Colombo Telegraph

How To Intimidate Dissidents In Rural Sri Lanka

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Last week I sought to deal with the matter of the denigration of Sri Lankans domiciled overseas who were vilified and demonized, by an obviously orchestrated chorus of government sycophants writing under a whole range of pseudonyms, some obviously choosing to use more than one pseudonym, though the, perhaps deliberate, use of execrable English, proves to be a consistently dead give-away!

Yes, there are people in the much-vilified “Tamil Diaspora” who hang on to a pipe dream of the establishment of “Eelam.”  But to repeat myself, it is not only totally and absolutely dishonest to tar every critic of this violent and corrupt government with that brush, it is stupid and is proving counter-productive because nothing this government says is given any credibility by those outside this country and, let’s face it, continuing to crank up the capacity for racism of the so-called “Sinhala-Buddhist” lumpen, no matter how successfully, is going to be cold comfort when the hammer comes down, as it is showing increasing evidence of doing sooner rather than later despite the return of some of the “Sophisticated Sycophants” to the ranks of the Rajapaksa Regime.

That said, let’s talk about the (human excreta) and abuse directed at local critics of the most corrupt and violent regime in the history of independent Sri Lanka.  Most of this doesn’t even pretend at criticism but is either rank racist rant or attempts at sly threat of the imminent demise of the critic by unnatural causes!

The lower forms of Sri Lankan life, if one tracks their regurgitations, is obviously orchestrated by someone of greater intelligence and proven venality.  It soon becomes obvious that these are not unconnected malcontents, no matter how stupid, at work.

Given the lack of the democratic right to dissent and discuss issues of public importance in the usual forums, one is driven to begin juxtaposing the “contributions” of these people against each other, comparing and contrasting what they have to say.

One thing becomes very obvious: they very obviously come out of the same stable.  That they all use pseudonyms, changing them from time to time, is also plain to see.

In my case, they (probably the head of the dirty tricks squad himself) has taken the trouble to research my political and other activities in Canada where I resided for many years and then proceeded to take selected bits and pieces and join them together to create a pejorative whole.  Unfortunately for him, my conduct, throughout better than half a century of political activity,  both in Sri Lanka and Canada, has never been clandestine and he has had his work cut out for him in trying to piece something sinister out of that information even with his particularly twisted thinking.  However, I have little doubt that the next step will be outright fabrication because that is the way people of this ilk behave and the man I am reliably informed heads up this “dirty tricks” squad has given ample evidence of a capacity for malice, deceit and viciousness that, it is alleged, is beyond comparison with anyone of his stripe in this country.  I was once told that this man’s own mother hated him and I must say that sounds more than the proverbial Mark of Cain!

At various times during the time I have written for local publications as a columnist, there have been strange and inexplicable occurrences around where I live.  Those of us who were witnesses to some of these bizarre incidents remarked on them but did not subscribe to the usual conspiracy theories that would lead to a case of terminal paranoia.

If readers will forgive me a convoluted Oliver Wendell Holmes-type title, one of these could be called “The case of the large businessman on a relatively small motorbike looking to establish a wholesale and retail timber outlet.”  He seemed totally unaware of the fact that the three main considerations for success in any such enterprise are “Location, location, location,” because we live at the end of one of what can charitably called a “Jeep-track” and, unless he was going to cater to a helicopter-using clientele would have lots of time on his hands waiting for (non-existent) customers to flock to his door!  Need I add that this individual has not been seen in the neighbourhood before or since and no one around here is aware of his identity?

Then there was “The case of the Englishman (?) on the back of a small motorbike ridden by a Sri Lankan.”  They claimed to come from the home of the latter in the Negombo area to which said Englishman claimed to repair every year in search of the sylvan delights of our country, subsequent to early retirement from a very successful business career in the middle east.  He said he chose the back of a (small) motor bike for his sight-seeing because it did not impede his view of the countryside rushing by.  They had commenced their several-days-long trip into the hill country that day. This was an interesting explanation indeed, given the fact that neither of them was  carrying additional clothing of any description – not so much as a small back-pack – despite the prevailing inclement weather!

Those were two of the more bizarre events that merited mention in what rural Sri Lankans who choose to disagree with our current regime encounter.  A description of strangers to the neighbourhood hanging around local  bus-tops and asking probing and unusual questions would be of little but statistical interest in contrast to the truly bizarre events such as the two described above and I shall not therefore bore readers with a re-telling of them.

Throughout all of this the words of Martin Luther King Jr and Steven Bantu Biko continued to come to mind.  The former said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, but because one’s conscience tells one that it’s right…” and the other said, “The greatest weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”

Need one describe the manner of the premature demise of both men?

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