Author Archives: srilankatwo

FASCISM, from a class angle

FASCISM, from a class angle

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This gentleman does not know that Hitler also, selected people to his operations efficiently. The massacre of Jews was also done systematically and efficiently with some brilliant innovations. This man is talking about his achievements in serving the hideous regime aptly condemned by all people in the world. Present government has to carry out a Himalayan task to rewind the crimes committed to humanity and make our country acceptable to the UN norms

If I am asked to comment on the current economic situation in the country I would say it is a difficult task as it depends on the socio-economic theory one is based on. As a Marxist I will look at the economy as a whole and indicate what is happening and what we could do to make it better for the working masses. Of course I am looking from a class angle.


In my opinion all are looking from class angles though they would not agree. If one says ‘I do not consider myself qualified enough to lecture you about the economy. After all, the audience here comprise many senior corporate executives and businessmen. You know as much as I do about the current status of the economy’; yes it is very clear that speaker is a leader for business interest. He will say that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was powerful and stable, and was capable of selecting men with business interest and skills for managing exploitation. Hence Lanka had a good growth rate and was moving towards prosperity.

Mahinda regime

I am not surprised when Dr Nalaka Godahewa says “I am sure you already know that the GDP growth rate of the country has come down by about 14% over the last two years. You already know that rupee has got devalued by about 15% compared to the value two years ago. You already know that foreign direct investments have declined from USD 1.6 bn in 2014 to about USD 450 Million in 2016. Bloomberg has recently rated us as a high risk country to invest. You already know that Colombo Stock Exchange is currently the worst performing stock exchange in Asia. You already know that Debt to GDP ratio has increased from 70.7% in 2014 to about 81% by end of 2016.

You already know that despite the promise of the new government to create 1 mn jobs, unemployment has risen from 4.3% to about 4.6% by end of 2016.

You already know that foreign reserves are down from USD 8.3 Bn to perhaps less than USD 5 Bn within the last two years. Everybody knows that interest rates are going up, savings are down, consumer spendings are less and the whole economy is in bad shape.”
unnamed (12)

Dr Nalaka Godahewa
Obviously such academic style, presenting data, could impress and also frighten middle class intelligentsia. Mediocritic fascistic leaders need such talkers to fill their state machinery. Then he explains how he became a powerful man in the Mahinda regime.

“One day, I got a call from Sumith Abeysinghe then Treasury Secretary asking whether I could come and meet the President. I was asked by President Mahinda Rajapaksa whether I could act as the Competent Authority of Sri Lanka Insurance for one month until a formal board is appointed. That was the first time in my life I spoke to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I had no connection to any of the Rajapaksas until then. I accepted the responsibility. I had enough free time at that time since I was on my own. Perhaps because I did a good job during that one month period as the Competent Authority, I was appointed as the Managing Director of the company when the new board was appointed. I had no special connection to the top nor did I canvass for the job. They just decided on their own.

Stock market

As Managing Director of SLIC I performed once again. We made substantial gains in the market share and also made some wise investments in the stock market which resulted in huge capital gains. I met Gotabhaya Rajapaksa through SLIC. I wanted to turn around our loss making subsidiary Apollo. I invited Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who was riding high on a wave of popularity at that time as the defence secretary to be the new chairman of the hospital. He agreed and we served on the same board for several years. We rebranded the hospital as Lanka hospitals and turned around a loss making hospital to a profitable one, a virtually empty hospital to one which is packed to capacity. Obviously Gotabhaya Rajapaksa identified me as someone with skills. So he appointed me to several other boards under his ministry. That’s how I became a director of the Urban Development Authority.

After the 2010 general election, I was appointed as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism probably because I had performed well at SLIC as the Managing Director. That is where I met Basil Rajapaksa who was the subject minister. He too recognized my abilities and appointed me to a few other boards such as Sri Lanka Catering and Sri Lanka Handicrafts Board. Then in 2012, I was once again given a special assignment by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I was moved from Tourism to SEC to handle another crisis. By then the Colombo stock market was crashing for 18 continuous months and two regulators had been removed. I assumed responsibilities as SEC chairman in July 2012 and you know the rest. We not only turned around the market but also won recognition as the most sustainable stock market in Asia. So contrary to what some people think, I am neither related to Rajapaksas nor am I a family friend. I didn’t know anyone of them personally till 2009. Any mutual respect we have today is totally due to working relationships and not due to any political connections. They were simply good at identifying the skills of people and using them to get results.”

Himalayan task

This gentleman does not know that Hitler also, selected people to his operations efficiently. The massacre of Jews was also done systematically and efficiently with some brilliant innovations. This man is talking about his achievements in serving the hideous regime aptly condemned by all people in the world. The present government has to carry out a Himalayan task to rewind the crimes committed to humanity and make our country acceptable to the UN norms. While some people are trying to glorify Lankan fascistic regime that was overthrown; the fascistic policies of American President combined with Russian President have created desperate situation among the proletarian youth in Europe and North America. In the Western capitals, based on logical positivism to which they are used to, in the past we were promised the fascinating culmination of capitalism as liberal democratic paradise, where happiness will be universal. Fukuyama said this beauty will be the end of history.

On the other hand the Russians promised us the splendid communism through the one party dictatorship. Now we see in Russia something almost identical to the American Trump government: regime of Putin. Yes, it is ‘the end of philosophy’, or as they say, ‘the end of history’. I fully agree: it is the end of their philosophy and of their history.

What post modernist or one party communist predicted has come, not in the positive way but in the opposite. ‘New tricks’ of these leaders are actually very old. Some were practiced by Hitler and Mussolini. Youth say their entire system is outdated. It should have been retired at least one hundred years ago. It survived only because of the MNC system managed by the trio IMF, WB and WTO.

These days, intelligent people inhabiting the West and Russia behave like the educated people who were living in Nazi Germany during the World War 2. After the war was over, they were street walking for years, at least many of them, repeating the same refrains: “We didn’t know!” “We never realized”. The Nazi propaganda is similar to the propaganda used in the West about neo colonial development. Noam Chomsky says in his book “On Western Terrorism”, these are based on precisely the same roots, foundations and methods. Both are extremely effective, when it comes to the total brainwashing of the population.
Cultural affiliation

There is nothing more to understand. Hundreds of millions of victims in all parts of the world are speaking for themselves. The only rational issue here is this: how to stop this horror, as soon as possible? How to allow humanity to return to its natural development and evolution patterns? UNHR will not look into this problem.

The West and Russia will not ‘pay’ for all that they have done to the world. We only want it to be stopped, once and for all. We must work very hard for it to be stopped. Suddenly the world is watching, and all of a sudden enjoying what it sees; suddenly more and more people are daring to laugh at the global regime of West and Russia. Of course it had spread to in Paris, London or New York and also to Moscow. People on all continents want to see and hear about what ‘others do’, what ‘we do’, not what the global power unit and its mental conditions are producing.

It is in this context we have to look at our neighbourhood. Lanka features centrally in Aryan sacred epic the Ramayana. It is about Aryan Bharatha invasion of Yakka Lanka. For that reason, India is probably the one foreign country that has always had a place in our popular imagination.

Then there are the old Sinhala legends of Sri Lanka’s links to Orissa in India, which are of course manifest in the striking similarities of the Kandyan and Odissi dance forms. Add to this, the fact that the significant Eelam Tamil nationality on the island enjoys ties of kinship and cultural affiliation with India’s southern State of Tamil Nadu. Hence our revolution is closely tied to what happens in India.

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To Rebuild A Home

To Rebuild A Home

Featured image by Amalini de Sayrah
AMALINI DE SAYRAH on 04/28/2017

Over the last few months, there have been several protests across the Northern Province demanding the release of civilian land from under military occupation. While there have been no definitive responses to these protests in terms of long term solutions from the state, two small victories have taken place since.

First, the release of land in the Pilakudiyiruppu area and secondly, the release of the land belonging to Sellamma and some of her neighbours in Puthukudiyiruppu, both in the Mullaitivu district.
These two instances have something else in common, that their return home wasn’t as joyful and fulfilling as it should have been. They returned to find their homes in various states of damage and disarray, the actions of previous military occupants, angered by the victories of the protesting civilians.
Sellamma, 83 and living with one of her daughters, shared with Groundviews her story of evacuation to refugee camps, the long process of returning home and her now ongoing struggle of rebuilding it.
This story was compiled using the immersive platform Microsoft Sway. Click here to access the story directly, or view the embed below.

https://sway.com/s/8nIzNxpis4L99h33/embed

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Part 2: Indian Plantation Workers Overseas – Ceylon

Part 2: Indian Plantation Workers Overseas – Ceylon

Colombo Telegraph

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan –April 29, 2017

The descendants of Indians brought to Ceylon (since 1972, Sri Lanka) are particularly unfortunate because the attainment of independence has worsened their plight, bringing disenfranchisement, “race” riots (and the accompanying humiliation and terror; assault, rape and murder) and expatriation. Though these “wretched of the earth” have left little literary testimony (for reasons already explained), C.V. Velupillai has tried to ensure that their lives and experiences are not entirely forgotten. Velupillai, a “coolie” who joined the trade union movement and then entered parliament, participated in satyagraha (non-violent protest, on the model of that practised by Mahatma Gandhi) against the racially discriminatory policies of the government, was arrested and briefly imprisoned. Born in Ceylon, he never visited India. I have been able to trace only two of his works: In Ceylon’Tea Garden (1957) and Born to Labour (1970). The stories and songs by and of a people exploited and discarded are simply told but are all the more effective for it:
They lie dust under dust
Beneath the tea
No wild weed flowers
Or memories token
Tributes rise
Over their humble mound
(Velupillai 1957, 2).
The first group of “coolies” was brought to Ceylon as early as 1817 to build the road from Colombo to Kandy (Daniel 31). Later, many more came to work on the coffee plantations (1830-1880) and, when that crop crashed, to labour on tea estates. When reading statements that the government of India came to an agreement with the government of Ceylon (or with that of any other imperial territory) over the export of labour, it must be borne in mind that India was then under British rule. The agreement was between British officials, and the natives played no part in the decision, though they were affected by the consequences. In the early years, except for the short sea crossing from India to Ceylon, coolies, both men and women, literally walked from the north of Ceylon where they were landed, through the jungles of the North-Central province to the central hill country. The coolies were a miserable lot, ill-fed, ill-clothed, travelling through jungle, sometimes without a drop of water, sometimes knee-deep in swamps (Tinker 93). Food being scarce, survival depended on a speedy completion of the journey, and anyone unable to keep up was abandoned, left in the deep recesses of the forest amid wild beasts, serpents and insects, with a handful of rice and a shell of water to meet death all alone (Tinker 173.) Britain gave land free of charge to would-be British planters – a foreign power gifting that was not its own to its own. Later, land was sold at the nominal rate of a few shillings per acre. All land for which there was no proof of ownership – in the form and manner recognised by British law – was regarded as waste or Crown land, and expropriated (Thondaman 1987, 7). The people of the hill country deeply resented this intrusion but, unfortunately, their resentment and hatred were directed not at the rulers and the plantation companies, but at the hapless plantation workers, the miserable victims of a rapacious commercial enterprise
(Fries and Bibin 13).
The coolie found himself a bonded serf, burdened with a debt he could never redeem, however long and hard he worked (Thondaman 1987, 78) As on plantation in other countries, a breach of a labour agreement was “tantamount to a penal breach of the law … a criminal offence” (Thondaman 1987, 79). The employer was judge supreme against whom there was no appeal, no redress. The workers were, and are, segregated in their “lines”, shrouded in their daily work, a grey existence in the vast panorama of lush, green, rolling hills (Velupillai 1970, 1). “A family unit of father, mother, two children and a grown up daughter” occupy a line room, a living space of ten feet by twelve (Velupillai 1970, 1). A survey found that over seventy percent of plantation-children were severely malnourished (Gillard 14): hospitals can offer no cure for arduous and long hours of work, poverty, debt, malnutrition, and unhygienic living conditions. The experience on plantations in other territories was no different: in Old Dam (Guyana), the worker lived on a mudflat without drains, walked barefoot in the sticky mud when it rained, and the logies were choked with large families (Shineboume 32). On the plantations, the superintendent (the dorai) was a king, a planter Raj, and in his presence, the coolie cringed, and stepped off the estate path into the drains:
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Sri Lanka: Introductory review on Beyond censorship

Sri Lanka: Introductory review on Beyond censorship

by M. C. Rasmin-Apr 28, 2017
( April 28,2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Tamil print Media is widely polarized in line with minority politics, ethnicity and religion. With very few exceptions, it has certainly failed to evolve as a successful enterprise too. No doubt it has an extensive history and potential in shaping perspectives and informing its readers. However, compared to its lengthy history, the contribution of Tamil media to the broader development of Sri Lankan Media as a whole, can be considered insufficient. The industry has produced extremely capable journalists and editors. However, there is great poverty for media scholars who could actively support the ongoing media reform movement, in Sri Lanka.
It is in such a context, I am trying to introduce A. P. Mathan’s Tamil publication – Tanikkai Thaharkum Thanikkai – Beyond censorship – my translation may not best fit, a collection of 100 editorials that he wrote between 1st of January 2016 to 20th of February 2017 for Tamil Mirror. Each one of the hundred editorials begin with an introductory paragraph, specifying the need and drive for the editor to choose a theme for his writing.
All the editorials are supported with cartoons and accompanied by a brief news item.
Initially, I wanted to write a critic on this publication. However, after carefully reading the 100 editorials, I convinced myself not to do that, for a worthy cause. There is no fixed formula to measure the effectiveness of an editorial. However, it is often expected to be unique in its vibrancy and structure. An editorial is simply an opinion maker that leads to action. Not just opinion alone, but an analysis built on perspectives, supported by evidences, logically constructed arguments with a balanced and fair view on a timely concern. Editorial would reflect the wisdom of an editor on broader issues. Media scholars consider it as a great yardstick to measure investigative and research skills of an editor and his/her commitment to raise voice on anything that matters for readers. Essentially, it is the heart of a new paper, and there has been several evidences where effective editorials are often referred by various people to make judgment of socio-political and economical context of a country. Having firmly articulated my understanding of an editorial, I acknowledge that I purposely avoided writing a critic but an introductory review. Purpose of this short introductory review is to recognize the efforts of Mathan not only to add value to his professional journey, but also to Tamil Media scholarship.
It should be noted that Mathan has been instrumental in making notable changes in layouts of traditional Tamil Media during his time at various newspapers. The graphical nature that he brought to Tamil Mirror made him comfortably accommodate more numbers of small news items. Keeping it short and strong has been his passion. Mathan’s editorials reflect his passion to keep content shorter, but also reader-friendly and easy to understand. The publication comprises 286 pages with an introductory remarks written by Vithyatharan, Chief Editor – Kalaikadir, which is published daily from Jaffna.
Having read all the 100 editorials, it is observed that Mathan has given prominence to selected number of themes such as Tamil politics and political parties, transitional issues, reintegration of war affected community and post war life of Northern people – specifically northern Tamils, national security, status of good governance, Rajapaksha’s hypocrisy politics, influence of international diplomacy on local politics, instability of upcountry political parties in meetings people need, etc., in his editorials.
Majority of the editorials are addressing issues around Northern politics – struggle of TNA in fulfilling people’s aspirations and its promises, emerging interparty conflicts within TNA, upraising of alternative political leadership in the North, Tamil political leaders and problems in their move and collective challenges of Tamil politics. (Editorials 2, 3, 7, 8, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 40, 51, 56, 59,60, 83, 84, 87, 97, 98, 100). It is very explicit that Mathan is advocating for political cohesion and a responsible political system that is accountable and beneficial for people and not for political parties or politicians.
It is noteworthy that he has begun his intro with thoughts about political parties. “Every political party would have a goal driven by people’s welfare. When political parties are deviating from their goals, they need to face attacks of criticism. (p.xi)”.
This publication makes him a political critic and activist who envisions at a culture of responsibility within politics. “In many cases, the promises of politicians are valid only for elections. Except for very few, majority of the politicians never fulfil their promises. When those broken promises are captured in publications like this, it become a potential history for the next generation. I have compiled my editorials in support of next generations (P.xii)” – such note from Mathan makes it very clear that he has more faith in the “political system’ to bring changes.
At the same time, he has shown ample attention to address transitional issues – achieving justice, exploring truth, accepting right to memorialization, addressing key drivers of conflict, and restoring normalcy too (Editorials 11, 14, 19, 39, 43, 62, 64 and 79). Equally, rights of Tamil community, issues of reintegration of war affected people, social status of rehabilitated former LTTE cadres, emerging violence in the North and sexual abuse, tension amongst university students in Jaffna are included in his editorials too.
Significant number of editorials deal with the inability of upcountry politics in resolving basic livelihood concerns of the plantation community. Mathan has put it very strongly that upcountry politics is driven by personal gains and agendas, not necessarily for the benefit of people. He brings it to light that some politicians do cheat people to gain political benefits. (Editorials 17, 26, 67, 69 and 71). When it comes to international diplomacy and its impact on local politics, Mathan hasn’t failed to raise his concerns over South Indian politics and its influence in Sri Lanka and Tamil community (5, 44, 46, 53, 63, 68) while also observing how U. S. Foreign mediation (9 and 10) intervenes with Sri Lankan local politics.
The Editor has noted the importance of maintaining Tamil political representation in the Western province, while he has openly criticized about the hypocrisy behind Rajapaksha’s family politics. As an editor he has alerted government higher officials – Central Bank Governor, Inspector General of Police etc., on the responsibility, challenges and expectations ahead of them. The overall opinion of the editor about the present government and the President is broadly hopeless and slightly hopeful. While he is criticizing the present government for its inability to deliver its promises he has concentrated in writing about some common issues related to health, national security, reconciliation, natural disaster, students right to protest and education as well.
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Journalists for social justice

Journalists for social justice

2017-04-29
Next Wednesday, May 3 is World Press Freedom Day and the United Nations in a statement says the year’s theme is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”. Indeed a deep and significant theme which journalists need to reflect upon, especially in Sri Lanka where after January 2015 with the restoration of media freedom, we have also seen many instances of the misuse or abuse of such freedom.

According to the UN, media freedom and access to information feed into the wider development objective of empowering people. Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social and political process that helps people gain control over their own lives. This could only be achieved through access to accurate, fair and unbiased information, representing a plurality of opinions, and the means to actively communicate vertically and horizontally, thereby participating in the active life of the community.
The UN says this engine is driven by the fuel of information and therefore access to information is critical. Freedom of information laws, which permit access to public information are essential, but so are the means by which information is made available, be it through Information and Communication Technology or the simple sharing of documents. We are glad that to mark this year’s Press Freedom Day, Sri Lanka has an advanced and fully fledged Right to Information Law, which is widely seen as one of the best in Asia. Playing a key role in implementing Sri Lanka’s RTI law is the RTI Commission and we are confident that its members will act with courage and dedication in ensuring that elected leaders act transparently and are accountable to the people.
The UN points out that Information can change the way we see the world around us, our place in it and how to adjust our lives to maximize the benefits available through our local resources. Fact-driven decision-making can significantly alter our political, social and economic perspectives. Therefore, open and pluralistic media are, perhaps, most precious when they simply provide the mirror for society to see itself. These moments of reflection are instrumental in defining community objectives, making course corrections when society or its leaders have lost touch with each other or gone astray.
The right to access information can be interpreted within the legal frameworks that support freedom of information as it applies to information held by public bodies or in a wider sense to encompass both access and circulation of information held by other actors. Then it becomes intrinsically linked to freedom of expression, the UN says.
Freedom of information and the transparency it promotes, has a direct consequence on fighting corruption, which in turn has a tangible impact on development. The World Bank’s former president James Wolfensohn often identified government corruption as the primary hindrance to development and an independent media sector as the number one movement to fight public corruption.
Indeed on a day like this, Sri Lanka’s journalists need to reflect on the extent to which we are playing this role, without promoting party political agendas or the vested interests of others. Critical minds for critical times would also mean that Sri Lanka’s journalists should move into highly professional levels in areas such as investigative and interpretative reporting, creative and imaginative feature writing. A famous American publisher has said that news is something that someone wants suppressed. The rest is advertising. So journalists need to critically analyse our role and see whether we have the conviction and the courage to expose what powerful groups or people are trying to suppress or whether we are giving a free media coating to what is largely advertising. Media conferences, party meetings and similar promotional events need to be covered but with the awareness that such reports are more like advertising.
That is why the
Sri Lanka Press Institute, the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka and other institutions need to give top priority to the training of highly professional journalists who see their work as a vocation and are not too interested in bylines or buylines. But in giving the people fair, balanced and accurate information so that they could make not just a choice but an informed choice based on facts and figures and not
fake news.
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May Day

May Day

by Victor Cherubim-Apr 29, 2017
( April 29, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) May Day is celebrated on May 1st. It is an ancient northern hemisphere festival that celebrates spring, with maypoles and flowers – a holiday in many cultures.
It is also a day of workers’ solidarity. It was chosen as the date for International Workers Day of the Second International to commemorate the voice of the Working Class. It originated in the aftermath of the bombing at a labour demonstration on Tuesday May 4, 1886 at Haymarket Square, Chicago.
In Sri Lanka, May Day is the day of workers’ protest, with marches and speeches and the fight for the rights of the working class. A number of the main political parties will be holding their May Day celebrations in Colombo. Several Trade Unions will also conduct May Day rallies in addition to the political parties.
Sri Lanka forgot the March for Science on Earth Day, 22 April, 2017. Perhaps we can be excused for it, as environmental protection was hardly on our minds, as we vented anger at the Meethotamulla disaster. Can we change the name of the Department of Disaster Management to something more conducive for happiness?
No one will want to miss the demonstrations of May Day for two reasons. It is the day when “the country comes to town” in bus and van loads. It is also the day that every politician finds a solution to our problems as espoused in the removal of the capitalistic economy.
High expectation at rallies
Former President and Kurunegala District MP, Mahinda Rajapaksa has called on the people to bring the Yahapalanaya Government to its knees by thronging in thousands to Galle Face Green on May Day, where the Joint Opposition is holding its May Day Rally.
Eleven political parties and the Joint Council Trade Union, which represents 100 Trade Unions, have pledged to participate this year at Galle Face Green. Whoever who gave the JO permission to hold its rally at Galle face, must have known that it is not an easy task to fill the green, but simultaneously eat humble pie, if otherwise.
The UNP will host its May Day Rally at Campbell Park, Borella. What will it say about ETCA or about developing energy and infrastructure projects in Trincomalee?
The SLFP will conduct its rally in Getambe, Kandy. We learn that it has booked 2000 SLTB buses and 1000 Private Buses for people islandwide to participate.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) will hold its May Day Rally at the BRC Ground in Colombo. This year’s rally will focus on economic development, social equality and national peace. Trade Unions, Farmers’ Unions, Fisherman’s Union, Youth Unions, Women’s Union, Student Movements and Artistes are expected to participate along with the International Left Movements and Communist Parties from Cuba and European countries.
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has organised its May Day Rally in Akkarapattu, Ampara. Nawa Sama Samaja Party’s rally will be held at Price Park in Gunasinghapura, while the LSSP will hold its gathering at Ananda Samarakoon Ground, Nugegoda. The Communist Party’s Rally is at Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo.
How many will express confidence in Sri Lanka?
It is anybody’s guess that with all these many meetings at a variety of destinations, whether there will be anybody left at home, or whether it will be all a show which we as Sri Lankans look forward every May Day to don our Red and Green Man shirts and shout slogans at each other till the cows come home? Will it be a “blame game time” about the “kunu karatha,” (the garbage cart) or will we show the world that we express confidence in our land?
Will it be carnival time in Colombo? While so many pressing issues are in the melting pot in our land, why not have a day off to recharge our batteries and see our problems in a new perspective, not as a challenge but as an opportunity to think and work at it again? There is nothing wrong to give voice to our real concerns? It is quite natural to enjoy our diversity?
Call for help
“Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” is also a distress radio call with siren on board a ship or aircraft informing of the nature of an emergency and requesting attention of ships/aircraft in vicinity. It is a emergency procedure used internationally as distress signal.
Could it be a reminder for us in Sri Lanka to call for help to resolve our immediate problems, which do not go away without a plan of action? Should we be careful not to commit to something which we don’t have resources as a nation?
Our strength, is our weakness?
As far as I can visualise our problem, if there are five Sri Lankans, we have seven opinions? May Day is a day to unite round the maypole? Do we unite to solve our problems together like many other nations? Should we not respect our Motherland for what it is worth? How can we thus create value in Sri Lanka? When we assess our worth, it is our people who are our value. We need to consider capacity, both financial and human value? In today’s business environment, it is important for our leaders to display confidence in financial discussions and understand the financial implications of their strategic decisions. We need to take stock and plan where we will be in 20 years time and take steps to arrive at our destination. Our short sighted policies have not only brought us immediate satisfaction, but also disaster. Can we make sacrifices for our future generations rather than live in the present for a change?
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Alternate May Day

Alternate May Day

article_image

Those who woe in hunger – rise now
Those suffering on earth – awake!
“Saadukin pelenavun – den ithin nagitiyav
Mihithale asaranun – pibidiyav”
‘Saadukin Pelenavun” was the opening line of the anthem of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, and was also very much the theme song of May Day in the past, when the left parties and trade union movement at that time celebrated the International Day of the working people.
May Day is now taken away from the working people, to be the most significant demonstration of rivalry among political parties, with the Red Flag and Hammer & Sickle of the working class replaced by the colours and symbols of political parties. As the political parties put all their strength, in funds and organizing ability, as well as official support by those in government, to the May Day celebrations each year; there is hardly any response to the call by some trade unions and civil society organizations interested in the rights of worker, to make May Day once again a day of the working people in Sri Lanka.
The Vikalpa Satankaami – Alternate Activists – who have emerged to bring about a change in May Day celebrations, recognizing the impact of politicians and political parties on the trend and tide of May Day events, have made arrangements for the Vikalpa Mai Dinaya, which will be launched on May 1. We are told the venue will be a place already chosen to dump urban garbage, but has not been made public so far to prevent public protests. The Vikalpa organizers think the venue where garbage will gather very soon is an ideal place for politicians, and will be very popular with them, because of their now known affinity for dirt of every type.
I was able to see the rehearsals for this novel May Day event, which is a huge departure from what takes place at the political May Day events today. The stage was decked with red flags, but what stood out were some of the symbols of the political class of today. There were large banners displaying vehicles – cars, jeeps, SUVs, and luxury limousines. The topic of the first speaker was all about vehicles, especially their importance for the politics and politicians of today. No doubt the importers and marketers of these vehicles had supported this Vikalpa event, because of the promise it held for vehicle sales to politicians, through government, in the future.
A large number of politicians had said they would be present at this event, despite political party differences, because of their common interest in vehicles. The speaker would remind them to keep vehicles on top of their political agenda. They would be urged to have a Bill passed in parliament to ensure that politicians, despite party differences or groups, get new vehicles every year, at government expense; to be sold in the free market whenever they wished. There should be a clause in the law, to ensure that any politicians having one model of vehicle will get the new model of that brand the moment the new model comes to the market. Nothing less than luxury was the theme of that speech. There was also an important suggestion that politicians be given protective vehicles to enable them to go near places where a garbage mounts had crashed.
The second speaker on this Vikalpa May Day event would speak on Contracts and Commissions. The organizers told me this was the stuff of politics today. The posters around the stage would show various government and private-public projects – from highways, railways, town and city building and expansion, high rises, a port city and landfills. These had been put up by the many contractors involved in such work, with a good profit to the organizers. The speaker would call on the political audience to keep demanding for their Contract Commissions – from nothing less than 10 percent to even 50 and 75 percent. Profitable contracts with good commissions were the groundwork of political development in the country, the speaker said. The laws of this country should n be changed make the earning of such commissions by politicians wholly legal. Politicians must be entitled to hand over contracts to family, friends, and relations, without any fear of probes by the FCID or CID. Supporters of some politicians who had dropped in at this rehearsal of the Vikalpa event were thrilled at the ideas that were promoted. “This is the way to strengthen politics in the country”, one of them told me.
The theme of another speaker was Travel Abroad. Of course, there was much décor with flags, banners, and posters given by airlines and travel agents, all promoting outbound tourism of the political class. The speaker on this was quick to remind the political audience of the moves by the President and Prime Minister to restrict the travel abroad opportunities for lesser politicians. “You must never give into such oppression,” he said. “Travel Abroad at state expense is what politics is all about. The whole idea of being elected to parliament is to get a free passport, with DPL visas, and a free ride abroad. No one must be allowed to stop this right. If you allow this, you will be frogs in a well. This is another new law that we need in this country,” he said,
The organizer of this Vikalpa event told me this was the new way to give May Day back to the working people.
“But what you are doing is to promote the politicians.”
“You are right. It is the politicians who can take us back to the workers. You must remember, it was the politicians who snatched this day from us. The only way back is through them.”
Well, well. The politician is certainly the master. They are taking May Day more and more it into the rivalry of the crooked. We will have to wait for more alternate thinking to see if May Day will ever get back to being the workers’ day in this country. Meanwhile, let’s just keep remembering and humming “Saadukin Pelanavun”.
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Why would Karunasena Hettiarachchi lose defence secretary position?

Why would Karunasena Hettiarachchi lose defence secretary position?

Why would Karunasena Hettiarachchi lose defence secretary position?
 Apr 28, 2017
Defence secretary Karunasena Hettiachchi is likely to lose his position. The most immediate reason is his opposition to a proposal made during president Maithripala Sirisena’s Russia visit to buy a warship from that country, reports say.
Refusing to sign the related agreement, Hettiarachchi said it was unnecessary to buy a warship at a time when there was no war, and that if considered essential, a warship could be bought from India at a one-fourth of the price of the Russian one. This has caused the president to have an animosity against the defence secretary. He has asked Hettiarachchi to accept the ambassador position in Germany, and he is due to leave for Germany, unwillingly though, to take up that position.
The defence secretary position that will fall vacant is to be filled by Kingsley Fernando, a very close friend of the president and a resident of Wennappuwa. A wealthy businessman, who owns a media network and addressed as ‘boss’ by the president, is said to be behind all these.
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True story behind the special army force to be formed under Sarath Fonseka –Is it to repress the masses ?

True story behind the special army force to be formed under Sarath Fonseka –Is it to repress the masses ?

LEN logo(Lanka-e-News -28.April.2017, 7.20PM)  The new responsibilities that are to be entrusted to  Sarath Fonseka by the government of good governance are being interpreted by various people in various ways . This is in fact a new plan with a view to effectively mobilize the essential services for and on behalf of the people in order to preclude their  lives from being crushed by evil forces  , and it is not a controlling mechanism as portrayed by the  blabbering and bluffing outmoded leftists . Besides this will not be outside  the ambit of parliamentary affairs , as revealed to Lanka e news by   informed sources of the highest echelons of the government . 
It is well to recall the ruthless  strikes staged during the recent past were absolutely unlawful , and meaningless.  One case in point was the strike staged by doctors across  the entire Polonnaruwa  district  on 21 st April to the detriment of the suffering patients  and the entire country . That strike was staged because another doctor was appointed to a station targeted by satanic  Padeniyas who wanted to plant one of their stooges there , and based on  personal vendetta .
That doctor was appointed by the ministry with the approval of the GMOA and strictly abiding by the laws. The strike was unimaginably cruel  because it was commenced the following morning after giving notice   the previous evening.(The relevant video footage and complete report were subsequently published  ). Such lightning strikes are not advocated under  any labor laws anywhere in the world , and it was therefore  aimed at totally sabotaging and terrorizing  the health service of the country , thereby  causing immeasurable harm and suffering  to patients .
It is the duty of a responsible government  to avert such deadly sabotage activities which can engender grave danger to the nation , and imperil lives ,  by falling back on its essential services. If an effective answer is to be found to combat such anti national  terrorizing activities ,in order to run  the essential services the  united  support of the three forces , the Police , the media and  civil organizations are necessary , and to enlist the services  of the three forces , Sarath Fonseka was  chosen to undertake that responsibility.
So far it was under the executive president alone such essential services were run. Since the president is anticipating to abolish the executive presidency ,  this  move  is  being viewed as another step taken by Maithripala Sirisena to vest  some of his  executive presidency powers in the parliament  .

In any event , this is a responsibility that is being vested in a cabinet member who is answerable to parliament , and not going to be a separate  controlling  body outside the powers of the  parliament . In any case this is still a proposal , and no more.

The reports that Sarath Fonseka is to be appointed again as Army commander are  falsehoods. Under the laws , a retired army commander cannot be appointed again . No country in the world has followed such a practice.

It is the  ignorant who say , a new Institution is being created to restore discipline in the country. To restore discipline no such Institutions are needed . The laws are already there to maintain discipline. Towards that end , there are law and order ministry , the Police, and the courts. Even there are all the  religions  to inculcate discipline . Just because  foolish undisciplined clergymen abuse religion and behave like beasts and brutes  , discipline advocated by religion meant to be cultivated among  humans does not ebb away.  Hence ,the story that  discipline is to inculcated through Fonseka is hilarious.

Molkantha’s story that surpasses Wijeweera’s in stupidity…

JVP ‘s confirmed ace buffoon Lalkantha well noted for his tomfooleries , but  who yet pretends he is a  pundit on all matters issued a stupid communiqué on the 27 th stating ‘ a special force is being created under Sarath Fonseka to repress  protests and struggles.’   By that communiqué he only proved that though the JVP is 50 years old , those at the helm of it are imbeciles and idiots , whose thinking power are naught , and are still stubbornly  following in the same footsteps of ‘pundit’ Wijeweera who was the sole architect responsible   for    the deaths of countless  innocent youths while he was espousing a mad rebel cause during his time.

Prior to the stupid self destructive  JVP insurgency in 1971 , Rohana Wijeweera the so called ‘great’ rebel leader of the JVP pointed at a huge heap of rocks along the coast of Galle and  said , the government of  that time was building a camp for the  American forces. He even ‘decorated’ his allegation by saying the granite stones there have been brought to build the walls of the camp. During that period ,  Victor Ivan , Sunanda Deshapriya and Lionel Bopage believed Wijeweera  implicitly and thought he was telling the truth .They without batting an eyelid  accepted Wijeweera’s ‘fairy tale’ that an armed struggle should therefore be waged against the American threat. At last , it was a hotel (Koggala Hotel)  that was constructed along the Galle coast  which is still existing . This Lalkantha alias Molkanthaya’s accusations of a ‘special army force’ are also similar.

Lalkantha also commented  ,through a former army commander fear is being spread. Even a Molkanthaya would have better common sense than Lalkanthaya . Therefore shallow and slimy Lalkanthaya’s head must be examined to determine whether it is hollow  , and his bird brain is moth eaten. That would do a great amount of good to his own party before he can lead them into another holocaust  like his mentor.
It is a pertinent question whether the JVP ers who contested under the political Front which was led by that same above mentioned army commander Sarath Fonseka were in fear while they were members of parliament for five years from 2010 ? Did they get scared when Sarath Fonseka the former army commander was being propelled to make him the president ?  It is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to talk out (issuing communiqués) and remove all doubts about it . Lalkantha alias Molkantha only removed all doubts  about his idiocy and imbecility by issuing that communiqué on the 27 th.

Indeed , if a good governance government is to create a special army force   to  repress the people , it is not the political opportunists Lalkanthas and hypocritical  Molkanthas who were on the fence in 2015 waiting to get the best from both sides who should worry, rather it is Lanka e news along with the 50 or so civil organizations which directly and honestly campaigned with commitment to elect the good governance government  , that  should  spearhead the campaign against such a move.  We say this taking full responsibility .

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by     (2017-04-28 13:56:16)
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Can ‘Fonny’ fix faulty governance?

Untitled-17911logoSaturday, 29 April 2017
According to the loquacious logician of the ‘Yahapalana’ Government, Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne, the President has requested Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to quit his ministerial portfolio to become army commander or overall commander for two years to discipline the country.

The idea is comical, senseless and monstrous. The signal it sends out is outrageous. Yet, the undeniable and evident truth that we must squarely confront is that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe duumvirate is exhausted and has outlived its patch and purpose.

No doubt, in due course, there will be the usual back peddling and claims that rambling Rajitha misquoted and or quoted out of context. There will also be further explanations of the envisaged role of the Field Marshal.

Amidst the many mistakes, this Government has made some progress. The Economist Intelligence Unit has made the following prognosis. “The risk of political instability will be high throughout 2017 as strains within the governing coalition, such as over a proposed new constitution, are set to increase. Fiscal austerity measures and tax increases implemented under an IMF programme will further dampen public support for the government and weigh on business sentiment. A new exchange-rate and inflation-targeting framework will support macroeconomic stability, but will come at the cost of a depreciating currency.” [http://country.eiu.com-Sri Lanka]
Dismantling tyranny 

The common candidate elected President of the Republic on 8 January 2015 was entrusted with the task of dismantling tyranny. That was, and still is a complex task. Untitled-17911

The painfully-prolonged investigations into the disappearances, abductions and murders during Mahinda’s watch, demonstrate the resilience of the deep State political police apparatus that Gotabaya Rajapaksa installed after the end of the civil war.

The Rajapaksa dictatorship was a modern form of political domination. Gotabaya Rajapaksa perfected a political police that became the overarching instrument of governance.

Post 8 January 2015, our sanguine view of the future blinded us to the reality that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s predominant instrument of power that helped neutralise opposition was not only intact but was functioning in high gear in a new survival mode.

That made President Sirisena discover the inviolability of the ‘Ranaviru Honour’. It compelled Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha to find hitherto hidden facets of judicial integrity. Meanwhile the Prime Minister and the better part of his Government found itself mired in an unbelievably stupid bondage.

Even before the parliamentary elections the UNP got working. It was their ‘Janayugaya’! They got going with their own modern economic growth theory – of giving value to financial assets issued by their handpicked elite.

 

Good governance

The idea of 8 January 2015 was to move from the rule of a privileged few to the rule by a selected group vetted by the movement for a just society headed by the late and much lamented Venerable Sobhitha Thero that was accountable to the people.

The idea was to move from the rule of three brothers, Mahinda presiding, Basil procuring and Gota protecting to a new form of consensual rule by a coalition. A coalition where Maithripala presided and Ranil administered an accountable and transparent form of ‘good governance’.

But things did not pan out as we hoped. The new President decided that securing his political base in the SLFP was priority number one. The new Prime Minister decided that his top priority was to reward his cronies and party loyalists in that order for the years that they spent in opposition.

The regime transformation of 8 January 2015 only changed the intermediaries between the people and the regime. Instead of the brothers and their flunkeys, we now had rule by two cliques one fawning on the insecure President and the other commanded by a beleaguered Prime Minister.

The autocracy has been replaced by a chosen group of politicians to whom politics is business as usual. Instead of the Rajapaksa autocracy we have a ‘parasitocracy’ that falls far short of honest democracy that we voted for and the genuine meritocracy we hoped for.

This ‘parsitocracy’ is the direct outcome of the current convergence of the two main political parties. Even before the convergence, the two parties held similar views on matter economic and deferred on some nuanced cultural issues.

The politicians of ‘Yahapalanaya’ worked for no one but for themselves. The current comic opera in the SLFP is demonstrative of the self-serving governance objectives of the false messiah that we elected on 8 January 2015. The current SLFP Parliamentarians stand neither for the party nor the constituency they claim to represent. The entire circus is centred on getting elected to Parliament by resorting to whatever method that will win elections.

 

The harsh truth

If the retired Lieutenant Colonel is to be replaced with a Field Marshal, it is time for us to confront truth in all its harsh facets.

Hannah Arendt, the Political Philosopher, in 1967 wrote an essay published in the magazine ‘The New Yorker’ that was titled ‘Truth and Politics’. Arendt, who experienced Nazi tyranny first-hand and later watched liberal democracies practicing deceptive democracy, had a deep sensitivity to truth in public affairs.

“No one,” she wrote, “has ever doubted that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other, and no one as far as I know, has ever counted truthfulness as among political virtues. Lies have been regarded as necessary and justifiable tools not only of the politician’s or the demagogue’s but also of the statesman’s trade.”

Arendt offers a solution to our present predicament with our faltering hopes for good governance and Rajitha’s strange logic.

“Only the occasional liar will find it possible to stick to a particular falsehood with unwavering consistency; those who adjust images and stories to ever-changing circumstances will find themselves floating on the wide-open horizon of potentiality, drifting from one possibility to the next, unable to hold on to any one of their own fabrications.”

Rajitha Senaratne presumes that we are a bunch of imbeciles immune to his lack of factual objectivity. He described Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka as being eminently suitable to infuse discipline to our dysfunctional democracy.

Rajitha Senarathne and Wimal Weerawansa formed an entertaining duo during the presidential election of 2010. They were the most vociferous critics of presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka whom they accused of wrong doing in the ‘Hicorp’ affair and profiteering with his son-in-law. Rajitha Senaratne belongs to a political class that is convinced of their unique and hegemonic ‘right to rule.’

Making the gruff Field Marshal maintain public order is an appealing proposition even to this writer who is sorely tempted to smash the TV screen whenever the nasal-voiced Secretary of the GMOA appears on it.

That said, the solution lies elsewhere. This make-believe coalition Government has lost its credibility. This Parliament should resolve to dissolve itself and allow a true realignment of contending forces. People decide on constitutions. Writing constitutions is not the business of do-gooders.

– See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/612054/Can–Fonny–fix-faulty-governance?#sthash.sV0nUwDM.dpuf

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