26 October, 2020

Blog

Gaslighting A Nation

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“All the gang of those who rule us,

Hope our quarrels never stop.

Helping them to split and fool us,

So they can remain on top.”

Brecht (Solidarity Song)

The practice has been around for millennia, but the term was born in 1944, out of a movie. In ‘Gaslight’[i], a man uses a series of manipulative tricks to drive his wife insane. These include surreptitiously increasing and decreasing the gaslights in the house while pretending that the lighting has remained constant. As his wife moves from doubt and perplexity to terror, he cuts her off from friends/allies, so that her dependence on him becomes complete.

‘Gaslighting’ in psychology denotes a form of brainwashing, “the systemic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality”[ii].

Rulers, who plan to take nations to places they do not intend to go, often use a form of mass-gaslighting. Threats are manufactured, enemies are created, suspicion and fear turned into emotional-constants. The people, rendered infantile, isolated and divided through pathological-mistrust, can be manipulated into embracing the abusive rulers as their sole protectors/deliverers.

That is the Rajapaksa-aim.

This is the Rajapaksa-narrative.

The ‘Enemy’ is ‘Global Conspiracy’, a nebulous monster which is part-Tiger and part-Indian/Western, politically invasive, economically debilitating, ethno-religiously alien and socio-culturally corrosive. This ‘Enemy’ might be motivated by a thirst for Lankan resources (especially the Trincomalee harbour) or hatred for the ‘Sinhala-Buddhist civilisation’ or even envy, because of Sri Lanka’s proven-prowess in combating terrorism. Whatever the reason of the season, the ‘Enemy’ will always focus its ire and fire on the Rajapaksas, because the Ruling Siblings constitute the island-nation’s only rampart against a sea of bestial threats. SinceSri Lankastands or falls with the Rajapaksas, total and absolute allegiance to the Ruling Family becomes the sole measure of patriotism. Fulfil that condition and even a habitual child-rapist can be a glorious patriot; fail it, and even the war-winning army commander becomes an ignoble traitor.

That is the reality the Siblings want us to believe in.

The premise that many a world leader spends an inordinate amount of time, energy and resources plotting the downfall of the Rajapaksa regime is hardly credible. So different ‘threats’ are manufactured periodically, to inflame public fears and passions.

Some months ago the threat was ‘Halal’. Then it was the 13th Amendment. Currently it is the ‘Flying Fish’, a movie. The movie was made here, with local actors; it represented Sri Lanka at several international film festivals[iii]. Flying Fish was just another – albeit extremely successful – movie, until someone, somewhere in the Rajapaksa state decided that it can be used to gaslight the Lankan public.

So the ‘Flying Fish’ replaced the 13th Amendment as the threat of the moment. Within a matter of days the movie was banned by the Defence Ministry and investigated by the CID and the army. A demonstration, orchestrated by the regime, was held against the French Embassy in Sri Lanka for promoting it.

The Rajapaksa propagandists excel at noise-mongering rather like Dr. Kakofonous A Dischord and his side-kick, The Awful DYNNE, in ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’. Not only is the young director of Flying Fish being decried as a ‘Sinhala Tiger’; Gamini Viyangoda is being castigated as the evil-genius behind this latest ‘conspiracy’. Mr. Viyangoda has denied having anything to do with the movie, but facts are outcasts in the Rajapaksa universe. He is a Rajapaksa-critic and he has a French-connection, which suffice to make him culpable in Rajapaksa-eyes.

When the public is bombarded by incessant propaganda about unceasing threats, it can become addlebrained, and incapable of understanding what a dangerous place Sri Lanka is becoming, not just for Rajapaksa-opponents but also for apolitical, solidly middle-class Sinhalese.

Take the fate of planter Nihal Perera who was brutally murdered because he reportedly opposed a tree-felling racket and other nefarious deeds of a local UPFA bigwig. Mr. Perera was earlier beaten up inside his own bungalow. “A local politician was reported to be behind the incident. The Deraniyagala Police had failed to entertain the complaint….”[iv] Three months later he was abducted “beaten with clubs before being slashed with swords”[v]. The main suspect, the former chairman of the Deraniyagala PS Anil Dhammika Wijesingha, was on bail for “slashing the throat of the area Divisional Secretary after he refused to allocate two acres of land”[vi].

This heinous crime should concern every non-political Lankan, because it presages a state of general insecurity.

Or take the fate of the grandmother of Danuna Tilakaratne (Gen. Fonseka’s son-in-law). She was indicted for providing a night’s refuge to her fugitive grandson. What is the state of a nation when an elderly lady is dragged through prisons and courts for the crime of keeping faith with her grandson? Will Sri Lanka become a land where children are encouraged to inform on parents and parents are compelled to betray children, in the name of patriotism?

The best way to prevent Sri Lankans from focusing on such ominous omens is to stun their minds with fear and inflame their senses with hatred.

Justice Wigneswaran, the next National-threat?

The Rajapaksas habitually transform any impediment to their familial project into a national threat.

The TNA’s decision to nominate a man of learning, experience and courage as its Chief Ministerial-candidate would have dismayed and even frightened the Rajapaksas. The last thing the Siblings would want is a man of Justice Wigneswaran’s calibre becoming the Northern CM.

Justice Wigneswaran has asked for the restoration of civilian rule in the North and the East. That perfectly reasonable and completely democratic demand constitutes the antithesis of what the Rajapaksas intend for the two provinces in which the minorities form the majority. The Rajapaksa plan is to demographically transform the North and the East by implanting military families (such state-orchestrated colonisation is totally different from the free movement of private citizens). Once the cantonments are complete and military families become residents and voters, they can be used as a break on any future political re-awakening in the North. The colonists will be intrinsically opposed to devolution and would need the protection of the military to feel safe in an alien territory. The argument of ‘democracy’ can thus be used to oppose both devolution and de-militarization.

A Chief Minister Wigneswaran can be a real impediment to this Israeli type Settlement Plan.

So the Siblings will target Justice Wigneswaran. The first salvo has already been fired. SM Chandrasiri, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, has demanded that President review all the judgements given by Justices Wigneswaran and Waravewa[vii].

Justice Wigneswaran, spoke in defence of democracy and judicial independence during the Impeachment travesty. He has the potential to become a Lankan leader, not by ignoring or denying the specific issues facing Tamils, but by affirming them and placing them within a national project of reclaiming democracy, rule of law and common decency.

A nonpareil candidate, one who can be a bridge between the North and the South: that would be a Rajapaksa nightmare. Which is why Justice Wigneswaran might replace the ‘Flying Fish’ as the ‘next-national threat’.

Can the Rajapaksas gaslight the South into believing that an eminent former Supreme Court judge is a Tiger? Are we that addlebrained?


[i] The movie is an adaptation of the play, Gas Light.

[ii] The Gaslighting Effect – Dr. Robin Stern

[iii] http://www.dailymirror.lk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12465&Itemid=425/

[iv]http://www.sundaytimes.lk/130714/news/brutally-felled-for-taking-stand-against-felling-of-trees-2-52914.html

[v] ibid

[vi] ibid

[vii] http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/fourth-unp-mps-poised-jump

*Picture – Igilena Maluvo

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Thanks again Thisaranee! Hats off!
    Ironically, CHOGM or Commonwealth of Clowns is Rajapassa’s Achilles heel! In November it will be aborted. Or perhaps Rajapassa’s secret, repressed craving for all things western (European and North American including tourists is its Achilles heel!)

    Kamalika Peiris and her male companion of the JHU who where in the audience and complaining vociferously FLying Fish and the Film Fest which is very timely cancelled. The point is of course that JHU and Balu Sena should be banned first for spreading hatred among communities and stymying the TRUTH about war and its social impacts in Lanka..
    The Flying Fish is a beautiful and path breaking film. I saw it at the BMICH on Friday, It was about the human impacts and breakdown in human relationships that war causes in Trincomallee among border villages of mixed ethnicity. IT is a TRUE and effective portrait of the human costs of war and the brutality and sexual exploits of the military.
    Flying Fish told an absolutely true story about the excesses of the military. Unlike the war propaganda films that portrays the military as War Heros – it also showed military excesses and the impacts of war on women and the rise in violence against women.
    It told us how history books are distorted to portray the Tamils and Tamil King Elara as violent invaders and captured the militarization of Buddhism.
    As long as the Rajapassa regime censors the TRUTH about the war and the military excesses there will be NO RECONCILLIATION OR UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE SINHALAS AND MINORITIES. Indeed Gota the UNEDUCATED GOON who is crafting the DEEP STATE will find a way to eliminate Justince VIgnashwara as the New National threat!

  • 0
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    Another beautiful piece from TG and more strength for you pen lady !

    Rajapakshas will try their best to do what they did with Gen Janaka Perera to Justice Vigneswaran and India as a co-signatory for the 87 accord have to come forward and take this plan with Rajapakshas.

  • 0
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    Mr Sridharan ,one of the Fourteen who knifed Sambnadan . for selecting Ms T’s new Idol , Vellala Wiggi,was in Toronto, whipping up the loyal Diasporians that he arrived to address them soon after rescuing two hundred Tamil Girls from the Army who were on the verge of being raped.

    Is this Gaslighting or Bullshitting?

    Vellala Wiggi does not carry any LTTE baggage unlike his handlers,the TNA.

    If he did Indian Menon wouldn’t have been allowed to install him, after he was totally rejected by the entire LTTE proxy TNA Board.

    Smbandan in his recent interview said, he always seek advice from the Diaspora lead by B T Emmanuel in the UK and PM Rudra in North America.

    Would Sambandan’s CM do the same?.

    Would he be forced to adopt the Rudra Charter which was made in the West under the Supervision of the Diaspora IC?

    The great majority of the inhabitant population who only want to live in peace and harmony with their fellow inhabitants will be watching the CM closely before attempting to answer Ms T’s question.

    • 0
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      The only thing more difficult to tolerate than your mere presence in the comments section is the complete nonsensical nature of the bullshit you type. Are you speaking in tongues, man? Just typing a random bunch of words and phrases won’t get you the promised paan and parippu.

      • 0
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        Kp:
        You are dead wrong. This b… gets more than paan and parippu from his handlers for his abuse of the English language, among other things.
        People keep saying that it is a waste of time to keep exposing him over and over again. However, we need to make sure that Leela, aka The Crooked Realtor, aka Tsunamisekera is exposed for what he is over and over again and nobody is allowed to forget what a piece of s…. he really is!

        • 0
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          Yup i agree 100% we need to expose K A Sumanasekera (LEELA OF LEE POTTER) and shame him ,perhaps we can trace some of the people afected by him

    • 0
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      Morons, Idiots, Cheaters and looters like your handlers
      Are afraid of
      Learned, Acedemics and who are honest law makers.

      if the truth come out your handlers must go to gallows.

      Truth and JUSICTCe IS BITTER FOR YOUR BOSSES AND THEIR LICKERS LIKE YOU.
      Irrespective of Ethenicity
      When you Compare with that TAMILAN SAMBANDAN, WHO IS YOUR RAJAPASSa.

      just see this,
      how he usses his rented faws like you.
      First Modawangsa,
      then Wermin De Silva,
      again kudu duminda,
      once Aranduka Fernando,

      now A Chandrasiri, Another so called minister sitting on his brain sing lalabies to your Handlers.

      ONCE I TOLD YOU,

      IT IS BETTER TO BEG IN FRONT OF FORT RAILWAY STATION .
      [ NEW GOOD PLACE, GALLE RD< ARALIYA GAHA MANDIRYA] .

    • 0
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      as usual same words used by Leela ( K A Sumanasekera) which is like speaking in tongues,fellow writes what he is told to write poor chap

    • 0
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      I say Sumane/Leela, what bloody trash you write man… either get to the point or stop boring everyone with your drivel.

  • 0
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    We are only a step away from Nazi Germany.

    • 0
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      Thiru:
      Wrong again! We are BEYOND the land of Hitler except that our Kristallnachts are ongoing and directed at more than one community.

  • 0
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    I hope Justice Wigneswaran will not one day regret standing for the position of CM. Surrounded by scoundrels, how can an upright man survive?

  • 0
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    Dear Minister Chandrasiri
    The President can review the judgments of all the judges only after publishing the reports of Commissions(more than 15) on murders, abductions, disappearances, corruption at top echelons of govt institutions, … he appointed in the last seven years.

  • 0
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    Is this a scene from ”Flying Fish” please?

  • 0
    0

    ” All the gang of those who rule us,
    Hope our quarrels never stop.

    Helping them to split and fool us,

    So they can remain on top.”

    Brecht (Solidarity Song)

    The practice has been around for millennia, but the term was born in 1944, out of a movie. In ‘Gaslight’[i] “

    Ms. TG is talking about Christian Thinking and Christian Ideology.

    Sinhala buddhists have to behave the way they behave because of heavy Abrahamic religions influence.

    Otherwise, learn about the old Sinhala Society. Find the same things that you are talking in that society.

    Psychologically speaking, TG is trying to make Sinhala buddhists guilty with these anti-Sinhala- buddhist – propagandist articles by her.

    • 0
      0

      JimNutty:
      One thing’s for sure: nobody can fault you in the matter of living up to the name by which I’ve addressed you!

  • 0
    0

    K.A Sumanasekera: Thanks for pointing out that the TNA nominee for CM is a HIGH CASTE VELLALA. Can you please do some research and let us know whether his two daughters-in-laws are also HIGH CASTE GOVIAS to which you may belong.

    • 0
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      I think K A Sumansekera is the highest of the high ;0)

  • 0
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    malwatte and asgiri mahanaai- aks want the provincial councils abolished. why can’t these child molesting pariahs concentrate on serving mongolian buddha. mongolian buddha was [Edited out]. mahanaai- aks have orgies in dalada. mongolian buddha [Edited out].

    • 0
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      Rama,

      very good point, also ask these “pin bath” and “dansel” eaters from Asgiriya and Malwatta whether they have cooked at least one meal for a poor family? and ask them how it feels “pain of preparation”. Then ask then to change/abolish 13-A. These are bunch of Balu Sena fools all day eating free food, drinking mendis, chewing bulath and puwak, and fill the panikkama. What they know about reconciliation to feel the pain of war or being minority.

      Have they lost their son/daughter in war?
      Have they lost mother in confrontation?
      Have they lost father in confrontation?
      Have they been stopped up by arm forces in checking points?
      Have they been stripped out by arm forces during check up?
      Have they lived in bunkers?
      Have they misplaced their homes due to conflict?
      Have they felt or seen how missiles could create horrific / unforgettable hurts
      Have they faced that how it feels in front AK47 / T56 during confrontation?
      Have they struggled speaking different languages during arm forces questioning?
      Have they lived in jail and raped by jail mates?
      Have they lived and felt how it feels as minority at least for ONE SECOND?
      Finally did Buddha ever preach something “living in inequality and unfairness is Oaky?”

      I am sure MR regime will bring some short of story against Justice Vig. They are the best southern colonial masters in story making as TG suggested. What makes me so wired to think about this all MR drams is: as TG suggested many times in her previous writings what kind FOOLS are we taking this MR’s BS stories and living with it as proud Sri Lankans.

      wake up people.

      • 0
        0

        citizen

        “wake up people.”

        I can’t sleep while north of my ancestral land is occupied by the Demedas and South is by Sinhapurians.

        I can’t even stretched my legs.

  • 0
    0

    Excellent writing, sensible to the intelligent, frightening to those humbugs trying their best to defend Mahinda Rajapaksa. I think the tide is now turning in favour of the just and righteous.

  • 0
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    I suppose what the writer expounds is true of any tyranny. I recall George Dubya Bush extolling Americans to see Saddam Hussein as evil and despicable when the US / UK allies bombed that country into a living hell and no Iraqi had conspired or caused any terror to an American!

    Much later, it was Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s turn to be evil dictator whereas he had uplifted the lives of his countrymen for Libya to become the highest on the HDI index for Africa, from being at the bottom when Gaddafi came to power!!

    Such is the nature of man’s inhumanity to fellow man, and reason for much shame, whereas animals have so much bmore nobility and virtue!

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