Colombo Telegraph

A Strange Star In The Dark Christmas Sky: The National Peoples’ Movement 

By Grusha Andrews

Ranil has flashed his 70 year old “classy, cultured, democratic and constitutional” Pidurangala political buttock to the UNPers and the people of this country. He has, for the umpteenth time, shown us who he really is. He has conveniently forgotten the people who took to the streets in the thousands to defend democracy. He has appointed his “Ageing Royal Boys’ Club” complete with Ravi Karunanayake, to a shameful cabinet. Although I am not a fan of saying ‘I told you so’, dear readers and desolate, misguided and FOOLISH UNPers, may I now say – I told you so! To quote my article published 14th December 2018: 

“This victory will be your victory till tomorrow. Tomorrow the UNP will claim this to be their victory alone. They will build their new kleptocracy with wheeler dealers like Ravi Karunanayake, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Wasantha Senanayake and Rajitha Senaratne to enthrone them, justifying themselves through the court verdict”

Ajith, Harsha And UNP, You Poor Babies!

Just in case the poor UNP supporters, the Ajith P Pereras and Harsha de Silvas of the UNP think it’s going to get better, Baby, it won’t. Here is another quote from the same article: 

“The supporters of the UNP and the citizens who protected the UNP for good 50 days will be forgotten. Because in the anatomy of the UNP runs the despotic, unruly, corrupt blood”.

The bloodthirsty, despotic, looter Rajapaksas and their slavish cronies are going berserk trying to make sense out of the mess they have walked in to in absolute arrogance. Somehow Mahinda Rajapaksa looks like a poor beggar on the political street and his mythical magical political opulence is now more like the skeleton of an aged bison (pun intended!). As of yesterday’s Looter Cabinet, Ranil is no longer heads a government. Ranil heads a Rogue Regime.

All mirth, unwarranted sarcasm and “I told you so”s aside, the Christmas Sky of Sri Lanka looks hopeless and dark. 

But wait, is there a single star in this political sky? 

Looks like it. 

National Peoples’ Movement

In a small conference room at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute a few days ago, a cross section of Sri Lankan society came out as the National People’s Movement. Appearing to be spearheaded by the Deshodaya arm of the Sarvodaya Movement, 13 professional and other organizations presented a rationale and the aims of this movement. It brings together diverse organizations to become a third social force that can be an alternative to the looter regimes of Ranil and Mahinda. I share below, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne’s short and eloquent speech outlining the broad objectives of the National People’s Movement. 


National People’s Movement: The Power To Recall

The National People’s Movement cleverly recognizes the bottlenecks to decent politics in Sri Lanka. The most important factor preventing the professionals from joining democratic movements in Sri Lanka is that the movements themselves are purely political .The majority of the government servants are prevented from active politics by the law. Even in the private sector, the involvement of an employee in politics does not serve well and may not align with company policy. Hence, in the interest of their profession and income, most of the people who have the capacity, knowledge and the drive to propel Sri Lanka towards a decent society are prevented from contributing to the democratic processes. 

The National Peoples’ Movement has emerged as a social movement which anyone can lawfully join within the framework of the law. The political activists of this social movement will be select few and do not constitute all of the movement. Those who wish to engage in active politics may forsake their government or private sector jobs to join the future political wing of the movement. 

The other prominently positive feature of the National People’s Movement is that it does not constitute one type of persons. It is a vibrant collection of professionals, youth, environmentalists, social workers, grass root  activists, gender justice advocates, educationists, civil society workers, civil servants and women who have come together to find a socio-political alternative to the current bunch of rogues.

I share below another video of the short speech by Engineer Palitha Abeywardhane, representing the United Professionals’ Movement. “We are not coming forward to ask for car permits and salary increase. We have come forward because many real professionals will come forward to serve the democratic process as long as the current rogues are in charge.  We are not coming forward having earned our money, educational qualifications- we are coming forward to repay. We stand for a constitution that has the power to recall representatives who turn their back on the people’s mandate”. 

National Peoples’ Movement: Against All Inequality 

The strongest feature that can be observed in the National Peoples’ Movement is that it is inclusive in its anatomy. It appears to brings together alternate voices of all races, religions and geographies. Mainly through the grass root village based mechanism of the Deshodaya movement, it appears to have long arms reaching  the common man to empower and educate them to become stronger, more demanding citizens. It appears to be a movement aimed at empowering citizens and not enslaving them mentally and economically. 

The voices launched at this press briefing were diverse- culturally, racially and ideologically. There were a few hiccups at the event with Nagananda Kodituwakku who’s Vindivida Foundation is also a partner of NPM, when he went off like an aged bull in a China shop, launching personal attacks on individuals in his typical fashion. Persons like Kodituwakku must be considered with caution by any movement who attempts to build bridges across differences because love of ego and love of democracy are two different things. But on a positive note, Nagananada’s crusades have its own importance and place. The leaders of a peoples’ movement made up of complex ingredients should take strong steps to keep the course in line. Otherwise this too will be a failed attempt like many before. 

Mending The Error Of Our Ways

Our national past time is politics and discussing disgruntledly of politicians and their rogue ways. This should end. For some years now, many have been turning to JVP for inspiration and voting with the UNP or the PA. Inside the privacy of the polling booth 90% of us have been hypocrites voting against our principles, knowing full well that the rogues we vote for will betray us. But our social and cultural conditioning are so powerful that for all out big talk we don’t take the crucial step of coming out of our political comfort zone to give a chance to those who honestly intend to serve. 

Yesterday’s cabinet was my last straw. 

But when I look towards the Christmas sky, bleak, dark and damning, I see that there is a singular strange star. 

I hope the National Peoples’ Movement will chose wisely, lead bravely and become the third force and the alternative to the putrid, shameless political parties of Sri Lanka. 

Yes. 

There certainly is a strange star in the sky. 

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