22 September, 2020

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Crass Capitulation And Craven Opportunism Of Victor Ivan

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe

Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe

On the 28th February 2012, the RAVAYA newspaper celebrated its 25th Anniversary with great pomp and pageantry- and expense. The chief guest was none other than H.E. President Rajapakse. It was celebrated under the theme loosely translated as “Swimming Against the Tide: A Great Journey”. This great journey was projected on the screen with dramatic effect, highlighting some of the most notable achievements of RAVAYA throughout the years. Here, I shall try to summarize the main contents.

An introductory speech was truly inspiring. It declaimed all successive governments, including the present Regime, for violating human and democratic rights, including assaults on media of freedom. Based on this key note presentation, the audience expected that this would be followed up by an equally independent and critical review by its chief editor, Victor Ivan. However, Victor Ivan did the opposite by heaping sycophantic adulation on the President.  Perhaps, this contradiction represented an internal conflict between some members of the RAVAYA staff who did not share Victor Ivan’s betrayal that was to follow. In spite of his illustrious and notable career in the past, this betrayal and capitulation by Victor Ivan is nothing new.

Based on this key note presentation, the audience expected that this would be followed up by an equally independent and critical review by its chief editor, Victor Ivan. However, Victor Ivan did the opposite by heaping sycophantic adulation on the President.

Victor Ivan’s speech completely reversed the ‘swimming against the tide’ refrain, into a complete turn about, characterized by ‘swimming with the tide- in Olympic style’. The main points in his speech may be summarized as follows: The two insurrections in the South led by the JVP and the insurgency in the North led by the LTTE were disastrous events that had being extremely destructive to freedom and democracy in the country. Whatever justification there may have been for these uprisings, their armed suppression by the State was a positive development for the country as a whole. He congratulated H.E. President Mahinda Rajapakse for having militarily decimated the politics of ‘ terrorism’ of the LTTE, a historic victory that he valued above all else. He said that whatever issues, problems and difficulties that the Tamil people may have, they could be sorted out. (Thanks indeed, for this superlative formulation!) He then stated that the need of the hour is for all political forces to unite with the Rajapakse Regime behind the task of building a Sri Lankan Nation and strengthening  democratic governance.( Calling for building a Sri Lankan nation without addressing the fundamental national- democratic rights of the Tamil nation and the Moslem and Hill Country nationalities, is a reactionary slogan that enshrines, – in effect- the hegemonic supremacy of the Sinhala Buddhist nation and the agenda of military conquest and political subjugation. Calling for democratic governance from a regime that does not even intend to implement the recommendations  its own LLRC is an act of unpardonable deception) Finally, he denounced foreign efforts at intervention and claimed that we must all put aside political, ethnic and religious differences and unite to find solutions by ourselves. ( Denouncing foreign powers for hypocrisy over human rights, as they should be, is not a justification for avoiding accountability for one’s own crimes). Victor’s call sounded like an impassioned  call for a ‘National Unity Government”, which even the President dared not echo. What it amounted to was a desperate call to bail out the besieged Rajapakse Regime.

This was followed by a speech by an Hon. representative of the Sri Lanka Moslem Congress which pledged unstinted support to President Mahinda Rajapakse in meeting the challenge posed by international powers. (I wonder how it would stand on a resolution calling for accountability from the State of Israel for genocide in Palestine?)

Hon. Sambandan, representing the Tamil National Alliance, delivered a most balanced, articulate and dignified speech, where he said that due recognition must be given to the Sinhala people given that it constitutes the majority, but that recognition must be given to all others as equals in sharing the country as their home and that a political solution should be implemented on this basis.

Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe, representing the UNP, did not take Victor’s bait that all political forces must range behind the Regime as the only option available. He joked that the prevailing political conjuncture was more about who shall occupy the electric chair than about sharing power. He argued that what we are facing is not only a political crisis but an economic and social crisis as well, implying that it was only the UNP that could solve these multiple crises.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the chief guest at the silver jubilee celebrations of the Ravaya newspaper held at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Centre in Colombo on Feb 28. (Photo by: Sudath Silva)

H.E. President Mahinda Rajapakse claimed that the very fact that RAVAYA could celebrate twenty five years of existence is a certification of the media freedom available in the country under his regime. (WOW!) He claimed that the war was waged without mobilizing Sinhala chauvinism. (The war was waged explicitly under the banner of patriotic Sinhala Buddhist supremacy and hegemony with the aim of deleting the political status of the Tamil nation!) He referred to the conspiracy by foreign powers to bring about ‘regime change’ and stated that no force should engage in any form of protest to advance this agenda. ( As it is, every form of democratic protest is linked to this ‘foreign conspiracy’ agenda by the Regime and violently suppressed-whether by workers, fishermen, university lecturers, students and the Opposition). He did not make any reference to the Report of the LLRC, even though the purpose of the event was to focus on the future trajectory of Sri Lanka.

In fact, none of the speakers addressed the need for implementing the Recommendations and Proposals of the LLRC. It was diplomatically shelved, as it would be by the Regime.

In sum, the event of celebrating 25 years was turned into a rote confirmation of solidarity with the Mahinda Rajapakse regime by the SLMC, an inspired affirmation of the pluralist diversity of the Sri Lankan people by Hon. Sambandan as the basis of building a new Sri Lanka, a poke at the cutthroat politics of the regime by Ranil Wickremasinghe and a reassertion of  capitulation to the Regime by Victor Ivan, heaping shame upon the proud history of struggle of RAVAYA. The event turned out to be a lavish and extravagant non-event.

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Latest comments

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    Sinhala Buddhist supremacy ? I thought the war was against terrorist who make a hell out of our cuntry.

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      “Hon. Sambandan, representing the Tamil National Alliance, delivered a most balanced, articulate and dignified speech”…….this summarizes the whole idea of Mr Surendra Rupersinghe’s genuine effort…& what he is upto….What his job is….How can a man who is representing a ruthless terrorist outfit give a balanced, articulate and dignified speech….When your pen turns that way it shows, the heart of the man who writes…..It is another way of genocide against the peaceful sri lankan nation……. Mr Rupasinghe is very painful about President is being commended for his achievements……We wish many more years of pains for u Mr rupasinghe……Because 95% sri lankans r enjoying the prevailing situation of the country….Though u may not like….This is one country ..ONE NATION..NOW…..

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    Many thanks for the superb article.

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    Surendra,feeling jealous of that Victor Ivan fellow for steeling the show?Victor Ivan knows how to grab attention.Surendra,why don’t you beat Victor at his own game and may be organize some sort of better circus with pomp and pageantry probably at a five star joint.I am sure that you would have no problem in meeting the expenses.You just only have to ask Rudrakumaran,Sunanda Deshapriya or those HR outfits for the dough.My participation is guaranteed.PS:Don’t forget the booze!In the meantime any chance that i could also join one of your outfits on a permanent basis?I will beat the living daylights out of the Rajapakse’s,Sinhalese,Buddhists and anyone whom you think should be beaten and attacked.Oh!once again don’t forget the booze!

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    “He congratulated H.E. President Mahinda Rajapakse for having militarily decimated the politics of ‘ terrorism’ of the LTTE, a historic victory that he valued above all else. “

    “Decimated” means reduce by one-tenth. Is that what happened to the LTTE? How can you reduce the “politics of terrorism” by one-tenth?

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    Max Silva since a long time and now Victor Ivon have been inundated in “booze”! Hence they are writing and expressing these self-contradictory biased and anti-humanist ideas. Max appears to be a borne looser judging by the meaningless and hilarious comments he writes to each and every excellent meaningful and thought-provoking article written by Rupasinghe and other learned people. It is most unfortunate for a country like ours struggling to rise up from wreckage to have hindrances and pitfalls like Max Silvas.

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      Most unfortunate to be inundated by bad spelling. Born loser not “borne looser”!

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    Sadly I agree with Suren. The President has used the occasion to vindicate his standpoint that there must have been media freedom for Ravaya to celebrate the anniversary. Do we know what happened to the several journalists like Lasantha, Ekneligoda and several others who have fled the country? Has Ravaya has sold the birthright of free media fo a mess of pottage? I hope not since I admire Victor. I can put this down to our sentiments to be nice to guests.

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    Chandimal,
    you say that i am making fun out of excellent meaningful and thought provoking articles written by learned people.Well,my education is limited.I wish i was lucky enough to call myself some DR or the other.But may be i have to bow down to god’s wishes.You are right,i am not learned enough to enjoy the fruits of life like the Deshapriyas.I wish i had learned more in which case i would have made lots of dough like the Pakyasothies.It seems god has been cruel to me.Otherwise how come myself roughing it out here in blasted Srilanka wondering from where i am going to get my next shot instead of partying in Geneva!
    Senanyake,
    Have you heard of a bloke by the name of Julian Assange?

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    Victor Ivan abandoned his ethics a long time ago. This is a good article. Congratulations!

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    Max, see a good doctor man, this is a disease called inferiority complex! Do not hate yourself for what you are, for your poor education! Also do not be obsessed all the time about belly’s business and stuffing it with “dough” and “booze”! How can God’s benevolence cast upon you when you eke out a shameful existence by singing hosanna to a sinful despot? Take a cue from Rupasinghe and help us chase this stupid king and his retinue of donkeys away!

    By the way my new proof reader has done a marvelous job finding a tiny typo in my earlier comment!

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      All part of the service. no extra charge!

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    A betrayal? or usual betrayal of srilankan left? the evolutionary end of a srilankan left

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    Victor Ivan was fooled by Wijaweera and he changed alliances. Then we was fooled by Mrs. Bandaranayaka and helped her to come to power and now his hero is Rajapaksa .

    He also has this obsessive anger against Sarath Silva but hob nobs with the President whose government has made the entire legal system a joke! What a sad ending

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    Thank you Chandimal.I know that i got to see a good doctor.The problem is who!Any ideas?The only good doctor i know of is Bala,who passed away with disgust.How about Dr Surendra?Do you think he can cure me?Are sure he is a real doctor and not a quack?Also many thanks for letting me know why god is mad with me.I will take your advice and sing hosannas like a Canary on behalf of that non violent wonderful human being Prabakaran.Hope that god takes me as one of his own sons and provide me with an unlimited quantity of life time booze!I After all i am a god fearing soul.God is welcome to take my soul.But my body,no way!But if MIA comes around,the answer is a big YES! Sinhala Tamil reconciliation.

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