17 October, 2017

Sinhala Nationalism & Support For Gotabaya: Response To Uditha Devapriya

By Dayan Jayatilleka – 

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

While I thank Uditha for his searching critique, and must express my hope and expectation that he may yet develop into a successor of Ajith Samaranayake, I must correct him on three factual issues:

1. He writes that “Like Dayan’s father, Malinda rejected the right-wing, elitist ethos of those institutions, and became a nationalist.”

That is incorrect. Mervyn was an internationalist and a Third Worldist who was sympathetic to nationalism but never a nationalist. In that sense he was much closer to Godfrey Gunatilleke, Regi Siriwardena, Gamini Corea, Charles Abeysekara, Neville Jayaweera, Izzeth Hussein and AJ Gunawardena than to Malinda’s father Gamini Seneviratne who was of course a contemporary and friend of his, and whose writings he enthusiastically published in the Lanka Guardian. Appropriately enough, it is Godfrey Gunatilleke, a “golden lad” of that most intellectual of generations, who has analyzed Mervyn’s ideology and consciousness most definitively, and rightly defines him as committed to humanism and universalism; to a “universalist humanism”.

2. Uditha also writes: ” But there’s never just one kind of nationalism: there are nationalisms, so soon enough we saw Dayan and Malinda fighting via newspaper columns despite the fact that both were opposed to the government over its handling of the war…the “intellectuals” were opposed to both since they were “nationalists”…”

Here too, the facts are the same as in or analogous to, the case of Mervyn de Silva and Gamini Seneviratne. Malinda was a militant Sinhala Buddhist nationalist, a member and electoral candidate of Champika’s JHU and a member of NMAT. Unlike Malinda, I have never been a nationalist nor am I one today, despite my alignment with, support for and sympathy with nationalists and nationalism. I am not ontologically a nationalist. My support for nationalism is neither unconditional nor unqualified. I am however, a patriot who is also an internationalist and a universalist. To put it provocatively, I admire Puran Appu and Jose Marti, but not Anagaraika Dharmapala– because no sectarian ethnoreligious particularism ever resonates with me.

3. The third error that Uditha makes is to say that “He [DJ] is also a moderate federalist”. It is because I come from the Marxist tradition that I have never been a federalist, moderate or otherwise. While I did support self-determination in my early twenties as a bookish Leninist, for 40 years since I have consistently been for equal rights as well as for devolution/regional autonomy. As the Chinese Constitution makes clear, it is perfectly possible and is often the case that those (especially those from a Leftist political culture) who are for regional autonomy are also staunch supporters of a unitary state…with regional autonomy/devolution.

Obviously I must clarify and set to rest my stand on Gotabaya. He is to be sure a Sinhala Buddhist nationalist, which I am not, but that is not all Gotabhaya is, just as it is not all that Mahinda Rajapaksa or Dinesh Gunawardena is. Furthermore there are times in history when Sinhala Buddhist nationalism is more reactionary than progressive, more negative than positive, but this is not one of those times. This is much more like 1956, 1970 and 2005. Finally, there are times in history when there is an option other than a Sinhala Buddhist nationalist leadership and ideology under which to fight a pro-imperialist puppet regime like the UNP but that time came and went in 1947-1953 and again in 1984-1988 (Vijaya Kumaratunga). They were historical exceptions. One hopes such a time comes again and with greater sustainability and success.

Finally, to move from Uditha’s few factual inaccuracies to a single one of several partial misinterpretations. Vladimir Putin is an Orthodox Christian Russian nationalist, which is also what drives him and makes him take the stands he does. Like many throughout the world—states, social groups and individuals– from China to Cuba, from Syria to Vietnam, I applaud and admire him neither because of his Orthodox Christian Russian nationalism nor despite it. We support him because he revived his country having rescued it from capitulation and disintegration under a Yahapalana type Yelstin regime, won a war and crushed a ghastly separatist terrorist militia in Chechnya (years before we won our war), and takes an active stand for national sovereignty and a multipolar world. In short people like me throughout the world support him not because of his subjective ideology but because of the objective role that Putin plays in a given historical context. So also it is with my support for Gotabaya.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    Dude you may be start but if you though most of th viewers of CT are not that dumb to fall pray to your pathetic spin , and not to see your your true traits/excellence in political prostitution. Stop whining as well living on your fathers hard earned glory.You are no close to the original author Udithas integrity or self respect.

    • 5
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      The wisdom of Dayan’s clarion call for the return of the Gods …….. to save us. ………………………

      A voice shouted “Here they come!” and then “The Gods! The Gods!” Four or five individuals emerged from the mob and occupied the platform of the main lecture hall. We all applauded, tearfully; these were the Gods returning from a centuries-long exile. Made larger by the platform, their heads thrown back and their chests thrust forward, they arrogantly received our homage. One held a branch which no doubt conformed to the simple botany of dreams; another, in a broad gesture, extended his hand which was a claw; one of the faces of Janus looked with distrust at the curved beak of Thoth. Perhaps aroused by our applause, one of them — I know longer know which — erupted in a victorious clatter, unbelievably harsh, with something of a gargle and of a whistle. From that moment, things changed. ……………………

      It all began with the suspicion (perhaps exaggerated) that the Gods did not know how to talk. Centuries of fell and fugitive life had atrophied the human element in them; the moon of Islam and the cross of Rome had been implacable with these outlaws. Very low foreheads, yellow teeth, stringy mulatto or Chinese mustaches and thick bestial lips showed the degeneracy of the Olympian lineage. Their clothing corresponded not to a decorous poverty but rather to the sinister luxury of the gambling houses and brothels of the Bajo. A carnation bled crimson on a lapel and the bulge of a knife was outlined beneath a close-fitting jacket. Suddenly we sensed that they were playing their last card, that they were cunning, ignorant and cruel like old beasts of prey and that, if we let ourselves be overcome by fear or pity, they would finally destroy us. ………………………

      We took out our heavy revolvers and joyfully killed the Gods. – Ragnarök, Jorge Luis Borges

  • 0
    0

    sorry for typo read as you may be smart

  • 4
    1

    CT fellow comrades using keyboard——————————————————————————————————–Here is a lyric to the song Sign of the Times by Harry Styles—————————-Please read and enjoy–

    Sign of the Times-
    Harry Styles-

    Just stop your crying
    It’s a sign of the times
    Welcome to the final show
    Hope you’re wearing your best clothes
    You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky
    You look pretty good down here
    But you ain’t really good
    If we never learn, we been here before
    Why are we always stuck and running from
    The bullets?
    The bullets
    We never learn, we been here before
    Why are we always stuck and running from
    The bullets?
    The bullets
    Just stop your crying
    It’s a sign of the times
    We gotta get away from here
    We gotta get away from here
    Just stop your crying
    It’ll be alright
    They told me that the end is near
    We gotta get away from here
    Just stop your crying
    Have the time of your life
    Breaking through the atmosphere
    And things are pretty good from here
    Remember everything…

  • 9
    1

    Mahinda , Gotabaya…..Mahinda , Gotabaya….Mahinda , Gotabaya…. Are you in a trance DJ? Are Mahinda’s rings and bracelets fulfilling their purposes?.

    • 5
      1

      B S Perera —————“Mahinda , Gotabaya…..Mahinda , Gotabaya….Mahinda , Gotabaya…. ” ———– Are you insinuating that Dayan is self pleasuring himself? ———You are being naughty, a bad boy, …or an old pervert.

  • 6
    1

    Dayan “ .. applaud(s) and admires Putin neither because of his Orthodox Christian Russian nationalism nor despite it. (He) supports him because he revived his country having rescued it from capitulation and disintegration under a Yahapalana type Yelstin regime, won a war and crushed a ghastly separatist terrorist militia in Chechnya …”

    How like the Rajapakses! Dayan obviously left out the other similarities between Putin’s and Mahinda’s administrations – corruption on mega scales, the extra-judicial killings, abductions, assaults, non-tolerance of criticism, curtailment of freedom of expression, etc, etc! Looks like Dayan has a soft spot for dictators (Castro was another of his heroes).

    And then he has the gall to state that Putin “ … takes an active stand for national sovereignty and a multipolar world” (like invading Ukraine???) and plays an “objective role” in “a historical context” (whatever that means!). And then he states that’s why he supports Gotabaya!

    Give us a break from this crap, Dayan – your history speaks for itself with no help needed from you!

  • 0
    1

    Nepotism that leads to abuse of power and corruption should not be encouraged.

    The extraordinary Statement issued by the Most Venerable Chief Prelate Thero of Asgiriya Chapter directly intervening in current affairs in the country reaffirmed the power of Maha Sangha.

    It will be imperative the future leader to be someone who has the blessings of Chief Prelates and Maha Sangha. As a result, dreams of many contenders will be shattered.

    The present divergent precarious politics that lead to apprehension will undoubtedly make Buddhists place their faith in Chief Prelates and Maha Sangha for guidance in choosing a future leader. I remember making a comment elsewhere months ago requesting the intervention of Maha Sangha in State affairs. When I have almost given up my hope, the Most Venerable Chief Prelate Thero of Asgiriya Chapter issued a Statement much tougher than anybody’s expectations. With that and depending on all future directions by Chief Prelates and Maha Sangha, I believe that things will fall into their due places.

    The next two years should be spent in deciding the future leader. Politicians presenting themselves as future leaders should be ended and Chief Prelates, Maha Sangha and Sinhalese Buddhists, being the majority, should “unanimously” decide who the next most suitable leader is.

  • 1
    0

    The claims made here by DL to “correct” Uditha are full of contradictions. DJ is looking hard for a corner to roost but will never find one.
    To DL’s confused mind Chinese Constitution is great. He says “…………As the Chinese Constitution makes clear, it is perfectly possible and is often the case that those (especially those from a Leftist political culture) who are for regional autonomy are also staunch supporters of a unitary state…with regional autonomy/devolution”. China has recently decreed that those with Islamic sounding names (like the Uighurs) must drop the names and change to sound Mandarin.

  • 3
    1

    Dayan stop comparing yourself to Fidel Castro. He led and displaced the mighty tyrant Fulgencio Batista. You want the Lankan “Batista”family back. You at leading a gang of Don Quixotes.

    • 4
      1

      K.Pillai————-Dayan the war monger drops names as he goes along. He doesn’t mean what he says. Please bear with the windbag.

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