Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Leading Sri Lanka Into the Abyss

by NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA

Another diplomatic battle has erupted against the glorification of the lawless and authoritarian regime in Sri Lanka. We understand that this panoptic regime’s political existence depends on plundering, not only the wealth of the nation, but also the personnel liberties of the people from top to bottom. As Frederic Bastiat said, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

It was three days ago, that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who had the fortune to become the country’s Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, (purely because his brother became the President) said that the US has no right to meditate to solve the problems in this country. He said that while continuing to deny that weapons were given to the government sponsored paramilitaries which recruited thousands of child soldiers during the Civil War.

Telling to the United States to avert its eyes from the problems in Sri Lanka is laughable and pathetic, but is still understandable. On the one hand, the US is a large global power, has a far worse reputation, and regularly makes articulated arguments to undermine the rights of other countries. They gloss over their own problems while engaging in hypocritical diplomacy. This has been the case, not only from the day they started waging wars all around the world, but even in more recent times, such as their intervention in Libya, without even the consent of their own congress, as well as engaging another similar kind of drama in Syria, showing that the US is more than willing to compromise its claimed ideals in order to secure their strategic interests.

On the other hand, it is more than a little ironic that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has been railing against US pressure on Sri Lanka to deal with the crimes committed during the Civil War, when he himself worked for and gained US citizenship for his personal and political benefit during the war. Despite an honorable 20 year career as an army officer with extensive foreign training (including Advanced Infantry Officer training in the United States) and combat experience against the LTTE, he retired and immigrated to the US at a time when Sri Lanka needed experienced officers more than ever. While holding a well-articulated negative aspect on Sri Lanka, he was able to establish himself in the US. Nearly two decades later, he was suddenly fortunate to have a central role in the ruling party when his brother became the President.  Though, the Rajapaksa establishment is based on “popular patriotism” none of these US citizen brothers announced to the public that they were going to surrender their US citizenship, which is ideologically completely opposed to the “patriotism” which they marketed. Nor have they expressed any opposition to the United States’ meddling in Sri Lankan affairs by providing extensive training to the Sri Lankan military during and after the Civil War. Apparently, foreign interference is only a bad thing when it doesn’t benefit the Rajapaksa Regime’s political agenda.

It has been widely discussed that when the war started Gotabhaya Rajapaksa never had any confidence that the war would be won, though he later strategically changed his tack. Amazingly, at a later time while attending a live television program along with his brother the President, he told the media, that, he could runaway to US if Sri Lanka lost the war on terror. Now, this same person who holds a US green card urges the people not to trust the US.

There is a popular saying in the United States – sometimes attributed to John Wayne, Richard Nixon, or Chuck Colson, but no one really knows where it came from – that says, “When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” This is precisely what really goes on out of the view of the public. As this writer declared years ago, in reality the bitter truth is that, none of Rajapaksas trust Sri Lanka or its people, and they seek to totally control both. They trust power and personal establishments in other jurisdictions, and their trust in China and Russia go only as far as their financial assistance to the island nation.

It is undeniable that the Rajapaksa Regime has led this country into an abyss from which it will be extremely difficult to extract itself. No one needs to go into detail to understand the scenario; the manner in which the regime conducts elections is enough to get a clear cut picture. Most of the nightmares, from the forceful eviction of Sri Lanka’s first lady Chief Justice to devastating wildlife to make a good for nothing air service in Mattala, the Rajapaksa regime has shown its ability to undermine the personal liberty in the country.  Rajapaksa is none other than a carbon copy of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. However, nobody knows if the US has any real willingness to help the people if there is a genuine anti-Marcus type rally to eliminate the delusions of the ‘elected’ dictator.

In this context, the message, “We don’t need leaders. We know how to deal with our problems. We do not need American advice on how to solve them.” will have a place in this “patriotic” nation until the people wakeup. That is our history, which has taught us to make the same mistake time and time again: keep the dictator of the feudal hierarchy in power while ignoring what we really need.

The third battle of Geneva is prevailing on this political notion. That’s the battle between, Rajapaksa and the people, between political lies and truth and reconciliation. Though I’m sure I’ll never receive an answer, I still feel compelled to ask Gotabhaya one more time, “If you are a true patriot of this country and deserve to hold a key position in the regime, why don’t you surrender your US citizenship?”

Over to you Gotabhaya.

Nilantha Ilanguamuwa edits the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily newspaper, and he also an editor of the Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives, bi-monthly print magazine. He is the author of the just released non-fiction, “Nagna Balaya” (The Naked Power), in Sihalaese. 

 

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is Editor of Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives. He also edits the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily newspaper. He is the author of the recently released non-fiction books, “Nagna Balaya” (The Naked Power), published in Sinhalese, and “The Conflation”, published in English. 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail