21 June, 2024


The Writing Is On The Wall: How Sri Lanka Is To Be Dismantled

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

If a woman files a formal complaint or publicly accuses a man of repeated conjugal rape, attempted murder and the serial killing of her children over the years, it is hardly likely that she plans to reconcile with him and remain within the marriage. On the contrary it is a sure sign that she is intent on leaving him and wants the authorities to intervene.

If the charges are untrue, then we would conclude that the woman is wittingly maligning the husband and causing damage to his image and harm to his standing in society, to the maximum extent possible.

So it is with an elected body which passes a resolution claiming “historic and recent genocide”. That is not a step taken by any group that wishes to say within a single sovereign state or envisages itself doing so. It is a step on a roadmap to political exit from the state.

To those like my critic and friend Sarath de Alwis who not merely see nothing wrong with Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s political behavior and indeed admire him (‘Justice Wigneswaran-Smarter Than The Smart Patriot’), I would commend the opening paragraph of the Editorial of the respected newspaper The Hindu, which summarizes the recent ‘Genocide’ resolution of the Northern Provincial Council and its implications, thus:

‘The Tamil question has been brought centre-stage with the elected council of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province passing a resolution accusing successive governments in Colombo of carrying out genocide against the minority community over six decades. Moved by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in the Provincial Council, the resolution demands that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights investigate “historical” and “recent” instances of genocide and submit its report at the session of the Human Rights Council next month. It also asks the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. Thirdly, it asks courts in countries with universal jurisdiction over the alleged events and perpetrators, “including but not limited to the United States”, to prosecute the crimes. The resolution roundly rejects any domestic investigations.’ (‘Playing Poker in Sri Lanka’, Editorial, The Hindu, Feb 13, 2015).

Mr. de Alwis remonstrates that I have not debated him directly and have not engaged with the points he has made, including the one in which he invokes Immanuel Kant. I plead guilty. Many of Mr. de Alwis’ points are speculative ones about my motivation, evolution etc. while the rest are intellectual digressions. A reply to those would mean venturing into autobiography and the history of ideas. In the words of a movie hero addressing a leading lady, which were often quoted with a chuckle by his former editor and mentor -and my father- Mervyn de Silva, “I have both the ability and the inclination, but sad to say, not the time”.

Though the product is assembled from planks of my political and polemical platforms of over twenty years, my urging of a Smart Patriotism centered on a New Nationalism takes place in the context of ‘a clear and present danger’ to the Sri Lankan state, the project of a Sri Lankan nation and the Sinhala community. Dumb patriotism and the old nationalism have lost; have been beaten, and inevitably, perhaps deservedly so. I have already practiced with success, most conspicuously in Geneva, the Smart Patriotism and New Nationalism that I preach. It has passed the test of competition in the global arena. It is by no means an ethnic chauvinism and I regard a great exemplar of smart patriotism to have been the late Lakshman Kadirgamar. (As for nationalism, readers might recollect that Mr. Kadirgamar thought better of Wimal Weerawansa than of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s CFA, and appeared on the same platform as the former at the Town Hall grounds, addressing an audience in Sinhala, against the Wickremesinghe government).

I refuse to be diverted by my intellectual ego, from the task of warning the nation and fulfilling my duty to my country and the state. Thus I shall not play Mr. de Alwis’ game.

I am not enough of an egoist and far too much of a political scientist, not to connect the dots of what’s happening and discern the bigger picture.

  • Step One: As a definitive election analysis by experts proves, Mahinda Rajapaksa gets 58% of the vote of the Sinhalese who comprise 74% of the country’s populace, and only 13% of the vote of the minorities, and loses. Maithripala Sirisena gets 41% of the vote of the Sinhalese and 85% of the vote of the minorities and wins. (‘Deconstructing the Sri Lanka Presidential Election 2015 through Data Analysis’, Dr. Ranjiva Munasinghe and Ruwanthi de Silva, Daily FT, Friday Feb 13, 2015.

This stark, structural asymmetry of both voting pattern and domestic geopolitics would not matter except that quite a high percentage of one of the minorities concerned is represented by the Northern Provincial Council which just accused the Sri Lankan state of “historical and recent genocide”, which means that their commitment to Sri Lanka is dubious; questionable. Thus President Maithripala Sirisena’s victory is owed mainly to votes from areas and communities that are quasi-separatist; ambivalent about their commitment to Sri Lanka and have their feet in two places: Sri Lanka and the once and future Tamil Eelam.

  • Step Two: The President appoints as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of the UNP, who promptly appoints a Cabinet which is almost totally UNP. Thus a person and a party which have neither won a national election nor demonstrated that they enjoy the confidence of the majority of the House, forms the government. This is unprecedented in a democracy.
  • Step Three: A signature appointment by the new Government is that of the Governor of the Central Bank. The post is given to someone who is not a citizen of Sri Lanka (not a dual citizen) and has been for thirty years, right up until his appointment, a top executive of foreign private banks.
  • Step Four: The unelected government and an ex-president push a draft of Constitutional reform which will overturn the executive Presidency and replace it with a parliamentary/Prime Ministerial Government, in which the President has to act ALWAYS on the advice of the Prime Minister and can be removed by a two thirds majority of the parliament—which is easily obtainable courtesy funding from the next Raj Rajaratnam who comes down the pike.

As a perceptive piece on the Draft Proposals for Constitutional Reform by political scientist Prof S. I. Keethaponcalan notes:

“…These provisions suggest that the government wants to revert to the parliamentary system of governance, which existed in Sri Lanka until 1978…The constitutional changes proposed will transform the president into a ceremonial head…Another noteworthy aspect is the proposed mode of removal of the president from office. According to the present proposals, it will require only a no-confidence motion approved in the national legislature with a two-thirds majority to remove the president. The current constitutional requirement of impeachment will be removed…The very essence of the proposal does not suggest that executive presidency will stay. …The spirit of the present proposal does not suggest that removal of the impeachment provisions is a problem because the executive presidency will not be retained.”

Thus the roadmap and agenda is the weakening of the Sri Lankn state and the dismantling of a strong center. When the presidency is weakened there will emerge a multiplicity of power centers, which when added to the provincial councils, will result in a pluri-centric, weak and centrifugal state. The base and mainstay of the Sri Lankan state, the majority Sinhala community, would have been subject to fissiparation, atomization. They would be divided, so as to be easier to rule. They are already being lobotomized and turned from a proud, successful and martial nation of the last decade, into   nation of selfish consumers, individual citizens and spectators.

  • Step Five: When the North makes its inevitable push, in line with its strategy of incremental separatism, the Presidency would have been deliberately, consciously enfeebled while a parliamentary government and cabinet resting on Northern political support, will be unable to successfully resist that effort, besides which an economy whose commanding heights are dominated by non-national elements (including the pro-secessionist Diaspora) and whose direction is dependent upon the Western institutions (we’ve already gone to the IMF), will be unable to withstand its impact.

While the usual coalition of Sri Lankan liberal and pseudo-left “rootless cosmopolitans” would doubtless denounce my scenario as Sinhala nationalist hysteria or delirium, I wish to draw the readers’ attention to the following paragraphs, not from a Sri Lankan ‘Smart Patriot’ or pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa Sinhala ‘New Nationalist’ but from a well-known Marxist intellectual of Greek-American roots who was close to the Latin American revolutionary Left from the days of President Salvador Allende’s Chile. James Petras, one of my old professors from my Fulbright days at the State University of New York, spelled out the script for Western endorsed secession in the Third World societies in this manner:

“…separatist movements follow a step-by-step process, beginning with calls for ‘greater autonomy’ and ‘decentralization’, essentially tactical moves to gain a local political power base, accumulate economic revenues, repress anti-separatist groups and local ethnic/religious, political minorities with ties to the central government… The attempt to forcibly usurp local resources and the ousting of local allies of the central government results in confrontations and conflict with the legitimate power of the central government. It is at this point that external (imperial) support is crucial in mobilizing the mass media to denounce repression of ‘peaceful national movements’ merely ‘exercising their right to self-determination’. Once the imperial mass media propaganda machine touches the noble rhetoric of ‘self-determination’ and ‘autonomy’, ‘decentralization’ and ‘home rule’, the great majority of US and European funded NGOs jump on board, selectively attacking the government’s effort to maintain a stable unified nation-state. In the name of ‘diversity’ and a ‘pluri-ethnic state’, the Western-bankrolled NGOs provide a moralist ideological cover to the pro-imperialist separatists.’

Petras goes on in the same text to caution against federalism, pointing out with concrete examples, that “the shift from ‘autonomy’ within a federal state to an ‘independent state’ is based on the aid channeled and administered by the imperial state to the ‘autonomous region’, thus strengthening its ‘de facto’ existence as a separate state”. (Petras James, June 2008, Separatism and Empire Building in the 21st Century, Centre for Research on Globalization, available here )

We in Sri Lanka are now living under a minority government in two senses: a government that does not have a majority of votes or seats in parliament and a President who did not secure the confidence of a majority of voters of the majority community, but won with an overwhelming majority of minority votes.

Anomalous in a democracy, it is turning out to be a government of the (social) minorities, for the (social) minorities, and by the (social) minorities.

Sri Lankan society today is divisible not only between those who regard Mahinda Rajapaksa as a hero and those who regard him a villain, but also between those who regard Mahinda Rajapaksa a villain and Chief Minister Wigneswaran quite an acceptable fellow. Clearly Mr. Sarath de Alwis is not merely in the latter category, but in a sub-category which cheers Chief Minister Wigneswaran while jeering Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is not unique in this. There are those who regard a possible Mahinda Rajapaksa comeback or revival of his political influence as a greater danger than anything that Chief Minister Wigneswaran is liable to do. They would regard an SLFP or a new nationalist formation which is pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa as a greater threat than a restive Northern Provincial Council. I am manifestly not of that category and am proud about it.

I readily admit that though I have the abiding satisfaction of having seen the defeat of the LTTE and Prabhakaran and having fought in the “ battle of ideas” against that fascist enemy, the side I supported at the recent election—Mahinda Rajapaksa and the patriotic camp–lost, and worse still, the side I opposed in 2001-2003, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s CFA-UNP, has won. Moreover, the causes I have opposed from 1994 seem to be winning or about to win—CBK’s “Constitutional Revolution” abolishing the executive presidency, and her federalizing “package”. The outstanding contemporary Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek entitled one of his anthologies of essays, ‘In Defence of Lost Causes’. Simply because a cause has been or is lost, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t and isn’t worth fighting for, or indeed that it will not win in the future.

As Fidel Castro pointed out in a speech in December 1986 marking the 30th anniversary of the landing of the Granma on Cuba’s shores and the founding of the Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR), winning or losing is no criteria of being politically, historically and morally in the right. He pointed out that the revolutionaries, including Che Guevara could have been wiped out during the Granma landing itself but this wouldn’t have proved them wrong any more than it would have proved their pro-US reactionary enemy right. Fidel concluded that any true revolutionary must have a bit of Don Quixote in him; must have a little craziness.

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Latest comments

  • 7

    Dr DJ the Political Scientist ,
    Why your focus has moved from Ranil, Chandrika, Sajith, Karu J and the likes to ex -Judge and CM Wignes ?

    Your agenda has always been to discredit Ranil and Chandrika. You could not move Sajith away from UNP. You keept mum on Tissa Atthanayakae matter particularly before his arrest and before Jan 8th.

    Now you are creating more disharmony in the country by exaggerating events and saying Writing is on the wall: how Sri Lanka to be dismantled.

    CM Wigneswaran’s only brought up a motion and it was passed in a democratic way.
    Why can’t you accept democratic ways and if it is wrong oppose it through counter arguments without exaggeration and in a democratic way.

    The important point or qualifier CM made when proposing the motion is, he wants his motion properly and fully translated in Sinhalese and Tamil so that all Sri Lankans can read and understand.

    Do not frighten the masses with your exaggeration. MR and his regime can counter this motion as media control is relaxed and MR and his past regime giving so many press interviews on many other matters.

    • 3

      Well said Ambedkhar Reborn. You are right he has a twisted mind. He who is creating people like BBS gang. He needs to be reprimanded for this communal hatred write up. He a sycophant!

  • 6

    It is now only a matter of time.

    Another thing which is on the Wall is the 74 % whom Dr Dayan mentioned will be confined to less than two thirds of the Land Mass.

    While the Tamils and the Muslims have the rest of the Land,all for themselves. with their people running them, as there are no Sinhalese in the TNA or the SLMC.

    The other 26 % which Dayan mentioned will not only have the full control of more than one third but also have a significant part of their population occupying the two third the 74 % are left with.

    In addition, the welfare and wellbeing of the 74 % will be pretty much in the hands of the 26 % as well.

    Already they have acquired the Central Bank, Supreme Curt, and one Paskaralingam is on his way to run the Prime Minister’s Office to give the inhabitants Good Governance.

    5.7 Million of the 74 % in fact, totally rejected these Writings on the Wall.

    Unfortunately they were over ruled by the 600,000 odd followers of the Jathika Hela Urunaya Bosses, who include the most patriotic and humble Sinhala Buddhist since Anagarika Dharmapala.

    And his two mentors who are more patriotic than Venerable late Rahula ,according to my Elders.

    Now the 5.6 Million and their families can only do is pray to Buddha and say “Anne Apita Buddhu Saranai”.

    Because the Elite, Anglicans, Vellaslas and the SLMC are now every where saying Jayaweva..

    And one Sudar Oil boss from Canada says he is even organizing the 11,000 ex LTTE cadres in the North in to a LTTE Arm of the TNA ( not under the LTTE banner of course ) to give them the clout going forward.

    • 1

      Hi K.A Sumanasekera you seems to be another racist like Dayan! Mr.Wigneswaran was only trying to tell the Sinhala elitists and masses, [including you] who have been kept ignorant by the Sinhala politicians like DS,&SWRD and others. Find out; How did Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese had lived before the Portuguese came into plunder-trade,then to rule the Island? Mahavamsa was written in the 5th century, that too in Pali NOT in Sinhala. How and Why did this Mahavamsa mind set only started in the early 20th century? Why did Buddhist /Muslim riots took place in 1915? If only Sir Ponampalam Ramanathan had refrained from going to rescue the Sinhala politicians who were in prison and to be court marshalled; then the history would have been very different today.

      • 4


        Re “Why did Buddhist /Muslim riots took place in 1915?”

        Here is your answer.

        1915 was a Religious Riot. It was instigated by the stoning of the Kandy pageant by Coastal Muslims of India.

        The Esala Perahera starts on the 8th day of the waxing moon of Esala and continues for 15 days. The ceremonies are held for fourteen days within the premises of the Devale. The final and culminating 15th day perahera concludes with a ritual called the ‘diyakepuma’ (water-cutting) ceremony. The final day perahera from immemorial times had taken a route from the Devale to a place called Porutota on the Mahaveli Ganga for the ritual of water-cutting along a road known as the Ambagamuwa Road. The perahera had to pass a number of places of worship belonging to other faiths – some Christian churches, Hindu temples, and some mosques. Among these there was one mosque built not long ago (in the 1890’s) by the Coast Moors. Until 1912 the perahera had proceeded along its traditional route with the usual music unchallenged by anyone. That year, the Coast Moors threatened to riot if the perahera passed within 100 yards (metres) of their mosque. The Government Agent, presumably on the instructions of the police , subjected the issue of a license for the perahera to the fulfillment of the demand of the Muslims.

        The Basnayake Nilame of the Devale refused to abide by this unacceptable condition, and cancelled the perahera for that year. Instead, on legal advice, he instituted action against the Attorney General on 30th September 1913. The trial of the case came before the District Court of Kandy on 20th March 1914 before Dr (later Sir) Paul E. Pieris, Acting District Judge of Kandy. The learned judge delivered his judgement on 4th June 1914, declaring the plaintiff ‘entitled to the privilege set out in the second paragraph of his complaint’ (viz. “the right and privilege of marching and to and from and through all the streets of the town of Gampola including that portion of Ambagamuwa street……. With elephants to the accompaniment of tom-tom drums and other musical instruments”).

        Although this was an extremely fair judgement by all accounts the British authorities (not ready to accept it for the obvious reason that it was damaging to their prestige as the representatives of the glorious Empire on which the sun never set) appealed to the Supreme Court, which duly dismissed the plaintiff’s action. But the Basnayake Nilame and his supporters appealed to the highest tribunal of the British Empire, the Privy Council, and retained the eminent Sir John Simon to argue the appeal. There were signs that justice in this case was going to be asserted at last.

        The 1915 riots broke out in this time of indecision. On 28th May that year, the Vesak Fullmoon Poya Day, the traditional Esala Perahera of the Walahagoda temple was held. The perahera followed its usual route along the Ambagamuwa road. But the Police prevented the procession from passing the disputed place. The Moors, encouraged by what they assumed to be support of the Police for their cause started jeering at the Buddhists marching in the procession and threw stones at them from the steps of the mosque. Retaliation was swift and inevitable. Rioting between Buddhists and Muslims spread to other parts of the island. As usual in such situations criminal elements took to looting and arson; shops of Moor traders were attacked and goods stolen; mosques were set on fire. The Governor Sir Robert Chalmers declared martial law. By the time order was restored and martial law withdrawn three months after the rioting had started 63 people had been killed by the Military and the Police. Ad hoc commissions dispensed summary justice.

        The needless severity with which the British authorities dealt with the situation was partly due to the fact that Britain was at war with Germany, a powerful and pitiless enemy. The Turkish Empire made common cause with the Germans against the British. The British Government did not want to displease the Muslims, especially the many millions of them in India, for fear that this might lead to an uprising among them in favour of their co-religionists of the Turkish Empire.

        Although the hearing of the appeal of the Gampola Perahera Case before Privy Council began promisingly for the aggrieved Devale authorities, it did not go on until a final decision was delivered because the new Governor of Ceylon Sir John Anderson was trying to settle the dispute after 1915 riots by adopting a more conciliatory attitude towards the Esala Perahera. He gave binding orders that the Perahera was not to be interfered with any restrictions. When the Coast Moors found that the Government was no longer behind them they gave up their extremist demands. In 1917 the Governor himself attended the Perahera as the Sinhalese kings of yore had done.


        Re “If only Sir Ponampalam Ramanathan had refrained from going to rescue the Sinhala politicians who were in prison and to be court marshalled; then the history would have been very different today”

        He was elected by the Sinhala Vote and he was the ONLY elected Ceylonese (ethnicity was not in the picture). If the Sinhalese voted for the Sinhalese candidate Dr. H. Marcus Fernando, Sir PR would not have been the elected Ceylonese.

        Kind Regards,

        • 1

          WELL SAID WELL SAID.FACTS as they say are stubborn things.

    • 0

      When that 74% is full of KA-Sumane like garbage, even God has no choice..

  • 3

    DJ quotes: “As a definitive election analysis by experts proves, Mahinda Rajapaksa gets 58% of the vote of the Sinhalese who comprise 74% of the country’s populace, and only 13% of the vote of the minorities, and loses. Maithripala Sirisena gets 41% of the vote of the Sinhalese and 85% of the vote of the minorities and wins. (‘Deconstructing the Sri Lanka Presidential Election 2015 through Data Analysis’, Dr. Ranjiva Munasinghe and Ruwanthi de Silva”.

    So Dayan, if you believe that one vote from a Sri Lankan citizen belonging to the minority is equal to one vote from a Sri Lankan belonging to the majority, doesn’t it mean a 51.28% to 47.58% majority to President Sirisena – a bigger margin than what the former President had in 2005?

    In that case, what is your problem?

    Please tell us the truth Dayan. Are you a racist who believes that a minority citizen’s vote is worth less than a majority citizen’s vote?

    My advice to you is please take a break and gather yourself. Quoting racists is not worthy of you Dyan.

    MR lost because he proved that he is not fit to be our President anymore. His opponent, in the opinion of a majority of voters, was the better man. That is democracy.

  • 1


    You are right in one respect – there were no “air force” bases during the Civil War. I should have clarified that in my comment. However the land where the air force bases were developed in the 20th century were primarily property that the US government acquired and developed as forts during the Civil War. These forts have been in continuous use by the US military since then, and now many also house airports used by civilians, but the military bases are still in operation in these locations.

  • 3

    //They are already being lobotomized and turned from a proud, successful and martial nation of the last decade, into nation of selfish consumers, individual citizens and spectators.//

    It is these kind of jingoist statements that show his true state-of-mind. What kind of proud martial community is that which has used banned weapons against a minority population? – Only Saddam Hussain who gassed shias come into mind.

    Crazy fellow!!

    • 1

      where and which banned weapons have been used by SL forces?

      And SL did not target tamils, SL did target LTTE which is a legitimate target

  • 1

    Dr Dayan Jayatileka I along with patriotic Sinhala salute you for your analytical report. This was in the cards to happen. CBK, RW knew this in their planning dragging Mr Sirisena as the mule to do the donkey work. Mr Sirisena in his simple Simon mentality is gradually getting to know the peril he has put Sri Lanka in by winning with Tamil and Muslim votes. Tamil diaspora is heavily planning with funding, training LTTE in overseas bases, sending them to SL as tourist visitors and some coming for longer periods on dual nationality passports. Mahinda Rajapkse was right to stop dual nationality applications, current unconstitutional government has re started offering dual nationality at $ 5000.00 which is peanuts for LTTE diaspora. Sri Lanka will face a racist war of unimaginable proportion all over the country in the very near future. Wigneswaran is sowing the seeds and SL spineless political leaders are aware of this, promoting this process because of the pre presidential election pacts. Unless Sinhala population rise and face this challenge the country is doomed for ever, April election is an opportunity to vote intelligently to save the country from domination of Tamils and Muslims. They all have an equal place in SL but not devolution with absolute control. The current government is hiding the truth from the public for fear of losing their privileged positions.

  • 3


    Fomenting trouble? Are we?

    There is no ‘writing on the wall’ DJ. The writing is all in your head.

    This article of all those you did in recent times speak volumes about where your loyalties lie. It is still with MARA and your writing is clearly done to create a state of siege among the Sinhalese. The campaigning for MARA by you has already begun for the next general election.

  • 1

    Dr Dayan – Your analysis of the current events are correct and logical – but I think there should be a mechanism to prevent Executive President misusing his is executive powers – Executive Powers concentrated on one individual without any checks and balances often can corrupt individuals and they tends to do more harm than good – Therefore to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country EP are needed – so we must not abandon EP at any cost – but there should be some constitutional provision to prevent the holder of executive powers misusing it – I think by removing immunity enjoyed by the executive president and eliminating his ability to interfere with independent commissions will keep the EP on correct track to a certain extent

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