I am among the many who believed that the junta that Sri Lanka rid itself of just over a year ago was corrupt to the core. All we’ve been asking for (ad infinitum) is simply the application of the law, without fear or favour and without the big fish being given a “get out of jail free” card before charges are even laid!
        Is that too much to ask or are we to stand around like a herd of cattle while our politicians do as they please and look after themselves, very handsomely?

  • 1
    0

    Entente Cordiale on our Railways

    Historic Train Gravy Train (Chinese Stock)

    Uda Rata Menike Presidential Grand

    Podi Menike MaRa Special (now sidelined)

    Ruhunu Kumari Shiranthi Menike (now in refurbishment)

    Samudra Devi JVP Express (goes round in circles)

    Rajarata Rajini Chathuri Menike

    Yal Devi CBKSpecial(ComeBackKumari)(goes nowhere)

  • 2
    0

    I will counter your very pertinent point with the Sinhala proverb, “Kahi gani theela hotu gani gatha”, literally divorce the wife with snut pouring down her nose and taking a woman who is all the time coughing!! So you choose. For me I prefer My3/RW when considering that they have had ONLY one year and MR had nine !! MR finished-off the war, which no one could have. Lets give the devil his thing!

    Incidentally, do you remembet the boxing match between you and Senthilanathan at TCK in 1956/7??!! You were quite a man then and also now.

    • 3
      0

      The better fight was with Desmond de Silva (now Sir Desmond de Silva, QC) in the junior school, a schoolboy scuffle in the classroom, which Mr Lekamge, the headmaster, turned into a proper boxing match after school, near the Mara tree on which a piece of rail functioned as the bell….

      Mr Poorten, write about these things, and keep us entertained!

      • 0
        0

        Ken Dharmapala & Kumaran:
        Don’t remember either of the events (Charge it to memory loss with the advancing years!)
        I do remember that Senthil and I weren’t the best of friends but I don’t remember boxing him at any point. Not Fred E. de Silva’s son, Desmond, either. As I recall he was not in the same class as yours truly at any point of time. Also, I do remember putting Desmond on to bowl during a “House match” where his wild deliveries confused Nimal Maralande (?) and his partner at the other end to such an extent that the next bowler – a more orthodox one – broke the partnership and Carter House beat Hodges or Perry, and won the Junior School cricket tournament.
        I don’t remember being “quite a man” though the compliment is appreciated! However, I do remember TCK fondly for the values it gave us in the Normal Walter years in particular, even though I recall not liking many of those who influenced his behaviour which had a “colonial” tinge to it!

  • 5
    0

    As much as we ALL feel the same as Mr Poorten, we must also understand the current reality.

    Maithripala/Ranil regime, MR2 as Emil has aptly abbreviated it, obviously does not feel it has the support of a majority of the people. Although a majority of Sri Lankans voted for MR2, the real grass root level power is with the Sinhala-Buddhist, 60% of whom voted for Rajapakse at the last two elections.

    This Sinhala-Buddhist majority still yearns for MR1, to re-establish the thuggish attitude towards minorities. Thus, as they wish to stay in power, MR2 has to accommodate the evils of MR1 regime. I am not defending the record of MR2 up to now, but I think I understand their predicament. MR1 and its constituency is a dark and an ominous shadow that looms large over MR2.

    Sri Lanka as a country will never overcome its illiberal attitudes until the Sinhala-Buddhist majority, the MR1 constituency, is weaned away for its abhorrent mindset. This is a mindset that developed over a long period, initiated by SWRD Bandaranaike, and nurtured by politicians and politicised Buddhist monks, well over half a century now. The belligerent and confrontational attitude of some Tamil politicians and some Tamil elite also helped the process along the way.

    To get out of this rut, we need a charismatic leader. A leader who is sufficiently appealing to the Sinhala-Buddhist masses, to guide us out of this repugnant socio-cultural morass. Is Sirisena the man for it? Is it Ranil? I don’t think so. Someone new must rise out of the mess we are in.

    • 1
      0

      Ken Dharmapala:
      While I do, to the largest extent, agree with what you have to say, my own experience (prejudices?) come from a different background where, in a jurisdiction in which I was politically active on what could be called the “left” in that country, more than 100 years of extreme right-wing politics was upset by a Social Democratic party majority government emerging last year!
      Grass-roots organizing and, above all, persistence in the effort is what it takes. As January 8th 2015 proved all is not lost even when brutality and mayhem seem absolutely established!
      Keep the faith and hold the feet of the present regime to the fire!

  • 5
    0

    An extremely ‘sensible’ and logical view, Ken.

    The problem, however, remains. Where do we find “A leader who is sufficiently appealing to the Sinhala-Buddhist masses, to guide us out of this repugnant socio-cultural morass”?

    Most ‘decent’ folk don’t want to enter the existing repugnant political scene for all the obvious reasons!

  • 1
    0

    I don’t know why JVP stopped at saying “Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai”. They should have continued on the same vein and said, “Unta Issara Hitapu Evunuth Ekai, Meeta Passe Enna Innavunuth Ekai”. And to make it fair must say, “Untai Muntai chande dena meeharak api okkamath ekai”

  • 1
    0

    Emil, Yes, you maybe right! But you did box for college, (?) as I recall with Lakdasa Moonamale etc. I was junior to you.

    I agree with Ken re. the extremists amongst the Sinhala Buddhists. Not to ignore the extremists at the other end. Neither is conducive to National Progress. But as I say, My3/RW is the best for the current situation in the country vis-à-vis the “international community” waiting to get their 2 cents worth. Only Ken and a few of us have realized the very present danger of a resurgent “rajapaksa” party led by GR. I see a North Korean style state with the Chinese setting-up closer ties.

    • 1
      0

      Kumaran:
      Yes, I did box for TCK and lost to a guy who, as an Army officer went on to win at a National level. However, you would never have guessed him to have that kind of talent when I fought him. He was terrible and didn’t win his weight if I remember right. But I was worse! Rumour had it that the TCK boxing coach (whose son in law is a pretty famous Sri Lankan diplomat!) admonished other members of the team that he would take a very dim view of anyone who left the ring daisy-fresh after losing a fight (like yours truly). Mohammed Ali in the making, I was not!
      (Couldn’t resist that side trip down memory lane!)

  • 1
    0

    The “mad” field Marshall and the JVP, should be given a go….after all that is all we haven’t tried !

    After that JR will be elevated to minor deity status and people like Dudley will be spoken about as GOD !

    “The people get the Government they deserve” is an unilateral truth. The lying, cheating, non principled majority of the Country, who didn’t give the people who could have made a difference an adequate majority, will eventually see their motherland reduced to rubble.

  • 3
    0

    We are damn fools for thinking anyone will go to jail. One bunch of buffoons said they will not persecute anyone as long as they change their ways. Therefore now most of the scoundrels have been rehabilitated. That is the one method at play. The other is the due process wing. These buffoons are for investigating ad infinitum i.e. until the cows come home. RW belongs to this faction. He will pardon and let off the hook like Wesanthara while sticking to due process until his own government gets wiped out. We have Wimal let off the hook to keep undermining his government. We have Gamanpila who should be behind bars but his robbing is not even worthy of investigation. If you raise any of this with these leaders they will say we must not take revenge but follow due process. Unfortunately following due process with a completely disfunctional system is like scoring into you own goal. A completely naive and stupid idea. If you wait too long the miscreants will surely get you and that will be the end of the best chance ever of setting things right in this country.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.