19 October, 2021

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Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa Hoodwinks World Body

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa (NGR) and his government’s nonchalance regarding Nations High Commission for Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka, which was a confidential document but released prematurely by the Foreign Minister to score political points, is typical of a dictatorial regime trying to put up a brave face before succumbing to the inevitable. NGR’s appointment of yet another commission to inquire into human rights abuses is simply an exercise to hoodwink the world body.  However, odds are stacked against the President and his government this time. The regime is going to face a rocky road in Geneva, and sadly, it would be the country and its people who would have to bear the consequences of any sanction imposed by the UN, because of an obdurate leader’s recalcitrance.

NGR and the Rajapaksa regime with their aficionados and apparatchiks are in a mood of defiance and reject any interference or criticism by world bodies and they justify their stand in the name of championing Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. The rulers seem to have a myopic view of the concept of sovereignty, which has undergone radical changes and lost much of its original meaning as promulgated in the 19th century. In fact, Sri Lanka has already compromised its territorial sovereignty by giving China a 99-year lease on Hambantota harbor, and possibly by selling to the Indian Adani business group 49% ownership over trans-shipment business in the East Container Terminal in Colombo. Even political sovereignty is not as absolute today as it was in the 19th century. For example, no country today can unilaterally declare war on another in the name of defending its sovereignty. Even the mighty US had to go to the UN to get approval before bombing Saddam Hussain’s Iraq and Taliban’s Afghanistan. Political sovereignty is maintained through a series of patch work with international institutions and world organizations. Without comprehending such facts, asking UN not to interfere in the affairs of an elected government is to exhibit total ignorance of how the world system operates today. To ignore strictures from world bodies and refuse to cooperate with them is a dangerous game that could be catastrophic to the disobedient.     

NGR is also grossly underestimating if not totally dismissing the growing strength and capabilities of the Sri Lankan diaspora community – thanks to JR’s July 1983 pogrom, open economy and a borderless world – which is able to influence public opinion and political decisions in strategic Western countries. As the regime continues to oppress its minorities, harass its critiques and moves towards a militaristic autocracy backed by Buddhist supremacists, expatriation of the oppressed and the disgruntled would continue ceaselessly. It was initially the Tamils who emigrated, but now disenchanted Sinhalese and fearful Muslims have joined the exodus. The brain drain from Sri Lanka is brain gain to the West and, it is the collective voice of the expatriate Sri Lankans that is bringing pressure on world bodies to take action against their home country oppressors. In a sense, even UNHCR reports are a response to the collective voice of migrant communities.  

Under the grip of the supremacists the current Sri Lankan regime has turned the country into an ultra-nationalist Sinhala Buddhist militarized autocracy. NGR’s continuing belligerence over cremating Covid-19 killed Muslim bodies for example, despite local expert opinion and international recommendation to allow burial as an option, shows how tightly the supremacist lobby is controlling the regime.  This is the tragic state of affairs in the country today. It is not the President or Prime Minister and his cabinet per se that is setting the agenda, but a supremacist cabal that surrounds these politicians and who helped them to capture government. It is this cabal that is also insisting on the national anthem be sung exclusively in Sinhalese during Independence Day celebrations. It was their demand that made NGR to appoint an Archaeological Task Force (ATF), filled with more clergymen than archaeologists, including the head of a pro-government media network, to earmark and excavate lands in the Eastern Province so that it would pave the way for more Sinhala Buddhist colonization in that province. Lately, ATF has resumed its excavation work in the North, obviously with the same objective. In short, the supremacists have an exclusivist agenda with the ultimate objective of transforming Sri Lanka into a Sinhala-Buddhist State in which minorities would be excluded from decision making roles. As one of them publicly stated, ‘minorities are tenants living in a house owned by the Sinhalese’. The so called one-country-one-law mantra is emblematic of this hegemonic ideology. This agenda cannot be materialized however, without an element of force. NGR’s appointment of military men to areas of civil administration, his posting of the same to take charge of pandemic related public health work in all twenty-five districts, and regular consultation with selected members of Buddhist clergy are all indicators that he is totally committed to actualizing the supremacist ideal. This commitment necessitates that he should also stand against any pressure from the UN and its agencies. 

Unfortunately, to him, his government and the cabal, the country’s economic prospects look extremely challenging, and hopes of quick recovery from the current depressive state is dashed by the spread of a more dangerous strain of the Corona virus. Of course, 500,000 doses of free Indian vaccine have arrived, and it may be a gift in expectation that NGR regime would concede to bestow 49% ownership to the Adani Group amidst increasing opposition from trade unions and others. China also has promised another 500,000 doses. Even if the pandemic disappears magically overnight, economic recovery and a desirable level of growth to arrest deteriorating living standards of ordinary people cannot be achieved, because of structural problems inherent to the country’s truncated capitalist mode of development. Without detailing the theoretical side of this issue, it is sufficient to state that the productive small and medium size enterprises that contribute most to Sri Lanka’s economic growth are starved of capital and other inputs, because the little surplus generated in the economy is siphoned off and transferred to the unproductive financial sector.  Financialization of world economies under neo-liberalism has not spared Sri Lanka. NGR’s patchwork remedies without systematic structural changes are not going to bear fruits.  The current regime is incapable of undertaking such changes.Given this scenario it would be double jeopardy to fall out with UNHCR.       

As economic difficulties mount widespread discontent against the regime will be unavoidable. The regime therefore needs a scape goat. This is the rationale for NGR to keep minority issues alive and unresolved. With UN becoming more assertive it would be prudent for the regime to give up its showy belligerence, avoid hoodwinking the world body, and take meaningful steps towards reconciliation and save the country from catastrophe. Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat (Those whom God wishes to destroy, he first deprives them of reason).  

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Latest comments

  • 13
    4

    In this article, you have hit not one but several nails right on the head.

  • 16
    2

    Rajapaksas have over the last 16 years mastered the art of hoodwinking not only their citizens but also other countries and International Bodies.
    They know that they can depend on China/Russia. How long can they dish out money to SL without getting their pound of flesh(land mass).
    It’s sad the SL intelligencia aren’t seeing the impending DANGER. They too are subjugated by Politicians and Monks

  • 3
    7

    The world has no problem with these criminals. They only affect Sri Lankans.

    Some are disappointed that Easter Sunday terrorists were not released.

    • 9
      1

      GATAM,
      Do you know who are the Easter Sunday terrorists arrested or charged to be released?
      It is true that world has no problem with criminals as SriLanka has no problem with these criminals. Majority of Sinhalese will be disappointed if these criminals were punished.

    • 3
      4

      GATAM,
      They are also disappointed because ‘The Tail Cannot Wag the Dog’.

      • 4
        1

        Of course the 2009 Losers are also howling. Understandable.

        But this does not mean Gota is doing well. He must look after the economy of his voters. Otherwise he loses.

        • 0
          1

          You are now showing your true stupid opportunistic racist colours. Prior to the election you were trying to woo the Thamizh speakers to vote the the UNP or the other idiot. This failed . Now does not matter so show your true colours and what you think of the island’s Thamizh

  • 2
    0

    In Sri Lanka “HOODWINKING” is the name of the “GAME” played by all the major political parties and Leaders to capture power. The “WINNER” is decided on the basis of the “DEGREE” to which it is played and scored by the number of votes. In this “GAME” the “LOOSER” is always the “VOTER”, but the irony is that major decider never realizes the loss. This will continue so long as the voter is gullible and slavish.

  • 6
    0

    The Rajapaksa’s might be racists, incompetent, corrupt, and willing to sell chunks of this country to China, and though they may think they have duped international bodies, they already have earned a very bad reputation abroad, and their past history makes them a criminal enterprise. We have a long list of crimes during their last reign of terror, and there have been endless pleas from human right agencies, family members of those killed, or missing, and Judicial and Medical organizations, to Human Rights organizations, who are fully aware of what the Rajapaksa’s are capable of. They also have experienced the Rajapaksa targeting of UN and other officials, who question these crimes, by personally attacking them.

    The world knows. The world is watching. When the time comes to put out our greedy hands out for aid, charity, and loans, they will remember, then it will be time to beg from China again, who will once again take advantage, and take another bite out of our country.

    • 3
      8

      Ashan,
      “they already have earned a very bad reputation abroad, and their past history makes them a criminal enterprise.”

      —-
      What you say does not apply to Rajapakshes but applies very well to Tamils. Rajapakshes have earned a very good reputation abroad for wiping out LTTE Tamil terrorists from the soil of Sinhale (Sri Lanka). Tamils have earned a bad reputation abroad as ‘Terrorists’ because of barbaric acts carried out in Sri Lanka. LTTE ‘Koti Dispora’ has earned a bad reputation for their involvement in drug and human trafficking, money laundering and credit card scams.

  • 9
    3

    There is no point in UN passing another resolution anticipating the Govt to take action. What’s needed today is stern action by the UN against SL, it could be sanctions against armed forces and Judiciary in the country for starters.

    • 8
      1

      In addition sanctions should include against those Special Commission Members who are white washing the human rights violators.

    • 3
      3

      Buddhist1,
      How would you respond if your grandchild ask ‘Grandpa why Tamils are called terrorists?’

      • 3
        1

        Eagle,
        How would you respond if your grandchild said : “Seeya why are you always looking at poor aunties on that phone? Why don’t you send some money to that aunty to buy some clothes?”

  • 5
    1

    Here I put some News pieces read, randomly or arbitrarily. Lankawe is facing acute shortage of dollar. So it instructed banks to stop LCs opening. That may affect banks’ income so said banks not to pay dividends. Then Harsha says Lankawe is getting loans from China in Yuan and paying by dollar. Whom do you think the “Thevankoos”(Slender Loris-a brainless mischief maker) siting on the top of monetary administration? China is not just forcefully feeding loan and plugging out lands from Lankawe, but even swindling the few available dollars for import food for poor or materials for manufacturing, in exchange for its unwanted Yuan. The Rupee was getting better or falling slowly when the imports were controlled. Now they want to remove the ban on the luxury cars. They think they are too smart by giving less than 50% from one terminal in one port to India and buy India to block the new resolution> They are can fool the Pariah Demelo Dr. Jeysankar, but not the IC. IC will act in time in appropriate ways. They dealt with Old Japan and Germany, They dealt with USSR. When time comes, they will deal with Lankawe and China. They wouldn’t need India. The nationalized ports from Britain & deported Tamils from Estates. Now they are selling ports to China & India, renting women to ME & Imports Chinese workers.
    Vva Lanka!

    • 3
      5

      Mallaiyuran,
      Lankawe has to go through hell because Sinhalayo gave citizenship to Dravidians brought to Sinhale by colonial rulers to do the dong key work for them. In 1948, the Government should have deported all Dravidians entered Sinhale illegally during colonial rule as Burma and few African countries did. If they did that Sinhalayo do not have this headache.

  • 3
    7

    Ameer Ali,
    “The regime is going to face a rocky road in Geneva, and sadly, it would be the country and its people who would have to bear the consequences of any sanction imposed by the UN, because of an obdurate leader’s recalcitrance.”

    If the country and people have to bear the consequences if UNHRC or any other party impose sanctions it is not because of an obdurate leader’s recalcitrance but because of the people who created the problem.
    The leaders and the people in this country have to go through this harassment by UNHRC and other parties because racist separatist Tamil politicians passed the Vaddukkodei resolution in 1976 to create a separate State for the Dravidians brought to Yapanaya by colonial rulers based on a bogus claim ‘Traditional Homeland’ and urged Tamil youths to take up arms to achieve that objective leading to LTTE Tamil terrorist campaign that slaughtered Sinhalayo using suicide bombers, claymore bombs and chemical weapons for three decades.
    The Government of Sri Lanka made several attempts to come to a peaceful settlement through negotiations but all those attempts failed because of the stubbornness of the LTTE leader. When those attempts failed, the Government had no other choice other than to eliminate LTTE Tamil terrorists using Armed Forces.

  • 1
    2

    Yesterday, even at very late, as I checked the Covid-19 web site, the number was in some three hundred. But Today when I checked media, it said Thursday it was 892, the highest so far. What a game. Why HD cannot say that Thursday was the highest number, honestly, instead of hide and seek game? This 892 may not be the real number and it is not the peak.

  • 1
    0

    The Rajapaksa family government while fighting a do or die battle to contain pandemic COVID-19, has wittingly or unwittingly has opened a second front against not the Muslims but the Hindu Tamils. Scores of Hindu Temples and places considered holy to the Hindus are under siege by the pan Sinhala – Buddhist Presidential Task Force appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapakse to identify places of importance to the Buddhists in the East.
    The PTF is spearheaded by Major General (Retired) Kamal Karunaratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and several Buddhist monks. Kamal Gunaratne led the 53rd Division during the war and is accused of committing war crimes.
    In this unholy mission, the PTF is ably assisted by the Archaeological Department as well as the Sinhala – Buddhist army. First time in history scores of Hindhu temples in the North – East have been laid siege under the cloak of identifying Buddhist remnants. The army, which boasts that it is a Sinhala – Buddhist army, is providing the security and logistics for the siege.
    Four Trustees and the priest of the Hindu temple Vedukkunari Hill Ad Easwarar Trustees have been arrested and jailed for damaging Buddhist remnants in the area. After a Court fight, they have been set free on bail.

  • 2
    1

    A very sad state of affairs. What this country might have been if not for corrupt leaders and subservient citizens. Rajapakistan run by the Sinhala Buddhist military will be the final outcome of this tragicomedy. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/778220

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