by Nimalka Fernando
On the 4th of November 2013 I was contacted by many friends and relatives urging me to listen to Hudson Samarasinghe’s radio program on a state radio channel. I normally don’t listen to Hudson’s program because I perceive it to be low grade cheap propaganda by a producer who has self styled himself to be a wrecker of images. The words used in this program are filthy and derogatory. And it is a hallmark of the defamatory and biased political culture and tradition that Hudson represents.
A political culture and tradition which is reflected in the “inner man” within Hudson blindly following the regime and their thinking within a culture of governance which can best be described as being authoritarian. I had to force myself to listen to Hudson’s program because it involved a direct and personal attack on me.
I listened to it from around 9.00AM and could only listen to it for around thirty minutes. Only those with warped and cruel minds can continue to listen to blood curdling displays of vengeance and wrath centered on misguided hatred, misconception and misdemeanor. Even at the point at which I stopped listening to this program the producer was continuing to facilitate and encourage callers to continue on with their ideas to annihilate and assassinate me using various methods. What I did listen too painted a very grim picture of how a state radio channel can be utilized to conduct a public hate campaign, organize and conspire publically to kill me.
During this program on state radio me and “people like me” were referred to as a special breed of mosquitoes that require special methods to be destroyed. A person who identified himself retired from the army was of the view that I should be handed over to ‘cleaners maintained by Gotabaya’ as part of an operation by armed services. The connotation here implies that state machinery should be used to stifle opposing voices. How damning.
I ask myself and you the question, has Hudson’s political vision become so unfocused that he let this slip occur? Or more sinisterly is it more focused then ever? When someone implies on State radio that the state has “cleaners” for various purposes does this mean that these cleaners are used to wash off dirt from clothes, buildings, roads or wash off people? Were these the “cleaners” who washed off Lasantha , Raviraj and Prageeth? Wouldn’t you like to look at yourself in a political mirror Hudson and see that you have become the very enemy you condemned at one point; party to organized terror?
To me, this approach is very clear. State radio and state TV is being used to organize terror and stifle dissent. Callers who joined this programme in the commercial channel of the SLBC suggested that the Chairperson should continue this good work so that the “NGO gang” can be dealt with one by one up to March 2014.I remind you that in March 2014 Sri Lanka is to be reviewed by the UNHRC and the Sri Lankan government has been notified that Human Rights Defenders must be protected in Sri Lanka. Is this how the state machinery operates to guarantee that protection?
I have been involved in radio and TV talk shows before and from experience I know that these callers had a script. They made their statements on cue from the producer. They were very confident of what they said. They made no mistakes and did not stutter even for a second when they made their statements. For some reason, SLBC authorities did not realize that they were committing a criminal offence –aiding and abetting in murder punishable under whatever is left of law and order in Sri Lanka. I must say that if there is anything left of law and order in Sri Lanka, there must be proper, independent and impartial inquiry into this incident and the perpetrators must be prosecuted. Let them be brought before a court of law and be held accountable for what they said and did.
The basis for the SLBC program is a voice cut taken from another channel where it was stated that I had been sneaking about the country from 1989. This is what leads me to the conclusion that the SLBC’s political vision is crooked, personified by the very man who heads it. Hudson is actually SLBC’s mascot or brand image in crookedness because of his impaired vision into the politics of this country and our engagement. It is a shame that an esteemed state institution is being misled towards a natural disaster due to the crooked political sight of the Chairperson of the SLBC. His vision must be corrected immediately and this is my opinion on how it should be corrected.
First, ask yourself the twin questions as to why such propaganda is being propagated and why the government’s propaganda machine accuses civil society activists for not being patriotic? According to them we do not love the country and His Excellency stated that all civil society activities must be underpinned by love for the motherland. A “love for the motherland” displayed by his Excellency himself in a former Avatar that travelled to Geneva in the 1980’s and spoke against human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. He faced many challenges and threats to do so and now in a twist of fate we are at the receiving end of similar challenges by a gang with a crooked political vision calling for our elimination because we inform the international about atrocities committed by the state and the corruption spreading to all levels.
Secondly, ask yourself the question as to what is really going on in the motherland? The regime is involved in facilitating very open land grabbing around the entire island; in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Mannar, Colombo and even in Hambanthota land is being grabbed. Supporters of the regime and family members are directly involved in this. Abductions of persons and missing persons have not been investigated and addressed. More than 5000 cases of enforced disappearances, the second highest compared to Iraq in the UN system lie idle. Our friends who did not disappear have had to flee the country and live in self imposed exile due to fear of threats to their lives. Who is involved in such gangsterism? Do people who love the motherland display their affection by breaking her laws and raping her constitutional sanctity?
Thirdly, who is really betraying our country? Resources of the state television network are being utilized by a private sports channel without paying any cost for their use. Top officers in the Securities Exchange Commission left one after another giving reasons of being ‘pressured from above’. A person found guilty by the Supreme Court of the Motherland for fraudulent transactions against the state continues to holding high posts. Children of political leaders have become owners of very expensive Lamborghinis and Aston Martins. How can it be that while we are aware of the income earned by their fathers as Members of Parliament and as politicians of Sri Lanka they are able to afford such expensive cars? Are these ‘gifts from God’ because of their love for their country? Are the rest of the youth doomed to suffer and struggle to find employment going behind corrupt politicians because they don’t love their country enough? Is this why we have 19% youth unemployment?
Finally, the word and expression `loving the motherland’ has been used to benefit the Rajapakse clan and people like the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. It is a ‘Veil of Patriotism’ which hides the nakedness of their corruption. We are not bound to protect the rulers and the stooges who are dragging our motherland into disrespect internationally by their own crooked political vision. We have every right to speak about violent and corrupt practices of rulers that violate international human rights standards and norms every state as a member of United Nations have agreed to uphold.
Our country is not merely a mass of land and water. It has people and society, citizens and representatives of citizens. You cannot ask us to love our motherland while you simultaneously rape her, hide your crime with more lies and ask us to keep our mouths shut. This general mindset which you perpetuate into our society must be stopped. Look at what is happening to the women of this country. They face rape and experience sexual violence but have to remain silent due to fear of being socially stigmatized. If they expose this crime the leaders of our society will be the first to call them `bad women’. Meanwhile, people like Hudson with their crooked political vision continue to rape the motherland daily with their lies and threats of violence. They perpetuate a culture of violence and ignorance. The rulers of this country rape her every second of every minute of every hour of every day and we are called traitors and non patriotic for exposing this violent crime and Hudson continues to hide it by misleading people with his crooked political vision. Our conscience and political vision is clear. We will continue to fight against those who violate our country because they cannot see what they themselves have become.