OPINION

Taking the lid off the Golden Bowl

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(Introduction to Sena Thoradeniya’ s book- Galle Face Protest: System Change or Anarchy?)

By Gunadasa Amarasekera

Reading these dispatches by Sena Thoradeniya (ST) to the Lanka web, I was reminded of a Vedic stanza I came across many years ago -I quote from memory.

Hiranmena patrena
Sathyasapi hithang mukang
Tathvam pushanna pavunu
Sathya dharmaya dushtiye

It is an admonition given to the seeker of truth. Do not be dazzled by the glitter of the gold outside. Open the lid and there you will see the truth concealed within it.What Thoradeniya has dared to do, is to open that lid with these dispatches. He is probably the only intellectual who has dared to do so. He and Shenali Waduge were the two individuals to have initiated this truth-seeking process.

Now he has made those dispatches into a book so that they will reach a wider public.There is no doubt that these dispatches will be invaluable in understanding the true nature, the truth, contained in the Golden Bowl.

The promoters of the Golden Bowl –Aragalaya – were the so-called intellectuals, professors, professionals, media wizards and their mentors abroad. They presented the Aragalaya as a microcosm of the Utopian state that is to be. The Aragalaya protesters were made out to be some rare selfless ethereal species imbued with the highest of human values striving to bring about the fulfilment of Human Rights, Individual Rights, Democracy and Humanism. The Galle Face Green was turned into ‘an Adara Gedara’ – an abode overflowing with love, compassion and tolerance.

That was the façade that was needed to get the moral sanction – public approval and to conceal the diabolical plan within it. To see it in terms of an innocent phase, initially, and a violent phase, latterly, due to high jacking by external forces is too simplistic and naive. It cannot be phased out in that way. There was a holistic approach, right from the beginning.

I remember how a senior journalist, writing to a Weekly, labelled it as a unique instance in the history of world revolutions where a regime change – chasing away a President and a Prime Minister – was achieved without any blood shed and by mere protests!

Those protests and slogans were by no means innocuous. ‘Gota Go Home’ was no request as interpreted by that ‘know-all’ scribe. It was a threat – a life threatening – one as such to be carried out if the ‘request’ was not acceded to.

Surely that journalist cannot be so naïve as to have bestowed such adulation unless he was being brainwashed by Julie Chang at one of the garden parties.The adulators of the Aragalaya appear to have taken a step back now and are attempting to rationalize their behaviour by resorting to esoteric theories while ridiculing Wimal Weerawansa ‘for concocting conspiracy theories; and warning the general public of a possibility of a repetition of the Aragalaya. Their tone suggests that they are looking forward to such a repetition.

Julie Chang is the guiding spirit behind the Aragalaya; she is really a remarkable woman, an ambassador, the like of whom we have never witnessed before. She not only gives garden parties, but also advises both Gotabaya Rajapakse and the Aragalaya protesters. She patronizes the JVP. She gives hope and succor to the Red Sahodarayas in their pursuit of the armed struggle, knowing too well that it would provide an opportunity for Ranil Wickremasinghe to accede to the fourth request of the CIA chief to bring in his troops to the country.

She is truly a remarkable diplomat, with acumen, a vision, well aware of the shape of things to come. You can’t help having the highest admiration for her.What triggered the Aragalaya? According to our so-called intellectuals, and their foreign mentors, it was the economic hardships, non-availability of essentials, economic deprivations that brought about those massive protests at the Galle Face Green. (Strangely the most deprived class – the rural farmers – were not there).

They seem to assume that all of us have short memories. It is not the first time we faced such economic hardships. Between ’70-’77, long queues were a daily feature. We had to wait in a queue for hours to obtain anything. The bread queues started before dawn and we had to wait for hours to get a loaf of bread. There was no sugar or flour. In addition, we had to undergo much harassment at the ‘hal polu’ and ‘miris polu’.

People suffered in silence and did not rush on to the streets. There were no violent protests. To explain this difference in behaviour one may adduce many factors. Things have changed over the years. The present generation is aware of their rights and not prepared to take things lying down.

The insurrections (the JVP and the LTTE) have made violence and terrorism a part of our dally existence, morally sanctioned by us, the Marxism of the earlier period has given way to Bakunininism. There may be an element of truth in these observations.

But can they explain the creation of a mini city overnight – a city with all those attractions, such as theatres, cinema halls, eating houses, restaurants, salons replete with song and dance? Hundreds of protesters were housed day and night within them.

Who provided the funds and finances for such a massive project? It is only reasonable to assume that there would have been a great benefactor with enough funds to keep this city going.Who that great benefactor is disclosed by Thoradeniya in his article ‘US foot prints at the Galle Face protest site’.At the beginning of his article, ST refers to Wimal Weerawansa’s speech made on 27th July in the parliamentary debate on emergency regulations.

“M.P. Wimal Weerawansa, participating in the debate on Emergency Regulations on 27th July said that the CIA, through USAIAD and NED (National Endowment for Democracy), have funded various Sri Lankan Non-Governmental Organizations aiming regime change and protesters were attempting to destroy the State with the aid of external forces. He disclosed the amount spent by NED in Sri Lanka from 2016 to 2020 and named some recipient organizations and the number of projects funded by it.

He further stated that the script of the present protest was written by foreign powers, how YouTubers were paid by their foreign masters and how the US Ambassador in Sri Lanka pressurized GR, on a daily basis, not to take any action against the protesters. He tabled a document to support his arguments.’ (US Footprints at the Galle Face Protest Site -August 20th 2022)

ST, in his article, elaborates on the institutions and agencies that Wimal had referred to in his speech.ST makes use of two articles Sonali Waduge had written ‘Regime change – Role of International Republican Institute (IRI) in Sri Lanka’ and ‘Who is NED and what is its role in Sri Lanka?’

NED and IRI are two main institutions with global reach that are operating in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Eurasia. NED’s local version NDI was created by the CIA in Sri Lanka in 1983.At the end of his long article, ST gives a brief account of the activities conducted by the NED.

“The list of countries that had suffered by NED’s intervention is too long to mention. Suffice to state that it happened all over the globe. Following are some activities conducted by NED all over the world: Funding pro-US political parties, including media, training and unifying opposition parties, insurrection training and instigating riots, influencing social media for political campaigns and generating anti-government slogans, promoting hate campaigns under different themes, tasking NGOs and civil society to do these work, funding disruptive news, building networks of academics, professional groups, artists and writers, dig up corruption and abuse of power, labelling rulers as dictators and autocrats, organizing protest marches and occupy movements and providing campaign skills – in Sri Lanka, in general, and at Galle Face, in particular, we saw all of these taking part simultaneously”(US Footprints at the Galle Face Protest Site – August 20th 2022)

The article written by ST is so comprehensive that it should be compulsory reading for anyone who is out to seek the truth contained in that Golden Bowl which has misled many an innocent onlooker.

‘US foot prints at GF protest site’ deals with the international players involved in the Aragalaya. In the article ‘Who were most afraid of Galle Face protesters?’, he deals with the main group and sub groups of local players in the Aragalaya.

The sub-groups involved were so diverse and numerous it is almost impossible to keep track of their composition. They ranged from altruistic youth to tele drama actresses, criminals, terrorists, rapists, perverts, and drug peddlers. They were all well-looked after by the benefactor. One such actress admitted to having earned seven lakhs.

The main groups were easy to be identified. ST had been able to identify twenty such groups. They ranged from the Anti-Rajapakse group, to differently abled youth, ex- servicemen, LGBTO activists. I do not want to reproduce them here.

Sena Thoradeniya’ s article on Wimal Weerawansa’s speech at the SLFI is a panegyric full of praise for the valiant task he had performed. I too cannot think of anyone in the opposition ranks who would have had the guts to perform that task.

Quoting Mao, Thoradeniya refers to it as a cyclone. It was certainly a cyclone which by now has swept many off their feet. Julie Chang has been hit by it so hard, she has not only been swept off her feet but has also lost her balance.

Within twenty-four hours, she without even reading the script or the book has concluded it as fiction. Apparently, she does not seem to realize that good fiction is based on facts. Probably she is influenced by the fiction that is manufactured today in the West and served globally bolstered with such prizes as the Booker. They are certainly not based on facts or reality. They are based on fantasies of alienated sick minds far removed from reality and a sense of social awareness. The recent Booker prize for a novel by a Sri Lankan living abroad is a good example. Obviously, there is an undisclosed pro-Western, anti-nationalist ideology that guides the selection of these works.

While praising Wimal for his valiant revelation ST refers to two events that mired the occasion.

The introductory speech by the professor was a distraction. ST calls it a ‘hotch-potch of sterile theory which has no practical value’. Apart from being hotch-potch it was a distraction for many in the audience who were eagerly waiting to listen to Wimal Weerawansa.

The other event that mired the occasion was trying to make a hero of that protester who belonged to the Aragalaya fraternity. He was shot by the Police when he attempted to set fire to the petrol bowser. The following observation by ST is valid.

“The author makes the fallen protester a hero also dedicating the book to the wife and children of the dead person. The author fails to see that the protesters countrywide were looking for blood, a dead body and how this death caused to stage funeral proceedings, dirges and wailing at the Galle Face Protest site.

(Nine; The Hidden Story” Wimal Weerawansa’s valiant Revelations, May 1st 2023)

In spite of these minor shortcomings, we should be indebted to Wimal Weerawansa for exposing the truth contained within that Golden Bowl which deceives many even today.In concluding this fragmentary review of ST’s articles I wish to bring into focus an aspect of Aragalaya of which there is hardly any awareness among many, including some Buddhists who were ardent supporters of the Aragalaya. ST has made brief references but has not delved deeply into it.

According to what I observed it was obvious that within the Aragalaya there was a well- planned strategy to denigrate the Buddhist Civilization of this country. To do it successfully they knew that the younger generation, the generation after ’77, had to be mobilized, for they are the heirs and bearers of that civilization.

The Colonizers who came here realized that it was the Sinhala Buddhist Civilization that had kept this country intact for millennia. And they knew once that civilizational base was destroyed, the edifice was bound to crumble.

Prior to Independence this was done with the Bible and the sword. After Independence more subtle methods were used. Those methods were too numerous and diverse to be enumerated. I will provide a bare outline since it would take me pages to provide an exhaustive account.

Bandaranaike founded the SLFP in 1952 to resuscitate the Sinhala Buddhists Civilization that was in decay. In 1956 people put SWRD in power to bring back the Sinhala Buddhist society that was there prior to the advent of the colonizer.

According to the US State Department papers released recently, US State Secretary Foster Dulles had spent five million dollars to defeat Bandaranaike at the elections. Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1956.That the hidden hand of the CIA was there behind this assassination came out at the Commission investigating this assassination.

Sirima Bandaranaike who came to continue the Bandaranaike legacy had to face a military coup- to dislodge her, by anti-Sinhala and anti -Buddhist elements. The Rajapakses were put in power by the people to carry on this Bandaranaike legacy. With the help of the Sinhala nationalist Buddhist forces Mahinda Rajapakse was able to destroy Prabhakaran and his terrorist outfit. This was an unbearable humiliation for the Western powers (defense Ministers of UK and France flew down to take away Prabhakaran). In 2015 Mahinda Rajapakse was defeated at the elections for which 30 million dollars were spent as admitted by John Kerry.

In 2019 when the entire Sinhala Buddhist people voted to bring Gotabhaya back to power; it would have been a shock to these Western powers. The only way to prevent a repetition in the future was to alienate the youth who were destined to continue the traditional role as bearers of that civilization, and also, to get them to despise and disown their inheritance.

Some of them were for a secular multi-religious, multi- cultural multi-ethnic State, some others went further. They were for a completely secular materialist state. With that end in view, the eyes of the Bandaranaike statue were covered with a black cloth. Religious symbols were desecrated. The Tooth relic was called ‘a labba’. A female named Tirikkale of a city university, donned the cassock of a catholic nun.

Many drug peddlers were put in saffron robes. Catholic nuns were offering dana to sarwaagamika priests. Then there was that bizarre spectacle- Wesak was celebrated with the lighting of black Wesak lanterns, probably to indicate what is in store for the Buddhist civilization in this country. No doubt Jerome and Natasha (activist at Aragalaya) would have been emboldened to contribute their share to the campaign.

That this campaign was a total success was announced by no lesser a person than Omalpe Sobhitha thero, one of the God fathers of the Aragalaya when he made the following pronouncement jubilantly. ‘Aragalaya has destroyed the Sinhala Buddhist supremacy’. That is exactly what Uncle Sam wants. Omalpe Sobhitha thero should congratulate himself for achieving what was not possible during the last two thousand years!

This aspect of the Aragalaya should draw the attention of the Sinhala Buddhists who get agitated by the slightest insinuation as an insult to Buddhism. I am honoured to have been invited to write this introduction to Sena Thoradeniya and his contribution.Sena Thoradeniya needs no introduction by me. He is far more knowledgeable on these matters than I am.

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