27 May, 2022

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Irony Of The Downfall Of Rajapaksas; Lessons & Opportunities!

By Mohamed Harees –

Lukman Harees

The dominant party cannot reign forever, and truth and justice will prevail at last.’ ~ Robert E. Lee

‘Thun Hele Gini Avulaa – Eay Ginney Api Dhevenaa – Lak Mawage Aes Vahalaa Magee Ratama Gini Thebuwaa……’

The initial lines of a much known campaign song to promote Gotabaya in 2019 has become more relevant today two years later, than ever before, which ironically appear to be haunting the Gota led Rajapaksas after their dismal run in office. Today, the tell-tale signs of the imminent ignominious downfall of a racist and corrupt Rajapaksa dynasty are patently clear, consequent to this historic uprising of the people sans racial, religious and class differences in Sri Lanka. Three years before, this unprecedented anti-Rajapaksa trend would have been virtually unthinkable. The Rajapaksa regime and their political cohorts are today being imprisoned by this public tide of anger and fury, most of whom once revered this family as almost divine. A war hero becoming zero, a Maharajanoo being insulted as an old mynah living beyond its ‘sell by date’ and a 7- brained Rajapakse being dubbed a ‘Hora Kaputa’ while their family also corrupted to the core, being shamed publicly, are simply unimaginable. Even those Maha Sangha who gave them religious credibility have forsaken them.

As Sri Lanka’s worst economic disaster in living memory continue to destroy the livelihoods of millions, driven many into poverty and has led to multiple crises, public anger towards the powerful but corrupt Rajapaksas and anti-government protests are currently surging exponentially as never before both across the island, and overseas. The public outcry and rising agitation are clearly leading to the imminent, ignominious downfall of not just Gota, but the whole Rajapaksa dynasty, lock, stock and barrel! The dreams of young Namal of running for the office of next President have disappeared like a morning dew drop, in the face of the rays of the mighty sun of public outcry calling for their collective ouster and punishment. As Bible says, ‘Those who live by the sword will die by the sword’. They came to power using the sword of division and today they stand accused of that crime and now being beheaded by that same poisonous sword by the same people who voted them in, standing united in Galle Face and all over.

Some may call it the Irony; some ‘Ditta dhamma vedaniya karma’ (karmas that give results within the life that they were done); I will refer it to as Divine Justice. Call it what you may like. How else can one explain this unexpected turn of events in this Paradise Isle within just three years? ‘Truth will prevail and falsehood will vanish; for falsehood by its nature is bound to perish’ as Holy Quran echoes!

The vicious Rajapaksa regime did not allow the Tamils to commemorate their dead; Muslims to bury their Covid dead while the Christians were denied justice for their ‘Easter’ dead. Gota in his first address after his election upon a massive mandate announced that he was elected thanks to the Sinhala people, making him a President only for a section of the people. He used Ruwanweli seya site to take his oath, but both his PM brother and himself hypocritically pursued Gnana – akka and Tirupathi cult to seek blessings, which irked the Buddhist people . Today, they stand exposed, being asked to go home by the entire Maha Sangha community except his rogue monk set who have gone into hiding. Even Mahanayakes do not want to give them an audience as they have ignored their edict.

It was a slap in the face of the corrupt racist ruling class, to see the dream of an inclusive Sri Lanka bearing fruit on the Galle Face Green. Most placards and slogans surfaced stressing the need to stand together against those who divided them The Sinhalese extended their hand of friendship and comradeship to the Tamils and Muslims. On the Sinhala Avurudu day this year, all communities got together at Galle Face to ensure their Sinhalese friends celebrate their festival in a traditional way. It was an emotional sight indeed!. All communities stood together with their Christian brethren on Easter Sunday to commemorate those who were killed on the Easter day in 2019, while the Cardinal went to the Vatican and asked for international intervention. It was also an emotional and refreshing sight when the Sinhala Brethren along with their Maha Sangha and Christian religious dignitaries joined in with the Muslim community to celebrate Eidul Fitr Ramazan festival in Galle Face. These were great moments of truth and defining moments which augurs well for the future of Sri Lanka, which has bled for decades due to racism and bigotry.

My mind goes past to the recent past; just three years back in history. The nation wept when a group of extremist with terrorist inclinations bearing ‘Musalman’ names blew themselves up killing 269 innocents most of whom knelt in prayer in churches on that fateful Easter Sunday in 2019. Muslim community as a whole condemned the terror attack unreservedly and even cooperated with the government and law enforcement authorities to bring the NTJ network to book. Even the remains of those terrorists were not allowed to be buried in Muslim graveyards. However, Muslims as a community were at once put on the dock and made a pariah community, being blamed both individually and collectively for the dastardly crimes committed by a vicious few bearing names like theirs.

The now ruling party SLPP used this tragedy to promote Islamophobia, and incite anti-Muslim hatred among the majority Sinhalese. Almost days later, our so-called ‘War Hero’ used this disaster and announced his candidature for the next Presidential election, citing national security fears due to ‘Islamic extremism’. Muslims were marginalised in day to life and made to carry a terrorist label around their necks, while their beloved religion and places of worship were made ‘partners in crime’. Many canards came out about Muslim plans to sterilize the majority community including the infamous Shafi ordeal. Rest was history when all these canards were later exposed as political gimmicks to gain votes!

It was to the credit of the Cardinal who saw a political conspiracy behind this tragedy even at the start. He boldly announced that Muslims as a whole need not be made guilty for the acts of a few and there were unseen forces behind it. The present rulers came to power promising to bring all culprits to justice, but failed to do so even after the Presidential Commission identified many culprits. Today, it was another irony that both the Cardinal and the entire nation see a ’Maha Molakaru’ in Gota and Co. Even former Police Minister Weerasekera was seen to use the vehicle belonging to the wretched Saharan. Today, the entire Gota regime stands exposed in front of the nation and the international community as conspirators, with the so-called connivance of Intelligence officials associated with this tragedy as well.

Then came the controversial ‘One Country- One Law’ comedy commission which was headed by a notorious hate and criminal monk Gnanasara and as per his admission, this was formed to abolish the MMDA and Muslim personal laws. Many Muslim activists were arrested under the PTA and ICCPR on bogus grounds, many of whom were released by the Courts after protracted delays. Still many hundreds of Muslims are under detention even without charges. Tamil community are also being denied justice regarding those who disappeared during the war. In short, this government has made every possible effort to keep people divided and made it difficult to support each other in asking justice for their just causes. Thankfully, all these divisive games appear to be seeing its last days when Divine Justice has stepped in to bring people together and fight the common enemy.

As a Musalman. I know how the community suffered not just in Gota era; even the post war era has had an adverse impact on them, when Mahinda Rajapaksa used triumphalism and misplaced patriotism after the war victory against the Tigers in 2009 to project himself as a Sinhala Buddhist champion. Gota as the Defence Secretary then also cultivated a hero image among the majority community. There has been mini pogroms from Dharga Town Aluthgama in 2014 during Rajapaksa regime, to Ampara and Digana Kandy during the Yahapalana government, ending with Gota’s string of Islamophobia measures including the forced cremation policy which was reversed thankfully due to local and international pressure. The common thread running across the 1983 anti-Tamil violence and the above anti-Muslim violent acts has been a culture of impunity that has persisted in the island from the time Sri Lanka gained independence 74 years ago. Sri Lanka has been unable to hold accountable the perpetrators of these spate of violence, riots or the war that ended in 2009, despite its continued commitments to international organizations –a lack of substantive movement towards accountability pervaded specially in the past decade. Blatant disregard for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary has crippled the justice system, leaving victims with little or no prospect of remedies or reparations for serious human rights violations.

Today, Sri Lanka wounded by a string of crises- legal, political, social and economic, is grappling with a social volcano about to erupt, with the clear signs of being declared bankrupt and people being made to beg for their living. This mega crisis impacting upon the livelihoods and kitchens all over, has today grown beyond ethnic and religious boundaries and evolved into a common national issue. Resolving this gigantic issue cannot be done through narrow and ethnic centered approaches. This is when the compulsion to act together drove people towards the need for inclusivity and Sri Lankan-ness. Thankfully, those leading the Galle Face centered Aragalaya is actively promoting this bond which has been lacking since Independence. Greater sections of the Sinhala community have realised that their political leaders and the rogue cohorts in saffron clothes have taken them for a good ride for petty political gains to line the pockets of the Rajapaksas and other political administrative stooges at the top. Today, public knows that their national wealth has gone to keep this corrupt family in luxury. At least even realising this truth belatedly is a boon for the nation licking the wounds of war which spanned for 3 decades and the war of bigotry, division and Islamophobia. Not just Rajapaksas, but also the Rajapaksa-ism’ which uses these divisions to come to and stay in power, should be defeated in all forms.

Muslims have lived amicably with other communities in their life in Sri Lanka for over 10 centuries. They have always safeguarded the territorial integrity of the Island. It was due to the critical support given by the then Muslim leaders in 1948 that Ceylon got its Independence. They then gave prominence to national interests over community interests. Thus, as a Musalman, my hopes and optimism like others, runs high today, that the Muslim community will forget the wounded past due to the vicious rule of the Rajapaksas, and join hands with the other communities – specially the Sinhala people awakened to a new normal – to create a new nation where all citizens irrespective of racial and religious differences, will enjoy equal rights and have access to social justice. Rights are not a zero-sum game.

Racism is as harsh as the word suggests, and being on the receiving end of it is alarming, devastating and brutal. Like other forms of injustice it’s an act of cruelty, it dehumanises and demeans. Globally, all racist leaders have failed decisively. Hilter and Trump are two examples in our known history. In Sri Lanka too, the legacy of the rule of SWRDs, JRJs and the Rajapaksas are going to be recorded in history as miserable and utter failures. The likes of KMP Rajaratne, Cyril Mathew, and the rogue hate monks such as Gnanasaras, Ratanas, will be cursed by the future progeny. The politicians like Mangala and an erudite monk like Sobitha Thero will enter the history chronicles as heroes who believed in an inclusive Sri Lanka. Post Aragalaya! this challenging period provides a litmus test for people’s will to go beyond symbolic gestures and dive deeper to address the structural barriers to a democratic, inclusive, and peaceful Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has missed many historic opportunities. The people should not miss this last one at least for their progeny’s sake. As for the Muslims, the future and wellbeing of the Muslim people are inextricably intertwined with that of Sri Lanka and its people. Only a united approach will see Sri Lanka out of the woods.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    You are absolutely correct!

  • 0
    3

    As Sri Lanka’s worst economic disaster in living memory continue to destroy the livelihoods of millions.

    Api thaimai okkama kele I did everything

    The galle face people did not give a change Racism as they would have done to divert the attention and cover up there dealing fraud.

  • 5
    2

    Lakman Harees,
    As a Muslim writer you have well expressed your defence about how Rajapaksa regime and how they treated Muslim community particularly after the war. You have only touched a little on the Rajapaksa regime’s treatment other communities. The title says Lessons & Opportunities but there is nothing on this article highlighting the lessons and opportunities for each community. Each community has made mistakes and we need to go beyond the Religious identity to search for lessons and opportunities to create a new country.
    The Economic crisis in Sri Lanka is worsening day by day and it will further deteriorate as long as the political crisis end. In other words, Rajapaksa regime completely leave or removed by people. They have a fear what is next for them?

  • 1
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 1
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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    • 1
      0

      Eagle Dumbass Eye

      What the hell is happening in this island?
      Let’s forget the island.
      What is happening to you dump, now that you need to thank Hindians in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, in the night, again the next morning?

  • 4
    2

    Mangala Samaraweera had at a very early stage of the MaRa rule sized up the Rajapaksa clan. He was in the cabinet but resigned after the devious ways of MaRa.
    Damn shame Mangala died on 24th August 2021 and the downfall of the Rajapaksa began only a few months later.

    Mangala stood for an inclusive Srilanka, which has now been picked up by those protesting against the Rajapaksa cabal……………

    • 3
      0

      Plato,
      at the beginning MaRa was just normal. So, not just SLPPers but even many others thought he would have implemented some palapable changes replacing overdue systems stagnated in the country for ages.
      .
      But late Mr Samaraweera, identified it earlier and resigned to be with MR anymore.
      .
      Stolen loot and stupid wife turned MaRa a Mugabe-Like within short period of time. He could save this nation taking them back to the track which was blocked by a brutal war which went 30 long years.
      :
      The mandate and people s backing were there, if the bugger et al worked genuinely for the common goal.

  • 0
    3

    “Most placards and slogans surfaced stressing the need to stand together against those who divided them…”

    These young lads from Colombo who gathered to protest against shortages of gas and fuel and power cuts have no idea about the people who created divisions among different communities in this country and pointing finger towards wrong people.
    [edited out]

  • 1
    3

    Plato,
    “Mangala stood for an inclusive Srilanka,…”

    Yes. By tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka and its Armed Forces by co-sponsoring the UNHRC Resolution that stated Sri Lanka Armed Forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Sri Lanka is the only country that has done such a stupid thing in the world.

    • 1
      0

      Eagle Dumbass Eye

      “By tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka and its Armed Forces by co-sponsoring the UNHRC Resolution that stated Sri Lanka Armed Forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

      Which of the word that you object to?
      It’s you who tarnish your image, therefore why don’t wear that …..

  • 1
    1

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  • 1
    1

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  • 0
    1

    “Only a united approach will see Sri Lanka out of the woods.” Continued hartals and disturbances are only leading us all as one deeper into the woods. Is this the unity you had in mind?

    • 1
      0

      V
      The success of the Hartal and the threat of an indefinite General strike played a big role in the downfall of Mahinda.

  • 0
    0

    It is time Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns his post forthwith to avoid further bloodshed and mayhem. As a matter of fact, it is Gotabaya Rajapaksa more than Mahinda Rajapaksa who is at the centre of the storm sweeping Sri Lanka. He should see the writing on the wall before it is too late.

  • 0
    0

    “The nation wept when a group of extremist with terrorist inclinations bearing ‘Musalman’ names”
    Why cannot you call a spade a spade?
    There have been Buddhist, Christian and Hindu terrorists. Likewise there have been Muslim terrorists.
    Whitewashing the link between religious extremism and terrorism helps none.

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