1 June, 2020

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Election Against Democracy

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“If the president can’t deliver what the people want, what is the use of the constitution?” ~ President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Financial Times – 5.3.2020)

It is a modern morality tale about the dangers of misusing the military, of militarising civilian tasks, of expecting generals to handle pandemics. By 9th May, Sri Lanka had 847 officially acknowledged Covid-19 cases. Of these more than half were military personnel. The number of infected naval personnel alone tops 400.  

When Covid-19 pandemic gripped the world, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa responded in a singular manner – he placed the military in charge. The army commander, and not a medical professional, was made the head of the presidential task force against Covid-19.  

The result has led to a tragedy of errors. 

It is one thing to use the military to provide support services to health professionals. It is quite another thing to entrust virus-resistance to the military. In Sri Lanka, a large number of navy and army personnel were deployed in a variety of tasks for which they had neither the knowledge nor the experience. It doesn’t seem as if the men were provided with a basic training prior to deployment or given adequate protective gear during deployment. 

Then, in a crowning error, they seemed to have been given leave and allowed to return to their homes with no testing. 

Had medical officials been in charge of our Covid-19 counter-measures, such obvious mistakes could have been minimised, if not avoided altogether.   

An age old Sinhala aphorism warns that a sword should be used for war, and not to slice jackfruit. The obverse of this pithy saying is also correct – swords shouldn’t be used to slice jackfruit. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to appoint Army Commander Shavendra Silva to head Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 countermeasures was akin to using a sword to slice jackfruit. 

It didn’t take long for the military to become part of the problem it was supposed to solve, for the uniformed enforcers to turn, unknowingly and through no fault of their own, into patients. Sri Lanka’s infection curve marked its steepest hike thanks to this inane error. In a four day period, the number of officially acknowledged patients rose by 200, most of them naval personnel from the Welisara camp or their kith and kin. The toll continues. Of the 12 patients reported on May 9th, ten were from the camp and the other two their contacts.

Like with the original Charge of the Light Brigade, the fault lies not with the men who had no choice but to follow orders. The full responsibility for the ongoing disaster lies with the military top brass – and the president who placed these medical neophytes in charge of dealing with one of the deadliest health crisis in human history.  

Sri Lanka is probably the only country in the world to entrust a general with the task of beating a viral epidemic. The disastrous outcome of that decision demonstrates, yet again, the danger of militarising civilian spaces and civilian tasks.  

How Militarisation Boomeranged 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with print and electronic media heads on March 5th. The parliament had been dissolved. Though Covid-19 was rapidly assuming pandemic proportions, the Rajapaksa regime believed Sri Lanka to be safe – and was even promoting the island as a coronavirus-free tourist destination. The government’s true focus was on winning a two-thirds majority in the upcoming parliamentary election. 

During the meeting, President Gotabaya lambasted the 19th Amendment and the independent commissions, and expressed his desire to win a two thirds majority in parliament to get rid of these impediments. He made clear that in his Sri Lanka, the president should not have to follow the constitution; the constitution should follow the president. “One term is enough for me,” he said, “but I must be able to deliver in that term and the Constitution must allow it,” (Financial Times – 5.3.2020).

Then, on March 11th, the pandemic intervened. 

The President kept the country open until the nomination process was complete. Then he imposed an island-wide curfew and entrusted the military with the task of defeating the virus, quickly and on the cheap. Vanquish the virus, declare victory, and cruise to a landslide election win – that was clearly the Rajapaksa game plan.  

But the war-like mentality and the militarised approach meant that not much heed was paid to warnings from health professionals. Even basic commonsense was in abeyance. Given the imported nature of the virus, it would have made sense to close down the airport completely, before closing down the country. Yet, even after the country was locked down, some incoming Lankans were allowed to return home sans testing or quarantine. 

As the Assistant Director of the State Intelligence Services, Parakrama Silva, pointed out in an interview with the state-owned Rupavahini, the virus travelled in Sri Lanka via seven large clusters: Cluster of the Tourist Guide (11th March), Cluster of the Gem Merchant, Foreign Cluster (Returnees from Italy, Dubai), Cluster of group of people returned from a religious event, Suduwella Cluster, Cluster in Bandaranayake Mawatha and Navy Cluster (Newswire – 2.5.2020).

This analysis proves that if the government had followed a policy of quarantining all arrivals, the country could have been spared the two-month curfew. And had the government placed doctors and not generals and admirals in charge, the last and the deadliest of clusters, (which turned the Welisara navy camp into the new virus epicenter), would not have happened. 

This litany of avoidable errors begs some questions.

Why were several groups of late returnees, especially from India, not sent for quarantine? 

Were navy and army personnel used in ‘anti-coronavirus operations’ given at least a basic training about how to deal with a virus?

Were these personnel provided with adequate protection gear? 

Were they housed separately from their colleagues, once their duties were over?

Were they themselves placed in quarantine after coming into close contact with patients in the line of duty, especially if they did so with no PPE?

Were they tested even once for the virus, especially before they were sent on leave?

Were they warned that they too could become infected and told to self-quarantine once back at home?

If no training was given, no gear was provided, no testing was done, who is ultimately responsible for these criminal mistakes?

Did the politicians, generals and admirals think that the deployed service personnel were safe from being infected? Or did they just not care? Was the navy cluster the result of monumental ignorance or of an attitude which venerates war-heroes in the abstract while treating flesh and blood soldiers and sailors as expendables – cannon-fodder in war turned virus-fodder in a pandemic? 

The government wanted its campaign against the virus to be as non-transparent as its war against the LTTE. It also wanted a quick and a cheap victory, in time for the April 25th election. Had health workers been used, the government would have had to provide certain basic minimum facilities. If not, there would have been complaints and criticism. For example, on April 29th, the GMOA and the association of Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) revealed that PPE are available only for 10% of health workers. 

The government hoped to evade transparency and accountability by using the military, until it backfired.

It is still not too late to learn from the few Covid-19 success stories (China, incidentally is not a success story; the world is facing a pandemic because the Chinese leaders played politics with the virus). Other than Vietnam, all other major success stories are functioning democracies (including the Indian state of Kerala). What they all have in common is a policy concoction consisting of massive testing, contact tracing and quarantining. 

They were also fast on the mark; The CPIM-led Left Democratic Front state government of Kerala instituted lockdown measures when the Modi government was busy with Muslim-bashing. The fight back was led by medical professionals and public officials, helped by the police. Even Vietnam (probably the only country in the world with an army which humbled both a colonial power and a super power) used doctors, bureaucrats and massive testing (over 300,000 people have been tested so far). 

The lesson is obvious – strongmen-leaders aren’t good at pandemic-fighting, perhaps because political power rather than national health is their true priority.

Politics with the Pandemic

In late March, Hungarian parliament passed a law giving President Victor Orbán the right to rule by decree for an indefinite period and criminalising ‘intentionally spreading false rumours about coronavirus’ with a jail-term up to five years. The opposition offered to back the law, if a sunset clause was included. The government, which had the numbers, turned down the offer and made the law open ended.

Across developed and developing world, populist leaders from Donald Trump to Narendra Modi are trying to use the pandemic to gather more powers into their hands. The Rajapaksas too are part of this tribe. They too are trying to use the pandemic to buttress the dictatorial myth of One nation, One people, One leader. In Sri Lanka, though, there is a question: which leader? Is it President Gotabaya or Premier Mahinda?

The brothers might squabble over power, but when it comes to using the pandemic to gut basic rights and freedoms, they are in complete agreement. It is almost a month since attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hisbullah was arrested. His lawyers have not been allowed to discuss the case with him. They have also been told to speak in Sinhala. The CID has reportedly taken for questioning even children who had benefited from a charity organisation in which Mr. Hisbullah was involved. The children were reportedly taken to undisclosed locations and questioned without the presence of a parent or a guardian. Mangala Samaraweera has revealed that so far 17 social media activists have been arrested on various charges. For example, the police had arrested two young men who wrote on the social media about the plight of a group of 15 upcountry Tamils stuck in Sri Venkateshwara Hindu Kovil with inadequate food and drinking water. The young men had been charged with breaking the curfew. 

What is happening to Mr. Hisbullah today can happen tomorrow to any lawyer who incurs the government’s wrath. What is happening to social media commentators today can happen tomorrow to any print or electronic media journalist who criticises the government. When pity and compassion are banished, any citizen can be arrested for an act of common or garden decency or compassion. 

The danger of holding an election in such an atmosphere is obvious. The government will not hesitate to arrest opposition activists and voters for violating this or that anti-virus rule while giving a free pass to its own supporters. But postponing the election repeatedly carries its own dangers. It will habituate the president into acting outside the constitution and strengthen those who are advocating Gotabaya rule. Vendaruwe Upali thero (of be a little like Hitler infame) wants parliamentary election to be postponed for 3 years. Athuraliye Ratana thero held a media briefing castigating Mahinda Rajapaksa and stating that people want only President Gotabaya.

The opposition must continue to support the government in beating back the pandemic while opening its collective mouth on the Rajapaksa practice of using the pandemic to gut democratic rights and freedoms. The path to a relatively free and fair election lies in anti-pandemic measures that are based on facts and science, and is transparent to the public and accountable to people.

According to a report in the Ravaya, the head of the PHI Association of Sri Lanka has complained that health officials are being kept in the dark about COVID-19 positives in Navy-run quarantine centres. Such lack of transparency hinders rather than helps contact tracing and quarantining. It is inconstant not just with democracy but also with the best practices of virus-fighting. These are the problems the opposition must raise, the causes it must champion. If the opposition fails to advocate of best practices and vulnerable sections, if it stays mute in the face of stupidity and injustice, the ultimate winner will be not even the Rajapaksas but the pandemic. 

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Latest comments

  • 15
    48

    My god……..
    You all are so bankrupt.
    /
    You are trying to misquote a SinhaLA aphorism……….
    “Yuddeta nathi kaduwa kos kotannada”
    \
    The real truth is that you all wants to avoid elections at whatever the cost.
    /
    Your aphorism should be “LETS PROTECT DEMOCRACY BY NOT CONDUCTING ELECTIONS…….. EVER”

    • 19
      6

      Good points Thisaranee: The Global Covid 19 “War” was kicked off also by WHO. The militarization of this flu gives us a clue to who is actually behind the militarized spread of Covid-19 in the Indian Ocean region and to Sri Lanka Navy – the American War machine with love from USAID to provide surveillance and unnecessary hospitals !
      US and India had fly pasts last week to salute Covid 19 “warriors”.
      Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft carrier had 900 cases so why did the US-Sri Lanka War games training continue in Trincomallee in March and April? Why was it not cancelled like the Indian Navy Wazig war game? Ask US citizens Basil and Gota? Check this link for US Navy biowarfare…
      http://www.gospanews.net/en/2020/05/09/exclusive-us-navy-bio-warfare-started-in-1952-declassified-disturbing-video/

      • 9
        9

        We need to be also talking about the US hybrid war and Covid-19 war on China, Iran and Sri Lanka at this time, (which backfired on America too)!.
        Covid 19 is a bio-weapon and has military origins- continuing from the Easter Sunday attacks last year mysteriously claimed by CIA and Saudi funded ISIS. Then we may understand the debacle of democracy in Sri Lanka that has suffered years of US-AID and ‘advisors’ to the Parliament to turn it into a Cesspit of bi-partisan Corruption – UNP, SLFP, PP, TNA etc. to further the American project to colonize Lanka and use it as a Navel Base HUB in the Indian Ocean now that Diego Garcia is in question.. Epidemics are moments of revelation.. the dissolution of the US empire.. This is why the Sri Lanka Navy got a huge Covid-19 viral load dropped on it.

      • 14
        6

        Dear Friends,
        .
        Please let s discuss what is going on right at the moment under the RULE OF BROTHER DUO

        1) Public Speech held by President few weeks ago – not just majority of srilanken nation, but entire world made him a laughter stock – he just addressed few issues and praised only the tri-forces

        Not comparable to the address to the Nation by Dr Merkel or leders like
        Jacinda Ardern of NZ, who thanks to every minor workers in hosopitals and super markets for their fearless contributions.

        2)Not TRIFOCES of a country but ministry of Health should do their job in terms of containment of the virus in the country – but lanken leadership just passed the ball on to millitary and other two forces as if the country is no different to any far poor countries in Africa.

    • 14
      7

      Well, holding election is secondary and people’s health come on the top of the list-
      This is common to any country not only srilanka. So we dont need to play providing jokes such as of Mrs Pasqual.
      *****************************************************************************
      Dichotomy of the people in our hell-like country today (landscapewise, srilanka is one of the beautiful island but people?).

      1) whole lot of naive people -(incl. Mrs Pasqual and Eagle Eye or the like) whose mind sets are fed with blant lies from dawn to dusk by biased TV channels/printed media
      -These were those who voted for high criminals (6.9 of voter eligible).
      – these were those who burnt down the livelyhoods of the minority people also after last year’s easter day bombing
      -these are those buddhagama monks- that would do anything together with criminal politicians such as Rajaapakshes
      – These are those who work for Rajapakshe agendas – Madhumadahawa, Iraja werarathana and the like BPs that harm to srilankenness.
      – These are the ones that callign themselves eggheads, but doing the other way around… Channa Jayasumana, Godahewa, Nalin de Silva and the like men – that struggle being unable to see it right – being caught by inferiority complex – inherited due to colonial rule

      • 6
        5

        Leelagemalli,
        Sri Lanka may be the only country that reversed a ‘Regime Change’ sponsored by foreigners with the support from INGOs, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, ‘Koti’ Diaspora, few local political parties and Colombo Toiyas including journos within a short period of four and a half years.
        The aim of the regime change was to keep Rajapakshes away from politics. Those who brought ‘Yahapalana’ Government to power would not have expected such a change and seems like highly disappointed and mad. These guys will do everything possible to tarnish the image of President Gotabhaya Rajapakshe and to remove him through fair or unfair means. The comments from those who are disappointed reflect their intentions.

        • 4
          1

          EE,
          if you went to school – i dont think it willb e difficult you to see it right let alone today.
          .
          What kind of image you ve been stressing here ?
          .
          An image of a man who was alleged to have perpetrated numerous crimes incl. murder, money laundering and all various human right violations ?
          .
          In fact, if GG govt did not came in, today we would definitely have fallen to the level of Lybia and Sudan.
          :
          Alone getting that 19A passed in the parliament was a great thing apart from the salary hikes offered to the public servants. And if there had not been such independent election commission, today the number of COVID 19 patients would have been in thousands. Bps never wanted to work on containment of the COVID 19 in the country, but rather for holding electons over the dead bodies.
          :
          Just try to collect your info by talking to the grass root levels of people – they can open your eyes. Slaves would not remain life long slaves if they are given the chance to improve their awareness. In today backdrop, Bps would not allow much of opposition thoughts be passed to the people. 70% news are about the family of the cirminals – the rest are not even main opposition parties.

    • 10
      5

      Amarasiri

      Where are you?
      Have you seen the following smart ass patrios or heard from them?:

      Hela,
      John Silva,
      Patriot,
      srinath gunaratne,
      paul ,
      KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera,
      EDWIN RODRIGO,
      lal,
      Jim softy,
      NAK,
      Taraki,
      Thondamany,
      ramona grandma therese fernando,
      wannihami,
      Vanguard,
      Shenali,
      sach,
      eussence,
      thrishu,
      Citizen Silva,
      Sinhale,
      maalumiris
      Jay Chambers
      Nimal Tissass Wijethunga
      Rabok
      Off the Cuff
      ….
      ….
      ..

      • 7
        5

        Dear CT,
        .
        Please reveal us what happened to Mr Amarasiri: He was one of good commenters on this platform.
        .
        Thank you.

      • 7
        3

        It looks like the full time job of this guy is to keep track of Sinhalayo who write comments in this forum. May be suffering from Sinhala phobia in addition to Rajapakshe phobia!!!!

        • 4
          4

          Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

          “May be suffering from Sinhala phobia in addition to Rajapakshe phobia!!!!”

          You are as clumsy as you are stupid.
          Unlike you selfish moron I am concerned about the well being of those smart ass patriots. My existence depends on their frequent appearance on CT. You don’t know the power of the dark side! I must disobey their master(s), the man in mask.

    • 1
      1

      Have you never heard of: There is a time and a place for everything!

  • 27
    7

    What else you expect a war criminal to do

    • 13
      17

      Mr. Dilshan,
      /
      What else you expect a “Yahapalana” writer will write.
      \
      This is Tisaranee Gunasekara on the morning of January 10th 2015.
      I quote.
      —————————————————————————————
      But the paeans of praise belong to the ordinary Lankan voter. He/she acted with responsibility and maturity. Firstly, the voters voted in massive numbers. The Tamils in particular refused to listen to the siren song of boycott. The record turnout symbolizes Lankan people’s support for democracy, over and above every other form of government.
      As a Sinhalese who dreams of a Lankan future, I am proud and hopeful.
      The future which seemed impossible is here. What we do with that is up to us.
      ————————————————————————————
      End of quote.
      \
      The words speaks for themselves.

      • 18
        5

        Why are we talking about so called Yahapalanaya.
        Let us talk about Great Military Leaders who took the lead in successfully spreading Corona to every knook and.corner of Sri Lanka using poor soldiers.
        Who are keeping soldiers everywhere with automatic weapons to shoot.down corona virus when they see one.

    • 10
      6

      We are on our way to be treated as VENEZULIANs in the days to come – brother duo would not run but end up being ruined this nation from where they were stopped by 2015.

      Almost every second man or woman in Venezeula today dreams of leaving the country for any other destination where they could earn something and allow their children a life.

      My heart is melting when looking at the poor of poor in my home country ( 40%) – that struggle today being unable to face the life… Their real grievances were covered by the doctored statistics made by Rajapakshe rule… however, COVID- crisis exposed it all at once – now we are far behind far poor Nepalians. –

      My foot – about the talks us being branded as – MIDINCOME earners ..

  • 18
    7

    I am in a happy frame of mind that my publicly stating that sad sorry made the shiniest by the rajapuk’s had elected an American kallathoni has now been proven beyond any doubt.
    The biased incompetent Commissioner of Elections on a suspicious document allowed the kallathoni war criminal to be nominated as a legal in all aspect qualified candidate.
    +
    If he the kallathoni is a TRUE OFFICER & a GENTLeMEN he will immediately resign, have his elder brother to be the acting head of state and enable a fresh election to be called and held before even thinking of a general election.?
    +
    Knowing the traits of the power greedy hungry Rajapuka claim this will be a define no show of a no gonna happen.?
    +
    Thanks to the disgusting infighting in the UNP, this war criminal won the election by causing fear among the brainless sitting and shitting on their head petty racist nearly 7 million high-class fools.
    +
    Within a few days the cost of living soared to the moon, the Lankan Rupee began getting a right royal thrashing as the world was not happy that this recovering nation is on the reverse gear with the rajapuk beginning to rule the roost. The masses began starving.?

    • 6
      14

      Dnk. rj1952,
      /
      Still living in that “American Citizenship” dream……?
      Please wake up. You might wet yourself.

      • 7
        4

        Pesky the pest with a rapidly growing portfolio. ( DISlIKES ).
        =
        An American dream. ?
        America is now in a worse position than sad shitty sorry Lanka.
        All thanks to its lunatic President.
        I will be the world’s best clown of an idiot if I even yearn to visit or go to live there.
        =
        I hold citizenship of two { 2 } of the best islands that one desires to abode in.?
        Australia and New Zealand. At the moment I abode in luxurious comfort in Melbourne, Australia.
        I lead a 7-star lifestyle like what I led in bliss and comfort in sunny Lanka till 1987 September.
        =
        If you desire to migrate I can sponsor you as both Australia cum New Zealand now allow and recognize gay and heterosexual marriages.
        =
        As I am a full-blooded single man can adept to swing either way to help you out of a sticky situation.?
        =
        Just ask and your wish will be granted.?
        Cheers, R. J.

        • 4
          1

          Dnk. rj1952,
          /
          I understand that you don’t get all the news in your confinement in the asylum.
          \
          I quote.
          —————————————-
          The US Embassy in Colombo today confirmed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa renounced his US citizenship in April 2019.

          In response to a query by Daily Mirror, an embassy spokesman said President Rajapaksa was no longer a US citizen.

          “I can confirm that Gotabaya Rajapaksa renounced his US citizenship in April 2019. He is no longer a US citizen,” the spokesman said.

          The President’s name appeared in the Federal register that lists out those who renounced the citizenship.

          Normally it takes time for a name of an individual to appear upon renunciation of his citizenship
          —————————————-
          End of quote.
          /
          Its in simple English.
          I hope you can understand.
          If not please comment.
          I will arrange a Sinhalese translation to be delivered to your asylum.

          • 1
            1

            Pesky the pest,
            It is too early to predict as to what will occur
            I’m aware of what the embassy stated.
            How on earth can an embassy renounce one’s application when it has to be done in the home country where citizenship is only given after meeting the criteria of residency without any criminal offences being committed by the applicant.
            As a dude who resided in 2 countries as a permanent resident only after the completion of the required period of continuous stay that I was able to apply for citizenship.
            On submitting the paperwork and paying the required fees one has to wait patiently for a period of time for the necessary security checks to be done and on successful completion, the citizenship will be approved.
            Then one has to be present at an oath-taking ceremony most likely at the applicant’s local Town Hall wherein the company of all those who have passed the required criteria take an oath after which he or she is given the Certificate of Citizenship.
            Then if I do not want to be a citizen anymore he can file in the necessary papers at the closest embassy or high commission, they then have to forward it to the home office of the country concerned.

        • 3
          0

          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

          • 2
            0

            Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

            Brilliant
            Thanks for keeping it brief.
            Keep up your good work.

    • 3
      0

      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

      • 2
        0

        Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

        Brilliant
        Thanks for keeping it brief.
        Keep up your good work.

  • 5
    26

    It is always easy to criticise hind side. I don’t believe your intentions are sincere. Sri Lanka is a country full of indiscipline people. It is evident if you walk outside. This is why tri-forces have to be deployed to control the “effects of COVID-19”. They are not deployed to treat people. You are mixing up both to misguide the readers. Navy personnel got infected due to unruly infected drug addicts. If health officers had to handle those, today we are talking about quarantining of scores of doctors, nurses and even isolation of hospitals. Fortunately due to commission of Navy, major situation was avoided. The series of questions you have asked as if those things were fulfilled, you were agreeable with deploying Navy. So, you are just shedding crocodile tears. Underling fact is you don’t like Rajapaksas’ and you want ti find fault with everything they do. Yes, you have the freedom to express you views, but don’t make those as public views. GR is human, so he also can make mistakes. What matters to people is the intentions. If he intended public benefit and made mistakes, people would excuse him. You are talking about violation of constitution.

    • 2
      0

      Ajith – you are absolutely right. They want a democratic vote to abolish democracy.

      They want 2/3 rd majority. I understand even RanilW is happy to lend his support.

      If the rural Sinhala voters fall for the trap..Sri Lanka will not end up like China…which is a communist capitalist country

      but Sri Lanka will end up worse …like North Korea…a stupid ruling dynasty ….living in luxury with the saffron clad monks the rest admiring the LTTE.

  • 12
    3

    It doesn’t seem as if the men were provided with a basic training prior to deployment or given adequate protective gear during deployment.

    Health workers, or care taker forn infection patients, are among the first to respond when an infectious pathogen threat,
    health system’s capacity to deliver basic care must be trained that is noticed by WHO.

    During our safety lessons in the construction company buy aquiring the guideline from WHO most compnaies the middle east for all jobs there was a traing given by goverment order demonstratrion of personnel safety for washing the hands then removing the masks then clothing where the doctors gives short lecture , how to put and how to remove personel protective equipment and film on rapid guidleines from WHO , infection-control measures have been put in place.

  • 24
    5

    It is very obvious that President Gotabaya and his family along with military wants two third majority in parliament to convert the constitution because they have to show the world that they are going with democracy. They do not want to show the international community that there is a military government and it is a complete dictatorship. Most of the media is now under their control. All the instituions including Election Commission, Judiciary, Departments are under their control.
    However, not all the people are with them. There are about 40% of the population are not fallen under their influence. These are the people who wants to protect this nation from dictatorship. It is time for all those people, organisations, trade unions, civil societies and opposition political parties should work with people to educate with the dangers they face to the democracy, their rights and freedom. We have to protect the people and this nation not only from Corona but also from the freedomand democracy that was kept alive in many challenging period. Mahinda family dictatorship is the most important challenge now.

    • 4
      1

      As you say, “All the institutions . . . are under their control.”
      .
      Really?
      .
      Will they ever be able to control Jeevan Hoole?
      .
      Never. Of course, Jeevan could suddenly die a mysterious death.
      .
      Trumpet that possibility to the Whole Wide World!
      .
      I’m sure that Champa (below) will agree with me. Please study her comment carefully. Half the time I don’t agree with her, and she knows it. That she is an honest person (although a bit of a “racist”) is something that “leelagemalli” refuses to accept.
      .
      Now see the problem I am saddled with by a person who will enthusiastically support all my views, but whose support will alienate lots of other voters.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/rs-700000-personal-air-ticket-bonanza-courtesy-tax-payers-for-foreign-secretary-ravinathas-pet-saroja-sirisena/
      .
      rj1952 really must be more circumspect. He must make fewer comments, making sure that they are more carefully written.

      • 1
        3

        Sinhala _Man,
        As a general rule, I only post one comment as per the said article.
        =
        If somebody requires an answer or attempts throw muck at me personally I will verbally fight back in a clean decent manner with all the god-given vigour.
        =
        Even being initially been forced to out of Lanka for being born as a Ceylon Jaffna Roman Catholic Tamil who by smart brainy doings lived a luxurious lifestyle, I have had no other choice but to flee Sri Lanka to prevent being arrested, beaten up and jailed for no reason at all.
        =
        That was the best decision in haste that I made, even my little then, now-adult daughter living in Melbourne close to me and her mother living in New Zealand wholeheartedly agree with what I have stated.
        A very happy cheer, R. J.

  • 11
    2

    My Prediction:

    At the end of the first term in Office as President, Gotabaya will contest the 2nd term, that is if he is still in the office until the end of the first term. The excuse he will give for going back on his word as “one time President” – Covid-19 impacted his plan and he needs another term to implement his ideas.

    SLPP will not get 2/3 majority.

  • 6
    1

    My previous comment was partly appeared due to word restriction. If there is violation of constitution supreme court is there to get the verdict. If one is worried about a cancer, he or she should consult a specialist doctor. There is no point of analysing what you don’t know. That would just misguide ignorant public. If you are doing your job, you should interview legal professionals who comments supporting both opposition and the government and produce views in your article. If you genuinely at people’s side, advice government on behalf of people forgetting your personal preference of President and the Prime Minister. Then people understand whether they are listening or not. Don’t wait until someone make a mistake and scream “See.. you made a mistake’ . This is not journalism. This the expression of hate.

  • 7
    2

    Our nation is on the path of becoming an unrecognizable State, because within a few months this regime has eroded nation’s laws, and turned it into police state, by appointing and putting in place, crooks and murderers, who have got presidential pardons, and rewarded with high ranking positions. This time they will make sure even if they lose the presidential elections, the armed services led by war criminals, will not obey our laws and the constitution, and will make sure the Rajapaksa’s remain in power, like a dictatorship. This is being done so surreptitiously, that no one is supposed to notice. As for the uneducated and naive people who support them, they don’t know any different. For them the streets are clean, and the Rajapaksa’s won a war, that is good enough. Oh for the good old days when politicians were far more decent, gentlemanly, educated, well spoken, and elections were straightforward.

    We are now cursed with thugs, corrupt leaders, cronyism, racial tensions, divisions, one party in bed with the other, saffron robed terrorists allowed to roam around spreading hate, killers who have been protected against international investigations into human right violations, are given top posts in the armed services, loyalists who will be faithful to their masters, and even kill for them. Good citizens are arrested on fake news, with no solid evidence of any crime, and held in prison without proper legal rights, and their lives destroyed.
    This is not a democracy.

    We are in for a very tough time, and we have to watch helplessly as this nation is slowly becoming what we despised in dictatorships and fascist states, and it looks scary.

  • 9
    2

    Sri Lanka is having a deaf and stubborn man as President He thinks that Guns and cartridges can get rid of COVID19 He appointed Military man to head the COVID 19 The objective is not to resolve the virus crisis but militarisation of the country. Only SC save the country

  • 17
    1

    Gotabhaya’s appointment as the President is illegal.
    His name has only now appeared in the quarterly publication of the US Federal Register of individuals who have chosen to renounce their US citizenship, dated May 8, 2020.
    This publication has been issued 4 times in 2019, i.e. on November 12, August 15, May 13 and March 13.
    The first publication of this year was on February 11, 2020.
    Gotabhaya’s name did not appear in 4 consecutive publications.
    The US Embassy has announced last year that he has renounced his citizenship on April 19.
    Even American Banks and government offices do not accept any endorsement by their own Embassies. They only accept a document issued by the government.
    It is pretty obvious that Gotabhaya had retained his dual citizenship until he was elected as the President, with a view to continue as a US citizen had he lost the election.
    His lawyer Ali Sabri was also exposed when he produced fake documents.
    It is clear that Gotabhaya was not being able to prove his renunciation of citizenship by the time he handed over nominations or even on the day of the election, which is a violation of election laws.
    Various explanations such as, administrative procedures have been given for the delay, which are not applicable to Sri Lankan laws, as no one is qualified to contest the Presidency based on pending documents.
    Gotabhaya has secured Presidency through forgery and therefore, all decisions taken by him since November 16, 2019 are illegal.

    • 10
      1

      (The word limit did not allow me to continue my earlier comment.)
      .
      Although various explanations such as administrative procedures were given for the delay of Gotabhaya’s name being published in the document, there is no provision in election laws that allows anyone to contest the Presidency based on pending documents.
      The Elections Commission has obviously been partial to one Presidential contestant, which is against the law.
      However, there is no provision in the Constitution that allows the first runner-up of the Presidential Election to be elected as the President, even if the winner is disqualified.
      The only solution is the Prime Minister to act as the President.
      Again, it is not clear how long the Prime Minister can continue as the acting President, as, with the dissolution of Parliament, he currently heads only a caretaker government.

      • 12
        2

        Champa,

        It is good that you accept now that Gotabaya violated the law of this nation but it is with the full knowledge of the Mahinda Rajapakse, Election commissioner and judiciary. We also should take into account the US announcement of the list along with the meeting of the Srilankan ambassador and acceptance of their financial support and the telephone call convesation of the US defence secretary (??) about US-Srilanka corporation. These did not happen coincidently. So, everything points out that it was a well planned operation with the support of America and all the propaganda during the presidential election was to cheat Sinhala masses. Another important turn around is the new relationship with TNA which is always with the guidance of USA. I don’t how much information Mahinda Rajapakse is aware of the Gota project, there is a possible chance that it is almost end of Mahinda’s dreams.

      • 2
        3

        Champawati proving the elephants is shorter than cat.
        Old rowdy should have been in prison from the time he appeared for BBC in jungle in JVP time. His lowyer should have been taken and put in prison when he papered for JVP girls. With Help Hangbangtota case, his all previous cases should have been investigated and should have been punished. After His girl’s and her murderer murder it should have forced to reevaluate the Lankawe legal system. When he ran out of the TTH in 2015, his civic rights should have been withdrawn and he should have been handed over to UN Electric Chair. After October 2018, he should have been kept in faraway island, in a lonely dangerous criminals’ prison. Though he expected his life ending up in prison and he built a luxury prison for him in Galle, he never went to prison sent by Lankawe Sinhala Jury Only verdict. Okkame Criminals!

        No election Law is asking any documents from any foreign nation. It is the onus on the prosecution to prove a person is a dual citizen at court. Prosecution did not do that. So King was free to stand the election as he is a war hero. Nobody has any idea on what date America removed him from citizenship list. Publishing date is no a date for any legal action. But that Paradesi is still cannot stand for election because he did not obtain a proper Lankawe citizenship, though his brother forged a passport for him.
        (They both are equal criminals)

    • 13
      2

      If G. Rajapaksa was elected as president while still being an American citizen, it makes his presidency ILLEGAL.

      • 8
        1

        Ashan@

        But ina country where law and order just restrict to books we cant expect much right ?

    • 3
      5

      BS..

  • 2
    3

    Pesky the pest with a rapidly growing portfolio. ( DISlIKES ).
    =
    An American dream. ?
    America is now in a worse position than sad shitty sorry Lanka.
    All thanks to its lunatic President.
    I will be the world’s best clown of an idiot if I even yearn to visit or go to live there.
    =
    I hold citizenship of two { 2 } of the best islands that one desires to abode in.?
    Australia and New Zealand. At the moment I abode in luxurious comfort in Melbourne, Australia.
    I lead a 7-star lifestyle like what I led in bliss and comfort in sunny Lanka till 1987 September.
    =
    If you desire to migrate I can sponsor you as both Australia cum New Zealand now allow and recognize gay and heterosexual marriages.
    =
    As I am a full-blooded single man can adept to swing either way to help you out of a sticky situation.?
    =
    Just ask and your wish will be granted.?
    Cheers, R. J.

  • 2
    2

    Part of this is a reply to GLP’s essay of today’s.

    It is the fear that world will be poorer after this pandemic. The effect of this pandemic, not just the size, but the whole nature, on the economy has turned out to be not comparable to 2008 or earlier infection. Finance, economic structure, medical and science consideration, schooling, work place, selling-shopping-malls, local & international political considerations, international trade and transportation, food -producing-strewing-saving-importing-exporting-cooking eating like many aspects of human life will be changed. Just Keynes monitory based revival techniques or Quantitative; qualitative Easing will be able to rebuild economy. World is going to face a demand for overall cultural change. Let us say “the earth will not be looking brown or green after this pandemic, but yellow or red”. That has nothing to do with the opposition of Globalization or Neo Liberalization. It is going to be about countries what to produce in future and what to consume too. Pendulum of Economic structure has swung too far this time. No longer simple pendulum time theory i.e. time = “2 pi*(root of(length/gravity))” apply this time. This time it is going to take years for the pendulum to return or rater it may not return, it will be gone to a new universe, where the political, economic, medical laws will no longer same. In simple word the economists’ 4 year cycle will not work with this depression/recession.

    Many western countries and/or democratic countries have more than 20 million population will surpass China on the 80,000 level infection range before the end of the year. That is minimum 20 countries would surpass China. The possibility is eventually about 30 countries can catch up China’s level, unless a new pharmaceutical product shows up soon. .

  • 5
    2

    ///Did the politicians, generals and admirals think that the deployed service personnel were safe from being infected?///

    Of course they did, and with justifiable hubris. How is it even remotely possible for a brave ranaviru to catch a rapidly running virus?

    What a tragic basket case Lanka has become……

  • 6
    3

    Gota and his Shavendra Silva ‘s army and navy and air force are experienced in fighting an invisible enemy LTTE. in the end they defeated the invisible enemy only by killing innocent people with them in the no fire zone and killing all those who surrendered.

    Crona is a invisible enemy and Gota thinks that he can adopt the same strategy. Kill more innocent people Tamils, Muslims , Sinhala and spare some armed forces as well to kill the invisible enemy!

    • 4
      3

      Rajash,
      Typical Demala liar.
      LTTE was an invisible army because LTTE had a separate Civilian Armed Force (MAKKAL PADAI BRIGADE) who were trained to kill. At any given time about 10,000 Demala civilians were trained in combat operations by LTTE. This civilian armed force comprised children as young as seven years. About 12,000 LTTE carders who surrendered were in civilian cloth and all of them are alive.

      Don’t you know that Sri Lankan Army liberated about 300,000 Demala civilians kept as a ‘Human Shield’ to protect megalomaniac Piripakaran and his Tamil terrorist barbarians.

      “Gota and his Shavendra Silva ‘s army and navy and air force are experienced in fighting an invisible enemy LTTE. in the end they defeated the invisible enemy only by killing innocent people with them in the no fire zone and killing all those who surrendered.”

  • 6
    2

    “Athuraliye Ratana thero held a media briefing castigating Mahinda Rajapaksa and stating that people want only President Gotabaya.”

    No he is telling the people you only need Gota!
    Gota is providing and paying for my lady a day and child a day….
    for my expensive drinks and chicken biryani…

    so I am telling you people …you only need GOate for just one term …not more than that ….because he will abolish one term or two term after that

  • 4
    4

    Guys.. wake up from your dreams. The publication date has nothing to do with the Citizenship Renunciation date. Are you guys arguing on 8 May 2020 is the renunciation date for all the people listed in that publication? This is why I always say ” Many Sri Lankans are ignorant and common sense is not so common”. Applications are lodged at different times and approved at different times. Then it follows a long administrative procedure to publish periodically. If you guys are still thinking his appointment is illegal, why doesn’t anyone go to SC and challenge it with new evidence? This is just rubbish talking. You guys lost the plot. I can sense GR’s plan for the election. He is miles ahead of you. He will make sure SLPP wins it. It can not be prevented. He knows you guys are indirectly helping him. So, keep working for him. May be you can help him to get 2/3 majority.

  • 5
    0

    The US has a fool for President, the UK a clown for PM, and what do we have for a President? I leave this open.

  • 6
    1

    The US has a fool for President, the UK a clown for PM, and what do we have for a President?

  • 7
    4

    Former Premadasa hack is talking out of her back side… What is a anti sinhalese christian quoting misquote a Sinhala aphorism ?
    This women should get her due returns being a untruthful hack..
    TG your time will come soon.

  • 4
    3

    Tissaranee lists a number extremely stupid decisions taken by Gotler and his family of ignorant dictators. Extreme right wing dictatorship is on the rise. The usual method these power hungry scoundrels gain power is by appealing to racism and religion. Along with the potty mouthed health minister nicknamed Apavithra Wachalaarchchi these clowns have created a big mess. So Gotler wants to finish is plan in one term and the constituion is an obstacle. That should be enough to warn any person with half a brain that this man is nuts. In the short time he has been president he has proved beyond any doubt what a astonishingly incompetent buffoon he really is. To the government servants who voted overwhelmingly for Gotler they richly deserve what they got. No allowances, no further increments and now a deliberate attempt to cut the already lowered income some more by asking for a donation. Serve you right. The Rajapuks are uneducated dumb asses. However they are also greedy and nasty thugs. They are unrelenting in their cheating shitty little schemes to rob to lie to some how hang on to power. They have no idea about looming global threats or how to respond to them. COVID-19 was a big joke for them until it bit them in their backsides. Similarly, if any other crisis were to threaten Sri Lanka in the future their reaction and response can now be imagined. I hope at least a percentage of the 62 million morons who voted for this scoundrel family realize their stupidity and change course.

    • 4
      2

      Pala,
      ‘Koti’ who are still licking the wounds inflicted by Rajapakshes and suffering from inferiority complex may be getting some mental satisfaction by condemning Rajapakshes.

      “The Rajapuks are uneducated dumb asses.”

      • 3
        0

        Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

        “Koti’ who are still licking the wounds inflicted by Rajapakshes”

        We were assured the single handed strong man had already obliterated LTTE and killed more than 199% of the Kotti in 2009.
        Where did you see “Koti” licking wounds?

        The former national hangman must be a conman.

  • 6
    2

    “What is happening to Mr. Hisbullah today can happen tomorrow to any lawyer who incurs the government’s wrath.”
    /
    This woman obviously hasn’t seen or heard of the terrorism allegations against Hisbullah. He has been laundering money for the coward Easter bomber Sahran. The evidence is solid.
    /
    The ‘wrath’ he is facing is not of the government, but the people of Sri Lanka who were subjected to this atrocity 12 months ago.
    \
    It is ok for people like the writer who live in their ivory towers, insulated from the common person’s problems to pontificate about human rights of every terrorist, criminal and crook. But the ordinary Sri Lankans expect law and order to work to protect them from hyenas like this man.
    /
    At least ask Dayan Jayathilaka before writing this kind of chest-beating crap!

  • 4
    2

    Native, hats off to you for keeping such an account on these pseudos, who come and go as they wish and keep acquiring new Alter/Avatar. Though I have been reading CT for years, did not realize Multiple Personality Disorder , is highly prevalent in our Lankawe. Poor souls. On a friendly note how do you even keep a tab on these characters ????? On hindsight readers should realize how worth their comments are ???????

    • 0
      0

      I have been exonerated.

      Soma

  • 0
    2

    ” I have been exonerated. “

    Yes Soma, because you support my people’s expectation; without going alone, not Tamils being slaved by Sinhala Buddhists, but sooner going to sold to Chinese to get the exchange for import Thailand, Indonesian , Eastern European Badoos.

    Please talk loud in future and save Tamils for Chinese slavery! Thanks.

  • 2
    0

    ………..Srilanka is probably the only country in the world to entrust a General with the task of beating a viral epidemic……..
    Tisaranee Gunasekera.

    This is also one of the reasons why Srilanka is a Land like no other!

  • 3
    0

    Soma.

    Your line…….
    I have been exonerated…….
    Its an inadvertent miss by Native.
    But Take care: Stay safe.
    Avoid Welisara.

    • 3
      0

      Plato

      “Its an inadvertent miss by Native.”

      Sorry I didn’t miss him.
      He was around typing his frustration here and there since the lock down hence the omission.

      He is also an active card carrying member of Sinhala/Buddhist fascist tendency therefore he believes he has the responsibility of provoking sane minded people in order to raise his profile among his supporters. I would say he is another cross between Weerawansa and Gnanasara.

  • 2
    0

    Plato

    “Its an inadvertent miss by Native.”

    Sorry I didn’t miss him.
    He was around typing his frustration here and there since the lock down hence the omission.

    He is also an active card carrying member of Sinhala/Buddhist fascist tendency therefore he believes he has the responsibility of provoking sane minded people in order to raise his profile among his supporters. I would say he is another cross between Weerawansa and Gnanasara.

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