1 October, 2020

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More Of The Same…

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Those of you who’ve read what I have written over the years could, justifiably, experience a sense of déjà vu as you read what follows.

That said, I will make no apology for the burden of this piece because it will, again, state the eternal verities the mention of which have, hitherto, fallen on deaf ears and, perhaps, caused a certain glazing of some people’s eyes!

Anyway, the recent local government electoral debacle that the Yahapalanaya government brought upon itself has given fresh political life to the most corrupt and violent clique in the history of post-independence Sri Lanka and has encouraged that most venal of television news channels to embark on a fresh round of fact-twisting intended to achieve the personal ends of its totally unscrupulous owners. That knowingly or stupidly, the Ranil Wickremesinghe-led geniuses contributed to their own devastation would be evident to anyone with even a cursory interest in the political affairs of this country. It is hard to deal with a convoluted mess such as this without mentioning individuals and their conduct.

To indulge in a digression that has relevance to all of this let me refer to a conversation I had a few years ago with someone extremely close to the late Lasantha Wickrematunge.
When I asked him how Ranil Wickremesinghe could clasp to his bosom, politically speaking at least, a man whose relationship to Mahinda Rajapaksa was as close as personal propriety would permit, he told me that Ranil saw “no problem” with such friendships. Suffice it to say at this juncture that, as someone who has spent more than half a century in the political minefields of two continents, I found it hard to understand, leave alone accept, such a relationship. It simply did not make sense on the most simplistic and crass basis.

Those chickens came home to roost on February 10th when, as a corollary to the thumping that the Yahapalanaya lot took at the polls, the subject of the very conversation referred to in the previous paragraph was proven to have played a double game that contributed significantly to that political debacle.

I will not seek to pass a value judgement on Ranil W, his morality or intellect. However, let me refer to some other unchallenged information that should reinforce the fact that, even in the medium term, you cannot permit (encourage?) your closest political associates to consort with the hare and hunt with the hounds, politically speaking. This is not simply the application of a moral or ethical principle, it is plain common sense.

For many years, an individual no longer among the living and whom I cannot name due to editorial policy of the media at large, held pivotal positions in the UNP, by virtue of having had a father whose loyalty to that party and applied intelligence was never doubted, worked in a senior position at the Maharajah Corporation. Since he wasn’t considered by even his close associates to be a business genius, there had to be a reason that “Killi” Rajamahendran kept him on the Maharaja Corporation payroll at a time when that business empire was cozying up to the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, setting up huge posters in Colombo, the alleged UNP heartland, with the simple intent of totally destroying Ranil Wickremesinghe politically. What explanation could there be for the fact that the Maharajah Corporation was running such a campaign while holding in its embrace a senior functionary of that very Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP hierarchy? On the other side of that political coin was the fact that Ranil Wickremesinghe continued to maintain the very same individual in the upper echelons of the party over which he exerted such very tight control. Was the Maharaja Corporation very smart or was Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political megalomania such that he chose not to realize the implications of a situation which were as clear as the light of day to anyone taking even a cursory look at it? Both, I’d suggest.

But, there is no reason that all of us Sri Lankans should have to pay the price of the last vestiges of democracy in this land that was once the beacon of democracy in Southern Asia being destroyed because of such venality and/or stupidity.

Once more let me repeat the mantra that has eternal relevance: we can and must return this country to governance based on morality, ethics and principles. NOTHING less will suffice because those three elements are not simply philosophical concepts that reside in the craniums of a select few. They are a sine qua non for efficient governance and the very existence of a democratic system.

J.R, “Yankee Dick,” Jayewardene, was responsible for a chaotic version of the US system of bicameral government but that is no reason for us to continue on that terribly destructive path, particularly given the fact that we have recognized it for what it is as evinced by the attempt, however flawed, to reverse that disastrous course through the mechanisms that governed the recent local government elections.

We need to get back to the basics of democracy rather than return power to some snake oil salesman parading as a (reborn) saviour of our land!

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Latest comments

  • 10
    1

    Ranil is most power hungry man in Sri lanka.he won’t give up his position in UNP,because if he lost the election,at-least he will get opposition leader post(opposition leader post is only second to President and the Prime minister).he is killing the UNP, anyone can win except Ranil(who contest on UNP for president).

  • 11
    1

    Some say that Maharaja is an enemy of the UNP . Is not Ranil a bigger enemy of the UNP, only using that political party for his own glory ?

    It is said that Maharaja is against Ranil because he did not accept some names he suggested to be made party organizers. There is nothing wrong in suggesting names of people you think will make good politicians.

    What about those Ranil brought into high politics ? Ruwan Wijewardena, Sagala, Akila, Ravi K,Senasinghe, Malik, Harsha, Maropane- have they been good for the UNP ? How do you explain the absolute failure of the UNP this time ?
    By the way it is really funny how high powered foreign minister Maropane went to Dubai to being back Udayanga Weerataunga and came back empty hand. Did he think when he mentioned Ranil’s name Dubai will happily oblige ?

    • 0
      2

      kolla;
      Yet another “koheda yanney, malley pol” dissertation.

  • 4
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    Though your view loaded with vested interests disguised as moral outrage (as usual), should not be dignified with a comment, we do it for the sake of informing the CT readership of the humbug involved. Yes, fully agree that “we must return this country to governance based on morality, ethics and principles. NOTHING less will suffice”. The process should start with land reform because millions of this land have no living space due to robbing of their land by colonisers over four centuries to create commercial plantations for their needs. They left these lands to their ‘foreign’ posterity, leaving the native land owners with no place to live or cultivate. Though the late great leader Hector Kobbekaduwa and Mrs B started a process of correcting this injustice, the traitorous economic vandal JR Jayawardene stared to reverse this process. Ranil is made on the same mold and the coming week will see his last hopefully. As to the land, we will take it back.

    • 0
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      Dear George,
      You might not be aware of the following:
      In 1948, we had a thriving and efficient plantation economy giving 90% of our foreign earnings AND a surplus budget. It was manned by Indian Tamil workers. And yes, there were many Sinhalese drivers, farmers, tree-climbers, etc. The railways and Police were efficiently run by Burghers /Tamils.
      What did the likes of SWRD and his mate Kobbe do? They used the surplus budget to “educate” those beyond education and gave them land free, but they still cannot compete with Jaffna farmers who didn’t even get water. They are reduced to sending their women to slave for Arabs.
      Do you really want more of the same? You cannot do the same thing twice expecting different results, can you, dear Georgie?
      The only solution is to give the estates and the economy back to those who can run them properly, and that does not include educated tree- climbers, my dear.
      I have no sympathy for Killi Maharajah, but surely it is not an accident that he is from Jaffna.

    • 1
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      George II
      Have you chosen the pseudonym in the belief that it was the title of the man who was considered the biggest lunatic to ever govern England?
      Apropos your comment,”Though the late great leader Hector Kobbekaduwa and Mrs B started a process of correcting this injustice,…” you’d better accept the HISTORICAL FACT that your two heroes belonged to the most rapacious and parasitic class that Sri Lanka ever produced, the Radala, and that they lived up to every tradition of that class in their personal lives, neither so much as putting a bean seed in the ground while claiming to belong to the upper echelons of the “cultivator class.” I know that what is obviously a less-than-elementary education can’t produce the ability to read, leave alone understand, history, but at least you could ask somebody outside your circle of ignoramuses to provide you with some BASIC historical facts from time to time.
      Of course, even a smidgen of this will only be possible if you do not continue to ingest the poison you obviously do.

      • 1
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        Here we go again. Instead of answering the point the ‘genius’ Pooten gets on his hobby horse of throwing abuse at two of the greatest Sri Lankans. Take it into your thick skull, old man, the service they rendered by doing land reform was million time more than what they could have done by planting a bean seed. Will never have your corrupt view of history that tries to justify colonialism. You are trying to do the impossible. But you sod are bound by vested interests and being like a cat shat on a rock face. Suffer!

        • 1
          1

          Dear Georgie,
          At independence in 1948, we had a surplus balance of payments, mainly from the plantations owned by the British and worked by Indian Tamils. What did your two great heroes do? First they used the surplus to “educate” the layabouts who hitherto were chena cultivators, tree-climbers and the like, and then set about ruining the plantations by “land reform” and expulsion of the work-force.
          The current situation of Sinhalese women being the highest foreign exchange earners through slavery for Arabs is a direct result of this.
          Do you really expect that carrying on this way will bring better results? On the other hand, maybe it will be a good thing when the Indians/Chinese decide to call in their debts. I wonder which end you smart patriots will be laughing through on the day?

        • 1
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          George II
          You do have ambitions to succeed to the throne of the man who was responsible for the USA coming into existence!

          Why don’t YOU deal with the realities: weren’t both Kobbekaduwa and Mrs. B. PRACTICING members of the MOST PARASITIC CASTE GROUP IN SRI LANKAN HISTORY, THE KANDYAN RADALA?

          You certainly qualify for a Phd in hypocrisy in the matter of taking random samples and making sweeping generalisations. That’s okay, but to accuse someone you don’t agree with of that very sin is a bit much!

          And the apppellation you have sought to attach to me – “you sod” – speaks loudly enough of the kind of gutter culture that you subscribe to and what rests in your cranium, a substance with which shouldn’t even consider defiling granite.

  • 5
    1

    Mr Poorten I remember had a near death experience because he couldn’t afford Private Health Cover.
    Still he votes and barracks for Dr Ranil and his UNP..
    But over One million Sinhala people who do not have Private Health Cover but voted for UNP gave Dr Ranil the flick this time.
    May be the latter have realized who the real crooks are…

  • 4
    2

    Oh gosh EVDP. Typical….typical, aren’t you – the winking, winking, nudging, nudging type who comes out with all kinds of rhetoric to baffle the ahinsaka Sinhala masses.
    *
    Just say it out loud will you: Rajapaksa and Ranil are both voracious capitalists who are crazy about each other’s money-making ambition, and about each other. Only difference is, Ranil is about cutting up the country into thirds and whipping the masses to work hard for the capitalistic machine. Rajapaksa on the other hand is the benevolent father-figure of the masses who aims to get capital into the country with ships coming in and out of ports.

    • 1
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      ramona therese fernando:
      The pretentiousness of your name is only matched by that of your pretensions to wit.

  • 1
    1

    Yes. Get back to work everybody including the government. Country comes first.
    .
    When there is re-entry of Basil/Gotabhaya who were behind all allegations against Mahinda, this is not the time to agitate for a change or a general election. They are too selfish, corrupt, pig-headed and power hungry to be in a government. Now Basil says Mahinda is their “spiritual leader.” How dare he to put Mahinda down like that? The motive is clear. They want to confine Mahinda to a counselling/mentoring position not a leading position. There is a move to remove Mahinda from politics. Basil/Gotabhaya indirectly supported unseating Mahinda in 2015. Now the second game. It was Wimal who built a people’s fortress to protect and bring back Mahinda in February 2015. Basil/Gotabhaya was nowhere at the time. Wimal went through untold miseries/political witch-hunt including imprisonment in addition to shedding blood-sweat-tears to unite people as one to protect the country. Today he is sidelined and under vicious step-motherly treatment by Basil. Used and discarded. Basil should know that Wimal’s support base is more powerful and steadier than his hooligans.
    .
    No matter how much Basil/Gotabhaya try, the next President is not a Rajapaksa. We will make sure that. 100% guaranteed.
    .
    Mahinda of course, is different. We all are indebted to him for eliminating LTTE and saving the lives of 21 million people. I wouldn’t be here in writing this piece if it was not for him. The nation will never forget him. Rest assured. No prejudice should be done to MR/MS even to RW. “Yahapalanaya” has two more years and we should learn to have patience to make sure that there is political stability in the country. Democracy will prevail over dirty tricks, bribes, conspiracies and cheap shots. Country comes first.

    • 1
      1

      Dear Chumps,
      According to the government’s own statistics, only about 3000 Sinhala civilians died in LTTE attacks. So it is ridiculous for you to say “I wouldn’t be here in writing this piece if it was not for him. “
      3000 out of 21 million is only about 0.014 %. Compare that to 2 million killed by the Khmer Rouge. Really not quite the world’s worst terrorist organization, is it?
      I agree with the rest of your piece. keep up the good work.

    • 0
      2

      Champa ………………………… profession

      “Country comes first.”

      Hence liberate Buddhism from Sinhala/Buddhism.
      Liberate Buddhists from Sinhala/Buddhists.
      Liberate Sinhalese from Sinhala/Buddhist fascists.
      Liberate Buddhism from Mahasangha.
      Liberate Buddhism from constitution.

      Liberate the people from the tyranny of the minority (crooks, war criminals, rapists, fraudsters, racists, bigots, political prostitutes, SLFP, UNP, SLPP, JVP, ……………….. TNA, ……… Mahasangha, pseudo political analysts, columnists void of intellectual honesty, ………… ).

  • 0
    1

    Wow.. I just typed in “Mahavamsa” in the search field, to my surprise no mention of the Mahavamsa! I guess that’s different (Didn’t read the whole article, so please excuse me as I am not going to use time on reading the most boring details about Ranil and Maitripala and other persons. I just can see that there’s the usual “he said this to me “, bla bla and we are supposed to take all this as the truth… ).

  • 0
    0

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  • 1
    1

    In my humble view, Sri Lanka has never been a proper democracy, let alone “the beacon of democracy in Southern Asia” as the authour claims. What time period is the authour referring to? If he is thinking of the period just after independence to the rise of the JVP in the early 70’s or from the 70’s on to the 80’s -9-‘s etc…. The authour can’t surely be referring to the period before independence? !! I do not know, it seems people just manufacture stories and theories and accusations against governments, whole nations, religions etc, as it pleases them just to make a cheap point. In such a world, how can we expect to have functioning democracies?
     
    Also, please note that Srilanka is not a country suitable for democracy at all, with such vast differences and hostility between ethnic groups and the Sinhalese making such a large majourity of the the population – the minorities who are against the Sinhalese will never get their anti-Sinhalese policies implemented, which is viewed as undemocratic and discriminatory to the minorities. This is an imbalance that cannot be balanced in anyway, unless the differences between the minorities and the Sinhaelse are lessened – These are the difficulties and dilemmas the British made democracy in Srilanka face.

    • 0
      0

      Brilliant as they say, analysis. This is some democracy, with violence at the highest levels of government being both receipts and dealers of violence, not to mention terrorist groups influencing elections.

      You missed the point that the great democracies of the world are singularly ruled by the largest ethnic majority with no talk of separatism, unlike maybe the UK with its Scottish problem, but that is not based on language, just race.

      The most democratic countries in the world? Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the UK, all notable for their absence of ethnic strife, not only unheard of but physically impossible. See the complete list on the web.

      None of these have had political assassinations either.

    • 0
      1

      Punchi Point
      About the only thing accurate in your nonsense is what your pseudonym suggests. Incidentally, the Imperialists were guilty, all over the world, of horrendous crimes but to suggest that they were responsible for the Sinhala/Tamil divide in a nation that constantly harks back to the conflict between the forces of Dutugemunu and Elara is really pushing it!

    • 0
      0

      Punchi Point with Punchi brain,Punchi willi, suffering from p***s envy

      India just about manages its affairs sort of democratically albeit with linguistic/regional/religious/cultural ….. 3700 major differences among its 1.300 billion people.

      Amid all its difficulties and poverty it continues to produce world class scientists, thinkers, economists, …………………………….. It also produces its own brand of Religio-Linguistic fascists like your people.

      Be prepared for Hindutva invasion in the next decade or so. Start digging your bunkers as things are there won’t be any women folks left in this island for you to hide behind. Unfortunately VP also not around to protect you.

      I know its difficult for you to grasp even a simple problem. Could you tell us what 1 + 1 = ? is?

  • 0
    1

    If we had these elections scattered throughout the year as in the past, no one would have bothered to total the number of votes. With the present system, MR and the clan got an opportunity to make a big noise. Without grasping this, sadly, MS, RW, UNP, and SLFP are now dancing to MR’s tune.

  • 0
    1

    I agree with “Champa” – “Get back to work”. What are we doing? Nothing else to talk of, other than, Ranil, MY3, MR, Basil and now Gota. I heard one UNP MP lamenting that his party hasn’t got a man like “Basil”. That is the type of “BS” these incompetent, insensitive politicians utter and go about in business. Has anyone seen in the Government political arena, getting serious of making a “Turn Around” , other than carrying on “signature collections”; “holding private meetings”; “involved in a competition to prove a majority to rule and claim Premiership”; “negotiating alliances” – all based on personal agenda and mobilized to grab power. When these “Blind” and “Insensitive” politicos of the Government side are busy engaged in a “Dog Fight”; the newly sounded “Tremor” from nowhere has commenced to gather strength and “Brush” a streak of glowing paint in the hearts and minds of the people, in getting ready for the eruption in 2020. Already, “GOTA SYNDROME” has started and one media outlet interviewed him and “informed” the public that he (Gota) is ready and willing to give up US citizenship to contest in 2020. Then Basil has already dismissed any type of affiliation with MY3; but working towards a 2/3rd majority, that also in 2020. Then Mahinda is going around the country with the slogan ” Newatha Rata Hadamu” – “Let us Build the Country Again”. This campaign “ideology” has already received and given wide publicity, through print and social media, and I believe the “Acceptance Rates” are high. With the snail speed of recovery; the waste of time; stupidities, arrogance and insensitivity of the present Governing Parties, it is very imminent for the tremor to temper and erupt in the coming years. In short, in the midst of the present governing politicos are playing the “Adagio”, the “Venomous Spider” will creep in.

  • 0
    1

    I am NOT a Ranil fan. In fact, in my opinion he should have stepped down decades ago. In 2015, we were greatly relieved, however when he and My3 formed the “yahapalanaya”, but ever so discouraged by the commissions and omissions of these two.

    My3 has proved himself incapable of rising above that of a “grama niladhari” and R.W cannot do without his FRCS club. My3 should have devolved all party affiliations and remained the Independent President and should have moved decisively against the MR gang, kept the Cabinet at around 24, not appointed those whom the electorate rejected, kicked out fatty from CB within 12 hours and recouped the losses to the CB from Perpetual, not delayed this election so long, not allowed the GMOA gooons to hold the nation to ransom, etc. Then the voters would have shown more support.

    Now, of course, we prefer Ranil to any other alternative.

    • 0
      1

      Kumaran:
      As pessimistic as what you have to say sound, it’s hard to argue with the accuracy of the description of the status quo and the logic of what you have to say.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Pooten: I heard Ranil wants to by pass all thefts. We do not know about PCOLI report. We do not know about how much banks lost and what happened to those who took bribes and that money. I heard Ramnil wants to offer ORUMITHTHA NADU TO TANA and establish a govt them. Maithripala IS threatening if you are going to do that I invite SLPP to the govt. that is the current by pass. My qyestion is Why LAw enforcemtn is not arresting RANIL and RAVI. why do they need politicians to OK in order to arrest thieves. How do you trust Food note gang and those who wrote books saying nothing happened. they have proventhat they are vultures.

  • 0
    1

    I think if Bank charimen etc., arrested they would expose how politicians bankrupt banks. Peoples bank has gone bankruot more than once. Politicians do not allow those corruptions to come out. Eventhe fake jewelleriy in the bank, bank jewellery section handed over to private sector. All those are hidden. I heard people cannot pawn a Ring, that will come out as a fake.

  • 1
    0

    I heard omse officials in banks say We do not gold retail, instead we sell wholesale to “pottanikaaryas”. I think that is Hetti Veediya. some people have been, earlier, those who pushes carts

    • 1
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      corrected as We do not sell gold Retail. I heard the TOp court di dnot want to issue arrest warrentss. IS that true ?

  • 1
    0

    either Karunathilake or KArunanayake are connected.

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Emil,
    1. It is you who can not grasp a single argument and continue to write nonsense. The non-sense of “the beacon of democracy in Southern Asia” is more or less like the non-sense “2500 years of glorious Sinhalese civilisation” of the people you criticize. Both of which have never existed. Sure there was a better democracy in SriLanka earlier, but it was not a beacon of democracy, and there was a Sinhalese civilisation, but not at all a glorious one as some claim.
     
    2. I never suggested or even implied that the British or any other European imperialists were responsible for the Sinhala-Tamil divide. However it could be safely shown that British policies defined and catalysed the ethnic problems into the present status. As you might know the very people who criticize the Sinhalese and Sri Lanka always claim that it was the British who unified the island into a unitary state by joining the Sinhalese and Tamil parts in 1833. So how can there be an ethnic divide prior to this unification? For an ethnic divide to exist within a country/state, that country/state should first exist, don’t you think so?
     
    3. It is not clear what exactly you think a democracy is, but if you think Srilanka was ever “the beacon of democracy in Southern Asia” then I do not think you know what democracy is. To me it seems that you think that democracy in Srilanka can be achieved by just removing corrupt politicians. To get a simple clarification can you please say when exactly was Srilanka a beacon of democracy? Then we could know what your idea of what a democracy is (time under Sirimawo and Jayawardana is obviously out, judging by your comments in this article).

  • 0
    0

    4. You yourself have proved the main part of my argument that Sri Lanka is divided and highly polarized along ethnic lines, which I mean is an obstacle to proper democracy, when you say “… Sinhala/Tamil divide in a nation that constantly harks back to the conflict between the forces of Dutugemunu and Elara ! ”. This harking back happens because our country is ethnically polarized. A well functioning democracy is not attainable when the population of a country is so highly polarized as ours and democracy is not going to materialize just because there is an absence of corrupt politicians or violence. Democracy and the parliamentary system which the British implemented here is suitable for countries where the population is more or less homogeneous and undivided. The enmity between the Tamils and the Sinhalese started because of the power struggle among politicians, with the introduction of communal representation. Communal representation pr. definition is a representation based on divisions along communal lines. An example of conflicts created by this kind of division in governing – Ponnambalam Ramanadan’s attempt in 1886-88 to absorb the Muslims into the Tamil population to gain more power and representation which seriously created a wedge between the Tamils and the Muslims.

  • 0
    0

    5. When you yourself have brought in Dutugemunu-Elara conflict into the discussion, you should know that it was the British scholars in the 19th century who popularized the Mahavamsa myths which were not much known earlier among the general Sinhalese populace. Even the Vijaya myth was not so known. Only a handful of the learned and some monks knew even of the Mahavamsa. As for the Tamils, they had not even heard of the Mahavamsa, let alone Elara. Even in the history writings of the Tamils in the early 20th century Elara was not even mentioned. First time Elara is mentioned in Tamil history writings is in 1912! (Ref. Tamils and the meaning of history, by Hellmann Rasanayagam).
     
    All your answers to readers here are full of aggressive personal attacks. Really if you are the kind of people who are advocating for democracy I do not think we would have a better Sri Lanka if your kind of democracy is realized here.
     
    There are two direct questions to you please answer them if you are serious about what you are writing, then answer them:
    Question number 1: How can there be an ethnic divide or for that matter ethnic unity between the Tamils and the Sinhalese prior to the unification in 1833 – for an ethnicity to exist that country should first exist, don’t you think so?
    Question number 2: When exactly was Sri Lanka a beacon of democracy?

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