29 September, 2020

Blog

The Uncrowned Media King Of Sri Lanka

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

“Mr. de Silva was undoubtedly the uncrowned media king of Sri Lanka and he rose to this level only because he wrote what he wanted. He will wine, dine and light the best Cuban cigar presented to him by the leader of the country, but he could not be dictated to by anyone. To him, friendship and other considerations were secondary to ethics in journalism. In this context I feel that the journalists in Sri Lanka should emulate these great qualities of Mr. Mervyn de Silva.” 

Mervyn de Silva 15th Death Anniversary June 22, 2014 – *This article originally appeared 15 years ago, in the Ceylon Daily News of July 3rd, 1999

I will be falling in my duty if I do not pen a few words of appreciation about Mr.Mervyn de Silva who I admired very much for his knowledge, genuine friendliness and most of all his ability to call a spade a spade.

Whenever I met him, which happened to be at least twice a month during the last 25 years, I always made it a point to have a serious chat even for a minute. I valued his ability to provide an unbiased interpretation of the current political issues and his forecast on such matters were always accurate.

It is with a very heavy heart that I recollect some past meetings and I begin to feel that I have lost a very useful and genuine friend. First I came to know Mr.de Silva through my cousin the late Mr. Lakshman Rajapaksa. Both of them were regulars at the Orient Club. Being a Royalist he was also very close to late Mr. George Rajapaksa, his fellow alumni.

Mervyn de Silva ( Middle)

Mervyn de Silva ( Middle)

Being only a student of politics, I remained a passive participant at the meetings Mr.de Silva had with my cousin, Lakshman and George, gathering valuable points. However I came still closer to him after I became a Member of Parliament in 1970. The frequency of meetings grew after the formation of the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine, when the journalists who launched this organization elected me as its President. Mr.Mervyn de Silva was one of the Patrons.

Mr.de Silva being a journalist well versed in international affairs was found to be an authority on Middle East. Our Solidarity Committee naturally, considered him as an invaluable asset. He was never a blind supporter of PLO or its cause. There were instances where Mr. Silva was critical of some policies of PLO. I had the pleasure of introducing Mr.de Silva to a number of Palestinian delegations visiting Sri Lanka and I am proud to say that all of them were surprised about Mr. Silva’s knowledge of Middle East and the Palestine issue in particular. He was equal to the best of authorities on Middle East affairs. Mr. de Silva maintained a very close relationship with the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Sri Lanka and its ambassadors had a very high regard for him.

When the UN decided to hold its regional seminar on the question of Palestine at BMICH in August 1981 Mr.de Silva was selected as one of the eleven experts to present papers at this seminar. His presentation being of a very high standard naturally brought honor to Sri Lanka.

Mr.de Silva was a livewire at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies and his contribution to its popularity among the intelligentsia of this country was invaluable. His ability to conduct lectures and discussion, very often under trying conditions, can never be matched.

Mr.de Silva was undoubtedly the uncrowned media king of Sri Lanka and he rose to this level only because he wrote what he wanted. He will wine, dine and light the best Cuban cigar presented to him by the leader of the country, but he could not be dictated to by anyone. To him, friendship and other considerations were secondary to ethics in journalism. In this context I feel that the journalists in Sri Lanka should emulate these great qualities of Mr.Mervyn de Silva.

While Sri Lanka lost a great son in the field of journalism, international journals like Newsweek, New York Times, The Times of India, Economist etc., along with broadcasting organizations, like the BBC will feel his loss immensely) is no doubt that Mr.Mervyn de Silva brought honor and prestige to journalism in Sri Lanka.

I convey my heartfelt condolences to Mrs.de Silva, Dayan and Pulsara.

********************************************************************

*This article originally appeared 15 years ago, in the Ceylon Daily News of July 3rd, 1999

[‘He Wrote What He Wanted’, Mahinda Rajapaksa, In His Time: Selected Tributes, Mervyn de Silva, 1929-1999, 70th Birth Anniversary, International Center for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, 1999, pp.37-39]  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    I wonder who wrote it for Rajapakse.

    I was at his Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) speech at the BMICH when he delivered the keynote address as the then PM. He struggled with the written speech and misread big words as other words that did not fit the sentences or the context. He might be better now but before that SLAAS address Rajapakse was totally incapable of writing this.

    The sheer drama he is staging before us now began long ago.

    • 3
      0

      Cynic

      “The sheer drama he is staging before us now began long ago.”

      I listened to one of his speeches on Video in English, and I thought he had a potato inside his mouth.

      Potatoes in his mouth does not matter, if he still gets the votes, by lies, deception , by criminal act ivies etc.

    • 3
      0

      that was my guess too!
      probably someone like Rajpal or Malinda may have penned this for Rajapaksa.

      This reminds me the late Premadasa was to boast of his pedigree with similar fashon and even got songs and novels from their authors for few thousand rupees and published under his name.

      As I know DA Rajapaksas were not in good terms with siblings and George and Lakshkan would never have introduced this 3rd class MARA to someone like Mervyn de Silva and I do believe the Orient Club did not server Kassippu that time which was the MARAs drink that time.

    • 2
      0

      Cynic,

      Although MR was allowed to enter Law College without the required qualifications, merely because he was an MP in the Corrupt Mrs. B’s govt that came into power promising rice from the moon, MR was helped through Law College without having to study Law. His general aptitude is below mediocre. Believe me if MR is given pen and paper and asked to draft a Motion, he can not. Besides him qualifying as a Lawyer he has never appeared in a Court House carrying a brief ever and argued any matter. That is his ability and intellect. So do you seriously believe that this bugger can write this? Be that as it may, Mervyn De Silva was a highly overrated journalist and there were many better Journalists than him who did not bumsuck politicians as he did to come to limelight. This is the truth and one can see it runs in the blood when one observes his Offspring Dayan Jayathilake.

  • 5
    0

    [‘He Wrote What He Wanted’, Mahinda Rajapaksa,}

    I Mahinda Rajapakse do what I know best which are giving lap top computers and duty free cars to Journalists to make me a King and sling mud at opposition parties…..and if they do not listen to me I will make them disappear in white van or send them abroad with one way ticket.

    I also take big tips from mega deals and it’s open and official. I am a master ethenol, cocain, clubs, casino and night club king pin.

    I buy opposition parliament MPs and I call them educated and respectable whores. I buy many things over the counter like land, businesses, property, stocks,lamborghinis, foreign money, foreign assets, land, building etc,etc,

    I am a Jack of all trades but only scared of UNHRC Navi Pillai.

    My collegues are Gaddafi, Sadam Husain, Castro, BBS balu sena, Rawaya, JHU etc,etc.

    I am good at Burning, looting, vandalizing, stealing, murdering, white van etc,anybody who oppose me and my brother helps me to carry out my duty.

    Wish me Luck from UNHRC inspectors. Until then I will keep on creating trouble.

  • 3
    0

    It is sad that a fearless journalist , Lasantha Wikramathunghe was murdered during your tenure as President. Would the same fate have befallen Mervyn De Silva if he was in active media in current times ?

  • 4
    0

    What would Mr. Mervyn de Silva have written if he read the incorrigible articles his son Dayan Jayatilleke writes now to earn his keep?Surely the great man must be rolling in his grave. It seems Dayan must be at least partially be realizing his folly and therefore in partial repentance goes as a Jayatillke and NOT a de Silva.

    Incidentally, is Dayan Jayatillke behind the republishing of this speech on CT ? If so, what is the motive? Perhaps an indirect plea for a posting for old times sake? Hope he is not aiming at Geneva,where much damage control had to done since the last time he was there.

    How fathers and sons can differ so hugely.But this difference beats them all . One really wonders whether they indeed were father and son at all. Old fox JR obviously realized they were not , for even after he had had Dayan assaulted in Kanatte, he still continued to associate papa Mervyn at ” Braemar ” over a glass of the finest brandy and a Cuban cigar.

  • 2
    0

    This Mahinda Buru Rajapaksa is proving what a hypocrite he is.

    He is praising Mervyn de Silva for his integrity and independence, while he has been grooming a set of servile, bumsucking, sycophants as journalists for the Sri Lanka media during the last ten years. That short guy at Daily New comes to mind?

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.