18 May, 2024


Local Election: Day Of Rage!

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

“Indignez Vous! Time for Outrage!” – Stephane Hessel

In a recent TV interview, Basil Rajapaksa said that this was a failed state. He is wrong. What we have is not a failed state. It is a failed government, with a failed Prime Minister. The 3.3% growth rate and the Central Bank Bond scam are but two symptoms of this failure.

Elections are symbolic choices. This time it is between what Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and ex-President Kumaratunga symbolically represent and what ex-President Rajapaksa, the JO leadership and ex-Minister Basil Rajapaksa symbolically represent.

Symbolism, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ranil plus CBK vs. Mahinda plus BR symbolize different things in the eyes of different people. To me, Ranil and CBK symbolize failure, incompetence, retreat and pauperization/povertisation. Mahinda, Basil and the JO leaders represent a time of relative success, competence, growth, development and prosperity.    

If you vote for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP this time, you are saying the Central Bank Bond Scam was OK, and are then morally responsible as a citizen for more such scams being pulled until 2020.

If you think Ranil’s government– Bond Scam, a lousy 3.3% growth rate, Geneva resolution, quasi-federal constitutional draft and all– is better than Mahinda Rajapaksa’s performance; if you feel you, your family, your neighborhood, your community and your nation are doing/ did better under Ranil’s government than Mahinda’s; if you feel you have progressed since Mahinda’s departure in 2015; you should vote for this government.

If you feel otherwise, if you feel the opposite, if you feel cheated by this government, then you should give the government a signal by voting for the Opposition. If you don’t, the government will keep on keeping on, doing what it is doing, heading along the same path.      

It took Russia a decade (the 1990s) and Putin to escape the madness of economic neoliberalism and genuflection to the West. The USSR was bad but all opinion polls prove that the Russian people think the West-centric Yeltsin was far worse, and therefore they keep voting for Putin because they never want to go back to another pro-Western liberal. We Sri Lankans have a choice. Either we can go through this cycle of neoliberal politics, crash the economy and burn in the fires of ultranationalist blowback, and then come to our collective senses, rebuilding from the ashes– or we can short-circuit the cycle and start exiting the matrix with the forthcoming local government election.

The economy is contracting or in a downward spiral, with just over 3% growth this quarter. If Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s UNP wins the upcoming local authorities elections, they will reshape Sri Lanka in such a manner that the ownership and control of our island home, and therefore our destiny, is irrevocably out of our hands and placed in the hands of the US and India which sees our island as strategic real estate in their attempt to prevent China from changing the global and regional power balance and reforming the world order in a more equitable manner. 

The PM will give the Trincomalee oil tank farm and a chunk of the Trincomalee harbor, the Mannar-Trincomalee highway as well as an airport in the deep South to India; confer quasi-federal powers over land to the provinces of Sri Lanka, most crucially the North and East; dismantle the state sector of the economy; dismember existing labor and land reform legislation, and allow foreign corporations to own large tracts of arable land on this small island.

Far from the claim of restoring democracy, only an ignorant, moronic administration would do what no government anywhere in the world has dared to: risk destabilizing democracy by humiliating, affronting and enraging through war crimes probes agreed upon in Geneva, a huge, patriotic military of which 40, 000 regular infantrymen received Special Forces training (be they currently in service or not).

If on the other hand, the UNP loses the local authorities election, there will be much rethinking all round and the chance for a new political and economic equilibrium, in which we have to adjust to external realities but regain, retain and exercise our national autonomy.   

The collective consciousness of the Sri Lankan political class has long been divided, and remains divided in accordance with attitudes to 1956. The basic divide is between those who hold that 1956 was good, positive, progressive, and those who think the opposite.

The upcoming local government election will mark the death or the rebirth of 1956, the disintegration and end, or reassertion and new arc, of the progressive 1956 project. It is also a battle of values– between the progressive values of 1956 and 1970, and those of appeasement, capitulation and neoliberalism of 2001 (Ranil’s CFA) and 2015.

In the 1950s, SWRD Bandaranaike incarnated the Spirit of Bandung, of Afro-Asianism, in contrast to the UNP which incarnated identification with and loyalty to Anglo-Americanism. The SLFP government recognized Fidel’s Revolution before Mao’s China did. Che Guevara visited Ceylon in the Cuban Revolution’s first year which was to be SWRD’s last.

In the decades that followed (right up to 1989 and the Premadasa ‘pivot’), Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the strong symbol of those Non-aligned values and identity, and more essentially, of national resistance against the alignment of Sri Lanka with the West during what scholars defined as the New Cold War.

If I may lapse into the language of the latest Star Wars movie, I see Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and his UNP as the loyal local puppets of ‘the First Order’, a successor Empire which strives to maintain over-lordship against all comers and all those who seem to challenge or resist it. The sleazy satraps of the US-dominated First Order, the UNP, for whom Sri Lanka is only a location to sell or rent, not an ontological identity, will constitutionally carve up, sell off and convert this island into a colony, a link in the chain of the First Order’s Indo-Pacific ‘grand strategy’ against our consistent friends and allies in Eurasia (China and Russia).

In this scenario, Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition-SLPP represent the Resistance, the Rebellion. I see Mahinda as The Last Jedi.  If I may switch to an earlier movie (with Tom Cruise) depicting heroic nationalist resistance to a ‘modernizing’ Western puppet Prime Minister in Asia under a patriotic but vacillating Emperor, Mahinda is The Last Samurai.

Mahinda is the closest Lankan approximation of two qualities that Princeton’s Emeritus Professor of International Law, Richard Falk, testifies were shared by the Vietnamese and the Palestinians: desired national narrative [which] collided with the geopolitical ambitions and commitments of the United States…” and “empowering and charismatic resilience is the core identity”.

It is all very simple really. This election is about you. If you vote for the UNP, you think that the country is better off under Ranil, is doing better and will do better under him as PM than it did when Mahinda was in charge. If you voted for regime change in 2015 it is because you thought that a government with Ranil and Chandrika driving it would or could do better than one under Mahinda.

Elections are great clarifiers. Elections are also the ultimate contests of relative merits. No election take place in a vacuum, just as no election is about absolutes. We have to choose how we vote according to context: what is the prevailing situation and which way do we want it to go? Elections are the ultimate comparison: are these folk better than the last bunch or are they worse?

The track record of Mahinda Rajapaksa as President shows that, on balance, his merits greatly outweighed his demerits.

There was no disenfranchisement of a whole community a la DS Senanayaka. There was no Sinhala Only a la SWRD Bandaranaike. There was no Thousand Day Emergency and unarmed civilian suspects dropping to their deaths from the 4th Floor of the CID a la Dudley Senanayaka. There was no ban on the transport of rice and people eating papaw skins out of trash cans a la Sirimavo Bandaranaike. There was no six year postponement of parliamentary elections through a fraudulent and coercive referendum, followed by a mini-pogrom against the Tamils, and 70, 000 foreign troops on Lankan soil a la JR Jayewardene. There were no guns given to the LTTE a la Premadasa. There were no bodies of youth strangled with plastic handcuffs, floating in the Diyawanna Oya a la Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. There was no calling off of an LRRP hit on Prabhakaran, a 3.3% economic growth rate in peacetime and selling off strategic ports, and proposals for an underwater tunnel to Tamil Nadu a la Ranil Wickremesinghe.

There was however, an end to the assassinations, suicide bombings, overrunning of military camps by the Tigers and a victorious end to a thirty years war over the world’s most powerful terrorist militia, which successive leaders had failed to do. There was a post war growth rate second only to China, in Asia.

The country is divided between those who think that the present government is better than the earlier one, and those who think the present government is worse than the previous one. More specifically, society is divided between those who think this government is bad but not as bad as the last set, and those who think the last bunch were bad but not as bad as the present lot.

Some think this government is proceeding on the wrong track but not as wrong as its predecessors and others who think that the previous government was proceeding on the right track or was on the wrong track but not quite as wrong as the present government. The election results will show exactly what the country thinks about these propositions.

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  • 0

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    • 15


      “Basil Rajapaksa symbolically represent.”

      Basil symbolically represents ……. mansions without owners, 10% (or was it 20%), wealth without known income ……….now, now trying to cosy up to the former bad-boy Basil eh?

      Man, I pity you that at 60 you have ended up having to do this for a living …………… like a geisha ( in Kawabata’s “Snow Country” ) who starts at the top-rung joints when young and pretty and with the passage of time and old-age gets pushed down to the lowest-rung dumps. ………… Pal, you can’t go any lower than Basil. ………….Even Weerawansa won’t go that low.

      Pal, I am not kidding or being nasty ……..but I feel ashamed to see the plight another human being has fallen in to – let alone another Lankan.

      Dunno if you realize that you have very little talent for what you have to do to eke out a living ……… so, out of pity for another fellow human ……….let me suggest you watch a guy called Dinesh D’Souza if you want to hone your skills. That guy can BS and twist and turn with the best of them …………………… Now, that’s a top-class geisha working in the best joint ………….while you are in the lowest dump SL working for Basil. …………What a plight?

      • 9

        Dayan, how long would you want the lick the balls of Rajapakshes.
        And why you betray us the educated in the country if you at all represent us as a whole ?
        Why you need to fall to the level of Wimal Weerawanse, who is believed to have not his Olevel, just a school drop out ?

        What is the message you as a self-proclaimed analyst, one coming from an elite background, one is proved to have everything against incumbent PM for jealousy and malice ?
        What is the purpose of your writing on a consecutive manner but not focusing the truths of Rajanos ?

      • 5

        Very correct, I cant agree with you more.
        Those who have observed all these CLOSELY as they could, would all share with you NO DOUBT about that.

        Where on the earth, when being caught, when questioning about the ownerships, let lawyers to gather information that would never fit with lanken or any other contexts – but that was the case with Basil and his court cases.
        We should all be as srilankens ashamed to all high levels, that we dont have proper investigatiion based law system yet in this country.

        Had the issue alone with GAMPAHA mansion, been found in any european country, bugger will have to face jail charges of years at least.
        But the bugger for some reasons, stay scot free.
        Th e very same is with all evidences being revealed by Thadjudeen case, the plot had been made by Presidential family, nothing seems moving an inch towards the justice serving to Thadjdeen mother.
        If i were one of that family, I would have run amok, – the style of some cases being reported from US, since, the wounds have been made hurtful… day to other, not having or serving justice to the victimized.

      • 0

        What an incredibly senseless article from a self proclaimed educated man! Ranil’so government has many faults and disappointments but no way does it stand comparison with the Raja rule which stood out as one that was brazenly outside the law .

        This eccentric man is being accommodated in these pages I believe, merely to raise the ire of the otherwise bored reader.

    • 4

      DJ don’t be a moron yourself!
      Mahinda Jarapassa and Bonds scam Ranil should share a prison cell for looting Lanka. A third force is necessary .JVP-Sira tie up to fight corruption may be way forward.
      Neither your corrupt and criminal friend, Mahinda Jarapassa, brothers, sons and cronies Military Business model of development nor Bond Scam Ranil’s Royal college Mafia are any use.
      Ranil should be impeached for grand larceny and following US economic Hit men’s so called development policy advise to put America First, which come from the Right wing Neo Con Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to beggar Lanka and advance the security interest of US deep State and Business interests of Global 1 percent.
      Ranil should share a prison cell with Gota. Mahinda and Basil for all the scams including Avant Guard national security scam and sale of Lankan land to China.

    • 2

      The problem with Sri Lanka is there are too many politicians in this country. Many of them are nut cases. Another set suffers from foot-in-the-mouth disease. The rest only want to be re-elected. Yahapalanaya excels in pickpocketing people, selling assets and pocketing commissions.
      Some actions of Ranil’s government bring people hysterical laughter. Eg: Our Bribery/Corruption Commission-CIABO has decided to obtain the assistance of USA to combat corruption!!! Man, US itself is a corrupt country. According to the Corruption Perception Index, out of 176 countries, US is the 18th corrupt country in the world! They should first get rid of corruption in their country and become the least corrupt country like Denmark/New Zealand before teaching others how to combat corruption. CIABO’s request for US to post a Resident Legal Adviser(RLA) should be vehemently denounced. DG/CIABO has no right to invite a foreigner to intervene in our legal system. If the US-RLA is handling bribery and corruption, why do we need a CIABO? It should be dissolved first. Besides, we are in the 95th place. There are 81 countries below us. Why did US choose us? Commission’s dependency on US which is totally against its mandate is not only suspicious but also a serious threat to our independent legal system. If their motive is to defame the former President by carrying out an international level political witch-hunt, forget about it, ok. Leave him alone. If CIABO is unbiased, they should first recover Bond money starting from Aloysius ending with Ranil with Mahendran in between. A simple case. DG/CIABO doesn’t need US assistance for that at all.
      About elections; as there is no alternative party, people should decide whether they should show their strong displeasure by spoiling the ballot paper or choose one failed party over other parties.

      • 1

        UNP/SLFP/SLPP/JVP all these parties are the same people with same mentalities.
        Not a single person of these parties want to develop the country starting from the beginning. There have always been ad-hoc development. Retaining or gaining power at any cost is their only aim. These same politicians were in power alternatively. They have already proved that they are not capable of developing the country. From leader to leader even in the same party, policies change according to their mentalities. What they criticize when they were in the Opposition becomes acceptable as soon as they come into power. They don’t have one word or any clear cut policies on any matter. Leaders of these parties don’t think about the future of the country. They only think about the future of their parties.
        Yahapalanaya which was in deep slumber is now hyper active. At the rate they build roads and bridges, they might even build a road to hell and a bridge to heaven.
        It is time voters start thinking different. The future of the country should not be handed over to these failed main parties again. New leaders/new parties should emerge from the masses.
        Every government for the last 7 decades, either privatized national assets or nationalized the same assets.. How many times have we seen this wastage of public funds for this one single exercise?
        Politicians abusing power is not acceptable to voters. Politicians engaging in fraud/corruption is not acceptable to voters. Nepotism is not acceptable to voters. Foreignization the country is not acceptable to voters. Selling national assets is not acceptable to voters. On that basis, people should reject all the 4 main parties.
        As long as people keep on voting them, the dire need to have alternative parties will never be prominent.

    • 15

      What a cheap article from a person with such low mentality. It was the Rajapakshes who made Sri Lanka not only a failed state but also a pariah state. Mahinda, Basil and the JO jokers symbolize dictatorship, family bandism, nepotism, corruption, racism, robbery, thuggery, and what not.

      • 2

        The problem now is, those who took away power from MR and his cronies, promising ‘ Yahapalanaya’, have forgotten why they were chosen on 08JAN15. Instead, they keep muttering about and offering the silly excuse that it was worse under MR’s regime.

        Should we accept this?

        People appointed the new lot only because they wanted to put a stop to all what Silva has written above. Has it been the case until now?

        Let people decide on 10FEB by casting their vote sensibly and wisely.

  • 3

    At least one Aritta Ki Vendu who writes here loves Ranil wickramsinghe and his cohorts cheaters besides their progress within the first 50 days. You forgot to mention why a Legal adviser is residing inside sirikotha. It is Ranil wickrmasinghe who had asked Arjun Mahendran to get the help from a consultancy firm financial matters. Because, Ranil knew that PTL is good at consulting. the way I understand, IMF is paying an american company to survey the area around Trincomalee which will eventually become a military camp. So, god bless Sri lanka.

  • 5

    the wrong thing with the previous govt was, it was full of rats eating from every side. Mahinda Rajapakse was the finance minister and the owner of the president ‘s fund. No one talk about what is happening inside the president’s fund. Probably Greek bond money is in a Cypress bank or something similar to that. See how Namal Rajapakse has bouught and a sold a Building owned by Miss Wickramasinghe and sold it to some higher price such as Rs 400 million. that is all with his salary and perks.

  • 14

    Dayan, I agree and there must be many MILLIONS who agree with you in that R.W, My3 are an utter, catastrophic disaster. However, are you seriously suggesting that the “Opposition” under M.R and Bros are better??!! No, Dayan. That will be like “exchanging the “hotu geni” with the “kehi geni”, then again, taking the “hotu geni”. What this country need is an apolitical genious like Donald Trump who will totally ignore conventional politics and do what he knows is best for the country. We need someone or a committee of men and woman from Civil Society who will have nothing to do with politics but will appoint a group of experts on an allowance and allow them to run the nation.

    1) Stop ALL duty free imports to all, including the President, C.J., Speaker and ALL.

    2) Taxes to be paid by ALL residents of Sri Lanka. This nonsense was introduced by JRJ in 1978 and must stop.

    3) ALL State Owned enterprises must be allowed to “implode”, like what happened to General Motors in 1984 under ‘Chapter 11.Bankruptcy. This means that Srilankan Airlines, Regional Plantation Companies, CEB, CGR etc will either have to pull-up their socks and perform or go into liquidation, from which a regenerated entity will emerge with all the “Fat Cats” of the Unions and Management Boards kicked out. Of course, the public will have a time of stress but that is better than this slow death.

    4) Stop sponsoring meaningless exercise such as voting against the United States at the U.N. Where will this gt us? Will the Middle Eastern nations so much as give a little more for employing our maids? You cannot hunt with the hounds and run with the hare.

    5) Stop ALL capital investments on the Armed Forces. We do not have a fear of a war. We do not need warships, jet fighters and other sophisticated weaponry.

  • 10

    When I read the first para I understood what a wonderful real actor you are. You are ahead of Mahinda in that role. Even Mahinda understood that you are not worth to a penny. People have not forgotten about Mahinda deal with LTTE, Basil 15% commission to send LTTE abroad, Gota’s white van abduction deals and armed deals.[Edited out]

    • 3

      Ajith Are you Gemini Ganeshan.. ?

    • 0

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    • 7

      Ajith, It’s absurd reading this Guy’s articles.
      Though he was chased out by MR, nobody else will touch him. For sirisena cooray, this person could be an intellectual. He’s another Kili Maharaja, who hammers PM left right and centre and it has a become another failed TV station. MR bombed it, hence only a few My3 supporters watch it. This person goes behind MR but he knows his capacity and any child will know that their days are numbered.[Edited out]

  • 9

    Dayan you can write reams and reams trying to change the public perception of Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa.But what the public perceives of the two is a world apart from your pseudo intellectual phantasy.

    Accept that Rajapaksa the thug,thief,murderer and drunkard is politically passe.The Phohotuwa is a Gang of political rejects.The big question is will you be convinced that the days of this Gang are finished even after the elections are over.I doubt it very much.

  • 1

    DJ: Sri lanka imported 5000 high quality cows from NewZealand. but, only 2300 arrived. do you know what happenened to the balance 2700 and who imported it.

    • 8

      Jim softy Dimwit

      “DJ: Sri lanka imported 5000 high quality cows from NewZealand. but, only 2300 arrived. do you know what happenened to the balance 2700 and who imported it.”

      If the cows were imported for Badhrakali Amman Kovil in Munneswaram, Chilaw for the purposes of animal sacrifice ceremony, Mervyn Silva would have intervened to prevent the slaughter of the animals and driven them away and sold them to the nearest butcher.

    • 3

      Jim softy:
      Considering you’ve written (for once!) something comprehensible, you are owed a response. Apart from the “disappearance” of 2700 cows, WHY would one of the world’s major producers of dairy product, EXPORT 5000 of their best cows to some other part of the world which was importing dairy product from them?
      DID ANYONE CHECK TO SEE WHETHER ANY OF THESE ANIMALS WERE DAIRY REJECTS SUFFERING FROM SUCH AS MASTITIS? I rather doubt that any of the Rajapaksas or their acolytes had even heard of mastitis, leave alone be able to diagnose that devastating dairy

  • 5

    If this gocmenrt is failing please vote for JVP. They would not loot public money.
    They have most educated people.
    They have good policies than all parties.
    Vote for them.
    Vote for JVP if you love Sri Lanka

  • 13

    Hey man, we don’t need the likes of RW or MS or MR or BR or whoever! All are undesirables
    Sri Lanka sucks man
    Sri Lankans suck man.

    Everyone throwing in their 2 cents day in day out on this forum ain’t gonna change anything man.
    Maybe ya’ll should get together and stage rallies and stir the public into a frenzy of anti-corruption and anti-politician activity.

    Don’t see anything changing for at least for some decades at this rate.

    Tired of the same things being repeated on this forum. Instead of typing your thoughts,
    why don’t some of you take some real action? Not keen to sacrifice your time and energy for all that I suppose…so we are gonna be stuck in this vicious cycle at least over our lifetime.

    Man, so tired of this….either go out and do something bloggers or just don’t bother with all these articles and reports..they just wind you up, make you fizz like a soda bottle and fizzle out till the next one… Aiyo Lanka!

    • 0

      Lankan I suggest that you find the nearest corner and engage in some self love. You will be relieved you dumb ass!

  • 1

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  • 3

    please tell us why did sirimavo sack papa andaya from lake house which led him down the gadarene slope to gorkys lower depths during his last days that even ranil sympathized with him

    tell us why mahinida sacked you after your imagined brilliant performan ce in Geneva
    these might give us a clue to the type of stuff you write day in day out to an audience that
    that has such few votes that they cannot influence election results
    don’t end up like your father

    • 2

      Dear Nalmen,

      Among the most recent comments on articles was one by Desmond Fernando saying that it was “absurd reading reading this man’s articles.”

      I sometimes read absurd things, but I’m glad to say that I haven’t read his article. So, you’ve been fool enough to read it, perhaps because andaya used to write well when he was sober.

      Thanks to both Desmond and you for warning us that there are much better ways of spending our time than reading this drivel.

  • 5

    “If you vote for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s UNP this time, you are saying the Central Bank Bond Scam was OK.”
    If you vote for ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts this time, you are saying that the entire litany of sins they committed during their previous rule (all documented and too numerous to spell out here) was OK.

  • 2

    Funny that nobody talks of a deranged leader who hiccupped and abolished the legal institute of SAITM and calls it government. There was no corruption either, only fear of street shouting. Both murder and destruction are very similar.

  • 1

    Dayan ~ “Symbolism is in the eye of the beholder”
    Mind you it is in the ‘eye’ NOT ‘eyes’. Dayan wants us to wink wink nudge nudge.
    Last week Dayan held a Gota-pantham and today it is MR&Basil-pantham.
    What next Dayan?
    What if the “Indignez vous: Time for outrage” turns out to be a lead balloon? It will be a day of common-sense!

  • 2

    Dream on PhD with no use. UNP will come out ahead by a significant margin because the Gon booru SLFP decided to punish MR’s faction of crooks. So MR will come second and Lunkett My3 will come last.

  • 2

    How did Dayan talk his way out from a cabinet position in a rebel Tamil liberation government through to the hearts of extremist BBS? Through duplicity.
    The man says ~ “…………proposals for an under-water tunnel to Tamil Nadu a la (a la in italics) Ranil Wickemasinghe……”.
    The tunnel was suggested by Indian Minister Nitin Gadkari but was dismissed straight away by GoSL.
    Dayan adds “……….people eating papaw skins from trash cans a la Srimavo….”.
    Exaggeration at its worst.
    Dayan can and will descend lower!

  • 3

    Dr D J is right. He has hit the nail on the head (or even, hit the head on the nail?)

    THIS government is a failure. Accepted. We expected so much from it, ‘Yahapalanaya’ promised but sadly NOT delivered. What to do?

    The PREVIOUS government was also a failure. The Great Liberator had his moment of glory but sadly lost it by allowing so many shysters to board his band wagon that the people bit their tongue and voted him out. (Any government that has the likes of the execrable slapper Sajin Vass in it, among others like) is doomed . As the Great Liberator found out, winning the war was easier than winning the peace.

    What chances that the NEXT government we elect will deliver? The truth is that WE the people have a fatalistic streak and, given the present lot of never-do-well incompetents, we will elect another lot of bloody rogues who will screw us at the earliest opportunity.

    Write on Dr D J . There is more material ahead.

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