20 January, 2022

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Early Farewell Or Maturing Plot?

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

There are two not necessarily opposing, may even be complementary assessments taking root among analysts regarding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s intentions and his frame of mind. One view is that the regime is weak, cornered has no way out of crisis, the Resigned to Defeat (RD) option. The other view is that the regime is going to pull a rabbit out of a military hat, the Authoritarian Option (AO). Both seem to be on the table in the minds of those who decide these things.

What motivates today’s column is a report in the last week’s Sunday Times about a tamasha for military types that the President fêted. The feedback on my laptop and iPhone were of two varieties: RD theorisers who said this is Gotabaya’s swansong, his advance farewell party. Did they sing He’s a Jolly Good Fellow and Jayamangala Gaatha, the report didn’t say? The other lot were the conspiracy theorists who see a black-hand clenching a dagger behind every jeep. They say “Why is he feting the military on a grand scale? He is up the gum tree and has no option but a military-authoritarian grab. I am inclined to agree with the former proposition while keeping space for the latter. Let me explain why I sense the need for caution.

I received before Christmas from a comrade I have long had a close association an email whose gist was: “A ‘defence pact’ of the whole opposition is premature. We (he is an NPP man) should consolidate our base at working class and village level and become a powerful force. There is no threat of a militaristic intervention at this time. The government is too weak and there is no way it can get out of its mess. If the situation changes we can reconsider. At the moment there is space for us to work towards an alternative power.” You see he is 100% an RD theorist, meaning he judges the AO or authoritarian option to be beyond the reach of the regime.

That the government is screwed-up like a headless chicken and is sinking ever deeper into the mire is just what I have been saying for six months; so I have no problem with this sentence. But the “If the situation changes etc.” assurance is like a brave man who promises to take a life insurance policy after he kicks the bucket. Why “if” and “reconsider” after? Why can’t both be done now? How does all the opposition agreeing to a minimal defensive alliance obstruct “consolidating the base at working class and village level”? What stops anyone’s propaganda and programme work if the opposition takes a joint stand against the regime attempting militaristic hanky-panky? Somebody must teach this comrade formal logic.

The cost of misjudgement is high. An attempted military adventure will not blow over. It will lead to years of anarchic instability, bloody struggle and horror. The weaker the regime, the worse the anarchy and the civil war. The junta in Burma and Sudan are “too weak” that is why there is so much brutality, bloody repression, murder and rape. This is the consequence of a coup by an unpopular and weak junta. QED comrade.

Web report of the gathering at President’s House

“A 1,090 strong military contingent from the tri-forces were the stars on Wednesday night at a gala ceremony at the President’s House. There were drinks and dinner hosted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Commander-in-Chief and Defence Minister. The guests included one-time Navy Commander Wasantha Karanagoda – now Governor of the North Western Province, Rtd. Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakody, Rtd. Air Force Marshal Roshan Goonetilleke and one-time Navy Commanders Daya Sandagiri and Thisara Samarasinghe. There was no formal ceremony associated with the event but military bands from the three armed forces took turns in playing background music. One participant surmised that the event concerned those who were recruited to the Navy and to other related services after 1971. They had all been associated with Colonel Rajapaksa at different times”. (quoting Sunday Times Sri Lanka, 26 Dec 2021)

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Latest comments

  • 16
    1

    A military coup to “capture” and run Sri Lanka as a fiefdom until problems are solved by a slavish
    military, cannot be ruled out.
    Sri Lanka may have no other option due to social discontent and economic morass which are evident to the populace.
    In the past there was a “coup” which was overcome easily. The military are now firmly entrenched socially and administratively. The “coup” will begin slowly by taking over the banks and lower state expenditure like salaries, pensions, etc. Public services like transport, health care etc. will be pruned. Parliament will be recessed, the press taken over and forced to publish “realistic” news of state enterprises showing profits. A rationing of food will be enforced.
    Sri Lanka will become like Myanmar.
    The military are being pampered preparatory to a slow commencement of measures to conserve expenditure. There is no alternative.

    • 0
      0

      justice

      A military coup to “capture” and run Sri Lanka as a fiefdom until problems are solved by a slavish
      military, cannot be ruled out.

      don’t frighten people unnecessarily.military coups will never happen in sri lanka unless with the blessing of the US or the US saying it will look away.

  • 19
    2

    KD,
    “Nava Gilinuth Band Chün!”
    Whatever happens to the state, the 6.9 million and the priests who wanted a Hitler will be very happy at those turn of events! Their dream of security and safety of country is assured! Is it not?
    What more do you expect?
    they seem to be extremely happy to eat a pod of Green Bean at SL RS. 7.50 and Carrot a piece at 50.00.
    Why worry? celebrate with the Navy band!!
    I wonder when will sense come back to these guys? Very hard to imagine of a country claiming 85% literacy and numeracy going this way!!!
    Whither Sri Lanka?
    Let the Sangha who wanted a ‘Hitler’ of all things, will realise their folly soon it seems!?
    Wimal, Vasudeva and Udaya for going against cabinet decision “not taken with transparency would be treated as Traitors and non patriotic actors”!!! The scenario set up by HE already!!?
    What a wonderfully exciting time and vibrant country, the resplendent Sri Lanka!

    God help, guide and bless Sri Lanka!

  • 17
    1

    “Early Farewell”

    Early farewell, my foot! ……….. I’m in a foul mood, this cheery season.

    No clean getaway ………. I want to see people who looted the country hanged in The Galle Face Green.


    Or is it “hung” Sinhala_Man? I don’t want anyone to escape due to my bad English …….. like the guy who escaped due to misplaced comma ………

    While you guys were busy arguing about the merits of different languages ……….. I’ve become proficient in all 3 ……

    I knew all I wanted to know in Sinhala and Tamil; was deficient in English. Then I ran into Native Vedda …………. now, I have all the communication-tools, I want to have, to get by: self-sufficient.

    Know all the cuss words in all the 3 languages. ……… If Nathan tries to be funny ……… I’ll let fly ……. starting with Puund….

    Shall leave all the high-flown stuff for ye guys to get confused ……… to ye heart’s content ……….

    • 5
      0

      nimal fernando

      “I knew all I wanted to know in Sinhala and Tamil; was deficient in English. Then I ran into Native Vedda …………. now, I have all the communication-tools, I want to have, to get by: self-sufficient.”

      Well I am wondering ………………..

    • 7
      0

      Or is it “hung” Sinhala_Man?
      I tell you for free, Nimal! Sinhala-man is a pro. You were right first time! Bravo!
      But, I’d have said “on Galle Face Green”.
      And why “THE Galle F…G…” No need of “the” unless you want to emphasise that you mean that particular GFG and no other.
      Agree? Sinhala_man.
      Forgive me for butting in.

      • 5
        0

        Manel,

        Sinhala_Man is always offering to teach me English in exchange for joining his Quixotesque battles with the STC. ……. It’s just a walk down the road with my books from the holiday home in Bindunuwewa Road. But I want to unlearn all what I’ve learned.

        In family gatherings any talk of STC is taboo: a sure party stopper. Thank my lucky stars, my father saw through the whole charade and ran away ………… spared me all the battles: blessed me with a peaceful life.

        Why do people who can’t fight, always looking for fights? Once I went with my BIL – who had offered to coach for a few weeks in the absence of the regular coach – for a boxing-do in Mount. All the STC boys with expensive Emo haircuts and manicured nails were getting their tonsils fixed for free by some outstations boys. I couldn’t watch it and tried to get into the ring; he was holding me back. Then things went from bad to worse; he tried to get into the ring and I was holding him back. It was pure Laurel and Hardy; STC style.

        • 3
          0

          continued

          Is St Thomas the one who slayed dragons? …….. Native Vedda has also fashioned himself as a modern-day dragon-slayer. In his world dragons are women. …….. He sees them as fire-breathing dragons ……… I suppose. ………. Hard to picture Ramona with smoking nostrils.

          Dunno what school Eagle Eye went to! …… Old Codger is one cleaver guy: a silent observe. That’s the school he plans to send all his kids now in the pipeline ………

          • 6
            0

            nimal fernando

            “In his world dragons are women. ……..”

            You won’t believe this, I am also married to a woman.

            • 3
              0

              Native,
              “You won’t believe this, I am also married to a woman”
              What a relief!

            • 2
              0

              Native,

              If you treat girls well they treat you well in return.

              Let me tell you about the Chinese girlfriend when I have a little more free time ………… I have to word it right, so Old Codger wont steal a march on me!

              • 1
                0

                nimal fernando

                “If you treat girls well they treat you well in return.”

                True man.

          • 2
            0

            Nimal,
            “That’s the school he plans to send all his kids now in the pipeline”
            My pipeline dried up many moons ago. My grandkids? No thanks, I don’t want them turning out like Namal Baby or Chichi.

            • 0
              0

              “I don’t want them turning out like Namal Baby or Chichi.”


              OC,

              Or they could turn up like Prof Kumar David or Sinhala_Man!

              Who else?

        • 1
          0

          Dear Nimal

          I do hope you weren’t offended by my not minding my own business. Please see my response to Nathan. I wasnt aware (mobile) I was responding to him till just before posting, I then had to edit it to address him. Cant write it all again, so please understand.

          • 1
            0

            “I do hope you weren’t offended”

            Manel,

            No, not at all ………. I offend so many people, I’m in no position to get offended.

      • 4
        0

        Manel Fonseka,
        Do I get to have the same liberty that you ask for.
        .
        You are from ‘The UK’, aren’t you!
        The Galle Face Green is absolutely correct for the same reason.
        .
        (Don’t ask me, what the reason is!)
        .
        Now, Sinhala_man can jump in.
        .
        The next sentence of mine is just for academic purposes.
        ‘The’ indicates its uniqueness, is my guess.

        • 1
          0

          Of course, u have the same liberty & I wdnt have poked my nose in at all had not Nimal invited S_M to correct him — probably in jest.

          I felt like a bit of amusement. I do hope Nimal wasnt offended. The pandemic-caused isolation + total deafness the last week seem to have brought on a need to communicate. I never spent as much time on my mobile as now, late into the night. Didnt even have one, either, till pressed upon me by concerned friends after my husband died nearly 7 years ago.

          Oddly enough, I dont think I have ever said I’m “from the UK”….. not even “I’m from Britain or England” (ask S_M why “the” (definite article) only used re UK — I dunno why. Oh, maybe cos “united” is an adjective.
          If asked, as I still am by strangers (trishaw drivers, for instance), & I never know if this is because I dont look “right” or my Sinhala doesnt ring true, I might say, well, I was born in London, or England but I’m half x or y. Funny, I wonder why I never use the term “UK”.
          Now I’d better apologise to Nimal — in case HE was not amused.

        • 1
          0

          Just occurred to me, Nathan, re yr,
          “You are from ‘The UK’, aren’t you! The Galle Face Green is absolutely correct for the same reason.”
          The short answer is “No!”
          And that’s because “united” is an adjective and “Galle” isn’t. But if losing “the” upsets you, perhaps you can try “the Green Galle Face”. 😅

          • 0
            0

            Manel Fonseka,
            A true Britisher would object to any wording other than, ‘The UK’.
            ( To them, theirs is the only Kingdom that qualifies to the ‘The’. )
            .
            Happy N’Year.

    • 2
      0

      … I’ll let fly ……. starting with …. .
      You are starting in the reverse order!

    • 1
      0

      Nimal,
      “Or is it “hung” Sinhala_Man? “
      Ah, but I don’t think SM knows that’s a compliment, though he’s an expert in English.

      • 2
        0

        OC,

        I feel, Sinhala_Man is very sensitive about what STC board/admin has done to him.

        Perhaps, he is cutup about my needling him ……… I’m just ribbing ……. I will never ask anyone about these things. I try to stay out of peoples personal affairs. …….. besides I have my hands full with my battles with Native!

  • 15
    1

    Military types are not intelligent, but even they should be able to read the writing on the wall. Also, keep in mind that Shavendra Silva is Sarath Fonseka’s man.

    • 4
      2

      Not any more, the Rajapaksa’s have made him their favorite guy now.

  • 11
    3

    Sorry Lanka has defaulted repaying Bangladesh loan!! SL has asked for 3 more months to repay it!

    Rajapaksa political dynasty ends with Gota.

  • 9
    2

    keep on dreaming kumar.Gota is going to contest the next election unless he has a heart attack.

  • 11
    1

    A guy who is scared will always see ghosts in every dark place – my Grandmother use to say this. I think this is the situation Gotabaya is in today. He is so scared of everything that’s happening around him, he is surrounding himself with the military guys and Buddhist monks. The biggest enemy of Gota is Mahinda Rajapakse who is pulling the rug under Gota to bring his son Namal Baby to power.

    • 0
      0

      “The biggest enemy of Gota is Mahinda Rajapakse”

      the biggest enemy of gota is gota.strongminded leaders are their own worst enemy.

  • 7
    1

    Governing a country in a democratic way is different from leading an Army contingent to defeat terrorism. The aim of leading a military Force is to reduce the risks from terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence. The aim of governing a country is to reduce the poverty and promote the economic development of the country, so that people can go about their lives freely with civil liberties with confidence. In Sri Lanka it is a war against the terrorists and not against the innocent people. But Rajapaksas are under the impression that the usage of the Federalism also tantamount to terrorism resulting in the mass arrest of innocent whose freedom of expression (some of whom are dead in prison) is affected. Rajapaksas are under the impression that they have fought a war with a country and have misled the people. While being in power with the assistance of the Military, they were involved in corrupt practices & swindling the wealth of the Nation. Moreover, they were concerned of appointing the Military Officers as Sri Lanka’s Ambassadors/High Commissioners when, in fact, there was a specific foreign Administrative Sector to deal with. Gotabhaya also was involved in releasing the most convicts and appointed them to higher posts thus ridiculing the independence of Judiciary. They were not the least concerned about eliminating the poverty of the country.

  • 5
    3

    KD, given Sir Fail’s history, it’s clear (commonsense), there is only one option and that is AO, there is no RD option what soever. The massive military gathering and partying doesn’t indicate farewell but to welcome a new year under AO, filled with more of Discipline and vistas of splendor, less of prosperity. Why do you think Sir replaced every public official with a military personal from day one without even waiting to see the economic/ pandemic impact.

  • 12
    1

    I can tell you one thing about President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Frame of Mind’. He is beginning to feel like what the Captain of the Titanic felt after the ocean liner struck the iceberg. That Captain suffered intense emotional agony but only for a duration of less than three hours. But in this case, the emotional agony will last for a much longer period. People with heart conditions will not be able to withstand this kind of torture for long! If the president’s favorite cardiologist is a responsible person, he will ask him to retire and go home (to the US?) and take a long rest.

    • 5
      0

      Leaders of Developed world , on many occasions , left their jobs to
      spend time with their families . Such is the sense of life’s value .
      I don’t wonder why the reverse is true in the case of our country
      because we see the level of greed our leaders are displaying about
      grabbing a hot seat at any age and time by hook or crook . Quite
      contrary to the world that we are looking up to become like .And
      destroying the time ,energy and enthusiasm of future leaders.
      For about decades now , job share is one alternative to growing
      unemployment issues in the developed world . People are choosing
      to possess more than one skill to fight unemployment . What are we
      doing for a change in our attitudes from about selecting and
      electing our leaders to finding opportunities for those who need
      them most ? All we are witnessing is a kind of Mafia using Democracy
      to mislead the ignorant fellow country men . Undoubtedly what is
      happening in Srilanka , more than fifty percent of it is due to its culture ,
      many may feel hurt but that is the truth ! In the US or Europe , can
      anyone tell me , who is looking for heavy responsibilities at the age of
      retirement ? Not exactly at the age , after the age , let alone bad heart
      conditions ! People are such fools in our country , they are hiring
      Engines that must be at the scrap yard by now . If they are not fools ,
      who are they ?

      • 2
        0

        WW/
        It is not JUST the level of greed but a TRICK to survive AND saving their families and circles/ please study it again/ who are the winners of current situation?
        .

        NOT A single case filed against them left but got exonerated in the same time no justice to those get killed by gas-cylinder-blasts? No compensation for the peasants that experience livelihood damages by organic manure instead of fertiliser 😎🙂🐕🐃😎🙂🐕🐃😎🙂🐕🐃

    • 10
      0

      Dear Capt M,
      ….That Captain suffered intense emotional agony ……
      That Captain bore the responsibility for the disaster bravely till the last. But already Gota is laying the blame on those who did not implement his harebrained fertilizer policy on the agriculture dept. instead of realising the folly of the policy itself which has created a near famine and loss of dollars from other export agriculture industries. Finally he will even blame all of us, for not doing everything to avoid the disaster ourselves but never Mea Culpa.
      That Captain went down with the ship – Gota may abandon this Ship of State and run to USA.

  • 8
    1

    The option Resigned to Defeat[ RD ] IS UNLIKELY.
    Dudley Senanayake? Yes! He would have thrown in the towel at the drop of a hat……….
    President Gotabaya has the experience of fire walking……..
    I guess he is also capable of carrying a lighted torch under water all the way……….

    So, Prof: coming colours not good ah…….

  • 4
    1

    The average citizen in SL is facing food shortages, escalating high cost of living, even dangers from ‘exploding’ gas tanks, which the govt has failed to address. In this wake, a knees up for the military seems like Nero fiddling while Rome burnt. Surely, it must be gesture of thanks in acknowledgment for the services & future expectations?

    We can expect the AO option because, not only in third world despotic regimes, but in all dictatorial regimes, from Putin’s Russia to Chinese Hong Kong, the armed forces play the vital role of suppressing the opposition. As for RD, although most welcome, can’t be in the vocabulary of a (perceived) ‘Ranaviru’ who safeguard the Sinhala race & Buddhism from Tamil & Muslim terrorists. The writing, as the saying goes, is on the proverbial wall.

    As foot note, may I add that a joint opposition maybe strong to topple a military regime but the problem is when it comes to sharing the ‘spoils’ because a coalition with opposing ideology will not work.

  • 7
    3

    We will become just like that other Buddhist nation – under military rule, and the minority will keep suffering, get attacked, and discriminated. A failed state. Nandasena has failed this country, policies of nepotism, corruption, cronyism, and racism, never, ever, succeeds. If only our naive voters realized that just because a man kept the streets clean by shouting at the workers, does not mean he can govern a nation successfully. For this country to progress and succeed, we need honest,, qualified, and intelligent leaders, who will not have racist policies to turn one against the other, divide and rule.

    Most of all, we need leaders who will put people and country ABOVE family and off shore accounts.
    Right now there is no one fitting that description. There is a stinking culture of corruption in our politics that we have been cursed with for decades.

  • 8
    1

    Prospects are grim, but the fall is not yet imminent..
    Comments so far are by those who want the government or at least the head of state to go.
    Like the author’s, all guesses of the course of events to come are based on subjective wishes.

    • 3
      0

      Dear SJ,
      ………Prospects are grim, but the fall is not yet imminent…….
      Is this not your subjective view or wish or guess as well ?
      ….all guesses of the course of events to come are based on subjective wishes…..
      In the current context, how can one truly classify what is an “objective view”.
      May be one from an “Eagle Eye” perspective will help.
      But for myself I am honest to say – “My View” straightaway.

    • 4
      0

      SJ

      “Prospects are grim, …………………….”

      Not really, people of the North are over the moon since the visit of Chinese Ambassador and his entourage to Nallur, Point Pedro, Mannar, Pesalai, …..

      Minister Douglas welcome the Chinese, saying that when foreigners come to develop the area they should be welcome. Alright, Hindians are suddenly going to remember Choolaimedu in Chennai.
      https://www.deccanchronicle.com/151216/nation-current-affairs/article/douglas-devananda-face-trial-january-18

      Sajith is very proud as he sees the opposition has earned the trust of Chinese who gave away Rs 20 Million worth of freebies to North East through his Samagi Jana Balawegaya party.

      Rs 20 Million could persuade the parties to switch sides in the these GREAT GAMES in the Indian ocean.
      I wonder who brokered the deal.
      Where is Nimal Fernando?
      Is he busy frolicking with his Chinese female friend, in Kalpitiya, not that I am interested in his personal affairs?

  • 3
    0

    I’m inclined to anticipate RD, partly because I think MR doesnt want to see a situation arise in which his son ‘n heir might not be able to claim his inheritance before too long. And I think that MR & Chamal, at least, may not want to be associated with a militaristic regime.
    And if GR does opt for any kind of AO, could that lead to problems of regaining his dual citizenship (if, indeed, he truly renounced it) or even just right to future residence. What does he value most? To be all-powerful in a messy, crisis-ridden, scarcely-developing country, or to retire “gracefully” in one with so many advantages to ease the problems of advancing age? Of course, I am assuming that all 4 Rs have really acquired sufficient assets by now & dont really need to sqeeze anything more out of sunny SL.

    And somehow, despite everything, I just cant believe that SL, the people of SL, will really & truly assent to total AO without a struggle.

    Wishful thinking?…..

  • 0
    3

    Wishful thinking never got anyone anywhere lol

    Now suddenly President “Gotabaya Rajapakse ?” What is up old man. no more Gora or Nandesena ?

  • 2
    0

    I’m beginning to feel that I have to back down from my wishful thinking, as I am becoming aware of developments I have missed out on. And due to deafness, I dont understand what is being said by critical journalists, etc., on videos that are posted on CT. Very frustrating. I tried to follow several Leelagemalli has posted but only by skimming the comments by viewers, usually in Sinhala but thanks to an automatic translation I pick up a morsel of what the speaker is saying — one seems to be Tharindu something, another Chamara Perera???. These arent names I have come across before. I wish I knew something about them I dont even bother to watch TV news as there are no captions.
    Anyway, I am coming around to the idea that the authoritarian or militaristic option is quite likely as GR is bringing more and more functions under the security forces.

  • 0
    0

    Authoritarian option is possible only with the tacit consent of India. Sri Lanka can’t go it alone. Even if it is possible considering the weak nature of internal forces, when it comes to the overthrow of democratic process, India may intervene. This must be a deterent to any politician or otherwisw who think along the authoritarian line. China may take the side of Sri Lanka for an authoritarian style government but if Lankan leaders go for it, it will cross a red line. So they have to maintain a semblance of democratic governance. So no point in talking or theorising too much about the authoritarian option. In any case, think seriously about how all mighty governments in the past were thrown out at the ballot box. Lern lessons from such experiences.

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