1 October, 2020

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Covid-19 Militarisation: Gota’s Dress Rehearsal

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

It is exactly one year since Muslim jihadists created an opportunity for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to become the President of Sri Lanka. His political star was shining when Covid-19 broke out to test his mettle in managing a global disaster. Up to the time of this composition, a total of 190 cases had been handled by health authorities, of which 134 had been identified active, 49 had recovered and 7 died.  However, according to reliable sources, these numbers are low, because of limited number of testing. According to Dr. Wijewickrema of Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), there is capacity to test 1,500 per day, but so far only 500 have been carried out. He believes that testing should not be done “unnecessarily” and only “those who have been identified to undergo it compulsorily” are tested (Ceylon Today, 10 April, 2020). How and where is this done are not clear. Every district in the country must have testing centres with adequately protected and trained health workers, and people should be constantly informed through all available channels to come forward and make use of those facilities. GR seems to be listening to his advisors more than medical experts.    

From day one of GR’s presidency, he relied heavily on the support of the army and police forces to govern the country. He dispatched them to every district with the declared intention of utilising the forces in developmental work. With the outbreak of Covid-19 however, their involvement in running the country has become much more substantial. That involvement is clearly manifested in the militarised management of Covid-19. Without district-wise testing facilities, GR has simply instructed the army to impose total lockdown of areas suspected of having infected cases, and recurring island wide curfew to counter the spread of infection through human contact. Difficulties people encounter through these lockdowns and curfews are too many and complaints and criticism are mounting about the way the army and police are handling the situation. Unsurprisingly, the IGP has threatened to punish those who criticise their work and those who spread false information. In this militarised environment, it is doubtful whether people would be willing to come forward, to report cases of infection until the situation turns dire. 

No doubt, it is the Rajapakse clan, the army and police that are currently running the show with absolutely no input from the opposition and civil society groups. This is unfortunate given the dynamics of the pandemic and democratic parameters of the constitution. In short, Covid-19 militarised management has become a testing ground for a model of governance that has all the hallmarks of persisting with or without a General Election. Covid-19 management is a dress rehearsal for the final performance.

Meanwhile, the health and economic crises engendered by Covid-19 has also been compounded by a political crisis. GR, the Election Commissioner and members of the caretaker government are optimistic about holding the election either in late May or early June. They seem to think, contrary to expert world opinion that Covid-19 would lose its virulence and disappear by then, and normalcy would return. Even if it continues the devastation in the rest of the world, Sri Lankan rulers seem to believe that they would be uniquely successful in eradicating it. Good luck to them! However, one cannot dismiss the fact that maintaining this optimism is politically advantageous to the rulers, and, it may be one of the reasons why they are limiting the number of tests, so that the total identified with the virus and number of recoveries may look minimal and less alarming. This can turn out to be a delusion if people decide to remain secretive about their infection until it is too late, as that possibility was pointed out by one Muslim politician from the East at the last ruling party meeting. He was complaining about the cremation of Muslim bodies and requested the government to permit burials. One minster who was present at them meeting dismissed his request for exception, which provoked that member to counter the minister with a question that, what would the government do if people conceal cases of infection.  How does one know it is not happening now? Let the rulers be realistic about the situation and not use it for political advantage.

In the meantime, economic adversity is becoming increasingly acute. The country is running out of foreign reserves to finance imports, and the blanket ban on all imports shows the extent of desperation. It is hurting every sector of the economy, and the tourist sector is the worst affected. Ironically, the Central Bank, the gatekeeper of the country’s money supply, has appealed to Sri Lankans to bring home their hidden dollars from abroad without any questions asked – an exercise in legitimizing the illegitimate with a dose of patriotism, thanks to Covid-19.  GR also maintains that he would structure an economy appropriate to the country. One has to wait and see how he does it.       

With the Rajapaksa clan, army and police in total control of the country, its administration and economy, and with GR’s refusal to reconvene the parliament and his readiness to conduct the election at the earliest possible date, members of the ruling party are using every opportunity to convince the voting public that they are the saviours of the nation at this critical juncture. The Election Commissioner’s warning against such dishonest canvassing will certainly be ignored. The Covid-19 environment with lockdowns and curfews prevents any opportunity for members of opposition to engage in political campaigning.  

The other worrying scenario is the hate campaign against minorities, particularly against Muslims, by sections of the media. So far, there is no action by GR or the government to stop this abomination, because it is the same group of individuals and their establishments that lend support to the regime. In case the General Election is postponed indefinitely or held in a few months but fails to yield the expected victory with two-third majority to SLNPS, there is a possibility that a mayhem against Muslims could be unleashed and a situation created for GR to declare emergency and continue with his militarised governance.    

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    In the time of health and economic crises engendered, There 19000 remanded due to curfew violeting are protected from spread of contagious diseases social distancing. the y can be used to asssits Health care enviorments AS cost of crowding will assuredly be more than the cost of curfew.

    • 18
      8

      Thank you, Ameer Ali for the perceptive article. This candor is missing in Sri Lanka’s English language media.

      • 2
        0

        You can get rid of Corona Virus with local intervention. You need foreign intervention to get rid of these Co-Ranaviru-s.

      • 1
        0

        GOTLER became HITLER = Wonder of Asia

  • 11
    23

    So….
    What is the solution..?
    /
    Let “Yahapalana” government to continue another 5 years without a election….
    Or…..
    Let civil society to appoint a caretaker government of their choice of personalities.
    Or…..
    Let minority manipulaters to appoint a international government for SL.
    Or……
    Let self appointed guardian of democracy Ratnajeevan Hoole to run the country.
    Or….
    Let Saudi appointed Islamic Sharia Council to run the country………
    /
    While you are at it why not cancel the November presidential election and restate MY3 & Ranil government to protect YOUR no election democracy.

    • 1
      4

      Excellent analysis, Pasqual!! You are spot on. We were so foolish that we allowed gamarala and the fossil (MS/RW) to just sit there and do NOTHING. They took no action against law-breakers of the MR front but joined them in the game. Before that, we allowed politicians to remain in power perpetually by the proportionate representation, turned a blind eye to corruption and tolerated extremism. In no other civilized society could politicians have raised Rs. 100 million to contribute to the covid9 fund and have ex-ministers run large enterprises. So we reap the consequences of our own back-sliding.

  • 15
    7

    These are all the actions controlled by the sureme power we, the Sri Lankan Sinhalese, Buddhists, Hindus, Tamils and Christians believe in.
    /
    As you have said, the divine plan to establish and prolong Gota’s leadership may have been helped by your Jihadi brothers (and sisters). Let them rot in hell regardless.
    /
    So what you have to do is to obey those orders rather than trying to buck the trend with this kind of rubbishy argument at the CT website.
    /
    They have no impact.

  • 12
    21

    There is a deluge of articles from Islamist writers since the Wahabi bomb. The idea obviously is to divert the focus away from the event. Hate mongering against Rajapaksas is their modus operandi. These clever pricks know damn well that Rajapakas have got overwhelming Sinhala majority support behind them and therefore anti Rajapaksa venom does not help ethno religious unity in any conceivable manner. They seem to like it that way. They calculate that disunity help maintain a separate identity. I cannot think of any other purpose of non stop anti Rajapaksa agenda even after 2019 elections. Even at this most critical juncture at the bottom of their hearts they wish to see the Covid -19 control mechanism set in motion by the government ends in a failure fearing that success would further enhance the popularity of the present government.

    Soma

    • 12
      8

      somass

      Did you know Basil (the 10% one stop shop man) has already planned to monopolise the retail trade. The Army is buying vegetable and farm products from the producers while it has already prevented people going about and minding their own business.

      What is your share in this captive market?

      “Even at this most critical juncture at the bottom of their hearts they wish to see the Covid -19 control mechanism set in motion by the government ends in a failure fearing that success would further enhance the popularity of the present government.”

      All projects that do not involve ordinary people are doomed to fail.
      If you are in doubt, just look at the 72 year nation building process. No one in his/her right mind would agree with you.

      Noola from Saffron brigade will not protect you from either Coronavirus or Ranavirus.
      Take care.

      • 1
        3

        Neither will gingerly oil Native !

    • 0
      1

      Soma, cannot stand anyone writing criticizing the Rajapaksa’s.
      Soma, even thinks people are using this pandemic to wage their anti Rajapaksa venom. Soma is of the group that are not deep thinkers, does not want Muslims writing articles, and any criticism is an effort to bring the Rajapaksa’s down, as if anyone has that power to do so by criticism.
      Some is unable to understand that ALL Sri Lankans, of every religion, and caste, WANTS the government to be successful in handling this, because ALL LIVES are at risk. Simple Soma.

      • 1
        2

        Navin
        I am just one among the vast majority. Anyone has the right to criticise anyone – Rajapaksas are no special. The point is continuous , non stop , exaggerated anti Rajapaka agenda has helped ENHANCE the Rajapaksa vote base. What do you make of November 2019 results ? You and me are Colombo Telegraph regulars. What effect it has had over minority of pro Rajapaksa readership? Has not the ENTIRE effort been a TOTAL failure?
        .
        “ALL Sri Lankans, of every religion, and caste, WANTS the government to be successful in handling this, because ALL LIVES are at risk

        Reading CT one doesn’t get that impression.

        Soma

        • 0
          0

          soma

          ” What do you make of November 2019 results ? “

          there were plenty of criticism’s of the yahapalanaya government also on CT during their governance.The criticism was like a water off the back of a duck.Nothing was done to plug up the weak points highlighted by the comments.hence the loss at the elections.People who criticise should be considered as friends because by listening and taking action to rectify faults you are enhancing and improving oneself.

          • 1
            0

            Shankar
            Hate mongering is not ‘critisism’.

            Soma

            • 0
              1

              soma

              you should tell that to the ministers of the rajapakshe regime who come on TVand do the hate mongering.Aluthgamage and derana TV.

            • 1
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              somass

              “Hate mongering is not ‘critisism’.”

              The opposite is like getting on the gravy train!!!
              Wish you well.

  • 15
    4

    Only a matter of time before new ‘military school’s are started just like in the USA. Graduation from them leads to a position in the army. Discipline and obedience will be taught.

    • 4
      7

      Reggie Silva

      “Discipline and obedience will be taught.”

      O please!!

  • 8
    7

    This anti Rajapaksha man always create unreasonable fear about them to serve the westerners and their ally Ranil to pave the way. This useless man fabricate and uses words very cunningly for that matter. I have nothing important in this write up.

  • 7
    7

    Dogs continue to bark………but the caravan continues it’s journey……..

    Desperate times require desperate measures. That is how SL has so far kept the death rate low (these buggers don’t write about death rate because that is a statistic they cannot dispute and goes against their bogus narrative).

    South Korea has not totally eradicated COVID-19 but seemingly brought it under control (as of today, 10,512 confirmed cases, 7,378 recovered and 211 deaths, still 3,000+ to recover). Yet they are planning to go ahead with elections. World over South Korea is taken as a model for countering COVID-19.

    Buggers don’t want an election in the near future (they know the verdict) and yet preparing a narrative about a bogus dictatorship if circumstances require a longer postponement. MFs trying to have it both ways eh?

    • 1
      0

      Helass

      “That is how SL has so far kept the death rate low (these buggers don’t write about death rate because that is a statistic they cannot dispute and goes against their bogus narrative).”

      Do you still believe in government statistics, especially when the government is run by liars, crooks , murderers, war criminals, racists, psychopaths, ……. ?

      Grow up, wise up, …………….

  • 3
    1

    It will be prudent to ask those who embezzled the central bank for decades and those who profiteer end from
    Govt supplies from ships for coal transport to Airlanka Coal power plants ports Airports Highways what not to bring back such I’ll gotten wealth and return it to its genuine beneficiaries the people of Sri Lanka

    Many shim are cla mourning for basic needs,food ,medicine etc

    How can other citizens contribute when they have no jobs or are on the dole in foreign countries
    At least let these people who have embezzled think and return that money if their heart which we have no doubt is made of wood but would melt at high temperature still

    THE TIME IS NOW

  • 4
    4

    Sri Lanka has handles the Covid crisis as well as any other country on the planet thanks to the vision and decisiveness of GR. Superpowers, economic and military are on their knees. Trump appears on Tv everyday looking more confused than the day before. Italy has surrendered. Some nitwits in our country can only criticise. Thankfully the majority are smart and have confidence in GR to cap this virus within the next few weeks. Many a country in the world would love to be in our position. If not for a few indisciplined people, the virus would have been stopped by now. People elected GR for exactly this reason. Thank god he is our President today. Hate to even imagine the situation we would have been in if Ranil maithree were ruling. We would have had to import coffins.
    Economies will rebound, business will resume and people will get back to their lives. Ideas is to stop the virus ASAP and not let it get out of hand like in the Wesr where they tried to save the economy and ended up with dead bodies and a dead economy. What GR is doing is spot on. Keep up the good work sir. We have faith in you.

  • 3
    0

    This writer must be really stupid or has a sadistic sense of humour.
    The jihadists were just one little reason in many , for the election of GR as the President of Sri Lanka.
    And thank God for that.
    The main reason was the unbelievable mediocrity of the previous government. Nothing else.

  • 1
    0

    Rajapaksa government sure to be a thorough anti-democratic one.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 2
    1

    Covid-19 Militarisation: Gota’s Dress Rehearsal
    Ameer
    Gotha was elected President by Lying. So lying about the Scale of COVID 19 Devastation is keeping in line with saving his reputation and his Presidency. But what he cant control is the collateral damage to the Economy and famine is in the offing without help from the World. Gothas electorate is the RACIST Majority who voted for him and many of them are ignorant until the tide comes in.
    1) It is exactly one year since Muslim jihadists created an opportunity for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to become the President of Sri Lanka.
    *** I don’t agree that it was the Easter attack which brought Gotha in. Easter attack or not he was always going to win because his intention to become President was a fight for survival relying on the Immunity as a President.
    2) His political star was shining when Covid-19 broke out to test his mettle in managing a global disaster.
    *** How can you say this when Shavendra was handed a ban by the State Department as a War Criminal in response to Basils visit to US prior to UN Session and the Californian Judge allowed the appeal of Ahimsa with the following words. “ Gotha can be tried after his Presidency ends plunging him into despair as a person on DEATH ROW. American Justice has finally caught up with him.
    3) COVID 19 has made his life perilous in the long run especially the Economy which is in dire straights. His reputation and callous disregard for Human Rights means he will not and cannot get outside help except
    4) From day one of GR’s presidency, he relied heavily on the support of the army and police forces to govern the country.
    *** This is so in Tamil areas where the White Van syndrome is more causing more havoc than COVID 19.

    Sri Lanka is Doomed under Gotha thanks to the Racist Majority. According to CBK Sri Lanka needs $8000 Million immediately but we are told that Sri Lanka has managed to find $163 Million.

    • 0
      4

      Kali, President GR was elected by overwhelming millions of Sri Lankans, all these people were liars! It is not the majority who are racists but minority leftover LTTE minions like you. 20/30 years LTTE terrorists, then last year we had the Muslim Jihadists! Sri Lankans are quite capable of overcoming terrorists, jihadists or viruses.
      Sri Lankans are quite capable of overcoming obstacles. Our armed forces annihilated the LTTE terror dogs who the western governments thought invincible.
      Do not worry your head over the economy of Sri Lanka we will overcome that too.

      • 3
        0

        Lanka

        If Gotha is not a LIAR say that to the State Department and the Californian Judge. Why did Gotha lie about his Citizenship as he is still an American Citizen and barred from contesting for Presidency. But the Ctooked Judges some out of fear agreed with Gotha that just applying to renounce was enough.
        The State Depaartment has deemed Shavendra a War Criminal and that measns Gotha who gave him the order to kill is also a War Criminal but the Majoriy who voted for him wont accept it. But the price yo are paying is very heavy.as USA gave you few dollars ( no other Country)but you will say we dont need any money as you will eat grass.
        In your mind Californian Judges Judgment doenst meaan anyrhing beacuse Gotha is your President that is because you are IGNORANT , IDIOT and STUPID.. Gotha is on DEATH ROW and has no Legal or Moral Authority to GOVERN. He is ruling by default because Sri Lanka is a Lawless Military State. Faminine is round the corner. Starvation will kill more then the COVID-19

    • 0
      0

      Kali – “Gotha can be tried after his Presidency ends plunging him into despair as a person on DEATH ROW. American Justice has finally caught up with him.”

      Knowing this situation he is planning the 2/3rd and in a hurry, to amend the 19th providing
      for life-immunity to any SL President. He has Dayananda ex-EC in limbo and the present shivering EC will help Gota out – this is the hidden agenda of this brave leader and solider!
      The Courts can go to hell.

  • 1
    0

    Fear for the future and there is no way back from the militarized grasp of the civilian administration under the guise of C-19 pandemic control by Gotta and the clan cladded with the Satakaya. What people do not realize is that the militarized pandemic is on its way to inhibit the civilized society based on democratic values. C-19 can be controlled but the uncontrollable pandemic is Rajapaksha pandemic that is showing signs all around the fabric of society.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 2
    3

    Ameer Ali
    /
    “possibility was pointed out by one Muslim politician from the East at the last ruling party meeting. He was complaining about the cremation of Muslim bodies and requested the government to permit burials. One minster who was present at them meeting dismissed his request for exception, which provoked that member to counter the minister with a question that, what would the government do if people conceal cases of infection. How does one know it is not happening now?”
    /
    This is not the time to make such empty threats.
    /
    We all know who is chiefly responsible for concealing the vivid-19 infection. Unless community leaders prevail upon these illiterates to refrain from doing so, a time might come if others might collectively shun dealing with them. Refusal by healthcare workers to attend to them would be mutually destructive. Shop keepers might decline to serve them during windows when curfew is lifted.
    /
    So stop grandstanding and get your community leaders to do what is required in this hour of national crisis. Foe once, rise above communal level and think at a national level.

  • 1
    0

    Lanka

    Namo Namo Matha ” Goodbye”

    Here os Gotha Legacy with more in the pipe line.

    Apparel businesses near liquidation
    By Sunimalee Dias

    Sri Lanka’s apparel factories have stopped their machines with no orders and with no hand-outs from the government, they are facing stiff competition from their counterparts.

    “None of the companies that has asked for loans from banks have been successful in obtaining a loan,” Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) President Rehan Lakhany said.

    The industry has requested the government to allow them to suspend payment of EPF/ETF for a period of six months; provide at least 30 per cent of the apparel industry workforce with three months’ salary as a means of sustenance for April, May and June.

    Tourist Industry is already gone forever.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 0
    0

    Let me put here some important matters in media.

    A Chairman of a Pradesh Saba poured kerosene on traders vegetables, accusing them did not comply curfew(in Balangoda). I think this criminal should be banned from consuming vegetables for life time.

    A wealthy trader donated large some of dry food to Dulles. The idiot just handed over that to some Pradesh Sabas. They gave those to whomever they liked and sold the rest and made money.

    Dear Friends keep your mouth shut. Curfew Outside!

  • 1
    1

    Kali – “Gotha can be tried after his Presidency ends plunging him into despair as a person on DEATH ROW. American Justice has finally caught up with him.”

    Knowing this situation he is planning the 2/3rd and in a hurry, to amend the 19th providing
    for life-immunity to any SL President. He has Dayananda ex-EC in limbo and the present shivering EC will help Gota out – this is the hidden agenda of this brave leader and solider!
    The Courts can go to hell.

    • 1
      0

      Punchi Banda

      The Courts along with the Country are already in HELL safe and well drinking blood. Sensing the wotst they took the first flight out and have settled for the 2nd best. Hell of a choice.

  • 0
    0

    Where will the country stand when globalization will be the order of the day in 10 years time, especially after devastating virus like Corona, which will crippled all the developing countries . Nationalism & Neo Liberalism will have to take a back seat in the future according to Historian Yual Novah Harrai in his best selling Book “21 lessons for the 21st century”. People in not very affluent countries like us will be the “Useless lot ” as he says in the next 10 to 20 years. This is food for thought for the present Leaders!!

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