By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
This is most interesting! Whenever a hole seems to appear in the armour of this government that replaced Rajapaksa, writers sympathetic to the Mahinda Rajapaksa camp jump up like jack in the box! Out of their hibernating slumber, they prowl again. Mr Sarath De Alwis’s latest in Colombo Telegraph, under the rubric, “Preaching Good Governance From A Penthouse,” is just such a comical drama piece. The fantasising is reminiscent of Disney Land. We used to have Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, our political analyst, before but for some reason that writer is hushed. Who can conjecture on that?
Highly enthused over the Ravi Karunanayake wreck, Sarath De Alwis starts off with little pretence when he says, “we made a terrible mistake on 8th January 2015.” The writer hasn’t a mask this time. But he went too far and received a wonderful comment from respected commentator, Emil van der Poorten. Here’s what Emil has to say:
“You have not answered my basic question: what did you write in criticism of Mahinda Rajapaksa WHEN HE WAS IN POWER, proving that neither he nor his acolytes resorted to violence, inclusive of white vans, in rebuttal. As someone who wrote a regular column in the Sunday Leader from the time that Frederica Jansz took over as editor and till very shortly after she had to run for her life, I would be most obliged if you could give me the links to the pieces you wrote for the Sunday Leader or any other publication (now that you do have a computer) in criticism of Mahinda Rajapaksa while he was in power.
You say, ‘My statement that the Idea of MR as PM under a Sirisena Presidency was only a desperate howl to stress my despondency over the betrayal by this lot.’ Talk about armchair rubbishy pontification, if not downright hypocrisy!
As for being ‘disappointed’ in you, I am always disappointed in any human being that displays self-interest at the expense of a semblance of ethics, morality and principle. Why? Because, as perhaps the eternal optimist, I will always believe people to be honest, ethical moral etc., until and unless they prove me wrong.“
I think Emil lost patience when Sarath De Alwis poured forth out of his exultant heart the preposterous suggestion that a return of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister to work with Maitripala Sirisena as President would be the best option. I thought to myself this is going too far along the logic line from Ravi Karunanayake’s isolated moral howler. The line of reasoning did not lead to such a conclusion. Rather, the gap was filled by the writer.
Besides, we have the commonsense to imagine what Mahinda would do if ensconced as PM in the manner Sarath suggests. He would gather his cronies and crooks in Parliament, like the man called Prasanna Ranatunga who the other day sat in the President’s chair in Parliament during yet another unruly JO fracas. Mahinda has enough money to tempt the doubters and fence-sitters. They will all come together and oust poor old Maitri by a 20th Amendment to our already hacked constitution. Maitri always had fears that he would be sent six feet under the ground if Mahinda wears his power boot again. This time, it won’t be just Maitri but Ranil and the whole lot. Mohan Pieris would be back in the CJ seat to render unto the King what the latter wants!
Sarath De Alwis, like all Rajapaksa band wagoners, assume that his audience are fools who cannot conceive this realisation.
Caught in his own flawed zeal, Sarath now says he uttered that judgment only in desperation! He has dug a bigger hole and fallen into that! I have witnessed better honesty in Dayan Jayatilleka who simply sticks to his gun and never prevaricates and swallows his own judgments.
This isn’t the first time. The last occasion I remember was when Sarath De Alwis had attended the Joint Opposition Galle Face May Day rally that filled the breezy green. “Mahinda’s return cannot be averted,” Sarath stated then. Like Dayan Jayatilleka at Nugegoda, Sarath was so impressed by the crowd that also kept chanting to Gammanpila’s oratorical lie: “Our true patriot, Wimal Weerawansa is in jail! Why? Because he fights for his country!” That was a patriotism that gave away houses built of poor peoples’ taxes to his kith and kin. It was a patriotism that allocated to his cronies government vehicles for their pleasure pursuits and spent millions in fuel out of Treasury money. Sarath seems to aver that shame is a defining quality of the current government and not with the Rajapaksa regime.
Well, that was the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa under whose watch high profile murders took place and state terror had been unleashed. Lasantha Wickrematunge, fearless Sunday Leader editor, had been brutally murdered after that newspaper came out with alleged fraudulent deals over the MiG purchase of Gotabaya. Prageeth Ekneligoda was sent missing. Keith Noyahr was assaulted. Many other journalists, went missing. Some like our man Uvindu Kurukulasuriya had to leave the island! The man who commandeered our war to victory on the real battlefield-General Sarath Fonseka, was dragged away like a dog and thrown to prison where he had to put on jumpers and eat out of a tinplate. The list of Rajapaksa misdeeds will need a whole book to describe. The yahapalanaya government has not yet come anywhere an inch to such a list of crimes. Can you not see that Sarath de Alwis? Things like what Ravi has done were done by every Minister under the Rajapaksa government. Ravi, really belongs to the Rajapaksa mind set.
I must emphasise that I am not making a plea for the present government. I am merely countering an expressed hypocrisy about the last government.
I write for the yahapalanaya movement and not for the yahapalanaya government. The movement is supreme; no government can be. A government is only seen by me as a device for implementing the philosophy of yahapalanaya. If that device fails, then we must move ahead and find a better one. The goal yahapalanaya is to ensure the installing of systems and practices that will place nobody above the law, make politicians fully accountable, and the country, consequently, prosperous.
Even Pakistan seems to be getting ahead of us. See how Nawaz Shariff is caught by court for fraud! Nawaz is typical of what political blokes try to do employing the power they derive from the people. This is why we must insist on systems in place. It is systems thinking and not personality orientation that we need. Under poor systems even the good may be tempted. One argues for persons only because one is stupid or one has to benefit from the persons concerned.
*The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org