By Grusha Andrews –
“We’re all mad here- I’m mad, you’re mad” ~ The Cheshire Cat to Alice (Alice In Wonderland)
There is a difference between Grusha Andrews being insane as opposed to President Sirisena. Insanity of the executive spells disaster for the republic. Mental infirmity is an accepted reason for impeaching the president of Sri Lanka. Article 38 (2) (a) of the constitution states that “any Parliamentarian may give a notice of resolution to the Speaker on the grounds that the President is unable to execute his functions due to mental or physical infirmity, or if the President is found guilty of certain acts. These actions include intentional violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, misconduct or corruption involving abuse of power of the President, or any offence involving moral turpitude”.
Sauce For Trump Is Sauce For Sirisena?
A 2017 book titled “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ was published. Edited by Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist from the prestigious University of Yale in USA, it contained essays from 27 psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals on the “clear and present danger” that US President Donald Trump’s mental health poses to the “nation and individual wellbeing”. They argued that the president’s mental health was affecting the mental health of the people of the United States posing a grave risk to the USA and the world by undermining democracy due to Trump’s pathological narcissism and sociopathy. Trump’s presidency precipitated an emergency which refashioned American psychiatry, pushing professionals to deviate from the American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater rule, which holds that it is unethical for psychiatrists to give professional opinions about public figures without examining them in person.
Is It Ethical To Comment On the Mental Health Of Public Personalities?
Dr Lee argues that a diagnosis is not needed to detect imminent danger. No one had to carry out a clinical examination on Hitler, Pol Pot or Idi Amin to objectively opine on their danger and the destruction impending under their rule. The comments made about Trump were based on objectively observed behaviors which led to warnings issued by 27 esteemed professionals in psychiatry. They were: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoid reaction, having a loose grip on reality, rage reaction and renouncing responsibility. These same traits are increasingly manifesting in President Sirisena’s behavior, accentuated more since the unethical and illegal constitutional coup he initiated exactly a month ago.
Does Sirisena’s Behavior Fall Within The Classification Of Mental Disorders?
The World Health Organization classifies diseases in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 1. The ICD classification of mental disorders identify 10 main groups of mental disorders. In the days that followed the infamous coup on 26th October, the general public, social media, political speeches were inundated with sentiments on the ‘insanity of the President’, ‘Friday folly of Sirisena’ etc. Some hilarious social media memes suggested that’ only the timely intake of medication for mental disease can save the nation’, ‘Chathurika, you lot didn’t give him the pill on time and put the nation on peril’ etc. By social observation, the general public was making the same erudite, logic based judgement of Lee et al at Yale on Trump. They were making a collective community diagnosis of Sirisena’s ‘insanity’ the same way the American public did with the most powerful man on earth. Sirisena’s unstable, irresponsible and erratic behavior, speech, conduct, temperament provide objective, video-verified evidence that suggest his mental infirmity, even without a clinical examination. Let’s consider them one by one, in relation to Sirisena2.
Impulsivity: The Fly By Night Swearing Ins
The President of our republic actually staged a fly by night swearing in of a fake Prime Minister without extending the incumbent PM the courtesy of sacking. The sacking letter came hours later, minuted in beautiful Sinhala hand writing of his alleged mistress. He went on a series of piece meal cabinet appointments, like an errant child, keeping portfolios vacant for expected crossers over, mocking the seriousness of his office. He expected, childishly, that the “Mahinda Magic” will suppress opposition and the resistance will settle fast. Sirisena went on an impulsive rampage of appointments including Nalaka Godahewa, a suspected criminal of financial fraud and transferred the reputed inspector of police Nishantha Silva crucial to several top Rajapaksa related criminal investigations. Both decisions, he was forced to reverse.
Recklessness: The Meme Joker
The strongest evidence of reckless behavior on the part of Sirisena is that he appointed his purported murderer Rajapaksa as his quasi PM on a 2020 Presidential whim. When a man puts his potential murderer to a position of great power it looks like he is a little reckless with his life! Sirisena has not shown restrain in his words either. In the immediate aftermath of the coup he made the infamous homophobic statement referring to Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cohorts as butterflies, igniting the pro-democracy fire, giving it a new life. His reckless words were condemned by all strata in society and debased the dignity of his office. He kept issuing “Friday Gazettes” with the senselessness of a child making him the butt end of merciless jokes. Essentially he trivialized the Presidency to a Facebook joke where he reigns as the meme- producing joker king to-date.
Paranoid Reaction: The Curious Case Of Namal Kumara
Sirisena’s Presidential narrative has been tainted by unfounded paranoid claims, a trait he appears to share with his equally, if not more, paranoid daughter who wrote the much ridiculed Janapadhipathi Thaththa– a book glorifying Sirisena’s ascent to presidency. From proclaiming the RAW Agency was plotting to assassinate him causing near shatter in diplomacy with India, to the curious case of Namal Kumara an ex-volunteer at the Presidential Secretariat who testified that there was an assassination plot on Sirisena and the allegation that takes the cake: Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka’s purported involvement in ‘assassinating Sirisena’, Sirisena is full of unsubstantiated claims.
Similar paranoia runs deep in numerous pages of Janadhipathi Thaththa where Chathurika Sirisena, a wobbly ‘writer’ at best, fills pages upon pages in romanticized, sugary language of a cheap pot boiler, how she switched vehicles in thick jungles during the presidential election campaign fearing murder by the Rajapaksas. Sirisena famously proclaimed that had Rajapaksa won he and his family would be six feet under, post-election.
We know that is paranoia, because now Sirisena is the bedfellow of Rajapaksa. No rational man with mental faculties intact will appoint his purported murderer as PM. You see, it was all in his mind. He was just being paranoid and delusional. He was either delusional of Rajapaksa’s intent to murder him then. Or he is delusional of lack of intent by Rajapaksa to murder him now. Either way, his reasoning is a deviation from sanity.
Loose Grip On Reality: Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush!
The unkind term ‘losing it’ with reference to those with mental disease, denotes a person losing his grip on reality. Losing grip on reality is a characteristic of an array of mental infirmities. Sirisena cannot come to term with the fact that his quasi PM Rajapaksa has no majority in parliament. When presented with damning evidence the first time, he requested an amendment to the motion. When that was done and the amended motion was passed constitutionally, he claimed that he didn’t feel that the voice vote quite cut it! Then when the parliamentary select group vote was passed electronically, he claimed that it was an electronically manifest majority shown just for select committee vote and not the motion against the quasi PM! So now the President of our republic is going around his own mulberry bush of denial not facing the constitutional reality staring at his face. In addition, he seems quite unaware that he is probably the most despised and disrespected living politician. That he will be immortalized for his uneducated, uncouth rape of our democracy.
Rage Reaction: Rabid Eruptions
Sirisena has a track record of rabid rage and vocal flare ups that are inconsistent with reality. He famously threatened the media in street thug like language “Kole iragena ange halaa ganne epa” (don’t tear the packing and spill the gravy on your body) – threatening the lives of journalists. On TV!
The most recent and stark example is the Foreign Correspondents’ Media briefing yesterday, where questioned on his failure to bring the Rajapaksas to rule, Sirisena was spewing disjointed rage infused sentiments such as “the PM didn’t utter a word about my murder attempt and then got his social media cronies to call it the so-called- presidential –murder-fiasco undermining its seriousness! So should I not usurp his government, then!?” No Mr. President, you shouldn’t. Because it’s a rage driven response. People who are mentally sound don’t do things like that. You are not the First Toddler of our Republic. You are the Frist Citizen of the Republic.
Renouncing Responsibility: “Ranil- Sagala- Ranil- Sagala!”
In the aftermath of the coup on 26th October, Sirisena in his signature temperamental instability blamed all and sundry but himself for the failure of the Yahapalana Governemnt to take action against the corruption and murder charges connected to the Rajapaksa regime. A common feature of psychopathy, sociopathy and several established mental disorders is the emphatic failure of the affected patient to take responsibility for his actions. Throughout the Foreign Correspondents’ briefing yesterday, Sirisena hilariously invoked the names of Ranil and Sagala for not bringing the Rajapaksas to rule, self-absolving of any responsibility. It was almost as if he was the proverbial Polonnaruwa ‘scarecrow’ on a paddy field that his critiques paint him to be. Examining the video footage of Sirisena’s speeches pre and post-coup there is ample evidence of him distancing from responsibility of not delivering his chief election mandate.
The most powerful man on earth was challenged on the basis of observed mental infirmity. It’s time for those who are fighting this battle for democracy in Sri Lanka to realize that there is irrefutable evidence of the mental infirmity of the President of our Republic. This First Toddler of our republic should be dealt with accordingly. Like Trump, he should be forced to have his mental status reviewed. In the digital age, the evidence is at the fingertips.
President Sirisena should be impeached under article 38 (2) (a) for mental infirmity.