1 November, 2020

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Political Machinations: Falsifying History

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

I have been reading with some bemusement the recent exchanges regarding the role and views of my old friend Dayan Jayatilleka, who has been under attack because of his support for the 13th Amendment and devolution. This is an old story, and he is well able to defend himself. But recently there has been a change, because he is attacked not only for what he believes – which he would be quite happy to deal with – but also on the grounds that he caused problems for the government because he defended us forcefully against attacks in the international arena way back in 2009.

The argument is that he put us in a difficult position through his defence, which involved commitment to the 13th Amendment. As I have said before, this is nonsense, because all he was doing was reiterating what our old friend Mahinda Samarasinghe would describe as the consolidated position of the government of Sri Lanka. This had been expressed clearly by the President in a joint communiqué with the Indian government as also in a joint statement issued together with the UN Secretary General. This last indeed contained material relating to accountability which I thought unnecessary, but which it seemed only Dayan and I, thought of as outsiders with no diplomatic training, recognized was potentially dangerous. Foreign Ministry officials saw no problem with that commitment on the part of government, though later Palitha Kohona told me he had advised against that clause, and it was only the President’s haste to settle the matter that curtailed further discussion.

That having been said, the clause would have caused no problems had we interpreted it straight away on our terms. It was the culpable neglect of what we had pledged that has contributed to our problems, and that was nothing to do with Dayan, who was given the cold shoulder soon afterwards. He was to spend a year in limbo, until the President recalled him to service in Paris, where he did a fantastic job.

Unfortunately he suffered in that post too from even more vicious and continuous criticism, from a range of sources. One bone of contention was his work with the diaspora, which is of course in line with official government policy. Fortunately we now also have envoys in Australia and the United Kingdom who are doing their best, though sadly the Ministry has not issued clear guidelines in this regard, nor provided adequate support (though I should note that the Secretary to the Ministry, along with our High Commissioner and the Consul in Canada, did do wonders to ensure that the launch of my trilingual poetry book in Toronto was a great success, despite the determined opposition of Tamilnet).

Dayan however went out of his way to establish contacts also with future leaders, which led to adverse reports. And most seriously, after he had had an important discussion with Dr Karan Singh, who has often been used by the Indian government as an informal envoy, the Minister of Education delivered a sharp critique about this to the President, in which the canard was first spread that Dayan was an agent of the Indian government. Needless to say, what was attributed to him, in a memorandum that was obviously not the work of the Minister of Education himself, but seemed to have been prepared in the Ministry of External Affairs, was what Karan Singh himself had said. Typically, the Minister of External Affairs – in whom Dayan did have misplaced confidence, unlike in the case of the previous Minister whom he made no effort to work with (which was a problem I used to advise him about, unsuccessfully of course, given Dayan’s absolutist approach to life)  – did not defend him.

Given that he was also on the verge of being charge-sheeted for perfectly ridiculous reasons – whereas the person primarily responsible for the charge sheet had given out much more dubious contracts while in Geneva, which were then swept under the carpet – Dayan decided to call it a day, and did not even think of an extension. What saddens me about this though is that, while he continues to believe that the President, if permitted to fulfil his own agenda, would prove the leader Dayan was proud to serve, he seems increasingly to feel that the agenda is being driven by others without the same sensitivity to political realities.

Fortunately recent developments seem to confirm his initial faith. But despite this clear proof that the President was not going to renege on his commitments, Dayan’s critics, in attacking him, continue too to in effect denigrate the President, in blithely denying that he made some very clear commitments back in 2009, and indeed never repudiated this position. Instead they now seem to hold up the Secretary of Defence as their ideal, a dangerous practice because efforts to split the Rajapaksas seem to me both fruitless and foolish, so close is the personal understanding between them. Holding different views on various matters does not take away from their mutual confidence, nor from the clear understanding on all sides that the President is in charge.

Nevertheless, the extremists, in a last ditch effort to fulfil what way back in 2009 we saw as the Sarath Fonseka agenda, at a time when the President himself was making his commitment to devolution and pluralism clear, have no compunction about abusing the President too. Most recently, having got used to Dayan and me both being attacked on the grounds that we are Christians, and that this, as opposed to long standing political principles based on democratic perspectives, explains our pluralistic approach, I saw an allegation that the President too was a Christian at heart.

Such allegations come from what seems a lunatic fringe. But I think it is time that more serious opponents of devolution dissociated themselves from such attributions of motives, and at least recognized that the President who managed to deal so effectively with the separatist terrorism can be trusted.

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Latest comments

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    Rajiva, wake up and see the sky!
    Gota, the military dictator-in-waiting deploys THUGS and MONKS to divide and distract Sri Lankas – by attacking Muslims, Christians and Tamils.
    The Role of the Balu Sena is to DISTRACT people from the fact that Gota is creating a DEEP STATE or State within a state in the name of BUDDHISM – to legitimize and ensure his transition to Lanka’s first military dictator – after brother Mahinda is Deposed. But democracy will not die so easily in Lanka and establishing a military dictatorship will be difficult!

    Gota has studied how ISI (Pak Intelligence) and the Military in Pakistan uses Islamists and Taliban covertly to secure itself and also get funding from the US. He is doing the similar thing in Lanka – covertly setting up the BUDDHIST TALIBAN (Balu Sena, Ravaya Balaya etc) to DISTRACT the Sinhalas form the fact that he GOTA the white van goon is the true ENEMY WITHING THE BODY POLITIC in Lanka.
    Gota wants to set up a BUDDHIST DICTATORSHIP in Lanka and DESTROY Buddhism which is a peaceful religion, by using and militarizing the monks to spread hate against the minorities. The end game is DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE Lanka.

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    This Rajiv fellow sound like a broken down record player, playing the same tune – songs of praise for Dayan and Mahinda – in that order – ad nauseum!

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    Extremist ideologies in whatever form are incompatible with peace and democracy. The extremist are always hell bent on imposing their narrow views and thinking on the world at large.

    The cause of conflicts is the inability of extremists to negotiate and compromise in a reasonable manner. Those who choose the middle path are often condemned and ridiculed as being weak or opportunistic, but the truth is that there can be no peace without compromise and consensus. The stormy seas of conflict need to be navigated by statesman of vision and not the lunatics of race and religon.

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    Rajano and his henchmen also form part and parcel of the `lunatic fringe’. There is no place for sanity or sane people in this family rule. I too have reservations about certain things that Dayan has said and done. But the fact remains he is an intellectual of rare calibre. That donkey who is supposed to be a professor and Rajano who has a liking for uncouth morons are not comfortable with anyone with a head on his shoulder!

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    Rajiva,

    Woah! What a load of laundry getting aired out here?!

    Thanks for the detailed account of how untrusting, irrational and ineffective the leadership is at the helm. And the direct and indirect exposure of your deficiency in diplomatic skills is very humbling.

    You confirm that Dayan was opposed to accountability in your statement “This last indeed contained material relating to accountability which I thought unnecessary, but which it seemed only Dayan and I, thought of as outsiders with no diplomatic training.”

    Recently, however, back in Colombo at an interview with a foreign journalist, Dayan categorically affirmed that in his long standing view “accountability is a moral imperative.”

    Would either you or Dayan have some explanation for these diametrically opposite positions attributed to Dayan?

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      There is no contradiction in my positions on accountability in 2009 and 2013. Then, as now, I was and am opposed to any international mechanism or commitments on accountability. Now, as then, I am for a domestic process and mechanism, as has been the case in Argentina, Guatemala, Brazil and Bangladesh…and has been recommended by the LLRC.

      I stand completely with the LLRC on this issue, and am opposed to anything that goes beyond it.

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        Dayan,

        Here is what you wrote in April 14, 2011 within the comments in Groundviews. titled “Accountability-reconciliation-democracy”:

        One must ponder the possibility that response of the majority of Sri Lankan citizens on the call for verification, would be the same as Rhett Butler’s in Gone With the Wind –” Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”

        Caught with the hand in the cookie jar! I am alsmost certain you would now slither away.

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          Dayan,

          Why the dishonesty? Why the canards?

          You are on record objecting to verification saying “majority of Sri Lankans don’t care a damn”

          You are also on record asserting it is a moral imperative – are majority of Sri Lankans immoral?

          You also claim that you support accountability hearing provided it is done internally. If it is a moral imperative, it is an absolute necessity – not conditional on who conducts it.

          What really have you not said?!

          We can understand the uneducated (such as the Kelaniya raja) stooping this low to make a living; but despite all the education and upbringing you were privileged to, why resort to such dishonesty?

          Dayan – I don’t expect you to answer – after all this is not the first time you crept back into your crevice!

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    Prof Rajiv Wijesinghe:

    You are an English Professor and not a Professor in every thing. You have made some good points though.

    Anyway, You did not explain what do you mean by the following “It was the culpable neglect of what we had pledged that has contributed to our problems,” What are you talking there. I don’t want to assume.

    I believe that you, Dayan Jayathilake and Mahinda Rajapakse being born as Christians and he is married to a former Catholic and that has some thing to with what you all talk or DO. In other words, you all simply don’t have much regret or concern about Sinhala Buddhists.

    Another point, Dayan’s political reality ( you have written that) is live kneeling in front of India. He does not have a back bone as a Sinhala……..

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      Finally, there seems to be a consensus at least on one issue from both sides, the Majority and the Minority – and that relates to Dayan’s vertebra, or actually the lack of it! Hooray!!

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    will he stop writing if 100 people comment saying

    “Dayan is amazing” “Dayan is a super hero” “Dayan needs to be the foreign minister” “Dayan is super man in disguise” ?????

    If so, I will get 100 of my friends to do it ! Just to stop him repeating the same thing over and over and over again !

    I am still amazed that both you and Dayan continue to “criticize” people within the government but “shield” the president from any ! He is the EXECUTIVE president for god’s sake !-he is responsible for the state of this nation !

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