24 May, 2022


Gibbon, Gorky & Gamarala

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

Under a democratic government, the citizens exercise the powers of sovereignty; and those powers will be first abused, and afterwards lost, if they are committed to an unwieldy multitude.” ~ Gibbon – Decline &  Fall Roman Empire

Sirisena our president may not have read or heard of Gibbon. The matter did not cross my mind when on 8thJanuary 2015 I voted for Maithripala Sirisena- the common candidate. At the time I wanted Mahinda Rajapaksa out of the presidency.

For that matter, I did not think it was important to verify if candidate Sirisena had read anything at all. I vaguely remember him claiming to have read Maxim Gorky.

Now, having made the man our president, I am doing the maximum gawking in front of my shaving mirror. This morning I spat on my bathroom mirror and told the image in it ‘you dumb bastard.’

In retrospect, there were signs that shit may hit the fan. The appointment of the brother as the boss of telecom indicated his idea of not encouraging Rajapaksa type nepotism.

When he made the briefless solicitor son in law of Austin Fernando the consular officer in the London High Commission we got a slight inkling of his idea of meritocracy.

But then, such presidential folly faded to nothing when the Prime Minster inaugurated his carnival with Paskeralingam on the merry go round, Arjuna in the magician’s tent and Charitha showing bioscope with Washington’s Millennium Development Corporation.

So, we knew that sooner or later shit will hit the fan. But I never expected ‘Gamarala’ to get hold of ‘Appachchi’ and lift bucket loads from the cesspit we closed on 8thJanuary 2015 and painstakingly pour on to the ceiling fan on the 26thOctober 2018.

You see! I am not a political stooge. Mine is an ordinary mind very conscious of the fact that I am in the autumn watching leaves fall. I detest the Rajapaksa caravan.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is the war winning patriot.

He and his brothers are in a never-ending spring. In their world, flowers are in eternal bloom, fruits are always in season, ripe ready for picking.

“Oya Range da? Oya dan awoth cabinet position ekak denta puluwan”

[Is that Range? If you come now, you can have a position in the cabinet.]

S.B. Dissanayake’s oily voice clip has is now gone viral in cyberspace.

Our free media, both print and electronic has efficiently and determinedly normalized the regime that began with the sudden hijack of the constitution by installing Mahinda Rajapaksa as our new Prime Minister.

Anticipatory obedience is the order of the day. Parliamentarians are bribed and beguiled by the hijackers of our fragile democracy. Their purpose is to construct the chimera of a nonexistent ‘popular will.’ Our Buddhist monks chant ‘Pirith’ and wish them Godspeed.

A slight digression. My Children are under strict instructions not to perform the mumbo jumbo of ‘pansakula’ by sullied saints in saffron shrouds, when I take the ferry across. I just cannot stand the lot.

Now, I come to my thesis – how democracy dies.

Political Scientist and diplomat Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka has greeted Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second coming  as a revolution. His theory of a Revolution by purchasing a parliamentary majority is ingenious to say the least.

For the record it must be stated that he has articulated several Dos and Don’ts for the New Prime Minister as a comrade citizen and not as our Ambassador in Putinland.

He has sent the email to the attention of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa through comrade ‘Vasu’ whose charlatanism is ‘pari passu’ with his Marxism.

He cautions the new Prime Minister sagely. Don’t allow the initiative to see-saw. It is just too bad that MR has not taken his advice. At the time of writing this missive the see-saw indicates 118 at the other end.

Comrade Dayan summons all the revolutionary zeal of a botched Bolshevik and a castrated Castroite and pontificates “reactionary forces should never be allowed to consolidate and sustain a parallel power center/command center at Temple Trees.”

He calls the US state department statement “a blatant interference in our sovereignty’ which must be countered.

The realist in him overpowers his political allegiance. He says “In the battle of arguments, ideas and ideology, the enemy is on the offensive and we are on the defensive.”

Comrade Dayan need not worry. There is a solid Mahinda Rajapaksa base that is oblivious to the battle of arguments, ideas and ideology.

That base knows that the representatives they elect will auction their consent. There will be no corrupt politicians if the electors do not condone corruption.

We are not a perfect democracy. We aspired only for a livable democracy where we could go about our business of living knowing that S.B. is a liar and a crook but can either win an election and reach parliament or lose the election and yet reach parliament.

There will always be a political scientist like Dayan who has read Max Weber’s Politics as a vocation and Trotskyite Marxist like Vasu to march with parvenus such as SB to perpetuate the kleptocracy of the Rajapaksa family.

We must grin and bear because we were content to draft the message but chose the wrong messenger.

We mistakenly think that democracy fails and dies with a loud bang and a spectacle. It does not. Usually democracy is throttled and suffocated in the dark corridors haunted by political avarice. Such was the silent villainy on the night of 26th October in the presidential secretariat.

Reclaiming our parliamentary democracy by foiling the attempted capture of the constitution as amended by the 19th Amendment is a tricky task.

It is a Touch and go battle.

It is a touch and go battle. To this date we do not know who said what to whom in the early hours of 9thJanuary 2015 at temple trees when Ranil met Mahinda. As Marx pointed out history repeats a second time as a farce. Gotabaya met Ranil at dusk on Thursday at Temple trees. We do not know what passed between the two.

I have no quarrel with the JVP when it labels this power swaps as ‘Playing Roulette with Political Power.’

Therefore, we must not confuse our task of reigniting the democratic discourse with the UNP executive committee’s hopes of restoring Ranil to his Prime Ministerial perch.

Restoring Ranil’s premiership must not be the purpose of reconvening parliament. Its focus should not be Mahinda centric.

We know what Mahinda wants – power. He has a substantial populist base. Why at this point is a matter that needs little explanation.

On 21st February 2015 in an article in the Colombo Telegraph I wrote about his comeback trek that started with the rally “Nugegoda rising’ just forty days after his defeat.

I said, “Forty days after the dismantling of the family politburo, Mahinda Rajapaksa has demonstrated that his ‘orgburo’ is well oiled and running.”

In a message read out at the event he said

“I am beaten but not defeated. I shall not decline the outstretched hands of affection of my compatriots. What the country was experiencing was not a defeat but the consequences of a conspiracy.’

I captured the zeitgeist of the vent in these words.

“The trenchant proclamation by the former President confirms that he has an enormous war chest. He has the machinery in place to manage dozens and more such risings. The drone cameras captured the images of spirited youth, both male and female with well coiffured hair styles dressed in Paradise road attire waving posters of the “Mustachioed Macho Patriot Supremo”.

That is what he was and that is what he is.  So, let us not blame the man for what he did. Although how he did its questionable Napoleon did not actually shake hands with his jailors on leaving Elba. Forget Mahinda. Focus on Sirisena the president.

In January 2015, the newly elected President made Ranil prime minster at the independence square. The event was nationally telecast.

Hush hush swearing in of MR who crossed over from nearby Hilton at the appointed hour was not a transparent democratic act but an attempted capture of the constitution as pointed out by Professor Jayadeva Uyangoda.

When a democracy is strangled it is not done with specular élan. It has a ceremony of its own. The conspirators move in the shadows. They don’t even trust each other. They breathe a sigh of relief only when wiping their hands clean. Then they take turns in addressing the nation with prepared scripts. Until the organized cheer squads are brought out the preprinted posters and profiles express the peoples will from lampposts and bill boards.

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Latest comments

  • 17

    Congrats! A good analysis reflecting the stance of the majority of people who believe that installing Mahinda Rajapakse is a conspiracy hatched between MS and MR months ago. He talks big but acts as a third-grade politician. We should have got alerted the moment Sirisena appointed his brother as the chairman Telecom.

    It is now clear that Comrade Dayan, who is a confirmed Sinhala supremacist was Sirisena’s choice. He is repaying his gratitude to his paymaster.

  • 15

    why waste time writing about what dayan said
    ct readers know what a joker he is

    • 3

      It is quite evident that the people are not supporting Ranil per say but are trying to retrieve democracy which is fast sliding down due to the actions of not only Srisena and MR but also of Ranil and his yes men.. Most of the people wish to put an end to the rule of Srisena and MR hook or by crook, but they are afraid that Ranil is not the alternative as his record hitherto, has been far from satisfactory, especially for the Tamils. In order to attract more people to support democracy, it will be advisable for Ranil to give an undertaking in writing that no sooner than the prevailing stale mate comes to an end, he will resign from the post of premiership and give way to more honest and capable person to to take the reigns. It must be noted that the Tamils as a whole Except SAMSUM, hate Srisena/MR/Ranil equally.
      Perhaps they hate Ranil more as he is considered a Snake Under the Grass.

    • 2

      I am pretty Sure, this Journalist has jumped the ship. His employer is different now. HE is always a Depath Naya.

  • 7

    Now Mps are bought in public ?.why not ask to sell their wives too in public auction for politics ..
    Shame on all these people .
    JVP demands a clue on 19 amendment to include that any one who change side should remove from his Mps post ..
    Ranil Ranil listen to JVP; no Mp could have bought and sold like this .
    To end low ebb our politics had gone down..
    Wait and see how MR will spend corruption with china once agian.
    Wait and see how law and order will go down ?
    Wait and see how MR family accumulate more public money ?
    Wait and see how M&S will be removed and impeached by MR and co .
    Wait and see a lot of things if MR could secure parliament soon…

  • 1

    Mahinda is greedy, Yes. He is clever, No. He called elections two years early thinking he outsmarted others.It backfired and he was thrown out by the people.

    If he were clever, he would wait for the UNP to finish its term. Judging by the rate of the rise of their unpopularity hitherto, I would guess a total annihilation of the UNP at the end of their term..Did he wait?

    My fear now is his imbecilic act has given a new life to the UNP. That too is disastrous for the country.

    • 0

      It is good that MR rescue Sri Lanka at this point without allowing further sales of National Assets. I beleive this is the way most of the Old Rich live, they sell their inheritance for living rather than become productive to the society. RW start signing many agreements with other countries which are detrimental to Sri Lanka, following the pattern of Killinochchi agreement, which almost created a separate country for LTTE. So I am glad about the timing of the change. Hope there will be more supporters to his effort.

  • 7

    We must not forget how this village yokel, in the worst traditions of his background, put his family ahead of his country by putting his brain damaged son in the first UN delegation thereby excluding Rohan Perera the ambassador to the UN from the delegation. The message to other countries was “don’t take Sri Lanka’s ambassador seriously as he’s not fit to be included in the official delegation.” Similar to MR taking the “lawyer” son on official jaunts.

    Sadly, there is no one with the cojones in either party to object to and rally against these practices.

  • 1

    I heard, There was some commotion because, Mahinda Rajapakse wanted his SOn Namal Rajapakse to have either the Ministry of Highways or Ministry of Agriculture which can import Fertilizer and distribute at very low prices or even free in order to earn the rural votes (GOD Sumana Saman). So, the Mahinda Rajapakse may forget every thing very fast. Because of that the elelctions ASAP is required.

  • 1

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  • 3

    Maithripala IS not a saint because he wa sin that culture for 50 years. But, he was not destructive as Mahinda Rajapakse or Ranil was. Ranil and his fellows are the most destructive to Sri lanka. but, Sri lanka doe snot have established a culture to get rid of corrupt politicians. Impunity and the corrupt system prevails. Maithripala STruggles inthat system. Believe me. If Ranil stayed another Few years Sri lanka becomes a HAITI, Phillipines as it was or a Singapore, Monaco (LASt two are cities and they can not talk about specific cultures or Peoples identity, but Sri lanka has an identity which we have lost fast). That is the neo liberal economy. some humaongous, multinational companies control. I remember some american politician was talking about Legislating Multinational companies as separate sovereign countries. So one country or one lot (Britain is every where in the world) will be controlling the world. In that Russia, china and IRan like countries are barriers. Think about this BS. Our politicians’ problem is they are uneducated and they think IMF and WOrld Bank are the most knowledgeable and PARAHITHA KAMI. Now, MCC is also with them. Eventhough IMF says they are saint. Study thie work all over the world.

  • 1

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  • 4

    The citizens must start castrating the politicians who has taken the wisdom of people for foolery. Start with MS family.

    • 1

      It will be a waste of time to start MS as he has lost his…………………on 26/10/18.

  • 6

    “I am in the autumn watching leaves fall.”


    It’s so depressing …….. I try not to think of politics if I can help it – especially Lankan politics ……… there is so much more to life ……..unfortunately for people living in Lankan it’s so much “in your face;” it’s hard to get away from

    The words you wrote about autumn …….. made me think of Richard Strauss’s 4 Last Songs (4 Letzte Lieder) ……….. after long years he stops to contemplate what has passed

    So I thought I’ll offer you this ……… in appreciation of the battles you have fought …….. some right, some wrong, some futile ………. that’s life

    Almost every soprano has recorded them …….. my favourite is Lisa Della Casa ………. couldn’t find that; here’s another good one

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc-oeX_a64k (4 Letzte Lieder (4 Last Songs) , TrV 296: No. 3. Beim Schlafengehen • Soile Isokoski)

    Beim Schlafengehen

    Now this day has fatigued me
    and my most arduous desire shall
    receive kindly the starry night
    like a tired child

    Hands, rest after so much action
    Forehead, cease all thinking
    Now all my senses
    wish to sink into this light slumber

    And unattendedly the soul
    wants to take wings freely
    to live on deep down and thousandfold
    in the magic circle of the night

    Hermann Hesse – English translation( from German)

  • 2

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  • 1

    It is none other than Sirisena himself who knows how he was approached to make him the ‘common candidate ‘ , how he was advised of the timing to ‘jump’ and the subsequent campaign of lies, propaganda and money in which he was a willing tool. How his greed over powered his village moral sense. He must have been suffering from the guilt of this monumental betrayal of the country ever since and waiting for an opportunity to redress it. He could not be a part of this game plan of dismembring the country any longer. . He must be nursing that enormous gratitude we all have in our breast towards the village boys who sacrificed their life to rid the country of terrorism.
    It is in this context Sarath Alwis and the like should understand his joining hands with his ‘enemy’. Here is his enemy: https://youtu.be/8-4aDbeSgzA


  • 2

    he probably read gorkys the lower depths

  • 4

    Author obviously has bias confirmation tendency. He twists all facts to prove his basic hypothesis that MAHINDA is bad. He does not look at two facts, firstly why Ranil couldn’t prove any wrongdoing by Mahinda during last three years. (Isn’t a person innocent until proven guilty?) Secondly why he does not question Ranil’s failure to seek justice from the judiciary ( why invite western countries to get involved before local means are exhausted) . Now his supporters have requested help from Malwatthe .

    • 2

      Usually I don’t respond to readers who write under pen names. You will note that I am not accusing you of cowardice’
      To this date we do not know what transpired between Mahinda and Ranil on the early hours of 9th January 2015. We do know that what transpired facilitated a smooth transfer of presidential authority. I think, [my conjecture] G.L.Pieris advised Mahinda that he could serve out the balance of his six years with a new President elect in waiting ! There was Mohan Pieris the CJ who could have upheld the fairy tale. The ultimate decider of state authority is its coercive power and that was firmly in Mahinda’s hands. This point I need not labour too hard. Just look around. Just out of curiosity are you of the opinion that the dictum of innocent until proven guilty was applied in the case of the CJ Shiranee B ? I am not citing Sarath Fonseka because I find his decision to convert his valour in the field to personal advancement. Eisenhower did not seek republican nomination. The republican party wanted him for his brand name value and he did not challenger his Commander in Chief because Harry Truman did not seek reelection. If you read bias I can conclude one of two things. A. You dont understand English B. You are bereft of the faculty of reason . I will not be unkind to attribute both to you dear Wijay

    • 2

      Who are you trying to kid?

  • 2

    There is only one intellectual worse than an ‘unbaked’ intellectual. A ‘half-baked’ one.

    De Alwis is it!

    • 3

      Do not believe at any stage Mr. De Alwis has ever claimed or pretended to be an intellectual .He has been a Journalist and mind you is someone as good as they come though do not make a living out of it.

      It is quite possible that most of us who lack sensitivity to the subtleties of English language that he uses may tend to arrive at wrong conclusions about his intentions or more importantly of his political allegiance,if any( though he is entitled to it as any Citizen of this country)

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