1 July, 2022

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Aragalaya: People’s Response To Rajapaksa-Made Crisis

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

Sri Lanka’s Aragalaya has many similarities with protests in other countries over the last decade in what is being described, both by the political Left and the Right, as the age of mass protests. According to one assessment the size and frequency of protests since 2009 are eclipsing the protest waves of the last century in the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. According to another, a majority of the of the protests in different countries are triggered by the failure of representational democracy and the outrage over systemic corruption and lack of accountability. The latter study (World Protests: A Study of Key Protest Issues in the 21st Century. 2022. Global Social Justice, Initiative for Policy Dialogue, New York), identifies “mass middle-class involvement in protests” as a “new dynamic” that has ruptured “a pre-existing solidarity of the middle classes with elites,” mainly as a result of economic failures.

Even so, the Aragalaya in Sri Lanka cannot be understood or discussed in isolation from the economic calamity that the country is facing. The collapsing economy is virtually the be all and end all of Aragalaya. There would be several contributing ‘determinants’, but in the absence of anything like the current economic crisis, it is safe to say, there would not have been an Aragalaya in Sri Lanka, and the one that took the country by storm for well over a month. What is so deterministic about the economic condition? In my view, it is what Professor Mick Moore of the University of Sussex described (to the BBC’s Today programme) as “the most man-made and voluntary economic crisis of which I know.” And public outrage has simply targeted the men who made it.

Egregious Incompetence

Mick Moore has been a consultant on Sri Lanka for the Asian Development and he knows something about the island’s economy and its decision making compulsions. His description that it is “the most man-made and voluntary economic crisis”, is the most accurate assessment and explanation of our situation among all the assessments and explanations that are flying around. Moore rejected the lately canvassed idea that Sri Lanka’s difficulties are due to global economic problems, and asserted that the Sri Lankan crisis is “emphatically not that”.

His criticism would seem to include both the Mahinda and the Gota regimes. The former borrowed money for infrastructure projects and the latter “insisted in this very macho fashion” on repaying the massive debt instead of restructuring it. The government, Prof. Moore said, “went along in this way until about six months ago and basically they had given away virtually all the foreign exchange they could command”. “This is egregious incompetence,” he concluded.

Prof. Moore’s assertions were resoundingly validated by the Central Bank Governor Dr Nandalal Weerasinghe, when he appeared before the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on Wednesday, May 25. As reported in The Island (Thursday, May 26), the current Governor confirmed that his two predecessors (Lakshman and Cabraal), then Minister of Finance (and Prime Minister) Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Treasury Secretary S. R. Attygalle – all of them criminally failed to act on the dire warning given by the IMF as far back as March-April 2020, of an impending financial crisis and Sri Lanka’s debt unsustainability. Without debt restructuring, IMF has warned, that Sri Lanka will not be able to procure new loans.

The Committee was also informed how three members of the then Monetary Board (Governor W.D. Lakshman, Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle and nominated member Samantha Kumarasinghe) disregarded the written objections of the two minority members (Ranee Jayamaha and Sanjiva Jayawardena) and decided to maintain a fixed exchange rate at Rs. 203 by using the Bank’s reserves ($ 5.5 billion in reserves between June 2021 and March 2022), in order to hide the extent of the debt crisis.

Here we are a year later, with forex reserves depleted to daily subsistence levels and the country going from pillar to post in search of fuel, gas, medicine and food to meet its daily needs. What Prof. Moore called “egregious incompetence, was described at the COPE hearing as “a crime” by committee Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath. The Chairman went on to call for a Special Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate those whose negligence has brought the country to its current plight.

As Prof. Moore has observed, Sri Lanka’s current crisis cannot be blamed on global economic problems. No other Asian country is in the same perilous plight as Sri Lanka. Countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam, which were far behind Sri Lanka in the starting lineup for economic take-off, have now surged far ahead of Sri Lanka and they are not having any of the problems that Sri Lankans are now facing, Covid or no Covid. The current problems are not only man-made but they were also made in the last two years. There is much to be said about Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory after 1948, but none of it can be used to mitigate the misdoings of the last two years. Blaming 74 years of independence is simply lamebrained.

It is not 74 years, but only the last two years of egregious incompetence that are to blame. People caught it instinctively and it was their outrage that became Aragalaya. Corruption and incompetence are not unknown to Sri Lankans, but never before have they seen the two fusing in a single ruling family, to such a large extent and in so short a time. That made Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa the bullseye targets of public outrage. For the first time ever, Sri Lankans targeted a political figure and his family for expulsion by resignation. And the target slogans Gota-Go-Home and Myna-Go-Home were given territorial grounding in Gota-Go-Gama and Myna-Go-Gama, respectively.

Political Failure

Put another way, it is the ‘egregious incompetence’ of the Gotabaya-government and the hardships it has caused for all Sri Lankans regardless of their social and spatial locations, which is at the root of the ‘Aragalaya’ movement and offers some insight into both its anatomy and its anticipations. Aragalaya is still a ‘real time’ phenomenon, and it is too early for broadly acceptable analysis and interpretations of the movement. So, it has become a dart board for others to throw their favourite missiles, often making their own projections rather than attempting reasonable insights. In the absence plausible explanations, there is no harm in accurately describing what one can see about Aragalaya, and it would be sufficient to say for now, “this is how things area,” as a great 20th century philosopher used to say.

Aragalaya activists have been described, on the one hand, as the westernised children of 1977, with the implication that they are undermining the achievements of the children of 1956. They are also being seen as English-speaking, lion-flag waving Sinhala supremacists who are among the 6.9 million who voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, but who are now disenchanted with him after seeing him in action as President. And there might be many shades in between.

Another litmus test applied to Aragalaya is how inclusive and reflective it is of Sri Lanka’s ethnic plurality. Aragalaya has shown no overt ethnic exclusion or symptoms of chauvinism. That in itself could be seen as a positive development in the twilight of Sri Lanka’s political past. In addition, the current economic hardships are so pervasive that there is hardly any opportunity for feelings of ‘relative discrimination’ between groups. Everyone is in the same bind, just like as it was after the 2004 tsunami. It was political leadership that failed then, and it is political leadership that is failing now even though the circumstances are vastly different.

May 9 Aftermaths

Although the May 9 Temple Trees ‘coup’ ended disastrously for its orchestrators, the coup’s purpose may have been fulfilled indirectly, even if only partially. Aragalaya, though still alive, has been deflated enough to encourage twisted reactionary politics creep back to life after going dormant for over a month. The perverse twist is being manifested in blaming Aragalaya for its allegedly infeasible demands, deriding its apparent inability to provide an alternative leadership, calling Galle Face protesters middle class kids and telling them they have had their fun and they can go home now, and asking Gotabaya Rajapaksa, even if tongue-in-cheek, to stay on and tidy up his mess.

I call this perverse and twisted partly because such insults and instructions were never flung at the Rajapaksa regime which has been on the run since the end of March, and more importantly because the mushrooming criticisms of Aragalaya totally miss the economic elephant in the room. Until May 9 and its violent Temple Trees teledrama, criticisms of the Aragalaya have been generally from the Left. They were mostly supportive and friendly criticisms. After May 9, the reactionaries seem emboldened to assume they have got their license back. Hence the flurry of criticisms ranging from a rather bizarre comparison to the utterly abominable trucker-protest in Ottawa, Canada, to the patronizing advice that Aragalaya kids have had their fun at Galle Face, have eaten their free biriyani lunch, and now they can go home.

Aragalaya may have been deflated by the violence of May 9, but it certainly is not dead. Aragalaya is not limited to what goes on at Galle Face. It is manifested in every protest that is going on in any and every part of the country. It is manifested in the long and never ending queues for scarce supplies. Aragalaya may not have achieved its most publicized objective, the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Not yet. But it has achieved the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, which would have been impossible if people had not come out in protest starting in Mirihana. It has achieved, as well, the very public pursuit of wrongdoers which is supported by lawyers acting pro bono. It has forced the Attorney General’s Department to suddenly become responsive, and it has given the courts the sociocultural context to resonate positively to what the people are looking for. These achievements are not insignificant by any standard.

As well, to take Aragalaya for dead is to forget the economic elephant that is still in the room. Everyone wishes Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe well to succeed on the economic front. But can he look after the economy without minding political housekeeping? That is the question and the difficulties he is facing are quite significant and they are not easily scalable. As some of us have been arguing, the manner in which Mr. Wickremesinghe was inducted as PM is also contributing to the difficulties he is facing. This is not something seen in hindsight, but should and could have been anticipated earlier. That is to say, Mr. Wickremesinghe should have had the discussions he has been having with political party leaders before accepting the President’s invitation to become PM rather than as a consequence to it.

And instead of proceeding to implement an agreed-upon agenda, the Prime Minister has to waste and time resources to deal with Basil Rajapaksa’s machinations involving SLPP MPs in parliament. It is now known that the latest vote in parliament to elect its Deputy Speaker was not parliamentary cretinism, but Basil Rajapaksa’s highhandedness to show that he alone is the SLPP boss, and not the President. Call it separation of powers, the Rajapaksa way!

It is not only reactionary politics and Basil Rajapaksa’s antics that have been resurrected by the deflation of Aragalaya. There is also the ministerial resurrection of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who has been entrusted with the drafting of the 21A Bill. Given his chequered past, no one should be surprised that the draft Bill that he is currently circulating is unacceptable to almost all genuine stakeholders for constitutional reform. In addition, quite a few SLPP MPs and former Ministers are now ganging up against substantive constitutional changes and abolishing the executive presidency.

PMD’s Monkey Business

Above all, the President, either on his own bad advice or that of others, would appear to be keen on consolidating his political position with no apparent interest in addressing the burning issues of scarcity the people are facing. While others are talking about separating the Head of State from holding ministerial portfolios, the President is gazetting himself authority over 42 institutions by bringing them under the Defence Ministry. Why should the President be directly bossing over institutions like The Board of Investment, Sri Lanka Telecom and the Port City Economic Commission, and why should such institutions come under the Ministry of Defence?

And why is the President extending the duration of the ‘One Country One Law’ Presidential Task Force headed by the controversial Gnanasara Thero even after the Attorney General has instructed that charges by filed against the monk for using hate speech against religious minorities? Is the Task Force going to be helpful in getting bridge financing from the IMF? Or is there a new credit line from Saudi Arabia that Gnanasara Thero recently visited apparently for enlightenment on religious cohabitation?

If the President seems earnest about consolidating his positions and murky bases, he is also showing himself to be deceptive and manipulative in spreading misinformation about Aragalaya protesters. At least, the President’s Media Division (PMD) is. Last week, the PMD put out a press release that has since been exposed and dismissed as false information. The PMD statement alluded to an organization called “The Confederation of Professionals for a National Policy” and described it as “a group of professionals and youth involved in ‘Aragalaya’ (struggle).” The statement went on to say that this ‘group’ met with the President on Wednesday (June 1), that the meeting was held under the patronage of Ven. Prof. Pathegama Gnanissara Thera and Shastrapathi Ven. Vitiyala Kavidhaja Thera, and that the meeting was attended by Dr. Asoka Jayasena and Mr. Nelum Weragoda representing the “group of professionals and youth involved in Aragalaya.”

The PMD’s statement is a lie. No one from Aragalaya, or representing Aragalaya, attended any meeting with the President. The protesters who have been out for over fifty days demanding the resignation of the President have flatly denied meeting with the President as (falsely) claimed by the President’s Media Division. Aragalaya protesters have been quite categorical in denouncing the PMD’s falsehoods: “We don’t want to have any sort of discussion with the President. We just want him to be sent home. That’s the name of our movement “Gota Go Gama” (GGG), meaning for Gota to go.” Aragalaya is not going away, because the economic elephant His Excellency created is not going to wither away any time soon.

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Latest comments

  • 16
    0

    The future of the country is distressingly bleak and nothing will change until these corrupt low life politician b*stards are wiped out from the system. Sick and tired of SL political system. Sick and tired of this corrupt disgusting Rajapaksha family. We wish for the emergence of a brand new clean strong leader who can save the country from the claws and clutches of this corrupt disgusting b*astard family and take our country forward to a new era of peace and prosperity. Poor Sri Lanka truly needs this change. 2024/2025?

    Aragalaya should not go away!

    • 5
      0

      Me Lankan,
      Good morning.
      Agree with you on you sentiments!!
      Urgent requirement, and undoubtedly!
      Alas for that to happen, we need the recasting of and a paradigm change in the mindset of,
      1. First and foremost the 6.9 million voted for Pohottuwa to see reality (Reality Awakened!)
      2. Secondly for them to envision and act to choose an alternative to saviours!!
      3. The group now articulating the “New mindset” or the ‘Aragalaya’ and well minded people to integrate SECULAR, without Caste, Creed and Religious divisions to suitably elect a person
      When this happens, yes we have seized the moment of recalibration and redemption!!
      That will not happen otherwise!!??

      • 1
        0

        Agreed.

        Good morning to you Mahila.

  • 4
    9

    Rajapaksa politics in the judiciary has damaged Sri Lanka’s reputation. The latest example is Colombo Commercial High Court banning a Russian aircraft leaving Sri Lanka.
    First of all, the Colombo Commercial High Court has no jurisdiction whatsoever to hear the case filed by Celestial Aviation Trading Limited, an Irish company, against Russian state owned Aeroflot. Sri Lanka has no jurisdiction over Russia. Simple logic!
    Secondly, Sri Lanka is not party to EU sanctions that targets Russia’s aviation sector which is the basis of the court case filed by the Irish company.
    Thirdly, a commercial court has no legal authority to detain foreigners. It is reported that over 200 international passengers and crew have been detained at a hotel (at whose cost? Sri Lankan public should not bear the cost) after the enjoining order issued by the Colombo Commercial High Court Judge.
    Fourthly, the agreement between Sri Lanka and Russia to operate flights between the two countries is a government-to-government agreement which falls outside the jurisdiction of the Commercial High Court.
    The enjoining order issued by the Colombo Commercial High Court Judge that banned Aeroflot leaving Sri Lanka has no legal bearing and it should be REVOKED IMMEDIATELY.

    • 5
      1

      Champa,
      Your,
      “The latest example is Colombo Commercial High Court banning a Russian aircraft leaving Sri Lanka.
      First of all, ————
      Secondly, ————-.
      Thirdly, —————Colombo Commercial High Court Judge.
      Fourthly, ———— government-to-government agreement which falls outside the jurisdiction of the Commercial High Court.

      The enjoining order ——-has no legal bearing and it should be REVOKED IMMEDIATELY”
      Please do not dwell on subjects – Law and International Law – that’s beyond comprehension except professionals on that subject!!
      Why else on earth do you have COMMERCIAL HIGH COURT??
      I would wager, that the Lessor – celestial Aviation – is after repayment monies due to them?? Period!!
      200 People stranded and related Hotel accommodation for them, is collateral damage, which had to be recovered from Aeroflot Russian Airlines and not SL, because in the agreement for “Carriage of Passengers and Goods in the ‘Sale of Tickets to Passengers’ are the responsibility of the Airline (in this case AEROFLOT) and not the country of incident (Sri Lanka)!!?
      SIBERIAN TIGER IS TRYING TO PULL THE WOOL OVER THE EYES of innocent Sri Lanka!!!???
      Case closed and BEST WISHES!!

      • 1
        1

        Champa. The answer is very simple. Just reverse Ireland with Srilanka and Srilanka with Ireland, you will find the answer yourself.

      • 5
        1

        Dear Mahila,
        .
        This is not the first time, Ms Champa utters incoherent thoughts about any topics where the kind of lowlives would have no clue. The kind of researchers are the majority in srilanka, if their age groups lie over 60.
        This issue has nothing to do with usual flights being set between the two countries, however it is reported to be an issue based on ” a lease”.
        .
        Following link would help anyone who is intersted in the topic.
        .
        http://www.jsc.gov.lk/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=64&lang=en#The%20High%20Court

      • 2
        1

        Those are interested in the grounded plane in BIA.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLBC8gHEjd4
        .
        This issue is being caught by misinterpreations by our DIEHARD PUTIN FAN – CHAMPA- for not having undrestood it properly.
        :
        Srilanka govt makes it very clear that the issues not based on G-G but very commercial.

      • 1
        1

        Manila
        Please don’t waste your breath with Champa. She is some deadbeat retired teacher or something living in Paanadura.
        CT is where she ventures out to blurt her nonsensical ideas thinking that she is impressing the audience! Just let her blow hot air and be happy.
        Do you remember that teacher woman who was caught by the aragalaya boys and girls on the 9th of May at Galle face, drunk like a skunk. That woman somehow reminds me of champa.
        In my honest opinion, Champa is someone who is looking for heroes to identify with them, regardless of their character. Her love for a beast like putin goes to show how desperate she is to find some foothold on even the most cussed of people so she could feel a bit better that her life means something.
        Hope you get a picture of how messed up and pitiful her condition is.

        • 3
          0

          Human touch
          Mahila
          Leelagemalli&Co.
          .
          “Small minds discuss people
          Average minds discuss events
          Great minds discuss ideas”
          .
          I have the right to opinion.
          I continue to engage with Russia to avoid Mr. Vladimir Putin making an ‘arbitrary miscalculation’. He doesn’t make mistakes. All his decisions are based on careful thought, planning and a strategy. He is a master strategian. Take Eastern and Southern Ukraine for example. He is issuing Russian passports to Ukrainians who are ethnic Russians and Russophones and who were subjected genocide at the hands of Azovs and Ukrainian forces. These territories may not even hold referendums as the result is obvious. Cities such as, Luhansk, Donetsk, Seaport and river port city Kherson, Port city Mariupol, Port city Berdiansk, Izyum, Melitopol, Bazalivka, Lyman, Kreminna, Rubezhnoe, Bilohorivka, Popasnaya, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk are already under Russia. (I may have missed some.) According to the Ukraine’s President, Russia has taken 20% of Ukrainian territory within 100 days (with the help of foot-soldiers and some ‘old tanks’). That is super fast when compared to the US led NATO’s 20-year stay in Afghanistan which ended up in humiliation.
          According to GeorgeW.Bush Intelligence Centre, Russians will not give up until their mission is accomplished!
          Contd’

          • 2
            0

            The decision taken by the US and UK to send long range missiles to Ukraine to attack Russia may end up Russia completely ‘eliminating’ the ‘US led NATO Militarized Ukraine’. This is a story that history repeats itself. Hundreds of thousands Russian soldiers have sacrificed their lives to end European slavery. Hundreds of thousands Russian soldiers have sacrificed their lives to regain territories belonging to the ancient Russian empire. Today, thousands of Russian soldiers are following their forefathers to liberate ethnic Russians and Russophones from genocide and regain territories that were gifted to Ukraine in 1922 when it had only two oblasts. Ukrainians must know that the present day Ukraine was built on sweat, blood and tears of Russian soldiers.
            My fear is, Russians are known to be slow starters and fast finishers. Where will this end? What I meant by ‘arbitrary miscalculation’ is Russia heading for WWIII resulting in some innocent countries submerged by an artificial earthquake.
            I would like to see Mr. Vladimir Putin to be the leader who rebuilt the world. He can easily help the African continent out of poverty. He respects African Presidents. I can offer my ‘unsolicited advice’ for the betterment of the Africans.

    • 2
      2

      Some players seem to be at play to block Sri Lanka from getting crude oil, coal, fuel and fertilizer from Russia. I hope Russia will not consider the Aeroflot issue a reason to sever diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka

      • 3
        2

        Namal Rajapaksa has a hand in the Aeroflot case and many other past and recent court cases, including Duminda’s case. The Supreme Court has no power to revoke a Presidential Pardon unless there is a previous judgement that Gotabhaya’s election to office was illegal.
        Russia is a long standing friend of Sri Lanka. When the Collective West and India voted against Sri Lanka at the UN in favour of the LTTE diaspora, China and Russia stood by Sri Lanka without expecting anything in return.

        • 1
          2

          Champa you stupid twit, are you indirectly trying to use reverse psychology to glorify Namal the retard now?
          Namal and the entire Mara clan are birds of the same feather.
          Namal is at the centre of Maras efforts, as he wants the dud Namal to become president by hook or by crook. So Mara is doing all he can to disrupt the country not caring about the damage.
          It is too late to white wash these traitors.

          • 1
            0

            People will see, all these men in Rajapkashe ciricles, one behind the other, how they will have to face it as sacrificial animals. Karmic retribution signs are becoming clear these days than any times in the past.

  • 16
    1

    As far back as one can remember …………. everyone is always trying to save the economy ……. no one ever tried ……. or had a chance to develop it ………..

    The constitution was changed, to bring in a gas-station attendant as the Finance Minister …….. people accept it as an usual/normal occurrence without a murmur ……… the enormity of its stupidity ……… is not dawned …….. on even the most educated …..

    Ranil’s greatest talent is …… he can hold out hope ……… people believe Ranil can do this; Ranil can do that ……… like no other Lankan politician, all his political career, Ranil has done nothing but hold out hope ….. without delivering on it …….

    Now, for the umpteenth time, he is there, holding out hope …..

    After, singlehandedly, reducing the UNP to zero …….. he wants to rebuild it by bringing in youth! ………. still holding out hope …….. while uneducated/uncultured/ill-bred/uncouth murderous looters build new parties from ground up and win landslide victories ……

    Ranil is still there in his 70s ……. still holding out hope ………… the UNP will someday win under his leadership!

    All these years, haven’t we done nothing but wait?

    There supposed to be 195 countries in the world ……… one has to have some special luck to be born in Lanka ………..

    • 3
      7

      Ranil says here

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M46ZMTPSYqo

      that the people in the Provinces aren’t really clamouring for gas:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M46ZMTPSYqo
      .
      Thirty-seven minutes of him speaking to NDTV. Wrong. We’ve got the queues even here, for diesel and for cooking gas. Not for petrol at Rs 420 per litre. People are running out of money. Not to worry: I’m sure that salaries, and my pension, will be paid. Ranil is continuing the policy of printing money. He has no plans to leave, but he will be thrown out soon. How? I don’t know.
      .
      I agree that the lack of gas is more acutely felt by the folks in Colombo; and Rosy Senanayake has warned that the city will soon be unlivable.
      .
      Out here, people have the option of using firewood; but they are dragging their feet. People haven’t realised that we’re a pampered lot, living beyond our means. Look at the first paragraph here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-fuel-price-hike-repositioning-transport-logistics-sector-to-lead-economic-recovery-in-sri-lanka/
      .
      Only six weeks ago; forty comments, true; but thirteen by me. The guys who are abroad didn’t realise the significance of this article.
      .

  • 2
    1

    “mass middle-class involvement in protests” as a “new dynamic” that has ruptured “a pre-existing solidarity of the middle classes with elites,”
    —————-
    This is due to the greed of the highest ranking freemasons.
    In their bid to create their NWO (New World Order), they have bitten off more than they can chew, and essentially checkmated themselves.
    T

  • 12
    4

    Since students pay for tuition (most take loans) in American universities ……. the students are required to evaluate the performance of professors at the end of each semester. Education is seen as a commodity; something you pay and buy.

    In Lanka, teachers have an easy time ……. in most schools their word is law.

    Sinhala_Man has spent all his life marking students from 0 – 100.

    When the tables are turned ………… and a student; a very bad student, good ol’ nimal fernando tries to mark Sinhala_Man’s performance from 0 – 100 ……… he’s gone missing ……… pretends the student doesn’t exist ………..

    Everyone want things their own way ………… :))

    Yoo-hoo Sinhala_Man ….. are you there …….. somewhere?

    • 0
      5

      “Yoo-hoo Sinhala_Man ….. are you there …….. somewhere?” Good riddance of bad rubbish.

    • 2
      2

      Dear nimal,
      .
      You have correctly identified a common fault in teachers; testing all the time, not with a view to making useful assessments, but to finding fault. I strive not to indulge in that sort of thing.
      .
      Your comments are usually entertaining, and are shorn of malice. They often raise interesting points, and are therefore welcome.
      .
      However, that is proving insufficient to counter the crumbling of our society. I intend to update you on some aspects of the problems facing our society now: a dearth of people who are willing to ensure that there is accountability in public affairs.
      .
      I think that we could usefully discuss this for more than two days below this article, but may I place my other comments at the bottom of the page, please?
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

      • 5
        0

        “crumbling of our society.”

        “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…
        The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance”
        Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark ….. decades ago


        All societies are crumbling …….. can anyone do anything about it?

        Societies build themselves ………. societies crumble/destroy themselves ……. new societies will be born …… again ……. by themselves …….. no one can do anything about …… it

    • 2
      0

      What is your Point NF ?

      I think to compare US standards with that of a developing country is wrong. – besides, srilankens will be the only asian nation, that will be affected to be hard hit by current crisis. That says almost everything abou the true picture of our so called paradise.

      Also in Central Europe, pupils at schools are given the chance to work on such questionaires, even if Unis (not all) but depending on their fields, usually provide the students with such asssesment sheets.
      .
      Btw, how can we assess the teachers in SL ? Is it at all possible in srilanken context ?

      SRILANKA is though made to be ” a mid income earning nation”; Are the teachers well paid in our hell yet today ? , if not they work for international schools or as tuition masters ?

      If SRILANKEN states could afford to provide the teachers with sufficient salaries, tution masters would not turn out to be BANDULA GUNARDHANA or the like wealthy men.
      :
      Answers: No
      .
      Sinhala man has been a genuine teacher for his entire life.
      I believe he is still continuing to teach the students whenever he has time to do so.
      .

  • 2
    14

    “…but in the absence of anything like the current economic crisis, it is safe to say, there would not have been an Aragalaya in Sri Lanka, and the one that took the country by storm for well over a month.”
    —-
    Could this economic crisis a ‘Planed’ one to promote ‘Aragalaya’ for regime change and to destabilize the country?

    • 1
      0

      (Part I)
      EE,
      “Could this economic crisis a ‘PLANED’ ONE TO PROMOTE ‘ARAGALAYA’ FOR REGIME CHANGE AND TO DESTABILIZE the country?”
      Very sensible proposition, considering the happenings of recent vintage and well-articulated indeed!
      Who else could have planned it any better, than the people in power when this skulduggery happened, than any other???
      Are you suggesting that People in Power are set of Dumb and Deaf and Duff???
      Who appointed the “POINT MAN”, the Dubious repute, Nivard Cabral (Cabaal!) as the Governor of the CBSL??
      The HE on the advice of the then Finance Manager and Prime Minister, both, well knowing the last time he was Governor CBSL, this persons’ historical mismanagement, in the public domain???
      1. Greek Bonds,
      2. Paying for US agents, garnering support from US Congress w/o due diligence, (Guilty)
      3. Paying for SL embassy premises in Washington, w/o due diligence (The former SL ambassador – Brother – in – Law Mahendra Percival – Guilty in US for embezzling Funds)
      This was total and absolute mismanagement due to lethargy and indifference of High Office!!!
      What else do you need to find the culprit, who wanted to plan “REGIME CHANGE AND TO DESTABILIZE” the country?
      SUGGESTION HAS MERIT INDEED!!!

    • 1
      0

      (PART II)
      PUT THE THINKING CAP ON – I DID NOT ALL THIS TIME, UNTIL I WROTE PARAGRTAPH 2, 3 AND 4 ABOVE!!??
      SOMEONE PLANNED PROBABLY, ‘DEEP STATE PLAN’ TO ACHIEVE, WHAT YOU ARE SUGGESTING??!!!
      The events of Easter Sunday 2018 are not very far back indeed?!! Credible thought, FULLY AGREE!!?
      WHO WOULD IT BE?? YOU ARE VERY MUCH WISER TO GRAPPLE AND ARRIVE AT AN ANSWER!!??
      God bless Lanka, the resplendent Isle!! Tear drop Pearl of the Indian Ocean!!
      Join you wholeheartedly in your attempts to unearth the crime and prayers to help Sri Lanka overcome these ill effects!!

    • 3
      0

      EE
      .
      May I ask u / what is ur staple?
      .
      Punnaku?.
      .
      Ur stupid leaders, Medamulana animals could nt settle even trivial issues such as gas CYLINDER blasts/ remember?
      Nor have Gota co.managed the Covid crisis properly. His total ignorance led innocent people to die for not good reason.
      .
      Today the bugger shamelessly says/ it was a mistake to delay going to IMF. I a civilised world people would have hung him but stupid people dominated sl would nt do anything.
      .
      All what the bugger blindly uttered before the world such as organic manure issue is today according to him was a huge mistake. Are srilankens Guinea pigs for him to experiment? Yet today u the kind of BP s to stay servile to them further? 😎🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃🐃

  • 5
    0

    I have a slightly different take on the crisis in Sri Lanka.
    Emphatically, it is not just economic mismanagement of Lakshman, of Cabraal, or S. R. Attygalle.
    Lakshman is an expert on economy, in his own rights. Why would he mismanage?
    Cabraal is not an economist. Period. How did he become Governor of the Central Bank?
    So, there has to be a more binding reason for the economic failure.
    I don’t have to spell that to you. Do I?

    • 2
      0

      I don’t have to spell that out to you. Do I? (out was out! Sorry.)

    • 1
      0

      Cabral or the like are no different to Wimal Buruwanse.
      .
      These men have much in common than appeared to be/ hyperactivity in back pleasing gene.
      .
      In a decent country/ Cabral would have cruzified dragging him to Galle face green. But a world where tribes are the leaders/ nothing world work for serving the justice 😎🐃😎🐃😎🐃😎🐃😎🐃😶

  • 12
    1

    To put it simple
    Mahinda Rajapakse burrowed dollars to white elephant projects to get commissions and raised his image. non of this projects generate income to service debt.
    Debt were repaid using dollar reserve in the central bank without going to IMF.
    He cut some sustainable taxes to gain votes and placed incompetent people of his family and buddies to mange big institutions like Air Lanka,
    He functioned as finance minister with his lackey governed general and try to keep dollar at fixed rate loosing treasury reserve.
    He lives in lavish life and become richest person in Sri Lanka by only taking salary of the president.
    His arrogant brother created some dumb project like organic agriculture and make collapse in agriculture sector.
    To once, twice and thrice they should be expelled , punished and go to jail as the first step to develop sustainable economy and debt restructuring etc.

  • 7
    3

    “His criticism would seem to include both the Mahinda and the Gota regimes. The former borrowed money for infrastructure projects and the latter “insisted in this very macho fashion” on repaying the massive debt instead of restructuring it.”
    —-
    What about huge amount (16b US$?) borrowed by Ranil issuing ISBs during ‘Yahapalana’ Government with high interest rates and short repayment periods? These ISBs matured in 2020. Is it possible to restructure ISB loans?
    —-
    Part of that money was used to import all kinds of rubbish e.g. kites, Vesak lanterns and even ‘Kankun’ so that they can take ‘commis’ from importers. No one knows what happened to rest of the money. Committee on Public Accounts should call Ranil and ask what happened to that money.

    • 2
      1

      EE,
      “And even ‘KANKUN’ SO THAT THEY CAN TAKE ‘COMMIS’ from importers”
      Dumb and Deaf Blind Eye, if you HAVE PROOF OF THE ‘COMMIS’, being taken, why don’t you make the information available with you to the ‘The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption’ (CIABOC)??
      That will be a great yeoman service towards the economic betterment of our Motherland!?
      Certain that you would like to be bestowed with that glory!??
      On another matter, ‘KANKUN’, at least the masses would have been able to make ‘Mallung’ to eat with Rice, if other vegies were out of reach or expensive!!!???
      Now wedo not have that luxury, nor the Rice, post the Post Organic Fertilisation project of the Pohottuwa from October 2019!!!
      Is it possible to TEAR UP THE TARMAC on “white Elephant Projects of Mahendra Percival (AKA Appachche)”???
      Or Repaving, often (too often indeed, whenever “Johnny the trickster”, feels the ‘pangs of Hunger’ – not food – for Commis!) and EAT IT?? WHEN WE THE SOVEREIGN PEOPLE IN WHOSE NAME ‘OLD MYNAH’ borrowed the MONEY, WHEN THE PEOPLE ARE ‘STUFFED’ BY SHORTAGES IN FOOD due unavailability of USD?!
      You being the “KNOWALL”, please advise methodology. overcome problem, in your wisdom!!

  • 4
    0

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  • 12
    1

    Somehow I feel that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the culmination of everything wrong with the Motherland and the Lankan people, especially the Sinhalese.

    I can’t believe how the Sinhalese people, not involved in the Mass suffering, belittle the Aragalaya. Have they no heart when they see news reports on the sufferings of their own people howling out in despair? And how terrifying Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s smug face looks sitting there dictating national policy.

    One has a terrible dread for the future of the Motherland. That such a depraved person has no shame after what he has done to a whole country, is unbelievable! The more he stays on, the more the Motherland will fall. Global lenders will keep ignoring us until he leaves. Lankan citizens must do something pro-active about this, or the suffering is going to continue on for a long, long, time.

  • 3
    0

    I believe CT prefer to safeguard their masters in the rightist politics including RW, Sirisena and others. I believe that the origins of Aragalaya (Struggle) is not the Rajapakse Family alone, though they made it into the daylight. Dirty politics starting with corrupt autocratic, illegal JRJ activities have been in all the governments overtly or covertly. Not only they have collected Trillions of Rupees for their families friends and supporters illegally they have wasted so much without a blink of the eyelid.
    Hence, Struggle proper should be able to catch them all and get back the stolen assets (local cash, property and Forex deals etc.) from the citizens, prosecute them for interest due, wastage, cheating and misleading the community.
    At the moment parliamentarians are only talking on patching up the wasteful constitution; but not to change an iota of evil enclosed in it.
    Current parliamentarians must not involve in re-drafting it. Most of them are enemies of people’s interests.
    Constitution should be drafted by the people of all categories, viz; intellectuals, workers, experts, industrialists with the assistance of the impartial (to politics as well as to social & financial interests) legal community. There are a plenty of them waiting, among the Struggle and on lookers.

  • 11
    1

    Corruption is the root cause for the nation’s plight. As long as those responsible remain free to go on the same style, the country will sink deeper into the economic cesspit. But, the corrupters now have a pampered army supporting them. Thus, there is no solution. Moneys stashed abroad will save the guilty.

  • 4
    1

    “Corruption is the root cause for the nation’s plight.”
    There are other ROOT CAUSES for the Nation’s plight. SUCH AS
    The ANTI-MINORITIES MIND SET of the Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalists.
    The island lost the hard working up country Tamils by the pact of Srimavo and Indra G.
    Killings of Sinhala and Tamil youth during the last FOUR DECADES.
    To Solve the issues—
    Pass the completely new CONSTITUTION for SL–which will eliminate the Executive Presidency ;
    Make it impossible for corrupt uneducated to contest ANY elections.& not allowing them to switch parties by taking bribes; Solve the ETHNIC ISSUES immediately It is shame non of the National Parties wants to talk about the TAMILS GRIEVANCES/WANTS.

  • 1
    1

    “…the last decade in what is being described, both by the political Left and the Right, as the age of mass protests.”
    It was not just the last decade. A whole lot of protests were orchestrated by US proxies like NED and other subcontractors who conducted ‘Color Revolutions’.
    Very few mass protests delivered change that benefitted the people. Any change aiming to deliver social justice was subject to vile attack, including “mass protests” like for example in Nicaragua and Venezuela.
    The good thing is that the hirelings of the US failed. As a result more and more states in the Americas are asserting themselves. but it is not easy. the democratically elected president of Peru had a tough opponent in the daughter of a convicted ex-president, with charges pending against her. the right wing is making life hard for President Pedro Castillo. It may take another election or a mass uprising to change things for the better.
    Actually, mass protests in South and Central America were designed to topple anti-imperialist governments.
    One has to be cautious about forces behind mass protests, as we saw in the Arab Spring ending up will the foul murder of a much like president of Libya, and of course the conspiracy to topple Syria’s Assad.
    (ctd)

    • 2
      1

      Our Aragalaya was spontaneous, and vulnerable to infiltration by vested interests. Depoliticizing it beyond the ‘Go Home’ demand was a hidden agenda, which is now losing out.
      A good outcome of the disaster of 9 May was its drawing a dividing line between those desiring genuine change and those who will settle for a tinkering job.
      Patchwork has started already, and the resentment of several parties that backed the Aragalaya is that Ranil stole the march on them. Uncertain if Ranil could pull the country out of the immediate crisis, they are hedging their bets.
      They will resent the Aragalaya growing stronger, for it could eventually reject the entire lot of parliamentary politicians.
      *
      The Aragalaya will lose some momentum in case of a seeming ‘recovery’. But that is not a bad thing.
      It could make the Aragalaya a more diffuse nationwide phenomenon that will bring up issues more fundamental than shortages, soaring prices and ‘family rule’.
      That will not happen overnight. I hope that the experience so far will be an education process about the nature of the state and political power in the era of neocolonialism.
      The country’s best hope is politicization of the protests.
      Let this be unlike protests of the past decade.

  • 0
    0

    Dear nimal fernando,
    .
    This is going to run into about FOUR PARTS.


    True as it is that activity often goes by fits and starts (and I was a bit under the weather), you will find that towards the bottom of comments here,
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sri-lanka-tamils-no-choice-but-to-join-gotagogama-stay-put-or-go-abroad/comment-page-1/#comments
    .
    I have been very active. Admittedly in rather unexpected places.
    .
    With many of the recent events in National Politics veering off in unexpected directions, I responded to the query made by Professor Hoole regarding the the lack of accountability by his Anglican Bishop who makes vague statements of concern about National Issues, but shrugs off accountability regarding the running of his schools. You will necessarily have to take a quick look at What I have said there.
    .
    It is the Bishop’s responsibility to get this done – he’s got the Board of Governors to help him. It was you who first told me that your cousin, Kavinda, had ”something to do” with these schools. I remember that I then told you that whatever Kavinda had been doing was quite in order.

  • 1
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    Kavinda has a position that will allow him to play a significant role in eradicating the corruption there, without any risk to himself. He is the Manager of the Bandarawela. I actually sent him a personal email on the 15th of April, and made complimentary references to “nimal” and your CT comments. He hasn’t replied; was the address I have for him correct? I think so, but can’t be sure because he has never written to me. A Gordian knot! You could cut it, privately, again with no repercussions.
    .
    nimal, we have to each work out the role that we can afford to play. When it is possible, we ought to act. I remember you once told me: “we don’t discuss such matters in our family”. Oh, my, my! Stiff British upper lip and all that!
    .
    Isn’t it such attitudes that have brought us to this pass! Where-ever it is possible, we ought to alert people “in the family” because it may actually be appreciated. By now I think that you and I understand each other, although I haven’t the foggiest idea as to who you are. If you so desire, let it continue so!

  • 0
    0

    PART THREE
    .
    Here’s something that’ll startle you. After more than seventy years of tolerance, I put this on – in another unlikely place!
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/chelvanayakams-124th-birthday-the-need-to-honour-him-with-transparent-cms-administration/
    .
    I put it on only after warning my only brother, and giving him the chance to repent. He knows about what is there; still no response from him.
    .
    .
    Now for the real point I’m making, of interest to all readers: there’s so much talk of nepotism in this country. When I do the opposite of nobody appears to join me in getting something done about the “ISSUE”, never mind the past, get something done about the FUTURE.
    .
    By now, other readers may be wondering what is all this is about. It is this, please read carefully, and then respond. Most of the foregoing was written for “nimal”: this concerns all.

  • 0
    0

    CONCLUSION
    .
    The “STAFFS” of the three Branch schools of S. Thomas, in Kollupitiya, Bandarawela and Gurutalawa consist of about four hundred adults, mostly drawn from humbler backgrounds than most people associate with these schools. Since 1930, when the Board of Governors was created, there has been provision for the concerns of these STAFF (mostly teachers) to be voiced. This has been systematically denied them.
    .
    When I ask the Chairman of the Board, the Anglican Bishop, Rt. Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, whether these people will be allowed to democratically elect somebody to represent them, the Bishop (elected relatively recently) tells me that he hands over responsibility for it to the three Principals of the schools. He admits that there has been cheating in the past. The next elections are as far away as March 2024. He says not only that he won’t start preparing for them now, but even says that he can do nothing even if cheating does take place.
    .
    If there can be no guarantees about something as straightforward as this, can we be surprised that we are all disfranchised by the rotten politicians whom we send into Parliament?
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

  • 0
    0

    RP, You say May 9th coup was a disaster, into which are added the deadly machinations of BR, which are present in every calamity in this land against peoples welfare due to unbelievable robberies. The prophetic forecast was lawlessness of the future and it has come to pass, with lack of love for others. Aragalaya struggle is to get the greedy robbers out of the way so that this wealthy land and its rich resources will be experienced by all its people instead of keeping the majority as uneducated beggars. Robbers breath goes with empty hands.

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