25 July, 2017

Does Our Gambling With ‘Development’ Signal The Rise Of The Mafia ?

By Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

I walk the hills rising from an azure blue Caribbean sea, and try to envision the history that I have been told, a history of an island, green, tropical, rich in resources that fell into a despotic military aided rule. The consequence of a power drunk ruler who made it easy for his cronies to move money across its borders and legalized gambling to facilitate the Mafia to launder its ill-gotten money from the US. The underworld became the lords and the land went out of reach for ordinary citizens. This history spoke of a small group of dedicated people, who struggled through incredible odds and fuelled by a shining love for their country, won the nation back from the underworld.

It was an impossibly small boat that arrived on the shores of Cuba with its cargo of committed revolutionaries in 1956 ‘more dead than alive’ as Che recounted, loosing over half of their comrades, in battles, yet they went on to win their nation back from the underworld. By this action the amazing ability of the human spirit to rise to the ‘love of country’ is clearly demonstrated.  Cuba was embroiled in corruption, its dictator Batista was supported by gangsters, thugs and killers.  The huge inflow of money through their money laundering operations created a massive disparity of income and Cuban society descended into a situation of economic colonization.  The corruption was so bad that the US president John F. Kennedy once stated:

I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation, which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.”

The history of Cuba haunted me on my return to Sri Lanka; one of the first actions of Batista on gaining power was to facilitate the flow of external money through its economy and to legalize gambling, which facilitated the entry of the mafia into the country to launder its ill-gotten wealth from the US.  One of the first actions of the new government of Sri Lanka was to liberalize the flow of money through our nation and legalize gambling. Was this to be the creation of our own Batistas and the surrendering of our nation to the underworld elements, local and of Asia, Russia etc? As recently pointed out in the parliamentary speech by Mangala Samaraweera M.P It is the activity of the underworld and their laundering of money though our economy that now contributes to our ‘economic growth’ but is this something to crow about?

Such ‘misdirected growth’ is often promoted to enrich the people with power to amass capital but it creates a class of ‘super rich’ which rapidly widens the inequality gap between rich and poor.  The reason as to why we should all be vigilant about the phenomenon of a widening inequality gap between the rich and the poor is very lucidly explained in the informative and eye opening book ‘The Spirit Level’  by two Epidemiologists, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Their data shows that the consequence of a widening ‘inequality gap’ degrades the health and well being of the people, this phenomenon applies to all countries from the so-called ‘rich’ to the so-called ‘poor’.

So, by all measures it seems that we are descending into a mafia controlled sate, rife with corruption, nepotism and cronyism. This process, like a cancer will eat into our society, destroy our culture and enslave our children. Time will come when decent people will yearn for justice and especially to rid the nation of corruption. But where will we find our champions?

For us, this struggle will be hard. It has been commented that this nation twice removed from its genepool, the genes for activism and bravery. In 1971 the government ‘removed ‘up to 20,000 or more of the educated, poor. Those who attended university or demonstrated interest in radical politics were young or unemployed were singled out for liquidation.  The next pogrom was in the late 1980’s when over 60,000 were ‘removed’ without a word being uttered in protest on any international stage. These people never passed their genes on. Genetically speaking, we removed from our race a large percentage of the traits for high intellectual potential and activism. Metaphorically, It has become the time of the bottom feeders in our gene pool to manifest themselves as the intellectuals and leaders.

Bottom feeders or ‘lowlife’ have a peculiar trait of myopia or short sightedness, that does not allow them to consider anything other than objects of their greed. Consider the recent reports from World Bank, Price Waterhouse Coopers etc that warns of the global temperature rise by 4-6 degrees due to the burning of fossil fuel and the use of cement.  Such a jump in global temperatures will exacerbate global poverty, trigger severe heat waves, sudden floods and droughts, and cause sea levels to rise by three feet, it will ravage food supplies. These reports warn us of the immediate need to reduce emitting fossil carbon and to prepare for the oncoming crises.  Given such a global scenario a responsible action would be to try and reduce our carbon footprint, but Sri Lanka’s  ‘economic development’ model does the exact opposite. We are made to accept the burning of fossil fuel, the construction of mega projects with a huge carbon debt in cement and increased fossil fuel use, as ‘peoples development’. Which people? We may well ask.  The promotion of irresponsible carbon emitting sports such as motorcar racing, as development processes in the face of a population struggling with the rise of fuel prices is grotesque to say the least, almost as if we were living on a different planet. The wonder of Asia may soon become the blunder of Asia.

We have won the war with a horrendous loss of lives of both combatants and innocents. But neither this loss nor the loss of our youth is ever acknowledged publicly to date. To a nation that values giving merit to the departed, no action to remember or give merit to the dead is encouraged, in fact such activities are violently discouraged.  From the killings of the 70’s to the killings of the 80’s to the killings of the 90’s  and into the new century,  it is the same people carry on the their ghastly work with no accountability to date. It is no surprise that we carry on this gristly tradition even to-date. We have become the ghouls that we accuse everyone else of being.  All of the killers, torturers and those who reveled in that horror past, still stalk the corridors of power.  No amount of propaganda can ever wash this blood from our hands. Only an honest and truthful reconciliation process with full accountability can!

Until then, it will be ‘Back to Batista’ and the rise of the Mafia for us.

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    Ranil, with regard to the depletion of our gene pool – SWRD’s ‘Sinhala Only’ policy, resulting in the the large scale exodus of the Burghers and ‘brain-drain’ of some of our best and brightest must surely be factored into our historical mistakes? “Activism and bravery” notwithstanding, the first depletion of our gene pool created the conditions for the rest of the crap that has followed, don’t you think?

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    Java Jones.
    It may appear that the gene pool has been depleted. I dont believe that. Nothing is irreplaceable. The gene pool is there, but the problem is ‘brain wash’, not ‘brain drain’.

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      Essie – I beg to differ! The demographics were altered ‘irreplaceably’ and what was lost can not be ‘replaced’. I would have thought that this would be obvious to most.

      Your assertion that “nothing is irreplaceable” is another point I disagree with, but this would take too much time and effort (and this is not the place) to get into this aspect more fully.

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      The diversity is depleted.

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    In the absence of balaced economic policies and sustainable development the desire to earn quick money and propel ourselves into the 21st century has caught hold of the govt. The pet project of the govt is to entice tourists, gamblers, perverts into this country on the guise of cultural tourism and extract as much money from them.

    We have a ThighLand in the making. Our people can offer their services to these foreigners as masseurs, croupiers, bartenders, waiters, drug peddlars and prostitutes. It is already happening and many Govt officials and politicians are involved in these ‘enterprises’. All these people will be given tax holidays.

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    Ranil my friend,

    You have made some pertinent observations.

    However you must not advocate revolution to do away with the present day poor governance that you allude to.

    You read the Sri Lankan mindset erroneously. We are a people full of inbuilt hatred towards everyone and everything. Furthermore we are full of envy and carry loads of suppressed grievances against perceived personal injustices. Our egos are huge, we easily take offence and the compassion that we so eloquently talk about and show is more often a mask than anything else. The atypical bonhomie and smiling faces that we present to the outsider hides a monstrous psyche. You may not have seen it but I have – in the last few decades.

    We have had enough carnage already. Should a leftist revolution succeed in Sri Lanka all that we will achieve is unleashing another Pol Pot on our hapless people.

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    The Rise Of The Mafia ?

    Totally Agree;

    But It Already Raised It’s Head, with the Full backing of JARAPASSA CLAN.

  • 0
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    The article contains valid concerns though tainted with BS.

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    Ranil, Our problem is not genes. But poor quality higher education that produce square pegs. For example, CIMA, a UK accounting body has the largest student population outside of that country in Sri Lanka. SL’s CIMA qualified accountants work all over the world as top professionals, mainly due to lack of opportunities here. But the cost of doing CIMA is now beyond the average student.

    We need quality higher education.

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      There is an irony in the fact that so many accountants are produced in a land with no accountability.

  • 1
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    ”use of cement” not only increases the carbon footprint but also fills up the natural spaces needed for other biological species.

    Concreting the North:
    The army of occupation has been filling up the North with Buddha statues and monstrous monuments since the end of the war in May 2009 while the govt detained the IDPs in camps and prevented aid agents reaching the returnees rebuild their lives.

    Tourist hotels have also been put up in the lands grabbed under ”High Security Zones” which have been extended by more haphazard landgrabbing by the ruling military while the returnees are struggling under trees or tin sheets over their heads without minimum livelihood while hordes of tourists stream past the carpeted roads trumpeted as ”infrastructure development” and ”highest percentage of economic growth” in the country.

    It is all buffered by the militarised(6 members from the armed forces), 19-member(18 Sinhalese and 1 Muslim) Presidential Task Force for Northern Development.

    Thus political oppression = usustainable development

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    the mafia died on the banks of the lagoon . there is no more mafia . Misdirected growth . tell that to Lee Hesingn loong . LKY’s son . :)

    • 0
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      One of the Sri Lankan Jarapassa Mafia’s Lackey’s,
      operating from Chicago, and connecting to U S Mafia.

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    Mafia is already here in a big way. Mostly in Parliament and the balance in paradesiya sabhas!

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    You take all Sinhala from Judge to the Hard Labour is adamont and think Sinhala is the best.. till they find out the weakness of Sinhala guys this country will be in 17th Century Gode country

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    Excellent article. It portray very well the state and future of this nation. Alas!
    Only a Cuban kind of revolution could save this country but as Ranil points out, where will we find our champions? When will the process of accountability start while the murderers enjoy power and protection?

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    phew! I thought Gehan was the last of the ones suffering from manic depresssion.

    So, by all measures it seems that we are descending into a mafia controlled sate, rife with corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

    Whilst not agreeing with the Casino, the state of things are a million times better than what it was 4 years ago. If Rajapakse is corrupt produce evidence without making wild and unsubstiatiated allegations.

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      Vibushana, You must be blind deaf and dumb or living outside of Sri Lanka (sorry forgot there are a few sycophants around too until the elephants kill them, and becomes to late to save them as even the Elephant habitat is destroyed) not to see the descent into the quagmire.

      Lets start with the environment. Air pollution, Sand Mining, Tree Felling, Quarrying, Encroaching on forest reserves,Destroying the wildlife, has got exponentially worse in the past 4 years with patronage of the Govt.

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        Buddy Patta Pal,

        Wild elephants, air pollution .. what the hell are you on about there?

        I said if corruption exists produce evidence. Similalry, if you are concerend about “air pollution” produce the data without farting around like an infant.

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          Oh forgot, the scandal of baby elephants been removed and handed over to the sycophants, it just goes on and on!

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      The Jarapassa’s and clan are Not corrupt,
      They are the real Buddhists and Following the Lord Buddha’s Path to attain Maha NIVANA, and the others are only Name sake Buddhists.
      They not Scoundrels and Looters, Killers.
      THE DAHJA JARAPASSAS not take any thing from the Peoples Coffers for their Luxurious lives.
      They are not afraid to go out and mingle with working people as they don’t have any thing to hide as they living a OPEN life like former presidente of PERU.
      JARAPASSA’S Spend their Own Wealth From COMMOMON Wealths.
      and going out for a morning walk like LEE Kuan Yew of Singapore with their pet Dog.
      They are Not spending a Cent for unnecessarily to hurt of any body.
      They don’t give any contract to kill any body,
      even they got hurt from bad Journalism of Sri Lankan Jurnos.
      Not even When they import DOGS from Switzerland.
      They give 10%, 20%, 30% ALL the Commission Offered by Foreign companies to OFF SHORE BANKS for the well being of future generation of Sri Lanka,
      and they have never, ever order to Shoot any body asking for Pure water for a village.
      They have never gone to any country, or to Genève for to complained for Human right violations by the governance.
      They have never ordered to kill, Arrested Prisoners before convicting for crimes,
      They will/would never touch any Historical artefacts or any valuables like Gold, Gems, Diamonds, even A Brick,
      like former PREMDASA to sell at SOTHBY Or Genève markets.

      Main thing is THEY DO NOT LIE , LOOT OR Cheat to the Nation.

      They are WELL BRED AND GROOMED LIKE their Own goons and Fleas, like Kudu DR Mervin Silva + family, Kudu Dumiya +, Kehelgedi Rmbaya .

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      How did Rajapaksas become soo rich in such a short time? — How did Basil build a luxury hotel in the North East, where did he get the money for it? How is Rajapaksa able to buy and build mansions in upscale Colombo neighbourhoods?

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    No problem with the mafia as long as they kill Tamilians.

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    I hope the morons in the SL a Govt will read this excellent article. However, with their limited knowledge, some
    one has to translate the article to Sinhala.

  • 0
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    Good article. The loss of the gene pool from the JVP violence in the 1971 and 1988-89 along with that of the LTTE terrorism is valid indeed. Though the quality of that loss may be disputed there is most definitely a loss in the diversity. The loss due to brain drain over the past five decades may be more significant in respect of quality. Whether this loss contributed to the capture of power by the rogue genes is an interesting conundrum that needs to be explored further. But one thing is clear. The mafia has taken control of the executive, legislature, and the judiciary. I am just wondering whether it is Batista or Papa Doc Duvaliere who is in charge.

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