21 September, 2020

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Will Insatiable Greed Overcome The Democratic Impulse?

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

When one begins to step back and try to analyse the issues and problems faced by Sudu Banda, Rasalingam or Cader Mohideen in this country, after a while the penny drops and one is left with a whole bunch of uncomfortable “realities,” the primary one being the massive corruption that seems to have reached into every nook and cranny of Sri Lanka.

While corruption seems to have accelerated very dramatically during the Rajapaksa hegemony, its roots seemed to have established themselves with the free-for-all that was the “open economy,” when I am sure that a man for whom I have never had any great respect, J. R. Jayewardene, seemed to have really meant it when he said, “Let the robber barons come!”

By all accounts, there was a desperate need, for national psychological reasons if for no other, to change course from the truly terrible economic stifling of the last years of the Sirima Bandaranaike coalition government. However, even though there might have been a case for some of the steps taken in terms of turning back many of the idiocies of import substitution by controls without precedent in this country, all of which were restricted to the “hoi polloi” and scarcely affected those in the seats of power and their friends, no provision had, obviously, been made for the most rudimentary of checks and balances, that would have ensured a more humane system than either the Bandaranaike/N.M.Perera one and J.R. Jayewardene’s “open economy had resulted in. Exacerbating “Yankee Dick’s” model was the fact that, inevitably, his invitation to the robber barons was gladly accepted by that pestilence in both their local and foreign versions!

Ranil From his twitterThe curious fact is that the current Rajapaksa regime has through unprincipled behavior truly without precedent in any recent time, succeeded in turning this bastardized version of the much-reviled economic system called capitalism into a truly monstrous system that serves nobody but their immediate family and its cronies.

It is fascinating to observe a populace that still does not seem to realize the implications, both long-term and even in the immediate future of what is to descend, inexorably, upon it. The loans, at exorbitant interest rates, from China are beginning to come due and as one financial wizard who is currently straddling the political fence phrased it in respect of the cost of Colombo’s massive “development” with Chinese funding: “We are turning our debt into equity.” Meaning? That we had agreed, literally, to convert parts of our tiny island into Chinese territory! If nothing else, his foreign doctorate had certainly provided him with an interesting turn of phrase!

Despite all the mumbo-jumbo nationalism practiced and preached in this country for goodness knows how long, the implications of this business of borrowing money at usurious rates and trading off parts of what many proudly proclaim to be their Motherland, is dichotomous to say the least.

What is the explanation for the contradiction of people displaying all the symptoms of terminal xenophobia handing over pieces of its already meager territory burdened with a population equivalent to Australia’s while spouting nationalist rhetoric that would given even stupidity a bad name?

One explanation could well be the incessant racist rhetoric rained on its population by Sri Lankan politicians of importance over a really long period, some of it cloaked in quasi-Buddhist philosophy as witness the idolization, even today, of such as Anagarika Dharmapala. By some really strange turn of events, this language has been made to fit with the economic and philosophical transformation of post-Mao China. What is additionally fascinating is that when China is discovering that untrammeled, corrupt free enterprise is not the answer and is beginning to prosecute hitherto untouchable members of their kleptocracy, Sri Lankans appear to be reaching new heights of acceptance of their own version of the Chinese oligarchy just when that country has begun to take those fitting the same description into custody, convicting them and, either, putting them to death, or in the case of a lucky few, giving them substantial prison sentences. How is it that a nation such as ours, known in post-colonial history for its sophisticated politics and democratic practices is sliding towards becoming a nation where someone like Jean Bedel Bokassa would feel very much at home? To mix my comparisons, perhaps Haiti with Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier might bear more apt comparison than the African country where Bokassa carried out practices that would have even been rejected in the middle ages as being inhuman!

The vast majority of Sri Lanka’s citizenry did not even begin to reap the benefits of our early independence because they neither spoke, wrote nor understood English, the language in which the country’s affairs were administered. It doesn’t take intellectual brilliance to appreciate that this state of affairs provided very fertile ground for the seeds of the racism, religious intolerance and rank xenophobia that gained momentum as the years went by.

The solution to this problem could well have been a concentrated effort to have every Sri Lankan read, write and understand English, an international language whose spread has accelerated since the end of Empire! This would have proved a real “link” language unifying distinct communities and cultures. However, those holding the levers of power either could not or chose not to put such a policy into practice.

Despite never having been a great admirer of the late Lee Kuan Yew and his iron-fisted rule of Singapore, one cannot but admire the statesmanship he displayed when he chose, against every tenet of nationalism of that time and since, to make English the language of administration of his city state. If the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof, the simple wisdom and practicality of that decision is only too obvious. That one step seems to have counterbalanced the disadvantages that his dictatorship brought with it.

Think about it. You will realize the enormity of Bandaranaike’s cynical “Sinhala Only” policy which didn’t preclude him from educating his own children on the continent where he had already served as President of the Oxford Union and from where he brought the habit of wearing bow ties and breeding pedigreed Greyhounds. Great beginning to the first major upsurge of post-independence nationalism, I’m sure you’ll agree!

However, one could well say that we Sri Lankans should have learned something from our previous stupidity during the intervening six decades. Unfortunately not, it seems. All it takes, even during the current election campaign, is for someone to shout “The Tigers are coming” for a significant number of people to rally round the flag of racism and xenophobia supporting the very people they know to have raped and pillaged this country for far too long. In a perverse way, this appears to be the result of the deprivation visited upon their followers by the very individuals who have kept them down.

A large number of Sri Lankans still look up to and admire Rajapaksa and his clan for the most abhorrent traits of their behaviour and I say this in all seriousness despite the fact that that conduct flies in the face of every basic tenet of the philosophy that the vast majority of Sri Lankans pay homage to, Buddhism.

Is this because the opposition, led by Wickremesinghe and Sirisena is considered suspect and not capable of living up to its promises or is it because many believe whatever the governing coalition originally promised is being diluted by the “insurance buyers” who hold positions of power within it and that, therefore, the “known devil” (Rajapaksa) is preferable?

Go figure! But remember that after the 17th of August you are going to have to live for a very long time – not necessarily whatever term is officially stipulated for those elected – with those you elect.

A momentous choice awaits Sri Lankans on August 17th and I believe that they will, ultimately, live up to that early promise of being the cradle of modern democracy in south Asia.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    This pooten [Edited out]
    Cheers

    Abhaya

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    “It doesn’t take intellectual brilliance to appreciate that this state of affairs provided very fertile ground for the seeds of the racism, religious intolerance and rank xenophobia that gained momentum as the years went by.”

    Not that is the great thing isnt it pooten, [Edited out]
    Cheers

    Abhaya

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      bla, bla blAbhaya

      Please stick to copy paste which hopefully will allow a whole sentence being not “[Edited out]”.

      Alternatively just type cheers.

      • 0
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        Nit Wit speaks again . woah this should be a great event for a moron who has lesser intelligence than even pooten .

        Cheers

        Abhaya

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    Foreign invaders divided our country in to Rich and Poor.Or in simple terms Elite and the Dalits. And it is a fact.

    How did they do it?.

    By conversion to Christianity, Providing Government Jobs , allocating them free Land and good Schools .

    The British in particular, created the Elite in Colombo and a few other major Towns.

    The great majority who are Sinhala Buddhists were denied even schools and health care, let alone giving them jobs..

    Even after the Independence , nothing much changed in a significant way until the last 10 years where the rural poor , got a fair go , through the rapid development with Chinese aid and assistance.

    And Sinhala Buddhists from the rural sector managed to move in to the Elite Territory in small way.

    This became intolerable for the Elite and the Anglicans .

    How dare these Veddas can displace us from our privileged positions which our forefathers have bestowed on us, was the feeling of the Colombo Elite.

    Political discards , betrayers and people who are out right jealous helped the Elite , Anglicans and the Vellalas to dislodge the Sinhala Buddhists on the 8 th.

    But the great majority realized what happened to them in a short time.

    And they were repulsed seeing how their own, ex leaders and even Buddhist Monks pulled the rug undertheir feet and betrayed the country and the Nation to rotten politicians like the Yahapalana lot lead by Batalanda Ranil…

    This great majority will make amends come the 17 .

    And don’t you worry about that.

    BTW . Wonder how Mr Poorten’s mate Kirra is doing nowadays.

    Kirra’s mate Yahapalana treasurer is badly bogged in Pathalaya in Bloomendhal Road, as I understand..Right…….

    • 4
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      Sumaney:
      What little was comprehensible from one of your usual bouts of verbal diarrhea, speaks to the fact that Sri Lanka had a classless society where everyone was equal before the Portuguese/Dutch/English (take your pick) arrived!

      HTF do you reconcile this claim with, among other atrocities involving elephants and arecanut trees being used in executions, with one of your monarchs having a mother pound her child in a “vangediya?” Not to mention the use of forced labour in the name of Rajakariya to build everything from palaces to tanks!

      I know that the only way you can see your pseudonym in print is by writing absolute gibberish every time you see my name, but there has got to be a limit to the lunacy/idiocy of such as you. Or is there?

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    Pooten says: “The curious fact is that the current Rajapaksa regime”.
    A sign of restlessness (or even a Freudian slip!) about the inevitable result of August 17 perhaps?

    Be prepared to wallow in misery, all backers of foreign forces.

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      The Analyst:
      To begin with, what an inapt pseudonym for a purveyor of innuendo and threat!

      I have not hidden behind pseudonyms during ten years of being threatened by the likes of you and ilk and I am not about to retreat into some hidey-hole if your dictator-in-chief returns.

      You should realise by now that cowardice/bravery is not measured by making veiled threats from behind some totally ill-fitting pseudonym.

  • 4
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    Despite Emil van der Poorten never having been an admirer of Lee Kuan Yew and his iron-fisted rule Singapore has survived!

    At the end of a short sojourn in Singapore, I could not resist commenting that if only I can afford to take a plane load of our people to Singapore and back, to witness the vast strides the tiny island was making, there’d be an overnight revolt in SL. That was 40 years ago.

    Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was a benevolent dictator. We needed him more than Singapore did.

  • 6
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    Mr Van der Poorten, the apt comparison in not Haiti with Papa Doc and Baby Duvalier, but Rafael Trujillo and his son neurotic son, Ramfis, of the Dominican Republic. The country that shares the Caribbean island, Hispaniola, with Haiti.

    To see this comparison do read that excellent book by Nobel Prize winning author, Mario Vargas Llosa, titled “Feast of the Goat”. The book is a compelling read and would be particularly interesting to Sri Lankans because of the possibility for Sri Lanka’s future to go down the path of Trujillo’s tyranny.

    In the book, Llosa touches on a very important theme – how a country can descend to tyranny through the gradual perversion of its politicians, administrators, judges and the elite that run the country. People do not realise that it is happening to them because the steps of degeneration are gradual and spread over time. Underneath the outward narratives in the book, Llosa’s tackles this significant theme of how a country can fall into tyranny when power concentrates in a single pair of hands.

    Trujillo also came to power in Dominican Republic as a populist, playing on the racial prejudices of the lighter coloured Dominicans of mixed Spanish ancestry against the black Haitian illicit immigrants in the Dominican Republic. Trujillo’s massacre and expulsion of Haitians from the Dominican Republic endeared him to the racially prejudiced middle class Dominicans. Added to that, charismatic Trujillo had a kind of sex appeal that won the hearts of Dominican women. But this was all in the beginning.

    Having come to power, Trujillo consolidated his control by appointing members of his family to all positions of authority. Trujillo’s siblings had the highest positions, then his sons, then other relatives. The parliament and its members were reduced to rubber stamping Trujillo’s edicts. The judiciary was deferential to his will. Political opposition was first ridiculed, then made powerless, then redundant, and finally made to “disappear”.

    The book explores in detail the ruthless methods Trujillo adopted to entrench his power over people in general, and over his henchmen, in particular. Llosa points out three factors for Trujillo’s success. The first is his mesmerizing appeal to ordinary people, particularly to the rural masses. The second is his unquestioned control over every facet of government administration. And thirdly, his ability to ingrain into the psychology of those around him and those holding high office a kind of domination that gripped them in a fear induced loyalty.

    Trujillo was not greedy for wealth, nor was he hell-bent on amassing money. He had all the power he needed to be able to dispense with the need for wealth. And the accumulation of wealth was left as a privilege for the family and the sycophants and the minions who waited around him.

    Llosa’s writing is most fascinating when he delves into Trujillo’s regression from populism to brazen dictatorship, and then to tyranny, and, in consequence, how the wider society is subjected to corruption and brutality. Llosa portrays the character of several of Trujillo’s servile sycophants and how these underlings acted not only at the bidding of the dictator but also on their own accord to keep the regime in power. These were Trujillo’s closest circle, apart from his family. Yet, Trujillo treated them with utter contempt which these toadies saw as friendship and regarded what they managed to steal from the public purse as their benefactor’s largess to them.

    It is not that Trujillo’s close circle consisted of mere thugs. Thugs there were, aplenty – like the pathological torturer, Johnny Abbes Gracia, the intelligence chief. But they included educated people too, people of high official rank and exceptional ability, judges and constitutional experts, senior politicians. And many would have been at one time decent people, independent and with minds of their own. Llosa writes of Trujillo’s remarkable ability to transform them, to subvert them and to demand and obtain proper deference and humility from them towards the “Benefactor of the Nation”. So much so, they would turn a blind eye should their benefactor cast his covetous eyes on the women of their respective households. Having ceded their soul to Trujillo, and being thoroughly trained to happily accept abuse and having given up the will to make independent decisions or to maintain any human dignity whatsoever, this servile human scum were willing to sacrifice their own daughters for the benefactor to feast on.

    And thus the title of the book: Feast of the Goat. The goat, of course, is the dictator himself.

    Llosa mostly use historical facts to construct his novel. Whilst some incidents are fictional paradigms, their substance is based on common happenings during Trujillo’s rule. Like, for instance, allowing ministers and public officials to rob as a form of reward for loyalty, of arbitrarily changing laws to benefit the ruling clique, of the odious act of naming every public thing after Trujillo’s name, including Dominican Republic’s capital. Even the constitution of the Dominican Republic was changed through amendments, in spite of the fact that Trujillo was no respecter of law or constitution.

    Llosa describes how Trujillo tried to groom his sons to take over after him. But his sons were wastrels, chasing society women and fast cars. And to appease America, his one-time patron in the fight to “contain” communism, Trujillo steps down from the presidency to be succeeded by his brother and later his neurotic son. When the son fails, Trujillo appoints a puppet to that position but retains power as the benefactor of the nation.

    Steve Biko, the South African freedom fighter, once said that the greatest weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. The ascendancy from that of a politician to a dictator is one’s knack, in the first instance, to manipulate the mind of the masses. Then, it is ability to corrupt the processes of governance and dispense with rule of law and accountability. This two stage process is the way of every dictator on the road to tyranny. And so it was with Trujillo.

    The tragedy Trujillo brought down on Dominican Republic is something that every citizen of any fragile democracy should guard against. To understand this horror, Llosa’s novel, The Feast of the Goat, is an excellent primer. The book should be compulsory reading for our parliamentarians who we expect to be the guardians of our freedoms, our shaky democracy and our meager national wealth. And more importantly by the voters who will be casting their votes on August 17th.

    • 4
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      Nari Bana:
      Thank you for that most interesting set of observations. I have cut and saved them for reading later.

      I have read some Llosa, but not the book you refer to. I shall try to get it soon.

      It is such a pleasure to read extended comment such as yours and would welcome the opportunity of communicating direct with you. You could probably find an email address for me on the internet if you wish to continue this discussion or any similar to it.

    • 0
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      Nari-bana,

      What you forget is the ancient history of Sri Lanka, and the rights due to indigenous people. (Just because they do not live in jungles, but assimilated over time with original indigenous tribes and created city structures do not make them less indigenous…..2.500 year old culture still holds great implication).

      Dominican Republic and Haiti and even Singapore can cut and paste from others, but to do so in Sri Lankan will create slaves out of the masses. We can force them out of their “nationalism” but that would only result in minorities who hold more money and technique to rule over the masses (and even more so if it was done around time of independence).

      Dominican Republic and Haiti went the bad way, but for Singapore, it was the same pattern of dictatorship, family cronyism, and racial politics. Then there is legitimate killing and torturing of dissidents (with killing and torturing of sexual offences taking center stage to dissipate what happens to dissidents).

      In Singapore, the original inhabitants, the Malays, merely crossed the straits to Malaysia, when not needed. In Sri Lanka however, Sinhala masses do not have another place to go to. The Chinese and Indians immigrants held control (albeit lesser control and status for Indians). These immigrants also greatly outnumbered the original Malay inhabitant.

      The region was especially rich in oil reserves, but had no foundational structure to handle the economic wealth. That’s where Singapore came in setting up all the financial holding system for the whole region. West ignores much because Singapore is a balancing tool in the region for Western interests.

      Each area of the world is of a different story. For Sri Lanka, it should be one of working within the ability of her populace, and doing for the country what is best for her majority.

      A better story would be that of the UK, where everybody who comes in is expected and taught to speak the language of the majority, English, and follow the customs and rules (even the Scottish Irish and Welsh who speak Gaelic and Celtic languages). Though some experimentation is allowed for multiculturalism, in the public office and civic life, all is said in English.

      • 1
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        Ramona Therese Fernando:

        When you say, ” Each area of the world is of a different story. For Sri Lanka, it should be one of working within the ability of her populace, and doing for the country what is best for her majority” all you are doing is trying to put a polite face on a very ugly reality, one that Adolf Hitler practiced in the name of a totally Aryan heritage. Sound familiar?

        As for, “A better story would be that of the UK, where everybody who comes in is expected and taught to speak the language of the majority, English, and follow the customs and rules (even the Scottish Irish and Welsh who speak Gaelic and Celtic languages). Though some experimentation is allowed for multiculturalism, in the public office and civic life, all is said in English,” it is so far fetched and inappropriate that I will not dignify it with a response. In your perfect Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian world you be prepared to allow the Tamils (or the Muslims) to hold a referendum to separate and set up their own country?

        “Taking random samples and making sweeping generalizations” is what “Tail-gunner” Joe McCarthy did in the US and I’d suggest you check that notorious Senator’s record if you are not familiar with it.

        • 0
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          EVDP,

          The sweeping generalizations seem to have been made by you. :)

          Adolf Hitler exterminated non-Aryans. Sinhalese on the other hand, invite all others to join them.

          Would England allow Northern Ireland to hold a referendum to return Northern Ireland to the Irish? Right now England is rethinking her multiculturalism policy experiment (especially Islamic English), and opting for English Nationalism.

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            Ramona Therese Fernando:

            If you think you’ve weasled out of the central racial supremacist thrust of your presentation, you might have. With people whose knowledge of history and politics can be inserted into one’s eye with no discomfort.

            I remember the man you obviously admire no end declaring that “there were no more minorities in Sri Lanka” and what that really meant when the attacks on mosques and churches accelerated and “a few lives were lost.”

            • 0
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              Emil van der Pooten,

              I am very sorry that you have come across with this deluded individual, Ramona Theresa Fernando! She is originally from a Catholic stock who has embraced Sinhala Buddhism, and she is advocating that all minorities should follow her example. If one were not heed to her example, one is deemed as a racist and trouble maker. This deluded individual is utterly ignorant and has no shame in writing nonsensical garbage on public forums!

              Sri Lanka produced scholars and possess 90% literacy ratio but she also produced individuals like Ramona!

              • 0
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                Burning Issue,

                All religions can accept the Buddhist philosophy, and give honor to the religion of the majority. All races can appreciate that Sinhala people are the majority and are the struggling masses of Sri Lanka

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                  ramona therese fernando

                  “All races can appreciate that Sinhala people are the majority”

                  All people appreciate the fact that Sinhala majority has more stupid people than all the minorities put together.

                  ” are the struggling masses of Sri Lanka”

                  Since the Sinhala people are the majority they elect their president/MPs who form the government, appoint their Prime minister, and the prime minister appoints the ministers, ….. man the bureaucracy, Police and the armed forces, judiciary, state institutions, ………….

                  What have the majority Sinhala people been doing since 1948 for the masses to struggle for such a long time?

                  Why haven’t you thought about the majority who failed? Now you want preferential treatment for the majority, compensating for their own failure by grabbing resources and opportunities from the minorities?

                  Its a good idea which the majority has tried over the past 67 years and failed miserably. You want to reward them for their failure.

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                    NV,

                    No, no no, no……the minority used the majority and potentially abused the innocent Buddhist system to make money off the backs of the majority. Minority should have linked in with the majority and graced the majority’s collective sense.

            • 0
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              EVDP,

              Rajapaksa said that there were no more race minorities. But religious minorities are a bit more elusive to tackle, isn’t it.

              And it was Gnanasara and Co. that attacked the mosques and churches. The regime was afraid that they would lose a % of votes, and so while disturbed by the incidents, they let the perpetrators off. However, the number of votes they lost in the end because of these very incidents goes to show that that racial/religiosity segment is a rather tiny one. Anyway Gnanasara and Co. are not anti-race, but anti-Islamic and Christian fundamentalism. Anyway Rajapaksa released a lot of public funds to rebuild the damages caused by these incidents.

              However, it wasn’t very nice for Rajapaksa to send SB Kariyawasam to Bengal to claim Bengali genes for Sinhalese. Instead of firmly establishing Sri Lanka in the South Indian region once and for all, Rajapaksa followed his predecessors that created the Sinhala-Tamil divide in the first place. In fact, it is wondered if Ranil and Co. wouldn’t mind Separatism, so they can consolidate and purify the Sinhala Bengali gene. Tamils won’t mind.

              Now, more than ever before, we need the JVP to put such embarrassing notions to rest, once and for all, and work diligently for the masses that are more south Asian that else (as Bengalis too are vastly South Indian themselves). This tiny glitch in Lankan thought (of all races), is the glitch that pits one against the other in the absence of proper intelligence to tackle problems and form solutions.

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                Ramona Therese Fernando:

                I find I have been very kind in trying to deal with your aberrant behaviour. However, when you say,

                “And it was Gnanasara and Co. that attacked the mosques and churches. The regime was afraid that they would lose a % of votes, and so while disturbed by the incidents, they let the perpetrators off. However, the number of votes they lost in the end because of these very incidents goes to show that that racial/religiosity segment is a rather tiny one. Anyway Gnanasara and Co. are not anti-race, but anti-Islamic and Christian fundamentalism. Anyway Rajapaksa released a lot of public funds to rebuild the damages caused by these incidents,” it seems like you are beyond a simple combination of irrationality and sycophancy! Closer to criminal insanity than anything else, it seems!
                Some people donate their bodies to science when they die. In your case, what rests in your cranium deserves examination while you are (God help us!) still with us.
                One little question in parting: who “ran” Gnanasara and his goons, supported them financially and even provided them with a building to operate out of and formally inaugurated a university for them to control?

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                  EVDP,

                  BBS is protecting Lankan Buddhism from wealthy Muslim and Christian religious fundamentalist groups.

                  These groups use their money as evangelical operatives, to coerce and convert Lankan Buddhists.

                  Furthermore, Lankan Buddhists who go to certain ME countries are not allowed to practice their religion, and are persecuted if they do so.

                  On top of that, the money that these religious groups bring in, operates in syndicate-form away from the natural economy of the country. They are an imbalance and burden to the Lankan economy for their money doesn’t go out to the general public, but is indulged within their respective religious niches. This makes the Lankan masses operate at gross disadvantage.

                  It has been suggested that Gotabaya sponsors BBS. If he does so, it is a balancing act against these new fundamentalist groups that are detrimental to Lankan society. I think it has been balanced out since,though more can be done at political level.

                  That BBS incited violence is a wrong move on their part. They need to change their tactics, and move with dialogue and intelligent strategy.

                  ps. guess BBS speaks very much the way you do.

          • 2
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            ramona therese fernando

            “Would England allow Northern Ireland to hold a referendum to return Northern Ireland to the Irish?”

            Only few months ago UK held a referendum in Scotland. Scots rejected separatism.

            Whats your problem with UK? Is it a problem with yourself?

            • 0
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              NV,

              yeah, the crook Cameron knew that separatism would not win, and did it to placate the LTTE-British who contribute so much to Britain. He did it to get Sri Lanka into English-bullying-grip once and for all. They came dangerously close, though, and probably used one hell of a gilmart to feign innocence. British are very clever with these things, you know.

              But let’s say that they did the referendum with good intentions in mind. Do you think they would have allowed it if there was a huge rich and majestic Celtic/Gaelic state hovering close to them? No indeed they would have never allowed such a referendum!

              Irish- Nationalism is weakened by British Northern Ireland. Everybody speaks English in all places. If Scottish separatism did occur, implementing ancient, indigenous, and obsolete language and culture would have killed the separatist effort right from the start.

              • 2
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                ramona therese fernando

                Take a break have a kitkat

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        Ms Fernando,

        I think you misunderstood my comment. All I said, as an add-on to Mr Van der Poorten’s excellent article, is that we must be vigilant not to allow any political leader to take the country down to a dictatorship. Mr Rajapakse’s ten year tenure as the President had all the hallmarks of moving in that direction.

        The book I recommended to CT readers, Mario Vargas Llosa’s “Feast of the Goat”, traces the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The early years of Trujillo’s rule in Dominican Republic have some remarkable similarities to that of Mahinda Rajapakse’s rule in the last five years. Whether a resurgent Rajapakse would go down the Trujillo path in the future is something that Sri Lankans should consider when they go to the polls on August 17. The book is a good eye-opener as to why we should never allow the likes of Rajapakse to hold political office. We must base our decisions on what we have observed in the last five years.

        While I am at it, let me recommend another excellent book. It is Vamik Volkan’s “Blind Trust: Large Groups and their Leaders in Times of Crisis and Terror”. Volkan is the Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia. In this remarkable book, Volkan provides a scholarly description of regressive movements in large-group identities. This book too provides insights to understand why a significant percentage of Sri Lankans foolishly have blind trust in Rajapakse.

        Rather than blindly, and emotionally, hold on to ideas that have no rational basis, we all should read on these topics and make informed decisions when we elect leaders.

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          Nari-bana

          “This book too provides insights to understand why a significant percentage of Sri Lankans foolishly have blind trust in Rajapakse.”

          Why did people have blind faith in Banda (1956), Sri Mao (1970), JR (1977) and MR (2010)?

        • 0
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          Nari-bana,

          Well, Rajapaksa has realized the folly of his ways and is holding hands now with Socialistic Weerawansa and others. Guess family cronyism will be much reduced (it was imperative in the first 10 years to get things moving, but it’s time to become more democratic). Anyway, Lee Ywan Yew didn’t do too badly as long-time dictator.

          As per Ranil….well, he’s promised jobs to the North. Good thing!But the 2 investment supercenters he proposes might incur Separatists using it, to deliberately abuse it and pull down the economy.

          Best if JVP handles all investments, not only for the N&E, but also for the whole country. In fact, if JVP wins over the other candidates and parties, it will be best. It will be one sure way to unify the country once and for all. It will be a tough one on Elite(and would be Elites), but it’s time they cared for the collective effort of Sri Lanka.

        • 0
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          Pootys excellent article .[Edited out] but then again CT is full of Nit wits

          Cheers

          Abhaya

    • 3
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      Nari-bana

      Please bear with ramona therese fernando for she tragically lost her brain at her birth and does not know one needs a brain to have a descent rational conversation/discussion.

      I wonder how she survived all these years.

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        NV the resident nit wit .

        Did you forget to take your Alzheimer meds again . you are acting like a senile fart again .

        Cheers

        Abhaya

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    Sri Lankans must be having practically the same DNA as Dominicans.

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