By Jagath Asoka –
I am not very intuitive, but I see the signs of a bloodbath in Sri Lanka and a “dictatorship of the desperate.” So far, it has just been ineloquent rhetoric and gratuitous name-calling. This rhetoric is dangerous. Once upon a time there was a little man, with a little grayish beard, who kept raising his fist over his head and bringing it down as if he were crushing his adversary’s skull to dust. His adversary was the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. Even after abdication, Nicholas wanted to live in Russia with his family, as a simple peasant in the most secluded corner of his homeland. The denouement of such rhetoric is always disastrous.
Political power is always a dangerous thing; even the purest of hearts can be drawn in to committing atrocious and monstrous crimes. Prodigious verbal abilities are ruthlessly exploited to manipulate people and bring anarchy and disharmony which will eventually produce death in any society.
Is Ranil ready to hold local elections on 09 March 2023? Is it true that more than 90% are willing to vote for the National People’s Power (NPP)—working-class centered, ideologically leftist—led by JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake? Is Anura Kumara Dissanayake a panacea for utopian fiction? It seems like I have seen this show before. Hold out against these waves! Is this show a continuation of the previous shows that you have seen before, JR, Premadasa, Chandrika, Mahinda, Sirisena, and Gota?
Does the JVP still embrace Marxism and Leninism, or—like comrade Nandasiri Wijeweera—have become devout worshippers of the latest incarnations of Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong? Comrade Wijeweera was a Russophile and a Sinophile, not a lover or an ardent worshipper of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Our JVP comrades are Russophiles and Sinophiles, not Americanophiles. If I am not mistaken, there is a considerable number of Sri Lankan expatriates who are living here in the USA who support the JVP wholeheartedly and financially. I am not sure if there are any Sri Lankan expatriates living in Russia and China who support the JVP with the same revolutionary gusto and fervor. What is the JVP’s goal? Americanization, Europeanization, Sinicization, Indianization, or usurpation of political power and personal wealth? Does the revolution they envisage ultimately require a despotic leader? We must accept that the JVP will win one day, and this triumph will come one day irrespective of whether they deserve it or not. But this triumph will stand very far from the Utopian Kingdom of its supporters. Will the JVP legally recover all the money stolen and all the money made illegally by Sri Lankans, including politicians, when every atom of the Sri Lankan community is corrupt? There are all kinds of governments and political systems such as aristocracy, democracy, plutocracy, kleptocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, totalitarianism, etc. If the JVP forms a government, what would we call them? We probably must coin a new word.
Like the rabies virus, ideas can infect our brains. Dostoevsky’s novel Demons—also called The Possessed or The Devils, published in 1871—refers not to the individuals but to the ideas that possess them. Viruses are a living biological force, whereas ideas are a living cultural force that possesses an individual who is desperate. Once a destructive idea possesses an individual, he would act as a rabid dog. Who and what are the real demons and rabid dogs of our society? Who are the leaders, participants, and spectators of the current political unrest and political polemic? Student groups influenced by socialist and revolutionary ideas or desperate citizens?
Anarchy, paralyzed government, citizens plundering shops and attacking the police, soldiers shooting at each other, lack of food, fuel, and medicine, usually portend a bloody revolution. Has the economic crisis become a market bloodbath? Do you think Sri Lankans will have a bloody revolution if the elections were not held on 09 March 2023? Do you think that most of the Sri Lankans are willing to give their lives for democracy. I think people are beginning to say, “Give me my ballot, or give me my death!” because they are fed up with the current politicians and their future looks utterly bleak. So, the JVP is the only “unknown known,” and people are willing to give them a chance out of utter desperation. JVP is the only “unknown known,” because we do not know what they will do when they get a mandate to govern Sri Lanka. but we do know what they have done so far as a political organization since their inception.
Would Ranil dissolve the parliament if rioters begin to burn buildings and murder policemen, or would he order a bloody massacre? Ranil’s story is not complete yet. Would the army regiments stationed in Colombo take the rioters’ side?
I do not think Sri Lanka is a democratic country any more, perhaps we never were because even some of our erudite Sri Lankans preferred, perhaps still prefer, a “benevolent dictator”; it is my opinion that a “benevolent dictator” is an oxymoron, like Ranil’s cruel kindness.
As I have said before, even though I never supported or liked Gota, his final act of leaving his office without shedding innocent blood is commendable and praiseworthy.
Of course, Ranil does not want to have any elections. Money is not the problem, because all Ranil must do is sell four Mercedes vehicles that belong to government ministers, and he would have more than enough to cover the printing expenses of the ballot paper. The worst-case scenario is people can vote, like in ancient Athens, by dropping pebbles into an urn.
The ostensible reason is that Ranil wants to stabilize our economy before having an election. Would any legitimate foreign entrepreneur consider investing money in Sri Lanka while Ranil and his sycophants are in power?
Most of the educated—not all—have left Sri Lanka. Most of the younger generation who have the potential to lead and make a difference in Sri Lanka are doing everything they can to leave Sri Lanka. Leaving Sri Lanka has been the goal of most Sri Lankans even before 1948. Going abroad is almost like visiting Kuveni. Decent Sri Lankans who live in Sri Lanka abhor politics, so the result is obvious. That is why Ranil is saying in 2048 we will be a prosperous country. Yes, he will be twenty-five in 2048: reincarnated Ranil as our president!
6.9 million people had an Icarian experience with Gota and his brood. I wonder how JVP supporters will fare in comparison?