20 October, 2020

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That A Campaign To Suppress Dissent Is Underway Is Crystal Clear

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera MP

In present day Sri Lanka it has become customary for whispers and speculation of impending elections to be followed up by brutal onslaughts on what remains of the country’s free press. It is a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate the media into silence ahead of crucial polls about the crimes and lapses of a completely corrupt incumbency.

It is not surprising therefore that a dangerous trend is being set, commencing with twin attacks on the Uthayan newspaper publishing in the country’s north in the space of less than a month and followed up with a threat against the Sirasa Media Network. Neither media organisation is a stranger to devastating and debilitating attacks against them; attacks that have only increased in brutality and impunity in recent years. Each time they are struck, the organisations and personnel find the strength to pick up the pieces and carry on. We salute their courage and commitment to their professional duty.

We call upon the Government to ensure the safety of the premises, equipment and personnel of the Sirasa Media network and the Uthayan newspaper. For too long the incumbent regime has left questions unanswered about repeated and debilitating attacks on this country’s Fourth Estate. Scribe killers, white vans and armed groups terrorising media institutions have roamed outside the ambit of the law for long enough. It is a travesty that as such crimes against the nation’s free press go unpunished, the Government’s law enforcement arm remains exclusively preoccupied with brutally quelling garbage disputes in Colombo’s low income neighbourhoods or attacking peaceful demonstrators protesting against the meteoric rise of extremist groups that are sowing hate and discord between communities of people in this country.

We reiterate that this consistent assault on independent media institutions is a gross infringement of the people’s fundamental right to free expression and impedes their right to information and condemn this culture of intimidation and suppression unreservedly.

That a campaign to suppress dissent is underway is crystal clear. Its mission is to wipe out the last vestiges of the independent media in the country and rob the people, perhaps permanently, of their right to information. Let those who attempt to terrorize the media remember that every successive attack will not only unify the media against the ruling powers, but also galvanize all sections of the opposition to join the fight against a common enemy. I call upon all media institutions to shed their differences and stand together in the unequivocal condemnation of this latest threat against Sirasa and Uthayan in the knowledge that while today it might be their turn, the suppression will not end until each and every newspaper, radio station and television station is effectively silenced and subjugated.

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Latest comments

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    Letting the Rajapaksa family rule the country is similar to letting a skulk of foxes to run a chicken coop. Letting them in was easy…getting rid of them will be almost impossible.

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      The Electricity hike must be opposed by mass protests.. UNP must start a campaign to educate the people on the fact that if you waste electricity you are rewarded and pay less, but if you conserve it you pay more under Rajapassa regime!
      The fact is that the completely skewed economic development policies, the waste of electricity in running the empty Mattala Rajapassa airport and sea port that have no planes or ships, the huge waste of funds on Mihin air and its unpaid energy bills, cricket matches, drag racing and other sports Tamashas for Namal Rajapass’a Carleton TV channel and all the waste in the State loss making enterprises that are full or corrupt and unqualified Rajapassa family members and cronies is the reason for the hike in electricity tariffs.
      Finally, impoverished consumers are subsidizing the corruption of the regime and the business community, and tourism sectors and this ABSOULTELY MUST END!

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        Citizens should stop paying their electricity bills in a mass protest campaign against the skewed and corrupt Rajapassa economic policies that are massively increasing INEQUALITY and enabling neo-liberal TRICKLE UP policies. Basil Rajapassa the LA petrol pump attendant knows nothing about development or economics!

        The poor are subsidizing the rich! While electricity guzzling super luxury apartments blocks are constructed galore for the super rich who make money off poor women’s labour in the garment and tea sectors the people who live in shanties will have to live in darkness unable to pay electric bills. What a joke is the Rajapassa boast that the whole country has electicity!

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    As far as Ranil Wickramasingha is the last man to wake up even if a nuclear bomb is dropped on free media in the country, the opposition can not be galvanized against these insane Government attacks. Please advice him to make some sensible statements at least in the parliament, and to take some meaningful ground level action. Right now it looks like he is on overdose smoking pot. A lot of people who are dissapointed with the current regime stay silent because they don’t want to contribute to bring Ranil to presidency. Please discuss among the opposition and forge an alliance with Ranil on a back seat. He maybe a good political thinker, but never a choice to crack open Rajapaksa dishonesty.

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    Perhaps Mr Mangala Samaraweera should also be concerned why his own party leader has demoralised many supporters by being relatively unperturbed and laid back in the face of such dreadful and deplorable trends !!

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    Mangala,

    CBK had 11 years as an all powerful President of Sri Lanka to build an unshakable foundation of media traditions and institutions. She completely wasted that opportunity.

    She could have fixed and uplifted SLRC, ITN, SLBC, Lake House etc to be great examples of ethical, modern and independent media institutions. That would been very diffcult to dismantle. Even by uneducated Rajapassa clan.

    But, CBK, you and we all blew that chance.

    Instead CBK used all state media to her advantage like all other political liars of Sri Lanka.

    Now we are whining. Story of country.

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    The shrewd ambitious man he is MR, having destroyed that necessary limb of democracy – the Opposition, went out to divide and destroy the media. He did so with the Judiciary where Sri Lanka is the laughing stock of the world with two CJ’s – one claiming to be de jure while the other de facto. Sarath F, that semi-educated oaf, who murdered people – more Tamils than Sinhalese – by the thousands says he is really the winner of the last elections. I remember one of my favourite poems “King Robert of Sicily” when I was about 13-14 that still remains a favourite of mine and commend this to the readers. The brilliantly written poem by H.W. Longfellow tells us of the two claimants to the throne of Sicily – a tragico-comedy (or even comico-tragedy – the way you look at it) that reminds one of the Sri Lanka of the Rajapakse Royalty today.

    Senguttuvan

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    Whatever that goes wrong in this country is because we don’t have something called an opposition. UNP working committee that sustains a puppet leader should take full responsibility for it.

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    Thrisantha – Come to think of it Mangala might be a uniting force in the divided UNP. It is necessary for some brains in the UNP to remove that inherent prejudice in the vast Sinhala electorate the UNP is a pro-Christian pro-Tamil party. This may have had some relevance during Sir John’s days and prior to that. But in the 6 decades since, it is no more so. I believe in Panditharatne’s report there was something to this effect. Imagine a Cabinet with Mathew, Gamini J, Gamini D, Lalith A, Wimala Kannangara et al being pro-Tamil??

    I am also told a famous South Indian astrologer – consulted regularly by Premadasa, Ranil, MR and others – has told a common friend recently there is little chance of Ranil. Apparently the man does not have the required raja-yogam factor. If Mangala manages to get out of his old habit to live luxuriously at others expense(the public’s mainly) he should make a good and acceptable President. He is acceptable to both Tamils, Muslims and others. I believe he is well liked in India and by the donors. Anarkali A will readily switch sides for a chance to play consort.

    Senguttuvan

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      FYI: Both Thrishanta and Mangala supported “Sarath F, that semi-educated oaf, who murdered people – more Tamils than Sinhalese – by the thousands” for presidency last time…

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    Ranil has disappered from the radar. Where is he? No problems in paradise?

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      Safa

      He was in India.

      Delhi may be up to something.

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        “Delhi may be up to something”……..Is it for another Parippu drop, this time to Colombo……..

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    If the perception be that only a determined mass upheaval can place a regime in power, a leader with charisma needs to be brought forward as the rallying point. In France the Napoleonic Legend moved political fortunes in the nineteenth century. In Sri Lanka there is only one such and that is the Bandaranaike Legend which can exert a sway. The legatee to that mantle who can lay a legitimate claim is Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. The opposition has four credible formations.ineffectual individually but potentially powerful when united and led by the fifth and the foremost ie CBK. Hon. Mangala Samaraweera may have a historic duty by the nation to bring it about.

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    Ranil has completely given up his responsibility of being the opposition leader. He is the opposition leader in name only. There isn’t anyone else in the UNP who has challenged the regime’s actions seriously apart from making statements at press conferences. All the credible and serious challenges to the government’s actions made in parliament came from one single member of the opposition and that was Mr Sumanthiran. Mangala appears to be a decent man liked by all the races in the country but uniting the opposition under him will be a difficult task as the UNP has too many divisions within it.

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    Mangala
    You should accept your own complicity in creating this situation. You refused to implement very important and substantial recommendations made in the RKW Goonesekara report on media law reforms. Probably you were ill advised by some mediocre people who pretend to be media experts. Some of them became Secretary of your Ministry, Chairman of SLBC and one self anointed adviser from colombo university who had some flimsy qualifications. You owe us an explanation as to why you failed to implement the RKW Goonasekera recommendations if you want us to trust you again. Would you assure us that RKW Goonasekara recommendations will be implemented if your UNP is elected to govern?

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    Uthayan is a political newletter run by the TNA.which is extensively used to suppress the anti TNA Tamils in the North.

    Sirisa is the mouth piece for the well heeled Colomboiders, who have benifited the most from the current economic boom.

    And encourage their try hard yuppies kids to act like their counterparts in countries where the West have been manupilating them to cause social unrest and institute regime change.

    These anti social and anti nation and anti religion activities can cause colosal disruptions to the progess of the Nation.

    Just like what the inhabitants went through for thiry years.

    Why does Mr S’s UNP want to go behind fringe politicians when his own party has ruled the country on it’s own for as long as the centre lefts combined.

    UNP’s current ally the TNA wants a SGA.

    Can Ranil who nearly gave one to the TNA predecessor refuse it now?

    Tissa A promises to turn Mattala in to Museum.

    Is the UNP policy to halve the number of Tourists?. or do they have intelligence indicating that the tourist numbers will drop when they come to power.?

    Mr S’s Foreign Policy is to please the Whiteman, and bend over even more than what is expected.

    Has this party come up with even one policy statement to give confidence to the ordinary punters that they can do better at least in Econonomic Development of the Nation?.

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      The Uthayan is a political news paper and the Daily News is not? How does a news paper go about suppressing Tamils. Is there a law that stipulates that political news papers have to be burned down?

      Sirasa is a mouth piece for Yuppie kids. Being pro western is also illegal? Clomdoiders have benefited from an economic boom. What boom are you talking about. It is a bust not a boom except for your master and his family and friends.

      Mattala may very well become a museum by default. How many tourist have actually landed their. How many planes accept Sri Lankan and Mihin which are forced to do so use this airport. Does it have refuelling facilities or maintenance facilities for aircraft. Is it not nothing but a shiny new set of buildings.

      When the UNP went after the white man all project funding did not include China-men swarming into build the project themselves excluding jobs for our local youth. Also, Vitoria, Randenigala, Kotmale, Maduru Oya never Broke down within six months of beginning operations and continued to breakdown at heavy cost ever since. They were all built to international standards by international companies using local labor and technical staff adding valuable know how to our local citizens.

      Your tone and your ridiculous arguments speak volumes about your own mentality. This is termed the curse that never stops giving. It is the down fall of Sri Lanka. It is why this country will never prosper. It is because of people like you.

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    Senguttuvan: Your statement “Come to think of Mangala might be a uniting force in the divided UNP”. Are you in your proper senses? My friend, I usually read your comments and had regards to bestow on you; but with this type of comments,I am wandering whether I was in my proper senses to think of you so in high esteem.

    We know this man very well as an MP and a Minister. Any credit to be given to him? NOTHING. It is ZERO.He is a born DISASTER and will bring that DISASTER to any party he is affliated. In that respect Mahinda Rajapakse is “blessed” without him. With Mangala affliation to Ranil, MR must be lighting a lamp at his “shrine room” day and night thanking the Gods for dispelling that “disaster”.

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    Is this the best you can do as a leading figure in the “opposition”. How pathetic !

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    Our friend Douglas and I clearly have different perceptions here. He may well be a pro-Ranil man. Why not? I have said there are very few leaders in the House, barring men like Mr Sambanthan, Sarath Amunugama et al who can match him as a Parliamentarian or leader in experience and sheer ability. But he is a poor manager of people – an absolutely necessary requirement in any political leader – and thus he has driven the UNP virtually into extinction. On the contrary JRJ brought back the UNP from total collapse in 1956 – within 2-4 years.

    Politics produces strange bed-fellows. The classic UNPer against the UNP and to smashing victory. NM/Colvin with the SLFP cabal; CP de Silva in the UNP; Sarath F, who wanted to complete the destruction of the entire Tamil nation, worshipping at Nallur Kandasamy Kovil bare-bodied and in tears and then Tamils voting for him;
    Stalin’s daughter defecting to the hated USA; Khruschev’s son becoming a US citizen???

    And now the US Embassy seeking to intervene in the matter of the fuel price hike??? There may be some rationality here. The US fears if the people eventually revolt against this unbearable burden, they (USA) should not be blamed. The regime, driven to the wall, may place the entire burden on the USA for the sanctions against Iran.

    Senguttuvan

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    Correction – SWRDB, the classic UNPer against the UNP …

    Senguttuvan

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    Senguttuvan: I do not know how you rated me as a “pro Ranil man”. Please note I am not any “pro” or “anti” man. I call a spade a spade. That is my policy.

    If you really want to know my opinion of Ranil; here it is. Ranil is a very “valuable asset” in the pocket of Rajapakse maintained and very well looked after and used for his benefit. So long as Ranil is the Opposition Leader, MR has nothing to fear and I can bet on that assumption.

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    Douglas – Thanks for the clarification on Ranil. Remember, I was cautious in noting “he may well be” Clearly, Ranil has lost the confidence of the more initiated. Let me repeat what Maru Sira told
    about 15 years ago – something I have repeated before “Ranil will inflict a blow on the UNP – from which it will not recover” MS/SC was from the old school of UNPers and could sniff mediocrity in leadership quite a bit. He went temporarily underground after the chorus “Ko Sira, Sira” after CBKs triumph.

    Senguttuvan

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    Mangala Samaraweera

    When critical times face a nation, insistent demands are made on the political leadership for decisive action. Sri Lanka has reached that juncture. What can indecision do? An incongruous parallel may be drawn to the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815. More pertinent is its non-fall prior to it.

    The stability of the Kingdom rested among others, on two pivots. People’s support and the loyalty of the Chiefs. With tyranny, the King lost both. While misrule of the King alienated the subjects, the devotion of the Chiefs whittled away. Increasing tyranny sealed the King’s fate. There is a further lesson. The Chiefs failed to forge unity even in the hour of paramount need. Colvin R De Silva in his book says in inimitable style “Partners in conspiracy remained rivals in intrigue”. The British had an easy foray and “The Kandyans accomplished their own political doom”.

    As of now, with mis-governance on the rise, people’s support is on the wane for the incumbent in Colombo. The loss however is counter balanced by the disunity and lassitude of the ‘Chiefs’. Life support flows from this disarray. If the four Chiefs of Parties – UNP, DP, JVP, TNA – work out a coalition around the authentic SLFP, acknowledging Chandrika as primus inter pares, the Front will be formidable. It will be a credible alternative to exert mass appeal. History may not record then, that partners remained rivals and accomplished their doom.

    In exacting circumstances the best must come forth. Personal profit needs to be subserved to the nation’s future. A leaf from recent history displaying political pragmatism is instructive. In China war between nationalist forces led by Chiang Kai Shek and Mao’s communist forces started in 1927. In December 1936 Chiang Kai Shek was captured alive and the Communist leadership met in immediate conclave. Mao argued thus: Who are the deadly enemies of China now? US and Japan. To defeat them are the communists strong enough? No. Who then can rally the nationalist elements against them? Chiang Kai Shek. Release him was the decision.

    The deadliest annihilator of the communists was released in a masterly strategy leading to the ultimate victory of the communists. This was political sagacity at its optimal best. To forge opposition unity to defeat intolerable oppression, the immediate need is such dry as dust reasoning and detached decision

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    Please see the following video clip and see if you could grasp something.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGGjDfQroAc

    Rajapakses on a path of changing Sri Lankas diverse culture, diverse religions, diverse communities and diverse political parties under the majority Sinhala Buddhist race govern under them.

    Continous attacks on Uthayan newspaper, Sirasa TV and rest of the Independent media say it all.

    The only obstacle Rajapakses have is the International community who are watching as bystanders.

    While bashing USA for Gasolene price hike, when US diplomats want to discuss with electricity Board personnel, did not allow to do so.

    Read the following web
    http://onlineuthayan.com/english-news/uthayannews/x2843353h1h1r2p2

    By doing this MARA plans to isolate foreign governments to talk on behalf of suppresses both majority and minority masses in Sri Lanka.

    Therefore what Mangala Samaraweera and all other opposition members should do is to counter this plan. They should have close ties with International community.

    Mangala and others should build a close rapport with foreign governments to keep MARA under their radar and to get their help to relieve suffering people.

    According to following calculations
    http://in.answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AvrNK2Irg5HfH6S3SEhTNWHXHwx.;_ylv=3?qid=20080701050120AAnxeuT

    1000W for one hour is equivelant to 1 UNIT.

    Therefore if you have in your home FIVE 50W BULBS BURN FOR 4 HOURS PER DAY …..it will be …….1000 W = one unit

    TV 60 wats. Ceiling fans 60 wats…. burn for 4 hours per day = half unit.

    Refrigerator 300 W X 24 hours = 6,000 W (with cutoff) equals 6 units

    Therefore for eaach day your minimum units are = 7.5 units per day.

    Therefore 7.5 units x 30 days = 225 units usage per month.

    Therefore Govt. new Electricity revision has hit mostly to the MIDDLE CLASS and not the poor class.

    This is how CB Governor saying Sri Lanka is heading for Asia’s miracle……Fuc….g bas….d.

    I could give electricity for the same old rates (without a price revision) if appointed as a controller.

    These thieves are ever screwing our country.

    This is why Mangala and all opposition parties should keep a close rapport with international community and foreign missions in Sri Lanka to fight MARA’s dictatorial rule…..increasing prices whenever he wants while suppressing media.

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    Sri Lankan’s have been missing the target reason, for the chaos in this Country.
    Of course the contributory factor has been that the Politicians with their rhetoric have been able to convince the lethargic Sinhala Buddhist’s masses that they are the redeemers of the Sinhala Buddhist Nation, and the Sinhala Race.
    It is very clear that the Government we have was elected by these Sinhala Buddhist masses.

    Make no mistake the opposition whether it be the J V P, U N P or so many other parties will not be able to shift the present paradigm.
    Around 75% are Sinhala Buddhist voters, and it is only the Sinhala Buddhist voters who can decide the fate of this Country.

    No reasoning about Economics, Media freedom, Independence of the Judiciary, Enforcement of Law and Order will ever move the Sinhala Buddhist masses.
    He is only concerned about somebody stealing his coconut or paddy, robbing the Country wholesale does not affect him, he does not see it, He does not directly feel it, that is the reality.

    So all the views expressed in these columns does not reflect their thinking.
    They will throng all the exhibitions carnivals and religious places of worship, they will extend their holidays at the drop of a hat.
    They don’t care a damn about their workplaces.
    If you want these people to change for the betterment of this Nation, they have to be compelled or forced.
    First link their salaries to performance and merit.
    Pay them by the productive working hour, cut the so called religious holidays. Let every man practice his belief’s at his expense.
    This is the beginning there are numerous ways to force change the attitude of the people, then talk of having a truly elected Democratic Government.

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