31 October, 2020

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Events: A Protest Meeting To Mark Lasantha Assassination

By Colombo Telegraph-

A Protest Meeting will be held to mark the 3rd Death Anniversary of the senior journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge on Wednesday, 11th January 2011, 4 pm at J.R.Jayewardene Centre, Colombo 7.

This meeting is being organized by the Platform for Freedom, a coalition of civil society organizations and public spirited citizens.

Lasantha Wickrematunge was assassinated on 8th January, 2009 at a High Security Zone in  Colombo. Even after  3 years the perpetrators of this heinous crime have not been brought to justice.

The Meeting will be addressed by the Leader of the Opposition Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, Mr. Mano Ganesan (Civil Monitoring Commission), Dr. Nimalka Fernando (Women’s Political Academy), Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu (Centre for Policy Alternatives), Mr. J. C, Weliamuna (Lawyers for Democracy), Mr. Sudarshana Gunawardana (Rights Now), Mr. Britto Fernando (Families of the Disappeared), Mr. K. W. Janaranjana (Ravaya Newspaper), Mr. Chandragptha Thenuwara (Citizen’s Rights), Mr. Sunil Jayasekera (Free Media Movement) and Mr. Herman Kumara (Land Forum)

*Platform for Freedom is a coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Sri Lanka established in January 2009 to campaign for Right to Live and Freedom of Expression with the participation of trade unions, media organizations and political parties.

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    Truth is stranger than fiction. How come Hon. Ranil-paksha is involved in this protest meeting !! Wake up people, wake up!

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    The protest ifound the wrong target? The Sunday Leader’s acceptance that Fonnie Sarath Fonseka was being harranged by Lasantha.

    Fonnie Plays The Green Card

    This editorial was published in The Sunday Leader on October 5, 2008 when Lasantha Wickrematunge was Editor.
    We are reproducing this inmemory of Lasantha Wickrematunge who was killed three years to the date, on January 8, 2009.
    Lasantha was a strident critic of the former Army Commander as illustrated in this Editorial.
    “Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has been in the news recently, not so much for his military exploits, but for his assertions of Sinhala supremacy. Pouring oil into a blazing inferno, Fonseka recently recalled a childhood traumatised by belligerent Tamils: “I can still remember how the villagers used to run to a rocky cliff when the Tamils attacked our village. We spent two to three days there until the situation (came) back to normal.” Luckily for the former Army Commander, no one jumped off that cliff.
    No wonder then, that he is cross, though no doubt grateful that now he is a big boy and he can teach those naughty Tamils a lesson. Mess with me, he seems to say, and I’ll smack you on the hooter. Fonseka has in his fifty-something years been disproportionately a victim of Tamil persecution. There he was, on April 25, 2006, minding his own business when a Tamil Tiger attacked his car, causing him grievous bodily harm. First those childhood attacks, now this.
    Repeated harassment at the hands of ill-willed Tamils has left its mark on Fonseka, who is clearly not about to turn the other cheek. It has brought out the Sinhala nationalist in him, making him the darling of the Hela Urumaya, the local equivalent of the Hitler Youth. “This country will be ruled by the Sinhalese community,” he said recently, “which is the majority, representing 74 percent of the population.” Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers… well, they are also-rans.
    Having said that, Fonseka quickly realised he was on a roll. Clearly, he had rung bells in his boss’s belfry. That boss, Gotabaya Rajapaksa (who too, is the survivor of an LTTE suicide attack), himself recently shrugged off the targeting of Tamil civilians by his armed forces with the following gem: “We know all Tamil people are not terrorists” he said. “That is true. But almost all terrorists are Tamil. Ninety-eight percent of the terrorists are Tamil… When you do operations, of course, the Tamil community will get targeted.” Fonseka and Rajapakse now find themselves blithely singing off the same hymn sheet, and in heavenly harmony, to boot.
    “I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese,” Fonseka told Canada’s National Post newspaper recently. “But there are minority communities and we treat them like our people.” Gracious of him, you must admit. The Tamil and Muslim communities must be touched.
    Fonseka and Rajapakse are not without their supporters. Predictably, the Hela Urumaya has stepped into the breach. Fonseka’s claim of Sinhala hegemony over Sri Lanka is, according to the Party’s General Secretary, Omalpe Sobitha Thera, “nothing but a fact proven by intellectuals and researchers… Sri Lanka is the country of Sinhala people who built its history and civilisation. People of all other ethnic groups have citizenship rights here, but Sinhala people have the unique national right in this country.” He has hitherto failed to vouchsafe in us what a “national right” is, or divulge the names of those august intellectuals and researchers.
    As he so often does, Sobitha Thero’s sidekick, Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka too, chipped in his two-cents worth, pouring scorn on Muslim opposition politicians Rauf Hakeem and Kabir Hashim, who had found the temerity to take issue with Fonseka. “People who had entered into secret pacts with the LTTE had absolutely no right to comment on the Army Commander’s comments,” he maintains.
    If Sri Lanka must, according to Fonseka’s logic, be ruled by the majority community of 74 percent, then how is it, you may ask, that Barack Obama, a man who represents a minority of just 13.4 percent of Americans who are black, has got within striking distance of the presidency of the United States? And no one even mentions the fact that his face is the colour of Fonseka’s armpit, or that he is a second-generation immigrant. We do not know what Fonseka’s views are on that matter, but we salute the Democratic Party for having at least nominated Obama, regardless of whether or not he is elected come November 4.
    And Fonseka should know better, because he himself – in a supreme act of selfless patriotism – applied to emigrate to the United States, leaving his beloved Sri Lanka and his majority Sinhalese brethren. And you know what? The Americans gave him a Green Card, the technical term for which is – wait for it – a Diversity Visa. Fonseka the patriot is probably the only serving military commander in the world who has applied for and taken a residence-visa in a foreign country. And it is this same man who has been awarded the highest honours Sri Lanka has to offer for patriotic service: the RWP (Rana Wickrama Padakkama), the PBP (Poorna Bhoomi Padakkama), the DPS (Desha Putra Sammanaya) and now the coveted GMGC (Give Me a Green Card).
    Given that the United States is 74 percent white (just as Sri Lanka is 74 percent Sinhalese), one presumes Fonseka had no qualms about being, according to his own definition, a second-class citizen there. Sorry, Fonny, we do not see you as a patriotic son of the soil. By our scorecard its USA-1, Fonseka-0.
    What the likes of Sarath Fonseka simply do not get is that their parochial world view has gone out of fashion just about everywhere else. The world is becoming an increasingly small place, and one in which diversity is celebrated, not denigrated. That is why that sticker Fonseka has stamped on his passport is called a Diversity Visa. The United States welcomes oddballs – yes, even alien army commanders – because they feel it enriches their society. All they need is a secondary education.
    Whichever way Fonseka slices his arguments, the fact is that he too, is a product of diversity. Take his name, ‘Fonseka,’ a bastardisation of ‘da Fonseca,’ a reminder of its roots in the time Sri Lanka’s maritime provinces were governed by the Portuguese. No shame in that, and we certainly do not think he is less Sri Lankan for his foreign name. But it must be remembered, come to that, that Yogalingam, Selvanathan and Arumugam are unquestionably more Sri Lankan than is Fonseka. After all, the Tamils were here way before the Portuguese. Da Fonseca, forsooth!
    Fonseka’s views are not unique, neither are they new. Just last week we buried Dingiri Banda Wijetunga, whose views closely paralleled those of Fonseka. Wijetunga, an outspoken Sinhala chauvinist, is best remembered as the Sarah Palin of Sri Lanka, having been made Prime Minister by Ranasinghe Premadasa with hardly an elementary education behind him. On Premadasa’s death Wijetunge ascended to the presidency and was arguably the most ineffectual president Sri Lanka ever had (and that is saying a mouthful). At no time before him had corruption been worse, and his small mind too, strove to score brownie points with the Sinhala nationalists.
    “The majority race should be safeguarded for the livelihood of the minority races,” President Wijetunge famously said. “When the tree is safe, the vines can get entangled in it and grow.” Needless to say, the Tamil community did not take kindly to being likened to creepers and lianas, and they voted solidly against the UNP in the general election Wijetunge called later that year, sending that party into 14 years of oblivion, 20 at least, if Mahinda Rajapakse plays his cards right. It was not for nothing then, that DBW was affectionately referred to as “Ata Pass,” an allusion to his eighth-grade educational horizon. The man who wanted to be remembered as a maverick is remembered as little more than a clown.
    The tragedy of the eviscerated UNP that Wijetunge left behind (yes, the same one that keeps threatening to get on the streets but is clearly more at home in the city’s banquet halls) is that it has gone a full circle, allowing itself to be painted into the ‘unpatriotic,’ pro-Tamil corner of the Sri Lankan polity. Amazingly, that is a label that has stuck despite the Tamil community having voted en bloc against the UNP or boycotted in every election in the past seven years. The UNP, it seems, are gluttons for punishment, too indolent to defend themselves, wallowing in self-inflicted misery like crippled hippopotami.
    With Fonseka’s and Gotabaya Rajapakse’s vituperative statements widely publicised in the media, the UNP maintained a stoic silence, and when forced to respond, sent poor Kabir Hashim out to face the wolves. The party’s Sinhala leadership stayed well clear of the battle zone. For his part, Hashim went out and, wringing his hands apologetically, issued the mildest possible rebuke to the Army Commander, actually thanking him for liberating the Muslims of the east. Whether or not the Muslims of the east feel liberated is a question Hashim would do well to ask them. He evidently has not. Even now, the UNP is undergoing a process of reform as it prepares to appoint an assistant leader and a shadow cabinet. The few MPs remaining in the party are jostling for position, elbowing one another with truly Sinhala enthusiasm. What the public (who, remember, pay the opposition’s salaries, too) would like to know is, what do the UNP bigwigs have to say about Fonseka’s claims to Sinhala domination of the Sri Lankan polity? Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tissa Attanayake, Rukman Senanayake, S.B. Dissanayake, Sajith Premadasa: bleat louder, we can’t hear you. Then again, maybe they turned the page already.
    We at The Sunday Leader have never needed to be cheered on by the majority, or for that matter the minority. We say it as we see it. And of Fonseka’s disgraceful statements we wish to record our shame. With high officials of his ilk – and an opposition that has a spine of which a jellyfish would be ashamed – it comes as no surprise that Sri Lanka finds itself in the predicament it does. Thankfully the Supreme Court at least is making some headway in ensuring good governance and accountability in public office. It is time Sarath Fonseka was told to put his Diversity Visa to good use and

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    Now who should be in jail for Lasantha’s murder? Lal his brother and Ranil and Lasantha’s other friend including Mrs Rajathamby and Paikyasothy should admit that they are barking up the wrong tree. The Rajapakse family had nothing to do with Lasantha’s death. This is a hoax and the protest is not made out of love for Lasantha but an attempt to revive a bankrupt polirtical party and a NGO who is a utter Fraud: Paikyasoth Saravanamutti the LTTE leader in disguise.

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      I completely agree with the views expressed by Peter Casie Chetty. You said a mouthful – Paikyasothy Saravanamuttu was and no doubt is the powerful shadowy leader of the LTTE. Poor Prabhakaran was a puppet who was manipulated by Sara and the “unseen” foreign powers, who are still active. They have not given up their hidden agenda of creating conflicts in Sri Lanka, thereby destabilizing the rising Asian giant – India.

      Ranil talking about Lasantha and media freedom!!! What a huge joke!!!!

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        How can Sri Lanka possibly destablize India? India is light-years ahead of Sri Lanka. India has nuclear weapons and has sent men to the moon. India produces millions of engineers every year. Most of India’s present probems are due to its massive population; despite this, the Indian model of federalism has worked wonders in creating social cohesian and preventing outright civil war, as was the case in SL. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has yet to even figure out the meaning of a democratic constitution. The LTTE was never the main problem in Sri Lanka; this we can easily from the present situation of abject decadence. The problem is Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism and the lack of a secular social dynamic based on respect for laws and institutions, as opposed to the Mahavamsa and miracle men.

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        Nihal P says “How can Sri Lanka possibly destablize India?”. Well, its not Sri Lanka as a country that will destabilize India, it will be similar to the Arab Spring orchestrated by the Western power, led by the USA, creating chaos in the middle east, so that the White imperialists could dominate the region with their military presence and also grab the oil reserves of the region.

        The imperialist powers want to create a similar situation in south asia, so that they could dominate the region. What better opportunity to interfere in the internal affairs of countries, than having conflicts and wars in the region?

        Nihal P is of the view that the root cause of all problems in Sri Lanka is “Sinhala-Buddhist fundamentalism and the lack of a secular social dynamic based on respect for laws and institutions, as opposed to the Mahavamsa and miracle men.” Nihal P’s thinking is exactly in line with the LTTE racist ideology of Sinhala-Buddhist hatred and the obsession with the Mahavamasa. Hey, we are living in the 21st Century, remember?

        Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, where all races live peacefully – except the Tamil separatist racists who are obsessed with a “traditional Tamil homeland”, where not even an inch of land can be purchased by a non-Tamil due to the Thesavalami law introduced by the British, who with their divide-and-rule policy created what is termed the “ethnic problem”, which never existed in Sri Lanka before the advent of the white imperialists. Its the power-hungry, English educated, elitist Sinhala and Tamil politicians who later on fermented racial discord to either grab power or retain power. That is why although the LTTE leader is dead, the Tamil racist ideology is still alive and kicking.

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    I have quoted Peter Casie Chetty on my blog. Hope he does not mind. I find the curreent Leader’s position on Fonseka very peculiar.

    http://pcolman.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/death-of-an-editor

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    honestly, peter! Where are you living ?

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    The Rajapakse’s are responsible for LW’s untimely death. If not directly, then certainly indirectly. Who is it that has perpetuated the climate of white van abductions, secret detention centres, and extrajudicial assassinations? Who is it that has imposed draconian restrictions on the media? Do you hear of journalists being murdered in broad daylight, in democractic nations that subscribe to the notion of a free press? The Rajapakses represent Sinhala-Buddhist fascism; Lasantha was on the opposite end of the spectrum. It was inevitable that their beliefs would clash, given the combination of LW’s outspokeness and his influence in the media. There is very little vocal dissent in SL today, of the type that LW articulated. While quite a few parties don’t hesitate to voice their economic grievances, virtually no one singles out the main culprit: the dictator, Mahinda Rajapakse, and his band of fascist nationalist thugs.

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    Dear L De Mel,

    If by imperialists you are referring to the West, the latter has no desire to dominate India. India serves as a buffer against surrounding hostile nations that practice a radical form of Islam. The oil you speak of is found in Afghanistan, and this is already being dominated and exploited by the West with the help of puppet regimes in Pakistan and Kabul. Next are the trillions worth of minerals, also in Afghanistan. China is also involved in this effort, so it is not merely the West. So you see, Sri Lanka is an insignificant dot on the map. It has no proven oil reserves worth speaking of, it does not harbor any extremist organization on the scale of Al-Qaeda, and any problems in Sri Lanka can usually be contained by its much more powerful neighbour to the North.

    All races in Sri Lanka live peacefully? That is the joke of the year. Which race was lighting firecrackers in May 2009 and which race, at the same time, was stuck in razor-wire IDP camps with hands outstretched, begging foreign aid organizations for dry rations? The North is heavily militarized; one cannot build a home in the North without permission from the (Sinhala-Buddhist) Defense Ministry. Similarly, vistors from abroad cannot visit the North without the permission of the (Sinhala-Buddhist) Defense Ministry. Similarly, one cannot hold school functions, political meetings, public rallies, or even ring a temple bell on Nov. 27th without permission from the “Sons of The Soil.”

    You may blame the white imperalists for the present conundrums, but let us not forget two important points: (1) it was the imperialists (British) that united the island in the first place, and (2) Sri Lanka is not the only Asian country to have been colonized. What about Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea? Your method of blindly blaming colonialism fails rather miserably in this regard.

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      Since Nihal P appears to be so anti Sri Lanka/anti Sinhala/anti Buddhist, its best that you live happily in some foreign country. May be you are a member of the so-called diaspora, who has either left Sri Lanka when you were kid and never returned or was born overseas, and appear to have digested a load of anti-Sri Lanka/Sinhala/Buddhist hatred, successfully propagated by the LTTE and its paid agents (both Tamil and Sinhala) around the world. That’s the only explanation for you to come out with such absurd comments about the situation in Sri Lanka.

      The Sinhala/Buddhist state has allowed Tamils to buy prime property and live in luxury in the heart of Colombo. More than 95 percent of the population living in Wellawatta are Tamil. You only have to attend a Gala social event in a 5-star hotel in Colombo to witness how the prosperous Tamil elite men and women wine, dine and dance till the wee hours of the morning. Some of the wealthiest business establishments are owned by Tamils. All these Tamils appear to live peacefully and happily with the “majority racist Sinhala Buddhists”.

      I have no desire to reply to any of your comments (if any) here after, as you seem to be full of hatred and anger. I extend my compassion towards you. Remember, we are all born equal – its society that puts us into categories and make one human being hate another. When the time comes, we all have to leave this earth – as equals.

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        The 2500-year accomplishment of Sinhala-Buddhism is a civil war that killed more than 100,000 people. All of these 100K individuals died in the name of Sinhala-Buddhism. Of course, there have been ideologies which have killed far more people than this; for example, National Socialism and Bolshevism. On the other hand, National Socialism, Bolshevism, etc. are accepted as failed ideologies by most people today. One can readily see that they have no place in the modern world. Similarly, Sinhala-Buddhism has no place in the modern world. Just as National Socialism was based on the myth of the Aryan,Sinhala-Buddism is based on the myths of the Mahavamsa. Just as Nationalism Socialism believed Hitler to be a superman, the SInhala-Buddhists of the 21st century have adapted a mythical reincarnation of Dutugemunu, aka Mahinda, to be their “saviour.”

        There is no such thing as democracy in SL anymore, despite what L De Mel claims. L De Mel should inquire from the Tamil businessmen in Welawatte how many of their colleagues were kidnapped by white vans. L De Mel thinks because Tamils own a few shops in Colombo that every Tamil is somehow well off. L De Mel doesn’t understand that it was the British who brought the Tamils to Colombo, not the Sinhalese.

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