By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
Oh My God! What a collection of intellectuals we saw at the Viyath Maga 2nd Annual conference Conference, on March 4th in Boralesgamuwa. The slogan of this movement is “professionals for a better Sri Lanka. “ Or in Sinhala, it is “Piripun Lankawak sandaha” (Towards a fully developed Lanka).
The venue was Rose Garden Hotel Boralesgamuwa. Dayan Jayatilleka has claimed a 2000 crowd of ‘professionals, entrepreneurs and educated people.’ I have seen this hall and in my estimate it cannot accomodate more than a thousand. Of course, some may have seated on the laps of others.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa admits in his speech he formed the front of these awe-inspiring intellectuals. That, somewhat let the cat out of the bag but we will come to that later.
Scrutinising the pics, I and some friends in Sri Lanka didn’t spot any significant numbers of known ‘professionals, entrepreneurs and educated people,” that Dayan Jayatilleka speaks of. I cannot say what Dayan means by ‘educated.’ But there were no noteworthy ‘formally educated’ persons in the audience. Although Dayan doesn’t think that employing the criteria of ‘educated,’ to a specific person raises inherently difficult issues, many would agree with me it does, and that the identification of an educated human animal is wrought with controversy. On the other hand, his confidence in deciding who is educated and who isn’t certainly illustrates Dayan Jayatilleka’s naivety and unsophistication.
The ‘intellectuals’ who graced the front VIP seats included Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dallas Allahapperuma, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, GL Peiris, Udaya Gammanpilla, Nivard Cabraal, former CJ Sarath N Silva, Nalaka Godahewa, Dayan Jayatilleka, Basil Rajapaksa, Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero and Ele Gunawanse Thero.
Gotabaya, in his speech twice addressed a “Janadhipthi Thuma,” and so I looked all around the picture for President Sirisena. In these times-one can never say. Not at all! Gota has forgotten his former strong-man bro has been deposed!
This gives a clue to the psychological condition of the ‘intellectual front’ that is very revealing. These are people living a lie so much so that they have come to believe in the lie.
In a research study, Winnicott (1960) and Rogers (1959) state that we all wear two selves – a false one and a true one. Oftentimes, we put on a false self before others for our protection and to keep conversation free-flowing. For example, for social etiquette purposes, it is common for us to put on a face that, ‘everything is right,’ although actually things may have fallen apart. This kind of behaviour is socially functional as it enables the to and fro of conversation. Politicians and marketers engage in pretences and even then it is acceptable. But only to a point. If one keeps building on this false image too far, without one being aware one is carried away to a psychologically pathological level of make-belief. It continues to be is a self protecting armoury to ward off one’s wrongs; but at great cost to one’s self. The false-self destroys its wearer. Not so much others, unless the wearer is in power or in control over others.
In the context of the intellectual VIPs in the front rows-they aren’t, mercifully, in power. To external observers, however, their true nature is seen in the naked. The false phenomenon becomes a naked one to the many others. The audience and wider public cannot but avoid asking questions about the true self of these posers.
Yes, self-queries simply pop up among observers. Their self-unaware nakedness is so stark that the organisers didn’t bother to create the facade in the first place. Like the fabled emperor who ‘wore,’ clothes. Officially they announced that this is an organisation of intellectuals solely to help form alternative policies. Good. But, then, why these particular former VIPs who belonged to the deposed government? Right in the front? Why let Gota come out and admit that he is among the organisers? The official organisers let this go because they are dangerously afflicted by the pathology of living the lie to such a point of no-return that the lie has become ‘truth,’ to the latter. Why create a facade when the facade is the truth?
In case you have forgotten, take a look at these guys in the front: Almost the whole bunch mentioned above are facing serious charges and are playing for time before going to court again. Gota’s name is tagged to several murders and disappearances. Former Army Commander and now Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka says that Gota ran a special intelligence unit in Colombo for his activities. Many of these men in the special intelligence unit have been the common link in murders and disappearances of dissenting journalists and even the poor young ruggerite, Thajudeen. Gota is also accused of big corruption over the MiG purchase. So much for the organiser of the Viyath Maga. Nalaka Godahewa, a favourite of the Rajapaksas, has also been charged of fraud. Wasn’t he bailed out?
Next, take Gammanpila: He is accused of serious embezzlement of funds belonging to an Australian. The case is now on. Basil stands accused of embezzlement of Divineguma funds meant for distribution to the poor. Cabraal’s politics seriously jeopardised the professionalism a Central bank Governer should display. How he danced like a tail wagging behind Namal when they went to campaign for the Commonwealth Games!
Many other individuals in the front have had questionable reputations. Former Chief justice Sarath N Silva is known as ‘gedera yana gaman,” and he admitted he saved Mahinda Rajapaksa from charges over the misuse of Tsunami funds. He attacked Mahinda then but now has camped with the latter. Isn’t Premanath Dolawatte a lawyer in Namal/Yoshitha’s and their grandma (Menik Aachie’s) defence team?
About Elle Gunawansa, here’s a story published in Colombo Telegraph of 20/02/12: “Sinha Ratnatunga’s ( now the Editor in Chief – Sunday Times) book Politics of Terrorism: The Sri Lankan Experience released in 1988, ascribes to Gunawanse an important role in the events of July 1983. He first appears (p.12) trying to whip up the emotions of the crowd at Borella cemetery. Gunawansa, wanted to harness the anger of the crowd and turn it against the Tamils. Gunawanse played on the alleged mutilated condition of the bodies to incite the crowd, demanding that the bodies be shown – ‘even a little dismembered finger’. That was the beginning of the holocaust.
The monk, who was the leader of the Sinhala Mahajana Peramuna is presented on the evening of the 24th of July asking the Army funeral authorities to show the bodies of the dead soldiers before they are interred. There is an oblique reference to him (p.16) as the monk who had come uninvited to the cemetery, who, that same evening, led a mob down Cotta Road, Borella, with a list in hand. He was subsequently reported being seen at the Cinnamon Gardens Police station, having come in a jeep with a pistol tucked under his robes, demanding curfew passes. The longest reference to Gunawanse’s activities appears on page 32 regarding the events following the late night cabinet meeting on 27th July.”
And the former President, who is crying to get back, appointed Elle to the Police Commission! Do men who love their country do such things?
Some other ‘intellectual’ participants do not face court charges but they are reported to have made naive utterances not befitting anyone claiming intellectual achievements. Take the former SLFP Minister, Richard Pathirana’s doctor-son. His name is Ramesh Pathirana. Richard himself had a bad reputation of being nasty to public servants. He used to refer to the latter crudely, like “are geheni ta enna kiyanna…(ask that woman to come here). ” However, one cannot hold sons responsible for the sins of fathers. On Ramesh’s own part, he hasn’t a good record of contributing to intellectual discourse. Dr Chaminda Weerawardhana, writing to the Colombo Telegraph on 23 Feb 16 charges that Ramesh Pathirana,”demonstrates a high level of disrespect for women.” Dr Chaminda refers to a social media update by Ramesh. Ramesh’s ideas become more outlandish because of an image it carries of a young woman, presumably a prostitute, exposing her breasts. The image is utterly derogatory of womenkind. Romesh was referring to the issue of HIV/Aids. Are only women responsible for HIV? Has the germ come from air? What about men- on -men games? One would have expected from an intellectual discussion an analysis that is deep and goes into social roots. Apparently, our intellectual hadn’t the capacity for that. How ‘educated’ people like this can make for a better future for Lanka, only Viyath Maga people can explain.
What is worse, Ramesh uses such silly reasoning such as the following:
“In India people with HIV/Aids amount to 2,200,000
In Sri Lanka it is only 130,000
Therefore, the proposed ETCA with India would not be good for Sri Lanka as it would spread HIV”
Ask a secondary level student from any school and he will tell you this is weird logic.
Then, we have Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka who hasn’t been sure for the last four decades as to what political stand he should take. Dayan joined The Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) some decades ago and became a Minister in an EPRLF Northern government. He says he resigned shortly. But can that absolve him for his decision to join in the first place? Then, he flirted with Premadasa and he used to submit ‘political analyses’ to the latter. Premadasa, a practical man, couldn’t digest long-winding theoretical discussions and he gave Dayan’s analyses to his Private Secretary who was clueless. Dayan, next, tried out his presentation of analyses on Ranil Wickremesinghe. Ranil, who is particularly savvy about charlatans and jobseekers, scoffed at the analyses. That began Dayan’s unbending hatred of Ranil. Dayan, next joined Mahinda Rajapaksa. He got a billet as a Diplomat and couldn’t keep it. It is said Gotabaya was responsible for pulling him out. Dayan then wrote against Gotabaya, but now he sees Gota as the future saviour of Lanka.
The problem with Dayan Jayatilleka is his inflated ego. He thinks he is God’s gift to Sri Lanka and that the analyses that come out of his brain are so brilliant that anybody should agree. If he were to honestly take stock of himself he will have to reckon that most of his past analyses have been off the mark. For instance, his prediction of the last Presidential and General elections went haywire. He even forecasted that Anura Kumar Dissanayake will do better than Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Gotabaya himself said some stupid things at the meeting that raises questions about his own intellectual capacity. In the first place, he shouldn’t have stated he was one of the organizers of this Vityath Maga. That’s strategically unwise. He next, stated that his government gave total freedom to public servants to carry out their duties and bring creative ideas. A blatant lie! How was the poor Samurdhi Niladhari tied to a tree by a Minister of his government? How was former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake illegally removed from her post for defying his brother Basil’s Divineguma Bill? In a collective crude act the entire former government of Mahinda Rajapaksa removed the CJ in a bogus impeachment. Actually, Mahinda should lose his cvic rights for this, alone. Our complaint is that the Yahapalanaya government is too soft.
The whole ostensive concept of the Viyath Maga exercise is to ensure educated persons lead in the development of the country. One thing MR, Gota, Basil and the whole shoot didn’t do was to engage educated men and women and listen to them. Dissenting journalists were killed or sent missing in White Vans. That was an age of untruth like the one Trump has started in America. Trump must have learnt it from the Rajapksa Government. MR thought it fit to appoint a gold -necklace -snatcher as one of his Ministers. Gota thought it fit to co-opt Duminda de Silva, now in the place where he should have been long ago, as MP supervising Defence! There you are! That was Viyath Maga.
A particularly outrageous and nasty thing happened at the meeting that gave away the real self of these false people who met to claim that they must lead the nation.This was when two stand-in comedians were employed to hackle Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Two of our talents artistes-Rohana Beddage and Bandula Wijeweera gave a display of foul and low-bred taste. Being an artist myself, I am shocked and utterly disappointed with these two artistes for the things they said. They suggested that our Prime Minister was a homosexual and that the Honorary degree he recently got from an Australian University was an “anaachaarya upaadiya”( degree for adultery). Bad as that was, the worse was the scene where our VIP intellectuals- Gotabaya, Cabraal, Sarath N Silva, Vasu and others went into fits of laughter-enjoying the tripe that the artistes dished out. Basil showed all his 33 teeth-implanted at state expense- and smiled away.
One can write a whole chronicle about the misrule of the men and women of the last government. It is another chapter in our glorious Mahavamsa!
Viyathmaga should disband and join Gammanpila’s “Pivithuru Hetak.” A leadership vacancy might arise if Gammanpilla goes ‘inside” (athule).
Please do not howl in laughter at this piece pf mine. I haven’t brought in the laughter. The persons behind the Viyath Maga have done it. Their false face, like Basil’s teeth, stands exposed to the audience and this explains the awesome humour they generate. We laughed at “The Emperor Without Clothes.” In like manner, we laugh at Viyathmaga.
*The writer can be contacted at email@example.com