Where did Mahinda Rajapakse go wrong for himself & the Nation?
Two stand out leaders of post-independence remains without a doubt Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike & Mahinda Rajapakse. Mrs. B was clear in her policy of non-alignment & pivotal decisions taken against western interests resulted in the creation of the JVP & LTTE movements to be unleashed as necessary. We cannot overlook the role of the Catholic Action that sought to oust her via a military coup. It is in looking back and analysing numerous incidents of post-independence Sri Lanka as well as the manner post-independent former colonies were manipulated, that we can begin to understand the odds against Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapakse faced the wrath for his decision to end LTTE, thus putting to naught decades of investments put in for a movement that was attached to many other agendas. Where he erred was in believing that with the fall of the LTTE everything would be honky dory and failure to read the signals from the statements issued by the UN/UNHRC and the Western bloc of nations that were pussyfooting the LTTE, who were not too happy about rewriting their agenda & sought revenge. Their eye-for-an-eye project was either foolishly ignored or a coterie of treacherous advisors, family, friends & fellow Ministers made sure President Rajapakse overlooked the dangers at play.
The new plan came in the form of the pivot to Asia clearly outlining what was going to be in store for Sri Lanka. The enemy works from within & externally & it is a Rajapakse folly in not being able to identify friends from foes, lacking the foresight to at least keep a tab on those that were unreliable. In taking all on board, allowing all to do as they pleased, the Rajapakse’s began to distance friends & loyalists and embrace foes camouflaged as friends. In all probability even insiders of the family would have been compromised and playing crypto roles, marking time until they received “instructions”. It is an enigma that a charismatic and street-smart leader as Mahinda Rajapakse could put his guard down and not read the writings on the wall. Dangers which could have been averted were made worse, diplomatic debacles and many faux pas began adding up. No efforts were made to mitigate or negate spiralling issues that were being tabulated for the final onslaught that came towards end of 2014 where media smear campaigns combined truths, half-truths & fake stories into a campaign that was virtually accepted by all simply because the Rajapakse camp was not interested to negate the lies & clear their name or were simply not bothered what the nation thought of them. The saving grace was the individual charisma that continues to keep the candle burning.
Post-yahapalana began immediately after the defeat of the LTTE – where it was probably decided that like Mrs B, Mahinda Rajapakse could not be trusted and had to go. The power of paid campaigns was such that even Northern voters who didn’t even know what the common candidate president looked like cast their vote just as they did for the former army commander in 2010. What commenced post 2009 using the UNHRC and diplomatic bullying, aggravated to create regime change in 2015 with international interference and intervention taking place with impunity. Post-2009 Sri Lanka was bombarded with successive UNHRC resolutions, scores of anti-SL/Rajapakse reports and surveys to discourage tourism and media campaigns in a multipronged bid to build a cohesive negative outlook about the Rajapakse rule across Sri Lanka & rest of the world. Totally ignored was the development taking place in the North & East, the return to normalcy for the people who did not fear suicide attacks & bombs. It must be noted that the West & India were in competition against Mahinda Rajapakse – befriending him to outsmart him or take him unawares using multiple players that surrounded him as pawns.
We are all aware of the treacherous Acts passed during this period and the manner that Sri Lanka’s sovereignty was weakened and made vulnerable. Unfortunately, the poor breed of Parliamentarians of all colors resulted in either watching meekly while ever ready to raise their hands to pass anything so long as they could enjoy the fruits of power. A trait the interventionists know very well to manipulate them.
All other leaders of post-independence Sri Lanka barring perhaps Mr SWRD & R Premadasa were easily inclined to peddle the western agenda. Ironically, both SWRD & Premadasa were assassinated and this is a clue and shows both to have also belonged to the “unreliable” category of leaders, the ones that the west could not afford to place complete trust in. Mrs B & Mahinda Rajapakse were the other 2 and only Mahinda Rajapakse remains & explains why he is a target of character assassinations by all those in the payroll of the interventionists.
The West/India & its intelligence agencies, development agencies, monetary agencies, diplomatic pressure groups, faith-based organizations, NGOs, media outlets especially social media & entities revamped under the UN & associated entities and went full throttle against the Rajapakse regime. Ironically, some of these heads have been placed in important positions by the Rajapakse’s themselves. With so many anti-nationals working against the nation, it is commendable that there are still a considerable number of people who are able to read through the anti-national slurs by those playing prominent roles camouflaging their vocabulary and actions pretending to be “nationalists” and “patriots”. Many of these professionals, corporates, academics, actors, actresses, cricketers etc who came forward in 2022 to represent the people are nowhere to be seen now when the country’s situation is far worse than in 2022 and we are sitting on a volcano, with no loans being paid but more loans being taken, more credit lines accepted so that the upper coterie class can enjoy life at the cost of the ordinary masses whose farmlands are being subtly taken away, who are being taxed, whose ability to earn is reducing, who cannot afford to feed their families. But for the key organizers of 2022 it is a mardi-gras and none are bothered that every tranche of IMF loan is dependent on giving up Sri Lanka’s national security, weakening the military, seeking revenge on the forces that defeated LTTE (eye-for-an-eye project), taking away our land & placing it in foreign hands partnered by the corporates that sponsored the 2022 aragalaya. The aim is to bring the people to their knees to agree to accept any terms. This is why they are hitting the people’s stomachs while ensuring enough of fuel is available for the elite!
The pre-yahapalana & then yahapalana eventually ended with Easter Sunday attacks, while we know the perpetrators, we are still baffled by the context and modus operandi behind the attacks. Even without this attack, the yahapalana PM & President knew they were on their way out and explains why towards the end of rule haphazard decisions, weakening of intel & monetary laws as well as unprecedented amounts of loans were taken to intentionally dump burden on the successors. While only a handful would have been in the know about covid, that ended up a major turning point in Sri Lanka.
Next comes the question of the extent of political deals for power & the question of handing over power as part of the deal. This is certainly giving rise to questions of whether the nationalists were fooled & taken for a ride simply to gain power and create an unconventional means to use a non-electoral methodology to hand over power to their favored poster-boy to carry-through the neoliberal objectives which got delayed during yahapalana and which are going gun-ho currently, taking advantage that MPs in Parliament wishing to cling to power & enjoy power are unlikely to go against any of the anti-national treacherous acts to which they are happily raising their hands.
Mahinda Rajapakse’s silence is surprising & noteworthy. His silence though disappointing would not diminish the status he has at national level but it would dampen his eventual exit from politics. Every leader should bow down on a high note of achievement. Unfortunately all of Sri Lanka’s leaders have failed in this respect.
Nevertheless, this island nation toils to weather all kinds of storms. Within – we have a segment of elite society who have got used to a very cosmopolitan and artificial lifestyle and are easily aroused if their comforts are impacted. Most of the elite families have their roots across the shores and those that are indigenous do not wish to strengthen, protect or preserve their heritage and are happy to do cosmetic justice by sponsoring annual events & nothing must beyond that. The majority of the majority have been victims of the capitalist open economy and the middle class amongst them are caught in debt-traps from loan sharks. The education system has been intentionally designed to ensure patriotism and nationalism are confined to lip-service at protests or in parliament & to gain popularity while the DNA of the ancestors who sacrificed life and limb to protect the nation remains embedded in a handful of nationalists who can see the writings on the wall, who are well read on geopolitics and can foresee the outcome for the nation. Their warnings go unnoticed or are brushed aside as conspiracy theories. But all that they have warned have come to pass.
At present the enemy has breached all pillars and ruthlessly dismantling the nation through Acts/Bills, academic theories, media propaganda and numerous ethno-religious groups and organizations.
Amidst all this – the politicians are living in a cuckoo land, believing that they can enjoy power so long as they raise their hands in appeasement. Little do they know, it is they who will face the eventual wrath and be the first that would not be forgiven for betraying the nation.
The younger MPs espousing a political career must realize there has to be a nation with land to be a leader – with land/energy/economic/national sovereignty of Sri Lanka at stake, the younger politicians have no future once the deals get sealed as is happening.
Can Mahinda Rajapakse set things right and do justice to those who placed their trust in him or will he join the deal makers?
Shenali D Waduge