18 September, 2018

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The Criminal Stupidity Continues In Sri Lanka

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

If justification be needed for this diatribe against the political establishment of Sri Lanka (read Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR1) AND Maithripala/Ranil (MR2) the utterances by a very senior member of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, the Chief of Defence Staff of that body of “war heroes,” provided it on the English language television news on March 7th.

What was horrendous about it was the fact that it was a clear indication that the Sri Lankan Establishment still operated within a paranoid mindset harking back to the darkest days of the 30 years of civil strife in this country.

What did this worthy have to say that raised the ire of someone who thought he was beyond provocation by bigots, racists and “Sinhala Buddhist” supremacists in this country?

In a priceless utterance this very senior armed forces officer, acting as a spokesperson for the army navy and air force, stated unequivocally that the Muslims should not be sentenced to a racist hell because they had been active allies of the (Sinhala) army in which he had served. He went on to say in what specific ways they had helped in the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Tamils with whom they shared a language (Tamil).

The implication was that the Tamils were the real enemy, if there was one in the current Sri Lankan context, and the Muslims, because they had supported the Sinhala army were allies.

Let’s be clear, at no point did this relatively lengthy (by TV standards) presentation by this individual so much as suggest that violence directed at a group by virtue of their “ethnicity” was totally unacceptable, totally abhorrent. It simply indicated that the Muslims were not “the other,” but, by obvious implication, the Tamil community was. One didn’t have to have a PhD in psychology to understand, very clearly, the message that was sent out to those parts of the “Sinhala Buddhist” majority community who subscribe to the concept of total “Sinhala Buddhist” superiority in this country.

Was this simply yet another act of stupidity on the part of an inept Yahapalanaya coalition or the arrogance of a government that took total Muslim support for granted ever since the previous MR1 government had overseen an anti-Muslim pogrom in southern Sri Lanka, during which mosques, homes and places of business, not to mention lives, were lost.

In either event, neither political stupidity nor cynicism is in any way acceptable at a time when this country is being torn asunder by the soldiers of hell.

A few days ago, a British friend of mine, recounted a couple of very interesting events in which he was an unwitting participant on his way to the local petrol station. He was obviously unaware of the declaration of the all-day curfew because he had to traverse a public highway for several kilometers to obtain fuel. On the way, he had a run-in with a van driver who, typically, had parked on the middle of the road to pick up passengers. Taking umbrage at my friend’s sounding his horn, he stormed up to the driver’s side window and berated my friend because, “You f…ing Britishers are the ones who created all these f….ing problems for us, etc. etc.” For starters, how this (Sinhala) man could ply his trade when there was a curfew in force, is a matter of some interest. However, what is most significant is that all the conspiracy theories that have been bandied about over the years to justify murder of and mayhem against “the other” appear to be very much alive and well among a population that is not exactly learned in the matter of history, colonial or otherwise.

My friend continued his journey to the local petrol station where he was greeted by the sight of the employees standing around outside it with an army guard in attendance. The latter used his assault weapon to make threatening gestures at my friend. My friend, to whom military activity was not alien by virtue of his service in the British armed forces over many years, was rather taken aback. I suggested that all of this might have stemmed from his contravention of the curfew of which he was unaware and which was, as a matter of fact, “round-the-clock” since March 6th.

I suppose I could try and sell the tale I’ve just related to the Keystone Cops producers with a view to earning some pocket money but all of this is not funny, it’s downright tragic.

Since there was no way of really knowing over what hours the curfew was operative, I phoned the local police station to be enlightened. The Officer-in-Charge confirmed what we’d heard on a TV news broadcast the night before: there had been a curfew in force from 6 a.m. on the 7th and it was still operative when I spoke to him mid-morning on the 8th. Since there appeared to be only a two-hour “window of opportunity” for people to get around at the time I spoke to him and since both my partner and I have had open–heart surgery and are under the care of cardiologists (and other consultants as well!) I inquired how we could seek assistance if a medical emergency arose. He said there would be no problem issuing us a pass if we came to the Police Station for one. Despite the fact that this would mean driving about five kilometers along a highway without authority to do so, it seemed like the only practical response to any emergency that might occur. A little glimmer of light at the end of a tunnel of ignorant and callous darkness!

Ultimately, without any prior warning, the daytime curfew was lifted at 10 a.m. on the 8th through an announcement on television.

Sri Lanka is not a country unused to major civil strife, communal riots, murder and mayhem. While I was in Sri Lanka for only a brief part of the “30 year war” and missed the horrendous violence of 1983 and the atrocities of the second insurrection in the late ‘eighties’, I do recall “Emergency 58,” the violence following the elections of 1970, the wholesale butchery of youth that was a feature of the first (1971) “Che Guevara Uprising,” and the “Pass-book” regime that the Tamils around my home endured before “Nanthikadal 2009” brought the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (“Tigers”/ LTTE) to a close, not to mention the deliberately-provoked hysteria and jingoism promoted in anticipation of that victory. Not during one of those events was stupidity practiced as it has been under the Yahapalanaya government during the recent anti-Muslim atrocities. The icing on the foetid cake in the Kandy area, the area worst affected and in which the Emergency Regulations still prevail as I write this, has been the pronouncement by the Leader of the Government party in Parliament and a very senior Cabinet member, Lakshman Kiriella, that “the law enforcement authorities had not done their job!” This is one of the most senior and powerful members of this government speaking of the incompetence/indifference of employees reporting directly to his government!

The final act of this government, as I conclude this piece, is the appointment of an insignificant Cabinet member belonging to the United National Party from the Uva Province as the Minister of Law and Order even after there have been widespread public demands for Marshall Sarath Fonseka, already in the Cabinet, to be appointed to the position. Minister Rajitha Senaratne, the official government spokesman, had already made official public statements, on more than one recent occasion, that such an appointment was to take place once the Prime Minister, the acting Minister of Law and Order, stepped down. One doesn’t have to join the dots from Fonseka’s threats of swift action against murderers, thieves and the monumentally corrupt, including very senior police officers, to the government reneging on its promise to appoint him as Minister of Law & Order.

Words cannot begin to describe what politicians on both sides of the (non-existent?) divide have visited upon the people of Sri Lanka.

Today the Muslims, tomorrow……………?

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Latest comments

  • 19
    0

    Emil:

    We must not forget Ranil’s action/inaction during the previous large pogrom of 83.

    Ranil was a minister but more importantly, the nephew of the President JRJ. Shall we take a moment to remember his action/inaction then?

    Once you do, his action/inaction as Kandy burned will not come as a surprise.

    • 5
      3

      Perriamama:
      Nothing surprises me about most of our current bunch of politicians! That said, either Ranil lacks the political savvy (NOT principles) that have been attributed to him or practices even more cynical politics than he is often accused of! Whichever’s our fate, it is a sad day for decent people in this country for whom the alternative appears to be the Rajapaksas!

      • 4
        1

        We will have to agree to disagree on Ranil’s principles. He lacks any principles in my opinion.

        We must not only remember his action/inaction during the pogroms of 83/2018 but also his action/inaction as opposition leader, particularly when the MR regime introduced the 18th amendment.

        For those with short memories, Ranil ran away and let the JVP and TNA fight (although they lost) the battle against the draconian 18th amendment!

        The MR regime got away with so much because we had an opposition leader who lacked the courage of his convictions to even attempt to stand up to the MR regime. We would still be under the MR yoke if not for CBK and Rev. Sobitha!

        We are certainly a cursed nation, forced to pick between Ranil and MR!

        • 3
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          Periamma:
          Sorry, I inadvertently suggested Ranil has principles! He has given no evidence of such and the acolytes around him are of the same stripe!

    • 5
      1

      Emil,
      You say :”Cabinet member, Lakshman Kiriella, that “the law enforcement authorities had not done their job!” This is one of the most senior and powerful members of this government speaking of the incompetence/indifference of employees reporting directly to his government!”
      It is nothing to do with inefficiency. It has a lot to do with brainwashing from birth, that the Sinhalese Buddhists are the primary owners of this country. The monoethnic security forces believe this to a man. Just watch them handling thugs in saffron robes!
      They may from time to time make conciliatory noises, like the senior officer you mention, but it is pretty obvious that their hearts are not in it, which leads to revealing slips of the tongue.
      The true history of this country needs to be driven into all children, without the pernicious racism of the Mahavamsa. But it will take a generation for the results.

      • 0
        1

        old codger

        “It has a lot to do with brainwashing from birth, that the Sinhalese Buddhists are the primary owners of this country. “

        They are the Buhmiputras (Sons of the soil) of this island? Aren’t they?

      • 0
        1

        OLD Codger: tamils lived in Sinhale North and sinhala people moved because of marraige to South India. That sinhale was different and the Tamils were eager to talk sinhala. It is the Colonials and their religious background that destroyed this country. Sri Lanka is a Sinhala country. You can not deny the democratic one vote – one country, that Sinhala People are the majority. Why do you blame buddhists It is Muslims who initiated the violence and it is you catholics/christiand who tries to use it to your advantage. None of you lived in Sinhale as long as the Sinhala people lived. Why Monks can not assert our Buddhist culture and our cultural rigths in Sinhale because you christians/cathlics/dalits want a different way. You all know how long you people existed in this country. forget your wives who are not part of this discussion.

        • 1
          0

          Jimbo,
          ” None of you lived in Sinhale as long as the Sinhala people lived. “
          I live in Sri Lanka. You have said you live in North America.
          People like you deserve only half a vote. Only people with a full brain desrerve one vote.

          • 0
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            Old codger:
            You are dead wrong in saying, “People like you deserve only half a vote. Only people with a full brain deserve one vote.”
            “People without a brain” should be prohibited from voting altogether!

  • 0
    0

    Is there a need to remind Van Der Poorten of the Historical crimes of his German/ Dutch/ Belgian ancestors ? Did not Van Der Poorten’s Aryan kinsmen proclaim superiority over the southern European : Italians, Greeks, Spanish and Portuguese. Sinhala have every right to protect their culture against the savages of India and the Middle- east.

    “Sri Lanka was never a part of India! Sri Lanka was a separate kingdom for more than thousands of years. There were times when outside powers like the Dravidian’s, Dutch, and Portuguese trying to take over the land, but all the attempts failed.”
    Abhishek Nisal (Feb 24, 2015)
    How did Sri Lanka (Ceylon) become a separate country but not a part of India?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    0

    From J.R. Jayawardene, the Rajapaksa’s, and now Sirisena, the minority have been let down time and time again, every time the ugly head of racism, and violence against the minority rises. JRJ reacted to the 1983 riots by saying “the Sinhala people have retaliated”, when he justified the horrible massacre of innocent Tamils around the island, and MR dismissed the “Thamby voters”, when the BBS was terrorizing Muslims. How can the minority feel safe, and secure, in their own country, when leaders do not, and cannot protect them, against the militant Buddhist thugs and thieves, who take every opportunity, to attack and steal, and which has ended up in murders of innocent Muslims too? What did MR, and his tough guy brother do about Aluthgama, and give the families of those killed, some justice? NOTHING.

    Muslims vote, pay their dues, contribute to the economy, and some have generously donated to hospitals, and contributed to the progression of this country, and it looks like
    the leaders of this country, cannot give them protection, security, and make sure that
    these organized jobless militants be squashed. It does not matter if they come from temples, wear saffron robes, or are instigating hate, every Buddhist thug who actively supports the violence, must be arrested, and give the harshest punishment.

    If nothing is done, they are only asking for more trouble, of the worst kind. Something those behind these ugly marauding mobs, are hoping for.

  • 4
    0

    This Yahapalana govt had lost the shine of its marbles and even a child will not trust what they tell or do.

    See what a mess M3 as the chief exec did few weeks ago., It went for 2 WEEKS ,,, in the morning he says will form a unity govt and in the night says its a SLFP + Pohottu show. !!!!

    This is evident in recent attacks as the hooligans do not care a shit about Law and Order agencies and take the law onto themselves.

    All of us know not a single arsonist was caught in Aluthgama incident and this is a failed state.

    Not sure if the Military decide to take the Govt as it happened in Thailand with 2 political factions make day to day life miserable and they took over and things are a bit calmer.

    Minorities in SL., need to think wisely and there is no tomorrow for them with impending Rajapaksas coming into power, they need to migrate to some other place sooner than later.

    Imagine Psychopath GO-RA take the helm again in security post 2020., God Bless Sri Lanka !

  • 2
    4

    Good Lord man Emil, you don’t even know the difference between the Pass-book and the Ration-book, you are just trying to make hay while the sun shines (or shops burn) for your own withering class.

    • 2
      0

      Wannihami:
      When people in Sri Lanka have to report to the police if they move from one home to another in the same community, even when both homes belong to members of the same family, it sounds suspiciously like the system that prevailed in Apartheid South Africa. Ignorance of facts is hardly an excuse for blathering b.s. But then how would someone with the cranial capacity of a gnat know that.
      P.S.
      It might be appropriate to change your pseudonym to “Wanni Baiyya” don’t you think?

  • 2
    0

    We have lived through a number of Emergency Rule but no one seems to know what that is.
    Ask the 225 MPs. There will be 225 interesting replies (not answers)! Why should they know? They are not affected at all.

  • 4
    9

    ‘You f…ing Britishers are the ones who created all these f….ing problems for us, etc. etc.’ may sound like a conspiracy theory to you because you are the descendant of those very colonialists (may be not British) but similar European Jews from Belgium who got on to Dutch East India pirate ships. So don’t teach us morals old man, you are sitting on our land robbed by your raping, pillaging Belgian predecessors. Be ashamed.

    • 1
      2

      Had Enough:
      What a delightful dissertation! Unfortunately, stupidity and abuse can’t pass for basic intelligence even when hidden under the abject coward’s garb of a pseudonym. Apropos of “Jews,” better watch it. Benyamin Netanyahu might getcher and turn you into one with the help of some rabbi. Then you’d be a little lighter but not likely smarter.

      • 0
        0

        That is what colonials thought when they came into Asia so e came in direct ways though.

  • 0
    0

    Idiot POOTEN: SInhala buddhists are 69% and the majority. In a Democratic country in which one voter – one vote, why Sinhala buddhist Supremacism is wrong ?

    • 0
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      Jim softy:
      Something vaguely comprehensible for a change! Keep up the good work, particularly since, sometimes, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings come forth words of wisdom!
      I’m sure the attitude you share with the murderous hordes of the Kandy District have nothing to do with the predicament that Sri Lanka is in today.

  • 2
    1

    Evil Van Der Poor ton….Its Nice Of You to Doing Up A Script Work For Channel 4…………Aliens Has Been Here For Their Greediness For Our Spices And After which They Did Not Leave Us …….Just Because Of The GUN Power Our Peasants Were Crushed Off With Our Golden Sinhalese Buddhist Cultural Heritage Which was un compareable to any nation…….NOW You PEOPLE TRY TO MAKE US A LAughing Stock……I think You Also Must Be A Follower Of Our Lord Jesus Christ…..Which The Colonials Also Was So Who Ruined Our Country And Its People And Made Us What We Suffer Now……….And Divided Our Country and People With The Divide And Rule Policy …….Which the comment you heard……….If Not For The Dirty Politicos Lot Our Country Would Have Been In The Foremost Developing Country list……May God Bless You

    • 0
      0

      Patriotic Citizen

      How did you become a Patriotic Citizen. Is it because you stole lot of money from the people or state? Are you part of the war criminal ring?

    • 2
      2

      Patriotic Citizen

      Singapore was colonized by the Japanese who were far ruthless than the British. But look where Singapore is today?

      British for whatever their faults left us with Tea, railways, roads with gutters, fire hydrants, sewage lines (Most of them have still not been replaced).

      We have been independent for 70 years.

      Blaming others is a trait of Sri Lankans. Sinhalese youth uprising, Tamil youth uprising, Assassination of SWRD, Corruption,Fraud,Nepotism, Non Statesmanship, Lack of Visionary leadership and the present situation of the country is not the fault of the British.

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