19 May, 2022

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Waiting For Herr Hitler?

By Jayadeva Uyangoda

Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda

Is Sri Lanka ready for an elected dictator? This is the latest question to enter Sri Lanka’s current political debate. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s preparations to contest the next presidential election in 2019 have already precipitated a potentially explosive controversy that can last for weeks and months. An admirer of Gotabaya Rajapaksa has echoed as a positive political desire through a metaphor which his detractors have been using to attack him. A Buddhist prelate representing the Sri Lanka’s most conservative Sangha establishment has said it in a few words: “Let Gotabaya Rajapaksa prove his critics right by becoming a real Hitler.” 

Ven. Endaruwe Upali, deputy chief priest of the Asgiriya Chapter in Kandy, made his rather unusual plea to Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the latter’s birthday almsgiving just a few days ago. In the crowd listening to the monk were former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-liberal democrat G. L. Peiris, who happens to be the nominal leader of the newly formed Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP). The latter is a political outfit created as a vehicle for the political ambitions of various members belonging to two generation of the Rajapaksa family. 

Viyath Maga

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has begun to build his own presidential campaign outside the SLPP through a new organization called Viyath Maga (“Path of the Learned’), which is a non-party entity. It is a loose association of ex-military officers, some relatively new, to use Dayan Jayatilleka’s phrase, business tycoons, and a few layers of the Colombo-based professionals and academics with high personal ambitions. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Viyath Maga have already given some key signals about their political project.  Two of them can be stated as follows:

  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s political strategy seems to have been designed to build his campaign initially outside an established political party, while projecting himself as an unconventional, non-party leader emerging outside the mainstream of the political establishment. Once he established himself as a formidable presidential candidate, he would be able to force either the SLPP led by his brother, or the SLFP led by President Sirisena, or both, to back his campaign. In this strategy, Gotabaya Rajapaksa seems to follow Donald Trump, the president of the country of his second citizenship.
  • The three immediate social groups that constitute the core of Viyath Maga and their ideological orientations give us a clue to the type of regime that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is promoting: an illiberal meritocracy. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has no qualms about admitting publicly that he is no great admirer of democracy. The uniqueness of his campaign is that he is ready to present to Sri Lankan voters an openly undemocratic regime choice.

Viyath Maga’s Vision

The ex-military officers who seem to constitute Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s immediate support constituency have brought into the Viyath Maga project the fantasy of a new ruler who could transform Sri Lanka into a society of docile subjects who would embrace a Sinhalese –Buddhist strongman savior of their rata, jaathiya and aagama (‘country, nation, and religion). This is the Fuhrer element which Upali Thero also mentioned when he elaborated his political dream. 

Meanwhile, the political consciousness of this group of military offices has been shaped primarily by their participation in the counter-insurgency war against the LTTE. It is a synthesis of an extreme version of Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalism and militarism. Ideologically, they are averse to the basic dimensions of modern democracy such as human rights, minority rights, constitutionalism, checks and balances, devolution, and institutional dispersal of political power in governance. A highly centralized state, a strong leader not constrained by democratic norms and practices, an efficient government free from democratic accountability, and a controlling role for the military in civilian governance are the key components of the ‘vision’ of political transformation they have so far articulated.

This group’s fantasy is shared by some layers in Sinhalese-Buddhist elites, including monks from property-owning and urban-based Temples that still maintain feudal-type relations with the lay society and the state. Ven. Upali from the Agiriya Temple of Kandy is just one among several Buddhist monks who have been expressing quite openly a desire for a Sinhalese political leader with a military background as a savior, who, in Ven. Upali’s words, “can build this country.”  

Tycoons

The business tycoons who back Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s campaign constitute a somewhat new, and extraordinarily interesting, phenomenon in Sri Lanka’s economic, society and politics. They are big-time entrepreneurs. Representing a global trend of this class, some of them are heavily involved in the media, advertising, communication and financial services industries. What is distinctly new about them is that they are investing in politics directly and seriously as a domain of commercial business. For them, politics is a field of investment as well as profit and wealth-making which enables them to exercise control over individual politicians, officials, government decisions, and of course policy frameworks. And they want to possess a direct stake at the election of the highest levels of political leadership too. 

Thus, this is a fascinating class of entrepreneurs who want to emerge as direct stakeholders of the government. Getting hold of individual politicians with presidential ambitions has also been one of their key talents. Arjun Alosyius and ‘Killy’ Maharajah represent two different prototypes of this highly ambitious business class. 

In its political behavior, this class of new entrepreneurs is qualitatively different from its traditional predecessors. Its differentia specifica is that its members as a stratum of the capitalist class have acquired, thanks to globalization, a considerable measure of autonomy from the political class. This class now considers it an essential aspect of its interest agenda to select, sponsor and promote the country’s presidential and prime ministerial candidates. They have thus become a mini version of India’s big business elites headquartered in Mumbai.

This new class of ‘political entrepreneurs’ linked to Viyath Maga has made most of their current wealth, if we judge it by the occasional media reports as well as the gossip and rumours circulating in Colombo, during the rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa. They, for obvious reasons, backed the Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign in 2015 and became active in the efforts to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa back. Both these activities were capital investments seeking considerably high economic as well as political returns. 

Having invested heavily in Rajapaksa’s political project, they also found that the new Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition government was erecting various barriers to their field of political – entrepreneurial activity, the FCID being one of such barriers.  One reason why the present government has failed to win the confidence of the Colombo’s capitalist class, despite Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s credentials of being an authentic voice of that class, is the fact that the organic nature and agenda of capital accumulation of the core of that class has dramatically changed. They have chosen a new representative. They call him Gota.

Ambitious Professionals

Then, there is this nouveau elite class of urban professionals that has also developed its own political interests. Many of members of this social stratum are employed in the fields such as IT, accountancy, medicine, engineering, technology, media management, and security.  Four decades of economic liberalization has at last made them a wealthy and prosperous social layer.

A key feature of their world view is one that is often echoed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa himself: Sri Lanka’s problem is not the lack of policies, but the lack of discipline, work ethics, and efficiency, and the absence of a tough and robust leadership to implement policies in order to achieve tangible results. Guided by corporate ideologies that are often bandied about by business-school MBA graduates, they admire China as the model of development most suitable to Sri Lanka. 

In this corporate ideology of nouveau professional elites, democracy, which tolerates strikes, work stoppages, protests, demonstrations, frequent elections and political instability, is utterly anachronistic with Sri Lanka’s urgent development needs. A strong government led by a strong leader, who relies on the ideas and guidance of corporate professionals, is their political model. Their vision is the closest to the ideal of a meritocratic regime for Sri Lanka.

Gotabaya Project

When we reflect on the social and ideological composition of the Viyath Maga, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s principal organizational entity, it is not easy to describe it simply as a Hitlerite project, or one that seeks a military dictatorship in Sri Lanka. If we want to understand the Gotabaya Rajapaksa project seriously, we must separate it from the wishful Hitlerite dreams of his admirers such as Upali Thero. 

The real threat posed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not fascism; but the replacement of the present weak democratic regime by a hard authoritarian regime, with popular support. That is what needs to be prevented. That is also what the democratic forces in Sri Lanka should discuss, debate and strategize.

The involvement of retired senior military officers in Viyath Maga to bring an ex-military man to power is indeed worrying and dangerous for other political reasons. Firstly, this ex-military group is fast emerging as the core group of a new social coalition, and of a political class too. And it is committed to altering the political orientation of the next government as well as the nature of the Sri Lankan state. A government under their influence is certain to dispense with liberal institutions and practices of democracy as soon as  trade unions, student groups, workers, peasants, ethnic minorities, and civil society begin to challenge their regime  

Secondly, under their influence, the existing equilibrium in civil-military relations in Sri Lanka will be altered decisively in favour of the defence establishment. Then, the civilian political institutions, including the judiciary, would be brought under the control and influence of the military, Pakistan being the closest model.

Thirdly, the forces organized in Viyath Maga have the capacity and also the need to achieve what Mahinda Rajapaksa failed: that is, the transformation of Sri Lanka’s government into a hard-authoritarian regime. That regime will rest on a grand alliance of three ambitious social groups – the military establishment, the new business class, and the new professional elites. 

Strong-Ruler

How strong is the support for ‘a dictatorial ruler’, as dramatically articulated by Ven. Upali when he invoked the analogy of Herr Hitler, in Sri Lanka at present? In the absence of reliable public opinion surveys, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of people’s preferences for the political nature of the government that they want to see in place of the present government.  

Ven. Upali’s wish is for a complete transformation of Sri Lanka’s model of government into an authoritarian regime that can ‘fix’ the country’s problems without being constrained by usual institutional checks and balances, constitutional controls and procedural delays associated with parliamentary democracy. This is not necessarily a desire for a Hitlerite fascist regime, despite the fact that Ven. Upali has used the most inappropriate analogy to make his point. Rather, it is a political expectation being nourished in Sri Lanka at present in two social constituencies, Sinhalese-Buddhist elites, and ordinary citizens.

Among sections of Sinhalese-Buddhist elites, ever since the ethnic conflict escalated, there has emerged from time to time the clamour for a truly Sinhalese-Buddhist leader who would protect the interests of the Sinhalese-Buddhist majority from the challenges of the minorities without being constrained by democratic norms or international opinion. Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he was the President, nurtured these ethno-political dreams of the Sinhalese-Buddhist elites and he continued it even after he left office in January 2015.  The Jathika Hela Urumaya also played with this dream in its pre-2015 life. It managed to recruit a faithful support constituency among the urban Sinhalese-Buddhists of elite social backgrounds who entertained the millenarian fantasy of the coming of Diyasena Kumaraya (‘Prince Diyasena’). 

Political Choices

To understand this question free from our personal biases and polemical preferences, survey data obtained from professionally conducted studies would be of great help. In two public opinion surveys conducted in Sri Lanka, the first in 2004 -05 and the other in 2014-15, the level of public support for this dream of an authoritarian alternative to parliamentary democracy was carefully probed. It was part of a larger South Asian study on the status of democracy in the region. It was also part of a global study of on-going trends in democracy. On both occasions, Sri Lankan data indicated a rather low public support for non-democratic and non-civilian alternatives to democracy. 

The 2004 -05 Survey revealed the following facets of Sri Lankan citizens’ political preferences in percentages:

Table I

Political Choice Agree/strongly agree Disagree
Rule of leaders elected by the people 98 02
Suitability of Democracy for the country 92 08
Satisfaction with democracy 63 37
Army rule is preferable 27 73
Monarchy is preferable 21 67
Strong leader is preferable 62 24
Rule by experts is preferable 61 17
Rule by religious leaders preferable 20 57

Source: State of Democracy in South Asia, A Report, 2008, New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

When the 2013 – 14 Survey was conducted, Sri Lanka’s civil war had ended. . Even then, when confronted with political choices, respondents of Sri Lanka’s sample came out with surprising indications, as shown in the following table:

Support for Different Types of Regimes and Political Leadership in percentages

Table II

Type of Regime and Leadership Support
Government led by strong leader 31
Army rule 14
Expert rule 43
Rule by religious leaders 37
Representative government 97

Source: State of Democracy in South Asia, Report II, 2017, Bangalore: Jain University Press.

The most interesting data from this table is that in 2013, the support for army rule, the rule by strong leader as well as experts had significantly declined. The rule by religious leaders had gone up substantially while the preference for representative democracy was astonishingly overwhelming with 97 per cent.

Of course, these figures reveal a complex picture of voters’ political preferences in Sri Lanka amidst exceptional political conditions of civil war, violence and democracy in perpetual crisis. However, the most noticeable fact revealed in the data is that Sri Lankan citizens, across gender, ethnic, and class divisions, had expressed an overwhelming preference for representative democracy while acknowledging its limitations, shortcomings, setbacks, and disappointments.

A few figures that are relevant to the political debate in Sri Lanka today are the following: Support for military rule in 2004-05 was as low as 27% and it had dramatically declined to 14% in 2013-14. Choice of rule by religious leaders was still lower in 2004-05 with only 20% support, yet went up to 37% in 2013-14. Strong leader had greater support in 2004-05 with 62%; yet it too declined sharply in 2013-14 to 31%. The overwhelming public support, of course, was for democratic government in 2004-15 as well as 2013-14. And this was when Sri Lanka’s democracy was in continuing crisis and no political alternative to Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa was yet visible. The trends suggested by these findings were soon to be confirmed by the electoral outcome of 2015. 

What Now?

The crucial question that emerges when we relate the above survey findings to the political debate in Sri Lanka today is the following: Are Sri Lankan voters likely to choose an avowedly authoritarian alternative to a weak democratic regime? In other words, are the political preferences that the Sri Lankan voters indicated in 2013-14 likely to be dramatically changed within five-to six years in 2019-20? In the absence of reliable survey data, we have to depend on informal observations, gestalt assumptions and informed guesses. The following three are important background factors that need to be factored in making such guesses:

  • The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration has left an unsatisfactory record of a weak democracy.
  • The weak democracy record of the present regime has made the option of illiberal and undemocratic alternatives somewhat attractive. They are also in the political menu on the table.
  • For the first time in its recent history, Sri Lankan voters would be presented with an avowedly non-democratic alternative, which is absolutely open about its authoritarian project as a regime choice.

Those political forces that want to defend, protect and preserve democracy in Si Lanka cannot be complacent. The greatest failure of the UNP-SLFP coalition regime is that it has allowed the public trust in democratic governance to weaken. Even its supporters are not sure whether either of the two leaders really deserves a second chance. Both Viyath Maga and the PPP are exploiting this extraordinary political weakness of the present government. 

Finally, by introducing just one word to Sri Lanka’s hitherto lackluster pre-election political debate, the Asgiriya prelate has done an irreparable and irreversible damage to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s  ‘strong-ruler’ hype in a manner none of his detractors could ever have even imagined. It would not be easy for Mr. Rajapaksa to shed that dreaded nickname ‘Hitler.’ 

Such is the dialectic of politics.

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  • 2
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    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/

    • 7
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      Ha ha ha ha ha… already scared, guys?

      • 5
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        It all boils down to perspective.

        Hitler was a great guy …………… depends on how one looks at him.

        Who knows ……… our own home-grown Hitler ……… might make …………. constantly perceived to be ……. eternally under siege …….. Lankan Buddhism great again

        That is if ever there was a time when Buddhism was great

        I say Gota for president!

        We have tried everything else and failed ………. now it’s time for my man good ol’ Adolf’s Mini-Me

        Nothing to fear fellow countrymen, the Brown-Shirts were a very nice lot ……….. people in the know say the gas was painless

        What would Lanka be if there were no Lankans?

        • 1
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          nimal fernando
          Not at all. We HAVEN’T TRIED EVERYTHING ELSE as yet, to choose a Hitler type administration in Sri Lanka.
          Nobody even knows the contenders for the next Presidential Election.
          Standing at the beginning of the line doesn’t mean he is the one. It can be a tactic to discourage, if not intimidate others.
          One can be good in a group setting, but as already proved, when it comes to individual action, he failed miserably. eg: Aluthgama and two other riots.

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        This is why people should be careful not to over-emphasize this. Now Singhala Buddhist extremists will be even happier seeing the fear in their perceived enemies. Something tells me that the more this Hitler thing is feared and loathed by us, the more they are happy. Kothapaya only got even more popular with the Hitler saga among the voters that matter to him.

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    • 4
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      It was “Derana” media tycoon who took only the “Hitler” part out of the speech of Ven. Wanduramba Upali Anu Nayaka Thero and highlighted and telecast on their news.
      If “Derana” DIDN’T HIGHLIGHT IT, nobody wouldn’t have even bothered about the speech.
      Now there is no way to undo the damage.
      .
      Everybody has a right to criticize and express their worries. There is no point of finding faults with critics.
      The damage was done by “Derana.”
      Ven. Anunayaka Thero is not at fault though Thero’s remark was absurd.
      Gotabhaya should file a defamation case against his lapdog “Derana” for shattering his Presidential hopes.
      The next President is surely not a Rajapaksa. That is why even reputed high ranking Buddhist priests make impetuous remarks out of the blue and even the most trusted lapdogs bite the hand that fed them.

      • 2
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        Champa,

        “Ven. Anunayaka Thero is not at fault though Thero’s remark was absurd”.

        However confusing the above statement is, we now well know that anyone in a saffron robe can never be declared wrong!

        • 1
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          Justice & Fairplay
          I had to say that as they try to put the blame on the people saying that some people “took the Hitler part out” and attacked the Buddhist priest which is not true.
          Highlighting part was not other people’s doing. It was their own doing and they can’t blame others for denouncing the highlighted part.

    • 1
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      https://youtu.be/EgKQKWylf8E

      this is the damage control of these foolish Monks and the Rajapaksas. As bad as the Hitler comment! Still advocating an authoritarian Dictatorship and Military rule!

      These Fascist should have no place in Buddhism or politics…

  • 0
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    • 6
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      Another hat trick. You can Do better Jimmy Boy.

    • 3
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      Jimmy,
      Just forget about commenting and start playing cricket and I am sure you will be very successful as you have already taken a hat trick from CT. Make sure that you play cricket under chairmanship of that Sumathipala. Any way congrats Jimmy.

  • 7
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    The results of the Provicial Council election will be very telling. If SLPP can cross 50%. that will be final nail in the coffin of Yahapalanaya.

    Also, all these portends of Hilter is based on shallow and spurious analysis. If Gota wins presidential election, he will call general election and MR will come in as PM. under the 19th amendment MR will be running the country with Gota being and important cog, thats all. All this talk about authoritarianism is nonsense. Gota is Mahinda’s younger brother and will be for life.

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    A brilliant and much needed analysis, Mr. Uyangoda. This puts to shame some of the over the top liberal commentators here in CT.
    It will be interesting to see what Dayan would say about this

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      • 1
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        another wicket on the first ball of the next over by Jim softy…..

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        Jimba is the Jeff Thompson of my time………….good job. Wickets after wickets.

  • 6
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    Much is attributed to a Hitler in a talk supposed to be made by the Anunayake Thero of the Asgiriya chapter of the Siam Nikaya. There are some websites giving out a transcript in Sinhala of the talk made by the Anunayake Thero. Such transcripts do not contain the word Hitler. So, I think we are back in square 1. We are in need, perhaps of a video of the talk made by the the Anunayake Thero of the Asgiriya chapter of the Siam Nikaya or some form of acceptable form of evidence indicating the Anunayake Thero making such a remark involving Hitler. To generalize on the main theme of this article, people of Sri Lanka have the habit of voting an opposition into power, not because they like it but because they loathe the Government in power. The result of the last Local Government election, in my view, reveals just that. Therefore the present government must do some damage control by going to the people to meet there aspirations. Up to now, there seems no attempt to do that.

  • 12
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    That measured and logical comment was such a refreshing change from much of the claptrap that seeks to pass for political comment in CT.
    Thank you, sir.

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    Jayadewa,
    You have deliberately distorted what the Anunayaka thero said. And most people have taken what the Anunayaka thero said out of context.
    /
    What the Anunayaka thero said was “If ‘THEY’ Call You A Hitler, Then Be A Hitler And Build This Country,” so who are “THEY” that the Anunayaka thero referred to ,. it’s anti Sinhala-Buddhist traitorous bastards.

    So what the Anunayaka thero has tried to say is, disregard completely the useless hippie leftie ‘life is going nowhere’ bastards who are dog sh1t on the way, just shovel them off the way, march on to victory.

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      March to victory with a O/L qualified army man ? who did run away from the Army as a coward to end up as garage worker in the USA ?

      You kidding me mate. !
      This moron who is nothing much a monster killer as we did see him in the JVP uprising in 88/89 and make sure dozens of Monks put on tire pires in Mathale that time.

    • 5
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      John,
      Whom do you refer to as ‘anti Sinhala – Buddhist traitorous bastards’? must be your self the Sinhala Buddhist traitorous bastard.

      First learn as a Sinhala Buddhist to use civilized language as otherwise you are insulting Buddhism in the first place.

    • 3
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      John you are talking of “Anti-Sinhala Buddhist traitorous bastards”. Who are they? Are they supposed to be the Muslims or the vanquished Tamils? Please be specific?

      How will Gota build this country? in the image of Trump?

    • 1
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      ha! ha! Ha! Like the man who got caught on the kitul tree and said ‘I went to cut grass”. LOL!

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    It is very unfortunate UNP or the Maithree SLFP has abandoned the villagers. Its only Sajith Premadasa who has the support of the villagers in the UNP. Its time Sajith takes the leadership and contest at the Presidential election.

    • 6
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      Dear Tamil,
      .
      That simple, straightforward comment of yours is right on target.
      .
      I’ve also been wondering about Nagananda Kodituwakku. Put the two together, and there’ll be no hanky panky.

  • 0
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    Hitler ruined Germany. So, be a Hitler is not a welcome proposition. Maybe the Anunayake’s knowledge of Buddhism is better than his knowledge of history. Only, Gota has only two million Tamils to kill. Hitler killed twelve million jews. As the priest in the Mahavamsa said, killing Tamils is okay. This is a great analysis. The political picture has changed. We cannot be complacent. A Trump did happen in the US. A Gota could happen in SL. Fortunately, there is still the legal issue as to whether he can contest and whether the US will allow him to contest. If this cannot be solved, the whole issue will fizzle out. As stated the Hilter comparison will not help Gota’s hopes.

    • 2
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      I like Hitlers, because of them Germany was bombed out.The new Hitler will be successful if he can get the Asgiriya, The Dambulla, The Kataragama, The Kelaniya,and all other centres which are no longer Buddhist, even by name but places where all sort of crooked deals are foistered on the people are bombed out.I am not for any safron robed joker who supports either the UNP or the SLFP .

      Welcome Hitler.

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        Kathikamma was never Buddhist . It is an ancient prehistoric Hindu sacred site , dedicated to the Tamil god Lord Murugan and his consort , the Vedda lass Valiamma. This is the place they met , he wooed and married her. Lord Murugan is also worshipped by the Vedda and the Sinhalese worship as their war god, as he carries the Vel( spear) hence the name Velan. This also proves the ancient Tamil roots of the original Sinhalese . Not Bengali or anything else. However since independence Sinhalese Buddhist Fascists have turned this ancient Hindu site into a Buddhist site, with the help of the government and Sri Lankan armed forces. This is what they have in minds for all the ancient Hindu Saivite sites in the island , to convert them to Buddhist sites with fake history/myths and surround the original Hindu temple with huge Buddhist structures and monuments . This is what they have to Kathirkammam and now renamed it Kataragamma. This is a way of erasing the ancient Saivite Tamil history in the island, that predates Buddhism and Sinhalese. The burning of the Jaffna library that contained lots of ancient ola leaves and valuable manuscripts, regarding the antiquity of the Tamil people in the island was a another act that was done by Sinhalese racists thugs Gamini Dissanayake, Lalith Athulathmudali , low caste Kerala origin Cyril Matthew during the reign of anti Tamil Indian Tamil origin J R Jayawardene.

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      Kabaragoya
      “Fortunately,there is still a a legal issue as to whether the US will allow him to contest”.
      Don’t worry about that, our Dr. Dayan Jayatillake, Wimal Sahodaraya,Dinesh Gunawardena will all have a word with President Trump and sort out that issue with the assistance of the BASL.

  • 2
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    The problem in the present day sasana is boys who are ordained against their will by parents who cannot afford to feed them and get into school and you can see thousands of these yellow robbed monsters like this Upali guy as young samaneras as not a single well to do Buddhist family will ordain from their families.

    So you harvest what you sow as these kid samaneras have a grudge against the society and curse any of the peace loving and enterprising fellow Singhalese.

    This is more a birth control problem than Buddha Sasana issues., you get thousands of Yellow Robbed Upali’s who have absolutely no idea of the real politics.

    • 1
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      Nadeeka,
      You have ‘hit the nail on the head’.
      The olden day monks became disciples of the Buddha by choice.
      They had an ‘aura’ of ‘holiness’ – one was aware, observing them.

      The present day breed were thrust into the so-called Sangha which itself is divided, and practises pursuits other than religion.

      I can see the shadow of the military – now in almost full control of the northeast – looming large over the nation.
      It appears that a military regime in a cloak of ‘democracy’ is what is envisaged.

  • 1
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    Hitler was defeated by the British and Americans. I think they would not want another Hitler don’t you think.

    Only problem is Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and no one can interfere in our democracy.

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    thank you Prof for your timely article, once again you have proved your expertise is far beyond what the Sri Lankan intelligentsia can fathom. This is what we need from people who call them selves public intellectuals, than portraying their racial bias, lack of commitment and conviction for the real good for the society at large and inadequacies.

    Our situation is precarious we are at a brink of disaster due to the shortcomings of the present RW lead govt.

  • 1
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    “Their vision is the closest to the ideal of a meritocratic regime for Sri Lanka”?

    Meritocracy under an authoritarian regime? Is this possible?

    Did we have a meritocracy under the Rajapakse rule earlier? Nepotism is NOT meritocracy

    .

  • 2
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    Whatever it is, any other Rajapakse will not have the support of the (foolish) people like what Mahinda got. Everybody is trying to be someone using Mahinda, like what happened at the recent local government elections. When Mahinda factor is removed, it becomes zero. And do not forget even Mahinda got defeated in 2015.

  • 4
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    We have had enough of Hitler over the past few days. Stop jumping on the band wagon. Sri Lankan voters can decide what is best for their future and for future generations. For the present the Unity Government should concentrate on reducing the cost of living, speed up all corruption cases, and take steps for developing the economy. There will then be no place for dictators under whatever name.

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    If Gotabhaya is nominated as JO’s Presidential hopeful, it will pave the way for a renewed bond among their opponents that will surely cripple his victory.
    What has to be done should be keeping the opponents divided as much as possible.
    What MR and JO should know is, if Gotabhaya is defeated, he has nothing to lose.
    But they have much to lose. Country has lot to lose. If defeated, Gotabhaya will go back to USA. Other people have to stay and suffer as they will never get another chance to defeat UNP.
    The winning President might not even hold a General Election. There is high chance for them to extend the duration of this Parliament as Ranil is aware that he can never get 106 seats again.
    MR and JO should consider what is greater, one person’s glory or the best interest of the country and millions of people who are suffering.
    The Presidential Election is crucial as the General Election is also depended on its result.
    Anyways, there is lot of time to choose a candidate from the Group.

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    “Waiting For Herr Hitler?
    Probably grown out of that stage; now waiting to catch the plane to Nuremberg.
    Prof. Uyangoda has looked at question in many angles. He even looked at the myth of Prince Deyasena. He looked at the characteristics of Hitler, the Brother Prince. He looked the properties of Nazi frame work, the Maha Viyath. He looked at the view point of Podi Ayatollah too. On that Prof has an interesting view that Podi Ayatollah has only a dream and he hold Ayatollah as harmless. Another interesting point is, he, though not explicitly arguing to establish, but appears to be impliedly contending that when the Nazi regime sits on the power, it will be operating on a policy, may not be desirable, but it is a methodical course, not a chaos plotting. One should note that Prof, Uyangoda’s view is not stemming from an opinion he may be having of the other influential elements he analyzed, namely Maha Viyath or another one contributing the needed organizing capacity. He appears to be assuming the organizational frame work will exist naturally, which we missed to see in Yahapalanaya administration or the Chitanta administration. The characteristics of it are Impunity, strikes and braking, drug dealing, white vans, loans-bribes- corruptions, brutal reaction instead service deliveries ( when a tourist was caught having tattooed Buddha’s statue, she was arrested and deported –that is beyond chaos.) ….so on and on . The “Hitler the Solution” is not willing to look at the problem for which it becomes as the solution. The best facial saving can be giving to the “Hitler the Solution” is “Decide and do sternly”. Probably that might be the current problem of Lankawe.

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    A Tamil saying is “Thousand stars cannot make one moon” Not any number of White Elephant can bring a plate of rice to the poor’s table. Then what the “decide and do- Hitler the solution” can do for the Lankawe’s problem? Unquestionably the Podi Ayatollah showed his hate for others by his solution proposal. He hates IC. He hates minorities. He hates other religions. He hates Yahapalanaya. To all this hates, his personal settlement is Hitler. But he understood even if it is “Hitler the Solution”, it is going to be democratic election which will be doing that selection. So he attempted to sell Hitler the Lion, covered with a cow skin, which is “Hitler is a development hero”, if not hero in anything else. German Hitler did not have two faces, a gentler one when it comes to Developments and another brutal one to mass murdering brutal war. There is no acceptable consolation theory of a Lee Kwan Yew hiding in Hitler or the other known face of Lee Kwan Yew is hidden and dormant Hitler’s face. A knife can cut a fruit to eat. It can cut a neck to kill. But none of them are knife’s intention but the use’s intention. So there is no expiation of a criminal, who when not with cut-able necks, adorable and is only fruit eating vegetarian parrot. A doctor may inject extract of snake venom to save a patient but never a snake injected medicine to save a patient. It spews venom only to kill the prey. We have seen the failures of the communists’ experiments. We see even Russia and China playing through the capitalistic economy. What they learned over period (50 years or more) that forceful dictatorship is not the solution for economic growth. After removing his brutal war face, Hitler’s dictator method is a not model for economic growth. Free and democratic lassie faire is the way to go.

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    Why is Uyangoda getting Cold Feet…
    Maharaja didn’t rob the EPF, unlike Dr Ranil’s mate Dr Mahendran..
    Is that correct…

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      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “Why is Uyangoda getting Cold Feet…”

      Next time around he is worried Anura Kumara Dissanayake might receive the same treatment as your Thesiath Thalavaru did in 2009, exploration of his anus with hot iron rod, by your zeroes. Your potential Thesiath Thalaivaru is capable of everything like VP including hanging, mass burial, involuntary disappearance, carpet bombing, shelling, ……………..

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    Let’s look at the Buddhism’s effect on the Lankawe’s work ethics. When we boys and used hang around in groups, during the Vesak days, we walk on the Colombo Streets miles stretch watching at the light boxed created by the Sinhala Craftsmanship and admire at them. Thousand and thousand light boxes, artistically designed, accurately color tissues cut and elegantly hanged. But, sadly it dies there. It is many times observed in America that Blacks don’t perform in Commerce or trade as much as they perform in arts and sports. Whether it is scientifically or statistically proven or not, that is big circle of opinion is existing. As sports and arts are part of American life, Back have reserves a palace for them in the American economy. So, to fully exploit the labor’s attributes and qualities, the specialization and diversification has to combine to in unique measures to match that labor characteristics. Lankawe failed to use the Sinhala creation, but jealously unseated Tamils’ professionalism from jobs. The Buddhism produced only jealous, not innovation or inventive paths.
    Whether Podi Ayatollah is willing to accept or not, or the Mahavamsa is telling the truth or not, irrespective of the future showing up of Sinhala Mythical Prince Deyasena, many Kings ruled Ceylon were South Indian Hindus, including Hindu Gemunu. This has contributed to South Indian labor in flow from all through the history of Ceylon. From Mercenaries, to Carpenters to dancers to architects, farm workers…… all always imported from South India. This is what the story with Europeans too. Portuguese, Dutch and English did not do anything different from the Ceylon Kings did in their time, imported labor. When the democratic government was formed, the leaders who had exact thinking of the Podi Ayatollah, guided the country to Hitler path and have brought it to the waiting line of Nuremberg from UNHRC. Otherwise if the UN peace keeping army comes in, Podi Ayatollahs will not wake up.

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    Proverbial monkey, sword and the king story comed to my mind. The venerable prelate is better of limiting himself to being a real Sangha, than getting involved in politics to show his lack of political acumen.

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    While the bond scam will define the record of either Sirisena or Wickremasinghe as Presidential candidates, the Hitler reference and all that is being analysed by political scientists and commentators will define a possible Gotabaya candidacy. However, the issue that is more closely identified with the rural based, middle/lower middle income, Sinhala Buddhist “common man” probably will be the election outcome decider. Prof Uyangoda righly talks of a failure of the current regime to arrest the decline in public trust and confidence in the political process and politicians as their biggest failure. What he does not refer to is the systemic failure that has befallen the governance system in the country over many decades and what it produces as politicians. He also does not mention the bread and butter issue that is more important to a vast majority of people in the country, and that is the economy of the country, and the fading of hope for a vast number of the next generation. Whoever who could renew some hope for their children and those to follow will get elected irrespective of the narratives that define them. The performance record of the candidates rather than the narrative will be the deciding factor, and hope will be based on this rather than an intangible ideal. Is this good or bad? It depends on the day to day challenges people from different stations in life face.

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    MR was defeated because of the behavior of monk Gnanasara which antagonized the Muslims.This time it could be Ven Malwatte Upali who will come to the assistance of the UNP .The monk should have known that in Buddhism there is no life outside Mettha Kauna Mudhitha Etc qualities which Herr Hitler lacked.

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    This is what Jayadeva Uyangoda said in an article titled Coalitions Of The Evil on June 3rd.

    ” Sri Lanka’s democracy is now being challenged by two coalitions of the evil: the coalition of the corrupt, and the coalition of the autocrats. The second coalition of the evil is making serious preparations to gain political power next year. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Viyath Maga’ is its vehicle at the moment. The coalition of the autocrats might succeed, and eventually the two coalitions might even seek informal fusion, because there are no rigid lines of demarcation between the two.
    …………………
    Finally, it is not unwise to make the argument that the coalition of the autocrats is the lesser of the two evils, because democracy has ways to deal with it, resist it, and even defeat it. But not the coalition of the corrupt. It corrupts democracy to its core and smashes its ethical-normative backbone. Once corrupted, it is so easy for democracy to become a slavish servant of the corrupt and the autocrats alike.”

    How does this go with the argument in his present article that “[T]he real threat posed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not fascism; but the replacement of the present weak democratic regime by a hard authoritarian regime, with popular support. That is what needs to be prevented. That is also what the democratic forces in Sri Lanka should discuss, debate and strategize.”

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      Nimal
      I am the other Nimal.
      Before Gotabaya seek a political a position he must first clear his name on numerous allegations put against him and others close to him. He shouldn’t have gone to temples to seek blessings or advice. Not making of a proper leader we need in the country.That will be the future reality that the people who will be enlightened will demand of their future leaders.

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    People be prepared to face big money pouring in ,mixed with violent crimes once the Port City opens up .
    There were many wrong decisions made by all our politicians ,but one of the worst is the port City.
    Our environment is completely compromised by excessively removing all our natural resources to built it with no control, people with big time money around the world ,may be ” with” connections of dangerous crimes ,Terror groups ,sex slavery ,drug dealers and weapons will be the largest occupiers of The Port City.
    The poor and young mostly would be exploited to the maximum .
    This should have been stopped at all cost by this government ,I hold the present government responsible for this crime on our country ,they could have stopped it
    They never fulfilled a single promise ,from abolishing the executive Presidency , elimination of crimes and poverty ,instead whatever wrong decisions made by the previous government were used by the present to renegotiate and benefit from it at the cost of the common man.
    When you have a constitution that has no place and power for the common man to participate in major decisions where the country is concerned we will face a lot of miseries .
    Another miserable and cheap decision by this government is selling freely dual citizenships again making money at the cost of the country and creating voter base
    Dual citizenships must be abolished and instead a PR system should be issued with limited freedom and not permit voting .
    When do we see the people walk hand in hand among all religions and races ,in peace to demand for the right for people to be able to decide ?
    Its a joke to see that even the new constitutions are handed over to three politicians to make decisions .

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