22 May, 2022


There IS A Difference Between “Due Process Of Law” & “Dereliction Of Duty”

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

How long the people of this country are going to keep “tightening their belts,” “grinning and bearing” etc. Etc. before there is another explosion like the first Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) uprising of 1971 is anyone’s guess. The fact that such as Rohana Wijeweera’s Che Guevarists could emerge from the ranks of the Rajapaksa Horde shouldn’t be cause for surprise if one were to examine the history of Sri Lanka in the latter part of the 20th century. Any student of that time or even those who were simple onlookers will recall that those who took up arms against the Sirimavo Bandaranaike regime were those, in fact, she had readied to rise against Dudley Senanayake if he had won the 1970 election or had chosen not to hand over power in the event of his defeat. These were to be her storm-troopers in the event of either of those eventualities and I distinctly remember the events after the I970 election, particularly since it was my first experience of being politically “targeted.” Given that history, there is every likelihood of the young and disenchanted of this country turning against a United National Party (UNP)-led government that is very obviously playing “footsie” with the Rajapaksa Remnants and from which it is getting more and more difficult to differentiate it. The not-insignificant minority that is still clinging to the MARA satakaya, is, with relatively few exceptions, doing so in the sincere belief that MR is representative of some form of social justice. Every person at the well-attended rallies for MR wasn’t paid for with a “bath packet” and an “arakku bagey.” When that element of the current Rajapaksa supporters realise that MR is part of the problem and certainly not part of the solution, the fun is going to begin! Once the government of the day – United Front for Good Governance – or whatever other multi-initialled conglomeration claims to be in “opposition” to it – is exposed for what it is, they will try to “do something about it!” In fact, the chances are that history will force them into some form of rebellion. The fact that uprisings of that kind were met with ruthless cruelty in the past is not going to be any real deterrent. If one compares the two JVP-led rebellions – that of 1971 and the subsequent one in the mid- to late-eighties – it will be patently obvious that the cruelty, inclusive of the bodies of youth being incinerated on tyre pyres in 1971 did not deter those who took up arms in the subsequent rebellion. In fact, the second time around the JVP gave better than it got in 1971 in the matter of torture and wanton killing of the cruellest kind, by all accounts.

Anura KumaraHow the armed forces of this country, from “dog soldiers” to senior officers, numerically equivalent to the Russian army, is going to react to a major social upheaval is going to be the very big question. Will the largely-peasant youth, trained in the use of state-of-the-art weaponry “follow orders” and shoot down those who might, literally, be their brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers as they did at Rathupaswela or will they do what the sailors did at another place in another time and create a Sri Lankan Battleship Potemkin, a centre of revolt against the government, with even the officer class joining the peasant private? There is a historical precedent to such an alliance: Mikhail Tukhachevsky, a cadet in the Czarist officer school, became the first field commander of Leon Trotsky’s Red Army, and at the age of 21 at that!

All of the preceding is perhaps the most circuitous route I’ve ever used to get to the pith of a piece of this kind! For that I make no apology because I do believe that context or surrounding fact is essential in any discussion of matters of this import.

Even if the current government – “coalition,” “national” or “bound –by-simple-self-interest” – take your pick of qualifier, is, by its very philosophy, destined to end up in conflict with the broad mass of the people, it can, if it begins to show signs of a return to at least the superficial manifestations of democratic practice, diffuse disenchantment or delay outright rebellion. The people of this country have to be truly weary of confrontation, particularly of the violent and armed kind, and are still likely to grasp at any straw of negotiated resolution in their war-weariness.

One option to avoid or at least delay the kind of confrontation that I describe has been frittered away by the Wickremesinge/Sirisena bunch. That is the active and effective pursuit of those who have raped and pillaged this country in the Rajapaksa years.

The Sirisena/Wickremesinghe agglomeration has done little but huff and puff about massive theft by members of the previous regime. It has done little but pursue the likes of Wimal Weerawansa’s wife for an offence, criminal if proved, but which pales into insignificance when compared to the establishment of a private army using the resources of the state! Where are your priorities Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister or are you, as those “Jungle Newspapers” keep suggesting, complicit in the problem and therefore, incapable of contributing to the solution?

I have, more times than I care to remember, referred to the “insurance buyers,” in the UNP’s hierarchy and there is no indication whatsoever of their activities being curbed leave alone them being prevented from taking a government loudly proclaiming its virtue farther down the path that will ultimately destroy the rest of us while they enjoy their retirement in some tax-free haven!

Soon we will be celebrating the first anniversary of the defeat of the most violent, corrupt and dictatorial of government in all of Sri Lanka’s history. Come the 8th of January 2016, what will we have to celebrate apart from empty slogans?

Which of the bandits who robbed the public coffers will be behind bars or even being tried in court?

Which of the murderers, torturers and “disappearers” of our fellow citizens will so much as have their passports impounded?

How is it that our current government has chosen not to bring Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan aka “Karuna Amman” to justice or at least proceed to investigate the fact that he is accused of presiding over the execution of 600 unarmed policemen in the Eastern Province after they had surrendered, at the direction of President Premadasa, to the forces he commanded?

How is it that K.P. Pathmanathan (one of his better known aliases) is running free in this country doing “business as usual,” when he is on the Red List of Interpol for being the conduit for arms to the Liberal Tigers of Tamil Eelam when they were an internationally-declared terrorist organisation murdering and dismembering Sri Lankan civilians left, right and centre and even assassinating a leader of our giant next door neighbour? I suppose it would be considered inappropriate to mention the two “Masters” who served as Prabhakaran’s lieutenants and were given “get out of jail free” cards by the previous regime!

What has become of the oft-repeated promise that Tiran Alles would be taken into custody and charged for the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars meant for building houses destroyed by the tsunami and where not one house was built!

These are but a few of the plethora of organisations and individuals, internationally recognized as terrorists or accused of monumental thievery that the Sirisena/Wickremesinghe government has chosen to ignore and not even make a nominal effort to bring to justice.

The scene before us is not only beyond reality it is simply obscene!

Both the current President and the current Government were clearly elected to clean out the Augean Stables that passes for “governance” in Sri Lanka. Neither of them appear to have the will to do so and we are entitled to ask, “WHY have you chosen this path?

Even if it is by default, the JVP is beginning to look like the only light at the end of the Ranil Wickremesinghe/Maithripala Sirisena-created tunnel. One can but hope that Anura Kumara Dissanayake will continue to tread the road to probity and measured sanity on which he appears to have set his sights and that his existing cadre will support him in that endeavour and that honest people of ability will swell the JVP’s ranks, both numerically and qualitatively.

It’s sad when thousands of years of civilization has to look to the successors of a poseur playing at Ernesto Guevara, complete with jauntily-set beret, for redemption, but, as they used to say in another place and in another time, “You dance with the one who brung ya!”

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Mr EP, there is a difference between believing and ACTUALLY believing. (While the Christians believe in God the Muslims ACTUALLY believe in God) It was all election propanganda of Gobepllien repetition well planned ahead, well ochestrated. We all believed. But you seem to have ACTUALLY believed it. Wake up and have your morning tea.


    • 2

      Soma, are you serious or ACTUALLY serious?

      Pray tell us what the difference is and maybe we will get at least a hint of what you ACTUALLY mean.

      • 1

        What he means is there is no actual difference between the Rajapakse regime and what the Ranil/Maithripala combine is ACTUALLY going to be.

        Ranil and Maithripala and those newly appointed Cabinet and other ministers, and even some MPs are actually going to be thieves robbers rapists murderers cheats and frauds, albeit a more refined variety. A refined rapist .. ha ha. Even a modified one ..? Ranil could be that one.

        What Soma is ACTUALLY saying is “Stop hallucinating”.

        Read what my good friend Navin, September 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm commented under the news item “New Cabinet Appointed; President Sirisena Admits Fracas Over Portfolios”

    • 0

      Here we are!.

      [Edited out]

  • 1

    somass kantha

    “there is a difference between believing and ACTUALLY believing.”

    and really suffering from paranoia.

  • 3

    Emil, hopefully your ‘worst case scenario’ won’t come to pass, but I’m sure many of us who hoped for ‘action’ against the “murderers, torturers and “disappearers” of our fellow citizens”, the LTTE high-ups mollycoddled by the last administration, guys like Alles who ripped off the Tsunami funds (along with his sponsor), etc, etc, are like waiting for Godot!

    Granted that Maithri has pulled some ‘fast ones’ recently, but one wonders at what’s going on when guys like the foul-mouthed S.B. Dissanayake and a bunch of other Creeps are back in the saddle!

    Maybe as Ivan Illich once said, “We must rediscover the distinction between Hope and Expectation”!

  • 1

    Pooton, Buddie,

    Your reference to the association between Mikhail Tukhachevsky, and Leonard Trotsky is interesting.

    Could it be pal, the link was made possible by the SKY factor that is common to both these individuals?

    Please think about it and respond.

    • 0

      Yankee Dickie:
      What on earth are you on about or is this a (misguided) effort to be too smart by half?

  • 2

    Nothing, absolutely nothing is going to happen to the likes of Karuna, KP. Titan Alles, Emil Kanthan and for that matter any of the Rajapakses. All are a bunch of disgusting crooks, scratching each other’s back.

  • 1

    Mr van der Pooten

    Funny that you should write this piece, because, on many a balmy evening these past few days, I sat on the veranda, and when my old and aching bones were soothed by the contents of an ancient bottle of seven-year-old rum acquired cheaply on a long-ago trip to Cuba, and chased in the spirit of the times by some phosphoric coke, my pachydermatous memory drifted into some disturbing thoughts of what lies ahead.

    Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. And, even as we write, there are disgruntled elements, underneath the gently swaying palms, examining ways and means of restoring an altogether different form of government to what the people have in mind. Now is not 1970, or even 1987, but the scene is ripe for what Aunt Bessie would call ‘some mischief’.

    The mandate was simply, pursue and punish every one of the many scoundrels who misappropriated the public purse. Clear the decks of hangers-on, bring in good governance. Restore rule of law, ensure that justice is swift and sure. Not much to ask. Instead what do we have now? Accommodation with many of those who were complicit with those who caused much of the mayhem indulged in by the previous regime. A slew of ministries handed to incompetents with the proven experience of an inability to organise a piss-up in a brewery. What’s an honest voter to do?

    Our armed forces are large enough now to harbour a sizeable, malleable, number who see themselves as ‘Sinhala-Buddhist’ and destined to defend any danger to the ‘race’. The scene is ripe allright; it could be a matter of ‘not if, but when’. Let’s hope for the sake of the good people of this blessed land that this wayward, pestilential, dream of mine stays just that.

  • 1

    Mr.Poorten: I expect another type of “uprising” to be staged by the “MR Rump” if this Government is going to “dilly dally” on the complaints that are already being investigated or allow some of it gather dust in the closets. This what happened immediately after the “Nugegoda Street Drama” staged by the “Foursome” – VVimal; Vasu; Dinsesh and Gammanpila. The President and the Prime Minister did not take any notice of the cloud that was rising in the horizon. They simply “laughed” at it and was relaxing in their easy chairs stating that it was only a “Paid For” campaign. The media gave that impression too; but failed to make a sensible and an actual assessment of those “pilgrimages” to Carlton. I saw it myself and the class of people who came over in bus loads represented the “ill informed”; “not so convinced” and the “never believers” of whatever the President or the PM and the JVP tried to convey. Also the “Nugegoda Camp” stated in very clear terms: “if we are accused HORA, HORA; show the people what we have done. Have they even tried on one person and punished. This is nothing but MUD SLINGING”. The “Nugegoda Camp” was very successful in that operation and no one including the most eloquent JVP could combat that “uprising”. That was proved beyond any doubt by the way the people voted in large number of “preferential votes” to those “Foursome”. You would have seen even the most charismatic leader of JVP could not secure such large numbers from Colombo.

    Now is a “different tune” and a “drama” enacted by the “Foursome” with the “behind the scene” association of MR.That is centered around the “Opposition” status in Parliament. They have already started it with 58 MPs and the “Proposal” of MR to make Mr. Gamini Lokuge, the Leader of the Opposition is gathering momentum. Once again, the “fuel” to that fire is supplied by the “Foursome”. Wimal and Gammanpila have already started the boll rolling of questioning the “National Security” dangers that are rising up and this will be “set fired” by the “religious” (Buddhist) fanatics in no time. When that happens, once again MR will be in the forefront and we could see that “Fire” spreading during the forthcoming Provincial Council elections. That will be the next UPRISING waiting to happen and will definitely happen.

    Again, why it is taking this shape? It is because of the “lethargy” and “not so impressed” mode that the Government is adopting to the massive number of complaints lodged with the respective authorities. Take one case in point: The other day, the Presidential Commission very seriously viewed one Major General giving false evidence under oath and he openly stated that he did because he had loyalty to protect GR. However he has been asked to show cause on Sept; 17 as to why he should not be dealt with for a very serious breach of trust. What is the PUBLICITY that this major confrontation has been given at least by the State Media, both print and electronic? Do the people DISCUSS that situation at all? Have the political wings of the governing parties taken any SERIOUS NOTE of that case and the present situation? NO, NOT AT ALL. Look at “Eknaligoda” “THAJUDEEN”; “THIRAN ALLES”; “VIMAL & HIS WIFE” ; “LALTH WEERATUNGA” (that Sil Redi) cases. That lethargy and perhaps “Hidden” fingering by the “Bigs” and “Not so Bigs” would be giving rise to the next “eruption” and it will be staged at the next Provincial Council elections. Thereafter, we will see the RISING of the “SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD”. Till that day Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister will be sitting in their laurels and toasting on YAHAPALANAYA etc; elec.

  • 0

    Could it be the reluctance to prosecute has more to do with protecting the incumbents than doing justice?

    After all, many of the current band of rogues became rich, very rich, whilst the Rajapakes were in power. They were the facilitators.

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