22 October, 2017

Young and the Bright Should Lead Sri Lanka!

By Laksiri Fernando –

Dr Laksiri Fernando

Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions.” – Noam Chomsky

It was quite reassuring to see positive comments with equally valuable suggestions from over a dozen of people to my last article on the “Need for Peaceful Regime Change.” Of course I have got nasty and hostile comments as well. Among the positives, many emphasized the FUTA example and called for the young to take the lead. Whoever she is, one Sunila Mendis summarised the sentiments of many commentators as follows:

We failed in nation building from the very outset and launched divisional politics hiding behind a facade of patriotism. Religion and ethnicity were used to propagate heroism and patriotism. As someone has commented we have overused the senior politicians. We have to go in search of shiny new leaders from the younger generation where there will be plenty.

Yes, there will be plenty of ‘shiny new leaders from the younger generation.’ I first wish to reflect on some local experiences and then relate my main theme from Chomsky about the ‘role of intellectuals’ again with some overseas experiences to break away from the usual monotonous writing. I beg your pardon however from those who are ‘allergic’ to first person narratives which might give an appearance of self-indulgence!

Tsunami Experience

I was sitting in my office at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Colombo, the day after that catastrophic event, on Monday, when three unknown youngsters, two girls and a boy, approached me. As I was acting for the Vice Chancellor, in his absence, they were asking my permission to use the university sports grounds in front of the College House for a fundraising campaign to collect funds for Tsunami relief on the same evening. While I gave permission immediately in consultation with the administration, I was more intrigued by what they were planning to do.

The young man explained to me that he is from the Deep South but working as an executive in a private company in Colombo. The two young women also were from the private sector, one doing a MBA at that time in our Faculty. He further explained with deep emotion the devastation that he has already seen in the coastal belt from Hambantota to Kalutara, travelling on a motor bike. When I asked him how he is going to mobilize people for the event on the same day, one girl jumped the gun and in fact showed me her mobile to mean SMS. I was rather sceptical but didn’t show my feelings.

That evening I came with my wife in our personal vehicle to see what was going on. It was astonishing. The Thurstan Road was full of vehicles. The ground was filled with youngsters apparently from the private sector. At the entrance you had to buy a candle and make a contribution. Then you light the candle on makeshift tables made out of what, I was not concerned. By 7.00pm there were hundreds of candles giving light to the otherwise dark ambiance. There was not even moonlight that day. Amusingly, many youngsters were explaining to me the purpose of the event and how they would utilize the funds. I couldn’t find the boy or the girls to whom I gave permission to hold the event. Anyway it was immaterial.

The following day, I travelled up to Galle to see what has actually happened and to see what we could do through the Peace Building Project that I was in charge of at that time. Everywhere I saw youngsters, including young monks, distributing provisions to the displaced people and cleaning up the mess in many places. The reactions were spontaneous with little organized efforts by that time.

Several occasions thereafter I reflected upon the three youngsters. They were slightly different to the youngsters whom I used to meet in university lecture halls. But the spirit was perhaps the same. They appeared typical ‘Colombans’ at least in dress coming from mainly the private sector. That was their advantage to raise funds, but deep down in their hearts they were the same. I have seen the courage and resolve, and sometimes misdemeanours, of university students but that was the first time I realized the strength of the young outside the universities. This I should emphasise. They must be the new generation of professionals in the private sector with social consciousness.

Experience in Prague 

Many philosophers have emphasised the role of intellectuals in social change and the Marxists are undoubtedly the most prominent among them. Here the intellectual should not be identified with the academia alone or those who hold formal degrees. One of the foremost intellectuals in Sri Lanka was Martin Wickremasighe without a degree or a proper formal education. The intellectual could mean anyone who possesses ability to rationally comprehend social reality and act accordingly. Academia perhaps can play a major role.

Summarising the meaning of FUTA struggle, I was delighted to see what Liyanage Amarekeerthi explained.

As intellectuals, we are men and women of ideas. We think. We rethink. We disagree. We debate. We rethink. That is our life; that is what we value about our life. Although each of us has his or her own ideas about things, we have come together to fight for a common cause because we know that many of the problems we face in our academic life have resulted from lack of funding allocated to our sector, to universities…”

I was in Prague that week when its democratic revolution took place in 1989. I was attending a conference on higher education sponsored by UNESCO from 14 to17 November and making a presentation on the “Lima Declaration on Academic Freedom” on behalf of the World University Service (WUS) in Geneva. It was the final day when we went to celebrate the International Students Day, which marked the struggle against fascism in 1939, in the morning of 17th Friday at the Charles University, one of the oldest universities in Europe.

When we were coming out, there was a group of students distributing leaflets with placards in hand. I talked to the person who appeared to be a leader of the protest who gave me his name card which marked Panek Simon. That kind of protest was not common those days under the communist regime.

We had our final session in the afternoon and after dinner in the evening as usual I went with two others, one Indian and the other Swedish, towards the Wenceslas Square, a habit for the last three days. The place was unusually empty and there were police instead of people. We heard shouting from the riverside of Vltava. In between the Wenceslas square and the river there were about 200 people shouting slogans in another park. They were surrounded by another circle of police of about 500. The time was around 8.00pm and within hours thousands of people encircled the police. It was around 10.00pm that the riot police moved in and administered a baton charge and teargas but not shooting. There were few skirmishes which we were watching from the first floor of the Charles Bar nearby, drinking plum brandy.

The following day on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Wenceslas square and the police could hardly do anything. They were chatting, chanting slogans, discussing and distributing leaflets. It was called the ‘Velvet Revolution.’ I had my flight back on Sunday and within few days it was announced that the ‘democratic revolution’ won, led by the students and academia. After the democratic transformation, Vaclav Havel, a playwright intellectual became the president.

Burma

A more violent uprising took place a year before in 1988 in Burma but the democratic transformation was aborted despite the elections in 1990 where a new party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi won 80 percent of the seats in parliament. The power was not transferred to the elected representatives and the army again took over the reins against the popular will. That uprising also was led by the students and intellectuals. Since 1962, the country was under a military rule and that was the main obstacle for the democratic transfer which needs to be prevented in any other country, for example in Sri Lanka. The more an authoritarian rule becomes entrenched the more it would be difficult for a change.

While Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest in 1990, many of the other leaders had to flee the country. I met Dr Sein Win in Sydney in March 1992 who was selected to be the Prime Minister in the NLD government in exile. He was a professor of mathematics who has in fact come to Sri Lanka in 1980/81 on sabbatical leave attached to the University of Colombo. There were many other intellectuals and student leaders in the movement. U Hla Pe was another, whom I met in the Thai-Burma border in early 1993. Many of them had not been in politics before including Sein Win or U Hla Pe. When I asked Hla Pe how he got involved in politics he smiling said, “My students were on the streets, so I followed them.” I was sad to hear later that he disappeared and his body was found with bullet wounds. I don’t know whether they used a ‘white-van’ for the abduction!

I have met some of the leaders of the ABSDF (All Burma Students Democratic Front) and they all had interesting stories to tell. The most characteristic was their determination, resolve and revulsion against dictatorial rule. Of course there can be many failings not only in student movements but also among intellectuals. Noam Chomsky highlighted what the intellectuals could do in exposing ‘lies and hidden intentions of governments’ but at the same time emphasized the responsibilities as well. Raymond Aron did the same in criticizing the possible errors of intellectuals. There is no reason therefore to merely idealize the role of the intellectuals or students but their role is crucial.

Possibilities

Even looking back at the past of our own Sri Lanka, the role of the students, teachers and intellectuals has been pivotal in the left movement and in the nationalist movement, whatever were the weaknesses of both. Two exemplary personalities that instantly come to my mind are Handy Perimbanayagam of Jaffna and Vernon Gunasekera in Colombo. Both were school teachers and the latter became a lawyer subsequently.

Presently, the democracy opposition in Sri Lanka is still incipient. The totalitarian tendencies are abundant. There is a vast asymmetry between the emerging opposition at the ‘center,’ to mean the Western Province, and in the periphery. The election results of the three provincial councils may be discouraging but the FUTA struggle and the commitment of law professionals to uphold rule of law are more than encouraging. The euphoria of the former should not be allowed to influence the latter. The role of many journalists and the media has been exemplary. The movement to reestablish democracy in the country is a medium term struggle which might span from two to three years.

The internal forces need to be strengthened and realigned in order that international factors would not affect the internal situation negatively. It has already been noted that anti-Sri Lankan activities in Tamil Nadu must have influenced the voters towards voting for the ruling UPFA. The performance of the UNP or the JVP is also not up to the mark. There were many who stayed away from the ballot box. Apart from the misuse of state power by the government, there were apparently many weaknesses on the part of the opposition. Even the TNA may have to reassess their political strategies in the future.

All opposition parties need to open up more opportunities for the ‘young and the bright’ at the leadership levels in their respective parties. Of course the senior leaders should be respected. What the country need is not merely a ‘regime change;’ but ‘regime changes’ in all spheres and systems for better democracy, transparency, rule of law, justice and fair play. ‘Regime change’ does mean more than the change of heads or personnel.

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    You are also can train future some of young leaders for Sri lankan nation;your contribuation , as Most educated and versatlie professor with worldwide exprineces will be healpful.
    In fact your personality and leadership quality will be added qulifiction to guide train NEW YOUNG LEADERSHIP OF ISLAND OF SRI LANKA.

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    Good article. There is an opportunity, the present governement can use their popularity to make the country more toward a real democracy, installing law and order and fairness to all Sri Lankans.

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    Could not agree more with the Dr. Laksiri Fernando.

    Unfortunately, it will be wishful thinking as long as Sri Lanka is a two party system.

    SLFP & UNP. Both parties are deeply corrupt. Out of energy and new ideas.

    Competing families and their cronies run both parties. At great expense to the Sri Lankan nation. It is nothing short of a crime against Sri Lanka.

    Both parties suffocate new talent, Sri Lanka’s best and the brightest. In order to maintain Status Quo. To promote family members or henchmen. Just look at UPFA government. They are trying to promote a crown prince right now. Namal Rajapakse. Ridiculous. How long shall we tolerate this mess?

    Sri Lanka’s best, brightest and the bravest must take ownership of the problem. Now!

    Build a broad based popular movement that will sideline both UNP and SLFP to their rightful places.

    Sri Lanka cannot afford to wait for either the SLFP or the UNP to fix Sri Lanka forward. Sri Lanka must build a third force made up of the best and the brightest to take care of it.

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    I am thanking you for a pro0democratic standards. However, you must be ashamed of your students like Dhamma Disanayake and Mahesh Senanayake who are illiterate in modern democratic practices and colloborators of oppressive regime. In that sense you are a failed guru.

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      Upasaka Mudalige, he is a failed GURU alright. This man is now coming and advising that the Young and the Bright should lead Sri Lanka. Why, what happened to the present Intellectuals in society, some of whom are with the Corrupt system? For that matter this man too were part of this present set up at the begining. Only now he has realised that we should look for young blood? It is nothing but another ploy of his to be in the limelight of trying to ride over the shoulders of the young Intellectuals with no experience and vission, will only lead to further chaos for this society. How innocently he casts his bait expecting the young to swallow, so the young will have him as an advisor, like how he was an advisor to MR not many moons ago and now discarded.

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        ‘Wisdom dawns late’ it is said. There are people, despite their intellectual capacity, due to circumstances fall into traps and go the wrong way. When they change they should be considered for their views but not their personality. I have no link with Laksiri at all to support him. But is he not better than the other Professors who got trapped and do not want to come out of it.

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      Mr Upaska;
      It wrong to accuse a person who do teachings to student 4,5 hours a day and give them some useful ideas.
      have you heard that the saying as YOU CAN TAKE A HORSE TO A WATERHOLE FOR WATER, BUT CANNOT MAKE IT DRINK.
      SOME STUDENTS BECOME GOOD, BAD AND UGLY ALSO.
      SO TEACHER IS ALONE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.
      PARENTS, FRIENDS AND SOCIETY ALSO BEAR IRRESPONSIBILITY.

      NATION BUILDING SHOULD COME FROM THE LEADERS OF THE COUNTRY FROM THEIR BOTTOM OF THE HEART.
      SO THE Young and the Bright will follow the Leaders to a brighter Sri Lanka.

      with manipulated and robbed degree holding and kudu businessmen and looting young leaders, will Sri Lanka become a brighter country

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    It is necessary to encourage and promote the young to take-over the leadership of the country if it is to be saved from the path of destruction that it has taken. But such youth should be moulded within the existing political culture which is corrupt, communal and violent. I could quote an incident – ‘Just over a year ago there was a discussion with a group of young Parliamentarians who were in the UK on a study tour. At the discussion a participant urged on the young MPs to use their influence in their respective parties towards changing the existing political culture. A few weeks later it was reported in a website that one of these young MPs was involved in an attempt to cause harm to a person who entered the field of business the MP did as the new entrant did not heed to the demand that he should not compete with the MP. Worse it was reported that the MPs chief too was supporting the MP. As such the whole system need a change.

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    The leadership will not derive only by Young Persons ,but its need to address base on policy and principle has been created by Masses base Politiacl movements, roots on democracy and people-orinted policies in our soli. The task and programe should be Democracy of bourgeisois reform and its evlouation after indepandeane since 1948.
    THE PATH, TASK and MODEL is bourgeiosis led capitalist class and other opperssed classes.
    We are NOT AT the stage of SOCIALIST REVOLUATION OR SOCILAIST CONSTUCAION ERA.Our level of politiacl Economical and Social development still Unfinished and incomplated of STRUGGLING for Democrtaic revoluation PATH of DEVELOPMENT in the island.
    Similar path development has taken place by the ongoing trend of emerging NEW EOCNOMY WORLD ORDER.
    We have to be pratical to intergriated with Goble trend. Will BE APPLY same development PATH AND MODEL SUITED OUR OWN NATIOANL CONDITIONS. SRI LANKA PATH OF DEVELOPEMENT WILL AN OPEN NEW SET OF VITAL AND WIDE, POLICIES YOUNG LEADERSHIP by NEW political leardership and its movement.
    Untill its will not COME INTO BEING, is quite impossible created social enviroment to be build young leadership in our island.
    Without produicing such set of policies you cannot an introduce YOUNG LEADERSHIP.
    Such trend of phonemona not yet visble ongoing society and Political Party’s System in Sri Lanka.Hope and Wish this emmiment and wise Professor will enlighient such set policies young generation come into being.

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      Fully agree with you on that.

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    Prof. Laksiri, before you continue moralising, could we know for a fact whether you did or did not support the Presdent and his brother being awarded doctorates by the University of Colombo and whether you were the prime mover behind this acton, as some have alleged in this forum?

    I narrowly missed entering the Law Faculty at the Uni in 1994 and as a result, had to go overseas to study. I am now glad that I did not enter and graduate from this place which became so politicised.

    You need to clearly answer this in the interests of transparency and accountability that you preach to others.

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    I have said this before. It is also on record and nothing to hide. This is in response to Chrissy Abesekera.

    I did support Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) whom I knew since 1969 at Vidyodaya. I considered him to be a progressive. I have continuously supported left and left of centre political formations until recently. I still believe in liberal socialism. However, I have never been close to MR except when he was in the opposition, yet keeping my independence. MR in power, I always kept a long distance. That has been my nature. However, I firmly supported the government thrust against the LTTE, after making attempts for peace, although I have always been a supporter of the Tamil and minority rights. I never condoned violations of human rights or humanitarian law in that thrust.

    Yes, I was the formal proposer at the Senate of the University of Colombo to confer honorary doctorates to the two brothers. That was on 29 May 2009. They deserved that in my opinion for bringing what I called in my last article, the first stage of democratic transformation by concluding the war. Even Sarath Fonseka deserved it. Now we have space to work out the second phase. It was also a request by the VC to which I obliged under the circumstances. This is not an excuse but a fact. But I even didn’t go to the party.

    I am not a person to moralize matters. My outlook is different. I came back to Sri Lanka in 1997 in a humble manner after 1984 to pay back what I received under free education while holding a dual citizenship with Australia. Without tuition free education, I would not have entered the university. In 1997, I could have easily continued with either the UNSW or Sydney if I wanted to in my assessment. When you come back to your country you normally want to go with or help the system unless there is something terribly wrong which I see now.

    I do have a difficulty in understanding all these questions, for transparency/accountability or not. You should consider the implications of them, being a law graduate I believe, on one’s freedom of speech if not integrity? I frankly feel terribly constrained by these questions given also my health and age. I am answering you because of your decent language, otherwise I would not have. Do I have to answer whether I am a Christian or not as someone has questioned? It appears to me that all these are part of the problem that we are facing in the country. This is to say the least. I sometimes feel to forget about the whole ‘hopeless case of Sri Lanka’ and mind my own business now back in Australia.

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      I’m really happy the way Dr. Laksiri replied. Thank you. I saw someone commented sometime ago we need more Laksiris, I share the same feeling. Please don’t give up. We need more honest intellectuals like you!

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      Laksiri my contention is that if you knew MR from the Vidyodaya days in ’69 as a Progressive, then you are privy to MR more than most. Then you should be aware of his connections to the Wambotta Fame who were MR’s acolytes then who were responsible for quite a number of political murders committed in the South and eventually they were rid of MR using the Forces after he became the President in 2005. You should also be aware of the Tsunami Scam where MR stashed away around Rs.124 million received for the poor victims, in the Standard Chartered Bank at Rajagiriya. After the exposure by none other than Lasantha Wickrematunge in the Sunday Leader a sum of Rs. 84 million was retuned to the Treasury. I do not want to waste time and space stating other frauds MR has committed where a file was at the AG’s Dept that CBK kept to keep MR under her thumb. The Tsunami fiasco is enough for you to have assesed this once Progressive friend of yours’ Integrity. Notwithstanding what you really knew who MR was, you supported him for the perks you received. You only started to feel offended when you found that MR did not care for a tuppence for you. After having been a major contributor to come on TV and white wash MR then, having caused enough damage to this Nation and Society for the chaos this country is in today, now you act as an innocent to redeem what you are partly responsible. I believe the country can well do without your help, the type of person you are, no different to others who have supported MR. Now that you are back in Australia comfortably enjoying life while the masses are suffering under your Progressive friend, the Great Human Rights Fighter, violating every right and the Constitution, let this Nation perish for once and for all. The best you have said is to mind your own business. It is not a case that Wisdom dawning late, but it is mere cunningness.

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        Who are you Gamini? I have known several Gaminis but not one with a severe (political) constipation!

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          Laksiri judging from what you write trying to make come back on the shoulders of the Young Intellectuals, it is not I who is Politically constipated. Infact I am having Political diarrhoea because of people like you, who have the audacity to question after conferring Doctorates on the Political Scum for personal benifit. Pretending to be great pundits, the mediocre, that we have churned from our substandard Universities thanks to Free education.

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          Dear sir
          very much appreciated the reply given to Mr/ Mrs/Miss Chrissy Abeysekera.
          Don’t you think that now, that you have done a grate mistake of being the formal proposer at the Senate of the University of Colombo to confer honorary doctorates to the two brothers?.

          If they are awarded a honorary doctorates, what about the youths who fought a war to liberate the country, living and dead.
          all ethnicities, even misled youths also.

          because i think they are /were brave, bright and leaders too.

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      Dear Prof Laksiri,

      Thank you for the courtsey of your response and I apologise if I have hurt your feelings purely for the fact that you are an elder and we have been traditionally brought up to respect our elders. I have not seen this response of yours – or any others similar to it – anywhere else but maybe I have missed those.

      Having said that, I must also say something in response to the main issue. You must understand that there are those of us who are extremely angry that the academics in Colombo bent over backwards to accommodate this very ill deserved doctorate for the President and his brother. The fact that the VC requested it comes as no surprsie. She has bene responsible for bringing the integiryt of that university down to its knees by her politicking and her bootlicking. This is openly acknowledged.

      I must say that the fact that you did go for the party is no disclaimer. Proposing that the two brothers should be given doctorates was not the same thing as supportng the war effort.

      In any event, even supporting the war effort should not have been done so unreservedly and with no thought of our brothers and sisters who were mercilessly killed in the process. There is such a thing as principled support and such a thing as unprincipled support. In any case, you have mentioned that Sarath Fonseka also should have been given a doctorate? But was he? That is the question. I do not hink that he should have ben given one as much as the tw borther should have been but if winning the war is the yardstick, then it must be applied equally. But it was not because the thinking was political.

      But a more important question is at the root – when we give rulers such unconditional homage, when se stay quiet when such an obscenity as the 18th Amendment is enacted, is it any surprise that these very rulers abuse that power and that homage? If so, then when we moralise now in respect of those very abuses, are we not as guilty as much as those very rulers? It is not an issue of freedom of speech. It is an issue of failure of intellect.

      Sri Lanka has become a ‘basket case’ or ‘hopeless case’ precisely because of actions like this and because of huge failures by our so called intellectuals. I do not say this to force you to return to Australia but I am posing these problems because they are basic problems to my mind.

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        Dear Chrissy Abesekera,

        I appreciate your further clarification of position especially on the issue of what you say as “ill-deserved doctorates.” Well I have seen similar awards for politicians in foreign universities although I don’t want to go into details. But aren’t we exacerbating an issue beyond its significance just to extract a ‘confession’ from a person who might see the issue/s in a different perspective. Was your anger on the doctorates based on Rajapaksas’ cultural background or politics? You have not explained. Some even asked me to make a ‘national apology’ for supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa in the past! Although I would not bundle you in the same category, there was an element of it in your insistence for me to ‘clarify.’

        You did talk about ‘accountability and transparency’ which in my opinion does not apply to private persons like me when it comes to political choices that I have made in the past or making now. Would I be asked to confess any error that I might make now in my political choices? I have seen in many political debates in Sri Lanka the efforts to ‘extract guilt’ from people for some reason or other which I hope you would not be party to. Of course one can raise issues or ask for clarification but too much insistence would invade privacy and freedom. There is an element of illiberality if not fascism in that kind of insistence or thinking. ‘Accountability’ is a loaded word to use in the present context of Sri Lanka.

        I do hope your last statement “Sri Lanka has become a ‘basket case’ or ‘hopeless case’ precisely because of actions like this and because of huge failures by our so called intellectuals” is just an unintended exaggeration. Just reflect upon it. You don’t need to force me to return to Australia, I am already there! You may reply to this like you did ‘politely’ last time (as you said) to an ‘elder person’ but I will not respond as I have said what I have to say.

        Please breakaway from Kakille thinking. Go after Rajapaksa not after Laksiri Fernando.

        Laksiri Fernando

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        Sorry! there was a typo in the earlier reply – it should have been ‘did NOT go for the party’ in the beginning of the third para.

        And Seruwila, I do agree that it is the brave soldiers who actually fought the war who should have been given the doctorates. These are village boys who laid down their lives not cunning and shrewd politicians who are now raping the country for their own greed.

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        Dear Chrissy Abeyesekera,

        I am calling you again because I failed to answer your question about the 18th Amendment. It appears to me now that someone is behind you who have a personal grudge against me and if it is not the case please accept my apology in advance. If it is the case it is utterly shameful.

        The answer is the following. I did oppose the 18th Amendment although I was sick at that time to purse it any further. I send my opposition to The Island and the Asian Tribune but both newspapers did not publish it for some reason. Both Editors however would hopefully attest to it if you ask. Look, don’t be a pawn of any one; act upon your own conscience.

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          Dear Prof Laksiri, I am not a pawn of anybody’s but asking honest questions out of my own heart. Please do not make the mistake of thinking that each and every question is directed by an ulterior motive. Also do not attribute your ulterior motives to other people.

          Let me explain why I wrote. I did not know until I saw in the CT that you had moved this motion to confer doctorates on the President and his brother in the Colombo Uni. Until then, I thought that you were among the better persons in our academia as I had been reading what you write. After I was informed of the fact that you had done that, I think differently and do not have much respect for you. It is as simple as that.

          On the 18th Amendment, I find it hard to believe that all the newspapers and websites which publish what you write, do not want to carry only this piece. But if you say so, then I will do you the basic courtsey of accepting it.

          You try to change the question from why you acted to confer the doctorate on the President to asking me if my anger towards that is out of dislike on cultural or social grounds. Here too, you make a basic mistake by attributing opposition to a personal motive. Let me explain why I, as a Sri Lankan young lawyer, disapproved of this act. I do not think that the war was won in a way that made Sri Lanka a better country. It was won in a way that has put us in a worse situation regarding our humanity. So I do not think that the politicians who acted so ruthlessly deserved doctorates. I hope that answers your question. Many other young people like me feel this same way. If you wanted to move in conferring doctorates, these should have been given to young soldiers who fought bravely and did their duty while not being responsible for cold blooded civilian deaths unlike the ruthless politicians.

          Rajapaksa will get one day the justice that is deserved in Sri Lanka but at least we know him for who he is. The problem are those who moralise and pontifiate when it suits them but who are as responsible as these terrible politicnas, for bringing us to this state. Now, I count you as among those men. That is my opinion. Please tend your roses in Australia and stop preaching to Sri lanka if you cannot acknowledge that you made a mistake. Why do you not honestly admit that you made a mistake by listening to that political bootlicker, the Colombo VC?

          Perhaps you have changed your view for whatever reason (it is well known that many supporters who were brushed aside by the President including some well known lawyers have now turned against him in anger and are preaching good governance) and that is good.

          But do not make the mistake of thinking that as a ‘private person’ you are not accountable to the public. If you take positions that demand moral strength, you must first be seen to possess it.

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    ps a further question that I have Prof Laksiri, is that if you say that you are concerned about the minorities as you have said in your reply, did not the fact that so much of them died boxed into a no-fire zone in May 2009 due to the direct actions of the politicians to whom you moved to confer doctorates, stir your conscience in any way in order NOT to move for such a conferral?

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    Dear Professor Laksiri ,

    I usually read all your articles and found the previous two are the best among them, having said i’m thoroughly disappointed & disgusted and a critic of your past actions .
    Please be mindful you are not the only one to brake ranks with MR , Wijedasa Rajapakse , Arjuna Ranatunga , Genral fonseka and Hemakumara Nanayakkara are few to mention. as far as I see , there are quite number of politicos and personals are disillusioned with MR ‘s governance , but they do not have the emancipation to brake ranks as he holds many corruption files against them. i take this opportunity to thank you for coming out from your comfort zone and dedicate some time to educate the masses.
    do not get dishearten by Gamini’s comments , i personally believe he was/is too harsh on you ( even after when you mentioned that you are an elderly person and have health condition)
    Please do continue writing as we desperately need some known intellectuals who supported this murderous regime, so that others will wake up from their deep slumber! Let me wish you all the good health and stress free retirement professor.

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      Dear Srilal,

      In a way I appreciate Chrissy’s questioning or even Gamini’s. But it is self-defeating if we fight each other, while not hiding anything.

      I can assure that I will keep writing. Thanks for encouragement. I don’t know you but it is immaterial.

      Laksiri

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    Dear Professor Laksiri,

    Thanks for the reply, yes it’s immaterial who am i ? What I have to say is very important! we sri lankan (especially Sinhalese )are best known for infighting among us, while forgetting the real issue. This is amply demonstrated from the majority of comments, let us not drag in to the past , rather concentrate on the future.
    Professor i have a humble request to make for you , would you be in a position to do a psychological analysis profile for MR ? Naturally you would ask, why me? I can give you the following facts as the answer s.
    1) Length of relationship -you are privy to known him for a very long time ,
    2) Skill –gathered from your research studies , the necessary analytical skills,
    3) Education -your impressive academic background ,
    4) Resources-readily available in your adopted kangaroo land ,
    5) Security – since you do not live in SL , you are free from white van rides.
    during the WW2 , American OSS (CIA) undertook secret mission of psychological analysis of Hitler , from that they , carefully researched in to Hitler’s childhood , education level, adolescent , love life , friends and all other social behaviors , in the end the report accurately predicted what sort of a man Hitler was and how he would be ended up .
    I’m not trying to compare Hitler to MR, rather use the same technique to forecast the future of 20 million people in SL. This study should not propagandistic in any sense of the term. It should represent an attempt to screen the wealth of contradictory, conflicting and unreliable material concerning MR .
    Topics can be covered : MR’s family background, Education, Writings, Reading, Concentration abilities, conversation, debate. Physique: Personal appearance, Endurance, Exercise, Reactions, Diet, Drinking habits, Personal protection. Entertainment: music, movies, Sexual life. Speaking techniques: speech preparation, posture, oratory, endings of speech, avoidance of names and personages to mention a few.
    The report can be divided into these subjects,
    MR as he sees himself to be. MR as the srilankan people know him. MR as his associates know him. MR as he knows himself. Psychological analysis and reconstruction. MR’s probable behavior in the future.

    Look forward to hearing from you professor.

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      Hi ‘Srilal,’

      Sorry, I am not in a position to undertake such a ‘big project.’ But I think I now know who you are!

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    Dear professor Laksiri ,

    i understand professor , indeed it’s a huge task. Some how one has to do this before it’s too late. i believe CIA maintains each and every despot’s/autocratic ruler’s psychological profile, but those are classified documents , hence there won’t be any use for us.
    Professor Laksiri , i will be very honest with you , i’m not the one who you guess , i never went to a srilankan university nor had any political affiliation to anybody , in fact i’m a very private person and do not have any significance what so ever .i’m just an unknown entity.

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    WHY ISN’T NAMAL THERE ALREADY IN PLACE.
    HE WAS THE ONE WHO WAS GOING AROUND WITH THE KAPILAVASTHU RELICS
    WHY ARE THERE NOT ANY BETTER BUDDHISTS????????

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    AS MAHINDA AND BROTHERS,ASSISTED BY MERVYN ARE RUNNING OR RATHER RUINING THE COUNTRY, THE NEXT WE WILL SEE THE “THREE FIRST SONS” ASSISTED BY “MALAKA” .

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