30 November, 2020

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Why ?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara –

“…the despot is a madman, and an enemy to himself.” Baron d’Holbach (Good Sense)

Why are the Rajapaksas obsessively intent on getting the Divi Neguma Bill through?
Why is the regime orchestrating a campaign against the 13th Amendment?
Why were principals of 23 leading schools made to undergo a week’s ‘Leadership Training’ and made brevet colonels?
Why have the police failed to catch the assailants of JSC Secretary and High Court Judge Manjula Tilakeratne?
Why does the government spend on buying/maintaining a satellite the money unavailable to install rail-gates at 950 unsafe rail-crossings?
Why do they politically promote their kin while imposing strict kinship-restrictions on other SLFPers?
Why are lesser Tiger suspects being incarcerated, often under inhumane conditions, while the highest surviving Tiger leader lives the good life, at public expense?
Why is there no provincial council in the North, to approve/disapprove the Divi Neguma Bill?
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Post-war, there are certain aims the government pursues, with no consideration for cost or consequence. Winning elections for example; the replacement of the democratising 17th Amendment with the 18th Amendment (which enhanced presidential powers and removed presidential term-limits, enabling the President to contest again and again); the Leadership Training Programme, the Lotus Tower, the Commonwealth Games…..

The commonest of the common denominator in these seemingly disparate projects is their capacity to increase Rajapaksa power and enhance its’ glory, further its’ interests, satisfy its’ whims and realise the fancies. Therein can be gleaned a fundamental law of this rule. They always pursue their interests and their desires; they fight for themselves. Supporting them, helping them, obeying them is good; hindering them, questioning them is bad.
As a group of ordinary Tamil detainees pointed out, they rot in jail, without even being charged, while “Vellupillai Pirapaharan’s top ally, and the prime arms supplier to the outfit for years, is allowed to function freely, with all privileges like a state guest” (Ceylon Today – 24.10.2012). KP has considerable use-value for them and he is willing to serve them as assiduously as he served the Tiger chieftain. Thus he is elevated above the law, while ordinary Tamil detainees, who have no such use-value, are deprived of even a sliver of justice.

Avalanches start with tiny snowballs; that is when precautions must be taken. For instance, though the government says it will not tax wells used by ordinary people, once the groundwater tax is enforced, expanding it to include private consumers would be just a matter of interpretation. As Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardane warned, “This is the first step in privatising drinking water” (The Island – 24.10.2012). And if this most heinous tax is allowed to pass, will not the regime come up with other outrageous taxes, to fund its expressways, tall towers and space programmes?
Like the avalanche, the power-grab began with small steps. The new President appointed Gotabhaya as his Defence Secretary. Basil Rajapakse was made a Senior Presidential Advisor and sent to parliament on the national list. Nephew Shashindra started as a Presidential Secretary and ended as the Uva Chief Minister. Son Namal was given parliamentary nominations …. Just seven years later, they permeate the state and the siblings enjoy near-absolute power, aided by an impotent cabinet and blessed by a fractious opposition. To discourage opposition and defeat dissent, the siblings use an extremely effective concoction of threats and blandishments, spiced, with violence. Even as the state becomes a family concern, the siblings try to enhance their own holdings within it. Contrary to the unctuous claims by government propagandists, the Divi Neguma Bill will render Minister Basil über-powerful. The Bill will create several layers of unelected organisations, from Grama Niladari level upwards, and endow these unrepresentative entities with many powers hitherto enjoyed by elected provincial councils. At the apex of this power-pyramid will be the Divi Neguma National Council, controlled by Minister Basil (he will appoint 6 out of 11 council members). Minister Basil will also control the Divi Neguma Banks, Banking Divi Neguma Development Fund. The secrecy clause will give Minister Basil a carte blanche. The Divi Neguma Department will be allocated Rs.80 billion and Minister Basil will have more money to play development-poker with than allocated for either education or higher education for 2013.

Divi Neguma Bill will be a bad law, of the sort defined by Diderot as “based on whim, which owe their force only to blindness or local necessity” (Rameau’s Nephew); familial necessity, in this particular case. Fortunately for Sri Lanka and inconveniently for them, the 13th Amendment and the judiciary stand in the way. Over the years they have become accustomed to total, unquestioning obedience. Take, for instance, those 23 principals who agreed, sheep-like, to undergo “thorough cadet and leadership training conducted by the National Cadet Corps”. One cannot imagine any previous administration imposing such a humiliating labour on leading educators. And most of the predecessors of these principals – such as Visakha’s Mrs. Jayasinghe, Mrs. Motwani and Mrs. Pulimood – would never have consented to undergo ‘cadet and leadership training’ in an army camp, don a uniform and accept the rank of a brevet colonel. They would never have demeaned themselves and their august positions so; nor did they need a colonel’s certificate to run their schools to perfection. That offensive order and its abject acceptance symbolise the demeaning future which awaits every Lankan under this rule.

Furious at being thwarted, the Siblings are acting like the Erymanthian Boar out of the Cretan Bull. Thus the attempt to terrorise/browbeat the judiciary into submission; thus the plan to replace the 13th Amendment with a 19th Amendment. They want to get rid of the 13th Amendment because it circumscribes they’re power. As Minister Basil Rajapaksa admitted, in a rare moment of candour, “The LTTE had at one time strongly opposed the 13th Amendment”
(Colombo Gazette – 24.10.2012). In fact, the LTTE strongly opposed the 13th Amendment at all times, because 13A impeded separatism, by demonstrating the possibility of a political solution to the ethnic problem within an undivided Sri Lanka.

Extremism is visceral to despotism. The Divi Neguma saga indicates that they do not hesitate to sacrifice not just popular or national interests but their own enlightened self-interests to gratify their whims/fancies, in politics as in economics. The campaign against the 13th Amendment would be unintelligent at any time; it is nothing less than self-mutilating when attempted just before Sri Lanka’s human rights record is to be examined by a UNHRC panel headed by India.
The 13th Amendment is not just the sole really existing attempt at responding to minority grievances; it is the only positive result India has to show for its Lankan policy. Repeal that via a referendum or replace it with a 19th Amendment, and they will antagonise not just Tamils and Muslims, but also India, and the West, with one blow.

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Latest comments

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    Hah…Hah…Haaa! Come or go Chicago! Stupid Rajapakshas, do repeal this shit piece 13A and let the rest of the world perform the last rights of the baffaloes in this banana republic!

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      Why has the Colombo 7 Center for Poverty and other NGOs that work for the poor not go to court on the bill – advocating for the rights of poor and marginalized?
      Divineguama is no use for poverty alleviation. Its a GIGANTIC INSTITUTIONAL structure instead of streamlining and doing targeted cash transfers (using new technologies), for poverty alleviation for those in need of help, especially GIVEN GREATLY REDUCED POVERTY NUMBERS in Sri Lanka.
      The Divineguma violates the basics of poverty alleviation: As its proposed gigantic institutional structure shows, it is really a slush fund for Basil Rajapakse to cultivate patron client relationships to “win” elections and is a complete SHAM from the point of view of real poverty alleviation!
      Shame that the Poverty think tanks have not gone to court on this matter of how Divineguma would result in socio-economic discrimination, marginalization and inequality because of the DENIAL OF THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION and its politicized nature and lack of transparency and accountability.
      The Colombo 7 poverty centre is a disgrace and shows a poverty of commitment and gives NGOs a bad name!

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    Tisaranee, concludes thus, ‘The 13th Amendment is not just the sole really existing attempt at responding to minority grievances; it is the only positive result India has to show for its Lankan policy. Repeal that via a referendum or replace it with a 19th Amendment, and they will antagonise not just Tamils and Muslims, but also India, and the West, with one blow’.
    For all those who believe that the Rajapaksas, whether it is the abolition of the 13th Amendment, Militarising the Administration, Denying Democracy are all done with the tacit support of the Powers, both America and India. Thery may trade charges at each other for Theatrics, but all are in it together. The present Divinaguma Bill is similar to the 1000 to 10000 Tank Restoration Programme of the JVP a ruse to keep the Party supporters fed and tethered. So would Divinaguma, levae alone the country devoloping or the people at large benifiting. A section would for them to be returned hopefully.

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      Sri Lankan people will understand what a bad karma is 13th amendment if they pay taxes to maintain those politicians. See how much politicization is in Sri Lanka. See how much corruption and crimes are day to day life activities because of 13th amendment.

      Some people are crying out out loud that Sri Lanka is a multi-every thing country. On the other hand, this same people are crying out loud asking asking preferential political solutions to tamils. Why NGOs, Church and many foreigners wants Tamils specific political solutions.

      Besides, I don’t think Arhur C clerk left some money in his will to build railway crossings. I think he wanted something related to information Technology. My personal preference is some good facilities to the university. Instead, the president wanted to buy a satellite and leave his legacy, I don’t know whether we will earn back that money.

      I think DIVI neguma bill is required in Sri Lanka.

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        forget minority rights, our bigot tunes are more important

        SL deserves to suffer, the cycle of violence must endure

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    Tissarani is right when she said that Visaka Vidyalaya past principals in the calibre of Mrs. Pulimood. Mrs. Motwani and Mrs.Jayasinghe would never have demeaned themslves to a move of providing army training.Yet they maintained a high level of discipline.The past pupils who learnt under their tutelage are bringing glory to the country.No principal in the present day could match their administration because they showed the students how to match words with action, not to bow to pressure from any quater.The parents of yester year were fortunate to have had their children grow up under moraly sound giants.

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    it is not easy to return the history backward direction………..sri lanka is tied with other countries through the free market system and if they try to abolish the 13 amendment, it will be a major obstacle to existing the capitalist system……….capitalism will give the better answer to rajapaksha brothers and sons and relatives……….. because capitalism want to some values to maintain its own system……it is nt a problem of the individuals………..it is the problems systems………….

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    It is really heart warming that we have couple of scribes defiantly says
    that the Black is Black when leading opposition leader pretend to be paralyzed to satisfy the perpetrators. If the messages of defiants can be delivered to the population in Sinhala and Tamil that could be an unbeatable challenge to Regime owners.

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      Kautilya, indeed we have a polity that after being shown the type of characters the present leaders are, long before they were elected, yet they were elected and some pander to them still as Patriots and Saviours. Thereafter although nepotism, corruption, murder, assault, waste of funds and a whole heap of misdeeds have been revealed and now gradually Democracy is being denied to the Nation, what is the response of the society, other than blaming the Leader of the Opposition? or applauding some one who points the same over and over again? What has the society done about it without blaming others?

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    In the first half of 2009, I remember very well that this lady Thisaranee writing her prophesy to ‘the Leader’ and Transcurrents’ to warn Sri Lanka government and Sinhalas that they could never end the war. She said; Pirapakaran is invincible and he would escape to Mulathivu jungle and fight a guerrilla war like Taliban for decades to come. Even at that time, I commented Pirapakaran will not escape and even if he escape to Mulathivu jungle, it is not like Tora Bora and hence, he will be gunned down.

    Now that Pirapakaran and his gang is in hell and his arms procurer realized his folly and has turned around, what’s wrong he is treated well. It clearly shows the government has no intention of penalizing Tamils for past crime or as a race. Indeed, the way that the government is treating KP is a fine example for all former LTTE cadres to turn around. That’s what separatists and backers are worried about.

    In so far as we can see, KP’s NGO, NERDO is not in the business of writing hate articles against Sri Lanka and its government like Thisaranee and co. KP is working hard for the wellbeing of ordinary Tamil man, woman and child. It is obvious that Thisaranee and her fellow Eelam backers expected KP to spend the rest of his life in a dungeon, so that they can portray his plight and bring tears to subscribers of their wicked writings and at the same time grab more and more money from the gullible Whiteman.

    Can Thisaranee write one single article on work of any Tamil NGO that had done positive work for ordinary Tamils. She has not done that to date. We can observe from her writing that TGTE, GTF, BTF and etc spend money only to propagate racism and their pipe dream of Eelam. Yet, LTTE thugs and their backers who made extortion their erstwhile business and NGO who prostrate to Westerners and live from their handouts and former LTTE proxies based in Sri Lanka are all stuck with no sure road-map to Eelam. So they sling mud at Rajapakses in every angle.

    I agree that the Commonwealth Games is a relic of colonialists’ extravaganza; the government should not have wasted time and money on it. But the Leadership Training and the Lotus Tower is not the same. These people are blind; to government’s visible achievements and ongoing development in many fields and spheres; to minor roads being concreted in the countryside; to major roads being carpeted between cities, to improvement of Colombo and suburb for cleanliness beauty etc; to notice how the mass enjoy a stroll in improved lakeside, Torrington and etc. They think it’s all for Rajapakse glory, whims and fancies and for them to enjoy. In short, these cynics see the government had done nothing good.
    Leela

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    This is it ,Leelaratne sums up every thing magnificently , what more one can expect from him ??

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    Tissaranee presumably was going by conventional wisdom if she wrote in 2009 VP will escape to the Mullaiteevu jungles. She – nor the civilised world – did not expect the ambitious Fonseka, egged in by the Rajapakses, will throw in a modern, armed-to-the-teeth army, navy, air force and police numbering over 300,000 against an insurrection force which the Govt estimated only around 10,000. “Overkill” in the classical sense.

    Above all, any civilised and disciplined armed force will offer maximum priority to civilian collateral damage – both lives and assets. These are basic tenets of modern warfare in the 20th century. The Rajapakse-Fonseka combine was far too consumed with anti-Tamil venom they cared tuppence for civlian deaths and injuries. Nearly a third of a million civilians were subject to the most horrendous fate from land, air and sea. That is what is now haunting them – and making them come out with different false versions at different times and places. It looks like the more vocal section of the diaspora is not going to yield until the last Tamil held or missing is accounted for.

    So for heaven’s sake, don’t call us Separatists and Tiger-terrorists merely because we call for transparency and accountability. Fonseka and Rajapakse will have to account for what they did. This is different to getting a local criminal or two to finish off a a few thugs whom the ruling cabal has a grudge with – something which we have seen from 2006 in such monotonous regularity. What is happeninjg so far is either side is trying to call the other guilty of gross HR violations. While this argument goes on, the common factor is civilian Tamils in numbers that shocked the UN and the world were insensitively killed and/or made to suffer. The UN and the world are mandated to expose the War criminals.

    Senguttuvan

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    Mr Sengattuvan,
    In so far as Sinhalas are concerned, ever since MR was elected President, Pirapakaran’s game was clear. LTTE started bombing bus and train commuters throughout the country and carried out series of attacks in and around Colombo. It was surprising how MR resisted retaliation in the face of such provocations and, how he held on to RanilW’s peace accord and how he readied for talks with LTTE in February and how he agreed to its forced postponement by LTTE to June 2006. Even when a suicide bomber attacked the army commander on 25 April 2006 MR resisted a full blown war.

    All that and more meant, LTTE wanted a do or die war. So they closed Mavil Aru in June 2006. Pirapakaran got what he asked for.

    True over 300,000 have joined the forces. In fact we needed more of them at the time to protect civilians from human bombs for LTTE suicide cadres were everywhere. Nevertheless, so many people joined forces without being enlisted means, people had faith in MR and that he would end terrorism.

    If the US and Britain use ultra modern weapons like satellite guided drones to bomb T56 and grenade carrying rag tag outfit Taliban, it is absurd for Mr Sengattuvan and his elk to expect Sri Lanka forces to fight cannons, multibarrel, antiaircraft guns, rockets and various type of missiles carrying LTTE with bows and arrows.

    Sri Lanka forces hadn’t use prosperous or biological bombs like Israel did. It had modest airplanes like Kafirs and MIGs to take out terror targets like Thamil Chelvam and long range cannon etc.

    I can understand your concern about the death of Tamil civilians although we claim civilians die in any war, especially if they were use like makkal padai (Dad’s army) being used as sentries. I can also understand that you don’t like to be called ‘Separatists and Tiger-terrorists’. What I cannot understand is why you and all those HR activists have been and are mum about UTHR(Jaffna) allegation that LTTE has killed at least 8000 fellow Tamils considered to be traitors to its cause. What about their rights eh?
    Leela

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    Both the Sinhala and Tamil chauvinists have their knickers in a twist Therefore, the UN has very courageously and clearly called for transparency and accountability from both the Lankan government and the tigers.
    What’s the hic up now for, Boo!

    Let there be a “desire to achieve” rather than a desire to beat fellow country folk.

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    Friend Leela,

    Your study about the Tamil struggle is as good as your understanding
    Makkal Padai is Dad’s army. I have chosen to ignore many of your innuendo, attacks and criticsm on some of my comments in these blogs – as they are not worth responding to.

    I am amused you have arbitrarily taken a role to defend Sinhala chauvinism in these columns – whereas your understanding of issues, if you will forgive me, leaves room for much to be desired. You seem to draw so much of abuse and critique for your grotesque positions.
    You are one of those pretending to be asleep but really fully awake.
    I notice sometimes you quote as reference someone who has made so many mistakes in the Tamil struggle,where at least on 3 occasions he mislead his leaders Sun God was killed/dead during the 2006-2008 period.

    I respect some bloggers here (Dr Seneviratne, Laksiri Fernando et al) for their learned study of the National Question and their passionate love for the Sinhala position. I have learnt from some of them. But let not visceral predjudice and bigotry be a substitute for facts and the truth. Readers like you have much to contribute to the debate but first you must learn to concede and respect the validity of the other side.

    Senguttuvan

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