3 December, 2022

Blog

The Aragalaya & Morality

By Leonard Jayawardena –

Leonard Jayawardena

Dr Victory Till, otherwise known as Dayan Jaya-till-eke, has evidently been kept quite busy these days by the Aragalaya, the ongoing but now fizzling out anti-Government protest movement, with a steady stream of articles issuing forth from his metaphorical pen in support of it, and cheering and egging it on.His article titled “‘Ranil Resign!’: Awaken Aragalaya 3.0” (with Aragalaya 2.0 version having= had only a short life) in the Colombo Telegraph of 29 July represents his desperate attempt to revive the protest movement, which now appears to be in its last death throes. Hitherto I have read or at least glanced through his articles with bemusement, thinking that these are but the rantings of a man chronically and incurably afflicted with the “revolutionary itch.” His “credentials” as an adoring admirer and ardent fan of such revolutionary worthies like Che and Fidel Castro (all of whom violaters of human rights) are, of course, well known.

But in the above article he has taken matters to another level by accusing us opponents of the Aragalaya of being immoral and hypocritical, and this charge cannot be allowed to go unanswered.

He juxtaposes two facts, viz., the Presidency of Ranil Wicremesinghe (RW), who he says was “associated with the Central Bank bond scam (‘maha banku hora’!),” and the “arrest of the Aragalaya youngsters who discovered, counted, videoed and handed-over [sic] to the Police, Rs 17.5 million which they discovered at the President’s House and could have pocketed but chose not to,” and concludes, “[T]hose who denounce the Aragalaya and exalt President= Ranil Wickremesinghe or prefer the latter to the former, expose their ethics, morality and hypocrisy.”

I do not know the exact official reason for the arrest of these youngsters but presumably it was because they were tresspassers in and illegally occupying a state building. If so, the charge and arrest were technically correct—and even legally required on the part of the police—but made for poor optics, I concede. The discovery was, of course, purely accidental and the handing over of the money to the police was both necessary in view of the large number of witnesses that would have been present at the time of the discovery and beneficial to the Aragalaya’s cause as it seemed in their sight to substantiate the main (false) premise on which the protest movement is based, viz., that the present economic crisis in Sri Lanka is due to a corrupt President and Government. One wonders, however, what their course of action might have been if such a large sum of money had been discovered by them, esp. with a smaller number of them present, elsewhere with no connection to the Aragalaya.

“Maha banku hora” as an epithet for RW is pure hyperbole and exaggeration. To my knowledge, no reasonable-minded person with a decent acquaintance with the subject of the alleged bond scam has suggested that RW personally enriched himself from it. I am not sufficiently conversant with this subject to be able to reach firm, confident conclusions, but it appears that, at worst, RW had been guilty of a bad appointment and perhaps bad decisions relating to the bond deal, which falls short of moral torpitude.

DJ puts two choices before us: RW, who, in his eyes, is irredeemably tainted with the bond scam and therefore unsuitable to be President, or the Aragalaya, which, having ousted a democratically-elected President through coercion in violation of democratic principles, now wants RW, his successor, too, to go home, though he has now no literal home to go to courtesy of the Aragalaya protesters, who torched it on July 9—just because in his sight this one marvellous deed of integrity shows them worthy of more respect and honour than RW and eclipses all other considerations.

In a sense by presenting us with this choice DJ attempts to impale us on the horns of a false dilemma of sorts: Ranil or the Aragalaya. Actually, the one who prefers RW to the Aragalaya prefers not so much a particular person as law and order and democratic, constitutional governance to chaos and anarchy. It’s a choice between Chaoskampf (“struggle against chaos”) of ancient myths and a struggle generating chaos (the Aragalaya), and RW is an anti-hero striding forth to battle with the chaos monster.

I have never been an ardent fan of RW but I think in the present moment and circumstances he is the best person or, at least, the least unqualified person in Parliament to see the country out of the dire economic plight it is confronted with today, and I believe many reasonable-minded in this nation share this view.

This false dillemma DJ presents us with is silly, simplistic and betrays a lack of awareness of or deliberate disregard for the deeper reasons why one may oppose the Aragalaya while fully holding fast to one’s integrity. In my article titled “Why I Don’t Support the Aragalaya” I stated four important reasons why I opposed the Aragalaya, two of which are directly relevant to the title of the present article and discussed together with one other in what follows, at the end of which the reader will be in a position to judge on whose side morality is: the Aragalaya or those who oppose it.

The Aragalaya is based on lies

Arguably, the most immoral aspect of the Aragalaya is that it is built on a tissue of lies, the principal one which is that the present economic crisis in the country is mainly due to a corrupt President (Gotabaya Rajapaksa) and Government, which is not true. As I have personally observed, Sri Lankans from all walks of life and educational attainments have swallowed this lie hook, line and sinker. While many are aware of the charge of economic mismanagement against the Government, it is alleged corruption of the Government in general and the Rajapaksas in particular that has loomed large in the public psyche as the supposed principal causative factor for the economic crisis.

My plumber/electrician believed this lie and when I pointed out that economists did not analyse the current crisis in that manner, he thought they were being partisan to the Government! A handyman who has worked for me said, “Gotabaya Rajapaksa when he fled the country carried loads of dollars with him and before that paid the foreign debt out of the dollar reserves because he received a discount [I think he meant a commission!] for it.” He was serious! In case you think these are the views of uneducated folk, a member of my own family who has an MSc thought that the Rajapaksas had siphoned abroad dollars to the tune of USD 30 billion. Even the total external debt is only about USD 50b, out of which the Government debt is about USD 21b!

According to a Daily Mirror report dated 18 July 2022, “Some migrants said they were waiting for President Rajapaksa to step down to resume their remittances via formal channels as they were of the belief that the ruling family was siphoning off what they had been sending to Sri Lanka” [Note 1].

And Sri Lanka boasts of a high literacy level!

The Aragalaya site at Galle Face was emblazoned with banners decrying the alleged corruption of the Rajapaksas and displaying exhortions to take steps to recover the loot allegedly stolen by them from the nation. This message was reinforced by the slogans and statements blared day in and day out through the loadspeakers. Critics of the Government, including opposition politicians, echoed this falsehood. The leader of opposition in particular, I noted, repeatedly talked about the need to chase out “corrupt rulers” because it obviously furthered his own political interests. Certain sections of the conventional media, too, did their dirty part and, of course, the social media would have been the main culprit.

To be sure, the Rajapaksas would have committed their “fare share” of corruption—Basil Rajapaksa couldn’t have been called Mr. Ten Percent for nothing—but the point is that that was not the cause of the current economic crisis.

The readers are recommended to listen to Karan Thapar’s interview with Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, a former Governor of the Central Bank, on the YouTube channel “Wire.” [Note 2]. In this video, just under 40 minutes long, the Sri Lankan crisis is discussed in detail and not even once is the word “corruption” mentioned at any time.

I have outlined the causes of the present economic crisis in Sri Lanka in my earlier article “Why I Don’t Support the Aragalaya,” and I will briefly restate them here for the benefit of the reader.

The roots of the economic crisis lie in the twin-deficit the nation has been carrying since Independence in 1948: the budget deficit and the trade deficit. The former has resulted from the Government’s expenditure exceeding its revenue from taxes and the latter from the country’s imports exceeding exports.

This was accelerated and exacerbated by the reduction in taxes by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration and the Corona pandemic, the latter of which dealt a double whammy to the nation’s tourism sector, which was just raising its head above water after the Easter Sunday bombings of 2019. Foreign exchange remittances from expatriate workers, too, dropped as a result of loss of jobs due to Corona.

Against the above backdrop credit ratings agencies downgraded Sri Lanka, which effectively locked it out of international capital markets. In turn, Sri Lanka’s debt management programme, which depended on accessing those markets (to obtain more loans), derailed and foreign exchange reserves plummeted alarmingly in a short time because reserves were utilized to service debts. We are now officially a debt defaulter nation. The lack of dollars have resulted in shortages of fuel, gas, electricity cuts, etc.

The Government reduced interest rates in an attempt to boost business and at the same time pegged the value of the rupee to the U.S. dollar. The latter resulted in the formal financial sector losing out remittances to grey market channels such as Undiyal and Hawala, which paid a higher rate for a dollar. The migrants thought they were being robbed by the policy makers by not being paid the true value for their hard earned income.

A sudden shift to organic farming resulted in reduced harvests, food shortages and much pain to conventional farmers. A transition to 100% organic agriculture, too, was in GR’s manifesto and, though framed as the fulfillment of an election pledge, the move was almost certainly triggered by the scarcity of dollars.

The failure to seek the assistance of the International Monetory Fund in a timely manner brought matters to this pass. GR’s administration and the Central Bank resisted calls by experts and opposition leaders for months to seek help from the IMF despite rising risks. But after oil prices soared in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, the Government eventually drew up a plan to approach the IMF in April. On 7 June Gota reportedly admitted that it was a mistake not to have sought the help of the IMF six months or one year ago and, in a recent interview with the BBC, the new Governor of the Central Bank expressed the view that the present crisis could have been averted if the Government had gone to the IMF sooner.

It is doubtful whether the Aragalaya would have assumed the proportions it did or whether it would have arisen at all if the populace in general and the Aragalaya youth in particular had been properly educated on the actual causes of the economic crisis as outlined above. Clearly the youths who took part in the Aragalaya were long on idealism and zeal but woefully short on knowledge, understanding and wisdom. They say a hungry man is an angry man. A hungry man is also an irrational man. Pressed by economic hardships, the populace uncritically accepted this false narrative peddled by those with an agenda of their own, irrationally thought that by chasing out a democratically-elected President they would find relief for their economic distresses and united behind the misguided youths. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Those intellectuals who fed and nurtured this false narrative or, at least, were aware of it but disregarded it and supported the Aragalaya in spite of it for reasons of expediency have the blood of those killed in consequence of the Aragalaya on their hands.

To his credit, I have not seen DJ himself peddling this lie in his articles. His view is that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lost his legitimacy on the day he decided on an overnight ban on agrochemicals in spite of promising to make a gradual transition to organic agriculture over a period of ten years in his manifesto. But surely is this decision so egregious and of such earth-shattering importance as to warrant his forfeiting his continued right to be President, especially when it was triggered, as we now know, by the scarcity of dollars, the move was reversed within a year in the face of opposition to it and its worst critics commended the concept of fully organic agriculture?

Another Aragalaya lie concerns the name given to the protest site opposite the Temple Trees (now no more). Originally called “Mynahgogama,” it was later changed to “Nodealgama” following Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation on the assumption that the newly appointed PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, had a deal with the Rajapaksas to protect them.

Actually, before RW was appointed as PM, Sajith Premadasa (SP), the opposition leader, was offered that post and, according to a recent statement made by Sarath Fonseka (SF) in Parliament, he had been offered that post even before SP. Both declined (more details on this in my earlier article). If political survival was uppermost in the minds of the Rajapaksas and Ranil was just a compliant stooge who could be relied on to protect them, why wasn’t he approached first? In any case, RW’s public statements after appointment as PM have not given us that impression.

A third hoax perpetrated by the Aragalaya is that it is non-partisan. Some say that it started pure and non-partisan but was infiltrated later by those with different party affiliations. Whatever be the truth, what was clear is that from very early stages of the Aragalaya protests the protesters who formed its hard core and spearheaded it were anti-capitalist, anti-western, radical leftists (youths for the most part), who would vote for the JVP or the FSP at an election. They falsely professed to be non-partisan in order to rope in as many people from the population as they could to further their cause. These others who fell for their con had limited objectives, such as seeing the back of Gotabaya Rajapakse, but little did they realize that the hard core protesters had an extended agenda, that is, establishing a leftist regime. This would also explain why they showed no interest in forming a new political party: They already had a political party or parties they could vote for!

In the seething public anger against the Government due to the mounting economic crisis these leftists saw an opportune moment to grab power or, at least, to increase their parliamentary power, by forcing an early election, something they knew they could not achieve under normal conditions in normal times in normal circumstances. The opposition parties, chiefly the SJB, saw the public support for the Aragalaya and thought it politically injudicious to condemn it despite them being included in the all 225 MPs that the Aragalaya protesters professedly rejected and even supported it seeing the advantage of an early election for their own political interests. So we have the leader of the opposition pathetically being reduced to a grovelling puppy before the Aragalaya protesters in spite of being reportedly manhandled by them on May 9.

Judging from his public utterances, I am not whether President RW has still read this protest movement properly. For one thing, in a recent interview with a foreign media organisation, he said that the protest movement had arisen due to “economic mismanagement” by the Rajapaksa administration, which is only partly true. After his appointment as PM, RW tried to win over the Aragalaya protesters, who wanted him, too, to “go home,” by placating and even expressing support for them, little realizing that the hard core protesters were a brood of venomous snakes that could not be charmed and implacably opposed to him.

Two notable recent international parallels to the Aragalaya hoax can be found in

1. the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., which is based on the false premises that police brutality unequally targets African Americans (in particular that blacks are killed disproportionately in police confrontations), that the police present a danger to blacks and that there is systemic (or institutional) racism in the U.S. police in particular and more generally in all spheres of American society. (To be sure, there is racism in the U.S. at the individual level as there is in all societies around the world.) I have refuted these false premises in my CT article “Black Li(v)es Matter vs. Facts, Stats and Logic” [Note 3].

There were other eerie parallels too. Gotagogama was no doubt influenced by and a copy of “Chaz” (“Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone”), which was established on June 8, 2020 by George Floyd protesters in Seattle, Washington and whose name was later changed to “Chop” (acronym for “Capitol Hill Organized [or Occupied] Protest”). Like Gotagogama it, too, was without official leadership. The zone was cleared of occupants by the police on 1 July.

2. the storming of the Capitol Hill, the U.S. legislature, by Trump supporters on 6 January of this year on the mistaken belief that Trump had been robbed of a rightful win by election fraud whereas several U.S. courts ruled otherwise. Trump still believes that he won the last presidential election!

The Aragalaya has subverted the rule of law

The second immoral aspect of the Aragalaya lies in its subversion of the rule of law.

The incumbent President and the Government were duly elected in free and fair elections for specified periods of office. The election results were uncontroversial and there were no accusations of ballot rigging. Fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, are respected. The authorities have responded to the ongoing protests in Colombo and elsewhere in largely a tolerant manner, resorting to force only when compelled. The bogeyman of white vans raised during the run up to the election of the current president has not materialized. There are no threats to future elections to the Presidency and the Parliament of being postponed or not being held or free and fair.

If a crisis hits the nation due to mismanagement, then the rulers responsible may have a moral duty to resign, but if they do not, then the Constitution provides ways for their removal from office. The rule of law requires adherence to the laws of the nation, of which the Constitution is chief, not only by the Government but also by its citizens. To seek the ouster of a democratically elected President or other elected representatives outside of the Constitution by coercive means is a subversion of the rule of law.

But that is exactly what happened.

The catalyst for the resignation of the cabinet was the siege of the President’s private residence in Mirihana by protesters on 31 March and the tense situation that followed. Doubtless, they were intimidated into it. Nivard Cabraal, too, tendered his resignation on the basis that his post, Governor of the Central Bank, was on a par with a cabinet minister.

Trade unions launched a hartal on May 6 demanding that the entire Government, including the President and the Prime Minister, step down to pave the way for fresh elections. They threatened a hartal of indefinite duration in the event their demands were not met. It is against this backdrop of the country becoming virtually ungovernable that the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa came under pressure to resign. The alleged role of MR in the attacks against the Aragalaya protesters on May 9 by pro-Government thugs made his resignation inevitable.

There is no need to rehearse here in detail the lawlessness, violence, destruction and mayhem committed in the name of the Aragalaya from the time they began their “peaceful” protest at Galle Face by blocking the street in front of the Presidential Secretariat in disregard of the rights of other users of the road to their eviction from that building and the area in front on 22 July by the authorities—the street lynchings, assaults, the burning of houses (where they didn’t even the spare the school books of children), the storming and desecration of state buildings culminating in the torching of PM Ranil Wicremasinghe’s private residence on the night of July 9 (where even a valuable collections of books was not spared and RW’s dog was shown afterwards on TV dazed and traumatized, showing what barbarians these Aragalaya protesters are) and other acts not mentioned— for these are too vividly etched in our collective memories to require detailed rehearsal.

DJ presented us with his dilemma. Let me put forward for his consideration a better “dilemma”: Should we choose the Aragalaya protesters, who torched the former PM’s house and didn’t spare even his valuable and irreplaceable collection of books, thus showing themselves to be barbarians, or Ranil, who bore the loss stoically and said that his greatest loss was his valuable collection of books? In case any one wishes to differentiate the “good” Aragalaya protesters from the bad ones, let him consider that the “good” Aragalaya protesters to date have not uttered a word in condemnation of the burning of the PM’s house (or the other houses on May 9 and the street lynchings for that matter), thus justifying tarring them with the same brush.

A rebellion, even a violent one, is justifiable if that is the only way to get rid of an inept, corrupt, repressive and odious regime with no possibility of a democratic transfer of power. In the times of ancient kings, there were no popular elections to select a king and the only way to appoint a new king was to await the death of the old one or assassinate him. But in Sri Lanka, we have been blessed at least in recent history with the ability to have free and fair elections at the due time. The much reviled Rajapaksas posed no threats to future elections to the Presidency and the Parliament of being postponed or not being held or free and fair. The Judiciary is at least decently independent. The political opposition is not suppressed or stifled. Hence there is no place for the extra-constitutional ouster of a duly elected President or Government in a country like Sri Lanka.

A question I have not yet heard asked is, if the present “corrupt” set of rulers are forcibly replaced by a group of people approved by the Aragalaya protesters, can they guarantee economic recovery within a reasonable period? And if they fail to deliver, what compensation would they and their supporters be willing to give us opponents of the Aragalaya?

The Aragalaya is both destructive and obstructive

We have already noted the damage and destruction caused to state and private property caused by the Aragalaya protesters and this can be quantified for the most part, but what cannot be so easily measured is the damage caused to our democratic system and economy by the Aragalaya protests.

I have already pointed out above that the ouster of a democratically-elected president and government by extra-constitutional means amounts to a subversion of the rule of law, which is the foundation of constitutional democracy. Once we cut off the moorings of constitutional governance, then we are all left adrift in the sea of anarchy. Further, once a dangerous precedent is set of an extra-contitutional change of government, there is no guarantee against a recurrence of the same in the future. Such a course of action is justifiable only if the rulers do not adhere to the Constitution.

An extra-contitutional change of government cannot be justified by appealing to the fact that the majority of the population is in favour of it and that it is done in what is perceived to be the “national interest.” For the minority—in this case opponents of the Aragalaya such as yours truly—have their rights too. When we vote at an election we enter into a contract with the candidates and with other voters that the elected representatives will be in office for the agreed period and that they may be removed from office only at a future election or other by means provided by the Constitution. Forcing elected representatives out of office through violence and intimidation or by making the state ungovernable (through hartals, etc.) constitutes a breach of contract.

Every citizen has a right to belong to and work for a political party of one’s choice. The lynchings and the vandalism that took place on May 9 following the attacks against the protesters were an assault against that democratic right. In the run up to the election of President by Parliament on July 20 following Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, posters were displayed around the country warning the MPs not to return to their villages and towns if they voted for Ranil.

On July 13 Aragalaya protesters broke into Rupavahini, the nation’s main state TV station, briefly took over broadcasts and announced that henceforth only protest-related news should be broadcast.

That’s facism for you, plain and simple.

Our democracy has also received a blow in the form of such violence and vandalism deterring honourable, capable, patriotic men of good will from seeking public office out of fear of similar reprisal attacks against themselves, their families and their properties in the event the party they represent falls out of favour and they become the object of public wrath. In an interview with WION, Harin Fernando, Minister for Tourism, said, “I fear the next parliament is going to be the worst parliament in Sri Lankan history.” In other words, you may get a higher percentage of scummy politicians elected to the next parliament than usual, which we will have ultimately the Aragalaya to thank for.

As for economic damage, the Aragalaya has had the effect of retarding economic recovery. The social and policitical instability resulting from the protests led to advisories being issued to potential travellers to Sri Lanka in foreign countries and would also have deterred potential investors. Recently, RW said that an agreement with the International Monetary Fund had been pushed back to September due to the unrest over the previous weeks. Winter is approaching in the West and a higher than normal number of travellers from that region are expected to visit Sri Lanka because of the increase in the cost of fuel due to the Russia-Ukraine war, according to a representative of the business community in Sri Lanka. The Aragalaya could stand in the way of that happening.

A few words about the much touted “achievements” of the Aragalaya would be in order. Many seem to feel that, if nothing else, the Aragalaya has justified its existence by forcing the resignation of Gota, Mynah, Kaputa and others, including the former Governor of the Central Bank Cabraal (or gobbaya, as he was described on a banner at Galle Face). While the departure of at least some of these may be a positive thing in itself, what subtantive difference has it made to the nation’s ailing economy? The GR administration was on the verge of going to the IMF when calls were raised for his resignation. An IMF bailout would have entailed first debt restructuring and then macroeconomic and structural reforms, including increasing tax rates and privatising unprofitable state ventures. Ranil as PM and Finance Minister and now as President and Finance Minister is doing the same thing.

From leftists’ point of view, the replacement of Gotabaya Rajapaksa by Ranil must be even more odious because the latter is a staunch advocate of neo-liberal economics. For them it must seem like exchanging ginger for chilli (inguru deela miris gaththa wagei). In view of this, the little cockadoodle of victory (“we have won”) uttered by Aragalaya protesters prior to their departure from the protest site at Galle Face in compliance with a Government order to them to vacate by August 5 rings hollow. The IMF has reportedly listed about twenty loss-making SOEs for privatisation and indeed it would be poetic justice served to these leftists if that happened.

I am disappointed with those politicians who say that there are things that we can learn from the Aragalaya. Pray, what can we learn from a bunch of lawless hooligans who started their protest by blocking a major road, thus inconveniencing other users of the road, thought nothing of burning houses and even books, and lynched and assaulted those whom they regarded as their enemies, and those not direct partakers of these crimes among their number have failed to condemn them to date? What moral high ground do they have? Perhaps these politicians are merely trying to appear accommodative and are not serious.

So, in conclusion, I trust that by now the reader is in a position to judge on which side morality is: the Aragalaya or those who oppose it. I think that those who love truth cannot be a partaker or supporter of this immoral, destructive enterprise in any shape or form. And lest any should get the wrong end of the stick I want to add that this article is written in response to Dr. DJ’s unfounded charge against opponents of the Aragalaya and as an appeal to reason, common sense and sanity, and should by no means be construed as an apology for the Rajapaksa regime or Ranil. It’s just a matter of choosing the lesser of the two evils (the Aragalaya or law and order and constitutional governance).

Notes

  1. “CB asks what more could incentivise remittances than current Fx and interest rates,” DailyMirror ONLINE, 18 July, 2022.
  2. “If Ranil Doesn’t Take Tough Steps, Sri Lanka Economy Could Fall into Abyss: Former Central Bank Head,” The Wire, 23 July 2022.
  3. “Black Li(v)es Matter vs. Facts, Stats and Logic,” The Colombo Telegraph, 30 June 2020.
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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    So RW is a morally upright man , what about Batalanda. Corruption is not problem, this time the fuel has come from Namals Qutar company which war established from his grandfathers earnings. We are complacent and want to maintain status quo, thus postponing the system change.

    No revolution has been won within few days or months, there will interim set backs but it will continue in the minds of people. Wait for one or two months the most we will run into major crisis. Ranil has not even brought a single dollar so far . Even if IMF deal come through RW is likely to finish that money within few months. There are his backers like the advercata ect. But the bottom line is “aragalaya” is not a geographical space it is the state of mind if the people

    • 1
      0

      Dear LJ,

      ““Maha banku hora” as an epithet for RW is pure hyperbole and exaggeration. To my knowledge, no reasonable-minded person with a decent acquaintance with the subject of the alleged bond scam has suggested that RW personally enriched himself from it. I am not sufficiently conversant with this subject to be able to reach firm, confident conclusions, but it appears that, at worst, RW had been guilty of a bad appointment and perhaps bad decisions relating to the bond deal, which falls short of moral torpitude.”

      .
      Leonard, like you, I am still very skeptical of the so-called bond scam.

      GOing by JVPrs and their life long adversaries, who re the UNPrs, they might be exaggerating, however, no experts were able to categorically say, it was made by 2015-2019 good governance govt. ArjunaM was a graduate of Oxford and had a spotless CV long before he came back to his homeland to become the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the MS-RW government remember?And AM being a singaporian, would that ever be possible to scot free, if he committed the scam to the manner srilanken press repeated ? SINGAPORE to my knowledge is the number one LAWBOUND country to the eyes of all developed world.
      olvement of Rajapakse cronies and big criminals.

      tbc

      • 0
        0

        continuing.
        .
        For certain reasons, he had to make clear changes in the methods of buying bonds under his tenure. According to him and analysts at the time, it was absolutely true that SLCB failed its own “Legal Department” under the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime from 2005 to 2015. These are the facts and no one needs to argue about them any further. As far back as 2008, there is plenty of evidence to prove that bond scams were committed and created. Apart from that Rajapaksa-aspirant, Cabral had his own sister in a top position at the bank between 2008-2015. Overall, the manner in which MR and his then governor handled a series of controversial deals during that period was questionable.
        The newspapers of this nation do not speak a single word about Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rebellion on May 9. That is why I declare that the newspapers of this country are still highly biased towards Rajapaksa. No matter, a HONEY BADGER (Also known as a ratel, the honey badger belongs to the Mustelidae family of mammals) (stupid but fearless) of the nation aka Mahinda Rajapakse, despite destroying the property of countless people with a provocative speech, nothing seems to be standing against him yet today?

        WHY IS SRILANKEN PRESS THAT BIASED TO RAJAPKSHES ? authorities and sensitive readers over to you… you have to discuss this louder than you can… there you will FINALLY find the DESTRUCTION of this society….

        • 1
          0

          LM,
          You and the author are quite right about the “bondscam”. It is quite a simple calculation that any OL maths student could do, but we still have pundits on this forum going on about “incalculable losses”.
          Definitely there was corruption in that insider trading took place, but the basic question is how could the government lose money by borrowing it from Aloysius???
          Media hype at its worst.

          • 0
            0

            OC,
            .
            I have been to Singapore many times. I have also dealt with NUS and some other clinics there. There are also German professors I know who work at NUS. From what I hear, the law and order in that country is stricter than Germany. In this situation, if Arjuna Mahendran had committed such a bond scam that would tarnish the country’s image in the World Court, would he be able to get away with it even today?
            – It clearly answers everyone’s question.
            :
            Sri Lanka is a hell full of kind cow people. They will easily fall for any fake news.
            .
            As you and everyone know it, Sirasa TV fulfilled the contract given by Polonnaruwa Burua because SIRASA disrespected MS by buying illegally arranged frequencies.
            That brave Sirasa has no guts to display the rubble of The Rajapakse Monument and Charlton House demolition ???????Can you understand the NUDITY status of Sirasa#S? I am ok with that they just telecast some good news, but that is still a way lower than they should…
            .
            Singapore’s law abiding nature does not allow them to be easily corrupted. It is certain that there is some level of corruption in European countries too, what matters is the amount of corruption.

    • 1
      0

      Dear LJ,
      .
      “I think that those who love the truth cannot be a part of or a supporter of this immoral, destructive movement.”

      According to your understanding it is unethical, then we cannot help you. Even a man with the brain of a bird would not stand against the youth of struggle. That is the absolute truth. But it is a tragedy that its fate is ultimately caught by party politicians. But everything we wanted to achieve exceeded our goals.
      .
      It must have been a dream to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa, the mastermind of today’s political crisis, without stopping the “struggle youths”. He is so greedy for his power for his own reasons. People are kept in the dark about the reasoning behind it. I believe it must be a big money grab to get out of active politics. He has collected and stolen a large fortune for his son’s election campaign. These funds are kept in Duabi and other currencies hidden in heaven.
      Many people will object to the term “youth struggle” – it is wrong. Those not personally involved did not oppose it. If you did a poll, you would be more clear.

  • 8
    1

    “So, in conclusion, I trust that by now the reader is in a position to judge on which side morality is: the Aragalaya or those who oppose it.”
    There is no sufficient evidence to make a decision or judgement based on this article. When you talk about morality which is the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. If you say Aragalaya is wrong or bad, you have to prove other side which is Gota and Ranil must be good to the people and country. If Aragalaya is wrong, why should Gota has to run away from the country begging Asylum country by country?

    • 3
      0

      “If you say Aragalaya is wrong or bad, you have to prove other side which is Gota and Ranil must be good to the people and country.”
      If A and B fight and it is proven that A is bad, will it automatically mean B is good or vice versa.
      Consider for example, the GoSL and the LTTE.

  • 4
    1

    People from all districts, all age groups, all workers, peasants, and even students as well house- Wifes, you name it; everybody participated all over the country against Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapakshas mismanagement, which led to the bankruptcy and thereby shortages of everything the citizens require for their existence. They both had to resign and found a caretaker, Mr. Ranil, to manage the country and hold responsibility. Everybody is looking for Mr. Ranil and how he is going to handle this Himalayan task. Therefore, there is no point in blaming Aragalaya alone.

  • 5
    0

    Leonard, though hypothetical, please tell us what will be the current situation of Lanka, say , if there was no Aragalaya at all ??? Your response is required to further comment on your article. Keep in mind, non violent peaceful Aragalaya turned militant, only after Mahinda/govt organized violence against them.

    • 1
      2

      This point is covered in my article in the fourth para. from the bottom starting with “A few words about….”

      • 4
        0

        LJ, I was expecting you to tell us something you already haven’t. IMF was not going to sign any agreement with Gotha then nor right now unless and until some macroeconomic changes are seen. They also insist on political stability and taming corruption. You will not find one reliable person to support your made up speculation. First convince us readers that the situation would have not turned ugly from worse so that we can decide the impact of Aragalaya.

        • 1
          3

          chiv:
          I would advise you to take a look at the IMF website, according to which “The IMF assists countries hit by crises by providing them financial support to create breathing room as they implement adjustment policies to restore economic stability and growth… Typically, a country’s government and the IMF must agree on a program of economic policies before the IMF provides lending to the country.”

          IMF loans are granted in stages (called tranches) and the implementation of the economic reforms agreed is reviewed before a new tranche is approved.

          Restoring political stability is entirely within our power: People like you just have to stop “struggling.” As for “corruption,” you can only minimise it and cannot eliminate it 100%. And if you think that under a JVP government there would be no corruption– I am reading your mind–you are living in a fool’s paradise.

          Of course, IMF bailouts are only a temporary fix.

          • 2
            0

            Leonard,
            You seem to be under the impression that the the Gota regime would have survived with timely IMF help. But the fact is that most of the economic pain was self-inflicted. The idiotic decisions on organic agriculture, the myopic banning of palm oil plantations, the banning of weed-killers, the reduction of VAT all contributed. The current high price of poultry is a direct result of Gota’s stupid ban on fertilizer. Neither Gota or his purported “advisers” had any idea of the knock-on effe to of their idiosyncratic decisions. Ranil has reversed all these, and also rationalised fuel distribution and LPG. It was not a question of money, but of incompetent management.
            It is a travesty to compare the current situation with , say, May. We are indeed lucky that Dhammika Perera, a Rajapaksa crony, did not succeed in his attempted ouster of Ranil after Ranil’s proposed casino tax. I do hope that goes through too.

            • 2
              1

              Leonard,
              “On July 13 Aragalaya protesters broke into Rupavahini, the nation’s main state TV station, briefly took over broadcasts and announced that henceforth only protest-related news should be broadcast.
              That’s facism for you, plain and simple.”
              On that, I totally agree with you.

              • 0
                0

                OC:
                “On that, I totally agree with you.”

                Except probably “facism.” The correct spelling is “fascism.” 😊

              • 1
                0

                OC
                That is an aspect of anarchy not a feature of fascism.
                The latter is a well organized scheme of things.

            • 0
              0

              My original point in the article was that had Gota remained in power the effect on the economy would have been the same– at least substantially so–as what we have now. Remember that experts agree that the present crisis could have been averted if we had gone to the IMF sooner. Going to the IMF would have entailed, among other things, increasing tax rates, a reversal of a GR policy. While he was in office GR reversed the ban on the import of agrochemicals.

              IMF bailouts are only a temporary fix. Actually, the loans we would get from the IMF are quite small relative to our actual requirements. The real value of an agreement with the IMF is that it opens the door to obtaining assistance from other lending organisations because of the confidence it engenders. As you know, our credit ratings are at a very low level right now.

              • 3
                0

                Leonard,
                “had Gota remained in power the effect on the economy would have been the same”
                I beg to differ. Gota was an opinionated idiot who apparently got his agricultural ideas from YouTube and that charlatan Athureliya Ratana. He did nothing about the Health minister’s clowning with “hooniyang” and “ayurveda ” to cure Covid. He went along with W.D.Lakshman and later Cabral to totally screw the economy. He had the arrogance to lecture CB officials on economic management. There’s nothing you can do about a moron in Superman outfit who thinks he knows everything.
                I doubt he would have totally reversed his opinions.

            • 2
              0

              Dear OC and LJ,
              .
              Neither Ranil nor anyone else can be a miracle worker. Therefore, expecting him to perform miracles is like falling into superstitions, similar to the popular belief of many people in this country that a man can plant a coconut in his hand.
              .
              OC is right about the crisis caused by Rajapaksa, I see the same in today’s context. However, I agree with Dr. Harsha de Silva that if the government had turned to the IMF in 2020, the situation would not have reached an incurable level today.

              Ranil has already responded to some extent with his minister being able to provide some relief to his people in purchasing gas and petrol through the QR code system. I spoke to my students from Kandy today and they were really happy about some progress being made regarding fuel as of today.. They also agreed that the present government should make an effort to achieve some positive things. Some of them were diehard-aragalaya supporters and others were moderates.
              However, at this crucial moment when the country has fallen to a precipice, it should be done collectively for the public good.

      • 5
        0

        Chiv has made a point that you have ducked.
        Is your view that the GR presidency acting with impunity, if left unchallenged, would have been no different from the RW presidency?

        • 1
          2

          SJ:
          As I mentioned in my article, the GR administration was on the verge of going to the IMF, having resisted it for sometime, when calls were raised for his resignation. Had GR continued in power the IMF would have imposed the same conditions that he would have had to adhere to in order to survive politically. The problem, however, is that IMF medicine can be quite painful and, whether under GR or RW, getting people who are already suffering so much to take it would be quite a challenge. You may have already seen trade unions expressing opposition to the privatisation of loss-making SOEs, which would definitely be part of an IMF bailout package and in the national interest.

          • 4
            1

            Leonard,
            I understand your point that if and only Gota continued IMF would have talked to him. In reality, the improvement in the fuel supply is nothing to do with IMF funds. IMF have not yet completed its discussion or made an agreement whether to give loan to Sri Lanka or not. This is where you lacks common sense. I don’t know from where the dollar came to buy at least a restricted amount of fuel supply and regulate the system to reduce the que but that happened. Every one knows IMF loan or any other could be painful but Gota or Mahinda do not have the knowledge or skills to handle the situation and they must go.

          • 5
            0

            Do you think that GR admin going to the IMF was the crux of the problem?
            To me it is an invitation to more problems.
            Read the book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins to know what the IMF is about.
            *
            Even if he had gone to the IMF, the call for his resignation would have persisted, and GR’s credibility in any aspect of governance was far below par.
            Not just RW, anyone had to be better.

            • 0
              2

              SJ:
              Pl. see my reply to Old Codger above.

              • 2
                0

                LJ
                It does not address the issue raised by me.

                BTW, you said
                “However, at this crucial moment when the country has fallen to a precipice, it should be done collectively for the public good.”
                How does anything fall to a precipice?
                If you meant falling off a precipice, something should be done to resurrect it, but how?
                Giving a helping hand to the 225 who pushed it to the precipice from whereof it fell?

                • 0
                  0

                  SJ:

                  You write, “BTW, you said, ‘However, at this crucial moment when the country has fallen to a precipice, it should be done collectively for the public good.’”

                  I wrote no such thing anywhere. Where did you get it from?

      • 2
        2

        “Ranil as PM and Finance Minister and now as President and Finance Minister is doing the same thing.”
        Who appointed Mahinda as PM and them Acting PM and President?
        Why didn’t he appoint some one in SLPP or SLFP instead of Ranil?
        What made him to resign if Ranil is doing the same?
        What made him to ask Mahinda to resign instead of him resigning?
        Can we say that the “A Lion and its Family fall in the trap of the fox”?

  • 1
    0

    I write to make a correction.

    I have written, “the storming of the Capitol Hill, the U.S. legislature, by Trump supporters on 6 January of this year….” Actually, the storming took place last year (2021).

    • 1
      1

      Thanks for the fastidiousness; I should imagine that it was obvious to most people and they would have corrected it whilst reading.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      • 0
        3

        I can’t help it: I am a stickler for truth and accuracy.

      • 0
        0

        PE,
        .
        I think the essence of the message is important. If the content is not balanced, the readership will not be satisfied. And most people don’t buy it. Don’t you look like a prostitute wearing a branded dress? If one feels even today, if the Gota has persisted, the situation may improve, he or she would do well to consult a psychiatrist.
        People are hurting today more than ever, and I’m hurting a lot.
        After falling prey to the Rajapaksas and their brutal politics, the people are now becoming cautious. I hope people live with values. Thanks to the struggling youth, the people woke up from their long sleep.

  • 0
    0

    LJ, you have not provided an iota to support that without Aragalaya, somehow the situation would have been better today but not worse. You call Aragalaya immoral because of getting rid of Gotha in your view is unconstitutional. Any decent leader would have taken responsibility and resigned in the first place to make way for possible recovery. That is what we saw around the world except for banana republic. But not with Gotha who was adamant to stay at any cost and nominated Ranil as PM, who was never elected and got less than 20,000 votes. Our constitution is for the welfare of politicians and not citizens. You quoting our constipation amd czlling Aragalaya is a joke. There are many other facts you have distorted ( black lives ) to give a spin.Today three white men are sentenced to life in prison in New Mexico for hatred killing .because of BLM. Those officers in Minnesota are still in prison. Haven’t we heard and seen enough of your kind??

    • 0
      0

      Instead of quoting BLM you should read four part essay of Hoole to get a grip on your own system, ( govt , judiciary, system, bureaucrats …..) dealing upto now, with racial , hatred, and political terrorism. Except for your axe to grind with DJ ( which I don’t care) the rest is is a spin where like a typical Yes Man bureaucrat, you have mixed facts with speculation, distortion, your own bias and lies. LG , I say lies unless you’re so naive, or pretend to be naive or think we readers are naive. I have confronted your comments in CT in past. If I decide to do so now , I may have to write as lengthy as your spin. Instead let me wait for comments / judgment of .others here on CT

  • 0
    0

    LJ , bottom line, IMF was not going to lend a penny then nor now. I even doubt, getting this year. Your whole spin is based on some how Ģotha would have got it and rest would have been same as now and if at all Aragalaya delayed or spoiled it.You are quoting IMF website and I am confident hearing from those who are closely involved in the negotiations

  • 3
    0

    LJ you are judgmental, snobby and arrogant alleging Aragalaya not returning money if found in different settings. In news papers random it’s reported poor people, daily wagers and people in hospitality sector, retuning lost cash and other expensive materials to owners. .Have you ever heard a politician or bureaucrat doing so ???

  • 0
    0

    LJ, your “A question not heard” expecting guarantee if not compensation for fixing economy, from protesters is so so stupid and childish. Did 6.9 million retards vote for the protesters to do the job ?? If you had a proper constitution instead of constipation such corrupted politicians could have been effectively handled without Aragalaya. Every time you voted did you get compensated for politicians failure?? When you say whole Aragalaya is unconstitutional then how to you expect such compensation?? Eben when you spin try maintaining some consistency.

    • 3
      0

      LJ. According to reports over one million people visited Aragalaya sites throughout their 3 long months struggle. We saw professionals, retired, children, religious leaders people representing all walks of life lending support to the movement. You mean those one million or so are immoral just because you saw only few faces representing them on media. Aragalaya may have been organized by a few but were supported by all. Majority in your parliament are IMMORAL, have you ever told them so. I just wonder in which side you are ??

    • 0
      0

      chiv:

      “Every time you voted did you get compensated for politicians failure??”

      The difference between that and an Aragalaya-installed Government failing to deliver is that an election we all agree that if the Government the winning side voted in fails to deliver on its promises the losers will not require compensation from the former and vice versa. An Aragalaya-installed Government does not have the consent of opponents like me. If you can’t understand a simple thing like that, you shouldn’t be writing comments.

      • 0
        0

        For your information, Aragalaya did not install the government, all they did was to get rid of few immoral Rajapaksas who were elected by voters like you. It is Gotha , Mara and SLPP who installed government. If Ranil fails you can try getting the compensation from them. If you cant understand a simple thing like that, you shouldn’t be writing articles.

  • 3
    0

    LJ , you saying Aragalaya was all about corruption alone is a lie. Yes corruption was repetedly mentioned because, it’s one of biggest, long standing and obvious contributor for our bankruptcy. Though many countries are facing similar crisis like Covid , recession, Ukraine war are NOT bankrupt, failed and dysfunctional as us today .Are you blind and deaf not to know about all the food scams, and others scams took place amidst crisis / Covid. You must be not just naive but a retard to think it had no role to play. Your covid , Ukraine reasoning without mentioning corruption is as good as a person with years of uncontrolled Diabetes eventually dying of a complication ( sepsis ) and you thought uncontrolled blood sugar levels were not the teal cause of death.

    • 0
      0

      Not the real cause of death

  • 3
    0

    LJ , you claim to know about IMF stipulation, if corruption is mot a contributor for bankruptcy why do you think IMF, Credit rating agencies mention, in their reports?? You dropped few names of experts, why go that far did you bother reading Mr. Wijewardena’ s 600 articles what he calls as “warnings” published right here in CT since 2011, clearly warning of current outcome. That proves regardless of Covid , recession and Ukraine, Lanka was destined for failure and they along with Gotha’s stupid decisions hastened our free fall.

  • 3
    0

    I can go on line by line confronting your spin , denial , enabling, victimizing the victims, distorsion of facts … Readers can notice how in just oneline ( 10 %) you tried covering up decades of Rajapaksa corruption. You only mentioned Basil because you could not deny,/ hide , as though rest( Gotha, , Mahinda and Namal) are corruption free. Why do you think Mara lost election last time crisis or corruption???

  • 0
    0

    In short, I do not see much difference between DJ and you. Both are into SPIN doctoring, except that he may have more experience than you. His are usually flippers whereas your’s are just DEAD or No balls , calling for free hit.

    • 4
      0

      Chiv,
      .
      I mostly agree with you, but comparing LJ to DJ is unfair just because some of the thoughts don’t match yours.
      .
      DJ is always the English version of pathetic Wimal Buruwanse and LJ is a free thinker.
      You know WMAL Buruwasne’s work was essential to promote ” mahinda doggy doctrine ” and mislead the slave dominated nation (not only Sinhalese, but Muslims and Tamils ​​alike).
      Why don’t you let him guess what he thinks about the situation?
      I guess he’s just a rookie writer for CT.

      • 2
        0

        LM, as you say A.Hole Wimal Buruwanse told media ” Aragalaya will drag Stupid Lanka into chaos and anarchy”. (Forgot to mention “FASCISM”). Did LJ write the script for him, or is he just a paid propagandist???.

  • 0
    0

    LJ , today news S&P downgrades Lankan bonds further below JUNK levels because of defaults . What’s below junk ??? Point of no return. I guess Aragalaya is responsible for this??

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