15 June, 2024


From Anyone But Karu To No One But Karu

By Vishwamithra

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

Karu Jayasuriya

The flow of events during the past six to seven weeks has been extremely fast but not reckless. Its direction has not been altered nor has it been wayward. Ostensibly rudderless, yet unmistakably determined and single-minded; an all-congruent current seems to be headed in search of an evener ground, or a more placid surface to roll over without causing any unnecessary destruction or delay. All in all, that is precisely how the general flow of life takes its own course, whether one likes it or not.

The current sociopolitical stalemate that Sri Lanka is wedged in is not unique to our country. Its character, its varying shades, its cause and effect process and its foreseen and unforeseen consequences have all been part of human history. As a matter of fact, since the dawn of time, the stream of life has been one great cascade of repetitions, hardly having time to modify its process and substance. Prestigious historians have embedded their respective signatures in singularly uncompromising fashion. The pages and chapters have embellished not only our literature, they have greatly contributed to the shaping and defining of some great leaders history has been fortunate to embrace.

However, when it comes to Ceylon, from ancient times, we have been subjected to monarchic rule and The Great Chronicle (Mahavamsa) has blessed us with some flowery and exaggeratingly embroidered vernacular which describes how and why each and every King or Queen came to the throne; it also presents us with facts and description as to how they sustained themselves in power with or without contributing anything to the advancement of Lanka’s citizenry. There are no absolutism in such chronicling; no King, Queen, Prime Minister or President who was spotlessly white or darkening black. That is the nature of humanity. It is indeed a hard fact some find impossible to digest.

When it comes to the present day situation in Sri Lanka, it is neither so difficult, nor easy to weigh one politician against the other. When one writes about contemporaneous history, one needs to be objective as much as one is allowed in the current tide of events and placement of its leaders.

It is in this fascinating context that one has to assess and evaluate the chances of not only a remote possibility of the recovery of our battered economy but also the re-entry of one particular political leader who once enjoyed the popularity of all shades of the political spectrum but has not been in the limelight since the demise of the Yahapalanaya government. That is Karu Jayasuriya who was the Speaker of the House of Parliament from 2015 to 2019.

As the Speaker of Parliament Karu excelled not merely as an objective man who presided over that bunch of lotus eaters but in a very real and uncompromising sense saved our democratic way of government and national life. It is often said that governments are made and broken by the swashbuckler politicians who every now and then show signs of meteoric rises and agonizing falls. Karu Jayasuriya is no such swashbuckler. His approach to politics has always been steady, measured and even unadventurous. That kind of approach to politics, especially during turbulent times such as we are going through today, may well not be attractive to the youth of today, specifically in the short run, yet a balanced and mature mind that can absorb the punch of each and every stone of criticism hurled at him and then reply such hurling with precision-crafted, skillful and wise responses is indeed within the wherewithal of such wise men.

Karu Jayasuriya is such a wise man.

In my column dated March 3, 2022, under the heading of ‘Enough Rajapaksa-Bashing, What Are Our Options?’, I wrote thus: ‘Karu Jayasuriya (KJ) seems to be the only trustworthy leader left as the most plausible alternative, not necessarily to the Rajapaksas, but as a realistic alternative platform that could muster the support of all the Opposition parties and challenge the corrupt and dishonest regime of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Nonetheless, KJ needs to fine-tune his political message. Instead of giving priority to constitutional changes he needs to emphasize the insufferable economic hardships faced by the country’s most vulnerable sector and drive home his own plans and policies for the betterment of the economy.

The supreme advantage KJ has over all of the leaders mentioned above is that he remains the only leader whose word can be trusted to deliver on the promises made at the election campaigns. Furthermore, KJ still is the only leader around whom the rest of the other leading Opposition politicians would rally. None other, whether it’s Sajit, Champika or AKD, would command that respect from the others. But KJ’s age is still a question; he has to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that he is still fit and ready to engage in a robust and wholly exhausting election campaign and govern at least for a couple of years up to the time the Executive Presidency is abolished.’

I do not claim clairvoyance nor do I need to brag about anything else, yet it is obvious to any impartial mind that given the current circumstances and the dearth of trustworthy politicians, either on the government side or the Opposition, there is no substitute or alternative to Karu Jayasuriya in any field of political activity today. Either in the local scene or the global arena, recognition as a calm and dignified leader who happens to enjoy a totally clean record as an incorrupt and incorruptible politician, Karu has no equal. He, in fact, is a ‘Father’ figure today’s who youth will consider to be leading them to proverbial greener pasture.

At the same time, Karu would not have answers to all the problems and issues that irk Sri Lankan body politic today. But the national cry, which has become one of universal acceptance, is for a leader who has not been tarred with the ‘corruption brush’. It is the firm belief of all who have risen against the Rajapaksas and current corrupt government of today, that in order to reach a resolution of the present impasse, a man of unimpeachable qualities must be at the helm. No one, not AKD, not Sajith, Not Champika and certainly not the Rajapaksas would qualify for that lofty standard of delivering on the promises made and being spared by the corruption label.

In 2015 when Mahinda Rajapaksa faced the Presidential Election run, the combined Opposition was more or less driven by the late Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero and the United National Party and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. When it came to the decision of the candidate, it was Ranil Wickremesinghe who told the late Venerable Monk that anyone but Karu. That was one amongst many betrayals committed by this man Ranil Wickremesinghe. Instead of Karu, the combined Opposition had to field a very weak candidate like Maithripala Sirisena and the rest is history.

Ironically, it was Karu Jayasuriya as the Speaker of the House who defeated the parliamentary cum Presidential Office coup d’état engineered by the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine. By defying the onslaught unleashed by the parliamentary rowdies such as the Johnston, Aluthgamage, Rohitha Abeygunawardena (Rattaran) and the rest of the parliamentary hooligans, Karu not only upheld the supremacy of parliament, he safeguarded the sovereignty of the people.

Books can be written about the positives and negatives of the politics of Karu Jayasuriya. Suffice it to say that against such a wicked backdrop of the country’s cataclysmic fall of its economy and stifling cost of living undergone by her people, a genuinely moderate and a committed democrat must assume leadership of the nation. It’s not only the rupee that is on a free fall that has gripped the country today, its steep cultural and sociopolitical decline seems to be spiraling downhill at a breakneck speed.

The current crop of parliamentarians proved once again that they are not adequate to confront the issues of today and offer any recourse acceptable to the youth of today. If one bothers to follow what the youth of today are asking for, it is one universal yearning that all those 225 have failed us, so in whatever or whoever’s name ‘Go Home’. The country has experimented with the status quo and failure is the only outcome we can behold. It’s no time for sustaining a non-workable system; a system that has corrupted not only our politicians, but has drawn its bureaucracy to its consuming end and submitting them as slaves to cash, lust and power.

It is such an excruciatingly painful task to educate the elders. As for us, these elders have made mistake after mistake. After committing all these erroneous judgments and leading unforgivable lifestyles, today they try to command the respect of one generation that has known no such boundaries to possibilities; they are so oblivious to the advancing progress of technology, the youth of today is challenging the very nature and uninhibited ways of spending and consuming they have been used to. The youth, on the contrary is not afraid to experiment; it’s those who are afraid that questions the indomitability and stamina of today’s youth and the elders, maybe barring Karu Jayasuriya, will surely end up at the losing end. The answer seems to be unambiguous: ‘No one but Karu’.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com  

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Latest comments

  • 10

    Karu is good …but old.

    • 9

      Agree.. his profile fits best. Looking back how he handled things during that 52-day FAKE govt in Oct 2018.


      Anyway a country filled with culprits, SM followers and rabblerousers would not allow him to be the candidate.

    • 4

      Old means experience.
      And I really do not remember anyone saying “anyone but Karu”.

  • 16

    Today’s need is a non corrupt leader for a start, so that a shift can take place without fear in the minds of those who have been unbelievably robbed so heavily these last few years.

    • 5

      The country need today who had not a single corruption record in his life, who has no record of racism, who is capable of stand for the true unbiased courage rule of law and justice to all, who has no record of racism and able to challenge the threat of fundamentalism. I don’t know whether Karu Jeyasooriya pass these tests.

  • 5

    Good Adviser a product to initiate decisions he is recognized globally to start a new process he able to make an impact not income where he can pass to the next anyone, days are running.

  • 16

    I have my reservations about Karu becoming the PM or the President. When the miriskudu event took place inside the Parliament Karu was the Speaker and he was attacked. In addition, Police were attacked. But Karu did not follow up with legal action or even use his powers as the Speaker to push the Police and law enforcement agencies to take action against those MPs who were involved in attacking the others. Karu did a deal. If Karu can do a deal with the devil that attacked him and the Police inside the well of the Parliament what is the assurance that he will take action against the crooks of this country?

    Even to date, Karu has not come up with the names of those who blocked him from taking action for the miriskudu event. Why?

    Is Karu such an honest person? Can we trust him? Can he be expected to take action against the murderers, rapists, and paga kings who are his friends from his Parliament days?

    • 7

      “Is Karu such an honest person? Can we trust him?”
      Can you then trust anyone who pushes for Karu?

  • 7

    Old is Gold for Music and perhaps Movies, but that is not true of politicians. Karu also has a bad record as he crossed over from the UNP to the SLFP in 2006. He did not go alone but led a group of 18 MPs in crossing over. He later returned to the UNP leaving the rest of the group in the other party! People with good memories will not forget or forgive this lack of allegiance to his original party.

  • 12

    Why not have Rasamanikkam as temporary head to the Care taker Governnment for 12 months.Karu J can be his godfather! The current protestors do not want anyone of MPs who were in a government in the past. Karu J along with Ranil W and Sajith P failed to imprison the Crooks of the GoSL from 2005.

  • 3

    Time is ripe for the Nation to lookout for New and young blood away from the sordid past of seven decades. This GoHome Gota project is also based on a new approach to our public life………….
    True KJ stands tall compared to some others……………..

  • 7

    I am in agreement with Vishwamithra. First & foremost, we need an honest person to take the lead & Karu is 100% from what I know of him. Although he has Sinhala Buddhist leanings, he is not racist & his age is a negative factor but so is Biden. He has the experience & accepted by the diplomatic circles in SL, & most importantly, no blood on his hands. I did lose faith in him when he crossed over but with Ranil’s autocratic & arrogant style of leadership, Karu can be excused, although the honorable thing would have been to stay away from politics than joining the opposite camp if he did not agree with the principals.

    We need a capable leader but Premadasa jnr has baggage & a socialist govt with AKD is not going to instigate foreign investment. At least, if the leader is honest, those below would be cautious but with Karu’s laid back approach, he is unlikely to go after those who plundered the country. In true Buddhist fashion, we can expect Karu to pardon the Rajapakses & all his merry men, & the citizens will be deprived of justice.

    • 0

      This clean-as-a-whistle honest man did not jump ship in 2006 just because of Ranil.
      Then why did he return to the same party?
      He made excuses for both, which exposed him as untrustworthy.

  • 4

    I think we should look for someone outside the present corrupt political circles.
    We need someone like Nagananda Kodituwakku as PM.
    He is a good guy who has always stood for justice.
    He has not been looking to cash in from his efforts and he is an educated person.
    Nagananda is fit for the job.
    There is another young tamil MP that nagananda has mentioned, we have to consider that guy also in a pivotal position.
    SF is good in a limited role like law and order.
    Guys like the leader of the teachers association “Joseph Stalin” should be considered for a suitable position too.
    Ranjan Ramanayake must be brought back asap and given a suitable position.

  • 9

    I hope we are all clear on one thing, our biggest problem is Mara, His Humpty Dumpty wife, and their 3 mongal children.
    They are the plague that is behind all our issues.
    They have to be destroyed.
    Gota is bad but not as bad as those snakes.
    Mara and his family need to be permanently eliminated from Sri Lankan politics along with the bastards who have been corrupted by them. There can be zero tolerance for that click.
    Even if one is a yellow pet who is associated with the Mara family, sorry, they need to be taken care of.
    If we are asking for a permanent change, we should be ready to do what it takes to make sure there will be no stones unturned. We are doing this once and for all, so it has to be done right, without mercy. Sorry that is the way it has to be.

    • 0

      “His Humpty Dumpty wife, and their 3 mongal children.”
      Does this not lack some ‘human touch’?

  • 1

    Karu Jayasuriya is never an impressive politician. He is in politics for other reasons.
    Karu is not a crooked man. He is not a straight man either. He will not feel out of place among politicians. He is in it for opportunities; but, is not an opportunist.

    • 0

      “not an opportunist”
      What makes you so sure?

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