The Rise Of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Democracy, Terrorism And The Muslim Issue In Sri Lanka

By Nishthar Idroos -

0dafd sri lanka Nishthar Idroos The Rise Of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Democracy, Terrorism And The Muslim Issue In Sri Lanka

Nishthar Idroos

Winds heralding another round of elections loom high. Astrologers, fortune-tellers,  and every political soothsayer are busying themselves to make the kill. It’s that kind of season once again in Sri Lanka. The time to lubricate the palms big time if you’re someone or anyone endowed with the incomprehensible science of planetary movement. All of this can happen only in the resplendent island of Sri Lanka. Television channels compete with each other showcasing supposedly eligible and competent souls-of-clairvoyance confidently deciphering the science to the laity. Supposed god-men  escorted to the palace in utmost secrecy for on-the-spot consultations. Those opting for greater accuracy venture the quick flight over the Palk-straits to consult professionals whose names have reached the “stars”.

Government and opposition politicians alike engage in this kind of activities whenever elections come and even during non-election times. Whether you’re a product of Oxford, Harvard or a simple coward these rituals are considered sine-quo-none and are religiously observed. To add to the saga The Jathika Hela Urumaya an ultra-nationalist party in Sri Lanka recently told the Government and President Mahinda Rajapaksa to look at the holes on the ground before looking at the stars in the sky. It seems there is spell-binding pyrotechnics already embellishing the evening skies; this can only get pretty intense no sooner the election date is officially announced. This is not a Sri Lankan thing. Authentic and confirmed records have it that even President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy were firm believers in the esoteric science.  So much for America’s faith in God and its near imperium on science.

01d75 sri lanka Aluthgama Violence  The Rise Of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Democracy, Terrorism And The Muslim Issue In Sri LankaPrime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as the presidential nominee for the UPFA party at the 2005 Presidential election was not perceived as the frontrunner. Ranil Wicremesinghe was not considered the underdog either. It was this grey draping on the horizon that stumbled most political observers. The populist/ pragmatist dichotomy was in every voter’s mind.  The slender thin majority Mahinda Rajapaksa won by bears true testimony. Mahinda Rajapaksa was also seen as an outsider, not comparable to the established tradition of seasoned campaigners who aspired for high office in mother Lanka. As the incumbent Prime Minister some prominence remained focussed on him but the position was purely ceremonial. His presidential credentials yet to be tested, demeanour evolving and a style of leadership left to the imagination. On the contrary his opponent Ranil Wicremesinghe had Executive experience, exposure and international standing. Ranil  a member, an important one of the powerful Jayewardene government that achieved many a milestone in the socio-economic development in Sri Lanka. Not to mention Ranil’s short premiership immediately after the assassination of President Premadasa. Also his infamous stewardship as the Prime Minister during the presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranatunga. These factors redounded to the credit of Ranil Wicremesinghe. Polls indicated a close fight. Experts still reminisce the neck and neck fight. They adduce many reasons for the eventual result, chief among them being the forced boycott of the LTTE which tilted the balance in favor of Mahinda Rajapakse.

One has to take cognisance of many written and unwritten rules to become President in a country like Sri Lanka. Prospective candidates put their heart and soul and work assiduously for the job, sprucing themselves and crisscrossing the country in the challenging campaign trail. Electioneering in Sri Lanka is tumultuous and turbulent.  Your life is at stake. All this just to ensure your success. A little bit of research into the history of getting into politics and election preparation in Sri Lanka may unearth strange facts. Individuals had converted to other faiths wholly compatible with the constituency just to posture their eligibility. This bears testament to what extent hopefuls would go. This also bespeaks quite loudly the existential democracy with its many contortions. It’s irreparably skewed favouring Buddhists for the top spot. The minorities are constitutionally ostracised of ever becoming the leader of the nation. Sri Lanka is still to reach the desired level of sophistication to accommodate all. This elusive inclusiveness is still a huge and visible lacuna. Sri Lanka a nation endowed with many blessings and intimately called home by millions of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians will never see a President or at least a Prime Minister emerge from the minority. This looks very unlikely, almost utopian. A Barack Hussein Obama may not emerge from Sri Lanka. His middle name for more reasons than one despised even in Sri Lanka. The prospect of a BBS invasion in a sea of vermillion red on the streets of Colombo cannot be ruled out if it was to become a reality by some stroke of a miracle.

As for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa these weren’t issues at all in 2005. He had unique characteristics  amenable to the audience. He had waited for this day and prepared well. His persona resonated well with the masses. It was his immaculate and inimitable nationalist aura that positioned him well, passionately championing the cause of Citizen Perera.  Of late his brilliant rendition if not his unflinching jihad championing Buddhist causes had spectacularly outweighed any of his previous chivalrous efforts. It had catapulted him in rank and stature in some strategic quarters. It’s the Marketing genius in him that’s supremely admirable. Getting his SWOT analysis right and addressing them to the minutest detail. He doesn’t seem much concerned at the criticism that his actions may undermine democracy. He has absolutely no qualms in reaffirming his Buddhists credentials. He is  no neo-liberal flaunting free enterprise and democracy, but a left leaning nationalist with fire brand rhetoric targeting concise, subtle and cogent messages to his target market. Very recently he said “the Diaspora wants a puppet at the helm” think for a moment the strategic implications of this statement vis a vis his target audience, an opposition in disarray and  an impending presidential election. It will be quite insurmountable for the collective opposition to out-smart him. He’s always three steps ahead of the competition and marshalling his resources well. These strengths aided him well in 2010. Undoubtedly the catalyst was the defeat of the LTTE which earned him virtual regalia. Ordinary Buddhists  bestowed a fitting sobriquet, they called him “King Mahinda. This truly emphasizes how deep his image had gravitated in the minds of the ordinary people.

His chosen style and flamboyance utilizing a repertoire of genres available in the nationalist showroom is another achievement. He works very hard to augment his product.  Any entrepreneur knows only too well what it means to get his product stand out, stay different, be identified and remain above the competition. Whoever coached Mahinda Rajapaksa had done an excellent job. It never let him down. He had perfected the process and put to  good use. The maroon shawl can only be associated with the Rajapaksa’s and was suddenly ubiquitous by courtesy of the electronic and on-line media alike. It defies contemporary fashion for a rugged and handsome guy like Namal Rajapaksa, the President’s elder son to studiously emulate his father in dress code. He could easily walk into any one of the many Hameedia’s showrooms in town and come out with trendy, glitzy attire. But wait a minute; he knows as much as I do psychological intrusion and branding synergies cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the mundane. He’s in for the long haul. He’s indeed the chip of the old block, meticulous in both style and substance.

The unfavorable caricatures of history are replete with nebulous and nefarious innuendos as to the exact antecedents preceding his enthronement. Who cares!  He’s now the president of Sri Lanka and the de facto ruler- the jockey on the horse. His election to high office was unprecedented from many fronts. He was neither a Senanayake, nor a Bandaranaike nor was he a Premadasa. Usually a prestigious family name is seen as an asset and can be  useful in starting or ascending  an ambitious political career. This has been the norm in South Asia but not for Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was gut Determination, Strategic Positioning and an unshakable will to win.  If his candidacy was to be compared to a product it certainly had glowing attributes at every strategic level. He was not a consensus candidate, his opponents were many. How he managed to get the numbers is history now.  Winning the war in 2009 consolidated and cemented President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s position. This epic enterprise earned him near immortality and celluloid stardom. He achieved the unachievable. At a time when the nation had become insecure and despondent with little or no hope, he provided the required leadership to change things around. None of these constitute an exaggeration in any way or form. His leadership  was instrumental in extricating the nation from the abyss of war and carnage that Sri Lanka had  fallen into.

Expectations rose astronomically in post-war Sri Lanka. Naturally the citizenry were extremely hopeful of a new start.  A new era filled with peace, happiness and prosperity for all citizens, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. A near thirty year of destruction and devastation had come to an end. There was a natural desire in the hearts of every citizen to recoup, individually and collectively. Those who were teenagers in the eighties and nineties had become fathers and mothers and were nostalgic of what they had lost, not to mention those gory days when human body parts would dangle from trees tops. Shattered rail compartments littering the ocean shore. Burnt automobiles filling the urban landscape. These were scary times and even scarier to be a teenager. The consolation their children would not go through the same dark period was a great reassurance.  People especially the minorities thought a healthy atmosphere had been restored, a new and celebratory dawn would rise with hope, peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans. This feeling was mutual, this feeling was palpable.

With all these pregnant expectations came the stinging and malevolent undercurrent. The thud that paralysed the minorities. Without any prior warning came the minority bashing. Christians and Muslims were targeted, their places of worship attacked and vandalised. Muslims in addition to being mercilessly  attacked by the LTTE were in for their second innings. “The curtain came down in the northern theatre and had just begun to unfold in the southern”. This is how an elderly Muslim put it, trying valiantly to conceal his anxiety. He further said “A great way to pay tribute to a people who were doggedly unwilling to be treacherous”.  A people committed to plurality and peaceful co-existence. The militant and monstrous outfit called the Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena or BBS with considerable state patronage  had started a campaign of systematically demonizing the muslims. They were relentless  and inflicted fear in the hearts of the Muslims. They campaigned hard against fundamental rights enjoyed by the Muslims for centuries. It started with the Halal issue then came the near indiscriminate attacks on  Mosques and Muslims and in some cases killing them. Revisiting Aluthgama is a  painful experience. Innocent people lost lives, valuables and their houses. A retired English teacher recounted how the mob systematically destroyed her house. She was able to identify a few of her own students in the gang. The arrival of Burma’s radical hard-line Ashin Wirathu who was instrumental in fuelling the killing rampage of Rohinga Muslims in Burma. Getting the monk down was an archaic strategy to intimidate Muslims and initiate a campaign of mind control.

Politicians may employ unorthodox methods to carve, weed-out and secure their political geography, demography and psychography for their own parochial ends. These adventures though democracy enabled  not consistent with prevailing laws. Democracy a colonial left-over continues to get diluted. Its practise always fraught with violence. Public administration depended on the person and not the process. Most institutions malleable. The law enforcing apparatus reduced to mere by-standers, emasculated and made appendages of the administration.  The need for independent institutions further heightened. A life or two is a small price to pay. This is not healthy for the nation. The tacit collaboration of the government with the BBS is very frightening indeed. This kind of democracy is deceptive, distortive and destructive. It can drown us all. Lives are turned to mere numbers calculated, deleted, re-added and stored in data-drives for the future. The electorate is intelligent and informed and certainly not immature. Values are crumbling like old paint peeling off walls.

We all know of the  “San Francisco Peace Treaty’’ signed between Japan and part of the Allied Powers, officially signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, in San Francisco, United States.  This was a monumental day for Sri Lanka then Ceylon. A major player in providing support for a post-war free Japan was the delegation from Ceylon.  While many were reluctant to allow a free Japan capable of aggressive action and insisted that the terms of surrender should be rigidly enforced in an attempt to break the spirit of the Japanese nation, the Ceylonese Finance Minister J.R. Jayewardene spoke in defence for a free Japan. He further said “We do not intend to do so for we believe in the words of the Great Teacher [Buddha] whose message has ennobled the lives of countless millions in Asia, that ‘hatred ceases not by hatred but by love’.” He ended the same speech by saying “This treaty is as magnanimous as it is just to a defeated foe”. How can this version of Buddhism be juxtaposed with the kind of barbarism unleashed by BBS and the enactment of plain murder in Burma? This is a pernicious Buddhist ideology that has evolved to a monster in Sri Lanka, this does not auger well for the country. In the Muslim world too its leaders are grappling with issues pertaining to terrorism.  They have no regard for human life and hell bent on being faithful to their warped ideology. Islam is not ideology but revelation that was brought down to the final Messenger. The authentic scriptures are intact even today 1436 years.  Muslims well versed in the scriptures  never condone terrorism, it is to be condemned unequivocally. The Buddhist clergy are people naturally prone to peace. They are the custodians of a great philosophy whose fundamental teachings revolve round peace, love, equanimity and detachment. They should not allow extremists to hijack their religion.

Islam is also a religion of love and peace. Islam does not teach people to kill all those who disagree with them. If certain bigoted Muslims did so that is not the fault of Islam. How unjust would it be to say that Christianity is a religion that teaches violence and bloodshed by looking at  historical performance of some so-called Christians: After all, Hitler who committed genocide against the Jews, the white supremacists in  America who practiced barbarities against the blacks, the Serbs who committed genocide against the Muslims in Bosnia, those who systematically practiced mass slaughter of Muslims and Jews in Spain, and burned heretics, etc. all claimed to be Christians. What about the Christian killings in Ireland? So why use double standards in judging Islam? Stereotyping is wrong regardless of against whom we use it. What’s outwardly visible of Islam is its obedient adherence by both male and female Muslims. The female Muslim observes the divine dress code and should be allowed to go about her business without any hindrance.

What Muslims can and cannot do is not decided by them but Allah.  And I (Allah) created not the jinn’s and humans except they should worship Me (Alone)” Al Quran 51:56. Sticking to Halal dietary habits, observing the correct Islamic dress code, not partaking in usury (interest) and many more  are supreme acts of worship in Islam. So will  you find fault and get physical and even  kill a people just because they worship their Creator and strictly observe a way of life fashioned by Him? Where is your democracy for the Muslims? Aren’t they free to adhere to their religion practised by 1.8 billion people in the world? Doesn’t democracy encompass and protect Muslims in the Democratic, Socialist, and Republic of Sri Lanka? Finally on this issue I wish to draw the readers attention to a very pertinent verse in the Quran which will shatter all smoke screens Allah the Almighty says It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path” Al Quran 33:36.

Apportioning blame on Islam and Muslims for the apparent rise in terrorism and terrorist threats in the world especially in the west is at the heart of a strategy developed by vested individuals and groups whose systemic and well choreographed attacks, borne out of either ignorance, hatred or just the thrill to demonize constitute an excruciatingly painful reality of Islamophobia. A sensible, enlightened and well endowed Muslim  will assert  patience and restraint as its the thing right to do. Muslims have countless hotspots in the world. Western sponsored massacres of Muslims persist unabated. Palestine has become a veritable scoreboard which ticks every three years or so with a horrendous score reflecting deaths of children, women, and men alike. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes are the civilized democracies with an arsenal of   diabolical weapons. These perpetrators are not labelled as terrorists but as  patriots of a cultured civilization simply exercising their rights to live on stolen land. To whom can we complain these dastardly deeds? We haven’t mentioned the unarrestable haemorrhage in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and counting. Also let the Muslims be mindful just because the Muslims are at the receiving end it does not warrant unsolicited heroes to respond and compound the already volatile situation. For sure this can only exacerbate the situation and trigger further bloodletting. We wish to advise Muslims prone to radicalism to exercise restraint. They should understand their actions can  prove counter-productive. We could ill-afford to be unwise and emotional.  The Qur’an says about the prohibition of murder, “Take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom” Al-An`am: 151.

Even the discerning Buddhist today witnesses many social aberrations not necessarily compatible with Buddhist values.  He knows very well these values are alien. These aren’t values the Buddha came with. This is a worrisome situation. This pristine philosophy industriously preserved by devoted disciples over a period spanning 2000 years has been subjected to many distortions by a bunch of extremists for cheap political gain. Even the administrations have shown scant disregard on occasions. There seems to be a carte blanche exercised by the administration. This is unhealthy for the nation in the long run. The hijacking of a religion by extremists should be a wakeup call for all. Pseudo-scholars and students have gradually abandoned the true teachings in favor of unauthorized sources for social and political gain. They have been shaping a creed for the masses based on inauthentic sources. The true and trustworthy scholars of Islam did not keep quiet in the face of deviation. Remaining mum is not an option for the scholars because Allah in His majestic Quran commands the Prophet thus Say are those who know and those who don’t equal?” (39:9 )   “

The council of Muslim scholars have relentlessly refuted and warned the Muslim nation against these terrorists. Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, the much revered and respected scholar Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh Hafdahullah, has called fighting ISIL “a duty”. This is the kind of response that should be meted out to deal with terrorism or extremism. Sri Lanka should certainly know better because she knows all about terrorism. You cannot fight and mollycoddle terrorism at the same time. Terrorism is certainly not the exclusive prerogative or preserve of the Muslims. Even the so called civilised world has unleashed atrocious acts of terrorism. They have done it in the past, they are doing it now and they surely can do it in the   future. The success of Islam and Muslims will never, ever be dependent on   terrorism. It need not be, it never was and it never will. If any group thinks violence is a sanctioned methodology they’re sadly mistaken. Islam did not come for ethnic Muslims alone but to all mankind. How can something that came to all mankind be relegated and condemned? Islam is the Final message from the creator. Its persistent demonization is a worry and heartache for the true believer. Extremism is not just an issue for the west to deal; it’s an issue that must be addressed by all.  Dragging these individuals to Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghuraib and Bagram are nonsensically unworkable strategies. We want to solve the problem not aggravate it. A deviant ideology cannot be eradicated by meting out physical punishment. The arrogant west has lost the war on terror due to its singular focus.

Coming back to the campaign trail, maintaining the peace and working towards the common prosperity of the people was indeed the difficult part.  Just as when we thought that Mahinda Rajapaksa would effortlessly stretch his monumental victories to his advantage his popularity had  begun to  plummet thus putting into question his electoral invincibility. The results of the Uva Provincial Council  quite revealing. It portends a big fight for the ruling party. In the same light it must be forcefully reiterated that  President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a fighter. He can move things even single handedly.  He is three times the politician people think he is. Highly adept, unimaginably shrewd with a profound understanding of his people. He knows what to do at situations like these. The Muslims also want to talk to  him and extend their support to him. Let’s not forget he is the President for all Sri Lankans, Muslims have pressing and crucial issues concerning their freedoms and privations. The Muslims want an audience with the President. Many are the grievances of the Muslims and this may be an opportune moment for frank discussions.

Suddenly it’s all about 2015. This time it’s going to be different than 2005 or 2010. The realities are stark. There is growing disenchantment and discontent in every stratum. Prices of essentials had sky-rocketed, rampant corruption and political manoeuvring the order of the day, no system of check and balance, national wealth wantonly usurped. Corruption no doubt was a contagion with a malignant strain. If  figures shown by the opposition is anything to go by Ebola would certainly pale into insignificance. Salaries  remained unrevised, Inflation is high, public spending very high and without any trace of accountability, Debt has hit the grand trillions. Minorities marginalised, mocked and maligned and prone to violence and death. Hard-line Buddhist extremism had increased leaps and bounds. Last but not least youth rebellion in universities continues unabated. Sociologically suicides had increased; mothers had committed suicide with their children.

Its undeniable the ugly head of social contamination is insidiously creeping .Not the workings of the pre-dominant Buddhist populace who’re peaceful but a motley few who have an entrenched political agenda. Trust the enlightened Buddhist scholarship  will rise to the occasion   just the way  Islamic scholars had done. The true apostle of Buddha is not in favor of the growing distortions. The extreme version of Buddhism is tarnishing its image. Usama bin Laden and ISIL are no mainstream representatives of Islam just as Hitler and Mussolini were no mainstream representatives of Christianity. These very names of terrorists have been indiscriminately used manipulated by the media to the advantage of a few to perpetuate an agenda. Today Muslims of Sri Lanka cannot conceal their anxiety anymore. Aren’t those who kill the innocent terrorists themselves?

If marginalizing Muslims is a calculated electoral strategy, I am afraid it can only boomerang. The friendship that exists between the Sinhalese and Muslims at the grassroots is very strong;   this friendship has survived from times spanning centuries. The Muslims co-existed in peace and never proved treacherous and never will. Once again our testimony is redundant here. Politicians may want to overlook this strong bond of unity but simple, ordinary   people at the village level wouldn’t. Muslims have successfully integrated and proved over and over again that they’re not traitors.  Our friendship and loyalty even with the ancient kings were in good stead.  Any fool can goad a mob and occasion wanton destruction and pandemonium; this cannot be a substantive reason to undermine strong bonds. All mobs do the same in most democracies and this is unfortunate. Marginalizing any community constitutes a gross travesty of democracy. Democracy is supposed to fortify social cohesion and not encourage division, suppression, isolation and victimization.  This kind of irresponsible behaviour and near lawlessness can precipitate irreparable social damage and an   erosion of confidence. This will not auger well for a nation that’s targeting a whopping 2.5 million tourists to visit this beautiful land by 2016.  Let’s get real for a moment and leave realpolitik behind. Surely Sri Lanka does not have a supremacist form of governance.

The socio-political and economic contributions of the Muslims are deeply rooted. Turn any book on the subject and history will relate  benign and romantic anecdotes. Muslims were made welcome in every area of this country. They were welcome in the Kandyan Kingdom. They were integrated into Kandyan society primarily by giving them duties which related to the King’s administration. They were made a part of the Madige Badda or Transport Department. They were allowed to trade in arecanut, which was a royal monopoly. The Muslims from Uva, which was near the saltrens, had to bring salt as part of their obligatory service. Muslims also functioned as weavers, tailors, barbers, and lapidarists .Muslims also functioned as physicians, and presumably they practised Unani medicine. Muslim physicians were the Gopala Moors of Gataberiya in the Kegalle District. The family traces its pedigree to a physician from Islamic Spain, whose descendants migrated to the Sind in Northern India, Another important function of the Muslims in the Kandyan Court, was that they acted as envoys to the King. One Muslim envoy had been sent to the Nawab of Carnatic. Another had been sent to Pondicherry soliciting French assistance against the Dutch. It’s doubly clear the close relations Muslims had with the establishment and the people.

The Muslims of Sri Lanka are a creative people. They are proud of their country. The Muslims are adept at business. The Prophet of Islam (may Allah exalt his mention) was a merchant and an excellent one at it. Business comes to most Muslims quite naturally. There is a perception that majority of Muslims in Sri Lanka are pro UNP (United National Party). First and foremost it’s no one’s business to question the political affiliations of Muslims.  It’s their inalienable right to vote or not to vote to a person or party. For what’s it worth let’s explore this perception in some detail. Muslims don’t have an unbridled loyalty for the UNP, such an idea is frivolous, dismissive if not utterly nonsensical. Certainly it’s the UNP  that first  liberalized the economy. This happened in the year 1977. We as Sri Lankans   agree unless someone is amnesic that this  was an unprecedented milestone in the history of the country. This shaped the commercial prowess of our great nation. This near economic revolution restored confidence in the markets and facilitated a major fillip for trade, the rest is history. When the UNP eventually lost power in 1994 it had ruled the country for almost 17 years. How do you expect a people not to like an economic system that benefited all and sundry? A market economy has greater chances of resilience and stability than a command economy practised prior to 1977 – this should be a no brainer to most.  The Muslims of Sri Lanka supported pragmatic policies not didactic heresies. History has proven we did the right thing. We the Muslims will uphold and support anything that offers succour to all citizens. We have no blinded loyalty to any party but to pragmatics.

Buddhist values as elucidated by the Buddha are not inimical to the minorities but not the toxic version of the BBS . The foe here is not Buddhism but democracy. A painful fact has to be admitted. Sri Lankans are either not allowed to harness the full potential of a vibrant democracy or deliberately stifled and the progress ably impeded.  Democracy is used as a tool for self-aggrandisement and play. If a political system is dividing, alienating, corrupting and killing its people let’s look at ways of changing it or look elsewhere. As a member of the minority I’ll be more secure in this country under a benevolent King like in the olden days than a self-professed democrat.  A wise guy once said “The concept of the will of the people is dangerously arbitrary. Certainly not worthy of being the foundation of a rational and practical political system”

Democracy can be perverted by Machiavellian politics and politicians. Democracy certainly takes count of heads but not weights. Every politician who embraces democracy is not a Lincoln or Kennedy. Today in majority government’s due process is disregarded with impunity; minority governments have a malaise of gridlock and impasse. This is the new order. This is bad for the people. It’s the current narrative in America, Sri Lanka and most countries in the world. In the United States of America the government comes to a screeching halt every year due to acrimonious gridlock on the debt ceiling. The eventual losers are the people. This is a monumental irony. Democracy was supposed to empower all people not disempower or impoverish them.  Democracy needs sincere leaders but sincere leaders don’t need democracy.

The ancient kings of Sri Lanka knew nothing about what our politicians know today of democracy or the lack of it. They never imposed undue restrictions on fundamental rights on minorities. They did not stifle the natural flow hence they were resoundingly more successful than there modern compatriots. This is the very essence of sincerity of purpose I wish to emphasize here. Simplicity radiates profundity, Complexity fraught with misery. People to people contact should be kept simple and the natural flow encouraged. In this case the minorities should be treated with respect, dignity and equality just the way it was during the days of monarchy. If treachery becomes manifest and covenant breached punishment should ensue. Even in breach the state should not shirk from justice, no excesses, no collective punishment, nothing extra- judicial.  I wish to reiterate I would love to give my vote for a benevolent dictator than a self-professed democrat.

It’s kind of a disgrace for the present Sri Lankan government to countenance situations where its own citizens have to constantly clamour and agitate for their fundamental rights so eloquently and lusciously enshrined in the constitution. It’s like the child crying for milk. The child is aware that the milk is there yet the mother deprives and denies the child milk. Isn’t this kind of mother an evil mother? Some of the rights currently under threat vis a vis Muslims of Sri Lanka are shown below encrypted in the acronym REAL.

  1. Religious Freedom
  2. Economic Opportunity
  3. Assurance of the right to procreate sans being ridiculed or demonised.
  4. Life held in sanctity.

Let’s analyse each one of these in some amount of detail. To most Muslims in Sri Lanka and the world the right to worship their Lord is sacred and not-negotiable. A Muslim may endure extreme poverty for prolonged periods of time but won’t be able to pass a single day without worshipping his Lord. This is essentially the five daily prayers, men in the mosques and women in their homes.  The right to practise ones religion is universal and rigorously protected by various international bodies. None-Muslims living in Muslim countries have the same right but wrongfully  deprived in some countries by extremists. I don’t speak for extremists. Additionally religious infrastructure must keep pace with changes in the demography. This shouldn’t be a difficult thing to understand. Muslims never asked for a separate state in Sri Lanka but for their very basic rights. The other issue at hand is the female dress code. The female dress code was not designed by Calvin Klein but by the Lord of the Worlds, who is The Best of Designers. If the buxom Chinese tourist from Shanghai can walk with her bikini in the salubrious climes of Hikkaduwa why not the Sri Lankan citizen walk with her  own dress in her own country? Isn’t this outrageously duplicitous?

Secondly shouldn’t economic freedom be equal to all?  This too is a very fundamental right presently under threat for the Muslims. Any citizen should be able to start a business anywhere in the country without the fear of damage or destruction from vandals or extremist organizations. Muslim businessman and industrialists alike suffered heavy damage at the hands of the BBS. This is very unfortunate. Most of the employees in these organizations were young, enterprising Sinhalese lads just keen in doing a job and earning a  salary.  We sincerely wish there will be no more attacks and all properties will be treated as sacred.

Thirdly the issue of Procreation or having children has become another major issue. I simply cannot understand why this was allowed to go so long. His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the proud father of three wonderful and handsome sons. How many Buddhists had even thought of following our President on this noble deed? Yes it is a very noble deed. We as Muslims firmly believe that children are a gift from Allah. Muslims do not look at financial sufficiency or security prior to having children.  Their faith is integral and holistic; they’re fully aware  that everything happens as per the will of Allah- The Creator of The Heavens and Earths. Since of late Muslims of Sri Lanka had to endure a lot of humiliation on account of this.  A notable demagogue in the cabinet recently said that the Buddhists will not be the majority in Sri Lanka in another fifty years.  For a start Muslims have no intention whatsoever to become the majority. However its quite puzzling how  a responsible minister makes such statements and continues to repeat them at every strategic event?

I consider it very important that rulers and ruling administrations make attempts to have some rudimentary understanding of  minorities and their religious beliefs. This can bridge the knowledge gap. There is so much misunderstanding and misinformation about Islam people exploit , especially extremists like the BBS who concoct blatant lies just to have a swipe at Islam. They must understand and make note that Islam has forbidden celibacy (state of not being married), monasticism (life of monks & nuns) and castration (removal of the male glands)  The final Messenger sent to all mankind just before the hour (may Allah exalt his mention ) made this very clear when he told those companions who were considering acetic forms of life: He emphatically said  “I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my way of life is not from me.”  Allah  said in His final message The Quran: “Kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them” (al-Anaam : 151) Hence mankind should never abort or kill their children out of fear of poverty. It is Allah who provides for them all.

Finally the sanctity of life must be preserved at all times. The majority group has a legal, moral and ethical duty to protect the minorities throughout the country. This is an all-embracing duty of the government. In a multi-ethnic country like Sri Lanka elections are opportune moments to address issues and grievances. It’s the sincere wish of every Sri Lankan Muslim that these pressing issues are addressed once and for all and a firm resolution elicited. Many are the goals our motherland has set. Together we can do it. YES WE CAN.

Leftist Parties Divided More than Which Candidate To Help At Upcoming Presidential Elections

Leftist parties in Sri Lanka have divided more than which candidate to help at the upcoming Presidential elections, with the Lanka Sama Samaja Celebration (LSSP) passing a motion to assistance Mahinda Rajapaksa whilst the Nava Sama Samaja Celebration (NSSP) has announced that a choice has not yet been created on which candidate they would assistance.

02b35 sri lanka Ranil Mahinda 2 300x244 Leftist Parties Divided More than Which Candidate To Help At Upcoming Presidential ElectionsThe motion to help Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential election had been proposed abruptly without any notice of a resolution throughout a meeting held to consider some documents submitted to the Central Committee. Despite the fact that senior members such as Lal Wijenayake, Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne Pc, Prof.  Vijaya Kumar, S Ramanathan, Wimal Rodrigo, Keerthi Kariyawasam  and Chameera Perera protested against the motion, it had been passed with 25 members voting in favour of it.

The protesting members have nonetheless informed that the choice is rejected by them and that they will defy it and act independently to support a candidate who will stand for abolition of the executive presidential system.

Meanwhile in a media statement, a group of the Nava Sama Samaja Celebration (NSSP) politbureau members have announced that they have not made a decision to assistance UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe or any other common candidate who will be fielded at the upcoming presidential elections.

They have noted that despite NSSP Common Secretary Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne announcing that they would critically support Ranil Wickremesinghe, no such decision has been produced and that it is only his private view. In their statement, it has also been announced that an agreement has been created with the leftist parties to field a frequent candidate who would represent leftist ideologies.

KP’s Frantic Efforts To Save The Tiger Leaders In 2009 And USA’s Pursuits

By Michael Roberts -

f13d4 sri lanka Michael Roberts KP’s Frantic Efforts To Save The Tiger Leaders In 2009 And USA’s Pursuits

Dr. Michael Roberts

I.  Michael Roberts: “Setting the Context — Fragments of Data”

The recent ‘recovery’ of Fr. Gaspar Raj’s information on the various ideas and lines of endeavour directed towards saving the LTTE leadership in the dire circumstances confronting them in 2009, together with the interjections of PK Balakrishnan and Muralidhar Reddy that convey indirect information from other sources, provide one with significant wisps of data on the strategic “pursuits” favoured by USA in relation to Sri Lanka in 2008/09. I use the term “pursuits” advisedly here as an omnibus term for the USA’s mixture of goals, a ‘product’ that I hope to clarify, via conjecture and by analytical deduction, in essays to be written after the Wikileaks disclosures of US embassy despatches[1] have been digested.

The information in this respect within the Gaspar Raj item has particular value because this Tamil Jesuit from southern India is a rabid nationalist who has been an ardent supporter of the LTTE and continues to voice extremist claims, including charges of “genocide” levelled at the government of Sri Lanka.[2]

Daya Gamage has recently revealed that the Political Attache at the US embassy in Colombo, one Mike Owens, had this to say on the 6th May 2009 (without, apparently, being fully alive to the fact that the LTTE military capacity was at its last gasp).

33f31 sri lanka KP KP’s Frantic Efforts To Save The Tiger Leaders In 2009 And USA’s Pursuits

KP

“Why did [the LTTE] have a following in the beginning? And I think it’s because some in the Tamil community do have legitimate grievances, and we need to find — I think its imperative for Sri Lankans to find a way to give everyone in the community, all Sri Lankans a legitimate voice in their government….. We are trying quietly …… to find a way for the LTTE to surrender arms possibly to a third party in the context of a pause in the fighting, to surrender their arms in exchange for some sort of limited amnesty to at least some members of the LTTE and the beginning of a political process.”[3]

Gamage came into my orbit only in June-July 2014. However, previously in April 2014, without access to the type of material that he has divulged, in a broad-ranging article in Groundviews entitled “Generating Calamity…” I referred to “an unverified thread of rumour suggesting that a couple of US military officers had been introduced to the SL Army HQ in May 2009 to work out the modalities of a possible intervention from the US Pacific Command designed to contain the remaining LTTE forces and rescue the civilians” (Roberts 2014a).

This essay immediately drew a salvo of scornful comments from the assassins who patrol this web site, among them one “Fitzpatrick” or “Fitzpatrick Alex f.” Fitzpatrick once again entered the fray in typical disparaging style early this month of October 2014 when he commented on my article, “AL-Jazeera Video Footage and Reports from the War Front, 7th October 2008,in the Colombo Telegraph web site.

That essay ended thus:

“Birtley’s evaluation was on the mark, though the LTTE’s last stand was not around Mullativu,[7] but centred upon the coastal strip on the eastern side of Nandikadal Lagoon and betwixt lagoon and sea because their high command was anticipating an international rescue operation to avert a “humanitarian disaster.” The pressure and persuasion exerted upon the Tamil civilians of Thamilīlam to move enmasse towards the east as they retreated was designed to seduce such an operation from nations, led by the USA, partial to the survival of the LTTE as a political force. Birtley’s comments thus far in this specific documentary do not reveal any sign that he discerned this aspect of the military-political scenario.

Ignoring the hyperlinks (a manifest act of dishonesty), Fitzpatrick proceeds with majestic sarcasm and a spray of mud: “… ‘designed to seduce such an operation from nations, led by the USA, partial to the survival of the LTTE as a political force.’ Any proof the US wanted this? Not that Roberts will bother with providing evidence. Last time he reported on the war on Groundviews, “Sri Lanka campaign” asked him a series of very relevant question. Which were then transmitted personally by the Groundviews editor (in case he did not read the comment on the site), He went SILENT. So much for journalistic ethics. Maybe this time I will get a reply but I very much doubt it. Are these articles supposed to remind people he has a book out? Are the sales poor? Maybe like the regime found out in Uva, the war is not selling anymore?”

Need it be said here: there is no point in battling such obtuseness and deceit within circumstances and/or ‘battle-sites’ that are weighted in favour of the Fitzpatricks and Native Denizens of this world.  In debate as in war one has to choose one’s sites of tussle whenever feasible. However, those in the public realm who are more honest and less one-eyed have every claim to receive pertinent data and contentions.

Among the material leading me to that conclusion in the article on Al-Jazeera as well as some arguments presented in such essays as “BBC Blind” and “Generating Calamity” was the evidence arising from David Jeyaraj’s enterprise in extracting a detailed Q and A session from Selvarāsa Pathmanāthan, or “KP” as he is known, on 10 August 2010 (Jeyaraj 2011 initially presented within his web site in 2010). A man from Velvittathurai like Pirapāharan, KP had been Velupillai Pirapāharan’s best man at his wedding in Tamilnadu and rendered yeoman service to the LTTE as its international organiser and chief arms procurer[4] from the 1980s till December 2002.[5] In parenthesis let me note that this change of personnel was probably a factor, albeit a secondary one, in the decline of the LTTE.

Then, on 31st December 2008, Pirapāharan telephoned KP and in the course of a long conversation requested KP to resume his purchasing and transport services again, a request KP could not refuse (Jeyaraj 2011: 23-24).[6] As the situation in the Vanni Pocket (see map) worsened, one of KP’s goals, from his location in Thailand and Malaysia, became the rescue of the LTTE leadership. That is why the exchange with Jeyaraj is invaluable. It has been in the internet realm since August 2010, but the character assassination merchants of the cyber-world seem unaware of the treasures it holds. That is why I reproduce a segment that is pertinent to the debate activated by Gamage, Gaspar Raj et al in a domain that I control (while inviting the assassin-merchants to enter the domain if they so wish[7]).

The whole of the Q and A session between Jeyaraj and KP is available as a booklet (2012); but an internet version is now accessible in Three Parts here and here. Readers are encouraged to study the whole.

Let me conclude by noting that this item of evidence and the data in Gamage, Gaspar Raj and my single Wikileaks item to date must be carefully deciphered in order to piece together the programs and measures taken by that self-appointed Police Commissar for the World, namely, USA, to sort out the situation in Sri Lanka — measures that they apparently wished to work out

(A) a ceasefire involving;

(B) a surrender or “lock-out”[8] of LTTE arms;

(C) the promise of a partial amnesty for Tiger leaders and

(D) an US naval and marine operation that would whisk the Tiger leaders to safety.

These, I stress, seem to have been IDEAS that were toyed with. Careful detective work is required to work out HOW FIRMLY each facet was pursued and WHEN PRECISELY and HOW each came to the forefront as actual aim or measure.

To this set of issues we must add ‘subsidiary issues’:

(E) To what extent were leading UN officials and/or the Norwegians incorporated within these programmatic ideas/endeavours; and

(F) where were the Tiger leaders going to be deposited — Trincomalee (KP in Jeyaraj 2011: 30) or one of the three countries (one in Asia and two in Africa) which KP had in view when he frantically thought of using LTTE pilots, a helicopter[9] and LTTE ship to extract some Tiger leaders and/or the Pirapāharan family from their entrapped situation.[10]

II. Jeyaraj and KP in Question and Answer, 2010

Q: I want to clarify something. I hope you will give me a candid answer.Was this peace initiative to bring about a ceasefire a time–buying exercise? Were you striving for a ceasefire on the one hand and trying to buy arms and ship them on the other?

A: My answer is NO.
I do not know about others in the LTTE leadership. Some may have thought of using it as a ploy but I was sincere and serious about a ceasefire. I was genuinely trying for one because I knew the LTTE was doomed if the war continued and I wanted to save the life of the people, Prabhakaran, my other comrades and the young fighters of the movement.

I did not play a double game of trying to negotiate peace and acquire arms at the same time. I believe in doing whatever task at hand with sincerity and without deception. If I were to try hard for a ceasefire openly and at the same time try to transport arms clandestinely it would be dishonest. I have to give my 100% to peacemaking and nothing else.

Also look at it this way. If I were found out or if international players helping me for a ceasefire got information that I was shipping arms then my credibility would have been lost. Trust in me and the intentions of the LTTE would have been destroyed. Just imagine the Sri Lankan government’s position if it was discovered that I was playing a double game?. All chances of a ceasefire would have been lost forever.

Q: Did this mean that the LTTE was not trying to ferry arms while you were working towards a ceasefire?

A: What I can say is that I was not doing or trying to do anything of the sort. But others may have been trying. You see with arms procurement and transport becoming difficult Prabhakaran had delegated such duties to some other divisions also. While Aiya was in charge of arms procurement the intelligence division under Pottu Amman, the international affairs division under Castro and sea tigers under Soosai were also delegated arms procurement duties. The situation was so desperate that Prabhakaran had put all these actors on to this stage. But still no progress was made.

Q: It looks like a case of too many cooks spoiling the soup. Do you think that you may have never let this situation develop had you been in charge all along?

A: Well I must say that arms procurement is not a simple thing like buying things over a counter. It is because of inexperienced eager people being entrusted with this task that some arrests were made like in Canada and the USA

When Soosai, Sornam and later Prabhakaran spoke to me they did say that it was a mistake to have removed me from arms procurement and that these problems would not have occurred if I was in charge

Though I was happy to hear that I doubt whether I could have managed to succeed under changed circumstances. With powerful countries monitoring movements like us in the global war against terrorism and the performance of a highly improved navy, I too may have found it difficult to procure and transport arms as required.

Q: Again let me ask you – were you trying for a ceasefire only to save the LTTE or was your commitment to peace deeper and really genuine?

A: I am glad you asked me this because I can speak openly about my change of heart. It was a slow process.

The time that I was out of the LTTE and leading a quiet life gave me time to give deep thought and reflect on things. I was also able to observe the world being transformed in the aftermath of September 11th 2001. Earlier they used to say one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter. Now they were saying there is no good or bad terrorist. All are terrorists

I realised that a movement like the LTTE could not continue to fight and survive in a changing environment. The whole world will gang up against us. Also after decades of conflict the Tamil people were suffering. They needed peace.

So I really thought we must negotiate and reach a political settlement. Bala annai and I were of the same mind in this. I tried to convince Prabhakaran also of this. He then said to negotiate we must have a ceasefire first. So I began working earnestly for a ceasefire as a first step for a negotiated peace

Q: But were you really hopeful of a ceasefire? were you not fighting a lost battle? Looking back with the wisdom of hindsight what do you think?

A: At that time I was really hopeful about a ceasefire. I knew that somehow a ceasefire had to be brought about to save the lives of the LTTE leaders, cadres and innocent civilians caught in the middle.

Q: Did you not try to save the civilians by getting the LTTE to release them?

A: I did try at the start.

There was even an offer by the Americans to transport them by sea to Trincomalee. But the LTTE hierarchy was not agreeable. This attitude was most unfortunate and may appear as inhuman. I am not trying to condone or justify this action but when I reflect upon the past I think the LTTE leadership also had no choice. If they released the people first, then only the tigers would be left there. Thereafter all of them could have been wiped out.

Q: Mao Ze Dong’s famous dictum about guerillas being the fish swimming in an ocean of people. If the ocean was drained the fish would flounder. So the fish wanted to retain the water?

A: Exactly. That is why I tried for a ceasefire so that everyone , the people and the fighters could be saved. But looking back now I think the LTTE leadership was too late in trying for a ceasefire. Had we tried in mid-2008 when the fighting was on the west of the A -9 highway there was a good chance of working out an agreement

But after Poonagary,paranthan, Kilinochchi and Elephant pass fell the prospects of victory were imminent for the government. The pace of events was too fast. From their point of view, with outright victory in sight, it would have been stupid to go in for a ceasefire

Q: Under these circumstances what did you do? What could you achieve?

A: I am essentially a worker. If given a responsibility I start doing it instead of finding reasons for not doing it. Also in this case it was a matter of life and death. I had to somehow work out a ceasefire and save the people,movement and leadership.

So with the meagre funds at my disposal and the support of like-minded people I commenced my work. I was in touch with international political leaders, top bureaucrats, diplomats,opinion makers of different countries and also high –ranking UN officials. I contacted some of them directly. Influential people contacted some others on my behalf.

In March 2009 I thought I had made a breakthrough but sadly Prabhakaran rejected the proposal.

Q: Was this the “lock-off” plan that was rejected by Prabhakaran in just three words? Could you elaborate please?

A: Well Yes. I had a tentative plan with international endorsement. The LTTE was to lay down arms by hoarding them in specific locations. The words used were “lock –off”. That is arms particularly heavy weapons were to be locked off in specific places.

They were to be handed over to representatives of the UN. Afterwards there was to be a cessation of hostilities in which the people were to be kept in specific “no firing zones”. Negotiations were to be conducted between the Govt and LTTE with Norwegian facilitation.

Tentatively about 25 to 50 top leaders with their families were to be transported to a foreign country if necessary. The middle level leaders and cadres were to be detained, charged in courts and given relatively minor sentences. The low level junior cadres were to be given a general amnesty.

The scheme was to endorsed by the west including Norway, EU and the USA. The Americans were ready to send their naval fleet in to do evacuation if necessary

Q: Was the Sri Lankan government agreeable

A: I don’t think there was any official intimation to Colombo but maybe they were sounded out informally. But the plan was never concretised because the main man concerned, Prabhakaran rejected it.

I had written an outline of the plan and sent it to him for approval. If he said “Proceed” I would have concretised it and started work on implementing it. But when I faxed the details in a 16 page memorandum he rejected the 16 pages in just three words “Ithai Etrukkolla Mudiyathu” (This is unacceptable)So I had to drop it

Q: Even if Prabhakaran had agreed to it do you think the Govt would have complied given the fact that the armed forces were on the verge of annihilating the LTTE?

A: I don’t know. Most probably the Govt may not have obliged because it was on the verge of victory and would not have wanted to be deprived of it. But the point is that it was never concretised and submitted to the Govt. Given the situation the LTTE was in, Prabhakaran should have taken it.

Q: Why did Prabhakaran reject it then?

A; I don’t know I can only guess. It is too painful to dwell on it because he is no more and I will always be thinking “why didn’t he accept this opportunity”?

Q: But your attempts to save Prabhakaran did not stop did it? There was some talk of a helicopter rescue attempt?

A: Yes. That was another plan but that too did not materialise because of the non – cooperation of Nediyavan and his cohorts abroad. Whenever I think of the fate that befell Prabhakaran’s family I grieve and then silently curse Nediyavan and his people.

Q: Do you think you can relate what happened if it is not too painful for you or you think that it needs to be told?

A: It is painful but I do think our people must know the truth about this matter. Maybe speaking about it may give me emotional relief.

What happened was that in early May 2009, Prabhakaran’s eldest son Charles Anthony called me frantically. He calls me “KP Mama” or KP Uncle. Charles said that the situation was getting very bad and that I should somehow arrange to get his father, mother, sister and younger brother out to safety.

Q: What about Charles himself

A: No he did not want to escape. Charles said he was ready to fight to the last and die if necessary. It was his family he was worried about. I was very upset after talking to Charles. So I thought of a plan. I wanted to charter a ship and keep it ready in international waters way beyond the reach of the Sri Lankan navy. I wanted to buy a helicopter and get some of the trained LTTE airwing pilots to fly it into the Wanni and pick up the family and bring them to the ship. Thereafter I had plans of keeping them safe in one of three countries

Q: But would Prabhakaran have agreed to this

A: I am not sure but after I had formulated a plan I got in touch with Charles and told him. I asked him whether his father would agree. Charles said he will try and make Prabhakaran agree but if he would not agree, I was to save his mother and two younger siblings.

Knowing Prabhakaran I felt he would never try to escape with his family, leaving others behind. But I thought the helicopter could take him and some others to a jungle somewhere first and land him safely. Then the helicopter could fly out with Madhivadhani, Duwaraga and Balachandran.

Question: What happened finally to your plan of rescuing Prabhakaran and his family by helicopter? Why did the plan not take off?

Answer: It’s a very sad story………After Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony asked me to rescue his family members by air I devised a plan and made preliminary arrangements. I arranged for a ship to be kept waiting at a far –off port beyond the reach of the Sri Lanka navy. I also made arrangements to buy a second-hand helicopter from an Ukrainian contact.

The idea was for one or two trained pilots from the LTTE’s airwing “Vaan Puligal” to fly into the Wanni. If Prabhakaran was willing,the family except for Charles Anthony were to be flown out. If the leader was unwilling then he and a few other of his bodyguards and senior leaders were to be flown by the copter and dropped off in a jungle location in Lanka.

Afterwards the heli would fly out to the ship with Prabhakaran’s wife Madhivadhani, daughter Thuwaraga and younger son Balachandran and perhaps a few others. I would be waiting for them at the ship. Thereafter I planned to keep the family safely in one of three countries. Perhaps in rotation.

Q; Were these countries ready to accept the family? Were they western nations?

A: No they were not countries in the west. Two were in Africa and one in Asia. I had been in touch with senior govt officials of these countries through my representatives. When I had sounded them out on this matter they were willing.

Q: The plan itself was rather risky? Were you confident of it succeeding?

A: Yes it was risky but I was ready to carry it out. We had no choice. If we didn’t risk it, the alternative was certain death. I also had a secret hope that Prabhakaran may agree at the last minute and opt to fly out. So I devised the plan. The key element was surprise. If the first stage was successful we may have tried further flights too to rescue others.

Q: But then what went wrong?

A: It never worked out. It required about 1.5 million US dollars to implement the plan. I did not have that kind of money. The LTTE overseas structure had to give me the money. Castro had promised Charles Anthony that Nediyavan in Norway will transfer the necessary funds to me. But he never did it.

I made repeated requests that it was urgent and time was running out. I would be told “the money is coming, money is coming”. But sadly it never came.

Also Nediyavan was in touch with Atchuthan the Air wing chief living abroad. Earlier he had agreed to provide the required LTTE pilots for the operation. But then suddenly acting perhaps under Nediyavan’s orders he stopped communicating with me. I was really frantic. I approached mercenary pilots to fly the helicopter but nothing further could be done without necessary funds.

And then in mid-May the Sri Lankan army launched a three –pronged offensive and boxed off the Valainjermadam- Mullivaaikkaal- Vattuvaahal area. After that it was too late to attempt a helicopter rescue. So with great sorrow I abandoned the plan. I was furious with Nediyavan and Castro but helpless to do anything.

Q: And within days all were dead?

A: Yes. They were all dead. The whole family was gone. I was extremely sad at Balachandran’s death. He was only 12 years old. I had never seen the boy in person but when he was a child I used to talk to Prabhakaran frequently. This boy would be on his lap and Prabhakaran would often give the phone to him saying “Intha KP Mamavode kathai” (Here talk to KP uncle) So I would chat with him. Later I lost touch with the boy but I was apparently still existing in his memory.

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009b “The Battle for the Vanni Pocket,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, March 2009, Vol. 35/2, pp. 17-19…. AND http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/aulimp/citations/gsa/2009_157395/ 156554.html

Gaspar Raj, Fr. Jegath 2014 “Saving Talaivar Prabhakaran, 2009: Fr. Gaspar Raj’s Revelations,” 23 October 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/saving-talaivar-prabhakaran-fr-gaspar-rajs-revelations-in-2010/#more-14288

Gamage, Daya 2014 “The American Agenda for Sri Lanka’s National Issues, 1970s-2014,” 5 July 2014,http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-american-agenda-for-sri-lankas-national-issues-1970s-2014/

Jenkins, Simon 2011 “Simon Jenkins pulverized Miliband’s Assinine Foreign Interventions in 2009,” http://www.aspensrental.com/simon-jenkins-pulverized-milibands-assinine-foreign-interventions-in-2009/

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009a “Wretched of the Wanni Earth break Free of Bondage,” http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/380 and Daily Mirror, 25 April 2009.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2010 “KP speaks out ~ 2 – An interview with the former LTTE chief,” 13 August 2010, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/1631

Jeyaraj, D. B. S.2011 “KP” speaks out: an Interview with former Tiger Chief, Vavuniya: Kum Pvt.

Roberts, Michael 2013c “BBC-Blind: Misreading the Tamil Tiger Strategy of International Blackmail, 2008-13,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/bbc-blind-misreading-the-tamil-tiger-strategy-of-international-blackmail-2008-13/#more-11221

Roberts, Michael 2014aGenerating Calamity, 2008-2014: An Overview of Tamil Nationalist Operations and Their Marvels,” 10 April 2014, http://groundviews.org/2014/04/10/generating-calamity-2008-2014-an-overview-of-tamil-nationalist-operations-and-their-marvels/

Roberts, Michael 2014b “Ball-by-Ball through Wikileaks: US Embassy Despatches from Colombo, 2009: ONE,” 27 August 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/ball-by-ball-through-wikileaks-us-embassy-despatches-from-colombo-2009-one/#more-13481

Roberts, Michael 2014c “Winning the War. Evaluating the Impact of Api Wenuwen Api,” 1 September 2014, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/winning-the-war-evaluating-the-impact-of-api-wenuwen-ap/… Also in https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/winning-the-war-evaluating-the-impact-of-api-wenuwen-api/

Roberts, Michael 2014d Al-Jazeera Video Footage and Reports from the War Front, 7th October 2008,” 4 October 2014, https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/al-jazeera-video-footage-and-reports-from-the-war-front-7th-october-2008


[1] Digests from the first few from January 2009 are available at Roberts 2014a.

[2] Note Balachandran’s evaluation of him in the Thuppahi piece as well as Fr. Gaspar Raj’s outbursts in the debate in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKqchAvyImg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9kTP3NnhK4

[3] Gamage 2014

[4] See Jeyaraj 2011: 14ff.where KP claims that his removal was a plot orchestrated by Castro and Thamilchelvan.

[5] KP tells Jeyaraj that his duties in “handling the LTTE shipping fleet” were transferred to Soosai in February 2002; while in December 2002 “I was relieved of my duties as overseas purchasing [so] the Department known as KP dept was disbanded” (Jeyaraj 2011: 21-22).

[6] Significantly, Pirapāharan “was optimistic that the LTTE would be able to hold on to a piece of territory with access to the coast for a long time [but not for ever].” KP had informed his talaivar Pirapāharan that “my immediate goal would be to bring about a ceasefire and not the resumption of supplies” (jeyaraj 20111: 23-24).

[7] However, gamesmen of the Fukushima type will be debarred.

[8] This method appears to have been KP’s inventive idea and there is no evidence — thus far– that the USA had initiated or adopted the thought.

[9] To be purchased from Ukraine.

[10] See Jeyaraj 2011: 32-35. This idea on KP’s part seems to have been a last-minute hasty thought and did not involve USA as far as I can work out. Thus it seems to have been in May 2009. KP indicates that he did not have the 1.5 million US dollars required for the purpose because Nediyan in Norway was not ready to provide this cash

CPA’s ‘Two Weeks’ Is Made Of 16 Days (And Counting): Troubled NGO Maintains Silence On Damning Charges

4 months following the Colombo Telegraph first questioned dubious monetary practices in the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and 16 days following pledging in its website to respond to related and far a lot more critical charges ‘within two weeks,’ the CPA remains silent.

On October 10th Colombo Telegraph exposed different monetary malpractices in the CPA. The CPA, in its official website, referring to this exposé, announced that its Executive Director, Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu was away and that a response would be offered ‘in two weeks’. Dr Saravanamuttu returned to Sri Lanka on the 17th. The self-imposed deadline expired day prior to yesterday (24th). Two a lot more day has passed. The CPA is however to respond.

a1e56 sri lanka Sara CPA CPA’s ‘Two Weeks’ Is Made Of 16 Days (And Counting): Troubled NGO Maintains Silence On Damning Charges

On October 10th, based on CPA documents in our possession, Colombo Telegraph accused the CPA of billing for un-held workshops, engaging in double billing,’ i.e getting grants from two donors to do the same process and duplicating receipts, hotel bills and other bills to submit to donors (possibly even submitting very same bills to numerous donors), and hoodwinking donors by filing expenses under secure cost columns.

On the very same day ( October 10th)  the CPA web site mentioned “The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is aware of an article in the Colombo Telegraph internet site titled ‘Exposé: Centre For Policy Options Defrauded And Hoodwinked Donors’ published on ten October 2014. The report includes a number of allegations against the organisation and particular members of the staff. As the Executive Director is travelling on operate, CPA will post a response to these allegations on his return to Sri Lanka in the next two weeks.”

Colombo Telegraph initial asked the CPA to respond to specific concerns based on our investigations on 8th of June, 2014.  The CPA, after exchanging a handful of emails ultimately mentioned: “We consider additional communication with you futile and reiterate our position that these allegations are clearly mala fide’.”

We responded as follows:

“It is of course your prerogative to communicate or refuse to do so, but there are troubling queries that stay.

“Can you tell us which of our allegations are mala fide?

“Can you tell us no matter whether the CPA and the International Federation of Journalists with each other have submitted proposals to UNESCO and EU to do a “Public Service Broadcasting” campaign/coaching or not?

“If “yes” can you tell us what workshops had been, for whom and exactly where they have been held?

How a lot of workshops have been held employing UNESCO funding and how numerous workshops under EU funding?

“Since each EU and UNESCO funded workshops and particular activities, can inform us how much monies had been given by each funders?

“Contrary to your claim that the “CPA paid the Galle Face Hotel liquor bill”, Sasha Ekanayake (the Unit coordinator at that time) stated CPA submitted a bill to EU as drinks and food “Since (we) cannot charge liquor, the CPA submitted a various bill to CPA”. This signifies the CPA got a distinct bill from Galle Face Hotel instead of submitting the original bill (a copy of which I sent to you).  Would you agree?

“As we said prior to it’s not our duty to supply you documents. As you have implied in your last email, you have access to organization’s document so please verify them.

“But do not assume that we do not have documents, we have all narrative reports which CPA submitted to the donors or a file of original bills, which the CPA did not submit to the donors.

“Just so you know, all documents are authentic and we can prove this if necessary.”

These are questions and comments that are based on damning documentary proof in the possession of the Colombo Telegraph. The Colombo Telegraph finds it appalling that a sturdy advocate of checks and balances, accountability and transparency such as the CPA remains silent on the allegations.

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Mahinda’s Blitzkreig And Ranil’s Snailkreig

By P.Bertie Ranaweerage

0075b sri lanka Bertie Ranaweerage 150x150 Mahinda’s Blitzkreig And Ranil’s Snailkreig

Bertie Ranaweerage

All good hearted men and women had been longing to see an emergence of a powerful widespread candidate acceptable to all the ethnic groups who can defeat the incumbent President at the next Presidential election. It is tragic that all their hopes are fading away since of Mr. Ranil Wicramasinghe’s desire to sit in President’s chair. The UNP has unofficially confirmed that Ranil would contest the next Presidential election.

The UNP was boasting several a time that it was prepared to face any election at any time. But as we are aware it miserably failed at every election held in the course of the final handful of years. The only occasion they were in a position to win was the Badulla district largely thanks to the sky rocketing cost of living. My conclusion is the unbearable cost of rice produced people to vote for the UNP. It is true that Harin Fernando’s charisma produced a distinction but the price tag of rice was the decisive aspect.

Although Mr. Harin Fernando was able to translate voters’ anger into UNP votes due to his hard operate and charismatic leadersahip now the million dollar question is will Ranil be able to do at the Presidential election what Harin managed to do in Badulla.

If we meticulously look at what Mahinda did and Ranil did or what the SLFP did and theUNP did during the last week or so it is not challenging to guess who is going to win in the propaganda campaign in the coming weeks if not in the coming couple of months.

35a65 sri lanka Mahinda Ranil  Mahinda’s Blitzkreig And Ranil’s SnailkreigMahinda started his campaign in earnest by going to Jaffna and giving land deeds and gold to the Tamils. As he did in the course of the last Presidential elections he has begun to summon state workers to the Temple Trees. He talked to the workers of the Well being sector in the morning and in the afternoon he held a meeting for the personnel of the Agriculture sector last week. As he knows the path to the thoughts lies by way of the stomach he in no way hesitates to treat these who are invited to the temple Trees with meals with each other with propaganda material. Now don’t ask me whether he spends his personal cash or your tax money to fill the invitees’ stomachs in order to pocket their votes.

Even though government owned electronic media and print media are carrying on an incessant anti Ranil vicious campaign Mahinda supporters have launched an island wide mud slinging poster campaign against Ranil possibly throughout the nation. In the meantime we can see complete web page advertisements heaping praise on Mahinda in the newspapers everyday.

Twenty four stages of which some are as wide as fifty metres and stands for big Tv screens had been being constructed at a facility of Sri Lanka Ports Authority by its personnel when some UNP MPs created an unannounced pay a visit to to that facility according to one of the MPs who joined the’ raid’.

Yesterday the JVP stated that all the printing shops in Colombo have been given orders to print election related material of Mahinda and as a outcome they have refused to accept orders from other folks.

In the meantime what has the UNP or Ranil been doing? At a small gathering  this week, someplace in Colombo Ranil announced some election promises that he would do when he came to energy. Following that we heard that all of a sudden he flew to Singapore. There was one more news from the UNP that its Committee of Twenty gathered for the third time. And of course there were a handful of press conferences summoned by the UNP also.

Is this the way the UNP is going to fight mighty Mahinda?

If we go back to the pre-election period in 1994 we can recall that dozens of anti-government tabloids and news letters were  published weekly and they were very common amongst the people. They played a major part to tilt the balance in Chandrika’s  favour.

One more instance the UNP utilized posters in its favour was the pre-presidential period in 1988. Notwithstanding the threat of the JVP, Mr. R. Premadasa sent men and women from Colombo to every single nook and corner of the country to paste his poster ‘ME KAUDA ? MOKADA KARANNE’ ( Who is this ? What is he undertaking? ) Premadas possibly hoped to go on a second round of poster campaign with his name, intention and picture but he had to limit it to newspaper ads due to attainable threats from armed JVPers to Premadasa’s males.

In the course of the 1977 pre-election period tens of thousands of posters with cartoons on Bandaranaike family bandyism were pasted across the country which produced a massive effect in shifting the public opinion against the SLFP.

Today’s UNP is a far cry from the JR’s UNP and Premadasa’s UNP. One particular of the reasons is able UNPers are now in Mahinda’s cabinet.

Ranil’s  UNP has failed to paste even a single poster on an island –wide scale so for announcing its candidate or condemning Rajapaksa household bandyism.

Has it been able to publish even a single anti-government tabloid so far? It appears it has failed even to publish their official organ ‘Siyarata’ as far as I know. Even though it has a media unit, it has done little to spread its message to the public

Whilst Mahinda has launched a propaganda blitzkrieg in preparation of the election  Ranil’s propaganda campaign, if there is one, is absolutely nothing but a snailkreig.

If the UNP hopes to beat Mahinda it has to launch an earth shattering propaganda campaign to start with. It is true that a  powerful campaign alone can not beat the opponent but a propaganda campaign that reverberates in each and every house in the country, a campaign that stuns the opponents goes a long way.

It is better for Ranil, for the UNP and for the nation if Ranil abstains from contesting and support a candidate with a greater personality who has a mass appeal as the frequent candidate at the forthcoming Presidential election for it is not straightforward to defeat Mahinda as he nevertheless enjoys the support of the majority of the Sinhalese. And do not forget that Thondaman has promised his help to Mahinda which means a great number of upcountry Tamils will vote for the incumbent President. In case Ranil contests and loses it will be the end of Ranil’s political life.

Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag Bearers

By Muhammed Fazl -

899ba sri lanka Muhammed Fazl  150x150 Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag Bearers

Muhammed Fazl

“It is a man’s personal mind, not his enemy or foe that lures him to evil ways” – Gautama Buddha

Historians of Buddhism in Sri Lanka may possibly or may not have interpreted historical scriptures based on details or opinions… but none of it matter any longer since Buddhism has lost its worth and its value thanks largely to its ineffectiveness in matters regarding governance, rule of law and social justice. Bitter it may possibly be to some to swallow, but Sri Lanka was never a Buddhist nation. The require to look for option and effective sources of guidance in major the masses towards spiritual enlightenment is now a matter of fantastic exigency.

60% of the population claiming to be Buddhists or the belief in the legend exactly where Lord Buddha supposedly had arrived in Sri Lanka centuries ago does not make this a Buddhist country. For it to be rightly referred to as such, it require to be governed by teachings of Buddhism as in the case of Islamic nations exactly where Islamic Sharia is the source of governance. Buddhism as a state religion in this nation has been a failure considering that none of the governments in power paid any significant consideration in getting guided by its teachings. Sri Lanka with a single of the highest instances of rape, suicide, murder, theft, racial intolerance, alcohol consumption and the addiction for gambling has also contributed in negating the influence of Buddhism.

4da8b sri lanka buddhist monks protest Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag BearersThe Thripitakaya, written 500 plus years right after the death of Gautama Buddha with 80,000 plus sermons to comply with, how it came to be written or concerns of its authenticity is no much more critical as long as its teachings are helpful, if followed that is. What ever religion one particular might stick to, the beauty of the Buddhist philosophy or its sensibility can not be simply disputed or denied.

The state religion and a religion of tolerance, interpreted, distorted and disregarded by many and being utilized mostly for income and politics in present chimes, seeing its teachings becoming relegated to mere rituals is certainly unfortunate. In order to attract the disinterested lot, copying ritualistic practices from the Hindu faith and construing it as divine ones makes it an even far more pathetic sight.

What could have befallen in the ‘land of Buddha’ exactly where erosion of values and practices have resulted in a sense of spiritual bankruptcy, particularly amongst the flag bearers of its faith?

Lord Buddha anticipated his followers to learn the truth themselves and not just think in what the scriptures say. But this ‘truth’ can be subjective and interpreted in several ways specifically when living in a multi-religious nation such as ours. Guidance it may possibly be, but how numerous of our own monks have memorized or know the which means of the whole scripture, let alone the ones in Pali or Sanskrit languages? As for the ordinary faithful, by and massive, belief in Buddhism or the pagan ritualistic practices are somewhat a fashion statement to portray and justify one’s non-existent sense of piety.

Wearing a easy saffron-colored robe does not qualify one to deserve respect when attributes of old-age, wisdom, achievements in the service of humanity or piety does not exist. Rapists, pedophiles, thieves, murderers searching for sanctuary in temple premises donning monk’s robes is a frequent sight and far more frequently than not, it is as a cover from their ‘colorful’ pasts and as a refuge from prosecution by the long arm of the law.

While the method of ordaining of monks as effectively as disrobing them are seriously flawed and non-existent in most circumstances, I constantly questioned the judgment of my countrymen in bowing down to nefarious characters wearing monk’s robes. Queries arising from centuries old practices such as worshipping or praying to lifeless sculptures/statues, Bo trees, chanting Pirith, tying threads around wrists, anointing oil on the head, and ‘religious’ processions (Peraharas) and so forth., seriously needs to be addressed when one’s suitable conduct is absent or contrary to the teachings of Lord Buddha.

622c5 sri lanka Child Monks 2 Buddhism, The Lack Of It And Abuses By Its Flag BearersEven though Nirvana (Nibbana) can be achieved only when the fire of greed and hatred is extinguished, in practical terms, the state of Dukkha (full peace) can be accomplished only if no money is transacted, when detached from luxuries in life and worldly pleasures, when not in a state of intoxication or when non-violent or not dishonest among other positive attributes. Expecting majority of present day monks to abide by Vinaya (guidelines of discipline) would be unrealistic and herein arises the query of identifying the pious from the devious.

One’s piety is for himself/herself and for them alone the rewards for their good deeds. Their actions, sincere or otherwise, need to have not have a bearing on one more or for it to be a cause for worship. The Muslims that I am, I think only the God above knows the level of piety among his creatures. Therefore, I seriously query the actions of my countrymen in bowing down to yet another mortal who in reality could be a kid molester, rapist or a murderer and so forth.

Most of the Buddhist temples in this nation are cash cows and havens for pedophiles and the deprived homosexuals. Small boys as young as six are left at the mercy of grown up males who supposedly have ‘denounced’ sexual relationships and who claim to live a ‘life of celibacy’. Guys and females were created to enjoy each and every other, so it is in line with nature for a single to be attracted to the opposite sex. Deprivation often leads to the unnatural kind, mainly involving minors who are vulnerable and effortlessly offered in these conditions. When small Samaneras (tiny boys) get employed to living with the forced pleasurable discomfort, they too discover to impose themselves on the vulnerable when they grow up. The cycle continues with a strict code of silence largely due to abandonment by their parents when young and when left with no other options for sustenance outside the temple premises. Investigation has taught us that sexual violence are perpetrated largely by guys who have been themselves victimized when young.

Investigating activities of every single Buddhist temple in this nation would reveal the prevalence of misappropriation of charity funds, homosexuality, escapades of sex amongst monks and prostitutes and Tele-drama actresses, alcohol/drug abuse and kid abuse among other folks. Inactions of the four Mahanayake chapters in eradicating the abuses and corruption would also make them complicit ought to they continue with their silence. Unfortunately, the partnership in between each and every government in energy and the Buddhist clergy is so robust, that an impartial investigation in to the activities of monks and their ‘places of worship’ would in no way see light of day.

Crusaders of justice that we all ought to be, this is my personal attempt in rescuing my Sinhala Buddhist brethren from the evil that has engulfed them all along. In the meantime and in conclusion, I sincerely hope concerned authorities would address the following issues and issues,

1. Why Buddhist temples are permitted to collect funds when it is the responsibility of the State to safeguard and foster Buddhism? Is it also not a code of conduct in the Buddhist Vinaya for the monks not to deal with money? And if they do, will it not lead to misappropriation and abuse of public funds? With so numerous accusations levelled at Islamic locations of worship for raising money which could fund ‘Islamic extremism’ as allegedly, is it not evident with outfits like BBS linked temples instigating terror and violence against minorities only after raising vast amounts of funds?

2. What is the criteria in ordaining a monk and if exist a program to disrobe them when they act on the contrary to its teachings, has it ever been exercised? And if so, why wasn’t BBS general secretary Gnanasara not punished or disrobed for his despicable behavior?

three. Is it legal for children to be trained in monkhood when they are young as six and when their main education should be created compulsory? Would it be right to force religious teachings and religious teachings only when they are little youngsters and avert them from obtaining a regular childhood and dreams of a life of their choice?

4. Does the Child Protection Authority visit any of the temples if not all of them to investigate situations of pedophilia and child abuse? And would it be secure to leave them in the organization of unrelated males with no females to look soon after them? Would it also not be advisable for the Authority to make regular visits to inspect the wellbeing of children in the care of monks?

five. What is the role of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana vis-a-viz temples? Shouldn’t they implement a code of conduct and also look into contemporary day Buddhist beliefs and practices?

6. If monks are permitted to dabble in politics, would it be unfair to other political parties because temples attract tax cost-free funds and also enjoy a lot of subsidized facilities given that they are registered as charity organizations.

7. If monks are allowed to enter the political arena, would it not be a case of using religion (which is most dear to a sizable section of the ignorant voter base) to achieve power and wealth?

eight. Why the age old practice of veneration of an additional mortal and the require to give prominence and priority in public areas, buses, trains and so on., when one’s faith is a private matter?

*The writer is an independent social/political activist and can be contacted on [email protected] and via FB Fazl Muhammed Nizar