17 December, 2017

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Anatomy Of A Failed People

By Vishwamithra1984

When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.” ~Pearl S. Buck

The western sky is illuminated by the last gleaming of twilight. Along the shores, those who trekked miles to wet their fatigued feet with the salty waters of the Indian Ocean are having their final pleasure, thinking of the tales that they would one day tell their grandchildren how they spent a Sunday evening before retiring to their humble abodes, take time to stare a last peep at the distant horizon which is becoming increasingly hazy and faint. Before the darkening skies turn into night, before the endless space above becomes crowded with billions of millions of stars, serenading a full moon, men, women and children who make this earth worthy of its salt, hesitatingly bid adieu to another day under the sun- scorching and unmerciful yet an unrelenting giver of light.Maithripala

With the dusk turning into night, Colombo, the commercial hub of this splendid land, comes to terms with the decreasing traffic under the neon lights of a carefree city, struggling to awake to a brand new night. The irksome honking of horns of the moving traffic disturbs the calmness that usually awaits the tired and weary. The indiscipline of the three-wheeler drivers drives a more careful motor trafficker crazy and more often than not, to road-rage, while making the pedestrians run for their life. The rampant traffic behavior displayed on Colombo roads explains why Sri Lanka is still going through adolescence of nationhood, bullies controlling the tempo and the helpless willingly showing their subservience to the powerful and mighty. A sad and repetitive saga of a nation pretending to be grown up while crawling its ways into adulthood.

The vendors who engaged in their usual vending along the Gale Face Green from dawn to dusk are gathering their paraphernalia to ready themselves to meet their loved ones whose eager waiting for the breadwinner’s weary trek back home, for any delay would naturally spell another delayed partaking of dinner. The gram vendor whose meager earnings could hardly feed a family of three is packing up his wherewithal to head back home while counting day’s earnings. He has to set apart some part of the day’s collection to warm himself at the illicit liquor seller’s boutique located close to his shack of a home. After a hard day’s work, almost all the time on his feet under an unmerciful sun at the Galle Face Green, how could anyone blame him for his meager indulgence? Yet priorities of each human being are being measured not in universal terms. Passing judgment on the gram seller is easy, but empathizing with his hard and unkind livelihood is another matter altogether.

In this cruel set up, people turn to politicians for not only their salvation, they also see them as an easy target of anger and blame. A people who have been schooled in a faculty of thought that taught and preached dependence on state-provided amenities from free rice to subsidized bus fares to free school books for children, cannot be expected to learn self-dependence and free thinking on the lines of a sophisticated free-market society. After being mere subjects of three colonial powers, Portuguese, Dutch and British for nearly half a millennium, the people of Sri Lanka still cannot come to terms with unshackled way of living. Democracy in the current way shape and form may be only about three centuries old; the scientific revolution that began unfolding its sweeping changes in everyday life of man in electricity to modern day automated banking and internet-related information dissemination may have influenced the average man and woman in a most fundamental way, yet the inner content of that scientific revolution did not seem to have penetrated the their minds. Clinging on to the outer manifestations of the fast-advancing scientific discoveries does not satisfy the historical need of a more fundamental discovery of a societal evolution into a more vibrant, enlightened and perfect one. When the outer manifestations of innate discoveries are mistakenly identified as the real, the delusionary fog clouds the path that man chooses to travel. Its elementary components get buried in the sands of wishful thinking and a gloomy comfort zone beckons him to a lethargic way of life.

The tragedy that seems to have befallen the country is precisely the conflict between the outer coverings of modern technological advancement and the inner wisdom that gave birth to such technological findings. The politician, whether they be of the Rajapaksa genre or otherwise, is acutely attuned to these infirmities of the voting masses. In a very real sense, political minds, UNP, SLFP or JVP, are the most alert and exploitative elements in Sri Lankan society. Their brutal exploitations, especially during an election time, cross all boundaries of decency, honor and truthfulness. Instead of choosing the most qualified candidate or candidates, the voter is forced to choose a least destructive of a given number of candidates.

Rajapaksas’ exploits of a vulnerable people whose sensitivities were calibrated to the myths and glories of a ‘super Sinhala nation’, were well in display immediately in the wake of the cessation of the Tamil-Sinhala conflict. The year 2009 is a landmark year in our history. Not only did it stamp its significance as the year in which a 30-year ethnic war came to a decisive conclusion, it also signified the year in which the winning party of the conflict decided to exploit the beneficial results of the war to enrich and empower itself beyond any reasonable confines. The greed and ravenous indulgences shown with no measure of shame by the Rajapaksas and their cohorts in government circles literally painted the town in whatever the color they chose. Any resistance to their harsh exploitations were portrayed as unpatriotic and ‘unSinhalese’. A susceptible people accepted these exploits as justifiable rewards for a ruling clan that won the war.

But later, the orgy of celebrations reached unforgiving levels of vengeance, shame and cruelty. Incarceration of a real war-hero, General Sarath Fonseka, the Commander of the Army that led his loyal soldiers to a hard and decisive victory did not speak well for a ruling clan who themselves were busy ascribing the victory exclusively to themselves and their own kith and kin. The avarice that overcame all restrictions of reasonableness and justification made its unholy mark when the then Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayke was removed in a matter of days in a most dubiously conducted investigation by a ‘Select Committee’ in parliament. The very principles of man’s sovereignty was violated and a helpless Opposition was seen wallowing in its own saliva of impotence. A carefully crafted political operation that was meant to crush the freewill of a people began taking its roots in the mindset of the ruling clan of the Rajapaksas and their cronies in a more dangerous manner. It expanded the scope and horizons of their power beyond any imaginary confines.

The first indications of mass dissatisfaction of the ruling clan’s exploits manifested themselves in the Uva Provincial Council elections. A hitherto lethargic and slumbering Opposition launched a more coordinated and craftily advertised political campaign, the United National Party led by a new firebrand Harin Fernando in Uva gained power in the province sending unmistakable signals to the Rajapaksas. Yet they thought that it was an aberration.

The defection of Maithripala Sirisena, their Minister of Health and the General Secretary of their party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) sealed the deal for a unified opposition to the ruling cabal which for some known and unknown reasons called for a Presidential Elections ahead of time. They say that astrology played a pivotal role in the decision to call for the Presidential Elections. But to their utter dismay, the power of extra-celestial elements worked against the wishes of this wholly dishonorable and dishonest ruling clan.

Now the question is whether those who replaced them are any better. The nagging nature of this brutal reality is haunting each and every one who voted to oust the Rajapaksas from power. Transformation from a family-run outfit of a government to a people-oriented government based on the basic principle of the rule of law could be slow and might even look like incompetent. That is the price of good governance. When the people at large, a collective and not as separate individuals, realize the validity of good governance, then our own society might stand a chance of full recovery form the dependency-oriented mindset.

The Galle Face-gram vendor who is heading for his home after hard day’s selling with a bundle of dreams of making a more gainful tomorrow might bump into more obstacles on his way. His forlorn trudge towards a better day will indeed be utterly lonesome and sometimes even more dangerous. Yet he needs to carry on, for those who depend on his meager income may not be limited to his immediate family. He is truly a microcosm of his surroundings.

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

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  • 1
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    You say the following quite aptly.

    “In this cruel set up, people turn to politicians for not only their salvation, they also see them as an easy target of anger and blame”

    What do you think is going on in the USA this election? I said it twice with a huge caveat that unless WikiLeaks has more embarassing expose’s of Hillary’s email problem she is likely to win. Look what has happened now. FBI got into it again with her long time “friend” Huma Abedin having access to thousands of emails.

    Right now people are angry. Trump’s supporters are far more enthusiastic than Hillary’s voters. Like I said in an opinion column early voting shows Black voter enthusiasm down in key battleground states. They voted for Obama at massive proportions. I said in my opinion column they are not likely to turn out in the same proportions this time. And early polling shows that they are down. Without black and Hispanic votes Hillary cannot win the key states she has to win to get to 270 electoral votes.

    Excerpt here

    With a week to go before Election Day, over 25 million Americans have already cast their ballots via early voting. If this year is similar to 2012, those early votes will be nearly 20 percent of the final turnout. So it could be a big deal that black voters aren’t opting for early voting as much as they did four years ago, especially in key swing states like Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

    Low turnout among African-Americans could hurt Hillary Clinton. In most polls, more than 90 percent of black voters support her over Donald Trump.

    North Carolina is seeing fewer black voters casting their ballots early this year, The New York Times reports. They accounted for just 22 percent of early voters as of Monday, compared to 27.3 percent of early voters in 2012. Although there’s still a week left for that proportion to increase, the decline is concerning for Democrats, who expect to receive nearly all of those votes.

    Black voters were likely more enthusiastic about casting a ballot for President Barack Obama four years ago than for Clinton today, but that may not be the entire explanation. In North Carolina, Republican lawmakers and officials have engaged in a concerted effort to reduce turnout among African-Americans.
    Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-voter-turnout-north-carolina-ohio-florida_us_5818c782e4b0990edc33acfc

    And like I said barring an indictment or shocking email revelations she is likely to win. Now it seems equally possible that Trump will send seismic waves by winning. The polls which once had Hillary with a big lead is now changing. We only have 7 days to go. So watch polls and trends. This might be the world’s biggest shock as the silent white majority come out and they are overlooked or fly under the radar on the pollsters sampling. FBI and Comey just did Trump a huge favour.

  • 3
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    “Now the question is whether those who replaced them are any better”

    It increasingly looks like the much hyped ‘ Yahapalanaya’ government has lost focus and direction. The thrust seems to be on making hay for themselves while the sun shines and covering up the sins and crimes committed by their predecessors and now themselves. This is becoming a manifest fact and is no longer a vague suspicion.

    It started with the failure to deliver the much publicized 100 day promises in full and the dilution of the 19th amendment. Now it has progressed to imposing additional VAT , while those who are ruling us are showering themselves with an assortment of expensive gifts at our expense and name.

    The President is undermining the very promises on which he rode to power. The Prime Minister, on whom we reposited our faith, seems to be also faltering in his mission. He seems to be increasingly elitist and is mistaking the needs and wants of Colombo and the cities as the needs of the much larger rural Sri Lanka. The cabinet , its performance and meaningless words seems to be a carnival of clowns where pick pockets are having a field day.

    Disillusionment is becoming increasingly palpable among those who voted-in this government. Instead of contrasting, the people are finding more and more similarities between this government and Mahinda Rajapakse’s. This is a worrying development.

    Hope is rapidly giving way to gloom. Idealism is being fast overtaken by cadishness and nest feathering. Criminals from the past regime are taking pride in being remanded and coming out on bail through revolving doors! Why are cases not yet being taken to courts? Why are those in the present parliament, cabinet and the President’s son being shielded from the reach of law? Where is the economy heading? What is happening in the north, in terms of politics and criminality? Could we expect a principled new constitution in these circumstances? Even if we get it, would it be implemented in a principled manner ?

    Is Yahapalnaya gradually becoming Yamapalanaya in a accelerating process?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
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      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      It is a pity that many were exploited by the political hogwash to win votes and seize power through deception that occured in 2014/2015.

      It was a strategy to win votes and a lot of hype and propaganda. Even the President says he came to power on an UNP vote, he represented UNP hopes. I said it then and say it now, just because you have an election does not mean the country will change.

      I hope people have learned the lessons of wisdom and patience. Wisdom to know whom to trust and who suitable people are to lead this country.

      Patience to wait until 2020. We can have a better government but it is upto the people to elect it.

  • 3
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    Vishwamithra1984

    RE:Anatomy Of A Failed People

    “When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail.” ~Pearl S. Buck.

    “Good People do Good things, Bad People do Bad things, to get Good People to Do Bad things, it takes Religion”-Steven Weinburg, Physics Nobel Price Laureate.

    “Good Politicians do Good things, Bad Politicians do Bad things, to get Good Politicians to Do Bad things, it takes Ego, Greed and Bribery”-Through Lanka Bulath Vines, Vettila Vines and Grape Vines.

    Example: “President” Gon Sirisena Gamarala.

  • 0
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    About Rajapaksha whose opinion is more relevant – Vishvamitra’s or Sirisena’s? :

    https://youtu.be/xIoqholH508

    Soma

  • 0
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    People like Vishvamitra, must assume moral responsibility of fooling the masses and poisoning the minds of minorities in the most devilish calculation.

    Can people of the calibre of Vishvamitra now cry before the public that they were taken for a ride by crooks like Ranil and Sirisena.

    Mr Vishvamitra, dare to comment on the following:

    https://youtu.be/xIoqholH508

    Soma

  • 0
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    vishwamithra1984,

    “Anatomy Of A Failed People”

    It is too early to write this article as yet after 2015. Rather you must write “Anatomy Of A Failed President post 2015”

  • 0
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    Dear Wishwamithra and all Participants,
    The norms of Sri Lanka today is not comparable to the norms existing in other parts of the civilized world. There are Journalists, educated elites and several participants here who have no information/knowledge in Humanitarian and social sciences, Human psychology, and the Country has been allowed to grow with misinformation for a long time for the politician’s advantage. Anybody without the support of a politician in power cannot prosper in any field, entrepreneurship or employment or to get selected for Police or to other Forces.
    Here in this forum itself the world can see how Sri Lanka is different from all Norms and Practices around the world. The meaning and functions of Democracy, majority, and minority are all misinterpreted for the convenience of the long time rulers like the U.N.P and S.L.F.P to be returned to power over and over again. Even though among the majority there is some change after experiencing ruthless crime, fraud, and the Country ruined by those in Power Politics, the present Yahalapalanaya Government happens to be the same extension of the previous regime. It is a pathetic situation and created by the same Leaders repeating the same unfortunate practice.

  • 0
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    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    ” It increasingly looks like the much hyped ‘ Yahapalanaya’ government has lost focus and direction. “

    If this is the plight then best this Government collapses sooner than later and would be detrimental to keep postponing the evil day and it is the people who suffer. Better make room someone better, hopefully, and that too is not a easy choice. That is the dilemma people are in.

    We should elect someone who oblige strict stipulated conditions such as existing Presidency will be abolished in one year and also tender a legal resignation letter before elections to the people. So even if the presidency does not get abolished in one year of coming to power contender would have resigned and so we need not have to wait a full term wasted our time and life that long to hope a decent and honest person come and bring justice to the people.

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