Colombo Telegraph

The Three Losers & The Crisis: A Comment

By Sarath de Alwis –

Sarath De Alwis

Now we know why Sirisena the President landed us on the straight single lane express way to unfreedom. He will not stay even one hour in the presidency if Ranil is made Prime minister again. So, says the news reports. 

It is a damned good idea. ‘We the people must redouble our efforts to make Ranil Wickremesinghe the prime minster just for one day. We will be spared the painful process of an impeachment and GROBR.  

We can then replace Ranil with a new prime minster. That new Prime minister must be a man or a woman who will not take us to either the oligarchic kleptocracy that we expelled on 8th January 2015 or to crony neoliberalism that thwarted our good governance agenda. 

Malice and enmity at the top have led us to a constitutional wrangle. 

Late Prime minster Sirimavo Bandaranaike exasperated by the ‘pukka sahib’ swagger of Ranjan Wijeratne told the ex-planter turned national security czar ‘You cannot run the country the way you ran the Demodara group. 

Well, the time has come to tell the President that he cannot resolve national political differences in the manner of a ‘Grama Seveka’ who when piqued with one ‘Mudalali’ tells the people to shop in the other Mudalali’s kadey forgetting how the other fellow fleeced them before 2015.    

Ignorance is the counter thesis of intelligence. Nothing fosters ignorance more than one’s blinkered opinions or pure prejudice. Nothing strengthens shortsighted inappropriate actions more than malice aforethought. 

I know her detractors will hurl much abuse at me for saying this. I unhesitatingly admire the deep-down integrity and humanity of the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

She is a bad judge of people. She got us Sarath N Silva a chief justice who on his own admission removed the blindfolds of lady justice and fiddled with her weighing scales. Then she unleashed G.L. Peiris the law professor on us  by making him a national list MP and a minster. Since 1994 the man has been telling us how to bake cakes with pure unadulterated crap with icing of political expediency on top. 

All that fades when we come to her  prize discovery of the common candidate. Mind you. I don’t blame her. Good intentions pave many roads and most lead us to good places and only some end up in hell.

I weep for her. Her father was assassinated. Now her trust has been assassinated and she is condemned to live with that mortal wound. History will be kind to her. I promise her that I will tell my grandchildren that she tried. 

There are three losers in this crisis. The first is the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. All he had to do was to hold his immaculately white sarong for the ripe mango to fall in to his lap. 

Now his charismatic war wining persona is totally irretrievably lost. No country beyond our shores has offered good wishes to the only leader who defeated terrorism, at least that is what the blurb writers claim, and sycophants proclaim. 

Today, he is just another pedestrian politician who has either become prime minister through the backdoor or the political burglar caught in the act. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe has been taught the lesson of his life. It was indeed a grand spectacle and a convincing display of public support for protecting and preserving democracy.

There was ‘Mary and Clare two vivacious lasses I knew thirty years ago now buoyantly self-confident social activists holding up banners “We are not here for Ranil, We are here for democracy. There were thousands of others younger and older men and women who shared their sentiments cheering on  the speakers. Of course the protest rally was organized. The crowd response was authentic, and the emotions were sincere. 

Ranil has discovered that his handpicked UNP ex-co is not the voice of either the people or the UNP. 

Ranil is a goner. I hope he comes out of this impasse regaining his premiership. He must then exit gracefully. 

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. Real strength is knowing when to let it go. He cannot erase the hardened public perception of a failed neo liberal and a promoter of crony oligarchy. 

This is an age where in, neoliberalism is an obscenity. This is also an age where ascendant nationalism has made even liberalism a dirty word. 

Many ask the question why the President chose the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pull his chestnut out of the fire. Why not a MR proxy such as Dinesh or the indolently agreeable Chamal ? Unfolding events will finally provide the answer. For the present it is obvious that his mind went back to the days of his coerced allegiance to the ‘Maharajano’. If protest had to be contained, he needed a proven ‘fear mechanism’. 

The question we face is will that work effectively in the digital age and 24 x 7 television. So far it has not. The mansion in Malwana has still not drawn a legal claimant. There is reason for hope.  

With all the petrol in the world Mohamed Bin Salman after the murder in the consulate is fast becoming a Dust Bin Salman.  

Murder of a parliamentary democracy will not go unnoticed. The Cricketer is restoring democracy in Pakistan. Maldives has come to its senses. Monk Elle Gunawansa is pissed off that the European Union wants us to convene parliament.    

Sirisena the President has emerged as a strange unifier of the nation. All shades of public opinion; political, social, cultural and economic have reached a consensus on what makes a political clown. The more discerning prefer the term sanctimonious comic. The street wise talk of the monkey given a razor.   

The new Government spokesman Mahinda Samarasinghe is a brazen faced liar. 

In his first press briefing he read out a purported email sent to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by the Acting Attorney General. He claimed that the AG had declared the appointment of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa “constitutionally legitimate”. He compounded the intended jiggery-pokery by telling journalists that it was privileged communication and could not release the document. Pity no journalist asked how the potbellied fraudster and a third party accessed the privileged communication between the AG and the Speaker.   

Now we know better. The Attorney General as the principal law officer of the government has not declared the president’s removal of a Prime minister and the swearing in of a new Prime minister to be constitutionally legitimate. 

He does not say he has no opinion. He merely says that as the principal law officer of the government it is a matter to be resolved by those who created the crisis.

I warn parents who plan to send their kids to La Trobe university in Australia in the next academic year. That is the place that Mahinda Samarasinghe claims he got his degree. I looked up the place in the internet of things. They don’t seem to have a faculty for con artists. All the same parents should double check.  

What Mahinda Samarasinghe set out was a the text book neo fascist agenda. You manufacture a crisis. Then you grab the state media apparatus. You tame the private media in to anticipatory obedience. We are witnessing it now.

 After manufacturing the crisis, you distort facts in to a narrative and start manipulating the narrative and emotions of the public. They dismiss reality by suppressing facts. 

We may or may not succeed in protecting our hard-earned freedoms. We may not prevent the return of despots today. But as a 76 old loony nut obsessed with human dignity and individual freedom. I implore my compatriots to obliterate these mongrel intellectuals practicing politics of deception from public life.

May be my grandchildren will live under a transparent accountable democracy.   

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