By Jagath Asoka –
Most of my friends ask me, “Jagath, what do you know about Sri Lanka? You have visited your own country only twice over the last 27 years; you do not know what is going on.” Well, I agree with them, partially. As you know, I do not have to be a fish in the ocean or drink from the ocean to know its flavor; all I need is just a drop. You are that drop. You lived in the US; you enjoyed and benefitted from all the freedoms—specially the Freedom of Speech and the Rule of Law—privileges, and comforts of the this country while you were living here, and we are still enjoying them because people like Martin Luther King sacrificed their lives to give us a better life in this—our adopted—country; we came here because we were fed up with our own country; this is not a perfect system at all; but Sri Lankans live here because they have a better life here than in their own holy land. You lived here for the same reasons until your brother became President. I know that all of my friends who are professionals here in this country left Sri Lanka because we were fed up with thugs, politicians, and their goons; the best have left; now, the thugs have become our leaders.
Even though we do not live in Sri Lanka, even though we are not Sri Lankan citizens, Sri Lanka is our holy land. Sri Lanka is where our hearts reside, where our souls linger, where our roots are, the roots that are invisible to the rest of the world. Sri Lanka is the sacred center of our eternal mediation.
Mr. Gotabaya, I have been following your career; I admired your humility when you did not take credit for winning the war, instead you let Sarath Fonseka bask in the glory of that historic, indelible victory; however, when he pursued his own political life, you jailed him. Sri Lankans know that Sarath Fonseka can be a loose cannon; mercurial, unpredictable, jingoistic, and even hubristic, but that is a different story. The international community still thinks that both you and Sarath Fonseka committed war crimes; however, Sri Lankans do not think that the final assault and annihilation of Prabhakaran were war crimes. The international community has to walk in Sri Lankan shoes to see through the Sri Lankan eyes.
While driving to work yesterday, I heard your voice on the BBC News Hour; you were cordial and willing to answer questions. Would you have done the same and answered questions asked by a Sri Lankan journalist? Would you be able to handle penetrating questions, questions that would make your blood boil? I have seen your interviews by other journalists; when you snarl, bark, and growl at them, you become guilty in our eyes. Perceptions are the mother of all impressions. Even Mervin Silva now knows how to handle questions without acting like a monkey who has eaten some Kochchi peppers. During this interview, you asked your accusers not to accuse you but give concrete evidence to show that you are the man who is behind these white vans; you are the man who makes Sri Lankans disappear; you said that in a democracy you cannot just have a small group of people who can make others disappear without a trace. Are you sure about that? If you are not behind this, then who is doing this? You defeated the LTTE, but you do not know who is sending the white vans? If you are not doing it, but if you cannot stop it, you are impotent; so, you do not deserve to be our secretary of defense.
I called all four of you—not Dudley—Janus-faced stooges because the way you behave with journalists make me laugh: when a Sri Lankan journalist asks you and your brothers a question that you cannot handle, you behave like monkeys who have eaten some kochchi peppers; when a white journalist ask the same question, all of you evade the question and smile, showing your teeth like ape brothers who are our closest relatives. I do not know about all of you, but the three stooges always did that. Be kind to our own people; treat them the same way that you treat white people.
I am wondering, “How did this happen in four years?” The man who annihilated Prabakaran is now the alleged man who is behind white van disappearances. This is also a fact: white vans take people and make them disappear without a trace; it happens right in front of everyone. Don’t you think it is worse than terrorism? Even Prabakaran could not use the white vans the way they are being used now. It is also a fact that if these white vans are sent by local thugs, you have no power to stop them. You associate with thugs and condone the thugs who have committed murder in front of everyone; it is a fact that the army—they cannot act without your approval—shot innocent Sri Lankans who were worried about their drinking water, who were worried that water might contain chemicals that would give cancer to their children. What would you have done if you had felt that the water that you have to drink everyday might contain chemicals that would give cancer to your own children? What would you have done if someone had shot your kid? Would you just take money and say thank you, Sir. Goons of Prabakaran used worse than biblical methods: Happy shall be those who take and dash thy little ones against the stones, who take the infants from their mothers’ breasts, or out of their arms, and dash out their brains against the rocks.” (Psalms); correct me if I am wrong, did Prabakaran shoot his soldiers who asked for drinkable water? You are right; we do not have any evidence to show that you are the one who is doing it, yet. But can you disprove the accusations; can you be transparent? If you are doing it for national security reasons, then get it approved legally, and let the people know. After all, the Chief Justice was appointed by your brother. Obama is using drones to fight terrorists; he says that these surgical operations are conducted with minimum collateral damages. His diction is not belligerent because what Obama is doing is not personal. The American public is behind him; they support him; nobody accuses Obama of using drones to attack his hatemongers, and they are a dime a dozen in this country. Obama is a man of integrity, a man of candor; a black man who is white. Is it true that this white van syndrome is beyond your control because thugs are also using the same method and blame it on you, but you cannot punish them because you too are using the same method?
Most of my friends ask me not to criticize Rajapaksas; Sri Lanka is not the USA; things are done differently in Sri Lanka; well, that is their opinion, not mine. You know that a man is honest, candid, and straightforward when he agrees with you, sometimes; sometimes, you do not. Only a sycophant, an unctuous brown-noser would agree with you all the time; they are not your friends, colleagues, professionals, or patriots. They are just parasites. You are surrounded by parasites that keep feeding on public funds. You have lost the career diplomats who did a yeoman’s job to protect you from the international community; you send a guy, who used to dress up like a prostitute and stand in front of Thusrtan College at night, to Geneva to tell Sri Lanka’s story of human rights. I do not think even the three stooges could have come up with an episode like that.
I once wrote that I met one of your teachers at Ananda College, an erudite, candid, straightforward gentleman who taught you. I still remember what he said about your father: “Rajapaksas’ father was an honest gentleman.” Do you think the teachers who taught your children would say the same thing about you?
My two cents: CHOGM has put Sri Lanka on the silver screen. This movie is going to be a blockbuster hit; forget both Hollywood and Bollywood; this is CHOGMwood. Would you have town-hall-style meetings in major cities in Sri Lanka, at least, in Colombo and Jaffna and let the world leaders listen and answer questions of ordinary Sri Lankans, not just from Colombo but also from villages that we have never heard of?; you can invite our indigenous people to participate in this event; if you did that I wonder what your American friends would say; would you and your brothers participate in these meetings and answer questions of ordinary Sri Lankans, not the questions of your laptop licking brown-nosers who pretend to be journalists. People can submit their questions anonymously so that they do not have to fear the white van treatment. It is like a lottery; each world leader picks a random question and answers it; interpreters instantly interpret the answers and participants listen through their own headphones, if necessary. That is all you have to do for the time being: we need to resurrect and wrest our freedom of speech and the rule of law. You and your brothers are not above the law, and we are not below it. This is your duty; you owe it to your Father who is still watching you. There will be a Day of Judgment for all of us. There will be Rapture for all of us; there is a hell and heaven for all of us; Nirvana cannot be bought with the money that was stolen from hapless Sri Lankans. I know that all of you are not voracious readers, so I am going to stop.
One last comment and question: Mr. Gotabaya, God gave you a chance not only to redeem your sins but also to be eternally alive; did you kick him in the groin?