20 May, 2022


The Gota Project: A Modernizing National Revolution; A Strong, Stable, Sri Lanka 

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Hafeel Farisz has written a double-barreled critique of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and me, though as he says, I am the primary target because of the intellectual dimension or pretensions that I bring to bear. It is quite tempting for me to respond at the level of theory, but that would be a diversion. That is not what this entire matter is about. In the theoretical or intellectual realm I shall therefore limit myself to referring my critic and readers to my quite recent essay (March 2, 2017) in Vol. 10 Issue 14 of the e-publication of the Center for 21st Century Global Dynamics of the University of California, Santa Barbara, entitled “The Great Gramsci: Imagining an Alt-Left Project” (http://www.21global.ucsb.edu/global-e/march-2017/great-gramsci-imagining-alt-left-project). It is soon to be republished in an extended version in Paris, with accompanying critiques by Dominique Follet and Jean-Pierre Page, in La Pensee Libre.

My formula of Gota as President and Mahinda as PM was the development of an idea that came up in an extended interview that DBS Jeyaraj conducted with me on the occasion of my 60th birthday last December, in which I noted that Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa are the closest Sri Lanka come to a Fidel and Raul Castro combination. To make explicit what this implies, is that it is perfectly fine to think of a combination of the two brothers. I have recently framed it as “Gota as President, Mahinda as PM” for three reasons.

Firstly, Mahinda cannot run for President as per the 19th amendment.

Secondly, the Presidential election is due before the parliamentary election so there is no question of Mahinda being elected PM and then reversing the 19th amendment (even if that were desirable, which I am not sure it is).

Thirdly, the formula “Gota as President and Mahinda as PM” provide the same winning combination of change and continuity that Chandrika as Presidential candidate and Madam Bandaranaike as PM provided the SLFP-led UPFA in 1994.

Farisz’ critique takes place in a certain context. One aspect of that context is my formula that Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be the Presidential candidate and Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Opposition at the national elections scheduled for end-2019/2020. But there is a broader context, and that is the ideological, or more crudely, propaganda battle that has now commenced. That battle swirls around three interconnected projects, namely the new Constitution, the new Geneva resolution and the new economic policy direction.

My advocacy of a Gotabaya Presidential run and a “Gota plus Mahinda ticket” comes in the context of, and is proposed as an answer to, a serious and deepening crisis. That crisis is multifaceted. There is a push for a new Constitution which will remove the executive Presidency—a factor for stability and economic growth, introduced for that purpose by JR Jayewardene—further empower the Prime Minister whose role in the massive bond scam has yet to be clarified, and transfer more power to the provinces including the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The Northern Province has only recently passed a resolution calling for re-merger and “self-determination”. Its Chief Minister’s political behavior is borderline subversive of the constitution. A new Constitution which shifts power to these entities is an exercise in dangerous lunacy.

What is still more dangerous is that a Referendum would give the restive North and East the same opportunity that the British provided Jinnah, and Mustafa Barzani is just about to exercise in Iraqi Kurdistan—a Referendum in those particular areas, after which it can be proclaimed to the world that the Tamil people of the North and East have rejected the idea of living within a unitary state and constitution and therefore have a right to exercise self-determination!

In the meanwhile this government seeks to sell off national assets and the national space, also permitting the economic annexation of Sri Lanka by the Behemoth next door. Free trade agreements are its only doctrine and free trade is best described in Che Guevara’s words as “a free fox among free chickens!”

Thus we in Sri Lanka today face an existential crisis. Our country is being robbed from us. Our vote has been robbed from us and we have a 16 member pseudo-opposition while a 51 member Opposition formation is unrecognized as the parliamentary Opposition.

We, the vast majority of Sri Lanka’s citizens, need to take Sri Lanka back and put it back on track; on an upward trajectory to be the best place we can be. And we need the best possible team to do it. That’s where Gotabaya and Mahinda come in. I would have said Mahinda and Gotabaya except for the realities of the 19th amendment. This time round, Mahinda has to be the booster rocket.

What then of my earlier critique of Gotabaya? I was the only one to criticize Gotabaya publicly at the time, and certainly the only one to do so from within the Mahinda camp. That tells the story. My criticism of Gota was that he was taking an excessively hard, hyper-securitized line, as distinct from Mahinda’s instinctively pragmatic balancing. So it was a preference at the time, of Mahinda’s line over Gota’s. Today the choice is not one that takes place within a patriotic MR government, between MR’s and GR’s line.

Today when it is a choice of MR plus GR, vs. Ranil plus CBK, GR’s and indeed MR’s past errors pale into insignificance.

Today we are back to 2005, where MR, GR, BR, NR and the JO have to fight together to save the country from the Ranil-Chandrika partnership which seeks to dismantle the state and sell out the country, rolling back the gains of the war of liberation and reunification waged by our armed forces. The only difference between today and 2005 is that due to changed Constitutional and social realities, GR will have to be the vanguard element—rather like the role of the elite Special Forces–while MR is the leading force and the JO the main force.

Gota has demonstrated his developmental vision and capacities beyond any reasonable doubt. He is not only a decorated warrior who knows how to defend his country even at the risk of his life, but he is also a man with a constructive, modernizing vision and capacity. That is a combination of qualities—fighter and builder—that this country, and indeed any country, needs and should be proud to have.    

I brought in Kumara Gunaratnam for a simple, symbolic reason. I don’t believe a society can tackle all its major tasks at the same time, nor do I believe that any leader or political option can do so either. I am convinced that a Gotabaya Presidency based on a Mahinda Prime Ministership can take Sri Lanka to the same place that an earlier leader I worked closely with, President Premadasa, wanted to take it: Mahathir Mohamed’s Malaysia. I am convinced that no leader/President but Gotabaya can do so.

However, in my lifetime, I would like to see Sri Lanka eventually evolving beyond that, to an unlikely synthesis of Cuba and Singapore; a society with a Singaporean “brain” and a Cuban “spirit”, a Cuban “heart and soul”; a fair and just society in which ethnic and religious factors can be transcended in a new fusion, a new identity. Of those I see around me, a combination of Kumara Gunaratnam and his FSP comrades Pubudu Jagoda and Duminda Navagamuwa, and a JVP led by Sunil Handunetti and Bimal Ratnayake (minus its pro-Ranil rightwing) seem to have the necessary consciousness. That is the task for the next generation; not ours (those generations that fought and won the war in its several dimensions: politico-military-diplomatic).

However, for that to be possible, the country needs to reach a level of economic and educational advancement; of urbanization and scientific development—all of which will be within a globally competitive national capitalist framework, not a socialist-oriented one.

This historical task of building the modern material foundation of a future social democracy or democratic socialism under a ‘next generation’ democratic left government, can only be fulfilled today and tomorrow under the strong, patriotic, modernizing leadership of Gotabaya, backed by Mahinda. 

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Latest comments

  • 4

    TO All PandiKs Who replied against this

    Pl request your good governance to hold the elections and see the reality.

    • 4

      I wish TV senders could bring programmes by which they reawake the thoughts of thepeople of this country.

      We had been facing all the tyrant rule WE THE FOLKS EXPERIENCED prior to 8th Jan 2015.

      Not just to bring wonders, they the people s power chased away Rajapakshes. They the Rajaakshes had come to all appalling levels of their nature of administration by end of 2014. Almost 6.2 million of voter eligible knew clearly that Rajapakshes were taking us to a north korean style country.

      Today, the freedom being en joyed by people and every one is huge. That is not to overlooked, and underestimated too.
      Even the selfish creature of DJ sort, were not able to advise power intoxicated Rajaakshe even if DJ seems to have forgotten that by this day, just because DJ personally does not like RW or the like men who has been decent from the day one.
      RW s appointee to CB did a great mistake means not that that RW should take all the responsible for that. CB had been functioned witout a legal department to its own for a such along time, during the high days of Rajapakshes. Latter is a fact. Everyone could do what they thought was right pleasing Rajaakshes. I have no doubt, the bond scam and the related losses are much lesser than all the sums that should have gone missing in the high days of Maharaja s ill management. Mental harm done to the people are even more.

      Please get up from your ignorance… be a man at least too for the rest of your years. Else, DJ you are just a soc alled idiot who has always misled men in power in this country. That is agreater curse to thsi nation.

    • 1

      Gotabaya Rajapakshe is a Sinhala-Buddhist Ultra-Nationalist Racist and a Pseudo-Patriot, if he becomes the next president, the Minorities will be kaput, he will be the hero of the Majority Sinhala-Buddhists. Not only the minorities, anybody who talks against his government will get a free white van ride and will vanish from earth. It will be like a military rule and BBS will be his personal advisers. Another Pol Pot in the making.

      This is the right time for the present UNP government to get rid of the executive presidency which is s disaster for the country.

  • 2

    Dr Dayan, now that GOTA has accepted that he was instrumental for the abduction of Kumar Gunaratnam,why don’t you ask him to shed some light on the whereabouts of Lalith and Kugan too?. You both seem to be ANBAYAHALUWO these days.

  • 4

    It is a curse for the race, which has given opportunity to be born in that a man, who is comparing the world’s most thrilled society of Singapore to a society (Cuban), sucked and made to be lethargy by another man, who proudly claimed to have spoiled 35,000 women.
    This is not Cuban spirit type of work. This type of thing cannot be induced by even by the Galoya double distilled. This hallucination can be produced only by Kerala Ganja imported through Jaffna by the Northern army.

    This new suck is coming with claim to be a reply to an essay, which was deeply planned, meticulously organized the materials, lucidly worded and neatly presented one, of Hafeel Farisz . That writer had, whether the contents in it were right or not, paid attention to drag the reader reel behind him without attempting to slip. But Thero, from the start to end, distributed his label of “Cuban Spirit” to kick on the butt of the reader away. Calling this is a reply?
    How can one continue to read an essay when that author sheepishly thinks that he had dug lotus out of the mud to substantiate a criminal’s ruling in Cuba has produced a heaven there, by concocting words like “Cuban Spirit”? There is no country in the world has gone into 19th century like Lankawe did in the 20th and 21st centuries, because of its ruling Sinhala Intellectual leaders and guiding Sinhala Intellectual writers are showing the Singapore to Sinhala Modaya and following the Cuba to create authoritarianism to loot the country. But in reality they have created with nepotism, impunity, pogroms, rapes, looting, false propaganda, poverty, sales of birthplace to foreign government, sales of women folk for foreign exchange, priests abusing poor women and children…..Abyss(inia?) of Asia.

  • 4

    He has forgotten Mega Level Corruptions, nepotism and unleashing fear and terror in minds of people.

  • 4

    This chap DJ is down right racist a pseudo intellectual, failed politician and a bootlicker of late of Gota. Gota is the most dangerous racist after Hitler ( probably Hitler may be better because he was open about it)

    • 2

      Roger is Tamilnet editor.

    • 0

      Roger well said!!. The butcher is having high hopes and that would be frightening. The international community will isolate us and repercussions would be extreme including travel ban and sanctions.
      Maithri is unpredictable and has a deal with gota and seerasa media coolies.

  • 2

    Yes, Castro brothers led an armed revolution, led a socialist country for many decades, gave free education and healthcare to Cubans. But at what cost?

    Today, Cuba is one of the poorest countries, rampant poverty and prostitution for tourist money.

    Is this what Dayan aspires SL to become?

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