23 July, 2019

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Harvest Of A Carnage: A Candidate   

By Sarath de Alwis –

Sarath de Alwis

“If admirals, generals are above law, Of what purpose are courts, judges and the law.”

අද්මිරාල්ලා, ජනරාල්ලා නීතියටත් ඉහල නන්, කුමටද අධිකරණය​ නීතිය සහ විනිසුරන් ?”

Nanda Malini’s lyrical lament over the tyranny of injustice is amended to accommodate Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s idea of “equality before the law”.   

On a TV channel, decidedly committed to advance his presidential bid, Gotabaya Rajapaksa explained his idea of the ‘rule of law.’ He complains that he and, some retired service commanders were summoned before a magistrate inquiring into the outsourcing of the Government’s Indian ocean anti-piracy operations to a private company- Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd resulting in an unlawful loss of Rs.11.4 billion to the government.

The encounter is a treasure trove that helps you discover the mind of the man who claims that he created the perfect national intelligence apparatus that won the war and guaranteed us peace thereafter.

The reader is invited to visit the link to hear him explain why he wishes to run for president. “The people know that I am a performer and they want me.”

He explains his ‘weltanschauung’ and his idea of ‘equality before the law’ and ‘basic human rights’. 

The signals are subtle and strong. This is how it all begins. A magnetic self-obsessed leader exploiting popular angst and failure of conventional politics. A leader with a talent for the theatre of the absurd promising national self-sufficiency guided by authoritarian nationalism. 

You may ask why we discuss Gotabaya Rajapaksa at this hour of national anxiety? We do so because, he has offered himself to serve the nation in the capacity of the president of the republic.   

Gotabaya partisans including some prominent Buddhist monks lost no time in attributing the obvious intelligence failure, undoubtedly a serious governance issue, to a weakening of state intelligence units. 

That they reasoned was due to the arrests of some intelligence operatives for complicity in abductions, murder and extortion.

We must engage Gotabaya in a rational debate. First, we must understand the man. Who can explain the man better than the man himself? 

In the TV encounter he does not question the legality or otherwise of the prosecution case. He objects indignantly and ferociously to being summoned before court. 

When you listen to him on the link provided you can reach one of two conclusions. Either the’ rule of law’ has exemptions for Gotabaya Rajapaksa or the man is simply ‘NUTS”- Capital. 

The reader is specially invited to listen to his account of the Keith Noyahr abduction and release. The defense secretary is informed of the incident. The hapless Keith is released. Now Gotabaya is genuinely bewildered why he is accused of complicity in the affair. 

Possession of stolen journalists, perhaps? 

This bewilderment comes from the man who claims to have had a total grip on the intelligence apparatus which he says is now ruined by do-gooding democrats. 

The subject of this essay is not the candidate but the idea. The idea of the national surveillance state. The National Surveillance State is a way of governing. It is neither the product of emergency nor the product of war. It is a habit of governance possible only under a power center not accountable to the people. That is the Gotabaya idea. 

First a brief exploration of the man. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a man of principles- his. He is a vegetarian. He is single minded and capable of unwavering focus. 

He is a devoted husband and father. He submits to the entreaties of a wife whose family was domiciled in the US. He migrates to the US giving up his military career. He builds a new life in California the land of plenty and super abundance. 

With his brother elected President, he returned to serve the land of his birth as Defense Secretary. The older brother was the executive president. Despite a macho persona Mahinda’s approach to statecraft is a peculiar chemistry of rustic cunning and graceful indolence. 

The focused, target centric younger sibling was for all purposes a super empowered proxy executive president. In the decade of the MR presidency the “Idea of Gotabaya Rajapaksa” took form, gathered substance and most significantly acquired its own independent voice. 

However, the migrant soldier who returned to the motherland retained his claims to his adopted homeland. That is until April, this year. The retired soldier migrating   travelled economy class to California. That was the age before long haul wide-bodied aircraft. 

The patriot now commutes between Colombo and the city of angels in Emirates A380 first class suites on miles earned or in full fare business class. That spectacular ‘viyathmaga’ trajectory rivals the takeoff of a supersonic MiG. It is story yet to unfold if ever.   

Since Easter Sunday’s savagery, we live in searing anxiety unravelling painful truths. The ever-evolving news cycle is now tied up with terrorism, how to contain it, prevent it and eradicate it. In our public discourse the subject will gather intensity and terrorism will remain the overarching concern of the public psyche in the foreseeable future.   

As the former US ambassador Robert Blake has pointed out at a recent event in Colombo under Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s watch Sri Lanka did have a national intelligence network where  different branches of the Intelligence apparatus gathered information and shared that   information  up to the senior levels making sure that such attacks did not take place. 

Robert Blakes assessment is both accurate and appropriate for the ongoing debate on national security. But there is a huge but. 

The Gotabaya Idea of National Security failed to make a distinction between state security and regime security. Gotabaya Rajapaksa conflated security of a clan centric regime with the legitimate security of the nation state. That must not happen again. 

Two significant developments followed the Easter Sunday bloodbath. Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that he would run for the presidency and fight Islamic terrorism. 

The nation’s intelligentsia rightly concluded that the Easter Sunday Massacre did not “initiate a new fear but ignited an old one”.

We must take note of both. The first threatens a prolonged disaster. The latter indicates that we must be clear headed and trace a painful path forward to sanity. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa ignites the old fears. To be blunt, Gotabaya Rajapakse does not know this new brand of terrorist. 

His expertise, if any, is on terrorists who claim a piece of real estate on ground.  He has no idea of fighting the ideology of the new terrorist who claims his place in heaven. Researchers have identified this new fanaticism franchised by ISIS as a pure barbarism. A new form of mindless warfare “waged by small groups against neutrals or innocent bystanders in order to command attention and not to win territory. 

We fought to suppress political violence. Although it may be inconvenient for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to comprehend it, the immediate roots of that brand of  terrorism that  he says he defeated , almost single handedly, could be traced to the precipitate action of the traditional Tamil political  leadership in promising Tamil youth light at the end of the tunnel with the Vaddukoddai resolution. 

The false promise of the Vaddukoddai resolution gathered a kind of kinetic energy from the unyielding unitarian world view of Sinhala nationalism.

The terrorists responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage would not think of cease fire agreements. They will not muddle strategy by resorting to conventional war fare. The new terrorism we confront is different. 

We can arrive at three conclusions with unqualified consensus in this heated, topsy-turvy political climate.   

The incumbent president doesn’t have a hope in hell in securing a second presidential term.

The Prime minister aspiring to be president is flapping like a headless chicken in the belief that we the people don’t know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.

The Leader of the Opposition with help from a largely complicit media, a coddled Buddhist clergy and a committed cohort of toadeaters dishing out profoundly fallacious but believable punditry, has no rival in sight in the business of pursuing power for its own sake. 

“Orwellian” is the pejorative adjective for falsification of history, state sponsored lying, repression and manipulation.

Today, we are deliberately sliding towards what George Orwell described as “the lunatic modern habit of identifying oneself with large power units and seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige.”  

Orwell is one great bloke who refuses to fade away! 

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    curfew in chilaw ,kuliyapitiya and dummalasuriya
    cardinal to get nobel peace prize
    ha,ha ha

    • 1
      2

      Cardinal is the Next Common Candidate

  • 17
    3

    It is from frying pan to fire. We bring back Gotta and MR and that will the final show of SL. These guys will simply ruin for ever while maintaining a very prosperous life for them and their cronies. All the rouges will be out in the open and it will be worse that ISIS. Gnanasara will openly carry AK47. Only good thing will be that our population will begin to shrink due to daily abductions and disappearances. Sri Lankan will once again provide free flight to the cronies round the world and even balu pattaus (puppies) will be transported in the first class. I am sure all the planes will have that special Royal Class for Mahinda Maama, and his cronies to flt round the world in super comfort. The deserter Eagle Blind Eye too may be back because the gang is short of rabid racists and blind eagles to lead. The great Sinhala Unique Empire evolved exclusively in Dhamma Deepa 2600 years ago with the blessings of Buddha is about to come to an end, a tragic end.Gotta and MR may lament how can they keep their legs straight and sleep because Thambiyas on one side, dhemalu on the other, Cheena on the other, Ugly American the other and Hindustan on the other, katholika led by Cardinal the Opportunist on the other, so they have to simply curl up and sleep for ever. Good Buddhist may stop eating fish because rivers and sea will be full of dead natives of Dhamma Dheepa.

  • 0
    0

    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

  • 9
    2

    Mr. Sarath de Alwis,

    Brilliant essay.
    Superb analysis
    Spot on with facts!
    Love the interlaced subtle humor.

    In the present Sri Lankan context, in addition to Orwell, one great bloke who refuses to fade away, George Santayana too is in the same class: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

    • 3
      1

      Excellent biography on Nandasena. What was his trade in The City Of Angels? We should not talk about Presidential ambitions. Ignore and prey it will never happen. Sri Lanka is where Adam the First Man created, left his foot Print. The Perl of the Indian Ocean the continent Of Asoka’s Kingdom, separated from the Indian sub- continent. Of Kings who built Tanks and Rock Fortress. A land of plenty where Discoverers looked with wonderment at a cultured civilization
      We will never yield to the mock kings Of madamullana. Enough of them!!!!
      This country needs leaders who will not divide but heal and unite . Respect and uphold international Conventions and Rights of human beings. Persons with intellect and wisdom. Humility and modesty. Learned persons with a sense of pride not in oneself but Country.

      • 1
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        Yes. We should elect Pata Lee Champika Waka Waka.

    • 1
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      You took the words right out of my mouth!!! There is hope after all.

  • 7
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    A performer ? How about Mihin Lanka, of which he was the Chairman, and allowed his rogue CEO to squander millions. No one checked whether all expenditure during the Elam War was above board.

  • 9
    4

    Brilliant analysis.
    Wonder if the dumb natives will get it though!

    • 3
      6

      yes we got it , your fear of rajapaksha ………..! lol

    • 4
      2

      Dumb natives? How demeaning of you. Are you not a native? Or is it some other land that you come from? Was it not the natives of this land that taught you how to read, write and speak? Having an opinion and access to social media, does not give you the right to talk down to the people of a nation in mourning. Your insolence speaks volumes, not of your perceived superiority, but of your ignorance.

  • 5
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    I checked all the comments one by one and decided to encourage people to vote for Gotabhaya at the next presidential election. Why?
    He must be a real leader otherwise this Yahapalana gang would not go against just one man fearing that he will fix the problems Sri Lankans are facing today.
    It is a well-known fact in Sri Lanka and abroad that he helped his brother MR as the defence secretary to erradicate the LTTE terror and also he cleaned the unclean-able Colombo city and turned it to the most beautiful capital city in South Asia. Here, we have a man who did the unthinkable; while many say that LTTE cannot be defeated militarily, and Colombo can never be cleaned, he did both with flying colors. Now they say the same thing about the current quagmire: Muslim fundamentalism or/and extremism can not be defeated, and Sri Lanka cannot be brought back to the development tracks. These are jokers who utter jokes at funerals; there will be a lot of undue criticisms, but why don’t we give a chance to someone who had done a similar job before.
    Therefore, let’s give him a chance; we would otherwise be heading towards anarchy, total anarchy!
    Arch Bishop has clearly, confirmed it not just once but several times, and some Western terrorism analysts and experienced bureaucrats have also voiced their concern in favor of Gotabhaya’s skills, experience and abilities during the aftermath of Good Friday carnage.
    It is an open secret that it is the ultimate purpose of certain web-writers, websites, NGO vultures, and some good-for-nothing comment writers to make this small island unstable and anarchic. Most of them do so from outside and most Sri Lankans are very well aware of their plans. Therefore, they will be very careful this time on what they utter through web-pages when the elections are nearing.

    • 1
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      “His expertise, if any, is on terrorists who claim a piece of real estate on ground. He has no idea of fighting the ideology of the new terrorist who claims his place in heaven”

      Does Sarath have any one in mind who posses such expertise? If so why not nominate him.
      Actually what Sarath should do is to start campaigning for such a person instead of writing pages and pages of bla,bla, bla about how unqualified GR is for the job.

    • 1
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      This comment is worth much more than Sarath’s article!!!
      Since of late Sarath has been writing utter rubbish.

  • 1
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    “His expertise, if any, is on terrorists who claim a piece of real estate on ground. He has no idea of fighting the ideology of the new terrorist who claims his place in heaven”

    Does Sarath have any one in mind who posses such expertise? If so why not nominate him.
    Actually what Sarath should do is to start campaigning for such a person instead of writing pages and pages of bla,bla, bla about how unqualified GR is for the job.

    • 1
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      NAK , NAK , and NAK

      “Actually what Sarath should do is to start campaigning for such a person instead of writing pages and pages of bla,bla, bla about how unqualified GR is for the job.

      I may not agree with what Sarath de Alwis says, but I will defend to the death his right to say it. – Copied, Twisted and pasted here.

      Now what seems to be your problem?
      By the way which area do come under your purview, Petta, Moor Street, Slave island, Azad Road, ………… ?

  • 0
    0

    We must not forget that on the 8th of Jan 2015, against all odds and expectations, the people showed that they don’t want the Rajapaksas – and that includes all or any of them.

  • 0
    2

    Gamarala out, Gota In.
    Beggers can’t be choosers.
    Gama Hamine no spine
    Gamarala always on holiday
    Little Preme only a contractor level
    To control the Mohommedan racist, jihadist threat let us unleash Gota
    What to do men, Cost of controlling the Mo Mo’s is to put up with a few white vannings

  • 0
    2

    Why US prefer Gotabaya over Ranil? They know that the same policies Ranil adopts, Gotabaya will adopt. They favor Gotabaya because unlike Ranil he can withstand and carry on regardless any local opposition and unlike Ranil, Gotabaya can gather local support, at least in the beginning.

  • 0
    3

    In my view Gota is the best person for the job. He has proved it. Won the war, though some Western powers said it was unwinnable. Gave a beautiful city to Colombo folks though majority of them are ungrateful and unpatriotic. Some, like this writer, Sarath Dr Silva get jitters hearing of the name Gotabaya Rajapakshe

  • 0
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    Forget the national surveillance state. Surveillance is vital for intelligence gathering. Western nations rely heavily on drones and stealth aircraft. For example, Western armies found it difficult to physically penetrate Raqqa, the ISIS capital. So they used drones to pick up “chatter”. The noise was relayed to nearby ships and submarines and then sent to a British base in Cyprus to be decoded. Some of the information was then used to carry out precision strikes (using armed drones) on key ISIS figures, such as the famous executioner “Jihadi John.” Sri Lanka does not yet have these capabilities, so it has to either upgrade or use old-fashioned techniques for gathering intelligence. Gothabaya is ideal for this task. It is a vital task, as it is only a matter of time before terrorists use drones to carry out mass attacks. The only way to prevent the latter is to have advanced methods of intelligence gathering. Even if you don’t like Gothabaya, he is probably the most capable person, when it comes to national security, aside from Fonseka. As the Easter attacks show, you are either prepared for national security or not prepared, in which case the penalty may be exorbitant.

  • 1
    0

    We don’t want Military ruler and a dictator as our next president we want experienced politician to be our next president that’s the reality Gota is useless what experience he got to be our president its a day dream and mostly we don’t want this Muslim radicalization to continue but some politicians and Gota wants ISIS to continue for their survival Muslim extremism is over all terrorist has being surrounded and eliminated then why do we want an inexperienced person like Gota to be a our president some people are always talking about imperialism NGO and foreign threat to our country these politicians has no plans develop our country only talking about war and spreading rumors

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