By Baron A Kumara –
Momentum is gathering. At the mention of an unlikely common candidate, in the form of Wigneswaran (Kusal Perera’s contribution), mainstream English editorials were quick to respond with what can only be called reactive political propaganda. One editorial was called, ‘President Rajapaksa, the undisputed choice’ , another editorial was called ‘Masses hail President Mahinda Rajapaksa’, a opinion was called ‘President’s political acumen incomparable’, and a feature was called ‘The President: quintessential common candidate.’  The pro-government paper The Island, contained a feature called ‘MR can head next government democratically.’  It is clear therefore that for every statement made in the press about a common candidate, the mainstream media will be abused into producing ten more that support Rajapaksa.
But as is clear to all those who have been following recent events in Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa will not head the next government democratically. He has subordinated the mainstream media and the judiciary, he has compromised the civil and foreign service, he has induced fear and self-censorship into what he calls a ‘peaceful’ democracy, and his regime has villanized, bullied and intimidated all those brave souls who stood, who still stand, against him. Those who yet believe that by siding with the President they have more to gain than by standing against him, have only to look at the Muslim community’s (SLMC sadly still tows this line) futile calls for peace in the wake of Aluthgama. None were arrested, the police stood by. Further, the North is militarized, despite the wipe out of the LTTE, and upon the least hint of dissent in the South, of declining Presidential popularity; will there be hesitation at militarizing the rest of our nation?
No, despite the claim that ‘MR can head next government democratically’ the choice we are facing today is between a President and a democracy or a dictator and a nepotistic military state. And Rajapaksa is not a benevolent dictator, protest about unclean water, speak out and big brother will come for you. Do not speak out and by that time, there will be no one left to speak for you. Momentum is gathering. How does one defeat the ten-headed demon? What instruments does the rebelling citizenry have against such formidable forces?
Reason and truth, of course, but this election we need more. We also need faith – we need to emerge from the cynicism and disillusion that has gripped so many of us, and may prevent us from voting and persuading others to vote intelligently with us. It is inevitable that at the onset of Presidential elections, the government’s mainstream media puppets will be mobilized to sing the tune, in fact they already have. Indeed, according to Colombo Telegraph, the President will utilize sophisticated 3D projection so he can appear everywhere, all the time. There will be intimidation, imprisonment and harassment of the common candidate(s) and whoever is brave enough to stand with him/her. We need to emerge from the fear psychosis that has compelled so many of us to stay silent. Those of us, who will not vote for Mahinda, must arm ourselves with facts, reasons and faith and persist wilfully. Each clear thinking individual must become a locus of persuasion, an activist, reaching out to one or two people who will vote with Mahinda, and compelling him to do otherwise.
The strategy must revolve around delegitimizing the common enemy. It should be targeted towards swing voters, the young and undecided, the patronage networks of the Presidency, and the low and middle class sympathizers that have bought into the rags to riches dream that the President embodies. We must move beyond the audiences of Colombo Telegraph and Groundviews, or share these persuasive pieces to our extended and unlikely networks, using new media (online and social media) as platforms for persuasion. The message should be an end to the intimidation, the silencing, the corruption, and the ethnic violence. It should be a campaign to reclaim our media, our judiciary, our military, and to redefine our constitution, our parliament, our economy and our very Sri Lankaness to the peaceful, multi-ethnic, vibrant democracy that we deserve post war. In doing so, each of us has to explore ourselves, our fears and our reasoning, our very identities, to inspect the inherent contradictions and overcome the institutional chaos that has prevailed over the last decade and that threatens to impose itself on our very beings. In-fighting amongst the potential common candidates can and will lead to a Presidential victory. At this juncture, it is vital for those who attended the common candidacy conference yesterday to realize that it is common sense and a common strategy that is necessary. Momentum is gathering. The campaign begins now.
 Sunday Observer, May 11, Page 8
 Sunday Observer, May 25, Page 8
 Sunday Observer, May 18, Page 8
 Daily News, May 13, http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/president-quintessential-common-candidate
 Colombo Telegraph, Mahinda Rajapaksa To Go 3D At Upcoming Presidential Elections, July 16, 2014