19 September, 2020

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Gratitude: An Interesting Concept

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

What follows is not an attempt at some intellectual exercise but some random thoughts that have arisen thanks to public perceptions and applications of the term gratitude and, on a more personal level, the practice of “gratitude,” in a variety of ways without any reference to what the sum total of cause and effect amounts to in the matter.

It has now become, thanks to a shallow and irresponsible media, graven into the granite of Sri Lankan history that the Rajapaksas, particularly Mahinda and his ultra-militaristic younger sibling whose arrogance appears to know no limit, were responsible for “saving the Sinhala Buddhists” from total decimation by the Dravidians (now followed by those practicing Islam) both of whom and even collectively happen to belong to minorities which would be considered small by any standards.

This “saving” has achieved mythic proportions ranging from Dutgemunu, in the prime of life, slaying the Dravidian devil incarnate, Elara, when the latter was something like 80 years old, to the butchery of Nanthikadal, the likes of which has never been recorded in the history of Sri Lanka.

Out of the “saving” which, given all the evidence should point to, at least, dilution of that grandiose term, what it has spawned, in the Mahavamsa tradition, is a grandiose history which seeks to diminish the reality of people other than the small chauvinistic rump that dictates public policy in this country. When they are not loudly espousing the cause of this religiosity, as do outfits such as the Bodu Bala Sena, they claim custodianship of even the Buddhist clergy whose “independence” they proclaim it is their bounden duty to “protect.” That Buddhism and its Buddhist clergy have survived more than a millennium of persecution and marginalization without the endeavours of those such as Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe seems to escape these defenders of all things they designate to be of any cultural/religious significance. Incidentally, the two terms I have just used have become interchangeable because those wielding the authority to make it so have chosen precisely that route.

The condemnation I make is not directed only at the Mahinda Rajapaksa dispensation (MR1) but at the Maithri/Ranil (MR2) horde as well. What these people have chosen to do is to distort Sri Lanka social and political history in such a manner that future generations of every ethnicity in this country are, at best, going to be seen as a bunch of Idi Amin acolytes or, at worst, the South Asian equivalent of ISIS.

The road we are treading has been justified by falling back on the application of the concept of gratitude to those who have saved us, allegedly,from a fate worse than death!

Let’s look at the matter of the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, “Tigers”) by Mahinda Rajapaksa and his siblings.

The first major fissure in that seeming juggernaut was the defection of “Colonel Karuna” for reasons that, proven by subsequent behaviour, were certainly not driven by principle of any kind but pure and simple self-interest. That said, reality dictates that Karuna’s role as a military genius in Tiger terms cannot be denied. That defection was orchestrated not by Mahinda Rajapaksa, his siblings or his minions. It was done by political forces led by those in direct conflict with that very same Mahinda Rajapaksa. And what did Mahinda Rajapaksa do when he grasped the reins of power? He made this man, accused of the cold-blooded execution of several hundred Sinhala policemen, most of whom, without doubt, defended the very national group of which he has claimed to be savior: Sinhala Buddhists. As a sidebar: the same Karuna was sent on a falsified passport to Britain by MR1 where he was unceremoniously jailed and banned from ever entering Britain again!

I will not revert to the logistical and intelligence support supplied by the now-abused “western nations” which enable Sri Lanka to sever the umbilical cord connecting the LTTE to its suppliers of arms and all that was necessary to sustain. When Prabhakaran, without Karuna’s military wiles at his disposal, chose to engaged a vastly superior military force in formal battle his fate and that of his movement were sealed. Remember, apart from the fact that the Sri Lankan government had, at its disposal, an army, a navy, an air force, police and paramilitary security apparatus which numbered about the same as the entire army of the largest country in the world, Russia, and one doesn’t require the services of any soothsayer from south of the Bentara Ganga to make an accurate prediction!

The fact that Rajapaksa, at the expense of core services such as Health and Education, in particular poured our national resources into the “war effort” cannot be denied. That he “sacrificed” his second-born to the conflict cannot also be denied though the small qualification must be added here: that worthy received training at the most prestigious naval academy in the Commonwealth at state expense and proceeded to avoid areas of conflict like the proverbial plague, a whole entourage in tow!

There is no gainsaying that the return of Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the US, abandoning what was claimed to have been an existence bestrewn with milk and honey, to serve the nation had a great deal to do with the allegedly final victory over Prabhakaran’s forces of evil. Without this man who chose to resign from the Sri Lankan army at a time of, probably, its greatest need – combating both the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s second bloody uprising and the Tiger onslaught – to seek greener pastures is a matter of simple recent history. However, it should be noted here that the timing of this departure was subsequent to the deposit of several hundred bodies in an unmarked grave in the Matale hospital premises when the same Gotabaya Rajapaksa was in command of that area of conflict. You want ruthlessness? I’ll give you ruthlessness without benefit of the Koran according to Idi Amin!

That lengthy preamble has, I hope, set the scene for a more personal and local application of the term gratitude.

I have had occasion to observe, at very close quarters, the fact that people are accused of being ingrates because they are critical and will not justify the behaviour of someone who might have been of some assistance in dealing with some issue of seeming consequence in the recipient’s life. Almost without exception, this has been in situations when the person displaying such generosity did not have to do anything of major importance or take a risk of any consequence whatsoever to perform the service or good deed.

Simply put, to expect a “quid pro quo” for such behaviour that extends to acceptance of the donor’s seeming generosity amounts to the original action becoming a bribe, even if only in hindsight.
Simple enough?

What turns that often common scenario into something approaching an obscenity (there I go with that word again!) is that something outside the accepted canon of social conduct is converted into a good and meritorious deed!

Much of the shilly-shallying that is going on in investigation of the rape and plunder of a whole nation owes its existence to this equivocation. The public of this country are increasingly aware of which of the current regime bought protection from those they have succeeded. They owe a bunch of quid pro quos that have national implications and until MR2 begins to dispense justice without equivocation and exception we are fated to slide into the (now empty) trough of MR1’s creation!

Simple as that. And may the Aluth Avuruddha return us to a life of justice and decency in Sri Lanka!

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    Well said, Emil!

    Two important points in particular stand out:

    1 – “That Buddhism and its Buddhist clergy have survived more than a millennium of persecution and marginalization without the endeavours of those such as Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe seems to escape these defenders of all things they designate to be of any cultural/religious significance”

    And…

    2 – “The first major fissure in that seeming juggernaut was the defection of “Colonel Karuna” for reasons that, proven by subsequent behaviour, were certainly not driven by principle of any kind but pure and simple self-interest. …. That defection was orchestrated not by Mahinda Rajapaksa, his siblings or his minions. It was done by political forces led by those in direct conflict with that very same Mahinda Rajapaksa. And what did Mahinda Rajapaksa do when he grasped the reins of power? He made this man, accused of the cold-blooded execution of several hundred Sinhala policemen, most of whom, without doubt, defended the very national group of which he has claimed to be savior: Sinhala Buddhists. “

  • 5
    0

    Mr. Emil van der Poorten,

    You are not serious, are you? How can you conclude a write-up of such veracity, with a silly and meaningless, ‘may the Aluth Avuruddha return us to a life of justice and decency in Sri Lanka’. Justice and decency
    does not go with Sri Lanka, in the same sentence.

  • 6
    10

    “What follows is not an attempt at some intellectual exercise…”

    Who would have thought, from this apology for a human with as much intellect as teeth in a hen’s beak?

    For once, Pooten has started with the obvious, saving us time trying to make sense out of the diarrheal droppings of his sick mind!

    • 7
      3

      Pena Kyanna:
      A pseudonym(s?) might conceal identity, but it doesn’t provide cover to one whose stock-in-trade is simple personal abuse in the name of “criticism.” As far as your opinion is concerned, remember the phrase about water and a duck’s back? Or is that beyond your intellectual acumen?

      • 11
        2

        Sure sounds like that creep KAS aka HLDM (with his countless other pseudonyms) who takes great pleasure in goading his favorite “Pooten”, regardless of the content of the post!

        Poor sod, humor his sorry ass with ‘thumbs down’ to stoke his failing mental health!

      • 5
        3

        You can talk about pseudonyms! We know all yours.

        Challenge you to come out with all your pseudonyms and our brotherhood will show all ours.

        We know you are not only a hypocrite, but also a coward.

        Show yours if you want to see others. As simple as that

  • 9
    2

    Emil, thanks for this and keep up your good work.

    The Ranil-Sira Ayahapalana govt. is turning out to be a bigger environmental and financial DISASTER for Sri Lanka than the regime of the corrupt criminal Mahinda Jarapassa, brothers and sons Inc.

    It is now clear that Sri Lanka is cursed by its Politicians: mainly due to bi-partisan corruption and the stupidity of the voting masses.

    Soon there will be massive protests against this corrupt Ranil Sira regime with its obese Cabinet of clowns and Jarapassa will be back in the saddle with JO, and Ranil and Sira will be kissing his ass.

    Ranil Sira govt has failed on every front: the economy is a mess, the Miracle of modayas stinks to high heaven of corruption and incompetence and there is no solution to the national question.

    On his trip to China, Ranil should have asked for DEBT CANCELLATION since the Chinese have only built WHITE ELEPHANTS in Sri Lanka – Hambantota port, airport, Norichchlai etc. and now planning port city which will be the biggest environmental and financial disaster.

    Meanwhile, corrupt clown and insider trader, Arjuna Mahendran is on a borrowing spree. He is boasting about being able to borrow 3 $ billion after an IMF agreement, while pretending that the Panama Papers revelations are false.

    Mahendran is a corrupt crook and has no plan to reduce borrowing or the Sri Lankan National Debt. which is the reason for massive currency depreciation which will continue after the IMF loan.

    IMF conditionalities will further increase DEBT, impoverish the poor and promote corruption in Lanka. If IMF wants to really help Lanka, the first AID condition SHOULD be corruption investigations and tracking and bringing back funds looted by corrupt politicians and the Jarapassa family and cronies from illegal overseas bank accounts overseas in tax havens – to pay off national debt of Sri Lanka.

    But this will not happen because the IMP is CORRUPT and wants to cut back on health, education ans social sector spending. IMF with its Washington twn the World Bank, has legalized corruption, tax evasion, rent seeking in the global financial system.

    IMF and World Bank which calls itself the Knowledge bank (Ha, ha, ha!) have watched the looting of poor third world countries and the transfer of those funds to boost western economies by corrupt crooks like Arjuna Mahendran and associated political elites, and never said a word or BLOWN A WHISTLE to stop this looting poor countries including Greece which is suffering under IMF austerity measures..

    IMF and WB publish copious reports on remittances of migrant workers from rich countries to poor countries, but never a word on the funds that flow from the global south to the global north via off shore tax havens that benefit the global north.

    IMF and World Bank are supposed to be in charge of the global financial system and have legalized corruption, tax evasion and looting of third world countries by their elites through LEGAL NETWORKS OF FINANCIAL CORRUPTION
    .
    Corrupt clown Arjuna Mahendran talking to the Corrupt IMF for another loan to offset Aahendrans bond scams is a joke! Legalized corruption is the name of the Ayahapalanaya Ranil-Sira govt. Game.

    Arjuna Mahendran is a colossal DUD and corrupt criminal who is looting and destroying the Sri Lanka economy!

    Thank you very much Dr. Harsha De Silva and Eran for keeping your mouths shut and watching this dirty economic game and acting like all the other corrupt politicians!

    • 2
      0

      Kalupahana, yours is a most incisive comment on the present state of the administration.

      “Soon there will be massive protests against this corrupt Ranil Sira regime with its obese Cabinet of clowns and Jarapassa will be back in the saddle with JO, and Ranil and Sira will be kissing his ass”.

      Hopefully this is not prophetic, although it is doubtful that “Ranil and Sira” ever stopped “kissing his (Jarapassa’s) ass”.

      Safety valve???!!!

  • 4
    9

    Pooty dumb half bred burger monkey

    I am sure you did predict the end of the LTTE in 2006 . what a joke . No you are right no one deserves the praise other than pooty and the burger monkeys .

    You are what they call a jobless shithead Troll .

    • 6
      1

      A-bhayagulla: That “jobless shithead troll” sounds like you were looking in the mirror and describing yourself.

      Get a life, ass-wipe!

    • 4
      1

      Hey Abhaya, you racist pariah is a damn curse on the Sinhala people. Go and die somewhere.

    • 1
      0

      Abhaya:
      You and your language speak far more loudly of who and what YOU are than anything you can say about me as should be evident by the responses from other readers of my material in this publication.

  • 1
    2

    Only way to save Sri Lanka is for you all to accept Jesus as the Lord and renounce Buddha, Allah and all the multiple gods of Hinduism. Where there is love and Jesus there is no hate. Besides we are all Dravidian not Aryan. All of you should open your eyes to the Assembly of God church of our Lord. There is no room for hate in Christian eyes of a true Christian.

    • 0
      3

      [Edited out]

  • 1
    4

    Can Poorten save Bataland Ranil,s ass by bashing Mahavamsa and the , Sinhala Buddhists?

    Even Moody doesn’t think so even after Batalanda flew all the way to kiss Chinese asses, and apologize for his and his other Donkey heads pathetic comments denigrating Chinese Infrastructure such as the Hambantota harbour and the Colombo Port City.

    If the Yahapalana suckers think the great Chinese people get hoodwinked by Batalanda’s apologies. they got to be kidding.

    Batalanda and his Commission agents have borrowed USD 6.85 Billion and LKR 90 Billion with tenders out for another LKR 50 Billion.

    Yet not a cent of the Chinese loans have been paid , according to Batalanda’s own media briefings.

    With rapidly dwindling ex pat remittances from our house maids . the ass is falling off Rani,s Yahapalana Budget, says Moodys in their latest release.

    Foreign investers have withdrawn all their money from the CSX.

    Yahapalana Mayor Muzamil doesn’t even clean and maintain the roads which Gota donated to the Colombo Elite.

    Diabetic Vellalas , and Over weight Colombosiders have to dodge discaeded Yahapalana Fried Rice packs and Dog shit during their power walks.

    While our Sinhala Buddhist rural folks have no calories to shed, as they are now only Skin and Bones.

    Yahapalana architect Whisky Madam has given up after her son’s wedding in London.

    Probably the Madam knows that her offsprings are no match for crafty Sira’s progeny.

    Foul mouthed Digital Minister, who called a caring , decent human being a Padadaya because he does not approve Yahapalana, is running scared of Sira Brother who is supposed to report to the Minister.

    That is the current state of play of this Yahapalanaya.

    And Poorten is trying to help Batalanada fulfil Mr Pirahaparan’ last wishes in Nanthikadal.

    • 3
      2

      Sumaney:
      YET another “gusher” of stupidity, seemingly containing everything but the kitchen sink, parading as intelligence? Unsuccessfully as usual, though except in the matter of demonstrating incoherence in addition to all the other “virtues” already in evidence.

    • 4
      2

      KA Sumanasekeram, Mr. Poorten excretes more intelligence everyday than the intelligence you have in your head. Go and screw off you dumb fu*&.

      • 2
        4

        Thamil from Scarborough.

        Obviously you seems to be thriving on Poorten’s excreta.

        Keep up the intake until the Dole pays for a trip to Nanthikadal ,when Vellala Wigneswaram.build a Shrine for your hero Pirahaparan..

        Don’t forget to break a few coconuts for Poorten as well.

        • 3
          1

          KAS you are a sad welfare JVP bastard. You have nothing to show for your achievements but come here and disrupt decent people like Mr. Poorten and annoy others with your eternal stupidity. Look around you little shit, Tamils are thriving internationally as Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors, Members of Parliament, Police Officers, great business people and many other professions. I am sure you are cleaning toilets somewhere in Australia for a Tamil. I know it hurts to be like that. The very same VP the Indians killed, kept you under your bed for 30 years. Your valiant soldiers ran for 30 years until the Indians stepped in. I only wish VP put a cap in your arse to end the chapter of a sad shit like you.

          • 0
            3

            Thamil from Scarborough,

            Did Poorten write this for you?..

            Anyway you must be thankful to Pirahaparan for putting you on the Canadian Dole.And most of your mates should be too.

            All those high flyers whom you mentioned financed your hero Pirahaparan to send innocent dalit kids to climb Razor Wire fences and throw hand grenades at the soldiers.

            As well as kill innocent Baby bikkus, Innocent school kids and their seeyas and aachis, for them to get Dual Passports now and enjoy high life in Srialnka at budget prices.

            I just went pass the Red Rose Massage parlour in marine drive.

            The opulence of the place blew me away.

            Is it one of those Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers , Politicians or LTTE fund Managers who owns the joint?.

            I must get Poorten to pay a visit and get a Oil massage to rid all those Yahapalna pains.

            • 3
              0

              KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

              Please tell us whether you are admiring/praising VP and his Tamil professionals or moaning about the way you exist.

              “I just went pass the Red Rose Massage parlour in marine drive. The opulence of the place blew me away.”

              Was it mere opulence that blew you away or something else such as a broom stick blow, chilly in your willy, … ?

              Hope you didn’t lose your valet in the mayhem.

              • 0
                2

                Dear Native,

                Where have you been mate,

                Poorten and your Tamil mate from the North ,both must have missed you heaps.

                Anyway how was the Thamil New year for you.

                For us ,Ambulthyal was out even for the few in Wellala Gardens, with KEELS selling Thalapath at 1200 Yahapalana Rupees.

                I just walked pass it mate..How can I enjoy a Ayrvedic massage and a Spa let alone have a happy ending.

            • 3
              0

              KA Sumanasekeram, you dimwit clown will never understand what really happened there. Nobody denies that the LTTE killed innocent people. You expect that from a terrorist outfit. But an official military murdering innocent people, that is simply disgusting. You are one f’in pig who will never understand the suffering of the Tamil people or any other minority in the hands of the majority. You are so consumed by racial hatred. You can Buddhism a religion? Buddhism is NOT a religion but a way of life. Buddha never claimed he was God and he never ever had any Godly powers. So what happened to your hero Rohana Wijayaweera? Did that thug inspector Ronnie Gunasinghe put a bullet in his chest? Soon you will join your hero you dumb fu&*. Stop collecting welfare in a foreign land and start working…….oh wait how can you get a job when you don’t even have a brain.

  • 1
    4

    Mr Poorten,

    Your Golaya , that Thmilian from Scarborough who claims to be from the North, to look like a Vellala is full of intelligence.

    Isn’t he????

    • 5
      1

      Sumanasekara,

      Can you please present your opinion
      of the Medamulana tyrants please?
      Good for nothing hypocrite…
      Sri Lanka is cursed with a population
      of mutts like you.

  • 0
    0

    Very interesting, Emil. Bensen

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