Saturday, May 31, 2008
Also it brings the total number of parliamentrains killed this year to a whopping six.. hmm just another 219 to go I guess.. nah just kidding there are some good guys in there somewhere like Prof. Vitharana and the likes, unfortunately his party has entered in to a rather unholy alliance with a bunch of thieves (SLFP) and racists (JHU).
Anyways ole Reggie is dead and we don't really care except that we would like extend our condolences to the family after all a death is death.
Maybe someone can blow up the parliament like Guy Fawkes tried to in England, might not be such a bad idea after all, it would reduce our fuel consumption quite dramatically.
Pic Courtesy : Daily Mirror (btw great headline!)
One would think that the idiots running the government cannot get any stupider, but voila! Enter Sajin Vass Gunawardene, according to him Mihin Lanka has brought in a revenue of 2700 million rupees to Sril Lanka, I say you dumb idiot you gotta look at both sides of the balance sheet and then decide.
Simple Economics: If your losses are greater than your revenue then you are not profitable.
According to government statistics, Mihin Lanka makes an annual loss of about 1.8 billion rupees (1800 million rupees). I wonder how this Monkey became a CEO of an airline without understanding how to read a balance sheet!
If loosing all its aircraft was not enough, Sajin " I am too stupid to read a balance sheet" Gunwardena has the guts to proclaim that the airline was delivering a great service to the country. According to him the even the CWE makes a loss, well I am damn sure the hard working Sri Lanakns didn't want to spend their hard earned EPF/ETF money so that idiots like you can pilfer millions.
Come to think of it there is something Sajin Vass could do, that would be of great service..... Jump down a cliff and die!
I mean we wouldn't be sad, or say Ayyo poor chap, he died so young etc. Rather all of us would breath a collective sigh of relief knowing that there would be one less A**hole in this country to steal our money.
I mean how can a lowly Wharf Clerk end up being a CEO of a airline, this dude Mahinda must have been inhaling some pretty heavy narcotics too get sooo high and appoint this good for nothing thief as a Presidential Adviser let alone as a CEO.
I mean its incomprehensible to a bloke like me, who has grown up in Colombo and seen so much talent in our corporate sector, with so many young hopefuls just waiting in the wings.
Honestly, it absoloutely unbelievable that these A**holes get appointed, then steal our money and then have the f**king guts to tell us that it was a f**king national service. And all this in a country that boasts of 93% literacy.
The only logical conclusion I can arrive at is this, the remaining illiterate 7% are probably cabinet ministers and Presidential Advisers. Hell! The cabinet has some 120 b*stards and god knows how many advisers the President has!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
But what differentiates Socialism from other political schools such as liberalism, conservatism or libertarianism is that it remains as a ideology meant to benefit the masses, yet it was hatched in the minds of a handful of intellectuals.
It is an interesting paradox, because unlike other movements those who instigated the ideals of Socialism had very little to benefit from if it were in fact enforced. To the contrary they had everything to lose, back in the days of Marx and Engels if one was an intellectual it also meant that one possessed a great deal of wealth and that one was also in a position to amass further wealth.
Yet, these worthy individuals decided to forgo their personal advantage and managed to formulate a thesis that would eventually benefit the whole of human kind.
But, what intrigues me the most is this, on paper Marxism seems the perfect solution, similar to Buddhism preaching us how to liberate ourselves spiritually Marxism preaches how one can liberate oneself economically and socially. Then why isn't it widely accepted, why is it seen almost as a pariah ideology in certain parts of the world.
The fact remains that it is essentially an intellectuals philosophy that was meant to uplift the lower social classes, a tad bit condescending don;t you think. The objective of this article is not to diss socialism or its ideologues but rather to emphasis the complexity and comprehensiveness of the movement.
For many the word socialism means bigger government, bad living conditions and working like machines. Unfortunately this cannot be further from the truth, Marxism in its most pristine form is about liberation at least in the material world.
The biggest barrier to the propagation of the movement today remains the level of intellect, it is unlikely that an entire populace would be able to decipher the meaning of the philosophy, thus I believe that Socialism is destined to be stuck in the heads of intellectuals at least for some time to come.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
A recent documentary aired on Al Jazeera English network caught my attention. The program named, “The Promised Land” focused its attention on the Israel- Palestine conflict and it discussed the establishment of the Jewish sate and the reaction on the parties involved. Ironically the program was quite captivating and it discussed the pre world war elements and forces, which helped form the State of Israel.
We all know the harassments and cruel massacres that were carried out by the Nazi forces against the Jews in Europe, but that was not the sole reason but a major stimulus, which helped the formation of the State of Israel in 1948. The Zionist dream or the ideology to form a Jewish state in Palestine dates back years before the 2nd World War. Though an idea for the reestablishment of a Jewish state in Palestine had been there for centuries, it only became a major ideology and a movement in late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Arab lands, which were under colonial rule, saw an influx of Jewish immigrants since the late 1880s and this continued and increased yearly. The British, then rulers of the Palestine and other Arab countries played along with different ball games offered by both the Arab and Jewish leaders in order to maintain their authority over the region. Even before the Jewish immigrants started to arrive, there was a minor population of Jews living in these Arab lands but it was around 7% of the total population. Also this Jewish population lived closely with their Arab counterparts and they did not even hold any Zionist dreams and in fact they were anti-Zionists.
However in late 1930s the Jewish immigrants in Palestine clearly outnumbered its Arab population. Of Palestinians point of view, the damage had been already been done, the harsh nomadic land witnessed the birth of modern Jewish settlements, stimulated much by the idea of Zionism. The Palestinians revolted but it was too late, the next years of the world history propelled the Zionist dream to new heights and by the end of the World War 2, amidst clear Arab opposition, the State of Israel was born. In the years to follow, Arabs waged war on Israel and by the time the wars had ended Israel had occupied more land and thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee and seek refuge.
Half a century down the line the tables have turned completely, and the Palestinians are now fighting for their land while the Israelis are trying to protect their country from militant Palestinians.
With its 60th anniversary of Statehood marked only a few weeks ago many Israelis celebrated their achievement and through out Arab lands it was a day of mourning called al-Nakba' - the catastrophe.
This was a mere synopsis of what happened and to draw conclusions it would require a more detailed analysis over the issue. And making judgments over who was right or wrong clearly not the motivation behind this post. But we can clearly break this incident down to two main factors; the ignorance of Arabs and the tactfulness of Jews. As history points out the Zionist dream was more of an ambition for Jews living in Europe and other Western countries than Jews living in Palestine and other Arab lands.
As a nation are there any lessons Sri Lanka can learn from this incident? Well, I think there are. Of course the comparisons may not be the same, but whom can we relate to…Arabs or Jews??
Marxism; it has almost become a bad word in Sri Lanka, unfortunately in this country the image that it conjures in the average joe (or siripala) on the street is one of rioting students and hardline political parties and not of a intellectually sound philosophy one that addresses the spirituality as well as the material desires of a population.
To put it very colloquially for those not so enlightened individuals that hasten to brand Marxism as a failed experiment, Marxism is not a philosophy that can only be categorized to mean a larger government and a total nationalization of the economy.
Marxist philosophy is based on three simple stages.
Stage Number One: This would be the prevailing situation in a country where large amounts of wealth is accumulated amongst a few individuals while the rest ( the lower classes) live in abject poverty. Their poverty is binding on the soul; thus it does not allow them to be free, or to experience happiness. ( This is rather difficult to explain think of it as the utopia of the philosophy similar to what Nirvana is in Buddhism.)
Stage Number Two : In order to reverse the prevailing situation, a rapid nationalization of the economy is enforced. Almost all systems of production , delivery and sale are under state controlled to create what big businessmen often call a "level playing field". The government enforces price controls to ensure so that the producer and the consumer can maintain a balance. Rigid controls are required to ensure that this system runs smoothly.
Stage Number Three: Due to a manged economy the distribution of wealth among the population is now more or less favorable, people's needs such as housing, education, clothing etc. can be adequately met, thus there is no further need for the controls enforced in Stage Two.
Before I come to the crux of my argument let me just emphasize on one point; according to Marx the method of converting Stage One to Stage Three was to nationalize, nationalize, nationalize! However, I beg to differ, in a sufficiently technologically advanced society that maybe possible but if one is to progress continuously while stage two is underway it is necessary to create competition in the market place.
Which is where the Social Democratic economic system comes in to play; that is however the subject of another post which I will proceed to publish very soon.
One aspect that was quite evident during the Sichuan earthquake was the amount of media coverage, the Chinese government was remarkably hospitable to foreign media crews and aid workers. Having earlier being described as xenophobic at best this is a startling revelation.
After the Cultural Revolution instigated by Mao, China went through a period of very very stringent government control that even rivaled the Soviet Union. Though allegations of Human Rights abuse are still rife in China the situation has improved, the government no longer dictates everything to businessmen. Mostly confining themselves to macro economic policy decisions.
This sudden openness in the Chinese economy and the relinquishing of absolute control by the government may mean that they have gone through the transition period and are slowly nearing the Marxist utopia, where citizens are free and not held down by economic constraints.
American propaganda gurus will tell you that Communism, Marxism and Socialism all mean an end to individual liberties, but is there a way of achieving the utopian state without infringing on civil rights?
Maybe, China has defineitly shown the difference a half a lifetime can make, maybe the fledgling leftist governments of South America can do it in less.
Just a day had passed after the voting on the Human Rights council and yet another journalist was abducted and badly beaten up. It seems that media freedom in this country is at its lowest ebb at least since the 80's and the early 90's.
For some reason Sri Lanka seems to be back pedaling quite rapidly towards the dark media oppressed days of the late 80's and early 90's. According to the Daily Mirror, Associate Editor and Defence Analyst of "The Nation" Keith Neyehr was abducted late on Thursday night. His car was found abandoned opposite the gate of his Waidya Road residence in Dehiwala.
Calls to his mobile phone, which was nowhere to be seen went unanswered.However intervention by “top officials” of the government saw an intense probe being launched to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Noyhar who is also a defence analyst for The Nation.
Police later traced the location from where his mobile phone signal was emanating and deployed a special team to the area.
But some six to seven hours after his abduction, while police were on their way to trace the mobile phone signal, Mr. Noyhar returned home with his face swelled up and blood pouring from his mouth, nose and ears, but fortunately still conscious.
A rather strange turn of events obviously Keith's friends in the government had got the police to track down his mobile phone, but then again in a city the size of Colombo that measures at most 10 or 15 kms across does it take six to seven hours to trace a phone call?
From what I know once the relevant mobile telecommunications company is alerted they can trace the phone call to with in a radius of 1 km or less of its actual location, within minutes.
Were the perpetrators alerted of an incoming police squad? Once again this is pure speculation but if one is to examine the facts it would be the only logical conclusion that one can arrive at.
Why would the government want to abduct Keith? As a defense analyst at Nation he was critical of the government's war effort, particularly of using it for political purposes. Harassment of defence analysts is nothing new in Sri Lanka, can anyone say Iqbal Athas?
Though I deeply resent the foreign media's labeling of our Defense Secretary as hawkish; at times one is forced to admit that the fellow is indeed hawkish. I doubt he would have made his "unpatriotic" and "censorship" statements in his adopted country - the USA (the land of the free blah blah blah.)
For some reason he seems to think that because we are a third world country we should agree with anything that comes out of his, as if it were the proclamation of a divine god!
It seems that NGO's , INGO's and humanitarians aren't the only ones that seems to think they are above the law in this country.
Word of advice for Gota.... If you want a censorship, draft a parliamentary act, get it passed in parliament and then enforce.... don;t; go around abducting and harassing innocent journalists!
(Pic. courtesy : The Island)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
As it turned out I found an old DVD lying around the house and decided to watch it, mostly because I didnt have much else to do. For those you poor souls who have gone through life with out enjoying the morbid jokes and elementary humor of Ali G I'll try and recap what the movie is about.
Ali G (actual name Alistair Graham) is a wannabe gangster who lives in a middle class suburb of London known a Staines, though Ali makes it seem as if Staines is as dangerous as the Bronx in the 1920's in reality its a peaceful commuter town full of middle level executives.
As fate would have it thorough numerous twists and turns accompanied by Baron's signature wit Ali G ends up being a Member of Parliament; his pet cause to stop the demolition of his neighborhood community center. Ali's unorthodox antics and his "Keep it Real" outlook makes him an instant hit with the public, obviously a make-believe public.
Funnily, perhaps I should say sadly and with deep regret the scene where Ali crosses the well of Parliament to silence the opposition speaker uncannily reminded me of our own parliament. Particularly of a certain Minister of Labor who has penchant for assaulting journalists. Yup, it is our very own Mervyn Siva alias Merv the Perv, Vermin Silva, Kudu Doctor, Doctor Dalipihiya, Kudda, Minimaruwa etc. (the list is endless, perhaps Mervyn's aliases can be the subject of another post!)
Anyways after the movie was over I was intrigued by the parallels between the two, both Ali and Mervyn are hapless politicians, both lack basic educational qualifications and both both have an association with illegal narcotics.
But after much soul searching and deliberation I had to conclude that Ali is in fact much better than Mervyn, miles if not nautical miles better.
Though Ali crosses the well of Parliament he restrains himself to snapping his fingers and silencing the opposition speaker, Mervyn unfortunately did not stop there he stole the sceptre, squeezed the privates parts of a monk who subsequently had to be hospitalized. The parliamentarian who was victim to Mervyn's assault later resigned from parliament. He continued to make a mockery of the legislature using abusive slang in his speeches in Parliament and when speaking to the media.
The list is endless, one does not need to repeat the antics of this larger than life rogue politician who for some obscure reason manges to get away with blue murder. Another striking difference between Ali G and Mervyn was tat Ali had the best interests of his community at heart, while one wonders whether Sri Lanka's Mervyn even has a heart!
Maybe Cohen could make a movie about Sri Lanka, similar to Borat which was based in Kazakhstan and followed the story of Kazakh newspresenter.
Maybe he can model his character on Mervyn, and there wouldn't even be any controversy regarding misrepresentation of a country and as an added bonus he can say that IT WAS BASED ON A TRUE STORY!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Will Sri Lanka get it? The optimistic answer the government and government proxies will gove you is a resounding yes. They will tell you that Sri Lanka got a "balanced" verdict at the Universal Human Rights review in Geneva today and that automatically translates into a seat at the Council.
The opposition and opposition proxies such as a number of NGO's and so called humanitarian organizations and don't forget the LTTE proxy groups will give you a resolute no. Why? They will tell you that the government indulges in extra judicial killings , allies itself with armed para military groups that conscript kids and they will also quote the numerous media rights violations by the govt.
What will a non partisan observer like moi tell you? Hmmm.. the logical answer would be a no, there are four seats reserved for Asia on the Council and we are running with five other countries namely Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Timor Leste and Baharain. Now with the obvious exception of Pakistan the other four are HR heavy weights and the logical choice would be for Pakistan and Sri Lanka to loose out.
But, the pertinent question is whether Sri Lanka deserves a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
Before all the pro-government politically motivated individuals start calling me a LTTE proxy/ sympathizer/ terrorist let me tell you the situation is not a bad as the NGO's/ opportunist opposition make it out to be. But the situation is grim.. yes quite grim.
Firstly the governments xenophobic attitude towards UN Human Rights monitors and the subsequent labeling of Holmes and Arbour as terrorists does not augur well for the country. A responsible government should have acted much much more diplomatically and not played to the nationalistic gallery. I personally believe that we would have been better off had the UN observers come here, they were in Serbia and numerous other global flashpoints and personally I don't think it fulfills any imperialistic agenda.
Secondly the government's violation of Media freedom is absolutely horrendous. What happened to the probe on Mervyn? I believe two committees were appointed to look into the incident but almost five months later we are yet to hear from them.
Also the Defense Secretary has been a trifle high handed when talking to the media, yes he might be an honest man and an excellent military strategist on whose shoulders the territorial integrity of the country is squarely placed upon. But I doubt if any free thinking citizen in this country appreciates an all out censorship on the war, especially when it is glaringly apparent that the government is using the war as a political tool.
Thus is it is the responsibility of the media to highlight military debacles and to stop the government from using it to further its political aspirations.
Thirdly, the governments decision to ally with the TMVP. Yes, it may have won us the Eastern Province and I personally do not think it was a bad strategic move. After all the US also aligned it self with friendly Afghan warlords. But more attention should have been paid to what the TMVP militiamen where doing apart from fighting the LTTE.
Finally widespread corruption and rampant cronyism and nepotism. This government intentionally disrupted the COPE committee that was established to look into corruption and mis management. The government funded Mihin LAnka that utilized the EPF and ETF monies of Sri Lanakan citizens was total flop and was virtually a free for all embezzling party.
The idea behind the formation of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006 was that its members would be party to UN protocols and up hold human rights. ONe ofthe major flaws with its predecessor the UN Human Rights Commission was that countries that didn't even know the ABC's of HR held office i.e. Sudan. Though Sri Lanka is not in such an abysmal state we still have a long way to go before our rights as citizens are assured.
So though it is unlikely that Sri Lanka will get elected to the Council, the present regime and perhaps any regime that ruled Sri Lanka from 1948 does not deserve it.
To finish off my article I believe that true patriotism is not to unconditionally ally oneself with the ruling coalition but to stand up for the rights of the citizens. Though the government will tell you otherwise don't be afraid to stand up for your rights!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Though we may not see a positive feedback about a new rage album, their much-awaited reunion has pumped new pints of blood into the U.S music arena, which will make a change for the good.
In case if you are still wondering what hell, the title is about, I thank you for reading this far without much interest. Though every Rage fan (who the f**k is rage?) is sure to be familiar with it, I will pen down what I came here to do. (And this post should have actually started from here).
The title is from a song called “killing in the Name of” by a band called “Rage Against the Machine” in their self titled debut album, which gained triple platinum status. I merely put it there to gain attention and show what kind of lyricism this band holds. (that should justify my intentions)
The band is famous for the experimental guitar riffs from Tom Morello along with acid-like lyrics from the front man Zack de la Rocha which when combined form a grizzly attack on the injustice and corruption in United States politics.
The band is headed by Zack de la Rocha (the son of Chicano political artist Beto), guitarist Tom Morello (the nephew of Jomo Kenyatta, the first Kenyan president), drummer Brad Wilk (played with future Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder), and bassist Tim Bob (aka Tim C., born Tim Commerford), a childhood friend of de la Rocha.
Rage Against the Machine, which was formed in early 90’s, is probably the best ever politically driven music group in the world. Unlike many other bands, who would shed their underground skin when they made a deal with a major record company or start making money, Rage kept their identity. I think that’s what propelled this underground rap metal band from Los Angeles to world fame among hard-core metal fans and politically motivated youth.
The band falls into rap metal/hip hop rock genres though its about their political motivations and lyrics, which matter more than what genre they are. Yes of course it matters what they are playing and whether you like their music or not, but for me it was their attitude and response towards social issues that made me become more curious and exploratory about rage.
For instance if I was told to draw a comparison between Rage Against the Machine and Asian Dub Foundation (a British electronica band), I may not have seen much apart from their “totally different” approach to making music. Yes, for most of my music that’s the way I look at it, if they serve the same purpose I would probably listen to it.
Since the end of the cold war, there was an ease in media tension in the United States, and a burst of free media movements, which challenged the State’s “hardcore” capitalistic ideology started to appear. With many of rage’s band members being involved in different projects since late 80s, it is unquestioned that once it was formed, Rage’s pure aggression and uncanny ability to stand up for justice inspired many more artists hidden under the coverlets.
Yes, the band clearly holds pro leftist ideology and even though I do not agree 100% with some of their choices, the band has proven to be genuine at what they do. Their political activism and actions have to be clearly commended and appreciated and most of which happened in my teen years, when I was scavenging for good music on Sri Lankan FM stations (which of course were dominated by boy bands and “bling bling” hip hop artists) with my National Panasonic cassette recorder.
This pen down was to give you a general idea about who “Rage Against the Machine” was, yes; it would take ages to go through their music, lyrics and political activism, so I wont(for now). I see Rage, as a band that we can adopt to our own frame of mind, yes you may not be 100% aligned with their political agendas and actions (neither am I) but their lyrics and actions have shown that to make a difference you will only need a few good friends and a lot of determination.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
What is wrong with the country?? What is wrong with the spiritual state of its citizens??
Is Wesak all about danslas and pandals and atapattam?
From my viewpoint as a Sinhala Buddhist educated at a Sinhala Buddhist school, I should not be asking these questions. The system is devised so that people will unquestioningly follow their faith and not be upstarts like moi. That sucks, as we all know no system is perfect and once in a while there comes a guy who will question and when his questions are not answered he will revolt and when he revolts he will be killed!
As we have witnessed during the last four decades of this county, the mindset of the people is fixed as if they are brainwashed. Any revolution will instantly be quelled. Do not ask questions because they will not answered. Live within the system and if you can't migrate!
That is what we as the youth of the country are being told. There is no hope for change. No hope of any Barrak Obamas being born in this country... no every ruler is the same forget about creating change all they just want to feed off the system for what its worth.
In recent times Sri Lanka has become ultra conservative, I suppose Sri Lanka was never liberal but it was also never ultra conservative we prided oursleves on being more liberal that our South Asain peers. Albeit perhaps the relative liberalism was derived from our faith but alas today our religion is being used as the very tool of conservatism.
The very religion that has thousands for liberals enrolling into its faith in Hollywood is being preached by our beloved monks as a path to a ultra conservative government.
That's funny because when the Buddha himself created this greatest religion he did it to circumvent the ruling class politics of the time, the politics that kept millions of lower castes enslaved within a corrupt system.
But what's happening today in Sri Lanka the same religion, the same faith is being shamelessly distorted by a handful of rogue monks and politicians for their political aspirations.
Since the day democracy was bestowed upon this land by the Brits, the threefold cause of the LAND, THE RACE and THE FAITH have overtaken all rationale political thinking and has been the death knell of the country.
In 1956 when the Banda- Chelva pact came in to being political forces played THE Land, The Race and the Faith card and effectively ruined what would have been an opportunity to prevent almost three decades of bloodshed.
Through out the country's contemporary history this card has been played over and over, and each time any chance we have had for a solution have disappeared. One wonders why? Why in this land where he all adhere to perhaps the most genteel religion ever preached and perhaps the most enlightening philosophy ever taught to man?
Its high time that we started identifying the priorities of our religion and our priorities as humans and act accordingly, there is still time for redemption.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Moore saves the best for the last and we witness a heart wrenching climax where he takes few of the 9/11 sick volunteers and rescue workers to Cuba and those people are treated and looked after well with great care by their so called sole enemies; the Cubans.
Money, power, war and corruption, a strong iron made chain which is destroying the societies in every country. No matter how big and powerful the country is the situation is deteriorating and its happening fast! Michael Moore’s attempt to show this situation to the rest of the world is a worth while effort. Most of the people (the Republicans and their friendly media) branded