30 September, 2020

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Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder: Danger In Trading Democratic Rights For Economic Prosperity 

By Rasika Jayakody

Rasika Jayakody

Social media was flooded this week with the photograph of Salah Bin Jamal Khashoggi, son of the slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, meeting with Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, de facto ruler of Saudi and the man considered responsible for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

The emotions of Salah, a captive in his own country, are chilling to contemplate. As a young man banned from leaving his own country, Salah had little choice over the finely choreographed meeting with the Saudi ruler: sea of emotions was understandably suppressed on his blank face.

The brutal murder of Khashoggi has unmasked Prince Salman, who has attempted to create a public image as a ruler open to democratic reforms in a state that has little regard for human rights and free speech. He was the blue-eyed boy of US President Donald Trump and was considered the lynchpin of the US foreign policy in the Middle East. The 33-year-old ruler also launched a major investment drive to attract movers and shakers in the global business sphere to his oil-rich country. A few months before Khashoggi’s murder, MBS seemed to be a man destined for greatness. It took seven minutes – the time it took for the Saudi hit squad to kill Khashoggi and dismember his body – to reverse the Prince’s fortune and put him in the centre of an inescapable political and diplomatic crisis.

The photograph of the Saudi Prince’s meeting with Khashoggi’s son eerily reminded many Sri Lankans of a widely published photograph taken in 2013 by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official photographer. It was the photograph of the meeting between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the family members of the victims killed by the Army at a protest in Rathupaswala. Although there is no evidence to say that Rajapaksa personally overlooked the ‘military operation’ in Rathupaswala that resulted in the killings of victims who demanded nothing but clean water, it strains credulity to believe that the former President was not aware of the deployment of the Army to disperse a civilian protest.

The aggrieved family members of the Rathupaswala incident too were made to pose for photographs with their President, knowing that those who ordered the military operation that resulted in the deaths of their loved ones would escape the arm of the law. They knew they were being used as pawns of a well-crafted PR operation aimed squarely at distancing Rajapaksa from the bloodbath that shocked the nation. And they also knew the consequences, had they collectively boycotted the photo-op with the President, would have been unthinkable.

Their plight was no different to that of Jamal Khashoggi’s son who is in no position to openly demand justice for his father. 

What is interesting, is that Khashoggi’s murder occurred at a time when many Sri Lankans are considering bringing back a strong, MBS-style administration to drive economic development in Sri Lanka and bail the country out of the current morass – considerations triggered by the incompetence of the current government.On the political front, the government has miserably fallen short of delivering the promised reforms and their main election pledge – the abolition of the Executive Presidency – has vanished into the thin air. The government’s failure to make tough decisions and operate within a strong policy framework has destabilized the economy, and it is against this backdrop that many – including a sizable proportion of the educated urban middle class – have begun to entertain the notion of a “benevolent dictator” – and who better to suit the profile than former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. 

The murder of Khashoggi and the Saudi Prince’s apparent involvement in the well-planned operation make a strong case for why the word “benevolence” cannot be juxtaposed with the word “dictator”. Dictators are never benevolent and they can never be. While sometimes dictators wear gilded cloaks of “progressiveness” and “modernisation”, it is only to conceal the repression lying at the core of their systems of governance. 

It is a dangerous gamble to trade economic prosperity and rapid development with democratic rights and freedom of expression. That is why society must strongly dismiss calls for a “Benevolent Dictators” but demand a competent and stable government that also upholds the democratic rights of its citizens instead. As a result of the constant debacles within the current government, the public is now unable to make a distinction between good governance and the lack of governance. It is a woeful lack of governance that the current government has often demonstrated, starkly different from the fundamentals of good governance – a concept firmly rooted in greater transparency, integrity and financial discipline. 

Jamal Khashoggi’s murder is a timely reminder to many Sri Lankans of the massive risks involved in the “benevolent dictatorship” model. There is still space our political arena for a leader who can strike a balance between an efficient and results-oriented system of governance and upholding the democratic rights of the citizens. We must strive to seek a leader capable of filling this space, without embarking on a gamble whose massive risks outweigh any potential benefit. 

*The writer is the former Editor of Daily News and the former Editor-in-Chief of Asian Mirror. He may be contacted at rasikajayakody2@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    Rasika, your comparison of MBS and our MR/GR is very appropriate. The Voting public in SL should note it and vote for the Corrupt murderous Politicians who bring major disasters to our country.

    • 10
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      Ehenliyagoda,s disappearance appears similar to that of Khashogge? Unfortunately he was not a journalist of an American press for world to set in motion the search.

      • 0
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        He was a puppet of the LTTE. Why do you people forget Batalands. Balance the stories!!!! Idiots!!! Spreading discord without doing something to benefit the country.

    • 8
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      Let s see how many of the PVT media insttutions would wake up by the murder of Jamal K saga to make a voice on LASANTHA WIKRAMA TUNGA and EKANALIGODA and also all untold other journalists.

      Surely, not many would have the audacity to talk about them yet, since Rajapakshes killing squads are still roaming in the city.
      Ranjana Ramanayake had the balls to reveal some points regarding the stand-still nature of today ‘s private MEDIA specially Rajapakshe high crimes and high profile allegations. Not that many of them are under investigation, but most of the time, Rajapkshes dont run away from the questions.
      And some journalists spoke out and made it very clear ” we are fear of our lives – අපිට අපේ ජීවිත ගැන බයයි මැරුවොත් කියල
      So that is the ground reality yet albeit the new gov came into power 4 years ago.

  • 11
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    Thank you, this is a great analaysis no doubt about that

    Not just the MR photograph displayed above, there are numerous examples were not overlooked by locals and any one that would anaylse the ground realities regarding former authoritarian regime ruled by Rajapakshe dynasty. Some of the most known examples are added below:

    1. The convicted murderer, brutal rapist, Rajakashe close confidiante -Sampath Vidanapathirana and his photographs taken with Former President and his equally criminal sons (Namal Baby, Yoshitha Rajakashe ) are in the web

    2. Lately confirmed – the verdict of convicted multi criminal, Duminda de Silva was seen in the Photographs taken with former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajakashe and former President Rajakshes until the Rajakshe brutal regime was defeated by 6.2 million voters on the 8th Jan 2015

    3. Sunday leader- Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge was brutally murdered on broad day light ; there are sufficient number of photos, audio and videos are available in the web: There is an audio taped not long before the murder proved how close the victimized to the former President; in that audio, former president – the green eyed monster – clearly hinted if the editor would a single man to be that criminal would be crushed by the president

    tobe continued

    • 1
      5

      It is true that the people voted against Rjapakse regime and brought in Srisena/Ranil regime. But what have we achieved. Remedy seem to be worse than the decease.

      • 6
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        What we have achieved is lot, but the press is made mongel not transporting the message to the average mind set.

        – NOT TO FORET THAT WE THE FOLKS ARE ISOLATED IN THE WORLD AT THE TIME; MR MEDAMULANA WAS GOVERNING THE COUNTRY LIKE ZIMBABIAN MUGABE DID…. where had you been ?

        Latter is not distinquished due to the symbiosis run by media-Rajapakshe-Business.

        Please guys, open your eyes, todays press freedom paves way media to educate the people adequately, But media is caught by the mechanisms being applied by most abusive bunch of the thugs.

        Let alone, people are not educated or updated about the ongoing price reductions of STENTs being used in heart surgeries. That alone proves that Media behaves against Moral laws.

      • 6
        1

        “But what have we achieved”

        Limiting the presidential terms to 2 …….. is the highest achievement in the political front

        Stoping commercial flights taking off from Katunayake and landing in Mattala 5 minutes later ……..is the greatest achievement in the economic front.

        These are the highest achievements of any Lankan government since independence ………… and these were achieved in the first 100 days!

        Care to name any other previous government with better achievements? …………. These are Lankans we are talking about!

      • 0
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        Absolutely. The biggest Sinhala kotiya compensated terrorists against his own people robbing the central bank hardly a month later and planning assasinations with international help. Good riddance of the biggest traitor!

  • 8
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    to be continued

    The kind of photographs, audios, videos are plentily available as part of hints to trace the direct involvement of the criminals of the high crimes, but the responsible authorities, obviously are on sloth’s move in terms of serving the justice yet today – albeit 4 years passed since the new GOOD governance govt has been given the due mandate to do the job.
    Various forces that elected current president are more or less made hopeless today. They are speechless. With 1.5 years to go with the current rulers, the spirit of late Rev Sobitha Thero who is our leader of the very movement for a JUISTIFIABLE SOCIETY has been watching calmly how genuine the current president et al be with the key pledges made prior to the election.

  • 6
    0

    Mr Jayakody’s view is food for thought as SL is at crossroads when it comes to electing the next President. Many in SL favour a strong dictatorship in the belief that at least some economic progress will be made even at the expense of silencing any opposition, in comparison to a squabbling, ineffective, weak, as well as, the ‘standard’ corrupt leadership. Many are in denial & others who profited from the previous regime, yearn for the good times. The rich & the powerful get away, even with murder, & we have come to accept it. It’s happening all over the world but what disgusts me is the hypocrisy in SL. We proudly claim to be governed by Buddhist principals but accept thuggery, violence, extreme nepotism, massive corruption & live in denial.

    So Mr Jayakody, I don’t think your message, commendable as it is, will have any effect on the average voter. It’s an unfair world, the meek shall never inherit the world. Perish the thought.

    • 1
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      We must not depend on persons and eminent personalities. Instead we need to enforce accountability and put systems in place. We seem to depend on the ‘good man’ concept. We cannot depend on God men or good men. We must have systems in place instead to ensure good men also follow the system

  • 5
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    Desperate I agree with you. When we read about the Saudi Journalist gruesome murder, how he was tricked to visit the high commission,how CCTV were removed or switched in advance inside the compound, how he was killed within minutes after entering, how body was disfigured, how it was taken out and body parts were found later in the residential garden of the counselor , how the Saudi govt bluntly denied and pretended to not to know at all, how under pressure now the Saudi govt is forced to find scapegoats and tell the world about a rogue group which staged with out the knowledge of the Saudi psychopath ??? these facts leave us in utter shock and disbelief. But think about more than 40 journalist killed by a family/regime in Lanka and still, there is not just missing answers but the deplorable attitude of our people and worse wanting to elect the murders again. Is there a term for this in English.????? to be continued.

  • 6
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    After reading Jamals murder I was trying to remember the disfigured pictures of Keith after a murderous assault, the planning of Lasanthas murder, how he was being followed for days before murder, how recently we came to know about MR threat to journalist at his residence ” you seem to know every thing”???, the telephone recordings of Thaj screaming in the back ground while being tortured before his death, how govt bureaucrats came together in concealing the evidence,how uthayan office was attacked and set on fire for the umpteenth time, the begging and pleading of the widows of these journalist for justice,how one of the widow was constantly harassed and even threatened and still there is no answers, no public condemnation and our sick public wants to re elect the person who master mind these killings.

    • 4
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      People’s perceptions would never change in our lost island. They would stay believing in that we come from LIONS, even if the world researchers resound no LION-HUMAN hybrid would ever be possible.
      Saddly enough this topic, dear Chiv, 45% lanken populace would harldy believe yet or more like not taking serioius that Rajapakshes may have ever committed those high crimes. Or they may even have the audacity to water down them as any leader would behave so. These are what I am compelled from my circles whenever I travel back home.
      Main Reasons people ‘s perceptions to be cemented :
      1. Lanken buddhist clergy is being worshiped by Rajakshes almost every other day. No other leaders would ever have go and licking the SRIMAHABODHIYA as been carried out by Mahinda Rajakshes. The media displayed deliberately made by them even today is seen every other week if my memory is right.
      2 Unfortunately for us – not many among today’s monks are knolwedgeble about the facts and figures of today s developments. Mahanaayaka theros would welcome Rajaksehse even if they would have raped a woman on broad day light – the attitituanal changes of lankens are not expressed in their genetic codes ( I mean our sinhalayas)
      2. Rajapakshe menwould never forget to hype up even if their mediation requires no such pronounce. Like for exmaple, in today s context – they continue with the same road and constructions develpment projects -perhaps better than had ever been sofar, but no media displays boasting them as was the case with any tiny opening to a village school made a big drama for Rajaakshes then.Costs abused by Rajapksahes were more than the costs they spent for those new buidlings, labs or toilets for those rural schools. Airlifts and security costed the state that much to that time. No matter it was that high, former President never even take them serioius.

  • 2
    0

    I recently read about how these psychopaths have 45% of voters behind them supporting their criminal behaviors. True Trump has and continues to encourage violence.Now we have a seen a lady protester killed after being rundown by a car and bombs being send to Clintons and Obama. MR seems to have the 45% behind him who wants to re- elect at any cost, Hitler apparently had the whole nation cheering for him. All it means is the depth of the sickness, deplorable attitude , psychopathic mind set, thirst for killing/harming and pathetic herd mentality. It is not a individual issue anymore. It is a collective sickness. We have witnessed this during the government sponsored pogroms (murder/rape/killing) where remorse and empathy are replaced with vengeance, glee and euphoria (among 45% deplorable creatures).So finding a cure is near impossible.Are we blessed or cursed?????

    • 3
      0

      You know guys, lankens can easily be manipulated to irresivable manner if you would feed them with socery related perceptions.The would not think twice before follow the others.
      Best example the way – many regardless of their educational background to have been caught by -Hakkgediya promotor- FAKE professor Kirithi Dhisanayaka. This partiuclar man is reported to have grabed millions within 5 years through his lucrative walampuri business.

      This has become mentally abuse well-organizsed by politicians in order to harvest the votes from the gullible in this country.
      Just imagine, that Balumgala Broadcasts the manner they cornered that bugger Kirthi Dissanayaka from Colombo suburbs few daya ago.
      If a lifeless outer skeleton of a sea creature could bring you fortune, why not srilanken govt fail to use them in temple trees or presidential residence flourishing the economy ?
      With 8000 Million of dollars to be paid off to China and other donators, lanken state could easily raise the head, if Walampuri man helped them.

  • 2
    2

    Mr Jayakody, please write something about 89′ Bheeshanaya.

    Soma

    • 6
      0

      WHOEVER whatever being said and done – the totality of various high crimes committed by Rajakshe would never be able to compare with any of the insurgencies in the country since independence.

      We are perfexed, as to why nothing seem to be spread by MEDIA albeit all freedom of expression is safeguarded by the incumbent govt.
      What is going on here ?
      Why MEDIA has never uttered a single word about the investigations on the numerous allegations levelled at Rajapakshes sofar. ?

      Why MEDIA in today’s context behave as if they are blind and deaf exclusively with Rajapakshe politics ? Why Media has been SHUT up not being able to educate the public accordingly ?

      Why Rajapkshes just run away when few questions being posed to them on how they managed the ECONOMY during their high days ?

      Why Rajakshes point the finger at ITN or SLRC in those Press meeting , branding them that you are from SLRC or ITN, and that they dont want to add them with constructive responses to the long awaiting quetions ?

      We are not reborn, we can recall how SLRC and ITN were handled by Rajapakseh CULPRITs in their high days, not educating the people as due.

      That Hudson Silva or the like men were derogatory what ever being added to the air. There had been no decency and civilized nature at all in any tele or broad casts conducted by them during the high days of MR madamulana

  • 0
    0

    Rasika Jayakody points out some similarities between the Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder and our very own cases. The Jamal case is for all practical purposes solved. Our ‘cases’ may never be!
    Rasika mentions “Danger In Trading Democratic Rights….”.
    The Saudi Arabia democracy is a version without democracy. The Lankan version is “The majority has it all”. One can talk about other versions till the cows come home.
    .
    There is a win win winner in the Jamal case. The puppeteers of Saudi Arabia is telling the ‘House of Saudi’, “We will rescue you. Do not go on your own in future. Do what you are told and no more. Remember, you are DISPOSABLE”.

    • 1
      0

      “The Jamal case is for all practical purposes solved.”
      I like the phrase “practical purposes”.
      The US has made up its mind that it will eventually be ‘business as usual’

  • 2
    0

    Can anyone name a person who will be the BEST candidate to contest the Next Presidential Election in SL? Can the suitably qualified persons put their name forward and tell us how he /She going to put the country right.
    Mahathir Mohamed in Malaysia fas come back to power. He has already placed the former PM Razak in jail for stealing 1.6 billion US $.
    Why didn’t the yahapalana GoSL do it in 2015? Instead it continued to ROB the country

  • 1
    0

    Iran said something; but it said in a stupid way so it did not get counted. Iran said America murdered the journalist. But the right way of saying is America is responsible for the murder. In fact America didn’t know the murder. But it doesn’t matter. They do know about Saudi and it is America’s Alsatian pet, Prince Salman, bit and killed the Child. So America should answer to this in proper way. They should not let Saudi escape easily.

    Lankawe has many examples of beyond Ratupussalawa. They killed Hirunika’s father and kept her for some time. Here is a photo from Onlanka. https://www.onlanka.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/namal-rajapaksa-and-hirunika-premachandra.jpg. After Chandrika got into that only she was able to break from them and go to UNP. They did that to Sudarshani Fernandopulle. They blocked BASL vising Sriskandarajah funeral but sent their agents. They did that to Kathirgamar Family. So they were defending him for long time. They changed their mind and asked Yahapalanaya to investigate his murder, then Ranil did them the same thing Old King did, Ranil completely suppressed them this time Even Lasantha’s Brother was betrayed by Old Royals.

  • 0
    2

    Istanbul ‘s take sounds all “Bull”…….
    I don’t think the Young King was that stupid to send a Chain Saw Gang to kill a US Citizen, in Istanbul let alone in his ow Embassy…

    We know what Dr Ranil’s minders did in Athrugiriya…
    We also now what Dr Ranil’s minders did in the Central Bank..
    And how Dr Ranil got away with both..

  • 4
    0

    These Megalomaniacs, the Saudi Bastard and MR are not any different. They believe they can fol all the people all the time. As said by Rasika Jayakody, none of the media here, has taken the trouble to show the similarities between MR and the Saudi Bastard. Thankyou CT for the exposure.

  • 1
    0

    Why is Slt peo TV blocking Al Zazeera and France 24 every time the subject of Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing murder comes up. Since this evening?

    THE WHOLE FXXXX HOUSE OF AL-SAUD, CAN GO TO HELL, WE SRI. LANKANS DON’T HAVE TO KISS THEIR ASS, but D. DUCK. CAN. BY ALL. MEANS, WE ARE NOT OBLIGATED.

  • 1
    0

    @gunesekera fake coward whabi abusing good Sinhala name to protect his masters.

    What an idiot, and you tribal cultists and murderers what else you cant do. Turks are not camels heads you scum

  • 0
    0

    People of other religions must stop persecuting moderate and Traditional Sri Lankan Muslims (Shafi and Hannafi schools and the borahs) and not hold ransom these refined old Original Islamic cultured Schools of thoughts for the evils and tribalism of the wahabi’s proxies in Sri Lanka who are even secretly funded and supported by D. DUCK”S FAKE RELIGIOUS NGOs. Any day Gota must be appreciated for suppressing the Fake NGOs and fake Whahabis

  • 0
    0

    I. Am more than certain Jamal’S son is now allowed to travel with possibly three choices.
    1) go and convince our fairytale to the world about your father’s death and we will be reward you.
    2) refuse and we will do the same to you like what we did to your father, no. Matter where you are we will so it I will any country I side our Counsulates.

    3) if you defy us and no into. Hiding overseas we will make the rest of your family pay in blood.

    There is no other reason to. Lift his travel ban now.

  • 0
    0

    PEO TV blocks CNN, France 24, Jazeera and other foreign news channels, (Suspecting I think support of MBS request),

    • 0
      0

      This is not true, I have them

  • 0
    0

    Saudi UN representative have proved to the world that they control, the whole UN.

    The Cat is put of the bag. Only a handful have dared to challenge , besides the Ottamans

  • 0
    0

    Rasika Jayakody,
    .
    The situation in a monarchy, it is fate of the citizens as in Saudis case. In a democracy, it points to idiocy of the citizens. Plus, MBS enjoys the wealth made out of his country’s natural resource, not tax payers money.

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