2 October, 2022

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Witch-Hunting Mudalige, Ranil-Rajapaksa Repression & the Opposition’s Convoluted, Collaborationist, Confusion

By Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Wasantha Mudalige has been detained initially for 7 days, but for up to 90 days, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Nothing he has done warrants even remotely the use of the PTA against him. 

The deployment of the PTA against this student leader is the shape of things to come: the deployment of the heaviest legal artillery of the State against unarmed activists and participants in unarmed demonstrations. 

What is used against the most prominent student leader today will be used against the trade unions, farmers unions and fisheries unions tomorrow. With Bolling and Martenstyn hauled up before the CID—they only heckled Ranil, on live social media– clearly no one is safe. Everyone can be caught up in the net of Ranil’s repression.

Wasantha Mudalige

Alienating the Students 

Wasantha Mudalige is the latest in a series of student leaders of significance—student leaders who were known by the public through the mass media– in Sri Lanka. 

Kanchana Wijeysekara’s father Mahinda Wijeysekara was one such. The phenomenon goes back at least to the 1960s, when two young men burst onto the scene. One was Malcolm Wijithapala and the other, MA Justin. In a decade they were tame enough, but in the 1960s they were red-hot. 

The student protests of the 1960s were no small deal. At Colombo university and Peradeniya university there were clashes between student and the Police and Army respectively. 

There was a UNP administration—a 7 party “National Government”—which alienated the university student community and the academic staffers as well. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe is old enough to recall the political price paid by the Government for its insensitivity towards the students and academics and its crackdown on the campuses. At the 1970 General Elections, the university academics were an important component on the platforms of the Center-Left Opposition. More importantly, the university students organized themselves impressively and conducted its own door-to-door campaign of leafletting and lobbying, which proved the autonomous Commando force of the Opposition campaign. 

The UNP-led 7-party “National Government” went down to a crushing defeat, with the SLFP-LSSP-CPSL Opposition sweeping to the 2/3rds majority in Parliament.  The phrase that entered the political lexicon was “The Silent Revolutions of 1956 and ’70”.

By the use of repression against the activists of the Aragalaya and the student leaders, President Ranil Wickremesinghe is (further) ensuring the inevitable, crushing electoral defeat of his administration, his party and his allies. The President would recall what happened after that defeat of 1970 and later in 1977: the defeated ruling parties of the privileged were the target of the people’s rage. There was no FSP, IUSF or JVP involved.

SJB’s Convolutions: Ranil or Sajith?

It is at this moment that there should be clarity and purpose on the part of the democratic Opposition. Sadly, that is the last thing we see today. It is perfectly valid for any mainstream democratic party to have several schools of thought—an excellent example is the US Democratic Party. However, at a decisive moment in history, it is incumbent upon the main Opposition to not to display the confusion and tendency to collaborationism that is visible and audible today. 

Some leading figures of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) were seen on TV hailing President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s speech as reflecting their own ideas; ideas they had espoused way before. 

Others said emphatically that they endorse the economic ideas in Ranil’s speech. 

If so, and given that we are consumed by an economic crisis, why don’t personalities belonging to these two sub-categories, simply go and join him in Government instead of propping him up while remaining in the Opposition, having been elected on a stance against Ranil Wickremesinghe?  

Some SJB personalities present economic blueprints which are indistinguishable from the long-standing ideas of Ranil Wickremesinghe. This is hardly surprising because these personalities were proteges of Wickremesinghe.  They are functioning as Ranil’s ideological Fifth Column, pushing and prodding the SJB into the role of prop of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s administration and enabler of his neoliberal economic policy agenda.

The SJB’s neoliberal wing proudly announces that it is unafraid to propose and administer “bitter medicine”, but what on earth makes it think the voter will swallow it, still less vote for a party that insists on “bitter medicine” as opposed to a rival party that offers the same medicine with “spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down” (as the song says)? Do the SJB’s neoliberals think the masses are masochistic? 

SJB centrists are politically better but logically untenable. Their stand is that they will support the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration’s program for national development without accepting portfolios and while being based in the parliamentary executive committees. In short “we shall prop you up but not while sitting next to you; we shall use a long prop or special scaffold to do so”.  

Their stance begs quite a few questions. Can President Wickremesinghe present a national program to develop the country? Does he have the capacity, the ability? If so, why didn’t he do so in all those years especially when he was elected Prime Minister in 2001-2003 and 2015-2019? If the answer is that he was moving in the right direction, then why did the electorate turf him out on both occasions and hold back for 15 years between the two stints in prime ministerial office? Why did the electorate never make him the leader of the country?

That being the case, what is there to discuss about a “national development program” with President Ranil Wickremesinghe? If he does have the capacity or potential, or you believe he does, then why not simply support him openly and join his Cabinet? This of course leaves open the questions of whether or not it was wrong not to field Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Presidential candidate in November 2019 and to break away and form a new party the SJB in 2020. I believe it was right and that the voting patterns show it to be so. 

But if that divorce—that rupture and new beginning– was correct, what is the logic of holding ‘discussions” with Ranil about a national development program and expressing the willingness to support either him, or his administration, or an all-party administration under his leadership or his economic program? Ranil certainly hasn’t changed his ideas, so what was the big deal in breaking away and forming a new party? 

A party has to think logically and clearly. Is the SJB the Alternative and does it possess the economic alternative? Or is Ranil the solution to the economic crisis, in which case there is no room or need for an alternative? 

If the gap between Ranil’s economic ideology and the SJB’s is so small, why maintain two parties? Why not re-merge? Or why not form a single front? 

Why support Ranil at all, and if one does, why not in/from the Cabinet? 

It is only if the SJB’s economic ideology and program are [Ranasinghe] Premadasa-ist and social democratic, that the gap between it and Ranil’s economic ideology is so large that a separate party and leadership are needed.   

SJB “seniors” should try explaining to the voters that they are not in or not willing to be in the same Government as Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Rajapaksas, but are in or willing to be in the same “Governance”!  

Ranil Wickremesinghe knows who he is, what he stands for, and what he is. Does the SJB have the same clarity about its identity, role, stand and function? 

The SJB’s rightwing, neoliberal collaborationists should be asked some simple questions: who is their top leader, Sajith or Ranil? Who do they believe can produce a national development plan and save the Sri Lankan economy—Ranil or Sajith? Whose ideology are they closest to –Ranil’s or Sajith’s? Who do they think is the alternative – Ranil or Sajith? Which is their stronger identity—UNP or SJB? 

The SJB should have an emergency Special Congress, Convention or Conference, bringing together all its elected representatives and organizers, and make a collective decision.  

Left Alternative

Only the left parties—JVP-NPP and FSP—are clear. But they cannot do it on their own. If they are to survive Ranil’s repression (which will get far worse and more lethally militaristic), defeat it and prevail politically, i.e., win, they must commit to mind these words of Antonio Gramsci:  

“The proletariat can become the leading and the dominant class to the extent that it succeeds in creating a system of alliances which allows it to mobilize the majority of the population against capitalism and the bourgeois state.” (Gramsci, Selected Political Writings II, 443)

The just-concluded Nugegoda meeting was quite impressive because of Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s and Tilvin Silva’s political clarity, will and determination i.e., exemplary political leadership, as well as the militant enthusiasm of their audience.

Judging by the speeches, the JVP-NPP seems to think that because it is big and strong it is the sole force necessary for a people’s victory. True, it is quantitively strong, but the FSP though much smaller, is a qualitatively impressive vanguard organization. 

Victory will require both forces. Gramsci’s injunction of “creating a system of alliances which allows it to mobilize the majority of the population” is the task of the day, but it is not being undertaken. 

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Latest comments

  • 7
    8

    Dayan Jayatilleka,
    .
    Thank you.
    I’m not sure that I agree with every word here, but there is nothing that I strongly DISagree with.
    .
    This is less than two minutes of Wasantha Mudalige. I have heard him in other clips as well. I thank him for what he’s doing for us.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA-WjYJETNM
    .
    I think that the NPP should act with the University students, the rest of the Aragalaya, and with with the FSP. We can’t give the closest possible attention to every detail, but these people have my steady support.
    .
    The full video of today’s NPP meting is more than three hours long. I have listened to snatches, and fully approve what I have heard. I will not post anything below this particular comment, which will have a link to the three hour video at the end. Could some kind soul please indicate the sections in terms of minutes and seconds that we should give special attention to:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIW9Fw-zqg4

    • 10
      0

      “Some leading figures of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) were seen on TV hailing President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s speech.
      so, why don’t personalities belonging to these two sub-categories, simply go and join him in Government instead of propping him up while remaining in the Opposition, having been elected on a stance against Ranil Wickremesinghe? “
      To be fair, these “leading figures” are no more or less hypocritical than the (leading?) figure who invented “Nugegoda Man”, and directly contributed to the rise of the Rajapaksas, but now claims to oppose them.

      • 11
        2

        1/
        I would be the first to object to the “student leader” calling anyone a “witch”. I take this as a hint that the author looks down on the lower class of our society. We should stop mentioning religion, race and social classes when we make public statements. Only then will people feel that we are all the same in our hell created by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vote of no confidence, even though we have different categories to identify us.

        It immediately brought back my memories of the current author explaining his self-promotional stuff on this and other forums. He is a pompous, self-proclaimed creature of all times in our country who does not know the meaning of “conformity”. His personal identity is far from being understood like that of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

        tbc

        • 10
          0

          2/


          This “special parasite and his background” has recently become a joke in this country. His network communication can provoke rather than divert our attention to the topic.
          # Now that all his hopes have faded and Sajith Premadasa’s true potential as a leader has been revealed, he may have swung towards the JVP/JPN. JVP should know the fact of ” the snake is on grass”.
          All that matters to him and his Sanja is securing the next ” post” no matter what. He must have learned this kind of selfishness from his godfather Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sajith’s famous fairy tales must have haunted the DJ for some time. Now the bubble has burst and people have no doubts about Sajith’s abilities.
          For some psychological reason, DJ always boast something unique about themselves.
          The just concluded JVP Nugegoda meetings reminded me how this writer acted in Nugegoda in 2015 in support of the criminal Rajapaksa gang who was on the side of his Sinhala drama queen Wimal Weerawansa. This DJ was the main spokesperson who represented the criminal gang (now known as SLPP) in the absence of the nation’s abusive political thug aka Mahinda Rajapaksa. It won’t go to waste to talk about DJ’s efforts to bring the abusive crime gang back to power.

          tbc

          • 8
            1

            3/
            If there is a large urban-rural divide, the emergence of Marxist leaders is inevitable in any country. It was the same in Italy then. As far as I know, there is still a sky-high gap between urban and rural areas in Sri Lanka compared to Colombo. When some people come to visit Colombo, they spread sensational stories through social media like hitting the ground in New York. This is not the case for Moroccans visiting Casablanca, for example. Others are naive enough to use “SL’s Southern Highway” and call it “a wonder equivalent to the Seven Wonders of the World”. Among those so described were teachers and those with some degree-level education.

            However, all this is subjective, and today’s mainstream media and their stream of information have failed to feed people with “facts and figures on various critical things.”
            Thanks to the internet, we can now make some kind of instant comparisons through social media. Many YOUTUBERs from rural backgrounds explain their poor knowledge of their country’s issues. . As someone who closely compares the state of the country to decades ago, I see some progress from outside the country, however, it is not yet clear whether it is directly driven by the people. . However, as the urban-rural gap is slowly narrowing, much of the progress achieved is still not substantial.
            world.
            tbc

            • 8
              1

              4/
              It has now created a cultural revolution, i.e. armed from the start with basic needs, incompatible with a maximalist ideology of human nature. The situation of the philosopher Antonito G is no different. He was born in Sardinia, one of the poorest regions of Italy in the 19th and 20th centuries. Dealing with some former communists in Eastern Europe today, I believe it makes no sense to go against the “will of the people” until a country is established.

              Due to the gap between the rich and the poor in Sri Lanka, the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna represents the majority of such low-income families. At least today we are a force to overcome our shortcomings, I hope that people will see beyond that. We are now freed from a brutal war that stood in the way of a better future, however, the nation’s Cold War is far from over. The inability to build a consensus on national policies is a culture war. The latter can be achieved by educating people about the facts, just the facts, and kicking the nation’s cancer myth-based negative thinking.
              .

            • 0
              0

              LM,
              .
              Do you categorise me as “Urban” or “Rural”?
              .
              I’m now going to quote from this man, William Blake (always worth studying!):
              .
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake
              .
              “To Generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit.”
              .
              https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/865126-to-generalize-is-to-be-an-idiot-to-particularize-is
              .
              Panini Edirisinhe

        • 2
          1

          Dear LM, you have seriously mis-understood the “witch-hunting” which appears in the title. Nobody is being called “a witch”. The phrase “witch-hunting” conjures in my mind things that happened in the USA at two different times. First, when witches were burnt in the Massachusetts area by the Puritans, about the end of the seventeenth century.
          .
          Thereafter in the early 1950s, when I was a child without understanding. Some politicians, notably a Senator McCarthy, got almost the entire country scared of Marxism so that people looked under their beds every night in case a “Red” was hiding there. Once more, many innocents were targetted. The two periods were neatly brought together by Arthur Miller in this play, “The Crucible”, set in that earlier period. Complicating it was Miller’s effort to come to terms with his disastrous marriage to Marilyn Monroe.
          .
          The whole point is that there were no real witches; innocent people were labelled as such.

          • 1
            0

            I think, immediately and first, of these two American instances when I hear of “Witch Hunting”, but before that there were many such trials and burnings, in Europe during the time of the religious reformations and wars from the 15th to the 17th centuries. Christians vs other Christians.
            .
            Other writers who know more about all that are free to explore.
            .
            Please write as powerfully as you can, about what you feel. As I’ve repeatedly said, there’s far too much on the Internet as it is. I’m not going to submit more than I can carefully write, even if it looks as though many are responding. Perhaps they are, at the expense of better writing by others.
            .
            You write too much!
            .
            I’m sorry to say that.
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe

        • 2
          2

          LM, like many others I have a problem with Dayan Jayatilleke because of proclivity to keep jumping; many of us fear this to be opportunistic.
          .
          I’m always wary of commenting on what he writes, but, in this article, I see nothing to censure him for.
          .
          The problem for me is that you have suddenly embraced crackdowns, after denouncing the Rajapaksas so vehemently.

      • 5
        2

        old codger,
        You are relentless with your ‘“Nugegoda Man”’ story. It is stale now.
        DJ is nobody to a Rajapaksa. So, ‘he directly contributed to the rise of the Rajapaksas’, is shallow and hollow!
        Nobody associates consistency with DJ. Why raise it up!

        • 7
          3

          Listen to how this parasite with a Beatles mop-top heap scorn on the working people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r65nWxUjvuw

          What real work has this freeloader ever done in his pathetic life?

          His message to the hard working people, after he and his ilk have robbed all their money and starving them, is that only politicians are entitle to a free meal!

          Native, can you shoot this miserable prick and put him out of him misery? ……… You owe the country at least one good dead.

        • 6
          0

          Nathan,
          Our people have short memories. So it helps to remind them of the “Nugegoda Rising”, and if necessary, Borella cemetery, EPRLF cabinet positions too. Of course, the Rajapaksas, Ranil, and it seems now, Sajith, are well aware.

  • 14
    0

    Now who ditched whom?
    Did DJ dump SP or vice versa?

    • 8
      0

      SJ,
      Isn’t there some Shakespearean quip about the fury of jilted lovers?

      • 7
        0

        Could you b thinking of
        “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorn’d”, OC?
        Actually it’s William Congreve not Shakespeare, tho often thought to be.

        • 2
          0

          “Actually it’s William Congreve not Shakespeare, tho often thought to be.”
          Yes, thanks, Manel.

          • 5
            1

            MF, OC
            But will not be people be more impressed if you say William S.

  • 5
    1

    State repression against emerging genberations of youths in Sri Lanka is not new but the context it is being used today is different i.e. against peaceful protesters mainly university students and other protest leaders/activists from aragalaya. Such a project is made possible by the continuation of much hated executive presidential system and the majoritarian democracy(led by Rajapaksas). Added to this is the continuation of war time mentality by police and seurity forces as the other writer explains elsewhere. During the war with LTTE,many rights nd freedoms were curtailed by state action. There is no need to continue such limitations and draconian laws like the PTA anymore in the present context where the government needs people’s support to overcome the inevitable austerity measures recommended by the IMF. Yet the ruling juinta seems to be interested only in preserving its own power. Is it trying to bring back a war time justification for stern action against popular dissent in this peace time to preserve their own power? It shall surely fail. People are demanding their rights, freedoms and power back to decide who they want in the parliament to make decisions on their behalf.

    • 5
      0

      PCT
      “There is no need to continue such limitations and draconian laws like the PTA anymore…”
      Was there need for such laws ever, let alone during the war? (In fact they were made before the war, and badly hurt the Sinhalese youth before hitting the North.

  • 7
    0

    Over the last few decades, we have heard many types of “SPEECHES” that offered us in many instances heavens, miracles, and splendor. In listening to those “Speeches” we applauded, cheered, and received the “Speakers” garlanded and conducted in public processions to demonstrate our appreciation and pledged our “Reliance” on them to fulfill our expectations. All those “Speeches” that contained all action plans and promises have ended up bringing more and more misery in contrast to that “Splendor” we “Relied” upon.

    We are to be blamed and not the Speakers and the Speeches. We failed to understand that “RELIANCE” on anything brings “DEPENDENCE:”, that dependence brings “SLAVERY” and that slavery brings “MISERY”.

    So the lesson we must learn is: DON’T DEPEND on anything and anybody. Now let us make a NEW beginning that changes for a BETTER FUTURE.

  • 11
    0

    When Tamils were screaming that PTA was an unjust law that incarcerated youth with a recourse to justice, the Sinhala south supported PTA as it did not effect them. Now the same thing has come to bite them in the Ass.
    Looking at what’s happening is sad but also humorous.

  • 5
    5

    They are all nervous and unsure on how far to take the Capitalistic process. They are all crazy about it, and Ranil especially is itching to get his hands on the money-potential of the Port-City. Unfortunately, the threat of Geo-Political Tensions, with the strong possibility of Motherland being bombed to smithereens, looms over their heads. In that respect, lets respect the lives and livelihoods of our Countrymen and go the stoic, honorable, and assuring way of the JVP-NPP.

  • 3
    0

    Nothing he has done warrants even remotely the use of the PTA against him.

    It’s always convenient for certain people to heap accusations on Protester but people knows what there doing Ranil Historical similarity is the last refuge who can’t grasp the current situation to divert the present situation to hide his weakness of ruling

  • 11
    0

    When it was introduced decades ago, it was called “Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions)”. It did not achieve much prevention and wasn’t temporary either. That its provisions would be used against any uprising in the South was easily predictable. Patriots who justified and cheered its use in the North could do with some reflection on their analytical abilities.

  • 6
    0

    Dear Readers,
    Nothing new.
    Repression has been and sadly, will always be how governments deal with groups of citizens who understand what is happening.
    As long as the majority of the voters are idiots, we will never see any systemic changes.

    • 5
      1

      Dear SA,
      .
      People are affected by economic difficulties and other difficult needs. I have read somewhere that the numbers are over 40%. The Rajapaksas falsified these figures to prove that they had achieved “so-called middle income levels”. How can we call them “stupid fools” now that we know the real picture? Is it fair to attack them? I used to attack them all the time, but today, I realized, like-minded people in similar countries are the same.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtOLKYB_Trg

      They don’t care much about the “facts and figures” of any issue but will agree with the offers they are given. The media mafia should be anathematized because they play a very crucial role between the rogue politicians and the common people.
      Besides, television broadcasts provide the main news to the poor today. But they are no different from the Rajapaksas who manipulate news based on “ratings”.

      Political crooks are fishing in muddy water by showing another picture to the poor for their selfish political gains. If our politicians are truthful, will we, the people of this country, ever need to cross-examined in this regard?

    • 6
      1

      SA
      The majority of voters are equally misinformed in all bourgeois democracies.
      Idiocy is not the same as ignorance of the truth.
      Will you say that the Americans or British have been any wiser?

      • 4
        1

        SJ
        True.
        I concede that there is a difference between idiocy and political awareness.
        There are political idiots in Britain and more so in the US – particularly the Hillbilly type who constitute the Trump supporters.

        I wonder if the ‘first-past-the-post electoral system’ would ever deliver a 5/6th majority in any bona fide democracy.
        A true reflection of the political awareness of the Sri Lankan voters is the passage of the referendum to postpone elections.
        (BTW – Ranil with the support of the Rajapakshas could follow JR with a manipulated referendum to avoid having an election)

        LM,
        Thanks for your observations.
        Your comments actually strengthen my view that the majority of Sri Lankan voters are political idiots. They are gullible and easily manipulated.

        There is NO country-wide agitation against the arrest and detention of Wasantha Mudalige (and others).
        The detentions are intended to frighten the people and the government has been successful.

        • 4
          1

          SA,
          .
          A country’s media is the 4th pillar according to analysts. But our media is the worst media I know. To be fair, they make headlines that please their paymasters. Now with the power of social media platforms, I thought I would hope for a positive influence and balance, however it has turned the other way around. Think of the tactics employed by “Sepal Amarasinghe”. He is the most abusive man in today s context. I really dont like the vicious man, who then made everything to be seen in favour of Rajapakshes. Now as if he is born yestreday, is triying to be a pundit…. To him, everyone is wrong in today’s context. I am against anyone hitting each other. Their news is similar to “Linda Langa Association-Gossip”:

          Any simple dollar greedy bastard, running a YouTube channel, can say anything to increase his or her “likes” and make the video attractive.

          The general public prefers “disparaging comments to facts and figures because they enjoy the moment of reading or listening. That is how WIMAL BURUWANSE or the like became powerful politicians to most literate state of srilanka (western province). It is typical of our nation or South Asia as a whole.

          • 3
            0

            LM,
            Thanks.
            I do not know enough about Wimal Weerawansa and Sepal Amarasinghe to meaningfully respond to your comments.

            Yes, I agree.
            There are many ‘educated’ individuals who are politically naïve.

            • 3
              0

              SA,
              thank you.
              .
              Have you ever questioned why our people fell for blatant lies over and over again?
              Please read below, the highly literate people of Sri Lanka (Western Province) also made Wimal the top candidate not once but several times… Can you imagine? we call our people idiots – but we should see as to why they remain idiots being easy prey for any rogue politician. mAIN stream media and thakkadi politicians are a lucrative symbiosis.

              Wimal Weerawansa was Mahinda Rajapaksa’s right-hand man in the criminal political movement.His public speeches were misleading but people were easily manipulated by them. For example, “Dear parents, if Mahathir Mohamad (Mahinda) and Lee Kuan Yew (Gotabaya) are in your future government, don’t you believe that things cannot be changed for a better future? … completely misleading as contained in Wimal Weerawan’s famous speech. The text was
              .
              Any move to join hands with Europe, America or other rich nations was interpreted by Wimal Weerawansa as Western invasion conspiracies. I have no doubt you have read about it somewhere else? His trashy Sinhala rhetoric was carried across the country like a chant by leading singers in Europe, and the trashy Sinhala version of the public stage was held in high esteem by the Sinhalese dominated society as part of the diet without “Karawala Kariya” but smelled of caraway. To the Europeans.

              • 3
                1

                To SA and all,
                .
                Please be informed also abou DANGEROUS t Sepal Amarasinghe (YTUBER)
                .
                Sepal Amarasinghe, 55, is the other person contracted by the Rajapaksa family.
                It is said that he is an alumnus of the Royal College and has worked as a columnist in Sri Lankan newspapers for so long. As I know from his Sinhala YT videos, he has spent many years in Taiwan.
                This person is a dangerous person for the Sri Lankan media world because his permanent articles and YT videos misled those voters badly before November 2019. As you know our people even college educated men or women will not think twice about getting caught. If rhetoric is mixed with Sinhala Buddhism and patriotism, it can easily be done by tactics.
                His contract was to build a weak opposition that would urge voters not to vote.
                He is a dangerous person, a champion of opportunism. For his job, he targeted his YouTube channel and has become one of the powerful YouTubers in Sri Lanka today (YouTubers earn $600 – 1500 per month). It has become a lucrative job in Sri Lanka today.

              • 1
                0

                apologies for typo, comments were made while travelling across europe.
                .
                It should be the “dried fish” is stinky to European kitchen. Our people would never see it as stinky.

            • 1
              0

              Dear LM,
              .
              Thanks for writing more carefully, and using acceptable language. Please pay attention to what Sunil Abeyratne is saying here. He is familiar with a different set of manipulators from what you’re familiar with.
              .
              If we start taking directions from others about what to write, we will end up like the father, the son, and the donkey in the Aesop’s fable where they ended up carrying the donkey, to the great discomfort of all three.
              .
              When you first introduced Sepal Amerasinghe to me, you were enthusiastic about him. About six months ago “Human Touch” suggested that I lacked the ability to appreciate the brilliance of Sepal because I lacked the skill to analyse. Nonsense! There is little worthwhile in the fellow’s leering – that’s my view.
              .
              I have analysed some of Sepal’s distasteful programmes; if others don’t get it, I give up! Who knows, it is I who may be wrong!
              .
              Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

        • 3
          0

          Dear SA & SJ,
          …”I concede that there is a difference between idiocy and political awareness. There are political idiots in Britain and more so in the US”…….
          At least they have a choice.

          …”The majority of voters are equally misinformed in all bourgeois democracies.”……..
          I presume Russia N Korea & China are exempted from this debate.

          • 3
            1

            MV
            Several of us have a tunnel vision of democracy that prevents us from imagining other ways in which people are governed (or even govern themselves).
            We rely on news media dominated by imperialism and its cronies.
            Do we ever look elsewhere for information– not to swallow whatever is said, but compare and make up our minds?
            *
            Just to make a simple point:
            They say people have no democratic choice in China.
            Hundreds of thousand Chinese leave China annually to countries across the globe to work, study, holiday etc.
            But very nearly all return.
            Is it because they love a government that suppresses democratic rights?
            *
            Voters in China are far better informed on who they elect to their Parliament than in bourgeois democracies: no false promises; no buying of votes, no whipping up of communal feelings. And there is the right to recall.
            At least learn what the electoral process is like before passing judgment.
            That may be not what we like for us. But it is good to know what it is and why it appears to work.
            Cuba has a one party system. Vietnam too. How do they have stable government?
            See North Kore in the context of a 70+ years long war that has not formally ended, with military bases of a foreign power across its border, and in waters around it, conducting war exercises annually. It is the most maligned by Western media after Iran.
            *
            An open mind should not hurt one.

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    SJ, Sunil,
    During the run-up to the Referendum I was deeply involved in campaigning for the Pot & ended up at the end of Anura Bastian’s gun.
    But out of all the responses to attempts to persuade individuals to vote against JR’s vile & illegitimate ploy to prevent a due democratic process taking place, the one that most appalled me was that of my 50-year-old female, Christian, Chetti neighbour:
    “My party, right or wrong”.

    “Idiocy, Ignorance or political awareness”?

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      And despite her son being attacked when he went to vote in Dehiwela, mistakenly taken for a “potty” voter, she cited for the Lamp.

      • 2
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        “Voted”

    • 4
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      “My party, right or wrong”.

      “Idiocy, Ignorance or political awareness”?
      *
      Manel. replace “party” with “family” (or race or religion or caste or country) and see what you get.
      Human beings are slaves to habit– it is a matter of degree. Generally any deviation from such loyalty is frowned upon and can even be considered treachery.
      If you look around in these pages, you can find prejudice in plenty.
      It is not just here, it is almost everywhere.
      *
      It is good to be a heretic.– or rather one has to be a heretic to be good.

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        MF, SJ,

        “Idiocy, Ignorance or political awareness”?

        Human beings are slaves to habit

        I would imagine that all the above-noted factors are in play.
        I have met very sensible/smart individuals who are naïve when it comes to political opinions.

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          SA
          I like the last sentence. Couldn’t agree more.

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      Manel,
      Great to hear that you were involved in the campaign.
      I attempted to persuade my folk in Colombo not to vote for the referendum arguing that one could remain a UNP supporter but still vote against the referendum. I am not sure if I succeeded.
      I wasn’t in Sri Lanka at the time of the referendum.
      If I was, my contribution would have been miniscule.

      Quite a number of Sri Lankans who are based overseas financially supported the Aragalaya. Sadly, there is still no lasting impact.

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        Sunil
        I doubt that you would be interested in reading about that ancient event now, but part of a long report (100+pp) I did on the Referendum appeared under a pseudonym (Priya Samarakone) in James Manor’s “Sri Lanka in Change & Crisis,” in 1984.
        And the complete report was published by the CHR Michelsen Inst., Bergen in 1988, as “Sri Lanka’s First Referendum: Its Conduct & Result.”
        The official Election Commission’s report was only published in Sept 1987, & I didnt manage to see a copy until late ’89.

        My unpublished report was given by a friend to James Manor with the hope that he would bring it out in some form. When the book came out I was rather unhappy to find that not only did an article by Lalith Athulathmudali precede mine, but my section “A Vote for the Pot is a Vote for Eelam” (the racist slogan L.A. introduced into the ref. campaign) was omitted.

        I believe that slogan helped to stoke the anti-Tamil attacks the next year.

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          Manel,
          Thanks.
          I attempted to access the report in ‘CHR Michelsen Inst., Bergen’ but failed.
          Cambridge University Press is the publisher – I hope to get the book through a library.
          The site is gated anyway.

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            Sunil
            I will email someone (Hugo) there & ask him how you can access it.

            If he had your email he could send it to you. Or maybe to CT who could fwd it to you. Unless you care to send me yr details via Uvindu.

            Depending where you are, Hugo might even post you a copy.

            He has just retired but we are in touch as I hope to put tge report online sometime. But that will take time.

            I guess SA is yr real name? Can u perhaps let me know which country u r in?

            You may contact me directly via Uvindu if u wish.

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            Or maybe I will just ask him if I can put you in touch with him.

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              Manel,
              I greatly appreciate your efforts.
              What you have written is of interest to me primarily because I propose to revisit the discussions I had with my colleagues although it happened over thirty years ago.

              SA is my real name and the email address is:
              sunil.abeyratne66@gmail.com.
              I will communicate my contact details to an email address.
              Thanks for responding.

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        Dear Sunil A.,
        .
        It was that referendum that turned me almost permanently away from the UNP. I must have been 34 at the time.
        .
        Since then, I’ve been unsure whom to vote for. That tentativeness, although uncomfortable, is a good thing. It means that I’m thinking all the time.
        .
        However, now I’m now a firm and stable supporter of the NPP. They need to know that they have a firm voter-base if they are to evolve principled long-term policies. The Old Left probably had admirable policies about the “Estate Tamils”, who were so despised by other politicians. There wasn’t a positive response from those Estate Workers; that blunted the resolve of the Old Left.
        .
        In another area, the Old Left may have got priorities mixed; they sought to weaken the the capitalist system through strikes, and so encouraged the economics based on hand-outs, instead of production.

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