21 January, 2022

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Anura Kumara Dissanayake: Is He The Answer? Why Not?

By Vishwamithra

“Reality is not a function of the event as event, but of the relationship of that event to past, and future, events.” ~ Robert Penn Warren

I never ever imagined, even in my wildest dreams that I would write what I am writing today. But as I have continuously and consistently penned, in politics, context has been, is and will be everything. Things don’t happen in a vacuum; they materialize in a context; the surrounding social and economic conditions provide an atmosphere and reasons for them to happen, even over and over again. That is why history is replete with similar events, incidents and great human dramas. The context shapes and sometimes defines the resultant event. Whether it was the great October Revolution in Russia in the first decade of the twentieth century or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in ancient times, the context, an awfully brutal Czarist regime in Russia or the corrupt, perverse and avaricious Nero and Caligula in Rome and all were the great events and persona that we study in world history and a skilled historian, before embarking upon presenting the facts and figures, first launches into painting a conceivable and handsome picture of the pertinent context.

That element of context produced Dudley Senanayake; what was the context: the untimely death of D S Senanayake after a stroke; why did Dudley have to resign in 1953: the context was the notorious rice issue and J R’s Budget that proposed withdrawal of free rice and the Hartal that followed. Then S W R D Bandaranaike, whose ambition was to succeed D S Senanayake as Prime Minister created his own context, being a very crafty public speaker polarized the country along divisive racial lines. I can go on and on, but the reader now surely should be understanding the long and short of context within which great or small events and incidents occur.

Let us now discuss the current conditions in Sri Lanka. After seventy three years of Independence from the colonial powers, where is Ceylon today? When we get down to the business of separating the good from the bad, the long-term from the short-term, the intelligent from the stupid, the honorable from the dishonorable, the last two decades stand out as the most crucial and divisive era during which our society has plunged itself to self-destruction. Yet the destruction is still in the waiting; its arrival, which undoubtedly will happen, is being hurried, not only by the Covid-19 crisis, but also being sped up by some maniacal and thoroughly inscrutable, econo-political decisions the ruling Family deliberately made.

An utterly convoluted context of mis-governance by the Maithripala-Ranil combo and a Bond-scam that surely spelt the demise of the short and forgettable Yahapalanaya era was the context that prevailed immediately prior to the election of the current President. Gotabaya Rajapaksa stormed into power and went on to further stabilize, by way of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, his stronghold of the Executive power which a Sri Lankan President enjoys almost without any reasonable boundaries.

To what political measures and tactics did Gotabaya resort in order to become entrenched in his own Presidential powers? He did not have to read books and attend high-flown conferences to learn about these tactics and measures. His elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa had already shown the world as to how to entrench oneself in power. By facilitating his henchmen and women to obtain lucrative jobs, awarding money-spinning tenders to his kith and kin, and when the going gets tough, resorting to the age-old mantra of patriotism and nationalism, paying regular visits to the ancient religious sites in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, were all part of this dishonest enterprise of politicking. And the younger brother has learnt well from his elder.

In the meantime, the country’s coffers are becoming empty and the rising cost of living is causing unspeakable hardships to the masses. The Rajapaksas have turned a totally un-empathetic persona to the increasing suffering of the people. A doggedly imbecilic posture adopted by the President and his gang on the fertilizer issue, price controls and lack of price controls, treatment of an approach to the International Monitory Fund (IMF) as an unmitigated no-no, printing of local currency to overcome the deficits in the national cash-flow are a few of these senseless and idiotic policy positions the current leaders have chosen to embrace without shame. To cap it all, these ridiculous deportments, corruption on the part of the Rajapaksa family and their close relatives and henchmen, has taken the country to a position from which there does not seem to be any return possible.

That is the context within which the country is contemplating hard on a man or woman in whose hand the switch of power is secure for the people and progressive for the underprivileged masses. That context contains within itself a gradual and alarming rejection of the United National Party (UNP) and its latest illegitimate child Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and their respective leaders, Ranil Wickremasinghe and Sajith Premadasa. When there is irrefutable evidence that the ruling clan is incorrigibly corrupt and unambiguously dishonest, galvanizing the masses and unleashing an irreversible public outcry against such a political dynamic is part and parcel of a clever politician, not merely to attain power but create a positive awareness of the hardships and adversities that one has to endure. The irony is that the birth of such awareness does not have to happen now; it should have been created by a clever and crafty and honorable politician from day one of the emergence of the first signals of a coming disaster. It is where the Premadasas and Wickremasinghes have failed so miserably.

Whether such opposition should have been articulated in public or inside the well of the House of Parliament, does not matter. And it is in the context of this particular backdrop that Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD), the current leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) stands out like a giant. Although comparatively small in physical stature, AKD is a true giant. As a public speaker he is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best of all; mastery of the vernacular and allegiance to facts and figures coupled with a coherent delivery so sharp and every now and then stunning, Anura Kumara has hitherto exhibited an uncanny ability to shape and define the current issues that are irksome to a great majority of our people.

His parliamentary speeches might not be telecast over national television; but the unlimited way they are being listened to by the millions who have access to the social media is remarkable. However, AKD enjoys an advantage which both Ranil and Sajith do not- baggage on the issue of corruption and dishonesty. And AKD apparently is fully aware of that. His attack on the current ruling family is almost one hundred percent based on the lingering corruption and dishonesty and unbearable cost of living. He has correctly identified the most crucial issues that matter to the great majority. Rising cost of living and rampant corruption of the ruling Family and his analyses of the various issues and relating them to the common men and women has separated him from the rest. His repertoire in parliamentary speeches could be compared with the best shown in past by Dr. N M Perera, J R Jayewardene, Dudley Senanayake, Felix Dias and even the best of all, S W R D Bandaranaike.

At the same time, AKD has one serious disadvantage- his own Party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. The First Insurrection in 1971 may have faded into oblivion now, yet the brutal and mindless killings and macabre torture that took place during the Second Revolution in 1987-1989 period are still fresh in the minds of most of our people. Neither Anura Kumara Dissanayake nor any of the other JVP leaders has denounced these atrocities; that failure to condemn the untold misery brought upon Sri Lankan rural masses may not be ignored by the majority of Sinhalese Buddhists and nor should it be.

Nevertheless, the current context suits AKD and his JVP ideally; but AKD and the JVP cannot stand alone. They have not yet grown into a broad-based, nationally recognized political force representing each and every district in Sri Lanka. What AKD and the JVP should sacrifice first is their stubbornness when coming to an agreement on a coalition. Asking the accepted political entities to come to terms with their fundamental demands is ludicrous and foolhardy. A show of flexibility should not be treated by them as a weakness; on the contrary, it should be their strength. They must remember that the context is not only dire and demanding, it is also democratic. Belief in Dialectical Materialism and Dictatorship of the Proletariat is an anachronism today. That is also part of the context.

AKD, if you want to lead Sri Lanka and her people in the future, near of afar, you must first learn to perceive the context in its right light and right content.

*Writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com    

 

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Latest comments

  • 9
    2

    AKD might be an honest politician, but can we be absolutely sure? He hasn’t tasted power yet, and power corrupts many.
    OK, it may be unfair to be afraid of the JVP on account of its dismal insurrectionary record. But it was the SLFP and UNP governments that did most of the killing, though nobody is afraid of them.
    So far, under AKD, the JVP has been much more secular and less beholden to the Buddhist priestly mafia.
    But again, what exactly does the JVP stand for, economically? Is it some sort of closed economy like the current Pohottuwa effort? That won’t be any more successful. Or is the JVP looking at the Chinese model , Capitalism under Party control? But that can’t be done in 5 years, and also requires the Party seizing absolute power. The big brother to the North is not likely to take that kindly. It’s complicated, but the sooner AKD comes up with concrete proposals, the better.

    • 6
      2

      “but the sooner AKD comes up with concrete proposals, the better.”

      Read: “I have never read a JVP policy manifesto, and therefore I assume that they have no concrete proposals”.

      The people of this country continue to amuse me in ways I never thought possible. He opens his rebuttal by implying that we have no idea if AKD and the JVP are corrupt or not, so maybe it’s better to continue voting for the two parties that are DEFINITELY corrupt. Top tier logic.

      • 1
        6

        Kp92,
        Ever heard of the known devil and the unknown angel?

        • 1
          5

          kp92,
          We only have to listen to and watch other JVP members besides AKD to figure out what their ideas are. They do cause a lot of unnecessary unrest in the universities. They have very aggressive trade unions. They may well be honest, but honesty is not the only criterion for selecting governments. Pol Pot was honest too.

  • 8
    0

    As I have expressed my concerns in this misconception of “Idolizing” of “Persons”, and in this case of “AKD”, JVP is not what is portrayed or conceived by the outside world. In short “AKD” is not JVP and JVP is not AKD. To better understand this “System” of the structure of JVP, I would invite the readers to a recently conducted interview by the Asian Mirror with Lalkantha – a Central Committee member of the JVP. That interview is available on youtube. In this discussion, Lalkantha said, in answer to a question, that AKD is the “Leader” on whom the “Central Committee” has delegated the duty to speak and act on the “Collective Decisions” of the JVP. That explains the whole structure and the “Philosophy” of JVP. So, AKD or any other who is the “Leader” at any given time is not “The Hero” to be “Idolized” and say “Hail Thee” as done in the past and at present in the political arena of Sri Lanka that has brought all the misery to the country and the people.
    Now, this “Talk” by AKD is not what we need. What we now NEED is what “JVP/NPP” is “OFFERING” (Policies and Plans) to the PEOPLE and the COUNTRY to get out of this “Hell Hole”.

  • 9
    0

    AKD is sensitive as no other party leaders.
    :
    He focuses on all facets whatever the question being answered by him. After he touches it only ruling parliamentarians and other opposition candidates continue with the discussions. The kind of sensitivity is indispensable for a country which is ruined by Medamulana Rascals for a period fo 15 years.
    Today sirlanka is caught by debt trap – and most of loans the state has to settles were the loans taken by Mahinda Rajpaksh WASTEFUL administration from 2005 to 2015. Media mafia prevailing inthe country today are well controlled, that the truths being unheard by the nation, because they are well paid by the loot. This is called ” urage mas urage ange thiyala kapanaywa – pork is cut keeping on the same pig or the like”:
    :
    Anyways, people are far from FACTs yet today. It can takes years until their awareness would improve.

  • 9
    1

    Oh great! Finally, the socialist /communist party is coming to power. Hope these things are in their manifesto:

    1. IMF loan

    2. Taxation on the wealthy

    3. Commercial enterprise to be encouraged, in line with social values in mind

    4. Salary and wage structure in proportion to commercial profits

    5. Profits from commercial enterprise to remain in country

    6. Advanced auditing and accountancy practices

    7. Climate-recovery enterprise and employment

    8. Farm heritage and village structure

    9. Forest heritage

    10. Race & Language blending

    11. Tourism based entirely on heritage expression

    • 2
      0

      May I ask you to write an article briefly expanding each of the above critically important points? But ould I add – 12. Declaration of Assets of Parliamentarians; 13. Minimum Qualifications for anyone contesting (could be as high as some sort of Tertiary Education – if you don’t have one, bloody hell, go and get one!); 14. De-politicization of UGC and the Education System and appointments based on Merit alone (No more “Bogus Professors” Please). If any party includes some of the above, I will consider them to be serious about re-building the Nation.

  • 0
    8

    only for the fools who have forgotten the past

    • 2
      0

      a14455, the entire disastrous past has been shared between two parties of SL. Now a 3rd one has joined them called the SLPP. What a load of crap are you talking about? Forgot what past, the bottomless pit the UNP/SLFP/SLPP have dug together or the massacre of the rural Sinhala youth back in 1988-89 period?

  • 2
    5

    Some people over-estimate the JVP and AKD and his comrades think they are the next government. They will get more seats, but not the government. To get rid of the present menace, all Anti-Rajapakse political parties, societies, associations, trade unions should form a joint-front and they should select some genuine persons for the next elections.

  • 4
    5

    [FIRST]

    Acknowledging a serious mistake on their part or expressing regret for a specific act or admitting a lapse of judgment on their part does not constitute an apology on the part of the JVP for the utterly ruthless manner in which they engaged in a mindless blood-bath and terror during 1988-89. The utterly frivolous, off-hand, by-the-way manner in which such ‘apologies’ were tendered by the current JVP leadership reflects the (un)importance they attach to such a gesture. What was required was a more forceful ‘Mea Culpa’ delivered extensively and a process of imploring the people of Sri Lanka for forgiveness. It is no surprise therefore that the average citizen has doubts regarding the credibility and sincerity of the apology.

    A quick poll among potential voters comprising just 2 questions will reveal the situation :
    Question 1 : Are you aware that the JVP has apologized for it’s actions in 1988-89 ?
    Question 2 : Do you believe that the apology was sincere ?

  • 2
    5

    [SECOND]

    Former AG Mayadunne who was nominated to Parliament by the JVP after the 2015 GE resigned 2 days after taking oaths and was replaced by a defeated JVP candidate (Bimal Ratnayake ?) and not by another from the Nominated List. The rumour mills at that time focused on the possibility of the former Attorney General being coerced into resigning to make way for another ‘comrade’. At that election, the JVP garnered a total of 543,944 votes, which was 125,000 more than that in 2019 PE and about 100,000 more than in 2020 GE. Voter support is clearly fluctuating around a declining trend.

    Realizing the ineffectualness of their apology for past events, the JVP have now re-branded themselves as the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB). Will voters perceive this as ‘Old wine in new bottles’ or ‘Freshly re-formulated wine’ to suit the current context ?

    Will the people forgive and forget the past JVP antics before the next General & Presidential Elections ?
    Or, will the demagogic skills of AKD insensate the average voter sufficiently to overlook the ‘lapses’ of 1988-89 ?

    Unnuth Ekai, Munnuth Ekai

  • 1
    0

    Ethno Religious politics has to be rejected by all Sri Lankans.
    This is the curse that crippled the Nation.

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