25 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka Belongs To The Sinhala Buddhists And Sarath Fonseka For The Presidency – Why The US And TNA Supported This

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Political Machinations: The international dimension

Perhaps the most destructive of the machinations designed to weaken the government took place way back in 2009, when various groups got together to support the candidature of Sarath Fonseka for the Presidency. In one sense their getting together was not surprising, for all of them thought the President had to be weakened if their own ambitions were to succeed. But it was astonishing that they should have used Sarath Fonseka as their instrument, since in theory at any rate all of them found his basic mindset anathema.

Until late 2009 certainly Fonseka made no bones about that mindset. On the one hand, he believed strongly that Sri Lanka belonged to the majority of its inhabitants, not just the Sinhalese, but Sinhala Buddhists. He enunciated this clearly in 2007, bringing back memories of President Wijetunge’s claim that the Sinhalese were the tree around which minorities clung like vines.

Sarath Fonseka then was the most prominent exponent of one extreme which Fr Vimal Tirimanna described in LTTE Terrorism: Musings of a Catholic Priest, his balanced account of the crisis we went through. He writes there of political hypocrisy being often justified ‘using hackneyed, out-dated and false socio-political premises, like “Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala Buddhists” or “North and East of Sri Lanka is the Tamil homeland”.

For the TNA then to adopt a proponent of the first of these perspectives as its chosen Presidential candidate seems astonishing. On the other hand, it could be argued that they know well that extremes feed on each other, and thus the best way of arguing for the second perspective was to allow free rein to the other. Though they claimed that Fonseka had agreed to their conditions for supporting him, they could not be naïve enough to assume that he would stand by his commitments.

It is more likely then that they thought that their own agenda – and even the most moderate of them still hankers after the idea of a homeland, as is clear by their continuing hankering after the merger of the North and East – would more likely succeed if Fonseka pursued his own predilections after election. In a sense the strategy could not lose, for either he did what he promised, or else he let them down and cut loose in fulfillment of his previous perspective, which would immeasurably have strengthened their case internationally.

The international dimension is important here, for the Americans were actively behind Fonseka and behind ensuring that the TNA supported him. The argument one of them put to the Indians was that they had found the perfect weapon to pressurize President Rajapaksa, and it is conceivable that they did indeed promote Fonseka primarily to weaken what they thought of as President Rajapaksa’s Sinhala Buddhist base. About this they were myopic – or perhaps Pavlovian, given the way they salivated at anyone associated with the President – as can be seen from their description of Dayan Jayatilleka as a Sinhala hardliner.

Their adoption of Fonseka was the more strange because of what was seen as the other primary element in his mindset, namely ruthlessness when it came to military strategy. While it could be argued that this was one reason the Americans thought him a suitable instrument of their will, given the military extremists they had used in the past, ranging from Pinochet to Zia ul Haq, they had also decided after the end of the Cold War to put forward a more humane face, at least in public. Thus it was primarily Sarath Fonseka they had fingered in the Kerry report in which they had asked the Sri Lankan government towards the end of 2009 to look into allegations of possible war crimes.

This dual approach does not necessarily signifiy hypocrisy. It has been standard practice in many dispensations to pursue multiple options, and these have been most successful when those working on them are basically sincere. Thus we can assume that those who genuinely believed that Human Rights were important thought questions should be raised about Fonseka, just as those who thought America right or wrong was the only principle to follow were promoting his challenge to President Rajapaksa. Patricia Butenis was the perfect exponent of this dual approach, given her own ambiguities, a ruthless Cold Warrior in her El Salvador days, a more mellow exponent of proconsular authority in Bangladesh, where her interference with military involvement was resented, but where she could argue that the end result was democratic.

It is also possible that initially the Americans promoted Fonseka because they believed it was the best way to divide up what they saw as President Rajapaksa’s Sinhala Buddhist vote base, and thus allow the alternative candidate to emerge as victor. This strategy however, if such it was, failed because on the one hand Fonseka was not willing to be merely an instrument of another’s victory, and on the other Ranil Wickremesinghe thought he could not run the risk of coming in third behind both Rajapaksa and Fonseka. That was indeed conceivable, and not only for astrological reasons, given that the minorities might well have decided, given the threat presented by Fonseka, that they needed to ensure President Rajapaksa’s re-election.

I suspect that was what President Rajapaksa hoped for when he decided to deal firmly with the Fonseka mindset. His categorical refusal to expand the army as Fonseka had requested, and his determination to resettle the displaced Tamils quickly, made clear his much more pluralistic mindset. Dayan Jayatilleka has drawn attention to discussions with Israel about the post-war settlement, and it is not unlikely that Fonseka, and others, were being made familiar with a West Bank Settlement type approach in the post-war scenario. But the President was not inclined at all to such machinations, and made this clear.

Unfortunately, the machinations the Americans were engaged in, into which the TNA was drawn, threw all this into confusion, with catastrophic results – for all, at any rate in the short term.

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Latest comments

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    Oh! We have had enough of this guy, CT? Why doesn’t he write about current issues- MR authoritarianism, electricity hikes, Duminda Silva etc? surely there is a long list.

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      simple- if he spoke about current events, he’d have to end up acknowledging that his great patron has screwed this country up. I mean just look at the asinine comments he makes- fonseka said the country belonged only to the minority, so let’s now attack him! All this coming from a man whose patron is actively supporting vile arse-gravy of the BBS kind. Talk about being blind…

      For a man who talks about the ‘international dimension’, this clown doesnt seem aware that this government has sullied the country’s good name in a way not even Musharraf did for Pakistan. And to think we paid taxes to keep these stooges in comfort.

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      What are you talking about matey? The man has enough saving for the later life, but wants to make sure that ‘the current income stream’ is still acticve. One wrong word against the Kurakkan Boys, you would be sitting next to Sarath and Shirani. Tamara and Dayan are struggling. No no – he is not going to test this. But, you are right. Why should he write twice a week and CT give space for that.

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      First of all RW should have guts to write. He writes to show the President that he is in support of the President as RW’s plate of rice is given by the President. RW is a guy who does not have guts and above all he does not have any self respect to be honest. Sri Lanka is in this state only because we have traitors like RW. Shame on you RW.

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    Writing articles to discredits Buddhists and to promote unrest among Sri Lankans.

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    This only says that SF has created some concern for MahaRajah to send his lap dog. :)

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    Looks like he has been given the green light to attack General Fonseka.

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    Rajiva, what exactly is your point in this rambling piece?

    Trashing TNA and SF in the context of pervasive corruption, nepotism, state terrorism, judicial interference, electricity hike (and general COL), BBS extremism, white vans,suicides by the poverty-stricken etc. etc is akin to Nero playing the harp while Rome burned.

    To mix one’s metaphor, you are merely playing for your supper!!!!

    Rajiva, please get serious and comment on the real and serious tragedies the ordinary citizen is presently facing…or shut up.

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    We no Fonseka is bad. He lost the Presidential election. Then why did the elected President put him behind bars soon after the election. This behaviour worse than Fonseka’s mindset. Then now is the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Kicked out rudimentarily.

    Professor must start to write about the failures of this government objectively without oxygenating the failures.

    Mahinda lost a great opportunity to become a national leader. His ambition is to create a family rule and a dynasty at any cost and the pathetic Sinhala/Buddhist centric governance will not allow anyone to become a national leader. The Professor too is drum beating around this theme.

    President thought by speaking in Tamil to the Tamil audience he can become a national leader. He realised it was going nowhere and gave up. Now it is BBS.

    Where is Prof Tissa Vitharane’s APRC proposal. It is gone to the dustbin after his 80th birthday thamasha at the cabinet meeting. Prof Tissa or anyone in the government have the guts speak about it.

    Must be that Prof is thinking that ‘failures are the pillars of success’ and help compound the failures further.

    Let us see the massaging in the northern provincial election.

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    Come on Prof. Rajiva, We are truly confused as to what you write.
    Please look at some of the youtube video clips on your interviews with International community personnel. You talk with eggs in your stomach.

    I think it’s better you get a job as a Psychiatrist than a political analyst.

    Look what you did at Foreign Ministry all these years on any given issue.

    It’s million times better if you could spend little time to volunteer to uplift poor peoples lives or do some spring cleaning at Galle Face green similar to what US Ambassador did. You will feel more satisfied and be more productive and happy than writing and analysing others minds.

    Remember under Rajapakses politics, unless you are smart, he will drag you down to the bottom of the ocean along with him.

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    Rajiva,

    Can you please send your articles to the Daily News or Sunday Observer instead of CT?

    You are boring us to death and wasting valuable space on CT.

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    The article seems to have raised some hackles!! Wonder why!

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    Dear Professor,
    Your writing is really great and keep it on. We all benefit by reading them. Exceptions are obvious and inevitable. For us you are an asset and there are only a handful of people like you who speak directly. Your articles are balanced when compared to others and ostensibly seems no inner motives in whatever you write. Good Luck Professor.

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      Maniwasagam,

      Are you by any chance RW’s other hero DJ, writing under a pseudonym?!

      Otherwise, if it was a tongue-in-cheek rejoinder to RW, then well said!

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    MNZ, none knows. My good name is Maniwasagam if you want.This is not in deed a tongue-in-check rejoinder to RW as you disguised stated. I in fact articulated the truth without putting connotation to it. In principle, I speak the reality. This Professor is indeed an erudite for many learned keeping the exceptions to others. One needs to cultivate the ethics of listening to others if we are to pass an impartial judgement over any matter irrespective of race,caste, class or creed.I see here by means of linguistics analysis, many comments just express their malicious hatred towards such men which shows to which level so called human being have sunk into. Further I need not any such response. I feel that I have freedom to articulate my genuine feelings towards such matters.

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      Maniwasagam

      It would appear you have learned your English from this pathetic professor, as a result of which your long-winded, verbose and fractured response sounds like gobbledy-gook!

      My simple point to RW was that there was no purpose in flogging a dead horse (TNA & SF) when more serious and grievous issues facing the poor citizens deserve commentary.

      Hero-worshiping “market-goers” masquerading as intellectuals such as RW by people like you, only encourages them to spew forth more garbage!

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        I would have been the happiest albeit my old age,had there been an opportunity to learn English from Professor Wijesinha though pathetic. Dunderheads like you disguised both timid and insidious spew garbage as to why the moment you open your stinking mouth comes out with stupid comments. Seems the school has never inculcated values of appreciation as in our times during 30s where you have never even thought of coming to this world.

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          LOL!!!!!!!

          I made my point..and you proved it beyond reasonable doubt.

          I rest may case.

          Thank you.

          Dunderhead 2

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            LOL!!!!!!!

            I made my point..and you proved it beyond reasonable doubt.

            I rest my case.

            Thank you.

            Dunderhead 2

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              Yes, exactly proved inept sensing of what others are writing about and in that sense you proved your point. No wonder this MNZ suffering from something like autism that he isn’t matured to sense.

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    This is an excellent analysis by Rajiva Wijesinha. The duality of politics displayed in choosing Sarath Fonseka by the USA and the TNA is only superseded by Ranil Wickremasinghe giving his blessing to a unified opposition candidature of Sarath Fonseka. The UNP getting into bed with the JVP in wielding an opposition to Mahinda Rajapakse, though it made some strategic sense shows the paucity of UNP politics.

    As for the International game played by the USA it holds no surprises. The USA has played this double game of supporting military strongmen throughout the world as it is eloquently argued by the writer.

    Despite all the disparaging noises made in the comments column about Mahinda Rajapakse by the English educated elite of Colombo and the Diaspora the fact remains that the majority of the rural electorate are ardent supporters of Mahinda Rajapakse. It is this strong electoral base that the USA, UNP, TNA, and the other opposition parties attempted to eviscerate in the selection of Sarath Fonseka.

    Unfortunately all their efforts ‘fell on stony ground’ and they are left with ‘holding the baby’ in the opposition of a loser of an opposition leader who lost three elections in a row and a Tamil party who were/are the proxies of the LTTE. They also have an insurmountable mountain to climb as Mahinda Rajapakse is no pushover. He is the shrewdest and most astute politician in South Asia. His political adeptness is demonstrated by, on how he has successfully withstood the onslaught of the UNHRC, India, USA, Channel 4 and their LTTE supporting Diaspora and the hostile foreign media and is playing to his strengths that rural Sri Lanka has endowed him.

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      This excellent analysis should have been published in dinamina or daily news since Rajiv was going kade for MR. so boring and so late. Or was RW trying to divert people’s mind? If he wants to attack MR he could pick any subject and grill MR but he is talking about boring SF. Utter waste of time reading this, CT please entertain us with the current trend. We want to see the Mahadenamutta MR and his jokers out at any cost.

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      “majority of the rural electorate are ardent supporters of Mahinda Rajapakse”

      Indeed Merlin- the least educated and most sheltered group, thus the ones most susceptible to Gota’s crude propaganda (be it via his appointed media or his mouthpiece the Bodu Sena), are Mahinda’s vote base. The Colombo elite and the diaspora i.e. the ones who have the means and opportunity to decipher what is propaganda and what is truth, are the one’s that oppose him. Therefore you are praising the uneducated and untravelled group over the educated ones for the simple reason that you too favour dynasty rule over Sri Lanka or are benefitting in some way from their rule?

      “eviscerate in the selection of Sarath Fonseka”

      Merlin enjoys using big words like ‘eviscerate’ and ‘disparaging’ yet when one attempts to question why a person like him is choosing to ignore the open thuggery committed by the Rajapaksa clan and its associates like Duminda Silva; why presidential rivals are thrown in prison after elections; why the country’s chief justice is impeached and replaced by a Rajapaksa favourite; why is the president putting his face on the currency and naming vast public works after himself like those wonderful democrats Saddam & Gaddafi; why international human rights organisation like Amnesty international are openly condemning his govt and why his beloved President’s best ally is the Chinese (the same ones who are currently supporting another mentally unstable leader and his family in north korea) he grows silent on this. Let us therefore keep mentioning this to him until the time it filters into his consciousness and elucidates his thinking.

      “a Tamil party who were/are the proxies of the LTTE”

      Merlin is one of the Rajapaksa faithful that enjoys used the present tense to describe an organisation who’s paramount leader went out of business in May 2009. There is a simple reason for this: Merlin’s President very much enjoys the company of ex-LTTE figures like KP, Col Karuna etc. Therefore let us sit in wonder as Merlin’s President looks to roll out Daya Master of LTTE vintage as a prospective candidate in the northern province election!

      “political adeptness is demonstrated by, on how he has successfully withstood the onslaught of the UNHRC, India, USA,”

      Indeed Merlin- the way the Rajapaksa brothers managed to win a vote in the UN human rights council in 2009 with Indian backing before losing in the same place (without india’s backing) in 2012 was so amazing a diplomatic triumph that I hear that many of leading universities in the West are now teaching it on their political science courses. I trust you will make yourself available to teach these students how to succeed in the diplomatic arena like your hero Mahinda or are you busy spreading peace and harmony to muslim business owners with the Bodu Sena?

      “LTTE supporting Diaspora and the hostile foreign media and is playing to his strengths that rural Sri Lanka has endowed him”

      You are of course right Merlin to view an entire community as the Tamils as having a single political opinion (as if they are not individual human beings with different thoughts, beliefs and experiences) whilst painting yourself as a brilliant thinker and master of the english language. Your education has clearly done you much credit and I salute you for your brilliant analysis which I have certainly not mercilessly ridiculed. We hope you and rural sri lanka can continue praising your President and his brothers, sons, nephews, cousins and pets as they lead SL into a brighter, less corrupt future with further triumphs to follow in the UN human rights council and successful speeches at the Oxford union

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    Tell me about it…. for me it is the Politicians who are victims and not the People- everytime there is an election -Millions of Voters are busy demanding from Politicians to fullfil thier personal needs how on earth can million government Jobs one Politician provide?

    When there are many other politicians in the same situation , election demands by Sri Lankan Voters are either Governments jobs, government housing Jobs abraod ,securing a place in the University ,bar licence etc,etc,exclusively for themselves and their family.

    When is the last time all Sri Lankasn said provide us all a country with an excellent infrastracture ,with airconditioned metro trains avialbale every frequwntly ,Aircondition buses every atleast every 10 minutes,provide Internation standard education for all, well carperted roads not only for the rich to drive their luxuary vehicles ,but also to the the remote Vilages with mud holes and tree trunk bridges to cross to go to Schooh by poor children at the risk of their lives? empower the farmers ban food items that can be easily grown on our bless land?

    No it will never ever happen because the majority of Sri Lankans ,Buddists,Chiristans, ,Hindus & Muslims are all a bunch of hipocrits who cry crocdile tears for their people, in reallity all they want at any cost is to make sure they and their family remain permantly in their comfort Zone, so next time any “SILLY” Lankan want to cry injustice and criticise any politician let them look themselves on the Mirror and they will know who brought it all on themselves,,

    There is only one hope for Sri Lanka, if ever -that is the entire citizen of the country should be whole heartedly willing to do a few chnages and make some sacrifce ,1) Be willing to stop singings an out dated broken Sinhala Buddist only ,2) be willing to make Sri Lanka a 100% secular country, pass strict punishments for rasism,curroption and bribery , drug peddling ,smugling etc. provide 100 % transperancy ,freedom of speach , and go for a Conferadtion constition like Switzerland ,with each Province having cantons where people can manage thier own affairs, This wil win us a 100% International respect & promote Investor confidence for sure and be the first country in whole of Asia with an unique constition that will end hate ,bloodshed and bring in prosperity and security.

    How can any man alone rule such a large area fairly and justly ,when we can nannot even do justictce for our own family of few and keep even a two bedroom house in perfect condtion all the time -please reflect ,if this is not possible the young talent with the right set of mind with all sanity will have no choice but leave the shores of Sri Lanka and may only return for retirement… Wake up and start thinking!!!!!!!

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    SRI LANKA’S POLITICAL PARTIES
    ==================================

    SLFP- NOTHING BUT SINHALESE

    UNP- SINHALESE AND NOTHING ELSE

    SLMC- ANYTIME ANYONE’S LOYAL DOG AS LONG AS WE GET OUR PEIECES OF CHEWEDCHICKED BORNES WE DO NOT MIND THE SALIWA DRIPING..

    JHU – JATHIKETA HENA GAWATH KAMAK NA KAMAK NA -MAGE BADE PIRUNOTH ATHEEE.

    JVP- APE HAMEDAMER PARAI THAMAI APEY WEENODE JEWEETHAY

    DEMORACTIC PARTY – POLITICAL NURSERY STILL LEARNING HOW TO BAIT THE BAIT TO CATCH THE BAIT.

    THE REST ARE ALL PARASITES FEEDING ON LEFT OVERS..

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