28 May, 2022


Rathupaswelas Nation-Wide? How To Prevent A Massacre

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

I was in Indonesia as a boy, accompanying my parents a month before the infamous September 1965 coup and the horrifying bloodbath. President Suharto’s progressive foreign minister Dr Subandrio (later jailed by the military junta for life), passing through Colombo had invited my father and the family to the 10th anniversary event commemorating the Bandung Conference of 1955. It was the Afro-Asian Journalists Conference. My father was last foreign journalist to interview DN Aidit, leader of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Aidit was discovered in hiding on an island and summarily executed by the soldiers.

In 1967, the BBC for which my father worked, used him to pass a clandestine message to their correspondent in Athens when we visited. The coup had just taken place and the BBC correspondent was under surveillance, probably threat.

In the Summer of 1985, I was at the World Festival of Youth and Students and met many personalities who had variously fought the Nazis, the Salvadorean juntas and were fighting Pinochet.

In 2008 as the elected Chairperson of the ILO, I worked closely with its iconic Director-General Juan Somavia. He had been a close companero of President Salvador Allende. He and I sang Victor Jara’s songs at the end of official luncheons and dinners. We also had long conversations about the events of 1973 and after.

Therefore, I have gained an apprehension of these things and the ability to spot the signs and symptoms beginning to build up; a gathering darkness with streaks and flashes of red.

Biggest Social Movement

The anti-Accord riots of 1987 were more dramatic but less important than the present, growing round of protests. The 1987 upsurge was fueled by ethno-nationalism with no real anchorage in the material, socioeconomic conditions of the masses. Therefore, the sustained presence and participation of the working masses was absent or at best, minimal. That is not the case with today’s protests.

I witnessed the left in the 1960s onwards and participated in the 1970s and 1980s. I have never seen the spread and depth of protest movements in Sri Lanka as I am doing now. Every locality and every stratum of the working people are involved, mobilized, on a semi-spontaneous basis. Given that there is no strong Left at the helm unlike in the August 1953 Hartal, today’s mass movement is more ‘organic’.

That is the danger.

1. The Mass Movement or Social Movement– and this includes the political parties of left and center that are engaged with it–is strong enough to resist Government policies but not strong enough to resist the State machine and the project of the Deep State.

2. The Movement is clear about the conduct and character of the government and its policies and the discourse of the peasants, workers and teachers is surprisingly sharp, but it is unclear about the character of the new model of regime that it is confronting, and what that regime-model is capable of doing.

3. The Movement is unaware that the crisis we are witnessing is a crisis of the government and even of the regime, but it is unaware of the nature of the hard drive of the regime.

4. The Movement does not know that as the crisis worsens, the hardcore of the regime will escalate higher and faster than the Movement. It will be faster on the draw.

5. The Movement and its more conscious elements still think the main enemy is the Rajapaksa regime, but it does not realize that the Rajapaksa regime is only the rocket carrying, whether it knows it or not, a warhead. The Rajapaksa regime is in crisis but the ‘warhead’ is not. The intensifying crisis may trigger the launch of the ‘warhead’.

Blind spots

One cannot and must not blame the base, the grassroots participants of the Movement for theses absences and gaps. The fault lies with the politically more literate elements, mainly of the Left, who play a guiding role.

a) The JVP has twice before in its history, grossly overestimated the strength and momentum it has accumulated and been shattered when the state machine counterattacked.

b) Though the mass movement today is unprecedentedly deep, wide and strong, the Left has utterly failed to do what Friedrich Engels used to, and scrupulously study the military moves of the class adversary. The Left and democratic center parties had dome so, they would take serious account of the new formation, the 1 Corps. (1 Corps (army.lk); 1 Corps of the Sri Lanka Army – Highly Trained and Operationally Elite (newsfirst.lk)) This is a nucleus which would be immune to the possible effect on the regular infantry, of peasant demonstrations and possible casualties.

c) The JVP, FSP and the liberal-democratic centrists have totally failed to understand the internal composition and logic of the GR project.

d) They are blind to the most obvious of questions and the most obvious answer to that question. The question is “why should a President undertake a policy that shatters the electoral support base of his presidency, his government and his ruling coalition?”

e) The logical answer to that question is “neither the real base of this Presidency nor the intended endgame is electoral”. There could be an attempt to pre-empt an electoral endgame or abort its results.

What is to be Done?

What can be done to deter a presidentially-driven or endorsed putsch, or to survive one? There are several principles which comparative international political history yield upon study, none of which are in use, thanks mainly to the narcissistic sectarian hostility (towards both the Opposition leader and the FSP leader) on the part of the leader of the main left party.

For whatever its worth, this is what can avoid a catastrophe or parry it:

1. No party can monopolize the protest movements, which are uneven in accordance with sectoral and geographic realities. Every party can contribute something, the ratio of which will differ from place to place and time to time.

2. The struggle is also multi-dimensional. Strengths at the grassroots can be offset by weaknesses in parliament and in international legitimacy, while weaknesses at the grassroots can be compensated for by strengths in these other domains.

3) The trade unions should be grouped sector-wise and then coordinated as a single bloc, rather like the Joint Council of Trade Union Organizations (JCTUO) of yesteryear. The same should take place at the all-important level of peasant organizations, students etc. the principle of coordination should be both sectoral and geographic, creating a grid—and then a grid of grids.

4) The final concentric circle must be a bloc of blocs: a “popular bloc” or “coordinating body” (a “Bloque Popular” and a “Co-ordinadora” as they say in Latin America) of all these sectors (workers-peasants-fisherfolk-students-teachers-principals-health workers etc.).

5) There needs to be, indispensably, a united democratic platform of all Oppositional forces, South and North, as represented by their leaders. This apex body is also essential for international legitimacy.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka says: “The Rajapaksa regime is in crisis but the ‘warhead’ is not. The intensifying crisis may trigger the launch of the ‘warhead’.
    Dr DJ does not say what would be the consequence of the ‘warhead’ exploding, if launched. Has he deliberately (and mischievously!) left it to the readers to make their own interpretations?
    Any comments from other readers?

    • 5

      Feb, 2015’s warhead launch by Thero, at Narahenpitiya, has brought an end to the 1.) launch pad, The Abaya Rama gang leader, The Mudduthadu Vegam, VC, and 2.) the vehicle, the Communist clan and 3.) the warhead, Old King Modaya. Story of Old King Modaya is over. If he leaves the government’s VIP protection, he will be removed from flights on transit ports and be prosecuted at ICC. Talk to Playboy Minister (Russia), Udayanka (UAE), & Jalia(Texas) about that. Thero lives on the Moon after eating his mistress, Siri Ma O’s rice. Thero was servicing Valaiththodam Sr. Thero was servicing Ranil and New King. Thero is now serving Valaiththodam Jr, hoping to get a FM job. Even Hakeem is changed, went to North and said that the Tamils should Onddukirukaveanum with Muslims”. We have advised movements here to not seek refuge in Communist camps. The Parana coat salespeople like Communist Pakkaya(Who loaned the warhead story to Thero), Lemon Puff, Ganapathipillai, Communist Denesh all are saved by Ranil from their crimes. Now they went and joined the Hitler Government and in real trouble. Advise them to ask from Rishard how much the private prison rooms cost, before joining the Electricity Board Engineers to protest America. Remember, China doesn’t donate just free rice, even free infected Hunu.

      The Communists Russia and China refused to participate in the UN climate control submit.

      • 1

        The US Citizens, Goat and Basil are following their CIA orders and Chaos Strategy:
        Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD), is the new dogma of the Deepstate Military Business Industrial complex. FSD includes Over the Horizon (OTH), Cyber war, data and information hacks as at the National Medicines Regulators Authority (MMRA) , Covid-19 and Pfizer mRNA vaccine biowar fare, maritime trade disruption also through environmental disasters at sea (MVV Pearl and MT Diamond) and the Chaos Strategy – weaponizing religious and ethnic divisions to DIVIDE, DISTRACT, RULE and LOOT, but also to set up MILITARY BASES, called Lily Pad bases for Surveillance of Indian Ocean Submarine Undersea Data Cables (UDC) that keep the Global Economy and Financial system going.. Sri Lanka is in the midst of the US proxy war on China. Make no mistake at this time.

    • 5

      DJ had previously advised GR and leaked the email, making it harder for readers to trust his prediction.

      Saying, “The Rajapaksa regime is in crisis but the warhead is not, it seems that DJ is also unknowingly spreading fear among the public.

      But, one thing is true. Poor lower-caste Sinhalese can easily be turned against minority communities by lower castes representing temples and both of them never feel guilt or shame for their actions. As usual, political parties, including the JVP, will not go against racist destruction as it will cost the base of votes.

      Regardless of the unreliability of the previous advice and prediction of DJ, this time, the fear he evokes makes more concern toward the minority communities!

      • 2

        “My father was last foreign journalist to interview DN Aidit, leader of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Aidit was discovered in hiding on an island and summarily executed by the soldiers…..Therefore, I have gained an apprehension of these things and the ability to spot the signs and symptoms beginning to build up”
        Ah, but that was really amazing, considering that the writer was a toddler at the time. So, even as a drooling toddler, he was able to analyze world events. Even before he discovered that the world was round!

    • 2

      Rathupaswala style assaults are common today. Not many would open their mouths. All is becoming thousand times worst. Ahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

      A country which was in good shape, but turned out to be a SOMALIA as of today.

  • 8

    I highly doubt that Lokka will go that extreme as it will exacerbate the current economic disaster which will result in making half of the population beggars

  • 31

    When Gota killed Tamils indiscriminately, we applauded.
    When Gota killed Muslims using BBS we kept quiet.
    When he used Zaharan to kill 225 people on Easter Sunday, we made him the President
    No why are we complaining.
    What we sow we reap. Tamil friends tell me we have gone through worse situation than this in 1956, 1958 1977, 1983 on wards.
    Thanks to the Genocidal sinhala Goverments from 1956, we are in the west with safety and materlistic affluence. You who kept silent when we were harmed will have to reap what you sow.
    We are going to die of starvation while the Rajapakse family with the looted money live on our corpses.
    It is too late to stop the war head

    • 10

      Dilshan, What you said is a bitter truth.

      Unless we realize that our Sinhaleseness and our discriminatory casts complexity is well utilized by the politicians and temples to fool us, we will not come out from committing crimes on minorities as a way to hide our dirt.

      Protecting the Buddhism and country by the low-cast marginalized Sinhalese by means of committing violence against a minority community at a time and feeling happy of the silence of upper caste sinhalese become the prevailing practice in the country.

      for example, even in universities, the discriminatory practices targeted on the Muslim community after the Easter Sunday attack have not been reversed yet. Colombo University medical faculty and law faculty informal praying places for Muslim students were being turned into security guards restrooms if not locked the doors and never shown curtesy to their prayers that make them good humans.

      Have you ever thought to reform this cast complex social setting and temples and universities from their hatred toward minorities in the name of protecting the religion and the country? if you have any opinion on reforming this social structure please share your thoughts.

      • 3

        Sampath Sam the irony is that all these low castes marginalized Sinhalese, who are now vociferously protecting Buddhism, Sinhala and anti-Tamil are ironically descended largely from low caste marginalized Indian Tamil immigrants who were brought into the island for low and menial work by the Portuguese and Dutch. Further, the so-called upper caste rulers, elite and politicians who goad them and encourage to commit all these atrocities on the island’s Tamils in the name of Sinhalese Buddhism, are largely descended from upper caste and aristocratic Tamil or Tamil speaking immigrants from South India, who migrated to the island again a few centuries ago. Or in the case of some descended from some Malaccan Catholic immigrants now posing off as the saviours of Sinhalese Buddhism. All these fairly recent immigrants from Tamil South India, low and highborn now taken on a Sinhalese identity and committing atrocities on the native Tamils in the name of Sinhalese Buddhism. Destroying their language, history, culture and stealing their lands. You see many of them posting their anti Tamil hatred here

        • 0


          Your historical reading shows that all three communities came from the same roots with little timing defference.

          But the question is how to re-set the track away from the racist tracks toward a pluralistic future. The issue of cast-based thinking is spread across the entire institutional setting including schools, universities and hospitals, and families to temples.

          • 0

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

            For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

          • 0

            Recent DNA studies also prove this. All four major communities living on the island are genetically very close to each other, proving we all have a South Asian and most of it South Indian Dravidian origin. If there is any difference it is very marginal and the communities that arrived during prehistoric or ancient times from South India are very closer to each other than the descendants of a population who arrived later from South India. Thus is understable.

    • 8

      The bottom line is, voters KNEW who the Rajapaksa’s were, what they are capable of, as most of their previous crimes had been reported. The convenient Easter day bombing made them foolishly think that only HE can save them, not considering the fact that maybe HE may be instrumental in organizing that massacre, using idiotic jihadists to do the dirty work.
      Before the Easter day bombing, the Muslims and Christians were living in peaceful co-existence.
      The voters of Sri Lanka got what they asked for, the only problem is the entire country now suffers the consequences.

      The Rajapaksa’s are corrupt to the hilt, vindictive, and ruthless, and they will beg, borrow, steal, and kill (even their own people) to stay in power.

      It turned out it is not the Muslims who are taking over the country (as the Buddhist extremists claimed), but the Rajapaksa’s good buddies, the Chinese, who are well known to extract all they can like parasites from desperate nations like ours.

      If they can kill unarmed poor people for protesting their contaminated water, nothing will stop them from doing worse.

      As for the Rajapaksa voters – Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results.

      • 2

        “The bottom line is, voters KNEW who the Rajapaksa’s were, what they are capable of, “
        Totally true. Most of these voters are quite happy when the uppity minorities are attacked. They are too dumb to figure out that they themselves are the ultimate victims.

  • 9

    Funny isn’t it . DJ now giving lessons on ” how to prevent a massacre after many of those were organized and staged since independence by successive governments. DJ were you a onetime organizer to know how to prevent it

  • 0

    “How To Prevent A Massacre”

    Mete out the same treatment to the Rajapakses that they mete out to their opponents ………

    Hand them high ……. in The Galle Face Green ………

    Make an example/warning to other budding tyrants ……….. (America will never be the same again if Trump goes unpunished for his attempted coup)

    If history is any guide ……… that’s how people get rid of murderous tyrants ………. (but always not necessarily for the better :)) )

    Anyone remember Saddam, Benito, Ceaușescu, ……………..

  • 1

    you are wasting your time dayan.Indonesia has only recently become a democracy.Our people have been a democracy since 1947.They willjust grit their teeth and wait till the elections just as they did to sirima who gave lot of suffering tothem.On rly way the rajapakshes cango and you bonnie boy sajit to come will be through the elections and when they lose they will think of a miltary coup unless the US says buckeroff or we will……..etc etc as they did in 2015.Now be patient good boy without dramatics.

  • 1

    “How To Prevent A Massacre”
    Don’t react when the Chinese fertiliser ship docks in the Chinese leased Hambantota harbour.

    • 2


      “Don’t react when the Chinese fertiliser ship docks in the Chinese leased Hambantota harbour.”

      My advice is, not to worry, he will take all 64 positions all at the same time which he believes will cover his back.

      Do you remember his position on Welikada prison massacre in 2012?
      I am not sure what were his position on following massacres:

      Valvettiturai massacre – 64 (IPKF)
      Nittambuwa massacre – 12 (Police)
      Thiriyai massacre – 25 – 35 (Army)
      Kalmunai massacre – 160 – ? (Army)
      Veeramunai massacre – 21 Homeguards
      Eastern University massacre – 158 Army
      Sathurukondan massacre – 184 Army
      Kokkadichcholai massacre – 152 Army
      These were carried out from 2 January 1989 to 1 May 1993 when R Premadasa was the president of this island.

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