15 October, 2018

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Pre-And Post-2015 Rajapaksa & The Road To 2020

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

Pre-2015

His post war victory speech in May 2009 still reverberates in our ears. The then President Mahinda Rajapaksa went on to say, “There are no minorities…. we are one nation…. We must live like children of one mother…. All people in this country must live without fear and suspicion…. To protect the Tamil speaking people is my responsibility.”

Noble were the intentions expressed to the nation, in a display of statesmanship by the Head of the State, from the sanctum sanctorum of the legislature. It was a soothing balm to the vanquished and an imposition of a duty and responsibility to the victorious. It was received by the population as a proclamation of a new era to our country. The hope of a nation without prejudice and the promise of developmental prosperity to all.

Maha Rajanano

Unfortunately, this euphoria did not last long. Seemingly, the noble expressions turned out to be despicable political rhetoric. In contrast to the humbleness of winning the hearts and minds of the people, what became manifest was an oversized Maha Rajanano ego. Those around the Maha Rajanano were massaging his ego to ecstasy. His priorities shifted to self-consolidation and enrichment of his family. While the cohorts around him were salivating to pick up the crumbs that fell from his plate.

Either misled by his advisors or emboldened by the victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Mr. Rajapaksa chose a strategic ultra-nationalistic racist path. The constitutionally fixed two term limitation for Presidency and the independent commissions put in place as a check on the Executive were unceremoniously thrown out. The dreaded 18th amendment was introduced as an urgent bill and was whizzed through Parliament. An unintended consequential fascist regime was in the making. Sri Lankans were beginning to see a fast mutating Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Racist Ultra-nationalism

Growth of ultra-nationalism as a protective mechanism against foreign machinations is to some extent explicable. It was, however, incomprehensible to see such a force being encouraged targeting one’s own people. Ultra-nationalism was bolstered by the addition of racism. It was becoming evident that a state sponsored differentiation of the ethnically cohesive polity was in vogue. The natural culmination of such a scheme would be the compartmentalising of the homogeneity of the social structure.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s aim was to build up a Sinhalese vote bank which he mobilised through his racist agents. The coterie consisting of racist politicians, ultra-nationalist political parties, monks and monk led institutions. A majority of the people comprising the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and Malays, responded firmly by de-seating him.

Post-2015

The higher you rise, the harder you fall. The double whammy – setback at the Presidential and general elections – in the year 2015 was an extremely depressing period I believe, in his entire political life. The battered oversized ego was psychologically distressed and at its nadir. Mr. Rajapaksa is reputed to be a fighter and a strategist who would bide his time. He had a band of lieutenants executing his comeback plan. The efficiency of some in that group funnily enough did not stem out of the patriotism to the country or loyalty to Mr. Rajapaksa but the animal instinct for survival. It was a do or die situation for most of them. So, there only salvation was the dream of a media headline, “Rajapaksa, reclaims power”. The consecutive defeats in the elections meant the wrongdoers were now hooked. The yahapalana folks contested on the unequivocal promise inter alia, to put those found guilty behind bars.

The ‘Pohottuwa’ and the events presently experienced are the results of a well organised and meticulously planned execution of the Rajapaksa strategy. In this context, the disorganised yahapalana and its brouhaha over corruption stinks to high heavens. If a person is accused of a crime such person should be prosecuted. It is not yahapalana at all to accuse someone of criminality and then leave it at that, causing damage to reputation and integrity of the person so accused; Whoever that may be. I remember once seeing the following lines printed on a mug (quoting with apologies): ‘Your all fart no poo. When I fart, I follow through’.

2020 Is Coming

In his preparation for a comeback in 2020, Rajapaksa may have to consider reviewing his political strategy. One of which will be the total reliance on Sinhala Buddhist nationalistic card. In the past, this has done immense damage to his reputation not only amongst the minorities but also among a large section of the Sinhalese people. Mr. Rajapaksa must think of himself as a national leader and not as a leader of the Sinhala race. It is incumbent upon him to embrace all communities. Treating the minority community with respect is not condescending but would be considered noble. It behoves a national leader to uphold such qualities. The Muslim community, as much as every other peace-loving community, is grateful to Mr. Rajapaksa for bringing peace to this nation with the help of our valiant and brave soldiers.

Muslims, Hate Or Fear?

This is a question that needs to be answered because there is a wrong perception about the Muslims’ in relation to Mr. Rajapaksa. Some even go to the extent of saying that Muslims hate him. The truth is that Muslims do not hate him but they disliked him. The cause for the dislike was because the Muslims feared. Rajapaksa’s camaraderie ship at that time with the ultra-nationalist racists were a potentially lethal combination. Muslims never fear dying but they feared being the cause for destability, political anarchy and communal riots. These would cause death and destruction for everyone.

The Muslims were exceptionally patient and bore the brunt of umpteen number of provocations of different sorts. This forbearance and maturity of the Muslims spat on the face of those ‘mike heroes’ who at that time made inciteful speeches stating that there were Muslim ‘jihad kalli’. If there were ‘jihad kalli’ as falsely stated, this country would be in the hell of another war. ISIS would be more than happy to be a part of it. This gives us a vicissitude of our so called self-serving patriots and opportunistic nationalists.

Mending fences

This time around Mr. Rajapaksa regained some of his lost Muslim votes. The Muslims were disillusioned by the lackadaisical approach of the Yahapalana government on the face of the racial attacks and the breakdown of the rule of law.

I firmly believe that the Tamil people too, who are Sri Lankans just like any other, would like to mend fences. After all they too wish to live peacefully in an environment of equality and mutual respect to each other’s ethnicity, religion and culture.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    8

    Mass Usuf,

    Mahinda Rajapaksa plays to the Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” nationalism, that is based in the Mahawamsa and Dutu-Gamunu where the Para-Tamils are depicted as Para-evil.The Para-Sinhala believe that they evolved from a lion, but no lion genes rre found in Para-Sinhala, and no tiger genes were found in Para-Tamils.

    Now they have also dragged the Muslims as evil Paras as well.

    The fact of the matter is that except for the Native Veddah Aethho, all others are Paras, Paradeshis, Foreigners and they should get back to their Para Homeland,,India, Bharat, Damba-Diva.

    Besides, the average IQs of the paras are a low 79.

    https://photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

    Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations

    https://www.nature.com/articles/jhg2013112

    Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.

    • 7
      5

      Mr Mass L. Usuf,

      It doesn’t matter who is on/in whose side/party or not …………..what matters is, when Muslim shops were burnt down and Aluthgama Muslims were attacked the Rajapakse government did not give them protection ……just looked the other way. There were well planned systematic attacks on the Muslims and the Rajapakse government did nothing to protect them; not as a minority but as citizens of SL …………give them the protection all citizens are entitled to and deserve.

      Now try and explain away that ……….

  • 7
    1

    Very good article. In my view, we need leaders who do not fan communalism to garner votes. As you have very correctly stated all communities love peace. They do not want eruptions “due to provocations of different sorts”. In fact, all communities have got vastly disillusioned because politicos have so far failed to produce a NATIONAL LEADER STATESMAN WHO COULD SEE BEYOND THE NEXT ELECTION. WE HAVE POLITICIANS IN ALL THREE COMMUNITIES WHO ARE FISHING IN THE TROUBLED WATERS. WE NEED TO CHANGE THE SELF-SERVING OPPORTUNISTIC POLITICAL CULTURE

    • 5
      0

      “WE HAVE POLITICIANS IN ALL THREE COMMUNITIES WHO ARE FISHING IN THE TROUBLED WATERS.”

      Lacille,

      We have monkeys who have not yet come down from trees. …………….This is where we are at our social evolutionary process ………whether we like it or not, in this time and place, this is our essence…….this is who we are.

      We are too immersed in our own society……….so, unable to see ……………do you think a modern democracy/governance can be installed in Nigeria, Myanmar, Maldives ………….? What makes you think it can be done in SL?

      Although given a good system at independence by the Whiteman ………….we have gone backward for 70 years to shed all the “training” to revert to our true essence……………..

      There are different levels of reality …………just dwelling on the superficial top layer won’t do……….

      With a name like Lacille you are closer to the Whiteman than a guy with a name like Nimal ………..and that should give you greater insight! :))

    • 0
      0

      Lacille.

      This country is in a total mess now with MR MS and RW CBK. It is best in my opinion for one party to run the govt until 2020 elections. Whats happenning now is with MY3 uttering in every election platform about catching thieves, biggest ever robbery
      of the bank. The investors are leaving and thats a bad sign

  • 12
    13

    Mahinda Rajapakse always took short cuts and cut throats to come to power. He is not trustworthy. He is a pretender, opportunist. He pretended as a human right activist but when he was in power he murdered number of human right activists including his one time friends like Lasantha. He might play the same card in order to come back to power by assuring I will implement 13+ to Tamils and give more ministerial posts to Muslims if you all vote for me and to change the constitution enable him to become powerful president again and then start to show is cruelty to punish his political enemies like Sirisena, Chandrika, Ranil, former military commander etc.

    • 9
      6

      Unfortunately, Sri Lankans have very bad memories. They have forgotten the white vans, journalists (including Lasantha) being brutally killed, threatened, missing, and bullied into silence. They have forgotten the minorities being threatened, and hate speeches being encouraged.
      Muslims were threatened, Mosques were burnt, Muslim businesses attacked, Muslims were killed, AND THE RAJAPAKSA’S DID AND SAID NOTHING. Strange behavior for people who had nothing to do with the BBS.

      Mahinda supporters can easily say that the BBS was a “plot” by the opposition, to make the Rajapaksa’s look bad, but they are unreasonable in their thinking, because had the Rajapaksa’s been against the BBS and their campaign of hate, they would have spoken harshly against them, condemned them, and thrown them in jail. Their silence was deafening. Why did Gota open their offices, with a smile on his face?

      The Rajapaksa’s have left a trail of corruption, nepotism, murders, kidnappings, and using ex army officials to help them perpetrate many crimes, far from the angels their supporters make them out to be.

      Those who still yearn for the Rajapaksa’s seem to be addicted to them. They have lost their common sense, and deliberately ignoring the crimes of the past, and justifying the crimes of the Rajapaksa’s, and casting blame on everyone else.

  • 4
    1

    Very good write up.
    Unfortunately nationalism plays a huge role in SL politics.. Until and unless the constitution prohibits
    religious preferences and the rule of law is strictly applied and every Sri Lankan is equal in the eyes of the law, bikering , riots and “killings” unfortunately will continue. That’s the reality!!

  • 7
    4

    Mahinda is now trying to win back the minorities, especially the Muslims, and those who are smart enough to see through the tactics, know it.

    For those Muslims, who think that it was a deliberate ploy to make the Muslims turn away from the Rajapaksa’s, ask yourselves why the Rajapaksa’s said nothing, and did nothing, when the BBS was running rampant, and their racist attacks ended in Muslims being killed in Aluthgama. Ask yourselves why in the height of these tensions, Lord Mahinda’s brother opened a BBS office by cutting a ribbon. Politicians from all parties are not interested in helping Muslims, because they want the majority vote badly. The Muslims are simply a convenience to win elections.

    Until Muslim leaders demand the safety of their people, it would be naive to trust the Rajapaksa’s, or others for that matter. Shame on those Muslim leaders who keep looking after themselves only.

    Those who keep longing for the Rajapaksa’s, just be careful what you wish for.

  • 2
    5

    There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest Tamil and Muslim leadership intentionally aligned themselves with outside powers, India, EU and USA, and their local agents, to marginalise Sinhala majority, and ram through a separatist constitution just like India did with 13A (I am not arguing about the merits or otherwise of 13A but the modality of it’s enactment).

    That project is now challenged and may not see the light of the day.

    It is noteworthy that some Muslims have deviated from that destructive path of their communal party leadership and aligned with the mainstream Sinhala majority political formation, SLPP. Basil Rajapakse is on record as saying that SLPP wants it’s direct representations within Tamil & Muslim communities and not through agent communal parties. Hope Muslims and Tamils respond favourably. That is the best path for a durable, peaceful environment of co-existence.

  • 2
    6

    A better headline “ROAD TO TSUNAMI” hora !

  • 5
    2

    It is high time Mr. President to appoint a commission to investigate infamous ‘Aluthgama’. And other such incidents. Wonder, what’s the fate of some of Presidnet’s loyalists such as Champaka and Rajitha then!

  • 1
    2

    I do not agree with you Mr usuf. MR saying “There are no minorities…. we are one nation…. We must live like children of one mother…. All people in this country must live without fear and suspicion…. To protect the Tamil speaking people is my responsibility.” showed his immaturity in dealing with diversity. There is no monolithic Sri Lankan identity. There is Sinhalese, Tamil amd Muslim identity. MRs filure to realise the importance of ethnic identity is the sole cause for the failure to achieve peace despite ending the war. If he had really understood that Tamils and Muslims are equal citizens of this country and taken some concrete measures to ensure that state, which he could have easily doen at the end of war, MR would have been the Nobel prize winner in the real sense.

    He has made a similar mistake while proclaming that the area of Eeelam has been reduced, by saying so he concedes that there has been significant encroachment of Tamil land after the war. In tact it is not that people in Tamil areas also have voted for SLPP.

  • 0
    2

    “Muslims never fear dying but they feared being the cause for destability, political anarchy and communal riots. These would cause death and destruction for everyone”

    Since when did SL Muslims became that thoughtful and generous? Unlike Tamils, SL Muslims don’t have any common principles in choosing the right government for the community, let alone for the nation. Look at Beruwela LG polls results, and other Muslim majority area results – typical nature of selfishness is exposed.

    It is foolish to think that MR will change his color for Muslims or Tamils, and it is not his fault, this is what is expected from him by the majority of the majority that MR is fully depending on. Due to liberal, unprejudiced Sinhalese sections, he needs to tip the balance with kingmaker votes – So he is more focused on mending the weaker fence.

    Note: Mass Usuf, you’re not spokes person for Muslims or have done any statistical studies to say that “Muslims don’t hate MR, but dislike him”.

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