24 September, 2020

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Say His Name, And Say Enough Of This Madness

By Sanjana Hattotuwa –

Sanjana Hattotuwa

What do we know? Before his recent threats, we know him best through his brazen, daylight attack against the News Director at Rupavahini in 2009. We know that, quite tellingly, instead of investigating his gratuitous violence, the Police instead called in over twenty journalists for questioning on the incident.

Through Wikileaks, we know that according to a former Sri Lankan security services official, drug kingpins in Sri Lanka have political patrons in the government, chief among them this same person. Days ago, we know that he openly and with complete impunity said he would tear the limbs off noted human rights activists if he were to encounter them in Sri Lanka. We know that he stressed he made this threat in all seriousness, in case any one thought he was joking.

We know that he took responsibility for chasing away a journalist, who at the time he went into exile, had been abducted, tortured, humiliated and hospitalised. We know that about a week after these threats, he reiterated them, again in public. He also went on to strongly suggest that killing dissent, quite literally, was desirable. We know that amidst the first enfilade of threats and abuse, he noted he was a good Sinhala Buddhist.

The second salvo of hate was delivered in public at the Kelaniya Temple. We know that this newspaper’s editorial last week called for the arrest of this individual. We know that Sri Lanka’s foreign minister and other ministers have decried and distanced government from these statements, and that the Police are ostensibly investigating him. We also know that not a single word of condemnation, leave aside an official statement, has been uttered or issued by the President or his brother, the Secretary of Defence. This is important because it was publicly noted that it was in their names these threats were made, and that they alone had the power to chasten his voice.

What do we have? A lout, in the service and enjoying the protection of the Rajapaksas, who, going by the past week’s utterances alone, is free to defame and threaten anyone with complete impunity. This is a man with a history of wanton violence. This violence is a matter of public record, and beggars belief.

It is also a matter of public record – just a Google or YouTube search away – the number of times government ministers have promised to bring him to book or set up disciplinary committees to look into his violent behaviour. He is still a free man, unfettered in his violence. What we have then is someone who should, if the rule of law in Sri Lanka wasn’t just a good idea, be in jail, instead protected by the highest powers in government.  Why should we care about all this? When reported internationally, this is the kind of individual who – more than any ‘traitor’ he says has acted against country – hardens international opinion against us, and results in precisely the international scrutiny and penalisation the government is so afraid of. When reported domestically, he insults us all, especially those who staunchly support the present government. When his language, actions and threats are considered, it is singularly tragic that a country with so many individuals who are exceptional in talent, learning, skill and culture – resident within its shores and abroad – it is his asinine behaviour and vulgar language that the media is focussed on.

Who is he? Thing is, you already know him. He is today the face of government. He is today the person our children hear and see, and with the impunity and protection he enjoys, can begin to legitimately and disturbingly believe in as a role model. His language and exploits defines, more than any official policy, the government’s true democratic credentials. Sadly, he defines and defiles us all. He is untouchable only because of your silence.
Say his name, and say enough of this madness.

(This article was first published in the Nation)

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Latest comments

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    He is today not the face of government but the face of the president.
    He is the true face and picture of the president himself.

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      Well said

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    I pray for the day, that our country will be blessed with true leaders. Who will stand for rule of law, with no hesitations, what so ever.

    Under such leadership, Mervin Silva will be behind bars within hours. And, he will not be the only one.

    Worst of all, I heard in true Sri Lankan style, Mervin Silva is now making moves to ensure his Malaka Silva future in Kelaniya. Malaka is already a criminal, as we all know.

    Perhaps, we should quit waiting in vain for good leadership. Perhaps, we should start organizing ourselves. Perhaps we should take our country back. As Obama said “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”.

    God bless Sri Lanka.

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    Sanjana, Thank you for this insightful article, but what can we expect from this “uneducated uncultured carnival of fools”?

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    Are we Sri Lankans so used to these behaviors that we tolerate them and not say or do anything about them?
    It does make your blood boil when you hear/read of these incidents/people. THen thats about it. We dont do anything.
    People who try do something, Journos, get punished!

    Isnt it our own fault that we elect such fools with such low values into power?
    Remember – Once they grab the power, they dont let go at any cost. And they’d do anything to keep that power. And who gave them that power?

    Rise against these vile elements. We need forward thinking, balanced educated people in politics.

    Who is prepared to go that journey? Im sure people will support you if you come forward. Especially the younger sri lankan’s are very cluey and you will garner their support.

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    This thug was appointed by another village thug so one cant do anything about it–sadly. Birds of a feather flock together.

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    There is a serious problem in the matter of responses to this piece: none of the following have leaped to the defence of the culprit and his patron(s): Max Silva, David Blacker, Peter Casie Chetty.
    Are they too busy collecting their emoluments from the Araliyagha Mandiraya to respond or are they thinking up their own excuses for the behaviour of this corrupt bunch of governing thugs to write their usual piffle?

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