17 January 2019
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Moral Ineligibility to be President of Sri Lanka
One of my professional friends said to me that if Gotabhaya were to contest for Sri Lankan presidency she would vote for him. I must say that I was shocked by it. Somehow, I had assumed that due to our common professional interests, my friend would reject such a person or at least not be open about it with me – someone who shared in the pain of war victims including during the 2009 battle. This lady assisted victims of Tsunami generously and on one to one individual basis – the lady is caring. What was lacking was the involvement in the ethnic issue despite cross cultural marriage within her family. I guess it is to a lesser degree applicable to Tamils unaffected directly by the civil riots – living outside the war area and time zone. It helped me read Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa through her eyes also. Those of us who recognize an ethnic problem need to have strong common base on which to feel Sri Lankan despite the problem, as registered in our own mind.
The commonness comes from ‘feeling’. Intellectual relationships are thoughts based. Last of all are emotionally driven actions and reactions. Just last week, I got cross with my husband who started doing some cleaning work that was generally my responsibility. Param made out that he was helping me but I pointed out that he was ‘telling’ me how much dust and dirt was there. My cleaning is a manifestation of my feeling for homemaking. His was emotionally driven after watching cricket and squeezing this in between, due to eustress. Param feels for his teaching work as I feel for homemaking work. Who tells whom under given circumstances depends on whether we feel, think intellectually or are emotionally driven. Emotions without feelings are extremely negative, especially because they are distracting. Hence hearsay is not accepted as evidence in a court of law.
Where we recognize that there is strong cultural divide – we need to be conscious of using common measures or our own truth. War crimes would have happened to the extent common measures/rules were not followed. The head of Armed forces was responsible to ensure that these were upheld during the war. Following is the latest report that exposes weakness in Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka:
[Dissension still reigns in the UNP over denial of ministerial perks to some MPs. National List MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka directly hit out at Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in this regard, and accused him of paving the way for President Sirisena to not appoint him in the Cabinet. Fonseka criticised the party leadership in this manner at the recent parliamentary group meeting.
Quoting the Constitution, he said the Cabinet had to be appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister. The size of the Cabinet has to be restricted to 30 under the 19th Amendment. Fonseka said that the Prime Minister had sent 35 names including his to the President instead of 30 names.
“The President got the chance to knock off five names including mine. If there were 30 names including mine, the President would have appointed all,” he said.
Fonseka implied to say that the Prime Minister only made way for the President] – Daily Mirror article ‘Gota’s announcement subdues President’s advocacy for candidacy’
The above confirms that Mr Fonseka was driven by personal outcome rather than by policy in common. That is emotional without feeling for the UNP through UNF Alliance.
The conscripted soldier in turn would have not felt bound to Mr Fonseka as leader of the Armed Forces during the 2009 war nor would s/he have had adequate knowledge of the rules to make intellectual decisions. The only way one cuts off the return karma is through truth personal to her/him. Hence the saying that all is fair in love and war. In love, you do not calculate and hence do not need laws and rules. In war – the other side is your enemy and hence you have nothing in common except after the Geneva Convention. In terms of provisions of the Geneva Convention – the Government that had the responsibility to train its armed forces is responsible and not the individual soldier. The individual soldier is protected from adverse karma when s/he acts as per her/his belief which often is through religious tenets in Sri Lanka. In the case of a militant combatant who invested in education and that investment was damaged, the true pain from such becomes her/his moral authority to damage the other side. Then any excess becomes hers/his. The paid officer in the army has to consciously follow the rules he was taught.
As per the above mentioned Daily Mirror report:
[In a further step towards subduing agitation for candidacy to the President by his loyalists, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa remarked at a function last Saturday in Colombo, that he was ready for the presidential elections if people agreed.
“I am ready if people are ready,” he said. This is the first time he directly hinted at his interest in becoming the presidential candidate. Let alone, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was widely perceived as the person tipped to be the next candidate. Against that backdrop, his remarks gave some sort of certainty to public perception. Though it is not a formal announcement, it has the intended effect- to preempt lobbying for candidacy by President Sirisena through his loyalists.
….It is not yet fully certain who would be the candidate. Be that as it may, it is reported that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has applied for the renouncement of his dual citizenship in the United States. The renouncing of a dual citizenship is a constitutional requirement for a candidate to contest for the Presidency in Sri Lanka. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, has barred dual citizens from becoming the President of Sri Lanka. He has reportedly filed his application in Washington....]
We are all governors of a place or institution by our Truth. To be eligible as per the law, one ought to have demonstrated such commitment to the applicable laws at her/his level of operation. In the case of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, he had the responsibility as Defence Secretary, to ensure that the Geneva Convention was followed in terms of the enemy – the LTTE. As an American citizen he had the higher responsibility to not be seen to be lacking in commitment to uphold global principles of war. Until he is cleared of alleged war-crimes – as a leader - Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would not be morally eligible to govern and lead Sri Lanka. In addition, as per Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution, Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has to declare that he did not act in breach of the tenets of Buddhism as stated in the Buddha Sasana. To carry Executive powers in relation to Defence, Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has to demonstrate clear knowledge of relevant sections of the Buddha Sasana in relation to war – and affirm that he did abide by such tenets.
If there are none, then the question arises as to which law applies to the LTTE? Given that majority LTTE were Hindus let us look at what Hindu tenets say ? Lord Krishna whose role in the great war was that of charioteer did not physically lead the war. Lord Krishna’s word is the Natural Law of Hindus. Lord Krishna recommended the practice of Natural Justice to those who believed in Him :
[In Mahabharatham, the head of the common family Bhishmar, was the Commander of the Armed Forces of the majority side. The minority side - Pandavar - whose side included Krishna found it very difficult to defeat Bhishmar. Knowing this, Bhishmar informed them indirectly that if faced by one who had once been of the opposite gender, he would lay down his arms and fight no longer. Shikandi was woman who in her previous life was scorned by Bhishmar and vowed to kill Bhismar – however many births were needed for it. Shikandi was born a girl and changed her sex and fought on the side of the Pandavar. Picking up the truth in Bhishmar’s message Lord Krishna advised the Pandavar to place Shikandi with Arjuna – the prince who led the minority side and at the time when Bhishmar seemed victorious – Shikandi would move in front of Arjuna. That was how great Bhishmar allowed himself to be defeated by the brave young ones in his family.
There are other such examples in Mahabharatham that lead us to a true solution against an unlawful enemy. Had the LTTE combatants followed those tenets, as per their truth, the Government forces who killed them or named them ‘terrorists’ would have been acting in breach of Article 14(1) (e) which states:
[Every citizen is entitled to – the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching;]
And their masters led by the Rajapaksa clan would have been guilty of failing in ‘assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e)’ as required by Article 9 of the constitution.
Truth transcends time and place boundaries. One who is driven by truth would be cautious of her/his negative karma from previous life / job. The current president of Sri Lanka failed to recognize the truth about his previous bosses. Hence was defeated by the side that represents the heirs (TNA) of the victims of that government led by those bosses, in the recent battle in Parliament. This will continue until penance is served.