As we exist in this self-burying motion
Two days before the Presidential Election, Dayan Jayatillake (a government propagandist who has managed to cover that fact with over-intellectualism) wrote “So the line-up is clear: our enemies the Tamil Tigers want a certain outcome and in this their views seem to converge with some elements in the West who wanted us to stop the war. The choice before the Sri Lankan voter is also clear: do we line up with the overseas based Tamil Tigers and pro-Tiger tendency of the Tamil Diaspora, as well as those elements in the West who wanted us to stop the war before Prabhakaran and his army were defeated and destroyed? Or do we line up with and defend that leader whom the Tamil Tigers want to see ousted?” … This argument was effective, and that was because the election was about the war. What the UNP failed to do was to make it about something other than the war, about media freedom, or the fight against corruption, or the fight against nepotism, or finding a political solution to the ethnic conflict. They should’ve made people believe that corruption and murders and kidnappings and malfeasance and misfeasance could not be justified under the guise of war vicory. They tried their best, and yet they failed… Over the last few years, the government’s propaganda machine, led by Wimal Weerawansha, has successfully debilitated not only the UNP, but also the JVP by branding them as traitors. When they came together to defeat this authoritarian government, it managed to portray them as an out of touch, unholy political alliance. When Sarath Fonseka joined them, it managed to brand him too as a traitor. One thing is clear, the government’s propaganda machine works. Otherwise, how could a man like Weerawansha portray a war hero who had sacrificed more to this country than he ever will as a traitor and a betrayer? …. This made people suspect that this “Deveni Meheyuma”, or the “Second Offensive” of Fonseka, would pave the way for the Tamil Tigers to turn back the military victory they achieved. Even if they trusted Fonseka, they didn’t trust the UNP which backed him. In their eyes, the UNP was the direct representative of those elements in the West who wanted them to stop the war. The majority of people in any country are conservative. They were reluctant to take a risk… The General Election in April will be the last election about the war. But even after that, the government propagandists will try their best to make every election an election about the war, a choice between traitors and patriots. The UNP shouldn’t allow that. They should attack back with full force, and make the people understand that crimes and murders aren’t justifiable under the guise of war victory or international conspiracies. Especially, Wimal Weerawansha needs to be attacked. I don’t mean character assassination. It’s his politics that should be attacked. Strong counter-arguments should be made against every argument he makes… Right after the Presidential Election, I wrote that Ranil should resign. But now I think he’s the best leader the UNP can have right now, simply because he offers the people a crystal clear alternative. The country exists in a rocking, self-burying motion, and the government is on a path to self-destruction. Threatening the chief prelate of Malwathu Viharaya doesn’t sit well with most of the devout Buddhists. Arresting Sarath Fonseka was bad, vengeful politics, no matter how hard the government tries to make it look otherwise. The disappearance of Pradeep Ekneligoda isn’t helping the government either. Trying to seal off the Lanka Irida newspaper was even worse. The problem the government is facing now is that they don’t have a war to sell, and it is hard to use the war they ended to cover their crimes. This I think is Ranil’s chance to emerge as the only hope of democracy… Right now he’s doing one thing right. He’s swiftly aligning himself with the Mahanayakes. Perhaps this is the only way for him to get rid of his traitor image. If he wants to seem like a patriot, first he should seem like a true Buddhist. He needs to look intellectual, and not try to shout like other politicians, because when he does that, he looks weak and ridiculous. He needs to control his voice, speak slowly, and give a lot of thought to every word he utters. He needs to show some emotion, look genuinely disturbed by what’s happening in the country, and explain to the people why he believes what he believes.