25 September, 2020

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If Thuggery Is To Be Arrested…

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Theft in institutions of whatever kind, if it takes on the character of ‘business as usual’, has implications.  It implies that there may be in-built (unidentified or ignored) chinks that facilitate pilfering.  It implies that the person in charge is either a thief or is incompetent.  If the boss robs, it amounts to a thieving license for all subordinates.  The logic can be applied to other acts not sanctioned by the relevant rules and regulations of a given institution or system.

If some random local government politician  throws his weight around, assaults someone, threatens, robs, rapes or engages in some other illegal activity and if that kind of infringement is rare, we can put it down to character quirk.  Indeed, we could even predict that the individual can forget about re-election.

That may have been the case a long, long, long time ago. Not now.  Hardly a day passes when we don’t read or hear about a politician who is associated with some form of illegal activity, some act of thuggery or abuse.  It is no longer ‘news’ and that says a lot about what the ‘usual business’ is.

It is about flawed institutional arrangement exacerbated by flawed constitution, one might explain.  It’s about bad people doing bad things, would be another explanation.  It is a law and order problem, pure and simple, another would opine.  It’s all these, in fact.  But if ‘culture’ has a role, we need to understand that certain ‘cultures’ flow from institutional structures and moreover flourish and grow more pernicious because these structure favor the bad over the good.

It is then about people in key positions not willing to do anything about it or else are themselves too compromised to intervene.  When a minister calls the media and goes on to tie an official to a tree and gets away without a scratch to political career, lower ranked politicians take a cue.  Inaction is reward enough and encouragement to boot, after all.

This indicates rank insincerity on the part of those at the top or else a resolve to ‘let be’.  Letting be, though, has a dynamic of its own.  Bad news spreads fast.  What big brother does, small brother considers ‘fair game’.  And we so we have the ridiculous situation of schoolboy rugby matches necessitating riot police personnel being on hand to step in if things get bad.  Players punch players, linesmen weighs in to add muscle to player-player brawls. Spectators assault referees.  Inquiries are announced and held.  Through it all ‘pain of punishment’ has not made its way into the thick heads of thugs and thugs in waiting.

It is not a local thing, mind you.  The United States has demonstrated in word (Madeline Albrights scandalous-but-honest statement that the death of over half a million children in Iraq ‘was worth it’) and deed (in recent times Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria) that guns-in-booty-out is par for the course in the New World Odor.  That’s a Double-O license for the rest of the world.  If spying on private citizen is ‘ok’ for the US Government, then that will be ‘ok’ for others, Sri Lanka too. If plunder at gun point is ok for Uncle Sam, it’s ok for the Mervins of Sri Lanka, doctored or otherwise.  If war is a game and slaughtering Osama bin Laden or Muammar Gaddafi is ‘ok’, that’s a cue for nose-punching (and of course ‘thou shalt kneel at my command’) for every two-bit thug who has by hook or by crook got elected.

How do we correct this?  By objecting.  On pain of punishment.  This side of ‘that’ lies complicity, approval and the risk of being accused of partaking of spoils.

As things stand, with respect to hooliganism, thuggery and theft, the word in the street is that those mandated to arrest the situation are silent and therefore have legitimately earned the tag ‘beneficiary’.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

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    Why so coy to name who is responsible in Sri Lanka? Not so coy when heaping invective on the enemies of the regime.

    Why go all the way to rake America in as the root cause? for all the talk about Buddhism and Sri Lankan Sinhalese greatness, Malinda can’t get out of the perennial post colonial rant- all ills are due to the West and consequently we can’t take responsibility. If not for the West the pure Sinhala buddhist would do as Siddhartha Gautama did.

    This guy’s pieces range from banal homilies to insidious attempts at deflecting responsibility for the regime’s actions.

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      Ha ha ha… this guy, Malinda, talks about arresting thugs but take a look at his behavior and attitude in this video.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtelwMMt1t0#t=13m30s

      A guy with the only recognizable trait being his able to write in English (well, you see his English speaking in the video, right?), tries so hard to come across as a deep thinker, sounding so philosophical (remember the ‘Muslim in me’ bull-shit?). But the poor f* doesn’t realize plucking off phrases from writings by intellectuals doesn’t make himself any less pathetic than he already is.

      May be people should sympathize with the guy, who uses the only ability he’s got to sing praise to “the king”, to earn his meager living. After all that is much better than being a thief or a beggar, isn’t it? But, damn, his self-righteous, arrogant, thug attitude would only earn him indignation.

      • 0
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        Goodness me…. what is wrong with Malinda? Maybe, Gotabhaya is his role model! Then, I am not surprised.

        • 0
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          Dont be too harsh on him as he needs to earn his ‘bath packet’ in today economic climate to survive ,the guy has some consience and tried to write the right stuff but does not have the backbone to do so and feels cowardly

          Folk lets have compassion on weaklings like Malinda …..!

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    Malinda Seneviratne is truly amazing in the capacity he displays for the ultimate in hypocrisy.
    Here is a man who has a clearly documented track record of defending and covering up for the most reprehensible government this country has ever endured and who LITERALLY is paid by it, who has the unmitigated gall to pretend that he has never done so and to go on to make the most unbelievable appeals for decency, justice etc.
    Words would fail anyone with even half a brain in any effort to describe this “journalist.”

    • 0
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      Aney Appochi – Here he goes again. Condemning and vilifying Malinda to the worst possible extent. Everytime he says something, this man is ready to brand him as a hypocrite and turncoat. His jealousy really seems to know no bounds. And still, Malinda the gent that he is, never retaliates but plods on regardless. The contrast in background and upbringing between the two protagonists is evident by this lack of retaliation on Malindas part alone. Aney Appochi may not agree with Malindas political beliefs.But he will certainly benefit by emulating his gentlemanly behaviour. He will also do well to remember the old Yankee adage, “If you cant beat em, join em.”

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        Reeza:
        “Everytime he says something, this man is ready to brand him as a hypocrite and turncoat.” Yes, and as long as people practice hypocrisy of this kind I WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.
        Since you’ve “joined them” you can continue to heap praise on this paid lackey of the Rajapakss till the cows come home.
        Incidentally, you have not said one thing in contradiction of my criticisms of MS. The reason is very simple: he is guilty of EVERY ACCUSATION made.
        And don’t give us this “gentlemanly” conduct bit, certainly not about Mr. Seneviratne who has given ample evidence of his “gentlemanliness” over the years.

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          Ha ha ha… look at Reeza’s writing style; this is Malinda! Must be his “Muslim in me” persona.

      • 0
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        You are correct ,
        Old Yankee Shouted, “If you cant beat em, join em.”

        Malinda understud that he cant beat them.
        So
        We can assume that Malinda Already joined the Present
        governance.

        Oh WHAT ABOUT LAAAAAP TOPS.

        {2009, One guy got many laptops [computers,Mind you, not other types] from VANNI WAR THEATER}.

        He forgot to remember them,

        the person in charge is a thief and is more incompetent than his advisers are.

        THIS boss robs,And already alocated thieving licenses for all Politickka subordinates as they wish.

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        If they would arrest thugs today, just few would be remain among the ruling politicians as non-thugs. Percentage wise I guess more than 80% of them are thugs and robbers.
        Btw, how come you call him gentleman ? It depends on how you define a gentleman, right ? Ones that would do anything to cover up truths from the general public – I think dont belong to be called gentleman. Specially ones who got their academic education outside should have a profound knowledge to compare with whatever the issues they are. MS`s reactions look very different in this regard. I like the way DJ and RW have been not always but mostly. DJ ^s is mostly blunt giving his proofs readers to decide whether his views are far from the facts perhaps already known the people.
        MS is MOSTLY beating around the bush regardless of the gravity of any issues; only exception – lately held peace vigil issue – in which his opinions were initially not acceptable. Anyway, rulers need this kind media people to do their salvage tasks. He is just one of them – being more closer to the state affairs.

        According to unbiased news to any side:
        a) Current situation in our island is far from facts and figures; inconsistency of their figures for example prove about the numbers provided about tourist arrivals and growth numbers
        b) Censorship of the media have generated fears evidently among senior intellectuals being feared to dissent – these signs are dangerous for the future of the nation.

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      Recently, I happened to watch the video in which MS vehemently denies to british journalist that his has not been pro govt. Who cares even if Sleader is currently run by progovt people, they would even continue saying no – they are not either. Even perpetrators continue on their crime activities being eminence prises would also deny anything whatsoever human violation is made. This is the culture that Rajapakshes has brought to this country within last few years. Boasting with inconsistent, unprovable facts, they seem to fool gullible nation further and further. Ms^statement to british journalist alone sounded to me as if he is also a thug by himself to manner he argued it. As it is the case with 99% of the issues, how the govt itself denies but leaving the facts aside is becoming normal to this society. Facts and figures that govt bring are very far from the reality, be it about economic growth, tourist arrivals for 2012, numbers of growth etc.

  • 0
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    A very relevant piece. But I would suggest that we try to clean up our own backyard instead of constantly pointing fingers at others. After all, we have to live in our own compound!

  • 0
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    Culture permeates down from the top to the bottom.So if thuggery is to be arrested…………….

    stop the rot at the top and a new culture will permeate downwards.

    everyone looks up at their boss’s behaviour to see what he or she will permit or not permit and according to that model will also modify their own behaviour.This applies to children too who imitate their parents thinking if it is okay for them then it should be okay for society too.

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    MS: “How do we correct this? By objecting. On pain of punishment. This side of ‘that’ lies complicity, approval and the risk of being accused of partaking of spoils.”

    Perhaps a good starting point to correct this would be first a change of regime…and then the judiciary!!

    All else would follow with ease.

    • 0
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      why cant they re enforce the law and order ?

      One of the former judges added if the CJ of the country behaves exemplary they can structure the entire system accordingly. That will then be exemplary to all other bodies too.

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    Malinda says “… If the boss robs, it amounts to a thieving license for all subordinates. The logic can be applied to other acts not sanctioned by the relevant rules and regulations of a given institution or system.”

    Made me think of ‘Helping Hambantota’.

    However, I don’t agree with his “logic”, as it doesn’t follow that if a ‘boss’ does something immoral, it is a ‘sanction” for subordinates to follow suit. What is happening here is called ‘impunity’, and turning a blind eye to the actions he attributed to “politicians” who run amok must surely be due to ‘vested interests’ on the part of “the boss”.

    He then goes on to say “If spying on private citizen is ‘ok’ for the US Government, then that will be ‘ok’ for others, Sri Lanka too….”, which, in my view is pretty skewed ‘logic’ – and suggests sinister motives. Just because someone does something wrong it doesn’t mean that it is ok for others to follow suit.

    Morality ain’t malleable!

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    The streets are abuzz with what is happening inside government but no one would care to involve in any protest or demonstration against such happenings. That is because they are all in the same boat. From the peon who takes 100 Rs to the Minister who demands 15%, it is all the same ethic and principle.

    The politician who tied a samurdi official to a tree did the same as the President who got rid of the Chief Justice because she was becoming too big for her boots. It is all the same ethic and priciple.

    We are all complicit in the sad state of affairs being the silent onlookers. It seems we are not of the same material as the Turks, Egyptians or other who put their lives on the line to protect their rights and values.

  • 0
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    Malinda is making a strategic move. Social Media has been seen as the next big thing to “Terrorism”. So the state needs to operate in this media – in a very different way. So this is the new opportunity. You need to build some cred first. Be a nice guy.

    Good move Malinda. But your trail still stinks.

    • 0
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      Kiri Yakka:
      Watch out because the Reeza will get you for saying not-so-nice things about his Malinda!

      • 0
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        Just think about
        If Malinda Defends as REELA, for Himself

  • 0
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    Milinda,
    Do you read the comments made by readers of your article? if so pls comment on them!
    If not start reading!

    • 0
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      Typo “Malinda”

    • 0
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      It is the foot path of the ruling regime.

      Would they address people^s appalling issues ? So, MS respect his leader^s food steps. That is also understandable.

    • 0
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      I, for one, don’t really care, if Malinda reads the comments or not. My intentions, in commenting here, are to remind other readers where this guy is coming from.

      Well, the guy IS GOOD at his deceptive ways, otherwise we wouldn’t even have to bother in the first place. He starts off pretending to be critical of the government but subtly promotes government agendas. Closely scrutinize his articles and you’ll find this tactic all over the place.

      A government can come up with all kinds of crazy ideas but it is people like Malinda who push those ideas into society claiming they are good for the people. So these guys are the real danger, not necessarily the crazy bureaucrats in the government.

      People easily recognize characters like Hudson Samarasinghe and Mahinda Abeysundara and know instantly where they are coming from. But those like Malinda are very good at coating the poison in sugar that I feel we can easily forget what’s inside if we stop paying attention. That’s the danger.

  • 0
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    How about tying down all criminal activity to the 18th Amendment instead
    of coupling the Killing of a wanted Terrorist leader by US with a PC Leader here getting a Teacher to kneel as punishment!

    Hypocrisy by a journalist of MS standing is a greater crime.

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      punchinilame

      If Thuggery Is To Be Arrested please deport Malinda Seneviratne to Bihar or Bongo Bongo land (I don’t know where this place is hence don’t ask me for directions).

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    Well what MS says here is, this is the bitter catastrophe and truth happening. The thuggery altitude of Lankan is nothing new. By hook or by crook they will resort to violence. The common man sees no other way through it to accomplish their personal goals (even to hardly make it through the day) than to go with the faulty system. Quoting Abraham Lincoln “Pick a government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Change is what we need. Educating the common man is what needs to be done. The people should have a vision for a future of justice (because prosperity lies in justice) and then have the mission to do so.

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    Malinda himself acts and behaves like a thug. Watch how Press TV documentary posted in CT last week.

  • 0
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    He is no Thug he is a “depath naya”

  • 0
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    Pathetic, “wanna be” jounalist without integrity or direction!

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