Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke in his article ‘2016: The fall of a nation’ in Daily FT issue of 24 December has talked critically on some issues. I thought a response is a must.
First off, I wish to bring to the good doctor’s attention that there is no ‘Nation’ here to fall in 2016. Our leaders over the years and all of us in some way or the other have failed in that mission. That is, there is no ‘SriLankan Nation’ to fall in 2016. Maybe Dayan is thinking about the Sinhala extremists, whom he loves so much these days, and their ‘Sinhala Nation’. But then he and his fellow extremists should be prepared for the ‘Tamil Nation’ from the other side of the divide.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and their Government want to introduce a new Constitution. That’s a welcome proposition. The Constitution of 1978 has been derided and taken apart by the likes of Dr. N.M. Perera when it was introduced in the first place. Thirty seven years later, it has proved to be an utter failure. It also created and then nurtured the monstrosity of Mahinda Rajapaksa. After all these years, Dayan Jayatilleke has found that Constitution to be good. Why?
Dayan writes about Mrs. Bandaranaike, JRJ and R. Premadasa in glowing terms. Then, why did a member of the JVP want to overthrow Mrs. B in April, 1970. And why did he criticize, until very recently, JR’s excesses in the early 1980s including July ‘83? Why is he saying different things during different eras?
Mrs. B, JRJ and R. Premadasa were strong national leaders. We don’t need Dayan Jayatillake to tell us that. But all three of them, in their different eras of rule (or is it misrule?), failed to build a national consciousness. They failed to make Sri Lanka a ‘first world’ country. The abominable July 1983 pogrom happened during JRJ’s reign and Tamil separatism took the ugly and violent face of terrorism. The country suffered immensely. R. Premadasa himself was a victim in the prime of his political life. Mrs. B’s daughter lost one of her eyes. That was the legacy (unfortunately though) of these leaders. Is it that ‘nation’ Dr. Jayatilleke wants for his grandchildren?
Dr. Jayatilleke worries about the ‘Sinhala consciousnesses’. Tamil extremists like Gajankumar Ponnapalam are worrying about a ‘Tamil consciousness’. These extremists will turn the country full cycle back to the troubled decade of the late 1970s into early, mid and late 1980s. Is it what our children and grandchildren deserve?
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke is a ‘hurrah boy’ for Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is his right to be the lackey of any murderous, corrupt, racist and power-hungry mafia cum political boss. But he should not use his scholarship to cast aspersions on the good intentions of people for whom he has a pathological hatred.
I won’t agree with even a single point in his article. I don’t have the legal acumen to counter the issues he is raising.
I sincerely hope your newspaper will give room to a person in the calibre of Tissaranee Gunasekera, Laksiri Fernando or even Rajan Philips or Prof. Kumar David to counter this misguided racist rhetoric of a ‘muddled intellectual’.