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Sri Lanka: The Merciless Rajapaksha Regime Must Find Its Way Out

By Nilantha Ilangamuwa

29 December, 2009

Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksha is a fundamental rights violator. Being one time in the military service, he should have known the implications of violating the military, humanitarian and the international rules and laws in any military engagements. His conduct has surpassed the behaviour of his predecessor, the self professed General Anuruddha Ratwatte of the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s regime to make political statements to hurt the most vulnerable people in our island nation.

Bestowed with unquestionable political and military decision making powers, arrogated from his dear brother the President Mahinda Rajapaksha, Gotabaya is one those who is not only determining the failing path of Sri Lanka but also the unpredictable future of his brother and his family’s political fortunes. Since May 2009, he has made many pronouncements about his military victory against the LTTE. For political expediency and to undermine the military leadership, he says war victory was his own making. In this, he says the former chief’s of forces were his own creation and no one could have won the war if his leadership was not there.

For more than a decade, the Defence Secretary Lt. Col. Gotabhaya never stepped on his motherland and was away from the battlefield. Following the election of Mahinda Rajapaksha as President, the unknown Gotabhaya was brought into the scene. With his sheer arrogance, ruthless maneuverings and his imprudent conduct towards the media and the democratic voices, Gotabhaya acclaimed his status on aspects of the dirty war against the LTTE on behalf of the President. How can a retired Lt Col. could solely take credit for the outright victory against the LTTE, thus undermining the military hierarchy that had on the ground level made meticulous preparations and enormous sacrifices to achieve the much wanted success.

Like the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike’s uncle Anuruddha Ratwatte, who was acting as Defence Secretary during her term, Gotabaya too is trying to score political points on the military victory. Unlike the ruthless Anuruddha, Gotabya has gone all out to demean the military leadership and its achievements.

There are similarities in both their ego missions. The non combatant Anuruddha promoted him with the help of his President Sister to be called the General, whilst Gota with the sheer manipulation of a University got an honorary doctorate title for defeating the LTTE recently. At least the self proclaimed General Ratwatte was much seen in the battle front overseeing some of the operations, but the hot headed Gota limited his activities in an unscrupulous manner to develop a clandestine secret military machinery to throttle the very basic functioning of the civil society.

It is claimed Gotabhaya is a vegetarian and also a non-smoker. This claim again is said to be of his making for his silly political point scoring. Having presided over the secret mission of the Defence establishment to ruthlessly end the lives of many in connivance with the murderous underworld, Gota could have only given the leadership to create an atmosphere of fear amongst the nation’s people. No one was able to raise their voice and tell the truth. The secret white van missions and motorbike riding hit men were the real mechanisms that silenced the people. These were the heinous criminal products of Gota in his war effort. Following their master’s orders to bestow the ultimate penalties on the civilian society to suppress their voices, was the order of the day. The clandestine military mechanism worked very well when high technology telephone tapping became the backbone of the Gota’s drive to eliminate the dissenting voices.

Having enjoyed the ruthlessness, Gota’s ego centric mentality became his power crazy psyche. Following the defeat of the LTTE, he could not blame everything on the Tigers and now is playing his downright ruffian political game to impose a sense of fear among the people that he is the master brain of the victorious Sri Lanka against the LTTE.

What he failed to understand was that the forces have gone through a 30 year history, battling with the LTTE and the LTTE was progressing without new options or adventurisms. The victory bell was ringing well before Mahinda was elected as President. The military was able to pull through with a masterly military plan with sheer dedication of our valiant soldiers and their commanding officers. The dedication and the sacrifices that followed are now being capitalized for political point scoring by Gotabaya.

The final battle against the LTTE was victorious because there was absolute unity amongst the forces and they had the people and the media support, instead only of the political direction of Rajapakse family. One must realise the odds were absolutely against the LTTE as its arrogance diminished its credibility and authority as a group that could spearhead an armed struggle any longer. On the scale of diminishing returns, for the LTTE, its decision to go for peace agreement with the UNP; foolish way path of boycotting the 2005 Presidential election to teach a lesson to Ranil Wickramasinghe and then it’s unilateral engagement to initiate a war against the forces under the pretext of peoples force were the underlying self defeating causes of its making that ultimately destroyed its military mission.

I would like to highlight two violations involving the pseudo non-violent and vegetarian Buddhist Goatabhaya when he was serving as Lt Col in the Army. In one of his recent private TV interview, the Former army commander General Sarath Fonseka had said that Gotabhaya and his four fans together assaulted unto death a soldier attached to the Sinha Regiment in the Minneriya Forest. After this very serious incident, he was hiding somewhere in Nugegoda in the outskirts of Colombo to escape from some army officials who wanted to teach Gothabaya a lesson. His hide and seek game with the help of the underworld had helped him not incurring any harm.

The second incident is narrated in a police report of a relative of a victim who was killed during the JVP’s second insurrection in the late 1980’s. The report states, Gotabhaya was in-charge to one of the detention camps in Matale, where hundreds of youths belonging to the JVP and some innocent school children were massacred.

These two incidents are fair account to understand the vegetarian mindset of Gotabhaya and how he did impose his non-violent Buddhist policy in to violence, when he was serving in the Sri Lankan army. Unfortunately, all these ruthless murders are now swept under the carpet and now Gotabhaya returned to Sri Lanka from exile like a piri sudhu mahattaya to continue with his gangster methodology to suppress the civilian society. Gotabhaya is none other than a war criminal and now tries to stand on moral high grounds to portray him as the father of all the victories in Sri Lanka.

I am not saying that he did nothing. My argument is that he did some thing but comparatively little to the sacrifices and committed contributions of many others to defeat the LTTE. Gotabhaya is not the sole author of the victory. What he is doing is to exploit the sacrifices of the real hero’s of the war and paint a wrong picture about the historical victory.

Gota’s gangland theory cannot be applied to a professional military mission. He had proved himself as a crucifying victor against the democratic voices and those dead and buried together with imprisoned persons are testimonies that is expected to be kept under the wrap for a foreseeable future unless a pragmatic and a down to earth leader is installed to the helm to reveal them.

There is nothing wrong in saying that the entire family of Rajapakshas are crooked. They are comparable to the Rumanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu’s rule.

Worshiping the Buddha status and his other murderous mission to eliminate the opposition must be carefully considered. Mahinda/Basail/Gota management of the government has caused so much harm to the nation that even the genuine achievement of the people and the forces cannot be celebrated with all honesty.

They in the first place stole the credibility of the SLFP and now they have turned into a big time mafia and steeling every good thing’s of the Tamil Tiger rebels without the knowledge of the people. These three discredits are now on the march to steel even the sole achievement of the Army.

Rajapaksha’s are thinking that they can stay in power while keep on talking about the victory of the War and also by mudslinging against the opponents. They are attempting to move forward in their psychopathic path and the poor and innocent people are getting entrapped in this brute manoeuvrings. Instead of competing in a free and fair society, Rajapakse’s are attempting to thrive on the goon culture and in the culture of fear and intimidation.

In their book, Alezander and Margrete Mitscherlich , has pointed out, “ Painful experiences and guilty set in train no progress in the maturation of the ego, do not mobilize the capacity to maintain critical thought under the pressure of guilty, to tolerate disappointments about one’s own behavior, and the like. Instead, the energy of the ego is wasted on warding off the return of the repressed. The ego protects itself with memory gaps, and remains by and large as it was. It thus falls behind. It loses the ability freely to face the past.” (quoted - ‘Inability to Mourn –page – 106) Present situation of the family rule of Rajapaksha’s is similar. Rajapaksha has failed to find a political solution and address the core issues like educations, health and transport etc. They have only fattened their Swiss accounts to settle peacefully in the Chinese, Pakistani, Russian, Iranian or Myanmar regimes following the political reversal they are destined to be rewarded by the people.

Fortunately the Rajapaksha’s power crave came for testing few months ago and there is now an opposition-party alternative to back a non-party candidate. This is a major turning point in the history of Sri Lankan to prevent another Nicolae Ceauşescu regime being permanently installed through democratic means in the country. Defeat of cronyism and rise of General Sarath Fonseka is a must and an able and practical leader to govern the country and to redeem it from the slumber is the urgent need a leader like Sarath could deliver. His election will be a revolution the country ever experienced and his military achievements can be consolidated to create a fair and just society in Sri Lanka for all the nation’s people to breathe the fresh air of freedom they are yeaning for.

Moses was eventually told by God to free the Jews and Moses spoke on God's behalf and used God's powers to try and convince the Pharaoh to let the Jews go free. When he refused, seven curses were released that devastated Egypt and forced the Pharaoh to let the Jews go. As they were leaving, the Egyptian army was sent after them to slaughter them in revenge for the plagues that had been released on Egypt. Trapped between the army and the Red Sea (which was probably a mistranslation of a now dried u marsh, not the actual red sea) Moses asked God to help him escape and with God's power, Moses parted the waters of the sea to allow the Jews to escape to the Sinai. The army tried to follow, but the waters returned when the soldiers were in the middle of the marsh/sea and they all drowned. 20 years and about 100 miles later (I don't know why it could possibly take that long) the Jews reached Palestine, and would eventually destroy the native populations there and replace them.

Sri Lanka failed to produce a statesman. All those ruled us were constrained stocks and worse is the present regime of Mahendra Percy Rajapaksha-an idiosyncratic nasty regime that is surviving on the sufferings of the people.

Sri Lanka is yearning with hope to bury the past of hate mongering politics and the victory maker of the war is the only hope the people have, to attain the much needed good governance Sri Lanka honestly need in this ever degrading standard of ruling.

(The writer can be reached at )

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