5 December, 2022

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Galleface Green – An Oasis Of Freedom, Protesters’ Paradise & The Rajapaksas’ Hell

By Vishwamithra

“Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Some things in life, as the cliché goes, are blessings in disguise. The brutal collapse of Sri Lanka’s economy is such a thing, a blessing in disguise. This cruel singularity, the quick and striking folding of our economy with its usual symbolic phenomena such as lengthening queues for petrol diesel, kerosene, milk food and cooking gas, which have already claimed close to a half a dozen lives, is appearing as a mindless irritation to the daily lives of all citizenry in the country. Hundreds of thousands who occupy the otherwise picturesque Galleface green might have been a thorn in the eyes of the petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie classes who are resident in Colombo, the commercial hub of Ceylon. But the ever-increasing voice that’s echoing all over the world via that marvelous tool of technology called television and Facebook and other social media elements have captured the hearts and minds of millions.

A nation that has been exploited, a people have been deceived a generation after generation in the wake of each election cycle. The country was polarized by the demagoguery of deceitful politicians who have now been exposed to their bones and marrow. The oozing wounds, the stinking aroma and deafening sounds are more of a midsection of a chapter by Stephan King’s story of fiction. Fortunately or unfortunately such scenery is, in fact, a welcome messenger rather than an ominous signal of destruction.

As one left-wing politician of yesteryear so dramatically enunciated, one cannot make an omelet without breaking an egg. Alas, we are all witnessing the breaking of the egg. Even more regrettably for the Rajapaksas, the ruling clan, the ‘egg’ that they fondly held to their filthy and immoral chests is being shattered to pieces and one simply cannot separate the white from the yolk. And that indeed is a delightful sight to see.

It is being presumed that close to twenty separate groups, who are completely devoid of any attachments to any existing political parties in the country, are actively engaged in the protests that are currently under way on the Galleface green. Their virtual occupation of the Presidential Secretariat premises has, more or less, blocked the entrance, even to its chief occupant, the President. Their enthusiasm has not diminished, at least up to the time this column is being penned. Their refusal to recognize any mainstream political parties, at least as their partners in the operation and execution of the protest, is nothing but remarkable and that indeed sends a very powerful message to the country first, and secondly to those political entities.

In all realistic terms, we are living in an unparalleled reality today. The country’s rulers have chosen to remain in their homes; those homes do not have power-cuts; they do not have scarcities of household essentials. On the contrary they still enjoy full meals during daytime and luxurious cocktail parties when the sun goes down. That decadent lifestyle has had no respite. Their motor vehicles do not experience empty petrol or diesel tanks. The ruled, however, are occupying the exterior of their own usual dwellings. On empty stomachs and lavish hearts and minds they have chosen to show their rulers firstly and the global community secondly that their will knows no borders. Parliamentarians are afraid to go on the roads. Only a handful of politicians would not be booed or ridiculed in public. No known politician is out of danger of being subjected to scorn and derision.

These are not signs of a failing nation. On the contrary, they are sure signals of the first rays of a new dawn. We are indeed fortunate to witness such a matchless spectacle, a spectacle of an awakening of a collective body of men, women and children. One day, in thirty or forty years’ time, they shall be able to tell a story of this wide awakening of the soul of a country; of a country so disparaged, pilloried, plundered and desecrated by one family that thought that their power was infinite and everlasting.

In this great multi-episode story, there shall be some small and big interruptions, here and there; there shall be betrayals such as the sudden ‘enlightenment’ of that political ignoramus Shantha Bandara who bartered his honesty and integrity for a post of State Minister. There might even be major roadblocks such as difficulty in forming an interim government and in reaching longstanding constitutional amendments which would demand total transparency and accountability in governance. All that will be minor in the context of the total ouster of the Rajapaksas from the throne.

Nonetheless, one must accept the ruthless certainty that a long struggle to unseat a democratically elected President and a democratically elected government requires many and unforeseen sacrifices. Those sacrifices may come in the manner of time, energy, jobs, money, sweat, tears and even blood. But the other unmistakable fact is that those who have chosen to stay home while their brothers and sisters have opted to go out to that oasis of freedom, the Galleface green, have indeed betrayed their own right to claim anything that comes as benefits after the triumph of that struggle. Armchair critics have no place or space in this struggle, period.

Adoniram Judson, Jr. (August 9, 1788 – April 12, 1850) was an American Congregationalist and later Particular Baptist missionary, who served in Burma for almost forty years. At the age of 25, Adoniram Judson was sent from North America to preach in Burma. He once penned thus: “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after”. Immortal words of wisdom and stark truth of life!

We in Sri Lanka have got used to the comforts of the twenty first century and their alluring addictions; such comforts have begun their soothing yet all-consuming charm and compelled the general attitudes and clear-thinking minds into their own comfort-zones and instilled into our collective life a dull and hazy disposition. The Galleface protester has awakened us as a nation; he has instilled in us a sense of togetherness and a sense of one identity, an identity that derides racial discrimination and religious intolerances. In fact it’s an insult to call the Galleface Green as ‘Gota-go-gama’. It should be renamed ‘Aragala-gama’ (Village of the struggle). “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/ by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet’s immortal words penned by Shakespeare are ringing in our ears. Nanda Malini’s melodious voice, heard on that beautiful evening on the protesters’ turf, blew a comforting and gentle ‘pawana’ (breeze) on all our countenances.

Yet all these optimistic writing might come to naught. The slogans and refrains may lose their echo; marches might come to a crawl; voices may not reverberate in the air. Yet the effort to bring into focus a national disaster and galvanize a sleeping nation into action by our own youth will stand as one single episode that certainly will have at least a single page in our history books that our children’s children will read with pride one day.

It brought to focus the corruption of one family and its henchmen and women; it taught an apathetic people who were brainwashed into four or five ethnic groups that they are the children of one Mother Lanka. It brought into focus as to how a country can be destroyed by unlimited power vested in one single family whether they belonged to this caste or that caste. In other words, the gentle lesson these protesters instilled in all of us is we are one country, one nation and one family. If we stand together as one nation, the possibilities are infinite, not only can we drive those cruel and insensitive rulers out of rule, we can also hold them accountable and responsible for they and they alone created this mess of immeasurable corruption, unparalleled nepotism and unbridled incompetence.

Therefore my friends, do whatever you could, in your own way, manner or fashion, to encourage those who have placed their very lives in the land of danger. It’s time we placed our own lives on the line as did our comrades-in-arms on the ‘Aragala Gama’. You may help them in the supply chain of food, water and napkins, in provision of other utensils, wherewithal and even writing up slogans.

You have built up a marvelous sense of camaraderie and it shows on television, it glows on your weary and exhausted, yet determined faces and it echoes in the clear blue skies above the Galleface Green. When twilight approaches, your numbers start to increase, the coming dusk renders a quiet and calm aura around the place; it brings forth a oneness that has not been present amongst ourselves for a long and unaccounted time.

They say that extraordinary circumstances bring about extraordinary relationships. This is such a circumstance. Families not known to one another have become passionate friends; indolent onlookers have become zealous activists; a lethargic nation has opened her eyes and ears.

Let us be worthy of this struggle!

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

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Latest comments

  • 18
    1

    The people of Galle face can deliver speeches well can deliver the message fron the heart

    Oratory is the power to talk people out of their sober and natural opinions are well address none can give such speeches from parliamentary

    • 4
      1

      “Galle face green, an oasis of freedom, protester’s paradise”. Well it was not so in 1956. Tamil satyagrahis who protested against Sinhala only bill at this same spot in front of old parliament, were assaulted and driven out by state sponsored goons with police looking on. When injured Tamil MPs came to parliament with bandaged woulds, SWRD sarcastically remarked “Wounds of war”. This act of thuggery was condoned by majority of Sinhalese.

  • 22
    2

    What ever the outcome this struggle will decide the future of Lanka. This resistance and struggle is not the same as what we saw in past (excluding North and East). This is truly a spontaneous public up rise against tyranny, which we never witnessed in Lankan history. All that including the insurrections we saw in past were political, whereas this is spontaneous, with no political/ race/ religious difference, people in one voice demanding Rajapaksas to GO HOME. Every right thinking person should lend their voice and support in saving this failed nation.

    • 20
      2

      Instead of lending more to corrupted Rajapaksa govt, diaspora and others who can afford should financially support the struggle, so to sustain and out last Mafia family.

      • 7
        1

        chiv,
        .
        Supporting to the hilt.
        .
        However, I have to say some things here:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-bishop-cms-fiddle-while-st-johns-college-jaffna-burns/
        .
        In response to what Professor RatnaJEEVAN Hoole has said, before comments close, which is going to be very soon.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe

        .

  • 18
    2

    Dear Vishwa
    Yet another masterpiece. Thank you for your candid yet poignant message
    Yes we must salute those who are sacrificing everything and challenging the regime with their bare hands so to speak
    Long live thier enthusiasm and tenacity. United we stand divided we fall.
    With all these sacrifices of the masses the political classes are still silent. How careless these creatures are?

    Let us hope and pray that this mass moment by the people ,especially the youth brings in good tidings in this period of celebration.
    Let the unknown forces help them to achieve their aim ; freedom and liberty from the tyrannical rulers

  • 11
    1

    This family is utter shame should chased away, should have stopped when tsunami fund was fiddled how disgusting, greedy fmaily is.ban them entering temples. Hora is hora how they destroyed the beautiful island and structures do they really patriotics.
    The system should change cut all the pearks stop influencing orher matters,clean the police,judicial (This is what we asked for N/E) civil service and the appointments should independently select. Not by politicians all the heads should comes from rank and services. Prime example (many)Duminda.
    We have to set up experts in any projects, instead of building the Matale air port should have developed the Palaly air port,now india going to develop so we dont need to come to Cmb more dispora use Madras stop over for shopping /pilgrimage.
    Treat all citizens equal develop all corners regardless up lift the lively hood.all citizens should Sri Lankan only.

  • 10
    1

    The brutal collapse of Sri Lanka’s economy is such a thing, a blessing in disguise
    ————
    Indeed it is, if people use the chance to get right with the most high.
    Then identify all freemasons and have them thrown out of all positions of power.
    That should include the cunning two faced journalists, who have disgraced the journalist profession.

  • 11
    2

    The people need a new country with new politics.

  • 4
    1

    No one have aim of argument for present situation and they argue only to win of discussion, to show wining the an argument still progress not seen up to now where is the daily briefing for the people of county situation, The people have though that democracy is something that you must learn each generation. and it has to be thought.

  • 14
    0

    Gota and mahinda will just wait and watch the galle face protest.It is the protesters who are spending their time ,not the rajapakshas.The6.9 million who voted for gota are not there.That is the problem.

    • 2
      7

      S
      There is much anger if not frustration among the ordinary people.
      The GF protest has little to offer besides “GHH!”.
      The organizers cannot agree on what should follow, as they fear that going into details will shrink their urban middle class support base.
      But that is a risk that needs to be taken if the aim is to be a mass movement.
      *
      Meanwhile by repeatedly offering to talk, the President and PM will look increasingly reasonable to non-protesters.
      *
      There was a mass protest movement in 1961 in the N&E. The government sat it out until a group of adventurists in the FP made the mistake of printing postage stamps and starting a postal service. After declaration of a state of emergency that the entire campaign collapsed, because there was no planning at any stage.

  • 1
    1

    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

  • 4
    1

    The Rajapakses divided the nation & nurtured religious & racial hatred but, paradoxically, the disastrous economy for which the Rajapakses are responsible for, seem to have brought the nation together. As the saying goes, every dark cloud has a silver lining & hopefully, the misguided 7m Sinhala Buddhists have seen the light & the country can be rebuilt collectively. As for the thugs in robes, they should be de-robed in public in ‘Aragala Gama’ or whatever the renaming.

    • 4
      2

      R-UK
      Do not give them the full credit.
      The ‘Father of the Nation’ downwards many have done their bit. How can you forget JRJ? His Kandy march of 1957 led him to a war in 1983.

    • 0
      11

      “The Rajapakses divided the nation & nurtured religious & racial hatred.”

      What racial hatred? Rajapakse put ex-LTTE in rehabilitation camps for job training. Which other country will do that with terrorists. EU revoked the passports of any citizen who joined ISIS in Syria. Rajapakse executed LTTE leadership, only because they were giving cyanide capsules to 12 year old conscripts.

      • 4
        0

        Lester the pester,
        .
        In the days to come we will prove that you the kind of bps are eternal slaves. You will have no room to transport your message anymore. Even remote villagers have gotten the message as of today. Rajaakshes should be jailed …. forever….. the days that their SATAKAYA become the rope of their own necks is nearing.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34FZsYTE34A
        :
        I wonder why you have been uttering the same BS loads on and on, even if your eyes would not believe but true. I think you the kind of ultra stupid men- would never change your atttitudes. Truths will succeed you like or not.

        Those who stand against SINHALA RACISM will succeed. I saw artists articulating it as no times before. I saw monks doing their job. I see christian priests and do their job. So no room for sinhalaya but the nation is getting ready to be SRILANKENS.

  • 4
    1

    Yes, let’s hope and pray that we are indeed in a ” blessing in disguise” situation. The Rajapaksa ruling family and their followers and retinue are a hardened set. They will sit it out, hatch out their plans and will watch out too, to see for every loose end to exploit and stay dug in . They are seasoned enough to do it.
    The protestors, who are our faces and voices are strangers or are new to the business of the subtle and most times, unpleasant game of our local politics. I just hope and pray and trust that they too have their plans, well thought out, enriched by the many dedicated young and fresh minds and sieved and fleshed in by patriotic and people loving and people focused, insightful minds.
    We bless them and breathe on them all the love, strength, fortitude and perseverance they need to stand up for the country which demands a new lease of life; a life of love of unity and of peace.

  • 4
    10

    The main reason the protestors at Galle Face give to get rid of Rajapakshes is corruption. In 2015, 6,217,162 retards elected Sirisena and Ranil because they promised to punish Rajapakshes for their corruption, end corruption and form a ‘Yahapalana’ Government. They talked about golden horses, golden swords, gold plated toilet seats, Lamborghinis etc. Rajitha and Chatura Senaratne told Rajapakshes are hiding their money in Dubai and Seychelles and they will bring that money if they come to power. But they did not do anything they promised. They were just slogans of ‘Regime Change’ mafia to deceive voters. So, they should protest against ‘Yahapalana’ dong keys for not keeping their promises.
    Instead of eradicating corruption, guys in ‘Yahapalana’ Government robbed the Central Bank and stole public money. They also took bribes to protect the guys who robbed the CB. Gotabhaya promised to punish the guys who robbed the CB. Instead of asking Gotabhaya to go home, the protestors should ask Gotabhaya to keep his promise and punish the guys in ‘Yahapalana’ Government for robbing the CB and stealing public money.

    • 3
      0

      Eagle Eye

      You must be dumb or mentally retarded. The robbing of public funds collectively by all others are peanuts compared to the ill gotten wealth of the Rajapakses. Isn’t Sirisena, the head of the yahaplanay an opportunist who sucking up to the Rajapakses? Who ever succeeds the current regime should bring all these despicable thieves to justice but its not going to be GR. They are all in it. He & his family are responsible for the current state of the economy but you are too blind to see. The only word to describe you. Pathetic.

  • 9
    0

    When people speak about Tahrir Square and the Arab Spring, they seem to forget that Egypt eventually reverted to another military dictatorship.

    These Galle Face protests shouldn’t go to waste in the same way but must be carefully nurtured by some sagacious leader from the opposition. If there is no one to do it from the current crop of leaders in the opposition, let someone new who understands the stakes arise from the mass of protesters, and let the opposition coalesce around that leader.

    • 1
      6

      Egypt eventually reverted to another military dictatorship. Thanks to the blessings of the US.
      Even the Tunisians were cheated eventually.
      *
      “…carefully nurtured by some sagacious leader from the opposition.” Is there one available?
      The protesters are mostly right not to trust them, but I do not rule out the possibility that they could be misled by certain vested interests, about which we may learn only too late.

      • 6
        1

        SJ:

        “Thanks to the blessings of the US.”

        What happened is that those who led the Arab Spring themselves lost interest in propping up the Islamic brotherhood. They became ambivalent about democracy if this would only lead to hardline Islamic fundamentalism as opposed to a secular brand of Islam. And when the military/Sisi sought to take advantage of the situation, Obama, who had been forceful in support of democracy and initially condemned the military take-over, toned down his criticism and gradually came to accept it in the face of the US military and foreign policy establishment’s desire for stability.

    • 6
      0

      Agnos,
      “These Galle Face protests shouldn’t go to waste in the same way but must be carefully nurtured by some sagacious leader from the opposition”
      The voters wouldn’t know sagacity if if it fell on their heads. Vote-catching ability is inversely proportional to sagacity.
      There are people even on this forum who believe that popularity should be the primary qualification for leadership.

  • 4
    8

    How long will the “youth jamboree” at the Galle Face continue? As long as they enjoy outdoor bed & breakfast. Sri Lankan youth wanted a “change”. They got it at the Galle Face. Outdoor camping at the seafront is a novel experience. They should be allowed to enjoy the change. In any case the demo is to continue until Vesak. “Fun protests” don’t pose any security threat. Therefore, they should be allowed to say whatever they want.
    What we see at the Galle Face is a “Pied Piper” moment. Do you remember the story? I mean, the original story?

    • 2
      8

      This is Sri Lanka’s version of the Pied Piper.
      In the late night of March 31, 2022, a mysterious Pied Piper lured a violent crowd to the President’s private house playing a provocative note “Get the President Out and Topple the Government”. After confirming that his magic flute worked, the Pied Piper went to collect his payment from the Master only to be sent away saying that the note he played wasn’t aggressive enough for the President to step down. Then, the angry Pied Piper went to the young adult children of the anti-President adults and played a magical note “Go-Home-Gota” to mesmerize and lure them to the seafront at the Galle Face. Anyway, the President didn’t resign as expected. Now, the young adults are disoriented. The Pied Piper didn’t tell them what to do if “Gota didn’t Go Home”. Fortunately, the President didn’t resign, otherwise, the young adults have no choice but to jump to the sea as the Pied Piper’s Master’s plan was to elect an immature and extremely self-centred Rajapaksa offspring as the President by the majority votes of corrupt MPs, reward them with an extended term of Parliament and not hold a Presidential election ever again.

      • 5
        2

        Champa,

        In a more modern Lankan terms, the Rats are the Rajapaksas and their hordes of Cohorts. The Pied Piper is their lure of imagining, comparing themselves to, and acting like first-world nations, over the hard work and sufferings of the Masses.

    • 7
      2

      Champa,
      .
      The answer – is as long as your beloved Rajapakshes step down.
      :
      Your sickness is now becoming clearer. I have always been telling my fellow commenters that Champa s is a pathological. As we are all caught by anxities, you the kind of women to act this way ? It is a really curese.

      Those protesting youth could spend their AVURUDHU holidays with their lovely ones; if their anxities were not the case. If your age group did the job well, those youth woudl not have been worrying today. At least today, the name of the future generation, please Champa think about.

      Please check how GOTA his power greedy brother reponded to the press shortly before PE in Nov 2019.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5TlqMqN314

      • 0
        7

        leelagenalli
        Oh, I get it . The flute is being played by the rats, right? You want the young rats to play the flute nonstop until the Pied Piper jumps to the sea. What a marvelous thought!

        • 5
          1

          Champa,
          :
          Please change your fodder.

          Please change your glasses
          .
          I dont see anything other wayout you to become normal. You have been supporting these cirminals direct or indirect….. we have archives to prove it… we dont need to talk at cross purposes.


          If your eys are not impaired, – over 8-9 lacks ( 0.9 millions) representing


          1) Professionals ( Teachers, Engineeers, Doctors, Artists, Professors in many areas etc)
          2) Intelligent buddhist monks
          3) Intelligent Christian Priests
          4)Intelligent Hindu Priests
          5) Intelligent Vedda community leaders
          6) Intelligent former millitary offiers
          7) And not forgetting our YOUNG blood that see things much better than their parents.

          take part in the ARAGALAYA – as of today !
          .
          This will continue until ballige puthas are marginalized. PERIOD.

        • 2
          0

          Chimpi you are another idiot. Get lost stupid!!!

  • 5
    4

    Champa,

    In a more modern Lankan terms, the Rats are the Rajapaksas and their hordes of Cohorts. The Pied Piper is their lure of imagining, comparing themselves to, and acting like first-world nations, over the hard work and sufferings of the Masses.

    • 5
      1

      RTF,

      many would not struggle to see it right but CHAMPA or the like would never get it. Hers is pathological. This I have been telling to CT commenters all along.

      Her underestimations are known to us on this platform. But as if a mad person would repeat, … shamelessly, she would get back in other spirit.
      .
      The Pied Piper of Hamelin (German: der Rattenfänger von Hameln, also known as the Pan Piper or the Rat-Catcher of Hamelin) is the title character of a legend from the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Lower Saxony, Germany.
      .
      . That is why i see, it is pointless to make any effort to convince Champa. This is the saddest reality with the kind of so called graduates in SL.

  • 1
    0

    Dear Mr. Eagle Eye,
    I am in agreement with most of what you wrote above. Ranil protected the Rajapaksas’, and that is why
    the present President did not go after the bank robbers.

    My ancestors would have been from Tamil Nadu.They probably would have been from the lowest of the lowest castes according to Hinduism and Buddhism.
    I am an uneducated Christian, a sinner saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.When I die , I will be with the Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of this universe.
    My desire is that all who read this may accept the free gift of eternal life purchased with the precious blood that He shed for us ,when He died for the sins of the world.
    (Continued below)

  • 1
    0

    Dear Mr. Eagle Eye,
    You wrote:
    ” The main reason the protestors at Galle Face give to get rid of Rajapakshes is corruption. In 2015, 6,217,162 retards elected Sirisena and Ranil because they promised to punish Rajapakshes for their corruption, end corruption and form a ‘Yahapalana’ Government. They talked about golden horses, golden swords, gold plated toilet seats, Lamborghinis etc. Rajitha and Chatura Senaratne told Rajapakshes are hiding their money in Dubai and Seychelles and they will bring that money if they come to power. But they did not do anything they promised. They were just slogans of ‘Regime Change’ mafia to deceive voters. So, they should protest against ‘Yahapalana’ dong keys for not keeping their promises.
    Instead of eradicating corruption, guys in ‘Yahapalana’ Government robbed the Central Bank and stole public money. They also took bribes to protect the guys who robbed the CB. Gotabhaya promised to punish the guys who robbed the CB. Instead of asking Gotabhaya to go home, the protestors should ask Gotabhaya to keep his promise and punish the guys in ‘Yahapalana’ Government for robbing the CB and stealing public money.”

  • 1
    0

    Dear Mr. Eagle Eye, I have read quite a lot of what you comment on CT.

    I feel very sad when I do so.
    Constantly you are attempting to prove that the Sinhalese were here before the Tamils and that it was they who fought the Sinhalese.
    What does it matter who came first?
    We are all here now. so let’s accept it and go on.
    I am 75 years old. You must be much younger and far more educated and intelligent than I.
    I do not know where you live. I live in Mount Lavinia.
    I have had to carry my gas cylinder along with my 16 year old grandson and go for a replacement twice. if you are in Sri Lanka , please write a placard, displaying ,
    ‘Gotabhaya ,keep your promise and punish the guys in ‘Yahapalana’ Government for robbing the CB and stealing public money.’
    You post it on CT and give a date and time and I too will support you. I too want the “‘Yahapalana’ Government(punished ) for robbing the CB and stealing public money.”

    Love
    Vijaya Lekamge.

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