BY FIROZE SAMEER
- Part I
Firoze SAMEER DN Wed Oct 21 2009
The death sentence was implemented for over 130 years during
the British rule in Ceylon, past Independence upto May 9, 1958, on
which date it was suspended by Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike.
It was reintroduced on December 2, 1959 with retrospective
effect which afforded law enforcement to hang Ven. Somarama Thera on
July 6, 1962 for his crime of shooting premier SWRDB on September 25,
1959. President J.R. Jayewardene's Government of July 1977 suspended it
once again. The last execution that of D.J. Siripala alias Maru Sira
was conducted on June 23, 1976.
During Ranil Wickremesinghe's premiership between December
2001 and April 2004, Interior Minister John Amaratunga tried but failed
to implement the death penalty for rape, conspiracy to murder and
murder, and drug trafficking. At that time they were preparing Ricardo
Bradley Keegal for execution with the usual crew cut and white outfit.
Ricardo and a Chinese national called Sheik were sentenced to death
sometime in 1985 for the murder of Tony Martin.
Reactivating the gallows will decidedly serve as a corollary
to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's tremendous success in having wiped out
terrorism followed closely by a sustained process of cleansing the
Augean stables of crime. Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda's prudent
move appears timely.
Reminiscent are some horrendous crimes during our time. The
barbaric gang rape and murder of Indian beauty queen Rita John
Manoharan on that Mutwal coastline, October 11, 1998. The brutal gang
rape and massacre of the six-member family of Withanage Lalanadasa, 56,
at Hokandara in February 1999. The senseless murders of the Hamer
family on May 7, 2003: Franklyn, 78, his son Dieter, 33, and daughter
Daisy Anne, 29, at Frazer Avenue in Dehiwala. The gory clubbing,
strangulation and throat slitting of Mallika Yatawara, 60, in
Kurunegala last June... the list is long.
The spate of contract killings include the shooting of
Colombo High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya and his bodyguard, Chief
Inspector RA Upali of the MSD, on November 19, 2004; the perpetrators
now languish in Death Row. The blatant strangulation of millionaire
Bhanumathi Visvanathan in the presence of her gagged and tied-up
domestics at Ettampolawatte Road in Hendala, March 1991, the killers
never being caught, is another tragedy.
Alan Shelton Anderson, now sporting an aluminium crutch,
admittedly served in Death Row for 22-years. While recounting some of
his erstwhile antics, I saw no remorse or regret in this onetime
killer's steely but smiling eyes set in a leathery face of torment. His
last job was the heist at the L'Etoile Jewellery & Gem Merchants
and gruesome murder of its proprietor, A.L. Mohamed, in the heart of
Colombo Fort, September 23, 1970, high noon. On February 16, 1974, the
High Court, presided by Justice Colin Thome, sentenced to death
Anderson, then 44, and Elmo Rodrigo, 22, while George M.E. Jansen and
I. Yasa Abeykoon were slapped with seven years' rigorous imprisonment.
Such dastardly acts of crime pose an extremely serious threat
to society at large. A cause for concern in ensuring criminals,
especially contract killers, are jettisoned from society in protecting
the public. How safe will the next generation of adults and children
walk on the highway?
Strong checks and balances provide for recommendations by the
Attorney-general, the trial judge, the Minister of Justice and eventual
ratification by President in the implementation of the death penalty,
to doubly ensure innocent folk are saved from climbing the gibbet.
John Douglas, the model for Thomas Harris' Jack Crawford in
The Silence of the Lambs, served the FBI for 25 years. Apart from his
masterpiece 'Crime Classification Manual', this expert who has had
extensive exposure to the criminal mind, in his first book, Mindhunter,
states, "Quite clearly, some types of killers are much more likely to
repeat their crimes than others. But for the violent sexually based
serial killers, I find myself agreeing with Dr Park Dietz that, 'it's
hard to imagine any circumstance under which they should be released to
the public again.'"
Ms Du-Yimin from the Zhejiang province and Si-Chaxian
defrauded investors of over U$125-million, which "seriously damaged the
country's financial regulatory order and social stability," the Chinese
Supreme People's Court ruled.
Li -Peiying, the former head of the state-firm which owns
Beijing airport, was convicted on corruption charges - bribery and
embezzlement - amounting to some U$16-million. All of them were
As at April 1, 2008, in the US the Death Penalty is
authorized by 37 or almost 75 percent of the States, the Federal
Government, and the US Military. The Oklahoma bomber Timothy Mc Veigh,
33, killed 168-people, April 19, 1995; he was executed by lethal
injection, June 11, 2001. The genial-looking Ted Bundy, a serial
sex-killer was sentenced to death on July 31, 1979, and eventually
executed in the electric chair in Florida, January 24, 1989. This
psychopath admitted, falsely or otherwise, to having hailed from a good
Christian family but blamed his addiction to pornographic violence,
which he said he found rooted in every diehard criminal in prison,
which led to his criminal behavior.
Sometime in May 2005 we had over 70 convicts in Death Row.
Now we see that figure catapult to 273, an increase by 300 percent. The
terrible physical and mental trauma suffered so tragically by rape and
murder victims is in itself a cause for the government of the day to
protect its innocent citizens from creatures of crime.
Arguably, law enforcement could perhaps monitor the number of
hangings against the trend in crime and numbers being sentenced to
death over a period to determine a correlation. In the meantime, the
protracted process of educating society to prevent such calamities
could probably get underway.
In January, 2005 STC General Trading procured 20 metres of
the hangman's ropes for the gallows from a supplier in Pakistan, and
passed them to the present Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath,
subject to testing by the Prisons Department in keeping with technical
specifications submitted by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI).
The ropes are ready while the hangman hangs about idly in the
welfare unit of the Prison Officers' Association, perhaps nonchalantly
awaiting his call for action.
SWRD Bandaranaike -
The assassination aspect
Daily News Magazine
years ago - assassination of SWRD:
The shots that shook the world
on the morning of Friday September 25, 1959-50 years ago - that the
fourth Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Solomon West Ridgeway Dias
Bandaranaike, was brutally gunned down at his Rosmead Place residence
in Colombo, by a fanatic, saffron-robed Buddhist monk.
In his younger days. Pictures courtesy ANCL
resigned my permanent, pensionable and secure job in the Posts and
Telecommunications Department after 7 1/2 years of service, in August
1959, I became a "Stringer" reporter for the now defunct "Times of
Ceylon" group of newspapers. Earlier, I was freelancing for the
"Times", since 1953.
fateful Friday morning, I was carrying one-year old Lakshan
Amarasinghe, my next door neighbour, to show him the two pups littered
by my Alsatian dog. As I was showing him the pups in the back verandah
of my Moor Road house at Wellawatte, the telephone rang. Donovan
Moldrich, News Editor of the "Times of Ceylon" was on line and he asked
me to "Come to office right away as something tragic has happened."
Mr. and Mrs. Bandaranaike
spell out what it was, but I noticed the time was 10.20 a.m. I
went next door and left Lakshan and I got dressed up and as I was about
to step out of my house, I heard Lakshan's father Alfred Amarasinghe
returning home in his car, shouting to my father, (reading the morning
"Ceylon Daily News" seated in an easy chair on the front verandah) that
"the Prime Minister has been shot and wounded."
the gate, the phone rang again and I returned to answer it.
It was Felix Gunawardena Editor of the "Sunday Times" asking me to
proceed direct to the General Hospital, Colombo where the Prime
Minister had been brought, after an assassination attempt.
direct to the hospital and I saw a truck-load of Police getting off and
positioning themselves at various strategic points in the vicinity. I
moved around and saw two of my colleagues veteran reporters K.
Nadarajah who was also working for the "Indian Express" and M. K.
Pillai also correspondent for the "Times of India" there. I also
spotted E. C. B. Wijesinghe working for the Reuters news agency there.
I reached there at 11.10 a.m. and was with them until 2.30 p.m. when
another veteran journalist/colleague Shelton Liyanage (Fernando) also
working for the "Statesman" Calcutta, came to relieve me.
time I left, the Prime Minister was still in the operating theatre. The
Emergency operation was performed by Dr. M. V. P. Peries, Dr. P. R.
Anthonis and Dr. Noel Bartholomeusz and lasted a little over five
General Sir Oliver Goonetilleke who was swearing-in the
Italian Ambassador Count Paolo di Michelis di Sloughhello, stopped the
ceremony and rushed to Rosmead place.
Taking his dog for the Dog Show
M. Perera and Philip Gunawardena who were in the House of
Representatives (Parliament) went to the PMs residence on hearing about
the shooting. A message had also been sent from Queen's House (Governor
General's official residence) to Parliament to continue with its
meeting. W. Dahanayake had suggested that Parliament be adjourned but
Dr. Perera said that "there was no need to panic."
time of the shooting incident, there were many people as usual, waiting
to meet the Prime Minister in the verandah of his house. Among them
were two saffron-robed men.
meeting one of them and bowing to him in reverence, Mr. Bandaranaike
turned towards the second monk. While bowing, the second monk suddenly
pulled out a .45 revolver from under his yellow robes and shot at the
PM at pointblank range.
Bandaranaike turned and ran into the house and in the process, three
shots hit him in the hand and abdomen, whilst two hit the glass pane of
a nearby door and a flower pot in the verandah.
people who were waiting to meet the PM, immediately set upon the man in
saffron robe and mauled him mercilessly. A Policeman on sentry duty
there, also shot at the Buddhist monk and wounded him on the thigh and
arrested him. The Governor - General declared a State of Emergency
throughout the island at 11 a.m. and the Army, Navy and Air Force units
including volunteers were mobilized to suppress any civil commotion.
reached office the "Times" which had already put out two editions about
the shooting incident, put out its third edition giving more details of
that day's assassination attempt.
5 p.m., I left in a taxi with "Sunday Times" feature writer Samson
Abeygunawardena to meet Dr. Gamini Corea at his Horton Place, Colombo,
residence. The entrances to Rosmead place as well as the adjoining
Barnes Place and Horton Place which were guarded by armed Police, were
closed to all vehicular traffic. We got off the taxi and walked about
200 yards and met Dr. Corea and collected an article on "Ceylon's
Population problem" for the "Sunday Times" National Forum Column.
that, we proceeded to 5th Lane, Kollupitiya and met Dr. L. O. de Silva
at his clinic, where there was a large number of patients.
doctor was biting into a sandwich which he told us was his late lunch.
He said he was in the operating theatre and the surgery "lasted a
little over five hours".
told us "The first 24 hours after the operation was very crucial."
returned to office at about 7.15 p.m., many of my colleagues were also
there. I was then directed by Mr. Moldrich to be at the General
Hospital the following (Saturday 26th September 1959) day at 6 a.m.
When I reached the hospital at 5.40 a.m., my colleagues Nadarajah,
Liyanage and Pillai were already there keeping vigil, for any new
developments about the PM.
after that Saturday morning, Shelton came hurriedly down the hospital
corridor and signalled me to grab the telephone in the solitary booth
in the hospital vicinity, before anyone else gets hold of it. As he
approached me he grimaced indicating that it was all finished. Shelton
took the receiver from me and phoned through to Moldrich that the PM
has passed away.
reached the Times news room at 9.25 a.m., the first edition of the
Saturday "Times of Ceylon" was already out. The headline read "The
Prime Minister is dead."
hours after the operation the previous day, the PM had joked with the
doctors and nurses around his bedside.
asked one of the Nurses "How am I doing?" She replied "You are doing
fine, Sir". "Yes I am an old man and have undergone a five hour stomach
operation but I still have guts," the PM declared.
Buddhist monk who carried out the assassination was Talduwe Somarama
Thera, an Eye specialist and a visiting lecturer at the College of
Indigenous Medicine Borella and also of the Amaravihare, Obeysekere
official Bulletin on his death stated "The condition of the Prime
Minister suddenly took a turn for the worse about 7 a.m. There was a
sudden alteration of the action of the heart and his condition
deteriorated very rapidly. He passed off peacefully about 8 'O' clock."
Dr. P. R. Anthonis, Dr. T. D. H. Perera and Dr. M. J. A. Sandrasagara.
verdict of homicide was recorded by the City Coroner J. N. C.
Tiruchelvam, J. P. U. M. at the inquest. He said "death was due to
shock and haemorrhage resulting from multiple injuries to the thoracic
and abdominal organs."
Prime Minister's funeral was held on Wednesday 30th September 1959,
where his body was entombed into a vault at his ancestral Horagolla
SWRD Bandaranaike - The assassination aspect - Part-2
Daily News Mon-28.09.09. p9
50th death anniversary was on September 26, 2009
and 2nd accused were sentenced to death. They were both defended by an
English silk, Phineas Quass.
of Criminal Appeal presided by Chief Justice Hema H.
Basnayake with - Justices MC Sansoni, HNG Fernando, OBE, N. Sinnetamby
and LB de Silva, altered the sentences to life imprisonment, having
accepted the argument of senior counsel Guy Wikramanayake, QC, that the
Act which re-introduced the death penalty for murder did not in
specific terms re-introduce such penalty for conspiracy to commit
3rd accused Anura de Silva was found not guilty by a unanimous verdict
of the Jury: he was defended by Kenneth Shinya assisted by K. Ratnesar.
The 4th accused Somarama, was sentenced to death. Somarama, then
48-years old, was hanged at Welikada Prison by the State executioner
Lewis Singho and his assistant Subatheris Appu on July 6, 1962: a time
when the Army-Police Coup conspirators of January 27, 1962 were being
held in detention. Ven. Somarama was defended by Lucien G. Weeramantry,
who later published the book, Assassination of a Prime Minister
(Geneva, 1969). Mr. (later Sir) Dingle Foot QC, appeared on an honorary
basis for Ven. Somarama, at the final appeal before the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council.
5th accused, Inspector of Police Newton Perera, escaped the gibbet by a
Jury verdict of 5-to-2 in his favour: he was defended by N. Satyendra,
son of the brilliant Senator S Nadesan, QC, assisted by A. Mahesan.
prosecution team was led by a lawyer from the unofficial bar, George E.
Chitty, QC, specially retained by the Attorney General and he was
assisted by Crown Counsel Ananda Pereira and LBT Premaratne (later QC).
Such arrangement resulted in Deputy Solicitor-General ACM Ameer (later
QC) resigning his post in protest since he had led evidence in the
lower court. Ameer was later appointed Attorney General by the Dudley
Senanayake Government of 1965-70.
1st accused died of a heart ailment aged 46-years after having served
time at Welikada prison for 71/2-years of his sentence. The Dudley
Senanayake Government on
7, 1966 had commuted the sentences of the 1st and 2nd accused to
20-years. According to former Deputy Commissioner of Welikade Prison
RJN Jordan, the 1st accused used to neglect his health by over-eating.
2nd accused served for 171/2-years and was released on August 4, 1977,
14-days after the JR Jayewardene Government’s landslide victory at the
2nd accused was not ‘lucky’ to have benefited by the concession granted
five years earlier when a Justice Ministry order on April 6, 1972 under
Emergency Regulations provided for prisoners who were sentenced to over
10-years’ imprisonment and who had served for over five years to be
Bandaranaike Assassination Commission
June 28, 1963 the Bandaranaike Assassination Commission was appointed
by the Governor-General William Gopallawa, MBE, under the provisions of
the Commissions of Enquiry Act to probe on the political aspects of the
assassination and to report on ten specific terms of reference.
Commission, which acted as a judicial tribunal and could exercise
judicial power, was chaired by Justice TS Fernando with two foreign
judges, viz. Justice Adel Younis, Judge of the Court of Cassation of
the UAR, and Justice GC Mills-Odoi, Judge of the Court of Appeal of
Crown lawyers - AC Alles, Solicitor-General and Crown counsel,
RS Wanasundera and RI Obeysekera were sought in aiding the Commission
to identify persons whose conduct required examination vis-à-vis the
terms of reference appearing in the warrant.
published The Assassination of a Prime Minister in Vol. III
(Colombo, 1979/New York, Vantage Press, Inc., 1986) of his Famous
Criminal Cases of Sri Lanka series.
by the Commission on the following persons: (1) W.
Dahanayake, Prime Minister of Ceylon from September 26, 1959 to March
19, 1960. (2)Lionel Goonetilleke, former assistant superintendent of
Police, CID. (3) Ossie Corea, businessman.
FR (Dickie) de Zoysa, landed proprietor and businessman. (5) Mrs.
Vimala Wijewardene, former Cabinet Minister. (6) Sidney de Zoysa,
former deputy Inspector-General of Police.
findings of the Commission in Sessional Paper III of 1965, published on
April 30, 1964 made an adverse report only in the case of Ms.
VimalaWijewardene. Ms. Wijewardene had been dismissed from the position
of Minister of Local Government and Housing by Prime Minister Dr. W.
Dahanayake on October 20, 1959. She was arrested by the Police on
November 19, 1959 as being suspected of complicity in the assassination
and was included in the list as the 6th accused when plaint was filed
in the Magistrate’s Court on November 26,1959.
is arguable if the evidence which the Commission accepted had been
placed at the non-summary inquiry which ended its sittings on July 15,
1960 Vimala Wijewardene might have been indicted as an accused at the
trial. It should be noted almost four months prior to the conclusion of
the non-summary inquiry, on March 19, 1960 Dudley Senanayake won the
general elections and became Prime Minister for the third time.
also significant in that in 1947, the swearing-in of the DS
Senanayake’s famous 14-member Cabinet, of which SWRD Bandaranaike was a
Minister and leader of the House, took place on that day.
day is also significant in that former Fisheries Minister in the JR
Jayewardene Government, S de S Jayasinghe, OBE, JP, brother of the
feared Aratchirala who was a great friend of Ossie Corea, suddenly died
1988, on this day, gunmen in Kuliyapitiya at the height of the JVP
crisis assassinated Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Minister Lionel
Jayatillake. Incidentally, the man Ossie Corea died at the Co-operative
Hospital on October 17, 1976 after entering hospital precisely three
weeks earlier on September 26.
the author of dOSSIEr COREA: A Portfolio on Crime,
short-listed by the Gratiaen Committee, 1998)
SWRD BANDARANAIKE - The assassination
Saturday, September 26 2009, marks the
50th death anniversary of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, who died at
the General Hospital on a Saturday morning at about 07.45-Hrs.
The six shots fired by the Ven. Talduwa
Somarama Thera of the College of Ayurvedic Medicine with a .455 Webly
Mark VI revolver at the prime minister in his unofficial residence,
Tintagel at No. 65 Rosmead Place in Colombo-7, on Fri.-Sep.-25, 1959,
The clothes he was wearing at the time of his death
09.45Hrs, fatally injured the PM and
seriously injured a teacher called Gunaratne in the neck amongst a
throng of about forty persons.
It was later established that the
murder weapon came from an unlicensed armoury of five firearms, which
belonged to Ossie Corea, a tavern renter at Dagonna in the Negombo
District, and who was also the personal security officer to the
Minister of Finance Stanley de Zoysa, MP.
The deep-seated conspiracy finally blew
sky-high, when it was established at the subsequent Supreme Court trial
that the 1st and 2nd accused, the Ven. Buddharakkitha thera, High
priest of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihare, and HP Jayewardena, conspired
to assassinate the prime minister in view of their disappointment,
inter alia, in not being able to push through their business ventures
with the assistance of the government.
Notable was their failure in May-1958,
to secure the bid, at great financial loss to them, for the carriage of
rice from Burma (now Myanmar) to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), on behalf of
the Food Department, through their new company, the Colombo Shipping
Lines Ltd, which had been floated with the expert guidance of Major JR
Baptis, a former director of the Government-sponsored Ceylon Shipping
Also, the prime minister had not taken
seriously the scurrilous pamphlet relating to Buddharakkiktha and Mrs
Vimala Wijewardene, his minister of Health.
Ossie & Lionel:
The hatchet man, Somarama, harboured no
grudge with the prime minister.
Suspicion fell on Ossie Corea as the
enforcer, since he was bald-headed during the time of the
However, Corea, who was a former
temporary Excise inspector, and his
protégé former ASP-CID Lionel (Gompa)
Goonetilleke, who lived opposite to Tintagel, appeared as strong
prosecution witnesses at the trial.
Amongst the crack team of police
officers investigating the Bandaranaike murder, were included DIG-CID
DCT Pate, SP Rajasooriya, ASP SSIK Iyer, IP Abeywardena, IP AM
Seneviratne and IP Tyrell Goonetilleke, who later on rose to the rank
The Bandaranaike Assassination trial
commenced on 22-Feb.-1961 presided by Justice TS Fernando, QC, CBE,
with a seven member jury whose foreman was DWL Lieversz, Snr.
The trial concluded almost three months
later on 12-May.
Honouring Arthur V.
Dias by Edward Gunawardena, ex-DIG
Honouring Arthur V.
tree should have been named the National Tree:
The Daily News
feature writers Nalin Fernando and Firoze Sameer deserve to be
complimented by readers for their excellent well researched article
(July 31) on that great patriot of yore Arthur V. Dias. Of all his
pioneering, courageous initiatives, the campaign to plant a million jak
trees was indeed the most noble concept. Had this effort been
relentlessly pursued, today it would be having a significant beneficial
impact not only supplementing healthy food requirements but more
importantly the environment.
Arthur V. Dias
But by the wanton
destruction of Jak trees accelerated particularly by the timber
requirements of the construction boom of the past three decades a great
disservice has been done to the memory of this great son of Lanka.
fragmentation of land for building purposes has had a devastating
effect on jak as well as other trees. Notwithstanding all the laws that
have been enacted by well meaning governments Jak trees keep on
vanishing. In most urban areas of the country, Jak trees and even
coconut trees have become a rarity. It is not far from the truth to
state that many schoolchildren in Colombo have not seen a jak tree!
When a Jak tree can
easily be grown in a homegarden and its wonderful shade and fruits
enjoyed, lazy urban lifestyles are driving housewives to stand round
pavement jak vendors to buy a polythene bagful of cleaned and shredded
tender or mature jak. When bought by the gramme and cooked and consumed
as a mere accompanying curry they probably do not realize the potential
jak has as a substitute for the rice of the common man.
The proliferation of
residential buildings in cities and the suburbs with limited space for
trees has led to the emergence of individuals and even communities with
no love for trees. There are even anti-social petty minded individuals
who curse the winds if the leaf of a neighbour's falls on their
concrete, treeless and even grassless outer areas. It was this mental
degradation resulting in a condition that psychiatrics described as an
"aversion to greenery" that prompted Singapore to introduce legislation
to make it compulsory to grow trees round houses.
This unique, less
apparent human factor would also have presented obstacles to the Jak
planting campaign of Arthur V. Dias. Singaporeans who for generations
had grown up in 'concrete jungles' initially found it difficult to
adjust to a green environment with falling leaves, twigs and fruits.
This natural fall out of a green environment came to be considered a
individuals exist in Sri Lanka too. About 25 to 30 years ago when I was
DIG Metropolitan, I received a petition against the Cinnamon Gardens
Police that the latter had refused to entertain a complaint. When I
recorded the statement of the aggrieved party he said that when he
drove out of his residence rotting mangoes that had fallen off a tree
of a neighbour on to the road were polluting the wheels of his new car!
I asked this man who was an educated professional," what if you run
over cow dung or the sh--of a dog-- you will want to change the wheels
of your car." I had to explain to this stupid man that the police were
well within the law to refuse to entertain trivial complaints.
sociological obstacle to Arthur V. Dias's efforts to popularize jak was
the 'brown Sahib' dominated ruling class of the time who used only
silver cutlery and Johnson's crockery. To this class, which exists even
today eating jak was 'infra dig' it is a fact that seldom or never is
jak served at our State banquets or even at wedding functions in star
class hotels. The country needs another V. Dias to give a start.
Jak tree is one tree
that fully deserves to be protected to the utmost. Its fruit can be
consumed tender, mature or ripe. Our forefathers even dehydrated the
pulp (Atu Kos) and preserved it to be eaten during the off season. The
value of a jak tree as a 'buth gaha' overwhelmingly outweighs its
The Na Tree's (Iron
wood tree) tender leaves often glamourized in classical Sinhala poetry
led to its fame and recognition. But unlike the highly versatile jak,
Na has limited uses. Because of its thick foliage that provides shade
and the unique redness of its tender leaves it had been planted as an
ornamental tree in the Walawwas of yore eg. Batadola and Weke in the
Gampaha District and in cemeteries eg. Borella Kanatte. It is
surprising indeed that adequate importance had not been given to the
life sustaining jak tree when naming a "National Tree".
Arthur Dias - A Man
for all Seasons by Nalin Fernando and Firoze Sameer
- A man for all seasons
Death anniversaries of two
nationally recognized personalities fall on July 31: They are the
mighty Maha Mudaliyar Sir Don Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, KCMG, of
Attanagalla; and the benevolent but bold Arthur Vincent Dias of
The Don produced three
national leaders - SWRDB, Sirimavo and Chandrika - and tends to be
forgotten since his demise in 1946. Arthur Dias is oft-remembered since
his passing away in 1960 for his pioneering campaign of giving the
nation food to ingest as well as food for thought and initiating
another pioneering campaign to plant a million jak trees. He earned the
endearing sobriquet of Kos Mama or Kos Ata Mama.
Arthur Dias pioneered his
tree-planting campaign for jak fruit (artocarpus heterophyllus) in
1918. He imported a special strain of jak seedlings from Johore in
Malaya. He established a small office in his home to organise and
distribute jak and papaw seedlings and plants free of charge to the
public. The catch phrase in this campaign was that "jak was good for
food and wood."
Apart from promoting the
planting of jak, which he called the Buth Gaha (rice-tree), he
encouraged the propagation of fruit trees which included papaw (carica
papaya), mango (mangifera), sapota or sapodilla (manilkara zapota),
durian (durio), golden apple or ambarella (spondias dulcis) and lovi
(flacourtia-inermis). Sachets comprising seeds of these fruit trees
were distributed free of charge to the public.
Arthur Dias was born on 10
February, 1886, to wealthy parents: P. Jeremias Dias and Selestina
Rodrigo; a prominent family in Panadura who earned their fortune from
the popular and lucrative arrack-renting trade augmented by the income
from a large acreage of rubber.
Arthur Dias received his
nursery education at St John's College, Panadura, now Cyril Jansz
Vidyalaya, and completed his secondary education at St Thomas' College,
He conducted himself
different from his rich and rambunctious father. (Jeremias Dias was an
ardent Buddhist and gave freely of his money earned as an arrack renter
towards his religious cause.
It is said that Arthur
Dias being no hypocrite preferred to remain silent with folded palms
while others repeated the fifth precept while observing pansil.)
The thoughtful and quiet
young man curtailed his studies soon after leaving St Thomas' and took
over managing the family business and trade since the death of his
father in 1902. He became an accomplished rubber planter and
businessman but was never enamoured by the riches that were
accumulating from the arrack trade.
It is said that it was the
family involvement in the arrack trade which made him turn to
temperance early in life after witnessing the horrors of what drink did
to man especially during the celebrations after a successful bid by the
family for a profitable tavern.
The sprawling family home
in Panadura became "open house" for all and sundry and the celebrations
went on until the supply of free booze ran out which saw many of the
visitors lying around in a stupor or behaving in an unruly manner to be
bodily thrown out by their indulgent host. All this was too much for
the sensitive young man who was already involved in national interests
and intent on following in the footsteps of persons like Anagarika
Dharmapala, Walisinghe Harischandra, C.A. Hewavitharana, F.R. and D.S.
Senanayake while receiving from them the inspiration to serve the
country and nation.
Similar to his mentors,
Arthur Dias opted for a simple life notwithstanding his enormous
riches, which he doled out generously for philanthropy. He donned the
white banian and cloth in preference to fashionable western attire.
He was instrumental in the
regeneration of the model village of Heenatiyana, where simple living
and self-help were the driving force. He pioneered writing and signing
cheques in Sinhala, and was the first planter to correspond exclusively
in Sinhala. In 1912, Arthur Dias was one of the pioneers to join Don
Spater Senanayake in the Hapitigama Korale in Negombo to launch the
Temperance Movement which encouraged the closure of taverns in
townships and villages with the intention of breeding a just society,
to foster peace and harmony amongst all communities.
Richard Salgado and Dr.
Marcus Fernando amongst others were also temperance workers.
The core principle of the
movement discouraged the consumption of liquor, smoking and
cattle-slaughter. Soon after February 4, 1948, he wrote the following
curt note to his close friend, the D.S. Senanayake, PC, after his
suggestion that no liquor be served at the official Independence day
celebrations was rejected by the Prime Minister: "I am not satisfied
with the way things are going on after Independence. Our culture has
found no place in the administration. I am a sad man.
Let this be the parting of
the ways. You go your way and I go mine," This note was reportedly
written in blood, unwillingly lanced from his finger, by his family
physician, Dr C. Wilmot Dias. The spat between two close friends was
short-lived. In 1915, the infamous Sinhala-Muslim riots rocked the
country and Arthur Dias was imprisoned by the British government.
The others jailed were his
elder brother Harry, brothers-in-law Richard and Walter Salgado, Dr WA
de Silva, brothers DC, FR and DS Senanayake, C. Batuwantudawe, George
E. de Silva, AE Goonesinghe, DB (later Sir Baron) Jayatileka, Dr CA
Hewavitarne, John Silva, Piyadasa Sirisena, Edwin Wijeyeratne (later
Sir Edwin), and several other Buddhist leaders whom the British
mistakenly thought supported the 1915 riots. Arthur Dias and others
were sentenced to death after a court martial hearing.
The family retained
Advocate Eardley Norton, renowned as the Lion of the Madras Bar, from
India, who got him off the hook.
The death sentence was
eventually commuted to one of life imprisonment. Later, the new
Governor Sir John Anderson, GCMG, KCB, who replaced Sir Robert
Chalmers, GCB (later Lord Chalmers) released him after his mother paid
a fine of Rs. 100,000.
After his release, Arthur
Dias made a beeline to the village of Medamaha-Nuwara where Sri
Wickrama Rajasinghe was arrested by the British. He built a
commemorative pillar on the spot and pledged that he would thenceforth
dedicate himself to the emancipation of Ceylon from the British yoke.
Arthur Dias was by this
time the epitome of the patriot, planter, pioneer temperance worker,
national hero, philanthropist, and ardent supporter of the government's
Grow More Food Campaign.
*Arthur Dias reportedly
declined a knighthood from Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott, GCMG, CBE,
during his tenure from 1937-1944.
*In Oct-1957, at age-71,
we read his type-written letter to Premier S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike,
politely declining a seat in the Senate, offered over the telephone,
owing to "feeble old age."
*Author of Three Prime
Ministers of Ceylon, J.L. Fernando, in an article in the Ceylon Daily
News of August 01, 1960 recalls a conversation with the Minister of
Home Affairs Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, who stated "with pride that at
least a million jak trees in our country owed their existence then to
*Arthur Dias was the first
and sole private citizen to receive a special concession from the
Minister of Communications, Sir John Kotelawala to use the OHMS frank
for his Grow More Jak Campaign by which he had reportedly posted some
sixteen million jak seeds and plants, with leaflets containing
instructions and letters of encouragement, to town and village folk.
mother, Selestina Dias, a widow since 1902, founded Visakha Vidyalaya,
then called Buddhist Girls' College on January 16, 1917 in a house
called Firs at Turret Road in Colpetty.
* The first Board of
Governors of the school, comprised DB (later Sir Baron) Jayatileka, DS
Senanayake, Arthur V. Dias, Sir Susantha de Fonseka, CM Dias and Lady
Evadne de Silva, wife to Sir Ernest. The school shifted to Vajira Road
in Bambalapitiya on November 21, 1927 with the governor's wife lady
Herbert Stanley giving it a new name, Visakha College.
* Selestina Dias also
established the Sirikandula Buddhist Educational Trust, and the
Jeremias Dias Educational and Charitable Fund.
She was later conferred an
MBE in the King's honours list.
* When Ananda College was
in dire need of funds, Arthur Dias extended his support by writing a
cheque for Rs. 20,000, and thereafter raised Rs 10,000 each from FR
Senanayake, Dr WA De Silva, Domingo Dias. He was also instrumental in
building the Edmund Wilson Science Library to enable Ananda College to
gain Grade-1 status.
* In July, 1971, in order
to assist the Help Ananda Fund, Arthur Dias urged rubber growers in the
Kalutara district to donate a day's collection.
* In 1926 under the aegis
of the founder of Nalanda College, P. D. S. Kularatne, its first
principal Dr G.P. Malalasekera organized the famous Nalanda Flower Day
campaign to boost the Building Extension Fund.
It was ably supported by
Arthur Dias resulting in the construction of a new storied building.
Arthur also assisted Dharmaraja and Dharmasoka colleges.
Arthur Dias married Grace
Salgado, and they had nine children: His five daughters were Mallika,
wife to Prof. Gerald Cooray, Lalani wife to V.C. Jayasuriya, Srimathi,
wife to B.R. de Silva, Nerupamal, wife to N. de Fonseka and Anoma, wife
to Rukman Amarasuriya. His four sons; were Upali, Nanda, Chandra and
Except for Nerupa and
Nanda and Dr Padma's wife, Kusum all others have passed away.
Arthur Dias died at his
home, Edmund Niwasa in Panadura on July 31, 1960 at the age 74. He was
a man who upheld national freedom, national dignity, national dress and
national food. He was a man who lived a simple and austere life
inspired by the tenets of Buddhism. A man who believed and lived the
Sinhala adage, "example is better than precept."
A one-rupee postage
stamp was released by the government postal department in his honour on
his 26th death anniversary in 1986.
That massacre upon
By Firoze Sameer
July 27, 2008
shall have to repent in this generation,
not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people,
but for the appalling silence of the good people.” – Dr Martin Luther
slew of eminent authors have dealt with 1983’s Black July: T. D. S. A.
Dissanayaka in “Agony of Sri Lanka” (1984); Sinha Ratnatunga in
“Politics of Terrorism:
The Sri Lankan Experience” (1988); Narayan Swamy in “Tigers of Lanka”
V. P. Vittachi in “Sri
– What Went Wrong?” (1995); Professor Rajan Hoole (University Teachers
Human Rights) in “Sri
The Arrogance of Power: Myths,
public commotion going on in Borella that Sunday evening,
on July 24, 1983, was heard by inmates of Welikada Prison.
25, prisoners condemned to
access to newspapers that carried the report on the ambush of Four-Four
patrol, led by Lieut. Vaas
Gunawardena, in which 13 of
soldiers were ambushed and killed in Jaffna
on the night of Saturday,
chapel at Welikada prison is built in the shape of a cross, comprising wings A3,
B3, C3 and D3 on the ground
Entry to each wing is through iron doors in their respective corridors.
are posted in each wing to man the locked cells abutting the corridors.
guards are stationed in the lobby in the spacious heart of the cross.
a total of 16 guards.
July 1983, there were 23
held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). TELO mandarins
Jegan and three others, who
appealed against their death sentences following the Neervely bank
1981, were in one cell in
Tamils detained under the PTA were in cells at C3; another 29 Tamil
taken on suspicion and due for release were in D3; and,
in A3, were dangerous
mostly Sinhalese, notable
being the Alitalia aircraft skyjacker,
Sepala Ekanayake, convicted
his aborted attempt in 1982.
upper levels, from which the
was visible from the galleries,
housed some 800 ordinary convicts. The Youthful Offenders Building (YOB), a distance away,
housed nine professionals: Doctors S. A. Tharmalingam (TELF), S. Rajasundaram (sec./Gandhiyam) and
Jeyakularajah; Fathers Singarayar and Sinnarasa; Rev. Jeyatilekarajah;
University don M. Nithyananthan,
“Suthanthiran” editor Kovai Mahesan (TELF),
and architect Arulanandam David (president/Gandhiyam).
Monday, July 25, at 2pm,
curfew was declared. Some 400 prisoners broke out from their cells and
into the lobby. Some 25 attackers reportedly caused carnage amidst
B3 and D3. Acting Commissioner C. T. Jansz and his staff tried to
mob, but failed to quell the
In the corridors of B3 and D3,
35 inmates lay battered,
many dead. Kuttimani’s eyes were reportedly gouged out. The prisoners
continued to remain locked inside their cells.
unidentified Sinhalese jail guard in charge of C3 reportedly told the
that “If they are to get you,
will have to be over my dead body.” He hid the cell door keys in the
when the attackers arrived,
stretched his arms, and
mob, forcing it to retreat.
Devananda, Manikkathasan, Paranthan Rajan,
Panagoda Maheswaran were in C3.
to Professor Hoole, Lieut.
Hathrusinghe, of the 4th
in charge of the platoon guarding Welikada Prison,
on receiving a call from Mr. Jansz for help,
rushed to the chapel section with seven soldiers armed with SLRs, and claimed: “The crowd upon seeing us
their weapons and started running upstairs.”
Jansz dashed to the Borella police station,
only to hear that the station was short-staffed. He next visited Senior
Sunderalingam in Gregory’s Road,
was preparing to leave for the Security Council meeting. When Mr. Jansz
returned to Welikada Prison,
Borella police personnel ambling outside the prison precincts. They
“reluctant to enter, as it
guarded by army personnel”,
contravention of the Prisons Ordinance,
which requires that the police be called in at any sign of trouble.
Rogers Jayasekere, President
Jayewardene’s supporter in Kelaniya,
allegedly played from behind the scenes while the killings were in
progress, while jailor
Samitharatne alias Samitha Rathgama
and location officer Palitha’s roles were apparently tenuous on that
Hathurusinghe would not allow the truck containing 35 bodies to leave
prison precints for the Accident Service until he received approval
top. Over the telephone, the
in charge of the unit told him that “permission for such removal would
be granted by the secretary to the Ministry of Defence”,
who was Col. C. A. Dharmapala,
was present at the Security Council meeting at Army Headquarters, chaired by President J. R. Jayewardene.
then visited the General
Hospital and met
hospital director Dr. Lucian Jayasuriya to make arrangements to admit
Jansz then telephoned the Army Commander Major General (later General)
Weeratunga from DIG Ernest Perera’s office,
seeking permission to release the truck. The general told Mr. Jansz to
his “no objections” to the army platoon commander. However, Mr. Jansz suggested the general issue
to his staff. Mr. Jansz then called on IGP Rudra Rajasingham and DIG
Sunderalingam, who appeared
helpless.When Mr. Jansz returned to Welikada Prison,
he saw the truck parked in the compound and learned that “35 bodies in
truck were heaped for removal”,
that the prison doctor, Dr.
Perimpanayagam, had examined
victims at the gate, after a
of about an hour, and
them all dead.
Wickremasinghe, civil rights
activist and daughter of Dr. S. A. Wickremasinghe,
notes: “… We know from eyewitnesses,
and which appears likely from the inquest evidence,
that the bodies were attacked again on the floor of the lobby to make
were dead. They were dragged into the compound and attacked there. They
thrown into the truck, and
to some eyewitness accounts,
sound of bodies being attacked even inside the truck could be heard.
Indeed, according to one of
our witnesses, one young
prisoner (Kanapathipillai Mylvaganam,
5 feet, 1 inch), who had succeeded in hiding,
was actually killed in the compound by a jailor.” She also notes the
there were some 17 jailors in Welikada prison at the time of the
masssacre, but only one jail
locked in B3, testified.
JMO, Dr. M. S. L. Salgado, was facing difficulties to procure from
the magistrate’s order to perform a post-mortem examination on the 35
Colombo chief magistrate Keerthi Srilal Wijewardene,
followed a protracted process to issue one,
vis-à-vis implications in Emergency Regulation 15A of 18.07.83 of the
extraordinary made by J. R. Jayewardene,
under the Public Security Ordinance,
which allowed any gazetted police officer not below the rank of ASP or
authorised officer, with the
approval of the secretary to the Ministry of Defence,
to take possession and disposal of any dead body without reference to
to the Ministry of Justice,
Wijesinghe, DSG Tilak
Senior State Counsel C. R. de Silva assisted the court on July 26 at
Despite the fact that a lawyer could have represented the victims, if one had applied to the Attorney
department, no such person
to do so.
Kandiah Rajendran (alias Robert),
who was in a nearby cell and witnessed what had happened in the lobby, gave a statement,
which was recorded by Suriya Wickremasinghe. Rajendran was killed in
Sinhala radio announcement on the night of the 25th was heard by the C3
prisoners from the jailor’s room close by. The magistrate observed that
of those prisoners who could be eyewitnesses … have volunteered to give
SP Leo de Silva complied with the request made on July 26 at 3 p.m. by
Rajan and Douglas Devananda to transfer the 28 detainees in C3. On July
27, at 1 a.m.,
the prisoners were transferred to the YOB,
but housed three each in one cell and four in one cell,
despite their request to be housed all together. The nine professionals
YOB were transferred to the dormitory upstairs.
inquest was concluded in the early hours of July 27,
after the post-mortem reports were in,
but the bodies were not handed over to the next of kin. The magistrate
considered an application by Inspector H. Y. (Hyde) de Silva for
the bodies, under ER15A, while DSG Marapone,
presumably representing the AG,
authorisation reportedly being required by the secretary to the
Defence, instead of the AG.
bodies were wrapped in white sheets and disposed of at Kanatte Cemetery,
shortly before dawn, where
dumped into a large pit and burnt.
temporary transfer of prisoners to the YOB,
with the approval of the secretary,
Ministry of Justice and on the directions of the chief magistrate, proved a failure. A query made to former
Commissioner of Prisons, R.
Jordan, evoked the response:
were they not transferred to the safety of the Magazine prison? The
defendants were housed over there in absolute safety.” This was subject
receiving direct orders from the detaining authority,
who was the then Deputy Minister of Defence T. B. Werapitiya, whom Mr. Jansz tried hard to contact, but failed.
Jansz shared his fears with the secretary,
Ministry of Justice, that
that a second attack was imminent. Mr. Jansz,
was present at the Security Council meeting in the afternoon, where President J. R. Jayewardene had
to liaise with Brigadier Mano Madawela to transfer the remaining
the Batticaloa prison. According to Sinha Ratnatunga (page 30), “… President Jayewardene wanted the rest
prisoners sent immediately to the Jaffna
prisons, but Ministers
Athulathmudali and Ranil Wickremesinghe opposed it,
saying that the Sinhalese would become further infuriated over such a
When a compromise was suggested,
Negombo, close to the International Airport,
the President opposed it,
there would be a repeat performance there.”
Mr. Jansz’s return to Welikada Prison,
he discovered that a second massacre had occurred at around 4p.m., when curfew had just begun,
and that 17 of the 28 suspects formerly housed in C3 had died, with one professional,
Rajasunderam. In all, 53 of
the 72, or 74 percent,
of the PTA detainees were dead. The SP,
his two ASPs and two jailors were reportedly absent that day.
P. Delgoda returned to the country that night after attending an
same participants of the first inquest attended the second inquest, held on July 28 at 1 p.m.,
assisted by ASP Packeer of the CDB. The inquest ended on July 29 at
Chief jailor W. M. Karunaratne testified that he had,
via the prison intelligence system,
learned of a proposed “mass jail break by prisoners”,
and had conveyed the news to Mr. Jansz that morning.
overseer Don Alfred had approached wing A3 at 4 p.m. to serve the night
found the cell doors open and the prisoners ambling inside the
opening the iron door, he
overpowered by the prisoners. They,
with about 300 other prisoners armed with poles,
iron bars with sharp points and a saw (all seized from the woodshed, as in the first massacre),
then ran towards the YOB. Dr. Rajasundaram,
who approached the mob in an attempt to reason with them,
lost his life. Dr. Tharmalingam,
was in his seventies, urged
defenders to fight back and save the rest of the professionals.
Wickremasinghe noted that not a single prison officer was able to
single rioter, and that an
identification parade was never held following both prison massacres.
(later Colonel) Sunil Peiris and his commando team of 12 arrived in two
within less than 20 minutes of Mr. Jansz’s call to Army Headquarters, and were deployed into action.
Sepala Ekanayake was reportedly the first to enter the YOB. Ekanayake
an object he was carrying in his hand,
and said to the approaching Major Peiris: “Sir,
kohomada vede?” The major was horrified (in his words,
it was “like the head of John the Baptist on a charger”),
who then smashed his fist into Ekayanake’s face and felled him. The
fired into the air, and at
attackers, and entered the
YOB, also firing tear gas.
Sunil Peiris moved the Tamil prisoners out of Welikada that very night;
bringing out Mrs. Nithyanandan,
graduate from a US university,
the female ward, and her
husband, who was in YOB,
and transporting all 20 to the Galle Face Green late that night and
them into two buses bound for the Katunayake airbase,
from where they were airlifted to Batticaloa prison. In September 1983, all escaped,
except Fr. Singarayer, who
face trial, and Dr.
Tharmalingam, who was too
old to leave.
decades on, the echoes of
screams reverberate between the drab
walls of Welikada’s chapel and the Youth Offenders
Words by the English writer Thomas Hardy come to mind: “While much is
strange to be believed,
too strange to have happened.”
July 20, 2008
Hollywood plots Hitler
By Firoze Sameer
The day is
Thursday, July 20, 1944,
the time 12.42 hours, and
the place the Nazi nerve centre,
the Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair),
in Rastenberg, East Prussia.
The scene is a military conference. The room is filled with
black-suited SS officers standing around as the chief of operations of
the army high command,
General Adolf Heusinger,
reads a report on the central Russian front. Chairing the conference is
Adolf Hitler, and with him
are 23 other Nazi officers.
A time bomb
explodes from below the table,
killing four. The blast is the culmination of Operation Valkyrie, organised by a group of army officers.
Singer and his team are presently working on a Hollywood
film based on the World War II incident. The United Artists’ US$100
million production, titled
“Valkyrie”, is slated for
release on February 13,
2009. Shooting commenced at the Bendlerblock memorial in Germany
last July. The official trailer is now on YouTube. Tom Cruise acts as
the key instigator of the revolt,
Colonel Claus Schenk Count Stauffenberg,
chief-of-staff to Col-Gen. Erich Fromm (Tom Wilkinson), commander of the reserve or home army.
Tom Cruise as
Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg. (Pic courtesy firstshowing.net)
The plot to
assassinate Adolf Hitler is well documented in a number of books, including British historian Alan
Bullock’s “Hitler” (1952); John Wheeler-Bennett’s “The Nemesis of
Power” (1953); Constantine Fitzgibbon’s “The Shirt of Nessus” (1955);
William Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” (1960); Jacques
Delarue’s “The Gestapo” (1962); and Roger Manvell and Heinrich
Fraenkel’s “The July Plot” (1964),
and the brilliant 822-page “Inside the Third Reich” (1970), by Hitler’s armaments minister Albert
A Roman Catholic
Stauffenberg arrives at the Rastenberg conference attired in a
field-grey Wehrmacht uniform,
glittering with an array of medals,
including the Iron Cross 1st Class,
the Wound Badge and the German Cross,
both in gold. He cuts a remarkable figure: he is wearing a black
eye-patch, the result of a
war incident in Tunisia, on
April 7, 1943, when his staff car was riddled with fire
from low-flying aircraft,
causing him to lose his right hand and arm,
two fingers of his left hand and his left eye,
with injuries to his left ear and knee.
walks into the room carrying a briefcase containing a time bomb.
Depending on what side you were on,
Stauffenberg’s act was either heroic or high treason. When Marcus
Brutus delivered the coup de grâce in the assassination of Roman
dictator Julius Cæsar, he
said he was doing so not because he loved Cæsar less, but because he loved Rome more. Every German officer had
to pledge a personal oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler.
victories saw the Third Reich taking control of almost the whole of
Europe, sections of
Scandinavia, the Balkans and
North Africa. It was during
Hitler’s advance on Russia, when the German army had almost reached Moscow, that the tide turned.
failed plot to kill Hitler,
Col. Stauffenberg and three other officers faced a summary court
martial decreed by Gen. Friedrich Fromm. They were shot that very
evening, on July 21, 1944,
in the courtyard of the Bendlerstrasse by a firing squad of 10 men
commanded by a lieutenant. Fromm turned the tables on the conspirators
when the putsch misfired. But it did not save his neck. He finally
faced a firing squad on March 19,
Those who fell
with Stauffenberg that evening were his adjutant, Lieut. Werner von Haeften; Col. Gen
Freidrich Olbricht (played by actor Bill Nighy); head of the supply
section of the reserve army,
and his chief-of-staff, Col.
Mertz von Quirnheim (Christian Berkel). Gen. Ludwig Beck (Terence Stamp), who was Franz Halder’s predecessor as
chief of the army general staff,
was given the option of shooting himself,
which he failed in doing twice. He was dispatched by a sergeant.
Major Otto Ernst
Remer and SS Obersturmbannfuehrer (Lieut. Col.) Otto Skorzeny, both holders of the Knight’s Cross with
oak leaves, were key
bulwarks against the conspirators and contributed indefatigably towards
quashing the coup.
(Thomas Kretschmann), who
commanded the guard battalion inside Berlin, was ordered by Lieut-Gen. Paul von Hase, commandant of Berlin,
who was a conspirator, to
throw a cordon around the ministry buildings in the Wilhelmstrasse and
the SS security offices. However,
Remer was confused and referred to propaganda minister Dr Joseph
Goebbels, who put through
Remer on a priority call to Hitler. The Fuehrer directly instructed
Major Remer to quell the coup,
promoting him two grades to full colonel.
“On July 24, the Nazi salute
was made compulsory in place of the old military salute ‘as a sign of
the Army’s unshakeable allegiance to the Fuehrer and of the closest
unity between Army and Party’.” View
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQgESliKQUA. Col. Remer was made major-general
and given command of the legendary Panzer Führer-Begleit division.
Skorzeny, famous for
rescuing Mussolini in a daring operation in September 1943, was hauled out of his sleeping berth on
the night-express to Vienna when it stopped at Lichterfeld, where repeated announcements went over
the tannoy for him to immediately report to Berlin on the instructions
of SS Brigadefuehrer (Maj-Gen.) Walther Schellenberg, the number two man in the SD. Skorzeny’s
company entered the Bendlestrasse and took control from within, while Remer’s detachment isolated the
Korps commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s role in the conspiracy was
revealed after the war. Although the “Desert Fox” was privy to the plot, he favoured arresting rather than killing
Hitler. Rommel’s last posting was as commandant of Army Group B amongst
five other army groups spread out in northern France
in defence of the D-Day operation. Rommel’s staff car was strafed on
July 17 and he sustained major head injuries. On October 14, 1944,
Rommel was given the option of suicide by poison, followed by a state funeral with full
military honours, instead of
facing treason in the People’s Court. Rommel chose suicide.
Guenther von Kluge was replaced by Field Marshal Walther Model as the
army group commander in France, and was recalled to Berlin. On his way by car near Verdun, Kluge (who,
like Fromm, switched sides
on learning of Hitler’s escape),
probably guessed the game was up and committed suicide by poison.
Heinrich von Stuelpnagel,
the military governor of France, moved to arrest all SS and SD personnel
(Gen.) Karl Oberg and his deputy,
SS Obersturmbanfuehrer (Lieut-Col.) Dr
Helmuth Knochen, with their
troops were later released after the coup had gone awry. Recalled to Berlin,
Steulpnagel, shot himself at
during a car journey, only
to blind himself in both eyes. He and Lieut. Col. Caesar von Hofacker, who served on his staff, were sentenced to death and hanged.
the Gestapo recorded 7,000
arrests, and another source
some 4,980 deaths, but the figure is thought to be much
The SS, its intelligence unit the SD, the Gestapo,
and a series of departments fell under the umbrella of the
Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA (Reich Security Main Office), headed by SS Obergruppenfuehrer (Gen.) Dr
Ernst Kaltenbrunner. He was placed in charge of the Special Commission
of July 20 by Hitler (David Bamber) and Himmler (Matthias Freihof), now Commander in Charge of the reserve
army, and conducted
extensive investigations and interrogations to round up even those
remotely connected with the attempt.
Manvell and Fraenkel, Hitler
appointed a military court of honour led by field marshals Wilhelm
Keitel, Gerd von Rundstedt
and Col. Gen Heinz Guderian,
who replaced Gen. Kurt Zeitzler as chief of the general staff, “to dismiss from the Army all officers
remotely concerned in the putsch”. The conspirators were tried by
Roland Freisler in his People’s Court as civilians and hanged, instead of facing a firing squad. Notable
was the acquittal of Rommel’s chief of staff Maj-Gen. Dr Hans Speidel, a conspirator.
The architect of
the conspiracy, Maj-Gen.
Henning von Trescow (Kenneth Branagh),
chief-of-staff in the central army group,
Eastern Front, walking on
no-man’s land towards the Russian Forces,
exploded a hand grenade and died.
words to von Schlabrendorff were: “God once promised Abraham to spare Sodom should
there be found 10 just men in the city. He will,
I hope, spare Germany
because of the thing that we have done,
and not destroy her … Whoever joined the resistance movement put on the
shirt of Nessus. The worth of a man is certain only if he is prepared
to sacrifice his life for his convictions.”
in the Daily News of May 10 (Saturday) of the
at Dunkirk in Northern France in 1940 prompts me to add a postscript on
the kudos and consequences faced by Adolf Hitler's top field commanders
their victories and failures in the Western and Eastern theatres of
upon the success of that blitzkreig recounted by Ravi Perera
which almost all Europe was overrun
Germans, one is inevitably
of Adolf Hitler's Reichstag speech on the evening of July 19, 1940.
speech, Hitler made his
offer to Britain, arguably the highpoint of his chequered
career, having issued
Directive No. 16 three days earlier
seeking to prepare for a landing operation in England
by mid-August, to be
launched as Operation Sea Lion.
historian, William L. Shirer
in his 1,436-page
masterpiece The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) at p-904 writes
footnote thus: "There was a colourful scene and one unprecedented in
German history when Hitler suddenly broke off his speech in the middle
field-marshals' batons to twelve Generals and a special king-size one
Goering, who was given the
created rank of Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich,
which put him above all the others.
the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross,
the only one given during the entire war. ...Nine Army Generals were
to field-marshal: Brauchitsch,
Keitel, Rundstedt, Bock,
Kluge, Witzleben and
three Luftwaffe officers: Milch,
Kesselring and Sperrle." Franz Halder,
Chief of the Army General Staff,
passed over in only being promoted one grade from General to
Dunkirk was evidently
Operation Overlord, the
massive Allied invasion of Europe on June 6,
1944 globally known as D-Day,
and fought tenaciously on Normandy's
Juno and Sword.
Cornelius Ryan's book, The
Day, was reportedly picked
quote by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel,
who foreboded the first twenty four hours of the impending invasion on
North-Western regions of France. Daryl F Zanuck's 1962-movie of the
is now legion.
the German-Soviet non-aggression pact entered into days
WWII began, it was ironical
dictators, Marshal Josef
Adolf Hitler, reportedly
However, almost sixteen months into the pact, the Fuehrer issued Top Secret Directive
dated Dec-18, 1940, referring to the proposed attack on Russia, to be launched on May-15 as Operation
have it, a coup
caused Hitler to make a catastrophic decision to raze Yugoslavia and also subdue Greece, and thereby postpone the Russian campaign
effectively began on June-22. The loss of those four vital weeks
course of history.
later, the tide turned
Wehrmacht, and December 6, 1941 was considered as a fateful turning
the history of the Third Reich. In the Eastern Front,
amidst sub-zero temperatures,
retired some top commanders in late 1941/early1942.
Runstedt, von Bock,
von Leeb, von Reichenau who
a stroke. Also Colonel-General Heinz Guderian the panzer corps genius.
Gen. Udet of the Luftwaffe had shot himself to death on November 17, 1941. Shirer states that,
"Moreover, some thirty-five
corps and divisional commanders were replaced during the winter
the Eastern Front were depicted where Colonel-General Erich Hoepner, a brilliant tank commander of the 4th
Group within sight of Moscow
from the north, pushed back.
dismissed, stripped of his
forbidden to wear a uniform. Gen. Hoepner,
a member of the July 20 plot,
tried and executed in August 1944 as recounted in-depth in The July
Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel (1964).
Sponeck, Ritterkreuz holder
airborne landings in The Hague in 1940, pulled back one division of his corps in
the Crimea on December 29,
1941, after Russian troops
sea behind his lines.
rank and imprisoned,
and at the insistence of Hitler,
sentenced to death. He was executed after the July 1944 plot to kill
which he was not involved.
the fates of two field marshals: Friedrich Paulus and the monocled
Walter Model, Hitler's
Fireman. Paulus surrendered his ill-fated
6th Army at Stalingrad to the Russians one day after the Fuehrer
field marshal on January 30,
1943, while Model,
on April 21, 1945 when his
Group B got isolated in the Ruhr
pocket, shot himself in the
the most brilliant Field Commander in WWII,
testifying at Nuremberg, as
recounted by Shirer on page-1078,
told the tribunal that, "Of
seventeen field marshals ten were sent home during the war, and three lost their lives as a result of
July 20, 1944 (the abortive
plot to assassinate Hitler: a
Hollywood movie titled Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise is scheduled for
2009). Only one field-marshal managed to get through the war and keep
(Generalobersten) eighteen were sent home and five died as a
July 20 or were dishonourably discharged.
survived the war in their positions."
He lit a flame that thrilled audiences through
Plus, p-4). http://www.sundaytimes.lk/080525/Plus/plus000011.html
that thrilled audiences through the ages
in 1964, Savoy cinema in
Colombo screened the first James
Bond movie Dr No, with Sean
aiming that .25 Beretta fitted with a silencer; the sexy Ursula Andress
inevitable white bikini with side-strapped dagger emerging like a
the Caribbean sea.
Ian Fleming, the
creator of the world’s most famous secret agent,
James Bond, would have been
100 years old on May 28
then grade ten
students at Royal College Colombo. Connery in the plush casino
beaut across the green baize,
“Bond, James Bond,”
while lighting one of his Morland Specials with a gunmetal Ronson
famous theme, made an
impact in a bizarre way on our sensitive psyches. We switched from
Chase to Fleming’s Bond books. Although we did not know it then, Ian Fleming had died in the same year on
suit, white sea island
cotton shirt, black
hand-woven silk tie,
dark blue socks into black moccasins,
7.65mm Walther PPK in a Burns Martin shoulder holster,
oxidized cigarette case; glass of dry Martini shaken but not stirred, the solid portrayal of the hero macho-man, all had some amazing impact on our
that bygone era, where
its variant forms became somewhat of a fashion.
reportedly marked Ian Lancaster Fleming’s birth centenary that falls on
May 28, 2008 by issuing six
stamps on January 8 and
featuring different editions of six of his most famous novels: Casino
Royale, Dr No,
Goldfinger, Diamonds are
Forever, For Your Eyes Only
and From Russia with Love.
Planned celebrations in Britain
include the worldwide publication of Devil May Care,
the brand new Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks,
and a major exhibition celebrating Fleming's life at the Imperial
James Bond stories comprising a dozen full length novels plus eight
stories, plus a five-page
007 in New York, between Jan-52 and his demise in Aug-64.
Amis (later Sir/CBE) continued the series with Colonel Sun in 1968, John Gardner with 14-novels between 1981
and 1995, and six by Raymond
Benson from 1997 to 2002.
Christopher Wood did two novelisations during 1977-79,
while Garner and Benson made three each.
non-fiction works, delving
fourteen thrilling cities of the world; the diamond-smuggling trade; a
children’s book; the stillborn State of Excitement
on Kuwait, and one-and-a-half pages on the Greek
‘dealer’ Zographos. LIFE Magazine of 17.03.61 reported Fleming’s fifth
opus, From Russia,
With Love, in JFK’s list of
novels, a copy of which
Kennedy presented to CIA director Allen Dulles.
Rowe and Pitman, a solid
stockbrokers in London, Fleming did a weekly stint as ATTICUS in
Sunday Times, and served as
manager at the Kemsley Group of Newspapers. He had broken stints at
Sandhurst, and then came
tutelage of Forbes and Phyllis Dennis in Kitzbuhel,
Failing to join the Foreign Service,
he moved to Reuters and covered a famous spy trial in Russia
in March 1933.
Bond girl: Ursula Andress in a scene from Dr. No
During WW2, Fleming served as a lieutenant in the
Branch in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve,
and was recruited as PA to the Director of Naval Intelligence, Rear (later Vice) Admiral John Godfrey.
began to closely track the career of Hitler’s indefatigable commando, SS-Sturmbannführer (Lieut-Col.) Otto
after Crete fell to the Nazis in
Skorzeny, amongst some
exploits, rescued Mussolini
imprisoned in the Gran Sasso mountain in central Italy,
in a blitz-like operation in July-43,
literally stunning Europe.
Fleming a barrister,
served with the Grenadier Guards. The brothers were commissioned by
Sir Colin Gubbins, the prime
of SOE, to set up the secret
Auxiliary Units. In 1945,
Peter returned home as a colonel with an OBE,
Ian, came back as a naval
only with Denmark’s Commander’s Cross of the Order of Dannebrog. However, Peter’s acclaimed literary works, which sprang from his extensive global
travels, were later outshone
by Ian’s global popularity.
father, Major Valentine
was killed in action in WW1 20.05.1917,
prompting Winston Churchill to write his Obit in The Times. Ian’s son, Caspar,
died of a drug overdose at age 23 on 02.10.75,
and his wife Lady Rothermere of cancer in July-81.
14-acre plush retreat on the Jamaican North
In these pleasant seafront precincts he completed Casino Royale on his
Imperial typewriter in January 1952. Thereafter,
in every successive year he produced a novel within eight weeks on a
brand new U.S.
a day, putting in an hour’s
the evening, finishing off
froze in winter.
Sir/Kt) established the Bond image featuring in seven movies continued
equal number by Roger Moore (later Sir/KBE) with George Lazenby
in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Timothy Dalton featured in two, Pierce Brosnan in four and Daniel Craig
last two, Casino Royale
Quantum of Solace budgeted at U$230-million due for release 31-Oct-08.
raking of U$4.4bn (U$11.1bn inflation-adjusted) against a budget of
billion cover the 22-movies already made. The non-EON-film Casino
and Never Say Never Again (1983) clocked a combined box office of
million (U$ 605.7 million inflation-adjusted) against a budget of U$48
decidedly burn out with the passage of time as seen in various other
which have thrilled readers and audiences all over the world.
Nevertheless, let’s think about and thank Ian Fleming
some small way brought about a significant and sustained impact and
the imaginative lives of generations across the world over the last
May 10, 1940
plan is like nothing so much as a score for an orchestral
composition, where the
and units are the instruments,
the tasks they perform are their respective musical phrases.
must, make its entry
the proper moment, and play
in the general harmony” Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash, Commander Australian Corps,
burst in to Poland
on the first day of September 1939 it became evident to the world that
their anxious eyes was unfolding a superlative performance by an army, which had adopted a completely new
unleashed his highly trained and motivated soldiers on a relatively
but brave Polish Army, with
that they bring the enemy to heel within the shortest possible time.
threat to his designs was in the Western front where he faced the
French and allied armies.
was a couple of million strong and were organised in to several armies.
the newly created Panzer divisions into Poland along their long
Germans were soon in the rear areas of the massed Polish forces thus
the Poles to fight on all sides,
hopeless situation for a large army.
thought possible to handle huge armies on such rapid manoeuvres, a feat the Germans achieved that
mobility of the attacking forces decided the issue within days, once again proving the vaunted military
never in doubt, the only
being the length of time the Poles could hold on for in the face of the
punishment meted out to them.
divisions, which had
rapidly moved over the flat countryside
of Poland, were relentlessly attacking the rear
hampering the attempts of the Polish army to regroup. The German air
mercilessly bombed the desperate defenders pinning them down. By the
September the battle was virtually over.
before, Roman legions
patrolling the dark uncharted
northern forests of Europe became
aware of the
fierce and robust tribes that inhabited those parts,
eventually coming to dread them.
as the Germans gradually evolved in to a powerful nation they
themselves very well indeed,
becoming leaders in science,
technology, literature, philosophy and even music.
in an act
confirming an atavistic militarism they ignited the First World War, which engulfed the whole of Europe
for four long years.
that conflict blew away for good the existing order,
which at the time seemed to be everlasting. Only the massive
the Americans tilted the balance against the formidable German army.
universal disorder that followed the unprecedented blood bath led to
creation of both the Communist government in Russia
as well as Adolf Hitler in Germany.
the Poles in 1939 highlighted the menace that this capable race, rearmed and belligerent,
now posed. Armoured Divisions,
capable of rapid mobility and carrying formidable firepower were going
the cutting edge of their mighty sword.
be ably supported by the devastating air power of the Luftwaffe
deadly accurate artillery.
war, this formidable
machine could depend on the brilliant leadership provided by its
General Staff. And above all,
German soldier, capable, strong,
disciplined and brave was ready to answer the call to arms.
Hitler had to then deal with France, and the supporting British forces in the
training and capability these forces were perhaps on par with the
in equipment even stronger,
not effectively distributed or utilized as the Germans. However in
commitment, as events would
reveal, they were far below
General Staff officers involved in the planning of the impending attack
Western front had experienced their baptism of fire in the First World
in Poland, with methods evolved in the intervening
twenty-five years, they were
powerfully influenced by that gigantic struggle of their youth when
in the muddy plains of Western Europe.
an advanced nation
with a powerful army was not with Poland. They argued that
the way to
bring her down was to launch a powerful attack through the low-countries, Holland
and Belgium, by passing the Maginot Line,
and seizing a large area of the Channel coast.
the large enemy formations in northern France,
including the British forces based there,
and eventually making it untenable for the remaining French forces to
planners however were dissatisfied with the limited scope of the plan
by the army high command. They were of the opinion that the enemy’s
strengths was the very reason why the Germans should deliver a fatal
before those strengths could be mobilized and brought to bear on the
Manstein, a relatively junior officer then, wrote with chilling professionalism of
proposed plan “I found it humiliating,
to say the least, that our
generation could not do nothing better than repeat an old recipe, even when this was the product of a man
achieved by turning up a war plan our opponents had already rehearsed
once before and against whose repetition they were bound to have taken
more daring plan, which
a major offensive through the difficult terrain of the Ardennes.
The proponents of this plan argued that the French least expected an
here and if an initial impetus could be gained there she could be
out of the
while splitting the French forces in two,
they would be in the rear of the French forces facing the low-countries
expected attack there.
challenges the Ardennes
posed they proposed utilizing newly acquired capabilities of the army, including tracked vehicles,
predominantly the proven Panzers.
General Guderian saw the exciting possibilities this somewhat
idea presented, while the
respected Colonel General Von Rundstedt who was in the highest ranks of
army whole heartedly endorsed it.
the selfless professionalism and the cold rationality of the German
an audacious plan suggested by only a minority of officers came to be
over the former plan, which
proposed by the hierarchy. Hitler,
the evil genius, very open
ideas in such matters, also
an ardent enthusiast.
for one of the most swift and decisive military victories of the modern
Army was preparing for the attack purposefully,
the French side was remarkably complacent. The Chief of her army was
68-year-old General Maurice Gamelin who epitomized the axiom that no
man is in
a hurry to conclude that the skills and knowledge he has devoted a
acquire are obsolete.
air power would play a significant role in modern warfare and belittled
importance of radio communication refusing to have a radio in his
fearing it might reveal its location to the enemy. When questioned
length of time he took to communicate his orders to the frontlines, Gamelin’s casual answer was forty-eight
of the catastrophic defeat ahead for France he would not have
nonchalant. While the French commander was finding comfort in wishful
thinking, the Wehrmacht was
planning in secrecy a campaign
of unprecedented velocity against Gamelin’s weakest flank.
to be led by the powerful Panzer divisions closely supported by a
Luftwaffe. Unlike the French the Germans fully embraced modern
technology, using radio
communication to coordinate and direct
the huge potential of the air force proved to be just as
as his decision to disperse his armoured strength mostly in an infantry
role, thus leaving the task
countering the powerful thrusts of the German Panzer divisions to
organized in the mode of the earlier war.
other hand was determined to cut through France in one strong drive, which would leave the enemy it in a
situation. Much thought was given to the composition of the Panzer
and the tactics of the advance.
in the establishment, the
artillery, the infantry
and the all important engineers attached to a divisions were decided
on the need for maximum speed and logistical coherence.
with the speed of the advance. When serious resistance was
encountered, more often the
was sent in to deal with it,
the Panzers kept moving forward to a pre-determined schedule.
Germans to gain a decisive ascendancy in the narrow attack frontage
of the Ardennes can be assessed from
the galaxy of high calibre
officers who held command in this sector. Led by Colonel General
included Generals Guderian,
Hoth and Rommel.
attack, which began on May 10,
1940, had achieved most of
by the 27th by which day the British had begun evacuating their forces
in little more than two weeks had more or less defeated France,
a major world power at the time.
comparison, in the First
World War despite their super human
efforts, the Germans could
not take Paris, ending that mighty battle in a bloody and
stalemate after four years of fighting.
was the master of mainland Europe.
to now decide on invading Britain
or to go East to settle the issue with the despised Slavic nation of Russia
once and for all. After a half hearted effort at subduing the proud
across the narrow English Channel he
East, irrevocably, starting the epic struggle that was to
the fate of the Third Reich.
30.Jun.2007: JonBenet Ramsey – A Heartbreaking Tragedy.
A review on The Death of Innocence: The Untold Story of
Murder and How
its Exploitation Compromised the Pursuit of
John and Patsy
Ramsey (U.S., Thomas Nelson,
Inc., Mar-2000. ISBN
News, p-23 (Book Reviews)].
- a heartbreaking tragedy
The Death of Innocence: The Untold Story of JonBenet’s Murder and
How its Exploitation Compromised the Pursuit of Truth
Authors: John and Patsy Ramsey
(U.S., Thomas Nelson, Inc., Mar-2000)
Review: Firoze SAMEER
CRIME: The hardcover decidedly serves as a strong panacea to parents
who have lost a sibling by murder.
Two murders of children, committed specially during Christmas in the
last two decades, are worthy of note: Dec-26, 1996, a cause celebre in
the U.S. Six-year old beaut, JonBenet Ramsey, in her home in Boulder,
Colorado. Dec-24, 1986. Eleven-year old Ryan Emerson Pereira in a
backwater called Kandana in Greater Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Sustained investigations by the Boulder Police Department (BPD),
FBI, the DA’s office, and top-flight private investigators (PIHs) are
still in progress in the first instance. The Sri Lanka Police
Department, CDB, CID or the AG’s department doesn’t demonstrably appear
to have pursued on the killer in the latter.
JonBenet hailed from the developed U.S. Born to an upper class
family; her father, John, was CEO of Access Graphics, a computer
software company churning a turnover of some US$ 1- billion.
Ryan came from developing Sri Lanka. Born to a lower middle-brow
Eurasian family whose breadwinner, Brian, was a retired RCyAF officer
allegedly receiving a modest pension.
JonBenet was known publicly, participating at pageants, two of them
being national events. Ryan had no opportunity to achieve such fame.
But they shared a common denominator: They were, amongst many similar
cases, two innocent children done to death.
Dec-24, 1986, 2000-Hrs: Ryan, known affectionately as Gilly Boy,
born Aug-14, 1975, was afflicted with nasal fibroid. Doctors attempted
on more than one occasion to operate but were forced to suspend surgery
owing to the boy turning blue.
Son of Brian and Anne Pereira, Ryan belonged to a Burgher family of
3-boys and 3-girls. Ryan reportedly left that night with his eldest
brother Dexter Fabian from his aunt’s home in Hendala, and travelled by
He disembarked at Kandana junction, while Dexter continued toward
Negombo to attend a shindig. Ryan had Rs. 150 loose change in his
pocket, carried some cake, a Moulinex grinder, bonbons and some other
little stuff to his 3-bedroom home owned by his parents.
On Christmas Day, they found his body partly hidden in a gunny bag
under a culvert between Kandana and Ragama railway stations.
Probably the killer had clamped Gilly Boy’s mouth to prevent a
scream, thereby suffocating the boy.
The now defunct Weekend once featured this crime
which remains unsolved todate, in spite of an allegedly malicious
neighbour suspiciously decamping shortly after the crime. There was
hardly a whimper in Sri Lanka.
Dec-25, 1996, 2200 Hrs: Christmas night: The unknown subject or
UNSUB in FBI parlance, crept in to the 15-bedroom Tudor-style home of
John and Patsy Ramsey in Boulder Colorado, while the Ramsey family was
dining at the Whites’ in the neighbourhood.
The UNSUB came equipped with a Taser brand stun gun, black duct tape
and cord, and wrote a 3-page ransom note using Patsy’s notepad paper
and a black felt-tipped marking pen available in the house.
The Ramseys with children Burke, 9, JonBenet, 6, returned home about
10-pm and went to bed. The evil deed was perpetrated thenceforth until
5.52-am at which time a BPD dispatcher received a 911 emergency call by
a frantic Patricia Ann Ramsey who found her daughter missing.
JonBenet, born Aug-06, 1990, was professionally garroted with cord
and a broken paint-brush handle belonging to Patsy. Her mouth was
duct-taped, her hands ligatured with slip-knots, and the right side of
her skull showed an 8-inch fracture in an overkill.
Her body, found in the basement, showed two distinctive red spots 3
1/2-centimetres apart suggesting the use of a stun gun.
The postmortem revealed the cause of death as asphyxia by
strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma. The murder shook
and the DA
From the very outset, the ill-equipped BPD, misdirected its line of
action in suspecting one or both parents. Linda Arndt, the first
officer to arrive at the crime scene, suspected John Ramsey while
detective Steve Thomas’s suspicions fell on Patsy.
At BPD, the lead investigator, the commander of the detective
division, the department chief, and Steve Thomas heading the
investigations, all reportedly had hardly any or no homicide
experience, while the lead investigator and Thomas had been detectives
for no more than a year.
Thomas’s book, Inside
Ramsey Murder Investigation,(Apr-2000) feebly attempts to point
a finger at Patsy, who with John effectively challenged him at the
Larry King live show on May-31, 2000. Also, Boulder County District
Attorney’s Office DA Alex Hunter and the BPD were continually at
BPD refused help from the Denver police department which
investigates some 100 murders a year as against BPD’s one or two.
BPD also failed to request the varied services of the FBI in the
early stages of the crime, making a significant difference in the
Of the 18,000 police jurisdictions in the U.S. many were expected to
be similar to BPD with limited experience and knowledge in having to
solve such horrendous crimes.
Mary Keenan-Lacy succeeded Hunter as DA in 2002, resulting in a
recall of homicide detective Lou Smit “to
the truth about JonBenet’s death,” but
Lou expects the BPD
to make a breakthrough. Lou, now 67, has an ongoing website
Lousmit.com. He keeps a picture of JonBenet in his wallet.
The DA’s office hired Lou in mid-March 1997. Called out of
retirement from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Dept, Lou had solved 90%
of some 200 homicides he investigated during his 32-year career.
Detectives Ollie Gray and John San Augustin assist him since 1999.
Lou cracked the case of Heather Dawn Church, a little girl who had
been murdered in Colorado Springs, after it lay dormant for 4-years!
Smit’s famous letter of resignation to Hunter on Sep-20, 1998 ended
with the statement, “Shoes,
the victim’s shoes, who will stand in the victim’s shoes....” Lou had determined that
the parents were not guilty. Ex-FBI sleuth John Douglas would state
after meeting Lou, “I would hate to have that guy on my tail if I was a
Hired by John Ramsey’s attorneys in early Jan-1997 to investigate
the murder, John Douglas (Mind hunter.com) had worked on over
5,000 homicide cases including some of the most heinous murders.
e profile the Unabomber years before he was captured, as well as
predicted Atlanta’s serial child murderer before Wayne Williams was
caught and convicted.
Douglas, 25-years in the FBI, retired 1995, inspired author Thomas
Harris’s Special Agent Jack Crawford in his Hannibal Lecter novels.
Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme described him as “...a
brilliant man.... (who) knows more about serial killers than anybody in
Douglas holds a doctorate in psychology. Author of several books on
real life crime, Douglas co-authored The Cases that Haunt Us, and
concludes the parents were not guilty vis-a-vis contrary views of the
tabloid media and public.
He described the UNSUB as someone known to the Ramseys, a person who
had been in their house and who had a personal grudge against John, and
that the murderer remains a “certain breed of cat, a high-risk type of
John Ramsey’s daughter Elizabeth or Beth, 22, by his first marriage
to Cindy, while being driven by her friend Matt on Jan-8, 1992, was
broadsided by a truck, killing Matt on the spot and Beth at the Loyola
Medical Center to which she was airlifted.
That was the first trauma of the Ramsey family. Almost a lustrum
later, JonBenet’s murder irrevocably broke their spirit.
A grand jury which sat on this case from mid-Sep-1998 for over a
year, pondering on some of the 30,000-pages of data from the case
files, and reportedly heard many witnesses, eventually did not file
A onetime Miss West Virginia and journalism major a West Virginia
University, Patsy, 49, had Stage-IV ovarian cancer. She passed on
June-24, 2006, and was buried beside her baby, JonBenet, and Beth at St
James Cemetery in Atlanta.
Gilly Boy’s dad, Brian, was afflicted with diabetes and walked with
an artificial foot, continually pining for his son. A six-foot
strapper, he died some years ago, and was buried beside his boy at
Kapuwatte General Cemetery in Rilaulla, Kandana.
John and Patsy’s message for the killer is: “Patsy and I and our
families want you to know that we will be after you until we find you.
The pursuit will not stop. Every morning when you wake up, you will
know that this may be your last day of freedom. Beware.
"The person who looks at you strangely, or who seems to be
following you, could be your captor. Eventually you will be identified.
Trust us. It will happen.” Ramseyfamily.com
a tip line solicit help from the public.
School teacher John Michael Karr’s confession, arrest and flight
from Bangkok to the U.S. in Aug-2006 fell flat.
His DNA didn’t match with those found in JonBent’s underwear and
fingernails. Karr’s extensive email correspondence with Colorado
University journalism professor, Michael Tracy, had evoked strong
In one we see a US$ 100,000 reward backed by a slew of investigating
authorities amidst high technology forensics, fingerprinting,
profiling, DNA, polygraph testing, extensive website analyses, pursuing
every lead upto date. The other was hardly heard of, probably its file
closed and stashed in some place forgotten!.
CHRISTOPHER ONDAATJE REVIEWS RAVINDRA FERNANDO’S BOOK A MURDER IN CEYLON
strangled body of Mrs. Sathasivam
By Sir Christopher Ondaatje
Special to: The Sri Lankan ANCHORMAN
certainly one of the finest cricketers ever produced by
Educated at Wesley College,
he produced many brilliant innings for the school including a
magnificent 145 against St.
Thomas’ College in 1936. He was a stylish
right-handed batsman who could cut,
drive and pull with extreme power,
and his late cut was his most revered stroke.
He captained the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, and first played for Ceylon in 1945 scoring 111 runs against
215 at the Madras Cricket Club and later captained Ceylon against Australia
in 1948. He was a batting genius and Frank Worrell, the West Indian Captain, said that the very first batsman he would
pick for a World XI would be “Sathasivam from Ceylon”.
married Miss Anandan Rajendra on the 9th February 1940. Miss Rajindra
had two valuable properties,
as well as jewellery, as
part of her dowry and the Tamil couple eventually had four daughters.
In 1949, one of Mrs
Sathasivam’s properties was sold and a house called “Jayamangalam” was
purchased at No.7, St.
Alban’s Place in Bambalapitiya. It was a troubled marriage and the
following year Sathasivam became involved with an attractive young lady, Yvonne Stevenson,
born to a Dutch mother and a Polish father. The couple separated and
appeared headed for divorce.
On 9th October 1951, a hot
humid day in Colombo, shortly after 3.00 p.m., Mrs Sathasivam was found strangled and
dead by a Meegoda laundryman on the floor of a garage, face upwards with a wooden mortar placed
on her neck. Her two young daughters were playing downstairs in the
adjoining house. A next door neighbour,
Mrs Foenander, was called
and the Bambalapitiya police informed of the crime. By 3.23 p.m. 7 St.
Alban’s Place was under police guard and an angry crowd had gathered
outside the front door. A short while later Mahadeva Sathasivam, who had stayed at his wife’s house on the
night of 8th October but had left early on the next morning, was arrested at a friend’s house. A 19
year old servant boy, Hewa
Marambage William, who also
lived at the house, was
found to be missing.
After an extended search,
the servant boy William was found ten days later in the village of
Kalametiya near Hungama in the Tangalle district where he was taken to
the Matara Police Station for questioning about the murder as well as
about certain articles - precious stones from a ring and a gold bar or
“Thalikody” - which had been stolen from Mrs Sathasivam’s neck and
later sold. It was also noted that there were eight injuries on
William’s face, arm and
hand. William was remanded.
determined that a magisterial inquiry had to held on the murder of Mrs
Sathasivam, before trial in
a higher court. The inquiry began on 2nd November 1951 and ended on
16th October 1952 when both Sathasivam and William were committed to
the Supreme Court for trial.
Then, curiously, on 16th October 1952, over a year after the death of Mrs
Sathasivam, a warrant of
pardon for William was received from the Attorney-General “on condition
that William making a full and true disclosure of the whole of the
circumstances within his knowledge of the murder and abetment of a
murder and relative to every other person concerned, whether as principal or abettor in the
commissioning of the said offence”. He was then released as a suspect
but retained in police custody until the termination of the trial.
Fernando, in his
gripping account of the sensational Sathasivam case over half a century
ago A Murder in Ceylon
gives a detailed account of the Supreme Court trial that started on
20th March 1953, almost a
whole year after the magisterial inquiry,
before Justice E.F.N. Gratiaen.
Sathasivam alone was charged with the murder of his wife under Section
296 of the Ceylon Penal Code. He entered a plea of “Not Guilty”.
The second accused in the Magistrates’ Court,
William, who was given a
conditional pardon by the Attorney-General,
became the chief witness for the prosecution. Professor Fernando’s book
makes for fascinating reading,
and takes the reader through an extraordinary trial where
circumstantial evidence pointed strongly at the accused Sathasivam, someone known for his drinking and
womanising, to have murdered
Two or three different confessions from the servant William, including a statement that he had
assisted Sathasivam in the murder of his wife,
added to the confusion of the case. The actual time of the murder
became an important issue,
Sathasivam maintained that he left No. 7,
St. Alban’s Place, at 10.30
a.m., and at that time his
wife was alive and healthy. He admitted that he had stayed in his
wife’s bedroom on the previous night and indeed had sexual intercourse
with her the following morning before leaving in a summed Quickshaws
Manually strangling her
accused Sathasivam of (a) manually strangling her, first lulling her into a sense of false
security by having sex with her; (b) stamping on her neck with a shod
foot after the strangulation; (c) planning the murder in order to throw
suspicion on the servant boy; (d) with cynical regard for Hindu custom, remove her “Thalikody” which he had
placed around her neck on her wedding day when that neck was the neck
of a corpse; (e) removing other articles of jewellery from her dead
body; (f) give money and the removed articles of jewellery to the
servant William as a reward for assisting with the murder; and that (g)
he had proceeded to make the case against William doubly certain by
daubing the corpse’s feet with kitchen dirt because William’s
legitimate activities were confined to the kitchen. A motive for murder
was also suggested where the unemployed Sathasivam, with no income except a small allowance
from his mother, was faced
with the burden of alimony in any expected divorce ruling, and to be denied any further access to
his wife’s property or fortune.
A bitter legal
battle between the eminent counsel T.S. Fernando for the Crown and Dr.
Colvin R. de Silva for the defence then ensued in Court. Suspense and
suspicion gripped the entire island of Ceylon.
The Inspector General of Police,
police officers, scientists, the general public, as well as the medical experts, including the first Professor of Forensic
Medicine, two eminent
Professors of Surgery at the University of Ceylon, and the world acclaimed Professor Sydney
Smith of the University of Edinburgh,
had varying and conflicting opinions on the murder case.
Then, following a 57-day
trial, Justice Gratiaen gave
a long, detailed and
excellent scientific analysis of the evidence. Professor Ravindra
Fernando leaves none of the gruesome details out in his book which
examines and presents the facts and expert evidence in this landmark
case in the history of law and forensic medicine in Sri Lanka.
It is no secret that after questioning the credibility of the wrongly
pardoned William’s testimony and severely criticising the conduct of
the Ceylon Police, that
Justice Gratiaen correctly directed the jury which then deliberated for
64 minutes before bringing back an unanimous verdict of “Not Guilty”.
walked out of the dock a free man,
after spending twenty months in the
remand prisons for a crime he did not commit. Three prosecution
witnesses were sentenced to two months rigorous imprisonment for giving
“palpably false evidence on a matter of vital importance affecting the
guilt or otherwise of the accused”,
and one prosecution witness was discharged with a severe warning.
Amazingly William, having been granted a pardon by the
Attorney General before the case,
also walked free after the trial. He is the only person alive today who
was a first hand witness to what happened at No. 7, St Alban’s Place on that fateful day in
October 1951. He lives in the village of Angunabadulla
in the Thihagoda area eight miles from Matara.
Vijitha Yapa Publications,
- Rs. 890
of the Sathasivam Case.
A review on A Murder in Ceylon by Prof. Ravindra
FCGP, FRCP(Lond), FRCP(Glasgow),
FRCP(Edin.), FRCPath(UK), DMJ(Lond).
Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Colombo. (Colombo,
Vijitha Yapa Publications,
955-1266-20-X: First Edition, Hardcover 480pp). [The Sunday Times,
The other side of
Murder In Ceylon:
by Prof. Ravindra Fernando. Vijitha Yapa Publications.
Reviewed by Firoze Sameer
The case revolved around three major factors: the identity of the
murderer, the location of
and the time at which Mrs. Anandan Sathasivam was killed.
Prof. Ravindra Fernando deserves to be commended on this 480-page
touching on the medical aspects and leaning toward the defence – in
the intricacies involved in this celebrated case of 1952.
Sir Sydney Smith's account under the same title in his book Mostly
Murder (1959, Harrap Ltd,
GB) is upheld by Prof. Fernando. However,
readers should study former Supreme Court Judge A. C. Alles's version
Famous Criminal Cases of Sri Lanka Vol. 4 to have a balanced view of
really happened on that fateful day at No. 7,
St. Alban's Place in Bambalapitiya,
on October 9, 1951.
In some celebrated murder cases,
common streak is clearly discerned in the line of conflicting evidence
expert witnesses, running
several thousands of pages,
eminent defence counsel in examination/cross-examination vis-à-vis the
evidence at hand. The resultant effect confuses and confounds the seven
jurors comprising average folk,
leading them to unanimously acquit the accused! In such cases an
three-judge bench would have determined otherwise as witnessed in the
Peiris, Rita John and
trials, all leading to
The Ranjani taxi-cab murder case in September–December 1954, showed this kind of clever strategy
adopted by G.
G. Ponnambalam, QC, and Sir Ukwatte Jayasundera,
in their cross-examination of three topflight fingerprint experts.
that “a large part of the cross-examination was confined to minor
bound to affect the lay jury and confuse them in regard to the salient
of the crown case”. Trial proceedings of 3,500
of the finger prints and ballistics experts
testimony topping 1,170
jury's unanimous verdict saw all four accused being acquitted.
robbery and murder
The Ceylon Turf Club robbery and murder case in January 1950: two
witnesses, one saw the 4th
Aratchirala at Punchi Borella; the other saw him travelling in the car
along Havelock Road
at almost the same time 8.30 a.m. on 31.01.49. Crown witness
that the arrangement was for Z6033 to be at Darley road/McCallum road
at 8.00 a.m. added to the confusion,
while proctor Somaweera Gunasekera testified that Aratchirala met him
Hulftsdorp at 9.30 a.m. Aratchirala and his henchman Madaviya were, at the early stages of this case, discharged,
while four accused went to the gallows.
Called by the defence,
Forensic Medicine at Peradeniya
University, Dr. Chandra Amerasekere,
vehemently contradicted AJMO Dr. J. G. Gunaselvam,
a lecturer in Forensic Medicine,
whose excellent job in conducting the autopsy established beyond
doubt that Chandrasekera Dias was the victim of homicide and not
defence for almost nine days to shake his
testimony to throw doubts on the time of death,
they could not shake his evidence on the cause of death as a result of
homicidal strangulation. The seven-member Sinhala-speaking jury's
verdict saw Mrs. Rohini Dias and chauffeur Nimal Fonseka being
Similarly, in the Sathasivam
case, the jury appears to
the conflicting medical evidence,
and should have seriously considered the following facts:
IGP Sir Richard Aluvihare,
KCMG, breaks protocol, requesting Prof. G. S. W. de Saram, Professor of Forensic Medicine of
University, to conduct the
over the JMO, Dr. P. S.
Prof. de Saram's dogged stance insisting on conducting the
autopsy by himself sans assistance from the JMO portrays a psyche of
Re: Time of death – his postmortem report states 10.00/11.30
a.m. and, after conducting
experiments on executed prisoners on Sir Sydney Smith's advice, changes it to 11/11.15/11.30 a.m. in and
earlier than 10.45 a.m.! (p169).
This stance stood diametrically against the
temperature/alimentary tests conducted by Professors Paul and Peiris, and tests by the radiologist Dr. A. H. N.
indicating 9.30 a.m. keeping with William's story.
Prof. de Saram's aversion from pronouncing executed prisoners
dead, revealed his stance
W. de Saram,
called as a prosecution witness,
the very outset turns a hostile witness.
Sathasivam's voluntary statement made on 31.03.52 at the
magisterial inquiry held by N. M. J. Rajendram,
indicates thus (p280-281): Mr. Sathasivam said that he then had sexual
intercourse with his wife (on the 9th morning).
I came out of my bedroom. While I was rubbing
myself down I remember my wife telling me,
‘Summons has also been served and I do not know what I could tell Mr.
Mack if I
OP Mack acting for Mrs. Sathasivam in the divorce case states
that some time between 10.30 a.m. and 12 noon on the 9th he received a
from a lady who asked him whether summons had been served in the
Although she did not give her name,
he presumed it to be the voice of Mrs. Sathasivasm. However, he entertained some doubts later.
all know from Sathasivam's very statement that Mrs.
Sathasivam already knew that summons had been served on Sathasivam on
(p17). Why would she query Mack again?
A villager,18 years, just 11-days in service in the Sathasivam
household, bereft of any
or imagination, tells a long
story, ball by ball in
cricket parlance, on how the
master threatened him and made him an
accessory to a murder, and
attendant actions of going about it,
from the bedroom via the pantry,
right through the kitchen and to the garage,
and later being given a part of the jewellery. This is unimaginable for
villager to concoct.
The controversial abrasion on the victim's back could easily
have been caused while the body was being carried via that narrow
passage between the pantry and garage.
The drag mark on the kitchen could very well have been one of
the victim's feet being dragged along that same passage,
thereby causing blackening of that foot. The victim could even have
feet by walking about the kitchen before she was murdered.
The victim's head injury,
as opined by the defence,
cause of William hitting her with a piece of firewood,
followed by strangling her,
rather far fetched. He could have continued to hit her with that piece
firewood, better still that
blowpipe, and done his foul
That William attacked Mrs. Sathasivam from behind vis-à-vis she
having approached him from the pantry to the kitchen while facing him, when that “protrusion” allegedly causing
abrasion between her shoulders,
at the point of the narrow passage leading to the garage far behind
Also, if he had approached
behind, how come he received
The dead body had husk scrapings,
not coconut scrapings, on
region. Evidently, the body
lying close to a whole heap of coconut husks. William was scraping a
an early stage to the murder was a
strongpoint with the defence,
then his motive of robbery was flawed,
since there was enough wealth in the house he didn't steal.
Prof. Sydney Smith was successfully challenged in the Sidney Fox murder
Sir Bernard Spilsbury, where
jury accepted Sir Spilsbury's evidence and found the accused guilty of
by strangulation, rejecting
opinion of Prof. Sydney Smith that death had resulted from heart failure, due to suffocation induced by excessive
a weak heart.
“in both cases,
that of Sydney Fox and Sathasivam,
Sir Sydney Smith appears to have displayed a weakness of too readily
his medical opinions by an acceptance of non-medical facts, on which a forensic expert is not
express an expert opinion.”
William's evidence on leaving the residence about 09.30 a.m.
and meeting with V. S. N. Shanmugam was established at the trial.
Quickshaws driver Pabilis's log sheet shows he left Majestic
cinema in Bambalapitiya in response to Shanmugam's call at 9 a.m. for
Street, and according to
Pabilis and Shanmugam, they
travelled together in the taxi from 9.45 a.m. to 11 a.m. that morning.
sheet strangely showed an ‘erasure’ after the numeral nine, for which he could not give a
Quickshaws driver M. L. A. Perera picked Sathasivam at 10.30
a.m. at his home, and after
driven down the lane, turned
vehicle, and while
towards Galle Road
glanced at the Sathasivam household and at the entrance saw Mrs.
This was a time divorce action was filed against her husband, and here she was at the door to send her
Allen Mendis's evidence that Mrs. Sathasivam called just before 10.30
notwithstanding the log sheet entry stating ‘Sathasivam’.
hand at Quickshaws was tampering with
evidence, detrimental to the
interests of Sathasivam.
of simple people who gave details of time,
and events absolutely ignorant about the implications their evidence
relate to the time of the crime vis-à-vis the so-called experts, who were stubbornly insisting on various
happenings, using their
conflicting medical expertise and experiments to substantiate their
position, being cognizant
their evidence will either save or
send Sathasivam to the gallows.
Peiris's evidence conflicted with Professors
de Saram and Sydney Smith,
casting doubts in the minds of the lay jury,
let alone the eminent judge's direction to the jury,
which appeared to lean more in favour of Sathasivam. A hard-fought
on the cards to save Sathasivam from the gibbet,
since William too had turned crown witness,
and at the end of the day,
was going to be hanged. The verdict of the unsequestered (as opposed to
Simpson case) jury to acquit unanimously.
Sathasivam was a prominent and popular all-Ceylon cricketer
vis-à-vis William, a
The eminent trial judge E. F. N. Gratiaen (later CBE, QC) was a sportsman himself.
The English-speaking jury,
comprised folks favouring Sathasivam's prowess at cricket.
Colvin R. de Silva's inimitable charisma over solicitor-general
T. S. Fernando (later CBE, QC)
Conflicting medical evidence amongst experts vis-à-vis that of
Sinister and powerful hands working behind the lines in favour
Affluent friends like M. M. Haniffa allegedly doling out funds.
Some support for Sathasivam from a section in the police
who had a strong motive to kill his wife after divorce action had been
the 8th – which was obviously going to succeed against his interests –
stood to lose all, including
lover Yvonne Stevenson, whom
wouldn't have been able to support,
let alone pay alimony to his wife. His last try for reconciliation on
morning appears to have failed.
Some editorial drawbacks: Quotes carry closed inverted commas at the
every paragraph, instead of
last one. The inevitable “different to” provokes a riposte of “similar
Overkill of exclamation marks. All in all,
Prof. Fernando has made a significant contribution in recounting the
medical ramifications of this diabolical crime.
29.July.2006: Expert Testimony in Sensational Murder Case
A review by CR de Silva,
testimony in sensational murder case analysed
C. R. de Silva Solicitor General
book 'A murder in Ceylon'
covers in great
famous Sathasivam murder case,
evoked much public interest in this country. Prof. Ravindra Fernando, needs no introduction in the field of
of our leading Forensic Pathologists for a considerable period
time. Apart from the field of Forensic Medicine,
Prof. Fernando has interested himself in various other disciplines such
Human Rights and Politics.
his book has
analyzed in great detail all evidentiary aspects relating to expert
as well as the evidence of lay witness of fact.
no pains in
conducting a very comprehensive research on the numerous aspects of
which includes forensic medicine,
law and also the rules governing evaluation of credibility of
although I have quoted the judgement of Regina V. Sathasivam on
occasions in court, I have
conversant with the various factual aspects behind the numerous legal
principles that arose for consideration in the course of this trial.
being the absence of any publication which dealt exhaustively with the
aspects of this case.
regard, I am personally
indebted to Prof. Fernando,
for giving me an opportunity to educate myself,
on the numerous evidentiary and legal aspects that
came up for consideration during the trial.
readable style, has dwelt
clearly and lucidly into the evidence as well as the arguments which
came up at
would not be doing
justice to the great work of Prof. Fernando,
unless I briefly refer to some of the important factual and legal
aspects, that went before
this case was a
household name in the field of cricket and he was arranged for having
his wife on October 9, 1951.
William, a young servant boy
employed by the deceased. William,
who was an accomplice in this sordid murder,
was granted a conditional pardon by the Attorney General.
murder had taken place around 9.30 a.m. before the very eyes of
William. In his
narration of events that took place on the fateful day he had been in
kitchen preparing the mid-day meal,
when the accused had come there and sought his assistance to murder his
had told him that his wife had filed a case for divorce against him and
further stated that her case would,
in all probability, be
her favour and therefore it was necessary to murder her.
was the motive for the killing. The accused had promised William some
jewellery worth three to four hundred rupees for his services.
had taken him to the master bed room wherein they found the deceased
the bed. Thereupon the accused had gone up to the deceased, pulled her down to the floor and
with his bare hands.
the accused by
holding the deceased in the region of her hips and in the process the
had made a feeble attempt to grab William. As a result,
William suffered a few abrasions on his face and the right forearm.
according to William, the
had got up and trampled her throat. Thereafter the accused had removed
Thali, a gold bangle and a
deceased was wearing and given it to William.
assisted the accused to carry the dead body to the garage through the
After the body was dumped in the garage William had made his escape to
town in the deep south having sold the jewellery at Wellawatta and
the murder had taken place at 9.30 in the morning. It transpired that
accused had left his marital home in a taxi which he had ordered from
Quickshaws around 10.30 a.m.
up the position
that when he left the house at 10.30 a.m. he was seen off by the
it was the position of the defence that the murder had taken place
death in this case
played a crucial role in the determination of the guilt or innocence of
accused. Prof. G. S. W. de Saram took up the position that the death
occurred between 11.15-11.45 a.m. That is admittedly after the accused
Prof. de Saram was
supported by Prof. Sydney Smith who was called by the defence. On the
hand Prof. Milroy Paul and Prof. M.V.P. Pieris disagreed with both
Saram and Sir Sydney Smith.
itemized the medical evidence of these medical experts regarding the
employed by them relating to the estimation of the time of death.
that the expert
evidence narrated by Prof. Fernando from pages 136 to 270 provide ample
material for any lawyer to effectively deal with medical evidence, in a case where the time of death becomes
relevant. On behalf of the legal fraternity of this country I must
Fernando for educating us on this important aspect of forensic
highlighted by the author was the presence of two abrasions on the back
deceased between the two shoulder blades.
interesting to note
that Sir Sydney Smith having arrived in Ceylon had on his way to
the hotel, visited the scene
of the crime and he had observed
a protruding metal clasp by the kitchen door.
was situated at a
height of 3 and half feet from the floor. He went on to state that
injuries between the shoulder blades had been caused as a result of the
deceased being pressed against the surface upon which the metal clasp
the place of offence to the kitchen and completely contradicted
evidence that the murder took place in the bedroom upstairs. This was
aspect of medical evidence which militated against the guilt of the
interesting aspect that necessarily caused a serious doubt about the
William's version of the crime. Prof,
G.S.W. De Saram had found some dark fluffy material on the soles of the
scrapings taken from the kitchen floor. This evidence created a further
about the veracity of the testimony of William,
that the murder took place in the bed-room.
have to be viewed in the light of the position taken up by William in
statement made soon after his arrest at the Matara Police Station where
admitted that he had strangled the deceased when she came into the
while he was scraping coconuts for the preparation of the midday meal.
by the discovery of "fragments of fine black powder" by Prof. De
Saram in a depressed abrasion found in the lower Jaw.
opined that this
powder was coconut fluff. If the murder took place in the bedroom there
have been no way that coconut fluff would have been found on the
which clearly points to the murder being committed in the kitchen and
also support the theory advanced by the defence that Willian had
deceased in the kitchen when the latter had come there while William
expert evidence I
have discussed were undoubtedly of great importance in the final
may I say that had I been a member of the jury I would have without
hesitation come to the same conclusion that the seven members of the
to in this celebrated case.
music tradition: Apsaras moves
into third decade.
(Daily News: Art
moves into third decade
Mohanraj sustains music tradition
by Firoze Sameer
Goddess of South
playback singing, P Susheela, during her debut in Sri Lanka at the
Nenjam Marappathillai show at the BMICH on 10.05.91,
declared on stage in clear Tamil,
the cause for all this [show]. There is a computer inside him... Yes...
should be cited in the Guinness Book of Records. You should all
encourage him, and nominate
him to get his name into the Guinness
Book. Because he plays all the notes. And I have never seen such talent
This is the first time I'm seeing such talent. A computer,
not even referring to a single notation. To play so is extremely
...I take great pride [in him]."
Mohanraj have publicly received over the years from the South Indian
moguls Padmashree Dr KJ Jesudas,
Padmashree Dr SP Balasubramaniam,
Kalaimaamani TM Soundararajan and P Susheela are legion,
and bear ample testimony to the high quality of their many musical
(left), Muthuswamy master
with baby Mohanraj (right)
APSARAS, the popular oriental music group moves
third decade toward year-end 2004.
Mohanraj, now pushing 42,
son of the renowned music director Muthuswamy Master,
has been the driving force behind which APSARAS has successfully
through its periods of peaks and troughs,
thrilling diverse audiences at home and abroad,
in rendering light Sinhala,
and Hindi music, for almost
APSARAS has come
a long way
in its splendid performances and achievements,
guided by its dynamic and precocious leader over its experienced members, and its sustained continuity of valuable
varied contributions to the oriental music field from the 20st century
group is that it was formed in 1975 followed by the blessings of that
oriental music, Muthuswamy
Master, and it was led by
Mohanraj, who has
himself a chip of the old block.
direction has seen a slew of South Indian singers under his baton. The
music arena comprised of some fine vocalists who were backed by
Master including the famed Dharmadasa and Lata Walpola (later Kalasuri), HR Jothipala,
Mohideen Baig (later Kalasuri),
Rani, Sujatha Perera (now
Attanayake), Milton Perera, Narada Dissasekera,
Angeline Gunatilleka and others.
Notable were WD
(violin) (later Pundit),
Khemadasa (flute) (later Dr),
Dassanayake (sitar), Victor
Ratnayake (violin), and
Walpola (flute) all reading their respective instruments under
Master's direction. The Master was also instrumental in Nanda Malini's
entr,e to music in Dharuwaa
Kaagedha in 1960.
father, who encouraged his
play music, in the case of
Muthuswamy Master and his son,
Mohanraj, it was the
As in the case
of the great
Viennese composer, Johann
the Elder, who initially
his son, Johann Strauss the
(famous for The Blue Danube,
other remarkable classics) to follow in his footsteps,
the Master vehemently opposed his son to the extent of debarring him
touching his prized harmonium! However,
during the periods of the Master's absence when he used to visit the
Leader of the Tamil orchestra,
boy's Mom encouraged him to practice in secret!
1976-77, the memorable
SweetNight musical show was staged
at the Kathiresan Hall in Bambalapitiya,
APSARAS being assisted by the popular bandmaster Latiff Miskin, a great friend of,
and musician for, Muthuswamy
Master, joining in with his
Mohanraj, born 27.09.62,
was billed to play on an upgraded version of his electric organ: the
YC-45. Muthuswamy Master and general secretary of the Ceylon Workers'
as chief guests.
this show was the result of the friendship Selladurai had with the Sri
drama artiste, VKT Balan
operating an airline ticketing business in Chennai),
who was closely associated with Sellasamy during that period. Tickets
priced at Rs 10, Rs 7 and Rs
show was a
landmark event in Tamil music in Sri Lanka. Selladurai sang
first song in public, En
Devanei, which was
originally sung by the famous South
Indian singer AM Rajah in the Tamil movie Veetu Maapilai.
Master had a
notion that his boy had been playing secretly behind his back is a
even if he did so, he never
it. However, the Master was
pleasantly surprised and greatly impressed by his son's performance at
musical show, which evoked
Perhaps, after attending this show,
the Master was probably convinced that his son had re-confirmed the
theory of genes relating to characteristic inheritance.
thereafter blessed and guided his boy in music for over the decade that
followed. The vital in-depth training Mohanraj received from his father
profound. Thus began the road to fame and success.
APSARAS, under the able guidance of Mohanraj, has made several musical tours to England and Western
and Norway, while Mohanraj has also toured South Africa,
Doha in Qatar, and also made recent visits to the UK
to Sydney and Melbourne,
Mellisai Mannan award on the same occasion when his father Muthuswamy
was awarded the Layagnaanavaarudhee by Regional Development Minister C
Rajadurai on 03.01.87, the
Ilavarasar award by the France Tamil Cultural Federation in Paris in 1991,
and the In-Isai Elavaarsar award under the auspices of President JR
received the Isai
Maamanie award for which the South India
star 'Major' Sunderrarajan of the movie Major Chandrakanth fame arrived
the presentation on behalf of the All Ceylon Sabarimalai Saastha Peedam
sometime in 1993.
He also received
Kala-Jothi certificate with Ponnaadai (silk shawl) by the Tamil
(Festival) program from Hindu Cultural Affairs Minister PP Devaraj on
22.08.93, while in the same
month Aacharya WD Amaradeva
donned a silk shawl on him for his brilliant backing in a rendition of
Tamil folk songs sung by the eminent Visharadha Nanda Malini: the
audio-cassette Kunkuma Pottu was released thereafter.
University of Martial Arts under the patronage of Prime Minister
Bandaranaike, conferred an
doctorate on Mohanraj for his contribution to music on 30.04.97.
the Sudhanthira Pon Vizha Isai Virundhu award from the Indian
during Sri Lanka's
celebrations on 08.02.98.
He also received
Gnaani award from deputy minister of Estate Housing P Chandrasekeran on
20.06.99. Mohanraj also received the Asia Isai Thalapadhi award at the
Ameenkhan's Nite on 08.07.01 at the Tower Hall from former minister MH
Vaarpugal was released on Dheepavali Day 01.11.86 comprising of
with original melodies composed by Mohanraj,
and recording was conducted under the supervision of that dynamic
entertainer, BH Abdul Hameed,
who served as recording engineer in this instance.
It was a time
Zavahir, successor to Yaal
who later qualified as an attorney-at-law,
was lead guitarist to the group,
while jazz-drummer Neville Silva's son,
Sarath, sat in for Benhur
Fernando, on jazz-drums.
April-97 saw the
APSARAS's CD comprising of twelve top Tamil hit numbers titled Viludhu
Tastes) sponsored by the Viludhugal dance troupe in France to celebrate
annual event with famed South Indian vocalist,
Mano, featuring two hits.
Ramesh wrote the lyrics.
15-Tamil hits, all new
written by ex-SLBC lyricist Kaarmegam Nanda,
now resident in Oslo, Norway, was released in early 2001.
The image of
the high respect it commands over Sri Lankans all over the globe, and especially at home,
has continued to flourish and grow with the passage of time.
This success is
to its tunesmith and talented leader,
Mohanraj, a literal prodigy
his four-tiered keyboards,
knack in contributing to the group as a vocalist.
render Sinhala, Tamil and
numbers with ease springs from the vital advantage of having a
parentage mix of
Tamil in his famed father and Sinhala in his mother,
Neeliya, who hails from a
Sinhala family connected to music in Kandy.
renditions of old-time Tamil songs brought him much deserved prominence
popularity amongst his Tamil fans at home and abroad.
His revival of
some of his
father's old Sinhala songs,
slight modifications to suit the new generation,
has expanded his popularity significantly amongst the Sinhala people.
revival of the popular piece Madhura Yaame was one such landmark, and has thrilled the Sinhala audience in
especially at the Madhura Yaame show held in honour of the 10th death
anniversary of Muthuswamy Master on 27.06.98. Amongst the many speakers
show, notable was the
speech delivered by the North-Eastern province governor,
the late Kalasuri Dr Gamini Fonseka.
A vital aspect
to the survival of APSARAS for almost three decades is that, during its sensitive incubation in which
nurtured by CHITRALAYA music-group-leader Sinniah Selladurai, the Mohan-Rangan combination established
fantastic euphoria especially in the minds of the swabasha-speaking
public, with especially that
charismatic compere BH Abdul
Hameed boosting APSARAS's splendid musical feats to Himalayan heights.
The key person
behind the scenes,
continuous, even prior to
formation of APSARAS, and
lived through its ups and downs and managed its promotion,
overall organization in general,
continues to keep the life throb of APSARAS resounding,
is Sinniah Selladurai.
axle around which the CHITHRALAYA music group and later the APSARAS
revolves. He continues to be an active member of APSARAS,
as a vocalist, rendering
It was Selladurai, a student of Muthuswamy Master, who initially formed CHITHRALAYA with his
Sri Kanthan alias Rajendran,
Selladurai's yearning to master the serpina or harmonium,
the piano accordion and finally the electric organ,
he was not only sharp in spotting the inborn talent of young Moharaj at
on the keyboards but was also altruistic-minded to suppress his
playing on these instruments,
encouraged Mohanraj to fill that slot.
Mohanraj was the
'baby' in the group,
gracious to acknowledge him as the leader of APSARAS and give him the
co-operation and support in establishing the group.
developed into a
vocalist and made some important contributions in the musical
extravaganzas, which were to
thrill local and overseas audiences.
Mylvaganam's moral and physical support to CHITHRALAYA extending later
APSARAS was tremendous,
eldest brother Murugiah took upon himself to fend for his four younger
in a family of eight in the absence of their father who had passed on
were very young sometime in 1961.
at music direction in movies in the year 1977 at age 15 was under the
guidance and supervision of his father,
Muthuswamy Master, for the
Tamil movie Pulugargal Jaakradhai at the Sarasavi Studio in Kelaniya.
associated with this
project included the top-flight violinist,
MK Rocksamy, SHAKTHI lead
A Surendra and his father,
Anthony, played their
with jazz-drummer, Nesan
this movie ran into difficulties,
and the project was apparently shelved mid-way.
followed: Veera Udhaara,
Love in Bangkok, Raja Kello,
Kumarasinghe's production of Hira Bata Tharuwa,
Uthura Dhakuna, and Vairayen
Vairaya. In Hira Bata Tharuwa,
entire music and melodies were produced by Mohanraj.
Apart from a
number sung in
this movie by Pundit WD Amaradeva,
duet sung in this movie by Gratian Ananda and Angeline Gunatilleke, was adopted in another of Geetha's
titled Salambak Handai.
In recent weeks
did a solo number titled Sangeetha at the Chennai Prasad Studio, with Hemasiri Halpita writing the lyrics, under the music direction of the famous
Deva for a
forthcoming Sinhala movie to be titled,
while the Tamil songs were sung by the great SPB.
survive despite continual changes in its membership with the passage of
Mohanraj who is
in overall supervision including guitars and vocals while playing on
keyboards, Rangan used to
triple-congos and supervise all rythms. Fayaz Zavahir served onetime as
assistant on keyboards. Akram presently plays the bongos.
in shows include the dashing and dynamic BH Abdul Hameed,
her son, S Chandrakanthan,
presently vocalist Ameen Khan.
Those who strum
guitar include Ananda Perera,
Surendra, Mahinda Bandara,
and presently Nelson John,
rhythm was looked after by Anthony Surendra,
and bass by the left-handed Christie Watson,
Jagath Jayawardena, Raju
later on by the acclaimed violinist's son,
Sons of the
Master, Kalasuri Guruvayur
Atchudhan & SLBC violinist Kamala: Radhakrishnan played violin
Ravindran was a maestro at the mirudhangam.
At various times, Benhur Fernando,
Nesan Thiagarajan, extolled
extended dramatic drum-breaks,
Prabhagaran play on jazz-drums/octopad,
while thabla renditions are made by Radha Weerasingham and Ratnam
Ratnadhurai, and the dholak
was tapped at various times by the
famous Fuji Ismail and presently by his son Naushad. Mohamed Hussain, always the-man-Friday,
singers who have been backed by APASARAS include the famous P Leela, Jikki,
Jamunarani, MS Rajeswary, P Susheela,
LR Easwary, Vaani Jeyaram, S Sarala,
Malaysia Vasudevan and his son Yugendran,
AL Raghavan, Jeyachandran, Kalpana Raghavendra,
Karthik, Srinivas, Harish Ragavendra,
Arulmoly, Unni Menon, Chithra Sivaraman,
Vasundara Das, Usha Udhup, Anuradha Sriram,
Mahalaxmi, Maalathy, Madhangi,
Sri Lekha Parthasarathy,
Manickavinayagam, Pop Shalini, Sabeshan,
Dhevan, and the two giants
South Indian playback arena: SP Balasubramaniam and TM Soundararajan
The Tippu &
excelled with Mohanraj in recent weeks in Australia.
A phalanx of
vocalists have appeared against the APASARAS background. Prominent and
consistent amongst them are the late G Balasubramaniam who was a
imitation of the South Indian comedian-singer,
JP Chandrababu, the erudite
splendid music teacher N Rakunathan,
Jeyabarathidhasan, Jegadevi, Lilly Mylvaganam,
M Sivakumar, V Premanand, Rani Fernando,
Rani Joseph, Ranjan Saliya
Perera, Saifullah Mehedoom
the Hindi songster suitably
replaced by the popular Tony Hassen,
S Selladurai the fast-number exponent,
and the teenager with a sweet voice Vidhyashini,
daughter to Mohanraj.
On the Sinhala
side we see
APSARAS backing the great Pundit WD Amaradeva,
Visharadha Nanda Malini,
Lata Walpola, Sujatha
Attanayake, Gratian Ananda,
Angeline Gunatilake, Nirosha
Virajini, Champa Kalhari, Sameetha Mudhunkotuwa,
Athula Adhikari and Jagath Wickramasinghe.
in the form of Helen Kumari,
Shanmugampillai, and the
Channa Wijewardene's dance troupe,
while the South Indian artiste,
Sumitha, took part in the
Inisai Iravu, with P
TMS in Sep-Oct, 1991.
Unlike so many
groups which have mushroomed,
flowered and faded over the years,
APSARAS stands firm like a lotus spread well above the waterline, splendidly blooming in its colorful
performances, while proudly
possessing a memorable history of important people,
places and events, which all
confluxed to bring about its birth.
imagination figures that grand day when those original APSARAS music
members, vocalists and
are still in harness, with
Indian stars thrown in, will
participate under the supervision of Mohanraj in an extended grand
musical show, worthy of
being reminisced for decades by
generations. Perhaps, time
revisited: Francis Ford
Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy.
(Daily News: Art
Brando's Godfather revisited
by Firoze Sameer
Brando, the Godfather
Courtesy Paramount Pictures
"A lawyer with a
briefcase can steal more money than a thousand men with guns."
Mario Puzo in
Papers and Other Confessions.
fortune there is a crime."
Balzac quoted by
July 1 at age-80 brings back vivid memories of his scintillating role
box-office movie The Godfather (1972).
It was followed
Bertolucci's French-Italian Last Tango in Paris
(1973) and Coppola's controversial Vietnam war epic Apocalypse Now
on Joseph Conrad's brilliant novel Heart of Darkness.
TIME of July
12 carried some fine appreciations and photos of Brando. Life magazine
10, 1972 front-page featured
in his role as The Godfather.
debut in The
Men in 1950 ended with a total of 35-appearances,
notable among them being A Streetcar Named Desire (1951),
The Wild One (1954), On the
Waterfront (1954) winning best actor amongst the eight Oscars, Guys and Dolls (1955),
Sayonara (1957), The Young
(1958), One-Eyed Jacks which
was the only movie he directed (1961),
Mutiny on the Bounty (1962),
Ugly American (1963),
the bald-headed Yul Brynner (1965),
to his last Don Juan DeMarco (1995) with Faye Dunaway.
U.S. film critic
called The Godfather as the 1970s' answer to Gone With The Wind. Movie
Francis Ford Coppola transformed Mario Puzo's fine book of the same
title, published in 1969,
into celluloid by dividing it into two parts. Later,
he covered the complete epic from 1902 to 1958 called the Godfather
home-video (1981) comprising a chronological arrangement with
from the cutting floor, of
movie and Part-II (1974),
by a final Part-III (1990). Nino Rota's splendid signature tune
haunts the mind of the filmgoer.
Yule in his
A Life on the Wire (1991),
professor of film studies at UCLA,
Nick Browne, editing Francis
Coppola and the Godfather Trilogy (2000),
a serious and solid treatise comprising independent high profile
some top professors in the film industry,
include various breakdowns of costs,
profits and earnings in the three movies.
Looking at costs
production of the three movies in the range of less than U$7.5mn for
GF-I, U$15mn for GF-II and
U$54mn for GF-III, they
grossed approx. U$86mn (1972),
U$32mn (1974) and U$70mn (1990) respectively. GF-I
& GF-II had by 1989 grossed in excess of U$800mn. It is said that
years the trilogy did business of over a billion dollars!
For GF-I, Paramount
claimed 84% of the profit,
7.5% for producer Albert S Ruddy,
for Director Coppola, and
author Puzo who wrote the screenplay with Coppola.
only U$50,000 but collected
U$100,000 for his
co-operation with publicity,
a sliding-scale percentage of the movie's gross,
finally landing him some U$1.5mn. His demand for U$500,000
plus 10% of the gross for GF-II was turned down,
and the part went to Robert de Niro.
Al Pacino who
Michael collected U$35,000
for one year's
work in GF-I, receiving some
U$500,000 plus no less than
10% of profit for GF-II,
culminating for GF-III at U$5mn plus 15% of gross.
Diane Keaton who
Michael's wife, Kay Adams, was able to collect U$2mn in GF-III
the pittance she collected in GF-I: U$6,000.
Tom Hagen, demanded for
turned down and replaced with George Hamilton in GF-III.
U$3-mn to direct, U$1-mn to
U$2-mn plus 15% of gross to produce GF-III,
as against what he received for GF-II: U$200,000
direction, U$250,000 for the script plus on a formula
between 10% and 15% as co-producer.
fitfully won the Academy awards for Best Picture,
Actor (Brando), and
(Coppola & Puzo), and
that one is able to discern the special features in the movie. GF-I
totally were nominated for 21-Oscar nominations,
and collected nine, both
Best Film Awards.
Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo has with Don Corleone in the presence of
his Consigliori Tom Hagen,
Caporegimes, Sal Tessio (Abe
and Pete Clemenza (Richard Castellano),
and two of the Don's sons,
(James Caan) and Fredo (John Cazale),
prompted U.S. management guru,
late Donald McCormick to cite Sonny's faux pax as an example of
fringe times in business interactions in his masterpiece,
What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School.
GF-I is the
initial introduction of Don Vito Corleone (Brando) in a sudden reverse
shot, seated behind his
table in his paneled office,
intently listening with composure and assumed
power, kitted up in black
brilliant white shirt complete with tuxedo and blood red nosegay, to attend his daughter's wedding, the camera focusing directly on the
undertaker, Amerigo Bonasera,
facing the Don, relating his
daughter's trauma; seeking for revenge.
professionalism at its
peak is also seen in the Don's two brief discourses with the deadly
Luca Brasi, enforcer to the
Corleone Family, and in the
famous speech made by the Don to the
head of the Five Families.
GF-I carries a
dramatic events, which have
everlasting impact on the filmgoer. The dramatic assassination of Luca
the bar owned by the Tattaglia Family; the tragic ambush of Sonny;
car taking that high-speed U-turn amidst klaxons,
as the driver, Lou, crosses over the road's divider across
splendid Triborough bridge connecting New Jersey and New York; the
confrontation of Michael with Sollozzo (Al-Lettieri) and Police Captain
McCluskey (Sterling Hayden) at Louis' Italian-American Restaurant in
Consigliori Tom Hagen taking a short drink before he plucks up courage
tragic news to the Don.
The Don's visit
seeking his services to return a favour.
to the head of the Five Families and their associates at a secret
conference, seeking for
peace. Scenes in the backyard of the
Corleone home with the Don and Michael,
and later the Don and his grandson,
Anthony, amidst the tomato
vines, ending a marked shift
in the story; the terrible
scenes of bloody violence; all contributing toward Coppola's
Puzo in his The
Papers and Other Confessions describes the fury of Frank Sinatra
against him while dining at the famous Chasen's in Hollywood on account
Johnny Fontane character in his book,
allegedly portraying a resemblance to Sinatra.
According to Puzo, the incident was a case of a Northern
threatening a Southern Italian,
which Puzo equates to Einstein pulling a knife on Al Capone!
The book and
movie are inundated
with some fascinating advice given intermittently by the Godfather to
or close associates at various times.
In Puzo's opus
at Book-8: Chapter-30, the Don gives Michael one of the most
lessons on how he came to use a guy like Luca Brasi,
and Michael had used it to make the deadly ex-cop Albert Neri his
Other brief but
snippets to Bonasera: "And that by
chance if an honest man such as yourself
should make enemies, then
become my enemies. And then they would fear you."
"You spend time
your family? to Johnny Fontane who replies,
"Sure I do." Then to Johnny,
but toward and about Sonny: "Good. 'Cause a man who doesn't spend time
with his family can never be a real man."
Johnny: "You can act
man! "What's the matter with you? Is this how you turned out? A Hollywood finocchio that ah cries like a woman?
mimicrying Johnny, as Tom
"What can I do?! What can I do?! What is that nonsense? Ridiculous."
Again to Johnny: "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse," referring to Jack Woltz, the Hollywood director.
To a friend "He
performs these miracles for strangers,"
deeds as a captain in WW2.
To Virgil "The
"I said that I would see you because,
I heard that you're a serious man,
to be treated with respect." and after Sonny's faux pas, "I have a sentimental weakness for my
children, and I spoil them
can see; they talk when they should listen."
son Sonny: "Never tell
outside the family what you're thinking again!" To Hagen, Tessio and Clemenza: "Now, any man should be allowed one foolishness
life. I have had mine."
Then to his
successor, Michael: "You cannot say
'no' to the people you love,
not often. That's the secret. And then when you do, it has to sound like a 'yes'. Or you have
them say 'no'. You have to take time and trouble." Adding that:
"Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more
government. It is almost the equal of family. Never forget that...."
To Michael again: "Revenge is a
that tastes best when it is cold."
Advising Michael: "It's an old
I spent my life trying not to be careless - women and children can be
careless, but not men." And
then: "I've done my
share in life. I haven't got the heart any more. And there are some
best of men can't assume."
Once again to
Michael: I knew that
going to have to go through all this. And Fredo - well - Fredo was -
well - But
I never - I never wanted this for you. I work my whole life, I don't apologize,
to take care of my family. And I refused - to be a fool - dancing on
the string, held by all
those - bigshots. I don't apologize -
that's my life - but I thought that - that when it was your time - that
you would be the one to hold the strings.
Governor - Corleone, or
something..."Michael quips: "Another
pezzonovante..." and the Don
continues: "Well - this wasn't enough time,
Michael. Wasn't enough time..." Michael adds: "We'll get there, Pop - we'll get there..." And then:
"Uh..." Now listen - whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting -
he's the traitor. Don't forget that."
In the real life
scenario, Brando had to face
the shooting of his daughter Cheyenne's
BF by his son Christian in 1990 who served a
term of some 6-years, and
was released Brando experienced the tragedy of Cheyenne hanging herself in 1995.
Coppola had his
of tragedy when his 22-year old son Gian-Carlo - Gio - was killed on
27.05.86, when his speedboat
struck a towline of another
boat, while in the company
O'Neal's son Gliffin Patrick,
21, who was later charged
with reckless piloting.
probably never the same again - Coppola's quest is mirrored in
for himself in GF-III - for these grand folks who gave us such splendid
memorable movies to feast our imagination.