24 February, 2020

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The Myth Of The Rajapaksa-Supermen

By Tisaranee Gunasekara –

“We were given a King; Come, Rally, All as One.”
(UPFA Propaganda Song)

Last week Sri Lanka won her first Paralympic Medal. Sooner, or later, the credit for that triumph would be laid at some Rajapaksa-door, though Lankan Paralympic-entrants were left to fend for themselves even more than Lankan Olympic-entrants. As the winner of that lonely Bronze told the BBC, “I have to buy all the equipment, shoes and clothes, everything from my own salary. I did not get sponsorship for my training…” (Colombo Telegraph – 4.9.2012).

That unpalatable truth would be lost in a country where official propaganda labours with Herculean effort to credit the Ruling Siblings with every triumph; and to advance the counterfactual claim that the Rajapaksas (and the Rajapaksas alone) hold the wellbeing of the land and the happiness of the people in their mightily competent grip. True, there are a few problems in this near paradisiacal land: inflation, a crumbling education system, child rape, disappearances… But we must not harp much on these issues, according to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, because “improper reporting of crime related reports would have a negative impact on tourism and investments to the country…” (Colombo Page – 23.8.2012). Our patriotic task is to believe that life is good and getting better, all thanks to the Rajapaksas.

Those who fail to embrace this ‘correct perspective’ are pawns of national and international conspirators who lurk under every stone and behind every bush, eternally plotting to destroy Lankan security and happiness. Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, only patriots can see this Perennial Threat; and only the Rajapaksas, as the Sole Patriotic Leaders, can deal with it, Adolf Hitler observed, “If popularity and force are combined, and if…they are able to survive for a certain time, an authority on an even firmer basis can arise, the authority of tradition. If finally, popularity, force and tradition combine, an authority may be regarded as unshakable” (Mein Kampf). A tradition of Rajapaksa Rule cannot be created without implanting the mythical image of the Ruling Siblings as a Trinity of Supermen capable of any feat and essential for our wellbeing.

It is a belief which is counter to provable facts. And it vitiates our sense of self as citizens and as human beings. A Übermensch cannot be, without countless Untermenschen; a Superman to be a superman needs his fellow men to be less than men. Super-leaders do not need intelligent and responsible citizens with critical faculties. Super-leaders need an infantile-populace which can be taught to embrace its inequality and love its subjugation. The Rajapaksas cannot become Supermen unless they can make us believe that we are a nation of political-minors in need of their wise counsel and vigilant protection. The Rajapaksas cannot dominate the SLFP without downgrading fellow SLFP leaders (their peers or superiors of not so long ago) into servile acolytes.
The Rajapaksas can ennoble themselves only by diminishing the rest of us.

The Labours of the Rajapaksas

When announcing Kim Jong Il’s death, the North Korean official news agency claimed that the ‘Dear Leader’ died of a heart attack caused by “physical and mental overwork”, while on an “onsite guidance tour” to provide “field guidance” to some farm or factory.‘The Labouring Leader’ is a perennial despotic-myth; the Leader as the Supreme Fixer of everything and the Sleepless Watcher of everyone is a key raison d’être of any tyranny.
According to the Daily News, a typical Rajapaksa Day in this election season is busy with Kim-like activities. The President, while engaging in his daily exercises, chatted to Grade 5 scholarship students; toured the Embilipitiya Sathi Pola and instructed the UDA (now under Brother Gotabaya) to remake it; went to the bus-stand and conversed with the commuters; visited the Uda Walawe National Park and charmed the elephants; checked out the Chandrika Tank and gave instructions for its renovation; inspected the Embilipitiya water supply plant currently under construction.

One can almost visualise the President telling Bronze Medallist Pradeep Sanjaya how to win a Gold at the next Paralympic Games; or visiting the Space Training Academy and advising scientists on how best to conquer space.

Winning the war gave the Rajapaksa Familial project enormous traction and credibility; but this claim is subject to diminishing marginal utility. The Siblings would know that the ‘gratitude’ argument has only a limited shelf-life. A replacement myth is thus needed, depicting Generals Mahinda, Basil and Gotabaya as the only leaders capable of winning the developmental war.

Except that development is not a war; it is not about charging ahead single-mindedly, ignoring all consequences but about balancing, reappraising and compromising. The Rajapaksas’ ‘Total War’ approach to development can create cement monstrosities of doubtful quality but cannot build a solid economic foundation nor cause a real improvement in the day to day lives of ordinary people. It can create delusions of grandeur but is abysmal at managing even the simplest of everyday ordinary tasks (such as buying uncontaminated fuel or conducting an error-free exam). It can create islands of prosperity but only amidst seas of want.
That is the reality the Rajapaksa Supermen myth aims at effacing and concealing.

The Siblings want a nation brainwashed into trusting Rajapaksa claims implicitly. They want a nation incapable of seeing any anomaly in a regime willing to spend billions on facilitating space-jaunts for a First Son while refusing to pay the lawyers fighting for the life of Rizana Nafeek, the Lankan housemaid sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. They want a nation which does not see a contradiction in the hype about moral regeneration and the statement by the Asgiriya Mahanayake Thero that his opposition to monks in politics is likely to “antagonise some people and they would send him abusive letters” (Daily Mirror – 13.6.2012).

Like Walter Mitty, the James Thurber character who leavened his banal existence by daydreaming of heroic adventures, the Siblings want us to cling to delusions of grandeur, even as we sink ever lower into depths of indignity.

The militarization of society is a vital component in this psycho-political project. In the military the Rajapaksas have an ideal weapon, an uncritical, unthinking mass whose only credo is obedience; and a militarised society is a society unaccustomed to thinking for itself, a society of ‘patriotic’ Chinese Monkeys. As Charles Simic, in reminiscing about his days as a conscript, stated, “being in a military is like being in a totalitarian state” because military ethos teaches that the “true sense of the self can only come from obedience, from submitting to an organisation like the army which works for greater good…” (The New York Review of Books – 3.7.2012). That is why in Rajapaksa eyes, ‘Leadership Training’ in military camps is more relevant for undergraduates than English or IT lessons. (Plus in Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, educational attainments are handicaps, unnecessary baggage in life’s journey towards the stars; the phenomenal success of the Family is living-proof of this).  The Rajapaksa goal is a nation manipulated into accepting the Myth of a Family of Supermen without whom it is lost economically and damned politically; a nation which can be choreographed into supporting any absurdity. Like those North Koreans who hailed the twenty-something son of their late president as the ‘Great Successor’.

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Latest comments

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    Railing against the brothers is not so helpful – much of this is known Thisaranee – but thanks anyway! The point is we need strategic analysis on what is to be DONE now that the results of the PC elections are known?
    1.PC election outcome shows that the UNP as a valid opposition is DEAD IN THE WATER under Ranil W and as long as he sits pretty not a lot will happen. There need to be new and young faces taking over the UNP leadership and getting the young generation of votes to support them and do a voter registration and education campaign for next time.
    2. With the pathetic performance of the UNP even with so much social discontent and economic hardship in the Sinhala areas, it is clear that only FUTA and a social movement for people’s power to unseat the regime is the way forward.. It is the political culture and lack of democracy ALL the political parties that needs to be addressed in your future writings..

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      Imbecilic Sajith happy Salome, we can smell from which mud hole you are from! Do you think Sajith can be the leader of UNP, the son of that fool who destroyed UNP? Your moronic analysis is rubbish. The reason why Sinhalese Buddhist donkeys do not vote for UNP is attributable to many reasons: The foremost of all is the inborn stupidity of Sinhalese Buddhists (SBs) which is very well demonstrated in their worshipping in vast numbers the swine bones from kapilawasthu-it only took rogue MARA less than the price of a kilo of pig meat to cheat these SB donkeys! The other reason is the destruction of education system by UPFA governments and hence these SBs are incapable of rational thinking. Another reason is the complete lack of media freedom and all the media are only propagating the utter lies of the regime thus preventing the UNP voice and truth reaching the public. There is an organized lie dissemination programme by the government against the UNP and these SB stupids do not understand it. The other reason is the destruction and negative impression caused to UNP and the public opinion by Sajith Pramadasa donkey and other donkeys supporting him all of whom are under the payroll of MARA. This whole project has been entrusted to the Sirasa media whore of Maharaja fucker. MARA’s plan is to promote NARA as the next president and if Ranil stays in UNP leadership NARA cannot possibly face Ranil, therefore MARA wants to bring in a donkey of the same caliber of donkeyness as that of his son as the UNP leader by which they hope to continue familial rule. There is something fundamentally wrong in this Sinhalese Buddhist nation. They have been rendered to this situation by the rogue Buddhist monks in their ugly pursuit of earning a livelihood without shedding a single drop of sweat by inundating the stupid gullible SBs with a plethora of lies about Buddha’s doctrine! The day the stupid Buddhism ceases to exist on this land shall they begin to think for themselves the reality they are facing! In the way these stupid SBs now exist, they have been doused, anaesthetized and brain shut down all thanks to monks and Buddhism-remember not true Buddhism which is an anathema to monks and politicians. So fools like salome may come and go, they will say this and that, but still Ranil is the only hope if any decent politics is to reign in again on this unfortunate land!

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        Silva, what you say is the absolute truth. Being myself born to a Conservetive Buddhist family, I realised the futility of the present practises under Buddhism being totally opposed to what Lord Buddha preached. Even the supposed Tooth Relic venerated by the Buddhists for certain cannot be a tooth of the Buddha, judging from it’s size. To have such a large canine tooth, the bone structure should at least be 12 to 15 feet tall. No wonder the Custodian Priests refused to do a carbon test to establish the veracity of the claim. Besides the practise of venerating parts of Buddha is not a Buddhist practise either. So, as long as we have such a foolish Moda Buddhist society, there will be Charlatans as MR who will thrive on the gullibility of the masses.

        Sometimes I tend to believe Ranil should step down and allow any other Charlatan to take over, that will spell doom faster to this Moda Sinhala Society, for us to sit back and enjoy the mayhem. Afterall we are not here, for ever and ever. It is no wonder it is said that a society gets a leader it deserves. Why should Ranil have to endure insults and abuse when he can easily lead a life, free of headaches and worry and enjoy the chaos as we do, having no progeny to fend for anyway. I believe the Sinhalese are paying for the curses of Kuweni, for what Vijaya did to her. The ungrateful Bastard.

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        Isnt’ there any editing of bad language on this site?? How can people who use abusive language even prtend to be champions of democracy and free speech whatever their politial standpoints??

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          Dhara Baby, make sure you do not listen to Gota when he opens his mouth, I mean. What is the bad word, Honey? Bastard? I am sory I meant Basket but this stupid computer has no spell check. Besides you innocent should not be browsing these sites, as these are meant for Adults.

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          Dhara Navaratne, alas! What an innocent unblemished package of decency! Have you ever wondered why on earth these filthy words have been coined and evolved? Are you more concerned about filthy language than filthy deeds committed by your idols MARA, GORA, NARA, BARA, CHARA and all their filth eaters? What do you have to say about MARA’s selling Kapilawasthu bones (pig bones really!) to moronic Sinhalese Buddhists and earning huge amounts of money and election victory? Your types of morons are the real whores of civilization! Get it from us: this filthy language is there to describe filthy characters like your MARA etc.

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    The feature of the Cult of the Personality as a means to remain in power has failed in all States it was tried out – with the exception of probably North Korea, where, sadly, the population are virtually robots. The vast majority of the Sinhala people are no fools. They are helplessly watching the growing and venal influence of the Single Family Rule. They will react the moment they are organised although, so far, the savvy Rajapakse has subverted all avenues of potential oppostion. Although the Dons and the University students are marginally potent the Rajapakse clique will handle them – legitimately or otherwise by sheer force. Criminals in the underworld – Duminda, Mervyn Silva, Julampitiya (?) Amare and similar degenerate avatars and their gangsters – will be sent as the first attack weapons. If things go out of control beyond that, the pliably subservient and politicised army will be sent in. This is not unusual in similar despotic regimes in the contemporary world. Black Magic and half-baked Kattadiyas and Anjanangeliya artistes will be of little use when things go wrong
    as a consequence of bad and chaotic governance.

    Senguttuvan

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    LOTS OF SENSE IN ALL THE COMMENTS. NOTHING TO ADD!!!!!

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    We know how to play the BLAME GAME masterfully. Blame Rajapaksa siblings (Mahinda, Basil, Gota), Sajith, Ranil, Mervyn, SB, FUTA,Thisaranee,…and whoever we see in the news… But ultimately, everything boils down to one question; “DO YOU HAVE FOOD ON YOUR TABLE?” We are still no worse than Greece, Spain, or Ireland, and that is why Rajapaksas still win elections.

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      Saraa Goyya no offence meant, the food must be coming easy to the tables of the affluent and the Party supporters including the working class. But for those who are the wage earners outside Party, the tables are empty. A square meal a day is a luxury. Rajapaksas win elections not because the masses vote him en masse, but the counting Officers are looked after well and for a host of other ruses.

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        Gamini,
        You are correct.Unless there are free and fair elections,people cannot elect whom they want.
        During the recent provincial election in the eastern province,the usual counting venue was changed to another near a paramilitary camp,and there was a “light failure” for half an hour during counting, and when lights came on,the number of seats for one party was less by one,than what was declared before the light failure – Tamilnet.

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    Tisaranee Gunasekara

    Thank you for this article and many other brilliant articles you wrote !!

    You can clearly see the Brutal Rajapaksa quagmire Sri Lanka is saddled with.

    UNTIL THE Rajapaksa’s Racist MENTALITY IS REHABILITATED THIS COUNTRY WILL NEVER COME OUT OF THIS MORASS.

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    “It is the political culture and lack of democracy ALL the political parties that needs to be addressed in your future writings.”

    What to do?!

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