26 September, 2020

Blog

The Rajapaksa Syndrome(s)

By Krishan Siriwardhana

Krishan Siriwardhana

Krishan Siriwardhana

The downfall of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is one of the most significant recent political events took place in the south Asian region. Even though Mahinda Rajapaksa was democratically defeated by citizens of this country on 8th of January, we can still see how Rajapaksa ideology is being functioned in the contemporary Sri Lankan society. Unlike other Sri Lankan political leaders, Rajapaksa was quite successful in creating die hard Rajapaksa follower base in every strata of the society. In this article, I identify few key social and political syndromes emerged as a result of the deeply rooted nature of the hegemonic rule of Rajapaksa and how our political context is still being dominated by some of these issues.

Former President Rajapaksa was effective in using his rhetoric to emphasize the fact that the country is under severe threat caused by national and international agents even in the post war era. During his first parliamentary speech after defeating LTTE, he claimed that there are only two groups in this country here after as the people who love their nation and who do not love their nation. One would think this is an ordinary rhetorical act any leader would make in a war memorial speech. But that classification helped Rajapaksa to easily drag opposition parties like UNP. JVP and TNA in to the category of the people who do not love their motherland. The main ambition of his political propaganda was to maintain LTTE as the enemy in a context where they do not physically exist and create a fallacy that all his political opponents were trying to bring back LTTE to destroy ‘motherland’. He was tactical in driving bitter colonial memories in the minds of the people in to a more anti-western perspective by highlighting UN human rights council’s action on war crimes. On the other there were large hoardings of Rajapaksa and his wife with President Obama in the city of Colombo. But these hoardings were limited to Colombo area as he wanted to maintain his anti-western politics in the Sinhala Buddhist village context. This would not have been possible if media acted critically questioning paradoxical nature of his political actions and the way of treating political other. But it was clear that media was under severe threat and there was no space for democratic debate.

Mahinda July1 2015Since Rajapaksa did not have proper social, political and economic agenda to govern the country, his political mission was to maintain popularity among Sinhala Buddhist majority by alerting that their survival is in danger without the existence of Rajapaksa. Slovenian philosopher Slovaj Zizek states that the contemporary functioning of racism is quite different from the history. Nowadays one would not say directly that I hate Muslim people. Instead he or she would say that Muslims are okay, but their food smell bad. It is quite evident that previous regime was utilizing those racist elements rooted in people’s minds to continue with their political project. When several Muslims were killed and there houses were destroyed by Sinhala Buddhist extremists motivated by groups like Bodu Bala Sena, military personnel were sent to rebuild those houses. The duties carried out by the military in Aluthgama was center of topic for media rather than bloody racist attacks.

The nature of the social media activism of Rajapaksa followers is a good way to understand their political thinking patterns and the influence of Rajapaksa ideology in shaping their political acts. Since I have not done an empirical study on this one would question how can I present stereotypical views on their political behavior. But I think my observations as an active social media user and a scholar would be somewhat helpful to understand their political nature. As I discussed earlier, anti-Muslimism and anti-Tamil sentiments which were grounded in the political project of Rajapaksa campaign is quite visible in the Facebook posts of his followers. The High Court Trial at Bar’s recently convicted and sentenced Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake to death on Mirusuvil incident. Even though he was sentenced by the High court, pro Rajapaksa social media users narrated the story as it was a betrayal to the nation by the government. This was connected to President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to release the girl who was imprisoned two years for damaging Sigirya mirror wall. They claimed that a war hero was sentenced to death while a Tamil girl was released under the directive of the President. But there were no discussion regarding the inhumane violent crime carried out by the soldier.

Recently, I noticed that the national list nominations of the UNP was highly criticized in pro Rajapaksa campaign for the inclusion of a higher number of Tamil and Muslim candidates. They claimed that 50% of the nominees are not from the Sinhala Buddhist community. This is a clear indication of how Rajapaksa followers deny the inclusion of minority political representation.

Homophobia and sexism are another deeply rooted characteristics in bring back Mahinda propaganda. When it was reported in the media that provincial CounsellorMalsha Kumaranatunge was not in favor of the campaign to bring Rajapaksa as the prime minister, several photos were shared claiming that was partying at a night club. Malsha is over 18 years old and she has all the rights to go to a night club. These posts were carried out with the narrative that her behaviors are against Sinhala Buddhist values and she is not suitable to be in the parliament. There is no better example to prove their sexist propaganda than the smear campaign against Hirunika Premachandra after she decided to support then candidate Mathiripala Sirisena. She accepted that she contested for the Miss Sri Lankan pageant a few years ago. We know that the contestants are required to wear some outfits during the contest. Even though there is no logical relationship between her political decisions and Miss Sri Lanka outfits, those photos were shared saying she does not hold a Sinhala Buddhist value system. Hirunika’s wedding took place recently and it was followed by posts that she has been pregnant for three months. These are the most inhumane comments one could make on a female and in a country like Sri Lanka these sexist comment could work because there are larger number of people who still believe women as a sexual object with a very little knowledge.

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera and the UNP government was criticized by Wimal Weerawansa for voting in favor of gay rights in the recent United Nations summit. This was followed by Facebook protests calming some UNP leaders are gay and if they win the next election, our social and cultural value system will be destroyed as they are in favor of gay rights.

I do not claim that former president is responsible for all these under developed thinking of a larger fraction of the Sri Lankan society. But his political project was centered and focused on extremists who hold racist, sexist and homophobic views. As I mentioned in the introduction, Rajapaksa’s categorization of the country was people who love their motherland and who do not love their motherland. I would like to offer a new categorization as people who would like to be slaves and who want to be free and independent citizens.

*Krishan Siriwardhana is a graduate teaching assistant at the Ball State University, United States. He worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the Journalism Unit of the University of Colombo.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 10
    2

    The writer says, according to MR there are only two groups:

    1 Those who love the nation.

    2 Those who don’t.

    Commenters would assert, lovers plunder, haters imprison.

    • 3
      7

      Krisha, great opinion piece. one factual correction, BBS was a UNP creation. Gnanasara is a UNP member and monk for the past 20 years. Dilantha withanage was Chandrika’s IT director. Dilantha and Ranil met only last week. JHU and champika ranawaka are leaders of the anti Halal campaign, they are now part of the UNP.

    • 2
      1

      Krishan Siriwardhana

      We know whi is included in the MaRa List. Liars, Crooks, Robbers, thieves, Criminals, Drug Dealers, Bribe Takers, Rapist etc.

      Sobitha Thero talks of JVP nominations

      While the SLFP has given nomination to people who insulted President Maithripala Sirisena calling him ‘Aiyo Sirisena’, members of the underworld, those who were involved in child abuse and fraudsters the JVP has put forward a group of exemplary people in their nomination lists says Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero.

      Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya Sobitha Thero has said the JVP has included people of highest calibre for its national list and in the districts too educated, honest, young people have been given nomination pointed out the prelate. People should pay attention to these lists when casting their votes added Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero.

  • 25
    6

    It was Sri Lanka’s misfortune to come under the yoke of a greedy barbarian and his uncouth family for 10 long years. May this please not happen again.

    • 7
      11

      It may be your personal view o be frank with no leader is closer to him in the last several decades. At least you must be reasonable enough to give the due credit to him that he has fulfilled as the leader of the country! Then only I can think that at least you have a bit of a brain of a human being!

      • 3
        2

        Slave

      • 5
        2

        If muslim extremists hate MR, then MR is the ideal leader for SL

    • 1
      1

      Now it is a clear contest among the educated and the uneducated SB Voters? Listen
      to this bit of Jany.2015:-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwFRgMySYBs

  • 12
    3

    Very well written article on facts and good analysis.

    • 1
      0

      why because this author promotes your own narrative? uggg..

  • 5
    32

    Krishan, I don’t see why you have to spread such vile lies about MR. All he has done is good for the country.
    And in this case, i agree with Wimal Weerawansa, there should be no room for homosexuals in this country. Colombotelegraph is full of pro UNP propaganda. [Edited out]

    • 7
      6

      But you do commend the practice of fellatio by Buruwansa on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s [Edited out]

      • 5
        0

        Leaves little room to imagine what’s in this morons brain to make vulgar stupid comments to be read by decent people and children.Shows his breeding.

        • 2
          4

          This forum is not for you. Your brain is not sufficiently developed to distinguish the allegorical from the literal. Take your children, go read Alice In Wonderland. Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch ……

      • 4
        3

        Navin seems to be a uneducated idiot who has got access to a computer.The vile comments he makes have to be read by decent people.Why are comments like this published.

    • 1
      0

      18th amendment

    • 1
      0

      Jagath,

      [Edited out]

  • 20
    5

    Mahinda Rajapaksa is a wicked and cruel man
    Look at his face….monstrous face and look.

    Observe what Champika Ranawaka and Ranil Wickramasinghe speak…..words they use or utter.

    Observe what Monstrous Mahinda Rajapaksa utters and speaks.
    Nothing to learn for children…..
    Foolish people will caste their votes but wise people definitely will wisely make their decision.

  • 21
    4

    As you have pointed out correctly, Mara has become a disease that is eating into and rotting the minds of and distorting sentiments of the simple minded common man in Sri Lanka.

    Instead of trying to alleviate the ignorance in people he is using their ignorance to score political points and actually what he seems to be doing is to drive them further into the depths of ignorance.

    So much so for the Buddhist teachings of emancipation from the clutches of ignorance.

    I think this man is the biggest curse that is plaguing our society. While he wants to achieve greater political influence for him and is sycophantic circle of thugs and crooks, he is corrupting the hearts and minds of the public resulting in creating a society that is retrogressive.

  • 1
    4

    This attitude of the Rajapaksa Clan, reminds me of the old party Song:-
    “Anandan Bhavan Ringga, Ringga, Thosai kelinava,Gedara Avith Japana Demalunta Baninavaa”

  • 18
    6

    Please translate and publish in Sinhala, Kishan.
    Mahinda Jarapassa does not know the meaning of the word CULTURE. He is a uneducated thug. But he says he is saviour of Sinhala Cutlure! Joke indeed.

    Mahinda Jarapassa has destroyed, reinvented and militarized Sinhala Buddhist culture, made it racist, sexist, Homophobic and putrid and rotten, but many Sinhala Modayas do not understand this..

    Finally, It will be the minorities that save Sinhala’s from the so called Saviour of Sinhala CULTURE by defeating Mahinda Jarapassa at the General Election! Miracle of Modayas indeed!

  • 5
    5

    Krishan Siriwardhana

    RE: The Rajapaksa Syndrome(s)

    “The downfall of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is one of the most significant recent political events took place in the south Asian region. Even though Mahinda Rajapaksa was democratically defeated by citizens of this country on 8th of January, we can still see how Rajapaksa ideology is being functioned in the contemporary Sri Lankan society. “

    MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa Hora MaRa Thakkadi MaRa

    “Since Rajapaksa did not have proper social, political and economic agenda to govern the country, his political mission was to maintain popularity among Sinhala Buddhist majority by alerting that their survival is in danger without the existence of Rajapaksa. Slovenian philosopher Slovaj Zizek states that the contemporary functioning of racism is quite different from the history. Nowadays one would not say directly that I hate Muslim people. Instead he or she would say that Muslims are okay, but their food smell bad. “

    Is MaRa a racist and using Racism to get into power? He thought that the Sinhala Buddhists will always vote for him using the racist card. Unfortunately for MaRa, he is forgetting the changing demographics, including the age distribution as well as the education of the Sinhala Buddhists. So he has fewer and fewer Sinhala Buddhist Modayas with IQ=65, to fool.

    MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa Hora MaRa Thakkadi MaRa Dhushana MaRa

  • 6
    19

    OMG, the writer is so stupid ! How can a person be this stupid and again a lecturer on journalism ….omg….a lot of stupid people ..

    • 7
      2

      JAY;
      O M G;
      YOU ARE An another H K P T.?????

    • 3
      2

      You are correct Jay… Lot of stupid people in civilised West and lot of smart and wise people in SL who sell their mothers and sisters to ME for living.. and send their children in boats to foolish West..

    • 4
      1

      jay : Obviously you are not smart enough to comprehend the content of the post, although most of the readers do and wonder at your stupidity in displaying your ignorance.

  • 8
    3

    RajaPaksha money will buy votes to sow the seeds of destruction to the Paradise Isle.

    • 1
      1

      Fully funded by China – under these desparate conditions Mahinda HAS to win for their
      sake? Already the finances may be circulating among his Nominees. The D of A Form is
      another dirtry trick of the EC – a “sealed envelope” which he dare not open ! They may
      contain blank papers when and if he opens them long after the Results?

  • 13
    4

    You are right, Rajapakse is the flag bearer of all these racist, sexist elements.

    Not that they care about the masses but to feather their own nests with lucrative appointments, contracts and most of all the green light to perpetrate criminal antisocial activities on society.

    Ali Baba and his numerous thieves want a stranglehold on power and the economy to further their own interests and loot the country and nothing else.

  • 13
    4

    Rajapakses have openly been racist and this behaviour created a fan club amongst the emotional Sinhalese population. I think this support base is very small but strong but very narrow minded. The voters are very intelligent and capable of seeing the real truth.

  • 19
    5

    MARA is to be blamed for the current mindset of the majority people due to his policies past 10 years. The 2009 victory over LTTE was not utilized to usher in peace and harmony among the communities instead that was used to bolster his claim for the presidency for the 2nd time. Having bribed the LTTE 1st time he knew he had to resort to extreme measures to get a bigger margin. MARA was already planning for 3rd term by that time, hence he needed to keep the racial momentum going.
    However coupled with increasing racial politics by MARA and unexpected candidacy of MS his plans went caput.

    MARA after being the most powerful President of Sri Lanka with 2/3 majority during his term has nothing to boast about. His claim of war victory tarnished by arresting and humiliating FM S. Fonseka. That bad taste cannot be shaken off from the minds of people soon. MARA never expected to lose, now he finds in a fix. He need to win back power or he should plan for long drawn out court cases and possible imprisonment for him and his family.

    All these scenarios is playing havoc in his mind, he blabbers words which are absurd in political meetings. I hope his political advisory will tell him not to talk shit publicly.

    The test is with us the voters ! how many of us are dumb mutts ? and how many of us have some intelligence ? this is the question in this general election. with the preferential voting system Sri Lanka has enough dumb racist to vote MARA back to parliament, however in my opinion there is no way the SLFP alliance winning respectable no of seats, this will isolate MARA in the parliament and that will be the perfect humiliation for the dictator.
    In the the end he may go crazy, get cornered and retire.

  • 2
    6

    There are said to be more Gays in Sri Lanka than coconut trees, so we can be assured, their votes will definitely be in favour of the UNP!

    • 0
      0

      And the rapists will vote for…

  • 7
    1

    it was a gold opportunity MR had to bring back the country into a real peace and harmony among communities in SL. it was a responsible president to maintain law and order and he did not do that during time. Only thing he wanted was to use racist card to win election . He was responsible all corruption and fraud . He accepted this in his speeches. He said he did not punish thieves and robbers. He is responsible for all nepotism and mismanagement.
    all wrong doers are now behind him to re–elect him why to escape punishment
    how long this go on?
    how long you can fool public
    do you think 20 lankan stupids like MR and co family.
    Look qualifications of his family members to rule the country? except MR all his family are not that much qualified to have public post
    it nepotism that ruined the country during his time .

  • 5
    0

    Krishan Siriwardhana

    The Rajapaksa Syndrome(s)

    *** I dont want to bore you by anlysing the whole Article and I leave that to the 5.8 million able bodied Sinkalams.
    In a Few Words The Rajapaksa Syndrome is an Inborn Error ( Similar to Inborn Error of Metabolism which I studied in my first Degree) of Racial Hatred. It is Genetic. In some people it is lost through Atrophy over the years but in Percys case it has spread to other parts (Metastasized) and is Terminal and life Threatening.

  • 0
    0

    If the Buddhist priests through the past centuries followed Buddhism then these syndromes will not arise.They are people who perverted our minds and the results the calibre ofm our leaders from 1977n through 2015.

  • 0
    0

    We have had enough of columnists analysing the merit and demerits of Rajapaksa. It is high time you analysed the travails of the the man at the helm at present, that is Ranil Wickramasinghe, . You could analyse how he has set a world record as the longest serving opposition leader in any democratic country. Who sustained Ranil all these years . Was it the CIA,?. RAW/ Capitalist newspapers all owned by Colombo evagelical moguls who have one foot in Sri Lanka and the other in the west?
    Are you paid a remunerastion for this article replete with grammatical errors and disjointed arguments and with no coherent narrative.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.