18 October, 2017

Seizing The Time…..

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The Bird of Time has but a little way, To flay – and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing” – Omar Khayyam (Rubaiyat)

The struggle for devolution in Sri Lanka can be equated with a medley relay. A combination of factors, internal and external, is needed to ensure the success of each of its phases. The pro-devolutionary moderates succeeded in winning the last phase in this contestation thanks to two conjunctural – and thus transitory – factors: the Colombo Commonwealth and Indian elections.

The participation of the Indian Prime Minister in the Colombo Commonwealth is of extreme importance to the Rajapaksas. Delhi obviously used this handle to ensure that the Siblings did not postpone the Northern PC election via a legal shenanigan; or turn the election into another ‘Humanitarian Operation’. The Rajapaksas would have also realised that had the Commonwealth Observers came up with a totally negative report about the manner in which the Northern election was conducted, even the ever-obliging Kamalesh Sharma would not have been able to save their Colombo-bash.

The Manmohan Singh government will complete its term on 31st May 2014. National elections will take place thereafter. This timetable has enhanced the political clout of Tamil Nadu, tremendously. If national elections had not been impending, the Congress administration could have afforded to ignore the Tamil Nadu factor. With national elections round the corner and with the BJP invigorated by the leadership of the execrable but popular Narendra Modi, the Congress cannot afford to alienate the Tamil Nadu voters, too much. A largely free and fair election resulting in a TNA-led provincial council was the basic minimum requirement to satisfy the moderate majority in Tamil Nadu (and isolate the pro-Tiger hardliners).

Delhi has achieved that, for the Congress, for the Tamils and for Sri Lanka.

The window of opportunity created by this fortuitous combination of Colombo Commonwealth and Indian elections is strictly time-bound. The Rajapaksas will not make any new anti-devolutionary moves until the Colombo Commonwealth is over. But Delhi will not be able to prise out more concessions from the Siblings, as is evident from the zero-outcome of the Salman Khurshid visit. President Rajapaksa did not promise to implement the 13th Amendment – let alone go beyond it – as he regularly used to do during the war. Instead he recycled his classic time-buying exercise – the parliamentary select committee.

In Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, foreign policy is determined by familial interests/desires.  In normal democracies, foreign relations are determined primarily by national interests. Australia cannot afford to boycott the Colombo Commonwealth because it needs Rajapaksa cooperation to prevent a refugee onslaught (possibly in a related development, an Australian Company has bought a Lankan company which owned a mineral sands ‘exploration tenement’ in Puttalam[i]). The importance of the Lankan market to New Zealand’s diary industry became evident during the curious ‘milk crisis’. The Rajapaksas reportedly used ‘Rolls Royce Diplomacy’ to prevent a British boycott of their Colombo Extravaganza (agreeing to purchase 10 aircrafts with engines from the British Rolls Royce Company plus talks to purchase 50 Rolls Royce limos for the Commonwealth)[ii]. Canada can afford to stand up to the Siblings because its geographical location and economic strength have made it invulnerable to Rajapaksa blackmail/persuasion.

Indian pressure on Sri Lanka will remain until Indian elections are over. But India’s capacity to obtain further concessions will diminish post-Commonwealth. Once elections are over, preventing the Rajapaksas from gravitating even more into the Chinese-orbit (rather than ensuring Tamil rights/winning over Tamil Nadu) will become Delhi’s real priority, irrespective of the political complexion of the new government.

Incidentally, Indo-Lanka ties cannot be reduced to the China factor, let alone the Tamil/Tamil Nadu factor. For instance, last month, the Indian Defence Minister admitted in parliament that Sri Lanka is one of India’s defence suppliers[iii].

Once the Commonwealth is over, the Rajapaksa vulnerability to Indian pressure will return to near-zero. Once Indian elections are over, the Tamil/Tamil Nadu factor will regress to the backburner (unless there is a hung-parliament making the new government totally dependent on regional allies for survival).

Thus the next phase of the struggle for devolution will have to be waged primarily on the national front.

Moderation and Unity

Last week the Eastern Provincial Council voted overwhelmingly to strengthen the 13th Amendment[iv].

The motion, asking the government to strengthen and not dilute the 13th Amendment, was tabled by the SLMC amidst the vociferous opposition of the SLFP Chief Minister. The Tamil and Muslim acolytes of the Rajapaksas in the council refused to vote for it. But the TNA, the SLMC and the UNP voted for the proposal, ensuring its success.

The passing of the motion was of considerable significance; the political alignment which enabled its victory even more so. A UNP-TNA-SLMC alliance is a necessary precondition for any successful effort to stymie the coming Rajapaksa assaults on devolution – and democracy.

A multi-ethnic, multi-religious society cannot remain peaceful and stable, when there is a dichotomy between democracy and devolution.

If democracy or devolution causes the dominance of an anti-pluralist entity/ideology, a pluralist country will plunge into crisis and conflict.

In Ceylon/Sri Lanka, democracy, in its majoritarian form, was used to undermine minority-rights, repeatedly. Subsequently, the sole representative fallacy became a threat to democracy. This deadly dichotomy between devolution and democracy, created and sustained by Sinhala extremists and the Tigers, needs to be overcome, if Sri Lanka is to escape the twin (and mutually sustaining) ills of majoritarian despotism and minoritarian separatism.

In the midst of the Impeachment crisis, in his address to the Annual Convention of Judicial Service Association, Mr. Wigneswaran told the attending judges, “You must continue performing your duties however challenging they are, bearing in mind the need to be balanced. You must continue to remain together, for you can be certain that there will be moves to split asunder that unity”.

Justice Wigneswaran’s excellent advice to the officials of an embattled judiciary would be of utmost relevance to Chief Minister Wigneswaran as he seeks to save the NPC and promote Tamil-rights, in a political playing-field totally skewed in Rajapaksa favour and in a regional/international landscape characterised by Indian/Western indifference/lip-service.

Maximalism is a mindset, a way of looking at the world and living in it. It is a habit that dulls the eyes, stops the ears, blunts the intellect and silences the conscience. It is also profoundly counterproductive to intelligent self-interest.

Moderation; the first step in achieving a political solution exceeding the 13th Amendment is preventing the further erosion of the 13th Amendment. The new APC would be a time-buying exercise, but in order to expose that the TNA might have to participate in it, at least initially.

The Rajapaksas are anti-democratic and anti-devolutionary because both impede the total concentration of power in the familial fist. They use opposition to devolution as a façade and a justification for their anti-democratic project.

Unity; Tamils cannot promote devolution without Sinhala and Muslim support any more than the Sinhalese can prevent the further erosion of democracy without minority-backing. Hopefully, the EPC vote on the 13th Amendment is not a political fluke but a forerunner of that alliance of moderates without which neither devolution nor democracy can be restored.


[iii] This is reportedly a reference to Solas Marine Lanka (Pvt.) Limited (a subsidiary of the Dubai-based Solas Marine Services Group) building 80 Fast Interceptor Crafts for the Indian Navy in a shipyard near the Hamilton Canal  http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=87774

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    As always, TG, an excellent analysis of the current situation.

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      Now you have proved you are amaster political tactician too!

      Those are the stff dreams are made of. Miles away from reality.

      • 0
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        “Miles away from reality.”
        Reality means:
        Lanka’s major exports go to the west and Lanka uses this money to pay Chinese debt because China does not need anything more than rubber to manufacture condoms to keep the stalk away.
        SL Trade minister was told in no uncertain terms that China does not need True Cinnamon and the Chinese are reverting to Coffee.
        You never seen the trade embargo in 68 during your mathini time rice from the moon while folk were picking food from the dustbins.

    • 0
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      TG good analysis but some points on the India front are not quite..!

      1. Kurshid visit saw the signing of the Sampur Coal project which is what India wanted ABOVE ALL ELSE for its NATIONAL SECURITY as the Sampur project secures Indian access to Trnicomalee port.. India got this from Rajapassa despite protests of Pathala Champika and JHU re. the Sampur plant because Rajapassa is DESPERATE to avoid an Indian boycott of CHOGM show which would trigger a wider boycott of CHOGM which may happen yet
      2. After CHOGM the UNHRC process which the US is pushing will be important to keep Rajapassa dictatorship in Check and Rajapassa may yet be stripped of leading the Commonwealth of Clowns for the next two years if he goes too far with HR violations.. Rajapassa in other words is in a trap set by the IC for the forseeable future.. and of course the domestic challenges are also mounting…

    • 0
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      Tisaranee should give us some heads up on where Ranil and the UNP is heading for.

      Tisaranee’s next assignment should be to write on UNP’s future, it’s leadership, and where it’s heading into.

      Also she could write on who should be the ideal leader under different circumstances and the most suitable to lead it in future and the ways to rescue it and make it a winning party.

      Any comments and suggestions.

      Tisaranee is the best Political Analyst, a scholar and a wizard available in Sri Lanka who is always Four steps ahead to the closest second.

      We would like to see a Publication coming out from Tisaranee.

      Love to see more Political Analysts like Tisaranee in Sri Lanka, who see and analyse in-depth Politics, while some leaders think they are the only “Panditayas”…wizards but ultimately bungle up the party, country, it’s economy, it’s society and it’s politics.

      Thank you and great writing Tisaranee. Keep it up.

      • 0
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        Agree – would love to hear Tisaranee on the UNP – is there any hope? And if so, how?

  • 0
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    “even the ever-obliging Kamalesh Sharma would not have been able to save their Colombo-bash.” That’s an understatement:

    A Canadian minister has said that he is a shill of the Sri Lankan rulers!

    Now Sharma’s fate is hanging on the balance. MaRa’s time will come in 2014, after he is most probably elected president by the Sinhala electorate. Will he be hauled before the war crimes tribunal?

    What happens to political scenario we are talking about then. Who will fill the gap. BBS?

    • 0
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      War crimes tribunal,ah?Dream,dream,dream.How about Tamil tiger criminals living abroad?Then how about grandma Adle Balasingham?

      • 0
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        Max Silva before talking about Tamil Tiger Criminals living abroad, why won’t your government take the Tamil Tiger Criminals who are now living in Sri Lanka, like K.P; Karuna, Daya Master, Pillayan etc? First take them to courts then you will have credibility in your request. First learn to be honest to yourself.

        • 0
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          Dear Lankan(no doubt an Ealamist without guts).
          The persons you named have given up violence,joined the democratic process.So whats wrong with it?The problem with you(most probably a defeated Tamil tiger terrorist,still in shock after the demise of the Tiger thugs)is that you are still dreaming of Ealam.Where have your international buddies gone?Only the Canadians are with you,eh?What a shame the defeated Tamil tigers going behind white masters!

          • 0
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            Max Silva,

            So, giving up violence and joining the so-called ‘democratic’ process (what sort of democracy is that?) means automatically washing off all past sins and winning a position of not being answerable to anyone, eh?

            Sengodan. M

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            Max Silva,

            Who acquitted Karuna who murdered over 12 and injured over 2O and damaged the sacred temple and the Bo tree at the Kandy Dalada maligawa.

            Who acquitted the terrorist who murdered over 146 Buddhist monks, women and children near Anuradhapura bo tree.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anuradhapura_massacre

            Who acquitted KP who supplied arms to LTTE who murdered thousands of our Soldiers.

            Also KP is a wanted criminal in India on Rajiv Gandhi’s murder.

            Did they face criminal court…..and face charges…..No.

            What is the crime our war hero Gen.Sarath Fonseka did for him to eat Jail Rice at the Welikada Prison for over Two years.

            Max, you are nothing but a scum Bug traitor who will sell your sole for the Devil for a “Bath Packet” rice packet and a Half bottle “Kasippu”.

            You are nothing but another Rajapakse Traitor like many other thousands who sell it for cash and positions.

            Keep doing what you know best.

            Remember only Justice and truth will set you free. There will be no peace until then.

          • 0
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            Max you Moron,

            For your information. Karuna sigle handedly killed 2000 of your barbaric soldiers. Go and tell that to your Sinhalese mothers , fathers the Widows and the orphans.
            You really are an idiot.
            We are dreaming of Eelam and we will get to the promised Land.
            ENTRU THANIYUM INTHA SUTHANTHIRA THAGAM.

            Apart from Canada do you want to know who else is on our side.

            80 Million Tamils, Narendra Modi the future PM, The Iron Lady another PM.
            By the way why do you think MR sucumbed to pressure because bloody Congress finally came round to our side.
            Tigers might be going behind White Masters.
            But shame on you. You are going behind the Pankawalas and begging them to come CHOGM

        • 0
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          You forgot our Sinhala Nande Master (GOATa)!

  • 0
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    as always Thisaranee showcases herself as a traitor

    • 0
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      You are a moda …. putha, ela kolla! Go and fly a kite instead of wasting valuable space in this esteemed journal.

    • 0
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      ela kolla or Ela Haraka,

      That’s the only mistake the British did, by giving the Crown and the sword to the wrong crazy Monkey when they left Sri Lanka.

      Monkey is a monkey no matter what position it holds. A born joker, a liar, a crook, a thug and a cheater either in the Parliament or on a state visit and now the British and the world have realized it.

      Talking Sri-Lanka Seven year old Rape and NGO lies to Al Jazeera is the biggest Traitor.

  • 0
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    The silence of Weerawansa, Champika BBS etc after the NP CM swearing-in
    is not to be expected as the minority has won the day. There are hidden
    moves by MR & cabal and awaiting correct timing as TG describes. The
    future is not rosy, with double-speak henchmen like DJ still in the show.

  • 0
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    An erudite analysis by Thisaranee, especially her truism:
    “A multi-ethnic, multi-religious society cannot remain peaceful and stable, when there is a dichotomy between democracy and devolution.
    If democracy or devolution causes the dominance of an anti-pluralist entity/ideology, a pluralist country will plunge into crisis and conflict”.
    The sooner the dense Rajapaksa regime realise this the better for all Sri Lankans. Bensen

  • 0
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    It is a matter of time before Rajapakse regime will meet its Waterloo. You can cheat people only for a period of time, once the financial crisis sets in, especially with developed countries restricting imports Sri Lanka will have to fall to its knees. In an internationally integrated commercial world today no country can survive alone, even China cannot. So its only matter of time.

    • 0
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      Mr Park,
      We have heard this Waterloo story since 2009.It seems the Waterloo you are referring to is millions of light years away!Anyway keep on day and night dreaming.I understand your pathetic situation.Still cannot come to terms with the Nandikadal nightmare,eh?Life can be cruel to some!

      • 0
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        Max Silva,

        You say…….”We have heard this Waterloo story since 2009.It seems the Waterloo you are referring to is millions of light years away”

        Yes Wartaloo came when we lost over 250,000 jobs and over 1200 factories and industries closed after 2009 when EU GSP and other investments were lost.

        It was only MR borrowing Twice the amount we borrowed ever since Independence within four years from China at a very high interest rate(which we have to pay back to China) that floated us until now.

        Now the China Party is over and with 30% unemployment and economy is squeezing, soon MR will see his waterloo.

        Yes the new Economic developments coming in the way of International Drug Hub, Kasippu cartel, Brothel and Casino Business.

        Await for next Asia’s miracle surprise under the absolute Moron publishing bogus figures.

      • 0
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        Its easy to show water to a donkey but cannot make the donkey drink until the donkey wants to. It is same for you. Democracy, rule of law and freedom of expressions are something that can be seen prevailing in far away countries but Sri Lankans cannot enjoy it as we are blinded by the Rajapakse propaganda. I am not a Nandikadal fan as you say it. I studied under a Buddhist Monk. Do not display your ignorance like this.

    • 0
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      I think it will be after CHOGM summit. That will surely work as its waterloo. Wait and see :)

  • 0
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    As usual Tissaranee is writing with her blinkers on. The Canadian Prime Minister Harper is a captive in the hands of the well endowed Tamil Tiger Diaspora. The millions of Dollars collected by the LTTE and their successors by extortion, credit card scams and human smuggling have been used as a bait to catch this fish. The block vote from ghettoes inhabited by these Tamils is another reason for this short sighted man to rubbish old friends for the sake of these new friends with their ill gotten booty.

    He will soon pay for making a mockery of international relations, to curry favour with the Tamil Diaspora.

    • 0
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      Don’t compare Canada to your Hambanthota gone crazy Buffalos.

      The ever swollen head, stubborn Bust….s cannot be compared to one of the fastest growing first world countries in the world.

      Canada always maintain their human rights standards and is well respected by the International community.

      The Amude wearing fake Patriot Buffalos are suitable only to plough land. Not suitable for anything else and you should know about it.

  • 0
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    This woman needs to take her pills and stop writing nonsense

    • 0
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      When some one writes the truth you suggest pills. But you are enjoying the Rajapakse heroin, and that is the reason why you cannot see the truth.

    • 0
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      So long you the idiots would stay hallucinated – of course it will be difficult TG and us dissidents to see the way out – the situation today in the country is like caught by a dragon. People^s to be blamed – the bad side of the coin- in the guise of democracy.. sadly :(

    • 0
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      I wish more of TG ^s kind of fearless voices will have all guts to reveal the truths about bugger^s regime. MR is a thug and all kind of forces should rally around to liberate the country from the his hand. If he would continue ruling this way – we will have only ENEMIES on this world.

    • 0
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      She may be cured with a pill. But man you are terminnaly ill and need to take Cyanide and end your miserable life. Do it quick man.

    • 0
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      Goth- abhaya,

      Man where have you been all these days. We were worried about you. You were credited with killing all the LTTE single handedly and another 120,000 civilians.
      Do you know what happened to all the missing persons. Your Author Chandraprema says they have all been killed extra judicially. Can you confirm to set the record straight. If you are in hiding we dont want to you come out from hiding just post a comment on CT and I am sure they will be amenable and sympathetic.

    • 0
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      abhaya

      “This woman needs to take her pills and stop writing nonsense”

      Women in general and girls in particular need to wear their chastity belts if they are to avoid pills.

      • 0
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        Foreign,

        Stop showing off your Gynecological skills. I know your hormone level is high at the Momment.

        • 0
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          kali

          “I know your hormone level is high at the Momment.”

          Is that what every man longs for?

  • 0
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    “Unity,Tamils cannot promote devolution without Sinhalese and Muslim support any more than the Sinhalese can prevent the further erosion of democracy without minority backing.Hopefully,the EPC vote on the 13th Amendment is not a political fluke but a forerunner of……”

    That is going to be the political trend from now on.That process will begin firstly with the exposure of the APC delaying tactic and proceed to it’s logical conclusion ultimately with loosening the hold on power in the Rajapakse familial fist, in furtherance of freedom,democracy and justice for all the people inhabiting the island irrespective of their race,religion or creed.

  • 0
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    TG,

    At the 2014 elections in India it is most unlikely that either the Congress or the BJP will form a government of their own. Most likely, it will once again be a coalition government that will include one of the two major parties in Tamilnadu. So the foreign policy of the next Indian government will also be tinted with Tamil concerns. You could add to that the human rights concerns of the West, etc. It will not therefore be plain sailing for Rajapakse!

    Sengodan. M

    • 0
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      Sengodan,

      I was in Tamil Nadu last year and they are already talking about the Iron Lady from CM to PM.
      If any one wants to know what she will do to MR they should see how she dragged Thiruvarur Muna Karunanithi from his bed kicking and screaming. If they want more bad news they should know that Modis first port of call after being named as the BJP candidate for PM was Trichi as the Iron Lady is going for all 40 seats.

  • 0
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    TG:

    What you have written is what you see in your eyes.

    Think about an another person who does not think the same way that you think.

    Your logics are simply stupid. I don’t want to pin point and teach you too.

    You look very much like MANGALA SAMARAWEERA WHO HATES MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE.

    JUST WATCH. I EMPHASIZE IT. We will understand it.

    • 0
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      Jim softy,

      No body expects a brainless nitwit like you to understand Tisaranee’s logic.

      There is only one place where your kind of logic belongs and that is up your [Edited out].

      • 0
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        Long time no see, Mahadanamutta.
        How are things going on for you ?

        TG is the best among the highly skilled journalists we have got to reveal all the abuses that have now become day today agendas or rulers.

    • 0
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      Jim softy,

      Please remember only Knowledge and truth will set you free.

      Tisaranee writing on Sri Lanka’s starving Political crisis and her critical analysis have won many hearts, which is similar to Pakistan’s Malala voicing for women’s right to education in the face of Terrorist Talibans.

      Both are honored by the intelligent Intellectuals and academics.

      Tisaranee should come out with her own Publications on Sri Lanka’s critical Political playground, similar to Dr.Dayan Jayatillake.

      Also love to see more of Tisaranees born in Sri Lanka near future.

    • 0
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      Jim Sooty,

      1) What you have written is what you see in your eyes.

      At least she can see but are blind.

      2)Think about an another person who does not think the same way that you think.

      Obviously you idiot different people think differently. But you cant think because you are thick.

      3)Your logics are simply stupid. I don’t want to pin point and teach you too.

      Are you a teacher? What subject do you teach is it Garbage

      4) You look very much like MANGALA SAMARAWEERA WHO HATES MAHINDA RAJAPAKSE.

      Who luvs you baby.Is it Kojak

      5) JUST WATCH. I EMPHASIZE IT. We will understand it.

      What is your point I dont understand.

  • 0
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    ela kolla,

    The only comment you seem to be posting is as follows.

    “This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.”

    I am really confused man. Can you explain what is happening. Cant you think of something new like ” I am a Sinhalese Racist and I am not ashamed of it as there are 20 million of us and why am I being victimised. It is not fair not fair at all. Hitler was a Racist.

  • 0
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    Frame a new Constitution or amendment is a must as present constitution has already made an authoritarian. He has become the editor-in-chief of electronic/printed. media. He abolished 17th A.
    Reconciliation is easy if we have a. Construction. like US.

  • 0
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    Last para. Should please be revised as follows:
    RECONCILIATION IS EASY IF SL HAS A CONSTITUTION LIKE USA.

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