The Sunday Leader

The London Debacle And The Rajapaksa-Psychosis

“The demoralising, destructive character of the patriotic degeneracy….”
Sebastian Haffner (Germany: Jekyll and Hyde)

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

It was the Oxford Debacle all over again.
The events were drearily predicable. Sri Lanka, like every Commonwealth nation, received an invitation for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II. President Rajapaksa, unlike most Commonwealth leaders, decided to go himself. The pro-Tiger extremists of the Tamil Diaspora went into high-gear, delighted with this new opportunity to display their brawn. Their raucous opposition compelled the Commonwealth Business Council imitate the Oxford Union and cancel President Rajapaksa’s keynote speech to the Commonwealth Economic Forum.
So the main beneficiaries of the ill-advised Presidential visit to London were Tiger supporters in the Tamil Diaspora. The Rajapaksas, having annihilated the LTTE, are keeping the Tiger memory and aura alive not just by refusing to resolve the ethnic problem and alienating Lankan Tamils but also by providing the Diaspora-fanatics with avoidable triumphs.
All Commonwealth leaders were invited to attend the Jubilee-celebration. It was not a special honour or mark of recognition bestowed on Mahinda Rajapaksa, as his propagandists claimed. Most Commonwealth leaders chose not to, probably because they had other things to do, such as governing their countries (hopefully some of them also found this gaudy monarchist spectacle unpalatable to their republican political-sensibilities). The London visit would have been worth it, if the President could meet key British leaders on the sidelines. But Mr. Rajapaksa met just a few unknown members of the House of Lords. And as British papers were at pains to point out, their monarch spent only ‘a brief moment’ with President Rajapaksa, just shaking hands with him ‘fleetingly’. Surely that brief royal handshake was not worth the humiliation of a cancelled talk and other snubs. As for the Brie and avocado terrine, wild sea bass and apple crumble soufflé, that repast could have been cooked to satisfaction in the Presidential-kitchen.
What makes the sorry saga even more galling from a Lankan perspective is that even though President Rajapaksa hastened to attend the monarchical gala, the Windsors did not see it fit to include Colombo on a round of visits they are making to mark the Jubilee. For instance, though India sent neither her President nor her PM to London, a Royal Duke will be visiting Delhi. That snub in itself should have sufficed to compel the President to deputise the task of representing Sri Lanka to a suitable minion (Minister Weerawansa?). He did not, because despite the anti-Western and anti-imperialist rhetoric, the abiding desire of the Rajapaksas is to hobnob with the powerful and the titled in Washington and London.
The London debacle stems from and illuminates a particular Rajapaksa psychosis. On the one hand the Siblings need to keep suspicion, fear and hate of ‘national-enemies’ alive in the South, in order to justify their Familial Rule. On the other hand, the Rajapaksas badly want to shine in those very same Western countries they often castigate as ‘national enemies’.
These contradictory impulses cannot but result in pageants of ludicracy.
Last week Minister Wimal Weerawansa ‘accused the United States of aligning with separatist forces in order to de-stabilise and take over the country’ and charged that the US and the UK desire the resurrection of the Tiger because that would enable “Western forces to infiltrate the Indian Ocean region” (Colombo Page – 4.6.2012). While a senior Lankan Minister was levelling these serious accusations, the Lankan President was visiting London and his Defence Secretary-Sibling was soliciting Washington’s military assistance. Following a request by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the US (together with that other frequent target of Rajapaksa-hysterics, India) “agreed to provide enhanced training opportunities for Navy personnel from Sri Lanka” (Deccan Chronicle – 7.6.2012).
Obviously a substantial part of the world does not take us seriously.

Spectacles of Deception

When it comes to the art of weaving apocryphal-tales, Scheherazade is nothing to the Rajapaksa Siblings – and their acolytes. Blessed with a fertile imagination, the regime can rise up to any challenge with a lie, face any crisis with a deception and solve any problem with a denial.
When the former Attorney General Mohan Peiris was asked about the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda at the 2011 November session of the UN Committee Against Torture, he replied, “Our current information is that Mr. Ekneligoda has taken refuge in a foreign country…. I am not saying this with the tongue in my cheek. It is something we can be reasonably certain of” (BBC- 25.11.2011). That mendacious story may have remained unexposed, had Mr. Ekneligoda’s wife not sought judicial intervention. The former AG tried every trick in the book to avoid giving evidence under oath. Compelled to appear before court, Mr. Peiris came up with a string of denials which would have done a congenital amnesiac proud. He rejected “the transcript of the statement he made in Geneva last year…” and said “he could not remember the source that revealed to him the whereabouts of….Prageeth Eknaligoda” (Ceylon Today – 6.6.2012). He then stated, “it is only God who knows” Mr. Ekneligoda’s whereabouts (Is Mr. Peiris’ King then his God?).
Mr. Peiris is not alone in his penchant for the absurd. Explaining why the AG’s Department failed to implement the six-month-old judicial order to arrest parliamentarian Duminda Silva, the current AG informed the court that “she was not in a position to take a decision (because) …..obtaining a statement from the ailing MP was difficult (Sri Lanka mirror – 5.6.2012). Going by this logic, the police cannot arrest a suspect until and unless he/she volunteers to tell the police his/her side of the story! (Incidentally what will happen when Duminda Silva returns to the land of his protectors?)
When it comes to lying to the nation, the Rajapaksas seem to think that more brazen the imagined-narrative, the greater the chance of it being believed. A recent official communiqué lauds the Rajapaksa economic miracle, though the regime is about to ask for another IMF facility. As the IMF Fact-sheet explains, “a member country may request IMF financial assistance if it has a balance of payments need…that is, if it cannot find sufficient financing on affordable terms to meet its net international payments…..” Seeking another IMF loan even before the previous one is complete is thus a sign not of economic health but of chronic economic ill-health.
The communiqué also accuses the Opposition of trying to destabilise the economy by criticising the Central Bank, the NSB and the EPF. The perilous state of the Lankan rupee is an adequate reflection of the efficacy of the Central Bank. The scandal surrounding the NSB needs no belabouring. According to media reports, the less than salubrious deeds of the EPF include purchasing a large chunk of the infamous ‘The Finance Company’. But, according to the Rajapaksas, any exposure/criticism of these misdeeds is an anti-national conspiracy. This equation enshrines opacity and impunity as patriotic virtues and condemns transparency and accountability as anti-patriotic vices.
The Rajapaksa demand for impunity and rejection of accountability, which began with the Fourth Eelam War, is thus extended to the economic realm. It will not end there, because intolerance of dissent and criticism is part of the Rajapaksa psychosis.
Anti-democracy is in their political-blood.

29 Comments for “The London Debacle And The Rajapaksa-Psychosis”

  1. Citizen

    What Mr Mohan Peiris said is true. His “God” is the President.

  2. Malin

    At least you have the guts to call the London Tamil demonstrators as ” The pro-Tiger extremists of the Tamil Diaspora went into high-gear, delighted with this new opportunity to display their brawn.” but your Editor didn’t have rhe guts to call them pro-LTTE activists but instead called them as Sri Lanka Tamil expatriates and human rights activists.

  3. Ram Perera

    When arresting others do the Police first record a statement? When directed by court to arrest someone who appear to court to be a suspect do the police first record a statement from the suspect? Super legal system we have. Thank you AG for your interpretaions of the law.
    Ram

  4. MAH

    Who says there is no freedom of the press in Sri Lanka! Even this childish excuse of a journalist can publish what ever rolls off the top of his little head.

  5. M De Silva

    The hounding of President Rajapakse by LTTE activists during his entire stay in London indicates the bitterness and the extent to which this foul mouthed scum,as evidenced by the language used by them and captured on video and available on U tube shows,will sink to denigrate Sri Lanka and its people especially the Sinhalese.The fact that Rajapakse is singled out for this treatment is entirely due to the fact that it was under Rajapakses’ leadership,as opposed to his weak kneed and conniving predecessors.that their hero Prabhakaran and his vicious mob were totally annihilated.The swagger and boastfulness of the Tiger sympathisers was deflated but not extingushed.These foul mouthed demonstrators can easily be indentifiied on Video they probably have relatives and property in Sri Lanka and although they came to the West as refugees visit Sri Lanka regularly on holiday.Sri Lanka is well rid of this lot.The unfortunate part of it is that they pollute the western countries where many of us have settled down and work.The fact that our HC in the UK and his staff were totally ineffective and incompetent in setting up counter measures along with the Police reflects ,once again,that our officials are several steps behind the Tiger sympathisers who have influenced and infiltrated all the organisations that matter.In my view one of the main ways in which this anti Sri Lankan propaganda in the west can be countered is for the leaders and prominent people amongst the millions of Tamils particularly those residing outside the North and East of Sri Lanka in areas like Coombol 6 and 7 and occupying eminent and lucrative positions in the legislature ,judiciary ,business and the professions coming out of their deafening silence and countering this evil propaganda by pointing out to the West and their representatives in Sri Lanka like the HCs how well they are getting on in Sri Lanka.The next thing is for our local political leaders to stop their petty squabbling and stand together at least until the vicious sections in the Diaspora plotting against Sri Lanka are silenced.Give them half a chance and with their support it is not difficult to foresee another homicidal maniac coming up to destroy Sri Lanka.
    Finally irresponsible and bombastic journalists ,like the writer of this article,who have nothing to offer other than vitriolic criticism of the current Sri Lankan establishment need to tone down. With friends like these who needs enemies?

  6. kudu

    all the kings horses and all the kings men
    could not put humpty dumpty together again

  7. Raymond Punchisingho

    The actions of the LTTE diaspora has only discredited their own allegations. Rajapakse did not receive any decent chance to forward his side of the story. Who is the dictator now. Is it Rajapaksa or the LTTE diaspora? Who was the terrorst was it Rajapaksa or was it Prabhakharan?

    • sripada Bulathsinhala

      Hey punchsingho, you think that a leader who cannot explain the disappearence of 40,000 of his own citizens, under a pall of international suspicion fooled any body? he has obviously fooled you. His side of the story?… you mean that there were no civilian deaths that his glorious soldiers saved and helped all the Tamil civilians… Who are you trying to fool…?

    • heath 708

      if you have not figured out for yourself, who the dictator is yet…i pity your pathetic soul existence. For .As once it is too late…just as the whole of our countries past history shows,,. the masses of the country,which you my dear sir is apart of, will realize what has been happening right under your noses, but would be a tad too late to do anything on the contrary.
      Hats off to this wonderful article, which made my day for sure..
      and if you still dont know who the dictator is…buy the new movie “the dictator”
      let Mr.Cohan shed some light on the topic…

    • The Sri Lankan Govt. should release the prepared speach of the President to be given in London to the Sri Lankan citizens.

  8. Meena M.

    Excellent article Tissaranee, you hit the nail on the head. The Rajapaksa’s do indeed play this pathetic game of blaming any Western country for anything they are criticized or accused of, and yet show an embarrassing display of eagerness to hobnob with the leaders of these very nations. It seems they are unaware that they are seen as pariahs under the umbrella of suspicion. They also are amazingly thick skinned and oblivious that to be prevented from giving scheduled speeches for the second time, is something to be ashamed of. Rajapaksa should have turned down that invitation, if he had any pride.

  9. Jayan

    If the people of Sri Lanka do not protest against corrupt governance of this regime, they will rob the country high and dry. Don’t wait till Mega Crook Cabraal robs all the money from EPF accounts.

  10. kumar soysa

    I am perturbed by the villification of President Rajapaksa, without whom we will still be fighting a war of attrition with the LTTE. Or we would be having an uneasy “peace” with the Norsk riding the high horse, or we would have given into “eelam”.

    I agree that there are many serious problems with this government BUT by villifying MR, all you are doing is encouraging the GTF and the diaspora to burn flags and embarrass the leader (whatever he is, he is the Prez!).

    Just a few months ago, no Tamil was allowed to move freely in Jaffna; they were utterly terrorized. Today, Jaffna is a vibrant economy. These are facts and I do not need to dwell in the obvious. The UN, NATO, EU etc were greatly angered by MR’s total disregard to their ‘high-and-mighty’ instructions to suspend operations at the closing stages of the rebellion (It was a rebellion, NOT a war). By all your misleading writings, you are adding oil to the never ending fiasco.

    You give me an answer to this question: are you in favour of the GTF/diaspora/TNA demand for a separate state of eelam? That is all it boils down to. We are nation of Sri Lankans and have the right to own land and stay anywhere in that good land. There can be no “desavalames”, and exclusive Tamil or Muslim or for that matter Sinhala “desayas”.

    • Pacha Prohibited

      Kumar Soysa:
      Why don’t you deal with what Tisaranee has to say instead of adopting the Koheda Yanne, Malle Pol typical of all your Rajapaksa pandankarayas?

    • Nimal

      Very well said.
      By the way HM the Queen was very happy to greet the President.police did their best to protect him and even lent their vehicle to move him to that all important function with the queen.I can assure the police I know welcomed the president in their land and appreciate his fight against the ruthless bunch and they are too aware of their supporters are from a background that is questionable in UK,ie as I think are terrorist supporters and bogus asylum seekers.People in UK are concerned about their govt. showing discourtesy to head of state by permitting that demo displaying a banned terrorist flags.I have spoken to many Brits that showed concern about the treatment MR received.

    • Horunta Bungaway

      Arra Soysa:
      Why don’t you have a lobotomy and have some dinosaur donate his grey matter to you? That way you MIGHT get the point of what Tisaranee is saying.

      In the alternative, go ask your paymasters for more money so you can hire someone to read and understand the material you think you are responding to!

      You lot never seem to get it do you? Instead you rant and rave all over the map!

      Incidentally, what’s “adding oil to the never ending fiasco” mean. Never head the expression before and hope never to hear that kind of confused rubbish ever again!

    • Mani20

      Mr Soysa

      You seem to be living in a different planet. Jaffna was under SL Army control for a long time now. So if the people were scared to go out and about blame the Army. The end of the war hasn’t improved the Jaffna Tamils’ lives in anyway. They still live in the same prison, only difference is now the Sinhala from the South can visit the ‘prison’ freely.

      I agree with the writer, MR has wasted millions so he could have his picture taken with the Queen and David Cameron. If as he says the western nations are plotting his downfall, why was he so desperate to visit UK. It is not as if he was invited by the British Government on a state visit!

    • Hewa

      What you said is very true. If not for MR’s leadership we would still be a nation at cross roads fighting a war of attrition with the world’s most gruesome terrorist out fit.And that would have not benefited the Sri Lankans whether you are a Tamil, Muslim or a Sinhalese. Sri Lankans have a very short memory and quite a few seems to have lost sight of the fact that we are no longer plagued by the threat of terrorism which is the biggest problem we had over the last 30 years.Sunday Leader continues to highlight the negative aspects of MR( which is good) but with no mention or regard for what MR and his Team did for the country. This way of one sided reporting is called gutter journalism. As the leader of the Nation he should have the right to chose whether to attend or not.As much as the Tamils in UK have a democratic right to “peacefully” protest, our Leader must have the freedom of expression which was denied by the actions of some hooligans and some spineless administrators. What were the authorities in UK doing for only one side to enjoy their democratic right and freedom but not the other is questionable.

    • A Disgusted Citizen

      Dear Mr. Kumar Soysa, It seems your brain has rusted, the war was won by Gen.Sarath Fonseka (then Army Commander), not Mahinda Rajapakse. The gratitude this man got was being imprisoned for almost 2 1/2 years.
      There are not just serious problems but, VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS. The economy is in shambles whilst the Rajapakse clan ride the high horse. Instead of doing all the nonsenscicle things, they, as a government, should do something to eliviate the sufferings of the mases – bring down the cost of living, etc.
      As a democratically elected government (or were they democratically elected??) they should have moved swiftly and brought about re-dress to the thousands of suffering depositors of the Golden Key Company – 23 of whom have alrady died. Now what have you to say?

    • kumar soysa,
      You say that “Jaffna is a vibrant economy and these are facts”.
      May be true, bur at what expense?
      Why does the regime protect some ares in Mulliwaykal from any one going there?
      Is it not to hide the remains of bodies buried there from exposure?
      Please don’t try to cover up with some good news to hide the bad ones.

      There are reports that some special chemicals are procured from China
      to disolve skeletons and now a Sinhala Health officer in charge is appointed in this Tamil are for the first time.

  11. Sri

    How many acolytes were in the Rajapukse team this time round? Surely all those who protested could not be Tiger supporters even if it suits the publicity stunt. Far more Tamil civilians paid the price for unbridled state terrorism too. Merely covering up by mention of LTTE will not carry weight. The whole truth is now well known.

    • Nimal

      Sri
      Tamils paid the price for supporting the ltte terrorists.What do you expect a govt do when these ruthless bunch where so many civilians,politicians and people of the forces were killed and they had to be stopped.Now there’s relative peace and the areas once held by these terrorists are now being developed,go and see for your self.Perhaps you are living in comfort claiming as an an asylum seeker and good luck but let the people live in peace in the island.I am no supporter of MR but the way he was treated in UK is wrong and unacceptable.

  12. Ruchira

    Looks like the diaspora will not give in until there is a full blown war again in SL. They are basically killing SL’s reputation all over the world. It is actually worse than when the war was on.

  13. Duminda

    Poor greedy president, must be sick of eating third world rotten food so greedily goes to England to have tasty western food.

  14. Saman

    Why president faced uncomfortable situation in UK? Because he is the only leader amongst the gathering was able to eradicate the terrorists against the request made by the western nations to stop the war. In the circumstances can he expect one of the EU nations to welcome him smoothely? If he did whatever they requested in 2009, he would have able to conduct both Oxford and recent speeches without any issue. As Srilankans to expect such welcome for our president in UK, can we need see killing thousands of people, collapsing the economy…etc with ongoing war?. What is the best outcome out of two because we cannot expect both?
    Make use of the war, lakhs of Tamils (majority) who came as asylums seekers to UK for better life (not because of harassments) don’t like go back to Sri Lanka whether they received even the Elam nation because they cannot get free benefits and live luxury life like in UK . Obviously they will gather given anytime to oppose either president or Sri Lanka for their selfish requirements. That is the outcome president faced in UK. As such he shouldn’t get blame or uncomfortable. If he did the war like CBK he will anytime welcome by the said opponents and opportunists

  15. Dhathusena

    Well written Thisaranee. Sums up the psychotic nature of the present junta. Because of their short sighted idiotic antics the country will have to face dior consequences. It is even more dangerous that the majority of people still blindly follow them with their post war rhetoric s.They were alright only for the war. They don’t display any other governing skills and the law and order of the country has derailed quite pathetically. It is difficult to see who can salvage the country sadly.

  16. Kato

    Some good points in the article…however, reference to Elam war IV as to where rejection of accountability started is when the writer looses credibility relative to the overall agenda of the article. This last point not only feeds the separatists who are working against the country but discredits an otherwise good article.

  17. Lal.Fernando

    Well writte, it is the truth nothing but the truth. I take my hat off to this jurno.Well researched, all the facts on the table.Keep up your excellent journalism.

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