August 30, 2007



By Indrajit Samarajiva 

I’m no particular fan of Mangala. For one thing, he was vital to getting Mahinda elected – a cardinal sin in itself. However, one thing he does have is political courage, catalyzed by expediency. People that do not have political courage – and who have disappointed me greatly – are the crossovers like Prof Peiris, Karu Jayasuriya, and Milinda Moragoda. I don’t know the former, but I used to have some faith in Milinda as a young person, but now I don’t. If he can join a government that evicts its own citizens and spends our retirement money on cars and corruption, then he’s no leader of mine. It is obvious that this country needs a vocal opposition to check the tyrannical and corrupt presidency. Some politicians are standing up and some are selling out, and they’re not the ones you’d expect. Milinda Moragoda is a sell-out. For all his talk of honest politics, when this country most needs an opposition he has abandoned us. Mangala is an opportunist, but at least he is here when his country needs him, not on water-carrying jaunts abroad. Forget the cross-overs and long live the Opposition.

To Start

The country is going to pot. People are poorer, deader, and less free. Not because of the war, but because the war is being fought by corrupt morons. You cannot ask our youth to bleed while your family is bleeding the coffers dry. It’s mixed metaphors. The Rajapaksas are the most corrupt and feudal family to rule Sri Lanka, and that’s saying a lot. They fund airlines, vanity NGO projects for Namal, practice large-scale graft from EPF/ETF money and generally behave like mafia. They are leading this country in the wrong direction, specifically, away from the moral and wealthy state that Sri Lanka can be.

The Cross Overs

Ranil Wickremesinghe is a poor leader of the UNP. He can’t hold a baby or a convincing press conference, though he would be a good CEO. Like JR, he thinks if he just hangs around long enough, power will fall into his lap. Maybe it will, but the country needs some stability now. I’ve worked for Ranil’s campaign and the people around him are idiots. Loyal, but deeply incompetent. Malcompetent even. Total obstructive hacks that can’t mount a decent poster campaign or find a photo where Ranil doesn’t look like a child molester. In the face of the stagnation of the UNP it’s tempting to leave, but going to this government is, IMHO, unconscionable.

This is a crucial moment in Sri Lankan history. Mahinda is not a leader like Premadasa who inherited disaster (two rebellions) and dealt with it in brutal but effective ways. I’m cribbing this from a friend, but Mahinda inherited peace and prosperity and is actively messing it up. He destroyed the peace process with the promise of future gains, but the only real gain is generational wealth for his family. With my money. With our money, and our lives. Now he’s captured a hill in the east, but at the cost of countless lives, tons of treasure, over 600,000 displaced (total), control of Sri Lankan airspace, international support, and our very status as a moral democracy. Perhaps there is a military way out, but at the least this corrupt Rajapaksa family needs some checks and balances from a functional Parliament.

That’s why the SLFP (M)/UNP alliance is so hopeful. Perhaps the monolith of Ranil and movement of Mangala can check this corrupt President before life in this country gets much worse. We are printing money and recruiting youth for a war that has no end in sight. And it’s not Thoppigala. When we get the police state off the streets of Colombo, displaced people (tsunami and war) in homes and the Rajapaksa hands out of my pockets then that’s progress. Everything else is just panadol for the people. We need something real, we need something with integrity, and we need a government that delivers a better Sri Lanka. We need an Opposition and we need politicians with courage. I once thought that Milinda Moragoda had that, but he doesn’t. Milinda Moragoda and all the cross-overs are just sell-outs. The only people really standing up are Mangala and the JVP, oddly enough. In these times I guess you take what you can get.


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