Wijith DeChickera

Of pseudo-democrats, discipline and the coming death of liberty?

Views - 120 Friday, 15 February 2019 00:15

I despair of our politicos and would-be politicians. Not that they are not all honourable men. From the honourable prime minister to the former defence secretary discharging his duty honourably after premature retirement! But that honour often dresse


Give me liberty – or the right seat

Views - 185 Friday, 8 February 2019 00:20

I am celebrating Sri Lanka’s Independence Day – today. Not because I want to be perverse or contrary. But because well-meaning liberals have told me I can if I want to. And that in a democracy the individual has a choice. There are others who hav


How and why perceptions count – and corrupt

Views - 144 Friday, 1 February 2019 00:20

Much has been made of it. If you haven’t heard about CPI 2018, you’re probably living under a rock. And if you don’t want to see what creepy-crawlies dwell there alongside a pure in heart you, don’t pick it – the rock, or CPI 2018 – up. B


Paranoia in the nanny state

Views - 183 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 02:40

A week is a long time in politics. In terms of the type of realpolitik practised in certain republics, it’s a grain of sand. Or, to coin a phrase, a line of crack on a glass table. Today (your yesterday, dear unsuspecting reader), marks the end of


Of Dil-scoops, Blake’s 7 and drug busts

Views - 223 Friday, 25 January 2019 00:10

In mid-2018, national cricketer and erstwhile captain Tillakaratne Dilshan sang the praises of President Maithripala Sirisena for taking a certain executive decision. That was to implement the death penalty – customarily commuted to life imprisonme


All the presidents’ mien

Views - 330 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:10

I’m conflicted about the presidency we have. Do we need it like a fish needs a bicycle, or a baboon needs a parliament? Has the opportune time come for stakeholders as diverse as civil society led by a free media movement, conscientious objectors t


Media freedom and a false dichotomy of government

Views - 297 Friday, 11 January 2019 00:02

Is there a void in journalistic reporting today? Has the culture of impunity which prevailed, to the detriment of the free press, been successfully arrested and imprisoned – in the past four years since ‘good government’ came into play? What co


From death to a larger liberty

Views - 372 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

Why are they all here? The mournful friends and grief-stricken family. That sly fox of a phoenix-like politico. Those happy humbugs. These hysterical hyenas with their hopeful platitudes. Their hypocrisy hamstrung only by the disbelieving silence of


The world we want for a loved land

Views - 206 Monday, 31 December 2018 01:50

I write for many of us. But not as many as one would hope. Since we’re badly divided on community, polity, unity. However, it’s false hope at best or flagrant hypocrisy at worst to think anyone has all the answers – and is actually right about


And so are they all: ‘honourable men’

Views - 1109 Monday, 24 December 2018 00:12

The appointment of the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, MP as the Minister of Power and Energy has set the polecat among the pigeons. It has got a knowing glance from the national press. While setting social media ablaze. And one can see why. But one might al


Fruits, flowers and futile triumphalism at Galle Face?

Views - 410 Wednesday, 19 December 2018 00:05

Every morning, I play voyeur and watch that nice neighbourhood uncle pluck flowers to pooja-fy his guardian deities. He is quite religious about it. And industrious to boot. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t restrict himself to his garden.


The quality of some justice

Views - 500 Monday, 17 December 2018 02:20

We must, if we are rational beings and not mindless beasts, treat the herd instinct with due vigour. In the week before the Incarnation of the Son of God, a Son of the Soil seems fit for Crucifixion. The UNP’s sleek bloodhounds, some crossover SLFP


Matters to mind (while you wait for Justice to toll the knell)

Views - 387 Friday, 7 December 2018 00:10

Some people can handle pressure. They positively blossom under the spotlight. From celebrities to sports stars, many if not most Sri Lankans in the spotlight have panache and pizzazz. This, it seems sadly, does not include certain leading lights amon


NCM: or, how one flew over the cuckoo’s nest!

Views - 351 Thursday, 6 December 2018 00:10

I’m not a psychologist. Despite three years spent studying the subject and a diploma on my wall. Perhaps if I had invested the time, money, energy, effort, in a degree – I wouldn’t be at a loss these days. To understand the mentality and mindse


First tentative step towards thundering final judgment?

Views - 1054 Wednesday, 5 December 2018 00:10

In a palpable blow felt around the body politic, three courts have delivered a trifecta of punches to the coup’s solar plexus. It is not a full, final or binding ruling. But it is a first step towards something solid, stable, and altogether salutar


Democracy: a tale of two strategies

Views - 292 Tuesday, 4 December 2018 00:56

The problem with democracy these days is that it tends to be defined not by the people, but by the politicians they elected to represent them. In both parliament and presidency, the players strut and fret their hours upon the stage. And expect us cit


The plate tectonics of local-global coup politics

Views - 241 Monday, 3 December 2018 00:45

We live in interesting times. The tension for some time now has been between a stifling volatility and a vapid sameness. On the one hand: political volatility for over a month is stifling country prospects, international support, and any real Governm


The unholy trinity of coup politics’ realpolitik

Views - 447 Friday, 23 November 2018 00:10

Much has been made of Sri Lanka being a sort of ‘anti-Cloud Cuckoo Land’… a nation in a state of absurdly overoptimistic fantasy or unrealistic idealism where everything is perfect. And once upon a time, this was never if ever true. But things


MS, RW and MR must put the country first

Views - 132 Friday, 23 November 2018 00:00

The events that unfolded on 26 October have led the country towards an unprecedented chaos. Almost a month later, we are still awaiting a firm interpretation of the decisions and the credibility of actions while pondering if all the sudden changes ha


Coup Sri Lanka: some winners, mostly losers

Views - 1554 Wednesday, 21 November 2018 00:00

As a president proves shockingly stubborn, a nation waits with baited breath as to what His Excellency the loose cannon on a rocky slope will do next. Two Prime Ministers and the fates of their respective parliamentary groups hang in the balance lik


Hang the House! It’s OUR country, future, etc.

Views - 611 Monday, 19 November 2018 00:10

I have rarely if ever empathised with the Sri Lanka Police Department. But when I saw those hapless cops ducking chilli bombs in Parliament, my heart went out to those whom I had previously seen as simply being PC Plods or Mr Goons. Sorry to say that


Courting democracy; Housing disaster?

Views - 497 Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:10

A small step was taken by a sovereign court the day before yesterday. It was a giant leap for the supremacy of the Constitution over all three arms of government in a recently benighted Sri Lanka. As well as being the tangible proof of intra-governme


Alien regime where nothing is foreign

Views - 202 Monday, 12 November 2018 00:00

A college professor of mine once told me the definition of an intellectual is ‘one who cannot lie’. But in the heady atmosphere of cerebral activity around a tattered piece of paper called the Constitution, I’m compelled to revisit that ancient


The fault line in our joint fate

Views - 192 Friday, 9 November 2018 00:00

As we struggle to put it down in black and white today, the writing on the wall is still visible if fading. It suggests that Sri Lanka as an emerging democratic republic has been weighed in the scales and found wanting in the balance. And not simply


Politicians: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Views - 317 Thursday, 8 November 2018 00:00

I have been following Eran Wickramaratne for a long time. Not in the creepy way political animals hunt, track, or sniff each other out to play, mate, or slaughter. There is not much to be said for a mutual admiration society in which one servile crea


Of hype, hypocrisy, hysteria, homophobia – and, hope?

Views - 237 Wednesday, 7 November 2018 00:26

It is ironic that the rally to ‘guard a glory of the land’ gathered in plain sight of the empty grandeur of Parliament. For days before that, and since the presidential coup which undemocratically replaced one prime minister with another, irate p


Cards on the table, crisis in the House?

Views - 359 Tuesday, 6 November 2018 00:10

I am a democratic-republican, I believe. I believe in the will of the people as exercised through a majority mandate being invested in elected representatives. The checks and balances that the three arms of government bring, commonly known as divisio


Democracy under House arrest

Views - 479 Monday, 5 November 2018 00:10

At a recent launch of another of its public interest initiatives, Verité Research asked the provocative question: “Who owns the audience?” It was in relation to the media, and the Colombo-based think tank was seeking to keep the reading and view


Mea culpa! Step back to move forward? (Confessions of a Constitution reader...)

Views - 521 Friday, 2 November 2018 00:00

I am not often wrong. But when I err, I sometimes do so in spades. Sorry, but Homer nodded in his last column on many legal grounds. However, a ‘Mistake’ does not become a ‘Sin’ until or unless one refuses to acknowledge and rectify albeit in


Liberty at the barricades

Views - 494 Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:03

I am not a political animal. Not enamoured of personages, I have sought out principled politicians who could or should have rescued Sri Lanka from the mire and turned our blessed isle’s face towards the sun again – after a bitter and brutal war,


Today's Columnists

MMDA, ACJU, politicians and women

Saturday, 16 February 2019

It is 10 years since Justice Saleem Marsoof (JSM) and his committee was appointed to review and make recommendations to reform the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), passed originally in 1951 and amended in 1954, 1955, 1965 and 1969 before becom


President Trump looked for the failed idea of a wall

Saturday, 16 February 2019

The talks over the “Wall of Trump” between the US-Mexico Border Security broke down with Congressional leaders over the weekend. After the renewed call for a wall at his second State of the Union, President Donald Trump attended a political rally


‘The Man Who Would Be King’: Remembering Anura Bandaranaike on his 70th birth anniversary

Friday, 15 February 2019

‘The Man Who Would Be King’ is the title of a long tale written by Rudyard Kipling in 1888. This very popular story was made into a successful film starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer by the well-known director John Husto


Of pseudo-democrats, discipline and the coming death of liberty?

Friday, 15 February 2019

I despair of our politicos and would-be politicians. Not that they are not all honourable men. From the honourable prime minister to the former defence secretary discharging his duty honourably after premature retirement! But that honour often dresse


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