2 October, 2020

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Three Years On After The War: Our King And Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’

By Uvindu Kurukulasuriya –

Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

“The Romans, in the countries which they annexed, observed closely these measures; they sent colonies and maintained friendly relations with the minor powers, without increasing their strength; they kept down the greater, and did not allow any strong foreign powers to gain authority.”–  ‘The Prince’ -Niccolo Machiavelli

Did you know that President Mahinda Rajapaksa read the Sinhala translation of “The Prince” which was serialised in the Sunday Lankadeepa, ‘Raja Veediya’ supplement?  Yes he did.  Even three years after capturing the Northern and Eastern provinces we can see that Rajapaksa still follows Machiavellian principles. This short essay is to highlight what I see as the main issue with Rajapaksa with regard to reconciliation after the war.

In his essay “Concerning Mixed Principalities” Machiavelli says;  But when states are acquired in a country differing in language, customs, or laws, there are difficulties, and good fortune and great energy are needed to hold them, and one of the greatest and most real helps would be that he who has acquired them should go and reside there. …The other and better course is to send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, for it is necessary either to do this or else to keep there a great number of cavalry and infantry. A prince does not spend much on colonies, for with little or no expense he can send them out and keep them there, and he offends a minority only of the citizens from whom he takes lands and houses to give them to the new inhabitants; and those whom he offends, remaining poor and scattered, are never able to injure him; whilst the rest being uninjured are easily kept quiet, and at the same time are anxious not to err for fear it should happen to them as it has to those who have been despoiled. In conclusion, I say that these colonies are not costly, they are more faithful, they injure less, and the injured, as has been said, being poor and scattered, cannot hurt. Upon this, one has to remark that men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge. ….But in maintaining armed men there in place of colonies one spends much more, having to consume on the garrison all the income from the state, so that the acquisition turns into a loss, and many more are exasperated, because the whole state is injured; through the shifting of the garrison up and down all become acquainted with hardship, and all become hostile, and they are enemies who, whilst beaten on their own ground, are yet able to do hurt. For every reason, therefore, such guards are as useless as a colony is useful.”

This is what Rajapaksa is doing now. Although they are building a presidential palace near Iranamadu lake in Kilinochchi, our King will not go and live there. But the King is cleverly deploying the second strategy which Machiavelli recommended. The systematic Sinhalisation of the North and East!  Building Buddha statues for the Sinhala colonies is just one example. Strategic state-planned settlements, land, military intrusion, boundary changes and the renaming of villages etc. are others. The most important element of the process of Sinhalisation is the continued militarisation of many aspects of civilian life. The Sri Lankan government presented its 2012 budgetary estimates to parliament on October 18, 2011 unveiling a nearly 7 percent increase in military expenditure. Presently the civilian-military ratio in Jaffna is 8:1 and in the Vanni it is 4:1.

Three years after the end of the civil war, state polices have deepened existing feelings of fear, suspicion and mistrust between and within communities rather than creating more understanding amongst them, exacerbated ethnic tensions and further polarised the country. Unfortunately the Rajapaksas have no idea about the meaning of reconciliation. The establishment of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, implementation of the recommendations in the LLRC report and the release of Sarath Fonseka are outcomes of international pressure. It is now clear that without any international pressure the Rajapaksas are not willing to give up the old Machiavellian theories. Although the Rajapaksa clan talks loudly about ‘sovereignty’, they are the people who are allowing foreign interventions, because they are not doing their jobs.

In future the King will not be able to even “maintain friendly relations with the minor powers”, such as Pillayan and Douglas without increasing their strength. For a true reconciliation process power sharing must not only be regional but in the centre as well.

uvindu@journalist.com

 

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    I agree with you Uvindu, point taken. but the main issue is they are uneducated uncultured rascals.

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    Of course that is what they are doing, it is clear Machiavellian theories after a war is not for reconciliation. our King doesn’t have good advisers.

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    He is following what Velupillai Pirabakaran did to silence the educated class of the dominant community:silencing them by throwing good posts in the government- or if those bastards are still adamant, put them into jails.. Did Machiavelli write about this?

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      Irony is the same educated fellows carry the picture of VP and call him the leader, may be VP was true to himself and his community till end, Rajapaksas however are the opposite..

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    The River for Jaffna, is an environmentally friendly project based on overflow (spillwater) from Iranaimadu reservoir which flows down Kanakarayan aru into Elephant Pass lagoon. It was promoted in the 1950s by Eng. S Arumugam Snr Deputy Director of Irrigation and is known as the Arumugam Plan. It has three major components: 1. Elephant pass lagoon scheme, 2. Thondamannar barrage at the head end of Vadamarachchi lagoon, and 3. Arialay barrage at the tail end of Upparu lagoon. The project was never completed, but a Resolution was passed at the AGM of the Institution of Engineers in October 2007 for early completion by government. This was followed by a similar Resolution at the regional Pugwash Workshop in November 2007, on “Learning from Ancient Hydraulic Civilizations to combat Climate Change” proposed by Jayantha Dhanapala, President of international Pugwash for 2007 – 2012. President Mahinda Rajapakse, ordered immediate action, and by 2008 Thondamannar and Arialay barrages were restored; but Elephant Pass lagoon scheme could not be completed because it was under LTTE control. After liberation, before EP lagoon scheme work could be undertaken, a new project called “Jaffna water supply and sanitation project” was introduced on Feb. 15 2011, at a cost of Rs 18 billion, of which Rs 15 billion will be loans from the ADB and a French bank. When protests were made against this new proposal, our Ambassador in Vietnam Dr Ivan Amarasinghe (BSc ecology, PhD river development etc) entered the scene, alleging that environmental disaster would result if the River for Jaffna project is implemented. This is a subject that merits inquiry and report by investigative journalists. A parallel situation that comes to mind is the Eppawala phosphate project in the 1990s, when the country was saved from a rip-off by multinational corporations, only after it was taken to the Supreme court by public spirited citizens in Eppawala and Colombo. Here too public awareness can save the situation without need for recourse to the courts.

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    What is this Colombo Telegraph? A manufacturing plant in processing TRUTH into heights of absurdity? Verbiage of this ridiculous sort should not be allowed to publish in any country, which enourages settler minorities to launch invasive attacks against a country’s National Sovereignty, when the rational stance like in other National Countries should be, to encourage all citizens to be INCLUSIVE nationals of ONE country.

    For the writer to state “north and east as being CAPTURED” does not seem to have neither grasped the fundamental definitions of NATION, RACE or NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY nor the geographic truth of Tamil Nadu(Tamil Country) and the gross national violations against the Hela/Sinhela Island of Heladiva nicnamed into Srilanka. What the author is propagating is a new form of invasion called “invasion by migration”.

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      @AS,
      what the GSL said??? They said they won the war! for ex ” Gota’s War” not the insurgence !! what is your point?? it was invaded no question.

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      A.S.
      You are well on the way to earning a PhD in the substance coming out of the southern end of a bovine north-bound. I am sure your guru who has read The Prince in Sinhala translation (in instalments in the Lankadeepa) will be only too ready to bestow one on you as has been placed on “Dr” Vermin Silva!

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    From: Dr. Ivan Amarasinghe [mailto:ivanamarasinghe@hotmail.com]
    Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2012 4:45 PM
    To: DLO Mendis
    Cc: Prof P. W. Epasinghe; Lalith Weerathunga; Secretary Cabinet Office
    Subject: RE: River for Jaffna – Comment No. 4 in Uvindu Kurukulasuriya’s article

    Now who says there are dirty old men who try to blackmail through chanelling of private emails to the public domains thereby attempting to draw respectable acaemics to public arguments in the media?
    Such pathetic and devious old fools should be traeted with contempt and the silence they seserve!

    Shame on such old cockroaches thriving on the slime of the Colombo cesspits.

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    Well said AS – thanks for telling the truth in this crazy propaganda world of LTTE and its Tamil Diaspora around the World spending billions of ill gotten dollars buying up Western & local journalists, media channels and politicians. This propaganda scandal is well illustrated in Palitha Senanayak’e book, Sri Lanka, The War Fuelled BY PEACE. If Uvindu wanted to tell the TRUTH, he would have stated that to date the Rajapaksas have NOT helped to resettle a single Sinhala person in the North where 75,000 Sinhalas (and many more Muslims) were kicked out by the LTTE. Why not? because the GOSL is running scared of the undue International pressure behind Tamil extremism and racism. On the one hand they are clamouring for equal rights to cover up the fact that they the Tamil minority in SL are the most privileged minority in the world and on the other hand they are denying equal rights to the Sinhala community to settle or resettle in the North which the Tamils want to keep as their exclusive preserve where no other community can enter. Tamils have no problem in settling in the Southern parts of Sri Lanka(SL) or anywhere in SL but want to keep the North just for themselves? What sort of human rights, democracy or baloney is this?? Sri Lanka should be for all communities to settle where ever they want and therefore cannpy have exclusive areas for certain communities only – if you want an exclusive Tamil area in the North then STOP talking about equal rights or human rights which have no meaning in this exclusive racist and extremist Tamil Enclave in the North just carved up for the enjoyment of one community. It is so hypocritical of Uvindu NOT to mention that Tamil Nadu which is where the Tamil Nation was born (and Sri Lanka or Sinhale was the name of the country that the British took over in 1815 which clearly tells you that Sinhale was where the Sinhala Nation was born) do NOT have the superior rights for its minorities that Tamils in Sinhale enjoy. In fact, can someone tell us which country in the world has given its minorities the superior rights given to its minorities in Sri Lanka? Telegu, Cannada and Malayalam are the languages used by the Minorities in Tamil Nadu but lo and behold, these languages do NOT have equal status with Tamil language in Tamilnadu BUT in Sinhale Tamil language has equal status with Sinhala but the Tamil minority of just 9 per cent of the total population of SL is still not happy and clamouring for more and more privileges which they are NOT entitled to. Especially the “pro racist and extremist Tamil Diaspora supporting Sinhala people”, please read Palitha Senanayake’s book before you regurgitate all the Tamil extremist propaganda you have eaten since the 1950’s. If I charged £1 from every Sinhala person rugurgitating Tamil propaganda they have eaten by saying the Official Language Act of 1956 (which they derogatorily call Sinhala only act)was the cause of all the ethnic problems of Sinhale I would be a multi millionaire now. The Tamil Diaspora knows that PROPAGANDA is much more powerful that weapons or artillery and therefore have become experts in using and disseminating it to get maximum advantage as proven by Uvindus article above.

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      S.Mahinda,
      Do you really believe if your comment above will be welcomed by decent
      educted. honourable citizes of our island?
      Ypu are one of the extremists to comment in this blog.

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