Mahinda glad-handing the acting PM of the Burmese dictatorship.*
I read the papers yesterday and had a small aneurysm. First, the mindset of the King is so anti-freedom that shutting down multiple radio stations and jailing journalists isn’t enough. He issued a gazette trying to ban all media coverage of military and police affairs (like the, er, civil war) entirely. He has tried to prevent the people from knowing anything about this war that effects us so directly. There was also a special emphasis on forbidding coverage of military procurement – which is now monopolized under one arms dealing company headed by his brother Gothabaya. So he especially wants to keep the media from exposing his family’s rampant corruption and war profiteering. Then his lapdog Lakshman Hulugalle gives this ridiculous and deeply undemocratic statement – â€œPresident Mahinda Rajapaksa is a person who wants to have a free media in the country. He has taken this decision to allow free reporting by the media,â€ Mr. Hulugalle said. Are you fucking kidding me?
I don’t know who these people think they are, but they are just temporary custodians of a great nation. This is not a personal fiefdom, with freedoms given to people on the rulers whim. Freedom of Speech is not some boon for Mahinda Rajapakse to give and take away, it is our constitutional right, a Fundamental Right even:
1) Every citizen is entitled to –
(a) the freedom of speech and expression including publication;
For being Director General of some Censorship Board, Hulugalle doesn’t seem to read much. It’s pretty simple. We have the right to free speech. It’s Mahinda’s job to defend the Constitution not himself and his family. However, he has the gall (hulu galle even) to call anyone who stands up to defend the country a traitor, and to try and sell the proposition with obvious lies. This is from the Daily News.
Opposition parties were consistently betraying the country in the international arena, to deprive the country of international aid and tarnish its good name.
“This is treachery and a gross betrayal of one’s Motherland.
This should be stopped . At the end of the day, it is the ordinary people of this country who are the losers.
â€œOur Opposition leaders should learn from the example set by the Myanmar Opposition leader who appealed to the global community to refrain from cutting aid to Myanmar, for the flaws of the military regime there, as otherwise, it would be the people there, who would have to suffer the consequences,â€ the President noted.
On the factual point, Mahinda is just completely wrong here. Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese opposition have repeatedly called for sanctions against the ‘flawed’ (as in tyrannical) military junta, even going so far as to ask tourists not to visit. Mahinda is just completely lying here, though he may be right to associate himself with the junta.
On the broader point, are you fucking kidding me? An opposition party that opposes you is betraying the motherland? What were you doing when you took documentation of human rights abuses out of the country during Premadasa’s time? Were you a traitor? Or is it Mahinda Rajapakse who has sold out today, drunk on power and other people’s money?
*Mahinda’s government is giving money to the junta – which kills and tortures Buddhist monks – at a time when the rest of the world is joining to boycott the dictatorship. His government has reopened economic and government ties to the repressive dictatorship after three decades. Sri Lankan monks have protested the detention, defrocking and murder of their fellow monks who were peacefully protesting the regime.