6 February, 2023


Recognize The Real Ranil Regime: Aragalaya 3.0 & Recipe For Resistance

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Ranil Wickremesinghe is a leader without any popular vote; a ruler without a mandate; a ruler without legitimacy. And yet he seeks to crush the citizens using military and police force. Aragalaya 3.0 must be born as the Resistance against Ranil’s rule and can only end with his political retrenchment.

Actions speak louder than words, as the old saying goes. The actions came from Ranil. Speech is also an action. He sounded belligerent for days. After he was elected by the Rajapaksa majority in Parliament as the leader of this country, and he stopped along the way to thank the military and Police, he was heard to say some thing disparaging about the Aragalaya. At the Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple, he needlessly criticized the Aragalaya. After he swore in yesterday, he went to the Ministry of Defense where he was greeted by Gota’s closest comrade in arms, (retd) General Kamal Gunaratna, the Secretary/Defense.

Purely coincidentally of course, hours after that meeting, the Army invaded GotaGoGama, and together with the Police, thrashed the few activists there, rounded up others. They did so despite the fact that the evening’s news had clearly shown the evacuation of the Presidential Secretariat precincts!

Every decent human being capable of moral outrage, in Sri Lanka, as well as Sri Lankans all over the world, and indeed every decent human being capable of moral outrage, must protest against what is happening and what is clearly coming.

Ranil’s Roots & Record

For my part, I am shocked but not surprised, because I had been warning about this in my recent articles. This is because I know Ranil and have been a critic for decades.

In order to understand what has just happened at GGG, what is going to happen and what must be done to resist it and roll it back, you just have to know where Ranil is coming from. His parents, Esmond and Nalini Wickremesinghe whose base was Lake House, were on the Far Right in the politics of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. I know this up close because my late father Mervyn de Silva had running battles with them in Lake House, even when he was editor Daily News (in 1970) and Ranil’s mother was a still a director.

One of the issues in the sharp conflicts between Ranil’s father and mine, speaks directly to Ranil’s regime and the repression that has just been unleashed. It began in 1965 and went on for years. It was about dictatorship and military rule. The Indonesian military had just seized power in September 1965 and begun a repression that consumed over 1 ½ million people. The unarmed Communist Party was massacred. The Suharto dictatorship began. A harsh economic model was implemented. There was a well-known film about that dramatic period, called ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’. I was there with my parents.

Back in Sri Lanka, there was a huge rift in the ruling UNP between the liberal democratic Dudley Senanayake and the authoritarian JR Jayewardene-Esmond Wickremesinghe factions. Lake House was the cockpit of the ideological struggle. Esmond was often heard advocating the “Indonesia model” and his acolytes wrote articles in support in the newspapers.

My father Mervyn, my mother Lakshmi and I (an 8-year-old) were in Indonesia in the run-up to the coup. Mervyn and family had been personally invited by Dr Subandrio, the Foreign Minister, to speak at the Afro-Asia Journalists Association meeting in Bali to mark the 10th anniversary of the famous Bandung Summit of 1955. He was the last foreign journalist to interview DN Aidit the leader of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). In the pages of the Lake House papers and indeed in the corridors of Lake House, Mervyn was the strongest opponent of Esmond Wickremesinghe’s “Indonesian model” for Ceylon.

This is the model that Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to implement.

When the debate was erupting publicly in the newspapers and the UNP itself in the 1960s, Rohana Wijeweera took serious note. He warned the country that the JR-Esmond Wickremesinghe wing may depose Dudley Senanayake, scrap elections due for 1970 and install the Indonesian model. He decided that because the unarmed though massive Indonesian Communist party was massacred precisely it was unarmed unlike the Chinese and Vietnamese CPs, the JVP should be armed in self-defense.

Rohana Wijeweera was right in his alarm but wrong in his prognosis and prescription. What went wrong was that there was a powerful center-left opposition which ensured that elections were held in 1970. His coiled spring of a JVP then leapt into armed action in 1971 against a government it campaigned for, touched-off by arrests after old homemade hand-bombs accidentally exploded.

Ranil hates Young Rebels

Ranil always hated young leftists. In the 1970s, when everyone in the UNP, including its Youth and Student wings, were impacted by the April 1971 youth insurrection and had shifted to some extent to the left, Ranil was the sole prominent exception.

When he was elected to Parliament in 1977, Ranil’s goons were known to have abducted student activists from CTB buses, taken them to SriKotha and beaten them up. He justified in parliament, the stoning of the houses of judges by thugs after the Court ruled against the policemen who kicked the respected Vivienne Goonewardene on the floor of the Colpetty Police Station. Gonawela Sunil, sentenced to death for leading the gang rape of the 14-year-old daughter of Dr ATS Paul, on Galle face green, was released on a presidential pardon by JR Jayewardene, made a Justice of the Peace for the area that Ranil represented and through Ranil’s patronage. He was parked in and worked out of the Ministry of Education that Ranil headed.

When Vijaya Kumaratunga was shot at during the Mahara by-election campaign, his bodyguard jumped in front of the shotgun blast and died. It could have been Vijaya. The lights went out during counting at the Mahara by-election and when they came on, the UNP had won while Vijaya who had been ahead, had lost. Guess who the senior UNPer appointed as political head of the UNP side during the Mahara by-election just happened to be? Ranil Wickremesinghe.

It was Ranil whose polarizing, unilateralist White Paper on Education (1980) led to massive student protests and revived the JVP’s student movement, giving it the power, it would have for decades. Those are the type of ‘reforms’ he will implement during his Presidency.

Let’s not even talk about Batalanda. Apart from the Commission report, there was nationally televised testimony from victims’ families.

The military is now in love with Ranil. It seems to have collective – hopefully temporary—amnesia about the abject state it was pushed into by Ranil’s lopsided CFA with Prabhakaran. Worse still, Ranil, who has absolutely no qualms in deploying lethal fierce against Southern leftist youth, called-off an LRRP hit on Velupillai Prabhakaran on Dec 21st 2001, overruling the plea of the Army Commander Lionel Balagalle, that it would shorten the war and drive the LTTE to a negotiated settlement. This was detailed in the book by Paul Moorcraft, senior lecturer at Sandhurst.

How to Resist Ranil

There is only one way to stop the Ranil-Rajapaksa-military regime that is now shaping up; only one formula I know of that has been tried and tested in history the world over.

That is the Anti-Fascist United Front or the United Front for Anti-Fascist Resistance. In this case, the broadest United Front Against Repression & Dictatorship.

If the JVP and FSP do not unite, and they both do not unite with the SJB, and the latter does not unite with them; if they do not unite with the SLFP and the 10 smaller parties, if they do not draw out the dissident Dullas faction at this time, all of them will be ground into the dust by the Ranil-Rajapaksa civilian-military junta. As a start, let whoever who is willing to unite with whoever else, do so today, in clusters. Pick your political partners, but for God’s sake find one beyond your current circle.

Civic activists must bring pressure on the leaderships and the political parties to form a single bloc. Meanwhile implement it yourselves at the local level. In every workplace and neighborhood, all those of all social strata, who support these parties as well as all those who are independent of party politics, must form joint networks, and networks of networks.

Tomorrow must be different from yesterday, and you must be different today from what you were last night. Without unity at all levels, everyone will unite anyway, in prison or the graveyard (if they’re lucky) or some incinerator if they aren’t.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Did in the meeting with ambassadors, Evil Emperor, any time explained, at sometimes he was fearing for his life? What did Evil do when the Old Rowdy had picked up prison criminals on July 9th and attacked protesters in front of TTH? Is that not Old Rowdy used prisoners and Evil used captive armed forces criminals to attack protestors? When was the FBI or DC police, during the raid of congress, used excess force? What was the reason the Emperor’s Alsatians (German Shepherds) attacked reporters & lawyers? Which kind of law abiding is attacking the Lawyers who were there only to observe and represent the protestors.

  • 1

    Evil has said that diplomats talked only with the info of Colombo media. Langkang was the 174th out of the 179 countries in the media men’s safety. In that condition, even a braying, wild, Afghani donkey would not ask a man/woman from the Western & Eastern Democratic countries if they would not have beaten up the lawyers and media men to occupy a national building. Come on Evil, it is over the world (other than media oppressed Wildlife Sanctuary, Singha LE) media reports have started court cases and accepted as reasonably acceptable evidence too. Tell me something, is that why you worked with Royal Rowdies to protect them even after all evidence of the killing of Lasantha and Ekneligoda is available in the open news media? You called the New York Times to hand over the Dharish & Vamadeva report to investigate the accusation that Royals had received payment from China for the Rowdy King’s election expenses (2015) activities. If you do not accept Media reports, why did you ask the New York Times’ editor for the copies, after all, they were printed in the media already? We understand that you want to show that you are a great lawyer, with excellent logic, but please do not be a shameless dupe master, my dear friend Evil.

  • 3

    Sumanthiran PC, the only supporter of you from TNA. He has verry very clearly rebutted your explanation of “Court ordered, that is why you did not have any opption but to torture the boys and girls, who in deep sleep under the open sky, no roof over their heads or blankets to cover from cold, like homeless, orphan Children. For this atrocity you did if the EU is not striping the GSP+ and supporting the protestors to throw in the Victoria Dam, none of those 30 countries in the EU are democratic countries. Ceylon is in this condition today, not just because of the voters’ mistake, but because of the powerful democratic countries in the world, too. They are just watching Ceylon news for even coffee table entertainment. Otherwise, arrogant headed people like you might have fixed it even before you were born in Ceylon. I hope you may get a kick out of calling you Evil, because you do not like to be called “Excellency” and if one does, you will be sending them to prison, after all it is an honor for the job, nothing about your Grand Statesmanship.

  • 2

    Why did you not think of this when you were called Honorable MP, (that is a Westminster custom, where Queen and others are called their Excellency). If that is another one of anti-colonial protests, why don’t you reject the “Honorable” title too? Or is there something going wrong in your thick skull head that you are truly an honorable person? If so,that is the top comedy of this millennium!

  • 7

    The dirty racist sinhalas are mere Lemmings and will NEVER ever be a Singapore because instead of harnessing the superior intellect of the minorities like SIngapore and Malaysia the sinhalas are merely forcussed on marginalisation of the intellectually superior minorities eg ceylon tamils who are now flourishing overseas and the sinhalas are exporting menial labour

    • 4

      Thank you Gus, for proving that Tamils can be just as chauvinistic, prejudiced, intolerant, fanatical, racist, arrogant and brainless as the Sinhalese.

    • 5

      Gus, that the Sri Lankan Tamils are prospering overseas is fine, however for us to thrive and retain our own unique culture, history and language, we need to be safe, and be allowed to live peacefully without fear to prosper in our own ancient homeland the north and east of the island, nowhere else. This is where we evolved as a people, where our history and culture took root and where we are still a majority in most of the north and east. Not anywhere else. Flourishing in these rich western countries is not going to retain our culture, history or identity, already it is fast vanishing by so many intermarriages and loss of language/culture/religion by the second or third generation. The Sinhalese are achieving what they want by chasing more and more of us out of our homeland, and really do not care whether were prosper or perish overseas, as they are achieving their dream of a pure Sinhalese-only Buddhist homeland, that had always been their dream and aim since independence. When will you not realize this?

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