Mullaitivu families of the disappeared mark 500 days of protest

Mullaitivu families of the disappeared mark 500 days of protest

Home18Jul 2018

Families of the disappeared in Mullaitivu marked 500 days of protest today following months of prolonged demonstrations calling on the government to release the whereabouts of their missing loved ones.
Condemning the government’s inaction and broken promises, families also criticised Tamil elected representatives for their silence.
During the past 500 days demonstrators have faced harassment and intimidation from Sri Lankan intelligence officers and the leader of the protest was attacked by unknown persons.
Marking 500 days the families said they would be drawing the continuous protests to a close but would continue to demonstrate in other ways.
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A NEW CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE ENACTED WITHIN THIS YEAR, SAMPANTHAN REITERATES

A NEW CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE ENACTED WITHIN THIS YEAR, SAMPANTHAN REITERATES

Sampathan
(Press Release/18 July 2018)

Sri Lanka Brief18/07/2018

The Visiting Belgium-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance today at the office of the Leader of the opposition in parliament.

Briefing the delegation Mr Sampanthan highlighted that the present Sri Lankan Constitution is not enacted based on consensus. The processes of enacting a new Constitution which recognizes the multi-ethnicity and pluralistic nature of this country has begun and the draft Constitution will be placed before the steering committee on this Wednesday. Further speaking Mr Sampanthan said that he wants the processes to succeed and there are opportunities for this process to succeed and we should take maximum use of the prevailing circumstances to find a permanent solution to this longstanding national question.

Mr Sampanthan stressed that the new Constitution must be adopted before the end of this year to take this country on a new journey. Further, he said that the country is faced with a choice either to take the country forward or to drag the country backwards. If they want the country to move forward in every aspect then it is inevitable that they adopt a new Constitution he said.

Speaking on the reconciliation process, Mr Sampanthan highlighted that the people are not happy as they do not receive early relief for their problems. He brought to the notice of the delegation of a number of issues faced by the Tamil people in the North and East. Highlighting the large extent of lands occupied by the armed forces Mr Sampanthan said People have lived in these lands for generations and centuries and they want their lands back, but the progress in this matter has been very slow.

On the issue of Missing persons, Mr Sampanthan said people want to know as to what has happened to their loved ones and people cannot live in uncertainty forever. The truth must be ascertained said Mr Sampanthan. Our people are staging a protest for a number of months regarding these matters, but the progress made in these matters are not up to the expectations.

Appreciating the EU role in the past Mr Sampanthan appealed to the delegation to impress upon the government to take the necessary steps to cure its ways to prevent adverse impacts on its people in the future.

The Delegation led by Hon (Prof) Ms Petra De Sutter, Senator, President of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group comprised of Hon Ms Ozlem Ozen, Member of the House, Vice President of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, Hon. Georges Dallemagne, Member of the House, Vice President of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, Hon. Alain Destexhe Senator, Member of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, hon Andries Gryffroy Senator, Member of the Belgium – Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr Marc Jolling, Secretary of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Office in the Belgium Federal Parliament, and the Belgium Ambassador to Sri Lanka His Excellency Jan Luykx.

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Death penalty : Govt. hangs on despite debate on execution plan

Death penalty : Govt. hangs on despite debate on execution plan

The death penalty will be imposed on some 1,090 prisoners if this decision comes to effect

Church of Ceylon said it cannot condone the move to resume the execution of both those sentenced to death for drug related

Apart from hanging, beheading, lethal injection and shooting are also used as execution methods in the world

Meanwhile, the Department had also separated the convicted drug traffickers from other inmates to cutoff their supplies

 2018-07-19
No one in the world is impeccable. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s the nature of human beings to commit mistakes. These mistakes can be classified either venial mistakes or grave mistakes. Some grave mistakes like killing, raping, drug trafficking and aborting etc. deserve grave penalties.

Overview of death penalty

Wikipedia highlights that Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice whereby a person is killed by the state as the punishment for a crime.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) which is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues related to capital punishment, 56 countries are using the death penalty at present while 142 countries have removed the death penalty in law or in practice.
Amnesty International reports that 23 countries carried out at least 993 executions last year (2017) which is less compared to the figure in 2016 that read as 1,032. The number of executions in 2015 was 1,634. However, the real figure is likely to be much higher.
China remained the world’s top executioner, but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret.
Amnesty International highlights that the death penalty breaches human rights, in particular the right to life and the right to live free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Both rights are protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948.
Apart from hanging, beheading, lethal injection and shooting are also used as execution methods in the world.

Sri Lanka to resume death penalty

The death penalty has a long history in Sri Lanka. The British restricted the death penalty after they took control of the island in 1815 to the crimes of murder and ‘waging war against the King.’
After independence, then Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike abolished capital punishment in 1956. However, it was reintroduced after his assassination in 1959.
Records show that the year 1976 marked the last occasion when a person was subject to the death penalty in Sri Lanka.
The Cabinet of ministers has recently discussed imposing death penalty on drug traffickers, including prisoners who were already sentenced to death.
President Maithripala Sirisena stated on July 11 that he will endorse the plans to begin capital punishment following an alarming rise in the drug trade.
He noted that drug racketeers, who were convicted and serving jail terms, were continuing with their operations while in prison and called on the Justice Ministry to provide the names of individuals who had been sentenced to death regarding drug-related crimes.

A violation of human rights

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, former Human Rights Commissioner and senior lecturer at the Colombo University Law Faculty Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said that imposing the death penalty on anyone was a grave violation of human rights.
Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa
We have also pledged to the United Nations not to impose the death penalty on anyone due to ethical and moral concerns. The year 1976 marked the last occasion when a Sri Lankan was subject to the death penalty
Dr. Mahanamahewa said that during the tenure of former President J.R. Jayewardene, Sri Lanka had signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, through which ‘right to life’ was recognised and protected.
“Although we signed the multilateral treaty, we have not ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the covenant which envisages the abolition of the death penalty. Therefore, the Government can impose the capital punishment though it’s a grave violation of the ‘right to life.’ Dr. Mahanamahewa said.
“We have also pledged to the United Nations not to impose the death penalty on anyone due to ethical and moral concerns. The year 1976 marked the last occasion when a Sri Lankan was subject to the death penalty. The death penalty will be imposed on some 1,090 prisoners if this decision comes to effect,” Dr. Mahanamahewa added.
However, he said it was important to ascertain from where these drugs are smuggled in, than to impose capital punishment on people.
“There are top officials involved in large-scale drug trafficking. The Government should take action against them immediately,” he said.   Nevertheless, he said even the countries that have legalized capital punishment, have not been able to control the drug trafficking or condense murders and rape cases.

There is more to be done

Archbishop of Colombo Diocese Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith told a news briefing that there is more to be done to stop the criminals organising crimes while being in the prison in addition to subjecting them to capital punishment.
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
We understand that even prison officers also support the criminals to organise crime while in prison and therefore it’s our belief that political leadership of the country should carry out investigations
“We will support President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to subject those who organise crime while being in the prison to a death sentence, but we also feel that there is more to be done,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
“We understand that even prison officers also support the criminals to organise crime while in prison and therefore it’s our belief that political leadership of the country should carry out investigations and penalize the prison officers as well if they are found to have helped the inmates to carry out various crimes,” he added.

Executive’s consent shouldn’t be a need

Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku said that the death penalty should be implemented for drug traffickers.
He told the Daily Mirror that it was good to enforce the death penalty, but the executive branch should not interfere in this affair other than during exceptional circumstances.
“We have seen instances where the Executive unduly interferes into implementing the death penalty. The consent of the Executive should not be a requirement in forming the verdict for a death penalty on a convict.
Nagananda Kodituwakku
The consent of the Executive should not be a requirement in forming the verdict for a death penalty on a convict. It has to be decided in and through a court procedure without the interference of anybody
“It has to be decided in and through a court procedure without the interference of anybody,” Kodituwakku said.
“The majority of the prisoners are those who are involved in drug trafficking. Therefore, there should be an end to drugs which have become a huge threat to the country,” Kodituwakku added.
He added that even under the Customs Ordinance, it’s underscored that the death penalty should be handed to drug traffickers who are involved in large scale drug trafficking.
Further, Kodituwakku said that the death penalty should also be applicable for any person who has been convicted of death under the Penal Code of Sri Lanka.

‘No’ to death penalty

Prof. Ven. MedagodaAbayathissa Thera said that he was opposed to resuming death penalty.
“We are taught in the Buddhism not kill the person, but kill the fault. In that viewpoint, we are against this move. There is a lot to be done before bringing the death penalty,”Abayathissa Thera said.
“It’s necessary to find out the root causes for the existence of drugs and how they enter the country,” the monk added.
Abayathissa Thera said that the death penalty is carried out by failed states and added Sri Lanka had also fallen into that category.
Ven. MedagodaAbayathissa Thera
We are taught in the Buddhism not kill the person, but kill the fault. In that viewpoint, we are against this move. Priority should not be given to killing those who are involved in drug trafficking, but to ways and means to eradicate drugs from the society
“Priority should not be given to killing those who are involved in drug trafficking, but to ways and means to eradicate drugs from the society,” the Thera added.
Abayathissa Thera said that if the Government would impose the death penalty on those who organise crimes while being in the prison, it underscores inefficiency and bureaucracy on the part of the Prison Department, in their deals with inmates.
Meanwhile, The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) in a letter addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena had requested to revoke his decision to enforce the capital punishment on drug traffickers and implement a powerful and long-term policy framework for the suppression of grave crimes, including drug trafficking.
The delegation of the European Union in Sri Lanka as well as the diplomatic missions of Canada and Norway have written to President Sirisena to verify the worrying information in the public domain about the intention of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to resume implementing the death penalty.
At the same time, the Church of Ceylon (Anglican Church) on Monday said it was against the death penalty and instead called on the Government to vigorously combat drug smuggling and distribution at all levels in the society.
Issuing a statement, the Church of Ceylon said it cannot condone the move to resume the execution of both those sentenced to death for drug related crimes and inmates continuing to be involved in the drug trade while in prison.

List of 18 convicts released

Prisons Spokesman Commissioner Thushara Upuldeniya said a list consisting names of 18 convicts, who were sentenced to death for drug-related crimes, was submitted to the Justice and Prison Reforms Ministry on July 13.

He said the security within the Prisons had been beefed up to curb drug smuggling by convicted drug traffickers.
He said the Prison Department had also limited the meals brought by outsiders to be given to such inmates, to prevent communication.
Meanwhile, the Department had also separated the convicted drug traffickers from other inmates to cutoff their supplies and connections with the outside world and other inmates.
According to the measures taken, the Department hoped to expand its intelligence and equip Prison Officers with better equipment.
Commissioner Upuldeniya added that the Department had planned to launch an awareness campaign targeting convicted drug traffickers to educate them over the harm created through drugs and discourage them from being involved in drug-trafficking.
woman prisoner headed the list of the criminals, on death row, Justice and Prison Reforms Minister Thalata Athukorala
Justice and Prison Reforms Minister Thalata Athukorala airing her views at an event held in Kahawatta on Monday said that a woman prisoner headed the list of the criminals, on death row. They are to be hung.
The Minister also said that the country had already become a drug trafficking hub when the unity Government assumed power.
Meanwhile, the Prison Department announced last week, that it had called for applications to recruit two hangmen to carry out executions.
The department hired two hangmen in 2015, but they later resigned.
The Department spokesman said it had been a difficult task to recruit a hangman as most of them quit due to stress.
In conclusion, it’s apt  to pose the question whether the Government has taken adequate steps to check the proliferation of drugs before starting the practice of using the death penalty.
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Global Tamil Forum deplores reintroduction of capital punishment for drug trafficking in Sri Lanka

Global Tamil Forum deplores reintroduction of capital punishment for drug trafficking in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka by reintroducing death penalty will be joining a shrinking minority of states that persist with this horrific practice.

( July 20, 2018, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) deplores reports that the Sri Lankan cabinet committee has decided to reintroduce death penalty for those convicted of drug trafficking. GTF is deeply concerned that the desire to reintroduce death penalty -after a period of more than 40 years of moratorium- fits into an emerging pattern in the country where toying with extreme ideas are becoming mainstream and acceptable.
Death penalty is an inherently cruel and irreversible punishment, which is neither morally defensible nor can be backed up by evidence to have had any notable effect on deterring abhorrent crimes. It is ironic the country that did not resort to death penalty even during decades of armed conflict now wants to resume this barbaric practice.
GTF fully concurs drug abuse is a menace in the society and every possible step needs to be taken to root out drug trafficking. Report of drug trafficking from the confines of prisons is a failure of the prison system and cannot justify capital punishment. Further, in a country where judicial independence and capacity is hotly disputed, the risk of miscarriage of justice and wrongful execution of an innocent person will be unacceptably high.
Sri Lanka by reintroducing death penalty will be joining a shrinking minority of states that persist with this horrific practice. This arbitrary action violates Sri Lanka’s international commitments, including its repeated votes in favour of a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty at the UN General Assembly.
At a time when Sri Lanka’s genuineness in fully implementing its commitments under the UNHRC Resolution 30(34)-1 is questioned, brazenly abandoning another of its long-standing principle is deeply concerning.
Sri Lanka has yet to come to terms with its horrendous past where thousands of what is viewed as officially sanctioned illegal executions were a common occurrence. For a society that is desensitised to such atrocious crimes, reintroducing legal executions may not appear as particularly troubling. And it is precisely for this reason that leadership from both the government and opposition should put their political differences aside and, with conviction, desist from such inhuman practice.
GTF views the reintroduction of death penalty as a regressive step impeding the transformation of Sri Lanka into a modern, decent and humane society and is appalled by press reports that there is support among some religious leaders in favour of this change. In fact, the civil society and religious leaders should provide firm and principled guidance in opposing this short-sighted attempt and the international community should strongly articulate the negative consequences of such action.
GTF calls on the Sri Lankan government to back away from its ill-conceived decision. Democracy and respect for human rights, at a minimum, demand it.
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TID SUMMONS RIVIRA JOURNALIST OVER NEWS ITEM

TID SUMMONS RIVIRA JOURNALIST OVER NEWS ITEM

Sri Lanka Brief(19 July 2018)  The Associate Editor of Rivira Sunday newspaper Tissa Ravindra Perera has been summoned by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) to record a statement on Friday (20) over ongoing investigation of a news article.
In a letter, the TID Director informed the Rivira Newspaper Chief Editor that the TID had launched an investigation into a news article published by Rivira Newspaper on June 24 this year under the titled Aluthma Billakata Koti Nagitiy.

The TID said they were investigating under the Prevention of Terrorist Act and Journalist Raveendra Perera had been informed to report to the TID tomorrow (Friday) at 9 a.m. to record a statement.
Daily Mirror

The letter send by TID:

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RTI Commission Directs Sri Lanka Army To Give Info On Hotels And Canteens Run In The North And East  

RTI Commission Directs Sri Lanka Army To Give Info On Hotels And Canteens Run In The North And East  

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An argument by the Sri Lanka Army that hotels and canteens being run by the Army in the North and East are maintained by ‘welfare funds’ and not public money, has been dismissed by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission established under the country’s internationally praised RTI Act. Pointing out that ‘the said hospitality ventures are controlled, operated and maintained’ by officers of the Public Authority ‘who are paid out of Government funds’, the Commission has directed the Army to provide the information. 

The RTI Commission has stated that, accepting this argument that no public funds are involved will amount to ‘allowing the Public Authority a special privilege’ contrary to the RTI Act. 
Though the information asked by the journalist was initially denied by the Army, it later agreed to give the information following the Ministry of Defence submitting similar information regarding hospitality ventures run in the former war theatre by the Sri Lanka Air Force and Navy to the information requester, G. Dileepamuthan.    
But the admission by the Army during the hearing that it maintained an intelligence file on the journalist has led to a storm of protests on social media. The RTI Commission has informed that ‘if any Public Authority commences to obtain Military Intelligence reports in regard to citizens purely on the basis that they are filing Right to Information requests which is a legitimate and legal procedure under the Right to Information (RTI) Act passed by the Sri Lanka Parliament, then the fundamental objectives of the Act would be negated.‘
It was pointed out that ‘while the Commission is not in a position to assess at this stage as to whether this has actually happened in this case or not on the facts before us, it must also be stated that in principle, this would be a matter of grave concern befitting the specific intervention of the Commission if RTI applicants are sought to be intimidated in any way whatsoever.’
The Commission had noted particularly that the background of an Appellant or the purpose of an information request is not a relevant consideration under and in terms of the RTI Act to deny information. 
Earlier, the Army’s insistence that the journalist provide the copy of his identity card was reprimanded by the Commission which pointed out that ‘the Appellant has already mentioned his NIC number in his information request; therefore it is not appropriate for the PA to further request copies of his NIC and /or Passport. The RTI Act No.12 of 2016 is very clear, that an information request can only be declined by citing one of the exemptions in Section 5(1)(a) of the Act; it cannot be blocked through circuitous means.’  The Information Officer for the Army had then assured the Commission that the practice of asking RTI Appellants to produce identity cards will not be repeated in the future

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The Role of Deconstruction in Rethinking Nationalist Narratives

The Role of Deconstruction in Rethinking Nationalist Narratives

Featured image by Raisa Wickrematunge

At the heart of this discourse lies the notion of apekama  – loosely translating as ‘ourness’, or the idea that there are things that are authentically Sinhala and Buddhist. The cultural coordinates of apekama are debated hotly. They have rarely remained static, but one constant is the belief that something called apekama exists and that it is a national virtue with overarching unity. It is not simply idiosyncratic personal belief but a systematic discourse that has become institutionalised and is reproduced and transmitted from generation to generation.
“The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity” a Cultural Geneology of Sinhala Nationalism” Harshana Rambukwella

RANGA KALUGAMPITIYA-07/18/2018

Editor’s Note: In a review of Rambukwella’s book (originally published in the Daily FT on July 14, 2018) Dr Senaratne notes that the book, rather than unpacking the idea of nationhood, chooses to address more interesting questions:

“Why is authenticity so central to nationalism? What kinds of conditions demand, sustain and reproduce it? Can we think of multiple and contending authenticities instead of one homogenous discourse?” 

The following is a reaction to the points made in Dr Senaratne’s review, which we publish in an effort to further the discourse around authenticity and identity.

In his scholarly review of Harshana Rambukwella’s book, The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity: A Cultural Genealogy of Sinhala Nationalism, Kalana Senaratne raised some important concerns regarding the kind of critical scholarship that Rambukwella’s work represents. He draws attention to two fundamental positions that critical and deconstructionist scholarship, which concerns itself with nationalist narratives, subscribes to.

The first is the position that there is no way to verify “the accuracy and solidity of such nationalist narratives.” The second is the implied belief that the more cosmopolitan, “citizen-of-the-world” identity is somehow preferable to “solid and singular identities,” like the Sinhala identity and the Tamil identity. Based on a close exploration of these two fundamental positions, Senaratne argues that critical and deconstructionist approaches to nationalist narratives, which seek to unsettle the identities that such narratives institute, legitimise, and reinforce, result in canceling out the spaces within which an alternative political vision could be conceptualised, particularly in contexts like ours. The goal of this article is to address Senaratne’s position regarding the broader critical and deconstructionist project, which Rambukwella’s work is an expression of.

The idea of deconstruction as referred to by Senaratne needs some unpacking. Deconstruction is not destruction; deconstruction may have its roots in the idea of destruction, but the former certainly cannot be reduced to the latter. Deconstruction as understood in the field of critical theory is a methodological approach used to “see through” a text and recognise the dynamics of the broader context, which have resulted in shaping the text into what it is. Deconstruction as an approach differs from the conventional textual analyses in that it looks at the text not as an end in itself but as an interface that gives one access to a particular formation or configuration of power relations in broader society.

Nationalist narratives, which are historical by nature, are texts in the sense that they are narratives that express meaning. What a deconstructionist approach to such a narrative does is to demonstrate how the context in which that narrative came into existence has determined the shape of the narrative. This is not at all to say that such narratives are necessarily fabrications or inaccurate renditions of what actually transpired. All it says is that even when a given narrative is considered to have stayed loyal to the actual happenings, it is at its best a representation of those happenings. This representation, critical theorists like Hayden White remind us, is a narrative in the sense that it is a rendition of the actual happenings in language. The gap or the slippage between the actual happenings and their representation always ensures the possibility of there being alternative narratives, which may be significantly different from the mainstream narrative. What a deconstructionist approach would do is to foreground this slippage and highlight the idea that a narrative, irrespective of how mainstream it is, is always a rendition of the happenings from a particular point of view, which invariably comes with its own set of interests, biases, and internal contradictions and inconsistencies.

Accordingly, what deconstructionist approaches like Rambukwella’s, which highlight certain internal contradictions and inconsistencies of the Sinhala nationalist narrative, do is to remind us of the essential incompleteness of that narrative. This does not in any way suggest that we need to completely abandon the mainstream nationalist narrative and shift to a different one, unless a strong case can be made in favour of such a shift, on the basis of convincing findings and arguments. What such an approach does is to highlight the spaces that are already available within the nationalist narrative for a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of realities. In this sense, a deconstruction of the identities associated with the nationalist narrative, which, in this case, is the Sinhala identity, is not a destruction of that identity but an attempt to complicate that identity in order to enable a more nuanced understanding of that identity.

The deconstruction of the Sinhala identity and also the Tamil identity, I would argue, has positive implications for any move towards introducing an alternative political vision. To see the deconstruction of the Sinhala and Tamil identities as a move that creates barriers for such a political project entails the assumption that the alternative political vision should necessarily subscribe to the current understanding of the Sinhala and Tamil ethnic identities. This assumption, in my view, is limiting, at least for two reasons. First, the Sinhala and Tamil identities in their current form, one could argue, is too fraught with negative energy to enable an alternative political vision that guarantees reconciliation. In such a setting, it is imperative that we, as a society, explore alternative ways in which the concerned identities could be reconceptualised. Second, to stay fixated on the mainstream thinking that the alternative political vision should essentially be ethnic in nature may be to overlook other possible ways in which that vision could be conceptualised. In this sense, studies like Rambukwella’s need to be seen not as distractors that keep us from moving towards an alternative political vision, but as important intellectual activities that make a crucial contribution to that political project in question by enhancing the space in which such a vision could be developed.

Editor’s Note: Also read “The Politics of Aluthgama” and “Sinha Le Politics and Socio-Cultural Persecution

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Damsel in distress…Lanka in agony

Damsel in distress…Lanka in agony

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”
 ~Thomas Paine 

  • Ethnic violence and ethnic discrimination has taken deep root in the psyche of the adolescent who has now reached his middle age
  • S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who for his inflated egoistic reasons and mad rush to power, floated the idea of Sinhala-only policy

2018-07-19

Her clothes were ripped off; body battered; mind confused and heart burnt; she was raped and dishonoured and violated beyond recognition. All the traditions and values that were associated with a young woman in a rural hamlet were stolen from her, so to speak. For one offender to another successive criminal, her body and soul became a playground; she was defamed, defaced and debased. Yet, while all these undignified and unscrupulous deeds were committed by her own children who claim that this was all done in order to protect her and her good name, those who did not participate in these inhuman deeds were rendered impotent and mute. Because all these ungodly feats were consummated by the hooligans of her nation-body as patriotic ventures that deserve to be preserved for posterity and the love for ‘the land, the race and the faith’.

Once that gross misdemeanor was committed, those who followed the regimes of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, J R Jayewardene, R Premadasa, Chandrika Bandaranaike and up to Mahinda Rajapaksa, felt utterly free to indulge in the most indecent and unspeakable acts of high crimes and misdemeanor

By the time she reached fifty years after ‘Independence’, the gruesome process has evolved to be the norm instead an exception. With her profile so faded, a forlorn look in her eyes and all her hopes and dreams in ashes, she still keeps one single hope, a faint ray of desire to rise from the layers of rages heaped up in enmity, hatred and envy. In the modern world in which every guy and gal is having his or her ear glued to a Smartphone, she laments that her evolution has not embraced that ‘phone-culture’ as yet. Her mere attachment to things that are more traditional and conventional has made her clumsy and slavish to things of the past that are mere concepts and not living organisms.

That inherent lethargy as a historical fact as was proven time and again in her ancient ‘glorious past’ and her disinterested slant to the currents of international and all-embracing technological advancements has cost her dearly; she may not have realized it, but that is the hard truth. To paraphrase Jawaharlal Nehru who in his celebrated book, The Discovery of India, himself quoting another great son of India, Rabindranath Tagore, wrote that all things of the past are dead and death-dealing. Each time she peeped into her ancient past, as someone close associated with psychiatry disclosed, she got something akin to an orgasmic relief, a relief so fleeting, the immediate aftermath of that relief made it look like a disguised agony calling for company.

This unrelenting epic continues to date. The faked patriotism of Weerawansa and Gammanpila, thunderous shrieking by Dinesh and Aluthgamage and insalubrious and pathetic violation the body and soul of Mother Lanka by Mahinda Rajapaksa and his notorious family are beyond description.
All these violations were there in her ancient history too. Those who chronicled her history, more often than not, alluded to the glorious events of war-victories, shattering of the enemy’s will and erection of magnificent Stupas, Dagabas and ocean-like tanks. The paintings in the Rock fortress Sigiri and Buddha statues in the Dambulla caves, of course, tell a calmness and serenity of a totally sublime and disciplined mind of a people. Such greatness is not subordinated by the massive irrigation networks that streamed life-giving waters to hungry and impatient lands downstream. These mind-boggling human achievements were not bested by any of the modern day rulers. Yet, as Tagore said, they are all dead and belong in the distant arena of past.

With all due respect to D. S. Senanayake and his first Cabinet of Ministers, the apathetic regard they exhibited during the first few years of Independence towards the well-being of Mother Lanka was shaded with nuanced and subtle fine lines of Colonial artistry. However, the first of her violations began with a man called S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who for his inflated egoistic reasons and mad rush to power, floated the idea of Sinhala-only policy heralded by his five-pronged army- Sanga, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru (Sangha, Indigenous medical practitioner, Teacher, Farmer and Labourer). That idea became a potent force with real inflammatory sloganizing. Apart from a very positive and productive profile, this force contained within itself pent up emotions of an envious and angry adolescent. That adolescent, in his newly-found, yet misplaced courage, believed it was time to violate her who had just attained puberty.

one simply cannot disregard nor forget the consummation of all these violations by the dawn of 2015

Once that gross misdemeanor was committed, those who followed the regimes of Sirimavo

Bandaranaike, J R Jayewardene, R Premadasa, Chandrika Bandaranaike and up to Mahinda Rajapaksa, felt utterly free to indulge in the most indecent and unspeakable acts of high crimes and misdemeanor. While all these dastardly violations were justified on the grounds of ‘patriotism’, the Damsel suffered the indignities of rape, terror, bullying, intimidation and butchery.

Nevertheless, one simply cannot disregard nor forget the consummation of all these violations by the dawn of 2015. And sheer apathy which was shown in the process towards the rule of law was more vocal and robust in its exercise in the absence of decency. The rule of law became the law of rule.

The sloganeers of the Rajapaksa regime, with their crafty and evil intentions, carried the shameless harassing of the land, the race and the faith. The gruesome acts of violence and silent nod rendered by the prelates of the Maha Sangha encouraged these hooligans to carry on with their inhumanities to their brethren, whether they came from the North or the South, the East or the West. A license to murder, harass, rape and loot was gleefully endorsed by the leaders of the ‘Teachings’ of the first religious leader who taught Ahimsa, (non-violence), Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.

Our Great Chronicle says that Prince Gamini (before he was coronated as Duttha-Gamini) refused to lie on his bed with his arms and legs freely spread out. The reason he gave was that when the Tamils in the North and the Indian Ocean in the South are threateningly invasive, how could he possibly sleep freely. The venom and anger contained in these words are still echoing deeply in the ears of extremists whose misplaced sense of patriotism is providing sufficient fuel to convert that patriotism into slaughter and dismemberment of a fellow countryman.

Ethnic violence and ethnic discrimination has taken deep root in the psyche of the adolescent who has now reached his middle age. His propensities for violence and mayhem may have cooled down; his anger and venom may have reached its peak over a couple of decades ago, yet his dormant enmity and rage is like ember beneath the ashes. The slightest of dog whistle could rekindle that flame; the faintest of signal is sufficient to call to arms.

In this convolution of national character, ‘how can I rest in peace’, the damsel pleads. An epic transformation is obligatory. A total calibration of the fine traces of character is long overdue.
Rehabilitation of his soul must accompany the recalibertion and the transformation, if not, all purpose of the exercise becomes redundant, for the foe and friend of our land become one and the same and the foe overpowering the friend is inevitable.

Until this marvel happens, it is required of the national profile to be polite, at least for the sake of decency and decorum. For the ‘damsel is in deep distress…

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com  

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Ian Paisley could face byelection after breaking Commons rules

Ian Paisley could face byelection after breaking Commons rules

Likely 30-day suspension of DUP MP over holidays worth £50,000 could lead to recall

 Ian Paisley was found to have engaged in ‘paid advocacy’ after his trips to Sri Lanka. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

The Democratic Unionist party MP Ian Paisley could be forced to stand down and face a byelection after a serious breach of parliamentary rules.

The member for North Antrim is already facing a suspension from the House of Commons for 30 sitting days after becoming a “paid advocate” for the Sri Lankan government and failing to declare family holidays worth at least £50,000.

His suspension will have repercussions for Theresa May’s government. Her working majority will be reduced by one until November, as the government tries to pass contentious Brexit legislation.

The 30-day ban, if accepted, could trigger a recall petition following a recent change to legislation. If 10% of the electorate signs a petition within six weeks, a byelection would take place at which Paisley could stand again.

Political opponents in Northern Ireland, including the Ulster Unionist party, the SDLP and Sinn Féin, have called for him to resign or face a public vote.

A spokesperson for Sinn Féin said that in the absence of his resignation or being forced to stand down by the DUP “we will support a recall if the percentage of the electorate required to trigger a recall prevails”.

Paisley’s suspension has been recommended by the Commons standards committee in a highly critical report examining two family holidays the MP took to Sri Lanka in 2013.

It could last 30 sitting days and is due to begin on 4 September, the committee said. Parliament is in recess over the party conference season, meaning the suspension would last well into the autumn.

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Mahinda & Gotabaya Should Be Held In Contempt Of Court

Mahinda & Gotabaya Should Be Held In Contempt Of Court

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With 2020 looming the Yahapalanaya government is striving to kick start investigations into the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime’s scandals, bring to Court some cases and simultaneously grant publicity to the development efforts in the pipeline. A welcome move but is it too late? The Rajapaksa camp is full of hope nay already feeling that 2020 is only a foregone conclusion. But is it?
If readers would recall, Mahinda Rajapaksa was smug with the thought that the opposition could not even name a contender to pitch against him, leading up to the 2015 Presidential election. The role is reversed. It has to be another Rajapaksa yet again. But which one? Mahinda is debarred, Gotabaya has the Hitler tag and a dual
citizenship, Basil is considered corrupt by 10% and Namal is a young brat not wise yet which leaves Chamal and Shiranthi standing. It does not matter a whit or which. It will be a repeat or even worse than what Sri Lanka endured during the dark days of the Rajapaksa regime. Yes, the war was won.
Corruption was the main platform together with the minority votes that were cast lock stock and barrel to Maithripala Sirisena which upended the Rajapaksa juggernaut. Successive generations of Sri Lankans have been living and voting in hope that a messiah would deliver them a life worth living. Not one has emerged and none in the horizon.
We have heard repeatedly from Gotabaya and Mahinda that “War Heroes” are being jailed. Nothing is further from the truth. It is time that the Sri Lankan people were educated as to why some Army and Police Officers are in remand. There are officers of the armed forces and the police in remand in cases that were committed and reported during the period that Mahinda and Gotabaya were in control of the country. The crimes were committed during their term in office but the investigations were conducted in a fitting manner AFTER that government was defeated. Prageeth Ekneligoda, Lasantha Wickrematunge, Thajudeen, Keith Noyahr, Five students from the north etc etc.
The investigations invariably led to the suspects being identified from the security forces which was the domain of Gotabaya. Reported facts to Courts in all of the above cases resulted in some officers being remanded according to the law of the land, as ordered by a lawfully enacted court and by a lawfully appointed Judge.
Given the above facts is Gotabaya and Mahinda guilty of Contempt of Court? Alluding that a lawful Court and a lawful Judge remanded suspects due to politically partisan reasons is definitely in contempt. Citizens of Sri Lanka would think so and they would expect the Attorney General to initiate charges. Misleading a gullible majority who are least concerned in these matters due to the burdens of day to day life does not bode well for a country that is seeking change to reach true potential. Sri Lankans should and must not hero worship mediocrity. This nonsense must stop forthwith.
The political landscape and the debate within parliament and the country is pathetic.A person is remanded for a crime and the debate descends to what garb he should wear whilst in remand. Not the crime that matters but the vestment he/she should adorn whilst in remand. Corruption cases and such charges are debated selectively. Some are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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