Hard Talk

Many readers may have seen if not read about Defence Secretary Gothabhaya Rajapaksa’s interview with Stephen Sackur of the BBC HardTalk programme in which he calls Sarath Fonseka a liar and threatens to hang him for his position on a war crimes investigation. Local opinion, not surprisingly, given the current political context, has been divided on the propriety of Mr Rajapaksa’s outburst and the damage it could do to the image of the regime and of the country internationally.  There are the shocked and perturbed, albeit mostly in private, on the one hand and on the other, the hallelujah chorus of the apparatchiks. According to them, Mr Rajapaksa showed Sackur what’s what and saw off the smug arrogant, hostile Occidental propagandist with panache!

My concern here is to inquire into what this interview and the response to it tells us about the state of governance in our country, post –war and once more on the verge of constitutional reform.

Let us be clear at the outset as to what we are inquiring into – an interview given by a public servant in which he delivers threats and accusations against a former army commander and defeated presidential candidate who is currently in detention and who is – and this is important – a Member of Parliament.  The public servant is the defence secretary and an architect of the historic military defeat of the LTTE.  He is also a former army officer and of course, this is important too, the president’s brother.  Furthermore – this is important as well – the public servant’s minister is the president, his brother.

Were such an event to have occurred in India, the world’s largest democracy or in Britain from where our parliamentary traditions and conventions of governance hail, the public servant would have had to resign and if he did not, he would have been sacked.  Were the latter action not taken, the government of the day would be in jeopardy.  Public opinion and the media would bay for its blood.  The rationale for all of this being that in functioning democracies, public servants are not supposed to make policy pronouncements of their own, voice their personal opinions to the international or local media or make statements that are tantamount to the grossest interference in an issue, which is the subject of an ongoing judicial process.

Was Mr Rajapajsa merely expressing government policy, the policy of his brother, his minister and president? Or, since no action has been taken, is it the case that this a case, not of Yes Minister but of Yes Secretary?

It is indeed sad that Mr Fonseka apart, members of parliament have not seen it fit to raise what is surely a privilege issue.  A secretary to a ministry has in effect called a MP a liar and traitor on international television and pronounced that he should be hanged.  It is also sad that there has been little comment or observation of the insight this affords us on the state of governance in the land.  Is Gothabaya Rajapaksa a one man deterrent to discussion and dissent – the lifeblood of democracy?  Does one decisive military victory and two thumping electoral mandates to his brother and by extension his family, give him the licence to mouth off maliciously in flagrant violation of the dignity and propriety of the office he holds?

Given the impending revocation of the Seventeenth Amendment and the jettisoning of the Constitutional Council and independent commissions it provides for and the removal of the term limit on the presidency, the structure of power and government in the country will be shoved further away from the structure of power and government that characterizes democratic governance.  Those who railed against the executive presidency and promised loudly to abolish it are to entrench it instead and with it no doubt, the arbitrariness and caprice of a monarchy and dynastic rule.

The nature of the regime and its rule are profiled by the defence secretary’s vituperative interview, the priorities for constitutional reform in the current context of limbo between the post war situation we are in and the post-conflict one we should aspire to and the reported appointment of who is now frequently referred to as the First Son, 24 year old fresher MP Namal Rajapaksa to head the District Development Committee for Kilinochchi!  More Crown Prince perhaps than First Son, being given war ravaged Killi to dabble in development?  Is there a precedent here of Killinochchi becoming the local Duchy of Cornwall?

The gratitude and appreciation of the citizenry for the defeat of the LTTE and expressed in two thumping mandates for the Rajapaksa family should not blind the citizenry to the dangers of authoritarianism and the corrosion of governance.  Nor should we allow fear to silence protest and resistance to this and then wallow in regret for our complicity and appeasement at a later, god forbid, much later date.  Whoever rules, whoever governs and for how long is not the issue. There must always be, as a basic minimum, checks and balances, the rule of law, due process, best practices and standards adhered to, rights protected and duties fulfilled.

And public servants should be public servants, irrespective of who their siblings are.  Or else they should go and if they do not, they should be sacked.  This is surely the way of a functioning democracy.

[Editors note: An outrageously edited version of this article was published in the Daily Mirror on 23 June. Even post-war, the obsequiousness of mainstream media towards the Rajapaksa triumvirate in general, and the Defence Secretary in particular is a stark reminder of sustained self-censorship and a Fourth Estate - out of fear or seeking favour - unable and unwilling to bear witness to the systemic breakdown of democratic governance.

24 June: It turns out that yesterday's fiasco over the partial publication of this article in the Daily Mirror was down to gross editorial negligence. Bordering on the tragi-comic, that this article was published in an appallingly edited form was only known to senior editorial staff after Groundviews pointed it out. One wonders what the Daily Mirror would have done if we did not flag the issue, or what impression readers of the truncated article in online and print versions of the paper would have been left with, were it not published on this site. Thankfully, the article in full appears in the paper today. However, there is still no mention in yesterday's version published online that the article is an incomplete version, or a link provided to the full version that is published today. Inexcusably bad editorial policies exacerbate government censorship and control of media. If one must be the change one wants to see, mainstream media has a very long way to go.]

  • Siripala

    May be no body would trust himself leave anything here because they are aware of the danger before them after any anti govt comments.

    Now I have the feeling this forum is also not the impartial site for those who seek to leave their comments on the issues .

  • Realist

    I think what everyone who is crying foul fails to point out (although I suspect they know it fully well) is G.R.’s tendency to make outbursts of this sort when he is under pressure. If you actually take the time to watch the whole interview, he backs down immediately after that statement and says “no…no… [but will be tried to the fullest extent of the law] (not exact words, but that intention). What Gota said is that if SF testifies to a foreign inquiry (why should he do that?) then he can be tried for treason. Trust the BBC to milk it for all it’s worth, knowing that Gota will likely play in to their hands. To be fair to them though, the week long series on Sri Lanka (available through BBC iPlayer) came out fairly balanced, but with prominence only given to the points that make the government look suspicious.

    I find it curious how those sympathizing with Gota’s views are somehow labeled “apparatchiks,” while the namecallers (including, seemingly, the author of this article) have forgotten how they said nothing when Sarath Fonseka during his election campaign was calling for the summary executions of political opponents at Galle Face, with the jail houses of Bogambara and Welikada being thrown open to accommodate all other political opponents?

    But if one wants to keep harping on the point, then organizing a coup (whether or not he did, we cannot deny that the intention was there in his election speeches) to overthrow a legitimately elected government is treason in its most naked form, and should be punished accordingly. Can the author of this article, or someone here, tell me how exactly Sarath Fonseka is different from Prabhakaran? They both wanted to overthrow legitimately elected governments through the use of terror and/or military force. If one is a traitor to the nation ( which he was ), why isn’t the other?

    Or are we going to finally realise that both of them are military men, prone to emotional outbursts, and public relations skills are not their forte?

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    I am afraid; many Sinhala will think and some may express on this forum that, you as a Tamil, have no right to question a Sinhala leader!

    However, what took you so long to write this piece? Were you waiting for GR to be sacked or giving time for that possibility to be exhausted?

    It looks as if you have decided that, it is time to stand up and be counted; I too agree; what can they do, as Gandhi said, at the end they will have your dead body but not your obedience! I take my hat off to you.

  • Burning_Issue

    “I think what everyone who is crying foul fails to point out (although I suspect they know it fully well) is G.R.’s tendency to make outbursts of this sort when he is under pressure.”

    Wow! Might be that, in one of those moments, he ordered the execution of Lasantha Wickramatunga, who knows!

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    No doubt there is euphoria in the Rajapakse government and democracy died a natural death when the executive presidency was announced by JR.

    Even Premadasa, whoe rose from humble beginnings to Presidency did not anger foreign media to the extent the uncouth Gotabhaya has done.

    Premadasa had national interest and this is undebatable. His one million houses scheme won him an award in Harare.

    His free school meals and milk to all children placed him as a decent human being despite his often autocratic tendencies.

    This govt. has transcended all norms of decency and decorum in placing the president’s whole family as instant royal family on the platform of vanquishing the LTTE.

    It is not the President’s fault that we elected this government. It is the propanda machinery the Rajapakses have spun with engaging servile media in their DPL missions that swung the populace into supporting this excuse for a nationalist government which has no moral code, no semblance of just governance and no room for dissent.

    When I heard JR’s reply to a BBC correspondent when he asked why he imposed blanket censorship the old fox replied, “You are not having a good time with the IRA, are you?”

    I thought JR was a rascal.

    But Gotabhaya comes out as a rascal and an irrational buffoon.

    So do the whole Rajapakse clan.

    What happened to the statesmen of yesteryears such as Colvin, NM, Felix et al.

    Are we so bereft of intelligent sentients that we are left with the dregs of society to govern us?

    The honeymoon cannot last.

  • Heshan

    These kind of sorry characters exist in every nation… they are an unfortunate but inevitable product of evolution. The danger is when they become too powerful – when they can influence the annual budget, annul/modify the Constitution, and even override the authority of the Supreme Court.

  • questioning

    “Or are we going to finally realise that both of them are military men, prone to emotional outbursts, and public relations skills are not their forte?”

    Perhaps, if one is a “military man” who is incapable of conducting oneself within the very baseline standards of diplomatic behaviour, one should not be in formal government office. If he is unable to act with the kind of decorum and do not hold the basic inter-personal skills that would be expected of even a lowly office clerk in a professional working environment, perhaps he should look for employment elsewhere. This is supposed to be a democratic government, not a monarchy – when the off with the head statements were the kind of whims that a dedicated autocrat could enjoy. Whether he choses to retract them seconds later (only to re-ladle out the vitriol at a later date, quite possibly; please – this is not the first time that Goty has come out with embarrassing, puerile nonsense. It happens over and over and over again).

    The fact is that many Sri Lankans appear to be happy to be represented in this circus like fashion and see it as a positive mode of behaviour. As if acting like a barely restrained moody teenager and screaming death threats at public figures is something to be proud about, particularly if the ranting is directed in the face of white people – who seem to be a proxy for all things anti-sri lankan. Off with the nose to spite the face. I think it is more reflective of the lack of sophistication and low standards of the Sri Lankan public more than anything that this kind of idiocracy is whole heartedly supported. Shame, shame, shame.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue,

    many Sinhala will think and some may express on this forum that, you as a Tamil, have no right to question a Sinhala leader!

    Not from me. I wasn’t even aware that Dr. Saravanamuttu is a Tamil.

  • Henry

    Anybody who expect anything positive about the current leaders from Saravanamuttu, for that matter about Sri Lanka in general, that person is daydreaming. This fellow is paid to criticize anything everything Sri Lankan. So I don’t take this fellow seriously.

  • shanika

    I think Mr. Saravanamuttu is showing off his double standards as usual. As a previous commenter mentioned what happened to his duties and rights as a rights activist and where was he when Sarath Fonseka openly threatened to send all his oponents to prison without any trial and went in to gruesome details how he would execute his one time friend and the main person who was instrumental in making him the army commander in the first place. Mr Saravanamuttu thought that was a good point when canvassing for the presidential election as he was very openly supporting Sarath Fonseka at the time. So execution comments by his friend is not a worrying thing but GR’ s warning about execution of SF if found guilty of treason is making him react. This is double standards. We will consider you to be a genuine rights protector if you acted in the same way to all people who talk about vengence and not only when your aponents talk about it.

  • http://-- MCM Iqbal

    Whatever one may say, there needs be no doubt that once a Secretary to a Ministry takes his oath of office, he becomes a Public Officer and should act like one. He is obliged to follow the provisions of the Establishment Code which clearly lays down the procedures to be followed and the code of conduct of a public officer. The manner in which our Defence Secretary conducts himself, is nothing but a display of arrogance of his power solely because he is the brother of the President and that the President is his Minister. No other Secretary of any other Ministry will ever dare to conduct himself the way the Defence Secretary is conducting himself. He could rightly be called the Defence Minister rather than the Defence Secretary.
    His statements not only display his arrogance but also how shallow his knowledge is, on codes of conduct and rules of procedure. Would any other Secretary or for that matter any other public officer dare to utter statements like the ones he uttered during the interview in Hard Talk pointing fingers and calling an ‘Honourable’ Member of Parliament, a liar and say he deserves to be hung?

    The Fundamental Rights chapter of our Constitution clearly states that a persons should be presumed to be innocent until he is found guilty by a due process of law. Here we find the Defence Secretary not only treating the accused to be a guilty person but also passing a sentence on him, even while the cases against Sarath Fonseka are still pending. As Sara rightly says, any other Secretary would have been sacked by now for making such statements.

    Sadly what is happening in the country today is a sad indication of the dark days to come when Sri Lanka is going to be ruled by an arrogant family who care a tuppence for democracy and the rule of law. By the time the people who voted them to power realize this, it will be too late.

  • Charkraborty

    I think this writer is utterly wrong. He needs a reality check. In fact this whole website needs a reality check and come on to terra firma.

    A good evaluation was done by a correspondent of the Manila Times. Gothabaya R said that the ” punishment for high treason is Death”. That cannot be surely
    regarded as a threat. It was an appropriate answer to a “Hard-talk” question
    and I don’t see why any one should be sacked for that! Similar things were said by
    Colin Powell and other the officers of the Bush administration
    regarding Sadam Hussain, or Bin laden, prior to any trial,
    although surely it is the Bush administration, and not Sadam, who hshould be tried
    in a court of law.
    Even Bin laden is innocent until proven guilty. What about the king of Saudis who
    financed Bin laden?

    Our indian officials make similar or much worse remarks about their political opponents. Tony Blair presumably made sure that the Secret service officer who questioned Blair’s politics “committed suicide”. The husband of the secret service person in Bush administration who ended up asking hard questions found that her identity was leaked, jeopardizing her life.

    So, Mr. Saravanamuttu should have a reality check – does he remember how Prabhakaran dealt with his opponents? Not just hard talk. Do you remeber how Chelvanayagam went about claiming that GGPonnambalam was a “Traitor”.
    Do you remember how Prabhakaran dealt with traitors?
    But Mr. Saravanamuttu had nothing to say when Prabha was in power!!!

    V. Charkraborty

  • Ravana

    What is being said here about public servants went out of the window in Sri Lanka shortly after independence !

    However behavior like this by a public official representing the Country is NOT ACCEPTABLE under any circumstances.

    Immediate resignation would have been expected in a “civilized” country. The fact that he does this all the time is no excuse and all the more reason that he should not be given opportunities to display his neanderthal behavior in public.

  • Realist

    Shanika: “We will consider you to be a genuine rights protector if you acted in the same way to all people who talk about vengence and not only when your aponents talk about it.”

    Thank you.

    @questioning, Pearl and others: this is not about whether GR is suitable to be in this post or not. I have not made any comment on this, one way or the other. While his PR skills leave something to be desired, why do you still not relax the double standards? If you consider GR uncouth, then why is it that you seem to consider the foul mouthed, reactionary, power hungry Sarath as fit to be president?

    @burning issue: If he had ordered the execution of Lasantha, then wouldn’t it be likely that his main man at the time, SF, would be in on the joke? Let’s not forget the Sunday Leader’s history with SF. The reality is, nobody really cares about [Edited out] Lasantha. His writing reached only a very small section of Sri Lanka’s population, one that was prone to armchair politics and inaction either way. Only his boot lickers, and “human rights” activists, are running around with crocodile tears these days. He was by no means the patron saint of journalists, just a man running a rag with a personal vendetta. Nothing more. The latest set of bootlickers are screaming about The Sunday Leader defaming Ranil, well guess what, that is the sort of stuff [Edited out] that Lasantha did for a very long time against a lot of people.

  • lrajapak

    I think Gota made a mistake by agreeing for this interview with another “Para Suddah”. Now is the time for us as Sri Lankans (Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims etc) to ignore the threats by the foreign media and contribute to the development of our mother land. All these bastard media personal on Western countries don’t care about the outcomes of their reporting’s, they like to create “fires” to keep their jobs and popularity of their channels. As humans, we always like to hear “bad news”, media take advantage of this weakness.

  • Ratnam

    I’d like to read what Dr. Dayan Jayatilake has to say to the statement ‘We’ll hang him’.

  • Shamin

    What he really said was “if he has said it it is a lie and we will hang him because its treason” He certainly qualified his “we will hang him” statement with the reason which Dr. Saravanamuttu and the BBC conveniently does not put in context!! yes he was all red in the face and agitated, that was pretty embarrassing though!!! But again the problem I see is that his fluency in the language and his frustrations with it…. The poor man should have just done the interview in his mother tongue like what Hugo Chavez did a few weeks later on the same show!!! We Sri Lankans still have this inferiority complex in using our own native tongue.. we think speaking English is sophisticated and we also tend to judge people based on their English language skills… I am not too sure in this context what this bruhaha is all about.. With regards to traditions and situations in other countries…. the benefits of following them in the past has left a lot to be desired!!! so less said on that the better!!!

    Also that comment about Dr. S being a Tamil and has no right to criticize…. In the 21st century we still seem to have people who have not evolved from …. I would be laughing at them if they were not so dangerous!!! Even though I was born in to the majority community I label myself only as a Sri Lankan!!

  • Roshan

    [Edited out]

    Like Serbian War Criminals were hunted and tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Srilankan war criminals [edited out] must be arrested and tried for his alleged crimes asap to save Srilanka and humanity, otherwise We sinhalese will be at the receiving end of the same atrocities committed and being committed against Tamils and Muslims.

    Intoxicating hubris
    [TamilNet, Monday, 21 June 2010, 00:01 GMT]

    Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is widely believed to be the key Sri Lanka official responsible for instituting procedures and issuing commands that allegedly violated international norms in the conduct of war, has provided enlightening clues to inner workings of his mind in several interviews recorded on film by reputable international media. “His unchecked power, authorized by his brother and Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse, appears to have blunted his reasoning faculty, triggering him to compulsively express open threats against journalists and unwittingly admit to abject disregard for civilian casualties while issuing military commands. Many of his statements border on self-incrimination,” said a spokesperson for Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group. A collection of Gotabhaya interviews are compiled in this feature.

    http://www.lankasri.eu/ta/link.php?3m4340SdWgb6eEecQ372

  • Yoganathan

    Dr.P.Saravanamuthu had been voicing against LTTE for long before 2009 and now he must have realised that LTTE was a Symptom not the cause of troubles in the island because the Sinhala racists, like MR.Gothabaya, are the reasons behind the formation of LTTE.
    All Tamils must have supported the freedom fighters LTTE to save Minorities from the Sinhala hitlers like Mr.Gotabaya but We Tamils miserably failed and paying the price now.
    Now, we may not even have a Tamil Village of our own as the Sinhala racist Srilanka escalated ETHNIC CLEANSING and COLONISATION of SInhalese in 100% Tamil and Muslims areas in the North and East.
    NO SINHELLA TERRORISM NO NEED OF LTTE

  • Veedhur

    @Chakraborty

    Name one ministry secreatary in india who has made pronouncement (or some thing remotely close to it) in the last 10 – 15 years

    @ Saravanamuttu

    Ranjan Ramanayakes maiden speech in the Parliament exactly touched on this issue – parliamentary privileges and the powers of the secretaries.

  • pimna

    “I wasn’t even aware that Dr. Saravanamuttu is a Tamil” Oh come on Mr Wijepala, whom are you kidding? Get serious here. I bet even Dr S would not be aware that you are a Sinhalese.

  • amilsha

    To Ratnam- Your query about “Dr Dayan Jayatillake’s probable reaction to We’ll hang him”

    Dr Jayatilleke is a class diplomat and a cultured one at that unlike the other Bulath Hapayas in the Foreign Service,.So Im sure he is going to say “Ok buddy, but make it quick”

  • Shamin

    @Yoganathan..

    as you say , if the LTTE is a result of the racist SL Govt policies and you justify supporting them .. Al Qaeda and Osama are a result of the West’s biased and racist policies in the Middle East… So let’s also call them Freedom Fighters and support Al Qaeda and Osama now!!!! How naive at best or biased at worst can you be???

    Do not try to justify terrorism and just because you keep repeating terms like “ethnic cleansing”, “colonisation” etc.. it does not make it the truth!!! The LTTE killed more Tamil leaders than any SL Govt.. Durraiappah to Amirthalingam to Tiruchelvam to Kadirgamar come to mind off hand among a lot more…. As to what they did to the Tamil people in their control…. I don’t even know where to begin!!!

  • Chan

    Gota is now the Judge, Jury and the executioner for the SL government. As his brother has taken over the whole judiciary, there is no problem for him. The problme is for the common man living in SL. this is just a taste of what is to come in the future. This is what happens when our people elect such people [Edited] to high office. May god help the common man.

  • Diffpersepective

    Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    Just a few questions… When George W. Bush on 17th Sept 2001, said he wants Osama Bin Ladin “Dead or Alive” and when Dick Cheney on 16th Sept 2001 said he would gladly accept Osama Bin Ladin’s “head on a platter” … Did any one call for their resignations and say it was inappropriate???

    Why do you think SL should subscribe to a different standard???

  • Assas

    No matter what is done. Do not worry. Preme did the same with Sri Coor and finally had it. All oppornants grate leaders like Lalith was killed But finally the nature gave the verdict. Let time goes History can not be changed. The best request si from me is for MR and Gr to go in front a mirror and ask from own face in accordence with the own conscience whether their path is long lasting or shortcited Still both of them are not too late. What they have to do is to request every body to joinwith them to dvelopthe country not the family. If requested in a properway even SF and Rw will join with them for proper goverence. Otherwise GOd will look after the common ,man. and the veil will look after the leaders.

  • arshad

    when you start looking at the bigger picture – you take a average value – going back 2 years and then looking at the positives of (war stopping , unitary state) and undemocratice practices, nepotisam as cons – people will still think the R clan is a better option that what we had. the writer may have been assured a safe passage by the terrorists but rest of southrn SL will still take the overall psotiive -until the r clans become more and more negative. sad to see UNP doesnt have what it takes [Edited] to cut losses and even start now for 2017.

  • Renu

    Shamin,
    Al Qaeda and Osama are not freedom fighters–there’s no country nor any national group they’re trying to free. They’re a transnational set up with religious interests. So the analogy with LTTE does not work.

    “The LTTE killed more Tamil leaders than any SL Govt.. Durraiappah to Amirthalingam to Tiruchelvam to Kadirgamar come to mind off hand among a lot more….”

    So it’s okay for a government to kill people as long as criminals are killing even more people?

    “As to what they did to the Tamil people in their control…. I don’t even know where to begin!!!”

    Do you know where to begin with regard to what the SL government did to the Tamil people, how many they killed and ‘disappeared’? Not knowing something doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

    “Do not try to justify terrorism and just because you keep repeating terms like “ethnic cleansing”, “colonisation” etc.. it does not make it the truth!!!”

    Neither does denying something without having investigated anything give you a handle on the truth.

  • Budha

    Even everybody is writing comments nobody is willing to face the TRUTH.
    It is better to go thrugh the unwritten history of calamitties between the two races from pre historic times till MULLIVAYKKAL the TRUTH is THERE WERE TWO RACES EXISTED side by side and occasionaly congured oone another andruled for some time and vice versa.
    There is no use in writing a lot WITHOUT digesting this UNQUESTIONABLE truth.
    Comment makers trying to idetify the commentator as tamil or singalese is a bic flob.

  • Renu

    Diffpersepective,

    It isn’t a question of SL having to subscribe to a different standard. Bush and Cheney wanted the head of someone who had invaded their territory and killed 3,000 of their citizens. A country has the right to retaliate against an invasion. Osama had also publicly taken credit for having done it. So there was no need for a trial to ascertain his guilt. Plus, Bush and Cheney were elected by the people to the highest office of the country. Who is GR, a public servant, to take on a judge’s role and decide that an elected parliamentary member, Fonseka, is lying and announce that he will be executed if he testifies at an international probe–that’s the writer’s point.

  • Sinniah

    Now it is OBVIOUS that srilanka is becomming a country ruled by a fammily of kings having no responsibilty to account,EVEN TO THE WORLD BODY UN.
    Any member of the familly can DO anything he likes without any obstuction.
    Is it DEMOCRACY?
    Is it possible for all govt servants to give such interview on behalf of the govt?
    Surely SRILANKA`S WAR HISTORY will be taught in schools in future (as the history of HOLOHAUST is being taught) as a NEGATIVE examble to handle TERRORISM.
    All must know that Govt STARTED terrorism by violance means to crush NON VIOLANT aggitation of tamils and concluded in total discard for tamils lives in MULLIVAYKKAL.

  • http://None Adhi

    Thank you Dr. Saravanamuthu for remaining unwavering against unimaginable adversities and danger.[Edited out]. But that applies only to civilized countries. Is Sri Lanka one of the civilized countries of the world. How can we possibly claim that when we elect histrionic, narcissistic and pathological liars as statesmen?
    Gotha will resign if Mahinda is any better. But that is not the case at all.
    Take care of yourself.

  • Grasshopper

    The majority of Sri lankans asked for this sh!t by voting for Rajapakshas, so don’t cry now. “Yeah, we are gonna hang him” – absolutely shameful to have such a public servant let alone a Defense Secretary. [Edited out] He talks as if he owns the judiciary but in essence the Rajapakshas do. I woundn’t be surprised if my dear Sri lankan brothers and sisters still vote for them in 2017 – thereby givng MR a 3rd term. We Sri lankans are that wise because we have a rich history, culture and 90% literacy! GR and MR combo is like a double-barrelled Hitler regime. Await more sh!t.

  • justitia

    Gota is not a public servant in the strict sense of the term. The public service died when the powers of the Public Service Commission were taken over by politicians.
    In the old days, every Government Agent ( provincial head of the public service ) signed off each letter to every citizen as “I am,Your Obediant Servant……………………”
    Gota is a servant of the government, specifically, the president, directly under whom he functions. What he said to national and international print & electronic media was with the tacit approval of the president – unless any correction is/was issued by the president’s office.

  • Burning_Issue

    Realist,

    “If he had ordered the execution of Lasantha, then wouldn’t it be likely that his main man at the time, SF, would be in on the joke?”

    Wow! Please explain “the joke” in the context of the assassination of Lasantha Wickramatunga. I do no view this incident as a joke when a man had been publicly assassinated!

    “The reality is, nobody really cares about that hack Lasantha.”

    Well, well! You may not care, but everyone who cares about humanity cares! All those who value the principles of Democracy care!

    “He was by no means the patron saint of journalists, just a man running a rag with a personal vendetta. Nothing more.”

    So, if you do not agree with him, it is a good enough reason to justify his assassination, right? What is the difference between Prabhakaran and you?

    “The latest set of bootlickers are screaming about The Sunday Leader defaming Ranil, well guess what, that is the sort of stuff [Edited] that Lasantha did for a very long time against a lot of people.”

    Whatever Lansantha did or did not do is irrelevant; no one should be assassinated on any account. Moreover, those who justify his assassination are also as guilty as those who ordered the act and those who carried it out! So, every time you do not agree with someone, the answer is to kill him/her; what logic!

  • light

    [Edited out]

    So, any public servant in Srilanka can use their power to do whatever they want. There is no reason to talk about srilannkan politics at this time. That is way it goes.

  • brian

    Hey Realist

    You make these comments about Lasantha, did you know him?? He was an amazing jounalist and writer. He also was a family man and his family loved him. He wrote with a pen not a gun, there was no need to take his life. Your comments are not only hurtful to family members reading this but it shows your lack of intelligence and shows that you have no clue on what you are saying. Boot licker, sounds like you are doing that for the current regime. And no body cares about Lasantha, well I sure do and so does his family. You must learn in life to think before you talk, seems like you dont. Poor fellow

  • Heshan

    Gota is not a public servant in the strict sense of the term.

    Well-said. In this particular case, ” public servant” is a gross misnomer. How many so-called “public servants” can issue white van rides at their convenience?

  • Deadline_is_Always

    Well said, Renu.

  • Janaki

    “Al Qaeda and Osama are not freedom fighters–there’s no country nor any national group they’re trying to free. They’re a transnational set up with religious interests. So the analogy with LTTE does not work.”

    They are trying to free the Arabs of the Middle East from foreigners like the U. S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia (their Holy Land). The analogy to the LTTE works perfectly.

    The LTTE can be claimed to be transnational as well — they are now mostly concentrated in the United Kingdom and Canada. Wooh!

    And they aren’t freedom fighters in any degree. Their lack of democracy should speak to that.

  • Janaki

    [cit]Do you know where to begin with regard to what the SL government did to the Tamil people, how many they killed and ‘disappeared’? Not knowing something doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.[/cit]

    The 2000-3000 Tamils who have disappeared pales in comparison to what the SL government has done to the Sinhala people – killing over 60,000 between 1988-1991.

    Do you know where to begin with regards to what Tamil invaders have done to the Sinhala people? How many times have invaders like Magha devastated the Sinhala population and forced them into the mountains? One can’t imagine how many people were slaughtered then.

    Do you know where to begin with regards to what South India has done to the Sinhala people culturally and economically? Tamils who controlled the film industry and music industry forced Hindi/Tamil music and film on the Sinhalese and attempted to destroy Sinhala culture throughout the 1950s-1970s. They also held sway on the Sri Lankan economy and reduced the Sinhala to mere spectators. 1983 was the Sinhala people taking back their economy from the Jaffna invaders.

  • Janaki

    [cit]1983 was the Sinhala people taking back their economy from the Jaffna invaders.[/cit]

    Note this doesn’t mean I support what happened. Just putting it in the perspective I was discussing.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Grasshopper,

    The majority of Sri lankans asked for this sh!t by voting for Rajapakshas, so don’t cry now.

    They voted on the premise that the Rajapakshas ended the 30-year war, and that there would be no return to war as long as the Rajapakshas would be in power.

  • wijayapala

    Hi Sinniah,

    Now it is OBVIOUS that srilanka is becomming a country ruled by a fammily of kings

    I think you meant “family of elected kings.”

    All must know that Govt STARTED terrorism by violance means to crush NON VIOLANT aggitation of tamils and concluded in total discard for tamils lives in MULLIVAYKKAL.

    What about the LTTE which occupies a good chunk of the middle?

  • wijayapala

    Brian,

    You make these comments about Lasantha, did you know him?? He was an amazing jounalist and writer.

    I did not know Lasantha Wickrematunge and therefore am probably unqualified to talk about him. Since you seem to have known him personally, I have a question to ask:

    Was Lasantha so pro-UNP that he would do anything to undermine the Rajapakshas, even if it contributed to the LTTE winning the war?

    He also was a family man and his family loved him.

    [Edited out] If his family loved him so much, why did they meet with Mahinda who is accused of being complicit in Lasantha’s murder?

  • free thinker

    Diffpersepective said,

    Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    Just a few questions… When George W. Bush on 17th Sept 2001, said he wants Osama Bin Ladin “Dead or Alive” and when Dick Cheney on 16th Sept 2001 said he would gladly accept Osama Bin Ladin’s “head on a platter” … Did any one call for their resignations and say it was inappropriate???

    —————————

    Only the American civil socieity, world civil society, academia the world over and every institution that ever cared about human rights.
    What, you don’t know?

    —————————

    Why do you think SL should subscribe to a different standard???

    —————————

    That’s right. Sri Lankans, as you demonstrate, are far more content with their “leaders” making a total mockery them on the world stage as a reward for voting for them. And Sri Lankans are just content with their “leaders” selling their country off piece by piece to China. Sri Lanka subcribing to a different standard? Indeed! Don’t expect Sri Lankans to hold their “leaders” to higher standard. That just might end the world.

  • Huh

    ” The 2000-3000 Tamils who have disappeared pales in comparison to what the SL government has done to the Sinhala people – killing over 60,000 between 1988-1991.

    Do you know where to begin with regards to what Tamil invaders have done to the Sinhala people? How many times have invaders like Magha devastated the Sinhala population and forced them into the mountains? One can’t imagine how many people were slaughtered then.

    Do you know where to begin with regards to what South India has done to the Sinhala people culturally and economically? Tamils who controlled the film industry and music industry forced Hindi/Tamil music and film on the Sinhalese and attempted to destroy Sinhala culture throughout the 1950s-1970s. They also held sway on the Sri Lankan economy and reduced the Sinhala to mere spectators. 1983 was the Sinhala people taking back their economy from the Jaffna invaders.”

    This is one of the most outrageous things I have ever read on groundviews.org. What does magha have to do with anything!? Why do you find it necessary to go back hundreds of years in history to discuss a conflict that is rooted in relatively recent history? Why is your comment on magha even relevant. You then conclude your paragraphs by saying the riots were sinhalese people taking back their lives from the jaffna invaders but then seemingly say ” i don’t justify this, i’m just putting things into perspective”. Simply ridiculous–you and Susantha are the ONLY two sinhalese people I have ever heard JUSTIFY the riots(which, despite your denial, you certainly are). What you are saying is false on so many levels. The riots were a PLANNED political pogrom LONG in advance of the killings of those soldiers of in Jaffna, by the UNP government(Read the wrtiings of UTHRJ if you don’t believe me), not a racist outburst by the Sinhalese people!!!! The world has had a low opinion of the Sinhalese ever since those same riots you justify–please spare Sinhalese people like me and refrain from attempting to justify them!!!

  • Agnos

    Those who say Mahinda Rajapaksa did not murder Lasantha Wickrematunge need to tell us why a man/his family, in absolute control of all levers of power in Sri Lanka, cannot bring the perpetrators to justice more than a year after the murder. In this instance, the only correct position to take is that the ruling family is guilty of that murder unless proven otherwise.

  • Realist

    “In this instance, the only correct position to take is that the ruling family is guilty of that murder unless proven otherwise.”

    Why? Because some of his writing bordered on treason? Let’s not forget that Lasantha angered a lot of people, not in the interests of good journalism, but often out of personal vendettas. While there is an obvious lack of interest on the administration’s part, I’m not particularly surprised.

    @ burning issue: “Whatever Lansantha did or did not do is irrelevant; no one should be assassinated on any account.”

    Not even Prabhakaran?

  • Krishna

    Fact remains that Sri Lanka has committed disenfranchisement, pogroms, enforced disappearances, scorched earth policy and destruction of all Tamil livelihoods and uprooting of Tamils for over 60 years – under one guise or another

  • Diffpersepective

    Free Thinker.. I disagree, I was in NYC when Both Cheney and Bush made those statements in 2001 and there was absolutely no condemnation from any US Civil society or World civil society at that time of those statement… I challenge you to cite even one news source then condemning these statements…

    with regards to my point on different standard.. you are way off point..

    You obviously have your views on China and I have mine.. I guess you’d rather we be subservient to the US and their Allies than to China even when the majority of the US Trillion Dollar Debt is financed by China.. By your logic the US too is then selling their country off piece by piece to China or worse their federal govt…… What a joke??

    “Leaders making a mockery on the world stage”….. ??? the world is made up of over 180 countries… I am sure the majority of those countries do not share your view. Remember, BBC and CNN and their west centric audiences are not the world!! Read the Manila Times article and you would see a non west centric view….

  • AKALANKA

    TO DR. S
    at one time soon after independence – didn t the tamil leaders ask for a 50-50% representation on the legislature? isnt that the start of this whole problem – upto that point they were in control due to british been more comfortable in using the minority in positions of power, to safe guard them self’s from the population –

    2. lets not get too carried away, – if SL had a official secrets Act like UK has, SL could have clamped it down on SF and got away with this.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK?????????????

  • Diffpersepective

    Renu.. Please get your facts right… At the time Cheney and Bush made these statements 16/Sept and 17th Sept 2001… Osama had not “publicly taken credit” as you say (a simple google will confirm this)… … in fact on 16th Sept 2001 Osama released a statement and Al Jazeera broadcast it denying responsibility….This denial was broadcast in the US and around the world.. His exact words were “I stress I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivations”
    Therefore when DC and GWB said what they said it was only what they felt just like GR… No proof!!!
    but in your logic, it seems it is OK for an elected official to act like that but not a “public servant” as you call him… I don’t see why!!

    Invasion?? 19 terrorist from the following countries.. 15 from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Egypt and UAE.. how come those countries were not attacked then???? Ok I concede the money came from Osama and Afghanistan… But does that give the right to attack??? then SL should have also attacked all those countries that had people who funded the LTTE …. Double standards once again????

  • Burning_Issue

    Realist,

    “Not even Prabhakaran?”

    Yes, not even Prabhakaran! If he could have been captured alive, I am sure there would have been a lot of people who would want to ask questions! I would want to ask him about the suicide bombings and what would he say to the parents of those unfortunate young men and women. On the other hand, if he could have been assassinated that would have brought the war to an end with minimal casualties, there would have been justifications!

    However, Lasantha, if he was accused of treason then he could have been dealt with under the prevention of terrorism act. If Tissanayagham could have been jailed for 20 years, why could not they deal with Lasantha with the full force of the law? Why kill him? Was it because he knew too much?

  • Burning_Issue

    AKALANKA,

    ” at one time soon after independence – didn t the tamil leaders ask for a 50-50% representation on the legislature? isnt that the start of this whole problem – upto that point they were in control due to british been more comfortable in using the minority in positions of power, to safe guard them self’s from the population –“

    The infamous 50-50 was demanded by G.G. Ponnampalam; 50% for the Sinhala and 50% for all the minorities and it was demanded before the independence and not after. The point to note here is that, all Ceylonese settled under the 1948 unitary constitution and G.G. Ponnamplalam was a minister in the first government. So you can safely conclude that the D.S government was a success, and the Sinhalese failed to build a nation on that foundation!

    After the independence, it would have been utterly inconceivable for a minority to demand anything along the lines of 50-50 and this was why the Federal Concept was revived; once SWRD was an ardent supporter of this! If Mandela had viewed and acted the way the Sinhala Buddhists did what would have been of South Africa?

  • Janaki

    [cit]This is one of the most outrageous things I have ever read on groundviews.org. What does magha have to do with anything!? Why do you find it necessary to go back hundreds of years in history to discuss a conflict that is rooted in relatively recent history? Why is your comment on magha even relevant. You then conclude your paragraphs by saying the riots were sinhalese people taking back their lives from the jaffna invaders but then seemingly say ” i don’t justify this, i’m just putting things into perspective”. Simply ridiculous–you and Susantha are the ONLY two sinhalese people I have ever heard JUSTIFY the riots(which, despite your denial, you certainly are). What you are saying is false on so many levels. The riots were a PLANNED political pogrom LONG in advance of the killings of those soldiers of in Jaffna, by the UNP government(Read the wrtiings of UTHRJ if you don’t believe me), not a racist outburst by the Sinhalese people!!!! The world has had a low opinion of the Sinhalese ever since those same riots you justify–please spare Sinhalese people like me and refrain from attempting to justify them!!![/cit]

    As long as people like Renu and Belle justify the LTTE as freedom fighters I can call the 1983 rioters economically disadvantaged rising up (with the help of the government or not).

  • wijayapala

    Dear AKALANKA

    didn t the tamil leaders ask for a 50-50% representation on the legislature? isnt that the start of this whole problem

    No. As Burning_Issue pointed out, GG Ponnambalam had no problem taking a Ministry in the 1st post-independence govt. He did not take a confrontational attitude when 50-50 was refused.

    Historically speaking, 50-50 had no lasting impact on Sinhala-Tamil relations, and it was a very different approach than the federalism-separatism espoused by Federal party/ITAK. 50-50 is only brought up by modern-day Sinhala nationalists who are looking for ways to argue that there had been an organized Tamil conspiracy from 1 million BCE onward to control SL.

    The first policy that polarized Sinhala-tamil relations was 1956 Sinhala-Only that led to anti-Tamil violence. Although it is NOT true that Sinhala-Only directly led to the war, this is where the first “us vs them” mentality arose in the minds of ordinary Sinhalese and Tamils.

    (Some Tamil nationalists argue that the split originated further back in the 1920s with Arunachalam Ponnambalam leaving the Ceylon National Congress; I disagree because this was a dispute between the elites that had little impact on ordinary people)

    – upto that point they were in control due to british been more comfortable in using the minority in positions of power, to safe guard them self’s from the population

    Again not true. The Sinhalese themselves in the 1920s would rather have a high-caste Tamil represent them than a lower-caste Sinhala. Whatever pro-Tamil inclinations the British had clearly ended when they allowed universal suffrage in 1931 against the wishes of the Tamil elite like Ponnambalam Ramanathan.

  • wijayapala

    Huh, great response to Janaki.

    Unfortunately this sort of garbage statements that the Tamils tried to destroy Sinhala culture through film almost justifies what Belle says about the Sinhala community writ large.

  • Renu

    Janaki,

    “The 2000-3000 Tamils who have disappeared pales in comparison to what the SL government has done to the Sinhala people – killing over 60,000 between 1988-1991.”

    And the SL government didn’t kill Tamils? So all these decades, it is the Sinhalese who were attacked by the government, and Tamils lived in a paradise? Where did you get that low figure of only 2000-3000 Tamils having disappeared? From your government records, the same state that committed these crimes? Long before the killing and disappearances of Sinhala people, Tamil boys were disappeared by your government–throughout the 1980s.

  • AKALANKA

    federal solution would have been ok, had there been a mix of reces in all areas – but to put a fedaral solution to racial minority backed province would be like adding petrol to a fire. thats why SL cant give a federal solution -

  • summa

    GV Ediotrs – note how the big wig writers of these articles never reply to any feedback or follwoup questions – you should impose a obligation for them to reply to comments – otherwise its just one sided stuff which sould not not be the objective of a site such as this.

  • Huh

    Thank you Wijayapala. Also, in your mentioning of the 50-50 scheme, it is also important to note that back then, the Sri Lankan tamils(and possibly also the Burghers) back then DID NOT view themselves as minorities, rather, but equals with the Sinhalese. This is why the 50-50 thing did not seem ridiculous to Ponnamblam. It was not an attempt to rob the majority group of representation, to my knowledge.

  • sinhala_voice

    It is a personnel conflict between Gotabhaya and Sarath.

    Unfortunately, both has taken the country for ransom.

    Sarath is bitter about not getting enough recognition for his part in defeating military terrorism.

    And Gotabhaya for because Sarath is now accusing government of war crimes.

    Both sides have to cool down and STOP bitter name calling and accusations for the sake of the nation.

    As there are vultures waiting to eat the Sri Lankan nation along with Sarath , Gotabhaya and Mahinda. They better realise this bitter truth soon BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

    Those that oppose GR and MR will be the same that oppose Sarath Fonseka. That Sarath Fonseka has to realise. And realise soon.

  • Huh

    AKALANKA, can you explain your theory on federalism?

  • Janaki

    [cit]And the SL government didn’t kill Tamils? So all these decades, it is the Sinhalese who were attacked by the government, and Tamils lived in a paradise?[/cit]

    I’m sure they did. Did the Sinhalese live in paradise? The Sinhalese faced emergency rule long before the Tamils in the early 1970s.

    [cit] Where did you get that low figure of only 2000-3000 Tamils having disappeared? From your government records, the same state that committed these crimes? [/it]

    About 600 Tamil youth disappeared in 1995; before that year most of those who disappeared in Sri Lanka was Sinhalese. Since then each year about 100 or so have disappeared. That’s where the rough estimate comes from.

    [cit]Long before the killing and disappearances of Sinhala people, Tamil boys were disappeared by your government–throughout the 1980s.[/cit]

    Sinhala people were disappeared since the early 1970s long before the 1980s.

  • Janaki

    [cit]Unfortunately this sort of garbage statements that the Tamils tried to destroy Sinhala culture through film almost justifies what Belle says about the Sinhala community writ large.[/cit]

    I know they didn’t intentionally try to and I don’t hold any anger towards them but when the Tamil diaspora keeps claiming genocide and systematic destruction of culture I think it’s important to note the effect Tamils had on Sinhala culture.

  • Janaki

    Huh and Wijepala — I think you guys are two great posters.

    I was just adopting the Tamil extremist point-of-view to a Sinhala lens.

    I don’t strictly agree with everything I said there especially not about the 1983 riots. And it’s not important what ethnicity runs what businesses.. Fact is the business industry was more structured and smooth before 1983 and it was an awful shame what happened.

    When I see Tamil extremists claim that there was state terrorism since 1948 — and pograms have been ongoing since then — I should be free to respond with the same illogical vitriol.

  • aklanka

    huh i dont have a clue :), also if you are clear you can write a article here and i am without doubt more than 50 people will differ – so as of now no one is willing to specifically say this is federal -why dont you tell me – and i will see if we can implement it safetly in SL – i doubt it due to the population split on racial basis.

    Wiki has it as -”The term federalism is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is a system in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial (state) governments, creating what is often called a federation”

    looking at this – i will be uncomfotable to provide powers to a state full of tamils who have lost a homeland concept and will always dream of a seprate state – IT JUST DOENT JUSTFY THE RISK!

  • bodi

    “referring to demands for legislative changes, repealing of defence regulations and release of suspects held under anti-terrorist laws made by the EU as conditions to extend the GSP Plus deal. ”
    has EU actually asked for such measures ?????

  • Gunalan

    Sri Lanka has become the fiefdom of the Rajapakses. As a result of the actions of a few the entire country is suffering. We are well on our way to gaining failed state status. GSP+ is lost and so will be more jobs.

    Our human rights record is untenable as thousands rot in jail without charges unknown to their kith and kin. Thousands more listed as missing may be buried or disposed off.

    Now we are well on our way to become a military state with a thundering 220 Billions allocated for defence spending whilst the rest of the population suffer in silence. Day by day the cost of living rises while the rulers cruise around in SUV’s.

  • Huh

    aklanka,

    most tamils, in my experience, want federalism, not separatism. And anyways, most of the people who want separatism are those who live abroad not the ones who live in the country. Anyways, there are two or three big ethnic groups in sri lanka, and I think the threat of separatism is greatly exaggerated in that country. Just remember that Tamils would not be fighting for separatism if they felt the government was responsible and took care of their grievances–obviously, that is not the case.

  • Huh

    And when I mentioned there being only two or three ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, I was referring to India where there are HUNDREDS of ethnic groups, and where there is bound to be some agitation towards the center(i.e. separatism demands).

  • Huh

    Also, regarding the unitary state, I’m doubting whether it’s a good idea. With the unitary state, most of the econ development in the country is centered around Colombo. Do we really want that? Even prior to the war, when Jaffna produced many of the top graduates educated people and english speaking people in the country, the conditions in the Jaffna were not nearly as good as those in Colombo–and this was in the ” good old days”! With federalism, there can be more competition between states and cities and they can all develop at their own pace and isn’t that preferable to a Colombo-centered unitary state where that metro area reaps all the benefits of economic growth?

  • Burning_Issue

    Huh,

    I think that you have a sound understanding of the majority of the Tamil mindset; I only wish that more Sinhala come to this realisation. The fact is that, even the Transnational Government of Tamil Diaspora can be persuaded with a suitable political structure.

    It is a pity that the Sinhala majority views the Tamils such that, if a Tamil stands up for his rights, he must be a separatist!

  • longus

    Gota didn’t handle the BBC big talker the way he should have,but it doesn’t mean he didn’t put the message across;we are no longer playing Mr.Niceguy to please the foreigners who try to trample us.

    Well done Sri Lanka in banning the UN’s rotten team of experts from the country! We are not begging for forgiveness for defeating terrorism! Where is the “clean war” that these Western Sahibs are talking about and fought?

    Clean your closets first,angels!

  • wijayapala

    Janaki,

    When I see Tamil extremists claim that there was state terrorism since 1948 — and pograms have been ongoing since then — I should be free to respond with the same illogical vitriol.

    Even when you run the risk of people thinking that you’re a Sinhala racist?

    Wouldn’t you rather just let the Tamil extremists make fools out of themselves instead of letting them drag you down to their level?

  • Huh

    Thank you, Burning_Issue for your kind words! In my experience–I am part of the Chicago Sri Lankan diaspora–most Sinhalese people do not hate Tamils, but the minute government atrocities against Tamils are brought up, you see them immediately accuse Tamils of being pro-LTTE. I saw this happen when MIA went on the Tavis Miley show on PBS and attempted to explain what’s going on in Sri Lanka(admittedly, she did a lazy-poor job and even foolishly dismissed the LTTE’s tactics as being ” rudimentary”. I think reconciliation will only happen if the Sinhalese people take the lead in the diaspora communities around the world and likewise for the Sinhalese communities in Sri Lanka.

  • ModVoice

    Janaki,

    “When I see Tamil extremists claim that there was state terrorism since 1948 — and pograms have been ongoing since then — I should be free to respond with the same illogical vitriol.”

    Stating facts and asking for rights isn’t called extremism. Concerns about mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing did not just come from the Tamil corners but from various human rights organizations and other well respected individuals with a substantial amount of evidence to go with it.

    Huh,

    “most tamils, in my experience, want federalism, not separatism. And anyways, most of the people who want separatism are those who live abroad not the ones who live in the country.”

    That is why a fair and free referendum, just like the one held in east timor, must be held among the north and east tamils. Don’t you think? If they vote for a separate state, will the verdict be accepted by the majority? :)

  • Renu

    Janaki,

    “As long as people like Renu and Belle justify the LTTE as freedom fighters I can call the 1983 rioters economically disadvantaged rising up (with the help of the government or not).”

    and

    “When I see Tamil extremists claim that there was state terrorism since 1948 — and pograms have been ongoing since then — I should be free to respond with the same illogical vitriol.”

    Firstly, I never said the LTTE were freedom fighters. I merely pointed out that you couldn’t compare the Al Qaeda and Osama with the LTTE. At a minimum level, freedom fighters fight for a country or to separate from one.

    SL State terrorism of Tamils has been going on since pre-LTTE times. That’s a fact. Please read UTHRJ reports. They’re anti-LTTE, and they’re certainly not extremists.

    Neither am I an extremist. I’m not an Eelamist and never supported the LTTE. But I guess you have to hang the ‘extremism’ label on others in order to justify your self-admitted “illogical vitriol”. Your “illogical vitriol” is solely an expression of your lack of logic and your “vitriol” against Tamils. You gave full rein to it because, firstly, you thought you could get away with it, and secondly, you really believe in the stupid and vile racist things you said. Nobody makes up these things unless they’re brimming there in your head.

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Huh,

    I am UK based but currently in New York working on a project till end of Dec 2010. It would be good to meet people like you but the US cities are far apart!

    “I think reconciliation will only happen if the Sinhalese people take the lead in the diaspora communities around the world and likewise for the Sinhalese communities in Sri Lanka.”

    You are absolutely correct, but, there must be a platform for the Sinhalese to stand on when endeavouring reconciliation with the Tamils; that platform is the political accommodation of the minorities by GOSL. There must be a suitable political structure that would make it easier for the communities to engage both in Sri Lanka and abroad.

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Dear All, my thanks to everyone who has contributed comments both critical and complimentary and my sincere apologies for the delay in responding.

    Summa, I have sympathy with your comment , the appellation of “big wig” not withstanding.

    There are comments to the effect that I am being partisan, having been a Sarath Fonseka supporter in the Presidential election. Shanika states that I “was openly supporting him”. This is a flight of fancy at best. My views on the two main presidential candidates were expressed in my article titled “Tweedledum and Tweedledee” which was posted on Groundviews. In the course of the campaign I was involved in election monitoring with the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) and certainly not involved in campaigning on behalf of any candidate but worked in whatever way I could against election violence and malpractice. Those who insist otherwise are simply misinformed or hopelessly partisan.

    Chakraborty comments in similar vein with reference to Prabahakaran. All I can say is that if he had any access to , familiarity with and understanding of anything I have said and written over last two decades he could not have come to this conclusion unless it is one he has reached through what appears to be his inimitable, perverse and contorted thought process. In any event should a key public official in the Government of Sri Lanka be compared with the leader of an organization who in the words of that official is beyond the pale? Chakraborty also makes reference to statements by Chelvanayagam about Ponnambalam. These were not statements made by a public servant, an official of the Government of Sri Lanka. Chakraborty has missed the point. Entirely.

    Burning Issue, I think this is the third time that I have called for GR’s resignation or sacking on account of conduct, grossly unbecoming. My decision to write this piece does not stem from a recent one to stand up and be counted. I do believe that I have been constructively critical of this regime from its inception in support of governance and human rights protection. I assure you, I will endeavour to do so to the best of my abilities as long as I feel there is a need to. The time taken to write this piece is purely attributable to other commitments. Your point about many Sinhala questioning my right to question a Sinhala leader is an important one in the current context in which the regime insists that we are all Sri Lankan and should in effect jettison ethnic identity. The burning issue is as to why they could still think in this way and as to why they could do so even when a most popular regime asks them to think otherwise. Is it because the policies and rhetoric of this regime sustain and nurture such narrow and divisive thinking?

    Henry, as for your comment about not taking me seriously, I wonder as to why you bothered to comment at all. My feelings re you are needless to say mutual. You do say however that i am “paid” to criticize anything and everything Sri Lankan. If you do have proof please produce it. Or is it the case that you are yet another apparatchik who will destroy Sri Lanka through pseudo – patriotism? What does it take to for you to use the mental faculties, that at a minimum, you too should have? Payment?

    Akalanka, 50-50 was mooted before independence and it was not the “start of the whole problem”. Before this, the Kandyans advocated federalism to the Donoughmore Commissioners. I do agree though, that a majority community belief in preferential treatment by the British of the Tamils and other minorities is one of the sources of the conflict.

    Finally, Wijepala, you state in your comment -”I wasn’t even aware that Dr Saravanamuttu is a Tamil”. In response let me recount to you an incident in Geneva. A well known LTTE activist stationed in Paris accosted me on a bus in Geneva on the way to the Human Rights Council. He asked me whether I was Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and when I replied that I was, he asked me whether I was Tamil. In response I asked him as to whether such a name could be anything other than a Tamil name and he retreated from further interaction. Presumably his questions sprang from my opposition to his movement and cause and from the fact that I do not speak Tamil.

    At the end of the day my position is simply this – call me what you like. I will continue to say what i have to say. And to whoever.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    Thank you for your response. My comments were not necessarily intended to be disparaging, I honestly did not know whether or not you are Tamil. After all there are people like Podiappuhamy Piyasena who have a Sinhala name but identify themselves as Tamil.

    I also was not aware that you opposed the LTTE when it existed. Your comments on GR tend to make the headlines but not so much whatever you had to say about Prabakaran.

    I think this is the third time that I have called for GR’s resignation or sacking on account of conduct, grossly unbecoming.

    Who should replace him?

  • wijayapala

    Burning_Issue,

    The fact is that, even the Transnational Government of Tamil Diaspora can be persuaded with a suitable political structure.

    What is “suitable”- a separate state? That is the impression I got from the LTTE flags flying at the meeting.

  • Huh

    Dear Burning_Issue,

    I understand that tensions in the UK between Sinhalese and Tamils are significantly worse than they are in the likes of Malaysia or the United States–actually, most of that tension is in London from what I have heard, but outside of there, tensions are not bad.

    Anyways, you are completely correct about the fact that their needs to be some kind of platform and political structure to accommodate the minorities in Sri Lanka–however, I don’t think this will happen for a long time. In my opinion, the mentality of many Sri Lankans has been pushed back to the stone age, if that makes any sense at all. Basically, successive governments after independence have become more and more reckless and chauvinistic and more Sinhalese people on the island seem perfectly willing to let them enact whatever brutal, chauvinistic policies they want(Sinhalese people in Colombo and Kandy seem less taken by these governments, though). If anything, I think the diaspora Sinhalese have more of an advantage in pushing the Sri Lankan government to enact change because they are able to take advantage of materials that Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka are not capable of reading(simply putting it, in the west, their is a lack of censorship in the west whereas the same cannot be said about Sri Lanka). Whether they do this anytime within the next twenty years has yet to be soon.

  • Observer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2F4VcBmeo

    now think gota jack nicholson, the sleazy interviewer tom cruise.

    yeah some men don’t have patience for non sense. is it really that hard to fathom a straight talker?

  • longus

    Dr.Saravanamuttu

    Yes you will say whatever you have to say,to whoever;until you get paid for your work!

    Not long ago the group called “Citizens Against Terrorism” in Norwey published a list of names those who received money from Norwegian government and your name was there,wasn’t it?

    We all know who Norwey was backing!

  • Burning_Issue

    Wijayapala,

    I said:
    “The fact is that, even the Transnational Government of Tamil Diaspora can be persuaded with a suitable political structure.”

    You asked:
    “What is “suitable”- a separate state? That is the impression I got from the LTTE flags flying at the meeting.”

    If a separate state is granted the Transnational Government need not “to be persuaded”!

    You cannot judge anything by how many LTTE flags flying at meetings. I know this impairs the Sinhala ability to see beyond the front layer. You can ask such questions when there is a meaningful political accommodation of the minorities galvanising all as Sri Lankans. I still maintain that your support to giving prominence to” Sinhala” Buddhism in the constitution is an impediment to achieve this noble course.

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Dear Longus, as you may know I am employed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). CPA receives funds from a number of bilateral donor institutions. Surely the issue is as to whether as a consequence, CPA or I as its Executive Director work according to the dictates or instructions of the Norwegian government or of any other government that provides us funds through its official donor agency. Does this mean too by extension that the GOSL when it receives funds from foreign governments is totally beholden to those governments and works according to their agendas, whatever they may be?

    If you wish to allege that I am some sort of foreign agent as seems to be the case, please do provide the evidence for this. Otherwise, why not just pickle in your bile, silently?

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    You have a wonderful Tamil name; I wish I have one like yours! I have read many articles of yours in the past but for some reason this is the first one I came across on this subject; I take my comment back.

    “Your point about many Sinhala questioning my right to question a Sinhala leader is an important one in the current context in which the regime insists that we are all Sri Lankan and should in effect jettison ethnic identity.”

    I feel that, the regime portrays to the international stage that we are all Sri Lankans, but deep down it is all about Sinhala Buddhism. It is not about Sri Lanka for Sri Lankans; it is about Sri Lanka for Sinhala Buddhists but others can assimilate or get out; this is the massage that is coming out loud and clear!

    I feel that the Rajapaksas will do nothing to jettison their political capital; this means power devolution to the north & east is unthinkable at this stage; it will only happen after they colonise those areas with sizable Sinhala people; it is long way away!

    “Is it because the policies and rhetoric of this regime sustain and nurture such narrow and divisive thinking?”

    MR has said that there will be no minorities in Sri Lanka; what does this mean? To me, it only means one thing; that is complete assimilation mainly of Tamils. The military is tasked to achieve this task; the Tamils will face humiliating living conditions for the foreseeable future with no ending at the end of the tunnel!

    How can a Tamil stand up for his rights in Sri Lanka without being associated with separatism? Is asking for equal rights construed as endorsing separatism? What does a Tamil have to do to change this situation; does he have to become like Karuna or Devananada?

  • longus

    Dear Dr.Saravanamuttu

    Thank you for the advice. If someone is in the payroll of another country what we can expect is to abide by that country’s terms and conditions.That’s what happened to the IMF loan and GSP+ concession as an example.But the Sri Lankan government in this instance refused to budge;if it did we can expect Sri Lanka to dance to their tune as well. Got my point? In your case we don’t see you going against your “employer” or funder in any of your statements. Therefore we can conclude that there is a very good chance of you dancing to their tune as well!

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Dear Longus, you can speculate as much as you like about whose “tune’ I maybe “dancing to” and your right to do so must always be respected and defended. However, if you state this as fact, you must be challenged to produce the evidence. Re the GOSL, does this apply in all the other cases where it has accepted aid and assistance? China, India, Japan and the US for example? The IMF loan as do all IMF loans has conditions attached to it. GSP+ flowed from an agreement we entered into with the EU and the conditions of the concession were known well in advance.

    It is sad that any citizen of this country who advocates the strengthening of human rights protection mechanisms and democratic governance is labeled a foreign agent.

    Longus, it would seem that the only thing we have in common is that we are both part of this tragedy; the one difference being that you seem to be intent of turning it into a catastrophe!

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Longus,

    “Therefore we can conclude that there is a very good chance of you dancing to their tune as well!”

    I do not know who is funding who in Sri Lanka; funding does not mean the funded should be impartial! Norway has been funding many projects in Sri Lanka; many have benefited greatly as a result!

    Please; if you have guts and you have genuine concerns about Dr. Saravanamuttu’s ideas and his criticism about the defence secretary you need attack those if you can. Please outline as to what exactly you have concerns on his article.

  • Burning_Issue

    “funding does not mean the funded should be impartial!”

    it meant to read should be partial in favour of the funding source.

  • longus

    burning_issue & Dr.Saravanamuttu

    It’s a different matter when the same list that included your name also had ‘TRO’, and the LTTE’s PEACE SECRETARIAT in it isn’t it? Don’t you think it’s not damaging to your “good” name?

    It’s no secret that Norvey funded the above mentioned other two organizations as well, which are front organizations of the LTTE.And you have no qualms about being in that list!

    By the way that list doesn’t include the names of other “road projects” or “library projects” that Norwegians have been funding, burning_issue!

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Longus, Norwegian funding of the TRO and LTTE Peace Secretariat happened in the context of the peace process following on from the CFA. The approach at that time was to pursue a negotiated settlement and I see nothing mala fide in this. In fact the TRO received an award from the GOSL for its tsunami work. Re the Peace Secretariat it would have been much better if there was one instead of three as we ended up with.

    As far as I am concerned, I seem to be making it on a number of lists – the issue is as to whether I am being paid to work to a foreign agenda and one that is subversive of the elected GOSL. I repeat, if you have any evidence re this please produce it. The list of recipients of Norwegian funding is not restricted to the LTTE Peace Secretariat, the TRO and CPA. In this respect, receipt of Norwegian funding does not constitute proof of working for Norwegian interests to undermine SL’s sovereignty and security. Indeed as far as the latter is concerned, what is the evidence for this?

    Conspiracy theories spring from fear and insecurity. If we are to move from post-war to post-conflict we need to overcome these fears and insecurities.

  • Burning_Issue

    Longus,

    It appears that you wear blinkers and only read materials from the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic sources! There is no wonder that you cannot see wood from trees! You only need to Google about Norwegian funding programmes you will see numerous materials!

    http://www.nwhf.no/files/File/Donor_Profile.pdf

    http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/16175

    http://www.norway.lk/Embassy/Cooperation-with-Sri-Lanka/Development-Co-operation-between-Norway-and-Sri-Lanka/

    Some excerpts:

    “Norway’s cooperation with Sri Lanka dates back to 1967 when Norway began funding development programmes. During the first years, activities were supported through Non-Governmental Organisations. In 1976, the Governments of Norway and Sri Lanka signed a bilateral agreement on development cooperation and support to projects proposed by the Government of Sri Lanka commenced in 1977. The bilateral development cooperation has been ongoing for more than 30 years and amounts to a total of (totally) 4.2 billion NOK (700 million USD) in grants. The annual country program support is about 200 million NOK (34 mill USD) including humanitarian assistance and long-term development cooperation.”

    “Since 1998 the long-term cooperation has been concentrated on strengthening incentives for peace and reconciliation and support to economic development. Lately support to the environment and climate change has been added as one of our main focus areas.”

    “Norway is among the major providers of humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. In 2009 Norway contributed with 94 million NOK (16 million USD) to support efforts of the UN, International and local Non-governmental Organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

    “Norwegian support for Sri Lanka’s relief and rehabilitation efforts following the tsunami early earmarked Livelihood, particularly in the fishery sector, and school construction as priority areas. Norway also supported reconstruction of religious sites in the South and the East. The total Norwegian contribution to rehabilitation efforts in Sri Lanka came to 320 million NOK (54 million USD).”

    One thing you need to understand that those countries that fund projects that are sourced through foreign NGOs such as Red Cross and UNICEF you will not see in the list of GOSL!

    Wijayapala and I have discussed about the Sinhala Buddhist insecurity; it seems that you are at the extreme end of this unfortunate and destructive phenomenon. You need to learn to look out of the box as it were; good luck!

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Why do people taunt Dr Saravanamuttu so much?

    Is it because he carries on fighting for justice whereas he could lead a comfortable life anywhere in the world given his credentials and not be subjected to unjust accusations from ignoramuses?

    Before anyone calls me a sycophant I would like to say that were it not for the dissenting voices of Sara, Dayan, Sumanasiri Liyanage, MCM Iqbal et al we would be bereft of intellingent sentients.

    Of course they need funds to carry out their missions and the work they do far supercedes the funds the receive. None of these have forefeited their intergrity for mere material gains.

    One can disagree with them subjectively but to descend to hurling accusations they are paid pawns of foreign NGOs amount ot libel and defamation.

    OK; when I am next in Sri Lanka Sara can treat me to lunch. Ha, ha.

  • longus

    Dr.Saravanamuttu,no I’m not suggesting for a moment that your intentions had any element of maleficense,and I accept the situvation described by you. But it’s no secret that foreign powers use organizations like yours to subjugate and subvert third-world countries like ours. It’s unfair to accuse you of it,if what you say is true. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

    There is a marked difference between you and people like Sunanda Deshapriya who went to Geneva to share Eelam Vadei and help condemn Sri Lanka

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue,

    You have a wonderful Tamil name; I wish I have one like yours!

    Which to your ears is the best-sounding Tamil name: Paikiyasothy Saravanamuttu, Kathiravelu Nithyananthan Devanananda, or Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan?

    You can ask such questions when there is a meaningful political accommodation of the minorities galvanising all as Sri Lankans.

    Aside from dumping Buddhism as a protected religion and giving the Christian evangelists all the freedom to destroy it, what else would political accommodation involve?

  • wijayapala

    Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    You did not answer my question about who should replace Gotabhaya. By remaining silent, you are reinforcing the popular perception that Gotabhaya cannot be fired because he is *indispensable*. Is this what you wanted to convey?

    Norwegian funding of the TRO and LTTE Peace Secretariat happened in the context of the peace process following on from the CFA. The approach at that time was to pursue a negotiated settlement and I see nothing mala fide in this.

    Did you seen anything mala fide in 2004-5 when it was clear that the peace process was failing but the Norwegians were doing everything they could to sweep the problems under the rug and stifle outcry that the LTTE was taking advantage of the situation?

    In fact the TRO received an award from the GOSL for its tsunami work.

    THE government??? So THE government that gave the award to TRO was the same as THE government in power today?

    Or was it THE government led by a party which could not even get 30% of the most recent parliamentary vote (although it remains the darling of Colombo “civil society”)?

    Does this mean too by extension that the GOSL when it receives funds from foreign governments is totally beholden to those governments and works according to their agendas, whatever they may be?

    If the government is wholly dependent on such funds then it would be safe to say that it is probably “beholden” to a large extent.

    However, Mahinda in a recent interview said that SL does not need GSP+ and that the EU can fly a kite. Has CPA ever refused a donor on grounds of principle?

  • Belle

    What is Norway supposed to gain from subjugating and subverting Sri Lanka?

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Wijepala,

    1) I do not think that anyone is indispensable. I have not addressed myself to the question of who should be Defence Secretary. I do believe however that the individual should conduct him/herself as a public servant and not behave as if he/she is above the law, or indeed show scant respect for the Rule of Law.
    2) The TRO received their award from the Kumaratunga government and not from the UNF government as your acid response implies
    3) Re the Norwegians, Belle’s question is most relevant. Perhaps you would have a shot at answering it?
    4) Re funding and dependency I think it would revolve around the funder having a particular agenda. I see no problem when there is a coincidence of interest as long as it does not involve breaking of the laws of the country or criminal activity.
    5) CPA projects and programmes are based on the mandate of the organization and its articles of association. No one has asked us to violate these and we have not. As for the president’s riposte to the EU over GSP+, if that were the case why did the GOSL send delegations to the EU to salvage the concession?
    6) Re your point about Christian evangelists destroying Buddhism, I would like to draw your attention to the destruction of a Church on Poson Poya Day in Rajagiriya . This involved the UDA and the Police. The priest was assaulted. This begs the question as to who is destroying whom?
    7) Longus, thank you for your clarification and Pearl, Lunch? Sure..

  • longus

    Belle

    It’s naive in a way, to question as you did! If you ask what did Norway gain by dividing Ethiopia into two. They played the same role as the “facilitator” as in Sri Lanka;gave into all the demands and justified the actions oof the Eretrean militants and succeeded in helping in the separation of Eretrea.

    What did they gain? That is in their agenda of forming “lackey states” out of conflicts. You have to educate yourself on long term strategies in manipulating regional power struggles to their favour by the Western capitalists.

    What did Denmark achive by helping the separation of Cosovo? It’s the same kind of interference which ended up in giving independence to Cosovo

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “Which to your ears is the best-sounding Tamil name: Paikiyasothy Saravanamuttu, Kathiravelu Nithyananthan Devanananda, or Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan?”

    :) My comment was made in the context of; the Tamil Hindus especially, opt of modern sounding names these days; due to that fact that we do not carry surnames, many authentic Tamil names are lost in Sri Lanka. However, all is not lost as Tamil Christians and some Sinhala still carry good Tamil sounding surnames names!

    “Aside from dumping Buddhism as a protected religion and giving the Christian evangelists all the freedom to destroy it, what else would political accommodation involve?”

    So, how is it, giving Buddhism the foremost place in the constitution, going to stop the Christian Evangelists destroying Buddhism? Please explain its role; I would like to know as to its constitutional powers pertinent to protecting Buddhism and if any infringements that bestow on religious freedom and racial integration.

    Wijayapala, do you feel Insecure as a Sinhala Buddhist?

  • wijayapala

    Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    I do not think that anyone is indispensable. I have not addressed myself to the question of who should be Defence Secretary. I do believe however that the individual should conduct him/herself as a public servant and not behave as if he/she is above the law, or indeed show scant respect for the Rule of Law.

    If you cannot come up with a replacement, you should probably instead suggest that Gotabhaya show respect for the Rule of Law instead of resign.

    As far as I know, GR is the only Defence Secretary in the last 30 years who managed to discharge his primary responsibility of “defence.” The others may or may not have respected the Rule of Law but they certainly were unable to extend it to places that the LTTE controlled.

    3) Re the Norwegians, Belle’s question is most relevant. Perhaps you would have a shot at answering it?

    Why don’t you answer my question about Norway’s role during the CFA? Does it hit a little too close to home?

    4) Re funding and dependency I think it would revolve around the funder having a particular agenda. I see no problem when there is a coincidence of interest as long as it does not involve breaking of the laws of the country or criminal activity.

    You leave a great deal to the imagination by failing to specify exactly what was your common “interest” with Norway. It seems that Norway had hoped to bolster its tarnished image as peacemaker (following its failure in the Middle East) by a slam-dunk solution in SL, where there was a weak, pliant Prime Minister (exactly what “civil society” looks for in a government leader) and an invincible and indivisible LTTE that could dictate terms.

    The burning question I have on that dubious period was how Norway was able to maintain the facade that there was a “peace process” for over 3 years until Mahinda finally pulled the plug. What is your take on this?

    As for the president’s riposte to the EU over GSP+, if that were the case why did the GOSL send delegations to the EU to salvage the concession?

    There is no doubt that the loss of GSP+ would harm the livelihoods of thousands of poor garment workers. The govt is demonstrating that it is trying to salvage the concession short of selling the country. The result is that these garment workers will blame the EU, not the govt, when it is withdrawn.

    Again I ask: has the CPA ever turned down a donor on principle?

  • wijayapala

    Belle,

    What is Norway supposed to gain from subjugating and subverting Sri Lanka?

    Although Longus’s answer was more current, in the Sri Lankan context what did the UK have to gain from subjugating SL (on grounds of “human rights”) in the early 19th century?

  • wijayapala

    Dear Burning_Issue

    the Tamil Hindus especially, opt of modern sounding names these days; due to that fact that we do not carry surnames, many authentic Tamil names are lost in Sri Lanka. However, all is not lost as Tamil Christians and some Sinhala still carry good Tamil sounding surnames names!

    I appreciate your seeing the intended humor in my statement. However I do not understand how authentic Tamil names are lost because Hindus do not use surnames. Can’t parents simply give their children good names?

    So, how is it, giving Buddhism the foremost place in the constitution, going to stop the Christian Evangelists destroying Buddhism?

    It won’t stop the evangelists from trying to destroy Buddhism. It simply serves as a warning that we will put up a fight.

    Wijayapala, do you feel Insecure as a Sinhala Buddhist?

    As I may have mentioned before, how I feel is unimportant and irrelevant compared to the majority. However if the majority feels that the Tamil minority as a community is a threat, then I will oppose that.

  • wijayapala

    I missed something, Dr. Saravanamuttu

    Longus, thank you for your clarification

    LOL, so you do not disagree that “foreign powers use organizations like yours to subjugate and subvert third-world countries like ours”??

  • Belle

    Longus,
    According to your answer then, Norway is to be held up as evil because it was involved in getting independence for Eretrians and Kosovars? I gather from their history, that Eretrians had formerly been a separate people, pre-colonialism, but that they had been ruled as one with Ethiopia by the Italians, and later by the British. Later Ethiopia invaded in and brought it under their rule. I see nothing wrong with their wanting a separate state, and with countries that helped them gain their independence. Although they continue to have border problems with Ethiopia, they are enjoying much more peace as an independent nation compared to the previous mayhem. UN, including Norway, monitored a referendum where more than 90% of Eretrians opted for independence. Plus, Ethiopia agreed to the referendum. So what’s your problem here? As for Kosovo, isn’t it better for its ethnic Albanians to be independent than to be victims of Serbian discrimination and massacres?

    It’s a good practice to ask naive questions because then you get to unpack all the assumptions and prejudices that form the basis of people’s judgement. What comes across is that you think separatism and creation of new states are evil, no matter what the circumstances or historical or other justifications of people wanting a new nation. If a minority is given no place in a nation, and is instead tormented moment to moment and its very existence threatened by a ruling community, then it has every right to demand a separate nation. People do have a right to self-determination. They do have a right to be allowed to live and to thrive. At any rate, Norway was not looking at a separate state for SL Tamils but was working towards federalism. But I suppose that constitutes an evil intent in your perception–because Tamils were made to be trampled underfoot by Sinhalese?

    Just as with Sri Lanka, the colonials were famous for haphazardly bringing together separate nations of people and making them one. How many times in the pre-colonial past had Sri Lanka existed as one political unit that you insist that it must be one now? If you want to make it one nation, you have an obligation to give minorities their equal rights and freedom to thrive. There’s no natural law of nature or of the heavens that says that Sri Lanka must be one political unit.

    As to Western powers creating lackey states through their “interference”, you don’t seem to have any objections to being China’s lackey state. Which is more likely to own you totally, the superpower China, which is just next door, or a little country like Norway that is right at the other end of the world? Or do you think only white people know how to colonize? Sri Lanka too has some primitive skills in this area.

    Norway managed to secede peacefully from Sweden. The only thing it wants to export to big markets around the world is its skills and knowledge in creating peace. It is supposed to be the most peaceful nation on earth and it clearly wants to grow an identity as peacemaker of the world. I don’t find that objectionable.

    It’s strange that Sri Lankans have no problems with accepting millions upon millions of dollars of aid from Norway, and then accusing it of “interfering” with their internal matters. Rather like the sex worker who accepts money in advance for sex and then refuses to lie with her client, claiming the sanctity of her body. Quid pro quo deals, such as what CPA is accused here of doing, are immensely more honourable, I would think.

    Wijayapala,

    “Although Longus’s answer was more current, in the Sri Lankan context what did the UK have to gain from subjugating SL (on grounds of “human rights”) in the early 19th century?”

    Everyone but everyone in the world is currently looking for global markets. If you mean that this is about racial domination, Sri Lanka is hardly the country to throw stones at Norway. You’ve already learned so well from your colonial masters.

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Dear Belle,

    I admire your powerful arguments and I can sincerely equate you to the 11 hours , 74 sets at Wimbledon.

    Please carry on and do not let the Wijepalas and the like to get the better of your valid points.

    Cheers.

  • longus

    Belle

    Yur are exactly on the spotlight for me now. Yes it’s good that countries like Norway,Denmark and UK try to render their “expertise” in solving the conflicts to poor third world countries. May be Norway thought that Sri Lanka too was a country like some African Republic where they could teach a thing or to to the “tribal natives”. They couldn’t take up our stand when we resisted to follow their instructions because they knew next to nothing of our history, full of resistance against foreign invaders.

    It’s also sad that Britain didn’t adopt the same principles they preached us to follow when they wanted Falkland back. Historically Falkland was part of Argentina and why did the old empire strike back in the’80s without conceding to this historical fact. Amazing how the Old Blighty acted in Northen Ireland! Why did they fight for years to settle for an “autonomy” in the end,when they could have given them total independence; historically Ireland was an independent state before the British troops invaded them!

    Once again isn’t this the familiar “forked tongued White Man”?

    As for your contention on China, yes China too invaded Sri Lanka during the 14th century when Shin-Ho’s naval force took the ruler of Sri Lanka(Gampola) Alakshwara a prisoner. But the way they exercised their colonialism was markedly different,compared to the Portuguese who came in the 16th century. The Chinese changed the ruler of Sri Lanka and left the affairs in our hands,and they left! -when in fact they could have totally razed the country to the ground easily,taking the strength of their naval fleet into account!- That’s the historical understanding we have with China-a rising SuperPower-and the culture we share with them!

    Pearl Thevanayagam can pour another drink now!

  • wijayapala

    Dear Belle,

    Although they continue to have border problems with Ethiopia, they are enjoying much more peace as an independent nation compared to the previous mayhem.

    If “peace” is the ultimate indication of the proper system, you will be delighted to hear that NE provinces are enjoying much more peace as part of SL now compared to the previous mayhem of 30 years fighting for separation.

    It is supposed to be the most peaceful nation on earth and it clearly wants to grow an identity as peacemaker of the world. I don’t find that objectionable.

    The intent isn’t objectionable. The problem is that they fall flat on their faces! :-D

    Everyone but everyone in the world is currently looking for global markets. If you mean that this is about racial domination, Sri Lanka is hardly the country to throw stones at Norway. You’ve already learned so well from your colonial masters.

    Although I agree that the current regime is structurally racist, you appear to agree that Norway’s intent is also racist as the best you can say is “SL is hardly the country to throw stones.”

    You still haven’t commented on Norways failure as a peacemaker, how it helped bring the Rajapakshas to power, and how the Tamils suffered as a result.

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Wijayapala,

    You asked Dr. Saravanamuttu:

    “If you cannot come up with a replacement, you should probably instead suggest that Gotabhaya show respect for the Rule of Law instead of resign.”

    I am very sorry to bud in; it is not Dr. Saravanamuttu’s remit to come up with replacement possibilities; it is the job of the president, don’t you think so. There are certain things that warrant resignation from public office and Gotabhaya crossed that line, and Dr. Saravanamuttu as a journalist and critique of political affaires has every right to call for his resignation!

    “Can’t parents simply give their children good names?”

    Yes, true. The sinhala also give their children modern names; since they carry surnames it does not matter. The names like ponnampalam, kanthasami, subramaniam, thambipullai, Kuddithambi etc are lost since the Tamil Hindus do not carry surnames if understand what I am on about. The names like veerakoddy, dharmaratne, navaratne, alahakoon etc have survived among the Sinhala.

    As regards to Buddhism in constitution:

    I asked:

    “Please explain its role; I would like to know as to its constitutional powers pertinent to protecting Buddhism and if any infringements that bestow on religious freedom and racial integration.”

    You replied:

    “It won’t stop the evangelists from trying to destroy Buddhism. It simply serves as a warning that we will put up a fight.”

    I feel that you have ducked my question especially about its roll in infringing the religious freedom and racial integration! I believe that its presence in the constitution bestows a profound effect on race relations in Sri Lanka. Presently, the military has taken the roll of giving Buddhism the foremost place by planting Buddha statues all over north & east being funded by the government coffers; how do you explain this?

    “As I may have mentioned before, how I feel is unimportant and irrelevant compared to the majority.”

    Wijayapala, it is very important as to how you feel about Buddhism in the constitution; since you defend it profoundly, I conclude your concurrence. The threat of evangelical Christians converting is not just limited to the Buddhists; it is also applicable to the Hindus as well; why not then include Hinduism to that list!

    “However if the majority feels that the Tamil minority as a community is a threat, then I will oppose that.”

    It is very noble of you; I really appreciate that. However, similarly, the Buddhism in the constitution is a direct threat to the Tamil community and why don’t you recognise that and oppose in the name of a common Sri Lankan identity.

  • Belle

    Longus,

    “May be Norway thought that Sri Lanka too was a country like some African Republic where they could teach a thing or to to the “tribal natives”.”

    And people disagree with me when I say the Sinhalese are racist!

    “They couldn’t take up our stand when we resisted to follow their instructions because they knew next to nothing of our history, full of resistance against foreign invaders.”

    Remind me again how many times you folks got colonized. Was it once, twice–no, three times, wasn’t it?

    Yeah right, must be your resistance against foreign invaders that makes you stick your hands into their pockets!

    “It’s also sad that Britain didn’t adopt the same principles they preached us to follow when they wanted Falkland back….before the British troops invaded them!”

    We were talking about Norway, weren’t we? I wanted to know what Norway (NOT UK) had to gain from subverting SL.

    “The Chinese changed the ruler of Sri Lanka and left the affairs in our hands,and they left! -when in fact they could have totally razed the country to the ground easily,taking the strength of their naval fleet into account!- That’s the historical understanding we have with China-a rising SuperPower-and the culture we share with them!”

    You had a historical understanding with the 14th-century China operating in a feudal world. China as a rising super power in the late capitalist era is a whole different ball game. You don’t even know that you’ve already been had.

    The culture you share with them? You do know they had a Cultural Revolution, don’t you, and what that entailed?

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,
    “If “peace” is the ultimate indication of the proper system, you will be delighted to hear that NE provinces are enjoying much more peace as part of SL now compared to the previous mayhem of 30 years fighting for separation.

    I wonder if you can tell the difference between being at peace and being depressed.

    “The intent isn’t objectionable. The problem is that they fall flat on their faces!”

    You folks have been falling flat on your faces since independence, but I don’t see you beating yourselves up for it. Is it objectionable only when others do it?

    “Although I agree that the current regime is structurally racist, you appear to agree that Norway’s intent is also racist as the best you can say is “SL is hardly the country to throw stones.””

    I don’t think Norway is racist.I only brought up racial domination because you wanted to equate Norway’s role in SL with British colonialism in SL–and I thought that was YOUR meaning. As usual, you don’t say what you mean, but play this game of letting others say what you’re thinking–and then getting them for it. I find it dishonest.

    “You still haven’t commented on Norways failure as a peacemaker, how it helped bring the Rajapakshas to power, and how the Tamils suffered as a result.”

    I don’t find it remarkable that Norway or any other country would fail in bringing peace to Sri Lanka. The fault lies with Sri Lanka, not with the helper.

  • Belle

    Dear Pearl,
    Thanks for the thumbs up! I follow your posts with great interest too!

    Belle

  • wijayapala

    Hi Burning_Issue,

    it is not Dr. Saravanamuttu’s remit to come up with replacement possibilities; it is the job of the president, don’t you think so. There are certain things that warrant resignation from public office and Gotabhaya crossed that line, and Dr. Saravanamuttu as a journalist and critique of political affaires has every right to call for his resignation!

    Not just Saravanamuttu but anyone has the right to suggest that Gotabhaya should be fired. However, as long as nobody suggests an alternative, it is very difficult to take such an appeal seriously.

    Therein lies the chief problem with “civil society”- the inability to see the bigger picture. They are ok with incompetent public officials who are politically correct but go spastic when the few who can actually do the job don’t fit their mold.

    However, similarly, the Buddhism in the constitution is a direct threat to the Tamil community and why don’t you recognise that and oppose in the name of a common Sri Lankan identity.

    In part because, as we discussed previously from poll results, most Muslims and Tamils in SL are not particularly bothered with Buddhism’s place in the Constitution. There are other things which concern them more.

  • wijayapala

    Belle,

    I wonder if you can tell the difference between being at peace and being depressed.

    You were the one delivering the lecture on the joys of “peace,” not me.

    You folks have been falling flat on your faces since independence, but I don’t see you beating yourselves up for it.

    Then you must be blind. Or only looking in places that would support your Tamils(us)=good Sinhalese(them)=evil mindset.

    I don’t think Norway is racist.I only brought up racial domination because you wanted to equate Norway’s role in SL with British colonialism in SL–and I thought that was YOUR meaning.

    You asked why Norway would want to subvert SL, and you admittedly provided a better answer that everyone is looking for markets.

    Don’t you believe in turn that the Europeans’ history of colonialism hardly qualifies them to complain about human rights in SL?

    I don’t find it remarkable that Norway or any other country would fail in bringing peace to Sri Lanka. The fault lies with Sri Lanka, not with the helper.

    I would agree that Ranil Wickremasinghe and his UNP (and definitely the LTTE) deserve more blame than the Norwegians. It doesn’t change the fact though that the Norwegians were directly involved in the failure of the peace process, and thus indirectly in the rise of the Rajapakshas.

    All that the Norwegians had to do to preserve their credibility by 2004 would have been to declare that the LTTE was not following through on its commitment to the CFA, and therefore Norway was pulling out as facilitator. By 2005-6 they could have sweetened the pot for the LTTE by blaming the govt’s support of Karuna (although the Karuna phenomenon was primarily the fault of the LTTE, not the govt). The question to answer therefore is what vested interests pushed Norway to stay the course and wreck its credibility in the process?

  • wijayapala

    Belle, I gave you a response in the “People in glass houses” thread.

  • longus

    Belle

    You remind me of some women who fight, near the water spouts in areas like Mattakkuliya and Grandpass.

    If you think resisting against foreign invaders amounts to recism that explains a lot of things you have written!

    It’s Tamils who had their hands in the pockets in the face of invation by the foreigners;that’s how they became obedient subjects of the colonists;thus the benefits they reaped!

    Regarding China what I meant was we have nothing to fear about China as we have shared a long standing cultural tradition with them.

    It’s hilarious the way you counter-argue-somewhat reminiscent of a school debating team!

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Wijepala, apologies for the delay in responding.
    1) Re funding and refusal on principle – we have not been faced with such a situation.
    2) Re the Norwegians – their role as facilitator was by no means perfect. They stayed on as long as the two parties asked them to. The point re them having some agenda or being part of some international conspiracy etc is unsubstantiated. It does not hit close to home because it does not hit anywhere.
    3) Re a replacement for GR. I think your response is rather silly. Those who call for his resignation must give reasons and spell out the criteria for the job. It is not up to them to put forward names, surely.
    4) Foreign powers no doubt will use a variety of means and actors to further their interests. The issue is which power or powers has an interest in subverting or subjugating Sri Lanka. Who are they and what is the evidence for this? And in the case of CPA, what is the evidence to even suggest that we have even been duped into being a party to this ?

  • Pearl Thevanayagam

    Dear Longus,

    I thought you were telepathic. But what you really saw was Vimto (you can mistake it for red wine), strawberries and single cream (I need to watch my old ticker) while watching Wimbledon.

    I restrict my drinking to after eight occasionally and strictly no spirits.

    However, you carry on.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    2) Re the Norwegians – their role as facilitator was by no means perfect.

    Bit of an understatement don’t you think? The UTHR-J had much harsher words for the Norwegians’ role. Why are/were you so timid in analyzing Norway’s role and the LTTE’s intransigence, compared to your outspokenness regarding the govt?

    Would you speak out against the LTTE if and only if they threatened you personally?

    Those who call for his resignation must give reasons and spell out the criteria for the job. It is not up to them to put forward names, surely.

    In the context of a Defence Secretary whose supporters claim is irreplaceable, it most certainly falls upon his detractors such as yourself to demolish this claim by offering an alternate. Without offering an alternate, your plea is rather hollow I’m afraid, as you do nothing to disprove the notion that GR is irreplaceable.

    Again I sense this timidness when it comes to making the tough calls, yet all sort of faux forthrightness when it comes to empty, wishy-washy appeals.

    And in the case of CPA, what is the evidence to even suggest that we have even been duped into being a party to this ?

    Well for starters, there’s your inability to call out Norway and the SLMM during the CFA, when more courageous organisations like UTHR-J did. Would you like me to continue?

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Wijayapala,

    “Therein lies the chief problem with “civil society”- the inability to see the bigger picture. They are ok with incompetent public officials who are politically correct but go spastic when the few who can actually do the job don’t fit their mold.”

    What is your opinion about GR doing his job? Obviously destroying the LTTE was the job that you referred to; you as a Buddhist need to reconcile your own conscience as to how that “job” was executed. In that light, doing the job entailed, allegedly, the following but not restricted to:

    1. Carpet bombing the Wanni area
    2. Carefully orchestrated white van operations often resulting people disappearing and never to be seen again.
    3. Giving orders of execution of certain personalities
    4. Usage of Chemical weapons
    5. Agreeing to a no-fire zone and then deliberately and indiscriminately shelling the area
    6. Violating the internationally sanctioned surrender by cold-bloodedly murdering the surrounded with white flags

    Where do you stand on the UN war crime investigations? If the above-mentioned crimes are alleged; it was a war that was carried out in absolute secrecy; in reality, it cannot be secrete as such mammoth killings of humans cannot be concealed as many who participated need to reconcile their conscience; it is only a matter of time. All those perished in that carnage need to be declared as died as result of war and death certificate issues; it is the least that should happen aiding the grieving of the relations.

    “In part because, as we discussed previously from poll results, most Muslims and Tamils in SL are not particularly bothered with Buddhism’s place in the Constitution. There are other things which concern them more.”

    How did you deduce from the polls about their perceptions about Buddhism in the constitution? It is beyond doubt that, the state machinery is empowering the armed forces to uphold Buddhism in all corners of the nation; basically, Buddhism is being imposed on the people of North & East recklessly not caring as to what people think.

  • longus

    Dear Pearl

    Don’t forget that Queen Mother scored a century on Gin & Tonic!

    Wimbledon has got lost in reporting,amidst the World Cup fever;try some football watching as well!

    I would go for Rum and Coke!

  • Belle

    Longus,

    “You remind me of some women who fight, near the water spouts in areas like Mattakkuliya and Grandpass.”

    If I said who you reminded me of, Groundviews would edit it out for offensiveness, so I’ll restrain myself.

    “If you think resisting against foreign invaders amounts to recism that explains a lot of things you have written!”

    Haha! Good try! My reference to your racism didn’t have anything to do with this. I was referring to the disdain with which you spoke of Africans in this statement: ‘May be Norway thought that Sri Lanka too was a country like some African Republic where they could teach a thing or to to the “tribal natives”.’

    Somehow, in your eyes, Sri Lanka is better than “some African Republic”. You seem to have forgotten that you too were once colonized, and that you too were once nothing but “tribal natives” in the eyes of the British.

    “It’s Tamils who had their hands in the pockets in the face of invation by the foreigners;that’s how they became obedient subjects of the colonists;thus the benefits they reaped!”

    If that narrative is true, then the Sinhalese were those who were envious that the Tamils had their hands in the pockets of foreigners, and with independence, managed to successfully revert the situation so that they could perpetually have their hands in the pockets of foreigners throughout their state of so-called “independence”.

    “It’s hilarious the way you counter-argue-somewhat reminiscent of a school debating team!”

    So what do I remind you of, a school debater or the “women who fight, near the water spouts in areas like Mattakkuliya and Grandpass”? They’re quite radically different propositions. You could gain with some coherent logic in your arsenal.

  • http://www.cpalanka.org Dr P. Saravanamuttu

    Wijepala, I do not intend to add anything more about a replacement for GR. You clearly think he is “irreplaceable”. I do not. What do you think about what the UTHR(J) has to say about his tenure and conduct in office?

    You accuse me of timidity with respect to the Norwegians and with respect to the LTTE want to know as to whether I would only speak out against the LTTE if and only if they threatened me. My criticisms of the Norwegians have been made to them and have been voiced publicly. However, I certainly did not and do not see them as part of an international conspiracy against Sri Lanka and in cahoots with the LTTE or in pursuit of all the fish and oil in Sri Lanka etc. Re the LTTE, likewise. I have criticised them and on the few occasions when I met with Tamilchelvam in the Vanni raised the issue of their human rights violations. It would indeed be rank ignorance to try to make me out as a LTTE sympathiser or as someone who was afraid of criticizing the LTTE. You really need to lead with argument rather than lead argument with allegation without evidence.

    I have always held that as a Sri Lankan citizen one has the right to be critical of the state and government of Sri Lanka and one should give not recoil from this on the grounds that others also deserve criticism. The danger here is the pseudo- patriotism which seek to distract from the mistakes and misdemeanours of the GOSL by going to town with conspiracy theories hatched by the international community.

    You end with the question – “would you like me to continue?”

    Be my guest. Get it all out. I suspect that you for one will feel a lot better and I may get a insight into the fear and loathing that cripples Sri Lanka.

  • wijayapala

    Dear Dr. Saravanamuttu,

    My criticisms of the Norwegians have been made to them and have been voiced publicly.

    Where and when? I could not find such criticisms on the internet.

    However, I certainly did not and do not see them as part of an international conspiracy against Sri Lanka and in cahoots with the LTTE or in pursuit of all the fish and oil in Sri Lanka etc.

    Did you see them as a bunch of incompetent buffoons who allowed themselves to get mesmerized by the LTTE?

    I only found one quotation of yours on the internet regarding Norway:

    “Every time they want to get rid of Norway, they find there are no other takers. ****Who else is going to step in? No one is****.”

    Could I respond that as much as you want to get rid of GR, you find that there is nobody else to take his job?

    I have always held that as a Sri Lankan citizen one has the right to be critical of the state and government of Sri Lanka and one should give not recoil from this on the grounds that others also deserve criticism.

    You certainly have a right to demand that GR resign. You just will not have any credibility. I gave a suggestion how to gain some credibility by disproving the notion that GR is indispensable, but you refuse to listen and have offered no other means to disprove this notion.

    Imagine if I were to demand your resignation on the grounds that the failures of civil society, namely its inability to address real vs marginal problems, helped usher in the Rajapaksha monarchy. If I REALLY wanted you out, I would find someone who could create a superior civil society that could reverse the path of illiberalism the country is going through.

  • Belle

    Wijayapala,

    “Imagine if I were to demand your resignation on the grounds that the failures of civil society, namely its inability to address real vs marginal problems, helped usher in the Rajapaksha monarchy. If I REALLY wanted you out, I would find someone who could create a superior civil society that could reverse the path of illiberalism the country is going through.”

    This is really rather silly. No one person runs civil society. It’s not like a dictatorship. Would be more constructive for a critic here to play his own role in civil society than to focus on what others are doing and not doing.

  • xman

    Sara, why do you waste your time with these fools… you have much better things to do with your very valuable time…
    cheers