17 October, 2021

Blog

Blunders That Changed The World

By Kumar David

Prof. Kuma David

History teaches much and the people of Lanka should learn them well or the threats of dictatorship may overtake us. I will abstain from drawing too many parallels, leaving readers to their judgements. However, I need to say at the outset that it seems the JVP-NPP-Left (excluding the Dead-Left) is gaining ground and there is some interest in AKD’s interventions in Parliament. These entities may be more active than civil society, religious dignitaries, Sajith-SJB or Tamil and Muslim bodies hence I hope they will reflect on these lessons. It is important that international actors too don’t screw up Lanka and Burma, two recently endangered creatures. A list of blunders between the end of the First and the early stages of the Second World War follows. It is frightening that such things happened.

1. WW2 could have been averted but for the misery and humiliation inflicted on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles – huge reparations ($500 billion in today’s money) and confiscation of lands. Blame for WW1, an inter-imperialist conflict among great powers for territory and resources, was entirely laid on Germany.

2. Following from this it is clear that the rise of Hitler and the Nazi’s was a consequence of misery, social and economic collapse, hyperinflation and unemployment created by penalties imposed at Versailles.

3. There is no overt relationship between (a) and (b) and this country, but broadly the outside world has an interest, for its own sake, apart from do-gooder feelings, in not allowing dictatorship, economic collapse or sharp racial conflict even in a small country to get out of hand.

4. The German Communists, Socialists and Liberals wholly misread the horrifying danger of Nazism (fascism was a model Hitler borrowed from Mussolini) and they failed to unite. In 1934 Mussolini invaded helpless Abyssinia (Ethiopia) to cheers on the streets of Rome and the Pope’s blessings. In Spain a Popular Front (PF) of the combined Left narrowly won the 1936 elections keeping the fascist out for a moment, but bickering, and internal conflicts between PF parties broke it up. Britain and France did not stop Hitler and Mussolini from pouring arms and aircraft to Franco; Stalin offered the Republic half-hearted support. The fascists saw that no one would stop them if they resorted to blue murder (Abyssinia, Norway, Czechoslovakia etc.)

5. Lesson 1: Those who see the dangers of dictatorship in Lanka must get together, and retain unity on a save-democracy minimum programme till the danger is past. Otherwise disaster is certain.

6. Lesson 2: The outside world needs to relearn the price of appeasement. UNHRC Resolutions and gentle raps on the knuckles serve no purpose. Appeasement of the enemies of democracy in Burma and Lanka in the guise of “not meddling in internal affairs” amounts to a licence to continue.

7. Mussolini, Hitler, the Japanese when they invaded Manchuria and later China, and even Franco had a large mass following. In the 1931 elections the Nazis emerged as the largest party, millions rallied to Hitler’s cause – recall Mussolini’s March on Rome and the huge Nuremburg Rallies. Double-Paksa majorities of November 2019 and August 2020 are not unique. Large fascist, racist or right-populist mobilisations are not unusual, even the Trump base. These grotesque manifestations have to be fought to the ground.

8. Fascism rose in the interwar period (Italy, Germany, Japan and Spain) due to a confluence of two factors: Failure of domestic democratic opposition (left, liberal and minority) to unite and sustain unity until the threat has entirely subsided, notwithstanding internal differences. And second appeasement of would-be dictators by the big international actors of the day. Surely even China can see that cosseting Rajapaksas as buddies while turning the people of Sri Lanka into foes does not serve its own long-term interests.

Suggestions for a united democracy-protection programme follow. More will come but these are current.

* Repeal 20A and recommence the half-finished work of drafting a new constitution aborted in 2018.

* Rescinded as the first order of business of the next government the resolution tabled by the PM in April 2021 to whitewash criminals and scoundrels and penalise witnesses, prosecutors and judges.

* The Port City Bill (Act), or large portions of it, must be repealed; investors must to be forewarned.

* All prisoners held under PTA or successor legislations for over 6 months must be released forthwith.

* Right to Recall Legislation should be enacted to allow voters to rid themselves of crummy MPs.

This apart, the first order of business, obviously, is to summon a round-table parley of all anti Double-Paksa entities to draft a “Common Programme to Protect Democracy”. The Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa won’t do it, so we will have to wait a while longer till the regime gets more repressive; the initiative can then be taken by others. Furthermore a crisis should not be allowed to go to waste; apart from defensive measures Lanka must work towards regime change at the next elections, or by other constitutional methods before that if an opportunity presents itself.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 4
    1

    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

    • 6
      3

      The Author started with “History teaches much”
      I merely observed that history has much on offer but teaches nothing.
      (I will not blame history as, in fairness, it has made no claims to being a teacher of any kind.)

      • 12
        1

        The only thing that History teaches or doesn’t teach is, that Lankans are incompetent bloody idiots in any shape or form ……. Depend on how one looks at things …….

        Time to discard History and embrace simple common sense ……..

        “Sajith-SJB”

        Would Sajith be a leader if he is not Premadasa’s son? …… As if Premadasa was a great leader! ……… Has he got leadership-qualities to become a leader in his own right?

        Would Gota be the president if he wasn’t Mahinda’s brother? ……. As if Mahinda was a great leader! …… Gota wasn’t even a competent army-man …… he lost the few battles he was in charge – in his army days ……. and that’s against untrained amateurs, LTTE. ……. How does he suddenly get mythical qualities to lead a nation?

        • 7
          1

          continued

          How does Mahinda get credit for ending a war that his father helped SWRD to start? Wouldn’t it have been better to have had the smarts not to start wars in the first place? ……. You start wars, you end them: no credit from here.

          The untried JVP is worth a bet …….. but they are Lankans as well …… at onetime Weerawansa was one of their stalwarts ……… enough said!

          Lanka will get a decent competent leader only by accident. ……. Like what happened with Biden ……..

          If by fortunate accident, Old Codger or Native Wedda becomes president we might have a chance.

          Then Lankans will do fine ……… but I’ll be in deep S ………..

          • 3
            0

            Good one!

          • 4
            0

            nimal fernando

            “If by fortunate accident, Old Codger or Native Wedda becomes president we might have a chance.”

            I can confidently state my hands are “squeaky clean” and wonder if you have any devious plans of your own.

            Let me live a peaceful contented life.

            You should try Basil.

          • 2
            1

            nimal fernando,
            I seldom praise the next man, … appreciate, I do.
            You deserve praise.
            Don’t be too elated. … your weaknesses show up as well.
            .
            You start wars, I agree. you end them? I draw a blank. Which war was ended?
            .
            Biden, an accidental leader, you declare. No, no. Trump was the accident; Biden is the incidental leader!
            .
            I want to stand by your unfortunate accidents, – OC and Vedda. I will go a step further. Throw nimal fernando also into the mix!
            .
            Sinhala_Man and crowd will understand, I suppose!

            • 2
              0

              Oh, yes.
              .
              I will. I know my limitations.
              .
              The trio is far more knowledgeable, balanced and intelligent.
              .
              Isn’t that enough to say? I tend to say too much, but let me help those who want to work out which three: oc, Vedda, and nimal fernando. Since they don’t appear to be interested it is the NPP (not the JVP) that we should bet on. However, given that ours is a trilingual nation, they must decide whether they are the NPP or the JJB.
              .
              The average Sinhalese (who ultimately decide, and seem bent on liquidating minorities) are not intelligent human beings.
              .
              Panini Edirisinhe aka “Sinhala_Man”

          • 4
            0

            nimal fernando

            “The untried JVP is worth a bet …….. but they are Lankans as well …… at onetime Weerawansa was one of their stalwarts ……… enough said!”

            JVP is still sitting on the wall, it hasn’t given up it’s narrow nationalism, racism, anti entrepreneurship, still opposed to hard work and corresponding reward, biased against Hindia and mum on China, scared of saffron clad thugs, believes it’s brand of communism/socialism (whatever that maybe) is the panacea for every illness, mum on war crimes (5th April 1971 to 18 May 2009), ….. has no solution for the national question, land grabbing, ….. Maybe the old guards within the party has stranglehold on the leadership, ….

            Do you have any ambition to be the future leader of JVP or of any other party?

            Once upon a time I was told SJ used to have his own party.
            You should try the leadership.
            Wish you well.
            Take care.

            • 2
              0

              That’s why it’s the NPP that we should try out.
              .
              See how mature their approach is; Kumar is content to be only the inspired, understands that he’s too old.
              .
              Harini will gradually garner for them a lot of women’s votes, but doesn’t seek to upstage AKD. Vijitha Herath says that he remembers me as one of his teachers, but has told me that he doesn’t mind me not remembering every little kid I ever taught, and seems aware that luck got him into Parliament from Gampaha, but Handunetti will be more important in the long term.
              .
              Leaders must have charisma and commitment, not ego.

      • 0
        0

        In the Mayuri movie there is a joke. The main actress of the movie, a professional dancer, had lost one of her leg in her young age life. So, in the move they annexed that situation to the movie plot as she lost her leg after a Malayalee Financier arranged for a big dance show with her. So (in the movie) somebody told the show financier that she had lost a leg in a surprise accident as “Oru Kaal Pauyundu” He replied worrying his money, “Ponnukku Oru Kaal thaan Pauyundu, Namakku Mukkaalu Pauyundu”. Those who laid land mine on others path are witnessing their Mukkaalu Pauyundu. Those who pushed CT “cut cut cut” got cut the Mukkaal.
        My dear friend, you are offering a lame excuse that is no better than your usual “America is doing genocide in ME so you have to do it to your own race, the Diaspora Tamils”. CT’s Explanation for the cut says, “You did not follow the commenting policy”. Just humbly take it. Because you are expected to maintain some gentleman-ship for the shake of the students followed in your class. You should not attempt to offer an explanation lower than Marianna drench.
        Professor Kumar, a road warrior, will take anything in and bat for it. You wrote bad about dead man SJV.

      • 4
        0

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. Karl Marx

      • 2
        0

        prof agree with you,

        I have come to realize that almost all or most of history taught to us is a lie. because a lot of history and its justifications are just simply a point of view and almost an indoctrination. one would only realize that when you meet and understand other points of view.

    • 5
      0

      Very same Pinguththarayas, that played housanas have made their u turns as of today.

      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDXKZPIgN0g

      It was painstaking to see, that bitch s son, according to former president, the man who always inflicted RIOTs on SRILANKEN muslims, shortly belfore each anual UNHRC session, noneother than SARATH WEERASEKARA, attacks FM Sarath Fonseka.
      :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvw592IiwSw

      Sooner, this nation would take the levels of former Ethiopia.. no doubt about that.

  • 14
    3

    “The Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa won’t do it…….” Of course, he won’t do it, he is just a wimp!

  • 4
    2

    “My position is clear. I could only be considered as a candidate if this is the common consensus of the others come together and entrust me with the duty of abolishing the Executive Presidency” – Karu Jayasuriya
    ~
    https://tinyurl.com/xy2bwma2

  • 18
    3

    It is a fact that AKD is one of the Politicians the voters can trust. Election Commission should ban the religious/linguistic based Political Parties. Voters need to be made to acknowledge/understand/realise the numerous corrupt/illegal practices of the double Pakshas. The Buddhist Monks should not dabble in politics and should only teach their followers to lead a clean living.
    I agree with the Author’s view on Sajith Premadasa. He can not be trusted.

  • 8
    5

    What holds for an average society does not hold for Sril Lanka, a society limited to narrow outlook and scope, that has given way to economic starvation of the more resourceful Tamils of the country. What is seen today is the end result of such shortsightedness of the ruling class of majority Sinhalese.
    .
    Is Sri Lanka ready for JVP-NPP-Left dreamt by our trusted author. Seeing Sri Lanka as an endangered species when most of the Sinhala Buddhists are in elation of their electoral supremacy and success is a perception that appears real but is only in the mind of the author.

  • 5
    2

    No Blunders of any scale will ever change Sri Lanka

    • 5
      0

      Rajash

      I came across a few copies of letters congratulating M K Stalin on his victory, most of the writers are expecting miracles from him.

      A ten member delegation comprising Kanimozhi, A K S Vijayan, T K S Elangovan, Helen Davidson (all DMK), Sudharasana Natchiappan, N S V Chithan, J
      M Haroon, K S Azhagiri (all Congress) and Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK) visited Mahinda in October 2009, probably to congratulate him for successfully bringing the war to conclusion.

      Don’t you think its only appropriate we reciprocate we make arrangements for Soman, EE, Jester, Pererass, ….. to visit Stalin to congratulate him?

      • 4
        0

        soman

        Aren’t you going to visit your distant cousin Stalin to congratulate him on his election victory?

  • 8
    1

    Prof Kumar, You are an optimist, no doubt. You seem so confident of “A Next Election”. I cannot foresee the mistaken occurrence of 2014/15 to be repeated. Once bitten twice shy.

  • 11
    3

    I agree, Professor Kumar, that this is a time to be sober (yet bold), and pragmatic, not allowing ourselves to get drawn into sectarian searches for doctrinal purity.
    .
    Certainly, we shouldn’t compromise on principles, but when it has become as clear as it now is that apart from the selfish concerns of the Double-Paksas, they have little understanding of the mess that they are making by interfering in what ought to be left to subject-specialists to do, that we who take the trouble to think must unite to protect our sane ways of living.
    .
    We have to face up to the fact that technological progress has made it even clearer than before that we have to contend with this business of periodic elections at which most of the votes will be cast by people who are, in effect, idiots.
    .
    That’s a proven fact, by now, although it is noblesse oblige for us to express ourselves more politely.

  • 6
    1

    What KD fails to mention is post WW2 Germany and Japan. They never attempted violence. Why? This is what SL must follow.

    1. There was a process of de-nazification in Germany after WW2 against the losers. Unfortunately it did not happen in SL. Very dangerous.

    2. US and Soviet militarization of both Germany and Japan with many bases. US bases still continue.

    3. There was no reconciliation between Nazis and winners or Imperialists and winners. None.

    4. There certainly was no power sharing between winners and losers. None.

    This is where SL got it all wrong.

    • 0
      0

      👍

      Soma

  • 9
    3

    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

  • 15
    2

    Kumar what about a writing on blunders that made Lanka dysfunctional. I am aware it will be lengthy because you may have to start from pre independence. ( it seems getting independence it self is blunder because it cannot be any worse worse than where we are ). From colonial.to democrazy and now Chinese owned military junta rule.

    • 2
      0

      So Fast. Thanks to Mr.Athukorala who has written a well thought out article on blunders that made Lanka a failed state.

  • 8
    5

    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

    • 5
      1

      Brilliant Prof. Eagle Eye.
      thanks for MAKING it shorter.
      :
      Cheers
      LMAO

  • 7
    3

    It must be made clear from the out set to any would be investor in the port city that the current proposed set of rules will be abolished. It would be also wise to interdict all cronies of the current government occupying plum positions within the government in order to eliminate sabotuers especially those working in military intelligence operations. The right to recall is a MUST for the executive president if such a role is to be retained.

  • 8
    3

    The biggest in recent times was Trump’s election. His was no different to what we have been experiencing in the country today under stupid double-pakshes.

    Begging nations of our nature just emulated TRUMP-politics AND fell down to give an unreasonable mandate to Weeraketiye cattle thieves. And moda Indian Leader is the other. Indian man should be hung by his balls for all mass killings occuring in India today.
    .
    Consequences are becoming clear in SL as of today, not even completing 18 months in his presidency, Gota-Baya has proved to be the most incapable man to be a president. Polonnaruwe man could manage it to some extent even if his silly statements went viral making him a laughing stock. However, all these were crystal clear to all with some knowledge, but srilanken media giants (Ada Derana TV and Hiru Kudu TV) adulated Rajapakshes by putting Muruththettuwa bp led pinguththaraya community all along. Last night I watched that “Satana”- there representatives of rulers were denying them to be myth followers or incapable of having done nothing so far… their answers were like ” kohedha yanne malle pol – not focusing on the topic”.

  • 14
    3

    It is not necessary to have any theories of European history to know that there is a slide into tyranny in Sri Lanka.Populism in Sri Lanka in the form of Sinhala-Buddhist communalism is a feature of SL politics since independence. There is no link or similarity with events elsewhere. Bandaranaike exploited an in-built schism and it has been successively and successfully invoked by all other leaders now to the extent that 6.9 million vote for a tainted figure. The Maha Sangha, a feature unique to SL politics, had a lot to do with it. The six reforms suggested are necessary. But most necessary is to move away from ethno-religious politics. What benefits has it bought the Sinhala people? Their leaders have swindled them over the years, lived in Western comfort and left them in the Mahavamsa mudhole.

  • 15
    6

    I believe a few chief Buddhist monks wanted the SL prez to be like a Hitler..so why change now?

  • 11
    1

    Honorable Professor

    I understand your sense of hopelessness but unity starts with humility and recognizing one fault’s and shortcomings. Initially it was the former PM Ranil’s absolute arrogance and betrayal of the undertaking given to the people in 2014 and his open complicity with the greatest scam ever perpetrated on the people as well as wanting to cover up the Rajapakse crimes and the intentional sidelining of General Fonseka who was the only person who was well able to take on the Rajpakse clan . This was further compounded by a country bumkin of a President who contrary to his promises was in a dreamland but give credit where it is due he was one person who exposed Ranils true colors. Then the fickle fidelity to any principle or ethics of the Muslim community and their leaders exploiting every opportunity for them selves and their community and whenever they are exposed they claim to be victims ie ISLAMIC SHARIA UNIVERSITY in the East. As for the TNA the less said the better who get a free trip to INDIA occasionally In a world of their own who deprive the very lifestyle their immediate famillies have

    • 6
      5

      from those who voted for them The TNA was in another pipe dream when they could not get Kalmunai North municipal council upgraded and did not use the NPC to uplift the economic life of the masses in the North, but wanted a federal constitution knowing very well this will unnecessarily cause a turmoil in the south. ALL these issues should be put set aside and a SRI LANKAN mind set should be instilled in the opposition if they want to challenge the current administration

      • 3
        0

        Least objective person, looks like you are only here to bash the TNA and the Thamizh. What is wrong in asking for a federal constitution or demanding the the Kalmunai north area which is more than 99% Thamizh to be upgraded to a separate division, just because the Chingkallams have been brainwashed to oppose any sort of self rule for the Thamizh or the Muslims in the east, who only arrived there as refugees a few centuries ago, now want to gobble up and steal all the Thamizh lands for themselves, so unfairly oppose this move and the Chingkallma deliberately encourage this. Very unobjective person

  • 11
    0

    Thank you.

    I fully agree that “Appeasement of the enemies of democracy in Burma and Lanka in the guise of ‘not meddling in internal affairs” amounts to a licence to continue’.”

    A great political program you have proposed but as you say things need to get worse before there is momentum for change. An oxymoron — things need to get worse to get better. When the govt went crazy (cremation, burqa) the climate got right for the UNHRC resolution.

    I hope the government will show more of its crazy side such as through the resolution to knock off all the cases against its cronies. People will then realize — as they increasingly do — how terrible this government is. What a huge mistake in the last 2 elections!

    I hope more people like you will speak up without fear, come what may.

    • 6
      2

      There are quite a few who will not interfere on the basis of “‘not meddling in internal affairs”.
      But what about India and members of ASEAN re Myanmar? They have no such self imposed restraints.
      Habitual meddlers just wait for their opportunity.
      *
      We have once experienced foreign meddling.
      Is waiting for intervention an excuse for inaction?
      Or are we waiting for history to teach us something?

  • 3
    9

    Sri Lanka had a dictatorship. It was in the LTTE controlled areas, spanning more than a decade. For some reason, no authors make mention of this fact. Many would rather make the assumption that today’s Sri Lanka is heading towards a dictatorship because of a few monks.
    The lesson to be learned is that within a Marxist totalitarian state, a dictatorship is highly likely, almost guaranteed. 100% of all Marxist entities have had or have a dictatorship – Cuba, USSR, North Korea, China. If JVP had succeeded, Sri Lanka today would be a dictatorship. It is the form of government that explicitly determines a dictatorship, not PTA and Executive Presidency. These are just regulations. A Marxist entity does not allow free elections, so dictatorship is inevitable.

    • 4
      0

      Lester,
      …. It is the form of government that explicitly determines a dictatorship, not PTA and Executive Presidency. These are just regulations.
      If you are happy with the way you argue I do not wish to break the bubble in which you live.
      You will regret when the bubble breaks naturally!

    • 5
      0

      L
      Several talk about it. But they also invariably mention the 17-year dictatorship of what was initially termed “Dharmishta government”. (Many have now forgotten what Dharmishta was supposed to mean.)
      It is the emotional agitation caused by the mention of the 17-year dictatorship that makes many miss the mention of LTTE dictatorship, which was a sequel to the former.
      *
      Many critics of the dictatorial conduct of the Rajapaksas are also reluctant to discuss the 17-year dictatorship. .

    • 4
      2

      Yes Jester We all know that you are Chingkalla racist views . Everything bad is Thamizh and everything good is Chingkallam. Even killing , marginalizing , ethnically cleansing and committing war crimes on Thamizh is good for you , as it was done by Chingkallams. No wonder with people with your mindset this island will not improve. Most probably you like many hardcore Chingkalla racists here, have run to the west for the good life but want mayhem back home.

  • 4
    0

    Just read in Kaalaikathir. The 6 persons accused of the murder of BBC Correspondent Nirmalarajan in 2000 were released in Jaffna when the AG’s people said they cannot proceed.
    Nirmalarajan was shot dead. A grenade the killers tossed injured his parents and a nephew rather badly. The Attorney General then did almost nothing for 15 years and then moved seemingly reluctantly for the last 5.

    The more such egregious acts the government engages in, the more the world will notice and we will have some hope of justice at some point when UNHRC reviews Sri Lanka.

    • 2
      2

      Yes, Jaffna Man,
      .
      An intelligent comment from which all Sinhala Men and Women have much to learn.

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.