15 October, 2019

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Does Legality Matter At All?

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

There has been a recent flurry of media attention paid to the potential candidacy of Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the candidate of the Pohottuwa group at the next Presidential election.

While his is obviously a very well-financed campaign if the demonstrations of support that have been organized for him all over the country are anything to go by, I am somewhat bemused at the fact that, most recently, a journalist who could hardly be characterized as anti-Rajapaksa has produced what amounts to irrefutable proof that the afore-mentioned Mr. Rajapaksa is still a citizen of the Excited States of Amnesia, familiarly known as the USA, and cannot, therefore, run for elected office in Sri Lanka. That in fact, is what Mr. D. B. S. Jeyaraj has to say in his understated description of the status quo and Mr. D.B.S.J can hardly be described as a practitioner of yellow journalism. In fact, it has been very evident that he has stepped very gingerly on the turf around Sri Lanka’s Royal Family for quite a while now.

Given the consistent conduct of affaires Sri Lankan, does it matter what the law says when what is emerging is the simple reality of “might is right” and “the golden rule is that he who holds the gold makes the rules?” Do the established precedents suggest otherwise? Some newspaper headlines notwithstanding, any illegality is soon mired in piles of legal red tape in the matter of appeals, counter-appeals and counter-counter appeals ad infinitum till “how it all began” is lost in the cloud of bureaucratic wrangling. If one were to examine headline-fetching events of recent origin the fact that this is no exaggeration will be clearly borne out. In these circumstances, it is well within the realm of reality that someone who is disqualified from doing so, will run for the highest office in this land, be elected and proceed to exercise the prerogatives previously available only to oppressive monarchs. 

In the matter of the administration of justice being fogged by bureaucratic manipulation, take the case of the Muslim doctor recently accused of performing mass sterilization of Sinhala women. I challenge anyone reading this piece to accurately describe where on earth that whole business is now.  Has the fabricated “evidence” been thrown out, is the doctor on the way to obtaining some form of compensation from those who have, literally, destroyed him, his fellow-doctor wife and their family? Or are they all in collective limbo?

I suppose a typical response by the current leadership of this country could well be, “His is not the only case of a Muslim persecuted for the religious beliefs he holds,” much as Ahimsa Wickrematunge was told when she inquired as to the status quo of the investigation into her late father’s execution that his (Lasantha Wickrematunge’s) was not the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka.

The simple recounting of the sequence of events in this saga of citizenship relevant to the election to the highest political office in the land, backed up by copies of all the relevant US documents would make shocking reading in any other jurisdiction but the “cradle of Sinhala Buddhist civilization.” However, as they used to say in another part of the world, “Give your head a shake, buddy,” and wake up to the cruel reality of present-day Sri Lanka, well on its way to becoming the epitome of a nation pretending to be a practicing democracy while ignoring the basic precepts of that philosophy of governance.  

And that’s saying something in a world dominated by the likes of Trump, Putin and, now, Boris Johnson.

Much as it might seem like “… (breaking wind) against thunder,” remember that those who mounted the campaign to rid Sri Lanka of its last murderous regime were accused of unprecedentedly Quixotic conduct. Nevertheless, they led a movement that succeeded.  It was thanks to their efforts that there have been  no white van disappearances, tortures and deaths of rugby players, instances of unpunished third-degree assaults on journalists and brutalities of otherkinds, too numerous to mention, on those that were seen as “enemies.”

Pretty well all of the highly skilled and principled women journalists who spearheaded the campaign to rid this nation of those who opted to rule by violence have begun to re-emerge in our hour of need.  Particularly given current circumstances, there is no alternative but to give them as much support as is humanly possible in yet another campaign to retain what little democracy we have regained in the governance of our affairs and try to build on it, preventing a return of murder and mayhem as the means of conducting the affairs of this nation.  Nothing less will suffice.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    Whatever that may be Sri lankans just dont want another Rajapakse Regime to rule over this nation.
    Besides who wants a discarded Army Officer who abandoned the Army at a crucial time as President of this country?
    Why should we import Americanised Sri Lankans when we have our own?
    And why depend on these old crooks to run the affairs of this country when we have so many young Professionals who can do a good job.
    Why depend on these old buggers who will be upto their old tricks once again?

  • 2
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    EvdP has lifted ever so lightly the skirt that hides the shenanigans preceding the Presidential hustings. The Pohottuwa strategy will have many twists and turns and it will no doubt unravel itself in the months to come. The real test will be when the parties step into court. Will the judiciary that stood firm when Sirisena tried his constitutional larks prove to be malleable when the Rajapaksa’s come calling. Just as worrying is the depressing outlook given the shortage, even non-existence, of a serious and capable challenger(s) who will stop the barbarian Rajapakse horde before they resume business as in days of yore. Those of a weak constitution had better make urgent plans for a graceful exit before the shit hits the fan. Be assured, Gota the Enforcer doesn’t care much for taking prisoners; or for ‘shit eating pigs’. As for the man who will be President, we should all remember his hoarse chilling retort: . .’who is Lasantha?’ If the Great Enforcer gets in the hot seat, expect no mercy.

    The blessed Mahanayake who exhorted Gota to ‘be a Hitler’ may still get his wishes. We the People will get our ultimate nightmare.

  • 2
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    How many avatars can one man impersonate?
    =
    These ‘hival’ writers who comment on their own drivel are not being clever or effective, they are only living up to their bastard mulatto origins.

  • 1
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    We call this kind of rubbish as selective amnesia. This so called “legality” issue arose because of a late night passing of a piece of “legislation” solely directed at preventing a certain individual called Gotabaya Rajapakse from contesting a future presidential election. It simply demonstrates the garbage the author of this article spew here. He doesn’t talk about how democratic institutions were deliberately suppressed through suspension of elections, completely failing national security and allowing Islamist terrorists to strike for the first time in SL, arrest and jailing of largest number of Buddhist monks under various flimsy pretexts because they were thought to be supporters of previous president, long term incarceration of security forces personnel with no charges, parading of opposition politicians between prison and back while looters in their own “yahapalana” rank were living the high life of freedom and perks such as the one of pent house fame who incidentally was sitting in a select committee questioning the police and other security top brass….!! These are vermins this fella wants us to keep in power……

    • 2
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      “late night passing of a piece of “legislation” “

      224 bar 1 voted for it ………. including the Rajapakses! :))))))))

      Better take a double dose of your “selective amnesia” pills. :))

    • 5
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      Hela:
      Would you care to comment, specifically, on the murders of Lasantha Wicremetunga and Wasim Thajudeen, the brutal assaults of such as Keith Noyahr, the disappearance of Ekneligoda whose murder, dismemberment and “burial” at sea has been very graphically described a long time ago. And those are but a FEW instances of what your folks committed.
      Sorry, bud, that kind of conduct doesn’t fit into my book of democratic governance!
      While you are about it, I’d suggest you change your pseudonym from “Hela” to “Hell,” though what pseudonyms cowards hide under hardly is worth drawing attention to!

      • 2
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        Emil,

        While the incidents you mentioned definitely need to be brought to courts and justice to be meted, your political masters never did it during the four plus years they had POWER to do so. You and your masters (of Batalanda fame…..yes, you didn’t mention Richard De Zoysa….) used those incidents as political football only to be brought to the surface during elections. We expect it to happen until the next election is over too. No one can blame Gota for yahapalanista action or inaction. So don’t try to climb onto the high horse mate……your trousers are falling off……….

        • 1
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          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

        • 1
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          Helaya:
          Given your obvious proclivities, you may rest assured that I will NEVER let my trousers come off in a neighbourhood inhabited by the likes of you! What happened to the rock from under which you emerged? Somebody steal it so you can’t scurry under it?

          • 0
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            Emil,

            Yeah, we know you only let your trousers come off near Royal/Flower Road………..

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