The Hindu got it wrong: Gota is not the out-of-control brother. He’s entirely in control.

Gordon Weiss | Published on August 16, 2011 at 1:57 am

However ‘unfortunate’ the comments attributed by The Hindu to  Gotabaya Rajapakse, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, they are an important additional insight into the mind and motives of the man who designed and implemented Sri Lanka’s

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse: 'in control'

victory over the LTTE. As if any further insight was needed I suppose, from the man who has so notoriously dismissed the killing of newspaper editor Lasantha Wickramatunge, who has nominated extra-judicial killing as the Sri Lankan answer to special forces ops (read my book), and who has now provided his own special rationale as to why women do and don’t get raped in the course of war.

Not foot in the mouth babblings

This is not a matter for tut-tutting, gentle diplomatic throat-clearing, or the offering of cups of tea to cloak embarrassment. Gotabaya characterizes, at least in a very critical part, the ruling oligarchy of Sri Lanka. Hence, Gota’s remarks should not be dismissed as the foot-in-the-mouth babblings of a recalcitrant teenager, no matter how puerile, brutal, insensitive, and unhinged they might appear.

He is da brudder of da Prez

Folks, the reason that Gotabaya keeps putting his sizable boot in his mouth with such apparent relish is that he can. He is not just ‘a high-ranking official’ as the Hindu says, nor some gormless, sulky youth refusing to clean his bedroom, whose minders don’t dare spank his bottom for fear that he’ll spit his dummy – he is da brudder of da Prez. He is the elder

Basil Rajapakse

brother, a seasoned military professional brought back from the USA and given unbridled power to remake the armed forces from top to bottom in his uber competent military muscular image.

Along with his other brothers, he directly controls three-quarters of the government’s finances, the difference being that he continues to control one of the world’s largest per capita security structures – 300-450,000 army, police, intelligence, border, and paramilitary men and women. Does anybody doubt the sheer capability of Gotabaya, or the monumental weight of his gravitas? After all, he did achieve a stunning victory over a brutal organization whose very mythology led international military experts to repeatedly state that the LTTE were militarily unbeatable.

A remarkable triumvirate

Together with brothers Mahinda and Basil, he formed a remarkable triumvirate of men who almost succeeded in the relatively tidy destruction of an insurgent/terrorist force whose sheer inventiveness might have won an award in another kind of world. The ‘almost succeeded’ bit is the reason I wrote my book, The Cage.

Allegations of crimes committed during the final months of the  war – which, contrary to popular opinion, does not mean that all of Sri Lanka’s long history of criminal wrongdoing by a variety of groups and political parties has been ignored – are serious. “The Cage”, the  report of the UN advisory panel, and the Channel 4 doco “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” provide an unprecedented range of evidence to suggest that an international judicial investigation is warranted.

Why be surprised?

The Hindu points with dismay to Gota’s dismissing of political settlement as unnecessary now that they got the terrorists. Why be surprised? Many have conspired to conflate the awful tactics of the LTTE and the personal wickedness of its

President Mahinda Rajapakse

leader with the original just cause that led the Tamils to revolt against a state that failed to provide them with basic, predictable security and justice (also the story of large swathes of the Sinhalese untermenschen by the way).

The logical extension, if you are of a special persuasion, is to pose the very question that Gota poses – why should we? The story of Sri Lanka is one of leaderships that have successively failed to master the seething divisions that characterize this beautiful and squandered land (I write this advisedly, as I watch Australia’s political class diddle with my own country’s future as if it were an amusing Rubik’s Cube).

The Rajapakses are only the latest manifestation of this habit of leadership, and history is yet to be written as to just how deep their roots will sink, or how long their hold will last on the popular imagination of this country which remains – no matter how deeply troubled – a democracy.

Gota is nothing if not confessional

What is important here is what Gota said. What makes his remarks appear so funny to outsiders is that he behaves with a kind of impolitic and revealing bluntness that seems to defy common sense. I mean, why would you confess? But Gota is nothing if not confessional, as the first paragraph of this entry describes. During the final phase of the war, he was very candid about the bombing of hospitals, the treacherous nature of journalists who habitually published stories that contradicted the official version of truth, and the good sense inherent in the rounding-up of Tamil citizens in the capital.

He is entirely in control

Read in the context of war, much of what Gota did was arguably defensible from a security point of view, at a time of national crisis. So why should we think that his latest remarks are irrational or intemperate, when they are just a reflection of what the family who controls Sri Lanka thinks? What must be understood is that these remarks  personify an element of the strategic vision inherent in the destruction of the LTTE.

Along with all his other stream-of-consciousness media encounters, they are an insight into alleged wartime criminal wrongdoing and issues of intent, and into post-war social arrangements. Gota’s remarks are entirely rational. The Hindu got it wrong: Gota is not the out-of-control brother. He’s entirely in control.




13 Comments to “The Hindu got it wrong: Gota is not the out-of-control brother. He’s entirely in control.”

  • Agreed Gota is the most dangerous man in the world, and in SL. He controls everything, the police all the way to the army. So in the end he knows he controls all, Gota wake up. One day that pillar you stand on will come down and you will be over and have to face charges. The higher you climb in the harder you fall, I cannot wait for that day.

  • oh yes gorden knows everything, we sri lankans better listen to all knowing gorden as his book tells, he is nothing but the truth..just see the amount of praises he has received at the expense of the country …geeeze…

  • please note this Ruwan F guy is a MR goon , he used to spread his venom in Sunday Leader as well , Look at his comments about Gordon w , i love to read lanka independent as it carries varieties of writers/journalists essays , in different perpespectives . In fact it’s a mixer of local and international journalists, this Ruwan guy always finds faults with the messenger than message.
    Gordan W tried to mention of his book, so what is wrong with it! What matters is contents of his essay, does his essay make any sense, yes indeed, hell of a lot.

  • What do we care whether he was a junior officer or not Ruwan Ferdinandez, he has written about his experiences and his view he has a right to do that and newspapers and newssites have a right and a duty and a responsibility to give everyone space

  • Ruwan FErdinandez you are the person who is going so low. As true readers of this site we like to have and read all shades of opinion. I don’t know why the lanka independent even posted your comment

  • We waste too much time trying to fathom out a simpleton. I suggest we do not look for answers anywhere except realize where he came from. He was brought from Southern California, where the Sinhala and Tamil diaspora are at opposite extremes and he just shows that face in everything he says and does. He is no different to the others, just that he just happens to be the brother of the President and has been given an awful lot more power than he can handle.

  • The Independent, you don’t have to go this low. There are proper journalists around that Easop’s descndents (e.g. Mr.Weiss). Whatever it is, he doesn’t forget to promote his book in this as well, which obviously is a full of fictional episodes. This is a guy who was kicked in the butt by the government when he was acting like a worm cut in half. He has no serious experience in anything than working as a junior officer for the UN for a short period and certainly not a journalist, yet you wanted him to write something to educate us about us!You are hilarious.

  • With academics of renown to bark when a bone is thrown towards them, and
    stationed at International centers, backed by a Diplomatic Team ex-The
    Forces which come under great Grease Gota, the MR brothers will hold the fort for at least another decade!!

    • Hi Mark,My point is that HR justice, if its seen to be eqbtaiule has to be applied to all and not selectively, to support a geo-political/realpolitik aims (which it is certainly is!).Look at the following analogy; speed cameras on UK roads automatically catch all cars exceeding set speed limit, whether driven by poor people or govt ministers. Using that analogy, let’s create a Human Rights Violations Speed Trap’table in War Crimes, with the speed limit’ has been set to 70 mph. The following countries have been caught, on camera, red-handed exceeding the speed limit.USA = 155 mphUK = 100 mphEU/NATO = 90 mphSri Lanka = 72 mphYet, only SL is being pursued for its alleged war crimes. The most fervent advocates of investigating and punishing SL are themselves the worst violators of Human Rights’. I don’t doubt for a second that nasty things were done in SL to win a long, dirty war against an implacable enemy. In 30 years of war, 100,000 Lankans (Tri-Forces, Police, LTTE & civilians) died. This means = average of 3333 violent deaths/per year. Two years of no war means at least 6,666 Lankans are alive today, who would be 100% dead had the war continued beyond May 2009. What the HR ‘community’ can’t take is that the Rajapakse regime has now saved the lives of 6,666 people. The West intends to stay in Afghanistan for at least another 10 years to stabilise’ the country. Probable civilian casualties expected by 2020, (est average of 2,000 per year) = 20,000.

  • Whatever happens, all these UN reports and documentaries are dogs barking at caravans, the Rajapakse’s have got it all sewn up, they will prevail and the Sri Lankans will let them prevail because those in Colombo get benefits from them.

  • Good one Gordon Weiss. two thumbs up

  • I read your book, I liked it. you say it as it is. Keep at it

  • Yes Mr Weiss, true, he is in control. Bjut who or what controls Gota’s mind? What lurks in there? But you are right and your article hit the nail on the head


The Hindu got it wrong: Gota is not the out-of-control brother. He’s entirely in control.

However ‘unfortunate’ the comments attributed by The Hindu to  Gotabaya Rajapakse, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, they are an important additional insight into the mind and motives of ...