3 December, 2022

Blog

The Problem Of The People

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

Was there then no essential difference between the ruler and the ruled?” ~ Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence) 

Sri Lanka, unravelled and unravelling, is mesmerised by a new wonder: the Lotus Tower. When that monumental symbol of Rajapaksa folly was opened to the public last week, people thronged to pay the entrance fee, ride to the top, and gaze down. A monk enthused that he felt close to the highest of Buddhist heavens. Women thanked Mahinda Rajapaksa for enabling them to have this wondrous experience.

It was as if economic ruin and social collapse was happening in another country, to another people. 

According to a survey conducted by a group of doctors, 80% of children in Sooriyawewa, in the Rajapaksa home-district of Hambantota, are malnourished (unlike the international cricket stadium the Rajapaksas built in that water-starved locality which gets the water the people are denied). That distressing statistic alone suffices to bare the vacuity of the Rajapaksa brand of infrastructure-led development. In a 2007 cable, American ambassador, Robert Blake, wrote, “An empty port, an empty airport, and an empty vast convention centre would not generate the benefits that Hambantota needs…” One percent of the money spent on these vanity projects could have provided the people of Hambantota with every possible creature comfort for generations to come. Hambantota was poor when Mahinda Rajapaksa first became president in 2005 and is still poor seventeen years later. 

Untouched by Rajapaksa development, yet solidly pro-Rajapaksa at every election.  

Infrastructure-led development was a key pillar of Rajapaksa economics. Build airports, ports, stadia, expressways, and prosperity will follow. The strategy enabled corruption on unprecedented scale, satisfied Mahinda Rajapaksa’s colossal vanity, and, against all reason, increased the family’s popularity. The projects, productive or not, often not, were tabula rasa on which dreams of national glory and illusions of popular prosperity could be inscribed. 

An actor playing the role of historian once created for the Rajapaksas a lineage going back to the Buddha, via King Dutugemunu. The massive physical infrastructure projects were depicted as modern variants of the infrastructure projects of ancient kings, a historical continuum, Sandahiru Seya the descendent of Runwanweli Seya, Hambantota Port the descendent of Parakrama Samudraya. People were invited to come and admire a breakwater, a runway, a walking path masquerading as a marina. In that way, an illusion of ownership was created. People came, they admired, and they voted. 

The habit is so ingrained that, even without the full effect of the Rajapaksa propaganda machine, the Lotus Tower looks like a shortcut to heaven to some Lankans. Not in the same overwhelming numbers as in the past. Not enough for the SLPP to win the next election, but enough for every single contesting Rajapaksa father, son, uncle, nephew and cousin to be re-elected. Perhaps even enough for the SLPP, with its consignment of deplorables, to hold the balance of power in the next parliament. 

Basil Rajapaksa can see this future and he is readying the SLPP for it. The party’s new political academy will hone the next generation of Rajapaksa devotee-activists. Sinhala-Buddhist supremacism will be re-burnished with the usual talk of motherland being in danger. Lotus Tower, undead Tiger, and encroaching Muslim in combination can dazzle enough eyes and twist enough minds. And the Rajapaksas will have their path back to national relevance, kingmakers if not kings.

Absurd Faith 

In an interview with a private TV channel during the run up to the 2019 presidential poll, Udaya Gammanpila called Gotabaya Rajapaksa a composite of “the managerial skills of Mahathir Mohammad, farsightedness of Lee Kuan Yew, bravery of Vladimir Putin, spiritual approach of Jawaharlal Nehru, and patriotism of Fidel Castro.” The words seem grotesque now and should have seemed embarrassingly funny even then. Yet the interviewer didn’t laugh or even roll his eyes. The audience would have lapped it up. 

An electorate that is predisposed to believe any absurdity, sans proof, sans fact, that was what the Rajapaksas needed and that was what they created with their propaganda. Illusions and delusions were their stock of trade. In August 2005, an outburst of mass hysteria about Buddha statues emanating luminous rays coincided with the Mavilaru operation, and shored up support in the Sinhala South for the fourth Eelam war. An elephant calf was said to have been born on the very day High King Mahinda won the war, a lie that was believed until it was inadvertently exposed in 2013. Credulity was nursed and fostered, turned into a political weapon and election winning strategy. To quote the late, great Hilary Mantel, “Did the Enlightenment really occur, or was it just someone by the Styx lighting a cigarette?” (Is it still yesterday – Children of the Revolution – London Review of Books).

In a recent You Tube interview, journalist Tharindu Jayawardana chronicled the anti-Dr. Shafi conspiracy which helped set the stage for Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s 2019 victory. A gynaecologist singlehandedly sterilising 4000 Sinhala-Buddhist mothers by squeezing their fallopian tubes during Caesarean operations; a claim that seems too preposterous to rate even a denial. Yet it was believed by millions of people as nothing but the truth. The ‘story’ of a terrorist Muslim doctor working to annihilate the Sinhala nation was published just a month after the Easter Sunday massacre. Channa Jayasumana blessed the tale with his seal of approval. Wimal Weerawansa called it the War of the Wombs. Respected gynaecologists stated that women couldn’t be sterilised by squeezing their fallopian tubes, but most of the public and a large section of media preferred to believe a dentist who insisted it could be done. The CID investigated the issue and dismissed it as a non-issue. The police arrested Dr. Shafi on no evidence, recorded statements afterwards and backdated them. The confluence of the absurd and the illegal advanced Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Saviour pretension. 

In Holy Bones, Holy Dust,  Charles Freeman argues that most medieval Europeans lived in a ‘community of the supernatural,’ and points out that “…to shift one’s consciousness to the supernatural, the space between ‘heaven and earth’, is to lessen one’s attention to the immediacy of the natural world…” Rajapaksa politics too operate in a similar politico-psychological space which ignores/denies reality. Delusions of divine signs, illusions of grandeur, and phobia of enemies are used to make voters forget their ordinary, day-to-day earthly problems. The Kelani cobra story was not a singularity, but the final landmark in this road of lies. Not even national bankruptcy has been able to end that mindset, as the adoration of the Lotus Tower demonstrates.  Facts have no role in this spectacle, it never did.

In a functioning democracy, people too bear a share of responsibility for outcomes, be they positive or negative. The culpability of 6.9 million of our fellow citizens in our national plight should not be denied. The people are not innocent or blameless. This is not a fairytale in which the monster holds a land in thrall forcibly. In this story, most people invited the monster to takeover their land and their lives. 

Even where leaders are forward looking, progressive projects can suffer defeat if a majority of people are not in tandem. The outcome of Chile’s referendum is an excellent case in point. Such dangers are particularly acute in times of economic and social anxiety. When ‘everything solid melts into air,’ past, or an imaginary version of it, could seem the only mooring left. In Italy, an extreme rightwing party which traces its lineage back to Mussolini’s Fascist party, is expected to gain power this Sunday. The new March on Rome is electoral. A democracy is shaped not just by its leaders but also by its people. A system change is impossible if enough people remain unchanged. 

The absurdity is obvious, or should be. A people cannot vote in the corrupt and expect an honest government, vote in the inept and expect an efficient government, vote in the stupid and expect an intelligent government. Holding leaders to account is not enough. Those who vote for them too should be held accountable. The people are suffering, but many of them brought this disaster on themselves. They were deceived but they allowed themselves to be deceived. That is why an election, however necessary, can easily become a part of the problem rather than its solution, let alone the panacea that some claim it will be. 

Haunted by old mistakes

Yatharoopa was a highly popular late night magazine programme aired on Rupavahini from August 2016 to March 2018. The programme aimed at debunking myths and superstitions and promoting reason and rational thinking. 

In its second season, it was suddenly taken off the air. Media reports claimed that President Sirisena banned the programme at the request of a group of astrologers. Astrophysicist Kavan Ratnatunga made the same claim subsequently. President Sirisena reportedly said that as a state institution, the remit of the Rupavahini was to promote and not debunk astrology. Little wonder he made Mahinda Rajapaksa the PM seven months later.

In 2018, the 19th Amendment was in force. President Sirisena did not have the constitutional right to make unilateral decisions regarding a ministry that was not under him. Yet neither PM Wickremesinghe nor media minister Mangala Samaraweera objected publicly. The reason for their public silence is not hard to fathom. President Sirisena was going off the rails already. The UNP tried to avert disaster by alternately ignoring and humouring his antics. It didn’t save the government. The anti-constitutional coup was defeated not via accommodation but through resistance. 

Winning elections is another matter, the pragmatic would argue. One must confirm, be what people want their leaders to be. So Sajith Premadasa distanced himself from the government he had been a part of for almost five years and adopted a Rajapaksa-lite approach characterised by temple hopping and a refusal to do or say anything remotely controversial (the only exception was his courageous stance on menstrual products) – in vain. Mangala Samaraweera felt that he had to leave electoral politics in order to be able to speak his mind. Truth has become a costly mistake in Sri Lanka by then. Telling truth to power could be dangerous. Telling truth to people could be disastrous.

The electorate’s unparalleled credulity in 2019 was the result of a presence and an absence. The Rajapaksas occupied the propaganda arena, promoting irrationality and absurdity. Anti-Rajapaksa forces avoided such propaganda battles or fled them when the cost was deemed too high, as demonstrated by the banning of Yatharoopa. Their evasion and disengagement backfired. How could voters be weaned away from Rajapaksa politics if they were subjected to only one kind of propaganda-diet? A no-holds barred resistance might have worked better. 

The present is becoming overshadowed by the shades of those past errors. The appointment of 38 state ministers the same month indirect taxes were hiked is reminiscent of the UNP’s failed attempt to contain Maithripala Sirisena through appeasement. The ongoing repression smacks of Rajapaksa flavour, from the use of PTA to the prosecution of lawyer Dushmantha Weeraratne on September 9th for tooting his car-horn to the tune of kaputu kak near Galle Face. The Rajapaksas too arrested a young motorist for tooting his horn against a road-closure. The difference lies in the judicial response. In 2021, the young motorist was lambasted for exercising his constitutional right to peaceful protest. In 2022, the magistrate threw out the case against the lawyer and warned the police to study the law bef ore taking legal action against a person.

In Geneva, the government opted to reject the resolution on Sri Lanka in toto. This is not the Wickremesinghe-Samaraweera foreign policy of 2015-19 when Sri Lanka was open to the world and willing to take on legitimate concerns of the international community. This is a reversion to the Medamulana foreign policy of the Rajapaksas. The Rajapaksa habit of dealing with challenges by denying their existence or their severity is also making a comeback. Health Ministry rejected the UNICEF report on child malnutrition. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s truth telling days seem distant.

While Ranil Wickremesinghe blunders and the opposition exists in a parallel universe where their electoral victory is written in the stars, the Rajapaksas are back to weaving their web of lies and deception. Those who believe that Aragalaya has rid the popular mind of the Cobraesque myth should watch again the rapturous reception to the Lotus Tower. Lost in that marvel, the contribution that monstrosity and other like it made to our economic bankruptcy is forgotten. More than forgotten; that column of folly is being hailed as the economic way to go, a boon capable of attracting tourists and solving our foreign exchange crisis in one go. If the Rajapaksas resurface their old idea of building airports on various mountaintops and constructing an expressway right round the country, they may even end up being hailed as the only solution to the economic crisis the UNP, the SJB, and the JVP created, with help from Tamil and Muslim parties, traitors all. 

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Latest comments

  • 25
    0

    A terrible but truthful denunciation of the average voter. I have no doubt at all that one of the Rajapaksas will return, perhaps Namal. The country is doomed. ‘Anyone who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities’ – Voltaire

    • 5
      13

      Thisaranee: Sri Lanka is played by CIA and NED actors… don’t you get it that ALL sides are gamed and bought!
      What the people care about is ECONOMIC RIGHTS and DEBT JUSTICE Human Rights are Indivisible and Sri Lankans are tired of being Divided and Ruled by Ethno-religious, gender, LGBTQ..XYZ identity politics that the foreign funded NGO Aragalaya actors and puppet show was all about!
      Let us put aside the Aragalaya hagiography and take a hard look at its achievements. The Aragalaya enabled Bondscam Ranil to become President with Basil a US citizen staging the Default for IMF to enter Lanka while the Aragalaya circus was unfolding as a Distraction… Now it is clear that the Ranil Rajapkse regime was put in place with the pro-IMF CIA directed Aragalaya with NED and USAID funded civil society. Funded civil society NGOs and corporate media scribes have forgotten that Economic Rights and Debt Justice is what average Lankans, who are tired of being Divided and Ruled by Ethno-religious, gender, LRBGQZYZ identity politics funded by NED, care about!
      Except for Anthare or the IUSF the Aragalaya was a CIA operation as was the case with the Arab Spring fake revolutions and Imran Khan’s ousting in Pakistan.

      • 8
        11

        Thisaranee use your brain please. – the malnutrition narratives is part of a Number Game like Debt and the Covid-19 infection rates to spread fear and promote mRNA injections and Disaster Capitalism
        Sri Lanka is per capita the richest country in South Asia, after Maldives. The WHO and UNICEF are what Naomi Klein termed Disaser Capitalists! They show pictures of starving children and stage Covid-19 lockdowns to inject folks and get huge funds from Big Pharama and other corporates
        Oh and by the way the malnutrition Data is also a Numbers game – like the Covid-19 Case Fatality Rate numbers game to Lockdown the country destroy the economy and cause a corruption pandemic to benefit external actors and advance teh Debt Trap and Default Washington Consensus project.

        • 2
          0

          Wow Dinuk.

          As conspiracy theories go, your CIA/US/IMF/Western conspiracy takes the biscuit. Of course, I am not highly into world affairs & do not have the mental capacity to analyse, nor, the time, to understand how the world goes round. I am only aware of the news from what I read or see in the electronic media (but not always on social media) & I find conspiracy theories interesting, from humorous to the utterly bizarre but from what you say about the US/CIA, I am wondering now if the moon landing was faked or if Diana was bumped off by the MI5, maybe even supported by the CIA.

      • 2
        0

        “the malnutrition narratives is part of a Number Game like Debt and the Covid-19 infection rates to spread fear and promote mRNA injections and Disaster Capitalism”

        Dinuk,
        The number game not only played by external factors from super powers USA, China, Russia, India etc and internal Capitalists like SEnanayakas, Bandaranaiyakas, Jeyawardenas, Rajapaksas ,Ranils and Fundamentalists. China is the originator of Corona. Do you have any number of people realy suffering under the internal capitalists and Fundamentalists in this country.

      • 3
        1

        Dinuk,
        “Ruled by Ethno-religious, gender, LRBGQZYZ identity politics funded by NED, care about!”
        Maybe, but Cuba has legalised same-sex marriages. You’ll have to change your rigmarole, won’t you? Or claim that Cuba is funded by NED.

        • 2
          2

          OC
          Cuba was, officially, homophobic until about three decades ago, although some key figures of the revolution were homosexuals.
          Religious norms run deep and it takes time to wean of them.
          I think that marriage everywhere is becoming more of an arrangement than even a contract, and losing meaning in Europe, although slower than expected. Americas will be slower to catch up.
          Interestingly, the Communist rebels of the Philippine not only legalised same-sex marriage at the turn of the century, but I saw a video clip where they celebrated the wedding of two party cadres.
          Homophobia is not something that Asians approve of, but not something punished harshly as in the West, at least until mid 20th Century.
          I think that the Buddha placed it in the “not good, not bad” category. A Buddhist may clarify.
          Hindu mythology had room for homosexuals, eunuchs, trans-sexuals and others. Tamils have absorbed Christian norms in this business under colonial rule.

          • 1
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            SJ,
            “Hindu mythology had room for homosexuals, eunuchs, trans-sexuals and others.”
            Yes, there are lots of Q’s and T’s in Hindutva land.

            • 2
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              OC
              The treatment of transgender people has not been always good. Once they were an important part of ceremonies, and were very influential in imperial China and Moghul India. Colonial rule changed things for worse.
              But they have fought back to win respect.
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnb57yxMess
              A highly regarded Carnatic Singer TN Krishna (considered a rebel and musical genius) has conducted concerts with them.
              *
              Look at the sore thumbs.
              Why cannot we treat them as nature’s variants, even extraordinary minds ans hands at times.

    • 35
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      Tisaranee Gunasekara
      1) This is an excellent analysis of the mindset of the large majority of voters in this country who by and large vote ‘mindlessly’. The damage to the country and the suffering inflicted on the people by the Rajapaksa clan is for the most part unmatched by any other administration since independence. However, this does not exculpate successive administrations on whose mismanagement and follies the Rajapaksas have built on. Clearly the Rajapaksas did not invent corruption and violence in this country. The proverbial fly in the ointment in your piece include:
      2) You have side-stepped the feeling among many people that they now find it difficult to SEPARATE Ranil Wickremesinghe from the ‘Rajapaksas’! They also probably had this feeling when as PM in the Yahapalana government he was pussyfooting in holding the Rajapaksas accountable for alleged egregious wrongdoing.
      3) Hardly any reference to the INFLUENTIAL voters and their fellow travelers who after rightly protesting in the aftermath of the 2018 ‘constitutional’ crisis now maintain ‘radio silence’ in the wake of Wickremesinghe now inflicting body blows to our democratic values which in some instances may even exceed those of the Rajapaksas!

      • 32
        28

        Tisaranee Gunasekara (continued)

        4) Going ‘soft’ on Wickremesinghe’s highly flawed democratic credentials, management skills, tolerance of corruption and viciousness now on full display. Examples of his flawed management skills include (i) As PM in the Yahapalana government he removed the CBSL from the Finance Ministry and brought it under his own Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs. The CBSL is also the issuing agency for Treasury Bonds. Was this not the precursor to the terrible ‘conflict of interest’ ridden bond scam? (ii) Bringing the National Lotteries Board under the purview of the Foreign Ministry!

        Amrit Muttukumaru

        • 8
          5

          Right on Amrit, the Ranil Rajapkse Government/s was always backed and brokered by US and the West. Now RW is in Japan and flying high with the West whose Sovereign Bond (ISB), traders got Sri Lanka into the Debt trap and defaulted into the arms of the Washington Consensus to enable US and West to RECOLONIZE strategic Lanka at this time of Cold War and Colonialism 2.0…
          Ranil and Basil are American puppets.
          The other point is the the West is sabotaging all Chinese and Iranian infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka and around the world because terrified of the Economic rise and might of Asia. Easter Sunday ISIS CIA staged 2019 attacks on tourist economy, followed by Covid-19 global Lockdown and corruption pandemic to hack supply chains was part of the attack on the BRI – Cold war is back big time in the Indian Ocean with SL at the center

          • 1
            2

            And this time it’s a hybrid, cyber Cold War that includes Sabotage and Data, Manipulation and Data wipes of the Government Data Cloud like when the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) which was buying Pfizer injections and bankrupting the health sector.
            So too Debt data is a numbers game, as data is insecure and gamed, and the numbers are used to spread fear and stop people thinking straight – a Psychological Operation – PSY OPS are part of the Colonization Chaos Strategy…

    • 3
      2

      P
      Let us check if there was there anything promising that was on offer for the majority not to return to the R family.
      No country is not doomed so readily.
      Some feel miserable when things do not go their way and curse all and sundry.
      There is much resilience in the country which kept it going for 44 years under the executive presidency.
      As long as we pin our hopes on parliamentary politics we will have not much chance of recovery. Change involves replacing the present form of government and such change includes that den of thieves as well.
      Let us think outside the box.

    • 0
      5

      No, Paul, I don’t think that there is any future for the Rajapaksas in Lanka. Nor for Ranil.
      .
      It is true that the QR code has led to less chaos in the country, but the people realise that fuel is much more expensive. However, not many will go the further step and understand that all this has happened because of what Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda has discussed in an article written only ten days ago:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/on-overlooking-the-obvious/
      .
      Powdered full cream milk at Rs 1,160 for a 400 gm packet. It’s not moving at crazy speed because people have no money. However, WhatsApp is bringing me, daily, in Sinhala, “Regional News Bandarawela”. We’re told that the CWE has received 50 pkts of the local “Highland” milk powder somewhat cheaper. A queue could get formed!
      .
      Then there’s astrological information, about auspicious times, and colours, etc. And when “Medical Specialists’ (from Badulla) will be available, when, and where.
      .
      Those reflect the interests of the people.
      .
      Therefore, the fear that whatever will replace them will be no better, is valid.

    • 4
      0

      Paul,
      .
      Outsiders don’t understand it if they haven’t experienced that hell even once. Entering civilized countries has become a habit now. They start respecting law and order in Australia and European countries, however, as long as they stay in Ceylon, they work together with criminals to promote crime and do all kinds of mischief. There is no difference between the educated and the uneducated in this country, even if they are educated in universities.
      :
      Great criminal leaders like Mahinda Rajapaksa changed the culture for their political gains. What did not he do over the 15 years by wasting funds of the very voters that elected him as the leader ?
      His parents’ monuments were torn down by angry and fuious mobs, but everything about the man was about to be torn down.
      .
      The torchbearers were the “false monks” hiding behind the “sangha vestments”.
      The art culture of this country was destroyed and artists were made members of the “national list MPs”. Their ulterior motive was to capture the “artist’s fan base.” What they have achieved today is that the whole country is divided and is no different from the “tsunami debris”.

      tbc

    • 2
      0

      People have failed to improve their peace within family units let alone within Parliament for a common purpose.?

      If you would please look at the CT forum, we have some senior people who seem to be working for Hidden Hands. Eagle Eye is dead but there are Champas and Sinhala Man who are emerging as a bigger threat.

      Even small steps can be taken for proper implementation of law and order but people still do not take their contribution seriously.

      The situation in medieval Europe is much the same.

      How can we ever be a progressive nation? Fairy tales abound but today we are separated by millions unable to build consensus on even a small issue. It has now been three decades since everything was destroyed by brutal civilians. No signs at all for a better future.

  • 23
    4

    Thank you Tissranee G. I did not know till now of Sirisena taking the Rupavahini programme on superstitions off the air and how Ranil appeased him. We Tamils have been shielded from real issues like this that our newspapers and politicians should have alerted us to. No wonder we are going backwards with Ranil after the spectacular gains of Aragalaya.

    • 18
      0

      Thank you TG. Most authors criticize poltician and Parties but rarely the public / voters. I always thought it is them ( I call RETARDS) who are responsible for our misery. There are few, who argue ” our poor voters don’t have choices “. In fact it’s our retards over years set them up without any choices. When you reject those few good people and keep voting for criminals what else , do we expect?? Questions is, are they so naive to believe rubbish or are they immoral racist and religious fanatics??

      • 4
        2

        Lands of ‘non-retards’ vote for Trump ad then Biden and perhaps one of them again.
        Then there is Mr Modi.
        Then Johnson with Truss to follow.
        Why blame the voter facing a pathetic choice before him/her. The system is structured to exclude wise choices.

        • 4
          2

          In Sri Lanka it started with SWRD and then Weeping widow, however it still continues, …… In China just one person was enough, between 1949 and 1976, … no need for popular support measured by periodic multi party elections, …. Pol Pot .. until evicted by Vietnam, …. Pol Pot was a good man only because he was China’s baby, … oh by the way he was British and US baby as well,

        • 3
          2

          Retired since INdependence, system is structured by pathetic retards now facing a pathetic choice before him / her. A pathetic country in pathetic situation. Land of no retards know, how and when to get rid of Trump , Boris or Modi. And you the pathetic???

          • 2
            3

            Really?
            How come that the non-retards and honorary non-retards end up with Biden in place of Trump, Truss in place of Boris, and Modi in place of Modi?

            • 4
              0

              You mean they are not good enough as Rajapaksas, Maduro Diaz and Putin in causing humanitarian crisis / exodus ???. Are they better than Rajapaksas in place of Bandas , JR/ RW, Senanayakas.?? Retired reporting from bankrupt, dysfunctional hell.

              • 1
                1

                You need some practice in understanding simple statements.
                It was only a question, and means no more than what it asked.
                BTW
                You signed out as “Retired reporting from bankrupt, dysfunctional hell.”
                Nice to know that you are retired, and which bankrupt, dysfunctional hell are you reporting from.
                The US may get there before long, but not yet.
                Cheer up.

                • 2
                  1

                  You sound more like a retard ( in denial ) than retired. Done with looking here and there ????

    • 4
      0

      JM,
      “real issues like this that our newspapers and politicians should have alerted us to.”
      What? And lose all those daily horoscope readers who buy the newspapers?
      In this country, there are unspoken rules. Number one is to not say anything which casts doubt on the provenance of certain footprints, teeth, etc., because those are the foundations of the State.
      Number two is that one does not, in word or deed, disparage our “ancient culture”, even if on closer inspection it consists of myths, superstitions, and outright lies.
      Number three, we must always pretend not to know that Tamilnadu produces far more food than us, even without 2000 year old irrigation.

      • 7
        0

        “A monk enthused that he felt close to the highest of Buddhist heavens. Women thanked Mahinda Rajapaksa for enabling them to have this wondrous experience.”
        Yes, and the Pohottuwa won the Panadura Cooperative Society elections.
        As Tisaranee says, the fault is with the voters. Many of them think the Rajapaksas are gods who created wondrous edifices like the Tower, and sweeping highways which they can use to come to Colombo. The Rajapaksa devotees are still out there. The much vaunted Aragalaya was an urban phenomenon.
        The only real solution is a complete revamp of the education system. ALL holy cows must be removed from textbooks, and that includes the Mahavamsa and Anagarika Dharmapala. Religious education should not be compulsory. Real history must be taught and discussed, including unsavoury bits. It will take a generation or more.
        But which elected leader will start the ball rolling?

        • 7
          2

          The depth of the problem can be seen on the streets.
          People curse the shortages, the economic crisis, the worthless Rupee, quite rightly. But it is Ranil, not Mahinda who gets blamed most!
          Even by supposedly intelligent commentators on this ver forum!

          • 8
            1

            old codger

            “But it is Ranil, not Mahinda who gets blamed most!”

            It is simple, when Ranil had an opportunity to throw all the crooks in prison he didn’t. He failed to be an effective leader. He failed to quash alleged Central Bank Robbery, … He was surrounded by crooks, thugs, murderers, …..

            Even now he is not willing to deal with the Clan, … Namal should be serving prison, not contemplating the idea of being the next president. All those corrupt police officers are still in uniform.
            Now Ranil wants to appear tough, he is letting the police to beat up students mercilessly. On the other hand crooks, thugs, … are being given ministries.

            It is not too late to throw the entire clan into ……..
            Or hand them over to angry Nimal Fernando.

            • 3
              1

              Native,
              “Even now he is not willing to deal with the Clan, …”
              Whatever Ranil is, you must grant that he isn’t suicidal. Be grateful for small mercies.

              • 2
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                OC
                You know this obsession with revenge— pretty strong stuff.
                Punishing someone takes priority over dealing with the problem at hand.
                The Tamil leadership has nothing to offer to its electorate but the promise of getting someone sent the electric chair. Seems to have worked.

          • 4
            0

            old codger,
            .
            There is resistance against Mahinda in Sri Lankan media. Sri Lankan media is a proxy rajasthans deal business.
            This is why I always say that the MEDIA mafia in Sri Lanka is a thousand times more powerful than other mafia networks.
            .
            Ranil is born to be a victim of everything that others do on purpose. Even though Mahinda stole the last penny and spent it on their expenses by eliminating the “triposha” ration of poor children, it is surprising that there is not a single word against him in Sri Lankan media.
            :
            Kaputas aka the former finance minister is said to have left for his beloved America and most of the mainstream media is not interested in reporting on it.
            -:
            Rajapaksa should have been executed, by hanging if our country would have been governed by law and order.
            .
            This country full of rotten people is not enough to protest against the criminals that looted in high volumes. I think srilanka has no supreme courtts. Anarchy of the country has become advantageous to RAJAKASHE family.

      • 7
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        old codger

        “we must always pretend not to know that Tamilnadu produces far more food than us, even without 2000 year old irrigation.”

        In addition it had produced 3 Nobel Laureates namely C V Raman, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, two Oscars for A R Rahuman (Music), Google Chief Sundar Pitchai, Srinivasa Ramanujan Indian mathematician, ………..

        SJ must be sitting in his bath.

        • 2
          4

          Scratchy glass ball?
          Get the ball bearer to polish it.

        • 2
          0

          Native,
          Our friend Lester used to claim that all those guys were Brahmins. I wonder where he is now?

          • 2
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            I think Lester is sent to retirement with the flee of Gota.

          • 3
            0

            OC,
            what about EAGLE BP EYE ?

          • 3
            1

            old codger

            He must be in his late 80s.
            Perhaps SJ could do work-sharing with Lester as both are aging.

        • 4
          0

          Native, not just sitting but is in deep thinking outside the box “if there was anything promising, that was on offer for the majority, not to return to the R family ” ??? ( two local councils just returned). Do you think we will have the answers, before the return of Mafia Family.???

          • 4
            0

            chiv

            “Do you think we will have the answers, before the return of Mafia Family.???”

            The clan has caught Ranil by his b***s.
            I do not know how.

            As long as Mahinda’s b***s carriers are willing to bring him back, for usual reasons, and when we have such NATO (no action talk only) commanders as SJ in opposition, …. what else can we expect?

    • 5
      1

      Jaffna Man

      “We Tamils have been shielded from real issues like this that our newspapers and politicians should have alerted us to.”

      You should follow SJ and start reading The People’s Daily which is the only media which provides, authentic, factual, … news.

  • 5
    2

    Alas! Via Rajapaksas, our precious motherland is to be the land where lesser mortals take up residence before being reborn into more glorious infrastructural climes upon this earth, or other realms not of this earth…..lotus tower a mere glimpse of possible rebirths. Oh God!

  • 4
    11

    “Even where leaders are forward looking, progressive projects can suffer defeat if a majority of people are not in tandem. The outcome of Chile’s referendum is an excellent case in point.”
    As simple as that!
    The media were out to kill the new constitution.
    The victory of the Centre-left alliance presidential candidate was marginal. The right is still strong, and we cannot ignore the external interests that it represents. The shadow of Pinochet will haunt Chile for some time to come, for the class that Pinochet represented has much wealth and muscle.

    • 3
      3

      Have the owners of sore thumbs read anything outside the regurgitated news on Chile?

      • 2
        0

        SJ,
        Maybe Yatharoopa was wrong? Is Pinochet using his thumbs from beyond the grave?

        • 3
          3

          Pinochet is deeply ingrained in the minds of the Chilean elite. Very few here bother to know about Chile or Pinochet, although they have a foggy idea of Hitler..
          *
          Forget about Pinochet, you can see VPs thumbs working overtime in CT.

  • 16
    1

    …. The Problem Of The People? Which problem?
    The people are the problem!

    • 2
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      Nathan,
      .
      We all know “people are the problem”. In the developed world, everyone else hears what they have to say, let alone psychologists, sociologists and sociologists – but in a country where the thoughts of the experts are treated with complete ignorance, what could not be wrong? Even religious leaders are not smart enough to build a consensus for a common cause. They instead abuse the social adulation bestowed upon them.
      .
      As someone who lives outside the country, I asked myself why our mainstream media does not prioritize. The nation’s headline news should not be filled with provocations. Harmful astrological predictions should not be the dawning guide of the day. All this was overcome with the beginning of mlechcha Mahindarajapakshepolitics.

      It is certain that the entire society has been caught up in the trickery introduced by Mahinda Rajapaksa for his political survival. But the country’s media have a choice whether to do what they do to their masters or not.
      May our main stream media be blessed with brains

  • 4
    3

    QUAD are behind the current pathetic state. They feel that they can achieve their aims through the current GoSL. I still wonder what NGR discussed with Robert Blake in 2018.
    Basil R still freely moves between SL and USA. I do hope the USA tax officers are checking on Rajapaksas.in USA.

  • 3
    7

    Spot the difference? the two pictures and the 3rd malnourished boy………no way we will be overlooking the obvious….anyway it happens everywhere.
    Have you not heard of the Bermuda triangle Rs 50 full tank !

    New diplomatic staff appointed too…only talking no good.
    Please can we ditch the IMF and go renminbi currency again……….Moutai
    is best for deciphering antithesis and synthesis and clearing up confusion.

    • 0
      1

      Renminbi won’t touch us with a bargepole.

      • 2
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        rtf
        Are you not happy about it?

  • 8
    1

    Just a few observations …….. very human observations

    In my entire Lankan life ……the only honesty we had……. especially form the pols …… even for a few fleeting minutes/seconds …….. was soon after the burnings on the night of the 9th of May

    There is no “honesty-creator” …….. like impending imminent danger

    Now, they are again, back to their old games/tricks.


    Pundits here say …….. the Aragalaya has no leaders …….. the country has no leaders ……..

    The French Revolution ……. the ultimate “system changer” in the entire human history ……. was a “leaders destroying” chaotic thingy …… all the initial leaders, they themselves, got guillotined: so much for leaders.

    The leader who finally emerged, out of the chaos, good ol’ Napoleon, had very little to do with the revolution ……. he went around Europe “changing the system” not out of benevolence for the inhabitants but for his own benefit and survival ……. the upshot of that shindig was ……. in the end the power was “transferred” from the Aristocracy to the middle-class.

    It happened more by coincidence/accident …….. than by design.

    Almost all the “System changes” …… where there were “clear cut” leaders ……. the old system was changed to something even worse.

    Khomeini’s Iran, Lenin’s USSR, Mao’s China ……..name ye own ……..

    A great admirer of Mao like Native might disagree ……… violently …….. verbally

    There ye go ……………..

    • 4
      1

      nimal fernando

      “A great admirer of Mao like Native might disagree ……… violently …….. verbally”

      Were you feeling a bit tipsy when you wrote the above.
      Never mind, what is happening to Xi?
      I am worried for SJ.
      Aren’t you a Beijing watcher? Its a shame if you are not.

      • 3
        3

        The gossip mill is undecided on the fate of Xi, Putin, Maduro, Diaz-Canal et al.
        *
        The one to watch is Biden who seems to be rapidly losing his marbles.

        • 1
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          Spare us, Gotha too was listed among those elite “strong men”, later turned out to be a fugitive.

          • 2
            2

            Is not the fugitive back to haunt us?

            • 1
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              Is not the fugitive back to haunt us ??? Didn’t I say, only retards invite fugitives back providing shelter, security, perks, pension, so that they could continue to prey and haunt , their own people/ retards.

      • 4
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        Native,

        “Never mind, what is happening to Xi?”

        In my student days, Chinese professors sat with us in our undergraduate classes …….. they were that far behind.

        Now, the no 1 and most of the other places in the top 10 is taken by Chinese universities. https://cwur.org/2017/subjects.php#Engineering,%20Civil

        Xi can’t be all that bad; now can he? …….. Unlike our pols, at least he has done some real work to advance his country …….. while playing with his bal** ……..

        • 4
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          nimal fernando

          “In my student days, Chinese professors sat with us in our undergraduate classes …….. they were that far behind.”

          Be careful, you have just offended SJ.

  • 8
    0

    Congratulations Tisaranee, on a well written exposure.

    Going by this, the least of our requirements at this time is elections. We will end up messed up, maybe even worse than where we are now economically.

    Sajith, Harsha and Eran and also Anura are all dancing for elections without contributing in any practical way towards resolving the burning economic issues.

    Hopefully, they too will rot just as much as the Rajapakses and the Sirisenas in the years to come.

  • 4
    0

    Even after the successful Aragalaya the SLPP thugs in the Parliament have not understood what the people of the country want! In short, what people want is Law and Order implemented to the letter. To this end, the most important factors would be the law-abiding Police Force and the Judiciary which is not bent by the politicians. If these two sectors stand by the Constitution and the Laws of the land most of the issues in SL could be easily resolved.

    Even this week we see the two suggestions brought to the Speaker to amend the standing orders of the parliament regarding the actions that need to be taken by COPE and the AG were turned down. This clearly shows even the Speaker is not a person who wants Law and Order established to the letter in the country. In such a situation how can the aspirations of the citizens be satisfied?

  • 1
    5

    “People were invited to come and admire a breakwater, a runway, a walking path masquerading as a marina.”

    This is a false statement. A dictionary definition of ‘marina’ is “a specially designed harbour with moorings for pleasure yachts and small boats.” “Marina” is one Port City’s five distinct precincts and when completed, was to have a marina, a promenade and parks (and whatever else). What was declared open to the public in January of this year was the Marina Promenade and it was clearly advertised as such both in the media and Ports Authority official statements. The public was not mislead.

    I visited the Marina Promenade twice and even made a video. Here’s the link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBuVGYA8Y0A&t=19s

    As you will see in the video, much was still work in progress. The marina is to the left of the promenade as I walk through it (public not allowed access there).

    • 0
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      Correction: The words “Ports Authority” above should be amended to read as “Port City”: “…it was clearly advertised as such both in the media and Port City official statements.”

  • 0
    3

    Correction: The words “Ports Authority” above should be amended to read as “Port City”: “…it was clearly advertised as such both in the media and Port City official statements.”

    • 0
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      To the editor: My apologies for the inadvertent duplication of the second comment. Please delete it.

      • 1
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        Who is the idiot who gave a dislike to this comment?😄

        • 6
          0

          Many are here for the heck of it– out of sheer boredom.
          The dislike may be simply towards you not and what you said.
          Your knee-jerk reaction could tempt another dislike, despite being called an idiot by you.
          Have a sense of humor. Above all, relax

          • 0
            1

            You are right and I suspected as much myself: The dislike was probably towards me and not what I stated. Otherwise, how can you explain any one disliking a comment which requests the editor to delete a comment that is an inadvertent duplication of an earlier comment? Anyway, that shows how sick some people are and that is depressing.

            An alternative explanation is that the person who disliked the comment in question liked my original comment to which the disliked comment referred to so much that he objected to a request to delete its duplication. 🤣

        • 1
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          LJ,
          Your question has no validity in a country where idiots are the majority.

          We give heartfelt comments on this page, but they might be some people who don’t care about anything.

  • 8
    4

    Tisaranee
    As always, you are precisely on point.
    It is a shame that your article seems to be touching many of our CT readers as well, hence the lack of a lot of comments.
    Such is the reality we live in.
    Sadly most of the so-called CT readers are one-dimensional thinkers, who just trumpet the same point day after day.
    The lack of intellectuals in our society is the root cause of our plight, your message is clear.
    I wonder what we can do to change our plight.
    They say there is no medicine for stupidity. Let us hope the present generations of block-heads will eventually be replaced with a new and progressive generation of Sri Lankans who would have the ability to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn.
    The rate at which our world is changing is becoming exponential, anyone who is stuck in years past is as good as a dead weight, causing a burden to others.
    What did we do wrong to deserve the likes of Champa, Dinuk, RTF, and the rest of that type? They are the vast majority in our society.

    • 4
      0

      HT,
      “What did we do wrong to deserve the likes of Champa, Dinuk, RTF, and the rest of that type?”
      Neither you or I are their parents. Still, let’s not dismiss them outright. For all we know, in a country where a jumped- up drill sergeant can give orders to economists, perhaps Champa makes very good jam, or RTF is a great secretary, or Dinuk is a comedian. But of course, they drive us nuts when they comment on CT.

      • 2
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        RTF
        “Renminbi won’t touch us with a bargepole”.

        Agree but but……..
        So hurt to hear that it was a “one sided” love affair between the dragon fund…….do we detect a touch of Jelousey from Paris club haters?
        Local pundits always condemned the west and I gave up whisky for Moutai ……. I was hoping to join the party politics too…..what a shame.
        Now this system change transparency could be a problem !

    • 6
      0

      HT and OC,
      .
      Sri Lankans, regardless of their race, religion or whatever, have a lot in common – that of being as tight-lipped as “a crocodile fed on clay”. They are not trained to tolerate “criticism”; Nor do they cross-examine anything. If they were asked to do or say something, they would do it without being asked.
      This is what we should focus on. Champa or men and women with irrational thinking are the majority in that country. So how do they choose the “right candidates” for parliament? We know the pig won’t fly, but let’s keep hoping.
      Alas, what went wrong with our nation ?
      By the way, Did you enjoy watching the video?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fKz0guQK9U

      How did Balusara act before Saudi Arabs, as if a “newborn calf” at that meeting? Isn’t that 100% contradictory behavior of an anti-Muslim Sinhala Buddhist monk? His hypocrisy has now been exposed just like that of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers.

      • 4
        0

        LM,
        That’s diplomacy in action. The best way to tackle an enemy is to make a friend of him. The Saudis are real diplomats.

        • 2
          0

          Medagoda Abetissa BP is now back on the scene. I question whether these people are shameless.
          :
          How do people see the robes worn by BP today? Our hero worshipers are also not learning a lesson.
          .
          That’s why I always say, Sinhala Buddhists and their monks don’t know the least about anything. The english colonial masters are right about their predictions, if they would leave SRILANKA, it would become a hell, because people in general have not the knowledge to be compliant with law and order.

          Sinhala Buddhist monks are the real hypocrites of this country. I di dnot respect that ” paradise bird ” SIRIDHAMMA, but at least he has been doing some good work with other “pinguththarayas”.

        • 2
          0

          OC,
          Diplomacy may have been from the Saudi site, but Ghansara got down to business. His neck-waving frequencies no longer make him a good person. I missed Dr. Safi during those celebrations.

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