Saturday, June 30, 2012
A team from the CID has raided the offices of Sri Lanka Mirror that has a website and has removed its computers and other items that it uses to publish information on the web and taken staff for questioning. The Sri Lanka X news is also administered from this location, and I would think this site will also be out of action like Mirror one.
This is a clear indication of the tactics of the Govt. to attack those who do not agree with their policies. This is clearly a threat aimed at those supplying information against the Govt. to the website that they should desist. Their information could be in the computers that were removed.
The CID is likely to be busily loading incriminating information into the SL Mirror computers to claim they had information that is tantamount to sedition or some such. So when this sort of action is undertaken without proper independent review one cannot accept any of the allegations the Government makes even if true against a web site. I am not commenting on the pros and cons of the web site. I am merely informing the reader that this is the modus operandi of the government in suppressing dissent.
The success the Govt. has had in suppressing dissent to stay in power by these tactics is reprehensible and must be fought tooth the nail in all fora. One must take this administration to task for this action. If they have a warrant, do we know if the judge has reviewed all the information or just got the orders from above to sign the warrant for the search. In the current context we do not know the real reasons, but in a society that lacks governance it is correct to come to incorrect conclusions as using the laws of probability the conclusions are most likely to be accurate.
We would hope that there is a sufficiently loud outcry internationally to lay blame as this is another ploy to get international attention to this. The Govt. can then preach in their media that there is foreign interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka and therefore help their cause in the forthcoming elections, by hiding the people from the truth and using a lame excuse of planted information against this site, thereby getting publicity of foreign conspiracy against the state using this web address!!!
The depths to which the administration will stoop does not have any limits. People must be awake to this action as it is history repeating itself and there is further news misinformation in the offing as the tactic to win these elections. This is likely to be why they have confidence in winning.
Truth and Justice will eventually prevail after a hard fought battle.
Friday, June 29, 2012
The gumption of the SLMC to say that they will only align themselves with a party that will give the SLMC the right to choose the Chief Ministerial Candidate is tantamount to giving them autonomy over a whole region comprising of equal numbers of Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala people. The current Chief Minister is from the Government aligned TMVP and so it is their belief this time round they should only support a party that gives them the plum job!! What next? A Sinhala person next time round? This is all bull shit.
I am personally against religious or ethnic parties in Sri Lanka, as I do not believe it is in the interest of good relations between communities. They all tend to be divisive. It is best to belong to a party with a platform of a political position and a manifesto. To me the SLMC is only for Muslims and if one is not a Muslim one is not included within this political party. That is a very exclusive exclusion that should not be permitted.
I remember at the previous Eastern Provincial Council how the UPFA Muslim, Hisbullah maintained he would be the Chief Minister and then he did not get the position, which went to Pillayan. All this smacks of division and not inclusion.
The latest news says that the SLMC will go along with the UPFA coalition in the three provincial council elections. That is obviously because the UPFA threatened the SLMC with ouster if they did not toe the line. After all they enjoy Ministerial positions, and can therefore pretend they have some power in the current administration, even though they have sold out their brethren big time in not challenging the lack of accountability for the raids against their community in various places in the island.
Some call this protecting the turf they have gained and not wishing to lose the privileges and not worry about one’s community.
It is apparent from the political games that are being played that even the Muslim community in Sri Lanka is not served by this political party using the name of the religion, but in reality going against its themes and principles. This is food for thought and discussion!!!
In the end the leadership will sell their own to keep themselves in play.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The cockiness with which this administration behaves was once again bared open by their decision to disband three provincial councils last night, which would mean that elections will be in the offing, perhaps as early as the first week of September to these three Provincial Councils, North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa.
The earlier news, some true some deliberate misinformation, and I am not privy to which one, was that due to the impending severe drought and bad economic conditions, the Govt. will postpone these elections till about March 2013, when things are expected to be a little better! The other point was that the Chief Minister of the North Central had specifically said that they would be postponed, and further, the Muslims had requested a delay due to Ramazan. Further the Muslim Party, SLMC was demanding the Chief Ministerial candidate in advance if they were to go as an alliance.
It is possible that the forecasters were predicting a dire outcome for 2013 that they (Govt.) felt the best course would be to show that the Govt. still has a plebiscite with the majority and has the public on their side, whatever action they expect to undertake on account of the crisis. It was also possible that a petty reason of showing Berty to be a nincompoop was also part of the intention, as he had latterly been sidelined by the Chiefs in Govt. and the Deyata Kirula gravy train was exclusively shared in the South with nothing going to Berty and his henchmen in Anuradhapura. Berty at it turns out was frothing mad and on a tirade against the first family! There is even talk of him joining with the UNP to go their route as a Cheif Ministeriral Candidate. I of course would implore the UNP not to fall into that trap with such inappropriate people.
Be that as it may, it shows the arrogance of power, the inebriation of tyranny, and the absolute control the dictatorship has over its minions to be able to make a sudden and unexpected move such as this, despite the warnings, putting caution to the wind and going for broke.
The cynics have also pointed out that in the event of things not seeming to go their way the vote could be rigged their way, so they have all the power of incumbency to do as they please. After all the Govt. shamefacedly indulges in using all the resources of the state machinery from people to vehicles for election work, a massive power and this time money also to buy the certainty of a vote for them, armed with lists of voters, and numbers and statistics they have built up to ensure a sure win.
We must watch proceedings with caution to learn the art of the inevitable.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Since Sarath Fonseka came out, he has not stopped making comments that don’t pertain to him.A politician should work out what it is he stands for; his principles his vision and his methodology to achieve those goals.
He has continued to chant the broken record of sound bites he did from jail. We all had a lot of hope that he would be inclusive, encompassing and engaging. Instead he has been divisive, blatantly self centered and totally on his own. His followers are under the dream that people must join him. Ask why? He does not have a plan, he does not have any network and above all he really does not have much support.
Go back to the previous Presidential Election. SF peaked about a month before the elections. That premature peaking did not help his cause. He acted dictatorial from that point. The way he treated the Leader of the Opposition was high handed and demeaning. It showed no respect for the position. He has a proven record of shooting from the hip. You may be able to do that as a soldier but not as a politician. There are too many other dynamics to take into consideration.
Don’t get me wrong he still rides the sympathy wave, and may it last as long as he wishes, but that does not help the country out of a crisis. Today in Matara, he calls for the opposition to unite. What on earth does he mean? He says there is a leadership crisis. No it is not a crisis, just a blown up media tamasha to protect a troublesome pretender by implying that he is anything but! The opposition is there, they are hard at work, join them and give them your support and follow their path.
SF does not have a platform and a road map. He is only against, he is not for. One has to have a distinct vision for the future, for the country and for oneself. None of which have been clearly illuminated. In short he is not a politician, nor do I think he would want to be one. His personality does not lend himself to it, if his latest uttering is anything to stand by.
It is important the public judge him for himself. Not for what they think he may be. You can follow someone because he is against something, but that is temporary as in the end, you will ask what is he for?
Give the man his due. He is trying hard to find traction, but with every new word, the frustration and futility is apparent. I advised in an earlier blog for him to have taken some time off once he was released. You need some private time to contemplate and plan your campaign. A soldier, who can plan a means of winning a war, cannot plan on winning a peace. It is a different path, which he shows no sign of mastering. I advise him to gracefully retire into the public speaking circuit to help those who know what it takes to topple this regime, not try to do it yourself.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
This is a political blog with personal views, which attempts to give something more to the armchair discussions taking place throughout the country everyday about the state of the Nation.
I have lately stated my views on monumental Government incompetence and their way of pulling the rug from under by the distractions of yet another series of elections, this time Provincial Councils. Similarly I have pointed out the benefits accruing to the Government of the pardon given to Sarath Fonseka, which has added to, not reduced the fractions within the parties opposing the Government. I have also illustrated the degree to which the media machinery of the Government plays a part in the misinformation campaign, which is an essential part of staying in power.
Therefore when the major opposition party the UNP tries to sort out its grass roots activism in order to attempt to play catch up with explaining to the people that they have been had, it is within this opposition that its greatest threat lies. I have pointed out in the past too, that I believe Sajith Premadasa must be shown the door due to his behavior, but due to a level of support amongst the rank and file of the party, that is able to believe in the same misinformation, they have been hidebound to make such a necessary move.
The UNP has appointed their organizers to almost all Electorates and given them tasks to perform at the grass roots to re-energize their lost support, in light of the need for change from the current direction the country is headed into. In addition they have also appointed District Organizers assist the Electorate reps to capture minority votes in those districts and include some of the communities that Electoral organizers are not able to. So the machinery is set up and grass roots work has now begun.
I have also pointed out that the Sajith Premadasa, 'Sasunata Aruna' is a purely personal campaign of publicity to draw attention to a personal and not party route to obtain popularity. The problem is that he uses the party members, being the deputy leader of the party to spread the word of his arrival for this standard 50K donation to a local place of worship. Even within the newly appointed organizers there are those who are partial to SP and those who are not. This causes a problem for the party.
It focuses on the disunity in a time it should focus on unity. One of the requests of the rank and file to go forward in their quest to form the local grass roots village level branches is to see both the leader and the deputy on one platform to give them the ammunition to tell the naysayers, some old time party stalwarts that the internal divisions of the party have been resolved. This has yet to come to fruition.
So when in a time of preparing for the three provincial council elections in September, when the Sajith faction openly challenges the leadership to win at least one Council, it is outrageous that at the same time they are internally trying to intensify the division. The latter means they are all out to destroy the chances of winning, so why openly challenge?
This is a further example of the double standards being adopted, and the reason the government is quietly confident that in a time of extreme hardship they can still pull it off, as misinformation along with opposition fractious infighting is going to hand back in a platter all the power it wants to continue their destruction. Sajith simply is a doing this country a lot of harm in continuing to drive this wedge.
He must at least temporarily suspend his divisive Sasunata Aruna campaign as it is a veiled challenge to the party leadership that he is on his own personal agenda and NOT the party’s.
The posters announcing his arrival for Sasunata Aruna donation, put up by an organizer who supports him in areas that are not part of his territory, and not informing the organizer in the area is itself is tantamount to creating division. The rank and file wonders why their local person is not involved. There is an acceptable order of doing things within a territory in an established party as otherwise the local people wonder why so and so is not on the poster or if he has been sidelined in this particular activity.
The problem with this kind of activity by Sajith, I do not know if he realizes, but someone with so many years in politics must know that he is creating division and is doing it willfully. I appeal to him at this state of the nation to desist from treachery and allow the opposition a chance of explaining their side to the people in a united stand. The need to express a democratic voice in elections is crucial to the survival of justice and freedom, that are steadily being eroded. Please put country before self.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
In a crass and inhuman way the Government appears to be making plans NOT to take responsibility for the crisis resulting from the Drought. It was very apparent by 1st of May 2012 that we will be in for a dry period till the October rains. No amount of poojas for rains was going to bring the rains. The long term weather forecasts were (pardon the pun) as clear as daylight.
Firstly they must look at the international weather forecasts rather than the local ones, as they are more accurate. They are prepared from highly technical programs on Computers using satellite and other imagery to make a fairly accurate indication of what is in ‘store’ for us.
The local forecasters merely said, the monsoon will be late. When it comes be prepared for severe landslides in certain regions, assuming there would be deluges, none of which was forthcoming. Why may you ask is the Government responsible for this? After all the weather has nothing to do with the Govt. Well I say, the Govt. MUST know who they are to believe, local or international forecasts? It is obvious who one MUST choose; namely the most reliable ones over a short term period of say 10 to 15 years, Our forecasters have been proved wrong when compared with the international even Indian ones.
Despite our irrigation tanks being full on that date due to prior rains at harvesting time of the Maha crop, if the Hydro Reservoirs were relatively low there is NO water available to send through the canals to the Rice Bowl of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. The tanks DO NOT hold sufficient water for even one season unless replenished, due to the severe siltage over centuries that this Govt. has had NO plan to clear. The reason dredging involves less corruption and so no one wants to get involved in something they cannot earn money from.
As a result of the mess above, the farmers were NOT advised to stop cultivation this time or at least only up to 50% as a MAXIMUM. One possible reason is that the big Paddy to Rice Millers, wanted to buy the good harvest at rock bottom prices and clean the farmers out. If the impending drought was a topic at the time of harvest in April or earlier, then the price of rice WOULD DEFINETELY have been much higher and the farmers would have earned more money and the millers less.
Now what will happen? Millers bought the paddy, along with the Govt. which bought a little over 100,000 tons. If the crop fails which 100% sure it will, the paddy price is going to at least double. The Millers are going to make billions of profits. The farmers are going to STARVE, firstly having already sold their produce at a loss to the Millers, and now having spent all their money in planting. They therefore will not be able to reap even a bushel, as their paddy is DYING.
They will not be able to demonstrate as they will have no energy and be starving before very long. They have no money left. No one will lend any money to them as they have no way of paying with a dead crop. This double whammy knock will kill many farmers by them taking their own lives. The lives this Government must take responsibility for.
It is the height of cheek when in AC rooms the bureaucrats gather today, to work out the plan to mitigate the mess they have created. They are trying to work out the disaster relief measures. They are discussing the how much emergency rations to give. (all this as I write this blog entry)
This tragedy as I stated earlier COULD HAVE BEEN AVERTED. It should have been averted but for the politicians not wanting to lose votes, by telling farmers they should only plant 50% as a max, and for even that we may not be able to guarantee water. Instead the Govt. henchayas decide how to carve up their areas for their crops, like tobacco which require less water, and let the farmers get so poor, the local politicos can swoop in and even acquire the land of the poor farmers left to starve!!!
I AM NOT A SCARE MONGER. Go to the areas in question and see for yourself. You will be astonished that there are no media personnel fishing out for a good story to inform their readers, and why is that. The Govt. has nobbled the free press. They are no longer free. They dare not report the truth, lest they will make the powers angry. The people of Sri Lanka have NO ONE to talk to, no one to bring out their stories to the public’s attention. It is the duty of every reader of this blog entry to do their utmost to convince someone they know to publicize the problem and begin to plan a short term solution for the affected people before their problem gets worse.
Please take heed, act, inform, publicize, help or all of the above so that the poorest of the poor in Sri Lanka, namely the working farmer does not die.
Friday, June 22, 2012
As a matter of practice, Friday’s in Parliament on weeks they are in session is usually reserved for votes of condolence for Parliamentarians who have passed on! Today is no exception, and Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra will be remembered today. No doubt members of his family will come to the visitors’ gallery to hear parliamentarians ‘praise’ the individual no matter what they may have said about him in the past. There is also an adjournment debate scheduled.
Considering, he, an ex-parliamentarian, who died as a result of a shootout in broad daylight, akin to the ‘Gunfight in the OK Corral’, with a current Parliamentarian Duminda Silva, who is still undergoing treatment in Singapore. It will be interesting to see what MPs have to say, especially as many have been accused of befriending Duminda and his actions, prior to the polling day incident in Kolonnawa area which led to the killing.
As a matter of practice we do not speak ill of the dead, and so his contribution to the trade union movement which he represented will be most probably be stated to remind the audience of his contribution to it.
Under the circumstances where the other party is still to be questioned over the incident so many months later, where he can rightly after so many surgeries claim he cannot even recall the incident, it will be an interesting outcome. Considering Duminda has been granted a leave of absence from the Parliament whilst he is undergoing treatment, even those ostensibly from his camp will mostly likely be praising Bharatha Lakshman much to the disgust of his family who may be appalled by the crocodile tears shed in this instance.
Votes of condolence days are usually the least well attended by MPs owing to other more important duties that they have to attend to, however I suspect that today, there will be a better than normal presence if only to see who sheds the crocodile tears, and who says what so that we may be able to garner which ones are best at making an utter fool of themselves in public or are the jokers which ever you way you look at the house.
No doubt when it is reported in the press, few will read the proceedings in parliament but they are a matter of record in Hansard as to who said what for posterity in this episode of a sorry event.
While the President takes all these Sri Lankan Aircraft from the Airline and treats it as his personal allowances, at a cost of over Rs500M while the airline bleeds, a team of young people have also had to find their way at huge expense to Rio. When such costs are incurred it is automatically assumed that the benefits accruing to the country exceed the cost of these junkets, and that is the reason for the expense.
I have followed the progress of the summit as well as our participation, and do not believe we have either contributed to the summit or gained from it. When we set goals and do not achieve even a drop of benefit, it is the nation that suffers from the lack of accountability for these goals. Rio was hyped as a follow up to the Rio summit of 1992, this being the 20th anniversary of the time when ambitious environmental goals were set for the world, which can be measured now with a 20 year hindsight, learn from it and set more realistic practical or achievable goals for the future.
We in Sri Lanka are on a path to environmental destruction which no amount of Rio’s are going to solve. It is purely an internal issue of an administration bent on destroying the environment for personal use. First it was the removal of permits for the transport of sand, which resulted in a gold rush of destruction at every conceivable river bed. Then it was the removal of requirements of permit for most tree felling, which is about to result in most of the Jack trees being cut. This rape of jack, a fruit that poor people can survive on if they have no other means of survival is a threat to human life in Sri Lanka.
What will be next? If the use of backhoes for gem mining which leads a soil erosion and rape of water ways then that is also on the government’s watch along with the digging for artifacts that now go unabated, with the threat of the Kaudulla Lake being dredge dry so a supposed artifact under a rock is to be removed.
The Government line at Rio is that they will present a perfectly rosy picture of all they have done to conserve the environment, which is the furthest from the truth. As is their 'modus operandi' to fool whoever will listen, will show in light of the foregoing destructive policies that they have done performed constructive ones. The Environmentalists knowing full well what a pack of lies this is has decided to present the true picture at Rio 420 which is the side summit of the non governmental side that attempts to show again how the world is actually performing no matter what the Governments say.
We as concerned citizens for our planet and country must publicize this canard to our public and show them that their elected government is bent on living a lie, and lies do not make an environment free from pollution. Remember the theme of Rio+20 is 'Sustainable Development' we must try and ensure we are able to sustain our lifestyle and bequeath our children permanency and not degradation.
Let us forget Rio and protect our ‘Precious Land’ from a Govt. bent on using International fora to fool a nation into a smugness that is misinformation at its worst. If this Govt. is given ANY MOR LEAWAY we as a nation in a matter of a year will wonder why we tolerated, permitted or let ourselves be fooled by charlatans posing as saviors, when we allowed mass destruction in the name of patriotism of the foolish!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Geeganagamage Amarasiri alias Julampitiya Amare surrendered to the Tangalle High Courst through his attorney on Tuesday, June 19th 2012. If you saw how nattily dressed he was in a new pair of sneakers, you would wonder how he got there, and what promises had been made for his to come in so casually and nonchalantly.
He is one of the people who is suspected to have been involved in the Katuwana killing of two people at a JVP pocket meeting a few days ago, which the Government (through their spokesman, MCNS Director General) alledged as an internal turf war of the JVP, but who had apparently been identified by people at the scene.
It must be said that the accused surrendered for different crimes, he is accused of numerous murders, and not for this particular killing! The police chief had detailed the crimes he was accused of at the press conference, but had said rather ridiculously that until they receive sufficient evidence of his complicity they WILL NOT seek his arrest.
The latter is the state of the police, where they will not arrest suspected criminals if they are not accused in the latest crime!! They should have arrested him a long time ago for the litany of crimes, not having to wait for this incident to find evidence to connect him to this crime, surely.
Either way this whole saga further erodes the credibility of the police, and observing the brazen way of his surrender smacks of political patronage. Anyone of sound mind will know that a government sponsored goon will be safer within than without, and would have been given promises of leniency by the higher-ups, if he surrendered. It will look good on his file too. He will not be beaten up inside for confessions.
The usual formula for underworld figures not under government protection is to report that they were killed whilst attempting to flee the scene of a crime, when they were taken to the crime scene to give the authorities an explanation of what occurred.
The police have 24 hours within which to charge him, and it will be interesting to see which crime he will be accused of from a long list that he is suspected of. I rather think it will be on some misdemeanor so that justice will be seen to be done, whereas the real crimes will be swept under the carpet, as is always the case with state sponsored terror. Sadly this is a typical example of banana republic law and order!!!
Sadly when Dr JJ a senior member in the UNP opposition behaves in this puerile way, when appealing to the Pope to intervene in the case of Bishop of Mannar Reyappu Joseph’s issue, it brings the opposition a bad name. The Bishop has incurred the wrath of many in Sri Lanka, by his outspoken stance on behalf of his community, and his request that much of the injustice done to them be investigated and steps be taken to return lands to their rightful owners being some of the statements. His utterances have resorted to threats on his life. God forbid, if he were to be killed and there are many gunning for him, it will be another stain on the administration leading to just another unsolved murder!!
Suffice to say that our President abused his position by meeting with the Pope as if it would in some way atone for the sins of his administration. The opposition should not indulge in the same antics for publicity. The President’s visit to Rome was an utter failure, as the Pope also called for unity within the country a subject he knows nothing about and which Rajapakse forced his hand in, and the Country was humiliated for.
This issue is one for the Catholic Church within Sri Lanka to make a stance first before going off to Rome!! The Church itself is divided, trying to play politics. They must make a statement as Catholics in Sri Lanka and as patriots for the sake of unity. Not as Tamil Catholics who want one thing and Sinhala Catholics another.
It is time for the Cardinal to stop pussyfooting around sucking up to the administration and call for justice all round. He wants to appease the first family as the first lady is a Catholic, albeit one who drives up to St Anthony’s in Kochchikade Feast Day, the other day in sweatpants after her exercise inappropriately dressed, a shame on her position, and indignity to her religion!
There is no point going on to Rome to appeal to an aging German Pontiff, when the home front stand on the issue is not clear. My advice to Dr JJ is first to ask the Cardinal, Malcolm Ranjith to call a Catholic Bishops Conference in the Island and address this issue if it is one the Bishop of Mannar wishes to raise. If they are able to come out with a consensus statement, issue it to the Press or direct it to the President. That is the way to go. No ifs buts and possibly please!!!!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The other day the house of the Chairman of Sri Lankan Airlines was broken into, whilst he was away on vacation in Nuwera Eliya, and the house was closed up. Apparently according to the statement he had given the police, a duffle bag with Rs4M in foreign currency notes was taken along with a Rolex which he had received as a gift and valued at Rs4.5M.
There is a huge hue and cry about him having all this money and if it was legal or not as one is only allowed to have up to $2,000 equivalent in foreign currency at any time and any more if found would incur a fine of three times the amount in addition to the forfeiture of the money. I would like to know how many times this law has prosecuted and fined 300% of the loot!!
I for one who would love to have even $2,000 with me as a protection against the drop in the value of the rupee, and do not mind if people hold onto some foreign currency as we get $6B sent every year from people who work overseas and bring it back or remit it through the banking or other system. Many of the workers not trusting the system bring cash and change them as and when they need the money, as the banking system seems to them to give them a rotten rate or charge them exorbitant fees.
In any case the sum in question is not an extraordinary amount for the Chairman who spends a lot on travel and entertainment. I understand that the Chairman is entitled to FREE first class travel in any airline he flies in, which is a great perk in itself, and I am sure if his office worked efficiently, would be able to get free hotel nights at all the hotels he stays in as well, saving the airline and the country a huge amount of money. I dare say the latter does not happen as he does not appear to be an industrious person saving the country money, being a political appointee, the brother of the first lady, Madam Shiranthie.
As for the priceless Rolex, it is nice to have friends who give these things and I hope not for favors granted. He was I understand a tea planter in his past life and so this must be quite a change for him. I only hope he is able to put the President on a leash and not abuse the privilege of using the planes for his trips, as they seem to cost about Rs1B a year. This is a sum the country cannot afford bearing in mind the loss of about Rs10B a year. So if you want to be patriotic ban the President from flying SLA planes!!
I reported on Saturday that these journalists were dreaming if they thought they had editorial independence. A letter has just been published on the circumstances of the editor’s dismissal by the Editor himself. He is still to be formally terminated, so he signs off today as the Editor of Ceylon Today in a bizarre twist. Nevertheless he states that the management had promised him editorial independence. Now to repeat what I said a few days ago, he needs to have his head examined if the principals he deals with know what independence is, let alone editorial freedom.
Anyway the circumstances are pretty lame. Put simply the management did not like his style and locked him out, without as much as a letter of dismissal. So there you are with him a further 5 called it quits and a new person has been put in his place.
I now ask the question! Is there any editorial independence in any newspaper be it a weekly or daily in Sri Lanka? There will be many an editor who thinks so until he or she is axed with the words the management does not like your style!!! So let us watch out to see who is next. Does that mean that these supposedly free editors are in fact yes men for the publications they represent and only present a viewpoint the owners of the paper wish them to? The only answer is a curt YES.
There are no self respecting editors who can tow an independent line. It is desperately important to have that independence today, when all freedoms are under severe threat, and likely to be further under fire, by a desperate government which wishes to plod on from one disaster to another. History will judge our newspaper editors of 2012 and 2013, a critical period in the reconciliation of a nation, nursing hope of a United stand to go forward as one without division.
An Editor’s role, especially one in the Sinhala Press is desperately needed. It has to be enlightened visionary and devoid of baggage. Most of the editors fall into this pit already with a lot of misguided notions of what they are supposed to do. They think their primary call is to sell as many papers as possible. That cannot be further from the truth, as only a truly independent editorial stance can guarantee that. I therefore appeal to reason and intellect of these fine people to ponder their future direction.
Monday, June 18, 2012
The ball is clearly in the Rajapakse court to explain the Hambantota killings – in a country where not one of a number of extrajudicial killings has been properly investigated and solved!!
The Government of Sri Lanka as usual is denying anything untoward in the unprovoked attack and killings with T56 assault rifles of two innocent people attending a political meeting of the JVP in a small house in Hambantota, a couple of days ago.
The police spokesman is playing down the incident and the Director General of the Media Center for National Security an unabashed and shameless official whose whole job is to provide misinformation is calling it an internal JVP dispute, without as much as an attempt at investigation. Whilst that is the typical reaction of the Government to such acts, from the time the MCNS was set up to act as a disinformation unit in war, the fact it has not been disbanded subsequent to the war is a testament to the state of war the government finds itself in!!
We must therefore understand not to take heed to the utterances of this unit and instead pressure the police spokesman to investigate this murder more fully and bring the culprits to book. It is very important for the credibility of the Government if nothing else to solve this crime once and for all without delay.
Firstly the action occurred in the Rajapakse turf. This is the first family’s pocket borough for want of a better word, and nothing happens here either without their blessing or without their knowledge. It is therefore imperative that this is solved, as otherwise the blood will be on the collective ‘Rajapakse’ for life, a generational splash that will forever stick. It is therefore in their best interests to take the MCNS hallucination for what it is, ignore his attempt at defending the regime, and put all resources at their disposal to solve it.
Only then will we know who is correct. Whilst there has been a JVP press conference to refute any allegations of it being an internal killing, and instead blame it on Government goons, some of whom have apparently been identified at the time of the shooting, we must know the truth and that is the least the Government MUST do to get at that. If you want to start acting responsibly as none of the previous extra judicial killings have yet been solved, start now if you have any hope of survival.
The constant holding of elections in our democracy, where the Government uses all the resources at its disposal whether legal or illegal, is bad for good governance and fairness. The request to hold all the Provincial Council (PC) elections in one day has fallen on deaf ears, as not one to be even considered. It is a shame that the resource poor opposition has to fight an uphill battle to explain to a nation fed on lies, that there are credible alternatives to the present status quo.
The expected dissolution shortly of 3 PC’s and the announcement of elections in September is the political buzz, which is galvanizing the opposition into a frenzy, of how they can with very limited resources, fairly fight this government. That it is difficult is well known and before the economic situation gets worse, the state wishes to complete this first phase.
All political parties will be focused in getting their organization in place, which as the topic of the essay says, will take their focus away from the day to day problems facing the people. Even an election campaign highlighting this issue, has to face counter arguments put forward of temporary inconveniences that will soon disappear and a govt. media blitz aimed at misinforming people of the true situation.
This neutralizing of the problem as being one put forward by the opposition and caused by the opposition, can be cunningly explained when the airwaves and Television is dominated by the govt, owned stations. Their reach to the masses, far exceeds that of the private independent channels, and hence assures them of a monopoly in the evening news in people’s homes.
The opposition has to find a more battle hardened approach to explain to the public the situation by going into homes on a one on one basis to explain why the information they receive is suspect. It is hard, but not impossible. It takes determination, time and patience and needs recruits in numbers all of which together is essential, but hard to find and organize.
There is only one political party remotely able to do this and must gather its forces into a focused approach without delay. Who else than the UNP!
Sunday, June 17, 2012
What the dog brought in this morning's newspapers - The Government misinformation campaign is on overdrive
Today’s Nation newspaper another mouthpiece of the State is on a dedicated campaign to mislead their readership of a division between the SF campaign and the UNP and to continue to portray the UNP as one in league with the LTTE. By highlighting an interview with Buddhika Pathirana with him saying that police and land powers should be given to the North,(an insignificant portion of the interview) this attempts to further add a spanner of mischief into the debate of Reconciliation.
They are on a diatribe to proscribe a sincere attempt by a very patriotic MP in the form of Wijedasa Rajapakse who sees the few Buddhist clergy in Parliament as another barrier in the portrayal of Buddhism as a purely peaceful and non threatening philosophy devoid of any malice and enmity against any other religious belief. In fact he is protecting Buddhism from opportunists who use it to further selfish aims, and spread lies. He to me is more of a Buddhist than the MP priests.
Today’s Sunday Observer states that the Ven Athureliya Rathana Thera says that Bhikkus always represented the national interest! It is obvious it is his interpretation of national interest that it protects, which actually destroys a nation, an obvious traitorous act, which cannot be condoned. Do not forget it is a small number of Bhikkus who give the clergy a bad name, and so his using the collective of all Clergy is in itself wrong.
The intention it appears that this Newspaper, as a matter of editorial policy has no intention of being fair and balanced but even as the majority oppose the regime, to show by way of division that it is only the Govt. which has a dubious mandate to do as they please. Sadly Sri Lanka does not have a paper that tries to glaringly show their disgust to counter such balderdash that is written today.
An uneducated nation, taught to believe what is written and not to reason, falls for this trap, time and again and have to pay a price of years of destruction to appease the virulent racists on both extremes of the debate.
It is therefore important to appeal for people of sound mind to reason, and form their opinions based on different aspects of reasoning so that once they are able to look at different angles including the extremist positions of both sides, realize what is obvious.
Giving SF a level of leadership that he does not have, further misleads the public. Balanced opinion will portray his attempts as being opportunistic, which can only gain traction within one of the two main political parties and not from outside. This campaign to imply he has a following that can be sustained is also a ploy by the state, using another pincer paper, Ceylon Today to extol the virtues of SF at the behest of the state. The cunning of the Government in power knows no bounds and their slaves who report on their behalf have such a low level of understanding (see the previous blog entry) that even they are fooled.
Little wonder that the journalists of the Nation, another pincer in the campaign, are completely fooled as to what their part in the show is! If they have any self respect they would jump ship, but as they are still hidebound by the educational establishment that has not taught them to think, are tone deaf to reason.
It is now up to the rest of us to do our utmost to teach our youth to think. Only then will we be able to reason with them. If you cannot think, you cannot reason. Hence with journalists of the Sri Lankan tribe are of the unreasonable sort, except for a handful, who have to carry the cross of reason for a whole nation, and find it hard to penetrate the minds of readers as thinking is as alien to them as taking flight with a pair of wings.
I have now followed the biases of about 100 journalists in Sri Lanka, and realize that many are mindless parrots looking for an easy way out, by espousing safe causes and leads. It is interesting to note that I have observed that the few female journalists I have followed have more of an independent mind and are the least swayed by what they see and read, and only believe once they are able to evaluate from different sources what the truth and opinion of a story are.
I was talking to a senior retiree from the forces, who was convinced that the Hambantota killings was a work of a break away paramilitary group bent of mischief on behalf of the Government. Obviously they are either currently serving in the tri-forces or have just left their service and are part of a goon squad set up by the government to instill fear amongst those who oppose the regime. Coming from Hambantota, the bastion of the regime it is all the believable, but as I said it came from someone who knows how paramilitaries are set up and operate within an existing set up
Saturday, June 16, 2012
The exceedingly low IQ of our journalists was apparent yet again, when a bunch of Ceylon Today journalists sent their letter of resignation in protest at the sacking two days ago of their editor, Lalith Alahakoon.
I remember reminding them going into this, to step back from greed. After all it was sheer greed that drove them to join Ceylon Today, as their remuneration package was at least double what they could earn. So being paid from March, when in fact the paper was launched only on November 18th the birthday of MR was a calculated ploy of the owner Tiran Alles, that his double game would win friends with MR as well.
I said it then and I repeat it now, for a paper to pay double, carry on without printing and paying wages for 6 months, then running CT at a loss with no advertising, is to say the least suspicious. So intuitively one must realize that a slush fund of unearned funds was available for this venture. From what I understand, there was a large amount left over from SF’s campaign that could be used for this venture. Further, when Prabarkaran was bought over into to preventing the North voting in the 2005 election, about a third of the money due to be paid to him, had not been! This siphoned money, possibly as high as Rs300M was also part of the seed capital for the loss making enterprise.
Any self respecting journalist should have known this before agreeing to work for an outfit of this ilk. It was obvious it was NOT an independent publication complete with editorial freedom. That is why I captioned this essay as journalists dreaming! So knowing the partiality of the owners to the General and his cause, ostensibly trying to trumpet his cause was an expected part of these journalists, as clear as night follows day!
I therefore say that the journalists went into this with their eyes open, and now it is sour grapes saying what these four did say in their combined letter of resignation. It just serves them right, trying to be too smart by half. They are clearly not of a caliber to be hired by anyone, as they will sell their mother’s soul if it was up for sale. Those are their ethics.
We need honorable journalists and honorable publications that are balanced. There is only one newspaper group today with even remotely fair and balanced reporting without taking sides.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Sarath Fonseka states, where ever he goes, that he wishes to save the country from the Rajapakse regime, and that he wants Law and Order restored. Don’t we all. We want something more from SF. Something new, something concrete and something explosive without the chemicals!
The much hyped press conference today, where for the first time he gave a publicized media briefing, came out with not ONE new idea or thought that will contribute to the political debate in Sri Lanka. That was a huge disappointment. It is standard practice if you call a press conference that you come up with something new. I know there were rumors, which even I was aware of about him possibly joining the Government. However for the press conference to merely refute these rumors was a waste of time. It must be called up for more important stuff. Any rumor can be refuted in a statement if necessary. To use a televised meeting with the National Media to say you will topple the government is crass and fanciful at best and downright dishonest at worst, when he has no following, party or any sort of idea how the people who rule the country manage the system.
I must qualify by noting that I was not at the Press Conference and am merely reporting soon after it from the information I have been able to glean so far from reports, I have read. I will issue an apology to him, if the substance of other reports published in tomorrow’s news turns out to be any different to what I have reported.
He can deliver, but he has not. His direction is wrong, and he is actually drowning, not knowing who his true friends are. All his advisers merely look at their own benefit, using SF to spread their popularity. In this tragic state are Ranga Bandara MP, Palith Thewerapperuma MP, and even Sajith Premadasa MP, all lost in the wilderness without traction and believing that SF can give leadership.
The reality of the Sri Lankan political landscape, is that there is NO place for prima donnas. It is engrained in our psyche that it is the party that has solutions to our problems and so without a strong party backing, one individual cannot change the status quo. That is why Sajith Premadasa, despite his hugely expensive campaign of Sasunata Aruna, has not received any real national benefit despite the national publicity. It is important to realize that lasting political activity has to be done under the patronage of an established political party.
The publicity SF has received in the past week is from the rounds he is doing to most of the known temples, like Mihintale, and Tantirimale in the last few days, and a whole host just before that, from which a voice cut is reported in the press.
If this is the beginning of a campaign to test the waters and get the blessings of the Maha Sangha, then we know little about it and know even less, why this method of obtaining media coverage is preferred.
I am of the opinion that SF is flaying, with no true friends he can rely on. He does not trust Tiran, but is beholden to him and holds on to his paymaster whose newspaper gives him the positive publicity at present. The failure of the press conference cannot then be blamed on Tiran, but on what was said and not said by General Sarath Fonseka.
To expect the public to trust in one with no goals other than an opposition to the Govt, is asking too much. They are likely to be disappointed and lose faith in their leaders. It is IMPORTANT to find a standard bearer for your interests and ideals. Otherwise your reliance on the political process to solve your concerns is unwarranted. It is important to identify and eliminate leaders who prey on people’s weaknesses to their advantage.
It is important that if we follow this simple principle ourselves we will not be enslaved by opportunists who seize the moment, but will work with visionaries who may have many political weaknesses, but who can compensate for that shortcoming, by honesty and integrity along with principles that are deep and unshakable. Their long-term outlook for the nation over powers the short term political gains that mischievous short term politicians indulge in. With this vision, it is difficult to shake their belief in the inevitable, rather than the short term control under the current regime.
I appeal to those who look to join leaders to delve deeper into a person’s history before making a balanced judgment as to their integrity and credibility, without necessarily following them blindly or believing a few media reports, which depending on the source can be misleading or biased. We must return to rational politics to believe in their vision!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
I ask myself if the leaders representing the North and East and the elected Government are talking at cross purposes on a completely different set of parameters and hence cannot and will not EVER be able to agree on even a basis to negotiate. I cannot personally see any indication on either side by either party to compromise. The stand taken in the media is diametrically opposed to finding a solution. The identification of the problem is also very different.
The recent utterances by Sambanthan and more recently by Sivagnanam Shritharan MP who said Eelam is their ultimate goal is not conducive to a start in negotiations. No matter what one would say, in negotiations, one starts at extreme ends and then come to a compromise. We have had 65 years of negotiations that have proved fruitless. After all when the Sri Lanka flag was discussed, long ago, the Tamil members disassociated themselves from the final version, and REFUSED to approve it. To this day this refusal is a sore point and a thorn, where the Tamil leaders said we at no stage agreed to this flag as the national flag of Sri Lanka, and so we will not have to hoist it or respect it. That point is galling to patriots!
Politicians in SL are survivors, first and foremost. They will sell their souls to survive and say anything which will endear them to their electorate, to ensure they get back into Parliament of other similar position. In this their honesty is called into question, which when looked in the context of a peaceful resolution to the problem, the likelihood of a speedy end to the issue is not even in the realms of possibility.
No solution can be imposed from outside. No amount of pressure will move the parties together. It is simply up to the parties within Sri Lanka to get together and work out a deal acceptable to all parties. This home grown solution is long overdue, and as a government which has made so many promises and commitments about a home grown solution, does not seem in any haste to even begin this process.
It is important to realize that a democratically elected government has a duty to make every effort to find a solution despite the lack of interest amongst the TNA, unless they get their way. They must make a good faith attempt and make clear if the TNA demands in the context of their position are unreasonable if that is the case and proceed on their own.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I personally get very offended when Tamils of Sri Lankan origin, especially Diaspora types continue to live in the past, and go on about the pain they are still under, as if the world owes them a living.
No one owes anyone a living. We have to make the most of the circumstances we find ourselves in and where injustice has been meted out, we must make every practical effort to correct the situation.
The reality is that there are many groups in Sri Lanka who have suffered continuously over mainly 50 plus years and some longer than that from institutionalized barbarism. Even today in Sri Lanka, every accused person is thrashed black and blue by the police to obtain a confession, often for a crime he did not commit. Nothing has changed since the British instituted this type of beatings at the time they set up police stations to handle local disputes. Even, marital disputes are settled by the Officer in Charge, ordering a warring couple to settle their differences at the threat of the innocent party being incarcerated! That is today.
So let us take a step back and realize that simple race based discrimination is not the issue in Sri Lanka, there is more raced based discrimination in the West where the Diaspora live than in Sri Lanka itself. It is individual cases of injustice, and not a collective one that has to be tackled.
The collective ones are also not race based like the disappearances of over 50,000 documented people, still technically missing, of Sinhala Youth in the Premadasa pogrom of the late 80’s where they were picked up tortured killed and burnt with no trace of what happened.
Tamil people have no special call on this topic, as most of the suffering they endured was caused by their own, namely the LTTE forced conscription and forced seizure of personal property and demand for funds to fight their cause at the point of a gun. If anything the expression at the head of the essay is mainly directed at Tamil leaders who led the people astray, who must take most of the blame for their predicament, but they are in total denial of that fact.
Why are many in the Diaspora in denial about the complicity of the LTTE in most of the violence against the Tamils? After all much of killings of democratically elected Tamil people and leaders were by the LTTE which continues to be held in high regard. When the world's most ruthless terrorist group continues to garner so much support, like the recent demonstrations with the proscribed Tiger Flag in the UK, it begs the question, do these demonstrators have any inkling of what was done to their community by those same leaders they espouse to follow and demonstrate for?
It is time that the Diaspora, who attempt to rally round a theme, namely the Sri Lankan government, realize they are only barking up the wrong tree. They must get a life and bark up against the injustices of caste and discrimination from within. The Sinhala people are the least to blame for their predicament. The Sinhala people have done more damage to their own than to Tamils, and so it is mere sour grapes that all their hate is directed in a misguided manner against the Government of Sri Lanka.
While no one disputes the President of Sri Lanka is a village idiot making a fool of himself on the world stage, the majority of Sinhala people are not racist or have anything against Tamils or any other section of community. Any hate is a misdirected action of a few racists, that give the whole community a bad name. I challenge that there are more racists within the Tamil Diaspora community than within the Sri Lankan mass.
The recent highlighting of one beating of a person, who claims he was repatriated when his asylum bid failed, is a mischievous ploy amongst the western media in cahoots to prevent further repatriation. History is replete with such events that change people’s perceptions and media owe a duty to the community to highlight real problems rather than isolated incidents that bear no comparison with the norm.
I do agree that the Government of Sri Lanka is not well versed in the behavior of the West to be able to counter this propaganda, and so always seem to fall victim to its own incompetence, lead by a leader who is the master of diplomatic failure and faux pas. Their reactions further exacerbate the efforts of many to show a true picture of the real situation and makes it more difficult to put in perspective all the claims made by the Tamil Diaspora about the real situation in Sri Lanka.
It is important to remember that it is the displaced people in the Island from whatever community they come from that require resettlement. They were removed against their will. It is a duty of a civilized govt with resources to ensure a modicum of humanity for their plight. I am afraid that the antics of the Diaspora that gets all the attention. They are merely trying to find an excuse for their continued existence in the West without integrating into the host culture. That is the real problem!
I appeal to Western media to truly investigate the situation in a balanced manner, without recourse to a race that has traditionally been brought up to believe that they have lost out, to lead you up the garden path. You will then be able to clear the misconceptions and move forward.
I am for a just and lasting solution within a Unitary State as there are many more communities living within Sri Lanka and not necessarily demarcated by region. In a small country the size of Sri Lanka, which in itself has its natural boundaries of an island which also makes it unique, to have divisions based on ethnicity or language is plain stupid, no matter what the history, which anyway is all a matter of relativity, is purported to be.
A sea change in attitudes of both main communities is needed before a resolution can be brought about. The Diaspora however much one wishes them to be part of the solution, can never be a solution as they are actually going in a different direction. As for Tamil Nadu, it is an exercise in their dreams they cannot fulfill within a United India that they see as a chance of establishing one within Sri Lanka. It is only a matter of time before Sri Lanka becomes a de facto state of India, which is almost is but for the theoretical differences.
When the bridge across the Palk Strait carries people across like crossing the Kelaniya, in 30 years what is the point of a Tamil homeland to keep whom inside it!! These are mere hallucinations of ignorant and misled people.
Trust me in time we will be one world where goods land in Hambantota and will be taken by rail or road to Chennai and vice versa, so Trinco and Batti and Jaffna become irrelevant in the overall scheme of life. The universal language will be English, not Tamil or Sinhala, which will both have a unique status and literary languages of the world, but not commercial.
We will all live happily ever after and all these shenanigans by these Hela Urumaya Priests and small minded partisans will fade into oblivion. They are just mere nonentities in history trying to make a name for themselves as they are unable to contribute anything positive to society and country today.