The moment Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa finally disappeared from the island should have been a major victory for the persistently protesting Sri Lankans.
For months, GotaGoGama’s slogan resonated through the cities: Gotabajo, go home. Ideally somewhere far away, perhaps to the United States, or simply somewhere where you won’t harm Sri Lanka.
In the end, Gotabaja did not turn his escape to the USA, but to the Maldives, from where he will probably continue to Singapore or the United Arab Emirates. And the Sri Lankan protesters cheered, as if they had no idea how harsh it would be to wake up to reality.
Who is behind it all?
At first glance, it seems that the whole of Sri Lanka is on its feet. But many of those who are not satisfied with the current situation have no need to go out into the streets and destroy not only the state but also the personal property of the country’s leaders. And in some cases, they even doubt that the protesters represent the “light side” of the force in this story.
And you will see soon, probably from tomorrow, he will be dying. The same things will happen as before, there will be killing. And I’m just sorry everyone is gobbling up the fun news about the people in the president’s pool.
“Have you ever thought about who is behind the demonstrations? Who organizes them? Who pays them?” Sri Lankan Hetti asks me. He is one of the people I have been in contact with since the protests broke out. And one of the few who has so far been able to accurately predict every next shift in the Sri Lankan crisis. He flew to the Czech Republic to visit his family just moments before the most stormy weekend protests broke out.
“There are political parties that are simply comfortable with demonstrations. For example, the National People’s Power (NLM) and its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Socialists inspired by Che Guevara,” describes Hetti.
The party he is talking about is based on Marxist-Leninist ideas and has changed the ideology slightly over time with each successive leader. It became famous under the name Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or People’s Liberation Front. But it went to the last elections again under the new name NLM.
“At the moment, the government cannot agree on anything. But even if she agreed, those hooligans will continue to protest, they are not willing to accept anyone existing. So these socialists are trying to get into power. The leadership of the country will be the same people, just under a different name. This is such a moment of the Soviet era. If you look up the history of the Cheguevar party, you will find out how it used to blackmail people,” he describes.
Traces of Che Guevara’s legacy are evident on the island. “If you really look around the tuktuks on the island, a lot of them have Che Guevara’s face plastered on them. Che Guevara or Bob Marley, that’s such a mainstream here,” he adds, and he is almost convinced who is the mastermind of the protesters. After all, this socialist party with their support they don’t hide.
This theory makes perfect sense to him. It is a party that does not have many seats or voters. “So he can increase his popularity by supporting the protesters. It can be seen that these protests are organized. They also have the support of Islamic communities. They did not like Gotabaja with his views as their leader. What we see in the Western media is superficial,” he adds.
“Think about the ideology of those who fight in the streets. Those who sit in the president’s chair and take pictures are often brainwashed,” he says. “The interesting thing is that most of the protesters speak English. Perfect. An ordinary person in Sri Lanka who is really struggling to survive will not talk to you in English.”
Just moments before it actually happens, he predicts that the army will try to restore order to the island.
“If you talk to ordinary people here, they will tell you that order and discipline in the country are necessary. If you want to ensure order and get rid of corruption, you need peace in the country. But the protesters are destroying one place after another and they think it’s fun,” he says. He attributes the fact that the soldiers in the social media videos stand idly by because a common procedure has not yet been established.
“Whenever they intervened before, human rights groups spoke up. The western world will not allow that. But if those people are not brought under control, what kind of law will work here? There will undoubtedly be a military intervention,” he predicts, and he has no idea that within an hour of our conversation, Prime Minister Ranil Vikremesinghe orders the army to do whatever “is necessary to restore order in the country”.
Hetti himself is a little worried about returning to Sri Lanka. “Some people are already fighting against those Sri Lankans who are just having a good time. It will not be safe for people like me who have that money to return to the country. The mentality of people is currently set in such a way that whoever has money can rob him. And the looting is already happening. And you will see soon, probably from tomorrow, he will be dying. The same things will happen as before, there will be killing. And I’m just sorry they’re all gobbling up the fun news about the people in the president’s pool.”
He believes that one day things will be good in Sri Lanka. But not before five years. “Now it will be like in Pakistan or Lebanon. This has no easy solution. That is, unless you have an extra $50 billion. Not even a few more tourists will save us now,” concludes Hetti.