20 September, 2020

Blog

The Charade Continues

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

We continue to be assailed with what can charitably called “bilge” from the so-called mainline media of this country. If one is to believe what our newspapers have to say, all’s well in the kingdom in which our own particular brand of Buddhism is ensconced.

A Dickensian, “Bah. Humbug!” is truly the most appropriate response to this given the fact that it’s so divorced from the reality that the average Sri Lankan experiences.

Among the issues that one cannot but view with cynicism, is the refusal to prosecute any of those from the last marauding horde against whom there is more than a prima facie case. Most see this issue as being at the top of that particular list.

In a previous column I made reference to one business magnate whose reach now covers even the manufacture of automobiles with the overt blessing of Ranil Wickremesinghe who laid the foundation stone for his new plant.  If this is, in fact, the biggest display of political naivety in recent Sri Lankan history, the man guilty of such an oversight has no business deciding the fate of every Sri Lankan man, woman or child, either alone or in tandem with Maithripala Sirisena.

I have had personal experience and observed the behaviour of at least one of these leading lights of the current regime which I described at the time as “genuflectory” insofar as the Rajapaksas and their acolytes were concerned. I have been given no reason to revise that opinion since.  Some things never change even if the locations and backdrops do.  Once a sycophant, always a sycophant, particularly when there is financial benefit to be reaped irrespective of who has their hands on the levers of power.

However, the great unwashed of this country have neither the capacity nor the desire to be subjected to financial chaos which we and our descendants will be paying for through the generations.

I remember asking an old friend with significant media connections how Ranil Wickremesinghe, then only the leader of the UNP and not co-leader of the government, could overlook the behaviour of some of those closest to him who were materially assisting the MR1 (Mahinda Rajapaksa) lot while still, supposedly and officially, opposing them and was told that Mr. Wickremesinghe “had no problem” with such behaviour.  I found that hard to swallow then and find it harder to digest today. How on earth can anyone identifying officially with a broad coalition of Sri Lankans trying to restore democratic practice in our country countenance the very opposite?  This is simply hunting with the hounds of that time and running with the hares of today.

I didn’t then appreciate what this kind of permissive philosophy ultimately meant but an increasing number of citizens of this land are being afforded the opportunity, “up close and personal,” if you will, of seeing that philosophy in action and what it means to everyone who calls this land home sans the benefit of the not-inconsiderable financial rewards for such unprincipled, unethical and undemocratic practices.

I will make no apology for the fact that I am back to my old message: “there can be no viable democratic governance without an adherence to a code of principles, ethics and morality that leaves no space for self-seeking equivocation.”

Let’s see this government prosecute even ONE of the last gang of bandits who robbed us in every known manner, and then some.  Even if our courts are full up to the gunwales with wrong-doers of various varieties, there is no excuse for not launching even a SINGLE prosecution against a SINGLE of the major miscreants.

However, perhaps the response of one of Ranil’s leading lights to the question of why no action whatsoever has been taken against, probably, the biggest thug to lend his muscle in support of the MR1 gang in the hill country provides appropriate illumination.  He told me, with a straight face no less, that this individual had “done no wrong!” 

Apart from anything else, one thing the emergence of the MR2 (Maithripala-Ranil) coalition had done was give some in their ranks the capacity to spout this kind of blatant nonsense with a straight face.

But then this is the same government that contains, in its topmost echelon a Minister with responsibility for Buddhism and Justice whose defence of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s marine enterprise spoke for itself and who did not express anything resembling condemnation while a mosque in probably the largest single Muslim community in Sri Lanka was desecrated and worshippers murdered there.  Given that track record, one might as well have been whistling “Dixie” as expecting some concrete action from him with regard to the very recent violence against mosques and those who worship in them in the North Western Province.

Perhaps, a step back in time would not be inappropriate at this point with regard to the conduct of this same Minister when he was head of the apex organization representing his profession.

The fact that the organization he headed at the time had displayed token opposition to the MR1 government resulted in a, almost literal, shot across his bow: the outside of his house being shot up by (as always at the time) “unknown gunmen.”

This much-publicized event which didn’t appear to have put this particular individual, his family or anyone else on the premises in any significant danger, was followed by a much-publicised visit from the President of the day. A suitable display of whatever MR displayed on such occasions, was followed by a quiet exit by this legal luminary from the leadership of the afore-mentioned professional organization, leaving that organization rudderless at a rather critical time, even if that rudder was simply nominal.

This kind of tail-between-the-legs exit and this man’s subsequent behaviour when the then-Chief Justice was dragged before a MR1 Kangaroo court seemed only to enhance his stature with our current Prime Minister who had no hesitation whatsoever in putting him in charge of a pivotal Ministry – Justice – when his buddies across the aisle in parliament were eminently qualified to be targets of that same ministry.

Just in case the man couldn’t damage the public interest adequately from that particular vantage point, he was also put in charge of the Ministry tasked with ensuring that Buddhism was practiced as it was supposed to in this land and that amity among the adherents of the four major religions prevailed in the country.  Instead, what resulted has been a resurgence of violent behaviour towards Muslims, their businesses and their places of worship. Not unexpectedly, this was followed by a protracted silence on the part of those elected to provide us with “Yahapalanaya.” Of course, our worthy, given his track record, acted true to type and maintained a deafening silence which ensured his ranking at the highest level in the “see no evil and hear no evil” stakes. You have to grant him one virtue, though: he will always perform in such a manner that he will, in no way, besmirch his record for passivity when quick action should have been the order of the day. We didn’t even see token leadership in the matter of mouthing platitudes about being opposed to racism and religious intolerance.  The totality of evidence would suggest that the Bodu Bala Sena could be a logical official appendage of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and/or the Ministry of Justice.  That would, at least, have been a recognition of reality in respect of those two areas of our governance!

One didn’t have to be a seer in the historical sense to see where this rejection of principle, ethics and any semblance of morality would take us.  That many of us were right in identifying this path that the MR2 government was treading, jeopardizing any semblance of true democratic governance, is cold comfort given the alternative: the MR1 lot.

It is time to gird our loins and prepare for another (long and painful) struggle to take this country back to decency and democratic conduct.  There is no other choice.  The only light at the end of that particular tunnel is the fact that the people of this country have already demonstrated a readiness and capacity to do exactly that in turfing the MR1 monarchy-in-the-making.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    Brilliant article.The only thing I challenge is your statement>>>>>” …..to take this country BACK to decency and democratic conduct.”>>>>when is the last time you remember of decent and deI agree that the country needs a new beginning. With every change of government and and good governance the people of the country thought they were getting a new beginning. But it is always BACK to the corrupt ways.

    • 6
      6

      Brilliant? Obviously you don’t have access to a dictionary.
      If such self-seeking pourings of a bitter ‘victim’ of land reform is classed as ‘brilliant’, Sri Lankan journalism is facing a worse calamity than the recent floods.

      Get a grip of yourself Pooton!

      • 5
        0

        Anaesthatist:

        “Victim of land reform?” Perhaps, but, more accurately, perhaps a victim of vicious political victimization of people of your persuasion. In any event what has “land reform” and being a “victim” thereof have to do with the content of my piece?
        I would suggest that you probably qualify as a “victim” of some kind of incurable mental malady that is compounded by being able to hide under a pseudonym.

      • 5
        0

        anaesthesia : wake up from your anaesthesia

  • 6
    0

    Absolutely, If you want real change, then change the team, not the same team with a different head in place!

    • 5
      0

      Murage & Rajash:
      Couldn’t agree with you more and thanks for the complimentary comments! When I think of it, even the “different head in place” seems doubtful. Perhaps, “same person different alias” might be more appropriate!

  • 4
    0

    Murage ,
    I fully agree with you. One condition that the new team must not include rathu sahotharoys like Prof Vitharane,
    Vasu Deva, Vimal W, and smart patriots like MaRa Bros, Sons & Co who are worshiped by DJ, Malinda and the likes.
    Professor Vitharane praising NM based on “Remeber Ninteeth March” slogan of 1960 and their priciples and achievements before 1965. What a shame.
    Prof Tissa has selective memory and forgotten people like Edmond Samarakody & his principled team members.
    I hope Prof David Kumar will do justice to Edmund & Co.

    • 3
      0

      Non Phd:
      I share your sentiments. It’s interesting that N. M. Perera’s nephew has selective memory in the matter of stalwarts of the old LSSP like Edmond S, Bala T, “Baggy” etc. Even if you didn’t agree with all of what they said there was no gainsaying their principled approach and readiness to “do without” in the interests of what they believed in.

      • 3
        0

        Right conduct guides great men but we never had because they were guided by laws that they set. Socialist were the worst because they never seen wealth and tried to compete the Jones.
        You might find this interesting.- The Impoverishment of the Middle Class- Already, “The number of people living with several generations under one roof in the United States is at its highest point in 50 years, as families cope with ruinous job losses and fore closures ”:“During the first year of the recession, the number of Americans living in such multi-generational families rose by 2.6 million, or more than 5 percent, from 2007 to 2008…………………………. Now 49 million Americans — 16.1 percent of the population — live in homes with multiple generations. Many include adult children in their 20s.”[81]We are entering into the era of the ‘Post-Industrial Revolution’, a ‘class cleansing’ of the western world. The entire socio-political economic landscape is being redrawn and reorganized. The effects will be felt from the wallet to the family unit, itself…………………The global financial crisis is a global class war. In 2006, Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest billionaires, said that what is going in is “class warfare,” and that, “it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”[82]- http://www.globalresearch.ca/western-civilization-and-the-economic-crisis-the-impoverishment-of-the-middle-class/18386

  • 5
    0

    Absolutely right, you are. There is still No light under the tunnel for us. Either Democracy is Not good for us or we are Not good for Democracy.

  • 5
    0

    The Island – June 3, 2017
    Sirisena-Rajapaksa talks mooted to end SLFP crisis
    June 2, 2017, 10:16 pm

    “Two rival factions of SLFP are attempting to organise powvow between President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to bring an end to the crisis brewing in the party…..”
    If this news is true, we have to take President Sirisena as a shameless coward. He was elected in order to chase out Rajapakses – not to become the President after criticizing Rajapakses and then embrace them later.

  • 3
    0

    Sri Lankan political class is one and they same,different colours.

    Don’t take another 70 years to understand this cardinal truth.

    Personality differences at times create false paradigms that hide this truth. But they evaporate in the light of the day when the survival of the elite class becomes priority over the discontent if masses

  • 2
    1

    A sharlatan bought for a family trip to disney land is our minister of justice protecting the uneducated uncultured filth.

  • 2
    0

    I always appreciate Mr Emil van der Poorten’s bold write ups in the media with his honest and sincere observations & criticisms. He’s a real patriot of the nation and not the so called fake ones in sheep’s clothing, be it saffron or the so called now famous white national dresses.
    This is what happens when white clad monkeys are elected to rule over. They have no idea about managing a nation but everything else. Lanka will not prosper with these hooligans & thugs raping the nation at their will.

    First of all, the law and order including good discipline must be given priority before anything else for a nation to succeed. That’s not going to happen overnight with these selfish, racially biased political actors.
    These rascals are dividing the country more and more instead of uniting the people by giving equal rights and due respects to everyone and declare the nation an a secular country. Only that will bring unity and prosperity to all.
    If not, the country will get destroyed and allow outsiders to interfere or take over our beloved beautiful nation. I wish we all can see any light at the end of the tunnel but it’s very sad that things don’t appear to be so.

  • 1
    0

    Much to the ire of those who supported the Yahapalanaya expecting the rule of Law to be upheld after the exit of MR regime, it is natural to blame it all on Ranil who acted as the sole executioner of discipline within the UNP prior to the change. So all expected Ranil to deliver what was denied to the masses, that was Justice and free this society from Corruption. It is easily said than done. I often wondered why Ranil has so far not taken a single step in cleansing this corrupt society but prefer to go with the tide, expecting to deliver at the same time. It is no secret that Ranil has to work with a govt made up of the UNP and the SLFP where the majority if not all have skeletons in their cupboards. Under such a scenario one needs tact to remain as leader, if not it is kaput. So Ranil like CBK did in ’94 is playing politics for his own survival. Remember in ’94 when CBK was elected promising to wipe out ‘Beeshanaya’ and ‘Dooshanaya’ of the UNP commenced reopening the Lalith Athulathmudali murder, which had all the hallmarks of the involvement of Sirisena Cooray and he was kept under house arrest. After a while Sirisena Cooray had taken up residence in Australia and his erstwhile Lieutenant Baddegana Sanjeeva was in the services of CBK back to his usual business of eliminating political rivals. If Chandrika had dealt with Corruption and Murder many of the UNP would have ended behind bars. This would have led to the cleansing of the UNP and the UNP as a Party would have benefited immensely to get reformed and be a formidable opposition to the UPFA govt of CBK. Therefore CBK quietly dropped the idea of wiping out Corruption and Murder and continued to enjoy the benefits instead, of the good living and ended up in the Political dustbin. Today I believe, Ranil is treading the same path that CBK embarked then, not allowing the rule of Law to take it’s course, thinking that if the Rajapaksas are dealt with, it will create a formidable SLFP which he will have to fight, with the UNP cronies that will take him nowhere. So Ranil is allowing the Rajapaksas to go Scot free, just to destabilize an Opposition that would oppose the UNP. Only time will tell whether the gamble will pay off or not.

    • 3
      0

      Gamini,

      All what it takes is just one single bold act of courage from Ranil to get the people/masses on his side. I am not kidding. ……….Leaders gotta be bold and lead, that’s why they are called leaders; just wishy-washy-ing wont do. But it seems the man is incapable of it! What is he waiting for? …………. Hasn’t he learnt anything from dabbling in politics all these years?

      • 1
        0

        “What is he waiting for? “—————————————————-
        wishy-washy, plucking del by the well 👁|👁linda watekara
        kabaragoya! horse eating crocs gives even Trump the goose pimples when he thinks of JFK. So he by his limpid calm Puts everything right under heaven.

    • 1
      0

      Gamini:
      That was a most interesting and logical contribution to this discussion and seems to have described the status quo most accurately.
      I keep harking back to the JVP’s “Unuth Ekai, Munuth Ekai” because that describes the current bunch of amoral, unethical and unprincipled unmentionable currently dictating our fate.
      A broad coalition of decent citizens of this country who are the “silent majority” need to remove ALL of these thieves and criminals from running our lives.

  • 2
    0

    Emil, thanks for the no-minced-worded article. Looks like we have entered a blackmail era. A structure has evolved in which prosecution of a certain group is almost impossible forcing the syndrome “If you cannot beat ’em, join ’em”. Through the well known breakaway sect of Buddhism, warnings are being issued. The challenges: Is GoSL serious about the dual citizenship MP issue? Allow Rohita go to Aus (success). Release Anura Senanayake on bail (success). Close Wasim case (almost there). Corruption, where what? And so on…….. The majority of Lankans are despondent but will voice their views soon.

  • 2
    1

    Much to the ire of those who supported the Yahapalanaya expecting the rule of Law to be upheld after the exit of MR regime, it is natural to blame it all on Ranil who acted as the sole executioner of discipline within the UNP prior to the change. So all expected Ranil to deliver what was denied to the masses, that was Justice and free this society from Corruption. It is easily said than done. I often wondered why Ranil has so far not taken a single step in cleansing this corrupt society but prefer to go with the tide, expecting to deliver at the same time. It is no secret that Ranil has to work with a govt made up of the UNP and the SLFP where the majority if not all have skeletons in their cupboards. Under such a scenario one needs tact to remain as leader, if not it is kaput. So Ranil like CBK did in ’94 is playing politics for his own survival. Remember in ’94 when CBK was elected promising to wipe out ‘Beeshanaya’ and ‘Dooshanaya’ of the UNP commenced reopening the Lalith Athulathmudali murder, which had all the hallmarks of the involvement of Sirisena Cooray and he was kept under house arrest. After a while Sirisena Cooray had taken up residence in Australia and his erstwhile Lieutenant Baddegana Sanjeeva was in the services of CBK back to his usual business of eliminating political rivals. If Chandrika had dealt with Corruption and Murder many of the UNP would have ended behind bars. This would have led to the cleansing of the UNP and the UNP as a Party would have benefited immensely to get reformed and be a formidable opposition to the UPFA govt of CBK. Therefore CBK quietly dropped the idea of wiping out Corruption and Murder and continued to enjoy the benefits instead, of the good living and ended up in the Political dustbin. Today I believe, Ranil is treading the same path that CBK embarked then, not allowing the rule of Law to take it’s course, thinking that if the Rajapaksas are dealt with, it will create a formidable SLFP which he will have to fight, with the UNP cronies that will take him nowhere. So Ranil is allowing the Rajapaksas to go Scot free, just to destabilize an Opposition that would oppose the UNP. Only time will tell whether the gamble will pay off or not. I strongly believe it will not pay off but for the masses to look for some other person to lead this country and certainly not to reinstall the corrupt, murderous Rajapaksas ever again.

    • 3
      0

      It will only get stagnant and putrid until another dictator fancied by both china and india leads the nation. Voters need to be disenfranchised because of what it has caused in 70 years. Already postal votes have been cast yet no one knows whom to vote for as all 3 are bad.- that is uk and most are now craving for her majesty but london bridge may collapse soon.- every system comes to an end!

    • 3
      0

      “”the Lalith Athulathmudali murder, which had all the hallmarks of the involvement of Sirisena Cooray “”
      carried out by LTTE under Sirisena Cooray contract in the sewer.

  • 2
    1

    Ranil presided of 1983 riots, this guy is a racist at hart. The whole bunch should be thrown out, we need new leadership. where justice should be key. if not another war in the making.

    • 2
      0

      you don’t know how to get there- justice is for dictators once they have told you what you like to hear.

    • 1
      1

      Your accusation that Ranil presided 1983 riots is not true. Ranil was part of the inner UNP cabinet which organized and executed 1983 riots, and though he is aware of all what happened, there is no allegation against him of instigating or carrying out any violence in 1983. His Tamil classmates tell me that he was never an open racist, but he could be an opportunist who thinks that if he does not toe Sinhala racist line, he will never get a chance to be the head of state.

      • 1
        0

        Dr.G.S.Lingam
        Jehan’s comment is correct about the 1983 pogrom because unlike you he would not believe stories of Ranil’s Tamil friends holding ministerial jobs who plan to give Laxmi Mital’s metal dwellings to house less Tamils may have told you.
        To give you an example do you remember how he remained nonchalant even when the Jaffna Public Library was burnt down?

        • 3
          0

          He is partly right about Ranil(then youth affairs) but the Tamils he talks about worked on hearsay as they were mere students of government servants not the elite. Ranil worked well with the Memons and Boras- salli kiyanne malli.

      • 0
        2

        In keeping with Ranils character i am reminded of the allegation investigated by a
        Canadian journalist into the murder of MRs first wife and the ensuing loss of the
        Police files, aided by Ranil as the PM then via an ASP? These connections still exist.

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