DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

Why CJ commands world attention as 
Rizana dies for lack of justice
| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(January 15  2003, London Sri Lanka Guardian) It came to pass. So it was with the Rajapakse Government. The war, incarceration of General Sarath Fonseka and now the impeachment of CJ Bandaranayake. Rajapaksas succeeded in circumventing allegations of  war crimes, snatching the laurels from Gen. Sarath Fonseka for vanquishing the LTTE, scoffing the judiciary and to cap it all for wiping out a sizeable Tamil population in the name of wiping out terrorism.

Never in the history of Sri Lankan politics did leaders get away with genocide, messing about with the judiciary and the constitution which a normal democracy would not tolerate. But the recent victim of total eclipse of conscience on the part of the government  was an under-aged impoverished Muslim girl, Rizana Nawfeek , from Muttur in Eastern Province – a veritable source of housemaids for the Middle-East – who was beheaded all because no-one was prepared to pay the fees for her appeal including the President who sought clemency  from the Saudis whose blind faith in interpreting Quran literally stubbornly believe that democracy is a Western concept and does not bode well within Islamic laws.
Many more migrant workers are on death row in the Middle East and the government is doing sod-all to stop this crime against a vulnerable section of the poorest of the poor without whose remittances the country’s economy would come to a stand-still.
India, with its sizeable dirt-poor population stopped housemaids from working for the oil-rich emirs in the Middle-East. There was a Kuwaiti student who bragged that his grandfather, father and him-self systematically had intercourse with their Sri Lankan housemaid and it was his initiation into manhood!
CJ Bandaranayake and Rizana are poles apart in that Ms Bandaranayake only loses her job but Rizana lost her life due to our apathy and due to our inaction in doing more to save her life.
Yet, all hell broke loose over CJ’s impeachment. And she was the President’s plum choice for her post. Unlike Rizana, Ms Bandaranayke has legal beagles on her side. CJ is not snow-white in that she has incriminated herself in asking for favours from the President to procure a chairmanship post for her husband. She ned to come clean if this is a trumped up charge or not. Her undisclosed bank accounts and foreign remittances need further investigation to either extricate herself from charges against her or indict her.
General Fonseka too has his supporters. He was not averse to weakness of the flesh where women are concerned. This is not unusual among SL politicians since most believe their workload demands some recreation to let loose their raging male hormones.
Light refractions apart, Rizana and others who are now on death row are expendable components and once their remittances are in the Sri Lankan coffers they are forgotten and become mere statistics.
There is a simple and glaring solution and everyone who has conscience know the Rajapakse have got to go. They entered into politics through sheer insouciance of the polity and ignorance a large. And their trump card was wiping out terrorism. Tamil terrorism.
If truth be told Sri Lankans are living under the jackboot of Rajapakse regime who are riding high on the trump of national patriotism. They manage to hold onto power despite war crimes writ all over their ugly faces. All because they played the slogan of Sri Lanka for Sinhalese; an endangered species on the face of the earth.for all intents and purposes
Sinhala modaya; kavun kanda yodaya was not written in vain and Rajapaksas are exploiting the common man to back its ruthless rule come hell or high-water. But all good things must come to an end.
You can fool some people some time and some people all the time. Yet you cannot fool all the people all the time.
The myopia of this government is that it honestly believes they are to rule over Mother Lanka for kingdom to come. The sad irony is Rajapaksas’ time has come and their end is nigh. History has proven so.
President Premadasa truly believed he was the saviour of the Sinhala nation. Alas, he died an untimely death at the hands of the LTTE ironically on May Day 1993. He did not heed to the impeachment by his close confidantes such as Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake in the early nineties.
Would history repeat itself and relegate Mahinda regime to its dustbins? Let us sincerely hope so and let some leader with vertebra lead us. But for now Sri Lanka is a battered nation bereft of democracy, law and common decency and we brought this on our-selves.  Sri Lanka is ruled by thugs thanks to the support of its populace. When will we ever learn?
(The writer has been a journalist for 23 years and worked at Weekend, The Daily News, Sunday Leader and Weekend Express in Sri Lanka as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal; Washington Bureau, where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of  EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)  

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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