27 September, 2020

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CJ, Ape Miniha And The Kiri Pani Rhetoric Of Chintanaya

By Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

As we moved into 2012, the buzz- word was reconciliation and with it the acronym – understood by too few of our fellow citizens- was LLRC.  The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Report had been presented to the president who in turn had sent it to parliament. There was some hope that since the commission had been set up by the president, that he would accept its recommendations in full and get on with the task of implementation. After all this was the commission he and his had told the world would answer and lay to rest all doubts, queries and allegations about the last stages of the war, in particular.

The report in English was eventually sent to the Central Bank- yes the Central Bank- for translation into the two official languages so that the majority of Sri Lankans would be able to read it.  This, I understand is now possible, a good nine to ten months later. Months went by and the international community led by the US at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva passed an anodyne resolution on Sri Lanka in March 2012, essentially calling on the regime to expedite implementation of the LLRC recommendations, report to the Council on what it intended to do on accountability- which the resolution noted the LLRC fell short on- and avail itself of the assistance of UN bodies in the implementation process. The High Commissioner for Human Rights was charged with the responsibility of reporting to the Council in a year on progress made with assistance availed of. India, frustrated, even angered and humiliated by the broken promises of the regime regarding a political settlement, was amongst the 24 countries that voted for the resolution.

The regime first tried to defeat the resolution by sending packs of ministers, officials and apparatchiks to Geneva in a vulgar display of overkill and loutish behavior. Having failed, it failed in turn in its scoundrel’s resort to arouse the patriotism of the masses back at home in the full measure it desperately yearned for. By the time of Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the Council in November, the regime had completed a Human Rights Action Plan and produced an Action Plan for the Implementation of the LLRC recommendations the status of which still remains that of a ‘work in progress’.

Geneva, March 2012, in this respect was a Rubicon of sorts. It was the first real defeat of the regime and seen by the regime as such, its conduct of the war was on the agenda of a multilateral organization for the first time, India could no longer be taken for granted and there was general agreement even expressed in and by the media that the whole episode was a foreign policy cock –up, pure and simple.  The Permanent Representative to Geneva was axed and eventually went to Havana having said her piece.  The media had a field day – all its tabloid Christmases having come together, so to speak. One positive result was that in the aftermath of the hysteria about violated sovereignty and other impertinences, the regime showed signs of beginning to learn the art of international relations. The jury is out though on as to how much and for how long or indeed as to whether the signs were no more than flashes in the pan of defeat and disappointment.

Now at the end of 2012, there are articles on how the LLRC has been forgotten. A key reason for this – though by no means the sole one – is that the crisis of governance the LLRC report elaborates has been dragged to a new nadir with the shoddy sham of the impeachment of the Chief Justice.  The buzz-word for 2013 is surely “impeachment”; “constitutional crisis” perhaps coming a close second when we are into the second half of this month.  No doubt this will have a bearing on Geneva, March 2013 and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November; no doubt it should.

The point about all of this is how we have regressed. Take any yardstick of reconciliation and/or governance and you can see how thuggery- literally and metaphorically speaking- in the service of the consolidation of power by the ostensibly strong yet deeply insecure has taken hold and in a way that arguably would make even J.R. Jayawardene and R. Premadasa blush!  What may yet save us now, as it did then, are the efforts of too few daring to dissent and resist the flagrant destruction of the institutions, processes and the political culture of a functioning liberal democracy. What we had was flawed, but not “floored” to the extent that it is now.

Take reconciliation for instance – where do the violent arrests of students and young people in Jaffna and elsewhere in the north, the continuing land grab in the north and east, the presidential opening of the Lagoon’s Edge Hotel in Nandikadal to service war tourism fit in with it? What of the fate of the Tamil women inducted into the forces – did they know what they were getting into or was it a case of being “taken into”?  What about the last IDPs from Kepapalivu?  Where was Kepapalivu and where is it now?  How do things happen in post war Sri Lanka 2012 like in Marble Bay in the east, where as in apartheid South Africa, the land and the sea is roped off for VIPs, forces, and the general public including the inhabitants of the area, respectively?  How does what happened at the Navinna Rajamahaviharaya at the end of November to address the “Muslim threat” to Sinhala Buddhists, reminiscent, according to some accounts, of a meeting of white supremacists in the Deep South of the 1950s USA, happen in post-war Sri Lanka with its extensive, costly and efficient security, law and order machinery, not to mention its kiri pani rhetoric of Chintanaya and reconciliation?  How many IDPs could have been housed with the duty that was not levied on racing cars? Why do people from the north and east risk life and limb to end up in camps on Christmas Island?  If they are economic refugees why are they leaving when economic development is supposed to be the priority? This is only part of it.

Likewise, with governance. Who interprets the constitution?  Is natural justice a luxury post-war Sri Lanka cannot afford especially if it stands in the way of the regime getting its own way?  As this columnist wrote some time ago and as the president is reported to have said in an inimitably candid statement of his idea of governance – it boils down to “ape minihava beraganna oney” and therefore it is “shape kerala ganna” all the way. Impunity rules as long as apparatchiks remain so. Contort, corrupt institutions and processes as a consequence; nurture and sustain a popular culture of subjects not citizens.

As long as she stands her ground, the Chief Justice will be impeached. The regime have in their ham-fisted, revengeful way made a heroine and a martyr out of her and aroused the legal fraternity in a defence of the judiciary in a way unimaginable in the desolate days of the Eighteenth Amendment and all the assaults on governance and the rule of law by this regime, before and since. The regime cannot back down now without looking weak and immature at the least.

And so it comes back to us. There is every sign of it getting worse before it begins to get better. This is what comes from destroying the prospects for reconciliation and from the certainty of impeachment, which is illustrative of the crisis of governance.

A disempowered man from Jaffna told me that things there look better but feel worse.  He was an IDP, metaphorically speaking.

Is this the fate that awaits us who cling to a notion of citizenship?

The play is the thing; to be a part of and not merely watch.

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Latest comments

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    Paki —

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

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    It is time to take in your own hands the game. You’re right: to be a part and not merely watch. Too many Sri Lankans accepted this unjust regime. For fear or genuine thankful for the end of the war. But citizenship is something that we have also to strive for. You can’t only wait the international community, India or whoever will like to intervene. Change is something that you need to want.
    Such a will can happen also speaking out your mind, like Dr Saravanamuttu.

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    Dr Saravanamuttu

    There is a growing number of people who are asking you to put yourself up for active politics in the country.

    By contesting an election as an independent, you can show the world your popularity in the country, and show the world how “the Rajapaksas”have been suppressing popular demand.

    Please come and help us.

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      yes as long as you are no NGO Lackey! that’s the rhetoric you will hear from the Racists. Please do come forward and lets populate the legislature with sensible people

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      The problem is he cannot speak Sinhala or Tamil. Broken Tamil or Sinhala will not get him any votes!!!

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        I have heard him giving speeches in Good Sinhala.

        There are considerable numbers of muslim or tamil politicians that speak in the same manner. They communications are solely made through English. Even RW is not good at Sinhala but he manages to get on with his fellow politicians in the parliament from that day on.

        I think today, you dont need to know good SINHALA to do politics in the Island, but if you have a filthy mouth – that will be good enough to get through and become popular.

        Examples: Buruwanshe, Mervin, Keheliya, Oral patient Rajitha, Man from the street -Kumar walgama ( as he behaved himself recently in the parliament to the question raised by Ms Rosi Ramanayake) and many other in the current cabinet.

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    You and Jehan Perera are saying the same thing over and over again because you are paid to write by International organisations. The National Peace Council in which you are the head tried to stop the war with Jehan. If the war was on you will be laughing and we would be crying.

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      Yes , JP and PS is writing in the same line exposing the truth of the evil regime.The truth emanating from their submissions are anathema for Boruha patriots.So they hide under the usual label “you are paid to write by International organisations”.

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      guona

      If some body is telling the real truth,
      the same thing over and over again.
      because, that is the truth, nothing but truth.
      no need of any bribes as your ignorant, uneducated, scoundrels, bosses are doing and taking to lie and sabotage.
      we donot care they are rich, poor,sinhela,tamil, Buddhist, christian or what ever the parties they represent.
      BECAUSE THAT IS THE TRUTH.

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      Gune, wait and see what is going to happen to the Sinhala masses soon. In the name of development Rajapakse family is utilizing the Army to take over the civilian jobs, when civilian unemployment is high. This is not that they like the army, it is a ploy. By getting the army to work in civilian areas, especially where Sinhalese are majority, the Government is pretending to the Sinhala people in the area that the army is doing the work and mostly people are happy at present. But what they do not understand is by army doing civilian jobs and residing in army camps in the area to do the work, indirectly the Sinhala areas are being militarized. Everyone knows what happens when an area is militarized – white van, illegal abduction, criminal actions against those who oppose the regime, disappearances, etc…. its a matter of time before the Sinhala masses are going to feel the pressure then what will happen, it may be too late then? One day with an excuse Rajapakse family is going to bring military rule to Sri Lanka. Already it has started by militarizing the foreign services.

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      For you and the same ilk – always accuse of in this way. Anyone who may have opposite views to the current bunch of thieves – are grouped as working for dollars or NGOs.
      Pathetic enough ? Why the very same folks cant realize that the population can consist of many others with different opinions is far from them. I really dont underestand what a dimwit mentality all these folks have got. I thought lankens are in general knowlegble – claiming over 90% literacy rate in the region.
      If a nation would comprise of ones like that stupid majoirty – that always says yes to the brutal rulers- can only be seen in dictator regimes such as CUBA, North Korea or many states in Africa.

      Whenever this stupid majority would grasph the reality- then the day will be dawned to develop the nation and country. Until then, just the rhetorics of the abusive ( of all means) govt will further brainwash the nation further …. perhaps reaching the levels of North korea. …

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    “Is this the fate that awaits us who cling to a notion of citizenship?
    The play is the thing; to be a part of and not merely watch.”

    Yes, Dr Saravanamuttu. Too many people are just watching, sipping their French wine and lattes on 5th Lane.

    You must be a part and not merely watch to set an example to others liek [Edited out] to take the cue.

    Contest an election with the help of the international commuity. The Sri Lankans will elect you by a thundering majority.

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    Gune I am sure that you benefit in some form by playing the trump for the regime As a Sinhalese I applaud people like PS and I will be in the streets not to just watch but also to play the game to ensure that we defeat this evil regime

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    Whatever this govt says or does is devoid of any sincerity. It is a matter of fooling the people and international community most of the time. At the back of all this is a grandoise scheme of racial and cultural hegomony and suppression of all other beliefs. Various extremist groups have been given a free hand to harrass and victimise minorities.

    One of the constituent parties of the alliance the JHU has openly carried out attacks on various places of worship under the eyes of the Police. Bodu Bala Sena which is arousing communal disharmony and hatred is enjoying govt patronage and a blind eye is turned on their activities. It is housed at the Sambuddhi Mandiraya at thunmulla which was opened by HE the President. A gathering held at a Temple in Nawinna attended by around 500 youth to plan acts of racial hatred against the Muslim community. etc. PTA is invoked against a few students lighting a lamp but such acts creating communal disharmony which can be prosecuted using PTA are ignored by the Govt.

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      HIS EXPECTANCY THE PRESIDENT OF ???????????.
      I AM ASHAMED TO CALL H E.
      BECAUSE NO HONOR OR EXCELLENCY WITH LIARS AND LOOTERS.

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    If the likes of Sarawanamuutu are the going to be pillars of our utopia, People of Sri Lanka must think twice, We should never mix up the voice against undemocratic governance to NGO vultures who carry out agendas of third kind. We need democracy, but let us move our courts to achieve this. One should never forget this man and Jehan screamed to save the LTTE. The path to democracy is full of traps. Let us tread carefully.

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    I can be wrong, but Dr. Saravanamuttu is not talking of himself, not only. He’s referring to the fact that ANY citizen should become a subject of democratic agency. I could welcome a direct candidacy of such a personality, but this is not the point.
    Every citizen should be engaged in the fight for his rights, everybody’s rights. When white vans are abducting few “dissidents”, it is not just the rights of those unfortunate that are violated: everybody in Sri Lanka is harmed. And so for the lack of respect to the Muslim, and so for the unjust killing in Mullivaikal and everywhere it happened. Every citizen should take active responsibility for change.

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    PAKIASOTHY, YOU SHOULD GET INTO ACTIVE POLITICS. THE SYMBOL I WOULD SUGGEST IS AN ELEPHANT, STANDING ON HIND LEGS WITH FRONT LEGS AND TRUNK RAISED,HAVING TWO LARGE TUSKS.

    THE OTHER ELEPHANT IS DEAD.

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      Right at the moment, the most demanding qualifications that a candidate should have to be able to do active politics is – THUGGRY mindededness and command in filthy sorta of sinhala langauge. So long one would stay decent and respectful – he or she would not be able to do politics within the frame that the incumbent has made.

      Examples:

      Mervin,
      Weerawanse,
      Aura priyadarshan yapa
      Keheliya,
      Rajitha
      and many other in the ruling cabinet

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      And the private part of the this elephent should be erected up. That suits Paki well too.

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    A prominent supporter of the ex LTTE agenda, Dr Sara’s preamble points to one and only one “Aim” and that is “Keep hands off the North.”

    The East ,where the Batti Tamil people are in total control has been forgotten .

    Or is it that becuase the East has dropped to the last place on the Prosperity Index, and the North has clocked up three notches to take the 6th position,and the Diaspora Smart Money wants only the bullet proof ( no pun intended) Investment Zones?.

    Dr Sara’s Masters, the US which impeached us in Geneva couldn’t pass the Bill in full .to pull their Citizens off the “Fiscal Cliff”. where they have been gathered for the last 5 years. Or should I say at the “World’s End” to help our great rural majority to get the jist of it.

    And Dr Sara reckons LLRC is taking too long to deliver him the goods.

    At the same time he tells us that the great majority of our inhabitants have no clue about this LLRC as it is written in a language which is alien to them.

    Did someone say Srilanka is a Sinhala Buddhist Nation?.

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      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Did someone say Srilanka is a Sinhala Buddhist Nation?.”

      Of course it is a Sinhala/Buddhist Nation which is turning into Sinhala/Buddhist/klepto theocracy.

      The purpose of manufacturing LLRC was to appease the International Community and the target audience were not the citizens.

      Hence why would the state and its rulers want to translate it and distribute it among its citizens?

      The LLRC is not worth the paper it’s printed on.

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    So LLRC was another Rajapaksa trick… Okay.

    People who fronted up are nearly all Tiger supporters and their captives. who wanted to roll Rjapaksa.

    Why on earth did they allow Rajapaksa to do another trick on them to do the Report in a language which seems alien to most inhabitants.

    I thought you are a wise guy.

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