Home / Columnists/ Emperors without clothes: Is Mother Lanka naked too?

Emperors without clothes: Is Mother Lanka naked too?


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 17 June 2019 00:00

Facebook

 

The recent revelations by the former Defence Secretary and the IGP concerning the total dysfunctional state of the security council, the body that is supposed to make the country safe by taking action in advance of a catastrophe instead of a cleaning operation after it, leads one to question the understanding of safety on the part of these two leaders – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara 

 

  • While people were expressing admiration at their Emperor's new “invisible” clothes, a small boy cried out... “But the Emperor has no clothes!”

 

The expression ‘The Emperor without clothes’ derives from the Hans Anderson tale that is based on Sufi wisdom. 

The Emperor in Anderson’s story was without doubt, the finest dressed man in the land and he loved wearing fine clothes and spent all of his people’s money on them. He had a different set for each hour, each day. One day, two swindlers claiming to be weavers entered the city and proclaimed they were capable of making the finest, lightest, most magnificent cloth the world has ever seen. So extraordinary was this cloth, it was invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.  

Hearing of the weavers amazing ‘talent’, the foolish Emperor thought he could use such cloth to weed out undesirables in his city by being incognito. He paid the swindlers an enormous sum and they set out to ‘create’ the clothes; knowing they would only need go through the motions. 

The Emperor sent several advisors to gauge their progress and all advisers reported the cloth was magnificent, not wanting to appear unworthy for seeing nothing at all; the cloth didn’t exist! 

Finally, the clothes were ‘finished’, the swindlers already having counted the gold and jewels they had received. A procession was arranged to show off the Emperor’s new clothes and the entire city gathered in the centre to view them. Having been ‘dressed’ by the swindlers, who remarked how wonderful he looked, and how light the cloth appeared on him, he appeared before his people. 

The people, having heard of the weaver’s abilities and the cloths fictitious properties, were amazed and offered thunderous applause to the now beaming Emperor. None of them were willing to admit that they hadn’t seen a thing; for if anyone did, then he was either stupid or unfit for the job he held. Never before had the Emperor’s clothes been such a success. 

While people were expressing admiration at their Emperors new ‘invisible’ clothes, a small boy cried out... “But the Emperor has no clothes!”

How does this Anderson tale relate to the nakedness experienced in Sri Lanka?

The country is safe now

Firstly, the claim by the President and the Prime Minister that the country is safe now. The swindlers in this case may be the officials and the public who tell these two leaders that the country is safe. It defies belief that the country could feel safe because these two discredited leaders are saying so. The recent revelations by the former Defence Secretary and the IGP concerning the total dysfunctional state of the security council, the body that is supposed to take action in advance of a catastrophe, not a cleaning operation after it, in order to make the country safe, leads one to question the understanding of safety on the part of these two leaders. They also want to communicate with the people about this safety although they have no communication between the two of them.

The naked truth

Secondly, the state of governance in the country. One could make a start here by repeating what the former President said about the Yahapalanaya government in 2015. He said a paddy field plough would not work if it’s pulled by a buffalo and a bull as they pull in opposite directions. How true!

The dysfunctional nature of the Yahapalanaya government appears functional to the supporters of the two leaders. These supporters would be seen as unworthy and disloyal if they spoke the truth. The naked truth is therefore denied. The dysfunctional nature has reached epic proportions with no Cabinet meetings, and with the two leaders heading overseas in different directions. This President is probably the most overseas-travelled leader in Sri Lankan history, without any achievements to show for the tax payers’ money he has spent travelling round the globe.  

Looking deeper into what has been happening in Sri Lanka, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the spread of Wahhabism and even more extreme forms of Islam, and the resulting disquiet amongst communities, followed by the Easter attacks and the worsening of inter community relations, are all threaded and part of a grand plan. If one looks at the primary consequence of this thread of events, which is the signing of agreements and creating the pathway for the entry of the USA into Sri Lanka to subjugate the sovereignty of the country, then it certainly appears to be a grand plan

The Prime Minister has headed to Singapore. If he was still around, its former leader late Lee Kwan Yew who once famously said “Look at Sri Lanka if you want democracy and look at Singapore if you wish to see development and improvements to people’s lives”, might have told the Prime Minister that Sri Lanka now has neither democracy nor development. The writer might add, no security either.

These two leaders who seem to run parallel governments, if one could call them that, very likely would not hear other leaders laughing or at least smirking behind their backs as without question, their diplomats in Sri Lanka would have briefed them about the state of affairs in the country. However, diplomacy will stand in the way of making known to our leaders that they are naked.

Nothing to see beyond what the eye can see

The third important link to Anderson’s tale is the pretence that there is ethnic and religious harmony and that minor disturbances to the social fabric and equilibrium should not be taken to be a threat to the stability of the country. In regard to this, it has to be said that there is a sense of a pervading nakedness arising from ignorance amongst many, not just the two leaders. The fact that there is disquiet amongst Muslims, amongst themselves and with other communities, an increasing worry amongst Tamils about a rise in Sinhala Buddhist nationalism and the distancing of different faiths from each other, is not recognised. The country seems to be content that there is no issue to contend with. It’ll have to wait till the small boy comes up to expose the ignorance.

What began as a consequence of Wahhabism and more fundamental interpretations of Prophet Mohammed’s message taking root in Sri Lanka, aided, abetted and supported by some affluent Muslims and Muslim politicians and entities has been masterfully manipulated as a tactic to unify and strengthen the Muslim vote bank in the country. Whoever was behind the Easter Sunday attacks have out-manoeuvred the national political leadership and managed to relegate the urgency of finding out who really masterminded this event. The country’s political leadership has been lulled into believing that there is nothing to see beyond what the eye can see.

Millennium agreement

This leads to the fourth and perhaps most important issue from the perspective of the country’s sovereignty. Several articles have been written in recent times on the revised Millennium agreement with the USA and other agreements which are either part of this or related to it or outside it. 

As it has been customary for the Prime Minister who signed an agreement with the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran without the country’s Executive President’s knowledge or approval, and without Parliamentary approval, on this occasion too, whatever has been signed with the USA has not been made public. To the best of the writer’s knowledge, the President too is unaware of these agreements and what is contained in them.

What the recent writings have exposed is explosive if they are factual and accurate. The establishment of a land corridor between Colombo and Trincomalee, stationing of US troops in what has been led to believe is a military base, the use of the Trincomalee harbour for military purposes by the US are some of the diabolical expose’s in these articles. The Government has not done or said anything to counter these claims. The Opposition as a whole has been conspicuous by their silence.

The Government ranks are silent on this as well and they pretend they are not in Sri Lanka and that they are not Sri Lankans. At least that’s how others perceive them because of their silence. They have become a set of ‘yes’ men and women who, like in Anderson’s tale, are admiring the clothes that are not there.

The Opposition has not raised this issue as a paramount factor that will impinge on, if not subjugate, the sovereignty of the country. The most popular politician in the country today has not used his reach to the people of the country to enlighten them on the dangers of such an encroachment if indeed the allegations are factual. He has not led a campaign to verify the veracity of what several writers have said. Some startling information given by MP Wimal Weerawansa has not ignited the Opposition to pursue this matter although what he stated has not been denied by anyone. Civil society, business leaders, religious leaders and other responsible Sri Lankans have not demanded to know the truth. 

The Prime Minister seems to take the view that sleeping dogs should be allowed to sleep and not woken up and allowed to create a fracas. The Executive President, oh well, he too should not be disturbed and allowed to throw a tantrum and tell the public he came to know via Facebook or the newspapers. He may even come out with another pathetic ‘no one told me’ story.

The country will have to wait for that boy, once again, to tell the entire country that they are ignorant and stupid. 

If these allegations are true, the $ 450 million pledged via the Millennium agreement and the SOFA agreement about which no one seems to know exactly what this agreement contains, will be progressively increased and Sri Lanka will be in the clutches of a super power, with the aspirant breathing down the neck and the regional power bellowing from the north. One might take the view that we have not shown such concerns when becoming indebted to China to the tune of billions of dollars and the virtual selling of large tracts of land belonging to Sri Lanka. Indeed, we should have. 

One difference however between the two camels trying to get into the tent that is Sri Lanka, is that one country has little or no involvement or interest in the internal politics of the country (after all, the current government has taken more money or loans from China than the previous government), and the other enters or attempts to enter the tent through involvement in internal politics. The regime changes in 2015 is a good example of such involvement. 

Part of a grand plan

Looking deeper into what has been happening in Sri Lanka, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the spread of Wahhabism and even more extreme forms of Islam, and the resulting disquiet amongst communities, followed by the Easter attacks and the worsening of inter community relations, are all threaded and part of a grand plan. If one looks at the primary consequence of this thread of events, which is the signing of agreements and creating the pathway for the entry of the USA into Sri Lanka to subjugate the sovereignty of the country, then it certainly appears to be a grand plan.

In an article written by Rathindra Kuruwita appearing in the Island newspaper on 12 June, a senior US embassy officer had told a group of journalists, that the US expected future Sri Lankan governments to respect the international obligations taken on by the current UNP-led administration. The Colombo-based senior official who wished to remain anonymous also said that the last three years had seen an expansion in US-Sri Lanka relations and whether that change would continue under a new government was yet to be decided. 

The official said: “We want any government that comes to respect human rights and democracy. We also want them to continue to respect the international obligations taken on by the present administration. We have a 70-year-old relationship with Sri Lanka and that will continue in some form.”

Readers should shift their focus on incidents that have been going on in Okinawa where some 25,000 US troops are housed under a SOFA agreement between the US and Japan signed in 1960. Okinawans have said violence, loud aircraft and pollution are too great a burden for the island to bear. Please see a Washington Post article dated 16 April on this subject (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/04/15/okinawa-has-been-eager-expel-us-troops-murder-suicide-is-pouring-fuel-those-flames/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2446bc7663f5

Please also see the following articles and information on the distasteful after effects of this agreement via the following links:

1. Wikipedia: Japan’s SOFA agreement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S.%E2%80%93Japan_Status_of_Forces_Agreement

2. Stationing of the U.S. Forces in Japan

https://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/w_paper/pdf/2016/DOJ2016_2-4-4_web.pdf

3. Not governed by local law

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/09/sexual-assaults-us-military-japan-prison-unlikely

4. Anti-US rage: rapes, murders, accidents

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/politics/article/2126112/anti-us-rage-rapes-murders-accidents-and-now-okinawa

There is only one way to allay the fears arising from what has been revealed in several articles, and the speech made by Wimal Weerawansa, and that is by making public every agreement, in full, that has been entered into with the USA or which are intended to be signed especially when the US Secretary of State visits Sri Lanka next month. If these are to be binding on future governments, it makes it even more important for every detail of these agreements to be known to the public as it is not only the current generation of Sri Lankans who will have to bear the cross, and the follies of this Government, but all succeeding generations.

Truth will ultimately prevail

As George Washington said truth will ultimately prevail where there is pain taken to bring it to light. The issue in hand is far more serious and important than foreign jaunts and political squabbling between the two leaders of the country. It is also far more important than visiting temples and opening “banamaduwa’s” all over the country. Going on the basis of very limited and muted protests and a half-hearted agitation to have these agreements made public, it does appear that we are content with the invisible dress of a naked Mother Lanka. 

It is good at this point to recall something that US Senator late Robert Byrd said about the Iraqi war. He said, “This entire adventure in Iraq has been based on propaganda and manipulation. Eighty-seven billion dollars is too much to pay for the continuation of a war based on falsehoods. The Emperor has no clothes.” – US Senator Robert C. Byrd in a Senate Hearing speech October, 2003.

Sri Lankans should not allow another adventure that would change the country forever. It appears that the temporary custodians, the current political leadership of the country, are not going to leave behind at least what they inherited, to the next generation of the country.


Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Will the real JVP – Joke; Vital cog; Party poopers – please stand up?

Thursday, 22 August 2019

THE REDS ON THE GREEN HAVE TAKEN THE LIE OF THE LAND – and it is a highly-publicised stand, being the largest political rally of late. It’s a red flag planted claiming a space in the electoral pantheon, which is open to a plethora of interpretati


Amendment of People’s Bank Act: Any sinister motive?

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Parliament of Sri Lanka is scheduled to debate a Bill presented by the Minister of Finance on 24 May and Published as Bill No. 282 in the Gazette (erroneously dated as 9 July 2018). The legal effect of this Bill is stated as follows: nClause 2: This


Solar power can save country from blackouts

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The country faced country-wide power-cuts (except Colombo) in March when electricity generated failed to meet the demand, as the current Government failed to establish even a single major power generation plant or even award for construction. Heavy r


Emerging signals of a US recession

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

US stocks plunge on fears of an economic downturn Last week’s turbulence in financial markets was a reaction to the fresh evidence of a possible recession in the US economy. The Dow Jones Industrials Average dropped a whopping 800 points or 3% last


Columnists More

Special Report

SPECIAL REPORT MORE