By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
SL Gunasekera (SLG) doesn’t write often about Sri Lankan politics but whenever he does I in an unguarded moment expect to see something straight-forward because this reputation that he enjoys keeps bouncing into my mind. On the other hand, when I read him it’s all an anticlimax and a disappointment. In this day and time in Sri Lanka anybody can be straight forward only at some sort of personal sacrifice. The professional class is at best typically non-committal as far as criticism of the government is concerned or at worst sycophant. SLG, on top of the professional class, is different; he is dodgy and oblique. That’s the conclusion I can come to when I read what he wrote for the Ceylon Daily Mirror of the 25th February, under the caption, ”The unquestionable thirst for power.”
Where does SLG find this narcotic craving? Not where any normal person would point their finger at, namely the center of power in Sri Lanka. SLG locates the seat of this craving for power in the folds of the opposition United National Party! He should have asked himself the question, as to what space an opposition has in the first place to evince an unquestionable lust for power. He doesn’t, and proceeds to tear the UNP and its leader to pieces.
A poor Ranil Wickremasinghe (RW) has been valiantly fighting a home battle to keep his forces together against an avaricious government –constructed political environment that keeps enticing his depleting men with the carrots of perks, power and privileges or the sticks of crime files stored in the drawers. RW has done a trying job with considerable emotional management rare for a leader.
The criticism of the Leadership Council (LC) is in order but why can’t SLG realize that this particular device is another strategy to keep the greedy and impatient in the party from moving out? RW, unlike Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), is adept at management and good governance and surely he knows best that there are managerial defects in the very concept of the Leadership Council. An advantage of the LC is that it provides a break for RW and gives others a space to show their skills. As an illustration Karu Jayasuriya took the LC to good advantage when he utilized it to regain his lost party confidence. Hurrah for Karu, whom I have known to be a good man as I have worked in a Company directorate when he was Chair! If a man like R Premadasa got such an opportunity the latter would have amply demonstrated his ability by turning over the LC to his singular advantage. His son, Sajith, fails to see such a political opportunity and is content to sulk on the sides. From his Dad Sajith must learn that politics is both a learning and waiting game. If he did so he will not be the man in a hurry that he is.
The pitiless viciousness that one observes in SLG’s misplaced attack on RW and the UNP dissipates when he deals with President MR. He does admit that MR puts his family first before the country. He asserts that the problem with MR is that he puts himself and his family before the country. What an understatement! Why didn’t SLG illustrate his theory of the thirst for power with reference to what MR has done after the war? What MR has done is off a textbook of authoritarian leaders. Government was able to beat the Tamil terrorists with the use of simple emergency law working under the pre-existing constitutional provisions. However, since the war MR did away with the 17th Amendment that was passed unanimously with the objective of having in place a healthy separation of powers. He brought in the 18th Amendment that virtually centralized all power under the President. The whole administration was under the executive’s political control. In turn, the executive’s powers would translate down to Ministers and right up to the Pradeshiya Sabhas. With no administrative supervision over any of the executive levels below him it has become an open sesame for all government politicians. The result is that cops are totally under political control wheeling and dealing with the politicians and crime syndicates. Peoples’ protest and people’s power have to be resorted to ensure some measure of check. Even when the politicos are caught they are often released or spirited away with the help of top level government high ups. One high profile person returned after his escape from murder charges to make an open statement that he did not remember the crime he is said to have committed. The Prime Minister’s office is named over one of the biggest heroin hauls in the country. I need not go into details as SLG should know better how law and order has totally collapsed. More importantly, SLG should remember how CJ Shirani Bandaranayake had been removed when even parliament didn’t move for her impeachment! If this is done to the CJ what further need be said. As a prominent role player in the justice system SLG should show outrage over these state of affairs. Here is the unquestionable thirst for power.
SLG does mention Hirunika’s pathetic plight having had to assert sibling rights with the family to gain position. This is a good point driven home well. That episode epitomizes the state of a country where everything has been set to flow from the center. The Executive President stands as a central colossus “and we poor men walk under his mighty feet.” Like with Hirunika simple humble artists have to immolate themselves before the alter of the center in order to keep themselves in the business of entertaining. I was appalled to watch a video by three very entertaining performers –Sohan Weerasinghe, Rukshan De Silva and Sunil Perera that slates British PM Cameron in a poorly constructed lyric fed into non-music. Cameron and ‘takaran’ don’t rhyme. Their message was the message of a government that is keen to regard human rights as crap. Sunil in particular is a delightful performer but what a poor figure he cuts here. Were they pressurized? Another famous and talented artist had to fake out an ancestry connection between the Rajapakse family and Lord Buddha-just in order to enhance his earnings.
SLG must seriously observe how in this pathetic manner all institutions are being brought to their knees and how all social values are being rendered topsy turvy. Although SLG castigates Revd. Maduluwave Sobitha for the latter’s campaign to abolish the Executive Presidency the hard fact is that it is this unsuitable institution that is the source of all the power -greed and political abuse rampant in Sri Lanka today. SLG incongruously denies this premise of Revd. Sobitha but contradicts his stand by lamenting that, unfortunately, Parliament has become the Executive’s rubber stamp. If the Executive can achieve this how come he isn’t that powerful? Today the executive is so powerful that he could stop SLG from practicing and get the justice system to be silent about that. The Legislature is the President’s and the Judiciary is the President’s. Louis XIV said, “I am the state.” Well, the President of Sri Lanka is the state of Sri Lanka.
Finally, SLG rightly gives credit to MR for giving leadership to the war against terror. However, he is remiss when he ignores the outrageous injustice done to the General who had conducted the war on ground even to the point of having to shed his blood in the cause. The General’s hard-won titles and medals for courage and skill have been grabbed away and he had been controversially jailed and put out of sight. SLG states that General Sarath Fonseka had “sunk to the low level” of contesting for the President as a common candidate. Here, SLG has lost his logic.
Peter / February 26, 2014
So what else is new with SLG? Remember his foray with the JHU when he was reduced to tears over national TV – ousted by his ‘own’? His views resemble those of the Nation, feigning morality with bullshit-rationale to feather his own nest.
Always the chauvinist!
Cap-Petty-Polar / February 27, 2014
Look, SL Gunasekera is [Edited out] Because, his racist project Sihala Urumaya/JHU is the one that has put this country in ultimate danger by its die-hard racist policies implemented with MR (The Nutty Thug)is now turning into a nightmare.
This [Edited out] helped to create the Frankestien Monster “Sihala Urumaya” mainly to target Tamils & the Muslims. He even got the Catholic and Christian Churches to declare that its a Sinhalese Party for the benefit of the Sinhala Only back then. What a farce…..
His monster kicked him out and S.L. [Edited out] cried in front of cameras as he miscalculated the monster he created to attack the minorities.
Look at the results now….what a marvelous contribution it has made to the one of the few remaining racist block of people that supports the like minded racists in a nation, in the present world in the 21st century….
S.L. [Edited out], in a few weeks time you will see the results after Geneva debacle on your life time achievements being rewarded by the world in planning out then the future massacres that will be committed by your own BLOOD THIRSTY RACISTS.
You will die a sad M/F who has destroyed the future of your own A/Hs belonging to your stupid race. History will judge you in the posterity.
Vichara / February 26, 2014
SJ says”More importantly, SLG should remember how CJ Shirani Bandaranayake had been removed when even parliament didn’t move for her impeachment”!
Please clarify. If so who impeached the former CJ?
Tasil Samarasinha / February 26, 2014
I totally agree.
SL is an erudite individual whom I have had the privilege of knowing since my college days.He is one person who is very readable not only for style but for content and is someone who is unafraid to call a spade a spade BUT in this instance he has got it all wrong.
SL is a person who will not say or do anything without thinking. AS SUCH ONLY SL KNOWS THE REASONS FOR THIS ARTICLE.
Peace Lover / February 26, 2014
S L Gunasekera is one of the most pathetic fellows around he must be very unhappy in life to always be so critical and cynical
maybe his home life or his past is making him do this
punchinilame / February 26, 2014
“The professional class is at best typically non-committal as far as criticism of the government is concerned or at worst sycophant. SLG, on top of the professionals……”
The curse in Sri Lanka is the deafening silence of the sinhala
intelligentsia and this is a factor in the hidden agenda of MR and cabal.
The regime is prepared to hold on to power by hook or crook in the guise
of Democracy and they are winning.
C. Wijeyawickrema / February 26, 2014
If Sarath F came as a third party candidate things would have been different. But he became a bait to Robert Blake plan and got destroyed.
RanilW and UNP can never come to power after what they said about the war effort.
Talk about total corruption in SL of all parties and leaders and how to get rid of it.
Prem Vaidyaratne / February 27, 2014
Rukshan is a silly cow not a bull.He is trying to be populist and heroic. Pathetic song
Shyamon Jayasinghe / February 27, 2014
TO VICHARA & OTHERS INTERESTED
Yes, there was no impeachment motion passed by Parliament at the time. Govt MPs put their hands for a motion to appoint a Select Committee to examine the accusations against the CJ. This had been pointed out by the UNP MP Kiriella. Apparently the Speaker saw the point, adjourned the meeting but returned to overrule the objection
Sunila / February 27, 2014
SLG is worse than those who openly sing praises of MR for benefits. SLG misuses his credentials of honesty to paint in brilliant white the Regimes actions, These are the dangerous persons as they mislead the public specially at a time of elections. Intellectually RW is far more superior to unintelligent MR. No leader of opposition would be able to survive in an authoritarian and dictatorial political environment where money is plenty to buy the most ardent loyalists? The space for democracy is being crunched up and shamelessly the Govt and private media are being prostituted for the advantage of the MR Regime. Against this scenario isn’t SLG feel ashamed to sing for breakfast of a Regimes long lost legitimacy. The danger of suppressing all forms of dissent is the emergence of a spring type revolution to achieve what the people have lost to a corrupt regime.
Wimaladharma / February 27, 2014
I am glad that Shyamon has thoroughly exposed the MR bootlickers. These bluffers are really a great shame on our country. You have cut them to size, indeed.
Dr. Rajasingham Narendran / February 27, 2014
As we.enter our twilight years we become wise old men , mean old fools or enter our second childhood. I think events in our lives shape our old age and we manifest.
Reerie Yaka / February 27, 2014
If SL is honest he should give credit to Ranil as a rare gent in a Parliament of rogues, pimps, pavithra prostitutes, donkeys,monkeys, idiots, druggies, rapists and rascals who are out to make a buck.
Rukshan song is a disgrace as its shows this guy’s total ignorance of the issues involved. What is his education? I hear he made money in the US but now attacks US. Sri Lanka is full of louts and easily fooled gonas.
pearl thevanayagam / February 28, 2014
Has anyone read SLG’s book, Pandora’s Box. The man who aspired to become president was booted out of JHU since he is not Buddhist. Despite his illustious father he is all sound and no fury. He has not evolved nor does he want to evolve. The tragedy of stubborn mules.
Wijesiri / February 28, 2014
Don’t you think Ranjan Ramanayake is a good prospect to succeed Ranil. For the 9th time in succession he is voted the most popular star in Sri Lanka. Like in his film,”ONE SHOT” he is honest and effective. Made some great speeches in Parliament recently-fearless and cannot be bought by Rajapkse.
Sreeni De Silva / February 28, 2014
SL Gunasekera released this piece to run down Ranil. RW’s constant critics is the government because when Ranil goes all else in the Grand Old Party goes. This lacky SL says RW is a “perennial loser.” This is the slogan created by the government. The lackey is parroting it. RW lost only twice-one was to CBK when the bomb blast turned a lot of public sympathy for CBK. CBK appeared on the stage and showed her eye and wept like a school girl. The second defeat was to Rajapkse of Tsunami fame and that was because LTTE got the Tamils not to vote and RW lost only by one lakh. SLG is talking through his hat or some other part of the anatomy
dutugemunu / March 1, 2014
Well said, Sreenie
saminda / March 1, 2014
Bashing Ranil may have been fashionable a few years ago. Maybe even a year ago this was the case. Even the so Colombo elite flocked to the stages to watch Pus-wedilla bash Ranil to smithereens. But like many people have directly or impliedly said in this forum, bashing Ranil is very fast going out of fashion and he is emerging as a political colossus, having weathered many a storm with patience, forbearance and resilience. He has shown qualities rare in politicians today. His has international acceptance as a senior statesman. He is experienced, knowledgable and has proved his ability to better manage the economy and the country including our foreign policy in the 2 years he was PM in 2002 – 04. It high time people like SL start putting the country first and act true to their reputation in calling a spade a spade. One does not necessarily have to draw a line to Ranil every time you want to talk about what ails this country like SL always does.
Revd Rerukane Dhamma Wimala / March 1, 2014
Ranil is a calm, patient man of peace. He never takes revenge like the President MR does. Will never rob the country. A good Buddhist and a man of intellect. Even with the tribalist slogans by MR and JHU he missed the Presidential elections against Rajapakse by only one lakh and that is because the Tigers forced Tamil people to abstain. This shows Ranil is for the whole nation
Athauda / March 2, 2014
SL Gunasekeera is wearing away his social capital. If he continues to write with hate he will lose this out completely