23 September, 2020

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Unthinkable But Real

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath De Alwis

We must not allow politics to provoke our moral outrage. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a magnificent political conjuror. After his reelection in 2010 he jailed his failed opponent. The one who beat him on his third bid in 2009 has now delivered the boodle to his doorstep.

I undertake this essay to enlist your support to ensure that the government that was led by Ranil Wickremesinghe survives this challenge. This is not about keeping him in office. This is about using the opportunity of the 360-degree somersault of Sirisena our president to infuse a modicum of decency in to our democratic discourse. We must rejoice that it happened and use it for course correction.   

The outrage expressed by the president over Ranil Wickremesinghe’s role in the central bank bond issue is feloniously farcical theatre. He dissolved parliament before the DEW Gunasekara findings could be published. A day before parliamentary elections in August 2015 he moved the finish line tape closer to the UNP, by going on air that the former President MR would not be invited to form a government no matter what. When he did all that he knew that there had occurred a funny fracas in the vaults of the central bank.  Now he has decided to waltz out as the only virgin left in the ‘yahapalanaya’ bordello. 

I hold no lantern, torch or candle for Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. In an article captioned “Promises, Perceptions and Performance’ published in the daily FT on 26th January 2015 I wrote:

It is difficult to comprehend the urgency in appointing a Governor of the Central Bank for a term that extends beyond 100 days when the more transparent option would have been to appoint the most senior Deputy Governor for a short-term pending the implementation of good governance parameters which would include the selection of the Governor of the Central Bank. “ 

In a subsequent article published in Colombo Telegraph on 16th March 2015 which I sardonically captioned ‘In more submissions in defense of Arjun Mahendran’,  I likened the appointment of three UNP lawyers to investigate the bond deal to a search for a black cat in a dark room. 

I said “The current situation is exceptional. It calls for civic mobilization around the values of a people’s democracy. The nation is not privy to the whole truth about who made what decisions. Mr. Daya Pelpola and Mr. Ronald Perera are not the best qualified to tell the nation the details. We can observe the writing on the wall. As we get closer we should be able to decipher the scrawling. The grafting of the oligarchy to political power over the last decade has fundamentally altered the values in public life.” 

My credentials as a skeptic of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s politics are impeccable.  

Although I find the politics of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa disastrous and offensive, I appreciate the logic of his design to access power at the earliest possible hour.

He is the President who won the war. The imperialist west and dollar greedy human rights NGOs denigrate his patriotic achievements by claiming that it was a war without witnesses. That cannot be true. 

That said, now he wants to cobble up a coalition or a caretaker government without witnesses while parliament is prorogued. 

Yesterday we saw why it is necessary for the parliament to be prorogued. The great grandson of DS Senanayake appeared at Temple Trees from whence his illustrious ancestor rode out on horseback to die of a stroke at Galle face green. He was there to assure his colleagues and leader that his loyalties were with the party and under no circumstances will he desert the party. 

Later in the evening he was sworn in as a minster of the cabinet in which Mahinda Rajapaksa is the prime minster. The President who was the common candidate backed by the UNP is the head of the cabinet. Now you must remember that legal interpretations on that side are done by a great legal mind – a jurisprudential mountebank if ever there was one. The Great grandson is not in breach of his solemn promise made in the corridors once graced by his great grandmother Molly!   

Obviously, the great grandson is deeply attached to the imagined legacy of a noble ancestry – a clear pointer to a medieval mind. He seems   seduced by the praise heaped on his honorable ancestors by the president who himself has adopted a style of hugger mugger clandestine political maneuvering more suited to a Moghul or Ottoman court.

Let us cut to the chase. Why is the parliament prorogued? Because the road to fascism runs through the forum of the people. Silencing parliament is the first requisite of a fascist experiment. You must ignore Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

 Leon Trotsky identified the Vasudeva types in his tract ‘Their morals and ours’. “To appeal to abstract norms is not a disinterested philosophic mistake but a necessary element in the mechanics of class deception.’  

He wants parliament prorogued to reassign seats in the house. Mastery of Marxist morality needs more grit than a daintily coiffured silvery beard.         

We must return to the theme of this essay. Constructing a coalition with lights switched off with fat wallets discharging a blinding light. 

You must remember that Mahinda Rajapaksa was not a despot. History may or may not repeat. But it sure instructs. Powers of the earlier MR presidency were freely given by the people. That is the way it works. Timothy Snyder, a Harvard scholar has traced the road to populist serfdoms which are a sign of our time.  

Anticipatory obedience is political suicide. Yet that is what we do. We think ahead of what a repressive rule could do. Then, we offer without being asked. We saw the hill country parliamentarian who wrapped a shawl round MR earlier in the day going back to ‘Temple Trees’ and assuring his party colleagues that he would never abandon the tribe. Then he shuttles back and is sworn in as a minster. The earlier shawl draping was an expression of anticipatory obedience.

When we abandon facts, we abandon our freedom. As Timothy Snyder points out when nothing is true no one can criticize power because there is no basis for us to arrive at the truth. When nothing is true we must be satisfied with the spectacle. 

Is it not a spectacle that we are now witnessing? Is this not a spectacle staged e since last Friday, when a nationalist progressive Cardinal received a godsend in the form a double barrel Sinhala substitute  for Judas Iscariot?    

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Latest comments

  • 17
    5

    Not only the high crime of the Bond scam and the stubborn efforts by Ranil to stifle and prevent investigations into the oily rascals behind it, all other crimes like the Central high way , licenses given to ghost companies by the BOI, the obvious corruption in the rail engines matter etc etc,

    the economy is hardly moving, rupee plummeting and stock market at all time low. No investors and no tourists were coming. Even in the Port City development we ended up paying a penalty and also giving more land to the Chinese.

    Should the president have waited for a another year ?

    • 10
      3

      If the appointment of Mahinda is legitimate why do it in such secrecy?

      So ………. the manner in which Mahinda was appointed ……… shows ……. it was a coup ……… this is how coups takes place………. In secrecy without the knowledge of the citizens. ……. If it was legitimate it could have been easily done in the parliament.

      Ranil’s appointment in 2015 was done in the parliament – under vastly different presidential powers existing at the time which were curtailed by the 19th amendment especially to take away the power of the president to remove a sitting PM who has a parliamentary majority. In 2005 if the parliamentary assembly did not like Sirisena’s appointment of Ranil as the PM then the assembly could have brought in a no-confidence motion and removed him. That itself shows Ranil’s appointment was democratic. The parliament was not prorogued ……… so anyone was free to bring a no-confidence motion.

      Every time Mahinda has obtained power he has robbed it………. in 2005 he bribed Prabakaran ……….. in 2018 it was through an undemocratic coup.

      This man has not only robbed the country’s wealth …….. but the leadership too

      This is not UNP or SLFP or Mahind or Ranil or SIrisena or any other crap ……….. but the truth if people can stomach it ……but I am not holding my breath :))

      All the great Lankan academics, intellectuals, learned sons of the motherland ………….. what say you?

      Ah Lankans! ……….. where would we be without them?

      The farce ……. what has happened is typically Lankan ……… perhaps with a slight African Mugab-ein twist :)))

      What fun!

      • 6
        0

        I say it is utterly disgusting.

    • 11
      1

      Paul, Taraki, wannihami, somass,
      Eagle Indian bum watching Eye,
      jim stupid softy
      thrishu
      Shenali,
      sach
      Champa
      Lal loo


      Sinhale
      ramona scatter brain grandma therese fernando
      maalumiris
      ….

      Could you tell us as to why Sinhalese are fighting Sinhalese given that G G Ponna (1977), S J V Chelva (1977), A. Amirthalingam (1989), VP (2009) …………………… are dead and gone many years ago who were supposed to be the troublemakers,… …

      Sinhalese are supposed to be peace loving people who shares with and cares for others.

      I still wonder whether these people are capable of surviving without creating more troubles before solving the previous ones.

      Are these people fighting with each other to prove their Vellala supremacy among the Sinhalese?

      May be HLD M, Kamalika Pieris, ….. Channa Masala Jayasumana….. could write a thesis on how GG Ponna in 1933 Nawalapitiya, instigated the Sinhalese on Sinhalese racist attacks, scheduled to take place in 2018.

      • 0
        0

        It is a sociological phenomena. When there is external threat, the tribes come together to get rid of that threat. Now that the threat is not there since 2009, the tribes are fighting each other. May be India should threaten. That will bring the tribes together. May be. May be not. May be one of the tribe may go to New Delhi to get helo to eliminate the other tribe. China has said they don’t want to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. May be EU, UK or USA – Trump will like that.

    • 0
      0

      Hi Folks,

      why have not they failed to pass any pact against those who are easily available for sale ?
      I mean if any parliamentarian get the entrance ticket to Diyawannawa are voted by people. That means, they should first check if those voters would agree with them if they would jump in to the rival groups.
      Is this democracy ?
      In the days of Mrs B or even JR , there had been strict barriers not allowing parliamentarians leaving their own parties as so called Dr Wijedasa Rajakshe did it day before yestreday.
      Why on earth these uncivilized politicians betray their mandate which their party sympthizers gave them keeping much hopes?
      Do they at all ethical and moral values ?
      These abusive men are pseudo democrats. Wijedasa for example talks with high spirit, but behaves like no differen to an uneducated person. Above all, he has studied LAW so as Prof Peris has done.
      That Wasantha Seenanayake was reported to have left Mahinda Jarapakshe in 2014. And fought together with MS and RW for good governance. But now again, he goes back to MR, how come ? Like for example, you leave your home morning and returns home at the end of the day with an another partner. Why have the kind people lost the basics ?
      I m so fed up our politcians in general

  • 13
    2

    Not many a tears would be shed if/when Ranil loses Premiership and leadership of UNP as well.He is a commodity whose use by date has long since expired though his acolytes kept on relabelling the validity..As Mr. De Alwis has rightfully said this is not an issue whether Ranil should remain as the Prime Minister instead of Mahinda but the need to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and hence the argument for the survival of .the Government that was in power until 26th October

    By his callous disregard to the Constitution which as the First Citizen of the country he is called upon to protect and uphold,MS has shown his real character which does not seem to have progressed beyond the mentality of a Gamarala.

    Legal minds of both camps would keep on arguing on the validity of President’s action while the Country is faced with a great Dilemma, caught between the Devil and the deep blue seas.

    Convene the Parliament and let the fate be decided one way or other without any further delay

  • 12
    2

    Sarath, the big power behind this is China. RW, (I do not admire him) said aye to India to develop the Colombo East terminal. My3 said no. There is the crux of the matter. China is well and truly behind this and will do anything to ensure their “string of pearls” operation.

    If this goes through, only the coming conflict between China and the U.S/India will end the hold China has over us.

    • 9
      0

      Kumaran

      “the big power behind this is China. “

      There is only big greed behind all these incidents.

      Hindians probably refused to pay the usual commissions to our usual suspects on these types of projects.

  • 7
    9

    Kolla : Sarath de Alwis should have waited another year to pen this.

    Democracy means many a thing to many. Its a convenient term coined to bully countries like ours by the 01st world or the So called Super powers.
    Lets begin to develop our own home grown brand of Democracy instead permitting other to dictate to us what Democracy means.

    • 6
      0

      thondamany,

      Whatever you develop in Sri Lanka by the likes of you cannot be termed by any “brand of Democracy”! Democracy is a fluid process where it constantly needs to evolve and strengthened by instilling strong and egalitarian safeguards. By the way Majoritiranism is not democracy no matter how much you dress it up!

      • 0
        0

        Hear hear ! ..well said sir ….I was struggling to imagine someone developing a democracy ..as if it were a bit like baking a cake !

  • 10
    1

    I have not seen any stupid poltiican like MS in my life time; 19 amendment restricted the executive power of the president..
    He can not sack PM as he wishes without approval of parliament ..
    Moreover; there is a legal way if he wants to remove him..
    Call the parliament ask them to pass no-confidence motion against PM via Mps to see how Mps vote ?
    M&S knows this well ..
    He can not get support of parliament ..
    People are clear today ..
    To appease MR and to secure his seconds term.
    He did all this at expenses of democracy and the country ..
    What a joke ?
    M&s made a political suicide by this

  • 1
    11

    Sri lankan people have to forget every thing and support MS and MR. the rreason is USA, UK and EU are interfering Sri lankan affairs. We have to forget Corruptions for the time being. Ranil and the Gang are thieves and everyway they supported the Capitalist countries to thrive with everything of ours.

  • 7
    1

    Thondamany, Thondamany you are a real many. Ranil and his UNP is nothing for us but the country and democracy is real for us. You ass licking fool, let these thieves MR, Sirisena and goons to play with people’s will and their democratic rights. This no two cents worth, Sirisena has only this discarded MR to appoint as PM. If so, he could have appointed AKD of JVP as PM. Sirisena lost all his bearings, and now only all going to start for him. He badly let down all of them voted for him, they didn’t vote for him to make MR PM. Sirisena’s situation is like the woodpecker pecked on the plantain truck, and it’s going to be the Waterloo for both of them, and they really ask for it. Both of them put load of eggs on their faces. None, the people or the world have any regards for them for their third grate actions, and only their catchers are jumping up and down.

  • 1
    14

    Lankans must realize that they CANNOT tolerate inept, incompetent leaders with an attitude of disdain for their own country and her people. Why on earth do the people of Lanka not realize that Wickremasingh is a mediocrite who does not even deserve to run a decent sized farm let alone a vulnerable country like Lanka? It just amazes me how this man and his associates manage to stifle opposition, eradicate competent leaders and continue to hold onto the party’s leadership.

    Regardless of Sirisen’s decision’s full validity which can be debated in a legal forum for ever, this change is a good thing for Lanka and for her people who deserve a strong leader. Its a shame that Mahendra Rajapaksa has to tolerate the shenanigans of the there dumb progeny. These young men should be taught a lesson one day by someone. They are a massive disadvantage for Rajapaksa himself.

    It is hoped that Gotabya will be given a bigger role and groomed to become next President of Lanka. The elephant in the Lankan room is the Jihadi Moslems of Lanka who are waiting to devour the country in the next 20 years or even earlier. Whether its China or India Lanka should astutely play the game, flirt with both, take the gifts from both, but never marry either. Its a small country and it is hoped that Rajapaksa can steer it in the right direction. Sirisen’s role should be diminished and he should retire soon. Lanka can rise from the chaos like a phoenix rising if strong leadership like that of Gotabya can finally guide it, and rival Singapore and Dubai soon. Whatever happens people like me will love this wonderful land and its innocent people, whose smile could not be wiped off by Tiger terror and will be sustained by natural forces as long as the country remains a tolerant but quintessentially Buddhist country.

    • 3
      1

      You want Srilanka to become like Singapore, are you willingly to implement credit and merit based policies or you want to hold on Sinhala Budist policies???? It will never become another Singapore because it cursed by Sinhala Budist policy.

    • 0
      2

      You want Srilanka to become like Singapore, are you willingly to implement credit and merit based policies or you want to hold on Sinhala Budist policies???? It will never become another Singapore because it cursed by Sinhala Budist policy.

      I like to add Gotha is very good administrator and know how to get things done but nobody has back bone to change to credit and merit based policy

    • 2
      1

      Jay Chambers,
      .
      Please try to understand that we Sinhalese will not stoop to the opportunism that you advocate.
      .
      We’re also conscious of our responsibility to ensure that we settle this in such a way as not to embarrass the minorities. We solicit their support in Parliament, certainly, and I definitely will do all I can to ensure that all can live with dignity in this land that belongs to us all.
      .
      Such sentiments I express spontaneously. There can be no horse dealing on principles so fundamental.
      .
      If a foreigner must insult us with dirty solicitation, I think that he ought to be unceremoniously deported.

    • 0
      0

      Thank you Jay Chambers, you said it!

  • 2
    4

    Sarath, before writing of Moghuls and the Galle face green, why not read the constitution and then the 19th amendment. When an amendment is written it is imperative that either everything is spelled out including common sense, if not interpretation will default to common sense. 19th amendment refers to a National government and it also defines it, and according to the definition in such a government there should be more than one party (in our case it was UNP and SLFP), and when SLFP withdraws National government ceases to exist, i.e. government cease to exit), if there is no government there is no cabinet and since the prime minister exist only if the cabinet exist prime minister also cease to exist. Now, another interesting point is that 19th amendment does not say verbatim that President cannot remove the prime minister, instead it says under which conditions that prime minister can exist, but in referring to how PM may not exist it states, resignation, death or otherwise, so the otherwise could be the reason above..

  • 9
    0

    why do the press publish photos of Sinhala leaders praying to almighty Buddha and photos of them carrying dhanna and flowers and offering to bhkkus in yellow robes…

    are they confessing ..”forgive me Lord Buddha I am putting on an act and going to lie through my teeth …please give me the courage….and blessing

    • 6
      0

      They all are hypocrites of the worse kind trying to fool the stupid people in the country.

  • 3
    4

    Only half od the title is correct. It is not unthinkable, but it is as real as the polyp the writer’ feels daily on his back passage!

    Looking at the situation objectively, the sacking of Ranil is the result of a religious war between the largely Buddhist SLFP and a fully committed (so-called) Church of England stalwart RW. THe SLFP was always wary of his attacks, or at least lack of enthusiasm for Buddhist causes. After all his grand parents from Kurunegala were some of the first to convert to the colonial Henry VIII cult (the so-called Church of England) and his uncle was the head in Sri Lanka for many years. This is the same group SWRDB had abandoned. So there is bound to be natural mistrust in the ‘marriage of convenience’ of 2015 .

    Things matures to a point President Sirisena could not stand it anymore and he acted.

    It is natural that after the demise of their behind the scenes champion, the members of the ‘Church’ are making a bit of noise, aided by other protestants. But the Catholics would be secretly rejoicing.

    So Mr De Alwis, your attempt to enlist our support “to ensure that the government that was led by Ranil Wickremesinghe survives this challenge” is not going to succeed.

    In short, you are pissing against the wind.

    • 4
      1

      Religion has nothing to do here and some fool us by going to temples etc, hypocrites of the worst kind.

    • 3
      2

      Historian:
      Like all half-baked idiots, you relish the most inappropriate pseudonyms. And apropos of pseudonyms they are the shield of abject cowards, in case your kindergarten education hasn’t given you that knowledge.
      Ranil Wickremesinghe’s uncle who was once Bishop of Kurunegala was one of the most respected HUMAN BEINGS of his time. Your personal insult of that man speaks more about you and your “values” than any decent person can.
      It is xenophobic racists like you are destroying the moral fabric of this country. We can thank our lucky stars that there are still some decent SRI LANKANS in this country who have not succumbed to the rhetoric of truly evil people like you. There might still be hope for us!
      P.S.
      In case you you are going to respond by labelling me an “Anglican” or some such denomination, you’d be – as usual – barking up the wrong tree. But then you are the kind of “tree” that I’m sure male dogs look forward to encountering.

    • 4
      0

      What an warped reasoning this is.

      .How on earth the Religion has a role to play on this issue when it simply is a constitutional matter that needs to be settled accordingly.

      There is no reason for Catholics to rejoice secretly or otherwise for neither did they suffer persecution under MS/ RW or has anything to gain under MS/MR.(Cardinal Malcom Ranjith may have a different view perhaps).

      Religious discord is the last thing we want at a time like this

  • 3
    0

    How can this be “Unthinkable” for a land cursed by the sakkilli pariah’s made up of all the races?
    Now that we have the fascists back in power, the next action would be to release all religious extremists and political pigs allied with Goata and the Mahinda ballu kukkas like the Gnanansara, Mahasen Balakaya and even get down Ashin Wiratu from Myanmar for a Sinhala extremist resurrection, resurgence and escalation of communal violence and tensions for their political games.

  • 1
    1

    the fact that many unp backbenchers have crossed is a sure indication that ranil has lost his popularity in the party so whatever happens on th 16th
    he should like merkel step down and hand over the leadreship of the unp to someone else
    so he can prepare for the presidential election

  • 2
    0

    One is happy to see that more and more people are realizing that the whole show of Political Enmity is only theatre. “Unuth ekai, munuth ekay”. Self interest and the opportunity for “kick backs ” are the glue that binds them. Political position provides immunity from legal process. The real contest is not between the UNP and SLFP (or any other Pee) but between “Politicians” versus “The People”. I have advocated that morality, decency, truthfulness and fairplay should be better guides for political direction, rather than a written Constitution (examples do exist). A written Constitution merely leads to play with words, waste of Judicial Time and a bonanza for legal practitioners. Two sayings are applicable to the present chaos. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to decieve” and “What is sauce for the Goose, is sauce for the gander”, Another may be “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours!. Reflection on these truths may help in understanding our plight and the present childish impasse.

  • 3
    0

    historian
    the jayewardenes converted from chistians to buddhists for political purposes
    SWRD did the same
    ranil was never a christian
    though he visits kovils like mahinda they both call themselves theravada buddhists

  • 1
    0

    Only few days ago Lanka was in Lonely Planet list as destination to visit in year 2019 and so many pseudos were concerned of sabotage by patriots, Today Lanka is in caution list , US, Canada and Australia have already issued travel warning to their citizens who are planning to travel to Lanka. Few days ago there was heated discussion of higher ranking officer being called back from UN , Now it looks like the whole force may be called back and need for peace keeping is urgent in Lanka than outside. Before people were arguing about larger parliament and unnecessary expense on hundreds of legislators. Now we have two legislative groups to administer the country. People were also angry out about fuel price and depreciation of rupee. Now looks like we may not have fuel at all and the rupee is worth ????? What a Miracle. Crime and Corruption were heavily debated issues until now. From now ????????????

  • 1
    0

    Yes Mr. Alwis what I mentioned above too is unthinkable but real. Because do not forget we live in a Miracle country.

  • 2
    0

    rupee tumbling further amid political and economic crisis

  • 2
    0

    Excuse me JD you keep repeating “Lankans have to forget everything including corruption “??? You may be fortunate at this juncture in gradually loosing your memory and cognitive functions so that you may not remember at all. But how do you expect the same with others.

  • 1
    1

    The writer is sounds to be a stooge of the UNP. How about JRJ depriving civic rights of Mrs. B. Then appointment of Ranil who gained 47 seats to be the PM. The removal of CJ in an unconstitutional way. Shirani Bandaranaike was not a saint as the UNP is trying portray. A person who has not practiced at the official bar she ascended to be CJ due to her name pushing several senior officers. SF went to jail for offences conduct unbecoming of a gentlemen under the Army Act. We know the past career of SF which was not so clean who was by passed by several heads of state including Wickramasinghe, Wijethunge and Kumarasinghe.

  • 2
    0

    Wasantha Senanayake on his return from Kenya,drives straight to Temple Trees and offers his loyalty,support etc etc to Premier RW.
    A couple of hours later,he is sworn in as Minister of Wild Life and Tourism! There is no difference between him and Vadivel Suresh.
    We live in Wild times!
    As for Vasu, a left ball of Wimal, he hangs out with MaRa for his unlimited supply of Scotch.He sips while he dips!

    • 2
      0

      But today, I read somewhere, he further states that he remains UNP minister.

      How come ?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    0

    Bambalathappu it is called MIRACLE.

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