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The New Opium And Its Addicts

| by Tisaranee Gunasekara
“…people’s stupidity and people’s good intentions influence events no less than do the
necessities of the economic struggle.”
Czeslaw iloz !The Captive ind"
! #une $% &'$(% Colombo% )ri *anka Guardian" +efence authorities have suspended paying
disabled soldiers their salaries .
These soldiers became disabled , and therefore unemployable - because they fought in the
.elam /ars. 0ccording to 1a2apaksa logic% these are 3/ar 4eroes” and 35atriots’. 0nd they
have been deprived of their monthly salaries% on which many of them , and their families ,
would have been dependent.
6t is hard to believe that any army official would have taken such a potentially controversial
decision without the knowledge7approval of ahinda 1a2apaksa% the inister of +efence and
Gotabhaya 1a2apaksa% the )ecretary to the inistry of +efence.
6n a free country this would have been headline news and a main sub2ect of commentary. 6n a
country which takes the rhetoric about war heroes and patriotism seriously% it should have
caused an outpouring of outrage.
6n 1a2apaksa )ri *anka neither happened. This was not news8 and there was no outrage.
.ventually &9& disabled soldiers% representing the interests of around :''' disabled colleagues%
had to seek 2udicial intervention. They have filed a case in the 0ppeal Court against the
government’s decision to suspend their salary payments. They argue that according to military
regulations% their salaries must be paid until they reach the retirement age.
The lawyer representing the army commander has asked for time. ;ow that the news is out%
perhaps the 5resident will 3intervene’. 4e might do his 3<night .rrant’ act% and ride to the
rescue of the 3soldiers-in-distress’. Then the soldiers can withdraw the law-suit and write a
letter thanking the 5resident. The letter will be given the widest possible publicity. =nce the
crisis is defused% the order may vanish into that state of limbo where most Commission reports
and presidential promises repose.
*ast week% the authorities confirmed that >rigadier +eshapriya Gunawardane% of /eliweriya
and /hite ?lag ignominy has indeed been presented with a diplomatic appointment. The
military spokesman tried to e@cuse this ine@cusable measure by arguing that the posting was
not a promotion for the >rigadier’s conduct in /eliweriya8 but a reward for his war-time
services .
=rdinary disabled soldiers are deprived of their salaries% for their wartime services8 >rigadier
Gunawardane is given a diplomatic promotion% for his wartime services.
0ccording to The )unday Times% a bipartisan resolution has been presented to the A) Congress
asking the =bama 0dministration to Bplace restrictions on the entry to the Anited )tates for
anyone it identified as responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity” in )ri *anka.
The /hite ?lag incident% if true% would definitely fall into the category of war crimes. 0nd if
the account in The Colombo Telegraph is accurate% the fingerprints of all three 1a2apaksa
brothers are prominent on the crime scene.
>asil and Gotabhaya 1a2apaksa are A)-*anka dual citizens% who travel to their homeland-of-
choice Cuite regularly. 6f the resolution is carried and implemented% it will have a very direct
impact on both of them. <eeping >rigadier Gunawardane happy would thus be an important
consideration for the 1uling )iblings.
The war-winning army commander% General )arath ?onseka% is also seeking 2udicial
intervention. 4e has filed a case in the 0ppeal Court% against the A+0 for illegally taking-over
his land. The plot was given to him in &''9% as per a government decision to award land to the
three war-winning service commanders. /hen Gen. ?onseka fell from grace% the A+0 seized
his land. B6t is an illegal takeover.
/hen a land is taken-over the owner must be informed and compensated. ;one of that was
done. The +efence )ecretary took over this land using his limitless powers%” the former army
commander said .
6f these three incidents do not make )inhalese and especially )inhala->uddhists understand the
real nature and purpose of 1a2apaksa patriotism% nothing will.
0ristotle cautioned% B0 tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion.
)ub2ects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler who they consider to be god-
fearing and pious” .
This is true of patriotism as well% where it is accorded a religious veneer.
3>lood-and-faith’ patriotism is the political religion in 1a2apaksa )ri *anka. The 5resident
often e@horts young people to be faithful to the motherland% once% twice and thrice. 0nd in this
political religion% the 1a2apaksa brothers are the prophets and the popes.
0ccording to media reports% a presidential election might be held in late &'$( or early &'$D.
The 3blood-and-faith’ patriotism will be a key component of the 1a2apaksa electoral platform.
That electoral platform cannot be dismantled without e@posing and debunking the patriotic lie
which is at its very core.
>oru >ala )ena
The >>) is at it again. 0t a sparsely attended incendiary demonstration in >adulla some of the
>>) stalwarts attacked a young boy% 3accusing’ him of being a uslim.
6f the >>)7#4A7>;5 stalwarts are serious about their patriotism% they should have organised
demonstrations in support of the disabled soldiers who have been deprived of their livelihood
by the defence authorities. >ut their allotted tasks are otherwise. The >>) is trying to incite
anti-uslim hysteria8 perhaps the 1a2apaksas think that anti-uslim politics is the way to
;arendra odi’s heart.
The #4A and the >;5 have started screaming against the $Eth 0mendment% predictably .
.@pect them to wallow in 3$Eth 0mendment is separation’ madness% so that ahinda 1a2apaksa
can lay claim to 36 am the oderate% keeping the fanatics at bay’ title% again.
6n .urope% humanist thinking paved the way for democratic politics. The freeing of man from
the divine paved the way for his political liberation. +emocracy would have been impossible
without the 1enaissance and the .nlightenment. 6n 1a2apaksa )ri *anka we are witnessing an
antithetical process.
The 3blood-and-faith’% 3otherland first% second and third’ political religion is becoming as
compulsory as 6slam is in )audi 0rabia. Those who refuse to accept its monstrous tenets or
Cuestion its hypocritical workings risk being condemned as heretical traitors.
0nd its primary tenet is loyalty to the 1a2apaksas.
+epriving disabled soldiers of their salaries is no bar to this religious patriotism8 condemning
the 5resident and his brother for this rank in2ustice will be.
Amberto .co pointed out% B?or Ar fascismF.individuals as individuals have no rights% and the
5eople is conceived as a Cuality% a monolithic entity e@pressing the Common /ill. )ince no
large Cuantity of human beings can have a common will the *eader pretends to be their
interpreter. 4aving lost their power of delegation citizens do not act8 they are only called on to
play the role of the 5eople” .
6n the Tiger’s shadow% 3Tamil people’ were everything% while flesh-and-blood Tamils% men%
women and children% were nothing. 5erhaps nothing symbolised this condition than that
civilizational horror which the Tigers reserved for their own people , forcible child
)imilarly% in the 1a2apaksa-country% 3/ar-4eroes’ are everything% while individual 3war
heroes’% soldiers who actually waged the war% are nothing. The 35atriotic 5eople’ are everything
while individual *ankans !including )inhala->uddhists" are nothing.
*ittle wonder that a Tiger leader like <5 can transform his allegiance to the 1a2apaksas.
aking ordinary )inhala->uddhists see through this giant 1a2apaksa hoa@ is a sine-Cua-non for
defeating the 1a2apaksas at any imminent national election.
E. httpG77www.sundaytimes.lk7$('D&D7columns7resolution-in-us-congress-to-punish-lankas-
D. 5olitics
:. httpG77www.ceylontoday.lk7D$-:DE'I-news-detail-nff-2hu-against-full-implementation-
J. .ternal ?ascismG ?ourteen /ays of *ooking at a >lack )hirt