06 October 2010

Article: Promoting Tyranny

Tisaranee Gunasekara, a Colombo-based journalist, is the author of an article titled "Promoting Tyranny" that was first published on 3 October 2010 (and apparently re-published on 4 October) on the website of the Sri Lankan newspaper "The Sunday Leader".

The full text of the article can be read free of charge here:


Excerpts: "[Sri Lankan] President Mahinda Rajapaksa's speech to the UN General Assembly [...] opined that international humanitarian laws should be changed to give states carte blanche to combat terrorism. The Rajapaksa proposal would normalise excess and enable sovereign states to act as they wish, unconstrained by laws and norms, against whomever or whatever they designate 'terrorist'. [...] And in this anti-democratic world, the Rajapaksas would be able to pursue their dynastic agenda, with total impunity. The Rajapaksas [...] face little or no impediment nationally to their single-minded pursuit of absolute and long term power. [...] Being cognizant of the Rajapaksa proposal is important not because the international community will accept it but because it demonstrates the endemically tyrannical nature of the Rajapaksa vision and mission. [...] The successful transformation of a democracy into a family oligarchy requires the creation of a new value system with absolute, unquestioning obedience of the ruled to the rulers as its leitmotiv. Those citizens who refuse to abide by this cardinal rule will be ostracized from the national community. In the present national and international climate what better epithet to justify such persecution as that of terrorist? [...]

"The regime moves with ruthless efficacy against any opponent or act of opposition it deems effective, the incarceration of [former opposition presidential candidate] Gen. Fonseka and the persecution of a printing press owner and his family for printing a poster comparing the President to Hitler being the latest cases in point. The Rajapaksas tend to justify their anti-democratic policies and deeds by flavouring them with nationalistic and patriotic rhetoric. International humanitarian norms are castigated as imperialist constraints on Sri Lanka's right to defend herself and her people. [...] Lofty words hiding an ignoble reality; the regime while incarcerating 8,000 ordinary Tamils as [Tamil] Tiger suspects is treating as estimable guests known Tiger leaders [...]. The real criterion therefore is not whether one was a Tiger or not but whether one is willing to support the Rajapaksas or not. Life can be pleasant for those who are willing to submit to the Rajapaksas and exceedingly unpleasant if not downright dangerous for those who are not, as the curiously similar fates of the 8,000 Tiger suspects and the Army Commander who defeated the Tigers clearly indicate. When national interest is equated with Rajapaksa interest and patriotism with loyalty to the Rajapaksas, any opponent of the Ruling Family can be deemed a terrorist and a traitor and treated as such."

Although not mentioned, it stands to reason that the article was also published in last Sunday's print edition.

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