SARATH FONSEKA AFFAIR: POLITICAL CANNIBALISM MUST CEASE IN SRI LANKA!

“All my life I have been a gentleman to my adversaries, even in war situations surrounded by death. I’ve never humiliated, offended nor wreaked revenge on a single prisoner, not even in the case of the Bay of Pigs while my comrades lay mortally wounded or dead around me…One must be honourable.”

- Fidel Castro ( May 1st speech, 2002)

I leave the country for scholarly reflection and writing for (at least) two years, with a heavy heart.  I am proud to have supported President Rajapakse at the 2005 and 2010 elections and I think he is the best leader the country can have at this point of time.  However, the practice of political cannibalism must cease! A balance must be restored. At the parliamentary elections the voters should exercise their franchise in such a manner so as to deprive the ruling coalition of a monopoly or overwhelming preponderance of power. The present path on which the government is proceeding is adventurist. It inhabits an echo chamber in which only the reverberations of its own ideological discourse are heard. This attitude needlessly exacerbates and prolongs instability, renders the political crisis chronic and endemic, and debilitates the nation. Unless the limits of power are recognized, this path will lead inexorably over the precipice.

It was Theodor Draper who described the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba as “one of those rare political events…a perfect failure”. The Fonseka Affair, the timing and tactics of the handling of Gen Sarath Fonseka, and in general (pun intended) the handling of the post Presidential re-election period so far, has been no less a rarity, a perfect blunder.

Even the right or necessary thing, done in the wrong way or at the wrong time, can do more harm than good. Mao Ze Dong urged the importance of “the correct handling of contradictions” and this one, the contradiction between the state and Gen Fonseka, has been grotesquely mismanaged politically. Every state has a right to defend itself against attempts at violent putsch.  A democratic state has an even greater moral right and obligation to do so. While there was every reason to launch a serious and thorough investigation into the activities of Gen Fonseka, an investigation that was multipronged and sweeping as it was deep-going, the manner in which he has been arrested and detained (“nabbed brutishly” as The Economist put it), as well the timing of that action (following an election and just prior to another), has been appalling in the damage it has done to the country internally as well as to its international standing.

Joseph Nye, distinguished professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, has in a recent article on the New Public Diplomacy, stressed a point that helps us understand the depths and dimension of the damage Sri Lanka is doing to itself internationally. He writes that: “In today’s information age, politics is also about whose “story” wins. National narratives are, indeed, a type of currency. Reputation has always mattered in world politics, but credibility has become crucial …”

No enemy of Sri Lanka could have matched the damage done to the image of the country and the Presidency by our own Government’s recent actions, commencing with the deployment of troops – some with black masks—outside the Cinnamon Lakeside on January 27th.   That clumsy melodrama (I was right there, being interviewed by Al Jazeera) permitted a different story line to emerge in and through the international media, obscuring the clear, conclusive electoral victory handed to Mahinda Rajapakse by the masses.

The political commentary in the Sunday Times of Feb 7th, which disclosed that teams of crack detectives had been aghast by the hair raising evidence that emerged about the abduction and murder of media men, read together with the DBS Jeyaraj column in the Daily Mirror of Saturday Feb 13th, make it impossible for the serious minded citizen to ignore the fire or the glowing embers of clandestine networking to coercive purpose, beneath the billowing smoke of controversy swirling around the Fonseka issue. While no state can blink in the face of attempts at extra constitutional coercion, and a determined crackdown is necessary whoever the perpetrator and however exalted, it is no less true that the rule of law has to be upheld and due process observed. Surely a lesson could have been drawn from the conduct of Madam Sirima Bandaranaike and Felix Dias Bandaranaike in the face of the 1962 coup attempt? Those leaders smashed the coup attempt, but did not seek to try those involved under military regulations despite the fact that those regulations existed and the accused were serving officers of high rank. The matter was brought to court (despite some controversy regarding the role and rulings of the Privy Council), heard in court, and those found guilty were jailed.

If Gen Fonseka and his associates have sought to usurp power, then the example of 1962 is the one the administration should follow, in order to avoid any hint of a witch-hunt and the persecution of a war hero. If there are serious allegations of a criminal nature, then all the more reason that he should be tried in a civil court and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There should be no attempt to do both, i.e. to try him in a military and then a civil court, because the opaque character of a military court undermines the social legitimacy of the findings and could have an adverse effect on the public perception of the criminal proceedings themselves. If the case of an attempted coup d’état is weak, there will be temptation to massage the evidence if the process is than transparent. This will not be possible in a civil court.

An issue similar to the one facing us here today was wrestled with in the open by President Obama. This was to do with the 9/11 suspects and military trials at Guantanamo.   In deciding that the terrorist suspects will be tried in civil courts in the USA, including New York, and in imposing an unconditional ban on torture, President Barack Obama, ex-editor of the Harvard Law Review and former professor of constitutional law, now the key global leader in the struggle against terrorism, made the point that a democratic state must be seen as morally superior to its terrorist enemies, and that conceding the legal rights of its enemies enhances this ethical superiority which in turn strengthens rather than weakens the USA (and any democratic state). The principle is true for Sri Lanka as well. If the Al Qaeda terrorists including the mastermind of 9/11 can get a trial in a civilian US court, there is no reason why, in Sri Lanka, the former army commander who played a major role in defeating Tamil Tiger terrorists, should not be not entitled to an entirely and exclusively civilian legal process which presumes innocence until proof of guilt is established.

Civility is not a weakness but a strength which confers legitimacy. The ham-fisted manner of the Government’s actions so far has generated the following negative consequences:

  1. By deeming as ‘treason’ and a breach of national security, Gen Fonseka’s sporadic and strangely timed utterances about war crimes and his willingness to testify about them, the Government has fallen into a trap. It has stupidly lent veracity to those claims which have been made by our detractors overseas. If there were no war crimes or violations of international humanitarian law, why not simply laugh off Gen Fonseka or use his utterances for election propaganda? On the other hand by making the most awful fuss about them, how do you prevent the impression from being created throughout the world, that there is indeed something to hide; that we are trying to shut him up so he cannot spill the beans? By resorting to closed military proceedings on issues of “national security” rather than a civil trial on criminal charges, the Govt is painting itself into a corner by creating situation in which Gen Fonseka winds up either a hero or worst of all, a martyr. Furthermore, the world community may conclude that the shutting up of a former army commander who was supposedly about to blow the whistle on war crimes means impunity is rampant within the Sri Lankan state system and therefore the only path to justice here is the invocation of the doctrine of ‘universal jurisdiction’ by as many national courts as possible, worldwide. 
  2. Public opinion in the South is confused and despondent; the Sinhala people are demoralized, with only some endorsing the treatment of General Fonseka. There is dissent at the highest level of the Buddhist hierarchy. It is safe to assume that there would be loss of morale among the rank and file military. One can only wonder whether a call for recruits, should there be one, would be met with a successful response. The official/dominant ideology of “Apeykama” or “ourness” has been fissured, not so much by Fonseka’s flopped candidacy, but by the ignoble treatment of the General, because even those great numbers who voted against him still consider him very much “apey” (“ours”) and a martial national hero. It is not a few ideologues but we ourselves, “api apimai”, who define who and what is “apey”, ours. Today no personality (except Mahinda Rajapakse) radiates more “apeykama” or generates more empathetic resonance than Anoma Fonseka, after listening to whose tale of travail, “api” exclaim “apoi”! 
  3. Doubts have been needlessly cast on the President’s electoral victory and questions raised whether Gen Fonseka was incarcerated so as to prevent him from filing an election petition or to delay, divert and derail that process. An impression has been needlessly created that the President and the Government are “afraid” of Gen Fonseka emerging as a politician in parliament. It is said that this is why the arrest was made before the parliamentary election.
  4. Gen Fonseka’s profile has never been higher, more than compensating for the  huge loss he suffered at the Presidential election.
  5. The Opposition which was in disarray and limping after its last defeat, has been gifted a rallying cry.
  6. Demonstrations, however modest in scale, have broken out in the South, and been met with a crackdown, cumulatively giving rise to a picture of growing political instability.
  7. The hardliners in the Tamil Diaspora have been given the chance to say “if this is how they treat their own former army commander, a war hero and later, presidential candidate, imagine how they treat the Tamils—so don’t blame us for wanting a separate existence”.
  8. The administration is potentially on a collision course with the judiciary.
  9. Every institution of the state and ‘cell’ of society will be divided and/or demoralized on this issue.
  10. The administration is on a potential collision course with the JVP. If the JVP is driven underground, it will link up with disaffected Fonseka loyalists among the rank and file of a large military. From a security point of view, it was far easier to isolate Tamil Tigers, who after were, all were identifiably Tamil, than it will be to identify violent anti-Govt Sinhala militants, including Buddhist monks. Such militancy could also block much needed progress on the ethnic front.

Are we headed for a third great cycle of violence? Sri Lanka has experienced two so far: the violence of the Sinhala underprivileged youth vs. the System, and the youth of the Tamil periphery vs. the Sinhala heartland. Are we living through the prelude of a third cycle, this time of a Cold war turning hot –factional strife turning into civil conflict- within the Sinhala establishment itself?

  • Focal Point

    Tying two knots to untie one knot

  • myownopinion

    Dear Dr. Jayatilleka

    I have been enjoying your articles as much for their content as your style for a long time. But lately there probably was a certain partiality to them as far as the ruling oligarchy of Sri Lanka is concerned. With this one however, you seem to have woken up again.

    I personally think it’s good that you are leaving the country right now, before you too could end up in a cell like You-Know-Who. (No, I am not a Fonseka fan or even a UNPer though.)

  • ordinary lankan

    Dear Dayan
    you say -
    I am proud to have supported President Rajapakse at the 2005 and 2010 elections and I think he is the best leader the country can have at this point of time.
    (this seems to say volumes about you – ever wondered if you could be wrong sometimes?)
    I think that’s enough – you need not say a word more. in your stay abroad why not write less and reflect more?

    my points can be made in a short verse –

    The winner takes it all
    The loser bites the dust
    To learn
    If he is wise
    But not otherwise
    The cruelty of samsara
    As it was in Vavuniya – May 2009
    So it is in Colombo – January 2010
    This is our idea of ‘justice’
    (Whatever the law says)

    When you win you lose
    You don’t stand a chance
    When you lose you win
    Unless of course
    you miss the point

    It not so bad …
    And even if it is
    It wont last
    Nor will you
    So get off your bum
    (forget ‘justice’)
    And start living

    Inside prison
    Outside prison
    What’s the difference?
    Reality is stronger – inside

  • Johan

    Did Dayan just tell us (in his opening paragraph) to vote for the opposition???

  • aadhavan

    The lawlessness and authoritarianism that the South not just tolerated but celebrated, was bound to boomerang. Those are not just the laws of nature, but were plainly visible to anyone who was willing to make the hard prognosis. The white van abductions, illegal arrests and detentions, kangaroo trials, labeling of dissenters as traitors, naked use of emergency laws to crack down on opponents and other forms of government oppression and repression of the Tamils will necessarily become a central part of the South’s political makeup. The rot was so deep, and the callous disregard for law and justice so flippant, that to expect it to wither away with the demise of the LTTE was just being fantastic, and naive.

    Turning the entire South around will be hard. This is not just a Mahinda phenomenon. If MR lost the election, MR would have had to

  • aadhavan

    taste humiliation too. Southern politics are broken. The cleavage on display here is a mere anti-corruption, anti-nepotism vs. Mahinda reification camps. Besides, this there are caste conflicts, religious conflicts, urban v. rural conflicts etc etc that threaten and will destabilise the center.

  • Grim Hope

    Finally, Dayan opens his eyes. But I still dont agree that to the statement, “I am proud to have supported President Rajapakse at the 2005 and 2010 elections and I think he is the best leader the country can have at this point of time.” In your opinion and baises, yes he was best but reality is way different from that.

    But still I give +1 point at least coming this far.. just because many people even if they see it are not willing to admit it because of the fear of contradicting themselves.

  • Travelling Academic

    Thank you for a fair stance, but much of the disappointment expressed here, shared by many others, comes from wanting to attribute most of, if not all of, the credit for winning the war to the present regime and its military machine (and then celebrate by feeding them kiribath). In reality, there is strong competition for this credit from three other quarters: (a) Laxman Kadirkamar, (b) Ranil Wickramasinghe and (c) VP himself.

    LK’s tireless diplomacy got the Tigers banned in many countries and stopped their fund raisers from operating freely — before locking them up. That, and help from India, cut off their supply lines. (In my view, LK is the true Sri Lankan hero of modern times, who rose above his ethnicity and saw the big picture of the interest of all of us in this island).

    Secondly, RW’s peace accord exposed the true fault lines in the Tiger outfit. Those with Jaffna/Vanni connections can tell you that during the 2002-2004 period Tiger carders were questioning their leadership: “why are we in bunkers bare footed when our cousins are back from Toronto with flashy trainer shoes and wires sticking out of their ears?” That line of thinking led to the big split along the most predictable North-East fault line, cutting off the fertile recruitment ground (cannon fodder used by the Tigers in all successful attacks were poor kids recruited from Eastern villages). That organization was designed for war, it could not survive the peace. Had RW been clever, he would have stood up with his head held high and said “I got him with peace, guys!”. Alas, he couldn’t do that because he went into the CSA with pressure of the balance sheet, rather than with any clear vision or plan of achieving something useful – that’s how useless he has proved himself to be.

    Thirdly, VP lost the admiration of his people long time ago, and was virtually cut off from them. In 2005 he had to stop his people voting for RW at gun point. (Later he had to kill them to stop them running away from him.) In his last five years or so, he could only recruit by forceful conscription of poor people – which was not the case in the 80′s and 90′s, when kids even from Colombo schools voluntarily went and joined him.

    So by the time we saw Mavilaru, the Tiger outfit was already virtually finished (a couple of bombs thrown from those planes achieved nothing of substance – not even morale boost of their carders), and the Southern political will and military muscle some people so much want to kiribath was, as they say in Tamil, settha paambai adikkirathu (beating the snake that was already dead). The achievement being glorified so much was only dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, as they say, and them who are now fighting over who should get the greater share of the kiribath do not, and cannot, know the value of the wonderful post-war opportunities we have as a country — and could build on them. Hence they are now causing this feeling of utter frustration in the rest of us – as you so accurately capture in the opening and last paragraphs in this article. That heavy heart feeling I share with you, so thank you again.

  • SUGOMI

    I salute you Dayan!
    Please leave the country soon.
    You are two brave to speak the truth!

    The last intellectual of MR regime
    Leaving the ship
    With no blood on your hands.

    Write, analyse, and perhaps reflect afterwards.
    If you can take the next flight to Singapore
    Leave the country
    Soon!

    We can’t afford to lose you:

    Your writings,
    Your eloquence
    Your bi-lingual expressions
    Your fearlessness
    And your intellect…

    Even from my domiciled heaven
    In Down Under
    I am afraid to say things
    Against the Company!

    An innocent young intellectual
    Sent me a warning letter
    Against my private emails to him.
    He has a southern connection.
    His good farther is part of the system!

    A poet from the 70s
    Didn’t want to forward
    Any anti MR news articles
    From Down Under any more!
    He is retired but goes out
    With his politically oriented mates
    In air-conditioned cars
    To teach project management
    At grass-roots level
    A sure way to development
    He once told me!

    Another friend wrote and said
    That there is no such suba anagathaya
    For streets kids in Colombo
    Growing like mushrooms
    Over night!
    Who care for them perhaps?
    They have no votes!

    Everyone is scared of the King!

    Why and you are not!

    But what you write
    Is impenetrable
    Into fossilized brains.

    Perhaps they may have already
    “Written up against YOU
    The traitor
    About your hypothesis and the question:
    “Are we headed for a third great cycle of violence?”

    Don’t you know that you cannot ask such questions?
    Any more in a country influenced by Buddhism,
    The Kalama Sutta
    That our mutual friend Carlo Fonseka
    Could recite better than a Buddhist monk

    Leave the country soon
    Before YOU BECOME A NUMBER.

    I salute you Dayan!
    Please leave the country soon.
    You are two brave to speak the truth!

    SUGOMI
    Australia

  • Belle

    Well-said, Travelling Academic. I may be a part of the much-maligned SL Tamil diaspora but I too feel depressed looking at what is happening in Sri Lanka, post-war. There was a real chance after the war to get the country on its feet again, but the jokers in power are merely looking after their own interests. The people need to take power for themselves, to make the politicians their servants and not vice-versa. They can balance the power by voting in the opposition. That’s what DJ is saying, and that’s sensible.

    Your account of who should get credit for the LTTE defeat is much more credible than the ‘hero’ narratives. It’s ironic that after puffing themselves up about the victory, the Defence Secretary is now saying that the war required no great strategy–that it was just a matter of boosting the numbers. Now he’s telling the truth only because he wants to discredit Fonseka.

  • http://www.youtube.com/noealaminsl NoEalamInSL

    Dr. Dayan,

    Wish you all the very best for future endeavours you take part in coming two years. Thank you for defending Sri Lanka at UNHRC, without you and team war wouldnt have been continued. We know that you deserve appreciation from the president or a national medal for victory over Tigers, just as they gave to military. MR is in his first stage of Alzeimer.

    Your artcles have shed lights to millions of people showing the right path, pls do continue writing on Sri Lanka. We do appreciate for being humble to drop few lines as replies to people who threw questions to you (except mine :) )in forums. Please do visit NoEalamInSL and other forums.

    Dr. Dayan is absolute right on the ground reality in Sri Lanka:

    1. “practice of political cannibalism must cease! A balance must be restored. ”
    2. ” The Fonseka Affair, the timing and tactics of the handling of Gen Sarath Fonseka, and in general (pun intended) the handling of the post Presidential re-election period so far, has been no less a rarity, a perfect blunder.”
    3. “No enemy of Sri Lanka could have matched the damage done to the image of the country and the Presidency by our own Government’s recent actions, commencing with the deployment of troops – some with black masks”
    4. “the former army commander who played a major role in defeating Tamil Tiger terrorists, should not be not entitled to an entirely and exclusively civilian legal process which presumes innocence until proof of guilt is established.”
    5. “Are we headed for a third great cycle of violence? ” – MR paves the path

    Prabakaran:”Sinhalese has a short memory, maximum 15 days.” Very true. So he planned blasts every 15 days taking chances of absentmindedness of Sinhalese.

    General Fonseka:

    “I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people…We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country…We are also a strong nation … They (the minorities) can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things.” – (General Sarath Fonseka, September 23, 2008)

    If Karuna(traitor) can be pardoned then SF should also be able to pardon. But lets ask for what?

    Treason was a common reason for capital punishment given to people who was critcal of kings in ancient times. The kings couldn’t stand critics of people, kings ruled the country by fearing people. History repeats. We got our king back (maha rajano), treason is used and capital punishment will be given to SF followed by the old electoral system as a political solution to the crisis.

    But in 21st century, people prefer transparency in governance, opennes, tolerance, discussions, critics, democracy and freedom. People are intelligent. They must be able to express what they want and dont want. Kings/presidents are there to serve people. But now people serve the king/president. They do what they want.

    I am for MR, I am against war crimes investigations in Sri Lanka. MR shouldnt abuse his power and popularity. If he continues, people have to make a another choice of going for alternatives.

  • Vino Gamage

    ”… the Sinhala people are demoralized, …”
    Not demoralised enough not to be taken up by ethnic outbidding even after 62 years of ”independence;: the ”neck-to-neck” expected result at once became an overwhelming majority in the last week when the experienced politician cried
    ”Fonseka is giving away separate country to the Tamils” !!!!!

  • Burning_Issue

    Dr. Dyan Jeyatilleka, the political scientist, should have known that if a regime was capable of mass killings, breaking every possible international convention on human rights, ruthless control of press freedom, state sponsored disappearances and unspeakable nepotism, would not change its methods suddenly!
    This regime routinely uses thuggery to intimidate people, organisations, opponents is not going suddenly change is it?
    I remember Dr. Jayetlleka was justifying the mass civilian killing as a matter of collateral damage in order to destroy the LTTE. During the immediate aftermath of end of the war, Dr. Jeyatilleka was seen supporting and justifying the southern triumphalism. But this political scientist has been blinkered that, he totally miscalculated the MR clan! Or, he knew this, but it is the price worth paying to rid of LTTE for once in for all! Answer to this question, only Dr, Jayatilleka would know!
    The LTTE might have been defeated but the separatist ideology remains intact. How can this political scientist claim that MR is the right leader when it is crystal clear that, this regime is not interested in reconciliation and peace building. All MR knows is how to gerrymander and build his powerbase. He will use thuggery and state resources to get what he wants. He has already started state sponsored Sinhala colonisations in North and East in order to maintain his dynasty.
    How can MR be the right leader in the eyes of this political scientist?

  • Atheist

    Dayan,

    “The hardliners in the Tamil Diaspora have been given the chance to say “if this is how they treat their own former army commander, a war hero and later, presidential candidate, imagine how they treat the Tamils—so don’t blame us for wanting a separate existence””.

    While I agree with most of your points, I have a problem with your above statement on what the hardliners in the Tamil Diaspora may say about Fonseka’s arrest.

    Hardliners – no matter from which side – are always whiney, negative brats. Their main pastime is finding new ways to wreak havoc in Sri-Lanka. Do we really have to cater to their wishes?

    Those who’ve accepted Sri-Lanka as their home will see the law of the land being applied to another fellow Lankan – not to a member of a certain community.

    The hardliners, especially those in the LTTE Diaspora, may not like to join the rest of us, but isn’t it high time we tell them to “take a hike”?

    I hope MR will not go on his knees, giving concessions to religious leaders, for fear that their ruckus about Mr. Fonseka may have an effect on the upcoming election. Just like ignoring the brats in the Tamil Diaspora, we must equally ignore those troublesome monks enmeshed in politics. These two are a constant thorn in the side of poor Sri-Lanka.

  • SomeOne

    Dear Dayan J,

    “…Even the right or necessary thing, done in the wrong way or at the wrong time, can do more harm than good….”

    Let me put what you said in proper context.

    There is no right way of fighting a war. What ever way you fight a war is a wrong way.

    I strongly believe that any previous govt. would have done the same thing what MR has done. Probably, the previous governments haven’t prepared to pay the price MR paid.

    When it comes to SF’s arrest, it (arrest) has no (or less) impact on the out come of the MR’s popularity. Damage has already been done.

    In a way, MR is southern VP, I guess.

  • Observer

    “Are we living through the prelude of a third cycle, this time of a Cold war turning hot –factional strife turning into civil conflict- within the Sinhala establishment itself?”

    So what? Bring it on! I’d rather get all the killing and maiming done in one go rather than leaving it for later. If it means annihilating a Sinhalese Buddhist establishment who wants to shed blood. Then blood shall they get! Hopefully they’ll have better capability to take the painful repercussions of violence than the LTTE cry babies.

    State is more sacred than any race or religion including the majority’s. She shall be preserved at all costs.

  • JMN

    I don’t understand this sudden “revelation” from Dayan. There were plenty of signs over the last few years that law, order, good governance and transparency were to be swept aside by this administration and replaced with policies of murder, abductions, corruption, threats and lies.

    Since around June, 2009 I have seen this administration as self-serving, arrogant, revengeful and without human sympathy for any of its citizens – therefore the events of the day do not surprise me one tiny bit. I hope the people of this country come to understand that whatever “issue” of the day has always been used to polarise and separate our citizens into “patriots” and “traitors”. One day you may live on the right side of the issue and be in a position to ignore the voices of the “traitors”, but the next day’s issue can just as easily brand you a “traitor”.

    What was as of May, 2009 an almost completely united country is now fighting among itself over absolutely nothing important. Petty infighting from our leaders over power is yet again trying to hold Sri Lanka down.

  • jansee

    Dayan:

    You never fail to fascinate me. Looks like you just have gotten up from a slumber and suddenly realised that maybe you, too, have become part of a vulnerable list of the Rajapakses.

    Almost everything you have written here takes a potshot at the ruling regime and surprise, surprise, you are glad that MR won the presidential election. Mind you, only Dayan can have this kind of magnanimity. Before you become part of their statistics, I am glad that you have opted for the scholarly pursuit. For the Rajapakses, anyone and everyone is expendable just to keep them in power. I forgot the right word – is it “dynasty”?

  • dayan de silva

    “Are we headed for a third great cycle of violence? Sri Lanka has experienced two so far: the violence of the Sinhala underprivileged youth vs. the System, and the youth of the Tamil periphery vs. the Sinhala heartland. Are we living through the prelude of a third cycle, this time of a Cold war turning hot –factional strife turning into civil conflict- within the Sinhala establishment itself?”

    i really, really hope so…!!!

  • georgethebsuhpig

    Hmmm having to back peddle with one’s foot in his mouth is quite the circus act! As the saying goes however, it’s better late than never.

    Good luck out there young scholar. Hope the reflections are not just more gazings in the mirror.

  • DW

    I think the present govt know very well SF arrest is not going to be positive for them right now. It is a hard,but a must decission taken, even it makes some people unhappy, and it is not to thier benifit right now. It is going to be a legal process and let the courst decide. When there is so much adverse evidents pouring in , not taking action will make the wrong doors take it for granted. If SF going to CHANGE and give up his anti SRI LANKAN stances MR may pardon him.

  • Heshan

    “So what? Bring it on! I’d rather get all the killing and maiming done in one go rather than leaving it for later. If it means annihilating a Sinhalese Buddhist establishment who wants to shed blood. Then blood shall they get! Hopefully they’ll have better capability to take the painful repercussions of violence than the LTTE cry babies.”

    Actually, the LTTE fought quite well. If China had not become the dominant force that it is today, and India (read: Sonia Gandhi) had not changed its geopolitical interests, the LTTE would be alive and well today.

    On another note, one good lesson that SL (specifically, the SL State) can take from the LTTE is the need to evolve. The LTTE certainly evolved, but not at any rate comparable to the evolution of Sri Lankan geopolitical relations. While CBK and Ranil took the begging bowl to the West and India, MR not only got what he could from the West, but also sought new, forbidden territory: Iran, Libya, and China. Even the Burmese president visited Sri Lanka. Basically, every despot is a friend of the Rajapakse regime… I don’t think the LTTE quite understood that.

  • http://javajones.wordpress.com Java Jones

    Hey Dayan, the following quote was amusing, coming from a guy like you: “Furthermore, the world community may conclude that the shutting up of a former army commander who was supposedly about to blow the whistle on war crimes means impunity is rampant within the Sri Lankan state system and therefore the only path to justice here is the invocation of the doctrine of ‘universal jurisdiction’ by as many national courts as possible, worldwide. ”
    By “may conclude…….. impunity is rampant within the Sri Lankan state system” – you mean you didn’t realize that the world community figured out that “impunity was rampant” (along with corruption, nepotism, etc) until this incident??? You either gotta be kidding, or must take the ‘world community’ to be hopelessly naive.

  • Observer

    Actually, the LTTE fought quite well. If China had not become the dominant force that it is today, and India (read: Sonia Gandhi) had not changed its geopolitical interests, the LTTE would be alive and well today.

    Never said they didn’t fight well. Sure they gave a good fight to be reckoned with on the battle field at times. I only said they cried about it a lot when they were on the back foot! Boo hoo I want a ceasefire.. Boo hoo we are retreating with civlians as our vanguard.. Boo hoo war is soo freakin unfair! get me outa hereeee… EU send boats pluhzzeee… What they displayed at the end was utter cowardliness. Let’s face it honour wasn’t part of their game.

    What I’m appealing from those new folk who want to shake things up, to at least fight with honour so we can extend them same courtesy back to our adversary.

    On another note, one good lesson that SL (specifically, the SL State) can take from the LTTE is the need to evolve. The LTTE certainly evolved, but not at any rate comparable to the evolution of Sri Lankan geopolitical relations.

    It amuses me to see your stubbornness in admitting how the SL army changed. How they changed the game forming them selves in small teams adopting guerrilla techniques and very high risk behind enemy line operations. High risk because when once it went horribly bad the LTTE sent back the DPU’s decapitated heads.

    Now that was just uncalled for and frankly Praba and his co deserved to go the way they did. And you’d have to be dreaming if you want a report card on how it was done. When we got our decapitated heads we didn’t make such a fuss now did we? Did we even ask the UN to intervene? Why would we wanna disrupt them from going about their important world saving business. That;s just rude man! Be good sports. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

    While CBK and Ranil took the begging bowl to the West and India, MR not only got what he could from the West, but also sought new, forbidden territory: Iran, Libya, and China. Even the Burmese president visited Sri Lanka.

    Why concentrate on Burma when Russians just gave him a doctorate and a symbolic throne or whatever? And 300 mil weapons contract. My my my… Seems MR is sleeping with Medvedev at the moment. Boy it must be rough in bed going by their dating!

    Democrats in US lose one senate seat, Obama goes on back footing and threatens China and ramps up troops in Afghanistan. Eagerly waiting to see how things fair in Marjah now, even after some inconvenient collateral. Since they’re so polite about it and have apologised no need for war crimes tribunals right?

    Anyway there goes change, olive branch to the world, and an undeserved peace price. I always knew soon as he pissed off the jews he weren’t gonna get a 2nd term. Like it or not the jews are running Washington.. *cough* I mean the financial system. Hopefully the republicans will capitalise on this and move bit to the centre and win the next election! You know what I like about the republicans? They’re not coy about their dirty deeds!

    Basically, every despot is a friend of the Rajapakse regime… I don’t think the LTTE quite understood that.

    Save your despot chat to little kids. So called despots are like villains on day time soaps except on 24 hour news channels for the gullible. Aware people know despots are plenty among us. Some have a better PR team. ;-)

    P.S. When the mucho man flops it out and goes suck on it baby and some profusely refuse, it’s not being a despot. It’s called being straight! LOL

    ave a good day Heshan…. Preach to others not me please…

  • Observer

    “On another note, one good lesson that SL (specifically, the SL State) can take from the LTTE is the need to evolve. ”

    oh and by the way…

    “It is not the strongest that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change”
    - Often misquoted as by Darwin. No definitive source

    Dr. MR’s administration is evolving so fast it’s bewildering to some! It’s so tough not even respected diplomats, 5 star generals OR the most ruthless terrorist organisations that survive the game they play.

    Keep it up Sir!

  • Zorro

    Hello Dayan, It is very probable that you soon be branded as a traitor (possibly from Gota) for emphasizing the depths of disasters a nondemocratic, corruptible, nepotistic and narcissistic regime could bring over the fellow citizens and the country. But your awakening comes rather late as this dictatorial methods and lawlessness is not a post war symptom but started with the last offensive against the LTTE at the end of 2008. We all kept silent with the delivered arguments of Gota, that “the war situation was such hazardous that no normal governance can be expected from the regime and maintained”. But their thirst for power and paranoia of pursuance were such immense that the clan lost every relevance to the reality. It is true that I asked myself “if they can do such things to SF, a war hero, the conductor of power of the Rajapaksha regime, how insignificant for them to do more harm to the Tamils, at a time the majority was such drunk in the victory and nationalism the govt was pouring out for free. I should reprimand you and all other law abiding people of Sri Lanka at this juncture, If there were war crimes carried out at any time of the conflict and no matter from whom, these crimes should be probed and the culprits should be punished, whoever it is. You hear the same voices within SL who called the int. community to mind their own business after the war now asking for their intervention to tame the Rajapaksa regime. The tide has changed faster than expected. And you are right; we have to reduce their power in the forthcoming GE; the only way.

  • http://www.weatherleafarm.com Malcolm Baldwin

    It’s with a heavy heart that I read about the arrest of General Fonseka and the harassment and worse of Sri Lankan journalists. I lived five years in Sri Lanka from 1988 to 1993 during troubled times, but one had great hope that after the surprising defeat of the LTTE Sri Lanka might return to its honored democratic past and become the bastion of good government that it has the capacity to be. With prospects for that now dim, one can only hope that opposition will unify, that journalists will heroically pursue their calling and that the nation will rally to check the dangerous slide toward autocracy and corruption. The remarkable and most honorable Mr. Jayatilleka shows the way forward.

  • Prem

    The people voted for MR, just because he managed to kill many Tamils as possible in the name of war against LTTE. When he is turning his guns towards sinhala mass, why can’t you all enjoy the same way you celebrated when Tamils were crying.
    Will he be able to keep just 30,000 sinhala civilians behind bars as he is doing in vanni. Life is purely of karma. .. enjoy when it comes to you.

  • Heshan

    <>

    Yep, the Jewish interests have quite a hold on Washington. You have to keep in mind that Israel is the only real democracy in the Mid-East… and the Mid-East is where the oil lies. It would be interesting to see what happened if an alternative to oil was actually found. The US would pull out its troops, the economies of practically every Mid-East country (except Israel) would crash overnight, and total chaos would reign in the Arab countries. Those same Arab countries would then declare war on Israel, and guess who Israel would ask for protection? That’s right. You see, the Jews are not just greedy folks.. they need the USA for their survival. Why the USA needs Israel – I haven’t figured that one out yet.
    ,

    Save your despot chat to little kids. So called despots are like villains on day time soaps except on 24 hour news channels for the gullible. Aware people know despots are plenty among us. Some have a better PR team. ;-)

    Ever heard the phrase, “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll know who you are.”

    When it comes to behavior, one finds many *striking* similarities between Hugo, Fidel, Mahinda, Moammar Q, and Gothabaya… when I was a kid, there was this great book called “Where’s Waldo?” You had to spot Waldo in a crowd of people. So if someone gave you a map and asked you to spot Mahinda, guess how you’d narrow down the search…

    :
    P.S. When the mucho man flops it out and goes suck on it baby and some profusely refuse, it’s not being a despot. It’s called being straight! LOL”

    Are you referring to the macho man in the commercials. That was a classic.

    “Dr. MR’s administration is evolving so fast it’s bewildering to some! It’s so tough not even respected diplomats, 5 star generals OR the most ruthless terrorist organisations that survive the game they play.”

    Evolving or disintegrating, is the question. According to Einstein, insanity is: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    On the other hand, the above definition might work in war. And it would explain why politics (as a system) is totally flawed. Make the same promises. Wave the same flag. Appoint the same family members to new posts. Vote for Emergency Regulations every month. Arrest journalists/political opponents over and over. When the economy dries up, go to the same IMF for a bailout.

    One must wonder why S. Lanka has not totally collapsed yet… then again, Zimbabwe has not collapsed, despite record inflation. My theory: globalization & geopolitics allows failed states to survive. Take away the IMF, take away Hugo, Sonia, Fidel, etc… put S. Lanka in a Robinson Cruso type scenario. Could it survive just on its own? Doubtful – “Dr” MR and his cronies know that – they applied for Western citizenship ages ago.

  • Groundviews

    The Arrest of Sarath Fonseka and Comrade Dayan’s critical response – http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/02/the_arrest_of_sarath_fonseka_a.html

  • http://www.youtube.com/noealaminsl NoEalamInSL

    Dr. Dayan Jayatillake replies to Dr. Nalin Swaris: “Who are we? A matter of identity” http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/02/who-are-we-matter-of-identity.html Previously Dr. Nalin Swaris wrote “Comrade Dayan’s Sour Grapes?” http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2010/02/comrade-dayans-sour-grapes.html

  • Ryan

    The democracy in Israel is like socialism in USA. There is no democracy in Israel. The ethical standards of democracy is non-existent and neighbouring countries- do they feel that Israel is a democracy? not at all. We need to be impartial in decidng wheter a country is democratic or not.