20 January 2019
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Review of “Revolution of the Era” by Asoka Abeygunarwardana

maithripala sirisena matara rally
How David slew Goliath or how the opposition managed the impossible despite of itself

(The translator’s job is to translate. It is up to others to review a work but in this case, my role as translator and my role as an independent citizen of Sri Lanka got admixed. Here therefore, is the strange phenomenon of a translator actually reviewing his own work)

I have never voted in an election despite the fact that it was my right and my franchise to do so. I refrained because I was not entirely convinced of the truthfulness of modern representative democracy when the word Demokratia (demos / kratos) meaning “people’s power” and direct democracy said that any citizen of a nation or community or group who wished to engage it, could participate in government.

People in my country, in general, over the last seven or so decades have rarely if ever had a chance to participate. Their only claim to civic glory was “I voted for this or that government” or “I hate this or that government because I didn’t vote for it”. In each of the dozens of elections hidden behind a much touted, oft misunderstood, definitely popular democratic façade, the new government voted itself in, riding on the short term machinations of a few individuals keenly cognizant of an individual’s worth either as a brand (saleable) or as a commodity (essential). I do not vote because history has shown me that regardless of, despite of, because of, the people’s aspirations of heaven after a given election, the politic has failed people’s power and I am not sufficiently dumb to believe that the next election would be any different from those that preceded it.

Yet, the civic conscious citizenry of the country, whether they vote or not, primarily, keep their ears to the socio-politic, the political-economic and socio-environment baseline and secondarily, look for extraordinarily ordinary fellows (not as in the derogatory way that term is used in these days but rather in terms of brothers) who are smart enough, brave enough and committed enough to engage in demos-kratos for the social, political and environmental benefit of all. They are at best reviled or at worst snuffed. Such is the madness we call this country of ours.

On the 21st of December 2014, I met such a one. On Polhengoda road. I was buying groceries. His small office and my small home share the same lane so the meet wasn’t entirely happenstance. He rolled down his window and I said “සිරා game එකක් ගහනවා කියල අරන්ච්ච්යි.”. He said “මහින්දගේ කාලේ ඉවරයි” I said, “මෛත්‍රී ගන්න එක ලෙහෙසිත් නැහැ, රනිල් ඉල්ලන එක නවත්තන්න ලෙහෙසිත් නැහැ. කොහොමද වැඩේ කෙරුවේ?” He gave me an enigmatic smile.

That man was Asoka Abeygunarwardana, the key political strategist in the multiplayer, multipart drama that brought down the supposedly invincible incumbent President Mahinda Rajapakse. In his recently published book “Yuga Peraliya” translated into English as “The Revolution of the Era” he gives us an electric commentary of the punch-by-counter punch political chess game that should keep people staring sightless, hours after the last page is read, shaking their head in wonder at how something this far-fetched could actually happen.

With a powerful incumbent with near total control of the political machinery of a country drowning in corruption, a fractured and weakened opposition and the citizenry resigned to “more of the same” subsequent to a “sure-thing” Mahinda victory, this world-shocking transition could only have happened if the key moves were made by someone with great civic aspirations and no political ones.

Asoka seems to have fit the bill to the T and as one reads through the incidents, one starts to understand the self-promotional rationale of politicians regardless of the country and becomes increasingly aware that only a relatively neutral but highly civic conscious person could have managed to engineer the enabling conditions for an opposition victory. In the immediate aftermath of the opposition victory, there were many claims made by many people as to how important their role was in bringing about the envisaged change but one realizes as one reads through the book that those claims are highly questionable. Asoka sums this up with a cliché that is nevertheless true in these circumstances “Victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan”.

He is at his abrasive and honest best in his portrayal of the battle of our times and he makes no excuse for it. Having known him for a decade and having much respect for similar honesty on the part of his father before him, this came as no surprise at all. In a heady narrative, Asoka takes us back to January 27th 2013 and the determining factor that turned the worm as it were and started the campaign and how Mahinda, riding upon a bucking, over confident bronco, charged forward on a journey towards self-destruction. Describing the aftermath of that decision, he takes us through the launch and public acknowledgement of the Pivithuru Hetak Movement (PHM) and, the simple but brilliant political strategy engineered by Asoka and Shiral Lakthilaka to bring the two nationalist forces under Ven. Ratana and Rev. Maduluwawe Sobhitha who headed up the National Movement for a Just Society (NMJS) together towards the launch of the proposal for the 19th Amendment to the constitution. He states the high regard he has for Rev. Ratana and how he single handedly wrested control of the nationalist forces from the insanity of the Bodu Bala Sena and how he managed to engineer an alliance between Sinhalese and Tamil nationalists towards a common goal. Reading like a political thriller, the story takes the reader through the political sharpness of Ranil Wickremesinghe, the role of Patali Champika Ranawaka, the betrayal of Udaya Gammanpila, the tragedy of Dayaasiri, the madness of Tissa Attanayake, the doubt of Nimal Siripala, the actions of minority parties, the astigmatism of the JVP. It barrels the reader through a campaign never started, a campaign undone, a campaign floundering, a campaign resurrected literally from the ashes. From the reason why 300 days were cut to 100 days, through manifesto before marketing, past මෛත්‍රී පාලනයක් vs Unite for Change, money vs no money, cutouts vs no cutouts, the book unravels intrigue upon intrigue, outlines failed strategies giving rise to innovative thrusts and pulls, storms before the calm and loud calls of confrontation, manipulation, confusion, conviction and sacrifice as the variously positioned pieces of this nationwide chess game move inexorably towards checkmating the king.

The incumbent used every undemocratic practice to prevent the opposition message from getting across to the people and yet, that very strategy backfired on a campaign blinded by a totalitarian ideology and an insatiable ego.

Three facts emerge from this book that cannot be contested. The first is that Maithripala Sirisena, in one of the bravest and most selfless moves in modern politics anywhere in the world, walked out of the SLFP and literally off the political ledge, with only a fleeting glimpse of vague political possibilities as his surety and thereby created by default, the force behind which an opposition could fall in line despite the fact that it was at sixes and sevens with itself. The second is the debunking of the claim that the opposition victory was due to the minority vote. The third is that the floating vote that was created by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) in 2004 gestated, matured and ripened over a decade and became the key block that swung the election in favor of Maithripala Sirisena.

Hanging over all of these political pyrotechnics, Asoka points out this significant determinant: The people were sick of Mahinda, sick of his high handed ways, sick of the misery he was unleashing on everyone through his henchmen, sick of the opposition and its weak, goalless meandering and desperately searching for a political personality that had been largely unscathed and unsullied by personal desire or personal gain and they found that person in Maithripala Sirisena and voted for him.

Yet, despite of all of that, Asoka points out that this is still a work-in-progress and that initial mistakes in the immediate aftermath of the victory have resulted in relative chaos with respect to the executive and the mandate given to parliament and whether or not that mandate is valid. Such is, when one sees the selfless collide with the selfish.

As Bobby Fisher said “Every checkmate is a stalemate at another level” and as my friend, intellectual critic and fellow debater Kumi Nesiah says “The reason why nations use Democracy as the state religion is not because it prevents revolutions through higher satisfaction but because it channels the energies of dissatisfaction into false revolutions called elections. Like any state religion, it's just another façade”. I am not able to contest those assertions either as a master chess player then nor a civic conscious a-political thinker now.

Still, all is not lost. As long as there are people like Asoka who understands the egos and manipulations of the many and the strategy to create democratic spaces that had been severely compromised in the recent past, others who hid themselves in civil society action for the people when the rulers had reneged on that promise are now capable of involving themselves directly in government through demos-kratos.

The hidden message of “Revolution of the era” is that selfless individuals can single handedly make massive changes happen if they are malleable, are not inclined to cleave to views, are willed to know truthfully not blindly, are brave enough to experience directly, are capable of stating the start of such inquiry impartially, are capable of holding its conclusion until the completion of such inquiry, are capable of stating the results of such a conclusion impartially and finally, and most importantly, are capable of understanding that the best compromise is one that makes nobody happy.



Indict former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Raajapakse for abuse of Power ! - Dr. Magha Dissanayake


It is no secret that there are enough of evidence to indict the former Defence secretary for abuse of power and violating the constitutional law of the country . The importance of such an action is to restore Democracy back in our nation which is fundamental to the process of reconciliation after a three decades of a brutal war .

It was not just one case of the Journalist Frederica Jansz had been harassed calling her a pig when asking the former Defence secretary of Sri Lanka Gotabhya Raajapakse about a puppy being brought from Switzerland , but even Senior Police Officers being threatened when they were performing their duties . The fact is in all those cases the abuse had been caught on Audio and video Tapes making them unquestionably strong evidence of corruption admissible by any court of law in a Democracy . Hence all those announcements to their supporters that the Yahapaalanaya is on a witch hunt today is a mere deception inherent to them.

The Public of Sri Lanka should understand that it is the Sinhala Majority who is mainly responsible for the Democratic concept of Good Governance, where Majority rules safe guarding the Minority rights.

What has transpired in front of the UN head office in Colombo on 7th of July 2010 was a reflection of corruption to the very letter under the previous regime of former President Mahinda Raajapakse and his brothers .

People of Sri Lanka who had voted Raajapakse out have a fundamental and a Democratic right to question about corruption , intimidation , torture and murder that said to have happened during his time of Presidency . It is not a right of his supporters to object to that in a true Democracy . What they should do is demand for free and fair investigations in to any allegations . Their demonstration in front of the Bribery commission recently holding and waving a "Hyena" flag in place of the National flag in confusion, is also a reflection of the Poverty of Philosophy of Raajapakse Supporters .

The following video clip is a testimony of the former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Raajapakse intimidating a Senior Police officer on duty .


Dr. Magha Dissanayake

Matricide: a Psychological Approach - Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge

Kotakethana murder VictimsMatricide is the killing of a mother by her biological child. It is one of the rarest of reported murders and has always been considered as one of the most abhorrent crimes (Catanesi et al., 2014). The matricidal theme has its roots in Greek mythology. According to Greek mythology Prince Orestes avenged the murder of his father, King Agamemnon of Mycenae, by killing his own mother, Clytemnestra. The Roman Emperor Nero, who ruled Rome between AD 55 and AD 68, ordered the murder of his mother Julia Augusta Agrippina. Read more...

Mahinda Raajapakse Insults the Nation of Sri Lanka !

Few months after the defeat from the Presidential Election when allegations against the former president Mahinda Raajapakse and his family started to surface, which couldn’t have happened during his tenure of course ,and the bribery commission is seriously looking in to those allegations, the former President him self came out to the public accepting that he was part of the corrupt system trying to win the hearts of his supporters again, deceiving them perhaps one last time to grab the power that he had lost.
This is a big blow to the reputation of the country in many aspects not only Internationally but most importantly for the reconciliation process of post war Sri Lanka.
Since Independence, Sri Lanka had shown to the world and it’s own people that it is a true Democracy. The universal suffrage the Sri Lankan citizens enjoy today allows a majority rule safe guarding the minority rights as in a true Democracy in theory. As we very well know the ethnic conflict that led to a brutal three decades of a war was a result of this breach of Democracy . The Military defeat of Terrorism supposed to have given a fresh start in reconstructing the structures and the bridges that hold and connect the ethnic minority again with the Majority and build solidarity with each other as a nation with mutual trust and respect .
It now appears that Mahinda Raajapakse tenure is nothing but deception of the whole nation, questioning the sincerity what the constitution outlines , of a Majority rule safe guarding minority rights if Mahinda Raajapakse had been elected to his previous two terms by the overwhelming Majority Sinhala votes . In 2005 Presidential election Mahinda Raajapakse won by a small margin since Tamils of the North couldn’t vote as he bribed LTTE to stop them voting . In 2010 Presidential election the majority of the Tamil votes were casted to the common opposition candidate and Raajapakse claimed a overwhelming support from the Sinhala Majority .
After the Last Presidential election in January 2015 he and his supporters blamed the minority for their defeat .Today Raajapakse who acknowledged being corrupt openly ,doesn’t want to be prosecuted for being corrupt ,but wants to come back to power to rectify his mistakes . Why do the minority of our nation trust him in the first place or even most of the Majority Sinhalese if they have common sense ?
Mahinda Raajapakse had insulted this Buddhist nation in his recent speeches delivered in Buddhist Temples, that under his leadership as the Executive President of the country he had allowed corruption to happen by the Ministers he appointed to his cabinet.
This is a matter to be investigated in a true Democracy and he should be summoned to the Bribery commission in the first place to identify the corrupt Ministers and secondly be charged for violating the oath he had taken to protect the constitution of the country.

Magha DIsanayake 

These Jokes Are For Intellectuals Only. The 5th One Had Me Confused!

albertI love a good smart joke, even if they sometimes take me a minute to figure out. Here’s my favorite 20:

It’s hard to take kleptomaniacs and puns seriously. Why? They take things literally.
What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?
Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender asks “Do all of you want a drink?” The first logician says “I don’t know.” The second logician says the same. The third says “Yes!”
Einstein, Newton and Pascal are playing a rousing game of hide and seek. Einstein begins to count to ten. Pascal runs and hides. Newton draws a one meter by one meter square in the ground in front of Einstein then stands in the middle of it. Einstein reaches ten, uncovers his eyes, and exclaims “Newton! I found you! You’re it!” Newton replies “You didn’t find me. You found a Newton over a square meter. You found Pascal!”
A mathematician and an engineer decided they’d take part in an experiment. They were both put in a room and at the other end was a naked woman on a bed. The experimenter said that every 30 seconds they could travel half the distance between themselves and the woman. The mathematician stormed off, calling it pointless. The engineer was still in. The mathematician said “Don’t you see? You’ll never get close enough to actually reach her.” The engineer replied, “So? I’ll be close enough for all practical purposes.”
A Roman walks into a bar and asks for a martinus. “You mean a martini?” asks the bartender. The Roman replies, “If I wanted a double, I would have asked for it.”
Another Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says “Five beers please!”
A logician’s wife is having a baby. The doctor hands the baby to the dad. His wife asks if it’s a boy or girl. The logician replies “Yes.”
Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting in a cafe revising his first draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, “I would like a cup of coffee please. No cream.” the waitress replies, “I’m sorry sir, but we’re out of cream. How about with no milk?”
Boy I tell ya, entropy ain’t what it used to be.
How do you tell the difference between a plumber and a chemist? Ask them to pronounce unionized.
Why do engineers mix up Christmas and Halloween? Because Oct 31 = Dec 25
Noam Chomsky, Kurt Godel and Werner Heisenberg walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other and says “Obviously this is a joke, but how can we tell if it’s funny?” Godel replies “We can’t know that because we’re inside the joke.” Chomsky says “Of course it’s funny, you’re just telling it wrong.”
Pavlov is at a bar enjoying a pint. The phone rings and he shouts “Oh! I forgot to feed the dog.”
Helium walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve noble gases here.” Helium doesn’t react.
Shrodinger’s cat walks into the bar and doesn’t.
A buddhist monk approaches a burger foodtruck and says “make me one with everything.”
A Higgs Boson walks into a church. The priest says “We don’t allow Higgs Bosons in here.” The Higgs Boson replied, “Well, without me, you can’t have mass.”
A programmer’s wife asks him to pick up a loaf of bread and, if they have eggs, get a dozen. The programmer comes home with a dozen loaves of bread.
There’s a band called 1023MB. They haven’t had any gigs yet though.



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