Editorial Mr Wasantha Mudalige, who is said to be the convener of a certain student union, is currently in custody and national and international parties are giving priority to distorting the truthMore
A self-claimed political analyst had written a hollow rant on the Aljazeera website describing President Ranil Wickremesinghe as a tyrant. This is not just about enjoying the privilege of “freedom of expression”. Eventually, the channel will not care to publish the other side of this bleak blabbering though most of the journalists working for Al Jazeera based in Qatar is an exceptional group of journalists who have a quantitative understanding of the real tyrants and their behaviours. But this person of Sri Lankan origin has tried to mislead the target audience by distorting the ground reality in Sri Lanka in a repulsive manner to appease his narrow political desires.
The Sri Lankan people are struggling to recover from the hell they fell into. Ranil Wickremesinghe was the only one who accepted the unprecedented challenge faced by the country and the people despite the callousness of serious political opponents. We have politicians who talked and walked but hardly find anyone who will take the national responsibility on their shoulders. But Wickremesinghe proved the opposite. His intervention averted the worst social consequences we were about to face. The situation has been significantly managed by him. But within a few days, the severe penalty he had to pay was the loss of his house, which was razed to the ground by a mob. Many rhetoricians, including this so-called political analyst, do not say a word against the murderous behaviour of those violent groups.
There is a reason for that. This person, among others, has made great efforts to stand out as an active person in the political gang called “Aragalaya” against the state, which was launched by some organized group a few months ago. We don’t care how successful it is because it is his personal ambition. But what matters to us is the gambling that such crooks are doing with the national interests of the country and the sentiments of ordinary folks. Such immature minds have no choice but to present dreadful narrow political views to ensure their existence in the face of intense competition in a decaying western market. This is nothing but a malicious attempt to harass the Sri Lankan leadership at the international level by hijacking public sentiments.
Go on boy! Not only you but also many other opportunists should hammer this nation even harder. It was what we called “seizing the opportunity” in the midst of a national calamity. Ideological charlatanism of reckless immature “political analysts” is not a new experience but common behaviour in politics and elsewhere. Hyperbolism is their impetus. When we encounter such rotten minds, our humble suggestion is loud and clear. My boy; instead of barking up the wrong tree, try to learn something substantive and original. Don’t you think this is a good time to try to define the real tyrant and their putrid behaviour? You heard us, right?
Regarding Bangladesh and its current government, it has been confirmed that there were many flaws in the two reports, first India’s Top Spy Agency Forms New Brigade to Protect Sheikh Hasina and second Bangladesh: True Architects of Brigade75, published by Sri Lanka Guardian a few days ago. Accordingly, as a media organization that respects people’s right to information and truth-based journalism, we have decided to remove them. We express our deep regret if any party has to face any inconvenience due to the contents of those two reports. Responsibility is not our choice but habit.
– Editorial Team
The swank wedgy in Geneva on Sri Lanka is over for the time being. More to come. As many as 829 million people worldwide go to bed hungry each night while a bunch of groups titled themselves “human rights defenders” are lavishly enjoying time in the most expensive city in the world at public expense. Let’s go and see the bottom of this decaying flutter.
Not long ago, the dignity and reputation of the UN Human Rights Council evaporated. The global recognition it had gradually eroded over the years. The result was that it became an objectification institution to satisfy the malodorous desires of various regimes, regrettably. Countries that preach to the world about human rights forcibly abducted innocent people after naming them as prime suspects of terrorism, tortured and destroyed their lives in hideous torture chambers in places such as Guantanamo Bay and other classified black sites. They are still teaching us human rights. The torturers who urinate on the Holy Quran and force Muslims to eat pork are trying to teach the world about religious freedom.
The countries which spread their hegemony throughout the Middle East and destroy those countries in order to exploit their resources, pass resolutions against poor countries like Sri Lanka while talking about protecting human rights. Can anyone with a conscience agree to this dishonourable behaviour? Don’t you smell the stench in their words? Do you not see the blood of innocent people in their footsteps? Did you not see how they systematically destroyed many countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc.? Don’t you hear the voices of the Palestinians who breathe only at the thought of death, deprived of all basic rights? According to their track records, do you think that all this is done because of their overwhelming love for poor countries like Sri Lanka? In fact, such resolutions should be initiated by them – on them – for them as they have no moral right to speak about human rights in other countries. If you remember the series of human carnage they intentionally committed throughout history from Chile and Argentina to Cambodia and Vietnam, you cannot support them with a single word. They systematically destroyed Asia, Latin America, and Africa and did not hesitate to physically if not politically kill all the leaders who emerged from the voice of the voiceless and the power of the powerless. So tell us, against whom should such resolutions be passed?
It is said that this time they have included in their so-called resolution about the economic crimes that allegedly happened in Sri Lanka. Laughably, some self-proclaimed civil society activists have bragged about it in various ways. From the beginning, who gives visas to criminals and gives them sanctuary in their countries without forensic analysis of their wealth? Who gives permission to white-collar economic killers to maintain bank accounts in foreign currencies of their countries? Who gives shelter to crooks living in certain countries by denying visas to innocent people who have earned wages in a transparent and accountable manner? So, shouldn’t global organizations that tell fairy tales about equality, such as the United Nations, change? Isn’t it sad that such noble global forums are becoming a Hydepark-like place where any ugliness can be dramatized, falling prey to those who pursue their narrow political ambitions?
We see all the incidents related to this so-called resolution as a farce by a group of scoundrels who are abusing the highest virtues of human civilization by doing any abominable act for the sake of their supremacy. There is also a group of people standing around their peripheries, dancing to their tunes and licking some of the muskets they throw. They introduce themselves as “civil society activists”. But none of these activities will help the poor people living on the land.
Our respect goes to the real nations that have a backbone against the so-called resolution that was allegedly passed against Sri Lanka and to the nations that refused to go against their conscience and abstained from voting. Only these countries can carry out positivity for human civilization. These countries including Sri Lanka must break this multi-faceted dictatorial unipolar hegemony in order to build a real world where basic rights are respected equally. Although it is a very serious and complicated mission, it should be done immediately. Similarly, the power of true weapons of mass destruction such as the US dollar, which is being used as a quiet blade for genocide, must be neutralized. Then you will find the beauty of true humanity and harmony. Until then, it is inevitable that not only Sri Lanka but many small countries will become victims of these monopolistic hypocrites. Exploiting the prevailing excruciated economic crisis, these manipulators shall kill Sri Lanka softly. Consequently, the ordinary citizens struggling for daily wages will suffer at the end of this great game. When ordinary folks suffered more, they called it “justice”.
Mr Wasantha Mudalige, who is said to be the convener of a certain student union, is currently in custody and national and international parties are giving priority to distorting the truth and propagating different opinions. According to a UN official, Mudalige is not only a student activist but a human rights defender too. Bravo. But no one talks about the damage caused to the state by these people who boast of fair justice. Is the UN official indirectly saying that these so-called human rights defenders should be given the freedom to rally the people against the state and damage state property?
We ask you to leave your prejudgments and think rationally before expressing your views on such vital incidents of national interest and matters of nationhood. Case in point, there is one foreign lady who came to Sri Lanka on a medical visa. She accepted before the law that she has violated the visa conditions. But, mocking the laws and judiciary she went underground. Laughably, those who are standing with her now say that she is a human rights defender and trying to bring “system change” in Sri Lanka. Do we have to buy these opinions and let this country go to misery with these “opinion makers”? Where are the UN representatives or the diplomatic corps crying out for justice?
Let us now focus on Mr Mudalige’s case briefly. First of all, it is important to find out whether the student union of which Mr Mudalige is the convener is a legally abided organization. As far as we know, this is an organization with an extreme political agenda that was set up to unnecessarily interfere in the internal affairs of universities that do not belong to any legal framework. On the other hand, the studentship of Mr Wasantha Mudalige has been cancelled according to the by-laws governing state universities. The maximum time given to a student to complete his first degree if it is a special degree is seven years, but Mr Mudalige is completing his ninth year as a so-called university student. A person whose studentship has been legally rescinded cannot even enter a university without authorized permission. So should we talk about the legality of this kind of personality leading a student organization without any legal recognition? Should such people be allowed to destroy the country’s public university system in the name of protecting human rights? Should the responsible institutions of the international community continue to play hide-and-seek without prioritizing the truth?
Today we are celebrating fifteen years of establishing the Sri Lanka Guardian. We believe it is imperative to make a very brief note about our journey over the past fifteen years overcoming many challenges. When the Sri Lanka Guardian was launched in August 2007, online journalism was a new experience for Sri Lanka. In an environment where the primary focus was on print and electronic media, the key challenge faced by this new media was to ensure credibility. Rhetoric and imaginary-based abstracts cannot win the reader’s trust. It depends on the authenticity of the content we publish. In professional journalism, truth is a process that involves cautious homework and the ability to preserve integrity. When we look back at the path we have walked for fifteen years with millions of readers, we have had to face many decisive events both locally and abroad. The last fifteen years have turned human civilization upside down. The world order has changed irrevocably.
The Sri Lanka Guardian, as a result of distinguished volunteerism among journalists, academics, social activists, and retired civil servants, was founded at a time when Sri Lanka was embroiled in a serious civil war. Our journalism initiative, which started on a small scale, managed to attract many local and foreign readers in a very short period of time. The Sri Lanka Guardian had exclusive opportunities to report the actual details of the brutal conflict. We always make sure to report based on the truth. Subsequently the war, a national program was implemented for rehabilitation and development. However, the political authority in power at the time decided to censor us in Sri Lanka. Consequently, we had to face many unprecedented impenetrabilities. We believe that the ban was an arbitrary decision without any valid reason. The loss suffered by us newspaper was very serious. It was not easy to bear the mental pressure that we had to face, especially because of the absurd accusations made by various parties with vested interests. However, considering the difficulties faced by independent media organizations throughout history, we are only a small part of it. Truth is a right, but in journalism, it is a very expensive process.
Let’s take this opportunity to thank all our writers and readers who have taken us to new heights and trusted our publication. We do not hesitate to extend our utmost gratitude to everyone who has been with us in every difficult situation. We walked through the dark tunnel expecting the light at the end. Miraculously, once again, our newspaper had the opportunity to reach the readers in Sri Lanka. By then we had expanded our newspaper focusing not only on Sri Lanka but also on the other countries in the Asian continent and beyond. Many writers living in Africa and Latin America chose Sri Lanka Guardian as one of the platforms to express their views. Accordingly, the number of writers who voluntarily joined us increased significantly. As the editorial team, we primarily prioritized giving writers the opportunity to express themselves without any censorship. We are bound to fulfil this duty in the future as we have done in the last fifteen years.
Sri Lanka is going through one of the most difficult periods in its history. We believe that there are many responsibilities assigned to media organizations at this crucial moment. More important than mere reporting what is happening in society is taking every possible step to fulfil the duties consigned to uplift a fallen nation. On the other hand, the post-Covid pandemic has affected the entire world and threats to global security are becoming more complex than ever. Due to the power struggle between each other for hegemony, appropriate collective action against the burning issues such as the food crisis and the adverse effects of climate change has been undermined. All social and political trends reiterate that human civilization is facing unprecedented challenges. The present is confused and hopes and dreams for the future are fading. Prevailing crises cannot be solved individually or divided into groups, except through solutions based on collective action at this moment of need. It should be the duty of all of us at this moment to put aside hypocritical political conspiracies to satisfy political desires and work honestly to protect the rights of every man and woman. Only then will we be able to preserve this world for generations to come. We are passing the most critical moment that will determine our existence.
Tere was a project that was first awarded through tender procedures to a Chinese company and then scrapped without any prior notice and agreed to do with an Indian company. The renewable project was to implement on three islands in the North, which angered India. India had informed the government by quoting their “intelligence inputs” that China was conspiring to spy on South India in the name of this project. Bowing to India’s concerns, the government kicked out the Chinese company. In cancelling the project, the answerable authorities behaved in a most disgraceful manner. This is the shameful reality of the rooted immaturity and unprofessionalism of the state machinery and political leadership of this country.
What happened to the importation of petroleum? China supplied oil at the lowest prices and the room for fraud was limited. But, the former minister and the team in charge of the relevant subject, the scheme of supplying petroleum was manipulated to prioritize the Indian companies and stooges of local politicians. Consequently, the country suffered the worst fuel crisis in its history. It is a man-made crisis. Eventually, the Indian market amplified and the supply of petroleum became a highly profitable business for third parties. Amidst the crisis, Indian fishermen are destroying the northern sea, intimidating the local fishermen in those areas and looting its harvest. On the other hand, India has captured the country’s domestic market like never before. This is the harsh reality of humanitarian aid. This is just an example of deep-rooted fraud and corruption in public institutions. Whose desires demarcate our true borders?
It is in this context, we believe, that we should scrutinize the case of the Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 5, which was scheduled for a port call in Sri Lanka for replenishment. Many Chinese research vessels have called Sri Lankan ports and availed their services on many occasions. But concerning this ship, India used national security as a tool. Unofficial sources say that India is paying substantial sums of money to media organizations and so-called social media influencers in Sri Lanka to publish anything against China. Isn’t the behaviour of the local media unusual in this event? However, there is no point in blaming India. The crisis is domestic; external manipulators are just seizing opportunities. India puts its national interests first under any circumstances, but in Sri Lanka chooses personal desires over national interests. Not only the bureaucracy in India but all the media organizations throughout the country consider China as the absolute enemy.
Due to the unprofessional and immature nature of the structure of the Sri Lankan state, any external force can use this country immorally to expand its power. It is there that not only India but any other party can play the game of this island nation as per their wish. How the Sri Lankan authorities handled the Yuan Wang 5 research ship reflects the collapse of the state structure. No prior research has been conducted regarding the granting of diplomatic clearances for the ship. At least they could have gone online and looked up the ship in question and if there were any problems they could have been resolved. After that, the necessary permission should be given. But, truth is that there is no coordination between responsible institutions for such exploration. No one knows who to coordinate with whom, therefore everyone plays the individual games at the cost of national interests. The lack of national coordination among the officers working in these institutions left an indelible scar and disgrace on the entire country. This is the weak and immature nature of our diplomacy. This is the obliteration that has to be faced because the responsible institutions, including the Foreign Service, are filled with political appointments and filled with various relatives and friends. There is no action plan to remove these stem worms and clean these institutions. So if this is the ground reality, is it possible to even dream that a miracle will happen other than the destruction of Sri Lanka as a nation?
Instead of using the available intelligence and data-based analysis to inform decision-making at the moment of need, should the intelligence agencies of the country be held accountable for failing miserably having relied on hearsay by elements with vested interests? When coming to power, after promising to change the system of the country, if a leader vehemently disregards the mandate given by the people by putting aside important decisions and giving priority to personal interests are the intelligence agencies responsible for the consequences?
Intelligence agencies have accurately identified internal and external threats and conveyed assessments and intelligence analyses to the country’s leadership throughout the country’s history, but they have been repeatedly faulted and rejected. Who then should be tasked with this critical role at a time when the leader fails to heed any warnings?
Subsequently, the terrorist attacks carried out by fanatic extremists and certain parties have created a facade that the intelligence agencies had conspired the attacks to bring President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to power. Same segments of the society are now stating that the intelligence agencies are responsible for ousting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Such inflammatory and damnable attacks on intelligence agencies must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Intelligence agencies should not be held accountable when politicians are rejected by people because of their dishonest and unethical practices. The truth is being suppressed by individuals and groups who do not hesitate to betray anything to further their narrow political ambitions and then blame the intelligence agencies to cover up their failures. This is a dangerous trend.
The nature of the mass media machinery in this country is to share a lie and compel people to accept them, is like a stench wafting from a garbage dump. Instead of working together to overcome the collective challenges, many politicians and the vicious cycle, depend on having no other strategy than to deceive the public and sidestep responsibilities to preserve their power. Unfortunately, that is where fake news about intelligence agencies is a catalyst. We have become a nation that believes manufactured lies instead of evidence-based analysis and it is used generously by individuals to manipulate the lives of its citizenry.
How many more years will it take for a country like Sri Lanka to stand up united as a nation and not fall prey to agendas? Due to the misuse of government institutions for political gains, the government institutions are not only becoming increasingly rotten and politicized but the basic rights of the people are also affected. Therefore, when talking about the intelligence agencies and other state-owned institutions, it is better to speak responsibly, isn’t it?
President Ranil Wickremesinghe is amplifying his political power unprecedentedly. He is a lucky man in an unfortunate state. Simultaneously, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the political party that gained power in the shortest period in the history of Sri Lanka, and which supported him in bringing him to power, is gradually depleting. But it continues to hold the centre of the constitutional power. According to some unofficial sources, many senior members of the party are worried and angry because the President’s team has sidelined the SLPP and trashed many of their demands.
As a political party, the SLPP is going through its most critical moment of political survival. The fact is that this party, which did politics on the ground until it won the elections, has deliberately ignored politics after gaining power and took decisions prioritizing overestimation and an ego-centric mindset. They underestimated the people’s revolt.
But when many “politicians” do not do politics, on the contrary, Ranil Wickremesinghe did politics. He reaped its harvest handsomely. At present, he is gradually succeeding in his power expansion but there are two main challenges. The first is to fulfil the demands of the SLPP, which provided conditional support for him to come to power. The second is to turn the United National Party (UNP) into a strong political movement again. Revivification of the UNP is possible but not an easy task.
It is alleged that the President is strategically putting off fulfilling the demands of the SLPP as he is very good at buying time to avoid difficulties. To justify it in front of society, he brings to his office the small groups of mainly UNP loyalists who joined the struggle against the Rajapaksas by giving a prominent media campaign. Some opportunists involved in those protests have been given several positions. But in a few days, a strong opinion will be created in the political camps against President Wickremesinghe pointing out that this struggle is part of his great game. It is difficult to imagine that a politician like Basil Rajapaksa, who is the real owner of SLPP, has not realized this. Basil’s encounter with Wickremesinghe in politics is an event that should be read carefully. Their artificial co-existence with each other will not last long.
However, Mr Wickramasinghe is strengthening the financial power needed to revive the UNP by using his old team. His old folks who were vehemently rejected by people are resurfacing under the guise of strengthening the party. Without any proper authority, they are directly interfering in the governance but, they lack a strategic plan to come out of the dire crisis the party is facing. This behaviour is unlikely to bode well for the UNP. Because President Wickremesinghe’s politics still depends on the SLPP. Also, in case of any crisis of survival, the first choice of the minor parties that broke away from the alliance led by the SLFP is the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, not Ranil’s camp. This is likely to be the reality for at least the next six months until the President has the constitutional power to dissolve Parliament.
It is important to recall two events in the political history of this country to understand what may happen in the future under such a situation. The first event was Mr Dudley Senanayake defeating Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who was the Prime Minister before forming his seven-party coalition. Mrs Bandaranaike was an internationally recognized successful political figure at that time who promulgated many national initiatives. In 1964, Sirimavo abolished the independent Ceylon Civil Service and replaced it with the Ceylon Administrative Service. In February 1964, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited Sri Lanka then Ceylon which inevitably boosted the Sino-Lanka relationship. She, later, hosted Presidents Tito of Yugoslavia and President Nasser of Egypt in March 1964, but continued domestic unrest forced her to suspend parliamentary sessions until July. In the interim, she entered into a coalition which increased her majority by three seats. In October 1964, Bandaranaike attended and co-sponsored the Non-Aligned Conference in Cairo. In December 1964, she lost a vote of no confidence and dissolved Parliament. Dudley Senanayake came to power after the election. The seven-party coalition (hath hawula) that consolidated his power ruled the country for the next five years. However, the Coalition of Seven gradually dissolved, giving Mrs Bandaranaike a golden opportunity to regain power. Rest is the history.
The second incident is the failed impeachment against President Ranasinghe Premadasa staged by Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Disanayaka in September 1991. The impeachment against the President came shortly after the brutal suppression of the JVP rebellion against the government. On the other hand, the Indian peacekeeping forces were withdrawn from the country and the LTTE was pushing for a political solution. But the power of the president gradually weakened. Consequently, Premadasa had lost the support of his senior members, but the current President Wickremesinghe, who was then a known MP, supported him. Thus, impeachment did not succeed. Premadasa tried to seize the opportunity to accumulate more power to ensure his authority. Subsequently, the internal rebellion against Premadasa was suppressed but he was unable to extinguish the turmoil. It further isolated him.
What can happen if President Wickremesinghe continues to undermine the aspirations of the SLPP? Unlike Premadasa, he has no parliamentary power. He eats from someone else’s plate. The rightful owner can seize it at any time. Consequently, there is a possibility of a repeat of Prime Minister Bandaranaike’s 1964 scenario or President Premadasa’s 1991 scenario. This is the tricky and complicated nature of politics. It’s all about power, all other crises are secondary.
Until President Wickremesinghe, who was a charming fortune, is constitutionally empowered to dissolve the current government, his survival depends on the SLPP. So the next six months are crucial. The political reality to be faced during this period is significant. If he continues to emasculate the power of the SLPP, it wouldn’t take long for it to grow into a rebellion against him. Therefore, it is important to recognize the subtle dissimilarity between political conspiracies and political strategies to prioritise the strategies over conspiracies. Time will tell whether Mr Wickremesinghe and his inner circle will be able to deal with such a situation. If the ship has to sail on seas owned by others, it must sail in such a way as not to harm the owner’s laws and interests. Without understanding that reality, if one gives priority to his will, the damage that can occur can be very serious. Consequently, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena will have room to become the President of choice and a new Prime Minister will take over at the discretion of the SLPP. Food for thought, Mr President!
Congratulations; Mr Accidental President! A tough journey, isn’t it? Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe’s dream came true. But congratulatory messages from friends, so-called friends and foes beyond the island are yet to pour in. No doubt, there are many lessons to be learned from this exceptional political career of a rare personality. When you don’t have luck, don’t regret it, but create a way for luck to search for you. The best tools for that are political consciousness and ideological authoritarianism that can wipe out the competitors. Knowing very well that his dream was decided on simple mathematics, Wickremesinghe did not care much about the malicious criticism of him by various parties. His way to power is not our priority to discuss here as many people are talking from different points of view. But it is important that we guess how Ranil’s future political activities are going to shape national politics.
It is said that after assuming the presidency, Mr Wickremesinghe has decided to prorogue the Parliament. This is a vital step to further strengthen his power and in the meantime, he can strategically bring the country’s administrative affairs under his control. Simultaneously, members of his party, the United National Party (UNP), can create an atmosphere where they can dominate and influence the important institutions of the country. For instance, a known broker of his party representing Galle district and others have already started their deal politics. No matter how moral this is, it is vital for the UNP’s resurgence. The accidental President understood this better than anyone.
President will select his cabinet within days. The cabinet will be devoid of the Rajapaksas but will consist of the Rajapaksas’ followers. Therefore, it is inevitable that most cabinet decisions will be based on the Rajapaksas’ commands. Dissents of Wickremesinghe’s political rival, Sajith Premadasa’s party, will give considerable political authority too. However, President Wickremesinghe still has to depend on Rajapaksa’s political arm, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). The irony is, that the President has the power to decide its existence. This is how the current political trend has been hijacked by the President.
Although SLPP’s power to remove the president has been dissolved, it is undeniable that they still have bargaining power. Therefore, core members of SLPP will try their best to manipulate the President and his cabinet in the way they want. That is where the real conflict can arise. What will the president do in such a political context? This is where the importance of knowing the science of parasites comes in. The parasite secures its existence by using the very tree that gives life and gradually captures and destroys it. However, in politics, it is easy to gain power by inciting the sentiments of the common man, but political consciousness is necessary to maintain the power gained. When political consciousness wanes, many powerful political camps become miserable victims of parasites. Can it be argued that our new president was lucky to complete the term that former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in with reference to the above natural phenomenon? That’s why we believe that there is no mistake in calling this presidency the accidental presidency.
The time left for the accidental president is secured. If he makes wrong decisions, there is an opportunity to bring impeachment against him, but it is unlikely to be passed by two-thirds of the parliament. But to further consolidate his power, he can dissolve parliament in seven months and call for a snap poll. There is a definite possibility that the UNP will be strengthened again in the election and the political power of other parties including the SLPP will surely melt away. Apart from the UNP, the only party that could benefit from that decision is the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). If JVP is smart they can come to terms with the President to have a lion’s share out of the election. However, no single party will get a two-thirds majority in the parliament and the solution will be a coalition government. Such a transfer of power would definitely benefit the President. It is then that many people who allegedly offered huge financial amounts to secure the appointment of the President will experience the bitterness of real politics.
As we reliably learnt, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made a condition to tender the resignation on his infamous voyage from the Presidential Palace to Trincomalee. “Prime Minister Wickremesinghe should resign before me,” he told them. But many of them, including the Speaker, dreamt of becoming the President, without addressing the plight of the President. His request was in vain. He was isolated. Consequently, the Accidental President who was then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was able to take full advantage of it. That’s how he played the game. But he never ignored the rules. Accordingly, the politics that will take place in the next two and a half years have been manufactured by giving more advantages to Mr Wickremesinghe. You don’t need much more than that to understand the person who has the last laugh of all events. Studying to understand Wickremesinghe’s role in Sri Lanka’s political transition is homework for young politicians aspiring to become future leaders. Wickremesinghe played the Sri Lankan version of Nux in Mad Max Fury Road. Nux reaffirmed that “I live, I die, I live again”. So do Mr Wickremesinghe. Wish you all the best, Mr Accidental President.
Many have failed to grasp the reality of this geopolitical game and the dangers small states may face, and many warnings have been dismissed as empty conspiracy rhetoric. The sophisticated plot is underway. The next move of this grand scheme is to arrest former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who at the moment has no permanent shelter in any foreign territory. There are different opinions about his departure while holding the top seat of the state. A few who were closely associated with him wanted to see him stay in Sri Lanka. But he had no personal will for it and wanted to leave the country immediately. As we pointed out earlier it was not a wise decision but an invitation to unprecedented turbulences. In light of this, we believe it is important to look into the extremely weak situation that Sri Lanka is facing as a sovereign country due to the President being placed in this situation and the future conflicts that may arise as a result. This crisis is much more than economic bankruptcy. We don’t buy the widely held view that this crisis followed an economic downturn.
File photo of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Let’s get to the point. Most of Sri Lanka’s budget is spent on defence to counter internal and external threats. Threats are disguised in various forms. The prime responsibility of the security forces is to defend the state and to protect the head of the state. We believe they should be bound by this paramount obligation until the last soldier or policeman is left standing. But it is questionable whether the security forces fulfilled this basic responsibility of defending the country while protecting the President. Can the nature of such intended behaviour of certain responsible officials be interpreted as a dereliction of duty?
As an individual, Gotabaya Rajapaksa may not be important. But for the country, the head of state, the President of Sri Lanka, is important. As a sovereign state, on July 9, we experienced a grave failure of national security. This is the most horrendous assault on the nationhood of this country. This attack is far worse than the Easter bombings by extremist fanatics who distorted the core values of Islam. The officials who are responsible for national security should explain this serious collapse of the system. Shouldn’t they give a detailed explanation to the people of this country? Certainly, they must. They cannot blame others or circumvent the responsibility to secure their positions. As heads of institutions, they should take responsibility. No leader who will come to power in the future can be said to be safe.
The officials who are responsible for the national security of the country have seriously failed in their duties. On the other hand, the group of clowns who claim to be social reformists have disgraced the pride of the country. After this whole incident, we don’t get to see a good picture of the country. What can happen next under such a tragically degenerated state structure? By now, the former President has been weakened and rendered powerless. Many local political and social groups have been armed against him. Many of his fellow politicians are fighting like Kilkenny cats to become the next president of the country. A large number of people, including Sri Lankans living abroad, have been mobilized against him. What matters to us is who the individual or group that is going to have the last laugh of this total tragicomedy, not the group of clowns masquerading as “social reformers”. Where the hype they get by going crazy on social media and releasing live videos every now and then ends, we will find the real hand behind this whole drama.
The first purpose, however, of that hidden hand has been accomplished. In other words, Gotabaya proved to be weak and isolated. Meanwhile, some countries and social groups have given a new approach to the activities they have been doing for years to implement the international law against former President. For instance, as soon as the President left the country, a group of politicians in the United Kingdom requested an international warrant against him. In such a situation, it is impossible to believe that Gotabaya’s life will be safe in a foreign land. Many organizations and politicians accused Gotabaya of so-called war crimes during the humanitarian operations which vanquished the most brutal terror outfit. Many fake sources have been socialized to substantiate this accusation. Ironically, many authentic sources that prevailed to correct misunderstandings about events on war have been replaced with fabricated reports targeting the former President. Consequently, what is the situation that he may have to face?
To understand it, it is important to know about the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its functioning, which prosecutes the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The Rome Statute came into force on 1 July 2002 to formally establish the International Criminal Court. More than 120 countries signed and ratified it. However, it was then Prime Minister but now the Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has refused to sign and ratify it in Sri Lanka. Therefore, Sri Lanka as a sovereign state is not accountable for it. Accordingly, as long as a citizen residing in a non-signatory state or its territories such as embassies and high commissions established abroad cannot be brought before the ICC for legal proceedings. But a citizen of a non-signatory country can bring before the ICC through the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal under the auspices of the United Nations. However, if the foreign state in which a citizen from non-signatory state lives has signed and ratified the Statute, his fate is determined by the laws and regulations of that signatory country. The turmoil coming towards him is obvious. Is it not thus clear what was hoped to be accomplished by creating an atmosphere for his sudden departure under all this “popular fury” commonly known as the “Aragalaya” against former President Gotabaya? Otherwise, why did UK politicians rush to seek an international warrant against the former President even before he announced his resignation? If not, why do certain Western and Asian embassies and high commissions in Colombo urge for a “peaceful power transition” in the late afternoon of July 9th?
Let’s be frank! Sri Lanka has been isolated internationally due to the high level of incompetence of officials appointed to deal with human rights. Establishing the ad hoc tribunal with the blessings of the United Nations is proceeding. A set of considerations are already on the table to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC through the UN Security Council. If one thinks that all others can be freed by sacrificing former President, they can watch all events and remain silent. But if there is an intention to act regarding the serious conspiracy currently underway, the responsible parties in this country must fulfill their responsibility immediately. If one wants to protect the man who played an important role in crushing the Tamil Tigers to liberate the unarmed civilians, it is very important to take proper steps immediately. It is imperative not only for him but also to determine the country’s geopolitical future. Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether the politicians of this country will be able to work together to understand the seriousness of this matter. But isn’t it true that the people of this country owe him?