By Gamini Seneviratne –
Much has been written about a “coup” supposedly attempted by the President against a democratically elected government. The short answer to market capitalism and to its more useful instruments (which include, I should add, communalism, drug trafficking – including ‘prescription drugs’, money laundering as well as the mass media), has been given by my colleague, Mahalingam “Jolly” Somasunderam in his column last week. As he phrased it in his inimitable style, spiced too with lively referencing, “An Orwellian Replay: As Elections Were Not Held, Democracy Has Been Saved” just about sums up the foundation of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claims to any authority whatever. I doubt any Lankan would contest the resulting wipe-out of all his and other goons in parliament.
The speaker and those who were on the divisional bench of the supreme court cannot act as though they are unaware of context in any matter placed before them: it’s possible of course that such ignorance is a precondition for achieving bliss though not that of Nirvana. (It’s hardly possible to confer caps to those titles which seem to seek to confer distinction on those who occupy such positions by the act of donning the horse-hair, or maybe some Chinese synthetic, wigs that are relics of British colonialism. But, even for such a mind set it would take slavishness of a particularly low order to invite a Member of the extended and mostly dysfunctional “Royal Family” to “Independence” celebrations here. An earlier manifestation of the illegitimacy of those who have run this regime was the gift of a super luxury holiday to the most despised Prime Minister in decades in Britain, Tony Blair and his greedy family: a crime compounded by Blair giving a lecture at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute.
I first saw Ranil Wickremesinghe some 40 years ago at his parents’ place in Thimbirigasyaya. His father, a newspaperman of long standing, wished to make a change in our dependence on Reuters et al and to launch our own news agency, Lanka Puvath. I had been shoved into ‘the Pool’ by the UNP and was available to undertake what he had in mind. Esmond Wickremesinghe was briefing me on all that when Ranil came in and seeing his father slunk along the wall and out of the room. Poor chap.
It’s clear that far from being focused on protecting our interests, as Esmond was particularly in this matter, his son has slithered along trying to suck up to our enemies. Just yesterday or the day before, in Washington, DC Mangala Samaraweera and a couple more of our domestic predators were shown with insane grins in the hallowed company of the boss of the IMF. The big do-dah is to take place shortly in Davos. Donald Trump has got all humphy-dumphy and will not attend (because it would mean some Democrats would also be in the US delegation). Will Ranil leave the fortress of ‘Temple Trees’ and venture forth sans the thousands of security people we are required to pay for? Davos, after all, is the site of the caves that sheltered Ali Baba and his Forty Thieves.
Ranil and his goons have no mandate to “enact” any legislation whatever (and none at all to make “constitutions”). If they have a case to make for whatever they think is good for us, they should go before the people via a general election and seek the required mandate. In such a context, given the character of those who sit in parliament (also with no mandate), civic organisations from the grass roots on, must make it clear to the world that any and all such bits of paper are invalid ab initio.
Now we have an administration, so called, that is having our laws drafted by foreigners without any intimation to us. They are cloistered in 5 star hotels here under strict security so their bosses can acquire rights to own not only millions of acres of our paddy fields but all our mineral wealth. Chief among their targets are the Eppawala Phosphate deposits which Justice A R B Amerasinghe and his fellow judges decreed be retained inviolate for the sustenance of our people through the future centuries. That prohibition is among others that Ranil Wickremesinghe and his fellow whatever-you-may-call-them are now trying to overturn in secret – away from the eyes not only of our people, including journalists, but even of their fellow ‘law-makers’ in parliament (an altogether irrelevant body).
In the light of such barbaric assaults on our people, their culture and the physical resources that belong to them, we should pay attention to the words of the USA Senator Kamala Harris, (a potential candidate for President). In her book published last week, The Truths We Hold she said, Years from now, our children and grandchildren will ask us where we were when the stakes were so high. They will ask us what it was like. I don’t want us to just tell them how we felt. I want us to tell them what we did.