4 April, 2020

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Before The Elections – I

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

I started writing political articles soon after I left Government Service in 1989. I am struck by the similarities and contrasts in our politics during the periods 1977 to 1989 and 2009 to 2014, and it occurs to me that it might be useful to draw the parallels in an article. 1977 witnessed the entry of the market oriented economy in contrast to the State-centric one which had ruined the Sri Lankan economy from 1956 to 1977. The success of that market economy, with all its drawbacks, was probably the major reason why the UNP managed to cling on to power for seventeen years, though dubious means were employed. The present Government has shown in the perception of many Sri Lankans an impressive dynamism in its economic performance. They believe that that could turn out to be an important reason for President Rajapaksa winning the forthcoming elections.

There is now a very wide consensus in Sri Lanka that the victor at the Presidential elections, either Rajapaksa or Sirisena, will barely scrape through, and that the decisive factor would be the minority vote. In other words the economic factor may not weigh all that much. I can think of two possible reasons for this. One is that it seems impossible to combine economic growth with equity under the capitalist system. In 1998 we had John Gray’s False Dawn exposing its shortcomings, and now we have the international best-seller Capital in the Twenty first Century by Thomas Piketty. It speaks volumes that economic inequality in China, still under the dominance of the Communist Party, is greater than in the West European countries. It is very probable that the economically dissatisfied in Sri Lanka constitute a substantial proportion of the Sri Lankan electorate. They may not be voting for the President because they cannot be expected to be overly impressed by the successes of the Government at the macro-economic level. The other reason is that there are no fears now, unlike in the period before 1994, that a change of Government will spell a reversion to a State-centric economy. The market economy has come to stay as an integral part of the bourgeois revolution here and elsewhere – at least for the time being. So, the economic factor may not weigh very much in favor of the President.

Hirunika Premachandra - Colombo TelegraphCorruption is a major issue at this election, more perhaps than at any earlier election. I am concerned here only with the moral and not the economic dimension of corruption. Both periods, from 1977 to 1989 and from 2009 to 2014, witnessed an atrophy of the moral sense in public life, something like a frightening collapse of public morality, that was not the case in our politics since 1948. I will cite just one case from the earlier period to illustrate my point. A notorious gangster, Gonawala Sunil, headed a gang rape of a young middle class female, was convicted and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a lengthy period. But after a brief period he was given a Presidential pardon, and I am told that he was escorted out of prison by one of the most powerful politicians of that time, a right hand man of President Jayewardene. Thereafter he was made an all-Island Justice of the Peace and a member of the UNP’s Central Committee. There was no uproar from the civil society, no adverse reactions from the clergy of the world religions that flourish mightily in Sri Lanka, which are facts attesting to the atrophy of the moral sense in our public life. Mrs. Bandaranaike happened to mention those enormities in a speech, and I took to referring to them in my writings of that time, but I cannot recollect anyone else doing so. I must clarify the full enormity of the Gonawala case. Certainly most of the third-rate Governments of the third world use gangsters for their nefarious purposes, but they are hypocritical about it bearing in mind the tribute that vice must pay to virtue in civilized societies. Not so in Sri Lanka where the Government blatantly rewarded a convicted criminal. There was a frightening collapse of public morality.

A similar collapse has been taking place in Sri Lanka since 2009. That corruption has been more rampant than ever before had to be expected as part of the natural order of things: we are now a middle income country, and particularly with the vast infrastructure projects undertaken by the Government the opportunities for corruption are vastly greater than ever before. That, from one point of view, is all that needs to be said about corruption and there is no need to be exceedingly fussy about it. But what about the attitudes to corruption? I would make a distinction between attitudes to corruption on the part of the people and of the State. The people tend to view corruption from a moral perspective, not so much an economic one where the emphasis is on the deleterious economic consequences of corruption that goes beyond the petty stage. This moral attitude seems to derive from the almost universal disapproval of theft – universal in human societies with some very rare exceptions. Corruption is seen as a form of theft because it amounts to misappropriation of what belongs to others, and a permissive attitude towards it is sensed as a destruction of social bonds. The State on the other hand tends to be permissive about corruption, particularly in the third world countries.

It is arguable that in Sri Lanka corruption is part of the very order of politics. I have in mind the fact that our idiotic electoral system requires big money, indeed big money on a colossal scale for its operation, and that engenders corruption on a colossal scale in the post-election period. The fact that so iniquitous an electoral system has been allowed to continue for so long suggests a permissive attitude towards corruption on the part of our political elite. However, the fact that I want to emphasize is that in Sri Lanka the Government has gone beyond permissiveness to an actual acceptance of corruption. A politician on the government side has put forward a unique argument for voting for the UPFA: its members have made so much money through corruption that they don’t need to resort to corruption any more, whereas an alternative Party in power will resort to it. There has been no suggestion of Governmental punitive action against that politician. We are witnessing therefore an atrophy of the moral sense in public life, a frightening collapse of public morality.

That collapse can be seen in many ways, for instance in the Khuram Shaikh case. He was a British national who was killed, and his Russian girl friend gang raped, as part of the midnight revels of a local politician and his gang. According to the established norms in Sri Lanka criminal acts by the politically powerful tend to go unpunished, and in the Khuram Shaikh case it became evident that the Police were not seriously pursuing enquiries. But the British Government would not reconcile itself to Sri Lankan norms, Prime Minister Cameron himself intervened, and convictions followed. Everyone knows that if not for that British intervention there would have been no convictions at all. A contrasting case is that of Hirunika Premachandra whose father, a politician, was killed in public “like a dog” as she reportedly put it. The suspects are politically powerful and therefore there has apparently been no serious action towards incriminating them. She has joined the Opposition in the hope that justice will be done. Her case shows that practically anything can be done to the politically powerless unless they have powerful foreign backing.

The Government’s contempt for public morality is most eloquently shown by its criminally permissive attitude towards the anti-Muslim hate campaign of the BBS and other extremist groups. The Muslims have been an abjectly submissive minority who have sided with the Sinhalese in all the racist idiocies perpetrated against the Tamils, and furthermore they have suffered horribly in consequence. I have shown in a series of articles that the charges made against the Muslims by the BBS are totally preposterous, and I have not been refuted. Two indisputable facts declare eloquently the Government’s contempt for public morality: it has refused to curb the hate campaign, and it has refused to apply the law to the BBS leaders.

To be continued..

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  • 1
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    Izeth Hussain –

    RE: Before The Elections – I

    “A similar collapse has been taking place in Sri Lanka since 2009. That corruption has been more rampant than ever before had to be expected as part of the natural order of things: we are now a middle income country, and particularly with the vast infrastructure projects undertaken by the Government the opportunities for corruption are vastly greater than ever before. “

    “The Government’s contempt for public morality is most eloquently shown by its criminally permissive attitude towards the anti-Muslim hate campaign of the BBS and other extremist groups. The Muslims have been an abjectly submissive minority who have sided with the Sinhalese in all the racist idiocies perpetrated against the Tamils, and furthermore they have suffered horribly in consequence. I have shown in a series of articles that the charges made against the Muslims by the BBS are totally preposterous,”

    You want more points and arguments? Can you write the Common Sense Phamplet like Tjomas Paine? Rights of Man?

    Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s speech against Mahinda Rajapaksa-2

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw3Bl5SCEAk

    • 2
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      Izeth Hussain –

      RE:Before The Elections – I

      Before Christopher Columbus

      http://www.iraqinews.com/features/usa-discovery-of-th-century-quranic-manuscripts-predate-columbus-travels-by-five-centuries/

      USA: Discovery Of 9th Century Quranic Manuscripts Predate Columbus Travels By Five Centuries
      December 26, 2014 by Layla Mohammed
      Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) For centuries it was believed that Christopher Columbus was the first man from the Oldcontinent to cross the Atlantic to the New World, but new evidence from a research team from the University of Rhode Islandsuggests Muslim seafarers might just be the first people to have settled on the shores of America, a possibility that could rewrite history as we know it.

      The discovery completely took the researchers by surprise admits professor Evan Yuriesco, in charge of the research team.
      “We were expecting to find traces of prehistoric Native American settlements, as we have in the area for the past decades. We were not prepared to find 9th century clay pots containing ancient manuscripts written in the Arabic language” he explains.
      The team of researchers fell upon what could be the mass tomb of 9th centuryseafarers. The four skeletons that have been found on the site are in a state of advanced decomposition which could make DNA testing impossible, warns the expert, althoughthe teeth showed premature decay which could explain the cause of death bya poor dietor an unknown illness.
      A number of items were also found, as cloths, coins and two scimitars, yet the remaining artifacts were in such a bad state that they are barely recognizable, as rust has destroyed any possible recognizable trace of writing on the swords and coins, and the pieces of cloth having rotten due to age and the extreme humidity of the area.
      Two clay pots were also found in a surprisingly good state, one of them containing the precious manuscripts and the other a mixture of unidentified dried spices which, when identified, could bring further proof of the origin of these sea dwellers.
      Islamic medieval scholar Karim Ibn Fallah from the University of Massachussets has determined that the age of the manuscripts is from the 9th century based on the Kufic script of the manuscripts. “Kuficis the oldestcalligraphicform of the variousArabicscriptsand consists of a modified form of the oldNabataean script” he explains. “Kufic developed around the end of the 7th century inKufa, Iraq, from which it takes its name. The discovery of Kufic scripts in pre-Columbus America is extremely fascinating” he adds, visibly excited.
      Byron Kent, museologist at the Smithsonian, admits the find is extremely troubling. “There is no question that Arab maps were the best in the world, but none of the existing early maps demonstrates any knowledge of the Americas” he ponders.Even though the burden of historical evidence has beenagainst the idea of Muslim populations traveling across the Atlantic in pre-Columbus times, the expertdoes not dispute that Muslims could have beaten Columbus to the New World.
      “They certainly possessed the technological expertise to have done so; but, until now, there was no reliable evidence that they did. This discovery, however, is compelling proof that they, in fact, did” admits the expert.
      Richard Francaviglia of Willamette University and Best Selling author of“Far Beyond the Western Sea of the Arabs…’: Reinterpreting Claims about Pre-Columbian Muslims in the Americas” also admits the discovery is unexpected.

      “The premise of pre-Columbian Islam in the New World is attractive because it is so plausible. The navigational accomplishments of Muslims were significant indeed. The record confirms that they rapidly explored and colonized a substantial portion of the Old World by the ninth and tenth centuries CE.Columbus himself was clearly indebted to Muslim seafaring skills, and there is little doubt that Muslims had the technological expertise to have reached the New World”. /End/

      • 1
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        Izeth Hussain –

        RE:Before The Elections – I

        USA: Discovery Of 9th Century Quranic Manuscripts Predate Columbus Travels By Five Centuries –

        Before Christopher Columbus , Before Lief Erickson, and Before Ibn Taymiah, The Wahhabis and their Clones…

        http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/usa-discovery-of-9th-century-quranic-manuscripts-predate-columbus-travels-by-five-centuries/

        Narragansett | For centuries it was believed that Christopher Columbus was the first man from the Old continent to cross the Atlantic to the New World, but new evidence from a research team from the University of Rhode Island suggests Muslim seafarers might just be the first people to have settled on the shores of America, a possibility that could rewrite history as we know it.

        The discovery completely took the researchers by surprise admits professor Evan Yuriesco, in charge of the research team.

        “We were expecting to find traces of prehistoric Native American settlements, as we have in the area for the past decades. We were not prepared to find 9th century clay pots containing ancient manuscripts written in the Arabic language” he explains.

        The team of researchers fell upon what could be the mass tomb of 9th century seafarers. The four skeletons that have been found on the site are in a state of advanced decomposition which could make DNA testing impossible, warns the expert, although the teeth showed premature decay which could explain the cause of death by a poor diet or an unknown illness. –

        Researchers from Rhode Island University were not expecting a discovery of such a controversial nature – See more at:

        A number of items were also found, as cloths, coins and two scimitars, yet the remaining artifacts were in such a bad state that they are barely recognizable, as rust has destroyed any possible recognizable trace of writing on the swords and coins, and the pieces of cloth having rotten due to age and the extreme humidity of the area. –

        See more at: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/usa-discovery-of-9th-century-quranic-manuscripts-predate-columbus-travels-by-five-centuries/#sthash.jhxdfxYM.dpuf

        Two clay pots were also found in a surprisingly good state, one of them containing the precious manuscripts and the other a mixture of unidentified dried spices which, when identified, could bring further proof of the origin of these sea dwellers. –

        Islamic medieval scholar Karim Ibn Fallah from the University of Massachussets has determined that the age of the manuscripts is from the 9th century based on the Kufic script of the manuscripts. “Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified form of the old Nabataean script” he explains. “Kufic developed around the end of the 7th century in Kufa, Iraq, from which it takes its name. The discovery of Kufic scripts in pre-Columbus America is extremely fascinating” he adds, visibly excited. –

        The documents are thought to be of the 9th century based on the Kufic script of the manuscripts, claim experts –

        Byron Kent, museologist at the Smithsonian, admits the find is extremely troubling. “There is no question that Arab maps were the best in the world, but none of the existing early maps demonstrates any knowledge of the Americas” he ponders. Even though the burden of historical evidence has been against the idea of Muslim populations traveling across the Atlantic in pre-Columbus times, the expert does not dispute that Muslims could have beaten Columbus to the New World. –

        “They certainly possessed the technological expertise to have done so; but, until now, there was no reliable evidence that they did. This discovery, however, is compelling proof that they, in fact, did” admits the expert. –

        Richard Francaviglia of Willamette University and Best Selling author of “Far Beyond the Western Sea of the Arabs…’: Reinterpreting Claims about Pre-Columbian Muslims in the Americas” also admits the discovery is unexpected. –

        “The premise of pre-Columbian Islam in the New World is attractive because it is so plausible. The navigational accomplishments of Muslims were significant indeed. The record confirms that they rapidly explored and colonized a substantial portion of the Old World by the ninth and tenth centuries CE. Columbus himself was clearly indebted to Muslim seafaring skills, and there is little doubt that Muslims had the technological expertise to have reached the New World”. –

        Muslim historian and geographer Abul-Hassan Ali Ibn Al-Hussain Al-Masudi (871-957 CE) wrote in his book Muruj adh-dhahab wa maadin aljawhar (The meadows of gold and quarries of jewels) that during the rule of the Muslim caliph of Spain Abdullah Ibn Mohammad (888-912 CE), a Muslim navigator, Khashkhash Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad, from Cortoba, Spain sailed from Delba (Palos) in 889 CE, crossed the Atlantic, reached an unknown territory (ard majhoola) and returned with fabulous treasures. In Al-Masudi’s map of the world there is a large area in the ocean of darkness and fog which he referred to as the unknown territory, which many scholars believe to be the Americas. –

        ee more at: http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/usa-discovery-of-9th-century-quranic-manuscripts-predate-columbus-travels-by-five-centuries/#sthash.jhxdfxYM.dpuf

        • 1
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          Izeth Hussain –

          RE:Before The Elections – I

          USA: Discovery Of 9th Century Quranic Manuscripts Predate Columbus Travels By Five Centuries –

          Before Christopher Columbus , Before Lief Erickson, and Before Ibn Taymiah, The Wahhabis and their Clones…

          This is data supporting what has been written by Histotians..

          http://www.cyberistan.org/islamic/mamerica.html

          Numerous evidence suggests that Muslims from Spain and West Africa arrived in the Americas at least five centuries before Co1umbus. It is recorded, for example that in the mid-tenth century during the rule of the Umayed Caliph Abdul-Rahman III (929-961), Muslims of African origin sailed westward from the Spanish port of Delba (Palos) into the “Ocean of darkness an fog.” They returned after a long absence with much booty from a “strange and curious land.” It is evident that people of Muslim origin are known to have accompanied Columbus and subsequent Spanish explorers to the New World.

          The last Muslim stronghold in Spain, Granada, fell to the Christians in 1492 CE, just before the Spanish inquisition was launched. To escape persecution, many non-Christians fled or embraced Catholicism. At least two documents imply the presence of Muslims in Spanish America before 1550 CE. Despite the fact that a decree issued in 1539 CE, by Charles V, King of Spain, forbade the grandsons of Muslims who had been burned at the stake to migrate to the West Indies. This decree was ratified in 1543 CE, and an order for the expulsion of all Muslims from overseas Spanish territories was subsequently published. Many references on the Muslim arrival in the Americas are available. They are summarized in the following notes:

          A Muslim historian and geographer Abul-Hassan Ali Ibn Al-Hussain Al-Masudi (871 – 957 CE) wrote in his book ‘Muruj Adh-dhahab wa Maadin al-Jawhar’ (The Meadows of Gold and Quarries of Jewels) that during the rule of the Muslim Caliph of Spain Abdullah Ibn Muhammad (888 – 912 CE), a Muslim navigator Khashkhash Ibn Saeed Ibn Aswad of Cordoba, Spain sailed from Delba (Palos) in 889 CE, crossed the Atlantic, reached an unknown territory (Ard Majhoola) and returned with fabulous treasures. In Al-Masudi’s map of the world there is a large area in the ocean of darkness and fog (the Atlantic ocean) which he referred to as the unknown territory (the Americas).

  • 0
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    There was much media criticism against Gonawala Sunil at that time – most of it left-oriented and generally critical of the then Govt.

    Hirunika crossed over, according to sources close to her, because she was not going to be made the Chief Minister of WPC.

    Backlash

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      Everyone crossed over for mixed reasons,including
      Sirisena.They all wanted maximum support for win
      and that’s why instead of strengthening the hands
      of the UNP,an alternative arrangement was made.
      Harin Fernando is the hero and the role model for
      this unfolding drama.Dayasiri jumped with the CM
      post in sight.And his erstwhile friend Harin
      criticized him for his crossover and later on
      dared to take on none other than MARA’s nephew
      Sashindra,leaving the parliament for PC,a step down
      at a time all UNP crossovers were rewarded higher
      positions. Harin almost took him.More preferential
      votes than Dayasiri.And Sajith-Ranil unity along
      with better party performance.The consequence,here
      we have an early presidential election in a hurry.
      As far as Hirunika is concerned,she was not that much
      in a hurry for positions except for a general rule
      that goes with all youths at her age.They want justice.

  • 3
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    I don’t think anybody in his/her right mind will declare that the Opposition is sqeaky clean. But what is suggested is that SL has NEVER seen the high and intolerable level of corruption, bigotry, injustice,racism,family bandism, politicization of public life, lack of law and order etc etc in the recent history of SL. Therfore it is urgent and imperative that there be a change of Leadership and Government. That will merely mean that such undesirable actions will be minimised with the introduction of checks and balances between the Executive, Legislature and the Judicuary. These checks and balances are currently non existent mainly due to the repeal of the 17th amendment and the sweeping powers vested with the Executive exercised to the fullest extent by the incumbent dictator/autocrat MR.

    The SL President is the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, consequent to having hosted the last CHOGM in Colombo in 2013. (He hosted this event, spending millions of tax payers’ money, just for self aggrandizement and international recognition as he did in attempting to host the Commonwealth Games. Thankfully that bid was lost although millions of tax payers’ money was squandered in presenting the bid). Therefore he has the sacred duty of upholding the ‘Values’ of the Commonwealth and set an example to the rest. We all know he pays only lip service to upholding those values. I suggest, ALL peace loving people of SL, who wish to see true Democracy return to our beloved motherland, bring these corrupt practices to the attention of the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma. Please take the initiative and send him an email explaining what you see is happening in SL and asking him, respectfully, what action he plans to take as the Commonwealth Secretary General to prevent Commonwealth values being eroded in SL. Let this be a MASS appeal to him so he will be compelled to respond/act. You may also want to copy that email to the PM of UK, PM of Canada, PM of Australia, FM of UK, FM of Canada & FM of Australia, the significant Democracies within the Commonwealth. For your convenience, I give below the relevant email addresses:

    Kamalesh Sharma – info@commonwealth.int
    PM of UK – info@davidcameron.com or camerond@parliament.uk
    PM of Canada – harpers@parl.gc.ca
    PM of Australia – Tony.Abbott.MP@aph.gov.au
    FM of UK – hammondp@parliament.uk
    FM of Canada – bairdj@parl.gc.ca
    FM of Australia – Julie.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au

    Please inform ALL your friends, relatives, contacts, colleagues and make this a MASS appeal.

    Let us ALL with our combined and concerted efforts ensure a semblance of Democracy, fairness and justice returns to Sri Lanka.

  • 2
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    “The Muslims have been an abjectly submissive minority who have sided with the Sinhalese in all the racist idiocies perpetrated against the Tamils, and furthermore they have suffered horribly in consequence”

    Thank you Mr. Iseth Hussain for pin pointing the above fact in a forum like this.
    Very true and being a minority, the Muslims should have at least not sided with the majority racist Sinhala politicians, government or people against the Tamils. Are they realizing that now is the question ! Majority of the Tamils are with the Muslims and feeling sorry for the situation they are in today. Racist Sinhala rulers used the Muslims against Tamils and divided the once friendly communities against each other. Minorities must never trust these racist politicos ever again. They should also not listen to the opportunist, self centered Muslim politicians. They are not sincere even to their own kind. Shame on them.

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      It is the universally tested truth, those who play double games in politics eventually come to grief. In the nature of politics in developing countries with plural populations, a tolerance is generally
      permissible. Any one or group of people assuming this as a self-serving strategy will hold permanently, will be sadly mistaken.
      That they “have sided with the Sinhalese in all the racist idiocies perpetrated against the Tamils” will remain a black spot in their inter-relations with other communities. The exception being they were not mere “idiocies” but part of a well engineered program by wicked Sinhala interests to commit genocide against Lankan Tamils.

      Backlash

  • 0
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    Mr Izeth Hussain,

    Believe me I hate Mahinda Rajapakse for the destruction he has wrought on Sri Lanka, and continuing. I think you do too.

    For all that, your writing is putting off people. You are boring. Why cant you stop your ambling and rambling, and finish your theme or point of view in one article without having to continue and continue.

    There are excellent courses of journalism. Look around. If you think you are too old for that you can of course retire. That will indeed me a mercy to CT readers.

  • 0
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