23 October, 2021

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Fans Of Fascism & The Paradigm Of Resistance

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

There are judgements of right and wrong, of good and evil, of morality and ethics which are universal. What then can you say of those who refuse to recognize these universal judgements? Such elements, such dispensations, have never been able to sustain themselves or to be sustained by outside powers.

We are reminded of the most instantly recognizable question of good and evil by an article in the Sri Lankan newspapers authored by Ambassador Yuri Materiy, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka, on the 76th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Fascism (May 9). He writes:

The Victory in the war prevented the Nazis from spreading their inhuman ideology worldwide…

…The efforts of all countries and peoples who fought against a common enemy resulted in victory. Russia is eternally grateful to the peoples of Great Britain, the United States of America, France, anti-fascists of various countries and members of the underground resistance…

At the same time, it should be mentioned that it is the Soviet Union and the Red Army, who made the crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism…” (Daily Mirror)

Ambassador Materiy emphasizes the contemporary relevance of remembering the victory which stopped the worldwide spread of this “inhuman ideology”:

“It is our sacred duty to safeguard the truth about what happened during those years, and remember the grim lessons of war in order to prevent such tragedies from repeating themselves.” (ibid)

Fascism was defeated not merely because it erred by engaging in cross-border invasion, as some Sinhala ultranationalists think. The founding fascist, Mussolini, came to his end at the hands of his own countrymen and women, the Italian Communist partisans. Those who watched the Netflix show Money Heist would recall the song Bella Ciao, which ran through it. That was the marching song of the partisans of the anti-fascist Italian Resistance and remains popular to this day.

When it came to choosing between Japan, a rising Asian power, and the Allied powers which included Western imperialist and colonial oppressors, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and the Communists in the Philippines, Malaya, Burma and Indonesia, all decided to fight the Japanese and cooperate temporarily with the Western democratic imperialists. They did so because rising Japan, with its domestic despotism, was the more aggressive power and in the Axis with Hitler and Mussolini.    

What happens when a person wielding power does not have or tosses aside a moral compass which guides them to recognize and reject evil? What happens to the citizenry at the hands of such a person? What happens when there is an organized network of such persons in positions of power?

What happens when a power-elite adheres to an ideology which not merely fails to observe universal distinctions of good and evil but flaunts the memories and symbolisms of evil and upholds historical leaders universally identified as personifying evil, as emblematic of positive values and as role models?    

In June 2018, Ven. Wendaruwe Upali thero wished presidential candidate-in-waiting Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his birthday, saying that he should be a Hitler. The candidate-in-waiting did not remonstrate, and actually defended the venerable monk. As Meera Srinivasan of The Hindu reported at the time:

“It came as a surprise birthday blessing to Sri Lanka’s former Defense Secretary, when an influential Buddhist monk recently said: “Let Gotabaya Rajapaksa prove his critics right by becoming a real Hitler…As the opposition to the monk’s “Hitler remarks” grew louder last week, Mr. Gotabaya said: “Even the Buddha said the Dhamma should be preached to people who have the capacity and the wisdom to understand it.” In his view, only those who did not understand the meaning of the comment made all the noise. It appears he took no offence.” (Gotabaya gets an unusual compliment – The Hindu)

Several weeks ago, State Minister Dilum Amunugama revived the Hitler reference and reiterated it, signaling that if pushed, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa may choose to be a Hitler. The President didn’t fire him. Or tick him off publicly. Or distance himself from those remarks. Instead, Dilum Amunugama was conferred yet another State Ministry, that of Community Policing.

We are led by a person who does not see anything wrong, or if he does, chooses not to say anything in public, about Hitler as a positive symbol, and goes on to send a clear signal by rewarding, not punishing or ignoring, the politician who aired these views.   

No individual in Government denounced or distanced themselves from the Hitler invocation; not even after Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thero repeatedly denounced the Hitler reference. Why was there no attempt at damage limitation? Either because the Government did not think it was damaging, or because the Cabinet figured that Dilum’s views on the subject of Hitler were not at variance with those of the President and might have even been a bit of signaling by proxy.

Today, Sri Lanka has gone beyond exceptionalism to the unique. It has the only leader and regime in the world, that do not take exception to Adolf Hitler and any public reference to him as a role model. It has the only leader in the world who is unashamed of being associated with Hitler, by his followers.

What is such a political leadership, which operates outside universal parameters of what is evil, capable of being and doing? What would/could it be safely guaranteed not to do?    

The absence of a moral compass or sense of shame manifested itself in Parliament in the angry exchange between the SJB’s chairperson, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekara, the Minister of Public Security. In an exhibition of moral grotesquerie, Weerasekara ferociously denounced as unpatriotic, the criticism made by Fonseka of the presidential pardon granted to Sgt. Sunil Ratnayake, whose conviction and sentence for the crime of murdering several non-combatants, mostly children, had been upheld by the Supreme Court. 

Weerasekara excoriated Fonseka for describing the slicing of the children’s throats by Ratnayake. Fonseka, the shrapnel-laden war veteran and suicide-bomb survivor who commanded the victorious war effort against the Tigers, was quoting from the text of the judgement. It was he as theatre commander, who had handed over staff Sgt Sunil Ratnayake to the Military Police in the year 2000 for the heinous crime that Weerasekara chose to whitewash on the grounds that the murderer was a frontline combatant. Weerasekara’s defense of the morally indefensible took place in Parliament on the day that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in the House. 

Field Marshal Fonseka’s speech erected a firewall between military heroism and atrocities against unarmed civilians. Admiral Weerasekara removed that moral-ethical firewall by stridently defending the pardon of a child-killer and pronouncing him a war hero.

Weerasekara opens the door to the question, if the atrocity of cutting children’s throats can be justified in Parliament by the Minister of Public Security, and the murderer exculpated and exalted as a war hero, what might have been permitted and practiced during the war? Thus, his shocking discourse helps the outrageous Ontario-based ‘genocide’ campaign. The question also arises as to what kind of ‘public security’ will prevail in Sri Lanka.

If a leader raises no objection to pro-Hitler references, there is no moral floor below which he/she and his/her co-thinkers cannot fall. 

Blind Spot

The Opposition’s strategic blind-spot is the incomplete recognition of the character of the regime, its trajectory and project.

Surely the fact that the President continues to maintain the increasingly dysfunctional model of a military-led and military-centric rather than a medically-led anti-Covid campaign, indicates that military control is meant to be embedded, displacing and supplanting civilian control? 

When the degree of state and social militarization we currently observe is what usually happens only after the seizure of power by a military and the installation of a junta, isn’t the regime’s strategic game-plan discernible? 

If the SJB and JVP believe what they say about the Easter massacre and the Deep State, shouldn’t they ask themselves whether the latter entity will peacefully relinquish power after an election that its preferred candidate/party loses?

If the SJB, JVP and FSP believe what they say about the Port City, mustn’t they ask themselves whether the world’s biggest currency laundromat will risk its functioning by permitting the peaceful electoral transfer of power (which is not within the ‘governance experience’ of the patron)?

If the Opposition believes what it says about influential private military contractors, shouldn’t it ask itself whether the local Blackwater, plus the local Fox News, plus the local Canary Islands-type offshore bankers, wouldn’t intervene to prevent peaceful electoral change? 

Shouldn’t the Opposition consider that the import bans are driven by the surreal logic of preemptive immunity to Western pressures/sanctions in the case of a Myanmar move, by turning Sri Lanka into a self-sealed North Korea? Isn’t the regime’s model, Hong Kong in the Port City and North Korea in the country?

With a Minister for Public Security praising a convicted child-killer as a war hero and a State Minister for Community Policing thinking that Hitler is a cool name to drop, shouldn’t it strike the Opposition that a regime with such an ethos will have no qualms in using any method to remain in power?   

Lasantha Wickrematunge may have been Sri Lanka’s first Jamal Khashoggi, but will he be the last?

The regime’s project goes against the grain of 90 years of civilian democracy and almost 45 years of the Open Economy in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it will fail, but not without trying to permanently perpetuate the emergent power-elite.      

The SJB, JVP and TNA hope for an electoral-democratic endgame. The space for that outcome will first have to be cleared and secured through the Opposition morphing into a Movement mode and embarking on the politics of peaceful democratic resistance.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    3

    SJB, JVP and TNA – Yahapalanaya version 2.0.
    No need to beat around the bush.
    Sarath Fonseka and Sarath Weerasekera are two sides of the same coin – Sinhala Buddhist supremacy.

    • 3
      2

      “by permitting the peaceful electoral transfer of power (which is not within the ‘governance experience’ of the patron)?”
      A bit of selective duplicity there? Dr. DJ is implicitly criticizing China. But how does he justify the electoral system in Cuba, his claimed intellectual home?

  • 6
    1

    Can Dayan Jayatilleke be anymore duplicitous?

    His poignant composition, seemingly genuine, propositions “Weerasekara opens the door to the question, if the atrocity of cutting children’s throats can be justified in Parliament by the Minister of Public Security, and the murderer exculpated and exalted as a war hero, what might have been permitted and practiced during the war?”…

    Then nullifies his seemingly genuine allegiance to truth and fairness by corrupting the piece with his deceptive commentary “Thus, his [Weerasekara’s] shocking discourse helps the outrageous Ontario-based ‘genocide’ campaign.”
    Genocide is a forgone conclusion of many governments and agencies irrespective of any legislation or bill.

    It is this same duplicity which Sajith Premadasa of SJB time and again demonstrates, and will undermine the success of SJB just as the “inhuman ideologies” will eventually finish off the dual-Paksa regime.

    We have far too often fallen prey to duplicitous characters preaching us morality and the way to a future of milk and honey.

  • 6
    4

    I know practically nothing about Hitler. The name is synonymous with evil, I know.
    As such, if anyone tells me that it is synonymous with Bravery, I would challenge it!
    .
    Then, why was there no attempt at damage limitation?
    .
    I think that I know the answer. We have had despots. Several. A leader of Sri Lanka being anointed with the name of Hitler is brushed away because we are so used to those despots.

  • 7
    1

    Only a righteous person will know what’s right and what’s wrong. No criminal, murderer, rapist, or for that matter a drug lord or a Paga taker will not know what’s right and what’s wrong. Unfortunately, with the numerous “nidoskota nidahas” cases in the Parliament, lead by family members who themselves have numerous valid aligations against them such as murder, bribe, ghost owned mansions etc there is no way this group would know whats right and what’s wrong.

    6.9 million votes wasted, promises broken for what, to stay in power and to save their necks from the grip of the law. Where is this country heading?

  • 4
    10

    UK – London police have arrested four men for ““Which Appeared”” to show “”Anti-Israel Comments”” being shouted “”From a Car”” “”With Palestinian Flags”” in north London using “HELICOPTERS”.
    /
    Boris Johnson condemned the “Shameful Racism” aimed at Israelis which have “”No Place”” in “”Their Society””.
    /
    Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the incident (Shouting Anti-Israel comments) was “Utterly Disgusting”, adding: “There Must Be Consequences”.
    /
    In the meantime “Business As Usual” Israelis bombed Gaza refugee camp killing 10, including 8 children.
    /
    And…….
    /
    UNHRC seeking an additional program budget of US $ 2.8 million to INVESTIGATE Sri Lanka.
    .
    In your face you fools…………

    • 6
      1

      SCP,
      .
      Long time no see. Some of us thought, karmic retribution nailed it not just schadenfreude, but no other choice either.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ9D88aVa4A&list=RDCMUCBU2WmcV2AwvUYMUZzgTsmA&start_radio=1
      :
      Your comment above proves that SRILANKEN racist acts are multiple times mor MORE compared to that of palasatina-israel ethnic conflict.
      :
      May the eyes of stupid people be open to the facts sooner than later.

      • 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

        • 1
          0

          Brilliant Ms SCP

          You have made it short this time. ! Brand of punnaku seems to be working well.
          .
          ☹☹☹☹☹☹☹☹

        • 2
          3

          S. C. Passqual

          Brilliant.
          I suppose this is not your parent’s mistake.
          How could your single mother (with/without your absentee father) inculcate values to a child who has been inspired by the political and saffron thugs.

          Don’t you think it was wasted time, energy and DNA creating you in the first place?

    • 5
      4

      S. C. Passqual

      What is your message.
      Is it a veil threat to those who dare to question Zionism’s human rights violations?
      I suspect you are a secret admirer of Zionists. In return what do you get?

      “UNHRC seeking an additional program budget of US $ 2.8 million to INVESTIGATE Sri Lanka.”

      Did the UNHRC seek a contribution from you or the Sinhala/Buddhist state?

      • 1
        3

        Native Kudda,
        .
        I quote.
        ———-
        “What is your message.”
        ———-
        To understand you need both literacy (You must be able to understand written English) and some form of analytical ability.
        what you don’t have.
        Blame your parents. Not me.

      • 1
        0

        Dear Native,
        .
        Ms SCP is speechless in today s achievements by his beloved leaders.

        Ms does not seem to know what (s)he is talking about.

    • 4
      0

      Ms SCP,

      WHAT A WONDERLAND is in making by WEERAKETIYA cattle thieves ?

      Your beloved govt of GOTABAYA has bought only 0.5 mio (5 00 000 ) of vaccine for the nation.
      .
      All the other 11 00 000 were grants (Astrazenecca – 5 00 000, Sinopharm 2 00 000 and Sputnic 15 000 )

      Irony is ballige puthas have millions to road and construction + container gym (no second to nigh car race programs of bastard sons of MaRa)

  • 6
    1

    Saddest and most terrible thing here is that non-SLPP political parties do not understand that they should join up to dispose of a Dictator and his coward stooges as they individually think of becoming the Boss. Even the masses do not understand the gravity of the situation and support different individuals and parties. The best example is the JVP which thinks that everybody likes them and ultimately be satisfied with three-four parliamentary seats and chairmanship of COPE.

  • 5
    2

    DJ@
    “Lasantha Wickrematunge may have been Sri Lanka’s first Jamal Khashoggi, but will he be the last”.
    .
    WHOLE LOT OF THE KIND OF MISTERIOUS MURDERS are on their list with direct defending of srilanken judiciary. Today as ur eyes believe that it has become underwears of Rajapakshes.
    .
    If international community would nt react timely, numbers of police killings of the nature Uru Juwas, Markandure Madush, will be ceaseless. That ll more than to the numbers of Covid deaths, I ll bet u. ☹☹☹☹☹☹☹☹

  • 2
    6

    Ah, c’mon Dayan, did you see Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake “slicing children’s throats”? Slicing? Is this word correct?
    You say children. How many children, may I ask.
    Can one man slice or slit the throats of a few children at the same time?
    Ok, will say he did it, then when he “slices the throat of one child”, won’t other children run away or scream on top of their voices?
    Did Sarath Fonseka see Sunil Ratnayaka slicing or slitting the throats of children?
    Or did anybody else see?
    There were no eyewitnesses. Only one man has heard a scream similar to a bleating of a goat. Have you ever heard a goat’s bleat? If you don’t see the goat and only hear the bleat, you may think a child is screaming as if someone tries to “slice his throat”.
    Sunil Ratnayake said he is not guilty. I believe him. Too bad he couldn’t afford a lawyer.
    As for Genocide Bill, I think there is a serious typographical error in the Bill. It should actually read as the “LTTE Genocide Week”. Contrary to what you say, Sarath Weerasekara has nothing to do with the Bill which is said to be first tabled in 2019. It is people like you and Sarath Fonseka who substantiate LTTE diaspora’s blatant lies.

    • 6
      4

      Champa,
      “Ah, c’mon Dayan, did you see Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake “slicing children’s throats”? “
      Where were you when the court sentenced him to death? If you defended him, maybe he would have been spared all this trouble.
      Do you have no human feelings at all, except for Sinhala Buddhists?

    • 4
      2

      Dear Champa,
      .
      we ve been searching for you…. please add your thought to the article below .
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/m-m-janapriya-14-may-2021/

    • 6
      4

      Champa,
      Do you believe in your country’s military, intelligence, Supreme court or other courts and Prime Minister and President ? If you can go through the court case and decisions of the judges you will know why the Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake was sentenced to death.
      For a blood thirsty Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalists like you every Tamil citizen who were murdered from 1958 to 2009 and after are LTTE. You don’t know how to lie but you know how to kill truth.

  • 2
    2

    As for the local Hitler, I think it is the Malwathu Asgiri Chapter monks who prompted their local MP to warn people about what Gotabhaya is capable of. In return, they got him another ministerial post.
    I don’t understand the mindset of the Malwathu Asgiri Chapter Buddhist (?) monks. How could Buddhist monks hail Hitler? Ven. Wendaruwe Upali thero and the Buddhist Kewatta Council seem to be yearning a reign of state terror similar to that of 2010-2015. I think they can’t tolerate their local Hitler being criticized by lesser mortals.
    Gotabhaya is a colossal failure, same as Malwathu Asgiri Chapter monks who strongly believe that they hail from Vijaya Hora’s clan (the first Malabar-Kalinga invader who landed in Point Pedro during the reign of Sinhalese King Padukabhaya I)., who was never a king. The Kandyan monks should know that although we still remain silent and often refer to the distorted Mahawamsa, we have a full knowledge of our histroy.

    • 5
      2

      To me Malwathu or the like chapter monks are similar to amazonian sloths.
      :
      They dont care much about the deteriorating levels of the society as of tday.
      :
      One of them, may be very uneducated but added thoughts about the need of a HITLER….. anyways, what we have gotten is a DONKEY who knows nothing but ONLY to please his business men on and on, while let the PUBLIC in a lurk in this critical juncture of the nation. Kelani, Mahaweli, walawe and other rivers will be getting ready to welcome -COVID deaths soon with incapable Gota,regime is about to fall all deep. Total ignorance of the buggers brought this nation to a stand still siutation.

    • 3
      3

      Champa,
      “I don’t understand the mindset of the Malwathu Asgiri Chapter Buddhist (?) monks. How could Buddhist monks hail Hitler? “
      I don’t understand YOUR mindset. What more do you expect of them? This is the best they can do. That’s why they are monks. If they were capable of learning an honest trade, like carpentry, fishing, plumbing or the like, they would have.

    • 4
      3

      How could Buddhist monks hail Hitler?
      Is it a question?……………..

  • 0
    1

    Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka is puzzled as to why no one seems to be upset over being equated to Hitler. The nominee himself or those around him.
    Dr.DJ thinks in English.
    A few who think in Sinhala waste time on this Hitler talk.
    I don’t know what it means to an European to say “like Hitler “, probably an evil mass murderer.
    But the Sinhala usage “Hitler wage” has almost settled as an idiom to imply a tough manager.
    That I hope will settle the issue.

    Soma

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