3 October, 2023


Does Gotabaya Reflect Lanka’s Alt-Right?

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

New Zealand massacre, Hindutva and S-B extremism; are there parallels? Does Gotabaya reflect Lanka’s alt-right?

The attack did not happened because our country was safe harbour for hate, racism or extremism. We were chosen because we are none of these; because we stand for diversity, kindness, compassion and a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. These values will not and cannot be shaken. You may have chosen us but we reject you.” – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden.

The 28 year old white-supremacist Australian gunman Brenton Harrison Tarrant’s rambling 74-page manifesto takes its title “The Great Replacement” from a thesis published in 2011 by French right-wing writer Renaud Camus. Both deemed that France’s white population was facing replacement by Muslim immigrants arriving en masse from former colonies in North Africa and the Middle East; a view that has gained prominence in right-wing circles. Tarrant said Le Pen’s defeat at the presidential election was the tipping point that led him to plan the attack. Camus who coined the term Great Replacement pleaded that he was “diametrically opposed” to the bloodbath but held firm that immigrants replacing natives created underlying social instability. Tarrant’s manifesto is available in full here.

Unavoidably perceptions of Gotabaya Rajapaksa are defined by the Civil War; the role of chief military protagonist carries with it a rightist political identity. Hence posing and truthfully adjudging the interrogation in the title of this essay is important. Are the forces propelling Gota bearers of an ideology of racial exclusivity? The Bodu Bala Sena, known for partiality to Gota, is an outfit that seeks Buddhist predominance and campaigns against Muslims and Christians who it says pose a threat to the nation’s Sinhala-Buddhist identity; echoes of Renaud Camus. Other similar forces are also in the Gota camp. The international view is that: “Sri Lanka is struggling to contain violent Sinhala-Buddhist extremists and declares states of emergency when mobs targeting Muslims run amok”.

My next point is style of governance of a putative Gota regime. He is a disciplinarian and was resolute against LTTE terrorism. Isn’t expectation that fanatics like Brenton Tarrant will get short shrift reasonable? The worry however is that since Gota took no stand against anti-Muslim pogroms in the Southern and Central Provinces and human rights violations during the civil-war, though individual terrorism will be dealt with sternly, nationalist extremism will be fingered differently. Whoever imagined that the worst massacre of Lanka’s chequered recent past occurred during JR’s Imperial Presidency, when to borrow Diderot’s phrase, “Half the nation piously soaked itself in the blood of the other half”. Butchery of Protestants was encouraged by the Catholic Church in late 17-th and early 18-th Century France. Since JR-era carnage was incited by sate-power there is legitimate concern about a putative Gota presidency.

What other forces characterise the Gota camp? I will pinch two paras from Rajan Philips – he has forgiven me worse transgressions like the destiny of a half-empty litre-bottle of Taliksir 10-year-old he left in my loving care. “Gotabaya’s sponsors are the upstart professionals of Viyathmaga who see their Messiah in Gota. There could not have been a more glittering gathering for a political homily on poverty than the Viyathamaga hoi-polloi assembled in their Saturday best to hear and cheer their political neophyte. And no one goes to Water’s Edge to talk poverty”.

The socio-economics of a Gota executive-presidency will be to the right of Mahinda populism, which have-been cases like Vasudeva, Dinesh and the Communist Party hanker after; lowly Tissa, poor sod, will have to go whistle for his dinner and his portfolio. And Philips adds: “They want to get back the levers of power at commanding heights of politics and economy from which they were wrenched in January 2015. They want to restart from where they left off. The Gota-for-President campaign launched last May with a Shangri La bash has been side-lined by developments within and outside the Rajapaksa tent; now they want their man front and centre inside tent and in the country at large”. I rest my case: Gota’s socio-economics will be far to the right of Mahinda Rajapaksa populism

Gota’s pronouncements read more like orthodox liberal clichés than an alt-right programme; bland and general with no definitive orientation. Here are a four quotes.

“Economic growth and increase of GDP per capita has to work towards effectively minimising income distribution gap between the rich and the poor, in order to uplift the living standards of all segments of society”.

“Let us join hands to uphold the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and build a secure, stable & progressive country where our children can fulfil all their dreams & aspirations”.

“Whether you are Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim, the right policies must be in place to eradicate poverty, so that one can live with dignity”.

“In discussion with young professionals and entrepreneurs I came to realize that the youth aspire to construct a disciplined, developed, democratic Lanka under the right leadership”.

However on the subject of retaining a strong authoritarian presidency he has, as expected, been characteristically unwavering. Clearly what lies inside the velvet glove is implacable steel.

“According to the proposed new constitution, the President is appointed by the parliament and a second “council” is to be formed above the parliament – drastically weakening the central government. The proposed new constitution will create a weak government at the centre”.

“We seek a mandate to govern the country to benefit the people and rebuild what was destroyed and neglected through four years. The previous regime fears this. That is why they are pushing for unwarranted international interference”.

“Scant regard for discipline by policy makers cannot be overlooked if we are to rebuild. During the previous RW led government law and order was seriously challenged, resulting in the underworld raising its ugly head and threatening lives of citizens”.

The crucial question then is whether the peril of dictatorship, if Gota takes the reigns, has passed. Has the clan and the forces behind the clan ‘learned a lesson’? Will a Gota regime be democratic? That would be too sanguine a conclusion given the racist, proto-fascist and dicey business and professional class alignments ripening behind the candidate. The question then is has the task of defeating dynastic authoritarianism been accomplished or does Sri Lanka still need an alliance of left, civil society and liberals, as in January 2015? I am of the view that the danger is not past.

Gota will exploit the divisions and sloppiness of the Ranil-Sirisena yahapalana flop to project an “Inspiring a dialogue on burning issues and seeking to rebuild a stable nation”. A large muster will listen. Except for minorities, and left-democratic mobilisations, this mantra is plausible to many. At this time we do not know the UNP contender; if Sajith, we will have an unenviable choice. A successful persona sponsored by opportunist business interests, ambitious youthful petty-bourgeoisie and a racist swarm, or on the other hand, a neophyte unproven in wielding state power, of dubious political loyalty and reluctantly anointed  by a failed liberal-bourgeois establishment. Oh Sri Lanka what woe has befallen thee to choose between tornado and frigid water?

Gota and Modi

If you call Gota a Sinhala-Buddhist ikon, in like fashion Modi is Hindutva; there are antecedents. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been a driving force in Modi’s political career in the RSS and the BJP. In 2002 as Gujarat’s Chief Minister he saw an outbreak of violence by Hindu nationalists against minority Muslims that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Those who point a finger at Gota and allege war-crimes can voice similar sentiments about Modi. In 2012 Human Rights Watch said: “Authorities in Gujarat State are subverting justice, protecting perpetrators and intimidating those wanting accountability even 10 years after anti-Muslim riots killed nearly 2,000 people. The state government resisted Supreme Court orders to prosecute those responsible and failed to provide survivors with compensation”. This is similar to what is alleged in Geneva and by Tamils about the Lankan military and the Defence Secretary.

Do people change or at least does power or the prospect of power make them behave in markedly different ways? I am pleased at the tone Modi’s letter to New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern expressing “deep shock and sadness” over the death of scores of people in the terrorist attack. While stressing India’s “condemnation of terrorism and of all those who support such acts” Modi also underscored India’s solidarity with the people of her country at this difficult time. He stressed that “hatred and violence have no place in diverse and democratic societies” and expressed strong condemnation of terrorism in all forms and manifestations and of all those who support such violence. The dig at Pakistan is palpable. My interest here is to ask whether just as Modi is trying to wash off the Hindutva Muslim-hating veneer from his visage, and succeeding to a degree in Indian Muslims eyes of the world, whether the more “reasonable and rounded” Gota of recent pronouncements will also succeed in selling his new image?

“Don’t look for divisions based on race or religion; unite as one to eradicate poverty”

“Needs like food, shelter, sanitation and security are a must in an inclusive Sri Lanka”

“Wishing you a blessed Pongal; may this auspicious festival bring you prosperity and happiness”

“We celebrate Xmas as one nation and rejoice in the hope that the best is yet to come”

Since elections are about nine months away the outcome is an open question. Will Gota succeed in breaking into a quarter of the non-Sinhala-Buddhist vote without which his presidential aspirations are doomed? Surveys in India suggest that the Modi alliance (NDA) will secure 38% of the vote against 25% for the pro-Congress UPA. Seat projections are NDA: 270, UPA: 120 and others 150. Eight major states may cost the NDA 50 to 100 seats, among them Rajasthan, Gujarat, Utter Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. “Others”, mainly regional parties may take more than 35% of the vote and a sufficient number of seats to be kingmakers. In parallel fashion the outcome of our presidential election may be decided by second-preference choices, magnifying the influence of minority, leftist-radical and bamboozled voters; I mean Wigeneswaran & Gajendran, JVP and Sirisena, first-preference voters.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    There is an ALT-RIGHT means, the greatest Politician-Philanthropist, for the third time hand over his Executive President hopes to some one not from his party. Poor Sajith.

  • 0

    Well, how do determine if someone is “right-wing”!

    There is a Litmus test I personally use. I tell them Buddha was a Sinhala person. It does not matter whether he is Gota or someone else – they go berserk.

    Narrow minds cannot absorb things when shown the correct perspective. Try this on him and see for youself.

  • 1

    This is very modest in comparison to what is to come in the anti Gota campaign at the coming Presidential elections. It will be 100 times virulent than the 2015 campaign against Mahinda Rajapaksa, bigger lies and more money.
    Those of us who are anti Federal are eagerly waiting for an opportunity vote against TNA -SLMC – UNP combine.


    • 0

      While talking about killings by LTTE, You should equally talk of Tamils butchered in the riots in-between 1958-1983. The Welikade prison massacre in 1983. many times the killings were backed by the state government. These killings were the main cause of creating militants/terrorists who did not believe in the state apparatus.

  • 2

    White Supremist Aussie killed 50 in Christ Church.
    Tamil Pirahaparan & his LTTE Killed 200 in Kathankaddy.
    Hindutva under Modi apparently killed at least 1000.
    Where does Viyathmaga fit in to this Lot?…

    What is S-B Extremism ?
    To me SB be is Son of a Bitch , shortened to make it sound sweet.

    Even then Gota is not a SB .
    Gota didn’t go with an AK 47 and gunned down innocent Mums , Dads Grand Dads ,Children and even infants .

    Gota only arranged the logistics for the Srilankan Army who were fighting the fiercest Guerilla Force in the World which their Western Mates bragged as un defeatable..
    Because they were armed to the Teeth with the latest Weapons which were supplied from the West.

    Even the Women Soldiers of Commander Pirahaparan looked so fearsome in those U Tube Clips, which have watched. ..

    There is no record of any Sinhala Buddhists carrying out a Massacre in the whole history of Mahavamsa.
    But there have been a few mainly by the Portugese , English and the UNP .. and Dr Ranil’s Cousin Mrs B..
    One might say Premadasa was a S-B . But he was UNP..

    • 4

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Dr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa joined the army on 26 April 1971 and resigned in 1992. He was appointed as the Defense secretary by his brother. Well if that was not nepotism, favouritism, corruption, …. then what is? Before we dissect Dr Gota’s life, time, corruption and his contribution to war crimes and crime against humanity will you now tell us total loss of innocent lives while he was attached to armed forces one way or another?

      If he was not killing people what was he doing from from 26 April 1971 to 1992 and then from 2005 to 2015?

      Keep it in mind your brethren VP elected Gota’s brother Dr Mahinda as the president of this island in a heavily rigged election.

      You seem to want to carry his b***s as well, now tell us what did he do with the gold and cash he looted/confesticated in Vanni and the bones and dead bodies of innocent people who were by his indiscriminate mass murder.

      How did he, Sarath Fonseka, Basil, manage to get American Visa?

      By the way have you ever met with Dalai Lama?
      Is he a good man?

  • 2

    How can Kumar David who unreservedly supported Sarath Fonseka’s bid for presidency now talk of Gota being the alt right. Sarath Fonseka, the candidate of the alt-West is the icon of the alt right.
    Kumar david was willing to sacrifice his masquerade of Marxism and support the Alt right if needed.
    Now he wants to lable Gota as alt right because his real bete noir is Power in the Hands of rajapaksas. Rajapaksas are not alt-right. They are Nationalistic, and even leftist but power hungry.

  • 4

    Dear Prof. David,
    I see that you, too, realise the significance of the Preferential Votes; however, being a pretty humble grassroots man myself, I realise that almost nobody knows that three candidates can be voted for. The two major parties know that it is not in their interest to get it known; even the smaller parties don’t publicise it for a variety of reasons. Lastly, the media also pretends that there is no such thing.
    If a man with a mind as sharp as yours would study these two links, you’d be able to work out the details of this system. This is also a challenge to others!
    Let me also link you to the results of the only other election in the world which resembles our system for electing our President:
    No other National Election is conducted in this way.
    I’ve been very persistent in trying to find out the details, but am not satisfied with my “success”. Almost nobody listens even if one tries to explain. This is the best example of my bungling efforts:
    However, if nobody gets 50% on First Preferences, and counting gets on to Second and Third Preferences, the announcement of that development on T.V., while results are coming in, will firmly etch this feature in the minds of nearly all Sri Lankans.

    Our voters are pretty ignorant and naïve, and we get the leaders we deserve. Could you please think of a way out of this dilemma, and act on it?

    • 2

      My comment was aimed at ensuring that there will be more intelligent voting for the subsequent Presidential Election in 2025. Can’t we put petty considerations aside and think in terms of a decent future for those whom we leave behind us when we have to pass away?
      When I submitted my comment no others were to be seen. Now there are eight and mine is the sixth. Many others will get interspersed and mine will sink towards the bottom.
      A number of comments are objective, but some keep repeating the same old ideas, and it is probable that the next few comments will be re-hashings of views stated over and over again. K A Sumanasekera will keep denying that our side ever did anything wrong, and going back to the Mahavamsa whose fairy stories written in Pali are the origins of all problems; and we are expected to assent to it all. Soma will try to sound very reasonable by saying Tamils must have self-determination and try to bring variations in to her arguments that all Tamils must leave the balance seven Provinces.
      Meanwhile, I’ve checked this quite reliable weather forecast, and that shows that we are in real trouble, even in the short-term.

      That is the forecast for what is considered the wettest place in Sri Lanka. It’s not that the gods are angry with us. It is just that the supposedly uniquely intelligent species on Earth has run its course and we will all soon cease to exist. Yes, owing to technology developed in the West.
      Our problem here and now is that we all vote like cows for the candidates which the two major parties put forward with us having no say as to who they should be.

  • 4

    “In 2002 as Gujarat’s Chief Minister he saw an outbreak of violence by Hindu nationalists against minority Muslims that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 people. “
    AKD can use more plain language: Modi orchestrated the carnage.
    Seat projections are NDA: 270, UPA: 120 and others 150.
    The hope for India is that seat projections are mostly wrong.

  • 8

    The all-important question is Not whether Gota will win the Presidential Elections but whether he will be able to contest at all. It is Uncle Sam who will decide that. Even if Gota manages to make a deal with Uncle Sam, if he has not already done so, nothing can be certain until Gota gets his US citizenship cancelled. After all, Trump even cancelled the P5+1 Iran Nuclear Deal that was signed by Obama in 2015. So, it will be Uncle Sam who will decide the Fate of Gota in particular and Sri Lankans in general.

  • 4

    “A large muster will listen. Except for minorities, and left-democratic mobilisations, this mantra is plausible to many.”

    I would say except for ‘Koti Diaspora’, Wellala politicians and NGO and Civil Society guys thriving from $$$$s coming from anti-Rajapakse crooks in the West this mantra is soothing for the ears of people in this country. People are fed up with the kind of political system and large majority of politicians produced from that system. That political system and the political crooks produced from that system ruined this country. JRJ is the guy who produced real ‘Jara Deshapalanaya’ in Sri Lanka.

    • 2

      Not JRJ but B putha Rajaakshe led extremists groups destroyed this nation.
      When I read from yours – an another B putha from DOWN UNDER by Name Mahinda Pala – would shed even his last breath being caught by your racial hatreds. There we are no doubt about that. Doctors will not be able to help you there. You are rotten in the manner by your idiosyncratic thinking as some buthaya affected illiterate would behave in SL.
      Please read it … I have no respect to you guys, when thinking about you thinking the way you guys are upto. Th ecountry and nation belong to all those who were born there. Even you guys after moving to DOWN UNDER, you are given your rights in that country. Alone that shoudl be enough the kind of buggers of your nature to calm down and see it forward. You are truly the curse to SINHALAYA.Sooner the better if you guys would leave this planet. … may all curse be with you.

      • 2

        “Not JRJ but B putha Rajaakshe led extremists groups destroyed this nation.”
        It is a pity that you ‘para BP’ does not know that JRJ deliberately allowed thugs of Unpatriotic National Party to kill Demala people in 1983. Mahinda Rajapakse saved Demala people from savage called Prabhakaran who himself is a Demala. MR gave freedom and democracy to Demala people so that Wellala politicians can play havoc insulting and humiliating Rajapakses. When mostly low caste LTTE cadres were controlling NE, the so called high caste Wellala Demala politicians behaved like poodles of Prabhakaran. If they uttered anything against Prabhakaran a bullet goes through the head. These guys have forgotten that time. Ungrateful Demalu.

  • 1

    What ever politics differences between that come the point of extremism nexus Tamil nationalism and its chauvinism of Terrorism and Trotsky’s political ideology are unite in one platform by safeguard of the vital that interest of Eealm for Tamils race.
    The key issues of proposed Tamil regime in North that so-called Leftist outfits of LSSP’s SLCP and other leftist are stand for separatist state for Tamils regime in North-east. That is why that TNA LTTE and other Global Tamil diasporas claim as similar an ideal which that promoted by Trotsky’s ideology of David Kumar had been turn into voice of “Democracy” of Tamil chanavism ?
    While David K turn into been “champion of Democracy” of whole nation Island by who has that self appointmented to be decisive factor gure of “Left” camp.This new left political anarchism by products of vandalism was born out of that of undevelopment Neoliberalist Capitalism in Sri lanka.

    The Kumar David has deroute ; that his views an adjusted to NEW colour of politics,that has is become barometer of an “Island democracy” !
    DK who decided what is that Fascist ? How to deal with Democracy type of Presidential system of an Island ?
    Eventually that David K….reserved rights of several an interpretation of Dictatorship or Democracy!
    It is always suited Tamil political ambition of Tamil separatism in locally; then enlarge into Global Tamil Empire while annex to Tamil Nadu by 21st century The Empire base in the tip of Indian Ocean.

    His line of politics of Liftism not that leftism has no cerdintital and credibility at all . Of cause long history of LSSP has no silver line of People movement led by Old generation leaders of outfit that ex-Trotskyist political Party since it inception of 1935!
    The current political phenomenon is far from that reality what talk by David Kumar !!! @ $.

  • 2

    Prof Kumar David is wrong in his alt-right, or whatever it is, classification.
    He says ~ “The Bodu Bala Sena, known for partiality to Gota, is an outfit that seeks Buddhist predominance and campaigns against Muslims and Christians who it says pose a threat to the nation’s Sinhala-Buddhist identity; echoes of Renaud Camus”.
    Come off it. It was Gota who crawled to BBS.
    Camus is distancing from Tarrant.
    Kumar David goes on ~ “The worry however is that since Gota took no stand against anti-Muslim pogroms in the Southern and Central Provinces and human rights violations during the civil-war, though individual terrorism will be dealt with sternly, nationalist extremism will be fingered differently…”.
    “…..Gota took no stand……”.
    My foot! In this case ‘no stand’ is a stand.
    Kumar David’s assessment of GR ~ “….He is a disciplinarian and was resolute against LTTE terrorism…”.
    GR needs protection in all fronts. He vanished after the Matale massacre. He came back because MR had by then started the family cult.
    Remember the ‘traitors in black gowns’ episode?
    GR had the foresight, my foot, to lay the foundation for the, easier to control, Sinhala-Buddhist Armed Services.
    GR inflicted that compulsory boot-camps/military training. He sent school principals to ‘Officer’ camps. He created KDU to produce ‘brass-bigot’ VCs to head the traditional universities.
    GR is a military disciplinarian not the ones we have in mind.
    Why the hell have you started crawling Kumar David?
    Another DJ?
    PS: By the way ‘Brexit’ is not a tragedy but is a Dream comedy.

  • 0

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  • 1

    Taliskir 10 year old… I am happy Professor Kumar is also into Single Malt.
    I just opened a Lagavulin 16 year old. ..It is too smokey for me, although my mate from Colombo enjoyed it thoroughly..

    I am also happy Professor Kumar has focused on something about alleviating Poverty and developing the country .
    I hope what he meant is to lift the Dalits ,at least into Red Label Class , as nearly 5 years of Yahapalanaya hasn’t brought them up even in to Old Arrack .

    They are still into Moon Shine and Madush’s & Mates Kerala Herbs and Kudu Sniffing.

    Here is some eye opening real time Stats about the Goodness of this Yahapalanya.
    Top 10 GCE 10 Scores are all from Colombo.
    With a few from other cities including one from Mahinda in my Home Town..
    Does this say something to those Yahapalala suckers ?.

    Dr Ranil’s first “cull” under Yahapalanaya was the 1000 Super Schools Project for the Villages which was dedicated to Dalits who are over 70 percent of the inhabitant population.

    Tell me, aren’t there kids . even one with enough IQ in Killinochchi or Kebelithigollawa to get into this Top Ten.

    Pure and simple fact is those Dalit Kids haven’t got the Resources to bring out their talent.
    Because they do not have proper schools .
    Neither they have Tuition facilities Nor jobs for their Parents to send them to main Cities where you get good schools and with saturated tuition ….

    And Dr Ranil is boasting about a Gamperaliya from his death bed. after spending 4 years wrecking the Economy , and the Economic Development ..
    Wonder whether the Vellala Party TNA get Mr Abraham to analyse this remarkable GCE List , which gives the best picture of the plight of the Dalits…

  • 2

    I think this fake political writer should keep to what he is best at, viz., teaching EE or math or something along those lines.

    He is getting ready to kiss the derriere of Gota and the Rajapakse clan. The hand writing is on the wall.

    Also, not sure what makes him think that Modi can’t secure the majority votes in UP, Rajasthan and his hime state Gujarat? He has now become an political pundit as well it seems?

    Armchair socialist he is!

  • 1

    Who ever the next President of Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka is, his first challenge is to restrain wild minorities of Sri Lanka, especially cunning Marakkala Muslims.
    Biased speaker Karu may be the UNP presidential candidate. That is why Yahaplana retards created the ‘Parliament drama’ , to build an heroic image for Karu.
    Right now Gota is the Alfa-male in Sri Lanka’s political scene.
    Gota 2020!

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