24 October, 2020

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When Professionals Give License To Despotic Regimes

By Gotamini Hathurusinghe

One of the major reasons for a country to be subjected to bad governance is when its professionals do not speak out, but worse still these professionals actually gang up with those committing anarchy for their own benefit. What these professionals do not realize is that in the long term, they too would be subjected to the worst treatment by these despotic dictators whom they were keen to protect. Moeller’s theory being proved time and time again. Consorting with an autocratic regime is the worst act of treason against one’s country and its people.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

In Sri Lanka this happens all the time. Conversely in many countries and regions that had positive change, or when the country quickly got onto the right path after being diverted towards the bad even for a short time, it is the professionals who led the positive change.

Let us take some examples of ‘nivata’ or slimy, spineless behavior on the part of Sri Lankan professionals. Mind you the examples can fill several hundred volumes.

Dr Keerthi Gunasekera, well known chest physician was sworn in as the President of the College of Physicians a few days ago. He threw one of the most glittering parties at the Hilton, where there were almost a thousand guests. The writer also had the fortune to be there and the misfortune to be in the same room as Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chief Guest on the occasion, Rajapaksa as usual played his gramophone record of misleading the people and professionals at that. Gotabaya, the master craftsman lied, in turn glossed over, turned tough with his words and at times even became diplomatic and persuasive!

One could see that blind following of the so called educated elite and nationalistic bigots hanging on his every word. There were others who knew exactly what the lies were and looked openly disbelieving. Yet, there were others who were totally disinterested as they knew a lie a mile away, but were too selfish to get out of their comfort zones to bother about changing even an iota of wrong doing. It is unbelievable that GR could spin the same content in different ways to suit the target group. This was a la diplomacy and the wrong doings of the diplomatic community. In rural Medamulana it is about “Rata akarmanya karana wideshiya balawega”. This “wideshiya” boogy man is as real now to the people of Sri Lanka as the white van that Gota sends around for the collection of dissenting “bodies’.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics. In his speech on the 26th January, he said a few and quoted quite a few of these.

Lie No 1 – “Most people have been returned to their own place of origin except a few”. This is a damned lie, as well over 15% have had their land grabbed by the forces on the pretext of protecting villages from a possible resumption of activities by the LTTE. These people have been relocated and NOT resettled, very often with no plan by the government for rehabilitation and providing the necessary assistance.

Lie No 2 –  “Another key issue in the restoration of normalcy was dealing with the 12,000 former LTTE cadres who had surrendered or were captured by the Security Forces, and the nearly 5,000 LTTE members who had been detained during the war. As at today, nearly all of these cadres have been rehabilitated and reintegrated to society”

This two is a damned lie as at least 20% have been killed after the war in the regime’s way of dealing with its difficult subjects or have “disappeared”. The real statistics of the Asian Human Rights Council would vouch for that. Rehabilitation of these cadres have  not exceeded 5000.

Lie No 3 – “All the restrictions that had to be in place during the course of the war have also been lifted. The High Security Zones have been removed. Checkpoints, roadblocks and restrictions on travel have been lifted. Restrictions on the trade in certain items have been removed. As a result of the removal of restrictions on sea, the fishing industry in the North and the East has been completely revitalised.”

The livelihood of the Northern people is yet restricted in the areas of Mannar, Battialoa and Trincomalee as fishing has been restricted. Participants in a recent survey in the East, strongly mention the banning of fishing in restricted areas as well as the lack of access to lands in designated high security areas.

Every sentence in the speech of Rajapaksa can be dissected for the untruths that he has spouted in such as august gathering.

Yet other speeches he has given in the past show the insecurity about open communication and his structured action in clamping down on various forms of media, chiefly among these, social media.

An excerpt from an article.

“Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the rapid expansion and development of social media is a threat to national security, adding that it can be used to cause problems by “propagating certain ideologies online and mobilising and organising people.”

Rajapaksa was speaking on Sri Lanka’s National Security Concerns under the National Interest Module of the inaugural MPhil/PhD Programme of the Kotelawala Defence University.

Referring to the involvement of India, Norway and the US in Sri Lankan affairs, he said that in today’s environment, “the possibility of foreign interference in our internal affairs remains a significant National Security concern.”

His concern obviously is not to assist his brother to govern in a proper manner. If a country is governed in a transparent and fair manner, with real democracy, no state needs to worry about the interference of others. A satisfied and content citizenry, would be the bulwark against all security threats to their country.

The globe needs to have a debate on social media. If it is indeed a threat to security it concerns the whole world, not only the security concerns of little Sri Lanka. It is more the case of social media exposing the doings of despots like the Rajapaksas and thus becoming a security threat to such regimes.

Many speeches have been given by Gota on spurring on the theory that somehow Muslim extremism must be curbed, while justifying the actions of the Buddhist extreme groups like BBS. This was mentioned yet again at the Defence Seminar held on the 3rd of September 2013.

Alas   people who are the calibre of Gota are insecure. Indicators of being insecure is to be street smart  without wisdom, arrogant and vain as well as being corrupt and cruel at the same time.

The message in this article is for the professionals in the country.

The Chief Guests and Keynote speakers that you invite for signature functions of professions and professional bodies are noted for who is speaking and what they are saying. August bodies such as the various colleges of the medical profession and other professional institutes and bodies must not give the wrong signals, by leading the people to believe that the professions are endorsing and supporting the actions of agents of bad governance such as Gota. You also have a large following of students, who are observing the landscape of current affairs and absorbing these elements.

Professionals must lead the country and its citizens on the correct path. In the same vein one must ask “WHERE ARE ALL THE PROFFESIONALS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WHILE THE COUNTRY IS BURNING? Why cannot the OPA go beyond the mere statement now and again in the newspapers and lead a national struggle to put the country on track? Why was the FUTA struggle ultimately defeated? The 6% required to lift the Universities and schools  out of the mess is still a dream. ARE professionals so selfish, that it is your pocket and professional kudos that are important? Will you consort with the very devil for your own ends? Where is your professional integrity? Where is your dignity?

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    Exceptional article and well articulated. Thank you.

  • 4
    0

    We the Sinhala race is a servile lot. Moeller’s theory, dignity and morality be damned. Whoever who will give me a free meal and a T shirt, to him or her will my vote go. No more no less. The professionals get a little bit more than a meal and a T shirt so turning into ingratiates is ok for them also.

    Gotamini, how can the inaction or questionable actions of the so called professionals be shameful, when they do not have any moral fibre in their body or soul.

  • 6
    0

    Average man learns from his own experience,
    Intelligent man learns from other’s experience, and
    Fools never learn.
    Not only, Dr. Keerthi Gunasekara, how come Bhuvaneha Aluvihara accepted the appointment of Supreme Court Judge.
    Are all the judges of the court of appeal idiots?

    • 3
      0

      “The Professional” below has seconded your comment about learning. Yet he calls himself a “Professional”

  • 3
    9

    The article is full of hatred against one person. The writer tries to blame College of Physicians for inviting Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest and to advise all professionals in the country that Gotabaya Rajapaksa should not be considered as a role model because he is one of the agents of bad governance.

    The name of the writer sounds fictitious and indicates that he/she hates GR. If the writer does not like GR, then why did he/she attend the party? The statements listed as lies are not made by professionals. So why blame professionals if somebody had lied?

    GR is Secretary to the My/Defense & Urban Development. I salute him for 100% reliance on expertise of local professionals in planning and implementation of World Bank funded Colombo Metro Region Development Project. The local professionals in return have delivered not to idolize GR but to make the urban area more people friendly and attractive. I am told that some Sri Lankan professionals domiciled abroad, have come home to join hands with local teams.

    Except a few, professionals are not good politicians. May be some are good in politicking. I kindly request the writer to explain what his/her correct path is. The path, which he/she feels correct, is his/her personal opinion and it is not fair to blame professionals for not treading along his/her chosen path and for not telling the people that is the correct path.

    Therefore Mr./Ms. Gotamini Hathurusinghe, it would be better if you could team up with some professionals who agree with your opinion on “correct path” and start voicing concern that the rest of the country is treading along a wrong path. If you do so you will be leading from the front.

  • 6
    1

    Excellent stuff – Well said! The sad fact with our Sri Lankan ‘professional’ class in these times is that they are seriously into self-preservation. Since it is our political masters who dictate every facet of our national life these days, our ‘professionals’ have become quite adept at sucking up to the one that can make or break any hopes of a glittering career. So, this is how we have the unappetising phenomena of a thug in a three piece suit being afforded the opportunity to address a glittering gathering of the learned, and spew lies and half truths, and cause them to choke on their canapés and retire to their comfortable homes with a distinctly bad taste in their mouths.

  • 5
    0

    It is shocking that an august professional body such as the College of Physicians invited a political goon; Gotabhaya Rajapaksha as their chief guest. Couldn’t the president and the council find a more suitable person to address such an august gathering? Have the physicians on this country stooped down to such low levels that they have to bow down to low level political despots? As the writer very rightly questions’Where is your professional integrity and dignity?’.Shame on you!

  • 1
    7

    Apart from the whitewashing of BBS and the land grab in north for commercial ventures Gotabhaya is right in pointing out the threats for national security. Anyone who keeps his eyes open and read the stuff and have a brain would understand that.

    It is a joke to look for perfect democracy and transparency in a country that just finished a war. I dont know this self professed professional, anyhow common sense and wisdom is not a part of her.

    And about futa’s case they have valid reasons. At the same time the reason rest of SL dont take you seriously is your total blindness to SL’s genuine security concerns and the mental disorder of accepting anything from west as 100% perfect and correct.

    And again Gota is right in many points he has raised here, this piece only shows the stupidity of the writer.

  • 5
    0

    Professionals are bought over with duty free vehicles, career benefits, promotions, advisory positions etc. It is a different world of wealth and privilege for them even after benefitting from free education at tax payers expense. So they do not care about the ordinary people.

  • 6
    1

    Only in Sri Lanka will a third rate criminal and goon gets to be a defense secretary. That too he gets it because he rode his brother’s coat tail. Using threats of death and force, one can get anything done. Therefore, those who think he has done a lot for Colombo, please open your eyes and think – anyone can produce results using those tactics. Gota should take a lesson in history and realize that his end may not be sweat. History is dotted with despotic folks like this and we have seen what happens to them in the end. Therefore, just be patient, Gota’s days are numbered – We citizens of Sri Lanka, whether be Sinhala, Muslim, Tamil or others, will all rejoice and celebrate.

    • 1
      5

      At the end of the day that criminal defeated terrorist forces that held the country hostage for 30 years so you can safely stay in colombo

      • 4
        1

        Sach: No one can take away what MR with GR and others achieved in defeating the LTTE and delivering peace to our island. However, that does NOT give the President and the Government carte blanche licence to ride rough-shod over the civic rights of people. It would be a shame if the achievement of 2009 was sullied by the continuing downward spiral in government.

        • 2
          0

          Peace is seeming only isn’t it??

          Did not the fathers of independence say that peace by the gun will always be peace for the gun. They did not fire a shot ;)

          Equal Rights to all 3 kallathonies brings peace with a smile.

          2014- you have already lost the vote(sri lal count) which alone speaks volumes.

        • 0
          1

          I completely agree that MR was not good after 2009. but they do not target MR for break down of rule of law or attacks on democracy they target MR for the only sin of killing Prabha Got the point?

  • 4
    1

    A very good Article Ms. Gothami H. at least you opted to write about it.

    Why do the professionals invite such people as key note speakers or chief guest for such events ? don’t we have up standing people in this country ? or maybe this is to show gratitude for the position bestowed ? or is it a political thngi ? or maybe it is forced upon them without a choice!

  • 1
    0

    so called proffesionals with no proffesionalism….Dr .Kerrthi is a buisnessman with tea estates and more…so he needs support of the ”clan”

    • 0
      1

      Sman
      You could say the above and get away with it. I can’t because it is not good medical practice to critisise a senior member of my profession in a public forum. I am against any forms politicians/ political appointees invited to such an important event in principle..

      If the college(Ceylon college of physicians) saw it right, then I have my choice not to participate. Gone were the days politicians scared of the integrity of doctors.
      Ken

      • 0
        0

        Dear Ken…
        When a senior collegue is doing some thing worng is nt it right to correct him..wont u do it when he treats a patient with a wrong medicine? ur point i guess is critisizing in public forum, i see this is the biggest down fall of our society. When people like u sit behind walls and giggle when ur collegues tarnish the proffesion as well as the country.Do u think not participating without rasing a voice is bit cowrdly.

        • 0
          0

          Sman
          I am afraid the whole profession has gone to the dogs. I will be ridiculed if I make any noise. Leaving aside the politics, you mentioned about patient safety in Srilanka is poor not because the doctors are incompetent, lazy not dedicated but because there is no accountability.

          Sadly most powerful people in our country have the least accountability to our society.
          Amen

        • 0
          0

          “Sadly most powerful people in our country have the least accountability to our society. Amen”
          Saman,
          That is the classic statement of internet pooks worldwide. The cap rightly suits the kangaroos. The Nigerians are unabashed and rightly say we learnt it from the west.
          When it comes to accountability Sri Lankans who have copied the UK crudely get their knickers in a twist while the westerns like Dr Liam Fox are too hot and a disgrace for even the press to touch.

          BTW British charities are unaccountable in practice and there is nothing that can be done because 90% of the land is owned by 10% of the people- tax rebates when even dumping money in your own charity and auditors are family friends.
          The left wing Labour parties added to the chaos by taking advice from nurses than doctors, surveyors than the engineers, so you have Dr White cricket’s kattadiya.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Kenth
    absoloutly…i agree with u everything has gone to dogs….so how can we move ahead,i mean at least this country…some one should take the lead..seems like thats very far cos u see the ones who are trying to take the lead ex actors, thugs. is nt it the duty of learned to raise a voice?
    accountability will prevail if the victim raises the voice…
    regards.

  • 0
    0

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa is such bad news that people shouuld just ignore him. Just another Secretary not even qualified to hold the post of a mere SLAS Staff Officer is given so much prominence that he is spoilt and arrogant now. This is compounded with wickedness and brutality the worst combination.

    Doctors are so corrupt now among all the other professionals, it is unbelievable. So they would stoop to sleep with the very devil.

    • 0
      0

      The Secretary of a Ministry is a Public Servant and is governed by Establishment Code.A.R,F.R and other regulations.
      HE CANNOT indulge in politics. Here we have GOTA who is not governed by any law. Dr. P.B.J, Secretary to
      Treasury is head of Public Service and as such should clarify this.

      As for the Professionals failing the country I said it to a Senior Engineer, when I was a young engineer on the very
      first stage of the Mahaveli Project in the ‘ 70’s. I have been proved correct. At the present moment I appreciate
      The stand taken by the BASL..

      It is still not too late for the Professionals to unite and rise against , this corrupt tyrannical regime.

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