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The mysterious lady who knelt at the President’s feet and related a tale

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by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP

Last week, I was told, a mysterious lady approached the President while he was at a funeral, knelt at his feet, and came out with a terrifying story. The person who told me the story evidently thought of the lady as she who must not be named, but she was nothing like the fictional character who could not be named. Young and rich and beautiful, I believe she had long raven locks and sparkling dimples.

The story she had to tell was however a sad one, for it was a tale of betrayal. The President was told that the previous night, at the dinner given by the Indian High Commissioner, at least one senior member of his Cabinet had joined with the Indian Parliamentary delegation in criticism against him

My interlocutor thought this upsetting news, whether it was true or not. If it was true, it would explain why the President has not moved forward in accordance with his Manifesto, since obviously he would be worried about being criticized on all sides if he took steps that were controversial. If it was not true, the matter was more upsetting, because it indicated that there were those he trusted who were deliberately creating doubt about the next tier of leadership in the party. And that of course is how many seemingly solid governments have collapsed.

Not going to funerals generally, and not certain of the identity of the mysterious dimpled young lady, I was not sure what to think. But that evening I was reminded of a similar incident that had taken place several months ago, when once again our ambassador in Paris had been under threat.

On that occasion, it had been reported, by a Cabinet Minister it seemed, that Dayan had joined with an Indian politician in criticism of the government. The story which I had heard only in a vague form at the time had struck me as preposterous, because Dayan has never made any bones about his views, and they have always put Sri Lanka and its interests first. Like his adored boss, the President, he believes that others are friends but India is a relation – and that is why we are all so sad, whatever the reasons, that India not only voted against us in Geneva but also made a statement that allowed countries less single-minded (or more sensible) than the United States to co-sponsor the Resolution; but Dayan is also clear that, even for relations, one should not sacrifice oneself, even though one should be sensitive about their concerns.

What had happened way back last year in Paris is that Dr Karan Singh, with whom a meeting for the Minister in question had been arranged, had asked that a message be conveyed to the President, namely that the Indian government was under a lot of internal pressure from politicians in Tamil Nadu, and it would be good if the President would move quickly on his commitment towards implementation of the 13th Amendment. Dayan had then it seemed chipped in to the effect that he himself believed in implementation of the 13th Amendment, but it was also important that India make sure the TNA worked on the basis of that Amendment and did not demand things in line with previous LTTE and current TGTE requirements.

Far from the Minister having conveyed the message to the President – which might have helped in making clear the urgency of Indian concerns, since this was a message from one of the most distinguished friends of Sri Lanka who had a long history of association with Lakshman Kadirgamar – instead the Minister signed a damning indictment of Dayan. I cannot believe he wrote this himself, since it was in polished English, which I suspect only Prof Pieris in the Cabinet can match. But it would certainly not have been Prof Pieris, who admires Dayan though he may not always feel strong enough to speak up for him, who would have engaged in such duplicity.

There was no young and rich and beautiful lady in Paris at the time, so it was obviously not the same person involved as in the incident at the funeral. But there does seem here to be at the very least a congruence of interests in those who wish to undermine the President’s confidence in those who have been pillars of strength to him in the past. Had the President been persuaded to dismiss his best ambassadors – and I am told that newspaper editors had confidently been assured that this would happen – and also ceased to work together with the established leadership of the SLFP, it would be easy for those who are anxious for regime change to achieve their aims. If that happens, as we have seen in Libya for instance, those who have practiced duplicity on behalf of a leader who is to be changed are the first to start practicing duplicity against that leader, and on behalf of the new authorities, when change occurs.

That is not conceivable of Dayan, that is not conceivable of the SLFP leadership that is moderate to a man, but also deeply patriotic – as for instance we noted when the General Secretary of the SLFP resisted the efforts of the duplicitous branch of the US State Department to suborn him. They are generally in favour of proceeding with the 13th amendment as pledged by government, but they would also work positively towards developing substitutes for any elements that are worrying in a changing world. The point is to address the concerns that led to the 13th Amendment, without creating further concerns. In discussions with the TNA I found their leadership quite prepared to work on this principle, in accordance with the Constitution, though obviously extremists on both sides would prefer to emphasize the points of contention rather than the many areas on which agreement would be so easy.

But if our efforts to reach consensus are going to be undermined by efforts to sow distrust amongst members of the government, and with regard to the most able public servants we have, then we will certainly have problems. I have no idea how we can find out the identity of the raven haired young lady and question her in the presence of the Ministers she criticized. But surely it will not be difficult for the Ministry of External Affairs to conduct an inquiry, with the support of the Minister whose name was used, into the effort to denigrate Dayan. That may open up a can of worms, but it is better to do that than to keep allowing them to be used as bait to entrap us all.

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  1. Utter damp squib.When i saw the word ‘terrifying’ a chill went up my spine and i immediatly started reading with saliva drooling down my chin,thinking of a secret blood bath somewhere.’Terrifying’ indeed.If the good professor considers that as ‘terrifying’i wonder what he will call what the civilians went through in the last part of the war.Mahinda would have yawned,because he would have already known about all this backstabbing,because for more than 40 years he would have gone through this and survived.Or did he get so ‘terrified’ that he brought in extra security and telephoned gota to send the white vans?

  2. If you work for the President you need to leave your brains at home and only nod your head in unision. That might earn you a doctorate or two and a ministerial portfolio.

  3. An intriguing story with double and triple twists, something in between a James Hadley Chase mystery plot and Alice in Wonderland!

    What is unmistakable and undeniable is the tone that this academic takes when he speaks about the “President” as if he is something close to “God”
    Now that we are in the context of Gods clashing namely the Dambulla incident where politicians and monks are being what Prof. Sinha would call betrayal mode…of the supreme nation and fully patriotic, no doubt an euphemism for Sinhala/Budhist nationalism for our professor.

    If this is the position someone who is educated and an academic is taking it is not surprsing that oridianary uneducated peasants have seen “sun gods” in our political worlds.

  4. This coalition government is a mixed bag of good and bad people. The responsibility for constitutional reform, reconciliation and social and economic development, including dealing with the UN resolution must be entrusted to those who have the conviction and capacity to think in the long term interest of country and all its people. This is what people in Sri Lanka as well as friends of Sri Lanka abroad expect the government to do. If they don’t they will pay a heavy political price. Clearly commitment,courage, professionalism and self confidence are lacking, paving the way for regime change which is even worse for Sri Lanka – this is historical experience! Dayan has provided an excellent analysis and way forward for Sri Lanka.

  5. The Professor is showing clear signs of paranoid schizophrenia while paying ultimate respect at the feet of our President.

  6. He seems to have missed his vocation. He should instead be writing mystery novels. Prof think about it seriously.

  7. Yes the paranoia of the Rajapakse Bros. and supporters is infectious! The paranoia of Gota the Great against whom allegations of white vanning an other such charming activities are mounting, and who is now rounding up slum dwellers in Colombo as if they kidnapped Premakumar, is very infectious! Basil meanwhile is worried about regime implosion rather than explosion..
    The Macbeth like paranoia with rumours of betrayal and palace coups are seeping into all quarters of the regime and its sycophants like poor old Rajiva who has clearly lost the plot..!

  8. “The Professor is showing clear signs of paranoid schizophrenia while paying ultimate respect at the feet of our President”

    These Prof’s and DR’s when working for MR regime, their only duty is to coverup and spin doctoring the truth which is detrimental to the regime.

    Their talent is wasted in negative functions. If they want to do anything good to the society, they have to be independant.

  9. The Country Sri Lanka belong to all its people. The 20 million owners of this Country elect one person to lead the Country or manage the resources for the benefit of the People who elect him for 2 terms…a period of 12 years… within that period the elected, addressed as the PRESIDENT of Sri Lanka, is given by a document called Constitution, both the freedom & opportunity to use all the resources of the Country and skills to fulfill all his pledges or few and to maintain his dignity and of the Country and bow down at the end of the period into retirement paving the way for a new BRAND (person) out of the 20 million to lead the Country once he or she gets elected by the popular vote.This had been and is the Practice of the Civilized Democratic world to maintain peace & equality…that is how a Black became the President of the USA…this accepted norm ended the Rule of Monarchs in many countries and in Sri Lanka 200 years ago.

    But now instead there is another kind of species has evolved who do not want to give up once elected who manipulate all the resources & freedom given by the Constitution of the Country to stay in power until death. They are called DICTATORS..these creatures display habits of ancient Kings…extremely resentful to Criticism on anything that personally belong to them…they do not trust anyone other than their siblings…and yearn for cheap popularity…They are prone to Gossip because of this anxiety. They also have a new trait in them that the Ancient Kings did not resort to ( they did not have to )..this species is very very deceitful and always behave to please people..

    Prof Wijesinghe…President need not worry about what others say to act as the Power is vested by the Constitution to rule the Country until 2016.. IF HE IS SUCH A WORRIED PERSON ABOUT CRITICISM OF HIS OWN COLLEAGUES AND ACT ON GOSSIP HOW DID HE AMENDED THE CONSTITUTION WITH THE 18TH AMENDMENT WHEN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY THAT APPOINTED HIM WAS AGAINST IT ? Is he not meddling with the JUDICIARY ? is he not worried about what the people say… He used the power vested in him by the Constitution to do all that…did’nt all of you justified his actions against criticism on those ?

    Therefore your lamentation of a possible collapse of a hi..hi…hee..a SOLID GOVERNMENT is another deceitful statement ..it is the collapse of the PRESIDENT that he and those who are close to him are worried about.As such he does not want to make decisions as the Executive of the Country that makes those who carry him unhappy which would shake the Foundation ensuring the ultimate collapse of him….NOT THE COUNTRY…

    The Constitution of the Country is a powerful enough to GOVERN or RULE for a person who is Democratic and abide by the LAW…after all it is a temporary assignment for 12 years..

    Do I sound like MALLEY POL PROF..

  10. Openly his brother says that Minister ? Mervyn Silva cannot be disciplined by the SLFP central committee but only by the President…everyone knows about Duminda Silva…about Rtd. Gen Sarath Fonseka…the white Van syndrome..the War Crimes..the people who appointed him look for answers and that vacuum gives ample room for Gossip and he takes action against media or people that makes such statements.
    Instead IF the President firmly acts in order to correct the problems as the Executive of this Country answers to all these things could be found…but that will cost him his Dynastic Objectives…he has forgotten that is only 2 terms that a President in this Country given to enjoy that position and by his action he has prevented anyone in his Party or outsider coming into Power…SO GOSSIP TAKES THE WINGS THAT ULTIMATELY CONFUSE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY…..WHO IS TO BE BLAMED ?

    Those who sow will reap…..by Lord Buddha

  11. lion,
    You are right on spot. Rulers come and rulers go. From the ancient times..say since Ravana how many type of rulers we have encountered in history? Ravana to start with said to have been a perfect King in every respect. He possessd everything that a ruler could wish for including a defense system that even challenged the almighty God. Unfortunately for his bad luck and as fate would have it, he forgot that the power was given to him by the God in the form “VARAMA” as a reward for his devotion and he used the very power to challenge the God. Our ruler in similar manner uses the VARAMA (Janawarama) to decimate the power of the very God (people) who rewarded him. We know fate that befell Ravana and the like minded Kings. At the same time we also know that this blessed land was ruled by noble Kings to whom even animals could bring their grievances to the king’s notice and seek justice resulting in the son of the very king being punished with death!

    I strongly believe in ‘karma’ and I suppose the current phase of things depict the repayment period for the people to a ruler who had never been legally elected. Cheer up, one good turn deserves another!!

  12. I have personally met the learned good Professor. A very fine unassuming man who lives close to Cricketer’s Club. His English is superb, one time student of Wendy Whatmore. He has in a large meassure quality of good manners. May long live the ggod, learned Professor

  13. ‘sparkling dimples’?? That’s crazy talk!

    DBSJ RESPONDS: Not quite! Havent yo heard the phrase “Sparkling cheeks” or “Minnalitta Kannannangal”?The Professor is poetic!

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