By Kumar David –
As you read this an ogre would have been ushered out of the White House. It has been the season of conspiracy theories and one attracting great attraction is QANON, a movement with a large following which broadcasts gibberish that Donald Trump is the leader of a war against Satan-worshipping elitist paedophiles in a government, business and the media hell bent on destroying the great republic. Sure they are loonies but polls indicate there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who believe this bizarre theory. Traffic on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube has exploded since the movement first surfaced in 2017. There are more such nutty movements in the US and my prediction is that commotion and conflict will be prolonged for long after noon today in DC when old Joe is sworn in. Crushing these loonies is not a problem that inevitably is on course. The fear is that as we have so often witnessed repression opens the door to unjust repression thereafter.
China says it is fighting “three evil forces” of separatism, terrorism, and extremism in Xinjiang Province where 11 million Uighurs live. It says its “training measures” are necessary to combat these evils. Fiction in Chinse politics dates back to Mao Tse Tung’s later years when he completely lost his marbles, but this case of fiction belongs to today’s China. Conspiracy theory is the stuff of political power across the world and across time.
There is a fact-and-conspiracy-theory laced documentary alleging that global elites have orchestrated the pandemic. It includes futuristic comments about a post-capitalist world heralded by technologies that make work redundant; I think Marx would have approved of this part. But the rest of the video is a mix of fantasy and fact. In a word hair-raising conspiracy theories abound all over the world and Sri Lanka has no shortage. If you have 50 minute to relax, the video will take you on a journey that is both surreal and stimulating.
Space permits only one example from Sri Lanka, Sarath Weerasekara, Nandasena’s State Minister of Provincial Councils, railing as follows: “But after we killed Prabhakaran and defeated the LTTE, the most ruthless in the world, we allowed its proxy, the TNA to continue! Ironically, they are the ones who draft the country’s constitution to devolve power to North! It is like, after the Second World War, Churchill inviting the Nazis to come and decide about the foreign policy in UK!” (Sarath Weerasekera in SPUR – Oct. 2018). Weerasekara’s self-assigned mission as State Minister of PCs is to preside over the abolition of PCs while the government of has recently decided to go ahead with PC elections later this year. Anti-Tamil ideologues Gunadasa Amerasekara, obnoxious Weerawansa, odd-ball Gerry Peries and odder-ball Nalin de Silva, all identified with a Nandasena standpoint, together with an assortment of monks and prelates called for the complete abolition of PC. Having killed Prabharan the mistake the Sinhala State made it seem is not finishing off the TNA as well because the Tamils are in a plot to destroy Sinhalae. These people all inhabit an alternative hate universe as do QANON, the Patriot Party, the Nationalist Club and many others – some small some large – in now restless America.
The threat to simple democracy is far more serious in Lanka than the USA because unhinged President will be ushered out of office while you are reading these lines. In mother Lanka the conflict is sharpening up right now and right within the governing party; the knives are out and the draggers are drawn. Mahendra Percy and the Cabinet it seems are going ahead with PC election later this year. All the signals in the previous paragraph are blinking red and though Nanadasena Gotabaya has made a pronouncement this means there is tension between two branches of stagovernment. This may indicate a tacit power struggle which is most unlikely to come into the open but one side will most certainly have to back off. If the President is forced to back off and PC elections go ahead it would signal unambiguously who the source of power is, aiiya or malli. It would be better for Sri Lankan democracy and for ethnic relations aiiya and his parliamentary backers are able to demonstrate supremacy over malli and his military cabal and more racist hangers on. In this instance if Percy prevails over Nandasena it will for the good.
Political lies, presumably like lies in everyday life breed on the experience that if told often enough the story teller himself begins to believe it, as for example do Trump, Weerasekara and Peries. The incorrigible aggravation is that thousands if not millions of followers then make the fabrication gospel truth perpetrating great harm on society.