SRI LANKA: The sickness of the almighty criminal 

Nilantha Ilangamuwa 

Let each man say what he deems truth, and let truth itself be commended unto God!
– Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

The traditional New Year 2012 (Buddhist Era 2555/2556), which was celebrated last week, has been brought to the people through the broken window of the White Van, which symbolizes the machinery of the Government’s way of dealing with dissent.  Most regimes have their own symbol to create and spread panic among the people so they can easily succeed in their unlawful activities through constitutional amendments. The present regime introduced the White Van in 2005 after they started the military campaign against the LTTE. As the LLRC report highlighted, the White Van Syndrome has resulted in the abduction of numerous people in the Northern and Eastern provinces which were dominated by the Tamil paramilitary groups like the TMVP and the EPDP. Later it came to the South, mainly to Colombo and the suburbs. Today there is no secret behind the White Van in relation to who is involved and what it is for. But the Government continually denies their involvement like an ostrich hiding its head in sand.


Cartoon by: – Indika Dissanayake

Abductions, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are not a new phenomenon in post-independent Sri Lanka, and  it has a long gruesome history. Recently, a weekly amusing political documentary which was telecasted on the private channel in Colombo raised a point that; “there are hundreds of burnt or half-burnt dead bodies throughout the country when the UNP was in power, but now you can’t see that kind of nightmare.” A reply was, “Now even we can’t find dead bodies of victims of abduction.” As this writer pointed out a few weeks back, today our country is enjoying tragedies as comedy. Our social wisdom for creation has contracted into a puny mind of cheap politics. Our literature has been sold for antithetic goals which have ruined the nation, over the last few decades. An idea of a nation has been compressed into a frame of racial nihilism, which had guided the entire nation into nightmares. We searched our identity within those nightmares like people trying to see shadows in the dark. What we were unable to understand is that there will be no freedom when an extensive ideology, dominated by parochial objectives and paranoid politics, prevails. In other words, our arts, tradition, history and identity have been destroyed by these paranoid politics and replaced by the kind of inconsequential, artificial stuff, which they are introducing as the system. In another words, today this country is in a situation where these objectives of paranoid politics have stolen our entire history and rewritten it.

The cost of this evolution of socio-political culture is exactly what we are seeing through the broken windows of the White Van, which has abducted more than 50 people in last five months. They are not using anything special, but our people to eliminate our people. This is how an absolute power manipulates the people, while dividing the nation into various multitudes. They force us to accept that these micro–multitudes are separate nations. If we are unable to recognize this as madness then we will certainly become a blindfolded nation. A nation is an idea for people, who can enjoy their “freedom”, without hesitation, within the legislative framework.  This law should be above every citizen whom have been guaranteed equality and fraternity, though co-habitation within an institutional setup. But what happened in this country is that, fear has replaced freedom. Then fear becomes normal and covered by the idea of “patriotism”. Do we have a dream for freedom when the country has become the paradise of “patriotic” criminals? Sri Lankan patriotism is nothing, but the deadly evolution of narrow minded politics.

We passed the era of God and then we looked at ourselves and our conscience where we tried to replaced God with something. But something, an unknown, remains there forever and many people have tried to place rational ideas on it to clarify while some of them pay courtesy to God. But the real situation in Sri Lanka is that everything is under the control of criminals who are above the law. In another words, almighty God has been replaced by the almighty criminal. What we are suffering today is that sickness of the almighty criminal, which is now at epidemic levels. How do we find a solution? The broken window of the white van is a new dawn of peace but, there is a long way to go to achieve real peace prevails in a civilized society.

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-033-2012
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Democracy, Impunity, Police violence, Rule of law, Torture,