Maghreb: Mythicising Model, Misapplying Mode

Photo courtesy Vikalpa

The conversation I had on Lankan trajectories and ‘declinist’ discourses in a Paris cafe on a Sunday with my friend and former colleague, Prof. Nira Wickramasingha, now holding the Chair of South Asian History at the University of Leiden, reminded me of a point she had made sharply in her slender book ‘History Writing’. Sri Lanka, she had remarked, was one of the few countries in which mainstream newspapers carried pieces on history by those without any credentials or formal training in the disciplines of history and historiography. This, she wrote, would never happen in India for instance, where any incursion into history in the quality press would have to be backed up with credentials in order to secure publication.

What she said of history is just as true of politics. Sri Lankan newspapers and websites are replete with pieces that go beyond intellectually legitimate critical commentary to the pontifically prescriptive and hortatory — almost in inverse proportion to academic training and testing in the domain of political studies or any of its sub-fields.

Consider the recent sensationalism in the Sri Lankan press on the relevance and applicability of the popular upsurges in the North African Arab societies. Some Sri Lankan political personalities and commentators ‘read off’ from the Arab revolt, the political future of our island in the most absurdly linear and mechanistic fashion.  It is assumed that there is a universal trend which is sweeping the world. This mistake which was made by those of us who assumed that Tet (and Paris) ’68, the victories in Vietnam ’75 and Nicaragua ’79 heralded the triumph of world socialism– taking the North Vietnamese tank punching through the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon for (Hegel’s) Napoleon on a white charger after the battle of Jena– was replicated by those who thought that the events of 1989 heralded the worldwide victory of liberal democracy. Be it the vulgarised ‘End of History’ school or its Huntingtonian opponent, the Clash of Civilisations corps; be it the applauders and denouncers of the New World Order and the Uni-polar moment (of neocons gurus like Charles Krauthammer), all these grand theorists have been proven wrong or only episodically and ephemerally right.

All of these meta-theorists forgot the phenomenon that Mao, a far greater philosopher, pointed to: ‘absolutely everything develops unevenly’.  This is why the Russian revolution was not successfully replicated or followed in Europe, Vietnam’s liberation was not accompanied anywhere even in its neighbourhood and the Cuban revolution had to wait twenty years for the Nicaraguan counterpart to succeed.

Althusser’s best pupil Regis Debray realised this while in jail, and ruefully observed in ‘A Critique of Arms’ that historical time is not the same everywhere; the clock of history keeps different times in different places, even on the same continent.  This he attributed to the autonomy of the political instance, most especially the specificity of ‘the national’ (the Achilles heel of Marxism, he said in a 1977 essay). He has re-developed the thesis in recent months here in Paris, in an intervention termed ‘In Praise of Borders’.

Those who seek to mechanistically apply the Maghreb model to Sri Lanka can only fuel an adventurism which will result in needless sacrifice and retard the very transformations they claim to seek.

Those who assumed that with the collapse of the USSR, an entire historical period of US uni-polar hegemony had arrived confused the conjunctural and episodic for the structural and systemic. Uni-polar hegemony proved but a ‘moment’. Similarly, Sri Lankan political history of the post-independence decades has seen many ‘uni-polar moments’ which were mistaken for and lustily cheered or luridly denounced as dictatorship, fascism etc, but which proved reversible and transitory.

If the hotly debated 18th amendment removing Presidential term limits is the equivalent of Hitler’s Enabling Law of 1933, then the latest candidate for Hitlerhood is Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega and the future Nazi Germany is Nicaragua! The contentious abolition of term limits in no way abolishes the fundamental feature which makes Sri Lanka a democracy, namely the need to win elections held at regular intervals in what is a multiparty representative system where political parties are neither confections nor caricatures, but resilient organic entities.

Ebb and flow must not be mistaken for structural watersheds, just as the role of Bismarck (national state unification through ‘blood and iron’) must not be confused with that of Hitler! Nazi Fascism was defined as ‘open terroristic dictatorship’ by Georgi Dmitrov, foregrounding the crucial characteristic of the violent (often lethal) mass suppression of all forms of opposition. It would be lunatic to describe Sri Lanka thus.

Fortunately for the West, smart political minds are trained to distinguish and differentiate. In conversation in Normandy with centrist/centre-right Senator Nathalie Meriem Goulet, member of the Foreign and the Armed Forces Committee and of the NATO Parliamentary assembly, we concurred that the recent phenomena in the Maghreb were distinguishable from manifestations in Iran: “one is Arab; the other Persian, and there are major differences between the matrices”, she said with lightning lucidity. On almost every count Iran is far closer to Egypt than is Sri Lanka. Similarly, the theorem of a global tsunami sweeping away the political superstructures of the planet would evoke polite smiles among the highly educated strategic and policy elites of East Asia. This is not an argument by me for ‘Asian values’ but a reminder that the universal –the Zeitgeist, even– operates unevenly in terms of time, place, form and outcome. The universal operates through the (regionally and nationally) particular.

The most important single feature of Sri Lanka today is not that a six year old elected administration is in the same category as Arab regimes of decades’ duration – Aristotle, who emphasised the importance of a typology of regimes, would shudder – but the fact that it is barely post-war, living in the shadow of a thirty years war which ended a mere one and a half years ago; struggling to emerge from it, in the throes of a complex convalescence and open ended transition.

The country and its peoples are in no further need of ‘storm and stress’. Sri Lanka’s multiparty democracy has proved resilient under extreme pressure over decades, surviving civil wars in North and South and authoritarian and totalitarian projects from above and below. The Lankan citizenry has no need of tutelage in the preservation and advancement of democracy from anyone, anywhere. Our literate, politically conscious citizenry has proved unerringly adroit at securing and safeguarding its principal interests (variously national, social, and democratic) at the given time, through the determined exercise of the franchise. The agency and medium of democratic change in Sri Lanka must not and cannot be rocks and rifles but the ballot box. Whatever the diversions and detours on the streets, any endgame in Sri Lanka must, will and can only be resolutely electoral and democratic.

  • Danushka

    The same reason why amongst this chaos in Arab world, Syria stands stable as ever. It’s due to Asad being quite popular and “a people’s leader”. Which makes it very hard to agitate the masses against such leaders. And yes I am implying that despite MR’s faults, he remains a “People’s leader”. Even when I oppose his policies due to my own liberal view point, I cannot stop myself from admitting that more than 90 percent of his decisions would bide well with the constituency. Hence he remains popular as ever.

  • TT

    This does not explain how the world’s most ruthless dictatorship – Saudi Arabia – stands firm! Saudi has a horrendous human rights record consistently. Its punishments, gender discrimination, total lack of democratic rights is shocking. Nepotism is much worse. They even give refuge to world’s most ruthless dictotors from other countries!

    e.g. Idi Amin

    But nothing happens! Why? Because adjoining every oil field, there is a US base!

    The day Saudi Arabia becomes democratic, USA will be in real trouble.

    REAL champions of democracy must take up the Saudi case.

  • srilal

    Dear Danushka ,

    “ The same reason why amongst this chaos in Arab world, Syria stands stable as ever. It’s due to Asad being quite popular and “a people’s leader”. Which makes it very hard to agitate the masses against such leaders “

    if your theory applies North Korea , Zimbabave ,Egypt , Libya
    Leaders are/were very popular to date!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only prevailing circumstances does not allow masses to rise up against the Tyranny.
    Iran , Syria, Burma , china , do you think the masses of the said countries are happy with their respective regimes , no obviously not, anti government demonstrations are. Banned, period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    you mention 90% of the decisions are within in the SL constitution , are you happened to be acquaintance with our super duper master DJ, here is what i found 90% of the reasons that we are already in a dictatorship.

    Rigged elections (2005 VP paved the way, 2010 Jilmart paved the way)
    Imprisonment of the Real opposition Leader (Presidential Candidate).
    Fragmentation of the opposition (bought over UNP,JVP, SLMP etc)
    Change the constitution and term limits ( 18 th Amendment )
    Curtail of the free media (numerous death and Media attacks)
    Disappearance of the critiques of the first family& government (infamous one way white van Ride) .
    One family rule.
    Endless “self centered glorifying ceremonies and pageants” (IIFA, Dayata kirula Saga, Hambantota port extravaganza……etc etc )
    Display of Bill boards, cut outs , banners etc every nook and corner of the entire island.
    In the Making of a crown prince .
    Sham Elections (General, Palath saba , Municipal etc )
    Carrying on with the draconian emergency law.
    SL closest allies happened to be the most ruthless dictatorial regimes (Libya, Iran, Burma, China etc )
    Almost all the foreign missions are filled with stooges (not the career diplomats).
    Almost all the Government Organizations are filled with lackeys and sycophants.
    90% of the budget under one family.
    Rampant corruption (COPE report).
    Unprecedented lawlessness (i.e man tied to a tree, ransacked the TV station in a broad day light etc etc , but still walks free ).
    Spurious judiciary (AG comes directly under the president) .
    More than 40% of the population lives under $2 a day.
    Vast majority of the children are malnutrious.
    Sky rocketing inflation (Thanks to another political appointee CB Governor).
    Dismal Economy.
    Ever increasing mammoth debt.
    Selling ( not leasing ) the prime lands to predetermined investors.
    Current SL image/position in the international arena.

    Now please don’t say “previous regimes have done the same , this will never change , at least we have a free country now”.

    • TT

      Srilal,

      I’m no fan of Rajapaksa brothers but it is obvious the opposition is hopeless. The leaders of the 2 major opposition parties are worse than Mugabe, Gadafi, Castro and Kim Jong Il! They never want to give up their stranglehold on power of their parties even if it means total destruction of the party. These party conventions are like Zimbabwe elections! :) If their party supporters don’t realize that they are the real losers.

  • The Mervyn Silva

    “The agency and medium of democratic change in Sri Lanka must not and cannot be rocks and rifles but the ballot box.”

    Aday Dayan Master,

    At midninght on the 17th we are withdrawing the peoples with the rifles from the counting centres for the peoples with the rocks to be coming in and putting the jilmart so that very intelligent people like you can be sitting in the cafe in the Paris side and telling everybody we are not like the Magreb side at all.

    I am thinking you are very brave man. Here you are, paid by Our Majesty’s government, writing little ‘aticle’ full of the big words which you are knowing very well you are not needing to be using, expecting people who are reading this to be believing that what Our Majesty’s government is paying you is having nothing to do with what you are telling.

    Very hortatory-like, if you are asking me!

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      The small problem with the Mervyn Silva’s insinuation is that the Singapore is paying one of, and possibly the, highest salaries in the world for foreign scholars, while the Sri Lankan external affairs ministry is paying one of the lowest (inclusive of allowances) especially for non-career dpls. I gave up a monthly payment which was many times more, to accept this gig! And it ain’t like I haven’t done Europe many times over!

  • http://deleted srilal

    Dear TT

    i could not agree with you more , our SL opposition has no vision or mission , they are like bunch of school boys , going round in circles, they can not and will not see their true opposition , instead majority of them going on back stabbing and pulling each other’s leg. .

  • http://deleted srilal

    The Mervyn Silva,

    Wow , look Mervyn there are people in SL who are ready to sacrifice their well paid academic careers , for a less paid diplomatic career ! Purely to serve us gullible sri lankans , indeed this is what we call patriotism , is not it ? Food for thought Mervyn !!!!!!!!
    (are we taken for a ride )

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      The field of Psychology calls it projection: imputing one’s own motivations to others. Never assume that everyone — even most Sri Lankans — do things mainly for monetary reasons, though the Ranilistas probably do.

      • The Mervyn Silva

        “The field of Psychology calls it projection: imputing one’s own motivations to others.”

        My dear Dayan Master,

        In the language of the street side this is called “It is taking one to be knowing one”. But that is if you are using the simple language. People like yourself ae never using teh simple language, especially when you are wanting to be making simple point. I am sure there is big word for that in Psychology. I am sure there is also big word for people who are often dropping the name and telling everybody how many degrees they are having. I am not knowing teh word but I am sure you are knowing. You are knowing everything.
        Never assume that everyone — even most Sri Lankans — do things mainly for monetary reasons

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        It’s a great pity, Mervyn the, that you never seem able to engage with anything Dayan says, and that goes for everyone in your camp — the Dunces and the Srilals and the Santas and other assorted nitwits — but only point out that he is being payed by the government, insinuating that therefore everything he says is suspect.

        This is a good tactic, because this way, you never have to rely on actual arguments or ideas; you’ll never have to prove that the world is flat; all you have to do whenever Dayan says that the world is round is talk about homosexuals in cafes or your kitchen boys or whatever else you can think of to hide the fact that you actually have no real ideas of your own whatsoever.

        Similarly, your friends TT and Heshan, can ignore whatever I’m actually saying, and when cornered, call me a war criminal or rapist or whatever.

        Unfortunately both Dayan and I have the integrity to post under our own names, willing to put our names and our reputations behind what we believe in; in contrast, you and your friends remain anonymous, hiding yourselves to avoid revealing perhaps who pays you, or which ethnic slant you lean into, thereby avoiding the ad hominem attacks that characterise you and your band. You bring nothing to the debate, in the end except mockery.

        You wonder why we say that it’s very unlikely that SL will ever see street protests as we have seen in North Africa? It’s because the people who believe in anything are cowards like you, unwilling to risk either their lives or their reputations for what they shout so loudly about. On the other hand, those with the courage to take to the streets, have no real ideology to channel them. So as long as people like those we see here on this forum exist, SL will always be a pliable people easily manipulated, while those who say they care skulk in the shadows. Be proud, Mervyn the, be very proud.

      • The Mervyn Silva

        ” You wonder why we say that it’s very unlikely that SL will ever see street protests as we have seen in North Africa?It’s because the people who believe in anything are cowards like you, unwilling to risk either their lives or their reputations for what they shout so loudly about. On the other hand, those with the courage to take to the streets, have no real ideology to channel them.”

        Aday, so that is why! Here I am thinking that this is because the moment somebody is putting his little head out we are taking him for little ride in van and then getting our 5000 franc Cafe ‘intellectuals’ to be telling everybody we are having the very healthy democracy unlike the Maghreb side. My mistake, the Blacker.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        “Aday, so that is why! Here I am thinking that this is because the moment somebody is putting his little head out we are taking him for little ride in van”

        But Ghaddafi, Mubarak, and the other North African dictators also had no problem in disappearing dissidents; in fact, they ran far more repressive regimes than we have here. And yet, Mervyn the, the people came out in the open and opposed them. Saying you’re scared is pathetic, my friend. If you believe in what you say, do something about it. Throwing ad hominem attacks at people who have the integrity to write under their own names is as shameful as a dog growling at a caged lion.

      • The Mervyn Silva

        Hre you are again, the Blacker, telling me I am only doing the mocking and then arguing with the ‘mockery’! I am thinking we are having the makings of another ‘intellectual’ here.

      • yapa

        Dear The Aday Mervyn Silva;

        Some peaceful incident has taken place in a cafe in the French Side.

        Why don’t you consider participating? Here it is for your information,

        http://www.newsnow.lk/latest-news/paris-tamil-gangs-clash

        Thanks!

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Methinks, Mervyn the, that you hide behind mockery because you know that if your responses were put out as serious, they would be decimated very quickly. “Oh, I was only joking” is an effective but lame defence ;)

      • The Mervyn Silva

        My dear Blacker,

        You are thinking so? I am thinking the real joking here is when Our Majesty’s servants are pretrending to be the independent ‘observers’ of what Our Majesty’s government is doing, when the client is pretending to be the patron, when the donkey is always jumping up to be doing the dog’s work, when peoples who are masters of using the pseudonym are blaming others for being the coward for using the pseudonym and then, and then, expecting others to be ‘egaging’ with them. I am understanding very well that you are wanting everybody to be playing that little game and you are knowing very well that there are enough peoples here who are wanting to be ‘recognised’ as making the ‘contribution’ who are always willing to be playing the game. But he Mervyn will not be doing that. The Mervyn will be mocking that which is always begging to be mocked.

        I am to be goiong away for the couple of days but when I am returning I will be writing more mockeries for you to be reading (if they are to passed by the Sanjana). And my dear the Blacker, I am knowing very well you are going to be reading every single word of them even though I am reading what you are writing only on the occasion.

        Before I am signing off please be letting me to be quoting another great ‘contributor’ to this site, the Yapa:

        “Thanks!”

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Oh dear, Mervyn the. Looks like while you’re talking about DJ’s ego, your own has got a teensy weensy bit bruised :D

        You remember some time ago, I told you that you were only interesting when you played the fool and didn’t try to actually discuss anything? Your latest response is the perfect example of how dull you get when you try to be serious.

        Also, just a couple days ago I told you that no matter how accurate and insightful we might be with our comments you can just talk about kitchen boys and homosexuals and pretend our comments our invalid. This time you’re also bringing in dogs, donkeys, and a few other animals :D I can barely understand what that para is about.

        But never mind, Mervyn the, you go away for a little break and think about what I’m saying ;) Maybe you will feel either more engaging or more funny when you come back. At the moment you’re neither; just boring.

        And before you thank me, remember the best principle — Keep It Simple Stupid.

      • SD

        Methinks David, that even the “joker” has a role to play in this situation.

        However, the Mervyn, it is unclear why “I am reading what you are writing only on the occasion.” That’s not too good a sign is it?

      • yapa

        Dear The Mervun Siva;

        Bye! Aday, come back soon.

        Thanks Aday!

  • Heshan

    The most important single feature of Sri Lanka today is not that a six year old elected administration is in the same category as Arab regimes of decades’ duration – Aristotle, who emphasised the importance of a typology of regimes, would shudder – but the fact that it is barely post-war, living in the shadow of a thirty years war which ended a mere one and a half years ago; struggling to emerge from it, in the throes of a complex convalescence and open ended transition.

    Au contraire, what is more relevant is that Dharmapala’s “Buddhist Revivalist” movement has reached its zenith. Disenfranchisement, standardization, race riots, colonization, etc. have finally culminated in a near-genocidal war proving favorable to the Southern Karavas, who will desperately safeguard their stranglehold on power with whatever means necessary.


    The country and its peoples are in no further need of ‘storm and stress’. Sri Lanka’s multiparty democracy has proved resilient under extreme pressure over decades, surviving civil wars in North and South and authoritarian and totalitarian projects from above and below. The Lankan citizenry has no need of tutelage in the preservation and advancement of democracy from anyone, anywhere.

    A mere remnant of a democracy is what remains. Instead of proving “resilient”, the democracy has become grossly fractured . The question is whether such fractures are repairable. The answer will certainly not come from ancient history.

  • Heshan

    Wow , look Mervyn there are people in SL who are ready to sacrifice their well paid academic careers , for a less paid diplomatic career !

    Come on Srilal, do you seriously believe SL diplomats are not paid well? Assuming such a diplomat has appropriate connections, the sky is the limit, as far as earnings are concerned. If Anoma Fonseka can stash 500K USD in bank lockers, I’m sure the diplomats won’t be far behind.

  • TT

    BTW the most rigged election in SL must be the 1982 presidential election. Of course there were no European election monitors like now! No local election monitors either! No private electronic media (the only one was taken over by the state – ITN). When the main challenger to the self assumed president JRJ went to cast his vote in Colombo in the morning, he was told his vote had already been cast! :)

    Had there been a general election in 1982 or 1983 as due, the stupid 13 amendment would never have been passed. And there would be more Tamil MPs in parliament than there were after 1983.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Well, TT, since you’re willing to subvert democracy via a demographic change, why are you so worried about a little general election that happened before you were born?

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    David, if I may add something to the valid moral distinction you have made, another vital difference between the Arab democratic surge and Sri Lanka is that here, the so-called democracy activists or rights activists such as those who write in anonymously to this website, have contempt for the majority of our citizens, who return the sentiment with compound interest. However, in the Arab world, the democracy/rights activists are at one with the people (peoples which supported those regimes for far longer than ours did any incumbent!), and the people return the embrace!

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Dayan, that’s certainly true on this site and the English blogs; and perhaps that’s the point. The urban elite are out of touch with the people.

      • SD

        Dear David, Dayan,

        I think promulgating this idea of an “urban elite” vs the “downtrodden masses” only empowers the ultra-nationalist. We can already see the effects live on this forum – the “Yapa” types for example – no longer need to rebut an idea, all they need to do is to brand someone an “elite” or a “liberal”, the moment they cannot face the argument. Social prejudice will take care of the rest.

        Who are these elites? How do you identify one? Are they the ones who are well to do? Or are they the ones educated in western democracies? Or are they the ones opposing MR? Or supporting Ranil? What clear characteristics are displayed by those “in touch with the people”?

        The point is, this lumps all of the above categories into one uniform blob, and sooner or later, will render them all irrelevant. Pretty soon, Dayan, you and most others on this forum too will find themselves branded “english-speaking” elites, and then summarily ejected from the discourse.

        Let me put it this way, better the out-of-touch Ranilistas (who make themselves irrelevant voluntarily) than those taking their queues from feudal values. The latter types are already alarmingly empowered, and we invert our priorities by castigating a group who are impotent at best, while the real enemy – the rejuvenated ultra-nationalist – is growing in stature.

        That is a dangerous game to play.

      • The Mervyn Silva

        !We can already see the effects live on this forum – the “Yapa” types for example – no longer need to rebut an idea, all they need to do is to brand someone an “elite” or a “liberal”……

        Or the “Ranilista”!

      • yapa

        Dear Aday The Mervyn Silva;

        You are the person who are using first class logic (only) to debut others’arguments.

        Are you talking from your mouth, dear Aday?

        Thanks!

      • yapa

        “no longer need to rebut an idea, all they need to do is to brand someone an “elite” or a “liberal”, the moment they cannot face the argument. Social prejudice will take care of the rest.”

        Are describing yourself? Shall we see who suits this definition more? Ready?

        Thanks!

      • SD

        Dear Mervyn,

        RE: “Or the “Ranilista”!”

        Maybe. But the main point I was highlighting was rendering a person irrelevant based on their circumstances of birth, which is something beyond their control. Criticism of ideas is another matter.

        There are some kinds of ideas that can be dismissed summarily – racists, Eelamists etc. The lack of viability and moral fibre in their ideas have been so repeatedly demonstrated, that further analysis is a waste of time. The “Ranilistas” are vying for that same dubious distinction.

      • yapa

        “Who are these elites? How do you identify one? Are they the ones who are well to do? Or are they the ones educated in western democracies? Or are they the ones opposing MR? Or supporting Ranil? What clear characteristics are displayed by those “in touch with the people”?”

        OH! ABRACADABRA! All these elites vanish to thing air, from this movement. There will be no elite hereafter on this earth. OH! ABRACADABRA!!

        Thanks!

      • yapa

        “Let me put it this way, better the out-of-touch Ranilistas (who make themselves irrelevant voluntarily) than those taking their queues from feudal values. The latter types are already alarmingly empowered, and we invert our priorities by castigating a group who are impotent at best, while the real enemy – the rejuvenated ultra-nationalist – is growing in stature.”

        ABRACADABRA!, for ultra-nationalists too.

        Thanks!

      • yapa

        “Maybe. But the main point I was highlighting was rendering a person irrelevant based on their circumstances of birth, which is something beyond their control. Criticism of ideas is another matter.”

        This materialistic flat theorist thinks that a person is solely decided at his birth. He never understand the non – material part. like culture that moulds a person. Every person is flatly equal to these flat materials. All the ethnicity have no validity. No Brits, no Canadians, no Americans. What is the use of passports.

        For these Pandiths the world is a homogeneous garden of flowers, a global village without barriers. It is a single coloured world. They are colour blind.

        Thanks!

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Dear SD: ‘ Better the out of touch Ranilistas…?”

    Well, the electorate has repeatedly decided otherwise.

    Right now this is a decision that the main Oposition party has to make, which it seems they are scheduled to fairly soon.

    Its the Ranilistas and their precursors ( sir John) who opened the political space for the ultranationalists.

    I wouldn’t call these folk an urban elite, but whatever they are, they adopted the same attitude of hostility in the early 90s, to a leader whose discourse was far from ultranationalist, and pronouncedly multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural. Then their favourite patron was David Gladstone, remember?

    They are not the antidote or answer to ultranationalism.

    • SD

      Dear Dayan,

      RE: “Its the Ranilistas and their precursors ( sir John) who opened the political space for the ultranationalists.”

      Point taken.

      RE: “They are not the antidote or answer to ultranationalism.”

      Oh no. I never meant to suggest they were. Their irrelevance will continue as long as they stick to their “bada-gosthara” platform, and a good thing too.

      All I worry about is the empowerment of anti-intellectual, anti-liberal, anti-western, anti-everything half-wits who themselves have no vision beyond the institution of a theocracy and a reversion to feudalism.

      What is the antidote to that?

  • Heshan

    another vital difference between the Arab democratic surge

    I find this Arab “democratic” surge to be rather amusing. Take Libya for instance. All of the protesters are men . Secondly, the protesters don’t shout “liberty”, “equality”, or “fraternity.” If you watch the videos closely, they shout allahu akbar (God is Great) more than anything else. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to presume that having overthrown Gaddafi, the protesters would simply find a new Islamic caliphate to replace him.

  • Heshan

    They are not the antidote or answer to ultranationalism.

    At least they have not ceased to exist altogether, unlike the much vaunted “13th Amendment”, which certain *learned* individuals (even some on this very forum!) made a big hulabaloo over, but was thrown out the window along with all other APRC recommendations.

  • eureka

    Elections(decided by those who have the voting cards – there have been a lot of news items about the section of people who didn’t have the voting cards in the last five years alone) are a small part of democracy. Governance makes up the larger part.

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/09/jayanatha_dhanapala_submission.htmlJayantha Dhanapala’s oral presentation to LLRC, 2 September 2010:
    ”I think we need to rectify this bad governance….”

  • sr

    Is this democracy? Or time-buying ploys?

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/05/29/the-latest-commission-of-inquiry-in-sri-lanka-another-exercise-in-deception/
    The latest Commission of Inquiry in Sri Lanka: Another Exercise in Deception, MCM Iqbal, 29 May 2010:‘’Let me now deal with the Commission appointed in year 2007 to inquire into serious human rights violation. A report of this Commission is said to have been handed over to the President, but has never been made public.’’

    http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/09/jayanatha_dhanapala_submission.html
    Jayantha Dhanapala’s oral presentation to LLRC, 2 September 2010:
    ‘We have had an All Party Representative Committee functioning for quite some time but its report is still languishing in obscurity and needs to be presented to the public of Sri Lanka for discussion.’’

  • eeurekaa

    Detaining for years without charges is democracy?

    http://www.groundviews.org/2010/10/17/an-allergy-to-analysis-and-historical-amnesia-in-sri-lanka/#comments
    Allergy to analysis and historical amnesia in Sri Lanka, Dayan Jayatilleka, 17 October 2010:
    ”… Dozens of Tamil youth were imprisoned under Emergency for years, for the crime of hoisting black flags against the promulgation of the ’72 Constitution. …”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11328159
    Young Tamils in Sri Lanka ‘being held without charge’, 16 September 2010:
    ”A retired senior diplomat in Sri Lanka says several thousand young people of the Tamil ethnic minority are being held in custody without any charges being brought against them. Nanda Godage said some had been incarcerated in this way for years. …”

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Heshan, the last time I looked, the 13th amendment was still a part of the Constitution, i.e. Sri Lanka’s basic law. It will probably prove far more durable than the Ranilistas, as it has proved more durable than the CBKistas.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      eeureka, so you think that democracies do not detain without trial? Ever heard of Gitmo or better still, the UK policy of mass internment without trial in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s ( which triggred Bobby Sands’ fast unto death)?

  • eeurekaa

    This is not democracy but lack of political will:

    http://www.llrc.lk/images/stories/docs/Sep2010/Prof.%20Arjuna%20Aluvihare.pdf
    Prof A.P.R.Aluwihare to LLRC, 3 November 2010:
    ”….. I think the challenge in the short term is for the Commission to try and generate the political will to get the political establishment, to try to clean itself up, get rid of the dross, not allow people to hide behind political patronage and commit various illegal things. …. the problem is not that we don’t have good laws even now, but that guys who are rich and powerful and political they wriggle their way down the laws, and I think in terms of the mandate of the Commission of preventing future trouble it is very important to set that process into reverse somehow with the political will.’’

  • Agnos

    “Our literate, politically conscious citizenry has proved unerringly adroit at securing and safeguarding its principal interests (variously national, social, and democratic) at the given time, through the determined exercise of the franchise.”

    Yes, they did so when they supported JRJ at the referendum. Yes they were unerringly accurate when they gave the UNP a second chance to make 1983 possible, despite knowing well that the UNP and its goons were behind the 1977 pogroms against Tamils. And they gave still another chance to the UNP and yet another thug like Premadasa, who himself was said to have had a hand in the 1983 riots.

    And of course, this writer [supported] him and saying “JR rammed through the constitution.” When the latter threatened to sue, made an abject apology. I suppose the electorate was “unerringly accurate” through it all.

    What a [edited out] in the garb of an academic-diplomat.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      REWARD OFFERED!

      If Agnos or anyone else can quote/produce/reproduce the slightest shred of evidence ( I’m not even talking conclusive proof) of any apology I ever tendered to JR Jayewardene, I shall stop writing to GV henceforth.

      Far from tendering an apology, let alone an abject one, JRJ was unable to serve summons on me. Later the Sunday Times ( colombo) carried a page one item which quoted JR as saying that having known my parents he felt sorry for my mother after the mob attack on me at Kanatte a few days before, and had therefore decided to drop the matter! Mind you, my mother had not spoken a word to him on the subject or met him in months, possibly years ( not that JRJ said that she had).

      More importantly, this plain falsehood is symptomatic of the lies that Agnos and his/her ilk spread about Sri Lanka, the last war and its conclusion, the Sri Lankan armed forces, the Sinhalese, Mahinda Rajapakse, Premadasa, Lakshman Kadirgamar etc.

      As for the Sri lankan electorate, what was wrong in the choice they made in 1977, given the unshared economic hardships ( semi-starvation in some places) and the available option of regime continuity?

      Agnos does not seem to be aware of the well documented reports that the referendum of 1982 was massively fraudulent and coercive. Prof Warnapala has a whole book on it.

      As long as Agnos and others hide behind masks, I cannot retun their personal compliments!

      • Agnos

        See what Malinda Seneviratne, then of the JHU, said in 2000: http://www.island.lk/2000/10/09/opinio04.html

        I quote: “About Dayan’s history, let me say it all in one line: it includes a particularly funny way of handing over nomination papers, a funny way of popping in and out of the country, offering an abject public apology to J.R. Jayewardene, not to mention defending the party lines of the various groups in power (nationally and regionally). It would suffice to say ‘Danno Danithi’ at this point.”

        Also see this on GV itself.

        The last time I checked, your hands were scratching Mahinda Rajapaksa’s left, while Seneviratne’s were scratching his right. I will leave it to you depraved creatures to decide who among you is lying more.

        For the record, there is a so-called “terrorism expert” based in Singapore, whose real views are probably more in tune with those of the JHU (though he moderates his views in public), who pretty much told me the same thing about you several years ago.

        It is a pity that it was only a Tamil nationalist (Taraki Sivaram) who gave me any semblance of defense for your actions. What is that symptomatic of? Who is spreading falsehoods?

      • Agnos
    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Srilal, Heshan et al know nothing, obviously, about Singapore or its think tank circuit. I met more visiting foreign ministers and top policy personalities from the world over, including in closed door sessions, in a month in Singapore than I did in a year in Geneva! its rhythm as a hub is one reason that my ISAS colleagues included a former foreign minister of Bangladesh and a former finance minister ( and vice president of the world bank) from pakistan.

      So the psych profile of my motivations will have to be amended, i’m afraid.

  • yapa

    “I think promulgating this idea of an “urban elite” vs the “downtrodden masses” only empowers the ultra-nationalist.”

    A “Universal Principles” making factory. Aney sko balalo. Self appointed Universal Principle General!

    Thanks!

  • http://deleted srilal

    Dear Heshan ,

    “Come on Srilal, do you seriously believe SL diplomats are not paid well? Assuming such a diplomat has appropriate connections, the sky is the limit, as far as earnings are concerned. ”

    Heshan , what DJ says may be true , he may well draw a less fat pay cheque than what he used to get from his ex employer ( after all he is not after money ) , my question is why would any one leave such a hassle free well paid 9 to 5 job , my guess is good as anyone’s guess ( of course to serve and save from remnant of LTTE clutches of his beloved mother lanka) .you see Heshan
    DJ carries this somewhat larger than life image and the huge ego of his from day one, he loves to be in the center of limelight, rub shoulders with high profile hot shots, power, authority and the ability to command, treat all others who have different opinion merely as intellectually handicapped and to insult , (most of all his acute ignorance of the reality and the arrogance ( same applies to his buddy)), where else he could have all this other than the current position !
    All the pro MR stooge’s motto is country first and every thing else is second , this is obviously very easy to market within our majority of gullible srilankans ,whoever oppose that will automatically falls in to either a LTTE or a traitor category (or may be Ranilsta category ). I have mentioned a list in my previous post, see the similarities between these autocratic regimes and ours, see how close we are !!!!!!!
    Heshan I bet my last rupee , DJ and his side kick will come up with usual rhetoric either with technical & language faults of this post or ever popular LTTE card, completely ignoring the ground reality of SL today.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      So why not address those “ground realities” instead of discussing DJ’s salary, his personality, his academic qualifications, etc? ;)

  • http://deleted srilal

    Ground realities are above in the same blog , which I posted , you can go through the list and see how many of them are true or faults !!

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      If those realities are as valid as you say they are, why is that you are unable to use them to oppose DJ’s ideas rather than who he is? You’ll notice that DJ is now forced to devote more time to defending his motives than his ideas and you and your bunch spend more time attacking him than his idea. What use is that? It makes it apparent that your only advantage over him is not your ideas but your anonymity.

  • Panabokke

    Dayan prefers to serve the Rajapakses to monetary gains.

    So he accepts/accomodates:

    A.
    i. the Rajapakses in their manifestos of 2005 and 2010 said they’d reduce the power of Executive Presidency but acted in the reverse by passing the 18th amendment

    ii. Page 58 of the manifesto: “The All Party Conference continued simultaneously and through its Representative Committee critical political issues were subject to open discussion. Rather than imposing a solution from above, I have sought to arrive at a solution through discussion and dialogue with political parties, civil society organisations and the people representatives – people themselves”.

    What has happened to the report submitted by APRC?

    iii. Page 63: “Each family that is resettled will be provided with Rs.50,000/- to construct temporary shelter and additional building materials worth Rs.50,000/-. On a long term basis, Rs.325,000/- will be provided to each family to reconstruct houses destroyed in the war”.

    He went on to prevent aid agents including the UN from helping the IDPs.

    B. The Rajapakses are the most extreme Sinhala nationalists.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Panabokke, that does not explain the truncation of my term ( ‘recall’ or ‘ firing’) after Geneva, or my declining of the post of Amb Tokyo.

      And I can think of far worse leaders to or causes to serve than one who rid the country of a thirty year scourge, and enabled school kids to come home wthout being blown up by parcel bombs at busy junctions.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Panabokke, if you think the Rajapakses are the most extreme Sinhala nationalists you haven’t met many — or any– extreme Sinhala nationalists.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Dear SD,

      Valid question raised by you, and the answer is rather obvious: a project, personality or manifestation that belongs to neither of the camps ( ‘ ranilstas’/ feudalistic ultranationalists) that you have identified critically .

  • eureka

    Politics in Sri Lanka is unique in many ways. Most important is its internal colonialism(ethnic majority oppressing its ethnic minorities) in a country completely bound by water – Tamils would have fled the country in large masses in the 50s/60s/70s/80s across a land border and the world might have noticed the problem.

    Next important is the series of expert(there are very many Sinhalese well-versed in international relations) damage control at the UN, Commonwealth and NAM for decades. One has to follow the proceedings patiently to know what’s ”up there”

    The last three crucial episodes:

    i.May 2009 UNHRC
    ii.CMAG membership for six years 2003-2009, successfully preventing the Commonwealth to squeak a word on Sri Lanka and remaining there for 6 consecutive years though the Durban Communique stipulates a maximum of four consecutive years for any member in CMAG
    iii. expert damage control at the UN in 1983/4

  • Heshan

    Dear The Mervyn,

    I am understanding very well that you are wanting everybody to be playing that little game and you are knowing very well that there are enough peoples here who are wanting to be ‘recognised’ as making the ‘contribution’ who are always willing to be playing the game.

    Brilliant as always.:) I am thinking of compiling your comments and making them into a book. The title would be, “The Mervyn Speaks.” Here is a possible cover for the book:

    http://www.adaderana.lk/news_images/25365765Mervyn%2001.08.jpg

    As a goodwill gesture, any revenue from the project, less publishing expenses, would be donated to charity.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Panabokke, if you want to know what a most extreme Sinhalese nationalist is like, and does, especially when in government, try Cyril Mathew!

  • Heshan

    Dayan J:

    Heshan, the last time I looked, the 13th amendment was still a part of the Constitution, i.e. Sri Lanka’s basic law. It will probably prove far more durable than the Ranilistas, as it has proved more durable than the CBKistas.

    The 13th Amendment exists on paper, but it has never been implemented in full. An easy way to see this would be to consider the present state of land and policing powers. GOSL has simply refused to devolve these powers on any significant level to the Tamils. In fact, one could go as far as to say that Emergency Regulations make the 13th Amendment null and void. When the military can arbitrarily arrest an individual on the basis of suspicion, is it possible to talk about the devolution of policing powers at the district level, as per the 13th Amendment? Similarly, when the military cum Government can appropriate any piece of land under the guise of national security , is it worthwhile to talk about devolution of land rights?

  • http://deleted srilal

    DB

    If you carefully read my initial post , I did not attack DJ , DJ is the one who brought the subject of wages , then Heshan brought the idea of monetary gains , in order to elucidate, I had to elaborate few more details of his real motives (of course other than defending SL from LTTE Diaspora , as he claims ) , what are his ideas ???????? bashing Ranil and LTTE , glorifying and defending the military victory over LTTE and singing hosannas for the royal family (which is extremely popular with southerners in SL ) and get on board with whoever holds the power( next hop is Sajith ). why don’t you go through the list and see, what are the real burning issues of SL , who can possibly defend this autocratic regime ? we have been told over and over , that separatist LTTE has been defeated and will not rise up his ugly head again , if so why do we need emergency law now, despite the fact that war has been over almost two years ago, why do we need to allocate such an enormous amount for defense , why do we need CCTV , for whose protection ? Why so scared of the free media? why is so scared of General Fonseka ( he was convicted from a Kangaroo court )?what is the reason to rush the 18 th amendment in a ad hoc manner, is it for the benefit for the masses , why do we need 100 odd ministers , why we lost GSP+ ( is that to protect our rights ), why we got rid of 17 th amendment , for whose benefit ?? can the opposition have anti government demonstration ? Why do we have elections under the emergency law, where is the independent election commissioner, where is the independent police commission? Why 90% of the budget is under one family? Where is the law and order of the society, law clearly applies for the poor and hapless society? What is AG s position today, why did we get rid of RS 2000 note and got Rs 5000 note instead ? why do we have to sell (yes its 100 % sale, not lease) prime lands to chosen Chinese buyers, who get the real benefit of mega projects ! Why tax payers have to foot the bills for the endless ceremonies and pageants, why cost of living going sky high every day? why SL is in a such a pathetic situation in international arena , whose fault is it , general public ? Why do we have to pay so much taxes than ever before, despite war is over? Who messed up the economy, why do we have to borrow on commercial rates? I have seen/read endless articles , debates over military victory , this is some thing which will not be disappeared in foreseeable future , one section of the society defending while other is condemning and seeking justice, its very easy to jump on the band wagon of LTTE defeat and get all the credit ( Real credit should equally goes to Militray , MR, India, china , journalists and general public , what has happened is military victory has been hijacked by MR and his stooges ),
    No I’m not spending more time attacking DJ , instead try to see the other side of the coin.
    The very people who claim to be patriotic and serving SL people, are in fact blatantly ignoring the very basic fundamental rights of SL people by continues support of this despotic , dictatorship regime , in return for their own selfish ,opportunistic gains!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Srilal, if you think those are my ideas you have obviously not renewed your subscription to International Affairs the journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) or Radical Philosophy, which are among those established periodicals which have reviewed my last book…or indeed ‘Security Index’, of which I am on the International Expert Panel.

      Your list of leaders I have supported/support/are likely to support, curiously omits Vijaya Kumaratunga.

      Even more strangely it omits Mrs Bandaranaike ( during whose tenure I was taken in for questioning by the Intelligence Services division), JR Jayewardene (during whose tenure I was indicted under the PTA and the Emergency) and CBK ( whom I supported against the LTTE from late ’89, but refused to accept the post of presidential Advisor on the Media).

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Srilal, you’ve also dropped K Pathmanabha, founder leader of the EPRLF from your list of leaders I supported. He was murdered by the Tigers in Chennai in 1990.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Actually, Srilal, it was Mervynthe who first took up the predictable ad hominem attack that happens whenever DJ or anyone connected to the administration speaks up. When DJ defended himself, you, Heshan and the usual coterie picked it up too.

      You dismiss DJ’s ideas contemptiously as rhetoric, and yet your first comment was a long list of generalisations that I can just as easily dismiss as a refusal to see any good in the GoSL, a refusal to listen to anything that doesn’t fit your view and so on. In other words, more rhetoric.

      If DJ’s ideas are so lacking in substance, you should be able to tear them apart easily without resorting to references to his salary, job, personality, or any other motivation. Especially since people like you hide your own identity and motives. Both are irrelevant. If you wish to create a relevance you must play fair and honest and place your identity and motives in plain view too, not skulk in the shadows.

      Unless of course you’re uninterested in debate and only come here to throw rhetoric as monkeys throw shit, raging and inarticulate.

    • Aarushi

      Srilal

      Great summary !!!

      Rajapapakse Repressive Regime created so many social ills and tribulations in Sri Lanka !! Just mind boggling….

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    I caught Agnos out in a blatant lie and challenged him to offer a shred of evidence of his assertion that I abjectly apologised to JR Jayewardene. Instead of doing so he now imitates a squid, expelling a cloud of ink to cover his retreat or a skunk, expelling a noxious odour as a defensive mechanism. pathetic, eh? Now that I’ve caught him out in one blatant lie ( which in the good old days before MR, would have been defamatory!),he lacks the minimum credibility which requires me to read him ever again. So its a long goodbye, Agnos. Happy falsifications.

    • Agnos

      “I caught Agnos out in a blatant lie.”

      No, you didn’t. I gave two sources, one very public, the other private, but highly placed. The public source has been available for a decade for all to see, so if Seneviratne and The Island were lying, it was for you to set the record straight or take that up as ‘defamation.’ I have been out of the country–and hence your den of depravity–for two decades. Your verbal smokescreen and kindergartner’s tactic to avoid confronting your sordid past doesn’t impress me.

      [Edited out.]

      • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

        Sorry, there were some typos. Please use this corrected copy.

        Well, well, well! I challenge Agnos, asking for ” a shred of evidence” and he quotes someone who has uttered the same fib without… a shred of evidence! That’s ‘ evidence’ in Agnos’ book. Look, JRJ sought to sue me for some absurd sum, I think it was a hundred million rupees, for defamation, i.e. defaming his ‘ good name’ in the public domain; referring to something he alleged I had written.

        In any such circumstances, any apology, leave alone an abject one, has to be either written or tendered in court!I repeat my challenge: if anyone can point to anything in print or any quote of mine on the public record, that even smacks of apology to JRJ, I’ll stop writing to GV!

        In the absence of such evidence, which of course does not exist, Agnos’ allegation remains a total fabrication, whoever said it before (and if those are ‘ highly placed’ sources, I’d hate to see what his idea of ‘low placed’ ones are).

        Furthermore, I mentioned the page one story in the Sunday Times ( probably Aug ’92), in which JRJ says he has dropped the legal attempt out of sympathy for my mother, following the attempt to lynch me in kanatte. Now that is on the record proof from the man himself, JRJ, that no apology was tendered.

        Agnos thus remains exposed as a liar, and a poor loser. I am glad that he has revealed himself as a member of the Diaspora who left Sri lanka quite some time back. This means that his refusal to write under his name has nothing to do with fear of white vans, but is simple intellectual cowardice. This also means that he never had to live through terrorist bomb blasts, massares and assasinations of friends at the hands of the Tigers, as did our citizens. This also means he will never understand how they view the defeat of the Tigers and appreciate the fact of the freedom for their schoolgoing kids to commute without fear of being blown up.

        Agnos’ diatribe also confirms that the Diaspora discourse and project will always be rejected and resisted by the bulk of Sri Lankan citizens, under this or any other administration ( note recent dynamics in the opposition space), as hysterically inimical.

  • http://deleted srilal

    DJ
    Please try to come to terms; I’m a vocal critique of this regime and its supporters, so naturally I will be a critique of you as well (since you are on public domain). I do not want go into nitty gritty details of each leader that you support/supported ,
    With all due respect what ever I write about you, will not be necessarily 100% accurate, it is a rather a general picture of you , so there may be conflict of interests. , but I must tell you , you had the courage and the wisdom to come to these blogs and answer personally I applaud, and salute you for that !!!!
    No one can change the history, history is there, let’s leave it as it is , shall we! .you seem to be misleading all the readers here , when did I say that , those are your ideas and you are responsible for all these chaos , of course you are not , you are not the architect of any of these draconian legislatives , you are a staunch supporter of this regime , that is why you were offered this high profile position , rather than wasting time on insignificant personal issues ( first I had to bring it up , since some one else brought for a different issue )why don’t you answer the points which I mentioned, you conveniently ignored all that vital points , but pathetically going on about JR, Chandrika , K Pathmanabha etc .

    • SD

      Dear Srilal,

      RE: “I’m a vocal critique of this regime and its supporters, …”

      And many of the criticisms you raise are valid. But the problem Srilal, is, what is the point in complaining if we have no credible alternative? As long as that aspect is ignored, there will be no way to dislodge the Rajapakse’s from power. It will only serve to further entrench this dynastic rule.

      We all know that RW has zero credibility, and under his leadership, his party suffers the same stigma. There is no way the Sri Lankan public will elect that man to any serious position. I certainly will not vote for him. Better Rajapakse than a guy who only has cynical contempt for his own country and the sacrifices of its armed forces.

      If RW continues to stay in power, the only way he would have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning is if the Rajapakses’ mess up so badly, that the public would be desperate enough to vote for someone they detest. We all know that’s a long way off, maybe another 20 years. Then again, this may be one of those times when the so called “short memory” of the public will come in handy, which many others have complained of in the past ;-)

      Therefore, I think your criticism must be equally vocal in getting RW evicted so that we actually have some credible opposition in parliament. Otherwise, I don’t see anything much happening, after all, MR will have nothing to fear!

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      The wise ancients said that when a man is pointing to something in the starry firmament, the idiot looks at the finger! When I made some points about the relevance or not of the political tsunami in the Arab world, and its possible use as a template for change, many of this website wish to discuss me, my job, political history, psychological motivations, David Blacker’s stance etc etc. rather than debating the topic.This in stark contrast to the robust debate in and on the Arab revolt and its implications going on all over the world. The ancients were right: idiots look at the finger, or to reverse that , those who look at the finger rather than where its pointing, are idiots.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Dear SD,

      Heshan has just proven that a little learning is a dangerous thing indeed! He exclaims that Ranil is the antithesis of MR. If he knew anything about thesis and antithesis he would know that the whole point was to search for a synthesis! The answer is not the antithesis but the synthesis! So, if he right and RW is the antithesis, that by definition is not the direction to look in. The Greeks looked for the Golden Mean and the Buddha for the Middle Path. They were right. You seem to be on the right track.

      Dear Srilal,

      Please make your mind up: do I support MR or Sajith or both (since you have made both assertions)? And if the latter, why not MR and RW, or MR and Mangala, or Champika and Sajith, or any other combination?

  • http://deleted srilal

    DB

    You know what , each time you try to defend DJ , it looks rather silly and bad on DJ , DJ can speak for himself , he is a very smart , intelligent articulate man who successfully defended the SL in Geneva single-handedly before the whole world ., so why do not you bring up your own ideas (other than defending the military victory & DJ ), it will make some sense.
    You mentioned, that I should bring my real identity, what do you mean?
    Who do you think I’am , and who do you want me to be ?
    Let me get this straight Mr Blacker , I’m a very down to earth , humble very ordinary Singhaleese ,Buddist srilankan citizen , who have no strings attached to any party or a person (unlike others ) and did not vote for any election for the past 25 years (other than the last presidential /general election ) I have no slightest clue what you tried to say , when you say bring your real identity . if you think I ‘m a proxy for some one or a party , I’m afraid , i can’t help you there , it’s your problem , not mine.
    I would love to hear some comments from you with regards to the points which I made, rather than dragging it some where else .so please try to be constructive !!!!!!!

    • The Mervyn Silva

      The Srilal,

      I am just realising. Defending the Dayan Master is an original idea!

      • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

        Dear The Mervyn Silva, kindly desist from poking fun at others. Your sardonic wit is better applied to a debate on issues, and not to invective against individuals. We all have a right to our opinion, and what this forum seeks to encourage is a civil exchange, not commentary coloured by personal jibes. Thank you.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Srilal, I’m not defending, DJ :D I’m pointing out the absurdity of your tactic of personal attack. I merely used DJ as an example. This forum is replete with such personal attacks on myself and others who use their real names by people from bot ends of the spectrum. I notice Heshan’s even stooped to bringing up DJ’s wife in a comment.

      As for my own ideas, I’ve been quite vocal with them on this site, both in posts and comments. I suggest you look around if you’re interested.

      As for your own ideas, they’re a long list of vague and generalised woes, some real, some fantasy, many based on hearsay or urban myths. Why don’t you pick a few that are actually relevant to this post, and maybe I’ll have a shot at responding to them.

      As for who you are, what your race etc is, I really couldn’t give a toss. As I already said, that’s irrelevant to an intelligent discussion. What is relevant is what you have to say, not who is saying it. My point was, if you’re going to attack someone’s character rather than their ideas, you should have the integrity to identify yourself so that your own character and motives will also be open to discussion.

      • MV

        @ Blacker,

        When you are pointing a finger at somebody, remember that three fingers are pointing at you.

        Have you ever wondered why the Doctor (and yourself) has become the ‘topic’ of the discussion itself? It is the so called ‘intellectuals’ and the (Sinhalese) civil society that had been responsible for what Sri Lanka has become from the date of independence to what it is today, a repressive, highly militarized society – no one can blame Rajapakse himself. It is they who tolerated and defended the genocidal proportions that the State had reached in 2009, from attacks on journalists to illegal detention of thousands violating their rights. And the ‘intellectuals’ such as DJ and Peiris, have been simply doing damage control for this tyrannical regime with ‘just war’ and various theories as many has pointed out previously on groundviews, rather than criticizing.

        Have you ever thought of why Sri Lanka as with all other South Asian nations or the so called ‘third-world democracies’ were/are not able to come up with a mass mobilization for democratization? and how it was Sinhala nationalism (the extreme form which we saw in May 2009, and one that DJ continue to defend through his theories) that allowed the post-colonial state to grasp more power, which otherwise would have been difficult with a divided Sinhalese society based on caste, class, and region?

        Having said this, I know the futility of the discussions here and hope this will pass through Groundviews moderators. Although many lives have been consumed unnecessarily, hope at least now people begin to think in the larger context.

        Thanks.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        “When you are pointing a finger at somebody, remember that three fingers are pointing at you.”

        My gosh, MV, the sharpness of your counterattack leaves me stumped!

        “Have you ever wondered why the Doctor (and yourself) has become the ‘topic’ of the discussion itself?”

        Not at all, MV. I have been a blogger for awhile now, and I’ve found that online clashes usually follow the same pattern as offline ones; when you find yourself incapable of standing upto your opponent’s intellect, wit, or arguments, attack him personally; his job, his ancestry, his personality, whatever it takes to distract from the fact that you cannot stand upto him on equal terms.

        “It is the so called ‘intellectuals’ and the (Sinhalese) civil society that had been responsible for what Sri Lanka has become from the date of independence to what it is today, a repressive, highly militarized society – no one can blame Rajapakse himself.”

        If you’ve read my exchanges with TT, you’d see that I mostly agree with you on the first part. Militarisation itself was a direct result of the war, and particularly of the LTTE’s habit of attacking civil society outside the NE.

        “It is they who tolerated and defended the genocidal proportions that the State had reached in 2009, from attacks on journalists to illegal detention of thousands violating their rights.”

        Except that there was no genocide, and the detention of IDPs was a legit tactic of counter-guerrilla warfare pioneered by the British.

        “And the ‘intellectuals’ such as DJ and Peiris, have been simply doing damage control for this tyrannical regime with ‘just war’ and various theories as many has pointed out previously on groundviews, rather than criticizing.”

        DJ can speak for himself, but I have criticised the GoSL when I felt it was wrong. The war itself, I believe, was just; especially in light of the 13th Amendment, the CFA, and the bending over backwards done by the Ranil Wickramasinghe administration.

        “Have you ever thought of why Sri Lanka as with all other South Asian nations or the so called ‘third-world democracies’ were/are not able to come up with a mass mobilization for democratization?

        I think in the Third World, traditional democracy is seen as less of a priority in the eyes of the people compared to more pressing needs such as economic stability, security, infrastructure development, etc. So as long as a regime isn’t repressive, Asians are willing to overlook some lack of civil rights. It’s like the west a century ago.

        “and how it was Sinhala nationalism (the extreme form which we saw in May 2009, and one that DJ continue to defend through his theories)”

        I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean here. What extreme Sinhalese nationalism did we see in May 2009?

        “that allowed the post-colonial state to grasp more power, which otherwise would have been difficult with a divided Sinhalese society based on caste, class, and region?”

        If you mean that Sinhalese nationalism has united the Sinhalese beyond the divisions of class, caste, and religion, don’t you think that would have happened back in the ’50s, when Sinhalese nationalism was at its peak? And yet, we saw many divisions within the Sinhalese themselves — the two JVP insurrections for example — subsequent to that era. I think what we see today isn’t so much the Sinhalese united by nationalism, but a Sinhalese identity emerging that is characterised by a conservative rural value system that rejects urban, western, middle- and upper-class values (or what is perceived as such). And I think that is mostly the result of the failure of a mostly elite national leadership that had failed to live up to its role and move SL forward. It’s similar to the ’70s rejection of the elite Tamil leadership by the young and rural Tamil militants.

        “Having said this, I know the futility of the discussions here and hope this will pass through Groundviews moderators. Although many lives have been consumed unnecessarily, hope at least now people begin to think in the larger context.”

        If the debates on GV are any indication, I’m afraid that’s a forlorn hope.

  • http://deleted srilal

    cheers Aarushi

  • The Mervyn Silva

    “You know what , each time you try to defend DJ , it looks rather silly and bad on DJ , DJ can speak for himself , he is a very smart , intelligent articulate man who successfully defended the SL in Geneva single-handedly before the whole world ., so why do not you bring up your own ideas (other than defending the military victory & DJ ), it will make some sense.”

    Again, spot on and on the spot the Srilal!I am thinking these days the horse is too busy pulling Our Majesty’s baggage cart so the donkey is left to be pulling the little cart on the Groundviews farms, hoping that one day he is also being called up to be pulling the bigger load!

    Metaphorically speaking of course! We are all knowing that the Dayan Master is no horse and the Blacker is no donkey!!

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Dear The Mervyn Silva, as we have noted elsewhere, kindly desist from poking fun at others. We all have a right to our opinion, and what this forum seeks to encourage is a civil exchange, not commentary coloured by personal jibes. Thank you.

  • Heshan

    SD,

    We all know that RW has zero credibility

    Looks like you just let the cat out of the bag! If you don’t support Ranil, then you support MR. The logic is simple: MR is the antithesis of Ranil. There is no in-between – you can’t combine any elements of MR with elements of Ranil. Let me finish by saying that you if believe RW had no credibility, then you really ought not find fault with TT. All of the proposals outlined by TT are far more in tune with MR’s idea of government, than with Ranil’s. I’m not necessarily implying that you’re a hypocrite but you really can’t condemn Ranil and TT at the same time, if you catch my drift.

  • http://deleted srilal

    [Edited out.]

    [Dear Srilal, please address the topic of the article. Thank you. GV.]

  • Heshan

    All of these meta-theorists forgot the phenomenon that Mao, a far greater philosopher, pointed to: ‘absolutely everything develops unevenly’. This is why the Russian revolution was not successfully replicated or followed in Europe, Vietnam’s liberation was not accompanied anywhere even in its neighbourhood and the Cuban revolution had to wait twenty years for the Nicaraguan counterpart to succeed.

    All of these – Mao’s philosophy, Russian revolution, Vietnam revolution, Cuban revolution – are complete and utter failures, as far as progressiveness is concerned. Russia, Vietnam, and to a certain extent China, have embraced either the West or some aspect of open-market economy policies, that have put their societies light years ahead of where they were earlier, under Mao, Stalin, etc. On the other hand, Cuba is still a dismal failure, with tens of thousands of Cubans attempting to flee the country by boat every year to Miami (a city in the USA).

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      And communist SE Asia could just as well point to the depressions and recessions of the 20th and 21st centuries in the west as proof of the failure of the capitalist model. All that any of this proves is that neither system works perfectly as theorised. Both require modification. A certain openness in the communist model, and increased state control in the capitalist model.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        Ha…ha…David…you said, “A certain openness in the communist model…” I think thats the understatement of this century and the last. Those who know about the repression that took place in communist countries must be laughing their guts out after reading your line about “A certain openness in the communist model…” We won’t be surprised if you were to sometime soon say that there needs to be, “NO openness in the Rajapaksa model…?

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        I was referring to economic models, Mr Dunce; no need to get your sarong in a tangle now :D

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    David, you are correct: at least the Communist model was replaced/evolved peacefully in the USSR and eastern Europe, unlike the record of captalism in Southern Europe and the Third world where any attempt at reform by elected governments were brutally overthrown by militaries which estabished torture states lasting for decades.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Its good fun to see that these anti-MR, pro-RW types are all way to the right. soon, they will; fall off the political map. All I can do is wish them a Happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year!

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    It is quite laughable that I am accused of somehow supporting Sinhala ultranationalism, when the strongest votaries of that ideology such as Susantha Goonetileka and Malinda Seneviratne have made it a vocation of attacking me for doing just the opposite! As for Geneva May 2009, the PNM helmd a press conference virtually the next day at which I was criticised by Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara. Just a few weeks ago the Divaina carried two items attacking me for my secularisation of the Ambassador’s Office and the multifaith, multicultural mutiethnic approach I have adopted especially on Independence Day!

    When I am attacked by the extremists of the Tamil and Sinhala Diasporas I know I am on the Middle Path.

    More importantly, it is sad to see that many of these critics place the cart before the horse. Who empowered Sinhala ultrantionalism? It was the unpatriotic character of the Sri Lankan cosmopolitan Right. Sir John generated the Sinhala backlash. Before him, the struggle was left led and North-South, i.e the Hartal; After him, the Sinhala Only cry took hold.

    Similarly, the UNP policies of the Dudley years gave rise to the JVP and the UF coalition victory. JRJ’s lopsided economic policies and pro-Western tilt/ IPKF presence triggered the JVP uprising.

    The JVP and JHU grew in response to the CBK package, the Sudu Nelum campaign and most dramatically RW’s CFA plus CBK’s PTOMS. It was CBK who conceded forty seats to the JVP, when MR opposed it.

    I leave you with this thought: Nalin de Silva , leading Jathika Chinthana ideologue was fired from Colombo campus by VC Prof Peiris , without a peep of social protest. That was during the centrist, multiethnic multireligious years of Premadasa. There was no manifest rise of the Sinhala ultras duringf his tenure, becaue his socioeconomic policies were balanced, social democratic, and his ethnic ^policies were enlightened. However, the Colombo cosmopolitan NGO types did not support him. They opposed him and sought shelter under and patronage from David Gladstone, in a precursor of today’s civil society opposition to both MR and the UNP reformists.

    MR is not the representative of the Sinhala far right. RW, Mangala and Ravi K cannot be your shield against the Sinhala far right; nor can SF when supported by the TNA! Only a moderate, centrist , pragmatic social democratic option can.

  • Heshan

    And communist SE Asia could just as well point to the depressions and recessions of the 20th and 21st centuries in the west as proof of the failure of the capitalist model.

    No comparison, Blacker, no comparison. Trying to compare an economic recession in Greece with the day-to-day in one of Stalin’s Gulags or Mao’s forced labor camps is about as useful as comparing a 60’s computer to an Apple iMac. The 60’s computer with its 1000 vacuum tubes and dozens of punch cards may work, but at what expense? Efficiency .

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      Well said Heshan…but don’t worry Blacker will most certainly twist your words and give us a ridiculous answer…

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      But we weren’t comparing Greece with Stalinist Russia, Heshan, though I’m sure you’d prefer to :D I was responding to your comment on east and southeast Asian communist nations’ limited use of some capitalist ideas. This can very well be compared to the disastrous economic policies of US financial institutions that resulted in a global recession; in the 20th century it actually led — albeit indirectly — to war with Japan. Clearly a totally unhindered, unsupervised capitalist model is also as unworkable as a closed communist one; which was my point; both require some modification. When compared, the modified communist model has been far more successful today — as evidenced by the economic boom in China and Vietnam — than the capitalist model in the US, where industry is dying and the dollar is failing against currencies like the euro, pound, and yen.

  • Heshan

    MR is not the representative of the Sinhala far right.

    Obviously, Sinhala nationalism did not begin with MR, but he has taken it to new heights – dangerous new levels, in fact, that deserve the strongest possible condemnation. A prime example being that he has hijacked the constitutional process to suit the needs of his family dynasty cum empire. As I have mentioned before, the Rajapakse’s are controlling 70% of the nation’s wealth . Winning the war may have been marginally beneficial to the Sinhalese populace, but it has been hugely beneficial for the Rajapakse clan, in terms of commissions from lucrative business contracts . Unfortunately, the populace does not seem to grasp this basic fact. Perhaps in 25-30 years they will, when, like Egypt, they protest against a stagnant despot, and demand the return of the billions he extorted through backdoor deals.

    Anyone who supports Rajapakse post-war is definitely a Sinhala nationalist .

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      One of Heshan’s later posts is a perfect illustration of what’s wrong with the pro-Ranil UNP Right, and helps us further this discussion. Let me quote:

      He writes:”… Winning the war may have been marginally beneficial to the Sinhalese populace, but it has been hugely beneficial for the Rajapakse clan, in terms of commissions from lucrative business contracts . Unfortunately, the populace does not seem to grasp this basic fact.”

      “Winning the war may have been marginally beneficial to the Sinhalese populace…?” Whaaa???

      Tell that to those who lost their limbs , eyesight and loved ones due to terrorist bomb blasts as well as those who no longer have to fear such a fate or worse befalling their schoolgoing children returning home by bus! Tell that to those who lost their dreams every time a political leader they supported and placed their hopes in, was murdered by the Tigers.

      “Winning the war has been marginally beneficial to the Sinhalese…but hugely beneficial to the Rajapakse clan…”

      C’mon: the ‘Rajapakse clan’ had/has bullet proof vests, armour plated vehicles and security details; the villagers in the former ‘border areas’, the commuters in private buses, and the office workers at the Ceylinco did not. Who do you think benefited more from the succesful termination of the war?

      Heshan also has misunderstood Egypt: no one there thinks that the liberation of the Suez by Nasser or the ’73 October crossing of the canal by Sadat (and Mubarak)was wrong. Similarly, whatever the fate of the regime, the positive verdict on the war will remain ingrained in the island’s historical chronicles.

      It is this view of the war that dooms a Ranil/Mangala/Ravi-ist UNP to political marginality, and makes the Reformists the only viable option for the opposition.

      Heshan objects to my statement that “MR is not the representative of the Sinhala far right”, but concludes saying “Anyone who supports Rajapakse post-war is definitely a Sinhala nationalist.

      So: a ‘Sinhala nationalist’ belongs to the ‘Sinhala far right’? It is this inability to distinguish between Sinhala and Tamil nationalism on the one hand, and Sinhala and Tamil ultranationalism on the other, that has been the bane of Sri Lanka and the de-legitimation of liberal politics on the island.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Dayan, if you’re expecting some sort of logical progression to Prof Heshan’s arguments, you’re seriously overestimating him. Did you by any chance read my post on guerrilla intellectualism? Vo Nguyen Heshan is the perfect example of this; there are so many twists and turns and retractions to his discourse, that even he can’t keep track of what he’s saying from one paragraph to the next; never mind one comment to the next.

  • Heshan

    *protest against stagnant despotism, e.g. Mubarak/Qaddafi

  • Heshan

    TT,

    This does not explain how the world’s most ruthless dictatorship – Saudi Arabia – stands firm! Saudi has a horrendous human rights record consistently. Its punishments, gender discrimination, total lack of democratic rights is shocking. Nepotism is much worse. They even give refuge to world’s most ruthless dictotors from other countries!

    That is because Saudi Arabia practices a strict interpretation of something called “Sharia Law.” On this forum, I posed a scenario for those who were bashing Western colonialists: had an Islamic administration governed Sri Lanka for even 500 years, how much of its culture and historical heritage would have been left intact? No one had a proper answer, instead positing rather irrelevant historical phenomena. But I am glad to see that you, at least, are aware of the dangers of Sharia Law – the logical culmination of Islam. In other words, if the power structure were reversed, and Islamic instead of Western ideology dominated the world today, Sharia Law would be far more prevalent, and you would find a lot more societies like that of Saudi Arabia.

  • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

    But it was earlier pointed out to you that Spain was ruled as an Islamic caliphate for centuries without any adverse result. You avoided responding to that.

  • Heshan

    But it was earlier pointed out to you that Spain was ruled as an Islamic caliphate for centuries without any adverse result. You avoided responding to that.

    Actually I did respond to that, but you were unable to comprehend my response. Now I pose a new theory:

    Since the Industrial Revolution, Andalusia has been an economically poor region in comparison with the rest of Spain and the European Union at large.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Spain

    What an irony, considering that Andalusia , the epicenter of Islamic administration in Spain, was ruled by the Muslims for 781 years! In contrast, Gailicia in Northwest Spain, which was ruled by the Muslims for only 28 years, is better off than Andalusia. In general, Northern Spain as a whole is economically better off than Southern Spain.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      “Actually I did respond to that, but you were unable to comprehend my response.”

      Perhaps that’s because your response didn’t answer the subject ;) as usual. Like your pal, TT, these unresolved issues often come back to bite you.

      “Now I pose a new theory:”

      Always a good idea when your old theory was rubbish.

      “Since the Industrial Revolution, Andalusia has been an economically poor region in comparison with the rest of Spain and the European Union at large. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Spain

      Hmm, but the article you link to doesn’t show any connection between Islamic rule of Andalusia and its current economic woes. Instead it claims that it was in fact the Catholic reconquista of Spain over the next five centuries that caused the decline of Muslim-majority areas. Wiki says, “The decline in revenue, and loss of technical skills, from the expulsion of Muslims from Aragon precipitated the downfall of Aragon, and the prominence of Castille – a reality which remains until today. Further, the loss of revenue and skills from Valencia lead to a shift of Catalan power from Valencia, to regions around Barcelona, which had far fewer Muslims and were thus less-affected.”

      “What an irony, considering that Andalusia , the epicenter of Islamic administration in Spain, was ruled by the Muslims for 781 years! In contrast, Gailicia in Northwest Spain, which was ruled by the Muslims for only 28 years, is better off than Andalusia. In general, Northern Spain as a whole is economically better off than Southern Spain.”

      In contrast to your “theory”, Andalusia has a higher GDP than Estremedura, which was reconquered by the Christians a century before. And further rubbishing your bigoted suggestion, your Christian Galicia is described as “among the 5 poorest regions of Spain and one of the least developed areas in the EU.” :D

      Since Andalusia was reconquered several centuries before the industrial revolution, and has been Christian ever since, isn’t it more likely (under your “logic”) that it is Christian rule that is responsible for the areas economic decline, and not Muslim rule?

      Isn’t the irony actually in the fact that Spain, the only country in western Europe ever to have been under Muslim rule (if rule that ended over five centuries ago can be relevant today), is considered the 20th most-developed country in the world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index ), ahead of the UK and Austria, which have been Christian for a thousand years, ahead of Singapore, and until 2007, ahead of Germany? It’s also 10th in the worldwide quality of life index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-Life_Index ), surpassing the US, Canada, Germany, France, the UK, and many other western countries.

      More pointedly, the Wiki article you linked to says that “compared to the treatment of minorities in European kingdoms during that time period, the Muslims were generally much more tolerant”

  • Heshan

    Dayan Jayatillake:

    Tell that to those who lost their limbs , eyesight and loved ones due to terrorist bomb blasts…

    The difficulty with your assessment is that it overstates the actual risk of getting caught to an LTTE bomb. I presume that you are capable of elementary mathematics. If there are 365 days in one year, then there are 10950 days in 30 years. Assume the war lasted 30 years, and that there were not more than 200 LTTE suicide attacks in total. This would imply that over the 30 year period, you had, at most, a 1.82% chance of getting caught to an LTTE bomb attack. :) Quite an astonishing figure, isn’t it? You were more likely to get hit by a bus or car at one of those poorly constructed pedestrian intersections in Colombo. I have actually verified this fact, based on Sri Lankan traffic data – rest assured the probability is far higher than 1.82% (for starters, there are more than 300 pedestrian mishaps annually . Of course, if you were a politician, the risk of getting caught to a bomb would probably be a lot higher, but it is also somewhat minimized by the presence of bodyguards. The other important point to note is that the LTTE could have launched far more suicide attacks had it chosen to. A bomb is not at all difficult to construct. However, at some point in time, Prabhakaran became conscious of international opinion and so LTTE bomb attacks occurred with less frequency.

    Who do you think benefited more from the succesful termination of the war?

    The war gave the Rajapakse’s numerous opportunities, most of which they have not hesitated to exploit: (I) rewrite certain parts of the Constitution, (II) send the Opposition into oblivion by harping upon its war-time incompetency, (III) place politically-connected (read: Rajapakse connected) individuals, and Rajapakse-friendly nations at the center of all major reconstruction projects, thereby setting in motion a cycle of Rajapakse-friendly kickbacks and commissions.

    no one there thinks that the liberation of the Suez by Nasser or the ’73 October crossing of the canal by Sadat (and Mubarak)was wrong.

    That is not what I pointed out. What I mentioned was how democracy is basically incompatible with traditional Islamic values, which in turn negates the notion of any “pro-democracy surge” in that part of the world. As an example, the Americans were able to rebuild Japan and Germany after WWII, but they could not do the same with Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not for lack of capital… Iraq has oil and Afghanistan has both oil and trillions worth of proven mineral reserves. Proper investment would ensure economic stability in these two nations for decades, if not centuries to come. But then, one only has to look at Saudi Arabia to see what an Islamo-centrist government does, even when financially secure. So to talk about a pro-democracy surge anywhere in the Mid-East, other than Israel, is absurd.

    a ‘Sinhala nationalist’ belongs to the ‘Sinhala far right’?

    A (Sinhala) nationalist who supports Rajapakse post war is definitely a right-wing Sinhala. Rajapakse has imposed more barriers on the Tamils than the tsunami. At the same time, he has done little to improve the standard of living of the average Sinhala person. So then the answer to the who’s who question is quite apparent: a Sinhala nationalist chooses to support Rajapakse because the latter is keeping the Tamils in check, which puts the Sinhala nationalist in the same league as the far-right nationalists.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      I just lurve this guy Heshan; he is so symptomatic of the Ranilista mindset.

      He is Sinhalaphobic and Islamophobic; the only folk I have hardly ever seen him criticize are the Tigers, the militants of the Tamil diaspora and the Ranil wing of the UNP.

      Contrast his view of the war with that of Lord Meghnad Desai, someone who has no contact whatsoever with the ‘ Rajapaksa clan’. Desai is Professor Emeritus at the London School of Economics and member of the House of Lords. In a piece entitled ‘Unity in Diversity: Sri Lanka @62’, Lord Desai writes:

      “Was Abraham Lincoln a war criminal? He took the US or at least its northern states to a war with the south, which resulted in the largest loss of lives in that nation’s history. The south was ruined and did not recover economically for at least 50 years.

      The Black slaves were freed, but their condition remained miserable for another 100 years. Lincoln fought in the name of the Union, not for the abolition of slavery, which did not happen till halfway through the War, while the Southern Confederacy fought in the name of States’ Rights…By some device or other, Rajapakse, whom many underestimated, took the decision that he would end the war regardless of the loss of life involved. The carnage was incredible but in the end, Prabhakaran was defeated and killed. The LTTE’s gamble had failed.

      It may sound callous to say this, but Rajapakse would be regarded as the saviour of his nation. Modern nations, especially post-colonial ones, value the integrity of their territory and do not entertain violent sub-nationalisms. India has had its share in Khalistan and in the many struggles in the north-east and continues to have problems in Kashmir. Yet, Indian citizens have allowed their government to ride roughshod over human rights as long as national integrity has been preserved…”

      So much for Heshan. As for his mathematics, the fact that there was a 1.82% chance of being blown up was precious comfort to those ( including those overseas) who agonized over whether their fathers , mothers or children would return home safely from work. It is a classic strategy of terrorism to slaughter some in order to strike terror into many, which is what the Tigers did. This does not make the elimination of that widespread terror, relatively insignificant.

      Prof Robert Pape asserts and empirically proves that the Tamil tigers fielded more suicide bombers than did all the Islamist groups put together. Which means that the fear of the Tigers was better founded than that of Islamo terrorism n the West, and that the vanquishing of the Tigers is as bigger or a bigger deal for the Sri Lankan people and Sri Lanka as a country, than would be a victory over Al Qaeda for the US and its allies.

      It is noteworthy that Heshan’s views are shared, if at all, only by the Tamil diaspora and the declining Ranil faction of the UNP, while the contrary view of the war is not only shared by the majority of the citizenry – and the governing coalition– but by the most popular personality of the OPPOSITION!. By the way, if MR is the ‘far right’, what is Ranil…?

    • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/ Mango

      Heshan,
      An interesting point about the ‘over-reaction’ by the SL state to ‘relatively insignificant’ civilian casualties caused by terrorist bombings (in the south) and not forgetting the civilians casualties caused in the North & East due to the long-running war.

      One tiny flaw, however. Deaths caused by traffic accidents and other ‘normal’ accidents are quite different to those caused by to bus and train bombs, no? A category error (= “things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another”)

      US road accident deaths in 2001 exceeded 38,000. Yet see how the West reacted to the 2,700+ deaths in NYC from the 9/11 attacks; a relentless global war against the perpetrators, without mercy or much regard for human rights and an absolute disregard for civilian casualties.

      There’s a huge gulf between accidental deaths and deliberately planned mass murder. I’m surprised that someone so well versed in logic would miss this.

      Most sentient beings understand and accept the risks involved in crossing busy junctions and driving on roads. They however, will not endure a seemingly endless series of targeted terrorist attacks on civilians. In Sri Lanka’s case, consider also the debilitating economic impact of a never-ending insurgency.

      Someone (I think it was indi.ca) encapsulated this well. “The ltte’s been playing chicken for a long time, but now they’re faced with a real hawk”.

      As for explaining away the relatively low level of success achieved by LTTE suicide squads in the South (2006-2009), it wasn’t because VP suddenly discovered “international opinion”. It was due to the vast majority of bombers and handlers being captured by Police/MI squads.

  • Heshan

    I don’t care if Lord Desai has credentials equivalent to that of Einstein – it’s simply preposterous to suggest Lincoln was a war criminal. Besides the Emancipation Proclamation, of which Lincoln was the prime architect, he is also noted for his magnanimity towards the South, specifically, the Confederacy, following the war. Rajapakse and his coterie of nationalists would do well to study this:

    “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…”

    — March 4, 1865 – Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

    http://www.factasy.com/forum/index.php?topic=835.30;wap2

    Perhaps Dayan Jayatillake, having professed his affection for Lincoln, can describe how the above quotation might be interpreted in the context of numerous high-security zones in Tamil areas, destruction of LTTE graveyards, locking up 300K Tamils in barbed wire internment camps, indefinitely imprisoning 15,000 or more ex-LTTE cadre without due process of law, continuing to empower security and police personnel with draconian powers via Emergency Regulations, selling off prime real estate in the North and East to China with zero consideration for community welfare, abrogating crucial sections of the Constitution designed to prevent nepotism, incarcerating journalists and political opponents, etc.

    So much for Rajapakse and Lincoln!

    The Black slaves were freed, but their condition remained miserable for another 100 years.

    As did the condition of most of the working class in Victorian England, and much of the rest of the world, at that point in time. Lord Desai has conveniently forgotten about the 10 year old children stuck in England’s coal mines and at textile mills spinning yarn for mere pennies, 12 hours a day. He has forgotten that women had little education, nor were they encouraged to work. In fact, if Lord Desai bothers to read “Great Expectations”, by a most esteemed countryman of his from yesteryear, he would see that education was the prerogative of the privileged few, because public education was virtually non-existent until the 20th century. So this notion of the Blacks’ being miserable for another 100 years, all because of Lincoln’s apathy, is a ridiculous assumption, least of all, a basis for judging Lincoln’s culpability in alleged “war crimes.”

    By some device or other, Rajapakse, whom many underestimated, took the decision that he would end the war regardless of the loss of life involved.

    In other words, Desai is admitting that Sri Lanka violated all manner of UN obligations, not least of all the Geneva Conventions, which are designed to minimize civilian injury during armed conflict. In effect, Desai is admitting Rajapakse – and by extension Sri Lanka – is guilty of war crimes .

    It may sound callous to say this, but Rajapakse would be regarded as the saviour of his nation.

    If Anagarika Dharmapala had conceived of an “ubermensch”, it would be none other than Rajapakse. Here is someone detached from the urban elite, who in fact, detests the urban elite (save for the extravagant tastes of the latter). Here is someone who, for the rest of his life, will proclaim to the masses that the victory over the LTTE was the single most defining moment in modern Sri Lankan history. Here is someone whose idea of Tamil empowerment is to give Devandana, Karuna, and Pillaiyan – individuals detested by Tamils near and far – premier civil service positions. Here is someone who prefers to suppress every Tamil concern and every legitimate Tamil political grievance with military force alone. Here is someone who will do little for Dharmapala’s other cherished enemy – the Muslims. Already there are reports of Sinhalese enroaching upon Muslim lands in the East. The question arises, then, of whom is Rajapakse a savior? The “modern-day” answer is somewhat more complex: (I) the elite Sinhalese nationalists, ala Dayan J, who have some personal grudge to bear against the UNP and/or Tamils (II) the poverty-stricken Sinhalese nationalist who has been told the LTTE is the source of his every woe,(III) India, which is secretly glad that SL is keeping its Tamil population in check (thereby sending a strong message to Tamil Nadu), and (IV) certain failed nations such as Venezuala, Libya, China, Russia, Cuba etc. They may not consider Rajapakse a “savior” but count him in their anti-Western alliance.

    the fact that there was a 1.82% chance of being blown up was precious comfort to those

    It does not diminish the value of the statistic, however. What it shows, beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt, is that the majority of Sri Lankans were never at risk from any LTTE bomb /b>. The average Sri Lankan had a good chance of winning the lottery compared to getting caught to an LTTE bomb. After all, the lottery occurred on far more than 200 occasions in the same 30 year span. Yes, the odds are “one in a million”, but when you consider how the number of buses the LTTE could have blown up, or trains, or buildings, or airplanes, or stores, and when you consider that there was never more than 1 suicide attack in Colombo in 1 given day, then the difference in odds becomes less and less. I am not downplaying the severity of an LTTE attack, by any means. I am only pointing that the possibility of such an attack was grossly exaggerated by the state-controlled media, which in effect resulted in the Southern populace imbibing an unnecessary fear psychosis. My point is easily made when, as I said before, the LTTE could have launched many more attacks than it did.

    Prof Robert Pape asserts and empirically proves that the Tamil tigers fielded more suicide bombers than did all the Islamist groups put together.

    In that case, Robert Pape is wrong.

    “Frequency of attacks

    “Determining the exact number of suicide bomber attacks in Iraq is a nearly impossible task. Attacks are so frequent that the global media no longer bother to investigate each attack.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_bombings_in_Iraq_since_2003

    In fact, the statistics speak for themselves:

    2003: 25 suicide bombs
    2004: 140 suicide bombs
    2005: 478 suicide bombs
    2006: 297 suicide bombs
    2007: 442 suicide bombs
    2008: 257 suicide bombs
    2009: 76 suicide bombs
    2010: 44 suicide bombs

    But these are only the attacks that have been reported! They also don’t include the attacks in Afghanistan, as well as attacks by AQ on US targets, as well as Palestinian suicide attacks. Anyway, its obvious that Pape is wrong.

    It is noteworthy that Heshan’s views are shared, if at all, only by the Tamil diaspora and the declining Ranil faction of the UNP

    My views are agreeable with common sense, and do not demand justification from Mao’s Little Red Book or Mahinda Chinthanaya or Castro’s, as yours seem to do.

    By the way, if MR is the ‘far right’, what is Ranil…?

    A liberal, as reflected by way of his economic policies.

  • Heshan

    He is Sinhalaphobic and Islamophobic

    Giving Tamils their due rights will expedite the process of island-wide reconstruction. It is true that I was never inherently opposed to the idea of an “Eelam.” That is because I envisioned the LTTE handing over power to a more moderate Tamil group at some point in time. On the other hand, I never opposed a federal solution either. Keep in mind, before labeling “Eelam” extreme, that a particular alternative – absolutely no political solution to address Tamil grievances is just as extreme. Finally, when you consider that what we are witnessing today (indeed, what we have witnessed for at least 60 years) is the latter, then “Eelam” does not seem to be on the extreme end after all.

    Islamaphobic – well, when you move your chalet from Geneva to Riyadh, we’ll discuss that. Not to mention, when Sri Lankan housemaids return with what they’ve earned, instead of either in a casket or nails in their body.

  • Heshan

    The following pearl of wisdom a la Dayan Jayatilleke is most revealing. Note, I am quoting him ad verbatim:

    “The Tamil guerillas, while being in the phase of ‘Strategic Defensive’, are accumulating strength through a series of relatively minor tactical offensives. The massive retaliation by the State reveals to the Tamil people their enemy in all its bestial ferocity. But this is not all. The repression which, making no distinction between the armed combatants and unarmed youth, encompasses in its scale and scope, the entire Tamil nation in the North. Every Tamil there, by the very fact of his or her Tamilness, is deemed an enemy and treated as such in practice. This forces the Tamil people to see themselves as the State sees them at the very time it tries to deny it, i.e., as a separate nation! Thus, the inexorable dialectic of vanguard violence and state repression enables the Tamil people to know themselves and know their enemy. It raises their political consciousness from the level of a nation un sich to that of a nation fur sich. The dialectic also forces sectors like the TULF and the Sinhala Left to take up positions on either side of the fence. Trying to straddle the barbed wire proving uncomfortable to their lower extremities.

    http://www.sangam.org/2008/03/Dissecting.php?uid=2804

    Bestial ferocity, Dayan? Every Tamil is an enemy of the (oppressive) State? Nice choice of words there. :)

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Just caught up with page one of the comments. Heshan seems to think that he has a ‘killer quote’ from me on the Tamil armed struggle. That’s a joke. That paragraph was from an article published in 1981 or early ’82 in the Lanka Guardian when I was 24 or had just turned 25 and was in the US as a doctoral student on a Fulbright scholarship (which I dropped out of when I came briefly back home for the Oct ’82 Presidential elections and plunged into full-time revolutionary activism when JRJ opted for a coercive, fraudulent referendum, closing of the path of parliamentary change). The article does not refer to the LTTE, but to the Tamil guerrillas. My relations at the time were with the EPRLF, and the armed actions included those by the (left-wing) PLOTE (e.g. the Anacottai raid). Most importantly, this was years before the Tigers attacked unarmed civilians ( that was in ’84) and while in upstate New York I was not to know that internecine killings had already commenced with the Tigers’ murder of Sundaram of PLOTE.

      I have never once written anything endorsing or supporting the LTTE or Prabhakaran. Who should know better than Anton Balasingham, who, writing as Brahmagnani, named me as “one who stands out” among Southern critics of the Tigers “for his pathological hatred of the LTTE”. Anyone who knows the history of politics and ideas would know that many who supported the liberation movements in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, turned on the Cambodian Khmer Rouge when the character of the Pol Pot forces became known, and endorsed their overthrow by the Vietnamese forces. So too with the Tamil armed struggle. I viewed it with sympathy in the early ’80s, when and so long as the Tigers weren’t in charge, civilians had not been targeted, internecine murders were not known to be occurring and the Left component which stood for an all-Lanka revolution( EPRLF, PLOTE) were strong. I turned against it when those conditions changed, and the LTTE had degenerated into( or revealed itself) as a fascist force.

      MR Narayanswamy, expert on the LTTE and biographer of Prabhakaran confirms my periodization when he divides the struggle into pre-and post 1984. ’84 was the decisive year of transformation, according to him, ending what he calls ‘ the romantic phase’ of the Tamil armed struggle.

  • Belle

    This selective quoting of Lord Meghnad Desai’s article makes it sound as if he thinks Rajapakse is a hero. The point he is making here is that the people of Sri Lanka think he is a hero because he brought territorial integrity to the country, and that generally people of modern and post-colonial nations think along the same lines. That’s why he brings in the Abraham Lincoln comparison.

    Desai’s ambivalence about thinking of Rajapaksa as a hero is revealed in his recognition that there could be something “callous”in regarding Rajapaksa as the “saviour of the nation”. As he notes, the people who regard such characters as heroes “have allowed their government to ride roughshod over human rights as long as national integrity has been preserved.” Comparing Indians and Sri Lankans in this regard, he says “the largest minority [in India]has been by and large shielded from the sort of suffering that Sri Lankan Tamils experienced.”

    The last paragraph of his article tells us that Desai does not regard national unity as the same as territorial integrity, that territorial integrity has its limits for him:

    “The best way forward is shown by South Africa, where the end of apartheid was achieved without a war. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was vital to let bitter enemies confront each other and work through their anger and grief. It could not have been easy. I met Albie Sachs, now a judge in the Supreme Court of South Africa, who told me how he met the man responsible for his loss of limb, but they did talk it through. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was instrumental in making the Truth and Reconciliation Commission possible. Now someone of his stature has to come forward from within Sri Lanka and begin the process of binding the wounds. A nation is whole not just when its territory is single but only when its people feel they all belong to it equally.”

    Dr D J wants to make it seem that Desai is on the side of the Sinhalese (as opposed to Heshan’s alleged Sinhalaphobia). Here is how Desai gives an account of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict in that very same article:

    “The origins of the civil war are in the high-handed behaviour of the Sinhala majority who subverted the Constitution Sri Lanka had at Independence and abridged the rights of the Tamil minority, downgraded their language and discriminated against them in jobs. For 25 years after 1956, when the first ‘Sinhala Only’ legislation was enacted, the Tamils tried to negotiate, but the majority always won. The Tamils split into democratic and militant factions and in 1983 the LTTE began the armed struggle. Many Presidents tried to seek reconciliation, but within the Sinhala majority there was also a split between those who would seek peace and those who wanted war.”

    It’s clear that for Desai, attaining territorial integrity is a necessary evil. What matters is what the nation does with that territorial integrity. That’s where heroism enters.

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticleNew.asp?col=&section=opinion&xfile=data/opinion/2010/February/opinion_February21.xml

  • Heshan

    Mango,

    and not forgetting the civilians casualties caused in the North & East due to the long-running war.

    Civilian casualties which could have been easily avoided if the South was willing to devolve power from the Center.

    One tiny flaw, however. Deaths caused by traffic accidents and other ‘normal’ accidents are quite different to those caused by to bus and train bombs, no?

    The only difference lies in the ability of the GOSL propaganda machine to sensationalize LTTE bombs, whereas sensationalizing a traffic mishap is rather difficult.

    A category error (= “things of one kind are presented as if they belonged to another”)

    There is no error, my friend. You have been exposed to censored forms of media for so long that your mind cannot accept the LTTE were anything more than terrorists. In your mind, the LTTE have been dehumanized to the extent that any sort of action taken against them is automatically justified.

    US road accident deaths in 2001 exceeded 38,000.

    But the US population in 2001 was 285,669,915. In other words, if you take 38,000 as the total number of road accident deaths, then the percentage of Americans caught in fatal road accidents was 0.00001% of the population. :) Is it really useful to talk about a phenomenon that does not affect even 1/100th of the total population? :)

    Yet see how the West reacted to the 2,700+ deaths in NYC from the 9/11 attacks; a relentless global war against the perpetrators,

    The war in Iraq was not justified, but the war in Afghanistan certainly was. The Taliban refused to hand over Bin-Laden. Neither is it is the case that Bin-Laden is some lunatic on the fringe that talks and does little else; this guy is an established billionaire with plenty of resources who has declared global jihad on the West – he will not rest until the USA has left Saudi Arabia and Israel has ceased to exist. If you believe either of the two goals are remotely possible, then Bin-Laden may have a case. But I don’t think you can compare Bin-Laden to Prabhakaran. Tamils are, for all practical purposes, native to the island of Sri Lanka. They sought, and still seek, possession of what is rightfully theirs, which is basically a fraction of the island’s landmass.

    without mercy or much regard for human rights and an absolute disregard for civilian casualties.

    Now where did you get that idea? If the West wanted, it could have vaporized Iraq and Afghanistan into permanent oblivion via nuclear weapons. In fact, the type of war that it is fighting right now is very much in keeping with established standards of human rights and conventions.

    There’s a huge gulf between accidental deaths and deliberately planned mass murder. I’m surprised that someone so well versed in logic would miss this.

    That still doesn’t take away from the fact that the majority of the Sri Lankan population were never at any risk from LTTE bombs. Motivations don’t matter here.

    Most sentient beings understand and accept the risks involved in crossing busy junctions and driving on roads.

    If the State media had not dehumanized the LTTE to the extent that it did, the sentient beings who happen to reside in SL would have understood and accepted the risks involved in taking public transportation, without resorting to an unjustified fear psychosis about being the next bomb victim. I did not see the American media making a huge fuss about bombs after 911, or similarly, the British media making a huge fuss about bombs after the London subway bombings. Doubtless, people in both of these nations were (and still are) aware that another bomb attack is still possible at any moment, but the media has not repeated the “terrorist” mantra so many times everyday for so long that people are instinctively paranoid.

    They however, will not endure a seemingly endless series of targeted terrorist attacks on civilians.

    Again, it depends on the fear psychosis. Other than D.M. Jeyaratne, who seems to think the LTTE are still training in India, the LTTE did not make anyone go insane.

    In Sri Lanka’s case, consider also the debilitating economic impact of a never-ending insurgency.

    The economic impact stems from the fact that 60% of the budget is devoted to military expenditures, not suicide bombs.

    As for explaining away the relatively low level of success achieved by LTTE suicide squads in the South (2006-2009), it wasn’t because VP suddenly discovered “international opinion”. It was due to the vast majority of bombers and handlers being captured by Police/MI squads.

    No, it was due to the LTTE’s recognizance of international opinion. How could the Diaspora, for example, create an effective political lobby in the West if the LTTE were setting off bombs everyday?

    • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/ Mango

      Mango,
      Civilian casualties which could have been easily avoided if the South was willing to devolve power from the Center.
      VP had as much as he was ever going to get (the elephant in the room’s India), but I guess he didn’t know when to stop. Would I be wrong to infer that you approve of violence directed purely against civilian targets to attain political objectives? I mean, it’s a perfectly logical position to hold as long your cause achieves its’ objectives. If not, be prepared for the worst!

      “The only difference lies in the ability of the GOSL propaganda machine to sensationalize LTTE bombs, whereas sensationalizing a traffic mishap is rather difficult.”

      There’s no need to sensationalise LTTE bombs. They’re already sensational and unusual enough on their own merit. That you’re unable to distinguish between accidental death & violent, pre-meditated death/murder is clear.

      “There is no error, my friend. You have been exposed to censored forms of media for so long that your mind cannot accept the LTTE were anything more than terrorists. In your mind, the LTTE have been dehumanized to the extent that any sort of action taken against them is automatically justified.”

      My media exposure’s fine, thanks. The LTTE weren’t just terrorists. They were separatist insurgency movement who used terror as a key tactic to achieve their aims. It would’ve been a miracle if an organisation like the LTTE hadn’t appeared after anti-Tamil riots, progroms etc. But they went from being ‘freedom fighters’ to being intransigent ‘protectors’ and the key impediment to a peaceful SL. The action taken to completely crush them was fully justified.

      “But the US population in 2001 was 285,669,915. In other words, if you take 38,000 as the total number of road accident deaths, then the percentage of Americans caught in fatal road accidents was 0.00001% of the population. Is it really useful to talk about a phenomenon that does not affect even 1/100th of the total population? “

      This is my point exactly. The West took the tiny numbers (of Westerners) murdered by AQ in NY very seriously. The lives of hundreds of Kenyans murdered by AQ in its 1998 attack against the US embassy didn’t really matter, no?

      The war in Iraq was not justified, but the war in Afghanistan certainly was. The Taliban refused to hand over Bin-Laden. Neither is it is the case that Bin-Laden is some lunatic on the fringe ……….. Tamils are, for all practical purposes, native to the island of Sri Lanka. They sought, and still seek, possession of what is rightfully theirs, which is basically a fraction of the island’s landmass.”

      Agree, the West had no choice with Afghanistan. Of course the Tamils are native Sri Lankans and only deluded racists try to argue otherwise. But “possession of what is rightfully theirs, which is basically a fraction of the island’s landmass.” is not even remotely possible. It’s not going to happen – not after a failed 30 year struggle for that ‘landmass’.

      “without mercy or much regard for human rights and an absolute disregard for civilian casualties.”
      Now where did you get that idea? If the West wanted, it could have vaporized Iraq and Afghanistan into permanent oblivion via nuclear weapons. In fact, the type of war that it is fighting right now is very much in keeping with established standards of human rights and conventions.

      Come off it Heshan. Nuclear weapons were never seriously on the West’s agenda against AQ in Afghanistan. It would’ve been massively disproportional! :)

      If you believe that assassinations, death squads, kidnapping, torture and killing awkward journalists is “keeping with established standards of human rights”, the West has done all of the above (as has Sri Lanka) and kept to their human rights Gold Standard.

      http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/sri-lanka-can-never-beat-the-west/

      Which is your favourite hit squad? Nato’s Task Force 373 or Sri Lanka’s Black Cats? Tough choice, no?

      The SLA even fought an ‘environmentally sustainable’ manner, without using DU (depleted uranium ammo), unlike human-rights loving West, whose massive use of DU in Iraq has resulted in ‘three-headed Iraqi babies:

      “According to studies and eyewitness accounts over the last few years, Fallujah, an Iraqi city that was practically obliterated by U.S. heavy artillery in two major offensives in 2004, is experiencing a staggering rate of birth defects among its local population. The situation echoes similar reports from Basra that began to circulate after the first Gulf War in 1991.
      The litany of horrors is gut-wrenching: babies born with two heads, one eye in the middle of the face, missing limbs, too many limbs, brain damage, cardiac defects, abnormally large heads, eyeless, missing genitalia, riddled with tumors. Upon touring a clinic in Fallujah in March of last year, the BBC’s John Simpson reported, “we were given details of dozens upon dozens of cases of children with serious birth defects … one photograph I saw showed a newborn baby with three heads.” Later, at the main U.S.-funded hospital in the city, “a stream of parents arrived” with children who had limb defects, spinal conditions, and “other problems.” Authorities in Fallujah reportedly warned women to hold off on having babies at all.”

      http://www.amconmag.com/blog/children-of-war/

      That still doesn’t take away from the fact that the majority of the Sri Lankan population were never at any risk from LTTE bombs. Motivations don’t matter here.
      Most sentient beings understand and accept the risks involved in crossing busy junctions and driving on roads.

      The actual risk from terrorism is infinitesimally small, but real enough (and the effects debilitating enough) for all governments facing such attacks to make a choice. Either concede (e.g. Spain exiting Iraq after the Madrid bombs) or fight (e.g. Sri Lanka).

      “If the State media had not dehumanized the LTTE to the extent that it did, the sentient beings who happen to reside in SL would have understood and accepted the risks involved in taking public transportation, without resorting to an unjustified fear psychosis about being the next bomb victim.:

      I guess the sentient beings understood the risks and were fed up playing the bomb lottery. The ‘fear phycosis’ is very real and applies equally in the North & East, when they were at risk from cross-fire.

      I did not see the American media making a huge fuss about bombs after 911, or similarly, the British media making a huge fuss about bombs after the London subway bombings. Doubtless, people in both of these nations were (and still are) aware that another bomb attack is still possible at any moment, but the media has not repeated the “terrorist” mantra so many times everyday for so long that people are instinctively paranoid.

      You’re joking or creating an alternate reality universe of your own – Heshanworld, perhaps? The paranoia and panic seen in the US & UK is so well documented that it is laughable for you to even suggest that a huge fuss wasn’t made after each of those terrorist incidents. A huge fuss continues to be made 10 years after 9/11 and 6 years after 7/7.

      They however, will not endure a seemingly endless series of targeted terrorist attacks on civilians.
      Again, it depends on the fear psychosis. Other than D.M. Jeyaratne, who seems to think the LTTE are still training in India, the LTTE did not make anyone go insane.

      There’s no end to govt ministers making idiotic comments – DM being the latest. Undoubtedly the LTTE bogeyman factor’s alive and well in SL and will continue to be so for some time yet.

      You want fear psychosis? In US airports the PA system warns passengers that even making a joke about a bomb threat is cause for immediate arrest.

      The economic impact stems from the fact that 60% of the budget is devoted to military expenditures, not suicide bombs.

      Partially true. But you omitted the economic consequences of terrorism. Foreign investment, tourism-related revenue, insurance etc. etc.

      No, it was due to the LTTE’s recognizance of international opinion. How could the Diaspora, for example, create an effective political lobby in the West if the LTTE were setting off bombs everyday?

      The LTTE worrying about its image in the West? Another good joke. The only countries that mattered were India & US who’d both had enough of VP’s nonsense. Bush (for all his many faults) can’t be faulted on backing SL to the hilt. The LTTE created a diaspora lobby in the West by promising and delivering block votes to their favoured politicians.

      [Edited out. Dear Mango, please provide an official or credible link to that particular poster. Thank you. GV]

  • Heshan

    Thanks for the clarification, Belle. I almost thought Desai had vindicated Rajapakse.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    The matter of Meghnad Desai and Belle’s spin, is easily resolved by reproducing the entire article which I shall do soon.

    In the meanwhile, Heshan has done us an enormous favour or two. He has shown that he does not know the difference between liberalism and neoliberalism. If Ranil were a liberal (as Heshan says) rather than what he is, a neo- liberal, he would not have broken with a 50 year tradition and organisationally affliated the UNP with the International Democratic Union (IDU), of which the US Republicans and the UK Conservatives are prominent members but the US Democrats are manifestly not! ( By the way it is at this point, in ’96 or ’97, that I stopped supporting Ranil and began criticisng him publicly).

    Heshan has also confirmed that he supported and still supports the cause of Tamil Eelam and the cessation of a part of Sri Lanka and thereby dismembering our small island home. Furthermore he has confirmed his abiding sympathy for the Tamil Tigers and has no criticism to make of them. In his book the Sinhalese and MR in particular are infinitely worse. In his account of the war, the Tiger suicide network was not ripped out by the Sri Lankna armed forces but unilaterally ceased to operate in a gentlemanly gesture to international opinion. In any case, they were no big deal and eplode only a reasonable number of human bombs, wittingly kiling unarmed civilians.

    With all these views, Heshan who also dislikes India,continues to support and applaud Ranil. No wonder the electorate does not and will not.

    In a priceless gem of wisdom, Heshan actually classifies Russia and China as “failing nations”. I know of no serious mind that agrees. Perhaps he could cite one.If the inclusion of Russia is merely amusing, the inclusion of China as a failing nation (Barack Obama, unveiling his G2 formula proclaimed that the destiny of the 21st century will be determined by the USA and China) is well beyond the ambit of rationality. I shall therefore cease to debate him.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      He also thinks Malaysia is a failed nation because it’s Muslim :D Debating Heshan is like a fly swatter debating a fly — there’s not much debate, just lots of squashed fly.

    • Belle

      “The matter of Meghnad Desai and Belle’s spin, is easily resolved by reproducing the entire article which I shall do soon.”

      My “spin”? And yours is a true representation? Since when did Marxist critics see language as transparent?

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Unity in Diversity Meghnad Desai

    4 February 2010 Was Abraham Lincoln a war criminal? He took the US or at least its northern states to a war with the south, which resulted in the largest loss of lives in that nation’s history. The south was ruined and did not recover economically for at least 50 years.

    The Black slaves were freed, but their condition remained miserable for another 100 years. Lincoln fought in the name of the Union, not for the abolition of slavery, which did not happen till halfway through the War, while the Southern Confederacy fought in the name of States’ Rights. Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, remained a hero in the south as did General Robert E Lee. Lincoln remains a hero not just for the Americans but the world over.

    I write this because within India’s neighbourhood we have had a civil war, which has just ended. The man who led the nation to a victory has just been re-elected President. Yet he is widely reviled internationally and even within Sri Lanka. Except that a majority of his people re-elected him, Mahinda Rajapakse has few friends in high places. There are allegations of fraud and from all signs we have, the Tamil minorities and other non-Sinhala groups voted for his rival Sarath Fonseka. The issue of the relief and rehabilitation of the Tamil refugees remains urgent.

    The origins of the civil war are in the high-handed behaviour of the Sinhala majority who subverted the Constitution Sri Lanka had at Independence and abridged the rights of the Tamil minority, downgraded their language and discriminated against them in jobs. For 25 years after 1956, when the first ‘Sinhala Only’ legislation was enacted, the Tamils tried to negotiate, but the majority always won. The Tamils split into democratic and militant factions and in 1983 the LTTE began the armed struggle. Many Presidents tried to seek reconciliation, but within the Sinhala majority there was also a split between those who would seek peace and those who wanted war. I was in Sri Lanka when, during the election in 1999, Chandrika Kumaratunga was hit by a bomb during campaign and lost sight in her eye. When the polling ended, there was a deathly silence in the streets of Colombo. Sri Lankans may enjoy the oldest democracy in South Asia, but they lack the joie de vivre that Indians bring to elections.

    This is because the majority was as divided as the nation itself was between the majority and the minority. This is also why the war dragged on. By some device or other, Rajapakse, whom many underestimated, took the decision that he would end the war regardless of the loss of life involved. The carnage was incredible but in the end, Prabhakaran was defeated and killed. The LTTE’s gamble had failed.

    It may sound callous to say this, but Rajapakse would be regarded as the saviour of his nation. Modern nations, especially post-colonial ones, value the integrity of their territory and do not entertain violent sub-nationalisms. India has had its share in Khalistan and in the many struggles in the north-east and continues to have problems in Kashmir. Yet, Indian citizens have allowed their government to ride roughshod over human rights as long as national integrity has been preserved. What is more, the largest minority has been by and large shielded from the sort of suffering that Sri Lankan Tamils experienced.

    The best way forward is shown by South Africa, where the end of apartheid was achieved without a war. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was vital to let bitter enemies confront each other and work through their anger and grief. It could not have been easy. I met Albie Sachs, now a judge in the Supreme Court of South Africa, who told me how he met the man responsible for his loss of limb, but they did talk it through. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was instrumental in making the Truth and Reconciliation Commission possible. Now someone of his stature has to come forward from within Sri Lanka and begin the process of binding the wounds. A nation is whole not just when its territory is single but only when its people feel they all belong to it equally.

    Eminent economist Lord Meghnad?Desai is a professor emeritus?of the London School of Economics
    © Indian Express

  • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

    “Civilian casualties which could have been easily avoided if the South was willing to devolve power from the Center.”

    What would have in fact reduced civilian casualties would have been if the Tigers hadn’t used them as human shields. Devolution had already begun in 1987 with the 13th Amendment. However, the Tigers went to war anyway. Between 2001 and 2004, the GoSL under RW was ready to devolve power through federalism, but the Tigers went back to war.

    “The only difference [between traffic accidents and suicide bombings] lies in the ability of the GOSL propaganda machine to sensationalize LTTE bombs, whereas sensationalizing a traffic mishap is rather difficult.”

    Did the fact that one is an accident and one is deliberate somehow escape your expansive intellect?

    “There is no error, my friend. You have been exposed to censored forms of media for so long that your mind cannot accept the LTTE were anything more than terrorists. In your mind, the LTTE have been dehumanized to the extent that any sort of action taken against them is automatically justified.”

    And you have been exposed to Tiger propaganda for so long that your mind cannot accept them as terrorists. In your mind, the Tigers have been glorified to the extent that any sort of action against them is unjustified.

    “But the US population in 2001 was 285,669,915. In other words, if you take 38,000 as the total number of road accident deaths, then the percentage of Americans caught in fatal road accidents was 0.00001% of the population. :) Is it really useful to talk about a phenomenon that does not affect even 1/100th of the total population?”

    Doesn’t that miniscule percentage highlight even further how miniscule the casualties in the WTC were, and how much of an overreaction the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were? But more to the point, if traffic accidents are an irrelevant comparison, why did you bring it up in the first place? It’s always amusing to see you quickly declare something irrelevant when it shows you up to be wrong :D

    “The war in Iraq was not justified, but the war in Afghanistan certainly was. The Taliban refused to hand over Bin-Laden. Neither is it is the case that Bin-Laden is some lunatic on the fringe that talks and does little else; this guy is an established billionaire with plenty of resources who has declared global jihad on the West – he will not rest until the USA has left Saudi Arabia and Israel has ceased to exist. If you believe either of the two goals are remotely possible, then Bin-Laden may have a case.”

    But bin Laden was saying and doing all that before 9/11, but the US didn’t invade anybody. So it’s clear that 9/11, an incident of miniscule actual casualties, was the spark that induced the US to invade and kill hundreds of thousands. If as you say, bin Laden has no chance of getting the US out of Saudi and destroying Israel, it’s even more clear that 9/11 was the US’ sole motivation, and a bit of an overreaction I’m sure you’ll agree.

    “But I don’t think you can compare Bin-Laden to Prabhakaran. Tamils are, for all practical purposes, native to the island of Sri Lanka. They sought, and still seek, possession of what is rightfully theirs, which is basically a fraction of the island’s landmass.”

    But bin Laden and AQ are also native to the Middle East and are seeking possession of what is rightly theirs; their land, their religion, etc. The Taliban too is native to Afghanistan and are simply fighting invaders who have occupied their lands.

    “Now where did you get that idea? If the West wanted, it could have vaporized Iraq and Afghanistan into permanent oblivion via nuclear weapons. In fact, the type of war that it is fighting right now is very much in keeping with established standards of human rights and conventions.”

    Isn’t that a bit like Gotabhaya saying that if the GoSL wanted to wipe out the Tamils, the SLAF would have bombed them down to their pottus? The fact is, the US cannot use nukes in this day and age against an enemy basically fighting with just small arms and suicide bombers. Besides, it’s a bit hard to steal oil after a country has been radiated.

    “That still doesn’t take away from the fact that the majority of the Sri Lankan population were never at any risk from LTTE bombs. Motivations don’t matter here.”

    And the majority of Americans are not at risk from AQ either. But the point isn’t whether you can afford to lose a few hundred or a few thousand because the majority are OK; a government’s duty is to be the controller and dispenser of all violence within its borders.

    “If the State media had not dehumanized the LTTE to the extent that it did, the sentient beings who happen to reside in SL would have understood and accepted the risks involved in taking public transportation, without resorting to an unjustified fear psychosis about being the next bomb victim.”

    But wasn’t it the Tiger habit of placing bombs in trains and buses repeatedly and inflicting casualties on innocent civilians the cause of that fear? Under your logic, the Tamils should also have understood and accepted the risks of living in Sri Lanka without resorting to unjustified calls for separation in fear of being the next riot victim?

    “I did not see the American media making a huge fuss about bombs after 911″

    Why would they, since there were no bombs involved in the 9/11 attacks. On the other hand, why does Jim Kuypers say in Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age that “the press failed America in its coverage on the War on Terror”? Why does he go on to say that he “detected massive bias on the part of the press” and that the mainstream media is an “anti-democratic institution” that had misinformed the public? Why is it that S Lustick says in Trapped in the War on Terror that “the media have given constant attention to possible terrorist-initiated catastrophes and to the failures and weaknesses of the government’s response”? Why does he also say “the War on Terror is disconnected from the real but remote threat terrorism poses, and that the generalized War on Terror began as part of the justification for invading Iraq, but then took on a life of its own, fueled by media coverage”? David Barstow won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting by connecting the Department of Defense to “over 75 retired generals supporting the Iraq War on TV and radio networks.” He says “the Department of Defense recruited the retired generals to sell the war to the American public.” Barstow reported “the Bush administration used its control over access of information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse.”</em Need I go on?

    “or similarly, the British media making a huge fuss about bombs after the London subway bombings.”

    Really? Here’s a headline from Britain’s Daily Mail after the August 2006 hoax, a year after the subway bombings: “Britain faces greatest danger since World War II, warns Reid”, the BBC website at the time: “Terror ‘may force freedom curbs'”, and another BBC headline quoting Home Secretary John Reid: “While I am confident that the security services and police will deliver 100% effort and 100% dedication, they cannot guarantee 100% success”. Here’s one from The Guardian: “Mass Murder Terror Plot Uncovered”. Sky News: “The aim of the plot was to blow up planes over UK and US cities” Should I keep going? :D

    “Doubtless, people in both of these nations were (and still are) aware that another bomb attack is still possible at any moment, but the media has not repeated the “terrorist” mantra so many times everyday for so long that people are instinctively paranoid.”

    Really? Then why is it that Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London, declared in July 2006 that “the media had helped create a climate of suspicion by playing on people’s fears”?

    “Again, it depends on the fear psychosis. Other than D.M. Jeyaratne, who seems to think the LTTE are still training in India, the LTTE did not make anyone go insane.”

    But you yourself admitted that there was a fear psychosis prior to 2009.

    “The economic impact stems from the fact that 60% of the budget is devoted to military expenditures, not suicide bombs.”

    Er… yes, that would be because we aren’t building any suicide bombs ;) just trying to prevent those who are.

    “No, it was due to the LTTE’s recognizance of international opinion. How could the Diaspora, for example, create an effective political lobby in the West if the LTTE were setting off bombs everyday?”

    So VP told his suicide bombers to make sure they missed their targets? He told them to blow themselves up but to miss Gotabhaya, and to only wound SF? If what you say is true, why is that the Tigers didn’t stop suicide bombing instead of just becoming crap at it? :D

    • Not-A-Rajapaksa

      For a moment there I thought I my sight was even more seriously impaired than it is. Then I realised I wasn’t reading Dayan J in stereo, as it were. It was only “the D.J.” and David Blacker, the Leo Tolstoy of Rajapakistan, in tandem. How exciting!

      Why “Heshan” bothers to enter into debate with these two pre-eminent sycophants of the Rajapaksa regime is beyond me. I can’t see such conduct qualifying him for a diplomatic posting or similar reward.

  • Heshan

    [Edited out.]

    In fact, he has not made a single prediction on this website that ever came close to being true. If anyone can show me a prediction of his that came true, I will leave the website.

    . If Ranil were a liberal (as Heshan says) rather than what he is, a neo- liberal, he would not have broken with a 50 year tradition and organisationally affliated the UNP with the International Democratic Union (IDU),

    Does Jayatillake wish to classify Ranil’s laissez-faire economic policies as liberal or neo-liberal? For example, does Jayatillake consider privatization of government ventures – a key part of Ranil’s economic stimulus – to be liberal or neo-liberal?

    Heshan has also confirmed that he supported and still supports the cause of Tamil Eelam and the cessation of a part of Sri Lanka and thereby dismembering our small island home.

    As the example of Kosovo shows, new states can be created even in this day and age. This is an age of political experimentation, albeit experimentation that seeks alternatives to the totalitarianism practiced by Dayan’s Russian friends in Chechyna and Chinese friends in Tibet. In any event, I have clearly shown that even Dayan Jayatillake was a supporter of the Eelam cause:

    Thus, the inexorable dialectic of vanguard violence and state repression enables the Tamil people to know themselves and know their enemy. It raises their political consciousness from the level of a nation un sich to that of a nation fur sich.

    – Dayan Jayatillake

    There you have it, folks, Dayan Jayatillake clearly acknowledging the existence of a Tamil nation. In his desperation to secure a civil service position, however, Dayan has chosen to wear the nationalist overcoat of his Hambantota masters.

    Furthermore he has confirmed his abiding sympathy for the Tamil Tigers and has no criticism to make of them. In his book the Sinhalese and MR in particular are infinitely worse.

    While I don’t sympathize with the methods employed by the Tigers, the cause they espoused was certainly legitimate. First of all, one must take into consideration that the Tiger phenomenon resulted from the abject failure of democratic Tamil parliamentary politics to secure, through non-violent means, a political solution that satisfied the aspirations of the Tamils. This failure encompasses a span of at least 40 years, going back to SJV Chelvanayagam. In this sense, the coming of the LTTE was inevitable . One must then consider that the physical manifestations of Sinhalese nationalism date back to at least 1915 (anti-Muslim riots in Kandy), and that every Sinhala-Buddhist (SB) president has sought to exploit, as oppose to placate, that nationalism. The culmination of that nationalism, of course, is Rajapakse’s victory over the Tigers. Given that there has been no lapse in SB nationalism since the time of Dharmapala, one must ask whether the Tamils are justified in pursuing a radical solution. It is not a question of whether one’s affinities lie in the Tamil or Sinhala direction. The LTTE were merely securing what was theirs in a political arena that had been rendered zero-sum by SB nationalism.

    In a priceless gem of wisdom, Heshan actually classifies Russia and China as “failing nations”. I know of no serious mind that agrees.

    After losing her empire, Russia is still considered an emerging economy.

    As for China, it’s number 62 on the “Failed State Index.”

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/2010_failed_states_index_interactive_map_and_rankings

  • Heshan

    Did I mention Russia is number 80 on the “Failed States Index?” Between 62 (China) and 80, there’s not much variance. Sri Lanka is number 25, so catching up to China in terms of failure is not impossible. Birds of a common feather flock together, indeed! :) [Edited out.] To go from 25 to 1 is not a wholly impossible task.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Predictions I made on the website that were true? Hah! GoSL winning war in the time frame I had roughly indicated. This was when Kumar David, Dr Saravanamuttu and others were writing in doubting a rapid and complete end, and Anita Pratap was giving lectures about how Charles Anthony would take over the struggle! Of course, David Blacker on his own website was anticipating the military moves and counter-moves brilliantly.

    It was also on this website that a young corporate exec wrote in saying that at a talk at CTC Eagle during the CFA (2003 or 2004) I had predicted Ranil’s defeat, MR’s victory ( he was not even the candidate) and the success of the SL military against the LTTE especially if Gen Fonseka was made army chief.

  • Heshan

    Anyone could have forseen, at least one year before Nanthikadal, that the LTTE would be vanquished. In fact, one could have forseen this when Karuna left the LTTE. One could have also forseen this from the moment that the LTTE was reduced to fighting defensive battles. I have read elsewhere (on a Tamil blog) that even Prabhakaran saw his demise months ahead of time but chose not to escape, when the latter was still a real possibility. The “time-frame” is irrelevant. Predicting obvious things is not outside the domain of second and even third-rate times. But it takes a great mind – an expert – to predict the unusual. Here’s one example of such an individual, in 2005, predicting both the housing bubble and the coming recession: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLwP8I7udgk.

  • Heshan

    Correction: *predicting both the housing bubble coming to an end and the recession

  • Heshan

    It was also on this website that a young corporate exec wrote in saying that at a talk at CTC Eagle during the CFA (2003 or 2004) I had predicted Ranil’s defeat, MR’s victory ( he was not even the candidate) and the success of the SL military against the LTTE especially if Gen Fonseka was made army chief.

    Indeed, as a political analyst, you could easily seen that dovish Ranil’s gestures of peace toward the LTTE would be overwhelmingly rejected by the Sinhalese masses. That’s not difficult to do. SL military success – again, not difficult to do. Sonia Gandhi running the show in India, Bush’s war on terror, Rajapakse’s new-found friend China, Rajapakse’s being brutal and unwavering by nature – anyone could have predicted the success of the SL military.

  • wijayapala

    Prof Heshan

    If anyone can show me a prediction of his that came true, I will leave the website.

    Please don’t leave Groundviews Prof Heshan. Who else here can educate us how the Nazis had won WWII and the differences between elections and election. So what if Dayan and Blacker expose your lack of knowledge- you can still dodge the questions and bring up irrelevant materials to disguise it.

    As for China, it’s number 62 on the “Failed State Index.”

    Thank you for the link. It shows that Zimbabwe is #4 on that list. How is that possible with all the blessings of British civilisation bestowed upon it and the population converted to the proper religion.

    Additionally, Afghanistan and Iraq are #6 and #7. Maybe after you lead your expeditionary force to overthrow the evil Rajapakshas and install Ranil, Sri Lanka can sink to this level too.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Isn’t Heshan a treat? At first he writes categorically: “If anyone can show me a prediction of his that came true, I will leave the website.” Off the cuff, I proceed to mention some such accurate predictions, and his response is pretty much ‘ah well, that’s no big deal, they were easy enough, those aren’t in the category of really original predictions ‘ etc etc. Now plainly, that is not what the guy said! He should have said ‘ let’s see an earth shatteringly original prediction of true genius by DJ on this website’ but he did not. Does this faze him? Not in the slightest. But then again that’s generic isn’t it– the Anton Balasinghamian shuffling of goal posts?

    For the record , I published ‘ Why Prabhakaran will Lose’ in Oct 2004 ( the Island) and ‘ the Death of Tamil Eelam’ in April 2005, both appearing well before the last war, Mahinda’s presidency and Sarath Fonseka’s appointment. If such prediction was so darn easy, why didn’t others make them on the record? And more to the point, why didn’t Heshan do so on this website? Hah!

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Heshan picks some some quotes from my articles published in my early 20s, to prove that I ‘supported Eelam’ and said that ‘the Tamils were a nation’. Those articles purported to present the correct Marxist-Leninist stance as drawn from a reading of text, and were marked by a certain mechanistic dogmatism. In any case, saying that the Germans were a nation did not mean supporting Nazi fascism! I would argue that when I wrote those thirty years ago, the Tamils were a nationality (not a nation, as I mistakenly said), but with the demographic transformations of the past three decades , with the dawn of the new century and millennium, they are a minority, in Sri Lanka. Thus the problematique is primarily of minority rights, equality of citizenship, anti-racism, anti-discrimnation and integration (not assimilation)and moderate devolution/autonomy.

    Heshan poses as a Christian, but if I were to go by extended conversations on international developments with the Vatican ambassadors in Geneva, Paris and the UNESCO (scholars, all), and reading of Cardinal Ranjith’ speeches, these are far from the views of serious mainstream Christianity. Heshan seems to be at a confluence of the pro-LTTE Diaspora and the Tea Party Movement.

    His Blimpish- Arthur Bunkerish reactionary minoritarianism is a throw back and reminder of why there is a recurrent and successful majoritarian populist backlash, right from the 1950s. It is his type of ideological and social profile that provokes it – unlike the UNP of DS and Premadasa.

    He is welcome to live out his days in obscurity in some corner of the old colonial mother country or the Commonwealth, an unsung caricature of Sir John and Sir Oliver — minus the knighthood– in embittered self-exile, comforting himself while trundling a shopping cart in a suburban supermarket, that China is a failed state.

  • Heshan

    Dayan Jayatillake has clearly acknowledged the existence of a Tamil nation. How one does that “mistakenly” remains a great mystery; after all, Dayan, of all people, would understand that Sri Lanka is territorially contiguous; one may divide it into districts, and the districts into cities and towns, but it will take a magician indeed to construct a boundary around an invisible Tamil nation. Furthermore, that Dayan was capable of such crassness, when by his own account, he was in his 20’s, and the illustrious recipient of a most-sought after “Fulbright Scholarship” only adds to the mystery. In any event, I am apt to believe Dayan did not make any such blunder, but was, in fact, telling the truth. Therefore, und sich to fur sich , it stands to reason, by logical deduction alone, that Dayan Jayatillake was once an “Eelamist.”

    Indeed, I am a Christian, but what does that have to do with majority-minority rights? Dayan Jayatillake knows full well how have political systems have evolved in advanced Western societies, whereby the majority goes out of the way to accommodate the interests of minorities, where minority is defined to be a subgroup of the population, numerically inferior to a larger group, whether by way of race, ethnicity, religion, or even gender. He understands that such an accommodation serves as an important buffer against any upsurge in virulent nationalism, which in turn prevents the rise of dictatorships and theocracies. Furthermore, there are important economic implications at play here, e.g. given an aging population in Scandanavia, the productivity of society is served better through the importation of foreign workers. Clearly, Dayan understands the interplay of majority-minority dynamics outside of Sri Lanka. As for why he keeps harping on about Sinhalese rights (which were never threatened in the first place) in Sri Lanka, and how the interests of Tamils are optimally served by the recognition of their status as subservient and docile (witness the plethora of articles he has submitted to this forum that hint at the latter) second-class citizens, remains a great mystery. Nevertheless, given his rather skewed perspective of the Opposition, in particular Ranil Wickremasinghe, one might assume that Dayan had some kind of axe to grind, e.g. an unfinished personal agenda, and so has taken cover by dodging under the umbrella of Sinhalese nationalism. Surely, Dayan would know that such a nationalism does not lead to anywhere good, but I am willing to bet that he doesn’t really care. Oftentimes people become so obsessed with a particular problem that the rest of reality fades into shadows. Let us only hope that, unlike D.M. Jayaratne, Dayan does not lose his sanity in the process.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Heshan says that:

      “…given his rather skewed perspective of the Opposition, in particular Ranil Wickremasinghe, one might assume that Dayan had some kind of axe to grind, e.g. an unfinished personal agenda…”

      How blind can one be? If mine is a ‘rather skewed perspective of the opposition, in particular Ranil Wickremesinghe’ it is clearly one shared by the large majority of the Sri Lankan electorate! More: it is a perspective shared by a majority of …UNPers themselves, as the party convention revealed, and the next few weeks inner party developments, starting tomorrow (May 21) almost certainly will.

      That ‘rather skewed perspective’ is that his views are too close to those of…the Heshans of the world, and too far from those of our citizens, even those who would otherwise vote for his party..

  • Heshan

    *fades into the shadows

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      How melodramatic :D

  • Heshan

    For the record , I published ‘ Why Prabhakaran will Lose’ in Oct 2004 ( the Island)

    I challenge the readers to peruse the above article and see for themselves if Dayan mentioned anything of note that would indicate the 2009 defeat of the LTTE. The article is basically a compendium of unremarkable observations, including the following: no political solution to the conflict can be found due to friction between nationalist parties in the South, CBK should prepare for an impending war, the 50th birthday of the LTTE leader would be celebrated in part via attacks on Sinhalese in Trincomalee, lack of a philosophical basis for VP’s war and Dayan’s corresponding “awakening” regarding the role of the State, the monolithic nature of the LTTE leadership, the usual list of prominent Tamils assassinated by the LTTE, the usual irrelevant references to Marxism and Bolshevism (even a reference to Mao’s wife this time), and the grand finale: a totally irrelevant reference to Castro. At least if Dayan had predicted the Karuna-Prabhakaran split, one could give credit where it’s due. Alas, there is nothing remarkable, much less futuristic about the said article. It is the usual Dayan Jayatillake diatribe, with the usual Marxist underpinnings, and not much else.

    Note: A link to the article can be found here: http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/features/20041024why_prabhakaran_wil_%20lose.htm

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    [Edited.] Heshan issues a challenge and promises to leave the forum. When presented with a response he shifts the goalposts and says its not the stuff of genius, and continues on the website. Now he says that a 2004 article quite unambiguously and categorically entitled WHY PRABHAKARAN WILL LOSE ( and makes no mention of the early ’05 one captioned THE DEATH OF TAMIL EELAM), is not really a prediction.

    Ok, so why doesn’t Heshan try this for size. Meanwhile, let the GV readers judge.

    I shall reproduce extracts from two texts, the longer one from 1990, almost exactly twenty years ago, and the much shorter from 1993, and leave the reading public to exercise judgement and answer these questions.

    The brief text is 18 years old, dates from the beginning of 1993, and is a gruelling five-page interview with me, almost an ideological interrogation, conducted by one of the best Tamil ultranationalist minds, DP Sivaram (alias ‘Taraki’). It appeared in The Northeastern Herald’s issue of January-February 1993, Volume 1, No 6, pp8-12. Readers will recall that the N.E. Herald is the publication that journalist and ex-detainee Tissainayagam was editing at the time of his arrest, having succeeded Sivaram in that post.

    Particular attention is drawn to the question and answer about the possibility of a military victory over the LTTE.

    “Q. Which means it is possible for the Army in its current form to defeat the LTTE and restore the primacy of the democratic forces in Sri Lanka?

    A. I think so. Of course, it will require enormous improvement in command and control, in strategy and tactics, in weapons systems and so on. But it can be done. It should and must be done.”
    The interview was run by Sivaram with the caption ‘President Premadasa Should Be Little More of a Warmonger’ and is an abbreviation of the concluding remark by the interviewee: “Personally I would prefer President Premadasa to be a little more of a war-monger towards the LTTE than he has been so far!”

    The 1990 text, i.e. dating from twenty years ago, deals with the question of understanding the Tigers and fashioning a strategy for negotiations. As is evident, the actual and potential disasters of the CFA and PTOMS respectively were clearly foreseeable and could have been designed in such a manner as to avoid disaster.

    The 1990 text from which I share extracts was presented, with minor modifications, to two audiences, foreign and local. The first was at the Third Annual sessions of the Organization of Professionals Associations (OPA) dedicated to the theme ‘New Visions and New Initiatives for the Nineties’ held on October 4-6, 1990 at the BMICH in Colombo. The paper I quote from was classified under ‘Reducing Social Tensions’. The second, slightly longer version was presented days later at a seminar on Obstacles to Peace in Sri Lanka, organised by the Minority Rights Group, Swedish section, Sunnersta Herrgard, Uppsala, Sweden, October 7-10, 1990.

    “I feel that the LTTE’s current actions are quite consistent with their conduct over the years. Here. I am not referring to terrorism but rather to the fact that whenever there seemed to be a chance for a negotiated solution, the Tigers launched an attack so as to abort that possibility. You would recall that the attack on the 13 soldiers in July 1983 took place in a context in which President Jayewardene had finally invited the TULF to a roundtable discussion on Tamil grievances and terrorism. Prabakaran pre-empted it by the ambush…The Habarana massacre of 1987 and the Pettah bomb blast took place in early April just at the time that Mr. Athulathmudali, at the insistence of Dixit had announced a one week unilateral cessation of hostilities, restored tele¬phone links and promised the lifting of the fuel embargo on Jaffna within weeks, if the cease¬fire met with a positive response on the part of the Tigers. The LTTE reacted with the Habarana and Pettah attacks. These in turn provoked the aerial bombing of Jaffna, which the Tigers used to get international sympathy and Indian support. The Sri Lankan army followed the bombing with the Vadamaarachchi Operation. The rest is history.
    My point then is that there is a certain pattern and consistency in the Tigers behaviour which we must discern and comprehend. Their conduct is not random, arbitrary, illogical. The pattern can be understood if we study their history just as Lord Buddha used to refer to the conduct of certain persons in their previous incarnations, so as to point out the consistent pattern.
    What is the pattern?
    (1) They fear a negotiated settlement through reforms because that will undercut their armed struggle and will be a substitute for their maximum goal. This is also the reason why the JVP opposed genuine negotiations.
    (2) Therefore, they do everything possible to de-rail negotiations and force the ‘closing off’ of reformist options. They seek to polarize the situation so that armed struggle is the only option.
    (3) They seek to discredit, undermine and anni¬hilate all Tamil moderate political entities which would abandon the armed struggle and settle for less than Eelam.
    (4) They try to provoke the Sinhala Armed Forces into massacring Tamil and Muslim civilians, the Sinhala people into starting ethnic riots and the Sinhala Government into calling off the search for a reform package. In this way, they polarize the situation and gain legitimacy or their form of struggle (violence) and for their goal (Eelam and nothing less).
    …I believe that Prabakaran does not want any real reforms which will undercut his Eelam struggle. He did not and does not want the Tamil people and his cadres to get accustomed to a prolonged peace. Therefore he created incidents, situations of tension and finally preci¬pitated the conflicts. The period before June 11th 1990 reminds me of two other phases ¬that after the signing of the Accord in July ’87 and the beginning of hostilities with the IPKF in October 1987 and earlier, the period before July ’83.
    ..This does not mean that we must write off the negotiated settlement option. However we must bear in mind that the L TTE, like the JVP, is not a rational revolutionary guerrilla movement. Such liberation movements (e.g. Salva¬doran FMLN, Zimbabwe’s Zanu, the PLO) are usually amenable to negotiated solutions. The LTTE (like the JVP) is a fanatical movement which will not stop short of its maximum goaIs. The cyanide capsule is the best example of this, No other guerrilla/liberation movement has such a practice – except for certain indi¬vidual agents on special missions. The Tigers are like the Japanese fascists in World War II ¬the Kamikaze pilots. Therefore a negotiated settlement is that much more difficult. Even if one is arrived at, it is doubtful that they will adhere to it. Still, it is best to try…
    …One of the few – very few – advantages the SLA have in this war, is experience. The SLA has fought a war with the Tigers before and some of us have also keenly observed the IPKF – LTTE war. If we derive the correct lessons from these, we can avoid certain errors, minimize our losses, shorten the war and also reduce the adverse political consequences that may flow from this conflict.”

    Space constraints prevented the paragraphs below, which were in the Uppsala seminar paper (all papers were reprinted in LANKA, Uppsala University) being in the OPA’s printed digest.
    “…I do not mean that the Government should negotiate insincerely as it did with Tamil groups including the TULF during the JRJ – Harry Jayewardene-Athulathmudali years. What I mean is that:
    (i) The Government must not permit the LTTE to gain unilateral advantage through and during the talks and
    (ii) That battlefield gains of the Government should not be bartered away at the negotiating table. This is what happened when the Accord was signed – though perhaps that was unavoidable then. This must not be repeated. A negotiated settlement must accurately reflect the battlefield situation, the prevailing correlation of forces. The Sri Lankan side must not be tricked or pressured into giving up at the negotiating table what it has won on the battleground.”

    At the time in my early and mid 30s respectively, I was both the interviewee of the ’93 Sivaram interview and the presenter at the ’90 symposia in Uppsala and Colombo. In 1990, I still entertained the possibility as an ‘outlier’ scenario, of a negotiated endgame with regional and international support, provided it was informed by the tough-minded Realist perspective I had set out. The early ’93 text shows that I was decidedly no longer of that view. What had changed? The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi proved that Prabhakaran was uninterested in and incapable of a negotiated final settlement, while the fall of the USSR and the shift to uni-polarity meant that Sri Lanka could no longer count on a balance in international institutions.

    My 1995 book, ‘Sri Lanka, the Travails of a Democracy: Unfinished war, Protracted Crisis’ (Vikas, New Delhi), praised by AJ Wilson and denounced by Anton Balasingham, clearly and repeatedly identified the weakness – and essential contradiction– of the Sri Lankan and Indian states’ strategy as that of ‘fighting a Limited War while the LTTE fights a Total War’. I argued that to win, the democratic Sri Lankan state to should shift to a Total War strategy aimed at ‘the annihilation of the living forces of the enemy’ (Giap) and that this would assure victory.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Hey Heshan, I never doubted that you were a Christian; I merely said that with your Islamophobia, Sinophobia, Indophobia and Sinhalaphobia, not to mention your reactionary economics which holds Ranil a liberal rather than a neoliberal, you are probably an adherent of an intolerent Christian fundamentalist sect and are ideologically close to the ‘Christianity’ if you call it that, of the Glenn Beck/Tea Party types…rather than that of Obama, Archbishop Rowan Williams or the Catholic church.

  • Heshan

    [Edited out]

    (4) They try to provoke the Sinhala Armed Forces into massacring Tamil and Muslim civilians, the Sinhala people into starting ethnic riots and the Sinhala Government into calling off the search for a reform package. In this way, they polarize the situation and gain legitimacy or their form of struggle (violence) and for their goal (Eelam and nothing less).

    Instead of allowing for the above elements to take adequate responsibility for their actions, Dayan Jayatillake has cast the blame on the LTTE. Look at how he trivializes the 83′ riots, for example. He even goes so far as to say that lack of a political situation to the Tamil Question – which stems more than 60 years – can be blamed on the LTTE. The simple fact of the matter is, that even the with the LTTE gone, the Sinhala armed forces are stilling massacring Tamil civilians and a political solution is nowhere in sight.

    The pattern can be understood if we study their history just as Lord Buddha used to refer to the conduct of certain persons in their previous incarnations, so as to point out the consistent pattern.
    What is the pattern?
    (1) They fear a negotiated settlement through reforms because that will undercut their armed struggle and will be a substitute for their maximum goal. This is also the reason why the JVP opposed genuine negotiations.
    (2) Therefore, they do everything possible to de-rail negotiations and force the ‘closing off’ of reformist options. They seek to polarize the situation so that armed struggle is the only option.
    (3) They seek to discredit, undermine and anni¬hilate all Tamil moderate political entities which would abandon the armed struggle and settle for less than Eelam.
    (4) They try to provoke the Sinhala Armed Forces into massacring Tamil and Muslim civilians, the Sinhala people into starting ethnic riots and the Sinhala Government into calling off the search for a reform package. In this way, they polarize the situation and gain legitimacy or their form of struggle (violence) and for their goal (Eelam and nothing less).

    The above does not constitute a prediction. If any reader believes the above constitutes a prediction, I invite him or her to share his opinion. The above paragraph is merely half-baked dribble from a degenerate mind that refuses to remove its blinkered nationalist spectacles.

    It looks I have sent Dayan Jayatillake into a frenzy, having pointed out that he has never made a remarkable prediction in regards to the LTTE over the last 30 years . He has shot back with ad hominem attacks and by quoting what he considers are “predictions” but which is, in fact, common knowledge.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Whaat? Heshan actually writes that ” even the with the LTTE gone, the Sinhala armed forces are stilling [sic] massacring Tamil civilians…”

      Where? When? How?

      Any “massacres” of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces ‘even with the LTTE gone’ i.e. after May 2009, have surely evaded the AI, the HRW, the ICG and even Messrs Rudrakumaran & Co!

      Puh-leeze.

      Heshan is in the habit of telling whoppers or more charitably, hallucinating.

      This discredits everything that the guy says or has said.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    A thousand pardons. I should have taken David Blacker’s repeated evaluation of ‘Heshan’ more seriously and kept my response short, easily disgetible and difficult to wriggle through. I did not, hence I apologise. To rectify my grievous error, let me simplify and reproduce/excerpt an easily assimilable text of a clearly predictive character.

    The brief text is 18 years old, dates from the beginning of 1993, and is a grueling five-page interview with me, almost an ideological interrogation, conducted by one of the best Tamil ultranationalist minds, DP Sivaram (alias ‘Taraki’). It appeared in The Northeastern Herald’s issue of January-February 1993, Volume 1, No 6, pp8-12. Readers will recall that the N.E. Herald is the publication that journalist and ex-detainee Tissainayagam was editing at the time of his arrest, having succeeded Sivaram in that post.

    Particular attention is drawn to the question and answer about the possibility of a military victory over the LTTE. (This was way before the Karuna split, Mahinda’s presidency and Sarath Fonseka’s command of the army).

    “Q. Which means it is possible for the Army in its current form to defeat the LTTE and restore the primacy of the democratic forces in Sri Lanka?

    A. I think so. Of course, it will require enormous improvement in command and control, in strategy and tactics, in weapons systems and so on. But it can be done. It should and must be done.”

    The interview was run by Sivaram with the caption ‘President Premadasa Should Be Little More of a Warmonger’ and is an abbreviation of the concluding remark by the interviewee: “Personally I would prefer President Premadasa to be a little more of a war-monger towards the LTTE than he has been so far!”

  • Heshan

    Where? When? How?

    Why don’t you ask Mangala Samaraweera, for starters?

    In Orwellian Sri Lanka 40 civilians disappear from camps daily –

    Samaraweera

    [TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 September 2009, 11:49 GMT]

    “In George Orwells 1984, the Ministry of Peace dealt with war, and the Ministry of Love with torture. Likewise we witnessed in Sri Lanka how the Peace Secretariat justified excesses carried out in the name of war against terrorism. And the so-called welfare camps are virtual prisons,” Daily Mirror said quoting Mangala Samaraweera’s charge against the Sri Lanka in the parliament Tuesday, adding that about 30 to 40 persons are abducted on a daily basis from IDP camps in the North,

    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30301

    Shall we presume these 30-40 persons were taken away for recreation and leisure? The reality is that such individuals do not exist in the mind of Dayan Jayatillake. As I said, his goals are two-fold: the destruction of the UNP, and the permanent dismantlement of Tamil nationalism.

    “Q. Which means it is possible for the Army in its current form to defeat the LTTE and restore the primacy of the democratic forces in Sri Lanka?

    It was clear before the IPFK intervened that the Army had the capability of destroying the LTTE (the IPKF intervention merely exacerbated this process). Also, in the book “Broken Palmyrah”, it is mentioned how Prabhakaran was nearly captured on one occasion during an Army sting operation, but escaped by a few hours (had he been captured, that would have been the end of the LTTE). In any event, it is accepted by all parties that a guerilla group rarely has the capability of winning a war outright via conventional means, but must “exhaust” the enemy into giving up. On the other hand, the converse is certainly not true. In particular, given the increasingly sophisticated nature of weaponry, a sophisticated conventional army does not worry fret over “victory”, in the sense of winning battles. The Taliban, for example, has never won a battle with NATO. Similarly, the Americans won 95% of their battles in Vietnam. The point of all this is to highlight the redundancy of a question such as is it possible for the Army in its current form to defeat the LTTE? . It was always possible for the “Army” to do so, if only because of the conventional weapons they possessed. Note however, that “could” and “how” are two different ballgames. Oddly enough, Dayan J considers himself a genius for answering just the “could” part.

    A thousand pardons. I should have taken David Blacker’s repeated evaluation of ‘Heshan’ more seriously

    Indeed you should, in particular since he firmly believes [Edited out] Stalin did not lead more than 20 million poor souls to the afterlife. [Edited out.] He also believes recessions indicate the failure of capitalism. You might want to indicate that recessions are actually part of the business cycle. If you could also explain that Sri Lanka is capable of becoming another Singapore (a la JRJ), I’ll be doubly obliged.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      And this is the evidence of “the massacre of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan armed forces” after the LTTE has been defeated? ‘Massacre’? Unnoticed and unremarked on by the world’s media and human rights organisations? Well, maybe the ITAK/TNA should have taken it up with the GoSL when they had that cordial meeting on March 18th ( if one is to go by DBS Jeyaraj…

      Heshan judges me thus: “As I said, his goals are two-fold: the destruction of the UNP, and the permanent dismantlement of Tamil nationalism..”

      However, the the empirical evidence of elections reveals Ranil (and now Ranil-Mangala-Ravi K’s) line, leadership and profile to be the indisputable factors dragging down the UNP. The political analysts ( including ones with long standing UNP credentials and loyaties such as CA Chandrapreme) of the non-state media have been saying this for months and years, most recently after the latest LG polls.

      I’ve never been for dismantling Tamil nationalism and was one of the first in the postwar period to argue for talks with the TNA, despite my criticisms of its stand on certain issues. Tamil ultranationalism, especially Diaspora-based, is something else altogether.

      The more Heshan writes, the more surreal his mental landscape reveals itself to be. Nicely done, Heshan, please do keep it up.

  • Heshan

    This was way before the Karuna split, Mahinda’s presidency and Sarath Fonseka’s command of the army

    The key elements in the victory over the LTTE were Bush’s War on Terror (which allowed Rajapakse massive amounts of leeway in how he pursued his goal), and Karuna’s split with the LTTE. Once the LTTE lost the East, it was only a matter of time before the North fell (this is true because the combination of losing the East together with the Karuna split diminished the LTTE’s offensive capability by leaps and bounds). The point is that Dayan Jayatillake never predicted any of these things. Rather, as his interviews show, he was waxing eloquent about a “Tamil nation”, a “monolithic LTTE leadership”, and the lack of a bipartisan political solution in the South.

    By the way, I missed the following totally distorted pearl of wisdom from Dayan:

    …One of the few – very few – advantages the SLA have in this war, is experience. The SLA has fought a war with the Tigers before and some of us have also keenly observed the IPKF – LTTE war. If we derive the correct lessons from these, we can avoid certain errors, minimize our losses, shorten the war and also reduce the adverse political consequences that may flow from this conflict.”

    Actually, after the East fell, experience would have made little difference. After the East fell, the Sri Lankan Army of 1967, 1987, and 2007 could all have crushed the LTTE.

    The only thing that could be

  • Heshan

    [Edited out.]

    [Dear Heshan, this debate seems utterly pointless and we fail to see how you are addressing the topic of this article. We have asked you repeatedly to desist from ad hominem attacks, but you have failed to comprehend our requests for civil and constructive debate. Please note that this is your final warning. This aide-mémoire, which we have brought to your attention before, should assist in the necessary adjustment: site guidelines. If you find this an egregious request - one that is intolerable and unjustifiable - then dear sir, the door is open and you can see yourself out.]

    Thank you.

    GV.

  • Heshan

    [Edited out.]

    [Dear Heshan, please address the topic of the article. Thank you. GV.]

  • MV

    @Blacker

    “…when you find yourself incapable of standing upto your opponent’s intellect, wit, or arguments, attack him personally; …”

    Don’t you think this rule should apply equivalently to all?

    “Militarisation itself was a direct result of the war, and particularly of the LTTE’s habit of attacking civil society outside the NE.”

    In any case, what is the motive for militarisation in the post-war context, especially since Tamil militancy is highly unlikely to happen again and with the cost of maintaining the military huge?

    “The war itself, I believe, was just; especially in light of the 13th Amendment, the CFA, and the bending over backwards done by the Ranil Wickramasinghe administration.”

    There was never a Southern consensus toward a political settlement – why not Rajapakse let the people know now what the “homegrown solution” that he had supposedly envisioned in his mind?

    “I think in the Third World, traditional democracy is seen as less of a priority in the eyes of the people compared to more pressing needs such as economic stability, security, infrastructure development, etc. So as long as a regime isn’t repressive, Asians are willing to overlook some lack of civil rights. It’s like the west a century ago.”

    There is a connection between human rights, development, and democracy. In any case, why call it a democracy when the country does not endorse its true values? Holding elections simply does not mean it is a people’s government – for example, in the so called ‘world’s largest democracy’, one can buy votes with money and liquor.

    “If you mean that Sinhalese nationalism has united the Sinhalese beyond the divisions of class, caste, and religion, don’t you think that would have happened back in the ’50s, when Sinhalese nationalism was at its peak? And yet, we saw many divisions within the Sinhalese themselves — the two JVP insurrections for example — subsequent to that era. I think what we see today isn’t so much the Sinhalese united by nationalism, but a Sinhalese identity emerging that is characterised by a conservative rural value system that rejects urban, western, middle- and upper-class values (or what is perceived as such). And I think that is mostly the result of the failure of a mostly elite national leadership that had failed to live up to its role and move SL forward. It’s similar to the ’70s rejection of the elite Tamil leadership by the young and rural Tamil militants.”

    Conservative rural value system? I am laughing at how complicated you have made this out to be. I can assure you that Sri Lankan society in the whole is quite conservative, in particular the Tamil community.

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      “Don’t you think this rule should apply equivalently to all?”

      Of course. Doesn’t it?

      “In any case, what is the motive for militarisation in the post-war context, especially since Tamil militancy is highly unlikely to happen again and with the cost of maintaining the military huge?”

      Well there isn’t any militarisation in the post-war context. Militarisation happened during the war, and there hasn’t been any subsequent demilitarisation. Given that the money-making structure of the LTTE is still intact, that there is a self-declared government in exile operating in the west, and there is an unrelenting call for Tamil Eelam, why are you surprised that the Sri Lankan state feels that a military presence is still necessary?

      “There was never a Southern consensus toward a political settlement – why not Rajapakse let the people know now what the “homegrown solution” that he had supposedly envisioned in his mind?”

      There certainly was a majority consensus towards a political solution in the south at various times. There was also a consensus towards a military solution at other times. The same goes for the Tamils in the NE. This isn’t unusual in a 30-year war. The point is, when there was an acceptance in the south of a political solution — in 1990 under Premadasa, in 2001 under Ranil W — the Tigers blunted that acceptance by direct military aggression.

      “There is a connection between human rights, development, and democracy. In any case, why call it a democracy when the country does not endorse its true values? Holding elections simply does not mean it is a people’s government – for example, in the so called ‘world’s largest democracy’, one can buy votes with money and liquor.”

      So what’s your point? That since democracy isn’t perfect in even the best of democracies, we should stop even trying?

      “Conservative rural value system? I am laughing at how complicated you have made this out to be. I can assure you that Sri Lankan society in the whole is quite conservative, in particular the Tamil community.”

      The whole you mention is mostly made up of rural people.

      • MV

        Dear Blacker,

        It is interesting that you have been arguing with the likes of TT (who by the way is honest as opposed to many who claim themselves to be speaking only the truth), yet you contradict yourself by defending a war that was chauvinistic in all sense. In fact, Rajapakse declared himself the modern day incarnation of Dutugemunu – and, we all know the underlying historical theme.

        It is a tragi-comic that after the death of tens of thousands, destruction of properties, and trauma, that we are back to square one debating ‘devolution’. It seems nothing has changed with the Sri Lankan state except the players involved, with the diaspora now emerging as the ‘new LTTE’, at least as per the SL political discourse.

        Did you know that the Sri Lankan state had been ruling under emergency regulations for nearly half its existence? Have you ever thought of why there had been three insurrections – one in the North and two in the South – if the existence of the ‘unitary’ State that you try to defend is not problematic to begin with? Perhaps it is time to step out of narrow ‘counter-insurgency’ centered frame of thinking.

        Just as much as the Tamil people need to retroflect on the ills of their society, the Sinhalese also need to reflect on their leaders. Please ask yourself how many of those elected to the parliament has bothered to visit those in the so called ‘welfare centers’ and find out the suffering that a segment of Sri Lanka’s population has been forced to go through. How many of those who rushed to the NE as tourists as soon as the war was over, ever bothered? And you ask why there is a separatist demand from the Tamils…

        As for the rest, I think much of this have been already discussed:

        “Well there isn’t any militarisation in the post-war context. Militarisation happened during the war, and there hasn’t been any subsequent demilitarisation. Given that the money-making structure of the LTTE is still intact, that there is a self-declared government in exile operating in the west, and there is an unrelenting call for Tamil Eelam, why are you surprised that the Sri Lankan state feels that a military presence is still necessary?”

        ‘There isn’t any militarisation in the post-war context’ – epic understatement. Does that explain how Gotabhaya, who is also the brother of Mahinda and the defence secretariat, have brought a number of things under the control of defence ministry?

        “There certainly was a majority consensus towards a political solution in the south at various times. There was also a consensus towards a military solution at other times. The same goes for the Tamils in the NE. This isn’t unusual in a 30-year war. The point is, when there was an acceptance in the south of a political solution — in 1990 under Premadasa, in 2001 under Ranil W — the Tigers blunted that acceptance by direct military aggression.”

        That is a partisan account. I don’t know what happened under Premadasa but I can assure you that LTTE went as far as to drop the separate state demand for internal self-determination during the CFA, however, there was a power struggle b/w Ranil and CBK and the rest is history when Rajapakse came into power, who was only waiting for an excuse to start his ‘total war’. The APRC and all other committees have been merely an eyewash for international community, an exercise in futility at the best – the reason being that any meaningful solution would have been opposed by the nationalists in the South. Even the full implementation of 13A seems a difficult task, let alone federalism or the right to self-determination (which by the way is not up to Rajapakse to decide).

        “So what’s your point? That since democracy isn’t perfect in even the best of democracies, we should stop even trying?”

        Best of democracies? Countries like India and Sri Lanka are only democratic in their name.
        My point was that a mass mobilization for democratization, such as in Egypt, is lacking in South Asia – that a necessary radical force is deplete. And to have a functioning democracy, the balance and checks have to be there, not just elections.

        Having said this, I know that:

        – the political aspirations of the Tamil people will not be addressed in the near future – they will be doing some cosmetic touches by recruiting few members to police and armed forces, etc
        – war crime investigations will drag on, Rajapakse will get away with it (partly because the international community itself gave silent approval to the ‘counter-insurgency’ approach)
        – there will be no de-militarisation in the near future, partly because doing so will likely create many unemployed and may cause some uprising against this authoritarian rule
        – the diaspora will become the ‘new LTTE’ as per GoSL

        Adios!

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      MV: “It is interesting that you have been arguing with the likes of TT (who by the way is honest as opposed to many who claim themselves to be speaking only the truth), yet you contradict yourself by defending a war that was chauvinistic in all sense.”

      How is defending a war against a brutal terrorist group contradictory to defending the Tamils’ right to equality? Or are you too suggesting that the Tigers were the legitimate representatives of the Tamils, and that their cause was the same as that articulated in 1976?

      “In fact, Rajapakse declared himself the modern day incarnation of Dutugemunu – and, we all know the underlying historical theme.”

      But MR presided only over the closing stages of the war. For most of the 30-year war, he wasn’t in power. So how is he relevant to the justness of the war? The Dutugemunu-comparison is in the context of a king who united the country under a single kingdom; and I see nothing wrong with a united SL.

      “It is a tragi-comic that after the death of tens of thousands, destruction of properties, and trauma, that we are back to square one debating ‘devolution’.”

      That’s what happens when you allow terrorists to steer your destiny for two decades; when they’re defeated, you’re back to square one.

      “It seems nothing has changed with the Sri Lankan state except the players involved, with the diaspora now emerging as the ‘new LTTE’, at least as per the SL political discourse.”

      As long as the diaspora vocally identifies itself with the LTTE, that will be the inevitable result.

      “Did you know that the Sri Lankan state had been ruling under emergency regulations for nearly half its existence?”

      Didn’t you notice that the SL state has been under armed attack for nearly half its existence?

      “Have you ever thought of why there had been three insurrections – one in the North and two in the South – if the existence of the ‘unitary’ State that you try to defend is not problematic to begin with?”

      Firstly, I said united SL, not unitary. I hope you know the difference. Secondly, can you suggest how the 1971 insurrection was sparked by SL’s unitary nature? Thirdly, are you unaware that the 1987 insurrection was in opposition to GoSL moves to devolve power?

      “Perhaps it is time to step out of narrow ‘counter-insurgency’ centered frame of thinking.”

      Could you point out any comments that I have made on a non-military issue where I have used such a mindset?

      “Just as much as the Tamil people need to retroflect on the ills of their society, the Sinhalese also need to reflect on their leaders. Please ask yourself how many of those elected to the parliament has bothered to visit those in the so called ‘welfare centers’ and find out the suffering that a segment of Sri Lanka’s population has been forced to go through. How many of those who rushed to the NE as tourists as soon as the war was over, ever bothered? And you ask why there is a separatist demand from the Tamils…”

      People will show interest in what directly affects them, MV, not in what you want them to be interested in. The majority of SL politicians represent that majority. Many Sri Lankans don’t see the NE Tamil population as entirely blameless in this affair, and that’s not a totally unfair sentiment. The separatist demand in 1976 was entirely justified; but it wasn’t post-1987. Y’all allowed the Tigers to usurp and corrupt the true cause, and you’ll be paying the piper for some time now for that mistake.

      “‘There isn’t any militarisation in the post-war context’ – epic understatement. Does that explain how Gotabhaya, who is also the brother of Mahinda and the defence secretariat, have brought a number of things under the control of defence ministry?”

      Perhaps you don’t understand what the word militarisation means. Has there been an increased military presence in the NE since the war? I don’t think so. The link between the military and civil rule seen in the NE isn’t uncommon in post-war scenarios. When Germany was occupied after WW2, it was governed by the western Allied military for years. Hopefully the talks between the GoSL and the TNA/ITAK will lead to a speedy transition to democratic governance. As for the Defence Ministry, except for urban development, there hasn’t been much taking over of other areas, has there?

      “That is a partisan account. I don’t know what happened under Premadasa”

      If you don’t know what happened in 1990 under Premadasa, how can you decide that my account is partisan? I suggest you read up on what happened, and then we’ll talk. One of the biggest problems in these online debates is that many people are totally clueless of events outside of the areas that justify their own theories. So you know what happened in 1956 in minute detail, but you’ve no idea of some of the crucial events that transformed the Tamil nationalist struggle from a legitimate bid for freedom to one of fascistic terror.

      “but I can assure you that LTTE went as far as to drop the separate state demand for internal self-determination during the CFA, however, there was a power struggle b/w Ranil and CBK and the rest is history when Rajapakse came into power, who was only waiting for an excuse to start his ‘total war’.”

      Free as you are with your assurances, MV, the fact that the Tigers proposed the ISGA (de facto rule of the NE without the inconvenience of elections or democracy) instead of accepting RW’s P-TOMS which would have shared power between the GoSL and the Tigers to the benefit of the NE Tamils, makes their dropping of the Tamil Eelam claim pretty insignificant. They were getting TE without the downside of having to pay for its running ;) It was over this that the deadlock happened. CBK wouldn’t have had a foot to stand on if the Tigers hadn’t added insult to injury by carrying out a campaign of assassination and terrorism in the south, giving her and the JVP the excuse to pillory RW and change the mood of the Sinhalese who, in 2001, were willing to accept that the Tigers had beaten the GoSL militarily. They were in fact eager for a political solution; what they weren’t eager about was humiliation a la ISGA.

      “The APRC and all other committees have been merely an eyewash for international community, an exercise in futility at the best – the reason being that any meaningful solution would have been opposed by the nationalists in the South. Even the full implementation of 13A seems a difficult task, let alone federalism or the right to self-determination (which by the way is not up to Rajapakse to decide).”

      But when the 13th (self-determination and language rights) was offered under Indian supervision of its implementation, why didn’t the Tigers accept it? When federalism was offered by RW, why did the Tigers strengthen the Sinhalese right and destabilise RW’s administration? There’s no point whining now when you have squandered these heaven-sent opportunities to achieve everything that the Tamils were looking for. The MR presidency is a creation of the Tigers both literally and figuratively.

      “So what’s your point? That since democracy isn’t perfect in even the best of democracies, we should stop even trying?”

      “Best of democracies? Countries like India and Sri Lanka are only democratic in their name.”

      Your free to form your own opinion on that, of course, but I disagree with you.

      “My point was that a mass mobilization for democratization, such as in Egypt, is lacking in South Asia – that a necessary radical force is deplete. And to have a functioning democracy, the balance and checks have to be there, not just elections.”

      How will there be such a mass mobilisation when the mass is quite happy and contented with the elected regime? If the opposition cannot get itself a strong enough constituency to oppose the government legitimately, how can it expect to do so via mob action? The bottom line is the GoSL is immensely popular, whereas the regimes in Libya, Egypt, etc are decidedly not. Your inability to grasp this is evidence of the so-called opposition’s utter lack of connection with the reality of the SL street.

      “- the political aspirations of the Tamil people will not be addressed in the near future – they will be doing some cosmetic touches by recruiting few members to police and armed forces, etc”

      Rather than cynically pooh-poohing the efforts of the TNA/ITAK, I would have thought it is in the interests of the NE Tamils to support them fully in the long-term endeavor of realising their aspirations.

      “- war crime investigations will drag on, Rajapakse will get away with it (partly because the international community itself gave silent approval to the ‘counter-insurgency’ approach)”

      Partly because there were relatively few war crimes.

      “- there will be no de-militarisation in the near future, partly because doing so will likely create many unemployed and may cause some uprising against this authoritarian rule”

      Mostly because the diaspora and the Tiger “government” in exile keeps calling for a return to arms.

      “- the diaspora will become the ‘new LTTE’ as per GoSL”

      That’s upto the diaspora, no?

      “Adios!”

      Buenas suerte, amigo ;)

  • Heshan

    Dear Groundviews:

    I fail to see how assessing the motivations of a writer constitutes an “ad hominem attack.” Such motivations often lead to theories which are fundamentally flawed. This is particularly true within the context of history and politics, which do not evolve in a vacuum, and so pave the way for myriad interpretations that in turn may employ a great deal of personal bias and prejudice.

    The door is indeed open, and I am not afraid to step outside. But before I do, I wish to thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts on this website, which is most certainly in a league of its own. I also wish to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Yapa, TheMervyn, SD, and others for the interesting exchanges we have had here. Though at times we did not necessarily agree, that was never the primary objective.

    Since this is my last post, I trust that the contents will be posted in full, so as not to leave lingering doubts among others in regards to my prolonged absence. Thank you and goodbye.

    The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible. – Einstein

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Fear not, Heshan, you can always pop up under yet another pseudonym-cum-(ethnic?) mask, and attribute motivations to others while hiding your own identity even though safely in the Diaspora over decades.

    • yapa

      Dear Groundviews;

      Though I don’t take the opportunity to point out who’s fault it is, I should say it is a great loss to the forum that the valuable contributors are losing continuously from the forum since the recent past. We lost longus, we lost The Mervyn Silva and now it is the turn of Heshan, who has been a very knowledgeable, creative and clever contributor that created marvelous discussions through his thousands of posts during the period of several years. I don’t know the reason for another marvelous contributor’s, Off the Cuff’s departure from the forum some time ago. Such contributors are assets not only to the forum but to society as a whole. The forum should take maximum effort to retain them and take the maximum out of them.

      I think Groundviews will invite them back to the forum, forgetting the trivial issues.

      I also would like invite Heshan (The Mervyn and longus) to come back to the forum and grace it, considering what you can do to the betterment of society. Petty issues should not be a reason to deprive your service to society.

      Thanks!

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    “The above paragraph is merely half-baked dribble from a degenerate mind…”

    Good ole ‘Heshan’, or should I just say bitter, old, Heshan, says the above about me — mind, using adjectives that I never have about him or anyone. This proves David’s point about personal invective and the potential degeneration of this forum into a venue for pseudonymous (really anonymous)raving, and I might add, Diaspora diatribes.

    PS: Can ‘dribble’ be ‘half baked’? How do you ‘half bake’ dribble?

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      [Edited out.]

      [Dear Bean, the quality of your engagement is atrocious and superficial. Perhaps you should read our site guidelines. The door is open for you as well, and if you fail to adopt a more serious approach with regard to your commentary, a hasty retreat or bold departure from this forum is certainly desirable, if not necessary.]

      Thank you.

      GV.

  • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/ Mango

    Well, that was game, set and match to Dr JD. I strongly urge GV to reconsider banning Heshan. He/She provides a much needed reminder of the gap that has to be bridged – albeit, he never actually take any risks by even attempting to cross the rickety bridge :)

    Now, a question for Dr Jayetillke, about continued support for Sri Lanka in international forums and Human Rights councils

    SL’s famous victory in May ’09 at the UNHRC against the ridiculous EU/UK Axis was predicated on support by BRIC countries and other friendly countries. I presume that in order to gain their support the SL delegation must’ve told them that things would improve, genuine efforts would be made to put in place necessary political amendments etc to ensure that the Tamil people would eventually achieve genuine equality. Above all India was (and remains) the key ally. I recall you writing something to that effect on Transcurrents.

    Given that attempts by AI, HRW, ICG and the rest of the Western, self-selecting moral arbiters to ‘get’ Sri Lanka will continue unabated, will the GoSL team in Geneva be able to prove to counties that supported Sri Lanka (including India and the Maghreb countries, some under new management) that genuine and significant efforts have been made to address the Tamil people’s needs, as promised in 2009? I understand that another round of UNHRC battles are looming.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Dear Mango,

    Thanks, and you do seem to have followed things with regard to the UNHRC pretty closely, but I fear it is at this point that I must resort to that well known diplomatic phrase: “No comment”.

    • http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/ Mango

      Dear Dr Jayatilleka,

      Appreciate the reply :) I followed that saga with great interest. The UK Labour party and govt were so blatantly pro-LTTE it was beyond embarrassing to witness.

      Here’s a perfect demonstration of how Labour MPs descended into communalism and über-hypocrisy.

      Stephen Timms is the Labour MP for East Ham (a strong pro-LTTE diaspora area). He was consistently pro-Eelam, anti Sri Lanka’s war & anti-terror legislation and pro-GTF.

      Bizarrely, he voted for the 2nd Iraq War, voted for UK’s anti terror laws and voted for the UK to maintain detention without trial. Huh? http://tinyurl.com/pq86w3

      In 2010, he was stabbed by a female British muslim constituent angered at his support for the 2nd Iraq War. Cue outraged comments by the UK political and media establishment about the unacceptability of Al-Quaeda inspired terrorists attacking the very fabric of democracy etc etc..

      Undoubtedly the ConLib UK govt and the Foreign Office flunkies will be back on the attack, soon. These people really have no shame.

  • wijayapala

    Dear MV,

    Just as much as the Tamil people need to retroflect on the ills of their society,

    After your retroflection, what would you say are the ills of Tamil society?

    there was a power struggle b/w Ranil and CBK and the rest is history when Rajapakse came into power, who was only waiting for an excuse to start his ‘total war’.”

    You left out the part that the LTTE wanted Rajapaksha to come to power and even forced the Tamils not to vote for Ranil. Usha also left that part out and she ran away instead of explaining it.

    • MV

      @ Wijayapala,

      “You left out the part that the LTTE wanted Rajapaksha to come to power and even forced the Tamils not to vote for Ranil. Usha also left that part out and she ran away instead of explaining it.”

      The elections were an exercise in futility, as far as the Tamil people are concerned – the reason being that gov’t showed little commitment to resolve. If you read the wikileaks revelations, you can see that the inner party struggles were more important to them than the peace process itself, with CBK dissolving parliament and calling for elections. This is quite typical of Sri Lankan politics. Furthermore, India (Congress Party under Sonia Gandhi), which could have played a constructive role in the peace process, prevented any international involvement for a peaceful end to the conflict, while colluding with Rajapakse in the death of tens of thousands in the killing fields.
      I encourage you to read paragraph 5-18 from here, which gives more in depth view: http://www.tamildaily.net/2011/03/22/indian-congress-government%E2%80%99s-involvement-in-tamil-eelam-genocide%E2%80%8F/
      When Rajapakse came into power, he was merely waiting for an excuse for ‘total war’, accusing the LTTE of violating CFA when all along the paramilitaries were provoking war as the Wikileaks suggests (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/slwi-d29.shtml).

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        MV, as I already said to Usha, the Tiger boycott of the presidential election makes a mockery of any argument that Tamils were uninterested in the process or that the outcome was irrelevant to Tamils. The Tigers were certainly interested enough in the outcome, and needed to prevent the NE Tamils voting in order to engineer the outcome they desired; namely MR in the driving seat to give them the war they were pushing for.

        There’s no doubt MR saw the military option as the best solution, unlike RW; but it was Tiger terrorism and stubbornness that moved the southern populace from supporting the RW’s diplomacy to supporting MR’s militancy. The NE Tamils wanted peace and would have voted for RW as they voted for the UNP in the 2001 and 2004 general elections. It was this that VP wanted to prevent.

        You can delude yourselves if you so wish, but the Tiger boycott rubbishes your argument.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        And don’t forget that MR didn’t use “any excuse” to go to war as you claim. He waited a long time, while we endured regular acts of terrorism like bus and train bombings, claymore attacks on villagers, assassination attempts on SF and Gotabhaya; the media was ridiculing MR for not doing anything about it. It wasn’t until Mavil Aru that he let the military off the leash.

  • MV

    To add to that:

    In any case, one does not need Wikileaks or in depth analysis – if LTTE was the obstacle to bring about a solution then one should wonder why, even 2 yrs after which the ‘war’ ended brutally, that no progress had been made on this front. All of taht has been said is just empty rhetoric.

  • MV

    To Blacker and Wijayapala:

    This will be my last post here for a while and my apologies if I hadn’t replied to some.

    Holocaust shall be the last, said they
    for we have only heard of Hitler
    yet the world tells a different story
    from the massacre of Nanking
    behind the Ukraine famine
    beneath all the rubble of Rwanda
    from the killing fields of Mullivaikkal
    there lie silenced voices
    of untold holocausts

    Cemeteries can be erased
    for they are mere objects
    but collective memory isn’t
    for they cannot be grazed down
    with a bulldozer

    Adios!

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Dude, your poetry isn’t doing your arguments any favours!