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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2790

Liars and lies, damned lies (Okama Boru)

By A Patabendige

This is the season for lying. With a few days left for the Presidential election panic and distortion, lies and damned lies have overtaken supporters of one side as they fight tooth and nail to survive an impending change of leadership.

One minister on TV (11 Nov 19) produces a snarky looking man with a palpably false beard who says he transported 7000 tons of gold after the war from Jaffna. He named the person who allegedly gave the order, a rival candidate.

Not to be out done another minister on the same day lamented that Army HQ was moved out of the location it had been for ‘150 years. The 10 acres of land was sold for US $ 125m to Shangri-La Hotels, Hong Kong. This Minister accuses the same rival (named) of having got US $ 5 million (about 5%) for his labors.

It was Benjamin Disraeli who said ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’’. Liars can be of many types. The most common are pathological and compulsive liars.

Pathological lairs have high levels of self assurance and are verbally dramatic. The compulsive liar can be habitual or narcissist. They are also called ‘pseudo logic fantastica’. They lie for self-preservation or to practice deception.

Liars are wholly indifferent in the choice of truth and falsehood. Pathological liars are “aloof, self centered, with little concern for others. They have a chronic tendency to lie driven by an innate personality disorder. They are cold and calculating. They lie for self-preservation having mastered the art of deception.

They start with an element of the truth and end with lies. They avoid eye contact and fix their gaze on you. The Compulsive liar is one by habit. He breaks out in a sweat, also avoids eye contact and blinks while rambling and tripping over words.

Readers can take their pick in identifying members of this obnoxious tribe.

The gold ‘robbery’ canard was immediately squashed by a veteran wrecker.

Goebbels had been out done. The Reserve Bank of India has only 60 tones .The value of just 7000 tons of gold would be worth nearly $ 30,000 billion.

The minister who was in pain over Army HQ selling its land needs to know that Army HQ was not situated there for ‘150’ years however suddenly he is attached to that sudden dream. The colonial Ceylon Defence Force was established in 1910. Presumably some type of a HQ even if it was not an Army HQ may have been built around that time- about 100 or less but not ‘150’ years ago. SL Army HQ raised in 1949, too moved to its last location only 30 years ago.

The new Defence HQ will certainly not be the colossal waste of money spent on Diyawanna which may have cost about 10 times its actual value according to the first Vice Chancellor of the Minister’s own Katubedde University. He should also have known, though he failed to state it, that the Army land was sold for 3 times its market value according to former deputy Minister Yapa. So if the new AHQ looks marvelous and splendid and which the nation can be proud of, the Army knows whom to thank.

The land called Echelon Square where the WTC, Bank of Ceylon HQ and Kingsbury hotels are, also belonged to the Army from 1900 to the late 1970s. They were sold by the UNP. The Sinha Regiment finally and the SL Artillery before, were stationed there. The land on which Taj Samudra stands was similarly sold by the same government. It was also in Army hands until the late 1970s.

There were 2 suicide attacks on Army HQ during former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s time killing over 25 people. Another attack killed the SL Navy Commander Admiral Clancy Fernando in front of the Taj Samudra hotel, 500 meters west of AHQ. Moving Army, SL Navy and SL Air Force HQs and the Defence Ministry to Akurugoda is a superbly well-planned move for many reasons including security. Developing remorse 5 years later for 100 years of half Colonial history is not a convincing performance.

The Minister produced a pamphlet ‘Charge of the Lion Brigade’ immediately after the SL conflict that spanned nearly 30 years. It was not a very wise title to begin with even if the other side called them ‘Tigers’. It was actually a silly attempt to use the title of a heroic but also tragic ‘Charge’ of the Light Brigade in the Crimean war over 170 years ago. It was over in about 30 minutes with 131 dead.

Has it anything in common with SL Army’s war? To top it all it included a comic parody of Alfred Tennyson’s famous poem. Incidentally Leo Tolstoy too fought in the same war.

The Minister with disdain for intellectual honesty states “Karl Von Clausewitz” (Prussian Major General Carl Philipp Gottlieb Von Clausewitz - 1780- 1831) the author of the best-known book on war, Vom Kriege, (On War) was a “military ‘philosopher”. Had the Minister read the book he may have known Clausewitz was an Army Officer. He reproduces a well-worn quote that “war is an ‘extension’ (continuation) of politics”. This is an over simplified statement that has been misused often – especially by politicians who attempt to write ersatz military history.

Von Clausewitz fought as an officer in the Russian army at Jena (1806) and was at Waterloo on the staff of Marshal von Blucher. The Minister may have misinterpreted Clausewitz’s philosophy of war that still influences strategy for this reason.

Some excerpts from the pamphlet make very revealing reading:

“Moves by CBK and the JVP to install Kadirigamar as the new Prime Minister were frustrated by the JHU and its nationalist allies (page 16). …. I find it difficult to forgive both the JVP and Premadasa for what they did…” My wrath towards Premadasa knew no bounds when he gave a new breath to the LTTE’ (page 12) “… we formed a citizen’s front to fight against Premadasa’s gross violations of human rights ….. I saw over 147 dead bodies in the Mahabodhi premises (1989) – (page 10). “…. although we knew that Chandrika Kumaratunga was an anti-nationalist and staunch supporter of federalism” ... (Page 14) …. Chandrika had never been a patriot (page 16) … “Ranil Wickramasinghe showed his inherent hatred towards the Sinhalese and especially Sinhalese Buddhists” (page 16”).The JVP “committed the most traitorous act when it left ... and worked against Mahinda Rajapaksa”.

The SL Muslim Congress is the only fundamentalist Muslim party to be funded by Western Embassies. . (Page 77).

“…. with Western backing, their stooge -the SLMC - crossed over to the Opposition” (pg 78).The LTTE was provided with … fighter aircraft…” (Page 72). He justifies the killing of Prabakaran’s family (page 68).

He was then a Minister in MR‘s government. Will his next pamphlet be called?

‘Elephant Walk’? Will he add ‘Easter Sunday carnage’ to the title?

- Asian Tribune -

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