There is smoke in the eyes of those who do not want to see!

Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Shyamon Jayasinghe, a former citizen of Sri Lanka, now living in Victoria, Australia, writing to Daily FT in a Guest Column article has given an old college try at the President of Sri Lanka by announcing about a cloaked portentous writing on the wall. 

Shyamon might be having his own views and would have had advice from sources that matter to express such an opinion publicly. But for the sons of the soil there is no reason for such delusion and since his writing is full of quotes out of context and embellishments I wish to refer to certain underlying relevant facts to put the record straight. 

He has shown a jingoistic face despite his choosing a second motherland where he is dwelling for over two decades now, away from the country he ironically refers to as ‘our land’ and expressing several concerns about the ‘citizens’!

We are reminded of Paul Joseph Goebbels of Nazi Germany: “He was one of Adolf Hitler’s close associates and most devoted followers, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deep virulent anti-Semitism, which was evident in his publicly-voiced views.” 

When it comes to praising or denigrating, such people boldly state anything disregarding the veracity. What are foremost for them are their allegiance and not the truthfulness. We see such characters in our daily life and more in politics. Public statements are sometimes made through sheltered henchmen by those who want to avoid taking any responsibility in making their senseless comments, due to their lack of courage to do so direct.

President Sirisena’s battle

Shyamon accuses President Sirisena for making an attempt to join his former political enemies in order to oust PM Wickremesinghe. Although it looks naïve to attempt to prove what a silly argument this is, it has to be stated that what is happening right now in this country is far from the fantasia that Shyamon seems to be afflicted with. 

President Sirisena is engrossed in a big battle to keep the former regime raising its head. And that for no other reason but to stand by the commitment he made to end the rampant corruption that prevailed. There is no necessity to play hide and seek if he wants to join hands with anybody. It may be haunting in the minds of those who are scared of such polarisations not because of the plight to the country but their own, in such an eventuality.

The unscathed hero of Shyamon was left with no choice other than to humble and tame to the pressure of the mass movement which on the one hand wanted the old regime out and on the other hand rejected Wickremesinghe as a suitable alternate. 

President Sirisena is now well caught up in a situation where he has fallen into a mess joining a group which according to the degree of proven unscrupulousness is no better than his former allies. There is no doubt that he regrets every moment of his life for this entanglement. In such a situation President Sirisena has adopted the hard line of attacking and exposing any and all corrupt elements. 

It is under these circumstances that President Sirisena, who Shyamon has branded in the most derogatory manner as “self-acknowledged vanquisher of corruption,” came to the scene. He was then acknowledged by all as a saviour. The social forces responsible for the revolutionary change that was brought about knew better than the onlookers on whom to rely. Some people who at any cost would want to tow the line of the likes of Ranil, would hold contrary views as was evidenced during the last visit of PM Wickremesinghe to Australia when the writer played a key role to organise Sri Lankans in Australia to welcome him. It is no doubt bad to be critical of such things in public but the audacity and the rashness chosen by Shyamon to broadcast things which are far from the truth compels us to reciprocate in public interest.

Shyamon is comparing President Sirisena to a kid playing with fire. The juvenility that he is trying to make out apart, it is true that the President is playing with fire and he has burnt himself. It was not only a problem for the President but the whole country has fallen into this mess. 

Upholding law and order

The reputation we had in upholding law and order was demolished wholesale in the Central Bank bond saga. Everyone in this country knows how the guy introduced by Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Governor of CBSL was safeguarded even after the adverse findings by a Commission of Inquiry until he ran away from the country hiding in fugitive status. Humpty Dumpty has now fallen. All the men chosen from overseas will not be able to put them together ever.

The President’s interference in certain instances where the arm of the law appear to be taking their own stance in dealing with very high ranking officials seems to have caused worry and alarm in Shyamon. He states that the President is acting with a political agenda with regard to these matters which however the people of this country are unaware of. 

Strangely his idols too have not yet expressed any such opinion. No one in this country so far has expressed any such abhorrent statement. What we are aware of is that the President is reported to have expressed his concern about certain related protocol measures as well as ethical requirements in disciplinary measures. 

In this country we have seen some highly-connected VIP characters required to be questioned on corrupt charges were afforded VIP treatment by the questioning sleuths either visiting their residents or meeting them in exceptional surroundings. We saw the former First Lady being questioned in the Speaker’s official residence. The treatment to be given to the Chief-of-Defence Staff was different. There is serious concern about possible ulterior motives behind this move. He was summoned by a CID officer even without informing the next higher up in status line at least for protocol sake.

We have witnessed earlier that a top Army official was taken for questioning and immediately remanded. He had to serve more than five months in the remand prison before he was bailed out. There appeared to be a vilification of selected Army officials to be treated in an extraordinary harsh manner under a political agenda. 

We do not know whether it is of any significance to people like Shyamon living overseas; but the people of this country both in the war affected areas and down south equally respect the Army and the senior officials for what they have done to save the country from a group of the worst bloodthirsty terrorists who shook the whole world. It is in such a context that the President of the country has expressed his opinion about the correct procedures to be followed. How can it be a political move?

Shyamon Jayasinghe seems to, according to what he has written; know many things about the doings of these alleged officers even before they are questioned officially by the Police. How? Only he will know. May be he has been well briefed before he wrote his article? By whom? If he was living in Sri Lanka the CID could have obtained more information from him. But investigations cannot be based on web site gossip in as much as they become good news sources to some.

He goes on to say that President has got caught to an inferno and not a mere fire. It may be that some are imagining such things to happen. But the people of this country who still remain attached to it and do not choose to run away in search of safety havens or greener pastures are fully committed to extinguish any such fire or inferno in the most unlikely event such a disaster overtakes our expectations. The President as well as all the well-wishers of good governance are aware that there are people dreaming and living in the hope of such mishaps to happen to enable them to fish in troubled waters.

Wise people know when to sacrifice and how

Shyamon talks about the principles of Yahapalanaya and that President Sirisena signed up such an order to replace the previous abusive regime. We wonder whether Shyamon had the chance of even casting a vote towards that objective. There are many refugees in all parts of the world who preach “vedi bana” without having made any positive contribution. The fellows who finance terrorism from outside are of the view that the entire Sri Lankan Army should be put behind bars. They too may be very angry with the President for not doing so. With the motive of adding colour and spice to his arguments Shyamon has mentioned about the arrest and jailing of the former Army Commander. He questions about the action taken by Sirisena as a then minister of that cabinet. He forgets the fact that under that regime, leave alone the cabinet of ministers, even the leader of the opposition had gone into hibernation and was virtually non-existent. 

Shyamon seems to have forgotten that this jailed Army Commander was the UNP candidate in that election who was put forward by Ranil Wickremesinghe fearing to face the election himself representing his party. That is why all forces got together in 2015 to sign up and put an end to that misery. 

He is asking why Sirisena did not evince his moral conscience then. He seems to have forgotten his logic in this instance. If President Sirisena chose to sacrifice his morals, Ranil would have left without a person to fight the regime later and with no chance of becoming a PM. If that happened all of us would be still suffering under that sordid regime while people like Shyamon will be continuing as pavilion commentators. Only wise people know when to sacrifice and how.

I remember Shyamon taking a firm stand during the bond scam heydays that he would not believe or listen to anybody until the Commission of Inquiry was over. I wonder whether he accepts the findings of the Commission now. If so he would not be applying the same rationalisations such as “…The UNP and its Leader managed damage control without saying a word. Ranil acted with Buddhist restraint and Uppekkha.”

In Buddhist history we have come across Devadattas who preached more advanced restraints even beyond the Buddha Desana! But all such preachers ended in the inferno of hell.

Recent columns