22 September, 2020

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Re-Assessing President JR

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Some readers may wonder why I want to re-assess President JR Jayewardene, who belongs to a past that is dead, when there are so many urgent problems of the present that might be addressed by a weekly columnist. My answer is that the way we assess the past reflects the way we assess the present, and more importantly it also shapes our orientation to the future. There is a whole school of thought about history behind my view, which I hope to clarify later. At present it seems to me important, desperately important, to make a reassessment of President JR for this reason: he has harmed this country terribly in the past; we must try to ensure that he does not harm this country terribly in the future as well.

It seems to me important to take into account the personality traits of JR in making a re-assessment of him. I have earlier speculated on the possible influence of his ancestry on his politics. According to a widespread view there were uncertainties about his ancestry, which is why the Kandyan aristocracy refused to confer elite status on his family by marrying into it. Did that lead to a secret hatred of the Sinhalese people and did that induce him to play traitor in 1987? I believe that it is important in political analysis to raise such questions even though in the present state of knowledge no definitive answer may be possible. Two other personality traits also seem very relevant to the task of re-assessing him. He belonged essentially to what Eric Fromm categorized as the necrophiliac personality as he was driven to destruction and death. Blood started flowing as soon as he assumed office in 1977 and it was flowing in torrents by the time he relinquished it in 1988. The other trait is that he was evil. By evil I mean the propensity, or perhaps the compulsion, to damage and to destroy. JR, I think, was richly endowed with that compulsion.

JVPIt might seem that I am caricaturing JR. Actually I am being selective in noting only those traits that seem to have weighed in his politics. Outside that field he may well have been a genial and wholesome man. I acknowledge his enormous political ability which was shown by his charismatic performance at the San Francisco Peace Conference, and I would acknowledge also two of his mighty achievements. He was the first South Asian leader to understand that the state-centric economy could only bring further disaster and he moved away from it in a process that soon became irreversible. Furthermore he did not destroy the welfare system in that process. The other mighty achievement was I think theMahaveli Accelerated Program in which he showed a dynamism that has not been common among our leaders.

Here I come to the crux of this article: politicians should be judged by their achievements; not by their precepts but by their practice; not by their promises but by their performance; not by the cunning, deviousness, and duplicity of an old fox but by what the old fox actually achieved. It is meet and proper that a leader should be judged by his achievements in an age in which the achievement orientation is more valued among a people than anything else. What was JR’s record of achievement? At the time he assumed office in 1977 Sri Lanka was bright with promise. He set the economy on the right course, and all that he had to do was to solve the ethnic problem. That was not an insuperable problem in 1977: it could have been solved without much difficulty by granting a reasonable measure of devolution and allowing a fully functioning democracy to correct the inequities that had come to characterize our majority/minority relations. But in 1988 when JR relinquished office the situation facing Sri Lanka was this: there were two serious rebellions going on at the same time, that of the LTTE and the JVP, the IPKF troops were here behaving like a conquering army, and the Government had lost control over a third of the national territory and almost half the coastline. It seemed that the prophesy of the late Professor of History Karl Goonawardene had come true. It went something like this: “The problem is that JR hates the people of this country, and since that is so he can only bring disaster to this country”.

JR’s great failures were in the fields of the ethnic problem and democracy, both of which are in reality integrally connected. I have been arguing since around 1993 that JR was the originator of the ethnic problem in its militant violent form. There were no ethnic riots from 1958 to 1977, but thereafter there was State terrorism under his aegis which reached its apogee in 1983, and it was that that led to a quarter century of civil war. I have recently argued in an article – I will not therefore repeat my arguments in any detail – that by preventing the extension of the Vadamarachchi campaign he was responsible for the extension of the war by twenty two years at the cost of a hundred thousand deaths. It is arguable that India was responsible for that by coercing JR to abandon military operations after Vadamarachchi. But I believe that I have established convincingly enough that JR has to bear the primary responsibility because he could have successfully resisted that coercion with the support of the international community: 1) India would not have dared invade Sri Lanka because of food shortages in Jaffna that were easily corrigible. 2) The international community would have acknowledged that the SL Government had the primordial duty of putting down an armed rebellion by military means. 3) The irritant of supposed special Sri Lanka/US relations did not count because by 1987 the US was in collusion with India over Sri Lanka.

JR was the originator of the ethnic problem in its violent form after 1983, and he was at least partly responsible for the extension of the war after 1987. It is arguable that his virtual destruction of democracy played an important role in that extension. According to K.M. de Silva’s Sri Lanka and the Defeat of the LTTE the Vadamarachchi operation became one of the forgotten episodes of the war and the orthodoxy came to be established that the war was “unwinnable”. That was the conventional wisdom, the almost unchallenged orthodoxy, that prevailed for a long period both locally and in the international community. It is understandable that that orthodoxy went together with a defeatist mentality, if not for which the war could have been concluded much earlier than in 2009. But for that, Vadamarachchi had to be remembered and General Ranatunge and others who thought like him had to speak out. That was not possible under the quasi-dictatorship instituted by JR. According to de Silva, in his retirement General Ranatunge used to speak about the success of the Vadamarachchi operation to his visitors, “especially those whom he trusted to be discreet ….”. Evidently he believed that it would be dangerous to make public all he knew about Vadamarachchi.

In this article I have not of course tried to make a re-assessment of JR. I have merely tried to provide some pointers, or rather raise some questions, about how we should go about that task. It seems important to take some of his personality traits into account. Did the stories about his ancestry influence his politics? Certainly his State terrorism which transformed the ethnic problem into an extremely violent one suggests a necrophiliac personality driven by a will to death and destruction. Several facts about him suggest that he was an evil person who took pleasure in harming and destroying people. The way he went about restructuring the Judiciary, making some Supreme Court Judges walk the streets, and the later episode in which the houses of SC judges were stoned, showed intent not just to control the Judiciary but to humiliate it. A whole huge tome can be written to show that he was a thoroughly unsavory character.

How on earth has it come about that JR has earned a positive reputation as an old fox when the truth is that he left behind a record of gigantic disaster? It may be that that positive reputation prevails only or mainly among UNP supporters, but my question remains valid. I believe that the answer has to be found in our modern history. We had a century of peace from 1848 to 1948, and we got Independence without anything worth calling a struggle. Consequently British power was inherited by a political class that was unheroic, mean-spirited, self-regarding, pusillanimous. Understandably that class found its greatest hero in Sir Oliver Goonetilleke who was admired above all for his shrewdness. Likewise JR is admired for his cunning. We must re-assess our modern history and figures such as JR in order to re-orient our political values and go forward towards a wholesome modernity.

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    Predictions rarely comes true twice.

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      Izeth Hussain joins Kumar David and Dayan Jayatilake as political astrologers with bloated sense of knowledge to pronounce what is politically correct and what ought to be done for a better future.

      The less they write about politics the better people of Sri Lanka would be to think about how to take appropriate action politically. They merely create a lot of noise, that at times becomes unpleasantly loud.

      Will you guys give people a break, and let them be in peace to think on their own. Would they take heed?

      They may be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder in their senior years!

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      Izeth Hussain is a hypocrite because while he was serving the Sri Lankan state like an obedient servant for decades he wouldn’t open his mouth about the leaders.

      Now he is bragging about his knowledge like a broken record.

      If he were honest and had the guts he should have done like Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on his powerful employer.

      This guy is a coward who would rather hang on to his rice bowl than uphold his intellectual integrity!

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        To the reader – This Thiru is one of the original Fringistas (my shorthand for Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racists).Not a single fact in my article is questioned or refuted, not a single argument is questioned or countered. Instead he screeches abuse – “hypocrite”, “coward”. He illustrates a trait of the Fringistas that I have noted earlier – Whatever I write causes in them a hysterical hatred which issues in mad dog rage.
        The use of nom de plumes can be legitimate, but not to hurl abuse from behind a cowardly anonymity. So, what’s your name, Thiru? Why don’t you declare your identity, stand up like a man, and fight in the open as I do? If you don’t, is it because you will reveal that you are a third-rate mediocrity who is choking with impotent wrath against your betters because they have a higher reputation than you have? Do you find that particularly unbearable in my case because I am a Thumbiya? Isn’t that it, Thiru? – IH

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    And tamils still blindly vote for the UNP . JRJ led the violent protests in 1958 against attempts to address the language problem. This f[Edited out] SWRD to change ideology because like JRJ he too wanted to win by any means .

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      CT moderator/Editor,

      You are defeating the purpose if you have “[Edited out]” a part of a word.

      Readers know what the word is! Be smarter in your editing.

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    Izeth Hussain –

    Please just move on from JR, SWRD. MR, VP Etc, and see what can be done going forward for those who are still living.

    JR wa a Patriot, who deflected the Indian Occupation Plans.

    If you keep going back to the past, the current 46 Chromosomes you have will increase to 48 and you will turn into an Ape etc.

    Ken Miller on Human Evolution

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8FfMBYCkk

    See what you can do to save the Muslims from the Devil Following Wahhabis and their Clones ISIS, Taliban etc. who claim to be “Muslims” so that they will not go berserk, and commit crimes like Iblis-Isis etc.

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    Quite an insightful piece Izeth. Indeed a big part of Sri Lanka’s future is dependent on calling a spade a spade.

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    Mr Hussain,
    You are raising some valid observations(ex destruction of democracy during JR’regime). Sirimavo’s government too made the monumental blunder in introducing the blatantly discriminatory media wise standardisation IN 1971 which was the reason why the Jaffna youth took to arms for the first time. When Sirimavo her Education Minister Baduideen introduced this ill conceived procedure, Tamil youth became so alienated and this process became irreversible. JR is not the only culprit- blame Sirimavo, Colvin et al too. MJA

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      MJA – racism against the minorities did not start with JR in 1977.It was there from DS onwards. But after 1977 there was a qualitative difference in the form of State terrorism. It began with the 1977 pogrom against the Tamils in 1977 just three weeks after he came to power. 100 to 300 Tamils died. His State terrorism reached its apogee in 1983. Tamil militancy in a violent form became inevitable after that. JR therefore created the civil war. It had to be expected as he was a necrophiliac man of blood, morally low-grade, in fact evil as he had a compulsion to harm and destroy. – IH

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      MJA

      It was not only standardization but lack of opportunity and progress to the youth of this island, while youth population was growing. The economy was mismanaged and went through a considerable period of stagflation.

      On the other hand state control over entire economy stifled creativity, private initiatives, and entrepreneurship and became engine for growth of corruption, nepotism, chit system,….. etc.

      Don’t forget the JVP which took to terrorism before the LTTE was even born.

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    JRJ was a traitor no doubt . It did not start in 1977 it started much before . I would think he was the father of political thuggery and subjugation of the people. Sycophancy is a trait of sri lankans who deny reality and completely depend on the ruling classes to do the right thing. We are faced with this situation because the political class can do any thing and would not be questioned. The peoples expectations did not materialise. JRJ was also the father of a Predatory govt that has grown to the complete destruction of the country. Philosophy of printing and borrowing was started by this idiot. Growth of money and devaluation instigating exploration of land value etc was portrayed as economic development.
    I would disagree with the writer on the Mahaweli project. The environmental destruction, 10% of the people dying of Kidney disease because of all the insecticides and weadicides being directed to the NCP ,failure of the energy needs of the country as projected etc Only thing it did was to make a few ministers and their classmates super rich. The over estimating costs and commissions were formalised by the mahaweli project .
    To undo the damage he did will take centuries.
    James Rutnmam in 1958 in an article said God Save Sri Lanka if ever JRJ became the leader. He was spot on.

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      Vas – thanks.Any suggestions on how I could access the 1958 James Rutnam article? – IH

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        It was in sri lanka guardian and it was all about his geaniology from a servant in Gov Drieberg’s house to a double spy and to the present.think I have a copy would be glad to send it to you.

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          Vas – thanks for the offer. Please send me a copy – IH

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        Vas – on second thoughts, you probably mean SP Amerasingham’s Tribune if it was a 1958 article. The LG was started by Mervyn de Silva in the late 1970s – IH

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    JR was a pain in the neck no doubt.Starting from 1944 when he moved that Sinhala be the Language of Administration,until it was amended to read Tamil also.Then when SWRD made Sinhala the sole official language to only later on enter into a pact with the FP,JR marches to Kandy! Then,he makes things difficult for DUDLEY in the 70s.,No sooner he captured power in 1977 he proceeds to deprive Mrs.B.of her civic rights!
    In 1983 he presides over the worst ever Anti-Tamil Pogrom.That was,probably,in his view his finest hour!

    Which other Politician has had such a colourful Curriculum Vitae as JR?

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    vas

    “James Rutnmam in 1958 in an article said God Save Sri Lanka if ever JRJ became the leader. He was spot on.”

    He was also a good friend of JR.

    Check the link for

    Festschrift 1985

    James Thevadasan Rutnam

    http://www.noolaham.net/project/94/9331/9331.pdf

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    Qualifying further my earlier comment: it often goes undiscussed the damage the media-wise standardisation for university entrance did for the ethnic relations. Clearly this was the historical moment and the deciding factor that pushed the Tamil youth to take to arms. I am not condoning or underplaying any other atrocity done against Tamils or other minorities by JRJ or others.

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    Qualifying further my earlier comment: it often goes undiscussed the damage the media-wise standardisation for university entrance did for the ethnic relations. Clearly this was the historical moment and the deciding factor that pushed the Tamil youth to take to arms. I am not condoning or underplaying any other atrocity done against Tamils or other minorities by JRJ or others. MJA

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      MJA – I think it is important to clear up this point.Standardization amounted to monstrous discrimination against the Tamils despite the specious rationale made out for it that it was designed to help the underprivileged of all ethnic groups. It hit the Tamils most of all and to a very serious extent.It would be understandable if the Tamil youths took to arms more seriously than in the period before standardization. But still Tamil rebel violence was of a sporadic order.It was not of the order of a civil war, which was the case after 1983.
      The reason for the change that took place after 1983 is this. Discrimination is negotiable, death is not. After discrimination you can negotiate towards corrective action, but not if you are dead. It was possible to take corrective action over standardization in later years. If on the other hand a minority is subjected to systematic lethal violence, and there is no peaceful way out of it, it has to fight a civil war or suffer the fate of the Rohingyas. JR by his systematic lethal violence against the Tamils from 1977 to 1983 was the true begetter of the SL civil war. – IH

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        Izeth Hussain

        “JR by his systematic lethal violence against the Tamils from 1977 to 1983 was the true begetter of the SL civil war. – IH “

        The seeds were planted well before that,yes,JR helped complete it, instead of defusing it.

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    MJA,
    The standardisation programme carried out by Bandaranaike regime was the baby of Badudeen Mohamed . What he played was minority politics to better his community. Results are seen today. Now to put the onus on sinhala buddhist on that front is wrong. As with everything there are pros and cons. What I regret is that the sensitivities of the Jaffna Tamil was never taken into account . The Rulers of Sri Lanka are democratic dictators.
    now i shall relate how minority politics play a major role in govt of JRJ as this will be relevant
    A muslim transport minister of JRJ govt ordered spare tyres for the CTB for ten years. The secretary of the organisation was asked to sign which he refused and he went to JRJ. JRJ told this gentleman How can I offend this minority community minister? he told this gentleman either sign it or I will give you another job. He was given another job. Would he on the other hand been able to come out with it in the open. No if so JRJ would have unleashed the UNP thugs on him. The white van syndrome stated with JRJ.This is how governments work. Minority ministers get away with blue murder as the leader is conscious of the vote. All minority ministers are a law unto themselves. But unfortunately it is the Sinhalese that are blamed. What most forget is that Leaders are only nominal buddhists be JR, Bandaranaike. JR and Mr Bandaranaike of course has a tamil south indian christian ancestry. That says it all.

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      Vas – I won’t dispute the veracity of the account that JR said that he could not offend a minority Minister. But I would put a different interpretation on it. I can’t accept that he funked the Muslim Ministers. He showed contempt for them. Foreign Minister Hameed feared him. When Muslim Ministers and notables including Dr Kaleel met him to express anxieties over the opening of the Israeli Interests Section he summarily showed them the door with the remark “If you don’t like it, you can resign your posts.” He was utterly contemptuous, instead of assuaging Muslim anxieties – which he could have easily done.
      His remark about the Muslim Transport Minister can be given the following interpretation. He regularly refused to take corrective action over the mistakes and wrong-doings of his Ministers. His excuse was that if he did that he would become responsible for all the actions of all his Ministers. According to Eric Fromm, Hitler’s behaviour towards his Ministers was identical. He too refused to correct the wrong-doing because he liked it – which according to Fromm is a characteristic of the necrophiliac personality. – IH

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    MJA.

    …..Clearly this was the historical moment and the deciding factor that pushed the Tamil youth to take to arms…..

    True;Very True.But this was also the historical moment for LTTE Supremo Prabaharan to propel himself.

    There was also another Historical moment that was given to him ,virtually on a platter; This was when JRJ DISQUALIFIED the TULF to sit in Parliament.This led to the exodus of the TULF MPP.to India.Prabaharan filled the void.

    Both these historical moments were presented first by Mrs:B and then JRJ!~

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    Mr Hussain:

    You commented: “Standardization amounted to monstrous discrimination against the Tamils despite the specious rationale made out for it that it was designed to help the underprivileged of all ethnic groups”

    My comment: There were two policies that were adopted for unitiversity entrance. The media wise standardisation introduced in 1971 required Tamil medium students to score higher marks than their Sinhala or English medium counterparts to gain entry to courses like medicine and engineering. This was blatant discrimination as it was targeted to reduce the Tamil medium students entering universities.

    District- quota basis (standardisation) introduced later (1973) was intended to help the underprivileged of all ethnic groups (as stated by you)to gain entry to universities from educationally less privileged areas such as (say Trincomalee, Batticola, Anuradapura, Tissamaharama or Palmadulla). District basis (or district wise standardisation?) made it harder for those who studied in Jaffna or Colombo to enter universities whether it was in Tamil medium or Sinhala medium. Ironcially it was JRJ who removed the media wise standardisationd in 1977. The Tamil student from Jaffna had two obstacles to clear between 1971-77 to gain entry to university. MJA

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Policy_of_standardisation

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    MJA – thanks for your clarification. My main interest is in the periodisation of LTTE violence. KM de Silva notes in his book that after 1983 Tamil support for the LTTE “increased exponentially”, Tamil Nadu support became more open than before, Indian Government support became overt helping Tamil separatism become ” a formidable force”. I would add also that international sympathy for the Tamils, particularly in the West, became a formidable factor after 1983. I would say therefore that Tamil rebel violence arose before 1983 because of discrimination by several Governments, but JR was the only true begetter of the civil war . – IH

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    IH,

    There is anecdotal evidence that JR did not want to bring the bodies of the dead soldiers to Colombo in July 1983 fearing that there will be widespread riots. His Cabinet especially Gamini and Lalith were said to have objected to this very strongly and have pressurised JRJ to change his decision. (Can someone knowledgeable comment on this or correct this?) Consequent July 83 riots were also orchestrated by Cyril Mathew etc. Gamini is accused of being behind burning the Jaffna library before that. May be your concluding comment may have to be rephrased as ” JR and some his ministers like Gamini Disanayake and Cyril Mathew were the true begetters of the civil war- and Velupillai Prabhakaran responded in equal venom and must have loved every minute of it!” MJA

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    Izeth Hussain is given to vague generalisations, quoting from the famous to support his arguments and saying some downright silly things. And here we have another example of his craft. And this time he has gone one better in trying to play amateur psychologist.

    He suggests that JR had a latent hatred of the Sinhalese – of the Sinhalese, if you please – because of being snubbed by the Kandyan aristocracy. And so he tells us that “According to a widespread view there were uncertainties about his ancestry, which is why the Kandyan aristocracy refused to confer elite status on his family by marrying into it. Did that lead to a secret hatred of the Sinhalese people and did that induce him to play traitor in 1987?”

    Now, let’s pause to ask what is this “widespread view”? How many have in fact heard of this? What does IZ define as “widespread”? How widespread is “widespread”? This is the sort of specious argument this man makes. I have Kandyan friends who are not part of the Kandyan aristocracy and even they don’t like their people marrying non Kandyans either. And it has nothing to do with a reluctance to confer an “elite status” on those non Kandyans. And if indeed JR was snubbed by the Kandyan aristocracy why should he have harboured an antipathy against the Sinhalese as a whole? IZ has clearly gone bonkers.

    And in his role as amateur psychologist, IH suggests that JR had a “necrophiliac personality”. Now this is pretty serious stuff. Necrophilia from which the adjective is derived is defined in the dictionary as “an erotic attraction to corpses”. This is by any stretch of the imagination an extraordinary suggestion to make. True, the communal riots of 1983 occurred under JR’s watch and he may well have been slow to act but to accuse him of having a “necrophiliac personality” is plain crazy. And all this is being said of someone who is not even around to defend himself. This is really to give new meaning to that old saying about hitting below the belt. How pathetic.

    IZ’s other charge was that JR was an evil person but again he has very little to base his charge upon.

    In hindsight we can see that JR erred with his Republican constitution.
    And for that, he needs to take his share of blame. But don’t damn the man only for that. Let’s be objective and remember all the good things JR did and his great resilience and the manner in which he sought to rebuild the UNP after the electoral debacle of 1956 and again after its defeat in 1970.

    IH is trying to re-write history when he says “At the time he assumed office in 1977 Sri Lanka was bright with promise”. “Bright with promise” – what a fine sounding phrase. The reality was that after seven long years of Mrs B’s administration, SL was in a grand, old mess. JR had a formidable task before him

    One can be critical of JR on a whole range of things. But to suggest that he hated the Sinhalese or the people of the country is a gross libel. It was not a Sinhalese hater who led the campaign against the B-C pact. People who criticise him for that fail to realise what the B-C involved. The Federal Party led satyagraha was ostensibly to protest against the alleged disabilities visited on the Tamils as a result of the Sinhala Only policy. But the B-C pact went well beyond seeking to redress those grievances. The B-C pact was all about colonisation and land allocation in the North and the East and effectively reserving those areas exclusively for the Tamils and excluding the non Tamils (for which read the Sinhalese) from land owning rights there. Leading the protest against the B-C pact was not the act of a traitor to the Sinhalese cause.

    This is one of the more bizarre pieces of writing from IH. His concluding paragraph typically reflects his muddled thinking with its irrelevant references to the grant of independence and Sir Oliver Goonetilleke.

    I don’t know why IH has set about a demolition job on JR but isn’t there an old saying that even pygmies can destroy? IH will do well, to put it bluntly, to think a little before he next sees fit to put pen to paper.

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      Agreeing with Know All, I once again find Izeth Hussain exceeding limits in this offensive piece. Necrophilia mainly means having sex with a dead body. I am sure no one of a sane mind will ever say this of JRJ – whatever the latter’s weaknesses in the political front are. We have seen Hussain committing similar lapses earlier in his anxiety to catch the eye of the readers with sophisticated words. An otiose effort – as Samuel Johnson would have lamented.

      Nettabomman

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        This Nettabomman is one of the nastiest Fringistas who was part of the concerted attacks against me that went on for months in the CT. I have come to believe that those attacks were concerted by the LTTE. Anyway I believe that the LTTE type of Tamil racist has been dehumanised by his racism to such an extent that he is devoid of a moral sense.
        Nettabomman provides an absolutely convincing illustration of that point.He berates me for using the term necrophiliac of JR because according to the dictionary that term applies to someone who has sex with a corpse. But I clearly and unambiguously stated that I was using that term in the sense given to it by Eric Fromm, who was one of the foremost psychologists of the last century.
        Netta has blatantly distorted what I wrote in a way that is easily detectable. How come? The explanation is that his rational faculty has gone into abeyance, which is typical of the Fringistas. In berating me over something I never wrote he shows that his moral sense has also gone into abeyance. The truth is that he has been dehumanised by his racism and is now devoid of a moral sense. Netta – Racism is a disease. Get well soon. – IH

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          Blimey! Have’nt offered any offense at all to the usually pugnacious Izeth Hussain to trigger this his mini-mental breakdown. Does he display this uncontrollable hate because I pointed out his English was badly flawed.

          I don’t think the LTTE, when they were alive and kicking around, knew that I existed at all for me to be part of their outfit,
          as the wise man suggests. Hussain over-estimates himself. Why does he not include the BTF, TGTE, GTF etc. to massage his incurable ego. I also note – in his regular rage against Tamils this ethno-racist voluntarily refers to himself as Tambiyah – in a clear effort to gain the sympathy of Muslims. As far as I can see, Tamil commentators did not use this term against him. Is this because, going by some of the comments from Muslims themselves, they find him an unnecessary and provocative nuisance endangering the safety of the community – imposing his uninvited “political analysis”

          BTW, I am pleased to hear the man is 88 and I, in all sincerity, wish him many more years of good health and cheers. I look forward to reading him – and, disagree with him, where necessary.
          Although I suspect much of what he writes and his “political analysis” to be no more than an amusing and dispensable cocktail of codswallop and fiddlesticks.

          Nettabomman

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            Nettabomman,

            Well said!

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      Sorry Know All but I think you chose the wrong nom de plume. It should be Know Little. If you have to quibble over “widespread” in connection with JR’s ancestry, you know little about Sri Lankan politics.
      I used the term “necrophiliac” in Eric Fromm’s sense, as I explicitly stated. You can read. You must try to understand what you read. I gave one illustration to show that JR was evil.How many illustrations do you expect me to give in a brief article of a few paragraphs? – IH

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    “Know All”,
    May be at the ripe old age of 88, IZ is looking for his moment of glory in redefining JRJ!! MJA

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      MJA and Know All – May be at the ripe old age of 88 I have actually succeeded in redefining JR at least in connection with what happened in 1987. a)I have shown that Sri Lanka being abandoned by the international community applied only to the air-drop b)The international community would never have denied that the SL Government had the primordial duty of putting an end to an armed rebellion by military means. c) India would never have invaded Sri Lanka over food shortages that were easily corrigible. d)Indian meddling and bullying were not alone responsible for what happened in 1987. e) JR bore the primary responsibility for the extension of the war by twenty two years at the cost of a hundred thousand deaths. f) Why did he do that? It seems to me – and I am sure that it will seem so to most readers who are not ridiculously prejudiced – that it is legitimate to conjecture along the lines that he had a necrophiliac personality as defined by Fromm and that he was evil as defined by me – actually derived from a book by Terry Eagleton. – IH

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    Izeth Hussain,

    I note your latest comments but make no apologies for my choice of nom de plume; clearly, you don’t share my sense of humour!

    So, you think you ‘have actually succeeded in redefining JR at least in connection with what happened in 1987’. You are entitled to think so, I have no problem with that.

    I cannot agree, however, with your other statements marked a) to e). Regarding a) you have most certainly not shown that the ‘air drop’ was the only instance when SL was abandoned by the international community. That was perhaps the most PUBLIC demonstration of it but there have been numerous other examples of when the international community let SL down. Consider, for instance, Britain’s refusal during the offensive against the LTTE, to supply spare parts and equipment for machinery and vehicles they had supplied, the refusal and or reluctance to proscribe the LTTE and the lack of support at international forums. It took 9/11 before the international community showed greater understanding Regarding b), it is preposterous to say that the ‘international community would never have denied that the SL Government had the primordial duty of putting an end to an armed rebellion by military means’. Sure, it did not say so in so many words, but its conduct and actions were a constructive enough expression of it. Why, for instance, did the British Foreign Secretary David Milliband and his French counterpart seek to exert pressure on the SL government to halt the offensive against the LTTE even at its last stages? What I have said in relation to a) is also relevant here. On c), it would have been a very serious matter for India to have invaded Sri Lanka but whether it will or will not have done so is something we will never know. As for d) your assertion that JR bore the prime responsibility for the extension of the war by twenty two years, JR was in an unenviable position. India had him by the proverbial “short and curlies” and he had little room for manoeuvre. Let’s not put the blame primarily on him. Let’s not forget, among other things, that in terms of the Accord, India was to disarm the Tigers, something which it spectacularly failed to do.

    IH, we don’t all have to agree with your views, and it suggests a superior and arrogant attitude on your part to say that most readers who are “not ridiculously prejudiced” will agree with you. It will do you well to realise that those who disagree with you are not all “ridiculously prejudiced” as you suggest. How self righteous you sound seeking to arrogate to yourself the monopoly of right thinking!

    Conjecture by its nature allows unlimited scope for speculation. Any fool can indulge in conjecture of any sort and speculate in any silly way he wants. What matters, however, is whether the conjecture is sound and reasonably based. Your statement that JR had a necrophiliac personality is based on what you have understood from a reading of Eric Formm. Formm’s concept of a necrophiliac was someone with a character rooted passion to tear apart living structures, to destroy for the sake of destroying. JR does not fit that mould, by a long chalk. To suggest that JR had such a personality is to draw a long bow indeed and I think reflects a case of an imagination running riot. And the basis for your assertion that JR was evil is of course your own definition, derived on your reading of a book by Terry Eagleton.

    It is all well and good to be well read but you cannot carry on like some amateur psychologist based on limited reading. It been said that a little learning is a dangerous thing. What we seem to find demonstrated here is that a little reading can be even more unsafe!

    It is one thing to discuss in the abstract about negative human characteristics and of the motivation for despicable conduct. To attribute such characteristics to specific individuals, however, without enough sound evidence is both reckless and unreasonable.

    JR, like all of us, was an imperfect man in an imperfect world. His life like that of ours was flawed. But he was a great patriot who has served the nation well. To paint him as a hater of the Sinhalese and indeed of all Sri Lankans and to suggest that he had a necrophilliac and evil personlaity is tantamount to a gross libel.

    Over the years, JR has become a favourite whipping boy for the political ills that ail the country. But the poor man is not even here to be able to defend himself. To criticise him unfairly and impute to him base motives as you have done, is cruel in the extreme.

    It is appalling that you have chosen to do so. It does you little credit: no credit at all. In my book, it is plain disgusting.

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      How I wish there were many more readers in these columns to expose
      the prejudice and arrogance of this racist Izeth Hussain – as the apparently initiated Know All does. I chose not to comment against
      Hussain’s clear provocations because, to me, the man nearing 90, seems totally gone bonkers. I caught him publicly lying. His only response was – not to apologise as expected from gentlemen of some education and breeding – but pour irrelevant scorn and expletives – features he is abundantly blessed with. What an ex-diplomat and man of letters. That great trade unionist Kandasamy, whom Hussain quotes ad nauseum, will turn in his grave reading this Tamil hater being asked to speak on his Memorial.

      Kettikaran

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