23 May, 2022


Better Times And Worst Of Fears

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

Can hopes of better times and thoughts of the worst subsist? Prospects for a good life were wished for and openly expressed in Sri Lanka. But ever since a good consensual opposition candidate was announced fears that were latent among the powers that be, surfaced and stalked the land. They have now reached desperate proportions. What sparked them? The possibility of a regime change becoming more real after a winnable candidate in Maithripala Sirisena came to the fore. With multi party endorsement he is on the threshold of victory. A realignment of forces is seen as spelling disaster to those entrenched for long.

Office is an Opportunity

In a healthy democracy an electoral victory is an opportunity for serving the country. A second win was a doubling of opportunity for the incumbent President. Retirement thereafter was what the framers of the constitution in their wisdom prescribed. The limitation after the second was to save the people from having more of the same or worse in the third. This limitation in the US remains untouched over the centuries. Chile has laid down a single term for the President. In Sri Lanka the first term was uneventful as the national question was never resolved. Destruction unlimited visited upon one ethnic entity pleased the other. In the wake of that pleasure and accompanying euphoria a second term came the President’s way. How did the need for a third term arise?

JVPIn the two terms making nine years, the people in their mass have encountered and experienced everything unbecoming of a President. Voters of every political hue and from all ethnicities were and are resolved on regime change. Growing disillusionment in the first term has turned into uncompromising antipathy. Complete alienation of Tamils in the first instance, now pervades the whole of the polity. What originated years back has escalated to illimitable proportions. When a rule becomes unrighteous it takes tyrannical forms. In this country it has assumed all the features of a well riveted sordid hand. Hence the people’s resolve to overthrow it. But the UPFA seeks asininely to entrench itself further.


In the years of ill management, among the earliest to disappear was the nexus between the ruler and the ruled. The aspirations they had, continued to lose their appeal with the ruler. Family rule displaced democratic governance. Popular perception was that benefits which were rightfully theirs were getting funneled into familial coffers. To them it was a vulgar usurpation, a violation of the Social Contract. Stopping this course is the only way to restore people’s confidence. But such measures are never in the mind of misrule. Neither able to move forward nor to trace its steps backward, the incumbent regime is caught up in a muddle and a dilemma. Changing the regime itself has become the option for the people. Subverting the effort is now the agenda of the government,

Longest 40 Days

However noble the objective may be, however determined the people are on change, every step of the government needs to be studied, the sinister motives discerned, the people alerted and counter moves laid out. A central Think Tank and hundreds countrywide to take the message and to give a feed-back will be indispensable. In 1969, To keep a tab on creeping JVP activity, an administrative network reaching to the last village was in place. It was scrapped with the same single stroke – “we will not continue with UNP policies”, followed from mid-1970. The bill came for settlement in April 1971. It is good for the Opposition to be forearmed. By stuffing the coming days with unconventional strategies and intense activity it can make the period ‘Longest 40 Days’ in recent times.

Missed Opportunities

In the first half of the 20th century there were quite a few instances when opportunities at seizing power were lost in Europe for want of anticipation, absence of unity and lack of decisiveness. The losers were generally of the Left. The Right won with its custody of the military apparatus in addition to its tradition of organization as an incumbent government. In Russia the military stood weak and frayed. Lenin made the difference to score victory for communism. In Germany the Right won. The Left was divided and the Right was indecisive. A charismatic Hitler forced his way making a difference. States that floundered went through turbulence. Decisive leaderships won.


Bright Spots in Sri Lanka’s Resoluteness

The attempted coup of 1962 in Sri Lanka was a wash out. “It failed because of the irresoluteness of the leaders”. So declared Dr. NM Perera in Parliament. What an exact description! The government had a clear headed and firm leadership in Sirimavo and Felix Dias who acted decisively. The second one was in the 1971 insurgency when the same two at the top stood steadfast. Power went a begging for a week, but the legal and the legitimate prevailed. Another occasion came in May 2003, when the President was assassinated. Sometime earlier JR Jajewardene clarifying a certain constitutional point said, when the President dies the government falls. But no such thing happened. Within hours Ranil and the higher bureaucracy met I believe with DB Wijethunga, a smooth succession arrangement was worked out and a possible calamity averted.

There is quite a change now. There is no ethnic war and there is no insurgency. The military and the Police are much larger and well equipped. Divested of the pressures of war they can contain a situation without much difficulty. If the natural course of history seeks an aberrant path they can make a difference. But all that only if an ethical and moral ballast maintains their mental balance. There are besides illegal orders that a government can palm off under a veneer of legality. The task of the defence establishment now is to steer clear and to stand steadfast by the law and the constitution. These are far greater responsibilities where loyalty and probity are called for. These are too much to hope for and in times of stress a great dream to entertain.

The people in their millions without being idealistic have to appreciate all the worldly pulls and mercenary pressures that a government can exert. Taking nothing for granted and not leaving anything to chance, hoping for the best of times and yet bargaining for the worst of happenings, they have to be constantly alert. Vigilance by the minute is the need of the hour. That will make the 40 days longest in our time.

High Visibility Peoples’ Power

Vigilance alerts the democratic forces to plots and dangers that are cooking. Even red high alert can do nothing besides. It is the wrath of the people rolled up in the mass and spilling into the streets and the public square that makes a high visibility impact. It is this impact which makes the trigger dysfunctional. Makes the bomber bypass the demonstration. It is the potency of this unarmed power that stops a well-armed military in its tracks. Is such a power in the making? Does it take much time to make? Time will tell all too early.

The image above represents 10,000. A peaceful demonstration 15 times the size will be unnerving to the forces of suppression. All the parties acting as one can make it happen, in the name of a new regime.

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Latest comments

  • 9

    Well said, Sivathasan! The danger of a military take over will be lurking every day, nay, every hour from now onwards. The only possible measure to thwart it is to constantly keep the people alerted to the situation and constantly mobilise them as effectively as possible.

    The perpetuation of the corrupt familial rule turning more and more of a tyrannical dictatorship has to be stopped by all means!

    Sengodan. M

    • 3

      Sengodan. M ,

      So many pundits, analysts and whoever wants to, are speculating and predicting what is going to happen regards the election.

      These people are no better than the astrologers making a living on the gullible.

      Shall we wait patiently for the judge – time – to reveal its secret as to what the future holds?

      • 0

        !Shall we wait patiently for the judge – time – to reveal its secret as to what the future holds?!

        Thiru you work on this like a prayer and I just dont know how I always thought business is stressful but this 3rd world politic forum is beyond it.

        If CBK group wins the pendulum would swing to her days as if nothing happened and Siva would be happy not you.

        If your Tamils in UK have a labour coalition that would add to the fire because of CBK’s well established lilliputs.

        Only the known devils have had direct sparing with Yakko land Cameron,Harper.

        Good luck i am going home to see the silk train end of week and…..back in spring.

    • 3

      It is only once Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family are defeated that Sri Lanka will have REAL AND SUSTAINABLE PEACE, and the Economy will take off and people reap the benefits of peace.

      Rajapaksa regime carries the burden of GUILT and VICTORY – as much as the terrorist Prabakaran – and hence has blocked JUSTICE and DECENCY made Sri Lanka CORRUPT and an international OUTCASTE by MILITARIZING the country and distorting Democracy and BUDDHISM to stay in power forever. As long as the corrupt and criminal Rajapaksa Brothers are in power, Sri Lanka will be a Pariah state and there will be NO REAL OR SUSTAINABLE PEACE

      This is in the natural progress of things since to win the war against the foul terrorist Prabakaran, the Rajapaksa brothers committed crimes – just as Prabakaran did to survive and run his failed state in the North. Since war ended Sri Lanka has been struggling to be accepted in the world and if Rajapaksa had behaved decently rather than committing massive FINANCIAL CRIMES the war crimes would have been overlooked, but this has not happened. Rajapakse will REAP what he has sown.

  • 9

    MR winning the PE winning is a forgone conclusion – do or die is the
    motto. A Web-page reveals this story today:-

    “A lathe machine at Welisara Navy Camp has been dismantled and an imported printing machine is being placed there instead, say sources at the camp. This location has been declared out-of-bound for the naval ratings. Coordinator in this task is Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Navy officer and the second son of the president.
    The sources that gave the information say that plans have been made to print fake ballot papers using this machine.

    A two-storey house in front of a well close to the Narahenpita public fair has been given for the use of a special unit being supervised by the Presidential Secretariat to disrupt facebook, twitter and other social media sites.

    Activities pertaining to the releasing of the election results are to take place here using Chinese technology. Await further details. We warn that if they do not withdraw immediately from this illegal activity, we will expose the identities of all persons involved in this.”

  • 7

    The King of Jilmart, Mahinda Rajapaksa is not going to go quietly. The writing is already on the wall. If elections are fair he will lose. And he cannot lose. Too much is at stake. If he loses and fails to make a bee line to the Mattala Airport to the primed and ready Mihin Air jet to fly him and his entourage to Seychelles, he and his family can go nowhere but the prisons. So to start with the elections will not be fair. If the jilmarts don’t work the coup is the only other option. The military has been well oiled with money and perks and primed and ready to do the bidding of brother Gota.

    Dangerous times ahead for Sri Lanka.

  • 0

    Better times for sure

    JHU Rathna Thero says he is going to work with the TNA , but don’t even ask for 13 A . let alone A plus.

    How cool…

    Did Sambandan waste 5 valuable years which would have made the Vellalas even richer and brought lot more facilities to the Dalits in the North, through corporation with the Govt Development programs.

    No wonder only apprentice Abraham is on stage with the JHU to cheer Sira tomorrow.

  • 2

    Mr Sivathasan, Thiru, Sengodan, Dr RN,…
    I am wondering why you have not commented


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