2 June, 2020

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He’d Nail The Coffin So We Could Create A New Lanka – Post 2013

By Kusal Perera

Kusal Perera

I was born to independent “Ceylon”. Never ever migrated to any country and never lived outside this country, even for a short spell. Now I sit reading about last minute preparations for the 65th Independence Day celebrations of “Sri Lanka”. This time in the Eastern port city of Trincomalee. Looking back, I wonder if this is the same country, we grew up in.

In early post independent Ceylon, we went to school, played and fought together while growing up together, with Susils and Upuls, Sivams and Eswarans, Brians and Marios. Didn’t bother which language one spoke and what temple, kovil or church the other went to. I was admitted to Greenlands College, down Greenlands Road adjoining Havelock Park, but left Isipathana Maha Vidyalaya, on Isipathana Mawatha, now adjoining Sir Henry Pedris Udyanaya. Yet, I never changed schools.

While in primary school, we were rushed home once through Galle Road, with burning boutiques and goons going down lanes, leaving houses going up in smoke. Next morning we woke up to see the military patrolling our road, while two small khaki tents were being erected in the esplanade, next to our lane. Still growing up together as before, we did not notice “Allan Avenue” becoming “Dharmapala Mawatha”, some who wore white drill long trousers, changing to white poplin “redda – baniyama” called the “national” dress and vehicle number plates changing from “EY” and “EN” to “1 Sri” to “2 Sri” and then to “3 Sri”.

It took a little longer to understand what all that meant to post independent Ceylon, later turned into the “independent and sovereign” State called, Republic of Sri Lanka. It took even longer time to understand, what it would all mean for present day little kids, Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim (no more Burghers here) who would not know how rich a kid’s life is, playing and growing together in a tri lingual, multi religious and multi cultural neighbourhood. A dynamic milieu that does not stop to question diversity but moves along, living the benefits of that diverse milieu. One that allows a larger life than what their young parents would applaud for, when President Rajapaksa promises “post war” comfort without “terrorism”, from the independence day podium in Trincomalee, celebrating 65 years of independence from British colonial rule.

We’ve not gained anything better or more, than what was offered to us as “independence”. Sixty five years ago, the first elected government, hastily moved to disfranchise over half a million people from a population of almost 07 million. The single, largest contributor to our economy, made “Stateless” overnight on a soil, they were required to toil for a measly daily wage to eke out a living, but contribute as before to an economy of a country, they were aliens to. Fifty seven years ago, from a total population of about 8.5 million, around 2.6 million were dislodged from the State and its effective functions, with Sinhala language made the ONLY official language of the State.

With two gaping holes made in the fabric of our society within 08 years from Independence, the majority Sinhala constituency travelled along regardless. We’ve now come to what is called a “post war” era. Sinhala extremism wanted to believe and they learnt to believe, the LTTE could only be defeated militarily. Theorists for this ‘Sinhala school of thought’ argued, no political solution could be negotiated, with the LTTE around. Therefore, no social mindset was allowed in the Sinhala South that would accommodate a political solution and that to be negotiated. It was all “gung ho” for a war, its brutality never talked of. Yet, this post war era, is not what the Sinhala majority said it would be, after the “Tamil Tigers” are defeated.

The LTTE was not seen and accepted as the outgrowth of “majoritarian extremism” that sabotaged the political compromise for independence, 65 years ago. The list of broken promises and agreements, marginalising from the State that was taken over by Sinhala political extremism, communal thuggery let loose on life, repression ordered against Tamil civil rights campaigns, a long history of almost two and a half decades of political uprooting till the 1972 Republican Constitution, was comfortably forgotten as the ground which created and nurtured the radicalising of Tamil politics and its transformation from democratic agitations to armed insurgency.

The period from there to the next “Republican Constitution” in 1978 with an Executive Presidency, made it far worse. With an unprecedented majority in the history of post independent parliamentary elections that in 1977 gave President Jayawardne 140 MPs in a 168 seat parliament, 1983 was turned Black, with politically jealous scheming, after the referendum in December 1982 that postponed elections for six more years.

There was nothing spontaneous in that July pogrom against Tamil people. Hardly a fortnight before the pogrom, President Jayawardne was quoted by Ian Ward in the “London Daily Telegraph” of 11 July as saying, “… I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people now… Now we cannot think of them. Not about their lives or of their opinion about us… The more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here… really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy…”

After the pogrom that devastated the lives of many thousand Tamil people and the reputation of Sinhala Buddhists as compassionate and hospitable set of people, Gamini Dissanayake, Minister of Land and Land Development and also the President of the Lanka Jathika Estate

Workers’ Union, told its Ex-co on 05 September the same year, “….We have decided to colonise four districts including Mannar with Sinhalese people by destroying forests. A majority of Sinhalese will be settled there. If you like you also can migrate there.” [“Sri Lanka: the story of the holocaust.” N. Shanmugathasan. (1984). p.74]

This war by the Rajapaksas was ideologically and politically the continuation of President Jayawardne’s Sinhala supremacist approach to the Tamil political conflict. If it wasn’t for such powerful executive power with overall control over a huge majority in parliament, Jayawardne would not have treaded such a blatantly racist path. Almost a quarter century later, it was that same executive power in the hands of President Rajapaksa and a far more subordinate parliament, which helped the war and then helps everything else that comes after war. Everything the Sinhala South thought would not be their lot in post war Sri Lanka, is now theirs to stay.

The war has only made the Rajapaksas “great”. Its euphoria, hyped and cultivated by the Rajapaksa regime helped it to shelve the 17 Amendment and install the 18 Amendment to the Constitution. That left two major aberrations. One, a totally politicised State allowing for politically calculated heavy corruption and two, a presidency that now can be extended to unlimited terms. Such heavy usurping and accruing of political power, has been used to militarise the Tamil North and politicise the Sinhala village. Most violence and crimes in Sinhala rural life thus have two very conspicuous factors. One, the ruling political party agents like Pradeshiya Sabha members and organisers committing most crimes and two, the war making weapons available in plenty, for easy money. A reflection of total breakdown of law and order in a heavily corrupt society, contradicting the post war expectations of the Sinhala people.

With such arrogant and corrupt power, this regime is on no road to economic stability and growth. Numericals arranged in glittering formations to the liking of the Central Bank boss does not say how the people live in this economy. Its the Census & Statistics Department that would tell one, the minimum monthly cost required for a family of four to just “exist” with bare minimum necessities and food that provides the minimum calories necessary. The latest available “Survey on Household Incomes & Expenditures – 2009/2010” by the C&S department reveals, the monthly cost of food alone for a family in Colombo district as Rs. 16,121 and the same in Jaffna district as Rs. 14,878. That gives an average of Rs. 15,500 as necessary for food alone which is said to be only 35% of the family requirement for a whole month. Thus the minimum “living cost” in SL in 2010 at an average was Rs. 44,500. With an inflation of 9.8 percent recorded this January, any family would now need a minimum “living cost” of Rs.50,000 per month and going up.

Nothing more needs to be said about this economy, which is being plundered right royally. IMF has never helped any country to get back to saner economic management and out of catastrophe. The next negotiated IMF loan by this Rajapaksa regime would therefore not help the SL people. It may help this regime to hold on to a declining economy managed by wholly corrupt men in right places, in a fast collapsing law and order situation. The North and Tamil life is being finely meshed in, within military control. President’s own LLRC Recommendations are rubbished by a military report on war. But, the usual ploy in hoisting a demon in waiting at the Sinhala gate, this time “Halal” and the Muslims, would not work as the previous demon did. Legitimising a rogue organisation by giving them an audience at Temple Trees, would not also work that fast and that surreptitiously.

For a person with over 04 decades of popular politics in him, no expert is necessary to tell him, its now time to tighten the screws on every aspect of decent human living. The apex Courts thus came under the Rajapaksa regime with an impeachment in parliament ousting the 43rd Chief Justice (CJ) to install a much corroded personality as the 44th CJ. If, yes IF, the tide goes beyond that of a normal swell, the Rajapaksas are now all set to drive the last nail on a fast decaying democratic life. The elections, one to elect the next parliament is at stake and would stand threatened, with a CJ who would interpret the Constitution without any bias to the people.

What and where could the answer be ? The alternative ? The two main players to date, those who have been working hard with the International Community (IC) and those in the Sinhala Opposition working hard to out do Rajapaksa as a Sinhala leader, would never help produce an alternative to Rajapaksa. The IC would not go beyond a carefully worded statement that could satisfy their own pressure groups and human rights lobbies. Next March and the UNHRC would once again extend its right to review SL, till the next UNHRC. May be with another resolution and their HR lobbies told, all’s under control. The Rajapaksas would tell their Sinhala constituency the same. All’s under control. IC is now well understood by President Rajapaksa as a spent cartridge. With the other player, none could outfox a scheming Sinhala leader holding onto power, from the Opposition that does not even have Sinhala trader backing. But, that said, lets not forget, with Rajapaksas working overtime to drive the final nail on the coffin of democratic and economic life in this country, that is what allows for an alternative to be debated within that brewing political crisis. Sixty five years after independence, that could be the Rajapaksa contribution, in getting out of a total mess.

Human societies just don’t give in. There is always a fight back, I believe, for the better.

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    “Human societies just don’t give in. There is always a fight back, I believe, for the better”.
    I hope so

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    The dream of an utopia is fast diminishing faced by the hard economic prospects. There is no substitute for hard work and rational thinking. Communalism and racism breeds disunity and chaos. It undermines the development of any country. So the rajapakse formula of racial dominance will not succeed.

    The people will come to realise these facts when they are hit in the stomach. Still the regime wants to create a scapegoat in the form of the muslim community. The failure of the govt policies needs some excuse. Just as Hitler blamed the jews for the ills of the aryan race so does the govt blame the minorities for its failed policies. It is hoped that the people will see through this fallacy and not be tempted to do another Black July 83.

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    Dear Kusaiah, how true it is the IC will be pleased with another resolution, but is there another alternative? It would have been good if you had suggested what the IC could do at this juncture.

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      Paul,
      Can you tell me one country, where the International Community has re established decency, democracy and accountability in governance ? Well, you can point out to few leaders who were taken to Hague on war crimes but with no democracy, no decency in life to millions who survived in those countries and have to live a beggarly life.
      But that too have been very selective to suit their own vulgar agenda. Therefore no issue is raised about Myanmar military Junta. No issue with Israel. They only intervened in Egypt to reverse the people’s verdict. That they will do in Syria, once they find they can not help keep the tyrant there. What is the justice given to Iraqis and Afghans ? Going to this IC asking for decency, democracy and accountability is like asking the hangman to help with a new born.
      I prefer to depend on a people’s movement for democracy and accountability in Sri Lanka than giving out that responsibility on contract to the IC who are after all dictated by the Super powers according to their very selfish agenda.
      Kusal

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        @KusalP

        Your stance coming out through this statement is too black and white. While agreeing it is naive to expect IC to bring Burma generals to face legal processes or that they will foster another painful regional and ethnic clash in Sahel, building up alliances with players in IC shouldn’t be ruled out, as you have done here.

        It sounds too similar to what this JVP and some other groups spinning off now, some so called anti imperialist front that accuse external imperialist forces for the so called anti Muslim sentiments and promotion of a referendum on North East. I’m sure your readings are not similar to that. If your views are not that dogmatic and irrelevant, can we expect that you will clarify at least in future writings, IC is not a monolithic set up and for the local groups who want to stand up to this regime and win their rights there are many useful options between merely getting IC to issue another statement and getting the foreign boots on our soil ?

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          anaperera,
          Well, sorry if you read my writings, in line with the JVP. I have always been different to JVP in my reading of the MR regime, the global and regional situation and most importantly on the ethnic issue. But if they sound similar at times on a single issue, its not my fault.
          Any way, my argument is simple.
          We have to fight our own case, on our own terms and what I am opposing is this whole business of outsourcing it. Why should outsiders, fight for us ? Just for one, single reason. IF they think there is an advantage for them in opposing this MR regime. Not because they are on a moral high ground in helping out poor, ill treated, deprived people under a tyranny.
          So, we have to buckle down and get our act together, here in SL. Their support can be requested as solidarity and support only.
          Kusal

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            Kusal,
            Did you not back ChindrikaK up to the hilt by running radio shows (subarathi) and etc during her 11 year rule. If so, please tell us whether your political and ideological propaganda blitz had made her achieve anything better to the country than what Rajapakse rule has granted us to date. Thank you.
            Leela

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              You could be the thinner minority that would genuinely praise the work of Rajapakshe – rule.
              Many others who pretend that they like the way the rulers govern are being bribed to behave like that- this was clearly seen recently near to the official residence of still legitimately appointed CJ to the country- Dr. Banadaranayake.

              ChandrikaK did not try to abuse people´s funds to the manner Rajapakshes have been sofar. Alone the tax free IMPORT of Lemosenes ladely was reported to have lost over 400million dollars.

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              my last comment was focused on Leela´s

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    The common denominator of almost every post-independence leader that this nation has had to endure is that they have all catered to “the masses”. This has invariably been pandering to the whims of parochial, nationalistic, semi-literate, unsophisticated, often rural and poor people.

    The priorities of those who voted for and kept politicians from SWRD to the Rajapakse clan and their ilk in power are not the same as those who are concerned about the finer points of democracy. They don’t really care whether a Chief Justice was wrongfully impeached, for instance. Nor do they truly mind whether corruption lines the pockets of their rulers. All they care about is how all of these things impact their immediate environs and their closest family members. Witness the ease with which politicians switch allegiance. The motto of most Sri Lankan voters must be: “Corruption doesn’t matter as long as I get a cut!”

    Hence the historic ease with which politicians have been able to buy their way into power. This is also done at no personal expense to the politicians themselves because what they give away to their supporters are the nations assets; be it land that was previously reserved for nature in National Parks, to lucrative public contracts to their supporters at home and abroad. The highest bidder for any government contract was never the one that promised or delivered the highest level of benefit to the nation, but the one who guaranteed the most lucrative kickbacks.

    “What and where could the answer be ? The alternative ?” — The answer to the questions, therefore, is simply that we get what we deserve.

    So, while I utterly admire Kusal Perera’s egalitarian patriotism, intelligence and determination to stay the course in Sri Lanka, I cannot be as stoical as he is. I had to leave, many years ago, with the thought that the last one to leave should turn out the lights.

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    This part lamentation and part analysis by a sad man who refuses to weave himself into a cocoon and externalise what is happening around him is admirable, while even the most informed and articulate groups and individuals are slowly (or at other speeds) accepting the inevitable – the regime tries to control and influence every sphere of our lives.

    But, apart from his last line the last para is a misty eyed garble. It takes away the hope which he wants to instill in order to keep himself and fellow journeymen and women on their feet, the courage.

    Why do I say that?
    While it’s sometimes useful to be cynical about groups who are not entirely in sync with us – IC, individual govts – as he has done. But, this is one group the regime can’t bring into its sphere of control and influence, to state the obvious.

    With its clumsiness ( Sarath F imprisonments, CJ impeachment) and arrogance of a fool drunk with power, it is difficult to accept any more that this regime has the suaveness to ride the wave of geo political power struggles between say India & China and USA ( the rest of West) being a keen player as well.

    Why do I say that?

    With China now playing the loan shark, appropriating infrastructure projects (coal power) they built with “loans” China & the regime together sold us, the people, it is becoming evident, China is not ready to risk anything for this regime, monetary or political.

    In addition, it is a clear indication, the “shelf life” of this regime as a business partner may be over sooner than we think. Since this writer accurately observes, no country that went to IMF has come out of the mess with its economy and political structure intact, the economic strangulation of this regime is working faster than the political strangulation, through UNHRC etc; etc;.

    With treasury sec. admitting the regime will need 1 b USD for “budgetary assistance” from, yes, IMF, the lender of last resort, it is a clear indication it will be sooner than the regime wants us to believe that the economic noose around the regime’s neck is tightening.

    The key question is, are we ready for it, beyond the pain – economic and the intense oppression by the regime – to fight back, so that future impostors (in a post current regime context) can’t take away our future as well?

    I trust you won’t be naive to even suggest anyone from this current crop, Generals included.

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    Nailed coffin will have to be buried. He who nailed the coffin will be the grave-digger himself.

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    Looks like this dude would have been a happy camper , if Solheim succeded in forcing Chandrika to hand over the Interim Administration of the NE to Tiger Praba.

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      Yeah, this Dude knows much better than you, that Tiger Prabha did not fall from the sky like a meteorite, but was a creation by Sinhala Buddhist racism that stupidly fooled around playing hide and seek with every consensus arrived at with the democratic Tamil political leaders for over two decades and as a Sinhalese and a Buddhist, this Dude also knows that, with or without Solheim, a decent solution to the conflict that was dragged into a brutal war, if negotiated, would have saved over a hundred thousand innocent civilian lives, would not have denied fathers to thousands of little children and husbands to over another hundred thousand young women left as widows, would not have left many thousand youth without limbs and devastation to national property and wealth and with all that bloody tragedy, would not have left a militarised society with a rogue regime.
      Thanks to insane stupids who still can not get back to sanity, the baggage the next generation and generations to come would have to live through this unnecessary, bloody human tragedy.
      Kusal

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    Mr Kusul Perera wants LKR 50,000 a month per family for our inhabitants.

    The great majority of the inhabitant population who are over 75% Sinhala buddhist rurals would love Mr Kusul Perera for ever if he can help them to get at least half of that to put food on the table.

    Mr Kusul Perera’s steadfast loyalty to the anti Rajapaksa and anti inhabitant elements both local and overseas must have earned him a lot of friends in the West.

    If Mr Perera’s and his allies’ mission of rolling Rajapaksa and installing a pro Western regime is materialized ,there is a strong chance that he will fullfil his wish of decent dough for our inhabitants.

    And it will be a sure fire vote winner for his political alliance which includes Ranil, ex Cj, ex General Factions, Sambandan and a whole host of local NGOs who have a lot of powerful Western Govts to help us peasants whom Mr Kusul refers to as idiots who did nothing to get this 50 G income by knocking back TNA an LTTE overrtures for thirty years..

    All what he needs now is to sell this marvellous mission to bring home the bacon to us. in an efficient, and simple to understand format.

    And it must be all positive proposals and motivational apeals,rather than insults and unsubstantiated allegations.

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      Oh! Yes, Rs: 2500 is more than enough, we got “educated”, sorry tutored, by the minister. Don’t worry about what Kusal says.

      Can I also ask one other thing? Can you stop putting your foot in your mouth, again and again. Real purpose of feet is to stand preferably upright, so that you can see the world peoperly and you will look great too. After that you can write what you see as the world and this country.

      If you really want to learn to see the world upside down, our great leader Mahinda will show how to do. Last year Independence day, he was trying that, sitting, not standing, next to military guys. If you didn’t see the photos, his staff will post, pl. ask them. For this year, he did an even nicer thing, he gave a speech, and it really looks like he was seeing things upside down. Why? we don’t see the way he sees the country, or the world.

      If you must, he’s the guy.

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        Kusul’s target for us peasants is LKR 50,000. not 5000 .

        Don’t worry about the Minister.

        If it is good for Burt, it is good enough for us.

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      Yeah you need to have guts in your spine to keep writing against MR regime and still live in SL, Very proud of a human being called Kusal Perera who has not earned any money but earned millions of hearts of admirers.

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      We should appreciate Kusal’s efforts to recognise the past follies of one community claiming supremacy over others; who have lived for centuries and have contributed to the development. Sri Lanka has enough natural resources to be self sufficient in Food and its people have the knowledge and expertise to be a productive citizens if they can set aside their petty differences and lay the foundations of a (A) Multi-culture (B) Multi-Lingual (C) Multi-Faith (D) Equal Opportunities to all Citizens (E) Respect all communities, their Honour and Property rights. (F) No community claims supremacy over the other or manipulates election outcomes (G) Strictly Merit based governance (H) Allegiance to one country, one nation. (I) Make diplomatic efforts to convince all communities to be part of the solution and relieve their concerns and assure them of fair treatments through constitutional guarantees.

      Conflict of Interest arises only when Ethical and Moral Values are compromised for personal benefits. Lack of Sincerity and Accountability is the one of the main causes for the Law of the Jungle.

      Perhaps out of adversity, we may find unity.

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    Thank you, for a heartfelt effort again, in line with your efforts and thoughtlines, over the years. I am sorry that our country has to put up with this dastardly regime, and I deeply grieve for the erosion of values and achievements that we had built up to now.

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    Kusal,

    Pre-Jayawardena era, we all know what type of beggars we all were-meagre clothes, foods, facilities, jobs-everything meagre, wanting, hand-to-mouth and typical 3rd world under-developed and malnourished with pervading physical and psychological poverty. Who are you to nail JR Jayawardena to above narrow racism? Don’t be a hypocrite! We all are indebted to JR for salvaging us from the abject poverty. This is the country he created-not the destructions we have committed-the liberal economy, the development projects, the IT, electronic, media, educational, vocational, free trade zones, the JR’s Constitution, The Executive Presidency-though a monkey is now occupying that office of power-the Parliament, the Jayawardenapura Town and hospital, and he also created 5 successors to lead UNP-what some of them did is a different matter. It is this notorious India that dragged by the foot of SL by creating the Tiger. This Indian influence and invasion has been a thorn in the flesh in Sri Lanka. In this modern world it is the EP created by JR that enabled this tiny SL to survive against the marauding giant. The LTTE was an unparalleled enemy sustained and backed up by India and many Western and Russian countries, the world media was behind them. The LTTE almost succeeded in capturing the whole country. But the EP of JR could invoke anything which is what MR did-but alas, this monkey is now wielding barbers razor on every Dick, Tom and Harry! Kusal’s brotherhood would have tasted an altogether different taste had JR not foreseen the future! Even today, while this country is pillaged, robbed, plundered and waylaid by every astray dog in the regime people have still managed to somehow continue their living purely due to the firm foundation laid by JR! Had there been a good leader for the country instead of the Rajapaksha bastard, this country could have been a haven by now post war! You show a low assessment on IC but hang on, without IC we all are doomed and the Rajapakshas would have made bone soup out of us poor powerless people! IC is our last bastion because successive governments have entered into various treaties, agreements and covenants to safeguard people and their rights against despots and rights violations such as happening here now. We must invoke those remedies now! So, Kusal, expand your history research into unexplored territory and join the fight against the Rapaksha menace with broader vision!

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