By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
I am still wondering what exactly was rising for Dayan Jayatilleka (DJ) to write about on Colombo Telegraph. DJ begins by citing lyrics from a song sung by the Catholic American singer Bruce Springstream. The song, ‘The Rising,’ is well-known but Bruce sang it in the context of the September 11 attacks by Islamic fundamentalists. It sent the message that the civilized world should not surrender at such horrible assaults. What on earth has this got to do in the current Sri Lanka context? Who attacked whom? Who surrenders to whom?
A presidential election was fought and Mahinda Rajapaksa’s(MR) opponent won it clearly. Despite MR’s blatant and ugly abuse of state resources and all the intimidation; despite the total absence of billboards and posters for Maitri; despite the favourable channeling of media, the humble farmer’s son cleared the line and occupied the position without fuzz. Maitripala Sirisena appointed his cabinet from among elected members of Parliament. The new Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, had himself been elected by a massive majority in his electoral district. They were all elected from among the people. May be on an earlier occasion, but that is no issue. If the government does not hold the confidence of Parliament a vote of no-confidence can be brought and the PM and cabinet can be sent home. Beauty isn’t it Mr Jayatilleka?
Upon setting up office, the new government, strictly according to mandate obtained during the Presidential elections, went about professionally to give effect to its 100-day program that would in effect restore our democratic institutions and checks and balances against executive abuse of power. This means our people get protected from being robbed and otherwise abused by the ruling family and a set of creepy Parliamentarians. That was the ten-year-old drama Sri Lankans had witnessed.
Hence, pray tell us what this rising is about. Why do the crowds have to cry along with that bundle of contradictions, Vasudeva, “we will not surrender!” Surrender to whom? The song of Bruce had meaning in its context. The US was delivered a devastating blow by lunatic Islamic fundamentalists and Bruce sent the message of inspiration to Americans ‘never to surrender.’ On the other hand, what is the rising DJ experienced at Nugegoda? Unless, of course, he refers to some rising within his limbs.
DJ is in raptures about the crowds. However, we saw during elections how capable the Rajapaksa regime was in bringing in crowds for meetings. MR was never able to run his government professionally but credit goes to him for the way he ran his meetings. MR carried mobile audiences with him in a load of buses. The audiences were trained. Those in the front row must have a baby to produce. They must have flags and banners to raise and they must do some gimmicks. Women must be on the sides along the path. The messiah arrives and they must stretch out their hands trying deliriously to catch the divine apparition. In one meeting that I saw at Ratmalana, I spotted at least 20 buses from areas as far as Aivissawela, Gampaha etc. TV audiences are impressed! If Dayan was watching he would have teared without glicerine. However, we know what the result had been.
Likewise at Nugegoda. DJ, describing the Nugegoda scene DJ writes, ”The most emblematic scene-a a young man atop a billboard waving a flag and MR’s portrait into the eye of a drone camera”. DJ who masquerading as a political analyst writes about events in other lands should have known that these scenes are prearranged and doctored. This kind of mobilization is typically fascist and it all began with Herr Hitler. Like a school kid, DJ is simply carried away at this sight.
DJ, in his piece, becomes like Vasudeva. He displays a similar maverick behavior by making statements that don’t simply carry. He says the people did not want an unelected government. We have answered that. He says in critical tone that “the Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, pledged to the UN Human rights Commission to work on developing a domestic mechanism on accountability.” So what’s wrong? This is what the UN wanted Sri Lanka to do from the inception of this episode and MR ‘s government would have saved a lot of heat and sweat had they done that. Instead, MR prevaricated and prolonged until this whole thing got compounded into a huge issue. Then, at that point, MR surrenders by setting up a domestic enquiry. If it was right for MR to do why wrong for Mangala to do? Again, DJ defends a ‘deep Sinhala nationality’ but qualifies by saying that such a nationalism will not be anti- Mulsim or anti-Tamil. Can you beat that?
Oh! This man is hopeless; is dishonest and is self-serving. Mind you, this gentleman some years ago became part of the cabinet of the NPC run by the EPRLF!
There is no country like Sri Lanka!