Regime Change:
Posted on October 1st, 2012

By Garvin Karunaratne PhD. (Michigan State University)

Half a millennium ago Captain Robert Clive of the East India Company battled the sovereign ruler of Bengal, Shia Uj Daulah,  created rifts amongst the Bengal leaders, bought them over with money, defeated Shiraj Ud Daulah in battle and dragged him through the streets tied to his chariot.  That was the work of an NGO, a Non Governmental Organization authorized by Great Britain to roam the seas, and foreign lands, plunder anything they come across and bring back the booty to Great Britain. It is not well known that at that time the King of England was on the payroll of the East India Company.

History is repeating itself every where as Mr. Ratnasabhapaty my History teacher at St Peter’s College long ago would tell us.  We have all seen Gadaffi the ruler of Libya dragged through the streets and mauled to death. That was what did happen to Shiraj Ud Daulah too five centuries ago.  It is a well known fact that Gadaffi did conquer poverty and provided incomes and a first class health service to all its citizens. It is also forgotten that Gadaffi had sided the United States in its foray into Afghanistan and Iraq and even tortured fighters arrested by the US to wean out more information. It was that Gadaffi who even licked the boots of the US that faced an ignominious death, when the master did decide that he was no  longer wanted.

So be it, President Suharto of Indonesia  was also dumped when he could no longer command the masses in the manner that the US  and the IMF wanted. So also went Marcos of the Phillipines, after doing every thing that the US and its protƒÆ’†’©gƒÆ’†’© the IMF wanted.

Let us turn pages to today- in Syria a foreign army, financed  by foreign powers,  is on the rampage fighting against Assad, the ruler who though not democratically elected, did rule in a righteous manner. The Syrian  Army  established by Assad’s father was all powerful and was a threat to Israel and therefore Syria had to be eliminated from the scene. In the case of Gadaffi’s defeat it was accepted that the SAS, the elite commando brigade of Great Britain was organizing the uprising for months till it took on Gadaffi unawares.

Putin, the legitimate and  democratically elected ruler of Russia has last week ordered the US Aid forces out of Russia, He has said that the United States NGOs that worked in Russia were acting covertly to destabilize Russia. In fact,  a book by Michael A. Faul. Former US Ambassador tells how the US in distributing Aid were concentrating on areas where they wanted to collect information, areas which were earlier debarred for NGO activity.(FromPower & Purpose: US Policy towards Russia after the Cold War)

In our own Motherland, many are the recent attempts at Regime Change. Our people tend to forget them,

The JVP tried to effect a “OneDay” Regime Change in 1971. Their Plan was to attack all police stations  and army units on a single day- the 5 th April 1971. Their charge was that the newly elected Government did not bring about employment. That Government was keen to find a solution and was planning the Divisional Development Councils Programme,  but given no chance because the Government was formed only in July 1970 and had been in office only for eight months. The JVP acted fast to take over but  their communication links made a mistake and their units at Moneragala and Wellawaya  attacked the Police Stations there a day earlier on the 4 th April and this enabled time for the authorities to prepare otherwise we would not be alive to tell the tale. It was found that North Korea dictated to the JVP to wrest power. The North Korean Embassy was closed and the staff deported at once.

Later Sri Lanka survived an attempt by Rajiv Gandhi who forced President Jayawardena to change our Constitution by the 13 th Amendment, forcing Tamil as a national language(when Tamil is not accepted as a national language even in India, the home of the Tamils) and also enforcing power devolution through Provincial Councils. This power devolution meant that the Government is no longer is in a position to attend to any development work island wide. President Jayawardena shivered in his boots and did as dictated by Rajiv Gandhi. We are living with the Monster- the Provincial Councils even today, a white elephant  that not only eats into our resources but also is a stumbling block towards development. Recently the Divineguma Bill, the most progressive attempt by the Rajapaksa Government was turned down and asked to get the approval of the Provincial Councils. Today(30 th September), it is reported that the TNA will fight tooth and nail to throw out the Divineguma Bill in the Eastern Provincial Council and later in the Northern Provincial Council. In my days I was one of the chief implementers when the Department of Agrarian Services was established in 1958 to the Sixties. We worked day and night and did not have any stumbling blocks. No one could stop us at work. Then on fertilizer use it was I that sent out an all island circular and it was implemented islandwide immediately. Later as Senior Assistant Commissioner I saw to it that the entire island did progress in paddy cultivation. Today that circular would be in the waste paper basket of some Provincial Ministers. To get that out of the waste paper basket we will have to go on bended knees to Councillors. Such an  administrative system is inimical for development. The defeat of the Divineguma Bill tells me that we have to throw out the 13 th Amendment lock stock and barrel if we want the country to develop.  There is no time to waste.  We have to conquer poverty, by increasing the incomes of the entire population. No foreigner is coming to do this task. Foreigners come in only to take our wealth away. It is left to us to marshall our resources and bring about production, steamroll all obstacles out of the way. Incomes for the people come in the process of producing what we want and the Divineguma Bill is the first genuine attempt and it is sad that it is being opposed. I speak through sheer experience. When I implemented the Youth Self Employment Programme in Bangladesh in 1982, which is today the premier employment creation in the world,(having created employment for over two million by 2011) we did not have to face stumbling blocks.

Later still- today it is the University Dons that have woken up from deep slumber and want all the ills in our education system eliminated in one day. It is a moot question as to why they were silent when the UNP established international schools  in a clandestein manner through the BOI instead of bringing them under the Ministry of Education. What were the Dons doing when our country was taken by the IMF on the path of the Structural Adjustment Programme to make a country that was not indebted to become indebted so that Sri Lanka  would be for ever under the IMF and the Western Superpowers. That was the legacy of the 1977-1994 UNP Rule. The UNP shackled this country with a foreign debt. Since then we have to raise further loans to finance the debt. Bringing the countries into Debt was the method of the Superpowers to subjugate us. This was  enforced by the IMF from the late Seventies. No don from Economics dared to study and predict what would happen to our Third World countries in that process. I have had to lay bare this process in my book: How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka &Alternative Programmes of Success.(Godages) .Except for shouting and marching on the streets, the Dons had better act in a developmental manner in the interests of the entire country. It would be good for one of our Vice Chancellors to establish an institute attached to a University to grapple that subject. There is no such institute in the entire world today.

The impossible demands of the University Dons remind me of the task given to Angulimala by his teacher, the task of collecting a thousand thumbs.

Instead of talking only about education, let the Universitiy Dons in their  depositaries of knowledge rack their brains on how the entire country can develop and get further on the path of alleviating poverty amongst us. .  The Dons belong to the intelligentia of the country and they should address the economy as a whole, instead of making piecemeal demands. The cat is out of the bag when one considers that the demands of the Dons includes two slots in international schools fully paid for each Don to educate their children

Let me hope that we have the strength to survive. We have to kiss Good Bye to the international schools and stop wasting our hard earned foreign exchange to cater only to the children of the rich and stop the import of luxury items to satisfy the palates of the rich. We have to say Good Bye to the 13 th Amendment if we want the country to prosper, defeat poverty and develop. Let me hope that we do have that strength. The only person who has that strength is our President, the one who defeated the LTTE and it is hoped that this Paper will convince him to act.

 Garvin Karunaratne
Former Government Agent Matara District,

29 th September 2012.

10 Responses to “Regime Change:”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Simply SCRAP 13 amendment NOW.

    Thanks to this useless 13 amendment, JOKERS become rulers!!

    A grenade was thrown to Majeed’s house last week. A bomb was found in a house of a TNA politician close by yesterday. Each attacking the other. These clowns would be NOBODYS if we didn’t have 13 amendment.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    GARVIN !!! I fully agree with you.~~~~We have to kiss International Schools Good Bye~~~ I said the same thing in my comment on one of Shenalis Articles,~~~save Education from whom~~~~International Schools, is a SORDID INDUSTRY, catering only to the rich. The Stupid Corrupt Legislators are creating a class rift amongst the POOR CHILDREN, and the RICH CHILDREN. SWRD did the same thing. He said “Sinhalese only ” and deprived two generations of youth from learning ENGLISH, but he sent his children abroad for a better English Education. There was something very sinister about. The poor children became the Bulls to draw the Carts. His children became Carters to goad the bulls. Damning hypocrites, these Politicians.

    How many people have said that the 13th Ammendment should be scrapped ? I believe the whole of Sri Lanka. Only TNA, the LTTE Proxy wants it. So why is the GOSL pussy-footing ? PRESIDENT HAS THE CLOUT TO KICK IT OUT OVER THE PALK STRAIT. HE SHOULD DO IT NOW.

  3. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    Mmmmm I tend not to think of SWRD in this category of unwise politicians. Being a Thomian, he had the guts to introduce the Sinhala language to replace the accepted English language at that time. He in fact hit the English speaking Sinhalayas, mainly Colombons, most Catholics and Christians, rather than targeting the Tamils. I do accept English as a subject and not as a medium of instruction. Hence, the rural folk got the chance to enter Unis and follow any course in Sinhala. Well I don’t see anything wrong with that. Even my Prof. who was a Thomian did advocate biliingualism in our Science Faculty. We were Conditioned to believe in English by the pathetic English speaking so called ‘elite’ (including our elders) socities existed in 50s, 60s in Sri Lanka and SWRD, who was called Sevala Banda by the very people who wished his demise, did the right thing at the right time.
    Well to an extent even the Pottu culture prevailed in government departments during our time when we were kids had to be replaced. From the chief clerk down to everyone on the floor were Tamils, which was unjust by any human rights standard. Sinhala people in our own country were marginalised.
    On the NGO issue, the first thing World Vision did in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami episode was to upgrade their vehicles to brand new ones, even before feeding people or building temporary shelter (justification is that they needed reliable vehicles to reach the public affected by Tsunami!) and to buy a Chopper. I complained through an email to the Secretary of World Vision here and the obvious response was a total denial and even TV channels did not pursue on the matter and were not interested as this was an Australia operation. If it was a Chinese or Russian operation it would have got the attention. We need to de-register all NGOs in Sri Lanka and get rid of all NGO whose agendas don’t much vary with the pathetic plans of Missionary people, mainly British, who in fact the plundered the psyche of Sri Lankans and plundered the whole country.

  4. Vijendra Says:

    Garvin, thank you very much for the great article. The question is why in the world is the GOSL not taking steps to scrap the 13th amendment forced on us by the Indians.

    Now the Indian government has said that ‘it would help create a platform to restart stalled talks between the Sri Lankan government and the major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The Indian officials have expressed concern over the delay in the two sides arriving at a mutually agreeable position towards a political solution to the ethnic issue. India hopes to get both sides to initiate meaningful talks through a Parliamentary Select Committee process. However, according to highly placed Indian sources India would not play the role of mediator.”

    That’s what we need now; Yeah right!

    GOSL must get rid of the interference by India and make it illegal and punishable by law for any Sri Lankan to take internal problems outside the country. The unpatriotic traitors of theTNA and the UNP are plotting to get the maximum foreign interference in our domestic affairs, thereby pawning away our right to self determination. These acts must be punished. SL must pass a patriot law to make such treacherous acts punishable by law.

    Mr. President, it’s time to show some courage and leadership to protect the integrity and sovereignty of our mother land! Keep India at an arms length, as we all know that they have their own hidden agendas. Call up a referendum to get rid of the 13A. Let the people decide the future of the country, and they would love you for that.

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Until the outbreak of World War II, Western countries were still enmeshed in their history of colonialism, racial discrimination and outside aggression. The widespread national liberation and democratic movements across the world following the end of World War II quickly resulted in the collapse of the West’s long-held moral excuses that were used to justify their past crimes and “use of force” and it turned to concepts, such as “humanitarian intervention” and “human rights are superior to sovereignty”, as the main means to regain their lost moral dominance and maintain their dwindling domain of influence throughout the world.

    By using abstract terms and their own criteria to define the concept of human rights, Western countries have attempted to completely separate human rights from sovereignty and then cause conflicts in specific countries and regions from which they can benefit and achieve their own political purposes.

    Human rights in individual countries can only be realized and protected in a sovereign country, when there are still strong and weak countries and when hegemonic activities and power politics still prevail.

    A country belongs to all its people and the country’s sovereignty is the concentrated embodiment of its collective human rights. The existence of sovereign nations constitutes the foundation of the current international society and under this precondition human rights conditions worldwide have made continuous advancements.

    In the absence of sovereignty, a country will have no ability and means to protect the human rights of its people. From Kosovo to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, under the pretext of “human rights being superior to sovereignty”, Western countries have chosen to use guns and bombs against the governments of these countries to realize their own ulterior motives. But the use of force has failed to bring the people in these countries improved human rights, on the contrary it has plunged them deep into humanitarian disasters and cost many their lives.

    Protecting human rights is a universal pursuit of people of all countries across the world. But if this issue is rigged by a handful of countries as the excuse to interfere with other countries’ internal affairs, the human rights of these countries and their people are ignored.

    Military interventions under the guise of moral slogans are in essence a kind of neo-colonialism.

  6. Dilrook Says:

    I disagree on one thing Dr Karunaratne has to say – international schools.

    It is true they give an unfair advantage to some. But it lessens the burden on the government that continues to mess up education. There is a mad struggle to get to a good school. By allowing international schools, this has been greatly reduced. Today tens of thousands of children study in international schools. If they were to go to local schools (without improving their infrastructure), poor children will lose out on education. More likely they will go abroad (India is a strong candidate) and their parents will remitt money abroad which further worsens the situation.

    The government does not have the money to upgrade infrastructure. International schools also provide income tax and VAT which is substantial. The total cost (including lost revenue) of not having international schools is unbearable to the government.

    What must happen is an improvement in education. More English education in local schools. Ethnicity based standardisation at universities. More intake at KDU in medicine, engineering faculties. A mandatory period of serving the nation for all local university graduates whose university education was funded by taxpayers.

  7. Dilrook Says:

    Ills of the 13A become clearer. It is an absurd piece of law. It must be revoked as soon as possible.

    A small correction: 13A made Tamil an official language (not a national language). Tamil should not be an official language of this country. Even in India it is only a national language and not an official language.

    This is very dangerous to this country. It makes this country more attractive to Tamil nationalists than Tamil Nadu!

    According to Lee Kwan Yu, one official language unified hundreds of islands of Indonesia into one nation. Sri Lanka must have one official language (Sinhala) and plenty of translators. People of Sri Lanka selected one official language in 1956 with an overwhelming majority. It is people’s choice and should not have been changed.

    Giving into India via the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and 13A has opened door for interference.

    2011 and 2012 made India more powerful in international matters. It got a seat at the UN security council and UNHRC. Its UNSC term ends this year which is very good. Its place will go to Butan, South Korea or Cambodia (preferred choice). Indians trying hard to convince UN to expand the number of permanant members (5 at the moment). However, it is not likely to happen. India is also claiming Kashmir as its own at the current session. Kashmir is a failure of the UN. If it ever comes for a vote, Sri Lanka must support the Pakistani position.

  8. Sirih Says:

    Can any one give detail analysis of Divineguma Bill?
    BTW World Vision is a christian charity and very dangerous one since they are in to conversion using very cleaver tricks…

  9. HussainFahmy Says:

    Too much of Government in Government and the Government is under obligation by the Western hegemony to bow down to their way of Governance and as a result be subservient to them. We have complied since independence and lately, freed ourselves from the shackles to defeat the epidemy of Terrorism. Complacency with victory could have severe effects. Every citizens duty to work towards harmony and discuss and solve pressing issues in a peaceful manner,

    Most of us rally round the college flag, The Blue Black and Blue. Our lifestyle is programmed/brainwashed secular. The moment we make claims to my Language only matters, my faith only matters, my views only matter, Most damaging is the Majority rules and the Minority complies, we have no hope as a country towards progress and productivity. Our education system teaches us to count, however they do not teach us what COUNTS.

    Sri Lanka is rich country in natural resources enough to go around for every citizen for all communities that have lived for centuries. Petty squabble among them keeps the country away from prosperity.

    We are, where we are and what we are because of the thoughts that dominate our mind. We are neither masters nor victims of our attitudes. It’s a matter of personal choice, the Will to Win and the Will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.


  10. nandimitra Says:

    Let us not fool ourself. Since 1977 the agenda is fixed by the IMF/ World Bank. The country is ruled by a viceroy employed by them. The sovereignty, Democracy are all a fig leaf to cover their agenda. This is true of SL, India or any other country. All these well thought out suggestions we see in these comments are actually a waste of time. Tell me one suggestion out of the many that we see in the comments be it 13th amendment or any other outside that agenda of the IMF ? World Bank that is carried out.

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