By Vishwamithra –
The deception is total, yet its hold on the masses may well be temporary and slipping fast. But can Sri Lanka and its dangerous leaders extricate themselves from the palpably brutal neglect of law and order? Butchers are in power. Their estimation of the mind of the collective masses may well be under par; when one surrounds himself with sycophants whose vested interests are much more deep rooted than those of the leader they pretend to follow, a way out seems less and less likely. Then begins the shrinking of the cocoon. But the explosion is much farther away. Don’t rush to celebration parties as yet. The Masters are still in power and unless you totally destroy the Master don’t even think of confronting him. If you lose in the confrontation, remember, the Master is still in power and he will destroy you, this time totally and for good. That is the reality of absolute power and it is that absolute power the political cabal of the Rajapaksa family in Sri Lanka are currently pursuing.
The leaked segments of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Political Victimization has succeeded in revealing the extraordinary extent to which the current President and his cohorts are willing and able to go. A corrupt mindset has been reborn, this time in the warped persona of a President who, some so-called ‘intellectuals’ (Viyathmaga cohorts) thought, was going to be a ‘great leader’. The killing instinct that was not all that ostensible during the initial stages of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (this one-time Lieutenant Colonel ran away to greener pastures in America while real soldiers faced the brunt of Tigers’ bullets) this charlatan is now sharpening his razor to sever the very throats from which cascaded praise for ‘Gota’s War’.
According to reports that reached the writer from first-hand descriptions, when a group of Naturalists visited him about three weeks ago at the President’s Office, Nandasena had erupted against the group and been shouting at them like pickpockets and the shouting had apparently made the visitors so scared and they were riveted to their chairs without being able to stand up and go when the meeting was over. It is also understood that Nandasena had reprimanded his appointment secretary for having scheduled this group a time to meet him.
This is not the end of this farcical journey. It’s going to get much worse and more bizarre. We have a Charlie Chaplin in Hitler’s attire; a joker trying to act like a strong dictator, for that matter a demented dictator. That is how loathsome and ludicrous it would look when Nandasena starts undertaking serious geopolitical issues facing the country. The Rajapaksa family has not only personified all political corruption; that cabal has normalized it to such an unrecognizable degree, even the most minuscule favor granted by any government office or officer without any quid pro quo is dismissed by the public as manifestly impossible.
Long gone are the days of the honest government servant. More than one generation has passed the lamppost of Ceylon Civil Service. Ever since then, with the introduction of Sri Lanka Administrative Service and replacement of the village headman by a Grama Niladhari, the integrity and honesty that was part and parcel of the job description of those offices that came in direct contact with the masses began a gradual disappearance. Political intervention at every level of governance, whether by those who were elected or those were appointed by the politicians, became a matter of course.
It was this era, which commenced in 1970 and thereafter, the current set of politicians and their successive generation walked happily into. Political power became a sickness of sort, an addiction which some describe as the most powerful aphrodisiac man has known. Accountability and transparency flew out the window.
The current rulers, the Rajapaksa cabal, is not the creators of this corrupt culture; but they are a reflection of that crooked and shady set of values that were a direct consequence of the diligent practice of that culture. This political culture, for its own sustenance and development, needed a common enemy to attack constantly; it needed a villainous creature in order to portray themselves as intended or unintended victims. The Free Press was that enemy. To that exclusive club of the free press belonged Lasantha Wickrematunga, Prageeth Ekneligoda, Keith Noyahr, Upali Tennekoon and numerous Tamil journalists in the North.
However, in the period from 2015 to 2019, with the defeat of this Rajapaksa cabal, the fifth estate enjoyed almost unlimited freedom as in the Western democracies. But that was short-lived; the drums of pseudo-patriotism started to beat again; the fake-hero became President and the darker shades of light closed in on the center, a center yearning for reconciliation and harmony and peace and above all truth and honesty. As in all declining social phenomena, the first thing that suffers is its own development. The false façade that was portrayed starts cracking and through the fissures emerge the real fellow, every now and then.
That dark, shady fellow whose unholy days in uniform as a soldier, the fellow who disrobed his own uniform and fled his fellow soldiers, found solace among kith and kin-in law. Then, once he became the Secretary of Defense, with enormous budgetary provisions and with a Commander in the caliber of General Sarath Fonseka, the advances and retreats against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) on the battlefield took a totally different turn. Sri Lankans forces prevailed. The man by this time had circled himself with a set of brand new friends, friends who didn’t know him when he was doing another job as a new immigrant to the United states of America. Yet one must bear in mind that this is not a novel socio-cultural occurrence. Power attracts many a scrounger and many a greedy craftsman. In the case of our current President, this spectacle manifested its play as it was described above, without a beat.
Nevertheless, the inherent traits of the Rajapaksa cabal began to surface, from the bowels of the already corrupt political intestines of Ceylon. At the core of this corrupting process is a fundamental school of political thought that, in a democracy when the people elect a political party to power, with that power comes all powers to control and manage all affairs of the subjects of that power, the masses. This false sense of omniscience which politicians themselves attach to political office along with the intrinsic desire in all human beings to believe in a permanency and false sense of lasting feature of comfort and power. Whereas almost all religions, specifically Buddhism, have repeatedly preached the futility of such mundane attachments, politicians consider themselves as self-righteous leaders and strive to preserve themselves in positions of power by hook or by crook.
The results of such dastardly conduct on the part of our leaders could eventually lead to an insane conglomeration of individuals who band together merely for the sake of perpetuating themselves in those lofty pedestals. the masses who elected them to those positions would return to their usual comfort zones of apathy and lethargy. It is in this context the Fifth Estate needs to assume a more unconventional and radical role of leading the public opinion of resistance and defiance.
But the question is whether we in Sri Lanka do have an independent and well-organized mass communication system and if so, are there any daring writers and craftsmen who have exhibited so far that they are willing to travel the whole nine yards with their convictions.
It has been reported that ‘a leaked copy of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) on political victimization reveals that it has been used to exonerate, white-wash and acquit without charge perpetrators of the most heinous crimes committed in Sri Lanka in the recent past and in many cases reward murderers, abductors, and money launderers with compensation by the state.’
It further states thus: ‘Commission unanimously decided that the charges and indictments against every accused in so-called emblematic cases highlighted by the UN, including the murder and abduction of journalists, should be dismissed, the indictments in currently active trials quashed and the complainants acquitted and released. These cases include the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, abduction, extortion and murder of 11 Tamil men allegedly by the Sri Lanka Navy, Welikada Prison massacres, the assassination of Tamil MP Joseph Pararajasinham, the assaults on journalists Upali Tennekoon and Keith Noir among many others. Going a step further, the Commission has also recommended tough legal action against “respondents” in the complaints – including police officers, former commanders of the military, members of parliament, former ministers and deputy ministers and prosecutors attached to the Attorney General’s Department.’ In a cruel twist of facts and harsh reality, accusers have become victims and victims have turned themselves into accusers.
There could not be a starker manifestation of a bizarre phenomenon of human dishonesty on the one hand and a decline in the value system that we as a people had held aloft for centuries in the past on the other. Voltaire the Frenchman who was a man of reason said thus: ‘The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.’ We as a nation is fast approaching such a dreadful state.