Colombo Telegraph

Weliweriya: A Massacre Of The Innocents

By Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe –

Ajit Rupasinghe

Massacre or legal killing sanctioned by the Constitution?

Do the killings in Weliweriya amount to a massacre? A massacre would be a deliberate act of mass murder committed against an unarmed population to terrorize and silence a people. A massacre would constitute a war crime. A crime against humanity. It would be an act of war against the people, in a  symbolic and concentrated form. Are the Weliweriya killings legal, as sanctioned and mandated by the Constitution? We were taught that the Constitution is meant to defend and protect the people from such threats to their lives and freedoms? Is it that constitutions are merely toilet paper used by tyrants to cover up their tyranny? If the killings are deemed legal and constitutional, that is if they are considered to be prescribed in Law, then that would be the law of tyranny, not the Rule of Democracy. I mean, you cannot go around killing unarmed civilians, just because you cannot tolerate dissent. The Law would then simply be the writ of the Dictator. Then, the people would have no other recourse but to overturn the verdict- and overthrow the Regime and the State that prescribes the Law that allows them to be shot and killed while raising their grievances in peaceful protest and agitation.  What if the killings are deemed unlawful, extra-legal, constituting a crime against the people and humanity? Then the killers, right up the chain of command,  would have to be identified and prosecuted accordingly. The prosecution should be carried out rigorously with complete transparency by an independent judicial commission-certainly not by the armed forces themselves, nor any agency loyal to the Regime. If that does not happen, the Constitution and the Rule of Law would  be proven to be nothing but weapons of deceit and repression. Then the people would have no right nor obligation to obey such a Constitution nor Rule of Law, nor a Regime nor State that legitimates such crimes against the people and against humanity. What happened to the inquiry over the massacre of some 27 inmates at the Welikada prison by the armed forces of the State?

Who are the real victims and the real criminals?

Are the villagers of Weliweriya innocent? Are they victims of state terrorism? Or are they to be criminalized and the killers – and the killing- legalized and justified?  The villagers of Rathupaswela had every sacred right to protest against the contamination of their drinking wells and they had every right to demand that DIPPS ( subsidiary of the Hayley’s global conglomerate) be held accountable and be removed from their area. That is their fundamental right to express their fatal grievances and demand redress from the State. Particularly since they have been engaged in negotiations with the political authorities over months, without any respite or solution- with their scalding skins lashed with rashes. They had every right to fight back when they were threatened and intimidated by the armed forces. Just as the people’s unarmed resistance of the fishermen in Chilaw and then the workers in Katunayake, which took two lives. Outright acts of murder. They had every right to defy and resist any force used against them that they deem to be arbitrary, illegal and unjustified. They have every right on Earth to protect their life and their freedom, when uniformed killers of the State try to silence and subdue them with armed force. The claim that outside political forces instigated the attack is just a sick joke. More indignation is fired by the fact that this massacre of innocents took place even while the villagers were engaged in discussing the issue with Hon. Basil Rajapakse, senior minister of the State, to seek a peaceful, negotiated solution. Could this have been the result of  a breakdown in communication between the H.E. President in executive command, his aspiring brother, the second in command, Hon. Minister of Economic Development, and his next aspiring brother, also (sic)second in command, the Defense Secretary? Or, is it the result of an impending and imploding conflict of interest working at cross purposes?

The Rape of the Constitution:

The Constitution was raped and suspended all through the decades of war. All fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, including the right to conscience, the right to life, freedom of expression and assembly, freedom of information, media freedom were shredded mercilessly. Society was ruled by terror, through enforced disappearances, abductions, extra-legal killings, mass massacres, selected assassinations, and riot squads that rampaged with complete impunity. It is this war, and its attendant political culture of terror, brutality and barbarism, that the entire Western bloc and India, Japan, China, Russia and Pakistan all aided, defended and supported.  It is that very same regime and culture of rape, torture and terror that has produced the Weliweriya massacre. All for the purpose of entrenching and enforcing undivided and undisputed hegemonic dictatorship over society by the ruling Regime. Those who defended and supported this state terrorist war in diplomatic forums and on the streets, who partook in the ‘kiribath culture’ of conquering vengeance, should now reflect deeply, and take their share of responsibility, in legitimating and perpetuating a Regime that survives by routinely massacring the people.

A Cold-blooded Massacre:

The Weliweriya massacre has reportedly left at least six people killed, 19 in intensive care, to total some  80 wounded and hospitalized, along with several disappeared. This is according to unofficial sources.  There is a real issue of getting at the facts given that the independent media is under siege, and reporters are barred from even entering the village. Indeed, the media was hounded and deliberately targeted by the armed forces during and after the assault. The village, and the country at large, is under an undeclared  state of military siege. In effect, no one would dare to challenge nor reveal the chain of command, and the politics, behind the massacre. Society has been numbed by the sheer brutality of a State, claimed to be elected and mandated by the people, that could so routinely and ruthlessly mow them down, in mafia fashion. Silent terror is more dreadful than open terror. Everyone feels the guns turned on them, lest they begin to speak or rise in utter revulsion and anger, in the name of all humanity, to resist and rebel. Lest they develop the accumulated political will and consciousness to stand for truth, justice, democracy and sheer decency and take steps to end this endless era of horror and terror, of deceit and deception, of domination and subjugation, and decide to bury this system of death and destruction, once and for all,-in the name of humanity.

Spinning and Weaving:

So, lets do the spinning and the spin doctors are working overtime. DIPPS is not at fault. It has all the legal documents and certificates to prove that there just could not be, in any remote way, where It is culpable and  responsible for contaminating drinking wells. This is, even though it admits that toxic industrial acid is disposed of in the vicinity.  It just cannot not happen that this toxic waste may have contaminated the drinking wells and caused disease and a fatal threat to life, even though this factory has been in existence for some fifteen years.  Hello Bhopal and British Petroleum, Monsanto and Dole! The long litany of criminal corporate innocence. DIPPS has abided by all the rules, regulations and standards required of a giant global, multinational corporation such as the Hayley’s Group, operating in one of the most notoriously corrupt neo-colonial, comprador-capitalist states in the world. A State rigged up by a ruling class  that can only survive by feeding into the blood veins of profit and plunder of these very same multinational corporations. A State that breeds corruption, where certificates are up for the bidding and decided politically. This is a blood relationship. Global corporate empires of profit and plunder provide the bloodlines for their colonies, and their rulers, to survive. And so must the neo-colonial State, and the Rajapakse Regime, open up the country to even more intensifying exploitation and plunder, and subject the people to even more intense violent suppression, as part of its deal- as its logic of survival.  So, it must cover up and take sides with DIPPS, and with the global imperialist system built on corporate empires of blood, profit and plunder, to ensure their share of the spoils. It must prove its worth as the neo-colonial guardian of corporate property over the lives of its citizens to keep the profits of exploitation and plunder flowing. Truly, the exemplary neo-liberal paradigm of a  “ Wonder of Asia”.

Defending Peoples Rights:

Any political system and State that mows down its people as a matter of course, people involved in a peaceful protest to demand their right to Water, their right to Life, and then moves to justify and legitimize it, has no moral right to exist. Not only to justify it, but to tighten the tentacles of terror and submission throughout the Land. As if to say, this is the way it’s going to be. This is the way we are going to command and rule. So, get used to it. Fall in line, or be mowed down. The armed forces and the Police were armed to their teeth with heavy assault weapons, tear gas and riot gear. This was a demonstration of the ‘naked terrorist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’(Lenin). They were mobilized to terrorize the  people into mute submission, including to attack and kill, so there would be business as usual for DIPPS, and the corporate moguls, including Dhammika Perera, claimed to be the richest man in Lanka with assets amounting to 300 million US $, a major shareholder of DIPPS and a power wielder inside the Rajapakse Regime. It appears that the country is being ruled under the hegemonic command of a gang of comprador, crony-narco-mafia thugs, in absolute control of State power.  A ‘State within a State’. The Weliweriya massacre may be  the beginning of the end of a corrupt, parasitic and moribund regime in its death throes,  spinning out of control.

Dissipation of the Myth of the Legendary Conqueror:

Take good account of the developing situation in all its emerging structural contradictions and phenomenal dimensions. The system is simmering with volatile and violent contradictions,  rising and heating up for decisive resolution. The Regime is being besieged by demons and dragons it itself has unleashed. The legend of the warrior king, of the ‘Aryan’ liberator of the land and the people from the ‘Dravidian’ invaders, the reincarnation of the bloodline of the Buddha- all that manufactured ideological rot- has begun to incinerate, and the stench is becoming unbearable. With the exception of the self-seeking agents and supporters of the Regime and sections of the masses duped and numbed by patriotic ideology. Neo-Fascist storm troopers such as the Bodu Bala Sena are imprudently fuelling the foul stench and causing extreme embarrassment and explosive issues for the Regime, even though they are of the Regime. Things are getting out of hand. Villagers in Rathupaswela had finally dared to rise up in peaceful defiance to demand Water, Justice and Life. They have been ruthlessly mowed down, massacred, in the eyes of the whole world. It would be interesting to see the course of action that the ‘defenders of democracy and freedom of the world’ – the leaders of the so-called ‘free world’- would take on this issue. How about the role and responsibility of the UN, or better still, the UNHRC? How about the legitimacy of the CHOGM, which would gyrate somehow to override this massacre, and all such accumulated crimes against Nature and Humanity, and still cling on to the status quo? The Secretary General of the Commonwealth gave personal assurances that the Regime is moving towards democratization and normalization!

The king has no place to hide. The emperor stands naked. He is exposed in all his greed and corruption, his vile deception, his lust for wealth and power, and his utter contempt for the toiling, suffering, bleeding masses.  The very same armies of the State that demanded complete and unconditional compliance and blood sacrifice for the ‘war of liberation’ have now turned their guns against the very same Sinhala-Buddhist masses- poor destitute villagers. There is no other powerful lesson than what is taught by life itself. No guns in the world could suppress the truth and the rise of clear class consciousness of the masses for ever. The day of reckoning will come as surely as the sun shall rise. That is the dialectic of History. The emperor’s nakedness, his increasing vulnerability,  has infected the Royal Court  from within, with accumulated frustration, whispered dissent and cunning intrigue. He has no other resort but to take up the bloody sword to defend himself, and bring the whole realm, the country and the court, directly under its command. These are pathological symptoms of a Regime thrown into an irrevocable spiral of intensifying and all-round crisis, seeking survival in bouts of demented, violent frenzy.

The Tightening Noose:

The 13th Amendment has become a noose around the emperor’s neck. To concede devolution would mean to provoke an internal revolt, a possible coup. To repeal would be to polarize and mobilize an intensifying opposition, internationally and internally. The noose is tightening as foreign predator powers seek to sink their fangs deeper to seize strategic advantage. The US, the “Western” bloc, and India would really like to dump this rotting, tottering Regime and replace it with a far more pliant,  lackey regime that would tow the line, and, at least appear more rational, decent and democratic- ala Chandrika, Fonseka and/or Ranil?. The rot of a mere guardian at the gates of a prized colony, has begun to stench the whole global system of empire. Mahinda Rajapakse has moved too far into the orbit of Chinese expansion for comfort. This has begun to upset the global balance of power and strategic leverage and superiority in the whole Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region enjoyed by the US and its strategic allies and partners. He has either to kneel and comply, or be thrown into the wasteland, as have all such would be tin-pot tyrants whose usefulness have now become obsolete and damaging to the system. He has gone too far in duping the Tamil and Moslem nationalities, and the world,  into believing that he is their liberator, when he has turned out to be their most vengeful conqueror. Any step in any direction is to intensify already simmering conflicts and provoke volatile contradictions and bring mass resistance, uprisings, rebellion and possibly revolution to the fore.

The Revolt of the Slaves:

So, it seems that the time is running out for the emperor, for his regime and retinue, for his domain and realm, in the consciousness of his subjects and slaves. The revolt of the slaves is near at hand.  The ground is rumbling under the beat of bitter, accumulated anger to have been so abused and manipulated to serve his Lord and Master who turns out to be their most deceitful and hated enforcer. All the powers that be, and all the classes and groups, all the nationalities and communities- the whole country and the people- are being thrown into a vortex of violent contradiction. As Lenin described, these are rare moments of history when the masses are dragged into political  life, even against their will, since life itself has become intolerable and not worth living under the system, and when the ruling class itself is thrown into desperate crisis. The ruling Regime has no option but to channel all the rising anger, resistance and opposition towards yet another undeclared “patriotic war to defend the Motherland”. That is, to raise the banner of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy that much loud and clear in order to further entrench,  enforce and consolidate the chauvinist-militarist-terrorist, comprador-capitalist class dictatorship under the undisputed and undivided hegemony of the Rajapakse trinity and dynasty. The dogs of war, the fascist storm troopers may have to be let loose to create communal violence, to create a scenario of anarchy, turmoil, chaos and mayhem, to make way for an open military dictatorship and the undeclared rule  of martial law. A veritable political storm.  State power itself may come up for grabs and it could end up in a civil war. Revolution could appear on the agenda. That would be upto the revolutionaries. That is the political projection of things to come as symbolized and concentrated  by the Weliweriya massacre. Ultimately, the forces of reaction, of death and destruction- the camp of neo-fascism – shall confront the forces of freedom, democracy and humanity in a mortal contest for power. That is the looming scenario rising on the horizon that the Weliweriya massacre portends.  It is up to us to decide where we stand. Let us conclude with a refrain from the Internationale: “ The world shall rise on new foundations… We have been nought, we shall be All…. We must ourselves decide our duty. We must decide and do it well…Tis the final conflict. Let each stand in his place.    The international working class shall be the human race”.

*Surendra: Secretary: Ceylon Communist Party-Maoist

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