By The Economist –
SRI LANKA’s powerful defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, seemed to threaten a senior newspaper editor with death in a profanity-strewn outburst. The cause for his rage was that she called to check whether the state-run national airline had changed aircraft for a scheduled flight from Switzerland. The cause for that switch may have been—or so the editor wished to learn—for Mr Rajapaksa’s niece’s pilot-boyfriend to be allowed to fly an aeroplane which was to deliver a puppy from Europe to the defence secretary’s wife.
Frederica Jansz, the editor of The Sunday Leader, reported that Mr Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, “went berserk” when she rang him. He said would “sue [her] fucking newspaper” if she wrote “any bloody word about this”. He also barked that he was “not afraid of the bloody courts”.
In a second telephone conversation, Mr Rajapaksa elaborated. He called Mrs Jansz “a fucking shit, a pig who eats shit”. “Shit, shit, shit journalists!” he ranted.
Ninety percent of the people in this country hate you! They hate you! You come for a function where I am and I will tell people this is the editor of The Sunday Leader and 90% there will show that they hate you.
“People will kill you! People hate you! They will kill you!” he shouted next. As it happens, Ms Jansz took over the newspaper after its founding editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was murdered in broad daylight in 2009. The case remains unsolved. When she questioned whether she would be killed on his directive, the defence secretary seemed to prevaricate. “What? No. Not mine. But they will kill you, you dirty fucking shit journalist.”
The conversation can be viewed in its charming entirety here. Media-rights groups have expressed strong concern over Ms Jansz’s safety.
James Bond / July 11, 2012
Media Rights groups throughout the world should start a global campaign calling for the resignation of the Sri Lanka Defense Secretary since he is a killer and a danger to society and himself. He should also be held for Contempt of Court.
Like Macbeth he is increasingly paranoid and hence militarizing the country including the education and higher education sectors where teachers are now given military training and titles and university students military training even though war ended more than 3 years ago and it is mainly ruling party politicians and the military, civil defense forces etc. who are mainly involved in law breaking, murders, illegal excavations, land grabbing etc.
The regime has failed to generate jobs since the war ended and hence the military is bloated while others seek to leave the country in droves, either as boat people or as servants going to the middle east.
technocrat / July 12, 2012
The miltarization of Lanka under Gota the goon represents the “banality of evil” today.
Banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Her thesis is that the great evils in history were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their State and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal. Explaining this phenomenon, Edward S. Herman has emphasized the importance of “normalizing the unthinkable.” According to him, “doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on ‘normalization.’ This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable(speech)acts become routine and are accepted as ‘the way things are done.’
This is the endgame of the Rajapakse regime in Lanka which needs to be rescued from the grip of the monstrous Rajapakse regime..
Leon / July 11, 2012
Gota is power crazy and he needs to see a psychiatrist and if found mentally unstable he should be committed to a lunatic asylum
Panda / July 11, 2012
At least now the world will see and understand that Sri Lanka has an unqualified, crude, thug, for Secretary of Defense. He is totally unsuitable for Sri Lanka, and who would not be holding that post, if his brother, the President, has shown the entire world, that he prefers nepotism over normal procedure of appointing a qualified, experienced, unrelated person, in this position. We look like a banana republic run by a dictator and his over 200 of his unqualified relatives. We are the laughing stock of the civilized world.
This man is dangerous and has abused his power to intimidate, threaten, and help his brother rule by fear.
They are using the fact that they eradicated terrorism in the country, to get away with corruption and crimes.
We Sri Lankans, after years of war and turmoil, deserve better than these goons.
Raja / July 11, 2012
I agree that gotha is out of line .
But Frederica Janze too committed perjury in the white flag trial . And our Hero Gen Fonseka had to spend time in jail.
As much as the politicians are responsible for the rot in the country some reporters have sold there souls.
You are responsible for your biased one sided reporting .
This web site so far has been a nice change .
Samson / July 12, 2012
People s herd mentality will give no chance them to see beyond. There will no doubt be a great hue and cry even if MR and co. sell out the country to the Chinese.
Lion / July 12, 2012
He is obsessed with power and pride. Extreme pride of one self will lead to his own destruction. In Greek mythology we find such kings who earn the wrath of goods who make them insane before their destruction
Lion / July 12, 2012
Raja you are correct, she is paying for her misdeeds. This is called Karma.The great man who rid this country from terror had suffered and still suffering under this regime due to her distorted story.DITTA DAMMA WEDANIYA KARMA
kk / July 12, 2012
Freeom of prez, FJ using this as a shield to cover her bulshit stories, she reported wrong story of SF , Now this time another wrong story, what is F Janz credibility as journalist, it is very poor therefore we should not support this woman for the sake of media freedom
Rohan K / July 12, 2012
Bottom line is, the people have the power to change this – Will they?
Ananda Hapangama / July 13, 2012
A sick, uncouth man with a bloated ego and an acute inferiority complex is running the country’s defence establishment. One day he will bring his brother down. The facade of being “heroic” is his own successful creation by stifling the media. A small mind bloating into a puffed up dictator.