By Sarath de Alwis –
Dr. Dayan Jayatillake has accused me of a shoddy, shabby hatchet job in defending Mangla Samaraweera’s budget . To make his point, he resorts to nauseous and obscene deceit. I do not mind the adjectives of Shabby and Shoddy. Those who read our exchanges will decide. I don’t do hatchet jobs.
Dr. D.J is free with his opinions. “First off, Sarath is intellectually dishonest in implying that I am opposed to globalisation. Nothing I have ever written or said can support that charge. In fact, I repeatedly stated the opposite.”
Let me remind him of his precise words. “Mangala Samaraweera has ruptured with this national consensus, has gone against the national grain and the Great Tradition of Sri Lankan developmentalism.”
What is Sri Lankan developmentalism? Gam Udawa carnivals where grass lawns were laid overnight for the naked Emperor to show his new clothes?
Dr. Dayan in his shameless shifty reasoning, tears off some vital pages of his own life story. To beat Mangala he praises JRJ’s Globalization.
He has discovered virtues of a man he maligned mercilessly. He says “Sri Lanka certainly needed to liberalise and globalise, and that is what we did under J.R. Jayewardene’s leadership, Ronnie de Mel’s strategising and management, supported by Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake’s dynamism and Premadasa’s synthesis of ‘growth with equity’.
Dr. Jayatilleka, unlike you, I will not be free with opinions. I will not accuse you of being intellectually dishonest. What I can honestly assert is that you are plainly unembarrassed by your past pronouncements. Your own Statements made disguised as intellectual leaps in to lofty depths of manufactured wisdom.
This is what you wrote about Pulsara Liyanage’s hauntingly and ferociously beautiful story which she calls ‘Holding Out’. It is not really holding out, but an unfastening of a painful past.
Your song, Dr. Jayatilleka then had different lyrics. Remember you are talking about JRJ, Lalith Athulalathmudalii Gamini Dissanayake and R. Premadas.
“What was wrong was the ideology, the model and an arrogantly authoritarian style of governance marked by coercive violence. From the perspective of contemporary history, those ten years mark the attempt of a Westernized ruling elite to arrogantly force through a capitalist modernization from above by imitating and imposing an authoritarian model drawn from East Asia during the Cold War.”
So, Dr. Jayatilleka, I must confess my absolute incompetence to counter your wishy washy intellectual obscenities. Your “globalized Sri Lankan exceptionalism” whatever that means, escapes my comprehension.
You accuse me of making snide remarks about President Premadasa. I said that City Councilor Premadasa got a middle class land allotment of some 40 acres in Mahawa which he nursed with meticulous care.
A reasonable aspiration of a man born in to a lower middle class family in St. Sebastian hills. He never engaged in a business or practiced a profession other than politics. So, I challenged you to explain as the curator of his memory to explain the substantial boodle his estate held. If it is snide, my apologies. But there it is.
The illustrious career of Dr.Godfrey Gunantilake and the unequivocal Marxist credentials of Sumanasiri Liyanage have been unnecessarily drawn in to this debate. If they offer you crutches to limp over your own deceit, I wish you Godspeed.
It is true that, neoliberals seek to liberate markets to accelerate economic growth. They see globalisation as the dominant paradigm in this age. There is another faction that see neoliberalism as a cruel process of bulldozing cultures and the not so equipped people in the global south.
But sensible minds avoid the two extremes and recognise the dialectical nature of the phenomenon we call globalisation. When I endorse Mangala’s budget proposals I do so honestly recognising that globalisation profoundly influences the social, political and economic spheres.
Since I have six grandchildren who with their dexterous thumbs fascinate me no end convincing me that the world is their oyster, I know that efforts to delay or derail the process is futile. I am not paid for these opinions.
I will now tell you why Mangala Samaraweera has earned my admiration and my respect. He is the one leader in the present firmament who is sincerely and irrevocably committed to the defence of the democratic state.
In the present dynamics between the local and global, the nation state is pivotal to uphold the principles of representation and participation in the democratic state which were trampled by both Mahinda Rajapaksa and R. Premadasa the deities you once worshipped and Gota your new deity trampled with an utter disdain for human dignity.
What Mangala seeks to do with this budget is to create a conducive environment for export driven economic growth. It is selective deregulation to enhance international integration.
Globalisation is not a new discovery. Marx deals with it in the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto.
“The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization.
The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.”
As an argumentative strategy you narrate stories. D.S. picked Dr. Godfrey Gunatilke. Premadasa said that land was the patrimony of the people, when someone yawned about land etc.
When you tell stories, you must remember one universally applicable principle about story telling. The analogy about storytelling, that I am citing is not exactly original. It is reframed to suit the context. That said, thank you for reminding me of it.
A good story is like a good bowel movement. Real satisfaction is when the story ends. If instead, you keep on going you run out of shit.
You move in to pushing and pushing. Your sphincter gets hurt. At the end of it all you are left with the little poo you managed and an enormously foul smell.