In a country ruled like a private dominion of a family, law is administered by the will of the powerful ones. It is surprising that a lucid and bright intellectual life is still living under the brutality of such regime. In Sri Lanka words can sentence you to death. It is still quite a shock that a person of the calibre of Lasantha Wickremasunge has been killed with complete impunity: who dares to speak out his mind, really is a hero, one time more after that heinous assassination.
It is with mixed feelings that we assisted at the recent case of Franziska Jansz. On one side we horrify about the gangsterism of member of the government, who is not ashamed of threatening a journalist for a puppy. We know that in Sri Lanka words like the ones of Gotabaya Rajapaksa are heavy as lead. On the other the courage of people such the editor of the Sunday Leader, a worthy heir of her predecessor, Wickremasunge himself, gives hope that the light of free thinking is still alight, though under such menaces. But what a general despondency that freedom and justice are relegated to fight for the story of a puppy.
The Rajapaksa have turned like medieval rulers, with no sense of decency or respect for the basic rights of a modern state.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the past expressed himself with a similar thug attitude. Asked about cases of rape and other war crimes, he commented citing the example of LTTE woman cadre, who wasn’t raped ‘despite’ being very attractive. The vulgarity of such a statement, coming from the most powerful member of the government was shocking and leaved spechless.
He was talking like rape is a natural consequence for an attractive woman. His shameless remark was revealing a general attitude in the Sri Lankan the military. And his complete lack of any consideration for the women, is a clear signal that you can’t expect any protection, respect or justice about sexual crimes.
Much in the same line of the words used by one minister, Mr.Champika Ranawaka. He advised the Tamils to be quiet and don’t stir too much the waters, otherwise they should expect 100 Mullivaikal. Again, there are no words to really comment such a disgrace. First, it is a clear admission from the government that the events in Mullivaikal have been an horrible carnage. They are so aware of the magnitude and of the brutality, that they can use it as a menace.
Second they show the real objective behind the so called ‘humanitarian rescue’. The IV Eelam War was not a counter-terrorism operation, but a massive scale elimination of Tamil nationalism. True, the LTTE was the military arm of such sentiment, but the real objective was to subjugate the Tamils.
Finally you can see what is the real face of rehabilitation and reconciliation form the government: don’t move, don’t speak, pretend to be dead like your brothers in Mullivaikal. You saw what happened to them, remembers that it is a pure chance you’re alive.
In Sri Lanka, nobody really has any doubt about the intention of the government. Serial raping, ethnic cleansing and authoritarian dominance are obviously quite well known in the island. But it is so sad, almost ironic that the government has no decency in saying it explicitly in words, that members of the ‘royal’ family, or of the government patently admit and show off almost with pride, the responsibility of those crimes.
We can only whisper it now, but we are thoroughly taking notes and we are patiently registering any of this revelations.