Saturday, June 16, 2007

2nd Passing Out Of the Mechanized Infantry Brigade Takes Place In Jaffna

The 1st Passing out of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion took place in Ideikadu, Jaffna this evening following the successful completion of several training course initiated last April. The Commander Security Forces Jaffna, Major General G.A. Chandrasiri was the Chief Guest at the Passing out parade.

The 1st phase of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion passing out began last April 23rd with the inauguration of a training course for Tank Commanders, Radio operators, Gunners and Drivers.

The newly established Mechanized Infantry Brigade consists of Officers, other ranks and soldiers pooled together from the Armoured Corps and Jaffna based regular infantry units. Officers, other ranks and soldiers who passed out today were both top performers and battle experienced men from the Army's elite Armoured Corps and regular Infantry Units.The Mechanized Infantry Brigade was set up according to a concept of the Army Commander, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka.


Al Jazeera bares Thoppigala child soldiers' horror story

An underaged girl told a reporter of Al Jazeera Television that she was kidnapped while going with her mother to visit her grandmother after cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) attacked her mother.

"I was walking with my mother going to see my grandmother," one of the girls told Al Jazeera. "Then the LTTE attacked my mother and took me away," said one of six girls who said they were forced to fight for the terrorist group at Thoppigala, or Barrons Cap Rock area where the group has just lost four terrorist camps.

Tony Birtley of Al Jazeera Television reported from Sri Lanka's Eastern Province that, "In a police station in eastern Sri Lanka, six seemingly ordinary teenage girls wait to be processed.

Their short hairstyles mark them out as female fighters in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Al Jazeera further reported: "Pushpu, another of the girls, says she was taken three months ago as she tended her parents' vegetable garden. Most of the girls are about 16-years-old. Pushpu is only 14.

"The girls were trained to use machine guns and dig bunkers in an area called Thoppigala, bombarded daily by the Army. They say they ran away because they could not bear the hardships of life with the Tigers.

"They say they are innocent victims and that they just want to go back to school, but first they will either be sent to jail or for rehabilitation. The girls' stories are part of a growing problem in Sri Lanka.

"In the east of the country the activities of a Tamil group led by 'Colonel' Karuna, a former LTTE leader, have come under scrutiny. He has started a political party and now his political opponents have disappeared, but there is no direct evidence against him.

"Very few families are prepared to talk about the growing number of abductions. One woman, though, did speak to Al Jazeera. Her 29 year old son, a rickshaw taxi driver, was taken away by two men nearly a year ago. Nothing has been heard since. Al Jazeera interviewed relatives of a Vice Chancellor got disappeared last December.

This is what they reported: "Professor Sivasubramaniam Ravindranth, the vice Chancellor of the Eastern University in Batticaloa, disappeared after attending a conference in Colombo last December. We haven't got even a single call or nothing. We didn't know anything where he is or whether he alive or not," Dushyanthi Malaravan, his daughter, told Al Jazeera.

"But we hope because they can't do anything to him because he is a very kind man, polite, he talks a little but ... no words to say," she said, falling silent.



'Nandimithra' Brigade comprising Home guards who earlier confined to providing security to villages have taken a giant leap forward by deciding to assist the Wild Life Department in conserving forests from illicit felling of trees and poaching. The first batch consisting of 156 who completed basic training, began protecting the forest on May 18, 2007.

The members of the Nandimuthra Brigade undergo training at the Civil Security Training Headquarters at Galkiriyagama.

Unmarried Home Guards who are in good physical health may volunteer to join this new Brigade. They will operate in small groups. The first batch participated in a environmental conversation workship to educate them on ways and means of protecting the forest.

Last June 04, they successfuly completed the first operation of protecting the forest. They were able to arrest 12 persons involved in illicit feeling of trees along with a lorry and a motor cycle. Earlier the officers of the Wild Life Department had been confronted by illicit timber merchants who offered stiff resistance at first. But the members of the Nandimithra Brigade were able to bring them under control and hand over them to police.

The nation pays tribute to the new 'Nandimithra' Brigade who has undertaken the noble task of conserving Sri Lankas' forests and its Director General Rear Admiral Sanath Weerasekara for his able guidance.


Army overpowers a terror ambush; Four LTTE cadres killed- Batticaloa

Army troops on foot patrol successfully over powered an ambush laid by the LTTE terrorists in the west of Polipanchical in Batticaloa this morning (12th). The soldiers have found four bodies of LTTE cadres, three hand grenades and two claymore mines in the subsequent search operation.

According to the defence sources, the terrorists have launched the attack around 11.30a.m. It is believed that the group of terrorists had come to the area to sabotage resettlement and development activities undertaken by the government.

Army suffered no casualties in the attack. The bodies of the LTTE cadres will be handed over to the ICRC this evening.


Leaders' profligacy disappoints LTTE cadres in the East - surrendered LTTE cadres reveal

Three LTTE cadres who had surrendered themselves to the Army camp at Polwatta in Valachchenai on Monday (11th) revealed that they had been subjected to discriminatory treatment by the LTTE's Wanni dominated leadership in the East.

The three Tamil youths, who identified themselves as residents of Batticaloa before being forcibly recruited to the LTTE, said that they had lost all the faith in the outfit due to this reason.

Speaking to the defence officials one youth said that LTTE's eastern commander Jeyam is planning to flee Thoppigala area along with his Wanni acolytes while the Eastern cadres are being used as scapegoats to hold the army advance.

During the interrogation the surrendees further revealed that a serious clash has been erupted between the Jeyam and LTTE's special military leader Ramesh on the leadership issues.

Ramesh who is belonging to the LTTE's eastern cadre has reportedly condemned Jeyam's undue favour towards Wanni cadres when deploying cadre at the battlefront. It is known that Ramesh has been ordered to confront with the army advance only with the remaining eastern LTTE cadres while Jayam and his Wanni favourites stay back at the main base.

According to the surrendees, Jeyam does not even send them sufficient food to the cadres in the front though he has sent his orders wanting them to fight to death. "Yet, he (Jeyam) and his favourites including Nagesh are hurriedly packing their bags to Wanni", one surrendee added.

A senior defence official speaking to further explained the context of the comments made by the surrendees. He said that LTTE leader V. Prbhakarn had once planned to assassinate Ramesh on the suspicion of aiding the Karuna faction.

"Ramesh was called to Wanni, but Prbhakaran had to change his mind as senior cadres like Bhanu had threatened to leave the outfit if Ramesh was killed", he said. "Now, Ramesh has been redeployed in the East, while his family has been taken to hostage at Kilinochchi by the Wanni leadership. These facts have been verified through the intelligence sources" he further added.

The Media Centre for National Security said that total number of 644 LTTE cadres have surrendered themselves to the security forces since 2002. All the surrendered cadres are being rehabilitated and gradually injected to the normal social life.


Being pandered to a Megalomaniac- LTTE escapees reveal the human tragedy in Wanni

"I am so glad that I could escape the LTTE control alive; they (LTTE) have created a living hell for civilians in Wanni" said the 19 year old Tamil youth to the army officials, as he hurriedly arrived to the roadblock at Ulliyankulam on Thursday (14) morning.

Seven people including three women who had managed to escape the terror clutches in Wanni arrived at the roadblock at the fist light seeking refuge from the security forces. The refugees told defence officials that they were residents of the Adappan area; deep in the LTTE dominated territory of Wanni.

Three youths among the refugees identified them as LTTE cadres and said that had managed to rescue the others whom they called their relatives, from the remorseless LTTE tyranny.

"We have been asked to get forced labour from our own relatives at gunpoint. Our parents , grand parents and all the children are being forced to build bunkers, dig trenches, perform sentry duties and all other fatigue work like salves " one LTTE escapee said. He further introduced the other four civilians as his mother, two sisters and a cousin bother. "I would rather die, than leaving my mother and two little sisters to the rabid LTTE cadres", he added. special correspondent in Mannar said that these escapees reconfirmed the reports that have been piling up on the human catastrophe crafted by the LTTE terrorists in the Wanni region.

All three youths claimed that they had been abducted and forcibly given military training by the LTTE.

As further learnt by our correspondent, two of the youth were abducted last March while they had been returning home from the Madhu church. A prominent religious figure in the region had visited the Madu shrine on the 23rd March 2007 and asked all the refugees to return to their homes saying that the church could not ensure their safety".

"We were betrayed. It was just what the LTTE wanted. They (LTTE) immediately formed several gangs and abducted over 200 youths both male and female from the families driven out from their place of refuge," said the 20-year-old youth from Adappan.

According to our correspondent, a gang led by an LTTE regional leader Thangayya was behind these abductions. Few days before the eviction, refugees inside the church assaulted Thangayya when he had entered the sacred premises with weapons and threatened the civilians to return their homes.

It is also learnt from the escapees that civilians in Madu, Parappakadaththan, Pallamaddu, Palmpiddi, and Thampanai areas are detailed for fatigue work three-four days a week at the locations ordered by the LTTE.

"The civilians in the village where the work is going on have to provide free food for the working people and the overseeing LTTE cadres. This practice has created many civil commotions, as people cannot afford to provide food for others," the youth from the Parappakadaththan area told our correspondent.

Finally, the escapees have revealed that the LTTE had suffered heavy losses in the recent battles with the security forces that its leader has coined as the "final war". According to them, many have died but the LTTE leaders no longer declare the fate of their cadres to the relatives.

"Parents are often seen at LTTE camps asking the fate of their sons and daughters. Moreover, speculations are that many have given an "enemy' burial before their own kith and kin" one of them noted.


Leave area, TNA MP told by ‘Karuna’ leader

TNA Ampara district Parliamentarian, Chandraneru Chandrakanthan was brought to Colombo under tight police security after he was allegedly threatened at gun point by Karuna faction head Iniya Bharathi.

Mr Chandrakanthan who had gone to the Thirukkovil town yesterday with his supporters, had been threatened by Iniya Bharathi and his fellow cadres. A heated argument had taken place between the two parties where Iniya Bharathi had reportedly asked Chandrakanthan to leave the area. Police and STF personnel had taken Chandrakanthan to Thirukkovil where he had lodged a complaint.


Exodus of businessmen worries administration

Abductions and Ransoms: mass ‘exodus’ of millionaire businessmen

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration seems to be concerned about the latest trend of abductions of millionaire businessmen, especially Muslims and Tamils in Colombo. This has resulted in a large number of Colombo businessmen attempting to flee the country fearing this latest threat.

In order to prevent this ‘exodus’ of businessmen, President Rajapaksa summoned a meeting with Muslim businessmen and some political supporters at Temple Trees on Tuesday and made a special appeal to them to make complaints against any abductions that they hear of or have already taken place.

It is learnt that the President summoned this meeting after holding a series of discussions with the defence top brass including the Service chiefs and Police chief. According to the latest statistics that are available with the President, nearly a dozen millionaire businessmen mainly Muslim, had been abducted and released by the abductors after taking a large sum of ransom from these businessmen. These businessmen are not willing to go to the police as they had already been terrorized.

Before the meeting, President Rajapaksa was reportedly informed that more than fifty Sri Lankan businessmen have already applied for visas to several European, Middle East countries and Malaysia fearing for their lives. Among them there were several who had already been abducted and released after paying several millions to abductors.

It is also learnt that a large number of businessmen have already received death threats and warnings threatening to abduct them through fax messages, telephone calls and emails.

However, so far there has not been a single complaint made by any of these victimized businessmen. Police claimed that they are unable to carry out any investigations as there were no complaints about such developments.

According to an informed source, at least more than three Colombo based businessmen were reportedly abducted twice and were released only after paying the ransom money.

Among the other abducted businessmen there were two Muslim businessmen, who are the owners of major garment selling shops in Colombo.

However, police have now reportedly submitted a comprehensive report to the President about these abductions, but still there has been no proper steps taken to stop it.

During this week’s meeting, the President had assured the Muslim businessmen that action will be taken to protect all businessmen. He has also assured them that he will not tolerate any discrimination against any religious or ethnic community in the country.

He also said that though the government had given a special telephone number to make complaints about abductions, no complaints have been received so far.

However, a western diplomatic official confirmed that still there were a large number of businessmen waiting to go abroad at least temporily until the situation comes back to normal.

‘Cold war’ between eastern and Wanni cadres prevailing again

State Intelligence units recently submitted a special report to the government stating that the ‘cold war’ between the Eastern cadres and the Wanni cadres had again commenced following disagreements between the one -time close associates of breakaway LTTE leader Karuna Amman, the current LTTE’s Eastern Special military Leader Ramesh and Eastern LTTE Commander Jeyam, who had been sent by the Wanni leadership a few months ago to Thoppigala.

According to the report, Jeyam led some fifty Wanni cadres sent by the LTTE Leader a few months ago in order to boost the morale of the eastern cadres, who were, in the recent past,continually defeated by government forces.

With the arrival of the Wanni cadres, although, there were some initial disagreements between Ramesh and Jeyam, the crisis deepened after Jeyam had ordered the eastern cadres to fight against the military while the Wanni cadres were having a free time in Thoppigala. Adding credibility to the intelligence report, last Monday, three LTTE cadres surrendered to the Army Camp at Polwatta in Valachchenai and revealed this latest split to the military. These LTTE cadres handed over a T-56 weapon, 4 magazines, 120 ammunition, 5 hand grenades, an LTTE flag and a pouch that was in their possession. According to them, Jeyam did not even send sufficient food to the cadres in the front, where the eastern cadres were fighting while at the same time he was giving them orders to fight to death.

Intelligence sources revealed that LTTE leader Prabhakaran is deliberately trying to isolate Ramesh, who was able to save his life, because another Senior Leader Bhanu requested Prabhakaran not to kill Ramesh.

Prabhakaran was planning to bump off Ramesh on the suspicion of aiding the Karuna faction. During this period, Ramesh had wanted to join with Karuna Amman due to the discriminatory policy carried out against the eastern cadres by the Wanni leadership.

Karuna however refused to tie up with Ramesh accusing that the latter had not joined Karuna at the time of the breakaway. It is also learnt that although Ramesh is in the East, his family had virtually been taken as hostages at Kilinochchi by the Wanni leadership.

Currently there are four LTTE Senior Leaders – Ramesh, Nagesh, Ram and Jeyam – all trapped following a series of military operations launched by the military in some 150 square kilometres of land in the Thoppigala jungle.

According to those who had surrendered there are many more LTTE cadres waiting a chance to escape from Tiger claws. Lack of proper leadership and gaps in the command structure has created chaos among Tiger cadres resulting in many ignoring and disobeying orders from middle ranks.

According to latest statistics a total of 664 LTTE cadres had surrendered to the security forces since 2002.

General Officer Commanding (GOC) 57 Division in Omanthai transferred

General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 57 Division located in Kalmadu west of Omanthai, Brigadier Sumith Manawadu had been transferred with immediate effect by Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. The Army Chief also appointed 56 Division GOC Brigadier Chula Dias as the new GOC of the 57 Division.

Brigadier Manawadu had been appointed as the Brigadier General Staff of the Eastern Army Headquarters. In the recent past several military operations had been carried out by the 57 Division led troops in Omanthai. However during several such battles with the Tamil Tigers, one or two operations launched by the military were unable to reach its target as scheduled.

During the latest battle at the forward defences in Omanthai the Tamil Tigers were able to inflict heavy damage to the military. During a predawn attack launched by the Tigers two weeks ago, the military lost more than 30 soldiers and over a 100 soldiers were injured while several dozens of soldiers are still missing.

India ready to give MI-17, but awaiting a ‘proper’ response from Sri Lanka, more items in the list

Amidst Tamil Nadu government’s protest against the selling of military hardware to Sri Lanka, India’s central government has made arrangements to allow neighbouring Sri Lanka to purchase several MI-17 transport helicopters from India soon.However, a diplomatic officer told the Daily Mirror that the Indian government is still awaiting a clear response from the Sri Lankan Government to make final arrangements, as the Sri Lanka government is now in a dilemma whether to go for Indian hardware, following the strong statement made by an Indian official. India’s National Security Advisor M. K. Narayan had told media after meeting with visiting Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that Sri Lanka should come to India to purchase weapons not Pakistan or China.

The diplomatic official also said that there were several military items that had been forwarded by the Sri Lanka government to the Indian defence authorities during the recent visit of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

However, a highly placed government source confirmed that Sri Lanka will go ahead with its original plans to purchase military hardware from China and Pakistan if the island’s ‘Big Brother’ declined to give offensive military hardware to Sri Lanka.

The official further claimed that already the Indian Air Force air craft made several visits to the Bandaranaike International Air Port with a stock of ‘classified’ military hardware during the last few weeks.

It is also learnt that already India has given some of the promised Radar Systems to Sri Lanka to face the Tiger’s latest air threat.

On the Indian side, a diplomat said that it has not decided about the remaining list of military items demanded by Sri Lanka and the top brass of the Indian defence only discussed about further naval deployment if required to be carried out in the Palk Straits.

India increases more deployment in the Palk Straits

Days after a special meeting between India’s top military officials in Tamil Nadu about the strengthening of sea patrolling and setting up of new radar systems and anti air craft guns along the Tamil Nadu coast, another important meeting took place in the Indian Eastern Naval Command last week about the same issue. These actions had been taken in order to prevent any possible attack from the LTTE, who recently demonstrated its air capability conducting attacks on Sri Lanka’s strategically important locations.

During the meeting, held at Eastern Naval Headquarters in Arakonam, led by Indian Eastern Navy Chief steps had been discussed on further deployment of more gunships, and the creation of a stronger buffer zone across the Indian Ocean in order to block smuggling routes specially those used by the Tamil Tigers.Following the Tamil Tiger’s air threat, the Indian defence authorities had taken prompt action to safeguard its territory. Accordingly India has set up four new anti- aircraft guns near Rameshwaran, eight radar stations of the Air Force are being set up in the same area, further six Naval ships stationed mainly in the Palk Straits, Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Mannar and several Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have also started fltying over the Palk Straits.

In addition to these steps, India is now conducting joint sea patrolling with the Sri Lankan Navy along the Palk Straits.


New Division for Army

Setting up of a new Division in the Army following the increase in its strength with the latest recruitment drive, is underway, informed sources said.

“The final touches to the new division are now being given by the defence ministry and the Army officials,” a senior defence ministry official told the Daily Mirror yesterday.

He said that during Thursday’s visit to Vavuniya, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Chief of Defence Staff Donald Perera and Army Commander Sarath Fonseka held extensive talks to wrap up the arrangements to set up the new division.

He said that a senior Brigadier will be appointed to head the new Division of several battalions which will be named ‘58 Division’. The official also said that the new proposed division will be manned by special trained men to be deployed in operational areas.

Currently, the Army is conducting a massive recruitment drive to strengthen the forces.


New HSZ covering Sampur and Mutur East

Months after government troops cleared areas South of the Trincomalee Harbour, the government has declared a new High Security Zone covering Sampur and Mutur-East, to set up a Special Economic Zone - the government’s original plan.

In an extraordinary Gazette notification, the government named the new zone, as ‘Mutur (East)/Sampur High Security Zone’. Thousands of families in the area coming under the HSZ are to be re-located.

However, a senior government official in the area told the Daily Mirror action had already been taken to acquire lands where the families to be relocated were now living.

According to the Gazette notification, the new HSZ will bind from East: Eastern Coastal belt, joining the villages of Foul Point, Illankanthai, Kalladichanei and Uppural. South : Uppural, Selvanagar, Thoppur and Pachchanoor: West : Along the Western Bank of the Kalladichanei Aru, joining the villages of Pachchanoor, Kalladichanei South, Mutur and the Kalladichanei Aru Estuary; North : Along the Southern Beach of Koddiyar Bay, joining Kalladichanei Aru Estuary with the villages of Sampur, Shell Bay and Foul Point.

This HSZ will encompass, at least six Grama Sevaka Niladhari Divisions.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed Eastern Security Forces Commander Parakrama Pannipitiya as the Competent Authority for the implementation of regulations in this regard.

After the Sampur area was completely cleared of the Tigers presence a few months ago the government announced that it would set up a mega industrial zone in the area.

The proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be established in the Trincomalee district, was gazetted on February 16, 2006. According to BOI plans, 675 sq km of land will be used for the creation of the SEZ under the BOI Act 1978.


Understanding Sinhala identity

Concept of Unitary State and its Roots in the Sinhala Consciousness - Historical Hints from Michael Roberts's 2003 book Thu, 2007-02-15 03:48 Dr. Siri Gamage - University of New England

At a time when the political opinion in Sri Lanka is divided between the concepts of federalism vs. unitary State as a solution to any form of devolving power to resolve the conflict with the LTTE, it is important to take a step back and examine the origin of these concepts and the contexts which gave meaning to them.

There is a common understanding that these concepts are 'modern' concepts deriving their meanings-theoretical and operational-from the Western European political histories and thoughts.

There is also a question as to whether they are rooted in the democratic forms of government as found in the same geographical areas, therefore deriving their legitimacy from lands afar than the country of focus - which is Sri Lanka.

Modernist forms of thinking as well as political, economic, educational, and administrative institutions and processes inscribed into the persona of colonised countries and bodies by the colonising empires during the pre-independence periods have come under severe criticism from the academics and activists who adopt postcolonial approaches-especially those from the Southern hemisphere.

In this context, we can learn a great deal about the roots of the concept of unitary State and sovereignty as existed in the pre-British Kandyan Kingdom or Sinhala as Roberts calls it. A careful reading of his work 'Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period' provides valuable clues to show that the concept existed in Sri Lanka itself rather than one imported from overseas. In this article, I elaborate this point further with the help of Roberts' path breaking work.

Even though the book is about the identity and consciousness of those who spoke Sinhala during 1590s to 1815/18 particularly in the Kandyan Kingdom, chapters dealing with the King's relations with the foreign powers that occupied low country areas of the island, Vanni chiefs or rajavaru, and the chiefs administering outlying areas of the Kingdom shed much light on the nature of associated concepts such as Chakravarti, and Trisinhalesvara.

The analysis of correspondence between the King and the officials of foreign powers in the low country, war poems (hatan kavi), classical poems and paintings in image houses as well as oral histories as recorded in the foregoing etc. point out to the fact that these relationships were based on the King's expectation that he was the king for the entirety of the island.

This expectation has continued up to the time of dethroning of the last king in 1815. It was not only the thinking of maha vasala (king's palace) in Senkadagala or Mahannuwara.

The book includes a meticulous analysis of historical sources including those written by vernacular scholars that such a unitary concept or sovereignty over the whole island was deeply rooted in the identity and consciousness of the Sinhalese.

Performative mechanisms that existed in the society at the time such as Kavikara maduwa, Kohomba Kankariya, Dekum reinforced this image of the King and unitary nature of his kingdom. The relations between the King and other centres of power were unequal. This was particularly seen in dekum - a practice that all visiting chiefs and delegates from the foreign powers inhabiting in the low country had to conform to. The intentions of the latter were to obtain trading rites and commodities while the King's and his officials' expectation was the adherence of those subordinate to him to the performative rites like Dekum.

The system of governance existed in the kingdom has been labelled by Roberts as Centre-Periphery. 'The capital city of Senkadagala or Kandy was a cosmic centre that could stand as a sign for the whole kingdom - a centre within the agrarian heartland that was the core of the Kandyan polity, the Govigama dominated area' (2003:70).

He characterises the form of government in the kingdom as a 'tributory overlordship' where gift giving by subordinates to the superordinates was a key feature in a chain of command structure. It is a concept that he developed from the indigenous rite of dekum and a number of other practices. Even Vanni chiefs who administered some autonomous centres of power at times engaged in this practice. The social order did not distinguish the "religion" and the "political".

The King derived his authority from cosmic powers. 'Each ruler of the principal Sinhala State considered himself to be Trisinhalesvara or Chakravarti covering the whole island of Trisinhale' (2003:71). He points out that in the 16th century, as the power of Kotte declined some of the Vanniyars began to acknowledge the overlordship of Kandyan king (2003:75). This would have been even more possible because of the Nayakkar roots of the Kings of Kandy in the later phase. Along with dekum, Roberts examines other practices such as panduru and pakkudam.

Godly powers of the King were associated with the Buddhist righteousness.

According to Roberts, with the expanding standardization of "modern" education, the teaching of Sinhalese history, particularly its literary historical works, authors, and the role they played in the socio-political organization of society disappeared.

By incorporating vernacular scholarly sources such as poems and paintings, story telling via sermons, oral histories embodied in this etc. he has adopted a noval approach to reconstructing history and articulating the identity and consciousness of the Sinhale during the Kandyan Kingdom period. In doing so, he makes valuable comments on what he calls the middle period in Sri Lankan history also (1232-1818).

He charges authors like Nissan, Stirrat, and Spencer as engaging in 'simplistic theorizing' when they used the flexibility in the social order that existed in the Kingdom allowing non Sinhala-Buddhist migrants from South India to assimilate into the Sinhala identity and social organization to argue that the society in the pre-British period was not ethnically prejudiced.

Through his analysis of a range of sources, Roberts substantiates the fact that the relationships were rather unequal (centre-periphery), yet the non-Buddhist migrants were able to change their identity to be included in the mainstream Sinhala-Buddhist identity. This is a major thesis that illuminates a vexed issue pertaining to the modern and post-modern conceptualizations of ethnic relations, identity, polity, and ideologies.

This contention also shows the vast gap between 'modernist' and 'post-colonial' interpretations of history and society pertaining to the Sri Lankan case. Roberts also criticizes the habit of applying 20th century readings and understandings of history to the 19th century social and political organization as well as associated ideologies.

The book contains valuable insights and interpretations about the practices adopted by contending parties during the violent periods in 1983, and 1989-90,e.g.

Acts of mutilation and decapitation as part of the politics of terror defusing fear in the whole body politic and local areas (2003: 152). He asks the question as to why the dismemberment has been such a favoured tool of punishment in Sri Lanka during periods of political upheaval? Coupled with accounts of sorcery and similar practices including war poems, Roberts provides a fascinating interpretation to the manner by which the polity performed during times of peace and conflict in Sinhale.

Given these accounts and interpretations about the Sinhala as well as the Sinhala consciousness included in this book, one could understand why so many Sinhalese have been resisting the concept of federalism and argued for the concept of unitary State covering the whole of Sri Lanka.

The book provides a window to the vast literature available on the topic along with relevant pictures. What the analysis in the book tells us is that for any understanding of Sri Lankan polity, its leadership, core principles or foundations as well as the politics of unitary State, one has to understand Sinhala identity and consciousness deeply rooted in the history of the country rather than 'modern' Western political concepts and ideologies.


NGO scams to run a parallel state with foreign aid

Recently the Western diplomats stood up to defend the NGOs. Obviously, they felt that the NGOs, who were their local partners in meddling in the domestic agenda, were under attack. It was a rare display of public solidarity which confirms the symbiotic relationship between NGOs and Western embassies. Normally, both parties acknowledge their mutual you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours arrangement only tacitly each time a diplomatic function is held in town. Prominent among the guests are the usual suspects picked from the NGO circus, parading with a glass in hand, with this or that drink, as if they are the Sultans of High Morality, or the Cabinet Ministers for Omniscience.

Though the NGO hacks do not have any political clout at the basic grassroot level, hobnobbing in the rarefied atmosphere of the elitist cocktail circuit is an essential part of their display of presumed importance in national politics. But their covert alliance, with fancy political footwork, failed to stop the rising tide of public opinion against the politicized NGOs. The mounting pressure was too much and it was necessary to run to the foreign pay masters to repair the damage done to the battered faces of the fallen Humpty Dumpties in the NGOs.

It is against this background that the Western diplomats ganged up to give the NGOs a boost. The U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake came out defending NGOs when he told the recent meeting of Sri Lanka's donor community in Galle: "Many NGOs have been the target of unsubstantiated allegations in the Sri Lankan press....."

There can be no such accusation against Dr. Susantha Goonatilake's book, Recolonisation. Foreign Funded NGOs in Sri Lanka. His book is loaded - if not overloaded - with facts and figures driving home, in page after page, the corrupt practices of NGO leaders who have betrayed their own declared principles, objectives and grandiose mission statements.

Besides, given the importance of NGOs to maintain Western dominance, mainly through interventions in domestic politics, Dr. Goonatilake sets out to map "new conceptual and theoretical approaches look at the role development NGOs play in shaping national and global civil societies." NGOs have been mushrooming in every nook and corner of the developing world. "For instance", he says, "Bangladesh, a country of deep NGO penetration, has been designated a 'franchise state' by Wood (in his book, States Without Citizens: the Problem of the Franchise State). NGOs have accompanied a process whereby the state in some developing countries has been replaced by a virtual parallel state. A new Western instrumentality has emerged with enormous consequences."
Mini saga

He explores this new instrumentality in Sri Lanka by examining the NGOs that had penetrated four key areas: 1. development, 2. academia, 3. foreign relations and 4. human rights. He begins with A. T. Ariyaratne who heads Sarvodaya, "the largest development NGO." The chapters on Sarvodaya contain a mini saga of one of the biggest NGO frauds, part of which was exposed by a Presidential Commission of Inquiry by Justice Wanasundera.

Dr. Goonatilake takes Ariyaratne apart until nothing is left of him except the fig leaf. In the end he removes that too leaving him stark naked. He reveals how Ariyaratne began his career of a do-gooder by hijacking a self-effacing rural development officer's programs designed to uplift the lives of the outcasts (Rodiyas) in Kanatholuwa, a village in the Kurunegala district. Long before Ariyaratne launched into his lucrative career, this village had come under the Rural Development Department's Backward Communities Programme headed by D. A. Abeyesekera, "a modest and far-seeing idealist". Apart from this governmental programme for rural development, a left-leaning social activist like Vincent Subasinghe had built 28 houses of wattle and daub for these villagers in the 1930s and 40s.

But Prof. Nanadasena Ratanapala, one of the official publicists, claims that Sarvodaya activities began in 1958 when Ariyaratne marched into this village. Dr. Goonatilake states that there was no such thing as Sarvodaya in 1958 to begin with. Prof. Ratnapala also claims the march into Kanatholuwa was "revolutionary in itself because whoever could fancy a band of educated and elitist men moving into a village, a part of which was inhabited by the Rodiya Community (untouchables)." That, of course, is the hype of the publicist. But the villagers remembered mostly Abeysekera and when Sarvodaya put up a signboard at the Sarvodaya District Office in Kuliyapitiya labeling Ariyaratne as the "Hero of Kanatholuwa" the villagers were shocked and angry, says Dr. Goonatilake.

Not surprisingly, after the initial burst of activity Ariyaratne disappeared from Kanatholuwa but he was very busy producing newspaper cuttings of his work. In one year he claimed he had 937 media clippings. - i.e., 2.5 news items a day. In addition Prof. Ratnapala produced his Collected Works Vol. 1 consisting of a mere 169 pages. Says Dr. Goonatilake acidly: "Such writings belong to a genre most people would find embarrassing to compile and issue as "collected works".

To boost his image further, almost to the level of a white-robed messiah, Prof. Ratnapala wrote about the Sarvodaya philosophy: "The Sarvodaya philosophy is a synthetic ideology and a universal concept. All forms of creative altruism and evolutionary humanism, be it from Marxian aim of material integration, Rousseau's option of social integration, or Asoka's endeavour of moral integration, just give a few examples, are inherent in the Sarvodaya philosophy practice by us, for ours is an attempt to bring about total human integration."

This platitudinous and bombastic verbiage sounds more like a sales pitch for a kokatath-thailiya or an achcharu haliya than a cohesive and integrated philosophy. Quite aptly, Dr. Goonatilake states: "The philosophy, as summarized by these words, appears not only eclectic but also a jumble of undigested and contradictory concepts." (p.45).

Another intriguing aspect is growing wealth of Ariyaratne who began his career as a teacher at Nalanda College on a salary of Rs. 150. By 1980 he was running a budget of Rs. 60 million. In contrast, the Ministry of Rural Development was allotted only Rs. 15.8 in 1982 - roughly one-fourth of Sarvodaya budget. "Yet," says Dr. Goonatilake, "there were more government-sponsored Rural Development Societies active than the more generously funded Sarvodaya Movement.....(and) the Rural Ministry was more effective, despite its lower budget, than the Sarvodaya Movement. (pp. 57 - 58).

Now in theory, NGOs are supposed to more efficient and effective instrumentalities of delivering goods and services to the people by cutting out all the bureaucratic red tape. But in practice the dedicated government servants have delivered, without all the fanfare and the ballyhoo of Ariyaratne's gobbledygook, greater service to the rural poor than Sarvodaya.

Perhaps, one of the most obscene aspects of Ariyaratne's movement was the "cult of personality". Several branch offices displayed Ariyaratne's photograph with the legend "Leader you are immortal!" Dr. Goonatilake adds: "Such expressions were not even applied to the President of the country! The degree of leadership worship seemed to be even more acute than practised by politicians. This is attested by the hagiography published by the movement (read: by the leader himself) titled Salute the Rising Sun." (p.60).

But when the Public Commission began its inquiries complaints poured in against the Immortal Leader! Of these 29 allegations were selected for inquiry. The Commission found that most of them related to him and his family. The Commission also noted that these dealings were going on at a time when Sarvodaya was proclaiming the ideals of community ownership and self-denial.

Last but not the least is the saga of how he misled and dodged the Commission of Inquiry into NGO set up in 1990s headed by Justice Wanasundera. He was filing irrelevant objections and using ruses not to provide information. He told the Commission that the land and buildings were worth on Rs. 12 million when the audited balance sheet of Sarvodaya showed that they were worth Rs. 65 million. The cost of vehicles owned by Sarvodaya was Rs. 50 million but when the Commission called for a detailed listing of vehicles owned Sarvodaya sent only a schedule of bicycles. (p.64)

He also launched a concerted move objecting to public hearings though NGOs proclaim from roof tops that the public has a right to know. When the Commission was faced with the flood of complaints it asked Ariyaratne to give evidence in person. But his lawyer raised objections denying the need for Ariyaratne to testify. Ariyaratne was arguing that he had an obligation to the international organisations and had to travel out of the country.

The Commission censured him bluntly saying: "If Mr. Ariyaratne had any sense of responsibility and knowledge of priorities, he would have known that his first duty is to submit himself to the tribunal of his own country rather than those outside."

This should give the readers a taste of the seedy side of NGOs. There is more and if the readers want to know all about it don't forget to buy the book.

It's a thriller of different genre. It is a rich store of the hidden activities of the NGOs. It narrates the smelly story of lilies that fester.......! But this is not all. Dr. Goonatilake's chapter on ideological clones of the West is equally exhilarating. He takes you through the tangled web of diverse and contradictory ideologies, theories and their proponents mainly in the academia. He has dealt with the leading theoretical contortionists, from S. J. Tambiah of Harvard to Bruce Kapferer of London University. Analyzing the far-fetched constructions of their inventive imagination Dr. Goonatilake says that they "are seriously flawed in terms of not only the basic facts on the ground, but also in terms of the methodology they use and the conclusions they draw."

Their primary objective was to prise open the Sri Lankan reality, trying to figure what constitutes the Sinhalese and what makes them tick the way they do. NGOs and academics were obsessed with the Sinhala-Buddhist identity. These anthropologists ignored the interactive forces of the north and south and focused almost exclusively on the south not so much to understand the reality behind the Sinhala-Buddhist identity but to attack it from various angles. Invariably their theories, findings, research, monographs, seminars, publications arrived only at one point: Sinhala-Buddhism as the sole cause of the national crisis.

Their blinkered research dismissed the complexities of the intertwining north-south relations and settled quite merrily on the simplistic mono-causal theory of blaming only the Sinhala-Buddhists. Once again Dr. Goonatilake provides a rich text on these ideological distortions. Briefly, without going into the case studies of all the ideologues discussed in his book, it should be mentioned that Tambiah gets his fair share of comeuppance. He shows how Tambiah has done a back flip on several issues by admitting some of his mistakes. These admissions and revisions, it must be said, adds to the credit of Tambiah even though it is rather late.
Key sources

Dr. Goonatilake says: "Tambiah's faulty interpretations and constructions also owe to the fact that some of his acknowledged key sources are associated with foreign funded NGOs." Kumari Jayawardene of the Colombo University and her husband Lal Jayawardene were two key figures who financed and supplied some of the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist material tused by Tambiah.

In his egregious book, Buddhism Betrayed? Tambiah was propounding the unsustainable mono-causal theory of blaming the Sinhala-Buddhists facing a crisis which had many complex and criss-crossing strands. In a later book, Levelling Crowds, Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in Sri Lanka Tambiah moves away from his mono-causal theory of blaming only the Sinhala-Buddhists. He acknowledges that the "disease" he thought was peculiar to the Sinhalese was a common factor shared by Hindu nationalists, Islamic fundamentalists and even in Western Europe.

Dr. Goonatilake says: "Tambiah now finds that ethnic conflicts occur worldwide and that they are not due to primordial factors or based on imagined histories invented by a newly literate intelligentsia. Similarly, rioting is not a peculiarly Sinhalese Buddhist activity but indulged in by other groups as well, both in and out of Sri Lanka. And as in Sri Lanka, the police, army, other security forces and public officials of other countries also participate in riots."

Tambiah also concedes now that the Sinhala-Tamil conflict is at least partly based on external factors (e.g., India). He has also changed his view about the reformer Dharmapala who was described as "an uncharitable propagandist". Now he sees him as a "famous charismatic and innovative leader." Dr. Goonatilake adds: "Tambiah now admits that the British used a divide and rule policy in the region." Tambiah also changed his earlier view of blaming the Sinhala-Buddhists for the Kotahena riots during colonial times. He now accepts the judgment of the British inquiry which blamed the aggressive Catholics. Tambiah further states that the 1915 riots "were triggered by the Islamic consciousness of the Coast Moors from South India ." This should upset Michael Roberts who was collecting some gossip to be presented as oral histories blaming the Sinhala-Buddhist for the 1915 riots. The credit goes to Dr. Goonatilake for tracing and documenting these contradictions in the ideological world shaped by partisan academics whose mono-causal theories provided ample fuel the fires of mono-ethnic extremism burning in the north. Tragically, in the guise of being independent researchers these biased ideologues were in reality playing an active political role in manufacturing the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist theories which went a long way to fuel the fires of north-south crisis. In critical political crises where bullets takes the place of ballots it is not the finger that pulls the trigger. It is the ideologically fixated mind that prompts the finger to pull the trigger.

Velupillai Prabhakaran did not come out of nothing. He came out of the ethnic venom mass produced by the ideologues who never deviated a millimetre from the 40-50s manifesto of the mono-ethnic extremists of the north. The Tamils today are paying for the sins of these misguided ideologues, their imagined geographies, their concocted histories and the political myths that made them feel and look much bigger than what they really are.
Racist platform

They were doused, for instance, in the myths of discrimination - the vote-catching racist platform of peninsular politics. And when the fires of racism were ignited they caught fire, setting off a conflagration that engulfed the entire nation. Now these myths are being exploded one by one. I nearly fell off the chair the other day watching Radhika Coomaraswamy telling Zena Bedawi of BBC that the Tamils had not suffered any economic discrimination which in its wider sense means, jobs, land, education etc. She added that this has been confirmed by recent research. But isn't this the myth on which generation of Tamils were brought up to hate the Sinhalese? Isn't this the main myth that was cranked up by the Churches, academics, NGO pundits, media mediocrities, foreign diplomats and even fake political gurus like Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wickremesinghe? Isn't this myth that is thrown around by every Tamil propagandist to justify Tamil violence? Isn't this what the ignorant wire services - Reuters, AFP, AP you name it - parrot in winding up their reports on the current conflict?

Dr. Goonatilake's meticulously researched book is a penetrating essay that cuts out the myths, the airy-fairy theories and goes deep into the nitty-gritty of reality. It separates the truth from the fictions of anti-Sinhala-Buddhist academics, intellectuals and other hired hacks in the NGOs. It is a book written for readers to think out of their narrow box. Those who read this book will be rewarded with new political insights into the hidden agenda of the Sri Lankan reality and politics. It is an indispensable guide to go behind the scenes and understand the alien and anti-national forces exploiting the Sri Lankan crisis to line their pockets with foreign funds.


NGOs selling the nation and their souls to foreigners

In an incredible twist of events, leading members of the Sri Lankan civil society went all out to suppress the publication of Dr. Susantha Goonatilake's book Recolonisation, Foreign Funded NGOs in Sri Lanka without even sighting or reading the contents. They jointly petitioned SAGE, India's outstanding publishers of academic titles, shortly after they read a pre-publication advertisement in SAGE's catalogue. That brief ad was enough for the members of "the civil society"(they are inseparable from NGOs) who are supposed to be the champions of freedom, liberty, democracy, to launch a concerted campaign to suppress Dr. Goonatilake's book.

Kumari Jayawardena, a civil society activist from the Colombo University, Kumar Rupesinghe, a top NGO mudalali who refused to reveal his dollar income in public, Jayadeva Uyangoda who theorises on dividing Sri Lanka and the rest of the world into micro states based on his half-baked, pseudo-Marxist political science, are some of the signatories who had no qualms in suppressing the publication of a book that exposed their uncivil society. Rupesinghe even threatened to take legal action if the book was published. To gang up against a fellow-academic simply because the book was not to their liking reveals, among other things, the depth of moral corruption in Sri Lankan civil society.

Dr. Goonatilake's book is about the corrupt and politicized NGOs (this term is interchangeable with "civil society"), their proclaimed principles and goals. It is, therefore, predictable that the academics who thrive on NGO funding should resent its publication. Mark you, this is the same mob that cries out for freedom of expression, freedom of association and all that stuff if the politicians even touches a comma in their publications. But when it comes to their personal and professional interests they react like any other corrupt politician fighting tooth and nail to hide the smelly private deals which the not-so-civil society condemns in public when others do it.

To the credit of SAGE it must be said that the crypto-fascists of Sri Lankan academia failed to frighten the Indian publishers into submission. The courage of SAGE should be commended because the NGO mudalalis had even prevailed on some local newspapers not to run reviews of the book.

Reading Dr. Goonatilake's book will give an insight as to why the NGO-dependent academics came out firing on all cylinders against the book. With the trained eye of a meticulous research scholar he has exposed the fat maggots feasting on the bleeding wounds of the nation. No wonder the NGOs were hell bent on suppressing the book.

The community backlash and the declining credibility of politicized NGOs have reduced the image of civil society figures to that of unconscionable petty vendors selling their souls and bodies to the highest foreign bidders. In the romantic phrase of the late Regi Siriwardena, a permanent resident of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), the NGOs are the "thatched patios", fully air-conditioned, for trading their wares. As the NGOs grew in wealth and influence they became lucrative sources of funding their private pleasures (including subsidizing expensive life styles and family trips abroad), professional career paths, self-promoting advertisements, etc. The unscrupulous academics who jumped into this bandwagon too discovered that they could line their pockets with dollars if they danced to the tune of the NGO drummers. The NGOs and academics formed an unholy alliance to sell the nation for a fistful of dollars.
Hidden angle

Though they talk of transparency and accountability they are most reluctant to come out into the open and inform the public how much extra money they earn by servicing the foreign-funded NGOs. For instance, it would expose the hidden angle of Rohan Edrisinghe of the Law Faculty of Colombo University if he reveals how much he pockets monthly from being a director at the Centre for Policy Alternative - the pro-Tamil, anti-Sinhala-Buddhist NGO sympathetic to separatism in one form or another. Declarations of foreign funding are essential for the public to assess the independence and the objectivity of the opinions farmed out by academics who are on hire for international agencies denigrating national history, culture and politics.

Foreign agencies are quite eager to fund our academics who are willing to write on their behalf. Prof. Carlo Fonseka was funded by Kumari Jayawardena's husband, Lal Jayawardena for writing six rehashed essays on Sri Lankan history for undergraduates. It is estimated he was paid Rs. 13 million when Lal Jayawardena was the head of World Institute for Development and Research (WIDER). What has not been revealed so far is the sum of money paid by WIDER to Prof. S. Tambiah of Harvard University for writing his anti-Sinhala-Buddhist book, Buddhism Betrayed?

But academics allied to NGOs are very backward in coming forward with their hidden sources of income. To the funding agencies abroad local academics are cheap sources of labour to get their research done. Their anti-national politics, corrupt practices, and nefarious activities, ranging from nepotism to recruiting women workers in NGOs for porn films, have blackened their image beyond repair.

All this is fairly known among the public. But no one has made an analytical study of the ideological perversities, the corruption, Faustian sale of souls for mercenary gains, the slavish mentality, and the hypocritical cesspit in which the civil society wallows. Dr. Goonatilake probes methodically and systematically some of the key personalities and their machinations to delineate an overview of the civil society which has fallen into abysmal disrepute.

The rich corroborating details and the theoretical underpinnings make his book not only an outstanding work of scholarship but an indispensable guide to understand the behind-the-scene politics of our time.

The title Recolonisation, Foreign Funded NGOs in Sri Lanka says it all.

Hidden beneath the advertised image of being do-gooders is the hand of foreign powers who use NGOs as agents to push their political agenda in less developed countries dependent on foreign aid. One of the most authoritative sources that confirmed the necessity and utility of NGOs to foreign powers is Thomas Pickering, America's former Ambassador to the UN. He said: "Many of these (NGO) organisations will have soft power of their own as they attract citizens into coalitions that ignore national boundaries. NGOs are a huge and important force. In many issues of American policy, from human rights to the environment, NGOs are in fact the driving force." - (The Paradox of American Power, Joseph S. Nye, Jr, - p.xiii, Oxford University Press, 2002.)

Of course, local NGO agents would be shy to admit that they are hired agents of foreign powers. Jehan (Pacha) Perera and Poi-kiya-sothy Saravanamuttu are only two of the NGO poseurs who pretend that they are independent voices distilling pure intellect with the sole altruistic motive of providing alternative policies and panaceas to the natives. But Ambassador Pickering has put them in their place and told them bluntly that they are nothing but paid agents of the manipulative foreign forces using them as cheap labour to promote and protect Big Brother's interests abroad.

Example: Jehan Perera is financed heavily by Norway. When the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka (WAPS) - an international expatriate organisation - took the battle against Norway's partisan role to Oslo Perera gratuitously told the Norwegian media that the participants of the WAPS conference were "extremists". When asked to name a single extremist among the participants he discovered that he had lost his tongue. In other words, he was singing for his supper supplied by his Norwegian paymasters.

Way back in the seventies Latin American scholars were alarmed by the questionable methodologies and end uses of foreign funded research workers digging up material for their Ph. D theses, or for the military-industrial complex, or multi-national corporations. In Sri Lanka Dr. Goonatilake has been in the forefront of this independent school of social scientists with a conscience. He has played a lead role in exposing the NGO "coalitions that ignore national boundaries." His book Recolonisation is a penetrating study that goes deep into the ideological, theoretical and political distortions and manipulations of academics and the so-called research workers hired by NGOs.

The revelations in his book are startling. The role of these non-state actors to hijack the national agenda to serve foreign agencies needs to be investigated by a high-powered commission of inquiry. Of course, the NGO hacks who pontificate on everything under the sun and probe practically everybody else's affairs will put up a stiff resistance. But the evidence revealed in this book is alarming and confirms the urgent necessity to appoint a new commission of inquiry with full powers to summon and examine all documents and transactions of NGOs if the politics and the social fabric of Sri Lanka are to be rid of neo-colonialism creeping in through the foreign-funded NGOs.

Though they talk glibly of transparency and accountability they will be the first to sabotage any investigations that would expose their wheeler-dealer transactions and self-serving political agendas. When, for instance, mild-mannered Justice Wanasundera was on the verge of delivering adverse reports on NGO they manipulated President D. B. Wijetunga to suppress the findings. If the members of the civil society are genuinely interested in setting public standards of probity and moral rectitude they must begin be opening closets for public scrutiny. If accountability and transparency are two key criteria set for others why should they be exempt unless they have something to hide?

Besides, Dr. Goonatilake's book reveals that NGOs have snaked their way into the centre stage of national politics, interfering in every walk of life to undermine sovereignty, territorial integrity and even the defence forces. They have huge foreign-funded resources to buy up personnel in the armed forces, Buddhist monks, academics, professionals, bureaucrats, journalists (on New Year's eve one newspaper mirrored a lengthy column showering praise on Jehan (Pacha) Perera and Poi-kiya-sothy Saravanamuttu as great contributors to national peace!

In an unerring description he labels the manipulations and the activities of the politicized NGOs as Recolonisation. This sets the theme and the parameters of the book. In the pioneering days of colonialism the white man came across the seas using the Chinese compass to find their way into Afro-Asia. They used the Chinese gun powder to conquer the ancient civilizations and used the Chinese printing methods colonise the minds.

After the white man plundered the resources of the natives and went back home they didn't give up their agenda of exploiting their ex-colonies.
Hiring local agents

Neo-colonialism returned to re-colonise the natives by hiring local agents to carry the agenda of the white man.

In other words, colonialism remains intact. Only the methodology has changed. In the days when the sun never set on the colonial empires the white man brought Christian missionaries with them to cleanse the native minds of their impurities and sins. They succeeded partly by leaving behind little colonies of Westernised epigones who imitated the white man to the last hole in golf. But that was not powerful enough for them to exert influence and pressure the political actors of the post-colonial phase. They needed the "soft power" to push their agenda beyond "national borders".

What better and cheap sources of labour can they find than the local intellectuals paid in foreign currency! Civil servants like Godfrey Goonetilleke and Charles Abeysekera (who left the Civil Service after the workers in the state corporation he headed went on strike alleging corruption) became the brown sahibs of neo-colonialism ever willing to be the hired lackeys of foreign agendas.

Another prominent public servant who parked himself comfortably in the NGOs is Bradman Weerakoon.

When his last posting as batman to Ranil Wickremesinghe ended he rushed back to International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) - a dollar-loaded NGO headed by Neelan Tiruchelvam who was also the political ideologue and a card-carrying MP of the Tamil National Alliance. (TNA). Well, one does not have to be a rocket scientists to guess what inspires the political thinking of Badman (oops, I missed the 'r'!) Weerakoon if his pay cheques come from the ICES allied to the TNA, eh?