Now that “The War” is over, self-appointed analysts from the Rajapaksa Sycophancy (RS) appear to be hard up to find material through which they can demonstrate their undying fealty to the Rajapaksa Regime (RR), while creating diversions to take the heat off a regime that has distinguished itself by a ruthlessness and lack of principle which is truly mind-boggling.
I have had neither the time nor the inclination to consume the entire political canon of apologists for the RR – the sophisticated, semi-sophisticated and the simply crude and crass — because I discovered a long time ago that life’s too short to waste on what people of this ilk spout.
What emerges throughout the attempts to rationalise, justify and explain the conduct of the RR is, of necessity, decrying any effort by any player to act in a principled manner while placing some kind of seal of respectability on crass opportunism. In some instances, the sophistry extends to pinning a badge of approval on the conduct of such as Douglas Devananda, Karuna Amman and Pillayan. You want rationalisation and justification for heinous conduct, these defenders of the Rajapaksa record will provide it in spades!
One of the more recent flights of fancy of one of these pundits – Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka — sought to project a “what if” political history of the “old Left.” One suggestion was that the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) would be alive and kicking if Vasudeva Nanayakkara had been made its leader after the debacle of 1977. What this analysis fails to mention (accidentally, I think not) is the fact that the LSSP owes its marginalisation primarily to the monumentally opportunistic behaviour of its leadership particularly when it abandoned Parity of Status for Sinhala and Tamil and joined Mrs. Bandaranaike for a mess of pottage.
Particularly with the benefit of subsequent behaviour, up to and including his support of the 18th Amendment, how anyone could suggest that Vasudeva Nanayakkara could have been considered an alternative to N. M. Perera and Colvin R De Silva boggles the mind! What is also conveniently ignored in this matter of the LSSP and its sundry “splits” is the fact that those that followed the philosophy of Leon Trotsky had built into their political genes, as it were, the proclivity to implode and disappear off the stage of mainstream electoral politics. To suggest otherwise is to deny historical fact.
Then we have the suggestion that a Sarath Muttettuwegama-led Communist Party would have survived under the old banner even today. Given what happened to every one of the ruling communist parties of the old Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, this argument belongs in Never-Never Land.
The intolerance of anything even vaguely resembling dissent and the crushing of anything but the orthodoxy dictated by their rulers was the real weakness of the countries of the old Communist Bloc. The age of their leaders only exacerbated the sclerosis of those regimes. New wine in old bottles didn’t do it in Europe and neither would it have done the trick here.
A relatively young writer held in high esteem in left-wing circles is a woman called Naomi Klein. Even if one doesn’t always agree with her opinions, her intelligence and integrity appear to be beyond question.
I don’t know whether it was in The Nation (The oldest publication in the United States of America) that she wrote something apropos the U. S. invasion of Iraq and/or Afghanistan. It was to the effect that it was a monumental waste of time to try to view the conduct of Dubya Bush and his minions through the prism of political or economic philosophy. It was simply the pure unmitigated greed of individuals such as Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush himself who had established relationships with “big oil” that was being translated into US foreign policy.
I would suggest that any effort to ascertain the motivation for our rulers and their sycophants in the current Sri Lankan landscape and, therefore, the potential fate of this country, needs to be viewed through a similar lens for the simple reason that all the available evidence points in that direction: greed and self-aggrandisement. To wander all over a political hell’s half acre, dishing up irrelevancies and creating diversions in order to cover up what’s happening in Sri Lanka is, at minimum, intellectually dishonest.
Incidentally, what could well do in the RR is its, perhaps unwitting, march in the footsteps of the old communist regimes; the unmitigated need to control every facet of life in this country. Those are the real seeds of destruction that the RR is sowing for itself. The old saw that “Elections are lost, not won” will hold true for this regime as it has for many in the past. When that will happen is the $64,000 question as is the manner in which the transfer of power will occur.
The path that the RR is treading is one to absolute power, brooking no opposition of any kind and the unfortunate logical end of that track is not one of a “bourgeois” election by which the populace “blows off steam” and gets rid of a regime that it can no longer tolerate. All of recent history points to this regime refusing to bow to the people’s will. That will inevitably provoke its citizens to seek recourse to extra-electoral means to get rid of it. You cannot bottle up the genie of discontent indefinitely. When it does escape, as it always has in myth, legend and reality, watch out! There are enough examples of this sequence of events all over the world to prove that it isn’t in the interest of any of the players to have this happen in Sri Lanka.
A wrap-up prediction? After an indeterminate period of sack-cloth and ashes and hand-wringing, large chunks of the population will be forced by the escalating corruption and incompetence, which always accompanies repressive dictatorships, to react.
When is this going to happen? I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess because so many factors are involved in when that volcano will blow. However, let me reiterate that when it comes, that eruption is unlikely to do anyone any good. In the meantime, the emanations from the Dayan Jayatillekas will serve to obfuscate rather than explain what is happening around and to us.
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