“…….The underworld and officialdom have interpenetrated and become one. Criminal elements have become officialised as officials have become criminalized.” - Liu Xiaobo
Hardly had the smoke of the gun salutes fired on February 4 settled, when we received news of the arrest of Makandure Madush with 40 of his entourage in Dubai. On Independence Day, we sing eulogies to those who fought against the British and other white colonists who subjugated us. We pay tribute to our soldiers who sacrificed life and limb to save the motherland from that evil demigod Prabhakaran. They fought for our sovereignty, we say. We are right.
Then we have the story of Madush; Add to it the stories of Samayan, Kanjipanai Imran, D. Manju, Angoda lokka and the rest. If one needs to go classical, you have the vintage line up: Choppe Aiya, Soththi Upali, Nawala Nihal, Beddegane Sanjeewa, Karate Dhammika et al. Just like those who sacrificed lives for the sovereignty of the land, they too, form a long lineup. Yet no battle had been joined in earnest, to counter the malevolent force they represent; nor a battle cry against the threat they pose to the sovereignty of the country.
Why connect ’sovereignty’ with the underworld and the drug kingpins? Isn’t sovereignty an issue related to the Colonists; or in relation to the separatist struggle or the two insurrections in the South? Isn’t it a threat posed by foreign loans, IMF and World Bank conditions or MNC s? Aren’t they the real villains in this play called sovereignty?
Fringe no more
Well, the underworld and its drug barons are no longer a fringe threat to our society, the rule of law, social order, law enforcement, human rights or anything that underpins civilized living. As the case of Madush shows, it has evolved in to a festering wound eating right in to the heart of our social body. Not only drugs but all kinds of illegal, immoral and criminal activities threaten the social fabric based on civility and democracy. The ‘motley crew’ rounded up with Madush, include singers, actors and government officials. Their tentacles reach politicians as well as military officers; names of many politicos are tagged with them. In other words, they have infiltrated all strata in society.
The filthy lucre from drug peddling, ransom collecting, kick-backs, abduction for money, commission from multi-billion projects, is not a flame that only Madush has been drawn in to; it is a common cause nowadays
Rulers, kings and dictators as well as elected leaders have used these pariahs for their dirty work. The introduction of the free market economy, with the ensuing cut-throat ‘gold rush’ has spawned all types of illegal activities, social strata, criminal groups and individuals who are part and parcel of that sickening Black Mass. They have been used politically to crush and intimidate dissent and opposition. That Political patronage feeding these criminal groups yield this much of power to them, is an open secret.
The soft corner
During the Batalanda Commission, the present PM as a witness, referred to Soththi Upali as ‘lamaya’ (child), particularly irked by the prosecuting counsel’s reference to the latter’s ‘soththiness’, insisting that physical defects did not form part of identification of a person. Then the former President’s theatrics when the STF, acting on concrete evidence, raided the house of the provincial politico from Negombo, in search of heroin; to fly by helicopter, land in the middle of the city and embrace the latter in the glare of mainstream media. A strong reprimand from the then Defence Secretary to the STF top rankers too, to boot. They showed with whom they stand.
Well, to make things complete, add the doings of the third person in the Trinity of National Corruption. Remember, the Giant in Uniform who allegedly harboured Navy Sampath in abducting and killing 11 Tamil youth, during the last regime? The patronage coming from the ‘Mascot of good governance’, berating the CID and the Police for harassing ‘Ranawiruwas’, tells a similar story. Evil do don uniforms and the white national suit bearers do provide for them. There definitely lies a soft corner.
The filthy lucre from drug peddling, ransom collecting, kick-backs, abduction for money, commission from multi-billion projects, is not a flame that only Madush has been drawn in to; it is a common cause nowadays. Woe unto those who think that Madush and the like are men apart though they are hot and sumptuous in terms of news worthiness. More and more individuals are vying to stick a finger in the honey pot. It is not only those with tattoos, gold chains, funny haircuts and heroin peddling mistresses who are in the game.
No men apart
They are in national costumes, military uniform, priestly garbs and even professional attire. It is only when the more extreme and obnoxious figures like Madush get involved, the search light falls.
Such an overarching umbrella of black business, not in the fringe, but in the very core of institutions and agencies mandated with upholding the sovereign power of the citizens, do pose a formidable threat to our sovereignty. They influence people’s representatives, rig elections, bribe law enforcement, flaunt justice with ill gotten money, make an impact on policy making by virtue of their funding of politicians; they are at the disposal of corporate giants or big businessmen, most of whom are with murky origins. It is a conglomerate, an empire! They have usurped sovereignty of the people without realizing it. Their filthy money funds political parties from either sides of the divide. Whoever wins, they have little issue.
The likes of Madush are different to the Maru Siras, the Podi Wijes or the Cheenas, albeit all are uniformly violent. With incarceration or execution of the latter types, the threat to society is averted or at least diminished. They have no bunches of lawyers to run to courts to bail them out. They do not have politicians attending their funerals or political weddings being funded by their blood tainted money. They were not there doing business. Rather they were impetuous, emotionally driven, revengeful and extremely violent individuals. Yet the types such as Madush are like the film Character ‘Terminator’ in the film by that name. They are interminable, tenacious, influential, well backed by power and therefore impenetrable by law. They are in big business unlike the Maru Sira and the ilk. Madush might be incarcerated for life or even executed. But like the ‘Terminator’, Madush is not the name of an individual. It is the reference to one unit in a long line of manufacture that produces them.
Just that this particular unit Madush has tinted hair, gaudy tattoos, stand out gold chains and funny hair cuts! He is the tip of the iceberg; those who constitute the base, do not look like him at all!
They look very different and they pose a threat to the sovereignty of the country, from within!