By Dayan Jayatilleka –
Since anti-Covid-19 potions by black magicians is currently fashionable, one may say that there is a ‘black magic effect’ of fogging of the discussion about the Easter massacre.
Several top security and intelligence officials and officers admit that they received the Indian intelligence tip-off but did not raise the alarm nor really did anything much about it, and they seem to get away with that answer. Did they think that the prospect of a terrorist attack was not the sort of thing they were supposed to be dedicated to and paid a salary for preventing?
More dramatically, a news story broke in Beirut and Colombo that the Saudi embassy had by some intriguing coincidence, strictly cautioned its employees five days before the Easter massacre, not to move around during the Easter season. Has that story been fully investigated? Why doesn’t anyone talk about it?
That story, with an embedded video, was as follows:
‘Special instructions from Saudi Arabia to Embassy on Easter Attack
Written by Staff Writer 04 May 2019 | 7:49 PM
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Lebanese news outlet Alahed News reports that they have obtained a top-secret document sent by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Saudi Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Abdul Nasser al-Harethi.
The letter which was sent 5 days prior to the attack seems to indicate that the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was aware of the attack that took place on Easter Sunday.
The letter signed by Saudi Foreign Minister Ibrahim bin Abdul Aziz al-Assaf instructs the Ambassador to carry out the following steps.
“First: You should delete all documents, computer data and latest correspondence with domestic and foreign members and groups, in addition to imposing a curfew for the embassy personnel unless it is necessary.
Second: You should inform all those related to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including counsellors, security forces and intelligence during the three coming days, especially on the Christian Easter Day, to avoid presence in public and crowded places namely churches.
Third: You should send written news about the Sri Lankan authorities and their viewpoints regularly to this ministry …”
However, 2 days ago the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Sri Lanka advised its nationals to leave Sri Lanka, due to the prevailing situation in the country.
The embassy, in a tweet, said:
“Due to the current security situation in the Republic of Sri Lanka, the embassy advises citizens in Sri Lanka to leave.”
The Tamil parties are trapped between the Government’s unilateralism and Delhi’s apparent shift of focus, or priority, from the North-East Tamils to the Eastern Terminal.
A multi-track countervailing response seems strategically logical and likely:
1. A Tamil United Front, bringing together the able Tamil oppositional parliamentary front-liners, which would facilitate interface with the world community at political, diplomatic, and legislative levels.
2. A Tamil-speaking United Front incorporating the Muslim parties.
3. A self-reliant, self-propelled outreach and worldwide mobilization – including of Indian political society—through reasonable argumentation and leveraging of emergent new global Tamil influence.
Only the full weight and reach of the global Tamil community and its new political and social influence at the higher end, rather than the Tiger-cult devotee enclave, can move the needle of decision-making in capitals including Delhi. Blocking the way is The Prabhakaran Trap. No global soft-power battle of narratives for justice, rights, non-discrimination, and autonomy, can be credibly fought with the archetypally villainous Velupillai cast as the unconvincing hero of an epic tragedy.
Rescuing Asia’s Oldest Democracy
The report of the consultations of the 11th round of diplomatic consultations between China and Sri Lanka confirmed the new dimensional thrust not only in Sino-Lankan relations but also in China’s foreign relations in general:
“…Vice Foreign Minister of China Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said…China stands ready to …continue to implement the consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries, constantly enhance mutual political trust, and strengthen the exchanges of experience in governance and administration of state affairs.” (Daily FT)
During the great friendship of China’s Premier (and Foreign Minister) Zhou Enlai and Prime Ministers SWRD and Sirimavo Bandaranaike successively, there was no effort to “strengthen the exchanges of experience in governance and administration of state affairs.” As good friends, Premier Zhou and the Bandaranaikes knew that between the different political systems of the PRC and Ceylon/Sri Lanka– one-party and Asia’s oldest democracy respectively– there could and should be exchanges of experiences in many areas but never in the domain of “governance and administration of state affairs”.
As Asia’s oldest democracy, our political system is and should remain qualitatively different and firewalled from that of China’s one-party, ‘party-state’ system which has served China well. However, does President GR think the two are compatible and convergent to the point of “strengthen[ing] experience of governance and administration of state affairs” (presumably including Hong Kong)?
The new Chinese doctrine of “Military-Civil Fusion” (MCF), by placing ‘Military’ before ‘Civil’, appears a deviation from Mao’s “mass line” and firm doctrinal insistence that “the Party commands the gun; not the gun, the Party”. MCF appeared just before the Gotabaya Presidency and is curiously like the regime-model that President Gotabaya has tried to put in place, with negative social results in our contrasting local context.
The Port City and its Chinese investment are decided pluses under any normal, democratic, non-aligned administration (Mahinda/SLPP or Premadasa/SJB), but when the Gotabaya ‘MCF’ regime model is keyed-in, the three components could morph into a qualitatively different offshore strategic platform with high-tech capability jutting into the Indian Ocean, while of course also acting as financial feeder-funnel and anchor for the power-elite. The regime would provide the garrison for the enclave; the enclave would be backup power-source for the regime.
The Gotabaya regime’s voodoo paradigm of converting or razing and redeveloping Asia’s oldest democracy bases itself on the belief in China’s irresistible rise and America’s inexorable decline. That’s unwise.
Firstly, as the Chinese Communist Party enunciated in its Theory of the Three Worlds, when it was at pains to persuade the planet that Moscow was more dangerous than Washington (and succeeded in contributing to the USSR’s demise, helping usher in US unipolarity), it is the rising world power rather than the declining one that tends to be more aggressive and dangerous by virtue of the fact that it is striving to redivide an already divided world. By that logic, if the theory of China’s inexorable rise and America’s inexorable decline is true, it is China rather than the USA that would constitute the greater source of conflict.
Secondly, the present conjuncture in world affairs is a moment of transition from a waning stage defined by the rise of China and the relative decline of the USA, to a waxing stage defined by the contradiction between China’s assertion and America’s global renewal (aimed at re-ascendancy) –and the working out of that dialectic.
Will a grand coalition of democracy, envisaged by President-elect Biden as the cutting edge (or strategic ‘Second Front’?) of the planetary contestation of systems and their governing ideas, sit on the sidelines while the flipping of Asia’s oldest democracy into a target-hardened Trumpism or systemic China-clone continues? Or will that democratic coalition rescue Asia’s oldest democracy?
The answer could demonstrate to the Global South, the Indo-Pacific region and especially to Asia, who might prevail in a clash of wills.
One camp believes a despotic system headed by an Emperor-figure or martial monarch can prevail because it enables the greatest mobilization and concentration of the greatest willpower.
Can democracy prove it wrong? Which system, which political order and idea, has the greater (Nietzschean) “Will to Power”?