Those who live by the sword, die by the sword
Fonseka arrest shows no one is safe in Sri Lanka.
Sarath Fonseka, the general who was in charge of the military during the current Rajapaksa government’s brutal aggression against the Tamil-speaking minority is now facing the same brutal sword of the government.
The ‘arrest’ yesterday (08.02.10) of Sarath Fonseka, the main opposition candidate in the presidential election in January, which was correctly described as ‘undignified abduction’, is a message to all opponents of the Rajapaksa regime.
Fonseka was dragged away from his office, in front of other leading opposition politicians, while they were in a meeting. If this can happen to a one-time close collaborator of the regime, in its all brutality during the war, then it can happen to anyone. ‘Be terrified!’, is the message sent, through this arrest, to all who dare stand against the Rajapaksa family.
This kidnapping took place a few days after the Sri Lankan defence secretary lashed out at a BBC reporter, and ruled out any war crimes investigation in the country. ‘Take it from me nothing will happen’, Gothabaya, Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother and defence secretary, shouted at the journalist. He also hinted that they would arrest the opposition candidate, claiming that the ex-general spoke against him and gave ‘security- related’ information to the public during the election campaign!
Fonseka, who was supposed to file a petition against fraud during the elections, has now been successfully prevented from taking any action. The government now dissolved the parliament at any moment and it will prevent any debate or discussion taking place either in the parliament or the public arena. The fearful media has already been forced to report on the fraudulent ‘charges’ that the government is now piling up against Fonseka.
‘The country is going into another phase of repression’ said fearless Sritunga Jayasuriya secretory of united socialist party and chairman of Civil monitoring commission. The iron fist of repression used against the Tamil-speaking minority will now be turned against the working and poor Sinhalese. There will be an attempt to suppress all democratic voices. Current government economic policies of selling resources to Chinese, Indian and other corporations who have a history of brutal attacks against the workers will not be welcomed by the workers. The government also stated that it will create free trade zones (FTZ). This will create conditions for acute exploitation and semi-slave conditions for workers. Muslims in the East also fear repression, as the tension mounts approaching the general election. There is a widespread fear that the paramilitary forces working closely with the Rajapakse regime will turn against Muslims in the East, to use the Tamil/Muslim divide to gain advantage in the coming election. With renewed efforts to strengthen the military, the government has shown its intention to further oppress the poor masses.
While this ‘kidnapping’ took place, the President himself was in Russia securing a $300 million arms deal and being honoured with a ‘Gold plated crown’ at the ‘people’s friendship university’. Despite Fonseka’s well publicised ‘Kidnapping’ and the arrest of nearly one hundred Fonseka supporters and complete clampdown on political opponents, none of the Western governments has condemned the Rajapaksa government. Despite Amnesty International openly criticising the government for ‘stepping up its crackdown on political opposition’, the US government merely urged the Sri Lankan government to be ‘cautious’ in its actions!
The rest of the establishment, including the Indian government, remain silent and will maintain their alliance with the Rajapaksa regime for their own economic interests, regardless of the extent of attacks on democratic rights and abuse of human rights.
This is why it is crucial to build an independent mass force in the country to oppose these repressive measures. Such a campaign should be supported by the working and poor people around the world who are the real ‘international community’, unlike the ruling elite, who only represent the interests of a tiny elite, which includes cronies like those around the Rajapaksa family.
There should be a public enquiry into war crimes and Fonseka should also face war crimes charges. If he is kidnapped, that will only prevent any opportunity of unearthing the war crimes which took place. Fonseka may even be executed, to protect the so called ‘secret of mass murder’. He should be freed and allowed to give evidence against the government’s crimes.
Opposition forces in Sri Lanka have taken a quick decision to wage ‘continuous protest’, starting tomorrow with a public protest in Colombo. We must support all struggles to defend fundamental democratic rights, freedom of speech, and the release of all political prisoners.