22 May, 2024


Belated Damage Control Exercises Of Wickremesinghe & Sabry, Nothing But Exercises In Futility 

By Thambu Kanagasabai –

Thambu Kanagasabai

The recent statements of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry expose and confirm the financial, political, and economic bankruptcy of Sri Lanka even admitted by the leaders and architects of these bankruptcies who nurtured and fed them for their political and personal prosperity partly encouraged by the numbed and sterile opposition coupled with the complacency of ordinary citizens.

It was hoped that the April 2022 Aragalaya, (The Peoples’ popular uprising) would have taught fitting lessons for the erratic leaders but it appears that the heat is doused and dust has settled muting the peaceful protestors and silencing the cries for accountability and good governance.

It cannot be denied that a vibrant and kicking democratic country like Sri Lanka has been sapped and drained of its unity and cohesion while replaced with the evils of racism, majoritarianism and chauvinism along with offshoots of Sinhalaization and Buddhisization being exploited by opportunistic politicians for their personal and political glories, ambitions and political ascendancies. 

There is no need to record the several damage controlling and pacifying actions and measures taken by the several past governments since 1956 which only sought to plaster the wounds without fully eliminating and curing the roots of diseases with proper cures and not allowing any recurrences. It has been estimated that about 20 billion dollars were lost being the cost of ethnic wars, conflicts and campaigns of protestors including peaceful non-violent fasting protests being originated due to the power hunger and thirst of politicians to capture power at any cost.

A chapter in the continuing dark history of self-interested politicians and parties is the recent statements of President Ranil as reported in Tamil Guardian on 25 September 2022 and Foreign Minister Ali Sabry’s statement in the Human Rights Council in Geneva during its 51st sessions on 12 September 2022. 

President Ranil in his interview to Tamil Guardian has appealed and “sought the assistance of Sri Lankan diaspora” particularly Tamils to contribute financially to lift the country from its gradual sinking due to lack of foreign reserves to meet the import bills of Sri Lanka.

This is like begging an injured person who have been already injured by him earlier. These undeserving appeals have surfaced due to desperation and can only be described as political tantrums conceived belatedly and compelled to avert the looming bankruptcy of the country.

A further stomach-turning confession is the admission of Sri Lanka’s bankruptcy by the President which is one of the considerations and conditions of Western nations and friendly countries to extend financial help to the rescue of poor nations like Sri Lanka.

However, the international community and donor nations particularly Japan are having second thoughts as to Sri Lanka’s credibility, potentials and prospects of financial recovery. However, President Ranil’s admission of Sri Lanka as a bankrupt nation appears to have not swayed and convinced enough for the international community, diaspora and donor countries viewing the current unstable government headed by an unelected President Ranil though they view him as a friendly and moderate democratic politician. Still it appears that the international community and friendly nations are skeptical and pessimistic as to Sri Lanka’s ability to quick recovery and emerging from the current economic and political morass and instability. President Ranil’s recently placating steps are directed at UN, HRC and international community like ordering the release of eight (8) Tamil political prisoners who are nearing their completion of fifteen years of jail sentences. This step though a welcome sign of reconciliation, yet it is only a tip of the iceberg of entrenched deep and long-standing unsolved grievances of the Tamils particularly those who continued to suffer from alleged war crimes and enforced disappearances allegedly committed by the security forces and government officials.

It is learnt that more than one hundred prisoners are still languishing in jails not knowing their fate and future and so far, there is no sign of their immediate releases. Promises must be fulfilled with compliances and not with breaches.

It is suggested that the President should initiate appropriate steps to address the following destabilizing and discriminatory political measures carried out by the various governments since 1958.

* State discrimination in language and employment.

* Sinhalization and Buddhisization including Sinhala colonization in Tamil areas (North and East)

* Refraining from dishing out hollow promises to suit the place and occasions.

As Sampanthan MP in his Deepawali message stated, “We will not be cheated henceforth by whoever ruling the country”. He also warned “the TNA will take fitting decisions” if Sri Lankan government continues to adopt a lackadaisical attitude and approach to solve the problems of the Tamils. He also warned “to seek and request international involvement to solve the ethnic problem while declaring his co-operation to the President if the President sincerely embarks on a journey of restoring ethnic unity and remedying the grievances of the Tamils.  

It is learnt that the President of Sri Lanka has promised a new constitution in place within one year while meeting the aspirations of all communities particularly the Tamils. It is hoped that this promise will not suffer the same fate of slow death like the past several promises of various governments.

President is advised to better give careful consideration not to allow the ethnic to prolong further which could pave the way and lead to demands for a divided Sri Lanka.

*By Thambu Kanagasabai, LLM [London] Former Lecturer in Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

  • 4

    Thanks, Thambu Kanagasabai, for the balanced body of the article. You have rightly indicated in the title that these Ranil-Sabry initiatives are exercises in futility.
    You have indicated that you would like to see Ranil bringing in a new constitution which addresses Tamil grievances. No, Ranila has no moral right to dabble in Constitutional Affairs. There was a degree of chaos in the country after the success of the Araglaya, largely because the Rajapaksas had plundered the country. We have to, if possible, get back the plundered wealth, but it’s going to be extremely difficult, and it could take many years. That wasn’t part of the Ranil remit either. But instead of attending to his remit, he has set about doing the opposite. He’s depending on the Rajapaksas and is covering up for them.
    Don’t you think it dangerous for Tamils to obtain constitutional concessions behind the back of the Sinhalese, depending now on the discredited SLPP Members of Parliament? The changes ushered in will be repudiated by the Sinhalese.

  • 4

    To see how lawless a country this has become, see the last three comments on this article:

    I’m a steady supporter of the NPP. One of their MPs isn’t a Member of the JVP: Dr Harini Amarasuriya. I must give you AKD’s explanation for what happened in the past. He apologises for for the errors they made. For you the problem may be that you can’t understand the only language he speaks in public. I must provide you with not only with the twelve-minute YouTube, but also with a translation.

    What can we do except tell the truth.
    You have written about, “more than one hundred [Tamil] prisoners are still languishing in jails not knowing their fate and future and so far.” They haven’t even been charged. Shocking!
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

  • 2

    Sri Lanka had never been a vibrant and kicking democracy it had been a failed democracy right from the begining. Ranil is good for the minorities but bad fro the country. When he leaves we would have heaped up a huge debt which we will never be able to repay. He has no influence at all on foreign leaders though he plays to the gallery, and creates a images that he is very influential internationally, he does not even have Basil’s influence. He had not brought even a penny even as a loan though there was much talk about 4 billion USD grant from Japan, japan even did not support SL on UNHCR vote. The image him with Charles probably selected from 100s of exposure to capture a momnet where ranil seem to dominate the discussion. It is clear even to a nursary kid that if a state (so called) leader goes and tries to talk to charles he will talk, thats all.

  • 2

    Belated Damage Control Exercises Of Wickremesinghe & Sabry, Nothing But Exercises In Futility Due to
    Borrowing today to pay tomorrow is traumatic loan sharks will arrow your marrow till sorrow wash over you.

  • 8

    While fair enough, the writer concentrates on ethnic politics only. I believe the most pressing need of the moment is to change the rotten-to-the-core set of corrupt imbeciles that rule over the 22 million lotus eaters whose apathy is appalling. State terror and intimidation, suppression of the right to expression and more or less fascist autocracy are being tolerated by the starving people, hoping that elections will set things right. No, it will not, as the elections system is geared to favour fraud, dishonesty, bribing of people by offering personal benefits and nomination of thugs and grand criminals as they have money to campaign. Elections will be a further waste of money and time. The people must organize and rise as one, in a peaceful defiance of the oppressive state and ensure that an educated, intelligent team of young and committed activists are given the responsibility of making that long-awaited paradigm change that will completely swamp the rotten rascals who are nothing but parasitic con-artists.

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