30 December 2014

Upul Jayasuriya un-knots himself

Upul Jayasuriya is the President of the Bar Association, champion of a thing called ‘independence of the judiciary,’ strident voice demanding ‘rule of law’ and unwavering defender of all kinds of freedom. He also heads an outfit that is funded by an organization called United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with a long and shady history of subterfuge aimed at destabilizing governments Washington dislikes and propping despotic regimes Washington adores.  He was livid when a minister by the name of Rishard Bathiudeen did his version of what J.R. Jayewardene’s goons did to judges of the Supreme Court in the early eighties.  The Bar Association went on strike because Rishard threated a judge and instigated an attack on the Mannar Magistrate Court. 

Rishard Bathiudeen has ‘crossed’.  He’s now in the Maithripala Sirisena camp. When he crossed he was embraced.  Warmly.  And this by a candidate and campaign that is hot on good governance, a better political culture, independence of the judiciary, the primacy of the law and so on.  Upul Jayasuriya could be thinking.  In a parallel universe he WOULD think.  Something on the following lines, probably. 

‘I hate elections.  Well, not all elections.  I really don’t mind minor elections, but important ones like the Presidential Election really knock me out.  Ok, I’ve had my run-ins with Ranil Wickremesinghe.  I even said that he will charge-sheeted in a people’s court.  I’ve wanted him ousted and when things calmed down, I’ve patched up with him.  My UNP activism is no secret.  However much I try to portray the BASL as an apolitical outfit, no one really buys the claim.

‘That said, I must say that I do try to come off less as a UNPer than as a regime-change agent.  To this end I’ve sided with other “regime-changers” whenever they latched on to any issue that had the potential to strengthen local and foreign forces determined to get Mahinda Rajapaksa out.   That’s safer than waving the green flag. Yes, I’ve grown smarter over the years.

‘Still, I am pretty peeved about this presidential election.  Not that I’ve not sounded jaded and off-key on account of my UNP connections; my party doesn’t have an impeccable track record.  The problem with elections like this is that it’s all about coalitions.  Well, it’s all about power, really, but in order to secure power, candidates have to form broad coalitions; the broader the coalition the better the chance of winning.  This is the political reality.

‘Now if I was not the President of the BASL and was just another UNP activist it would have been easy.  I wouldn’t have had to worry about getting confused about my multiple identities.  Now my hands are tied.  Worse, I am finding that I am often tongue-tied too. 

‘ There’s the case of Sarath N Silve for example.  I’ve lambasted him when he was essentially Chandrika’s boy and later Mahinda’s boy.  I had to shut up when he started opposing Mahinda.   Now he’s with the Opposition.  I am gutted because the UNP has found it necessary to leave Sarath alone.  It’s the same with Chandrika.  How we opposed her!  When I remember, I want to cry.  And now, she’s on our side (or is it that we are on her side?) and I don’t know with which sauce to eat my words. 

‘And now there’s this issue of Rishard.  I don’t have to hide the fact that I want regime-change.  I don’t have to hide the fact that right now the best opportunity to do so would be to support Maithripala Sirisena.  As President of the BASL I’ve always talked about “broader issues”.  Like good governance, independence of the judiciary, rule of law etc. etc.   The thrust of Maithree’s campaign is about such things.  But he has embraced this guy who has thumbed his nose at the entire judicial system of the country. 

‘Deep inside me I know that for me political loyalty overrides all these lovely concepts, but as BASL President I can’t really say it.  And since I’ve tossed those ideas around as though I consider them articles of faith, it is tough for me to openly support my party, the UNP.  Well, not my party really, because unfortunately it is not in a position to field a candidate, but to support the man the party supports, the proxy that we think will give our leader, Ranil, some kind of consolation prize. 

‘So yes, I hate this election.  Makes me want to resign as BASL President, really!’



Saman Wapitiya said...

So Upul Jayasuriya has sinned becuase he heads an organization funded by USAID - great ! does Malinda know even late Mervyn de Silva received assistance from US charity organizations to publish left wing , anti American Sri Lanka Guardian , contributors to which included his Stalinist son Dayan ?

Malinda Seneviratne said...

yes i do. you think uncle sam was bothered about 'leftists' in SL? look what they did/do. a lot of people think 'left' means 'right' (as in 'good'). laughable. in this instance, usaid funds 'mark' the BASL and trips the moral high-horse. that's all. nothing more.

Anonymous said...