Posted on November 15th, 2022

By Sena Thoradeniya

This is a sequel to my previous article titled Booker Prize, Chattel Slavery, Sugar, its Politics and Sri Lanka” posted on October 30 th 2022. In the last part of my article, First Moon of Maali Almeida” I had quoted certain passages from the Booker Award winning novel Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” to express that The First Moon” is more than enough to get the Booker, why waste seven moons, you have already accomplished what you wanted, portraying your country as a killing field.

Although I had stated that a detailed critique (of the novel) will have to wait”, now I understand that this novel does not merit such a literary critique.  Hence instead of discovering its genre, background, class stand, for whom it was written, whom it serves, its content and artistic form  (their unity),  world outlook, plot, narrative structure and style, characters, intertextuality and language etc. we thought of revealing how the writer had gone against his country of birth, its history and culture depicting it as a hellhole.

For this essay we have selected novel’s second part or Second Moon”. If time permits, we intend to explore” the other five moons” also.

It should be noted that there is nothing new in the novel’s narrative style, where dead characters narrate the story. Among the well-known authors who adopted this style are American writer Kurt Vonnegut in his Galapagos” and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk in his My Name is Red”.  

My name is Red” is set in Turkey during the period of Ottoman Empire in the 16 th century. It features a dead narrator, a murdered miniaturist commissioned by the Sultan. Unlike our Booker hero”, Parmuk glorifies Islam, (Our Glorious Prophet Muhammad”) Koran (Glorious Koran”), Allah (I fear nothing but Allah”; Only Allah has knowledge of the exact moment of death”), Muslims, Sultan (His Excellency Our Sultan”), Muslim canonical literature, ancient love stories ( Shorab and Rustem; Leyla and Mejnun), Ottoman paintings and art of embellishing and their Master Illuminators.

This work has been translated into more than fifty languages and Parmuk’s works are being taken as source materials in Turcology. If there is a field of study called Sri Lankalogy god help the researchers in extracting material from what was introduced globally as Sri Lankan writing!

In the last section of this essay (Second Moon”) we reproduce how our hero” had demonised our kings, the way he interpreted our history, denigrated our national symbols such as the lion flag etc. a slavish curtsy seeking Imperial honours.   

Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” by any means cannot be considered as a complete work of art although it has won a highest prize from the old empire. It falls into the category of Reportage rather than fiction. Even in this regard we see how superior Garcia Marques’ News of a Kidnapping”.

Then why Seven Moons of Maali Almeida”, a work published earlier as Chats with the Dead” with the same character Malinda Albert Almeida, a war photographer solving his own murder, became a hallowed work for Booker Evaluators? Isn’t it absolute deceitful submitting an already published novel? The answer is simple.

We had stated in our previous article that some eminent African writers who wrote in English and published their works in England were not even shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Legends such as Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong’o were not considered for the Noble Prize, given in the name of the inventor of dynamite and other more powerful explosives, whereas it was awarded to a Canadian short story writer in 2013 and to an American singer and songwriter, a representative of popular culture in 2016.

As usual Booker Prize is also tied to imperialists’ politics. Look at the timing and the background in Sri Lanka. (1) Just a few months after Galle Face protest (it was the time shortlisting and final judgement was made) (2) Ousting of the elected President (3) Installing a darling of the West as the President (4) UK co-sponsored Geneva Resolution against Sri Lanka alleging genocide and economic crimes (a new allegation)  (5) Tamil (LTTE rump) Diaspora acting with renewed invigoration after lifting the ban of some Tamil Ealam organisations  and some Ealamists , all have contributed to the selection of a mediocre work overlooking  literary excellence.

Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” validates the unsubstantiated allegations made against Sri Lanka and its armed forces by Geneva Human Rights Commission, Tamil Diaspora and western countries. It’s a victory of Sri Lanka bashers, no doubt.

As in the last part of our previous article we now examine without elucidation how Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” succeeds in luring the Booker judges.

Second Moon”

(1) Racial bias: Of Dr. Ranee (Read Rajini Thiranagama): She was more photogenic than most Tamil moderates that ended dead”. Insulting the dead; racial bias. (All emphases are mine.)

I’m not a bloody Chinaman with a ponytail”.

(2) Distortions: Of Sena Pathirana (Read Daya Pathirana); I grew up in a quarry in Wellawaya. I worked as a servant boy in Gampaha”.

Sena Pathirana joined the JVP. One of the first to be taken out by uncle’s (a Minister) death squads”. Truth: Daya Pathirana was killed by the JVPers.

Shooting of policemen in Batticaloa: a dozen policemen”.  Why hide the exact number? Who ordered them to surrender? Who killed them? How were they killed? An opportunity the author got to expose LTTE brutality thus deliberately evaded.

(3) Killing fields: A shadow (a killer?): It wears a necklace of skulls and a belt of severed fingers”. belly bare and hanging over a belt of flesh. Human faces etched in them.”

*You see four bodies baking in Jaffna’s dust.”

1983 was an atrocity, eight thousand homes, five thousand shops, a hundred and fifty thousand homeless, no official body count. The Sri Lankan government has neither acknowledged nor apologised for it.”

Naked Tamil boy being kicked to death”.

Uniformed cops watching Tamil women being dragged out of busses”. 

You were off to Trincomalee to cover a village massacre”. Committed by whom?

burning shops cars and people”.

The lady in the pink salwar being doused with petrol. The naked boy surrounded by dancing devils. A house in Wellawatte aflame with faces pasted against the window.”

The boy and his mother being beaten with sticks, the toddler with the broken arm, the fellow with the cleaves hacking at an old man’s back.”

Close-ups of the men behind the clubs, unidentified animals, armed with petrol and electoral forms, unidentified bigots who hunted strangers and set fire to them.”

The dancing devil, the man with the stick, the boy with the petrol can, the beast with the brown cleaver”.

The trained butcher in a banyan, waving a cleaver dulled the blood of chickens, pigs, hunted minorities.”

In this killing fields the author creates, the LTTE was holding tightly to prayer beads!

(4) Anti-Sri Lanka, anti-national; distortion of history

Hard to imaginea bright future (for Sri Lankan working girls) when four thousand are raped in this country every year. Many by their own family”.  

This land is cursed”.

Ceylon was a beautiful island before it filled up with savages”.

Some countries import their savages, we breed ours.” Is the author referring to African slave trade? Does he back slavery?

” There were people here long before the Sinhalese”. Kuveni people”. They were not considered people. We call them devils and snakes”.

Who were the indigenous Lankans?” Not Vijaya and his sea pirates.”  

Minister of Justice, the Right Contemptible Cyril Wijeratna, stalwart of the government credited with corrupting judiciary, setting up death squads, igniting the pogrom of 1983”; the man who overseas death squads”.  

(5) Anti – Sinhala, anti-Buddhist, anti-culture rhetoric: The country belongs neither to the Veddhas here first, nor to the Tamils, Muslims, Burghers here for centuries. Only to the Sinhalese who filled with people. And their priests who wrote big books about it.”

Sinhala men in sarong dancing outside a burning shop”.

And people get testy when you say genocide”, especially Sinhalese”.

I stopped calling myself Sinhalese after 1983”.

You believed that we all Sri Lankans children of Kuveni, bastards of Vijaya.”

Sinhalas will take the Tamil newspaper if it’s free”.

People will believe anything except the truth”.

Aside from believing in yakas and curses, Lankans also believe in nakath, in the auspiciousness of time.”  If you face west and light a lamp at 6.45 a.m. you will receive joy; if you face north and spark up at 7.30 the sky will fall.”

Vulgarisation of The Five Precepts: Kaamesu michch charya”

(6) Of Mahavamsa and Recent History: The novelist is immersed in a hackneyed old topic, Mahavamsa bashing. This is a worn-out canard even the foreign-funded NGO historians, Tamil separatists and Ealamists are no longer pursuing. But the author’s Mahavamsa bashing is simply shows his stupidity and juvenility. He simply parrots the old hack.    

If the Mahavamsa is to be believed, the Sinhalese race was founded on kidnapping, rape, parricide, and incest. This is not a fairy tale, but the story of our birth as given by island’s oldest chronicle, a chronicle used to codify laws crafted to suppress all that is not Sinhalese and Buddhist and male and worthy”.

Once upon a time in north India, a princess meets a lion, lion kidnaps and forces self on princess. Princess gives birth to girl and boy. Boy grows up, kills lion-father, becomes king, marries sister. She gives birth to boy, who becomes troublemaker, who is banished with seven hundred flunkies, who arrive in ships on the shores of Ceylon.”

Prince Vijaya and his band of bald things kick-start our history by slaughtering the native Naga people and seducing their queen, though perhaps not in that order. If the origin story is true, the mess we are in should be no surprise.”

Betrayed and ruined by the callous prince, Queen Kuveni of Naga tribe curses the land before she kills herself and abandon her children to the forest. The curse sticks for a few millennia and in 1990, shows the signs of lifting”.  I am not trying to correct novelist’s fallacies, Kuveni, of Naga tribe etc.etc.

Sri Lankan President in his capacity as Finance Minister introduced his budget for 2022-2023 on 14 November 2022. Among the budget proposals are setting up a separate Institute to study History of Sri Lanka. We do not know what made the President to make this new proposal. But the writer of Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” should be enrolled in this Institute and given an elementary course in Sri Lankan history.

Don Wijeratne Joseph Michael Bandara won a scholarship to the Peradeniya Law Faculty in 1919”. Its sheer madness establishing a law faculty at Peradeniya in 1919! Students who prepare for the fifth standard scholarship examination know that the University College was established in 1921, University of Ceylon in 1942, University of Ceylon shifted to Peradeniya in 1952 and the former University of Ceylon named as University of Peradeniya in 1978.

(7) National Symbols/National Flag: Minister flies a Sri Lanka flag on its (car) roof.”

I always had a problem with that flag”.  

When did we have bloody lions here?” Elephants might make more sense”. Or pangolins”.

Most flags have blocks of colour, not always belonging to the same palette; horizontal, vertical, sometimes diagonal, sometimes all three, like the Union Jack that ruled over us all. Some have friendly symbols like maple leaves, crescent moons, spinning wheels and suns with afros”.

Look at our flag. What an achcharu. It has everything. Horizontal lines, vertical lines, primary colours, secondary colours, animal symbols, nature symbols, weapons. Yellow, maroon, green and orange. Bo leaves, a sword and a beast. Like fruit salad.”

The lion holds the scimitar to the orange and green verticals that represent the Dravidian and Mohammedan, holding the minorities at knifepoint.” 

Lanka has the plum maroon of an unhealed scar”.

There is no evidence that this beast ever roamed these lands. But it sits on flag waving weapons and swimming in blood. As if to acknowledge that Lanka was founded on bestiality and bloodsheds.” 


We should not forget that some sections of the Galle Face Protesters were calling for re-imagining” a flag. Changing national symbols was a call emanating from the foreign-funded NGO lobby for a quite some time.  We do not want to list down the predators depicted in national flags or coats of arms in many countries including Germany, USA and England. 

(8) About SWRD: Fuhrer of Sinhala Only. Godfather of every shitstorm.”

I ’ve heard him called worse”.

He was shot by a Buddhist monk, the beast he was trying to tame, for not being bigoted enough”.

Remember that the Galle Face Protesters blindfolded the massive statue of SWRD erected at Galle Face Green as instigated by Tamil Guardian.

(9) Ignorance of Sinhala Vasagams and personal names: A gentleman who came to politics for neither greed nor profit, Don Wijeratne Joseph Michael Bandara, born in Kegalle in 1902, son of a cobbler”. His youngest son is Don Wijeratne Buvaneka Cyril Bandara.  In which province or village Dons” became Bandaras”? Since the novel is a surrealist trash, do we have to pardon the writer? 

The novel says Michel Bandara was elected on the C.P. (Communist Party) ticket”. To our knowledge there was only one Communist Party stalwart Wijeratne in Kegalle, who was a son of a politician and High Commissioner knighted by the imperial government!

(10) Sexual behaviours: Gays, Lesbians and Orgy men and women”: A masala for Western craving: Father, son and lover: The three of you occupied a bedroom each had let others speculate on who shared what with whom”.

ended up shooting closeted homos”.

You were a simply a handsome man who enjoyed beautiful boys”.

Radhika was kissing Jaki and Buvaneka (her boyfriend) was licking you. And you were in Jaki’s room”.

We have a group that meets every month. You two should come”.

Of one Clarentha de Mel: a homosexual grandfather of four”.

some boy at the Liberty Plaza toilets who fondled you after dark”.   

You remember the argument. It was over condoms and why you insisted on wearing them. Were you sleeping with others when you went away?”

(11) Can the Suddha evaluators understand these words? Mara, putha, preta, yaka, hamu, boru, kolla, appa, gullas, baba, Wella, Bamba, achcharu, nekath, suliya, huniyam, kanatta, Riri yaka, Mohini, thathi, mara poet, swamini, varam, maalu paan, gotukola, ado hutto,

(Next: Third Moon” and Other Moons)

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