5 December, 2020

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Our Toy Soldiers And A Boorish Political Culture

By Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena –

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena

The sheer buffoonery and boorishness reigning predominant in Southern Sri Lanka’s political culture was well demonstrated during the New Year by two incidents exposing a rotten and corrupted political reality despite post-war development and the beautification of roads and cities.

The sacred veil that protects the BBS

Last week’s column dwelt on the first of these incidents when BBS monks stormed a press conference being held by its critic, the Mahiyangana monk, Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thera and were recorded live on television with their fists upraised. The press conference had been called to clarify a BBS-leveled allegation of the resettlement of war-affected Northern Muslims within the Wilpattu National Park.

The Wildlife Department clarified this week that no illegal construction had taken place within Wilpattu but that some displaced families had put up temporary shelters within the sanctuary bordering the Park. A magisterial inquiry has commenced into the incident on the complaints of the affected monk and others, into the abuse leveled at them by the BBS monks.

Quite amusingly, the police meanwhile claimed that they had not arrested the BBS monks due to concerns that religious and ethnic harmony may be affected. The question then remains as to whether the hate filled rhetoric of the BBS cannot be said to damage ethnic and religious harmony? What is the sacred veil that is drawn over their activities so that they are rendered impervious to the law? The political patronage afforded to the BBS by powerful individuals in the political hierarchy stands thoroughly exposed. Moreover, the total politicization of the police function in such instances should be the proper subject of comment and inquiry by retired and honourable police officers.

Is this what the Middle Path means?

Further arrant nonsense was to follow. We saw the BBS General Secretary Galagoda Gnanasara Thera, accompanied by his Secretary and Head of Research no less, holding numerous press conferences where it was pronounced that the BBS was following the middle path in ‘speaking firmly’ to ‘tame’ someone (see Daily Mirror, April 17th 2014).

Anyone who has had the doubtful privilege of listening to the abuse and hate filled rhetoric that the BBS engages in against minority communities would be forgiven for laughing out loud at this disingenuous explanation of what being ‘firm’ and what the middle path means. Indeed, one is tempted to ask as to what are the precise functions of this so-called BBS Head of Research? Perchance to collect and store various verbal variations of abuse if not outright filth which may be used on appropriate occasions, one may think.

This is not to say that the actions of Ministers such as Rishad Bathiudeen have not been without provocation as we well saw in relation to the mob attacks on the Mannar Magistrate’s Court not so long ago. But there is legal recourse if illegal settlements are in issue. The solution does not lie in inflammatory and racist rhetoric uttered by monks.

And it must be asked as to why there is a deafening silence on the part of the Mahanayakes of the main chapters at least to condemn such behavior, particularly when advice is proffered and statements issued by the heads of the Sangha on diverse topics ranging from the 2014 Geneva resolution in regard to Sri Lanka to the proper functioning of the Sri Lanka Law College.

A toy soldier Mayor and his pistol

In the second instance that is focused on, pro-government political thugs in Hambantota with their sarongs (literally) upraised and brandishing pistols pounced on visiting opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians engaged in a fact finding trip to the Hambantota Port and Mattala Airport. Stones and eggs were thrown at their vehicle. And a pistol brandishing Mayor of Hambantota was merely heard to say ludicrously that he had come there to protect the besieged parliamentarians, that it was only a toy pistol and that he was only a ‘toy soldier’ (see Daily Mirror, Saturday April 19th 2014). As pathetically ineffectual as the UNP may be as a functional opposition, it was a grim reflection as to how dismal our political culture has become.

These events are sharply distinguished from other manifold examples of abuse by the extreme impunity with which jeering abusers acted in the full glare of television cameras. In the wake of this ugly incident, the police spokesman assured that an inquiry will be held as to the non-action of the police in this regard. We await, of course, with bated breath, the outcome of such inquiries. But it must also be asked as to why only an investigation against the police? What about the pistol brandishing corpulent Mayor? Is he also protected by some magic veil?

Ignoring the dangers at our own peril

In sum, it may well be said that rampaging monks and political thugs operated under previous Presidencies as well. Yet the important distinction is that peoples’ rights were not so openly trodden upon with contempt and crudity. The law was not proved to be so totally ineffectual. The police did not shamelessly permit themselves to be recorded standing idly by while abuses occurred. Perpetrators did not act with such deliberate political patronage afforded to them. These are the crucial distinctions between then and now. Many of us are reluctant to awaken ourselves to realize the dangerous enormity of what is around us. Ignoring this however will only be at our own peril for these images and these crudities have increasingly come to symbolize what post-war Sri Lanka has been reduced to in the eyes of a critical world.

Inevitably, critics point to these incidents and ask as to how complex questions of justice, ethnic harmony and equity between communities can be achieved when the most basic civilities in political life are brushed aside? And they are right in their puzzlement. That much is surely clear.

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Ms Pinto-jayawardhana@,

    Congrats for your great analysis :)
    Unfortunatly, our people are very unlucky to have given power to the far abusive ones. THe situation is almost comparable as the weapon is given to a mad soldier. By very same filthy langauge that Mahinda Rajapakshe is used to be – they attacked the UNP MPs including lawyer Ajith Perera with police standing next to them. While president himself stays dead silent, as the minister of defence, nor has minister of justice reacted yet as usual. This has now reached to all appalling levels, beyong all bearing.
    Actiing leader of UNP has announced that no any of those culprits have been taken to custody yet.

    • 2
      1

      Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena,

      I broadly agree with your views above. However, I like to point out the following:

      “Yet the important distinction is that peoples’ rights were not so openly trodden upon with contempt and crudity. The law was not proved to be so totally ineffectual. The police did not shamelessly permit themselves to be recorded standing idly by while abuses occurred. Perpetrators did not act with such deliberate political patronage afforded to them.”

      The above statements are not quite accurate: Police either watched murder, rape, looting and destruction of property with the tacit approval of the regimes in 1977 and 1983 pogroms against Tamils. How many murderers were prosecuted?

      Now the police and the regime are behaving the same way towards Bhikkus not supporting the regime:

      They came for Tamils, then they came for Muslims, they came for Christians, now they are coming for the Sinhala Buddhists too.

      Too late to expect sympathy from others. Even if you feed a snake with milk, one day it will strike you dead. World knows Sri Lanka’s 66 year history of impunity.

  • 1
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    Dear Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena –

    “The sheer buffoonery and boorishness reigning predominant in Southern Sri Lanka’s political culture was well demonstrated during the New Year by two incidents exposing a rotten and corrupted political reality despite post-war development and the beautification of roads and cities.”

    That is his job assigned to them by the family, Mafiosos. Democratic, should be “democratic”. LTTE was “democratic” too. People are confused with the term democratic.

    The original meaning of the word Barbarian, was somebody who did not speak Greek, just said babababa….

    That included, Romans, Persians, Arabs, Indians and Chinese and others, including the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils. Now the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tsmils call each other Barbarians because they do not speak Sinhala or Tamil. Both are correct. Both are Barbarians.

    Both Sinhala and Tamils are Barbarians, and should get back to their native land South India as shown by DNA analysis. Then, the sacred land of Native Veddah will be at peace and can live in harmony with the environment.

    • 3
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      Amarasiri@,
      I never thought until I watched myself that video, that UNP MPs were really attackd. I noticed one of those IRC looking thug – may be one another cousin or step brother of Rajapakshes made all attempts to physcially attached the honourable MP Ajith Perera, while also using a langauge that is far abusive than the usual filthy of Mervin De Silva. I wonder why the president is not yet ashamed about the incident. He acts as a naluwa-actor before each and everyone when visiting any place, but his administration to stay silence further while innocent parliamentarians are being attacked, I dont think any country would welcome. Right at the moment, not even 3 weeks gone since UN resolution on human right violations have been passed by majority votes of UNHRC, this kind of incidents to come up can have greater consequences, no doubt.

      • 3
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        I think none of the UNP MPs used any kind of abusive langauge. They behaved educated and cultured men, even if the police and two army uniform wearing two men were just gaping at the incident how the attacks were being carried out on the MPs. This is a great sign not only to the locals, if the nation is awake, but also to entire worlds to make their own assessment regarding the ongoing alarming situation in terms of human rights in the country where whose leader is highly alleged to have commited war crimes. The current incident shows the levels of their seriousness towards the improvement of the human rights – are beyond all ethics and norms. We desperately need a change, so only way out would be to strengthen the hands of the opposition (UNP, DP, JVP and all other parties incl. anti fractions within the hetegenous coalition UPFA).

      • 2
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        Sirimal

        That is his job assigned to them by the family, Mafiosos.

        Their job is to prevent knowing the Truth. Says three flights came. They want to hide something. What is it?

        So, now the MP’S need to do an economic analysis and show that, if it is:

        A white Elephant or Not.

        Data and more data is needed. That is what Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler did over 100 years. Prove that it is the Earth that goes the Sun and not the other way around.

        UNP MPs attacked at Hambantota (HQ Video)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nm-6VwHuNc0

        Published on Apr 18, 2014
        The team comprised UNP MPs Ajith P. Perera, Eran Wickremaratne, R. Yogarajan, Nalin Bandara and Ajith Manapperuma. While our bus was attacked outside the airport,
        17.04.2014

        UNP MPs attacked at Hambantota

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4Hacx6mXT0

        Published on Apr 17, 2014
        10692

        • 3
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          Amarasiri@,

          President of the country should be the president for ruling parlimentarians, opposition parliamentarians and all citizens regardless of any barriers. But the current president of the nation has become a supporitive leader defending thugs than even giving a sign that he respresent the all folks. This is what instantly came to my mind after watching all the set of videos that clearly saw the actions ruling party men´s activities.

          Further to this, as a minister of defence president himself should have reacted immediately, looking at the manner these MPs were brutally attacked; his silence explains everything. THis is not the first time, the man stays dead silent making everyone´s anger will find no calm but deepened.
          This situation is now beyond all bearing. IC would have no doubt, the manner how the end of the war in 2009 that took the lives of yet uncountable numbers of civilians.

          I now unequivocally agree with that MR administration should be investigated on an independent manner with the direct mediation of UNHRC,

          • 4
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            srimal,

            “President of the country should be the president for ruling parlimentarians, opposition parliamentarians and all citizens regardless of any barriers. But the current president of the nation has become a supporitive leader defending thugs than even giving a sign that he respresent the all folks.”

            The current rule of law.

            The current President is the President of those who elected him and the Mafioso family. All others are outsiders, Parayas, nobody. As long as they keep to themselves, be subject to their whims, an occasional thuggery, rapes etc. and not create trouble for the Mafioso family and thugs, fine.

            However, if you step out of line, MP’s or not, we will deal with you and punish you.

            The PRIMARY job of the armed forces and police is to protect the Mafioso.

            Ask Sarath Fonseka, the hero who defeated the Terrorist VP. Now you can ask the UNP MP’s as well.

            Deja VU…. Have seen it before….

      • 3
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        Sirimal

        “That is his job assigned to them by the family, Mafiosos.”

        That is his job, police, assigned to them by the family, Mafiosos.

        UNP MP wants top police officers sacked over Hambantota attack

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2lBBcz8hWU

        They lie. Keep the pressure up.

        • 2
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          Do you think this kind of thuggish acts would change the mind sets of those people (UPFA supporters- vulnerable targets of the Rajapakshes) in coming months ?

      • 2
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        Siri;

        “I wonder why the president is not yet ashamed about the incident. He acts as a naluwa-actor before each and everyone when visiting any place, but his administration to stay silence further while innocent parliamentarians are being attacked”,

        What are you [WE] expecting from a So called idiotic President of wonderland as He , himself a thug, cheater to his education and hailing From a family of malabari Thugs???????????.

  • 1
    1

    We seem to have already forgotten the great big boor from Britain who we had to tolerate during the CHOGM. The other chose not to come.

  • 1
    1

    How about Tamil Tiger soldiers?
    [Edited out]

  • 1
    1

    Tamil female soldiers are [edited out].

  • 1
    0

    “The Wildlife Department clarified this week that no illegal construction had taken place within Wilpattu but that some displaced families had put up temporary shelters within the sanctuary bordering the Park.”
    “BBS General Secretary Galagoda Gnanasara Thera, accompanied by his Secretary and Head of Research no less, holding numerous press conferences ….”

    Wait, wait, what research do they do at BBS??

  • 2
    0

    There will be an inquiry by the Police.

    They will take a very strong action….. against…. the designated security of the UNP MPs.

    Nobody would care about the mismatch of,”I did not carry a pistol”, “I took it to protect the UNP MPs”, “It was a toy pistol”, “I went there on the request of Namal Rajapakse”, “I did not talk to the Mayor, I was at Trincomalee, practicing with the Rugby team”, etc.

    At worst, Hamba Mayor will be arrested, and will be treated well like the Tangalle PS Chairman (accused for rape and murder), but will be released I bail in no time.

    Kuttimani said over 30 years ago: “This Army camp at Elephant Pass will come to Kalutara tomorrow. This Navy camp at Gurunagar will come to Hambantota tomorrow. This Air Force camp at Palali will come to Matale tomorrow. This same weapon that was raised against us Tamils today will be raised against you the Sinhalese tomorrow. Only then you will realize how reasonable this fight of ours is.”

  • 1
    0

    WOW… I had a good look at some of the videos. Goodness me, there are soldiers and police officers, who did not do anything to control the anarchy. There was a guy in black shirt, who was manhandling an MP. There was a stocky police officer, who was amused by the hooligans. There was a police vehicle, which happily pass the MPs’ bus and kept driving, ignoring the calls from the passengers. See, Sri Lanka needs a Lanka Spring. I do not think the people of Sri Lanka are brave enough to stand up. It seems, they need to grow their backbones first. Good luck!

    • 3
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      If that man in polo T shirt is one potential candiate to repeat the acts of this nature in future too.

      So, these men are hired by Rajapakshe thugs. So now, none of us need to even discuss the way how tamil civilians could have been murdered by the nature of men ? That is the logical quesiton, even if Rajapakshes would make every effort to keep the investigations from being a reality.

      I myself support the IC in order to see JUSTICE for SRILANKENS. You please do the same. We dont have any other choice than doing so. This is not kind of supports towards invasion, but act against injustice.

      Let´s see how many more months Karma would allow Rajapaskeh to manhandle the innocient decent people this way ?

      May all gods be on the side of justice seekers.

    • 0
      0

      Sri Lanka DOES NOT need a spring of any sort. Look at what spring has brought to other parts of the world? What we need is a spring cleaning. For a start let every single citizen begin to document the names and addresses of each and every individual who supports and participates in or legitimizes the unlawful and anti democratic actions of the current government. This information will be required for the great spring cleaning that is around the corner.

    • 2
      0

      Rohan,

      “Goodness me, there are soldiers and police officers, who did not do anything to control the anarchy. There was a guy in black shirt, who was manhandling an MP. There was a stocky police officer, who was amused by the hooligans. There was a police vehicle, which happily pass the MPs’ bus and kept driving, ignoring the calls from the passengers”

      That is his job assigned to them by the family, Mafiosos.

      They all are in the same team, the Mafioso team. Their job is to protect the Mafiosos.

  • 2
    0

    Isn’t it sad that those who yearned to live under the mass murderer Prabhakaran have had their dreams shattered by our ‘our toy soldiers’.

    • 0
      1

      Prabaharan = Mass murdered
      Rajapakses = ?

  • 0
    2

    The Christian Faction of the UNP which is lead by its impotent leader, hasn’t learned anything from the thrashing at the two latest elections.

    Neither these Christian NGOs.

    UNP idiots only go places to cause trouble or fish in troubled waters.

    What bloody fact finding, when even International companies have given the okay to the magnificent development of Hambantota and its future potential as the Capital of Srilanka.

    UNP MPs and their henchmen are mad that they haven’t had a chance to make money from the phenominal development since 2005.

    Their hope that the three D strategy .. (Destabilize, Destroy and Demolish) ..of US, Cameron , Harper and Pillai ain’t going to work unlike in Egypt , Libya and Syria.

    Even the long time hardcore UNPers know it.

    No wonder, one of them whom I know said , it is now the United National Poofter Party.,

  • 0
    0

    what international companies Sumanawatihe ? Chinese Garbage international cos. ? !

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