11 August, 2022

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How To Send Gota Home: What Is To De Done & Who Will Do It?

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

It is the starkest of choices: our survival as a community and as individuals vs the survival of Gota’s rule.

Isn’t there anyone or any place—individual or institution—who can get the leaders of the Opposition and Resistance parties together to discuss, debate and agree on a common platform to remove Gotabaya Rajapaksa from office non-violently and in the shortest possible time?

All political leaders and personalities will be judged by what they did and were willing to, and what they didn’t and were unwilling to, in the service of the cause of peacefully, democratically ending Gota’s rule. Any political sacrifice should not be ruled out for this cause. No political compromise or concession should be seen as too expensive. But that is not the situation.

The Sri Lankan tragedy is not only what the bad guy has done and is doing to us but what the good guys are unwilling to do for us.

The country will know when the endgame, the last phase of the Gotabaya presidency has begun when they see an unmistakable sign. That sign is when all the leaders of the Opposition parties without exclusion or exception, get on the same platform and start campaigning for one thing and one thing only: the ending of the curse of Gotabaya Rajapaksa rule on this island.

The situation is unprecedentedly dire and the country needs all Opposition parties at the leadership level to arrive at a formal agreement.

Imagine the impact if all the leaders of the Opposition without exception were to address the people while literally gathered upon one platform?

Imagine if all leaders of the Opposition parties were to sign a common declaration expressing their dedication to the goal of removing the ruler?

The question is who will bell the cat? Who will bring these leaders together?

In the 1970s and 1980s there were several individuals who brought together leaders or leading representatives of all parties. Prominent among these were Fr Tissa Balasuriya (Center for Society & Religion), Godfrey Gunatilleke (Marga, Citizens Committee for National Harmony), Fr Paul Caspersz (Satyodaya center) and Gunasena Mahanama (Government Clerical Services Union better known as GCSU).

Fr Paul Caspersz’ Movement for Inter-Racial Justice and Equality, better known by its anagram as MIRJE, had representation from every Oppositional political party, trade union, student movement and peasants front. In the publication EMERGENCY 78 Kumar David, Rajan Phillips and I are among those listed as signatories to the founding document of MIRJE.

The Lanka Guardian magazine also served as a platform for all Opposition party leaders and intellectuals from its founding by Mervyn de Silva in the late 1970s through the 1980s.

Today there is no such personality, place or publication. Everyone works their side of the street. Thus, the UNP, SJB and liberal civil society can be gathered together by certain personalities and organizations, while the JVP and FSP, not as parties but through their affiliates the NPP and IUSF can be gathered together by left trade unions.

No one has brought together the JVP and FSP at leadership level.

No one has brought together the SJB and the JVP leaders.

No one has brought together the SJB, SLFP and 10 parties.

Certainly no one has brought together all of the above-named parties at leadership level. Unless that happens, the day of departure of Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be postponed.

The very fact that none of these permutations and combinations have taken place shows that the political leaders are insufficiently motivated to do so.

One Target Only: The Autocrat

If one really wants to end the autocrat’s rule, and in our case an unwittingly democidal autocrat’s rule, one must target the autocrat, not the whole executive or the Government, from which crucial defectors may come! To do so, only means to objectively protect and prolong Gotabaya’s rule—because an iron rule is that the broader you make the target, the narrower your coalition of support and conversely the more you delimit your target, the broader the support base of the Movement to overthrow him.

The SJB says it will bring all parties together in a Movement of mass struggle to overthrow Gotabaya. Sajith Premadasa told the Reform Movement activists that in his expansive view, the executive means not only the President, the PM and the Cabinet but all those in parliament who politically sustain them.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake says the JVP leadership is willing to take a backseat in a Movement to overthrow Gotabaya which everyone can join irrespective of party affiliation. AKD is new campaign is to overthrow the government (“Aanduwa”).

Both AKD and SP are making a huge error, both in the historical and the strategic senses. The notorious Filipino autocrat Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown not only by the gigantic mass movement, but in the final moment, by his own Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile. Surely Enrile was a member of the government (AKD’s “Aanduwa”) but also the Executive?

If the SJB and JVP-NPP leaders really mean what they say, they should have sent out invitations to all Opposition political party leaders to attend a conclave for the purpose. However, no one is talking clearly about a joint platform all Opposition political parties as represented at the top leadership level.

More basically, I have yet to see Sajith Premadasa and Anura Kumara Dissanayake around the same table, willing to sign a document for the common purpose of throwing Gota out and discussing a program of action—a campaign—for that single purpose. the day I see that, I will know that Gota is operating on borrowed time.

If there is such a common platform and common campaign, I am certain that the Sri Lankan Diaspora will renew its impressive campaign of April 2022.

Appalling Allergies

The political parties are choosy about the company they keep. They are allergic to each other.

The dirty little secret is that they care more about what divides them – ideological identities and electoral competition–than what should unite them, namely the zeal to see the back of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as soon as possible and the fire in the belly to make that happen.

The SJB doesn’t mind sitting together with the JVP. But the JVP does not let the term SJB pass its collective lips while Anura Kumara Dissanayake the JVP leader mentions the Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa only to insult him.

This is no display of anti-capitalist sentiment because the same Anura Kumara Dissanayake does not sully his lips by uttering either the name Frontline socialist party or Kumara Gunaratnam. So, sectarianism is what it is.

For his part, Kumara Gunaratnam says the FSP is willing to enter “united actions” with the JVP and its trade unions, peasant unions, student unions etc., but he makes no mention of a leadership-level bloc of the JVP and FSP.

The SJB is no paragon of non-sectarian virtue. It sits down with individuals from the 11 party Independents but never with the party leaders. The reason given is that all of them were once members of the ruling coalition.

If the SLFP and the 10 parties were to go by that logic, then the SJB leaders would stand accused of being in the UNP governments which entered a lopsided Ceasefire Agreement with Prabhakaran, entertained federalizing constitutional change and remained in-house during the Bond scam.

Furthermore, the presence of the SLFP in a broad Opposition in-gathering is vital since it would guarantee linkage with the rural heartland where peasant disaffection makes it a reservoir of anti-Gotabaya resistance.

The aim and objective, the goal of removing Gota, should rise above any other but obviously does not.

My hunch is that each party leadership thinks that it is either going to be swept into office by the collapse and consequent uprising and/or by the election that inevitably follows.

Hence the conditionalities, the excuses, the caveats, the exceptions, the evasion and the prevarication.

As the old Resistance fighters used to say in support of the wartime anti-Fascist Popular Front, ‘unity not merely adds, it multiplies’. If the citizens see a coordinated Opposition leadership, then coordinated actions to end Gota rule will be that much easier. The very sight of Opposition party leaders in cooperative mode will lead to a spike in the morale of the masses.

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Latest comments

  • 26
    5

    Violence is the only key ………. brutal rulers only understand violence ……..

    The night of 9th May ……….has more ……. and perhaps the only significance ……… than many of you will ever realize ……

    If ye want to have a talkfest till kingdom come …….. be my guest.

    I’m a pacifist …… but a realist …… and understand the significance of violence ……… and what role it has played throughout history ……….

    Before you start shooting me …….. I haven’t killed anyone: not even a fly …….. If there’s a haven, I’ll be at the head of the queue ……… along with Buddha and Christ …….. and Prabakaran?

    Prabakaran understood the significance of violence ………. I understand his anger …… just like many now on the streets starving ………….

    • 15
      3

      nimal fernando

      “Prabakaran understood the significance of violence ………. I understand his anger …… just like many now on the streets starving ………….”

      Sorry he didn’t understand the significance of violence, as he was a psychopath.

      Did you notice any of the following features in VP:
      superficial charm,
      high intelligence,
      poor judgment
      failure to learn from experience,
      pathological egocentricity
      incapacity for love,
      lack of remorse or shame,
      impulsivity,
      grandiose sense of self-worth,
      pathological lying,
      manipulative behavior,
      poor self-control,
      promiscuous sexual behavior,
      juvenile delinquency,
      criminal versatility,
      and other

      Excerpt from The Hidden Suffering of the Psychopath,
      Psychiatric Times Volume 31, Issue 10.

      ” I’m a pacifist …… but a realist”

      Does it mean you won’t kill on the other hand you will not hesitate to persuade someone else to do the job for you?

      Take good care of yourself.

      • 6
        2

        Native,

        You give me theories …….. and how the world should be.

        I give you reality …….. and how the world is. :))

        • 5
          1

          Native,

          Gandhi was allowed to be Gandhi by the colonial British. ……….. British society, by then, had painted themselves into “moral” corner ……… they had no other option but let Gandhi be Gandhi.

          But ask yourself the question, how long would’ve Gandhi lasted in Saddam’s Iraq, Gaddafi’s Libya, Xi’s China, Putin’s Russia, ………….?

          However much you may not like it as a fellow Brown man, ………. it says more about the British society at the time than about Gandhi!


          Open your eyes and look: if you can. ………. Travel more, it works wonders for a closed mind.

          In world-history “non-violence” is just a joke ……. even for kids. ………. Is EE sitting next to you in the kindergarten ……. or is it Soma? :))

  • 13
    1

    Who will bell the cat to solve the present economic crisis? Day by day it is winning. We all know the main causes of the crisis
    Five Major factors
    1. Ethnic Issues and communal policy of the successive government
    2. Corruption and swindling of state funds’
    3. Bad economic panning’
    4. Imports greater than exports
    5. High defense spending
    6. ‘ Political interference and vendetta’
    7. The concentration of powers with the President
    8. Stop investing in projects with zero ROI
    9. Concentrate on Vegetation, Plantation, Fishing, Natural resources, and IT

    To get the confidence of many western countries all these issues and more issues to be addressed. Hence all-party government should be formed with educated people and with no communal policy

  • 13
    0

    Thank you Dayan, Gota can’t be chased out by united parties discussion on the table. It is only the Aragalaya will eliminated him. But I have not finished.
    Aragalaya has got subdued because of difficulty to sustain pressure while they themselves were subjected to hardship caused by collapsed country.
    Yes opposition should unite, Who is going to unite
    It will be SJB, JVP, TNA, FSP and other civil society movements .
    There is no place for 10 party and Mithripala as they were part of corrupt Rajapkse regimen and only trying to get themselves saved from going to prison.
    Opposition should boycott parliament and participate in street protest when discussion are called Gota should face the youth who started Aragalaya. He will be scared.
    Also Police should stop behaving like Kapos who played a pivotal role in the history of the Holocaust. When they put on Kakhi uniform they were brainwashed to believe they are of different kind

  • 15
    4

    “….entered a lopsided Ceasefire Agreement with Prabhakaran, entertained federalizing constitutional change….”

    Now, you know why the Tamils avoid sharing a common platform with the likes of Dayan, closet racists.

    • 19
      2

      Karikalan S. Navaratnam

      “Now, you know why the Tamils avoid sharing a common platform with the likes of Dayan, closet racists.”

      Described him as being a closet racist, inadvertently lends him some respectability among his fellow racists.

      In the past 30 years not only he has established himself as a public racist, but a war monger and an ardent war crime denier. He types because he wants to impress his partner.

  • 14
    3

    Gotabaya is a US citizen like the rest of his family. Please Protest at the US embassy and ask them to try him for the war crimes that they accused him of!
    Also protest at the US embassy and ask them to stop their cyber and maritime trade blockade of Sri Lanka’s seas and airspace with cyberwar. US is blocking Oil and Gas Shipments from Russia which disappeared and causing the fuel shortage in Sri Lanka, and was behind the grounding of a Russia Aeroflot flight to destroy Sri lanka and isolate Russia. Sri Lanka needs oil and gas from Russia and US should stop Weaponizing the dollar which will crash soon too!
    Today Gota is a US backed Dictator with US puppet Bondscam Ranil Wickramasinghe negotiating with the IMF to bailout US vulture funds and Sovereign bond debt holders by selling Sri lanka’s ports, airports, telecome frequenceis to US and Indian Companies like Adani also a front for BlackRock! Today there are massive protests against IMF in Argentina and the Minister has resigned.
    Tell the Washington Con-circus and its financial advisors to get out of the Indian Ocean and go back to the Pacific and Atlantic where they belongs. No one wants corrupt US backed dictators in the Indian Ocean world!

  • 17
    0

    Easiest way is, collect the facts. The facts should be in public domain as the pubic has the due rights to know. Just show Gotabaya was a dual citizen on the day of the Presidential Elections. He will instantly be suspended and urgently Supreme Court will sit and if such claims are true is merely an open and shut case.

  • 5
    0

    DJ, You have proposed a plan. Mervyn Silva on U tube promised to lead even to the point of death and has joined the SLFP. All the insecure others want to be THE LEADER and will not get enough majority when divided, to rule well. It is service to the people that is important for nation and not just egoistic ruling they are craving to achieve. Unity has force and energy these leaders do not understand and experience.

  • 8
    3

    JVP thinks that they are the cleanest and brainiest political party in the world and because of that they do not like to join with others. AKD and his inner circle (about 10) are always misled by the numbers they see at their meetings (to hear how they attack the government) and cannot comprehend the fact that at elections it is only 3%. If individuals like Harini Amarasuriya who sit at the same table with AKD, if they are intelligent enough, could explain to him the real conditions on the ground, there is a slight possibility of him accepting it and get down from his high pedestal.

  • 0
    7

    Religious leaders can perform the role you talk about to bring together all opposition party leaders (plus those wjho have become independent from SLPP) and hold a convention to formulate a common program to rescue the economy, country and people. It is the national need of the hour. How long he people of all ages can suffer meely because 69 lacks voted for the current President? The present regime does not have solutions. It is clear to everyone by now. Institutions have been shut. Normal civilian life cannot be maintained due to closures and shortages of food,energy etc. If the current rulers do not take responsibility for their failures and want to remain in office, then the people led by their ogther leaders have a right to choose a different path. Religious leaders should take the lead.

  • 2
    0

    How To Send Gota Home: What Is To De Done & Who Will Do It?

    The President has done for people to decide do locally
    The people are always in the road no electricity no school No productivity.

    The Prime Minister done for the tourist to decide do internationally
    Advertising the tourist to be supportant to Galle face green enable to get rid of them.

    The sufferers decide internally

  • 6
    0

    Dear DJ.
    “the political leaders are insufficiently motivated to do so”.
    Why: As you said : “My hunch is that each party leadership thinks that it is either going to be swept into office”.
    Current politicians here are of one creed: Power Crazy Hypocrites driven by jealousy.
    Anyone who has not changed his stance along the way, to suit his further clinging to his position ??
    No wonder sometime ago there was an allegory:
    There are separate Hell holes of fire countrywise except for SL. There were guards for every country because anyone trying to get out was helped by others; Sri Lanka was unguarded as anyone trying to get out was pulled back by his/her own citizens. Jealousy.
    No wonder Aragalaya’s war cry is “All must go”.

  • 7
    3

    How To Send Gota Home: What Is To De Done & Who Will Do It?
    “The very sight of Opposition party leaders in cooperative mode will lead to a spike in the morale of the masses.”

    Who will be prepared to go to the jail? Who will prepared to challenge Maga Sangha? Who will be prepared to devolve power? Who will prepared to give up power?

    • 4
      0

      Ajith, Your right question is “Who will be prepared to give up power” That is the one to lead the country in service without greed. Current leaders have no jobs to earn an honest living and cling to power to rob the nation. as they have no other hope to exist without robbery.

      • 1
        1

        No one will give up power voluntarily as power means a lot to those who enjoy it. It not only includes rulers but all those who have got plum jobs as heads of that and this institution. We have seen some party hacks and close to politicians becoming heads of educational institutions like NIE as well. They appear from nowhere when the government of their choice or the party gains power via changing pillows method.

    • 1
      1

      No one will give up power voluntarily as power means a lot to those who enjoy it. It not only includes rulers but all those who have got plum jobs as heads of that and this institution. We have seen some party hacks and close to politicians becoming heads of educational institutions like NIE as well. They appear from nowhere when the government of their choice or the party gains power via changing pillows method.

  • 8
    2

    “The question is who will bell the cat? Who will bring these leaders together?” Why don’t you start it, DJ? You have the capability to do that.

    • 9
      1

      RohanaW

      “Why don’t you start it, DJ?”

      Who will give me a diplomatic job?

      “You have the capability to do that.”

      Oh please!!!!!!!

    • 0
      2

      If the religious leafers do not come forward to form a Jathika jana Sabhava as suggested by us, intellectuals and other civic leaders including Dayan should swing into action now. Rulers are hoping that the situation will change when a couple of ships arrive and long lines for petrol etc are reduced. They also seem to believe that Aragalaya has lost its steam. So from their perspective, instead of a System change they are looking for further manipulation of the system to maintain status quo. It has become a cats and mouse game now. Those who aspire to a system change-including academics and intelletuals within the system and outside- should come forward and form a coordinating committee and a plan of action for the next 6 months to 2 years. provide leadership to those young people involved in Aragalaya also. Don’t leave them open to government’s suppression via arrests and prosecutions by police. Widen the struggle.

  • 2
    0

    Last year, when Gotabaya started to show his true colours, I personally wrote to Sajith, Anura, Kumar Gunaratnam and several important people telling the importance of coming together as it is the only way to expel Rajapakse from the SL political scene. In a way, better to get rid of all 225+1 and start anew, although it might take more time.

    • 0
      0

      Coming together by Sajith, Anura,Kumar etc is not enough(though necessary) for a true people’s movement for system change by democratic means. How far should we try to work within the system when the system is broken? Look at whats happening with 21A? Those in power either stifle or delay. By all acounts it is a facade no substance. Same thing happened to parliamentary committees that looked into a new constitution or electoral reforms. Remember during the Yahapalanaya under the leadership of Ranil and Maithri there was a Committee working on constitutional reforms? What Anura,Sajith and kumar etc are doing on the ground and in the national discourse cannot be ignored. But their efforts are not enough to move the Stone an inch. Broader groups and intellectuals advocating a sysem change need to be included in a National Coordinating Committee(Jathika Jana Sabha). elsewhere we suggested this Sabhava to be formed by the Religious leaders including mahanayakas and Cardinal etc..

  • 5
    1

    The BIGGEST Psychopaths are the RAKSHAPAKSES leving in glory while exporting toilet cleaners to arab and asian countries

    • 0
      0

      This is the system that the rulers created for Lankans since so-called independence. People were distracted by this and that but the main game of the rulers(preseve their privileges and corrupt prctices to exploit from the game materially and symbolically) continued. Why do we have to be limited in our discussions to the Constitutional government for system change? WHY CAN’T ALL THOSE OPPOSED TO THE SYSTEM ESTABLISH A NATIONAL PEOPLE’S COUNCIL(JATHIKA JANA SABHAVA) to coordinate their efforts and set in place an agreed common program of action? It could be a de facto interim government.

  • 1
    0

    Get the IMF take loans structure the country and administered the country.
    The 225 is big burden to the public,to keep up and perks,all we need is administrative officers for each department.
    Why we need so many forces, who is going to attack anyway, if anything goes wrong our neighbour big brother their.
    What a mayhem for last 70 odd years

  • 8
    1

    So bloody embarrasing to be a sinhala sri lankan these days. Like the yanks who said they were canadians during the Iraq war, I just deny that I come from the sri lankan barbaric country and say that I am ceylonese

  • 2
    2

    “It is the starkest of choices: our survival as a community and as individuals vs the survival of Gota’s rule.”

    The starkest of our choices is actually whether Comrade Putin will stop with the capture of the Donbas, or continue towards Kiev, thereby risking a nuclear confrontation with the West, as John Mearsheimer has suggested. At that point, the resulting World World III will make the “Aragalaya” look like an elementary school outing.

    “If the citizens see a coordinated Opposition leadership, then coordinated actions to end Gota rule will be that much easier.”

    The “Opposition” failed to secure any meaningful victory during the last Presidential election. With Gotha gone, the Parliament is still controlled by MaRa loyalists. The most likely scenario are bailouts from the IMF, followed by (best case) a tourism revival towards the end of the year. Aragalaya will whimper away like a Ranil on election day when the fuel shortages end.

    • 0
      0

      DJ, Not enough to write but action needed. Sajith requires long period but Anura Kumara is asking only for 6 months and so give it to him first and if still queues in 6 months, he must let Sajith’s request be granted. Mervyn Silva will take any risk and so let him be in a place of action. All who volunteer to take the risk to salvage the nation must be given the chance to act. Let the rest help rather than be critical. Anyone robbing the country dollars should be jailed for life.

  • 1
    1

    IF Gota walks without his security amongst the sinhalas =without a doubt they will despatch this greater than the LTTE terrorist within minutes

  • 0
    0

    “Imagine the impact if all the leaders of the Opposition without exception were to address the people while literally gathered upon one platform?

    Imagine if all leaders of the Opposition parties were to sign a common declaration expressing their dedication to the goal of removing the ruler?”

    I can also imagine all above and Gota not giving a f*** and continuing as is. Then what?

    Previous leaders were politicians with a semblance of respect for peoples voice.
    This time 6.9mil brought in a military man who doesn’t give a damn about peoples voice.

    Only hope is win over the military and security apparatus, yes basically a coup! Hopefully they transfer power to a democratically elected parliament, but there is no guarantee. It could backfire as well.

    But that is it.. no quick and guaranteed recovery from this mess.

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