The HR Commissioner spoke about an authoritarian state developing in this country; there is a debate as to what she meant by that. Did she mean a developing military dictatorship or something else? On the other hand President Rajapaksa ridiculed this idea, “A dictator is a ruler who does not hold elections,” the President charged at the 62nd SLFP Convention in Kurunegala on Monday, one day after Pillay had left Sri Lankan shores. There had been 11 elections held under his watch, since 2005, he claimed. “What’s more democratic than that?” he asked.
However we know that having elections with extreme distortions is a method of some dictators. For example, deposed Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein, Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak, Zimbabwe’s President for life, Robert Mugabe and President Rajapaksa’s brand new best friend in Belarus, the self-proclaimed last dictator of Europe, Lukensha, all belong on a list of autocratic leaders who regularly take their nations to the polls. Elections held under such regimes are flawed bogus affairs. In some cases they claim to represent the majority and prove it by having demonstrations and rallies where the leader participates, embracing crowds.
It is useful here to take notice of what Trotsky said of the fascist movement in Europe. “The fascist movement in Italy was a spontaneous movement of large masses, with new leaders from the rank and file. It is a plebian movement in origin, directed and financed by big capitalist powers. It issued forth from the petty bourgeoisie, the slum proletariat, and even to a certain extent from the proletarian masses; Mussolini, a former socialist, is a “self-made” man arising from this movement.”
Considering all that we could conclude that what we have in Lanka is not a formal dictatorship based on military, police and bureaucracy but a fascist type authoritarian rule based on Arya Sinhala chauvinism.
Thus the Rajapaksa regime is not just another corrupt and decadent dictatorship; it has a method and a purpose which is kept going by a matrix of political fanatics committed to a dynastic rule. They possess determination, drive, ingeniousness and discipline and they want to impose that on Lankan society. The 18th Amendment was designed to give the legal opening to create the politico-dynastic requirements of the President and his family. For the Rajapaksa regime crime, both political and non-political, depends on the identity of the perpetrators.
The members of the matrix are allowed to break any law, violate any norm, with impunity. However anything can become a crime, if done by a Rajapaksa opponent. Thus there is no rule of law in the country.
The rule of law would bar the matrix from turning political opponents into terrorists or criminals, at the turn of a word or the affixing of a label. That is one reason why the matrix hounded out Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake through a manifestly fraudulent impeachment; that is why they are continuing the witch-hunt against her even now. They want Shirani Bandaranayake to become for all judges/lawyers, a terrifying symbol of the costs of barring the ‘Rajapaksa Way’.
Selective injustice has multiple uses. On one hand the threat of being labelled and persecuted unfairly, and being attacked can be used to keep activists in eternal subjugation and silence. On the other hand it can be used to surrender and co-opt opponents. However in the long run, lack of justice would push people into rebellion. That could be used to further strengthen the existing opposition, encourage the formation of new centres of resistance and habituate the general public into participation. Several events in the recent past made people aware of the activities and nature of the matrix. One such is the attack on Mandana Ismail; the other is the visit of Navi Pillay, the UN Envoy.
For hundreds of families living in the former war zone, whose personal tragedies have been ignored for years, the fact that a high-ranking person of international influence was finally close enough to hear their cries for help, was undoubtedly an electrifying experience. “I have never experienced so many people weeping and crying. I have never seen this level of uncontrollable grief,” Pillay was to tell a Sunday paper three days later in an interview.
The fascist-style terror of the matrix is proved by the attack made on the CBEU, the union of bank workers. It worked internally to undermine the union constitution and workers’ unity. That was the punishment given to the union that played the central role in the struggle against liquidating the Provident Fund. Not only did it stall the Bank Union but also disrupted all joint union activities.