24 September, 2018

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Who Needs Facebook Friends With Enemies Like Gotabaya?

By Rohan Jayasekera

Rohan Jayasekera

Rohan Jayasekera

Karl Marx said that history repeats itself, once as tragedy, twice as farce. How about three times, as an even more farcical share on Facebook?

How else to describe the spectacle of Gotabaya Rajapaksa using the social network to share a link to the Colombo Telegraph, the very website that he and his brother worked so hard to censor when in power? ‘Liking’ the share hardly seems right – though 769 people so far have, and 183 more have shared it on.

The Rajapaksa brothers’ time in power saw Sri Lankan free speech traduced by a proxy war on the independent media. It included the murder of Sunday Leader editor and International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero, Lasantha Wickrematunge, and the ‘disappearance’ of news cartoonist Pregeeth Ekneligoda.

As the IPI itself put it in a statement this week: “Press freedom was widely seen to have suffered catastrophically under (President) Rajapaksa, whose tenure became increasingly mired in allegations of war crimes and corruption. Journalists frequently faced violence and exile, and impunity for crimes against the press became, by all accounts, a tragic norm.”Gotabaya sharing Colombo Telegraph post

Censorship of the website Gotabaya now ‘shares’ was just one part of that assault on free expression. Sri Lanka’s Telecom Regulatory Commission was ordered to instruct service providers to block the Colombo Telegraph and other critical websites, warning the providers to blame censorship on ‘technical’ problems.”

What did the Colombo Telegraph do this week to warrant Gotabaya’s change of mood and earn his official Facebook ‘like’? It merely reported the ramblings of the former defence secretary on the steps of a local court.

This included his bizarre claim that the Yahapalanaya ‘good governance’ regime introduced by his brother’s successor “is much worst than of even Hitler’s rule (sic)”. Yes, that’s Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s government is guilty of more than a few sins, not least its own slack response to covert censorship of the Colombo Telegraph. But it hardly outpaces Hitler’s start of a war that claimed the lives of 55 million people including the genocidal murder of six million Jews.

Right up there with the Holocaust, in Gotobaya’s warped mindset, as told to reporters outside Kaduwela Magistrates’ Court; the remanding of his nephew, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, along with four others, on charges of alleged financial “irregularities” at the Carlton Sports Network.

It was the Colombo Telegraph’s plain report of Gotobaya’s outburst that warranted the share on his ‘official’ Facebook page.Gotobaya tweeted Colombo Telegraph story

It will probably never come to pass, but I wonder if we will ever see Gotabaya ‘share’ a Colombo Telegraph report maybe yet to come? That of another remand? Of him and his brother – and more than a few LTTE leaders – brought to account for their alleged part in abuses committed by both sides during the war, as documented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?

Or see Gotabaya ‘share’ a Colombo Telegraph report of charges based on investigations into the brothers’ alleged leadership role in attacks on media houses, including the Wickrematunge and Eknaligoda cases – investigations now reported to be “at a virtual standstill”? Or the trial of the men behind the terroristic ‘white van’ abductions after their victory over the LTTE, which denied the country the peace it deserved after the war itself was concluded?

Probably not. But seeing Colombo Telegraph reports like that shared on a Rajapaksa ‘official’ Facebook page would be sure to get a fair number of ‘likes’.

*Rohan Jayasekera is an English journalist and former deputy CEO of Index on Censorship in London. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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Latest comments

  • 19
    1

    I agree with the writer. These people have no shame or principle they will abuse even the most sacred thing if its disadvantages to them and use it to their advantage if they see personal gain. FB I heard is working on a “dislike” sign, and we will have to put-up until then.

    If he is to call anyone Hitler he should be standing right in front of a mirror.

  • 16
    0

    CT is an interesting outlet. I am glad they gave some air time for Gotabhaya. If Gota thinks that he could wear it as a batch of honour, I pity him! This is an interesting contradiction as the man himself has been trying to pose a like Buddha! It is fine if CT wants us to laugh at him.

    But, I cannot understand CT’s generosity to the likes of Mahindapala. His verbal cholera adds no value to anyone! His air time should be significantly reduced. I am not suggesting censorship. Let him go and throw up somewhere else.

    • 0
      0

      It is time we all sat up and looked at Gota. Because there is a metamorphosis taking place before our very eyes.

      Firstly, look at MR. Gone is the sparkle in his eye. The arrest of Yoshita has left him almost broken. He cannot stand seeing the permanently sad face of his dear wife creased with worry. Gone is the confident sunny disposition of a man used to everyone around him doing as biding. Gone is the face that laundched a thousand heartbeats, that kissed true-blue Sinhalese babies, who sprinkled stardust on uppasaka amma’s, and whose even perfunctory wave set simple village folk to cheer. Now, instead he has a sad, melancholy gaze, and looks a truly worried man. These days he presses buttons, and nothing happens. Some of his own ridicule the things he says.

      Now, look at Gota. A man who played second fiddle to his brother, but now confident and upbeat even in the red-hot heat of current events. In control of his emotions, and saying sweet words of comfort to soothe the Rajapakse clan. Is this the FUTURE of the Rajapakse dynasty? Here is the NEW Gota. Suggestions of a new political party? Why of course.The old one has been infected and scarred. So what is the plan? Big brother will become the ‘Godfather’ – not just any Godfather, mind you, but Godfather of the Nation. Gota will be the white-knight riding up to rescue the Nation and restore it’s past glory. (A sort of Dutu Gemunu, but in clean suit and tie. NO satakaya for Big G). Here is man who can kick-arse, and, whisper this, put the BBS and like back into the little ‘kottuwa’s’ and shut them up.

      But now I must stop. Dinner is ready, and my trusted man (‘podi-lamaya’) begs me NOT to tell him how the story ends.

      Good night you all, and sweet dreams.

  • 15
    0

    What is this? A man has been arrested for a multitude of wrong-doings. He is or was a Navy Officer but surreptitiously was also involved in a private enterprise. If the (former) Defsec is unaware of that, that’s too odd !! He is also accused of serious, very serious money laundering. But the name of his father is not even MENTIONED in the charge !!!

    What is more, no administration in its right mind would proceed with this case UNLESS there is an excellent case. I am sure there is no “vendetta”, like Ekneliyagoda, Lasantha etc.

  • 17
    1

    Well put, Rohan.
    Something that cannot be over-emphasized is the truly monumental hypocrisy of the MR1 gang. They ALL belong behind bars, even pending further investigation.

    • 16
      4

      Emil van der Poorten

      Agree 150% but we all know what is happening and what is going to happen. All the investigations will come to nothing and in the end they will all be given Presidential PARDON. Because they are not ordinary Crimninals but War winning ones.

      • 7
        0

        ….and more importantly, the Rajapakse’s know where some of the Ranil-Maithripala skeletons are hidden.

        All our crooked politicians are keeping each others dark secrets (as a sort of insurance, you know?).

        • 0
          0

          [Edited out]

  • 10
    0

    If Wasim Thajudeen’s family were half as persistent as Eknaligoda family to get to the bottom of their son’s murder, we could well have expected an ‘orders from the top’ type situation, which could have led to another Gnanasara jig to protect his Godfather. The main difference being this time his ruckus would have been along racial and communal lines to muddy the waters. Remember last time it was on patriotism and well meaning safeguarding dignity of valiant soldiers who sacrificed life and limb for this country. Well, it is now clear members of the Forces were again involved in this case too, and this open display of uncle appearing on behalf of nephew shows their closeness, and could as well mean much more than what meets the eye. I am only saying it can fuel those thoughts. But it seems they (Wasim’s parents) are too placid and refuse to think he died in pain and in a helpless situation, but rather, now that he is gone, just bear the agony of his loss just to themselves and let Wasim and his memories rest in peace with God. It has become quite apparent from all the investigations done based on eye witness accounts and Post Morten evidence available, this was no accident but a planned murder. It is sad it had to end this way for him.

  • 10
    2

    Gota like Manida, Basil & 40 Thieves, a shameless beast who vigorously fought against social media platforms and even gone to the extend to crack the e-mail passwords of Ranil and Chandrika with the assistance of equally unethical, ruthless Israeli secret services.

    How dare he can boast through of Facebook or Twitter????

    What a shame !!!!!

  • 9
    3

    This thief and murderer [Edited out]

  • 12
    3

    This barbaric man Gotabaya MUST be arrested very soon.

    • 2
      0

      Mohana Prabath

      “This barbaric man Gotabaya MUST be arrested very soon.”

      Well on what charges?

  • 6
    2

    Ane Gotabayo, [Edited out]

  • 9
    2

    Gota thinks of Press Freedom,Human Rights,Democracy etc only when he is no longer powerful.He is now on Terra Firma!

    Pride goes before a Fall,no doubt.

    • 1
      1

      Gota should be at the docks of the ICC!

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 1
    0

    In Sri lanka politicians can buy people by throwing bones such as job references, transfer, re-constricting roads.

    This is the real problem of learned people who can in introduce and demand national policies to be fulfilled in every domain.

    This is the one and only way we can change the dog style mindset of people of Sri lanka.

  • 5
    9

    Gotabhaya is the hero of SL. And I cant understand the writer must be such an idiot he cannot understand the reality. There is no opposition in SL. The ones who voted for swan is holding the presidency, government and the oppostion…58 lakhs have lost their political right..

    And this man calls it a democracy

    • 3
      4

      Also a deserter, war criminal and one who interferes with civil freedom; PSYCOPATH

      • 3
        5

        where has Gota interfered with civil freedom?

        Gota is the hero for killing the LTTEers..that is not war crime but a deed that will open the doors in heaven.

        He won many medals for bravery and has participated in many noteworthy military campaigns

        He is the hero that we saw in our life time

        • 2
          0

          sachoooooooooo the stupid II

          “Gota is the hero for killing the LTTEers..that is not war crime but a deed that will open the doors in heaven.”

          Heaven, where is it? Have you been there before?

          “He won many medals for bravery and has participated in many noteworthy military campaigns”

          Such as the ones in Matale, Pithale, Wellikade, Minuwangoda, . …………. ?

    • 4
      2

      sachoooooooooooooo the stupid II

      What is the difference between you and a knife?

      • 1
        2

        I told you once, if you intend to be witty..try hard….saying meaningless nonsense doesnt help…

        just advice

        • 1
          0

          sachoooooooooooooo the stupid II

          What is the difference between you and a knife?

          If you don’t know the answer please ask me.

        • 0
          0

          Well, witty comments would be wasted if the target audience does not understand.

      • 0
        0

        Native Vedda is one of the smartest among the visitors here. I am not sure what NV tries here. But the conventional meaning of this question is ‘a knife has a point’.

        • 2
          0

          Rohan

          You just ruined it.

  • 2
    0

    sach, you seem to have forgotten that there was a Parliamentary Election,subsequently.

    • 1
      1

      And the parliamentary election swan fellows got the government and the opposition…the first swan robbed the seats that should be for betel leaf people

  • 4
    1

    Evidently, Gotabaya reads Colombo Telegraph. I am glad, otherwise our adverse comments may have been wasted. Gotabaya is really thick skinned wanting to end the tyrant regime. He should be told the tyrant regime, his, ended in January 2015. There is a God.

  • 0
    0

    Pooran

    you bugger, [Edited out]

    • 3
      0

      matarage

      “Pooran you bugger, [Edited out]”

      Remember Emil van der Poorten is a Durian planter.

      I hope you know what a durian looks like, weird, stinky, spiky and huge.

  • 0
    0

    Gota the Shit eating Pig. This MF has no shame.

  • 0
    0

    Native Vedda

    Pootan, a descendant of Portugese invader then must be having the good time “abusing” poor indian tamil and poor sinhala village lasses in kandy area with the power of durian. .

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