21 May, 2024

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An Open Missive To AKD & NPP

By Vishwamithra

“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” ~ Erol Ozon

Dear Sir,

I have been meaning to write this missive to you for some time. However, due to changing sociopolitical circumstances and varying demands on my personal time, I had to readjust my own priorities. Yet, it dawned on me a couple of days ago that now is the time to pen some of my thoughts on the current sociopolitical flow of events that have captured the hearts and minds of the masses. That continuing cascade of events has influenced not only the very premise of our national conversation, it has gone further than one had time to digest the compelling reasons and intellectual curiosities those events have entailed to a great extent.

One such a significant moment arrived on May 1, 2024. The whole country, more or less, pretended to celebrate the Worker’s Day. May Day is not meant to be a day on which our political parties summon their supporters to mass rallies and show the world that they are stronger than the other party’s prowess. But the days that May Day was celebrated as one dedicated to the working men and women are gone forever. Such sublimity is a thing of the past. With advancing years and declining of real values of labor and devotion to work being set aside as a secondary measure, modern Sri Lanka has adopted this carnival-type celebrations in order to galvanize their grassroots on the one hand and self-assess their on strengths and weaknesses on the other. Nevertheless, introspection is not a sign of our political leaders and it has never been so either.

National Political Power (NPP) overperformed this time; holding massive rallies, one in the Deep South, Matara, another in the Capital of the country, Colombo and the other in the ancient ‘Raja-Rata’ (North Central Province), Anuradhapura, one not second to the other in mass attendance, is no mean task. But this is only the beginning; not the end in itself. The old JVP too was successful in attracting tens of thousands to their major public meetings, but when the votes were counted after an election, the math did not do justice to the efforts and seemingly magical aura of the Party. If any political party which needs introspection today, it is the NPP.

A quotation by Vladimir Lenin would be apt at this moment: ‘All my life and my strength were given to the first cause in the world- the liberation of mankind’. One might wonder how such noble words and all-encompassing thought could be ascribed to Lenin, the one who most ruthlessly launched the massive agriculture collectivization program in the then Soviet Union which ultimately produced one of the most unmerciful leaders of the twentieth century in Joseph Stalin and no grain harvest to show. What is eventually true is, when leaders utter uncommonly kind and inspiring words, after coming to power, in order to implement the policies that were pronounced as Utopian and just and fair for the common working men and women, their very doggedness to a school of ideology would ultimately destroy not only the leader who chose to say them loudly, but also the societal surroundings that he was part and parcel of.

The Gulag Archipelago as described by Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the untold crimes and unspeakable suffering the common men and women had to endure during the Stalin-ear are undeniable recorded history today. But allegiance to a seemingly noble but practically inhumane ideological pronunciations can annihilate generations of thinking and generations of living men and women. That is the optics Anura Kumara Dissanayake and NPP would have to battle with when taken in a current macro context. That is the prism through which Ranil, Sajith and their cohorts would want the general public to evaluate the NPP.

The core of the opposition to the NPP will emanate from the above described quarters; the fundamental premise in which the NPP is placed by the public at large consists of such an adversarial quality. How can you and your Party handle such a strong and relentless attack from your opponents? That is the basic question you have to answer and without any mercy. Lionel Bopage, one time General Secretary of the old JVP on his way out, wrote a letter to the then Central Committee of the Party. In a profoundly illuminating rendering of heartfelt ideas and ideals, Bopage illustrated not only his own frustrations and disillusionment with JVP, he also left a remarkable legacy of honesty and truthfulness in that historic missive.

Do not leave room for a repetition of such a monumental blunder on your party. The euphoria after three unprecedentedly massive May Day rallies is not the answer. An honest and profound understanding of the sociopolitical history of your own Party, emerging prowess of your opponents coupled with mathematical unlikelihood of a massive NPP-victory should be able to open your eyes and ears. An NPP victory at the forthcoming Presidential Elections may very well be possible; but for that possibility to be realistic, a fundamental change, one as that you claim to bring about in the country by being elected to power, must take place.

Your statements on the negatives of regimes of yesteryear have been very illuminating. Your steadfast defense of a mixed approach to the ills of the current economic crisis is highly commendable. Your pledges to bring before the arms of the law of all those who pilfered our national treasury and the priceless resources are well received by a great majority of our people. But such criticisms and obvious election promises alone would not be sufficient to ensure a self-activating victory at the polling booth, come election day.

In other words, all what I have penned above is the substance of the context that we are discussing here. That substance, I cannot alter. I can’t do anything about that substance. But that does not disqualify me from putting my two cents worth about the process. In every election campaign, there are two streams that need to correlate to each other without a murmur of discord. One is substance and the other process. Substance spells out what is necessary to impart into the minds of the electorate. Process tells you how to impart that substance. The NPP has to enwrap themselves with a process of delivery; that process has to be near-perfect, if not perfect. In order to sharpen that process and deliver a consummate message of promise, of optimism, of expectancy and of real relief, you have to launch a methodology by which your desired goals are met.

Digital age

We are living in a digital age. Everything that is happening around us can be transmitted wherever we want it to be in seconds. Make use of that technology. When your organizers go around the households in a particular hamlet, make available to them this digital technology to deliver a real-time position of the electorate. Without depending on various pseudo-pollsters, get them to get across the real-time statistics and figures to a district command center located in an undisclosed locality in each district.

Appoint a point man or woman for each Grama Niladhari (GN) division. There are just over 14,000 in total (including the Northern and Eastern provinces). You may have already done this, but make sure that this process is refined and fine-tuned to the brim! Ask the GN leaders to report to the district leaders and from the District Leaders to the Central Command, once again at an undisclosed location. On paper it looks so simple and easy. But make no mistake, it’s hard, it’s tiresome to do it day in and day out; it takes a lot of focusing; it demands tough and instant decision-making.

Thinkers and Tinkers

Relieve the politicians of day to day implementation of tactics. Your team of strategists must be the topmost leadership consisting of no more than three (3) to five (5) persons, maybe four (4) politicians and one or two non-politicians. The significance of inclusion of non-politicians is that such men and women would be freer to talk their hearts and minds out, with no vested interests. At the same time the front-team that comes before the press and media should consist of supremely qualified media specialists who have the ability to navigate a stormy press conference of a media confrontation. While this strategic team can engage in strategic thinking, there must be room and space for a team of ‘Tinkers’ who would exercise tactical implementation of the major strategy. That team of Tinkers must have a fair amount of freedom to react and respond to crises that emerge more often than normal during an election campaign. Should you have this plan afoot now, it would be much more amenable to be implemented as and when the top leadership decides.

However, the main thrust of the total campaign program is to free the candidate or candidates in the event of Parliamentary elections so that they could be focusing, one hundred percent, on the people they meet, the masses and other interested parties and groups. Organization, organization and organization are the three most crucial pillars of any winning strategy. One cannot dispute that, period. Burden on you could be unbearably heavy, but don’t let it warp your knees. Scorn hurled at you may exceed decent levels, but face it with equanimity. Victory is not cheap.

As a student of current affairs and as a regular writer, I have been following the ups and downs of the JVP movement in the country. One cannot ignore the emergence of the NPP as a formidable people’s force, especially during the last three years, particularly in the wake of the Aragalaya-22. Whether that force has turned into a movement which ultimately can produce the desired results of your leadership is still before the jury, so to speak. This missive is not a critique; nor is it a flattery. It’s an attempt to follow your journey.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 6
    3

    NPP has an opportunity to take the power to govern this country this time because the country and people were lost their confidence on their traditional leaders who are not willing to make any changes to the traditional system of minority Rich in Power and majority Poor in Poverty. This is common in all communities. At the moment all the communities are in search of new leadership, new politics, new systems. Truth and Trust are more important than any other at this moment. If our politics need substantial change for governance the religions also need to be make changes to human well being and individuals also make a changes to the attitude. Recovery of economy cannot be achieved only through economic policies, it needs political stability, in other words unity among all communities which can be achieved only making all communities to feel that all belongs to this country. NPP have to realise that world have achieved this through proper devolution of power and Sri Lanka can also achieve that in practice. It is true that the 75 year racism and fundamentalism lead to the current bankruptcy and corruption. Even if NPP come to power in Presidential election it is not easy to come out of economic crisis within five years and it is not enough to sort out the problems.

  • 8
    0

    Vishwamithra, I wish to make a comment that should sink deep into NPP, even as you commented that victory is not cheap. NPP should never try to share the wealth of those who have earned it in hard work and dedication with those who have much less. The poor too need to work hard and earn rather than be like the current robbers laying their hands on national as well as personal wealth. Their families are trying to behave like royalty that they are not a part of. They need to earn a living for their own families.

  • 7
    3

    “ As a student of current affairs ”
    Author declares himself as only a student of Current’ affairs’ but I wish him to go into past affairs/ HAPPENINGS in SL since Independence. SL will be a prosperous peaceful developed country had NOT the Sinhala Buddhist politicians embarked on RACIAL bandwagon to cause death of minorities & destruction of their economy and lands. The large presence of Security Forces in the North and East is unnecessary and totally disheartening for Minorities

  • 8
    7

    AKD has the gift of the gap but he cannot walk the talk. JVP/NPP do not have the capacity to grab the bull by its horns.

    • 10
      3

      Dear HP,
      nice to see you back in this forum.
      Young people have real fantasies about society and politics. They sound fantastic and at our first glance are very accurate. This is what we hear from AKD’s platform presentations based only on statistics and rough plans for the future on how to revive the economy. Can these verbal acts be 100% reliable?will they be able to be practical as they promise?
      Did Gotbaya and his “advisers” do the same or not?

      .Actually they believe that for every 05 lakhs living abroad (rich countries) will send a huge donation to them once they become rulers….. ?????

      The truth is that almost everyone in the world is suffering after COVID hit the world. ..cost of living is very high in euorpe today in the post COVID: . Europe, America, Australia and everywhere Life has become a struggle to middle class families.

      • 1
        6

        Dear LM: The TRUTH is that expatriates’ remittances from January to April this year have surpassed US $ 2 Billion. Thank you all for that.

        Please note that help from the expatriates will be doubled and tripled once they are assured such remittances are properly used for national welfare. That task will be undertaken with proper accountability by an NPP Government.

        • 3
          1

          Douglas, good to see you again even though you branded me a disgrace. As a true Buddhist ( not a sinhala-buddhist even if I am blood related to late Rev Dr Walpola Rahula Thero) I also pray today to my barbarians who killed my best friends in the 89-92 period. No hate can bring us forward is my life motto.

          https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2024/05/12/news/23105/people-should-take-to-the-streets-with-weapons-k-d-lalkantha/.
          .
          “There is fundementals in human psychology that hopes guide in life. I learned this from our lectures on human psychology (University of Heidlberg, Germany, in 1995) long ago.
          But if we are not realistic about our expectations, the consequences will be dire. Once bitten twice shy. “MEDAMAULANA BEASTS BPs as brothers” we were told that they will usher an era that people will ever dream of. But the bastards destoyed it as nothing could easily reverse.

          Further to this, after BASTARD et al seized power and strengthened it beyond 2/3 parliament along with pro-constitutional amendments were in their favor, neverthless, they destroyed the country anyway.
          It backfired in many ways. People died in “gas and petrol” queues. You are not reborn I think. Mothers got killed in their kitchen rooms.

  • 4
    1

    What NPP can do or can not do We have to wait and see. It is our hope that AKD and his associates will carry out the jobs that are waiting to be done—
    1) Removing the parasites of the country from ruling our country
    2) outlawing racial and religious hatred
    3) Banning clergies dabbling in Politics
    4) The cases to be reopened where there had been extrajudicial killings
    5) Ill gotten assets returned to Government Coffers
    6) Fishermen Estate workers agricultural producers etc paid reasonably. Middle men profits trimmed
    etc etc

    • 3
      1

      Naman, what this country needs is a brain surgery. A complete transplant. The whole problem is the dumb ass voter. The 225 members of the Parliament tell it all.

      • 4
        1

        👏 bravo u are spot on, many of them are beasts in human disguise 🤔

  • 2
    0

    NPP should only promise a corruption free waste free government.

    In the ever changing dynamic world political situation and many uncertainty, NPP should stay away from giving promises of ” Free” or “Lower cost” products.

    A corruption free small government rather than massively bloated government will eat all the resources meant to bring the economy into waste bin.

    Graded taxation
    Establish a poverty line
    Establish a social support system for seniors and elderly who don’t have a mean to survive
    Establish a two tier health system where limits applied to those in government sector crossing over to private sector ( eliminate medical Mafia in the country)
    Restructuring the police force with introduction of camera Base traffic fine as corruption is rampant in the traffic section of the police department

    I hope we see a change as people who elect leaders know who can lead the country and not enrich their family and friends

    • 2
      6

      Dear “senthil nada”,
      .
      Yours is a most sensible response;
      many traditional supporters of the SLPP and the UNP (including the SJB ) must switch support to the NPP, but we don’t need to see the decimation of the opposition.
      .
      I’m 75 years old, and I recognise that most of the leaders who are my age have to be thrown out. A few remaining wouldn’t matter – but those should not include either Ranil or the Rajapaksa family. Yes, that includes Namal Rajapaksa, even if he’s young. Have you noticed? He’s trying to look like Mahinda even physically – mustache and all. The so-called “National Parties” are racist Sinhala Parties.
      .
      Tamils still have a problem; we’ve got to recognise that the NPP is still dominated by Sinhalese people. That has to change, and I think that with some Tamil speakers like you being willing to vote NPP , we’re well on the way to achieving that.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V) of Bandarawela

      • 3
        1

        “we’ve got to recognise that the NPP is still dominated by Sinhalese people. That has to change, and I think that with some Tamil speakers like you being willing to vote NPP , we’re well on the way to achieving that”

        Please don’t spread lies for the sake of your grandchildren. They should be allowed a better future in this country. We can do that by preventing barbarians from becoming our future leaders.
        .
        Where will the NPP dominate?

        There are many VOTERS who repeatedly say that they decide at the eleventh hour….

        .they really consider all that RW has done alone to be miraculous. ….. Your little world may not have any reliable information, but please open your eyes and clear your doubts.

        People will never want to fall into the same pit again. I wish you good luck !

      • 4
        2

        Panini Edirisinhe, 75 year old gentleman, sad that you have forgotten the JVP (now clothed as NPP) did in the past. Your area in Bandarawela too was terrorized by JVP, wasn’t it? How can you forget that when these people are still talking about giving judicial powers to the villagers? That is what they did in the 80’s and their judgment was brutal based solely in destroying the opposition. Is this what you want? Do you think Anura Kumara with his verbosity but with no experience in governing even a Province, would have a different mentality with a few “red-shirts” waving academic qualifications with no practical experience? This is just like how Gota grabbed power, putting his academics as a show piece. Believe me, AKD if he ever comes to power will be “Gota Episode 2” and all those who day dream of him eradicating corruption will see his goons enjoying the present benefits to the hilt. All those promises will just vanish into thin air! People will never be able to stop that since there won’t be another Aragalaya and the brutal JVP/NPP will see to that as they keep saying they know how to stop opposition.

        • 3
          3

          Rathnavali / May 13, 2024

          Thanks for your comment which speaks volumes.

          I thought I was the only one still stuck with the 89-92 shocks. Every time (2-3 times a year) I visit the motherland, it is a truly sad sight for me to look at the dead faces of the victimized mothers.
          Some of them in the south cannot find the words (mentally sick mothers and fathers) to express that they see their sons in me. I hardly keep my tears for me… these are the truths about them…… however, in a country beasts are the majority in human disguise, when would we ever keep hope a better future ?

          We were friends in Weli Maliga (sand castle)at that time, but because we were undergraduate students, we were persecuted by some murderers, but we understood that it was the JVPs or vanguard thugs who brutally ragged us in Peradeniya. Sometimes we had small quarrels between us… but they were good enough to take our lives. Then what is Sri Lanka for us?

          Today these people talk about saints even on the TV screen with Lalkanthala and that MAD dog stlye -Nalin Hevegage challenging us. Where are we marching today?

          Tbc

          • 3
            2

            Sri Lanka is full of stupid people rather than the opposite. This is an indisputable fact. Mahedra Rajapakshe was like JVPrs at the begining of his politics.

            That is why he got along with former JVP Wimal weerawanse to manipulate the mediocre people across the island.

            Looking back, all what the cess pit of WIMAL weerawanse came out were ” untruths”: Nevertheless not a simple stone would be thrown at Wimal weerawanse yet today. People are real beasts. In a civilized society, entire lawyer community would have joined to skin out WIMALA and GAMMAPILA as of today… Only for aragalaya, some young lawyers were seen joiining, but in general, they dont. That is the nature of our people…..

            You won’t find comparisons anywhere so most of them are revengeful or spiteful. Almost 99% of them are pseudo buddhists…. they dont care about high values at all.
            .
            It is quite similar to other South Asian countries, however, the pseudo-Sinhala-Buddhism dominant Sri Lanka makes it unique. Most of them do not respect facts. The media mafia does not help them to distinguish the truth from the growing falsehoods. Youtubers are the other threat. They will be very cheap for “easy dollar profits”. Most of their news is based on gossip and Sinhala_ promotion.

            • 3
              2

              cont.
              Besides, they like to accept calamities for some hidden reasons. Even if their loved ones die in the queues, they love emotions to guide them rather than respect facts and facts.

              AKD – Not the least able to connect with the majority of corrupt people.. Before making real changes, he should be able to build a consensus or a common goal….. there I hardly believe he has the abilities.
              Not only politicians, about 99% of Sri Lankans are more or less corrupt. Their JVP is also more or less corrupt. However, they are like rebels who stand out among other stupid people.
              .
              Even if the youth could elect him as president, building any kind of consensus will be difficult for AKD. Also, as Nagananda reiterates, if someone becomes president under the existing constitution, it will not be easy for him or her to change it easily.

        • 3
          3

          Why talk about horrors under the JVP without talking of the horrors under the UNP (1983, 1991) and the SLFP)?
          I think only the JVP has said sorry

          • 3
            3

            J.M.,
            I am speechless.
            .
            when was that – was that really an apology?
            .
            To my knowledge, they still don’t take it seriously. JVP barbarian acts are no different to sharia law practisers in Middle east.

            They should apologize again and again for taking 60,000 young lives.

            They are not only killed, but also made to eat the flesh and bones of their own sons… Is that a joke?

            Not the LTTE but the JVP are the real barbarians. To this day, I have plenty of mothers who are still in shock.
            .
            Didn’t you see Lalkantha reviving the criminals?
            .
            https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2024/05/12/news/23105/people-should-take-to-the-streets-with-weapons-k-d-lalkantha/

          • 3
            1

            ‘only the JVP has said sorry’
            “Sorry” about what may I know?

          • 0
            1

            JM,

            Why talk about horrors under JVP or UNP or SLFP without talking of the horrors under LTTE (1983-2009)?

  • 2
    2

    Ranil or Sajith will likely be the next President and after that Namal. Ranil has brought stability to the country after it reached the low point, plus he has the backing of MaRa. The status quo will not change, as long as SLPP is the dominant political party. Rajapakses are playing the long game, using Ranil as the sacrificial lamb. Once he is gone (5 years or so max), Raja can re-enter in a big way. That’s not all bad news, as it means the separatists will get nothing. No devolution, no federalism, just permanent military bases built on top of the graves of their terrorist heroes rotting in the ground. As a famous lady once said, “let Allah sort it out.”

    • 0
      0

      Lester, How did Allah come into the scene of Ranil, Sajith, Namal and MaRa with a sacrificial lamb. Sacrifices don’t have a time limit but have eternal consequences.

      • 2
        2

        davidthegood,

        Ranil was the best positioned to get the IMF loans. These loans are necessary to stabilize the economy, in the short-term. MaRa understand that well. That is why Gotha went to Singapore, rather than using force to crush the “Aragalaya.” Had the “Aragalaya” been crushed, the IMF may have been reluctant to intervene. Now the interesting part is whether MaRa can convince enough people to vote for Ranil. Some may call it a miracle. Allah works in mysterious ways.

  • 1
    0

    In the article, it is stated: ” The NPP has to enwrap themselves with a process of delivery…..you have to lay out a methodology by which your desires goals are met”

    No doubt about it. It will be presented in detail, I believe, as and when elections are announced, However, a broad and in some instances, precise methodology for tackling the issues has been placed before the public. Among such are (1) The immediate action to change the “Political Culture” of impunity in the top ranks by (a) abolishing all the perquisites presently enjoyed by the MPs (pension rights, housing with electricity, water, etc. (b) abolish the system of maintaining all past Presidents and spouses (c) hand over all the seven odd numbers of Presidential Palaces to Tourist /Hotel boards to be used for the tourism industry. (2) The Cabinet will not exceed “25” members. (3) The present Irrationality of subject matters of the Ministries will be revised with the re-appointment of competent Ministry Secretaries. (3) The Law Enforcement Agencies (Police, AG’s Dept. & Judicial service) will be FREED from political interference.(4) All State Commissions (Police, Bribery, Corruption, etc.) will be reconstituted.

  • 1
    1

    continued… This “Action Plan” will receive the highest priority and that would be the FOUNDATION for strong Governing functions.

    The people have been told and they have accepted this action plan.

    The rest to follow will be laid out based on the Policy Statement already made available to the people through “Rapid Response”.

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