8.6 C
London
Saturday, April 20, 2024

SLB Update: Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s “The Conspiracy to Oust Me” – Major Takeaways (01)

By Sunanda Deshapriya.

  1. Former Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) released his first book “The Conspiracy to Oust Me from Presidency- How internationally sponsored regime change made a mockery of Democracy in Sri Lanka” on 07th March 2024. It was priced at least 10 times its print cost and was sold out. The book is in Sinhala and English languages only though Tamil is also an official language. It is addressed to Sinhalese only.
  2. According to GR’s book the three main reasons for him to come to power were 1. the Sinhalese and especially the Sinhalese Buddhists were humiliated and relegated to the second rank in their own country, 2. the country’s massive indebtedness and the deterioration of the economy 3.  the complete collapse of the intelligence and national security. Because of his resignation, “those three issues remain unresolved up to today. These unresolved issues will have to be resolved by another leader in the future. My fervent wish at this time is that Sri Lanka will find this leader soon” it says.
  3. GR’s book speaks of several categories of enemies who worked against him: Western liberal governments, foreign-funded NGOs, the Catholic church, and the Tamil and Muslim communities of Sri Lanka.
  4. “From the time I was nominated as the presidential candidate, a large section of the Tamil and Muslim people, overseas Tamil groups, foreign-funded non-governmental organizations and some countries where the overseas Tamils are settled in large numbers rallied against my becoming the President of Sri Lanka. After I became president, certain sections of the Roman Catholic Church also joined this line.”
  5. GR in his book erases multiple identities of Sri Lankan people and identifies them only by their religion or ethnicity. For example, he portrays a leading ‘Aragalaya’ (the protest movement of 2022) activist who was one of the leaders of the temporary capture of a state-owned TV station SLBC on 9th July 23 as Muslim. Most of the activists that went into the SLBC station were Sinhalese Buddhists by origin. The book has a long venomous chapter arguing that that particular activist stopped an ongoing Buddhist programme because he was a Muslim.
  6. In the same vein GR’s book portrays Cholic clergy who supported the ‘Aragalaya’ only as Catholics but not as concerned citizens. Although leading monks of three Buddhist Nikaya’s urged him to give in to ‘Aragalaya’ demands GR’s book blames only the Church for supporting the ‘Aragalaya’.
  7. Defending the appointment of a convicted torturer and an officer who neglected his duty in preventing the Easter Sunday attacks as Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), GR’s book blames the Church for opposing the appointment. “This game of racism and bigotry is now reaching a new level. At the time of writing, the Roman Catholic Church has opposed the appointment of the Acting Inspector General of Police and a group of prominent Buddhist monks have come forward to endorse the appointment. It is clear that the situation is going from bad to worse.”
  8. The vast majority of former IGPs of Sri Lanka were Buddhists but the Church has never opposed them in the past. The appointment of the present IGP has been opposed by many other civil organisations and major political parties but GR’s book only pinpoints the Church in order to strengthen his arguments against minorities.
  9. GR’s book openly blames the Roman Catholic community as a whole. “After around 2012, the divisions between the nationalist camp and the Muslim community were created through operations reminiscent of the way Roman Catholics were led in the same way in the past two years.”
  10. GR’s book is an attempt to invigorate the Extreme Sinhala Buddhist sentiments arguing that Sinhalese Buddhists have become ‘the other’ in Sri Lanka today. “The Sinhalese and especially the Sinhalese Buddhists are now relegated to the second tier. Buddhist culture, history, and traditions are again being mocked and insulted. Some monks are being insulted individually, and the Maha Sangha in general has also suffered insults. Sites of archaeological value are being targeted by various parties. Even the issue of elephants in temples has come to the fore once again. Politicians are more interested in looking after the minorities to get votes in elections rather than upholding the rights of Sinhalese and Sinhala Buddhists.”
  11. The title of the book is ‘The Conspiracy’. But there are little or no facts or even suggestions in the book about the conspiracy itself. It is a very tame narration of several events, more particularly around the ‘Aragalaya’ or protests.
  12. But he points his finger toward the Western democracies. “We see the so-called liberals waging an uncompromising and unprincipled war to maintain their hegemony over the world. Filled with notions of their moral superiority liberals will resort to anything to have their way. There was also this element in the street actions taken to oust me from the presidency. Thus, we had a toxic mix of foreign money, geopolitical interests, and notions of ideological superiority all coming together at a strategically appropriate time to achieve the objectives of certain parties in Sri Lanka.
  13. Without providing any evidence, GGR’s book bases those accusations on the usual jargon. For him, every protest is a coup instigated by someone else and not a natural reaction of the people. “By the time the war ended, even trade unions that had started as Marxist or Leftist had been turned into promoters of the international liberal agenda. This demonstrates the power these foreign powers have over Sri Lankan society. There is virtually no one that they cannot buy over; These foreign powers maintain a permanent cadre of activists to promote their agenda in this country and can at short notice deploy dozens of commentators, speakers, and writers to create public opinion in Sri Lanka; It’s a known fact that it is very easy for the foreign powers to buy influence in this country. Money is just one way of buying influence. Granting a permanent visa, giving a scholarship to the offspring of important persons, “research” grants, or even a simple foreign trip will often be enough to induce certain people to act against the national interests of their country.”
  14. GR’s book equates the 2015 electoral victory of the Ranil Wickremasinghe – Maithripala Sirisena government with him leaving the presidency. “The January 2015 presidential election and my resignation in July 2022 were two occasions when the conspirators won. The presidential elections of January 2010 and November 2019 were two occasions when the people of Sri Lanka won over the conspirators.”
  15. According to GR’s book every political action and ideology that opposed his policies are conspiracy. Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the book shows does not have the capacity or wisdom to understand the dynamics of democracy and citizens’ rights.
  16. The book aims to create fear psychosis among the majority Sinhala Buddhist community against the ethnic and religious minorities in the country. There may be takes of this divisive ideology in this year of elections in Sri Lanka but too early to predict whether the Rajapaksa family will embrace it.

Note: All quotes are from the Sinhala language version of the book.

Next: Takeaways of Failure of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and National Security

Archive

Latest news

Related news