4 March, 2024

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Ballot Or Bloodbath?

By Jagath Asoka

Dr. Jagath Asoka

I am not very intuitive, but I see the signs of a bloodbath in Sri Lanka and a “dictatorship of the desperate.” So far, it has just been ineloquent rhetoric and gratuitous name-calling. This rhetoric is dangerous. Once upon a time there was a little man, with a little grayish beard, who kept raising his fist over his head and bringing it down as if he were crushing his adversary’s skull to dust. His adversary was the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. Even after abdication, Nicholas wanted to live in Russia with his family, as a simple peasant in the most secluded corner of his homeland. The denouement of such rhetoric is always disastrous.

Political power is always a dangerous thing; even the purest of hearts can be drawn in to committing atrocious and monstrous crimes. Prodigious verbal abilities are ruthlessly exploited to manipulate people and bring anarchy and disharmony which will eventually produce death in any society.

Is Ranil ready to hold local elections on 09 March 2023? Is it true that more than 90% are willing to vote for the National People’s Power (NPP)—working-class centered, ideologically leftist—led by JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake? Is Anura Kumara Dissanayake a panacea for utopian fiction? It seems like I have seen this show before. Hold out against these waves! Is this show a continuation of the previous shows that you have seen before, JR, Premadasa, Chandrika, Mahinda, Sirisena, and Gota?

Does the JVP still embrace Marxism and Leninism, or—like comrade Nandasiri Wijeweera—have become devout worshippers of the latest incarnations of Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong? Comrade Wijeweera was a Russophile and a Sinophile, not a lover or an ardent worshipper of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Our JVP comrades are Russophiles and Sinophiles, not Americanophiles. If I am not mistaken, there is a considerable number of Sri Lankan expatriates who are living here in the USA who support the JVP wholeheartedly and financially. I am not sure if there are any Sri Lankan expatriates living in Russia and China who support the JVP with the same revolutionary gusto and fervor. What is the JVP’s goal? Americanization, Europeanization, Sinicization, Indianization, or usurpation of political power and personal wealth? Does the revolution they envisage ultimately require a despotic leader? We must accept that the JVP will win one day, and this triumph will come one day irrespective of whether they deserve it or not. But this triumph will stand very far from the Utopian Kingdom of its supporters. Will the JVP legally recover all the money stolen and all the money made illegally by Sri Lankans, including politicians, when every atom of the Sri Lankan community is corrupt?  There are all kinds of governments and political systems such as aristocracy, democracy, plutocracy, kleptocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, totalitarianism, etc. If the JVP forms a government, what would we call them? We probably must coin a new word.

Like the rabies virus, ideas can infect our brains. Dostoevsky’s novel Demons—also called The Possessed or The Devils, published in 1871—refers not to the individuals but to the ideas that possess them. Viruses are a living biological force, whereas ideas are a living cultural force that possesses an individual who is desperate. Once a destructive idea possesses an individual, he would act as a rabid dog. Who and what are the real demons and rabid dogs of our society? Who are the leaders, participants, and spectators of the current political unrest and political polemic? Student groups influenced by socialist and revolutionary ideas or desperate citizens?

Anarchy, paralyzed government, citizens plundering shops and attacking the police, soldiers shooting at each other, lack of food, fuel, and medicine, usually portend a bloody revolution. Has the economic crisis become a market bloodbath? Do you think Sri Lankans will have a bloody revolution if the elections were not held on 09 March 2023? Do you think that most of the Sri Lankans are willing to give their lives for democracy. I think people are beginning to say, “Give me my ballot, or give me my death!” because they are fed up with the current politicians and their future looks utterly bleak. So, the JVP is the only “unknown known,” and people are willing to give them a chance out of utter desperation. JVP is the only “unknown known,” because we do not know what they will do when they get a mandate to govern Sri Lanka. but we do know what they have done so far as a political organization since their inception. 

Would Ranil dissolve the parliament if rioters begin to burn buildings and murder policemen, or would he order a bloody massacre? Ranil’s story is not complete yet. Would the army regiments stationed in Colombo take the rioters’ side? 

I do not think Sri Lanka is a democratic country any more, perhaps we never were because even some of our erudite Sri Lankans preferred, perhaps still prefer, a “benevolent dictator”; it is my opinion that a “benevolent dictator” is an oxymoron, like Ranil’s cruel kindness. 

As I have said before, even though I never supported or liked Gota, his final act of leaving his office without shedding innocent blood is commendable and praiseworthy.

Of course, Ranil does not want to have any elections. Money is not the problem, because all Ranil must do is sell four Mercedes vehicles that belong to government ministers, and he would have more than enough to cover the printing expenses of the ballot paper. The worst-case scenario is people can vote, like in ancient Athens, by dropping pebbles into an urn.

The ostensible reason is that Ranil wants to stabilize our economy before having an election. Would any legitimate foreign entrepreneur consider investing money in Sri Lanka while Ranil and his sycophants are in power?

Most of the educated—not all—have left Sri Lanka. Most of the younger generation who have the potential to lead and make a difference in Sri Lanka are doing everything they can to leave Sri Lanka. Leaving Sri Lanka has been the goal of most Sri Lankans even before 1948. Going abroad is almost like visiting Kuveni. Decent Sri Lankans who live in Sri Lanka abhor politics, so the result is obvious. That is why Ranil is saying in 2048 we will be a prosperous country. Yes, he will be twenty-five in 2048: reincarnated Ranil as our president!

6.9 million people had an Icarian experience with Gota and his brood. I wonder how JVP supporters will fare in comparison?  

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Latest comments

  • 8
    3

    Jegath, once again, an article with many valid questions. Though righteous Silly Lankans ( like JP fans) may disagree, I love your style of writing. I doubt anyone can provide real answers, to your concerns.

  • 3
    4

    I have lost everything. What is there to lose.
    Fun 1:
    A better caption. Ballot Or Bullet.
    (Short and sweet.)
    Fun 2:
    There is not going to be an election.
    (Why even bother with an article.)
    Fun 3:
    To imagine that JVP has fair odds is very odd!
    (I bet, all in.)
    Fun 4:
    ‘I do not think Sri Lanka is a democratic country any more’.
    (When was democracy there in Sri Lanka.)

    • 5
      0

      Nathan,
      It seems some Hamuduruwos have launched a hunger strike. Let’s see if this becomes fashionable. If it does, it would remove one problem.

      • 0
        2

        OC
        Fashion is seasonal.
        When people got killed in the North in 2009, even TN Chief Minister Karunanidhi followed fashion. But he kept it very short.

  • 4
    1

    I got to know a chemist named Jagath through CT few years ago. You know I love your articles and writing skill. I will read it later but I add the below comment prior to that.

    Although there is no desire to bring dollars to the country, today JVP is accusing even cats and dogs. We all know practising politics in a country where corruption is ramphant is not easy task as appeared to be.
    Even we non-active politicians could spread allegations at politicians. That is good for improvement of awareness in public but that alone would not bring any good..
    … they should prove how they would revive the economy which was looted and left behind by MEDAMULANA dogs.
    .
    AKD is good to sit in opposition, but no means he brings leadership skills to govern this reptiles dominated nation. He should learn it first… besides, who are his international allies ? China or Cuba (another begging country) ? can srilanka stand without international support ?

    Their public speeches and attacks on all other politicians are no different than harassing an intensive care patient over his or her debt.

  • 13
    1

    Ranil is probably spoiling for a showdown in which he can crack down on an uprising, just like he cracks down on dissenting voices. he can then impose an emergency and martial law and give orders to shoot on sight. The problem is how many are desperate enough to die trying to save their motherland? Yes, the starving hordes are primed for such an uprising, and if the armed forces, however much pampered and bribed by the fascist regime lay down their arms and join the revolution, the parasitic vermin can be defeated. It would seem like breaking the law if one encourages an uprising against the state; however, our earnest request is to rise against the government if it oppresses and stifles the legitimate rights of its people. All UN conventions and universal human rights stipulate that people can rise against their oppressors and it is legitimate.

    • 4
      1

      LP
      You have raised a point that not many have given a thought too.

      • 1
        0

        Only one sore thumb?
        I expected many more.

  • 7
    3

    The JVP doesn’t hide their Communist ideology & their allegiance to the founder, a murderous leader but I doubt if the average voter would take the trouble to visit their website before casting the vote. However, it is the new kid on the block, the NPP, who appear to be on the driving seat of this alliance but my question is why would such a progressive young educated bunch have to ride with a party with a violent & destructive past, still embracing defunct ideology? Alliances need a common vision to succeed, so what is their shared philosophy?

    My fear is that, having tasted all the mainstream parties, the only remaining being the JVP/NPP, which, to many, a breath of fresh air, therefore, a 90% popularity, as assumed, would allow them to breeze in to power but would that be the dawn of another North Korean regime? We came close twice before but this time legitimately? Even if not, would the International community trust a regime with strong socialist underpinnings?

    JR, MR, GR came into power with massive mandates due to the failure of the ruling regime & we have seen the consequences. Shouldn’t we learn from mistakes & be cautious, now that we are already in the frying pan?

    • 10
      1

      “The JVP doesn’t hide their Communist ideology & their allegiance to the founder, a murderous leader”
      Were Presidents JRJ and RP any less murderous in the same period of ‘murderous conduct’? Why do people hesitate to talk about them?

      • 6
        2

        SJ
        You are missing the point as usual. Firstly, JVP was destructive & carried out mass murder in 2 rebellions. JR & the rest did not initiate mass murder & destruction but responded with equal brutality, which I do not condone. Premadasa, CBK & the Rajapakses are all responsible for private vendetta murders & I have said that in my final paragraph. The question was whether we have learnt from the past mistakes, particularly, to trust a party which has not even denounced their violent past .
        Try to be constructive instead of being cynical

        • 3
          5

          R-UK
          It is you who are are missing the facts.
          in 1971, there were no killings by the JVP. They jumped the gun and got killed, unnecessarily.
          Check on the number of people who went missing under the RP regime in 89? Ever heard of the Black Cats?
          Can you name any killed on a private vendetta by CBK or MR? CBK was falsely accused of Kumar P’s murder though.
          MR can destroy people without killing.

          • 1
            4

            Also, please tell me who initiated the White Van culture.
            *
            BTW, making false allegations need not be part of one’s cynicism especially if there is an agenda to it.

    • 3
      0

      Dear Raj-UK,
      .
      Your comments used to be so fair and balanced, but I fear not so when dealing with the JVP now. There was much that AKD clearly says was unfortunate about what they did in the past; he has aplogised, but you’re not accepting it.
      .
      I was trying to deal with it here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/wolf-in-sheeps-clothing/
      .
      and here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/uphold-the-peoples-right-to-franchise/
      .
      Now I intend saying more here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/uphold-the-peoples-right-to-franchise/
      .
      It is too late for me to study Marxism, but isn’t it true that Marxism does not necessarily end up in Communism.
      .
      To find out what the NPP now stands for, one has to listen to hours of speeches on YouTube. You won’t be able to find the time for that, but I do.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela
      .

      .

  • 7
    3

    ” Is it true that more than 90% are willing to vote for the National People’s Power (NPP)—working-class centered, ideologically leftist—led by JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake?”
    Simply the answer is big NO.
    I don’t see any political party or movement ever had that change in Sri Lanka or Ceylon. If you ask ballot or blood we have to go through the history. We had ballots and bullets together and blood baths very frequent. We had massacres and blood baths in 1958, 1970, 1977, 1983, 1989, 1984-2002, 2006-2009), 2019. People are used to this and it looks like they enjoy that bloodbaths. The recent Monks violent protest against 13th amendment clearly proves that they are ready for bloodbath/bullet.

  • 5
    5

    “Our JVP comrades are Russophiles and Sinophiles, not Americanophiles. If I am not mistaken, there is a considerable number of Sri Lankan expatriates who are living here in the USA who support the JVP wholeheartedly and financially. I am not sure if there are any Sri Lankan expatriates living in Russia and China who support the JVP with the same revolutionary gusto and fervor.”
    This like much of the text has underlying anti-left venom.
    Poor man does not realize that Russia and China are not socialist states any more. Russia is in fact anti-socialist.
    Will becoming “Americanophiles” make anyone acceptable to him?
    Then why is Ranil W disapproved of? Can there be a greater “Americanophile” than him?
    There are very few Sri Lankan expats in China or Russia or for that matter East Europe.
    They leave Lanka to make money. There will be considerable proportions of any political belief anywhere.
    The author could conduct a survey before theorizing.

  • 6
    0

    Instead of spending just for the local government election, parliamentary election should be held together, after dissolving it.

    • 1
      0

      SS
      Can they all be held alongside the Presidential Election to save some more money?

    • 0
      0

      Shan S, Need to go further and abolish the executive president so that parliament can have unified thinking and action not ambitious about being presidents but to benefit citizens also

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