"The UNP’s Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya had said that Egypt has proved that every tyrant has his day of reckoning and therein lies the hope for those of us in Sri Lanka, who witness with each passing day, the dictatorial aspirations of the current regime. There are deep lessons for all Sri Lankans, oppressed and oppressor alike, in the peoples’ revolt that changed the course of Egyptian history, and the world, last night,’’
– The Sunday Island 13 February 2011.
This political treasure hunter Karu Jayasuriya has a short memory. But fortunately the Sri Lankan voters on the other hand have not forgotten his crooked path back and forth from one political party to the other feeling both sides to see from which side he will stand to gain more.
Jayasuriya is a political arriviste, when his political future seemed uncertain in UNP, he moved on to greener pastures blissfully happy in the cabinet of the President Mahinda Rajapakse whom he now accuses for “dictatorial aspirations “, and then when he saw the possibility of an eventual political leadership in going back to UNP, he left the Government, to become the deputy leader of the UNP.
Now he is not sure of his place in the UNP, with Ranil Wickramasinghe’s days as leader of the UNP being numbered. He has got to do another volte-face for a ride behind Sajith Premadasa. He is strangely fallen into the same bracket along with Mangala Samaraweera. The people of Matara are by now tired of the hate mongering Mangala Samaraweera, and may soon kick him out of politics from Matara. Therefore following Mangala Samaraweera’s political tactics will not help Karu Jayasuriya.
Leaving aside the political ambition of Jayasooriya who is falling in to line with the rest of the UNP “ bag pipes” Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kiriella , Jayalath Jayawardhana and Gayantha Karunatilleke all like Neros playing their violins while Rome is burning, are little concerned about Sri Lanka, but more about their own political future .
Jayasooriya may be intelligent, but he is making a fool of himself by making absurd political statements that does not give credit to his political respectability. His latest attempt to show off his knowledge of foreign affairs is his looking at the Egyptian political situation from the wrong end of his political telescope. It has no relevance at all to Sri Lanka and least of all it does not give even an oblong view to make a comparison between our President Mahinda Rajapakse and President Hosni Mubarak. Two of them both as personalities and politicians are far apart like the earth and the sky.
However it is impossible to imagine Mahinda Rajapakse as a President with “ dictatorial aspirations ” in the uniform of a tyrant. It would only be an old witch like Thisaranee who may write in similar vein. She at least has no political ambition, but desires one “miserable award” from the International Federation of Journalists, The Citizens’ Peace Award , US Freedom Defenders Award or the UNESCO Press Freedom Prize.
These awards are readily available to any citizen who writes against the government if it is trying to break away from the traditional allegiance to the West. For instance writing against the President and Government of Sri Lanka, and Cooperate with some one like the United States Assistant Secretary of State Robert O’Blake to provide anti Sri Lanka Government information for his annual report to the American Senate on Sri Lanka is a sure bet to win one of the International Awards mentioned above.
Coming back to Jayasuriya’s effort to compare our President Mahinda Rajapakse to Hosni Mubarak, it would be interesting to know what was behind Jayasuriya’s mind to make such and absurd comparison.
He may have assumed that he could fool the ordinary people- the peasants he meets during his UNP Grama Charika with a statement that Mahinda Rajapakse is preparing to be a Dictator like Hosni Mubarak to tyrannise the people, so that frightened they might vote for the UNP at the Local Government Elections, which would avoid them having to go to manifest around the Lypton Circus in Colombo like the people in Egypt around the Tahrir Square.
The caption of Jayasuriya’s article is “ Egyptian peoples revolt has deep lessons for both oppressed and oppressor in Sri Lanka”. It is very unfortunate that a man who had been silently doing his work as the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs in the Cabinet of President Mahind Rajapaksan to have called the president an “oppressor”.
The people of Sri Lanka are however behind the President and do not accept him as an oppressor. Neither do they feel that they are oppressed. If Jayasuriya means the rising cost of living that makes them feel oppressed , he should know that it is not unique to Sri Lanka and the inclement weather that destroyed acres of paddy fields and affected vegetable cultivation is also a cause for unprecedented price hikes of related consumer articles.
In his article Karu Jayasuriya speaks very highly of the largely peaceful pro-democratic protests and the pivotal role played by the military in not transferring the peaceful manifestations into a blood bath on the streets, to allow Egypt to embark on the road to democracy. He speaks of watching history being made in Egypt moved by the significance of the event to “ demand for the removal of the President Mubarak” . He adds that the young people of Egypt did not employ violence or terrorism, which he thinks is the overreaching beauty of the revolt.
Overwhelmed by the significance of the event Jayasuriya seems to be giving himself a relaxing “yell” of satisfaction saying that , “the sheer might of the Egyptian people, will be etched in the collective memory of this generation, providing hope, inspiration and comfort to the oppressed and striking terror into the hearts of politicians who seek to tyrannize over their populations throughout the world.”
Somehow all these rhetoric seems to have a relevance to the only political ambition of UNP from the day one of the announcement of the election of Mahinda Rajapakse as the President of Sri Lanka in November, 2005, which is to stop Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse from continuing to be the President of Sri Lanka.
The UNP had few progressive projects for Sri Lanka, and unable to think of any more that would interest the people they have turned to one and only ambitious for the benefit of themselves rather than for the country, which is the ouster Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse from the Presidency. Jayasuriya’s greatest joy would be doing a “Mubarak” in Sri Lanka.
He comes directly to the point in saying that, “…..People argue that Sri Lanka is no Egypt, and that the Sri Lankan president is no Mubarak. But there are parallels to be drawn here, because while they may differ in appearance, every autocrat speaks the same language, plays the very same game. “
In the uprising of the Egyptian people against its President Hosni Mubarak, following Tunisia, there are some unanswered questions. While respecting these people for the risk they had taken , there are the questions as to whether the uprising of these people against the respective regimes were spontaneous or there were certain forces behind it such as the Shiites, Religious leaders, Muslim Fundamentalists, CIA, or even Al Qaida. There had been no leadership to accept conditions to the future situation after the departure of the Dictators. What is left for the people now and how will the democracy be established ?
In Tunisia and Egypt the Dictators have left the countries, deposed by the people, but what have the people won ? Would it be a case of falling from the frying pan into the fire ? No body seems to have the answers. Jayasuriaya so enamoured by the Egyptian people’s revolt cannot help either the Egyptians or the Tunisians. Is his jubilation reciprocated in the aftermath of the uprising of the poor people in Egypt ?
The Tunisian people who were the first to have been victorious, in forcing out their President El Abidine Ben Ali are now free. But these people having no immediate plans to organise their lives in their country under the new found democratic freedom, are reorted to be fleeing the country in thousands to Europe through Italy.
Can Karu Jayasuriya who sings swansongs of freedom “ we are truly privileged to have witnessed such defining moment in modern history” understand the utter helpless situation in which these poor people now find themselves ? Who stands to profit from the end of dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt ? Will it be the poor people of these countries ?
Karu Jayasuriya quotes another one of his heroines Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi , “there is an inevitable sameness about the challenges of authoritarian rule anywhere at any time, so there is a similarity in the intrinsic qualities of those who rise up to meet the challenge”.
The wisdom filled Karu Jayasuriya adds, “ It is this common creed that binds those peaceful protestors in Cairo’s Liberation Square, the people who risk life and limb demanding freedom for Burma and Tunisia, and those of us in this tiny island clamouring for a return to the tradition of democracy and freedom”.
Poor Jayasuriya knows next to nothing of Democracy. If he know he will never say “that this tiny Island clamouring for a return to democracy and freedom”
This is what the UNP, be it through its roaming Ranil Wickramasinghe , or the catholic Jayalath Jayawardhana, or ignorant Karu Jayasuriya tells the world. That Sri Lanka under the President Mahinda Rajapakse has lost the tradition of democracy and freedom.
To what extent is it true ?
If the tiny Island he refers to is Sri Lanka he should know better that Sri Lanka is today a country with a robust democracy at its pinnacle. Our people are free. There is the free media that could criticise our President, his Government, Sri Lanka Armed Forces. There are political parties springing up like mushrooms after the monsoon rains. Everybody can organise a Political Party The Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese,and sub groups of same Communities have their own political parties..
Our people are free to follow what ever religion, speak what ever language and correspond with the government with their own language.
UN, Human Rights Activists, Amnesty International, NGOs, Tamil Nadu, Tamil Diaspora, and Bruce Fein, they can all criticise the President and the Government, make Investigations and even file criminal charges. Our Ambassadors too could be accused for all types of criminal charges for freeing our country from terrorism. Even the Tamils in the diaspora can float there own provisional government. Who says there is no democracy in our tiny Island.
Our prisons have no political prisoners, there are not torture chambers. We have free democratic elections regularly. We have a Constitution which is kept up to date with legally drafted amendments and voted in the Parliament. Our President is democratically elected for a specified period of time in Office according to the Constitution. Any number of persons can present themselves for the Presidential elections. There are the Courts of Law and Judges. How can Jaysuriya under these circumstances say we have no democracy and freedom in Sri Lanka?
Karu Jayasuriya speaks as if Sri Lanka is hell on earth for its people. He calls the people of Sri Lanka the oppressed class and says, that in Egypt people have at last found democracy and freedom after forcing out Hosni Mubarak. He is indirectly asking the people to get rid of Mahinda Rajapakse to find democracy and freedom !!!
Jayasuriya adds, “ People argue that Sri Lanka is no Egypt, and that the Sri Lankan president is no Mubarak. But there are parallels to be drawn here, because while they may differ in appearance, every autocrat speak the same language, play the very same game,”
What are the parallels Karu Jayasuriya sees between Mubarak’s Egypt and Mahinda Rajapakse’s Sri Lanka who he says though “differ in appearance” speak the” same language and plays the very same game “ ?
It is strange the people of Sri Lanka do not see it that way. They love the President Mahinda Rajapakse. They are very close to him. Unlike the President Mubarak who did not mix with the ordinary people, President Mahinda Rajapakse meets the poor people at weddings, funerals, in the temples, in the fields and invites them to his Official residence.
Let us see to what extent Jayasuriya is correct or wrong in his assertion that there is no democracy and freedom in Sri Lanka..
Who was Mubarak and what was Egypt under him ? Mubarak was an army man through out his life until he became the Vice President, in 1975.
It was when he was the Air Chief Marshall that he was appointed by Late Anwar El Sadat the President of Egypt to be his Vice President. He was schooled and trained as a military man and was not a politician who mixed with the people.
Mubarak as a Air Marshall stood outside the ordinary people . After the assassination of Anwar El Sadat in 1981, he became the President of Egypt. As the President he was also the head of the National Democratic Party.
As the President of Egypt has Hosni Mubarak any parallel to the President Mahinda Rajapakse ?
The President Mahinda Rajapakse comes from a family of politicians and he himself was the youngest Member of Parliament when he was elected to represent Beliatte in 1970, at the age of 24 years. He had been a politician through out his life. He was also a practicing lawyer. Coming from a village in the Sothern Sri Lanka he was a man among his fellow men, constantly in touch with them.
Hosni Mobarak was appointed President of Egypt after the assassination of Anwar El Sadat in 1981. As the President he became the leader of the National Democratic Party of Egypt. During the 30 years as President Hosni Mobarak was nominated four times by the Parliament as the President of Egypt and confirmed in a referendum of the people. Egyptian Constitution does not provide for multi candidates for the Presidential Elections and therefore Mubarak unlike Mahinda Rajapakse, did not have to face any elections.
Is there any parallel in the election of Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse as President and that of Hosni Mobarac nominated by the Egyptian Parliament and confirmed by a referendum as the President of Egypt ? I don’t see any.
Egypt was a Semi Republic for the most part ruled under emergency. President Hosni Mubarak helped USA to free Kuwait from Iraqi Invasion becoming a close ally of the USA . Mubarak escaped four assassination attempts. There was no free media in Egypt during his Presidency. There was a large number of political detainees, and people arrested under emergency laws languished in Egyptian Prisons.
Does Karu Jayasuriya think that the situation described above which he is free to make research and assert for himself is in any way parallel to what is prevailing in Sri Lanka ? Does he now accept that Mahinda Rajapakse is different with politics in his blood and has not arrogated into being a President, but elected by the people in proper( Westminster style) democratic methods, with a large majority of people voting for him ?
Does Karu Jayasuriya the Deputy Leader of the UNP now agree with the people who “ argue that Sri Lanka is no Egypt, and that the Sri Lankan president is no Mubarak “ ?
Does he still agree as he had said in his article, that “…….. there are parallels to be drawn here, because while they may differ in appearance, every autocrat speaks the same language, plays the very same game” ?
Hadn’t Jayasuriya been looking through the wrong end of the telescope and saw parallels with Egypt and Sri Lanka ?
And therefore doesn’t he owe an apology to the President Mahinda Rajapakse for comparing him to an incomparable?
as Hosni Mubar