16 May, 2022

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Regime Braces For Confrontation

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

When we wish to laugh at ourselves, we say “Sixty-nine lakhs of us voted for Gota three years ago, now ninety-six lakhs of us are chanting Go Gota Go!” The President, his goofy Viyathmaga advisors and his cabal of ex-military hangers-on have in three short years scored more own-goals than Muralitharan took wickets in his whole career. Still Gotabaya hangs on by his bleeding fingernails while the country erupts and rots. Another confusing thing is why did the JVP declare its innings closed even before batting?

Mahinda’s broadcast of 11 April confirms a decision has been made to fight to the finish. No resignation of Presidents or Prime Ministers, no talk of restructuring, no mention of quick elections, but chilling reminders of the heroic deeds of the military. He all but said: The Rajapaksas are Lanka’s symbol of power; we shall rule! The references to the military were chilling. Do protest leaders remember the White Flag Incident? Is this what awaits them? Have thousands of chanting youth forgotten the 60,000 who perished in 1989-90 and the LTTE “boys”? Either protests and “Gota Go!”, now extended to “Mahinda also Go!”, spreads to every town and corner the country, or this regime will repeat all this. The rumour mill is running overtime: Galle Face will be cleared by force (or ignored till the protesters quit, overcome by fatigue); rabble rousers and yellow-robed rascals will descend upon the protesters; provocateurs will dig deep, etc.

The Rajapaksa Clan is power-hungry to a degree that no previous ruling circle has been. But it is also said that Gota is fed up, knows he is despised, knows that an attempt at a military putsch will engender a mass backlash and that petrol-stations in sunny California beckon! From time to time there have been signals that he was inclined to throw in the towel and call it quits. Is it the choice between greed for power and peace of mind that he is unable to make? Does he fear that if unseated, he will be brought to book in domestic and international courts for mismanagement, abuse of power and crimes against humanity?

I think neither. Me thinks the problem lies elsewhere. If Gota falls, the Clan will cry out “Oh what a fall that is dear Clansmen, brother-officers, assorted crooks, friends and bungling imports from California. You and I and all us will fall”. (Mark Anthony won’t mind poetic licence in the service of this island nation). Yes, that’s the truth, too many crooks and knaves have been appointed as ambassadors, corporate chairmen, board members and asinine Central Bank bosses; too many Ministers and government MPs are ready-marinated for roasting in the bribery courts. That’s my reading; Gota cannot cut and run though it is as stark, staring clear as the noonday sun that he is despised and the people want him to “Go Gota Go!”

Where will this end? The end result will be that Gota is forced out this way or that; all he can do is prolong the misery and wound the country by delaying the inevitable. There is speculation that $1.5 billion in an Indian line of credit, repayment deferrals of Chinese debt and IMF mediated restructuring in international capital markets after the default will buy time to sooth the body politic and put up a show for the next election. SLPP, forget the next election! Even pacifying mass unrest is impossible. Forecasting elections is a fire that has singed everyone’s fingers but some edifices are too high to scale. Whether the Rajapaksa-rump plus SLPP will garner five, fifteen, or twenty-five parliamentary seats I will not speculate, but that this corrupt, financially bust, default-tainted Administration will be routed at the election is beyond doubt.

Thanks to India I can foresee diesel, petrol and cooking-gas shortages easing, I can see imported onions and dhal reappearing in grocery stores, but even a best-case scenario is inadequate to sooth the nerves of infuriated masses. Call our people foolish voters, but exasperated fools can’t be soothed. I can’t see the ‘Go Gota Go!’ chant subsiding till it achieves its ends. I can’t see how Gota can hang-on, bleeding finger nails and torn pyjamas as hungry crocodiles look up from the bottom of the cliff – do crocodiles smack their lips? Come on Mr President, do yourself a favour; cut and run before the night turns inky black. Unlike brother Bacillus you are not accused of personal corruption or 10% kickbacks. Only the Clan, Ministers and MPs are so accused, so why not hook it before your name too gets tarnished in this inky black?

Then there’s this conundrum about presidential elections. Ideally the Executive Presidency (EP) should be abolished without trace but what are the stages? That is the question. Sajith hankers for the presidency but it seems he will settle for the residual offerings of the 19-th Amendment – that is repeal of the authoritarian 20-th Amendment only. It is premature to predict how balances of power are likely to pan out after Gota bolts, but it sure is the best time to set in motion constitutional processes to bring about an irreversible repeal of EP.

There is little I have said so far that you have not worked out for yourself already though I have I hope emitted less words than writers prone to verbal obesity and column-inch inflation. Nevertheless, none has explored the curious behaviour of the JVP-NPP. Non-political friends make comments like “Curious”, “Difficult to understand”, “They don’t want to participate in anything not organised and led by them”, “Sectarians” and worse. First and most important, this outburst took the JVP 110% by surprise. The comrades were sound asleep when someone woke them and said ‘look out of the window, thousands are on the street marching against the government’. The comrades awoke, rubbed their eyes and exclaimed: “Vipleve patang araganathe? Aiyo aparade; ai kowruth upata kiuve nathe?” Ok, ok, I’m having a little fun as otherwise this piece is as heavy as a leaden cannon.

To be fair there are reasons why JVP-NPP banners and flags are not seen in the demonstrations. These events are organised via social-media networks and party logos are unwelcome. Still several NPP artists, students and academics participated. The organisers, for reasons best known to themselves, wish events to be non-party, not multi-party. The JVP-NPP has started organising events at town centres almost every day and will hold a three-day Pada Yatra from Kalutara to Kandy from 17th-19th. Indeed, there will soon be many groups protesting; they need to be cooperative not confrontational. Best and most productive is all-sector, all-party mobilisation and a general strike; but this idea is too complex for the JVP and unfortunately even some in the NPP to grasp just yet. Actually, I am aghast at NPP-JVP standoffishness; it is critiqued by many as sabotage (kadaa-kappal vada) but neither do the middleclass organisers of the protests have adequate contacts and skills to draw in all political parties, all social complexions, trade unions and farmers? Lanka is battling for democracy; everyone must be there. The People’s Movement has to spread to every class and corner of the country to become ever more broad-based.

The JVP is confused because this People’s Movement is not a Mass-Movement of the type the left is familiar with. It is multi class, ethnic and religious. Artists, sportsmen, singers and writers have thrown in their weight. It is led by energised intellectuals, the liberal middle-class and ‘new’ youth – not militant workers, peasants and radical parties – and the objective is change of government not transformation of the state. These two videos illustrate its broad people-oriented rather than left-oriented nature.

This brings me to a crucial issue that the JVP needs to fret over. The reason it was astonished by the spontaneous people’s march was that initiative and leadership was and remains in the hands of the middle-class. Fine, no problem, whoever makes a start and gets things going, hats off to them. What I am attempting to say however is something else. The JVP has inadequate roots in the local middle classes and none among global left elites. It is a representative of the peeditha-panthiya alone. I have had bitter feedback from students, sons and daughters of small shop-keepers in the South, school teachers all over and of course Colombo intellectuals: “These JVP people have no use for us, we don’t know a single leader personally!” This is utterly different from the LSSP and CP of years gone by. Maybe the JVP scoffs at this snotty intelligentsia but it will never win a national election or administer the country unless it reaches into, wins over and establishes itself in the modern middleclass and among twenty-first century intellectuals. It does not have one single NM, Colvin, Peiter, polished and prefect Bernard, Doric or Hector. Look guys, if you are serious about governing, you’d better understand your lacunae and fill the gaps.

I have grumbled ever so often that the JVP needs to accommodate modern intellectuals in its leadership structure which is now dominated by its peeditha-panthiya bread and butter core. My pleas have fallen on deaf ears; it’s not going to happen. This means we have to go about it another way. The NPP has to become the hub that sets the line and the JVP an associated partner. If Mohamed is incapable of climbing any mountain then the mountain had better put Mohamed in second place. I have often said that chaps like Prof Vijaya Kumar, Dr Harini Amarasuriya, Mr Lal Wijenayake, Dr Michael Fernando and many such others should play a decision-making role. Outside and inside the NPP the country is studded with plenty of twenty-first century left-intellectual talent. Let the JVP do its job and bring up the shock-troops, but let strategic and economic thinking be broader based. I am aware that I have not included social-democrat economists in this name list, but such gaps are easy to fill. Blah! Engineers, economists, agronomists, medicos are but useful sounding boards.

The point is this. In fast approaching post-Gotabaya Sri Lanka only two political entities stand out, NPP-JVP and Sajith-SJB. The rest is barren wilderness; Ranil and Pissu Sira will hitch themselves to some star and the SLPP-Rajapaksa rump cannot win an election. The strength of the SJB is that it has liberals, neo-liberal Thatcherites (Thatcher was a man!), Royal-Thomian types and posh English speakers. You can sneer at this lot of second-rate intellectuals but in the corridors of power at home and abroad you have to match them and wipe the floor with them. The peeditha-panthiya is grassroots; ok, but the NPP-JVP also needs its Colvins and its Bernards. The comrades may not get the point yet, but no worry, they will, they will.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    13

    Thank you Prof KD,
    Well written

    • 7
      0

      Except in saying:
      Gota…before your name too gets tarnished…
      KD has forgotten the MIG deal, Lasantha, Ekneligoda, White Vans for journos, and the infamous Easter attack three years to date.

  • 8
    9

    Thanks, Kumar, you have highlighted many points which others overlook.
    [Edited out]

    • 10
      13

      “Thanks to India I can foresee diesel, petrol and cooking-gas shortages easing, I can see imported onions and dhal reappearing in grocery stores,”
      Yes, that is a great consolation. India will not allow a descent into anarchy, causing a flood of refugees. It’s easier to keep them in place and supply parippu and kerosene.
      But I wonder what sort of invisible parippu will also be supplied. All the better. I am no fake patriot.

      • 12
        23

        old codger,
        “India will not allow a descent into anarchy, causing a flood of refugees.”

        It looks like they have learnt a lesson from promoting and supporting Tamil terrorists.

        • 10
          15

          Eagle,
          Those were Tamil refugees. Even Modi can’t afford to have 2 separate camps for Sinhalayo so that the baiyas and toiyas don’t kill each other.

        • 0
          0

          Indian tactics will not continue to parripu drops as you envisage
          as in the past. Gota will have to present a stepping-down Programme.
          The 21st Amendment will have to include a future specific General
          Elections cum Non-Executive Presidential Elections on one and the
          same date, WITH the nominal Presidency seat being effective for the appointment on a future date – all set out in the 21st amendment, before the end of this Parliament.

  • 10
    2

    ALL JVP-NPP needs to do is move to where Gotabaya is sitting in parliament and push him off his seat. Or carry him in his seat and dump him outside. Or take bulldoze the parliament with all their comrades (in peaceful manner).

    • 11
      11

      ramona therese fernando,
      “Or take bulldoze the parliament with all their comrades…”

      Is that the kind of democracy you people want to have in this country?

      • 7
        3

        A general elections would be nicer. But since the regime is not following democracy and moving, then we must bulldoze them!

      • 1
        1

        In a country where millitary rule is going on, what more democracy are u bubbling here ?

        Now or later, Gota and his half dead brother will have to step down. I listened to an astrologer last night, – they are in the view, Gota and Mahinda will have to face what Tipoli s men went through in last phase o fthe life.
        :
        Drains and corners are in making to WELCOME Rajapkashes. People s angers should have some limits. In the days to come, if our brave youth would be attacked.. not a single person in Rajapkshe family will remain as they are today.
        :
        Wait and see, not a single person in rural corners sound to be SINGING the same FAKE song in favour of MEDAMULANA thakkadiyas today.

        I think we can celebrate MILK RICE eaters led marches sooner than later.. This time it will be a liberation the nation from a mlechcha FAMILY. Period. !

    • 2
      0

      Or bulldoze the parliament*

      • 4
        18

        ramona Grandma therese fernando

        “Or bulldoze the parliament*”

        Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansa wanted to bomb the parliament.
        Now you want to bulldoze it.
        Which is cost effective?

        Any chance Wimal is closely related to you?

    • 4
      17

      Very practical but an ardous task Romona
      Let’s not forget that his Miltry buddies will be protecting the gang to the hilt.
      Prof. David, thanks for putting the case so plainly.
      As for the JVP-NPP you have sumed it elecquantly . There is no big groups supporting their leftist ideology.
      But it’s leader AKD was the talk of the town few months back.He is a sincere and capable person I believe to lead a combined opposition sans RW and Srisena.
      How they (JVP-NPP ) could lead the country is a question only AKD could answer. Can on his own convince the country that the country will safe under his watch. The capitalist West
      and local middle class would be last to support any such changes
      As you say the civil society need to understand the need of the nation and come up with some compromise solution
      WE CAN NOT GO ON LIKE THIS FOR LONG.
      We do not want violence, this would be an excuse to use brutality by the regime

  • 19
    13

    “…we say “Sixty-nine lakhs of us voted for Gota three years ago, now ninety-six lakhs of us are chanting Go Gota Go!”
    —-
    It is easy to say ‘GO Gota GO’ but no one knows what might happen after they go. In 2015, 6,217,162 retards sent Rajapakshes to Medamulana and elected Sirisena and Ranil to form a ‘Yahapalana’ Government assuming that there will be prosperity without corruption but at the end that turned out to be a great disaster. The worst disaster was people losing peace and security as a result of terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims due to negligence of the Government. This uprising of ‘Toiyas’ is similar to the campaign carried out by ‘Regime Change’ mafia in 2015.
    Talking about corruption of Rajapakshes, most of the guys in the opposition have skeletons in their cupboards. Their records should be exposed to the people so that they can tell them ‘Go to Hell’, not ‘Go Home’.

    • 11
      15

      Dear EE,
      ..Talking about corruption of Rajapakshes, most of the guys in the opposition have skeletons in their cupboards…..
      So two wrongs cancel out , Ha Ha. At least you admit MOST but not all of the opposition have skeletons but ALL charges against Rajapkses are valid.
      That is why the call” 225 must go”. Do you support that – as you agree both sides corrupt.??

  • 20
    17

    “Do protest leaders remember the White Flag Incident?”

    Background is important. Those who surrendered with White Flags were largely the upper crust LTTE hierarchy. These were hardcore fanatics who had used other people’s children to fight a grown man’s war. Even when it was well-known they would lose the war, these hardcore fanatics hid behind 30K people to try to get the international community to pressure GOSL for a ceasefire. These terrorists could not be rehabilitated. Therefore, they were executed. For the same reason that the US military executed Osama Bin-Laden and threw his body into the sea. Live by the gun, die by the gun.

    • 9
      22

      Lester you say “Live by the gun, die by the gun”. Same advice for you, “Hide under the bed, stay under the bed”.

      • 20
        4

        Sankaralingam,

        Dr. Mengele was also hiding in South America. Israeli secret services (Mossad) carried out an operation to apprehend him. SLA intelligence should have been trained to go after nefarious Tamil Diaspora starting 30 years ago. By cutting off the funds to terrorists, “Nanthikadal Moment” would have arrived far sooner.

        • 4
          20

          Lester,
          “SLA intelligence should have been trained to go after nefarious Tamil Diaspora starting 30 years ago.”
          You mean the same guys who planned the Easter bombings but can’t catch Arjuna Mahendran despite knowing his address?

    • 9
      0

      L
      They surrendered.
      To kill anyone who has surrendered is a war crime.
      If you admit their killing, you admit to a war crime.

      • 19
        7

        SJ,

        War is a zero sum game. When you roll the dice, you immediately assume a large amount of risk. Tamils took that risk when the TULF backed the LTTE and other militant groups. LTTE had multiple opportunities to exit “gracefully.” Particularly when India offered federalism. At that time, SLA were confined to the barracks. LTTE leadership were flown to Colombo for “peace talks” via military aircraft. Mahinda is hardcore but he arrived on the scene only in 2005. At that point, LTTE leadership should have swallowed the cyanide and let the civilians go to the Army. They made a voluntary choice to fight, using civilians as a cover. They were executed because that is the only way the Sri Lankan Army could declare victory. With the leadership gone, particularly fat pig, the funding dried up. The propaganda died down.

        • 6
          0

          L
          Whatever the game, to kill anyone who has surrendered is a war crime.

          • 1
            2

            SJ,

            When it comes to war, no army on the planet follows humanitarian laws to the letter. The only rule of war is, “winner takes all.” Try this example, had the LTTE succeeded in their ambitions, would they investigate themselves for war crimes? As you noted elsewhere, none of the terror supporters here are sorry about suicide bombings, so why should any sane observer waste time with seasoned terrorists being executed? The Army (SLA) did its best to rescue civilians while LTTE held them hostage and shot them in the legs for trying to escape.

            • 3
              1

              Lester, why did you discriminate SJ , by not giving your approval, 18 to be precise.

              • 0
                0

                Must be suffering from sore thumb???

              • 2
                0

                Chiv,
                It seems Lester’s Godfather has supplied batteries for the thumb machine which he shares with Donkey Silva. Very curious.

              • 1
                0

                Chiv,

                I don’t believe in the caste system, that is why I never supported your fake freedom struggle.

                “I was a victim of caste discrimination when I was 13 years old in Jaffna, said Antony. I was assaulted by upper-caste students at the Christian school I attended. I cannot forget that incident – even now.

                Minority Tamils were not allowed to eat food in the company of upper-caste people. They could not go inside tea shops. Tea was given in rusty tin containers and soda bottles. They were asked to sit on an empty sack spread on the floor when they were given food in shops. This custom existed in the 1960s even in places like Subash Café, P.J. Antony said.”

                • 0
                  0

                  Lester let me remind you we are now in 2022. ( what you quote here is 1960). Yes there was caste discrimination but you can visit for your self and see where they are now. Have SB politicians changed in anyway or SB racist mind set changed in anyway since our InDepence ?? In that case Gotha would not have made the claim. Iam SB…..

            • 2
              1

              Lester,
              “while LTTE held them hostage and shot them in the legs for trying to escape.”
              Don’t you think most of those guys regret trying to escape? If the LTTE achieved Eelam, at least you guys could run there without using boats.
              There are worse things than Eelam. Such as dropping dead in a gas queue.

              • 1
                2

                “There are worse things than Eelam.”

                Yes, such as a low IQ. Although one may need a low IQ to conceive of Eelam in the first place.

                • 1
                  0

                  Lester,
                  It seems your IQ allows you to conceive of links which don’t exist. At least don’t lie when there is a chance of getting caught. Ancient Sinhala hydroelectricity, anyone?

    • 7
      19

      Lester
      Jester

      Do you know in 1971 something like 18,000 innocent young people were killed mostly by the police and between 1987 and 1991 another estimated 130,000 innocent civilian young men were killed mostly by Janaka’s 6 dead squads under 6 Lieutenant Colonels, Sarath, Gota, …… ?

      I think once in a while you ought land on the earth, talk to people and see how they live, how badly they are treated, how criminals, crooks, … enjoy impunity from criminal charges and good life.

      • 19
        3

        Vedda,

        Where were you when Adele Balasingham was handing out cyanide capsules to 10 year olds?

        Btw, did you see the Indian foreign minister tell the USA to bugger off? Bad day for human rights champions. I recall you and London terror doctor were saying Modi will save Tamils.

        • 3
          19

          Lester,
          “. I recall you and London terror doctor were saying Modi will save Tamils”.
          Liar, CT didn’t exist in 2009. At least learn to do your trolling properly. Neither was Modi the PM.
          Where are those links to “dozens of journals ” proving that CKD is caused by agrochemicals?
          Why do you habitually lie to back up your ludicrous arguments? You probably think you’re the only one who can use Google. You are so pathetic.

  • 7
    0

    Regime braces for confrontation?

    Why allow the initiative to the regime?

    The best for the defense is to attack! Attack where the enemy is weakest !

    Guerrilla warfare tactics!

    • 4
      2

      May we have your attack strategy?
      *
      One may do stupid things if one likes to, but should not persuade others to do stupid things, especially things one would dare not even try.

      • 3
        21

        Let us collect some Mao’s RED BOOKs, throw the entire lot at Hindian armed forces as Hindians seem to be sustaining the present Sri Lankan state and government.

  • 8
    0

    Dear EE,
    ..Talking about corruption of Rajapakshes, most of the guys in the opposition have skeletons in their cupboards…..
    So two wrongs cancel out , Ha Ha. At least you admit MOST but not all of the opposition have skeletons but ALL charges against Rajapkses are valid.
    That is why the call” 225 must go”. Do you support that – as you agree both sides corrupt.??

  • 9
    20

    “Do protest leaders remember the White Flag Incident? Is this what awaits them?”
    It is better that Kumar David avoids drawing a comparison. There were no witnesses, then. The whole world is watching, today.
    .
    I too have to be careful. The Rajapaksas care too hoots about what the world does!
    _______________________________________
    There is no ‘leader’ among the protesters. True. But, it started somewhere. That is a lead to know that there is a leader.
    The leader will emerge if the protest yields result. If not it will be long before we come to know who that ‘leader’ is. Smart guy!

  • 6
    1

    we say “Sixty-nine lakhs of us voted for Gota three years ago, now ninety-six lakhs of us are chanting Go Gota Go!”
    ———-
    Correct!
    It will be nice to see journalists confess to their own hypocrisy, and how they played a role in the nations collapse.
    Many of us noted their behaviour in 2020, where they accused the Rajapaksas of being ‘too lenient’ and demanded martial law many times.
    Same journalists today are accusing the Rajapaksas of being tyrants!

  • 8
    8

    Kumar David,
    You keep harping on about the ‘need for intellectuals’ to run the country.
    Education is important, but if they are freemasons it is a waste of time.
    All the ‘education’ does is make these criminals more refined in their mannerisms, and more cunning in their shady behaviour.
    Remember that Ranil from the previous government has a law degree, and his friend
    Arjun Mahendran has a masters in economics.
    And they are both linked with the bond scam, where billions of the peoples money, are said to have disappeared.
    Start from 1948 and you will see the SL governments have been filled with ‘highly educated crooks’ (freemasons).

  • 5
    3

    I think that the writer is being judgmental on the JVP.
    I cannot speak for the JVP as the writer has done in the past.
    But it cannot dance to the tune of the writer, much to his regret.

  • 4
    19

    As Jit has written here before ………. I hope, the aid from the IMF won’t end up as oxygen for the Rajapakses.

    People who have links with the IMF should made it aware of this ………. and request the IMF to hand out aid in small tranches just to stave off starvation ……… until a major political overhaul/transformation has taken place …….

  • 0
    13

    IMF is like a beautiful lotus flower that grows in a dirty stinking place.

    • 2
      1

      That’s the flowers we needed for Buddha…….

    • 1
      1

      h
      Have you heard of the ‘corpse flower’? [https://www.livescience.com/51947-corpse-flower-facts-about-the-smelly-plant.html]
      *
      Beautiful, but stinks like the IMF.

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