Mirihana Outrage: Harbinger of Present and Some Future Events?
Posted on August 17th, 2022

Sena Thoradeniya

The previous version of this piece was written soon after the Mirihana Incident (31, March,2022) but I was unable to get it published due to some reasons which do not have any importance to the reader. Whilst accepting that during the past one month (in April) many developments had taken place beyond anybody’s control, I have prepared an edited version of the original article as it consists a preamble to a publication, I am compiling tentatively titled, From Mirihana to Galle Face Green”. Since things are unfolding in a rapid pace it is difficult to cluster them in an abridged form.    

In the evening of March 31, as a friend my mine telephoned me that a large body of protesters had assembled at Jubilee Post Junction I just went there as an observer to observe what was happening.  The protesters in their outward appearance and by the language they used seemed to belong to a cross section of middle and upper middle classes. In the midst of the simmering crowd I was able to identify a couple known to me, staunch haters of MR from the days of his presidency who later collaborated with the Yahapalanistsrejoicing at his downfall in 2015. Nearby was the house of a Yahapalana Minister, now an MP of SJB.   It is true that some carried toddlers and the demonstrators were behaving peacefully at that time. But the slogans they chanted and what was written on the placards they carried were provocative and inciting people to rise against Rajapaksas.   The biggest question is who drew this peaceful crowd towards Pengiriwatta Road to besiege President’s private residence. Earlier Hirunika Premachandra, the SJB defeated candidate had set an example for these protesters to proceed towards President’s private residence without any obstruction. This was the first security mishap in this whole series of events that unfurled for a few months then onwards. It was fascinating to watch mostly the women demonstrators taking selfies as they have done before at nine arches bridge at Demodera and immediately posting those photographs in social media platforms to say that with the hashtag, # I was there” or # me too”. Later this behaviour became the hallmark of all protesters.   

News spread like a wild fire, thanks to FB friends. Protesters converged from Maharagama, Delkanda and Talapathpitiya areas and occupied the main road from Embuldeniya Junction up to Pengiriwatta. This was how a peaceful demonstration of middle and upper middle classes that started at Jubilee Post Junction peacefully was hijacked by some unidentified political elements and rabble rousers. Around midnight Embuldeniya Junction was set ablaze ruining the magnificently carpeted road and karanda trees planted on either side of the road which typified GR’s efforts in urban beautification. Parapet walls either side of the road were smashed and brickbats were used as projectiles to attack the security personnel. This was the first act of terrorism which the security functionaries failed to read and react.  I was a witness to this mayhem until the wee hours of the following day. The rest is known to all.

So, this was the beginning. Gota Go Home” cry gathered momentum and was heard at every corner of the big city and suburbs. The grand conspiracy hatched from the day GR became the President was unleashed using INGO-trained tech-savvy youth as Pied Pipers. By carefully watching all the television footage and social media posts and identifying the men and women shown therein we were able to come into the conclusion that none of these celebrities who protested at the early stages of this protest campaign have languished in long gas and kerosene oil queues and had problems in feeding their kids. Most of these  protesters who assembled in front of Nelum Pokuna, represent  anglicised, pro-Western, comprador bourgeois interests who live in luxury apartments, who dine at luxury hotels, whose children attend either private denominational schools or international schools, having one foot here and the other in a Western country, who go on safari tours not to either Yala or Wilpattu as ordinary folk do, but to Maasai Mara in Kenya, Serengeti in Tanzania and  Kruger National Park in South Africa. Some were on vacation, as furlough during the time of the Britishers! Those who came from Australia and the West to see their parents visited the protest sites just to upload their selfies. (This is not a figment of imagination of the writer; I stand for what I write).

Why this sudden change in behaviour of this privileged lot?  The answer is a simple one. Its all economics and related to business and disturbances to their life styles; not love and solidarity to toiling masses who undergo severe hardships. It was an irony of history that these elitist groups protesting along with petty-bourgeoisie, toiling masses and different elements of the lumpen proletariat. Their main worry was ACs, pressure pumps and other gadgetry were not functioning due to power outages.

The culmination of these protests was the establishment of a Gota Go Gama”. If Ranasinghe Premadasa could an establish villages within villages which had a historical foundation giving those clusters of homes esoteric names why can’t a set of protesters do the same in the heart of the city? Evidence is not needed to state that most of the other protests held in the city and elsewhere and in front of the houses of ruling party politicos are organised by hidden hands affiliated to two well organised cadre-based political parties. Can the elite remember how they lived without electricity switching off lights when all the power houses were generating electricity to their full capacity fearing the bitter repercussions after receiving the chit” sent by the DJV, the military arm of the JVP in the late nineteen eighties? Are we to believe that class identities, class barriers, class consciousness and class distinctions were outstripped and antagonistic class contradictions between these classes were resolved overnight with the cry of Go Gota Home” campaign? But now we see this class except a few of the former top bureaucrats who helped the politicians of different colours and hues to feast over the cadaver of Mother Lanka and theoreticians who formulate absurd theoretical formulations to the present agitations have slowly and steadily retreated from the hotbeds of agitations. This class is craft enough to identify the wind direction and to have some rough gauge of wind intensity in advance. Very soon publications will appear as Linda Herrera’s Revolution in the Age of Social Media, The Egyptian Popular Insurrection and the Internet” (2014) for the consumption of the western pundits

We should be mindful that this so-called Aragalaya is not led by a Marxist party having workers and peasants as its nucleus providing leadership to a broad national united front. It is an unorganised loose outfit representing many interests, classes, ideologies and cultures. It is like a beach carnival with free entry and exit at will. I do not know whether they are knowledgeable of the Paris Commune, Bolshevik Revolution, Chinese Revolution or any other national liberation struggle. May be some are aware of the escapades of Che Guevara and the film The Motor Cycle Diaries”.

Can the government allow some miscreants to set up villages” like this, having its own administrative structures including a post office?  If pro-LTTE elements try to set up villages” of this nature in North and East what would the government do?

Yuppies who were ignorant of political, economic, social and cultural change  brought forth by SWRD were ungrateful that they blindfolded the bronze statue of SWRD sculptured by that great Soviet sculptor Lev Kerbal, Professor, academician and Vice-President of the then USSR Academy of Arts, a pioneer of Socialist Realism Sculpture, considered as a masterpiece of urban art by their own NGO godfathers. This was a gift by the people of former USSR to the people of Sri Lanka. An economic refugee domiciled in a Western country lamented that it should have been brought down. Even if this happens, we will not be surprised as we have seen statues of Lenin and Stalin brought down by regime changers and the names of great cities such as Leningrad and Stalingrad changing.

A USSR-trained sculptor who claims that he was taught by Kerbal giving an interview to a Sinhala Weekly glorified this vandalism, a man who did sculpting in Premadasa’s Udagam Carnival.

At the Gall Face agitation site posters were seen referring to Pornhub, a well- subscribed pornography portal. Protesters at the Polduwa Junction were asked to bring underwear and hang them on police barricades which male and female protesters did enthusiastically, calling it Nandeta Jangiyak” (lingerie to GR). Women protesters were keener to exhibit their high-end brands to fellow protesters.   A well-respected medical specialist texted me that according to his psychiatric knowledge a used/old panty is a highly valuable object to perverts and within a few days all other garbage will remain by the roadside sans panties. Wikipedia describes this as underwear fetishism relating to undergarments and refers to preoccupation with the sexual excitement of underwear such as panties, stockings, pantyhose and bras. Some males can experience sexual excitement from wearing lingerie of women, while others get their excitement when observing, handling, smelling and of course exhibiting underwear worn by others or watching somebody putting underwear on or taking it off.    

it’s better not to go into details of the contents of the songs sung, poems recited, posters and other visuals exhibited at these protest villages. This will be dealt in depth when we discuss the culture of protesters.  A wreath carried Gota ta Nivan Dukha” as its condolence message. For Buddhists nibbana is the supreme bliss, not suffering as the protesters allude.it is unfortunate that the political monk, the local Ayatollah in saffron robes, who acts as the godfather of these protesters is blind to such sub-culture aspects emanating from the protest sites. (He was the one who protested against some radio plays produced in 2018 alleging that they were insulting Buddhism). Wearing Guy Fawkes masks is child’s play when one studies these sub-culture aspects emanating as not seen before. 

What next? The call has now turned into ousting of all 225 lawmakers (except 3!) and the camping sites have encircled the perimeter of Diyawannawa. Very soon these protesters will have their own clandestine broadcasting and television stations as they are well funded by sources not unknown to the analysts who follow the present scenario. (Do not ask who will provide them with frequencies. See the enormity of funds pumped to Gota Go Gama”) As they have come to the perimeter of the Parliament how can one rule out them storming the Parliament electing their own government as now many claimants have appeared to rescue” the nation.  I do not want to discuss this scenario any further and its consequences.  As there are many claimants for leadership internecine, military crackdown, a reign of terror and anarchy cannot be ruled out. Will the middle and upper middle-class agitators at Mirihana enter the history as gravediggers of democracy in Sri Lanka?

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