19 September, 2020

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Enough Of This Male Bovine Manure

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

I believe that my descent into a, hopefully, “respectable”, version of popular slang in the title of this piece is more than justified given the conduct of the bunch we supported and elected to SERVE US, often at significant personal risk.

The Aiyo Sirisena (AS) government is providing ample proof of its deliberate approach to the slippery slope of equivocation of a kind that will take us back to the days of the Rajapaksa hegemony.

The recent allegation of the President that Commissions and Committees appointed by the government he heads were targeting and victimizing a very prominent member of the past president’s family and the clear statement that “war heroes” should not be investigated, leave alone prosecuted, speaks volumes in the matter of the gap between pious utterances and their connection to the sometimes-ugly reality of day-to-day Sri Lankan politics. Maithripala Sirisena 2016 04 13

To begin with, let’s get one thing straight: donning an armed force’s uniform does not, in and of itself, immediately, make one a hero of any description. While the vast majority of service personnel did their uniforms proud, there were a minority that should be prosecuted for rape, pillage and other heinous crimes. THAT is the only manner in which the integrity and honour of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen can be ensured. Nothing less. Certainly not by the utterance of pious platitudes, preceded or followed by a plaintive “Aiyo.”

I make no apology for stating that some of the dregs of society were welcomed into the services, particularly when the bottom of the recruitment barrel was being scraped in the latter days of the war. Many of those recruited were guilty of offences under the criminal code of this country. They and any others found to have been guilty of behaviour prohibited by international conventions governing conflict MUST be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law. If their behaviour was criminal, it must be accorded an appropriate response.

I have personal knowledge of some of the unemployables and village no-good-niks that ended up receiving training in the use of assault weapons, among other things. These were men who would never even have been legally permitted the use of a single-barrelled shotgun in the normal course of events. They were recruited, trained and when some of them deserted because they couldn’t abide the discipline required of them, were arrested and returned via the stockade to more training in the use of assault weapons and the arts of war. Their conditions of employment? Superior to those who’d burned the midnight oil in pursuit of a university degree that would qualify them for employment as a modestly-paid government servant. It amounted to absolute luxury compared to what their daily reality was at home. I am personally aware of one individual who regularly beat his widowed mother to the point when she suffered a mental disability which resulted in very irrational behaviour. Why? Because she wouldn’t give him money to go buy ganja or get drunk! He was not only recruited into the army but trained and brought back and re-trained each time the routine/discipline became too much for him and he deserted!

On another occasion, I was in the local police station when one of the officers who limped from an actual battle-field injury berated a local “tough guy” who had been summoned there for harassing people in his village because he had served in the army and, up to that point, had got away with all kinds of thuggery because his self-designated status as a hero provided him with immunity from corrective action. What struck me most was the demeanour of this miscreant who displayed what could accurately be called disdain at the “lecture” he was being given.

The most poignant and tragic story was that of an older woman whose son was killed in action and due to which she and her husband received the ongoing pension usual in such circumstances. She told me, with great sadness in her voice, that her son’s demise was a blessing because he had been a burden to her and had shown no affection for his family, leading a completely selfish existence and indulging himself to the exclusion of those who should have been at least partial beneficiaries of his relative affluence. At least, in death, he was being of assistance to his aged parents, one of whom had a serious hip problem that made it almost impossible for her to walk. I learned that, even earlier in our thirty year war, it wasn’t unusual for members of Seva Vanitha organizations visiting the survivors of servicemen killed in combat to be told by their wives and children that they would now be spared the drunkenness and physical abuse that was more the rule than the exception when their spouses came home on leave. Not to mention the dalliances with the local floozies that they felt was their due because of their recent exposure to danger!

Let me repeat that, while the foregoing was not the rule, there were many exceptions to the basic code of conduct expected of ordinary citizens leave alone “war heroes.”

The individuals I have described did not have the capacity to lead some kind of Jekyll and Hyde existence in which their conduct was exemplary on the battle-field and little short of bestial when they returned home from time to time. That is the reality in society and I would submit that, given the realities of the time, the scale would be tipped even further when there was a desperate quest for warm bodies to fill uniforms.

Baldly put, the simple law of averages would more than suggest that there were soldiers, sailors, airmen, policemen and “auxiliaries” of various kinds who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. To suggest that a nation with the equivalent of the Russian army in uniforms that they believed gave them rights that went beyond the normal rule of law, did not have some “bad eggs” in its ranks is nothing short of ludicrous.

Let the law be applied fairly and justly in the matter of investigating and, if necessary, prosecuting and punishing those who have contravened internationally-accepted statutes, to most if not all of which Sri Lanka has subscribed.

Given the hysteria that has accompanied any suggestion of international intervention in this process, it becomes imperative that justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done and that jurists without a vested interest in political success and/or advancement in Sri Lanka should sit on such tribunals.

The Sri Lankan government has succeeded in employing one strategy after another to avoid living up to the undertakings provided by such as the Rajapaksa administration to United Nations agencies, specifically to Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of that organization. This is a matter of simple fact and all the bleating about “interference” is simply bluff and bluster intended to obfuscate that fact.

Further, anyone with even a tiny knowledge of history over the last couple of hundred years would remember that the bestiality to which the Armenian people were subjected never went away despite the passage of time as is the case with the Nazis’ anti-Semitic holocaust of more recent origin.

The only way that we can save our civilization of which we claim to be so proud is to cleanse ourselves of this blot on our history, by ensuring the conduct of an impartial inquiry with the participation of internationally-accepted experts in the field.

Recent events in post-Rajapaksa Sri Lanka where the integrity of impartial Commissions and Committees is being questioned to the point where Commission-members of decency and self-respect are beginning to resign proves, if proof be needed, that our political culture – be it dictated by a Rajapaksa or a Sirisena – has proven that it does not have the capacity to investigate what occurred during and after the conflict. After all, if senior members of the current government publicize the fact that they will not let any harm (read “justice”) be visited upon prominent members of a family that shall remain nameless, does it even suggest the possibility of an objective investigatory process under the same watch? Screaming that the likes of Desmond Tutu and the late Nelson Mandela were “out to get us” provides proof, if proof be needed, that justice will not prevail if it is left to a bunch of political appointees to administer it.

To repeat, while it is a small minority of those involved in the conflict and subsequently that committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is essential for the sake of our history and national integrity that we cleanse ourselves and ensure a country where civility, justice and decency prevail again. Nothing less will suffice. Certainly not the paranoid ranting of those who have a great deal to hide and are parroting the “2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist Civilization” slogan as a cloak to hide their guilt. The very fact that they use such a slogan as a shield against the accusations of criminality is nothing short of obscene but contains a kernel of logic. After all, one time-tested way of covering up embarrassing facts, at least in the short term, is with broad, sweeping generalities that contain a minimum of fact and a huge volume of empty platitudes!

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Latest comments

  • 7
    2

    Poorten,

    You are a Sri Lankan but not a Sinhalese, and not even a Buddhist.
    Hence you have boldly exposed the truth.

    But, a Sinhala Buddhist will never do so.

    The “Hero” status has been ‘conferred’ by Sinhala Buddhist politicians and society leaders on ALL those who fought on behalf of the state.

    As you say, a minority of these, by their behaviour, have stained, the honour and prestige of the majority, who will never admit to this.

    And, an impartial inquiry by Sinhala Buddhist, or, International Jurists may never happen, under the present set of Sinhala Buddhist politicians.

    • 1
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      International Jurists

      International Jurists are an christian organization.

      did you read corruptions in the american political system. Are those because of Sinhala – buddhists too ?

      All the problems in syria, should the Sinhala buddhists be blmed for that too ?

      Sinhala buddhists now have to be vigilent because of christian sinhala buddhist bashing.

      • 1
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        Jim…:
        Since you are obviously in the business of pigeon-holing all those who don’t belong to your breed of ignoramuses, how would you categorize atheists and agnostics?

    • 11
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      Current article of Mr Poorten is no doubt an another eye opener to many that live in this country like cows. Agree with him that I also dont see any wrong to go prosecuting the tiny minority of criminal soldiers in order to leave more respect to the due. This is common and valid to any others in the society. There are also good and bad doctors. They are also good and bad engineers. There are also good and bad teachers being covered among the most respectable ones. We have to set filters everywhere.

      This is simply a great article – I respect the writer more. Thanks Mr. Poorten.

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

  • 2
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    Mr. Van de Pooten:

    Don’t think that yahapalanaya is a failure, because, the objectives of the prime minister is different from those of the president.

    Ranil wickramasinghe is playing completey a different tune and even though he has the power he is doing something else. Only thing he has done upto now is destabilising SLFP and strengthening the UNP.

    See how corrupt the yahapalana – UNP faction is.

    Justice ministers, both for the previous and for the incumbant govt, are always well known crooks. So, how can you expect justice from law enforcement and jjustice ?

    • 5
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      As always, you differentiate the race and colour above everything else. Jim softy, I have no doubt you are not alone with that within this nation. THere are many share the thoughts with you, but I believe, things have been changinga lot realizing thatwe are all the same by all means.

      I too grew up in the country but moved to Europe 3 decades ago. I never considered me above anyone – calling me sinhala buddhist or the like the way you guys are compelled to feel it. Also while I was still studying at Pera, my thoughts were different – which is towards, we are all the same.

      You may be nevertheless right to some extent in terms of UNP, but that is not avoidable in today s context. And the truth is SLFP supporters of INCUMBENT president are also not at all clean. They are equaly culprits of the fraction of Joint Opposition. Just because they joined the consensual govt, seems to be given them impunity. However, on long run, this will not work. Former minister of high education, SB Disa behaves today as if he had been a good guy. The manner he handled the ministry was beyond all ethics and morals. His politics damaged entire University communities. He is no alone there, there are several other ministers of the same kind earn impunity today. This is the reality.

      And it is no untruth that the folks are also no clean since every second is pro Corruption and abusive nature of life than standing fearlessly and vehemently against it.
      Ours can not be comparable with those of any other developed world and their stands against corruption and crime investigations either.

  • 4
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    In making that statement, did the President examine why those ex Armed Forces via. the Navy Commanders were brought to courts. The alleged charges were all related to their “Doings”,, while in service and after retirement in connection with the commercial transactions with a company by the name Avant Guard. Those charges had nothing to do with their performance relevant to the war. Even GR had been charged in relation to the manner in which he diluted a source of revenue of the Navy. All the Navy Chiefs who are charged are for making very favorable decisions to again the “diluted” the revenue of the Navy. Now after retirement all of them are employed and very handsomely remunerated by this commercial outfit called Avant Guard. If the President really made a study of the case filed against these ex Navy Commanders and the ex Secretary of Defense, he would have appreciated the work of DG Ms. Wickramasinghe. She is a Professional Lawyer and a PC and would not have taken a risk to just file a case and lose at the end especially against such high profile persons. The President’s outburst, therefore seems to be very manipulative by some hidden back stage players. This is what has happened in the case of some of the high profile cases, one among of which is that widely talked of “Offshore” Bank hoardings of Rajapaksas’. Both the President and the Prime Minister were cautioned and very well briefed as to these “Hidden Forces” at work from outside as well as “WITHIN”; but both together with their team ignored the alarm signal and went about in their own way. Now this is the result. Now nothing can be done. No amount of “Damage Control” would work for both of them and the Government. The PEOPLE have lost faith and the CREDIBILITY of the Leaders and their Team are QUESTIONED in every sphere of every day life. They must not blame any other, other than themselves. In short you have LOST big time.

  • 6
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    Emil van der Poorten

    RE: Enough Of This Male Bovine Manure

    //”THAT is the only manner in which the integrity and honour of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and policemen can be ensured. Nothing less. Certainly not by the utterance of pious platitudes, preceded or followed by a plaintive “Aiyo.”//

    “Many of those recruited were guilty of offences under the criminal code of this country”

    “Recent events in post-Rajapaksa Sri Lanka where the integrity of impartial Commissions and Committees is being questioned to the point where Commission-members of decency and self-respect are beginning to resign proves, if proof be needed, that our political culture – be it dictated by a Rajapaksa or a Sirisena – has proven that it does not have the capacity to investigate what occurred during and after the conflict.”

    Thanks for the write up on Aiyo Gon Sirisena Gamarala.

    Were the 1958 Riots investigated? No.No UN.

    Were the 1983 Riots investigated? No.No UN.

    Are the 2009 War Crimes investigated? No.UN, is pressing, but No.

    Are the 2006-2014 killings by the Rajapaksa’s investigated? Yes, but Gon Sirisena Gamarala, is doing his best to protect the criminals.

    It is very likely, he is being paid by the stolen billions from Gotabaya Rajapakasa and Mahinda Rajapaksa.

  • 7
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    How can a President who was not a SLFP candidate wins the Presidential election with the support of UNP mainly and other smaller parties now wants to protect SLFP supporters and former Rajapakse family members? President’s mandate did not come from SLFP voters at all, yes he is the President for the country, if so he should behave as a protector of the citizens’ right and not SLFP thieves. Citizens’ rights is filing actions against all the rogues including Rajapakses’ and if found guilty to send them to prison. In this case the President has clearly indicated that this should not be done. Another thing which the President did not realize is that DG Dilrukshi is not the person who called the navy commanders and Gotabaya to the courts, its the courts that called them.She only filed the action. By the utterance of the President one begins to wonder if that speech was against the judges to control them and DG Dilrukshi was a scape goat.

    • 3
      1

      Lanken,

      please dont underestimate the situation that UNP had been fallen in.

      Do you guys ever think – had Mr Sirisena been NOT the candidate, UNP would ever be able to rise as it is the case for them today. Even today, their mechanism to village levels have failed while that monster from Hambantota has further been worsening the image of the party. I mean that bugger son of former Premadasa. We really dont know power greedy man s stand yet. He has been adding powerful rhetorics but behaving like an another Rajaakshe right ?

      Lately, did nto you guys see the video in which the man threatened the gathering – ” only those who supported me in my elections” … could get jobs while the others not…. what a discrimination ? Should others according to him leave the country for India with their thoughts ?

      • 2
        1

        Seelawathia, please read my comment again. Your comment is not relevant to mine at all.

  • 9
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    WE should bring ALL who committed crimes against humanity to the courts, try them and either punish or exonerate them. They include the the SLA, LTTE, JVP, UNP, SLFP, IPKF, the various Tamil militias, and BBS among others.

    Justice is supposed to be blind – not dictated by geopolitics or the fat wallets of diaspora.

    • 7
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      sinhalese buddhist:
      I cannot agree with you more!
      Justitia Omnibus should be the ONLY watchword.

      • 2
        5

        “To begin with, let’s get one thing straight: donning an armed force’s uniform does not, in and of itself, immediately, make one a hero of any description.”

        Is this why your sponsors Canada and the US ‘worship’ their soldiers who rape in Japan and Korea, murder in Iraq, Afghanistan and the middle east?

        You talk about your descent in to the title of this crap. Yo certainly have for the rest of it too.

        When will be the final descent? Kiribath is ripening.

        • 4
          1

          Sandaruwan:
          Since when did I become “sponsored” by the US & Canada. Justice and decency know no boundaries and there are some of us who are not stooges of any local or foreign power, inclusive of the Rajapaksas. That is obviously something that people of your ilk fail to understand and, given who your “sponsors” obviously are, that’s understandable.

          • 2
            1

            Emil van der Poorten

            I am confused.

            I am taught to believe those who question the state, those who criticize government, state functionaries, bribe taking criminals in police, war criminals in the armed forces, corrupt politicians, criminals, thugs, ….. and demand good governance, emphasize on law and order, …… are deemed traitors and foreign conspirators.

            Tell as to why you are not a foreign conspirator especially when you have foreign ancestry.

            PS.

            In order to prove your patriotism and love for the land and you are not part of the Christian funded NGO’s international conspiracy, would you now consider praising MR and his clan? You have been a sinner, your only path to salvation is through Gnanasara.

      • 0
        0

        How about justice to those died in tires?
        How about justice to those died in Hiroshima, Dresden, Vietnam?
        It is another myth like yahapalane!

        • 0
          0

          Srinath gunaratne:
          They might have seemed like exceptions but there WERE investigations and trials of what was done by paramilitaries in Iraq, there was also a place called My Lai in Vietnam some of the killers there being punished, and there were also the Nuremburg trials.
          In any event, what you are suggesting defies description and it is that because murders and mass killings might have gone unpunished, we should continue to turn a blind eye to atrocities.
          THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE SUGGESTING and what it amounts to is the rule of the jungle where anyone in authority can do whatever they choose to the less powerful.
          Need I say more?

        • 2
          0

          Srinath.gunaratne

          “How about justice to those died in Hiroshima, Dresden, Vietnam?”

          It is very important question.

          Please allow me to join you in your campaign against former allies and USA. What is the most cost effective way of fighting the USA for the crimes it committed against its victims in Japan, Vietnam, and Europe?

          We will be right behind you.

          However one’s charity begins at home.

    • 2
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      sinhalese buddhist

      “Justice is supposed to be blind – not dictated by geopolitics or the fat wallets of diaspora.”

      Yes.

      Look, what is on the Indian Flag? The Asoka wheel, edicts, inspired by pristine Buddhism.

      Now look, what is on the Sri Lankan Flag? A lion with a sword, to kill, inspired by corrupt Sinhala “Buddhism” per Mahawamsa. Why is it that thee are hardly any Tamil Buddhists in Lanka?

      Who likes to kill? Mara? So, is corrupted Sinhala “Buddhism” really Mara-ism, that has very little to do with pristine Buddhism?

  • 1
    0

    Sensible piece,practical stuff

  • 2
    0

    Dear Emil van der Poorten Sir,

    Let my salutation bespeak of the moral fibre you are made of. Your words maketh my Language of Silence flow!

  • 2
    0

    “I hate all Boets and Bainters” said King George I of England. Similarly, I say,I hate all Boliticians of Sri Lanka since Sirima Bandaranayake era, because all of them , according to their abilities , have contributed to ruin this country. My 3 should go to history as Ramapaksa II.

  • 0
    4

    [Edited out]

    • 2
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      KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

      “[Edited out]”

      Though Excellent I find it is too long.

      Thanks anyway.

      • 0
        2

        Dear Native,

        I always knew you had mystic powers as an original Vedda from Balangoda stock….

        But, did you Comprehende Amigo?….

        • 2
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          KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

          “But, did you Comprehende Amigo?….”

          Jes mi komprenas

          “I always knew you had mystic powers as an original Vedda from Balangoda stock….”

          Just like Paranavitana who was able to see and read interlinear inscriptions, I too was able to read what was in your head.

  • 1
    0

    In a perfect world what Mr van der Poorten would never have written this article.

    The stark truth, alas, is no one of the government of Sri Lanka or its proxies, or ‘sympathisers’ since the 1950’s has to face the consequences of their actions. 1958, 1971, 1983, 1987-89, and myriad times during the 30-year conflict. Even the scapegoat in the Bindunuwewa debacle got off with a pardon. War or peace, the government of the day looks after its own, and as we can see now politicians tend to look after their own too.

    Thus it will remain now and forever more……..UNLESS the political class reform and the rule of law returns in glory to take us to higher ground.

  • 0
    0

    To sum up all of the comments; it could be safely said that once again,all our sanguine hopes and dreams have been dashed and smashed like those political coconuts….!
    MY3 this we never expected. Ranil’s schemes and intrigues are far beyond your capacity.

  • 0
    0

    I think there are vested interest who want to start the war all over again, Be it Gota or MR or the tamil diaspora still as Sri Lankens, we must avoid this at all cost. Basically now we need a Professional Army and a Professional Police force.
    If not we will go back to another 30years of war. history repeats itself.
    Gnasara the basterd wanted the war against muslims, thinking it would be easy, but ISIS has scared him, so my bet is against Tamils within a year, if we Sri Lankens want peace, all have to work together for peace.
    War makes money for weapon suppliers/soilders/politicians / common people who work for rebels as well as forces, so there are people who have economic interest at hart to make war or to start a riot leading to mass killings and perpatuating a war.
    Lets beware, we live in dangerous times.

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