25 May, 2024


How Rajapakse Beat The Laws Of physics: Time-Travel In Sri Lanka

By Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

Reading Shakespeare, I am certain he was familiar with Hegel and Marx; what dialectical perfection. This suggestion was first made by Terry Eagleton in 1986, but not being a scientist he could not provide a rational explanation for this weird happening. As a died-in-the-wool scientist, I have solved the problem. Time travel! If only you could move at a speed greater than the universal constant, the speed of light (c), you can travel backwards in time.Eureka!

Sri Lankais the greatest scientific nation on earth because not only I, but 117 Members of Parliament have solved the same problem. Detractors say they signed a blank sheet first, the 14 charges were written above their names afterwards; the faithful reply that this was not the case. How solve this conundrum? Simple, if the 117 travelled at a speed greater than c, they could have signed before the drafting, and the drafting done before the signing! Imagine a nation where 118 (don’t leave me out) have busted Einstein and mastered time travel; we are the greatest scientific nation on earth!


Shift gear and my time machine will propel you into the future, to after the regime has fallen; after its going, and it’s gone. This journey a few years into time-future, flowing as it must out of time-past, encounters a fork in the track. A linesman, more international than local, will pull a lever to a faster higher track or a slower lower one. The bovine lethargy of the Lankan petty bourgeoisie makes it likely that it is the international community that will be the linesman who chooses the quick road to hell, or leave it be on the slow road to perdition. Coriolanus swore at the Roman plebeian mob and cursed its complicity, complacency and corruption, even as the barbarians were beating down the gates. He minced not his words as he savaged the citizens thus:

“What’s the matter, you dissentious rogues,

That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourselves scabs?

. . . What would you have, you curs?

Where (one) should find you lions, finds you hares

Where foxes, geese . . .

. . . . .   Your virtue is,

To make him worthy whose offence (convicted) him,

And curse the justice that did it. (He) who (wins) greatness

Deserves your hate; and your affections are

A sick man’s appetite, who desires most that

Which would increase his evil.”

(Coriolanus, Act. I, Sc.1. In brackets are substitutions to suit modern readers)

Were we to put Coriolanus on the Hyde Park platform, his scorn for the indolent citizens of Lanka would not be any less florid!

Though patience with the Lankan government has run out in the West and Delhi, and despite the latter being deeply compromised in human rights abuses during the war, what is holding both back from flipping the lever of the train-to-doom onto the fast track, is the absence of a credible alternative government, whether of liberal-democratic or leftist hue. But I do not wish to overplay the foreign argument; indeed it is the local scenario that is decisive in the final analysis in any country, external influence can only add or subtract. In the case of Lanka though, export and import trade, finance and banking, and the accoutrements of material and cultural life are so West-dependent that any tightening of this lifeline will drive the regime to instant crisis. No Chinese sampans will sail in, laden with silks, treasure and ceramic urinals, to make good the loss.

In any case, what’s in it for Delhi and the West? Why should they soil their hands in one more trouble spot with so much else on their plates? Nobody and no country gets involved in the affairs of another except for its own benefit; so despise the Rajapakse brotherhood they may, but why involve themselves our affairs? To seek out the motive that may bring the West, and especially Delhi, to engage in our affairs, we have to park my time machine and come to the present.

Observe Syria, observe Libya less than a year ago, and there lies the answer why many countries, and especially the surrounding region, have so much at stake. It is dangerous, not only for a nation, but for the region and the world at large, to allow a dictatorship to consolidate its hold. About 40,000 have died in Syria since the uprising began; it may drag on for weeks more, taking more lives. The cities have been reduced to rubble. The UN estimates that by January the number of cross-border refugees will exceed 750,000 and the internally displaced persons already number about two million. Assad must be dragged out and hanged from a lamp-post – even the Russians have now given the green light as it’s cheaper than giving him political asylum – but just look at the cost already! And remember, the region, and the world at large, will have no option but to foot the reconstruction bill. If a dictator is nipped in the bud it is vastly less disruptive and less expensive. Hence the outside world has a stake in preventing would-be dictators from setting up shop.

Don’t forget the main task

Rajapakse has snared himself in a right royal snafu with his wilful game of judge-hunting. The farce has kicked up so much dust and heat in recent weeks, hogged headlines and taken over conversations, that we have briefly lost sight of a more important fundamental task; getting rid of the Executive Presidential system altogether. Sure it will warrant hosannas if the brotherhood can be sent packing, the sooner the better, but that will be a pyrrhic victory if another power hungry autocrat or flatfooted imbecile installs himself instead.

Through all the din and fireworks in Kotte and Aluthkade, Lanka must not relax its focus; the target is not the president, it is the presidency. I remain convinced that the most advantageous strategy in this respect is a Single-Issue presidential challenge to abolish the Executive Presidency (EP). The chaos and cock-up that President and government parliamentary group have saddled themselves with is manna from the heavens in the campaign to convince public opinion that the EP should be taken to the small room and flushed down with Harpic. Let me close by repeating, like a cracked record as I have often done in this column, that the opposition (social and political) must unite determinedly for this essential minimum programme. The dust on the impeachment issue will settle, one way or the other, but this big assignment will not go away until it is done.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    The battle for democracy is on and may take some time. In the meantime a second front may be opened by the opposition walking out and boycotting parlimentary proceedings until the PSC report is withdrawn. The UNP has already demanded that this be done. Non cooperation in parliment will effectively make it difficult for the govt to proceed at least on grounds of credibility.

    The decline of parlimentary credibility without an opposition will expose the farcial aspects of our electoral system with the buying out of politicians for ministerships and perks. The presence of the opposition only creates a facade of legality to a flawed system.

    Public should also demand the declaration of assets by MP’s and insist on progress at the bribery commission on charges against 30 odd ministers and mp’s.

    • 0

      “Public should also demand…” This expectation makes me wonder what planet could you be from. Paradoxes to your expectation includes the illiteracy (“Literacy” in today’s world is not described if the read and write, but what they read and write or what they get to read and what they get to write – and live) of the Sri Lankan voter, the resulting gullibility and ignorance. Second, the constitution (or the latter day interpretation of it) grants unconditional immunity to all ruling politicians and their families, and their friends. “No one’s above the law” is a myth long gone, not because the supreme ethics of our “chosen ones” are so superior that they beat the legals standards by miles, but the law itself can be re-profiled so that one can stand above it at whims. In short, our representatives, of course the solemn choice of our democracy are not answerable to calls of justice, and if so we will fix it in no time. Nothing – I stamp my foot, NOTHING is the fault of a single politician in power. It is the fault (if) of our people. Sit back and let the truth of evolution unravel before your eyes. If the choices are bad, they will perish. BTW, if you have a problem sitting back and watching, that just might be fixed too.

  • 0

    Wonderfully written essay again!

    With or without time travel I think the Sri Lankan youth should plunge to the Sri Lankan Springs and use the EP system as the main plank of thir battle against corruption and nepotism in Sri Lanka

  • 0

    Is this serious or are you joking or have you lost your mind?

    I am lost!

    • 0

      Your selected ‘Name’ – “Ugath Modaya” is very correct for you with in the style of the sentence you have written. I am sure you couldn’t understand what Dr. Kumar David says. However, I agree with you that Dr. David has forgotten there are viewers who feel difficult to transliterate his approach because of the field differences.

  • 0

    On the contrary, looks like we are travelling “back to the past” in a slow but steady pace where relativity and referential frames are the least important! However it’s a paradox indeed!

  • 0

    Should we bring back the case that The former Justice Silva gave in favour of MR in relation to the Hambantota development fund( the money meant for Tsunamy victims that was misappropriated).
    The case should be taken up by the current Chief Justice.

  • 0

    Mr.David, big English words can’t hide your ignorance. President Rajapaksa was elected with 59% of popular vote. If he stands for election now, he will do better. He is revered in Sri Lanka, and will always stand tall with great Kings of the past. This is man of enormous courage, sacrifice and sense of history. What I like most in Mahinda Rajapaksa is his capacity to forgive and move on.

    Sri Lanka’s future lies with the East. West is virtually bankrupt and only way for them to survive is murder and rob Arabs and Africans for mineral wealth. The Chinese have taken a different route. Unlike West, which was developed by slavery and robbery, China is taken the route of “hard work” for economic development. As for India, like Sri Lankan Tamils, it will never prosper as long as “caste system” is entrenched. Just imagine how Mr.David will be treated in a Brahmin or Vellala household.

    Mr.David is comparing Sri Lanka to Libya/Syria. Hay, Mr.David, Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in south Asia, and it has never been a dictatorship. The situation is very different from Syria/Libya. These countries are coming out of 42 years of one party rule. The have oil. West wants oil. Arms are poured in to destabilize and destroy these nations to rob oil. Sri Lanka and Syria/Libya, well, “Chalk and Cheese.”
    Mr.David wants President Assad to be dragged out and hanged from a lamp post. That comment tells us who Mr.David is. We Sri lankans don’t drag people out and hang them. Even that dog Prabakaran would receive a fair hearing in Sri Lanka.

    Mr.David then writes about Judge hunting. The Chief Justice of Sri Lanka is accused of serious crimes. She is innocent until proved guilty. But she should be above suspicion. She should stand down until the matter is solved. Money laundering is a crime in Sri Lanka. Even the President could be impeached for it, let alone a Judge. GOSL should be commended for dealing with these allegations. The legal system of the nation should be preserved at any cost. Well done Sri Lanka.

  • 0

    He is trying to show off, as no body seems to have noticed up to date that he has read books and plays written by western play writes. Is he not clever ? reading Shakespeare nor less !
    OMG ! Pray , what is he doing among us the unworthy of a mere small island ! Alas a.. hole will be an a.. hole irrespective of the smell or hue it generates. Then again I have not read many of the books he has ! But seasons are not that well demarcated in Sri Lanka which are essentially features of the western countries ! We the contented and sufficiently happy rejoice that ‘he , our man, Hon Mahinda is a man for all seasons in our Paradise island.

  • 0

    Thus lies the problem and folly of self appointed intellectuals and Tiger lovers and apologists. Mr. David, you are so silly; you bring in the very little known Coriolanus from Shakespeare into a Sri Lankan debate? OR did you just watch the movie version of Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes and you copied words? who gives a rats arse about Shake his speare? you could have found enough words in the Dhammapada, or Quran or Bible or Guru Grant Sahib to criticize the emerging megalomaniac and his one-family absolute rule. But you lose credibility like the other upstart from Groundsview; the old Thomian who is more comfortable playing Juliet than Romeo or Hamlet when Shakespearan theatre comes alive at St. Thomas’; AKA Hattotuwa, Sanjana the show off. Good luck relating to ordinary masses and warning people about the one-man Show and the Rajapakse cabal to make sure we get a semblance of decency returned to democracy. Speak and write in Sinhalese and Tamil to vernacular websites dude. You will have a maximum of 5,000 pseudo-patriots like me who live overseas reading your putrid diatribes.

  • 0

    Indeed a very thought-provoking article!All opposition politicians have not hushed a word about the so-called executive presidency the root cause of all these evil and filthy anti-democratic acts in this regard.They keep protesting the impeachment only.
    Now the time is ripe for………….

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