An Interview with Frederica Jansz
In an emotionally wracked interview with The Sunday Leader Anoma Fonseka, wife of the imprisoned former Army Chief and decorated war hero Sarath Fonseka bared her feelings and the terrific trauma she is undergoing as her husband she says remains a political prisoner. A victim of revenge, vengeance and hate.
Sri Lanka former army chief Sarath Fonseka and his wife Anoma prepare for a photo shoot in Colombo, November 27, 2009.Reuters pic
Q: In hindsight do you now regret your husband Sarath Fonseka having decided to enter politics?
Anoma: I used to hate politics. I really hated it. But he (Sarath Fonseka) wanted to enact a significant and meaningful change in this country. So I finally relented and backed him. I helped him and stood by him despite my previous reservations. I don’t regret this decision.
Q: But don’t you think he lost the enviable reputation he enjoyed as a war veteran and commander when he entered politics and suffered a loss at the presidential election?
Anoma: I know that happened. But now the people know him. Earlier they knew him as a war hero. But now, since he entered politics and since he has been unfairly treated and imprisoned, he is today not only a martyr but a political hero also. The Rajapaksas took revenge on him for his decision to enter politics. But that revenge has actually turned in his favour. And today he is not only a war hero but a political hero as well.
Q: Describe to me your emotions at this moment in time? Your husband is confined to a 12 ft x 8 ft prison cell. He is without his basic needs. He is not in the best of health. What do you feel?
Anoma: As a woman and his wife I feel so very, very sad. I cannot put into words my emotions at this moment in time. Even as I speak, there are tears in my eyes. He didn’t do anything wrong. They (the government) is doing this to him because he dared to contest the last presidential election. As a result the Rajapaksas not only made up false stories against him they brought completely fabricated charges against him. There is no law and order in this country. They (the Rajapaksas) have taken everything into their hands and vilified my husband in the most despicable way possible,
Q: How did the General describe to you his first reaction when he saw the prison cell allotted to him?
Anoma: He told me he had tried to sleep that first night on a mat and pillow. When my face began to crumble – he quickly tried to reassure me saying “don’t worry – I have slept under trees during the height of combat and had ticks crawl all over my body. I am used to worse. I have done my best by my country – made supreme sacrifices — I have done nothing wrong – so, I can endure this. I will see this through.”
Q: What sentiments has the General expressed to you in relation to seeking his release by appealing to President Mahinda Rajapaksa?
Anoma: He told me not to seek a pardon by apologizing. This is the way he is. He is an extraordinary person. He said if we had done something wrong then by all means we will apologise. But we haven’t done anything wrong so why should we apologise? He has sent word to my daughters too not to seek an apology. He however did say if I can do anything from a legal point to secure his release to then go ahead.
Q: In the event he is released will you and your husband agree to leave Sri Lanka never to return?
Anoma: No never! He loves his country very much. That is why he entered politics. He always advised my daughters too to come back telling them they were the recipients of free education in this country and that they must return and give back what they benefited from.
Q: Do you believe that the President’s hands are also bound in that he was compelled to endorse the court marshal verdicts having appointed the benches to sit?
Anoma: I believe the constitution allows for the president to do anything. After all he has executive powers. He is No. 1. He can with one stroke of a pen overturn the sentences decided on by the military courts.
Q: What are the implications of your husband losing his parliamentary seat?
Anoma: I can’t answer that question. We have so many parties we have to discuss that with. They also have to seek the advice of my husband as he is leader of the DNA. A collective decision will be made thereafter.
Q: Do you intend to take over the mantle of politics in his name?
Anoma: In the event he continues to remain in prison then yes, I will come forward. I will do so to keep his name alive. If they ask me I will accept.
Q: Did Ranil Wickremesinghe consult with the General before he wrote to the President seeking his release?
Anoma: Not before but he did tell him afterwards. My husband did say anybody can write to the President. However to my knowledge, Wickremesinghe showed him the letter he had sent to the President after it had been sent to Rajapaksa and tabled in parliament.
Q: But Wickremesinghe was quoted in the press Friday saying otherwise. Are you then saying that Ranil Wickremesinghe is lying?
Anoma: I don’t wish to comment.
Q: Do you think Ranil Wickremesinghe is conspiring with the President to work against your husband?
Anoma: I can’t answer that too. Politics is difficult to understand – and games are always played.
Q: It has been speculated that Ranil Wickremesinghe used your husband as a Guinea Pig when he agreed that Fonseka would be the Common Candidate at the last presidential election. Because he knew he could not win and neither could your husband against President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s wave of popularity. Do you believe this?
Anoma: I can’t answer that question.
Q: Why have you now chosen to form the Peoples Movement For Democracy? What exactly is the objective of the movement?
Anoma: Like I said earlier we have no law and order in our country. This is the first time such a thing has happened to me. Tomorrow it can happen to another woman. We don’t have democracy in our country this is why they are playing these games with everybody. Today it is me, tomorrow it can be another woman. It is a fact the government is powerful. But, the people can be more powerful. If we can all unite we can do it.
Q: What has been the reaction of your two daughters since their father was moved to Welikada?
Anoma: They have their fathers blood. I am so proud of that. They are not like girls. My husband always advised them to do only what is right. We never had lies or deceit in our home. Sarath himself is a very good example of this. He set a good example for my daughters and as a result they are very strong. They will take his fight to the world. - courtesy: thesundayleader.lk -