21 September, 2020

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Beyond Election Triumphalism: Way Forward Is Still Promoting Inclusivity! 

By Mohamed Harees –

Lukman Harees

It becomes a landslide victory, when a change in people’s views on political matters results in one party receiving an overwhelming majority of the votes or seats in the Parliament, virtually decimating the opponents, with part of the reason also being a bandwagon effect. In such a scenario, as more people come to believe in something, others also “hop on the bandwagon” regardless of the underlying evidence. This is exactly what happened in Sri Lanka few days ago. 

The party led by the Rajapaksas romped home to an impressive two thirds majority win, which should help strengthen their grip on power and handing them a supermajority even to change the Constitution. The splintered opposition was decimated. The party strategists probably embarked upon a much captivating and winning bandwagon – ‘Sinhala Buddhist nationalism’ to gain political mileage, thanks to the support of some rogue sections of both the Media and the Maha Sangha who played a key role in creating the much needed hate environment. Anti- Muslim hate built up in Post Easter Sri Lanka acted as a catalyst. It was thus a fact that this populist wave paid dividends at this election too, as it did at the Presidential election, along the same lines of  how  Trump in US and Modi in neighbouring India realized their dreams for a unprecedented mandate canvassing on a majoritarian platform, at the expense of  inclusivity. 

The ruling party will use this massive mandate which ensured a two-thirds majority in parliament to restore full executive powers to the presidency, which they say are necessary to implement their agenda to make Sri Lanka both economically and militarily secure. Sri Lanka had been in fact ruled by powerful executive presidents since 1978. But 19th Amendment strengthened Parliament and the prime minister and put independent commissions in charge of judiciary appointments, police, public services and the conduct of elections. The landslide victory has thus raised fears in many quarters, of weakening government institutions such as independent commissions for elections, police and public service and create a democratic autocracy- a misnomer to say the least. 

In the post-election context, implementing key constitutional changes, reviving Sri Lanka’s economy and managing the country’s relations with major powers will be important policy priorities for Sri Lanka. Although Sri Lanka’s key international partners may not agree with some of the Rajapaksa government’s policies, major powers will continue to engage with the Sri Lankan government in the context of geo-political realities. For Sri Lanka, however, balancing its engagement with the major powers will remain its primary foreign and security challenge.

Domestically, one of the most important challenges for Post-Election Sri Lanka will be to ensure citizen rights are duly secured irrespective of racial or religious divides, and bring the communities together, after one of the most divisive election campaigns in the recent past. Sectarian politics especially based on anti-Muslim hatred and demonization was used liberally in the run-up to the elections, making them the new bogeymen and villains. The hostility towards Muslims has been however simmering for several years in Sri Lanka, stoked primarily by Buddhist nationalist groups, who propagated the idea that Sinhala Buddhists are under threat from overpopulating Muslims who plan to control the economy, overthrow them and then wipe them out. Tamil community too, has also been at the butt end of rising Sinhala nationalism particularly in the Post war context, who were demanding transitional justice after the war which came to a brutal end in 2009. They have also lost much of their political might with their leaders entangled within a political quagmire. Equally, in a general sense, the political opposition too has also been in search of much needed political space to freely engage in political activism without being branded traitors to the so-called ‘Sinhala Buddhist cause’. Both Sajith’s and Anura D’s parties fell victims to this bullet.  

There is an old political art well practised in Sri Lanka wherein politicians create artificial problems and then solve it to earn gratitude for a life time. The need to curtail rising minority power and save the Sinhala race and Buddhism from extinction was one such lop sided fear – a problem created by them. This general election would thus be remembered for polarisation of votes on the basis of race and religion while the real issues like poverty, unemployment, public debt and other economic & social problems receded in the background. Majority of political leaders openly canvassed on the basis of race and religion. If this trend continues, we are heading for a serious social and political crisis. Post-election! Signs are afoot that unfortunately, in the society, communal divisions are continuously deepening. It has been proven beyond a doubt that the country has slowly been sliding towards dangerous racist and religious extremist trends, which could even destroy the social fabric of the nation in the long run. It is therefore important that this ‘Hate Tsunami’ be stopped in its track by initially understanding the rationale behind the election results in its proper perspective.

Amidst the spirit of rising triumphalism, the realities of the massive win through a democracy and electoral process, should be properly construed. Of course, people of Sri Lanka have spoken loud and clear and the result is the reflection of their preferences. Of course, it appears that the majority of the Sinhala Buddhist people may in large part have been led to vote, based on irrational fears fed by cunning political schemers hell bent on creating divisions within the society. However, their verdict should not be insulted, misconstrued or misinterpreted, as calling it as one to create a theocratic or a majoritarian or Sinhala supremacist state where other communities should adopt a slavish or subordinate position. It is a not an overwhelming mandate to do so. No sane party will ask for or any same people will predominantly vote for a party which openly promotes that only one race should reign supreme and the minorities should be denied their rights under the Constitution. To be fair, even the ruling party did not openly ask for such a mandate. However, it is no secret that a well-organised dog whistle campaign was afoot to promote this divisive agenda.  

In fact, in their subconscious mind, the people wanted a strong government (in the absence of a credible opposition) with their predominant concerns also being the lack of national security, clean political culture, political integrity, as well as opportunism and short termism. In fact, those at highest levels of power who are responsible for national tragedies like Easter Attacks and chronic corruption are roaming free and impunity is in crisis proportions. With their bitter experiences with a shaky Yahapalana government, people did what they did during the last seven decades usually in any election: vote for the other party offering another package, however dubious they may be. 

No one denies the political might of the majority in terms of numbers. But, true progress will only be achievable if the multi-ethnic culture character of this blessed nation is duly recognised and all people are engaged in national development. People belonging to different religious, racial, cultural and lingual identities have been living together harmoniously. Lasting harmony between heterogeneous communities can only come through a realization that differences that divide us along ethnic and religious lines have no foundation. If in the name of race or religion, people are discriminated or made to feel inferior on grounds of a concept of supremacy, that is essentially a slur and blot on the society governed by the rule of law. Communal harmony is the hallmark of democracy in a country governed by the rule of law. 

A society where some members of the community are treated as to a lower order lacks negates the spirit of the Constitution and international norms which provides liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and therefore, racial and religious harmony. Each and every citizen must enjoy the same status and dignity.  Sri Lanka has one common citizenship and every citizen should feel or made to feel that he/she is Sri Lankan first irrespective of other basis. Sri Lanka is known for communal harmony which has to be maintained.

However, our unity, integrity and solidarity is now at stake. In the present time, communalism and racism are the most serious threats to our sovereign, socialist and democratic polity. It is unfortunate that political leaders create the communal disharmony for vote bank politics. As far as political parties are concerned, they have used religious sentiments to achieve short term political objective. Political parties have successfully exploited religion, region and caste to divert attention from real issues. This trend is not a good sign for our democracy. In fact, it is an insult to the spirit of tolerance of our ancestors which has been one of their great traditions. It hampers the growth of the nation at every step. Evil forces trying to destroy this should be crushed at any cost. Political capital out of racism will only be short-lived. It is also our duty spread the message of importance of communal harmony.

It is the duty of the government to maintain the peace and harmony in the society and take initiatives to promote communal harmony amongst citizens of the country. The President and PM should not fall prey to racist machinations within. Government policies are important to bring strong bond between people and realize the value of other religions which are essential to have brother-hood relation with other religion people. However laudable the national development plans are, they are beyond reach without national reconciliation and without all shades of people feeling inclusive. If the nation wishes to make sound progress in the socio-economic, political and scientific spheres, communal harmony therefore has to be ensured as a permanent feature of life.

It is also necessary that our law enforcement agencies must too work in fair and just manner. Ultimately sufferers of violence are the people of our country, so we have to understand the consequences and must work for promoting the communal harmony in the society. The strict action under the law should be taken against those who are involved in promoting hate and communal violence in a fair and impartial manner.  

The people of this country should not condone any action of those political parties which are involved in dirty politics of communalism. Therefore, not only the government and its agencies, but the civil society groups must also continuously watch and raise their voice against groups and individuals who use hate speech and violence in the name of their race and religion. Public activism should play a decisive role in holding the government to account to ensure the human rights of the country’s populace are duly respected.  

Apart from that, it is also necessary that the people of different religions should realize that they have to live together and mingle with each other because mixed neighbourhoods are fast disappearing. In different societies from the safety point of view people prefer to live in ghettos. It is necessary that at the village, municipal and city level social harmony, committees have to be constituted to promote communal harmony among the members of society, which should consist of religious leaders, community leaders and intellectuals such as doctors, teachers as well as social activists and prominent representatives from the civil society, etc. There is also a need to teach mutual tolerance and harmony to our communities and kids so that every citizen of the country governed by the rule of law can live in peace and harmony. 

The myth of considering diversity as a hurdle in the path of development, should be dispelled. Rather the people must be educated to proudly accept the fact, walk hand in hand with each other and take the country to heights never fathomed before. After all, it is the diversity which makes the country’s  heritage as rich as it gives them their identity. The racial or religious differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength. No doubt, unity is something to be desired, to be striven for, but it cannot be willed by mere declarations. Only a nation-wide determination to celebrate diversity and public activism can make it happen. They say, ‘Not in numbers but in unity that our great strength lies’. This reality should be understood beyond euphoria and triumphalism.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    6

    Gota was without his decorative medals at the sworn in ceremony!

    Is he sending a new message or fooling the nation ?

  • 3
    7

    I suggest that the SLPP has to change its logo from its present one which has become out of date and have an illustration of a KAVUN, a delicacy I enjoy.
    \
    The Yaks have once again shown to the world as to what a bunch of petty-minded Lanka’s own Klu Klux clan allowing the non-religion way of life Buddhism to enter into their no brainer minds to vote for a family of murderous crooks who have for yonks have robbed the nation.
    \
    They have now got an OGL [ open general licence ] to do so merrily and Christmas has come again much earlier than anticipated.?
    \
    The starving 71% of them were given gal arrack/kassipu along with a lit bit of valueless cash and them in their tipsiness being drunk not in this world stupidly wasted their votes.
    \
    Now having woken up from a deep slumber of being drunk they are now in many a bout of crying, moaning and groaning realising the error of their foolish intoxicated ways.
    \
    Buggers are roaming around the villages howling ” buddu ammo what have we done ” how are the young ones going to be fed.
    \
    Too late my modaya mates too late.

  • 4
    6

    Their exaggerating triuphalism was defeated in 2015, but those who then defeated them sit with them today. The kind of stupid politics are only known our banana republic filled with slaves rather than real good peoples that have a vision of the future of this country, mlechch politics is returned removing maxistists and the liberals by the biased media throgh fake perception. God save the goodies of this country. 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  • 3
    9

    Inclusiveness is possible with Rajapaksas if you can replace your gods with Rajapaksas. Otherwise it is a big no. Minorities must keep their dignity instead.

  • 9
    6

    So many writers in this Colombo Telegraph always writing damp shits to please Terrorists and Extremists Oriented Tamils and Muslims. The whole world now knows Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese Aryans (Helayans of Heladiva). These are the latest figures gave by the CIA, 74.9% Sinhalese Aryans, 11.2% Tamils, 4.2% Indian Tamils, 9.2% Sinhalese Muslims and 0.5% others. In this election, 97% of MPs are Sinhalese Aryans. These are the real figures not fake. Lets the dogs’ bark caravan will go.

    • 1
      2

      *95
      3556
      -+
      ++

      Pasky the pest,
      You must be from the family who have had an SLFP member of parliament by the name of Daya Pasqual for the Matugama and even one had been elected on the SLPP ticket the 2020 election…
      \
      You buggers have had the opportunities from 1956, 1960, 1970, 1994 till 2015 and now to rectify the in the positive in the black economy which ever since has been ruined due to your petty racist hypocritical socialist policies where one had to queue for hours to buy a yard of material to sew an amude.
      One cannot forget how we had to have to eat maiocca [ manioc ] as a main dish for lunch which is the main meal in one’s daily life.
      Furthermore, we were all loaded into buses like cattle being taken to be killed to manually plough like buffaloes the paddy fields of various cultivators.
      \
      So my Facebook buddy please do not continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting readers.
      \
      Judging by one’s past performances unless an uncanny miracle takes place it will be the same result at the time of the next poll if an election is allowed to be held.?
      \
      when the going is not-good the military will finally take over in running the country

    • 2
      4

      Nicker Eka Ericha Perera,
      If you ever have 100.00 Ruppen hidden in your amude please call at the Bambalapitiya, Wellawatta, Dehiwela or any other market the yak traders only talk in the internationally recognised renowned Tamil language to the mainly Muslim and para Demala customers.
      \
      What will happen to the domestic economy of this sad shitty sorry nation if we begin boycotting these outlets?
      \
      In the fields of business, both these minority groups are the leaders of the pack.
      If they abstain from commercial business activities what on earth will happen to the average Ran banda and Biso Menike feeding their many offsprings?
      \
      One has to accept that the old white uncles with their handy lollipops are boycotting this dirty soiled island.
      \
      Therefore please treat us with respect and dignity if not we have to another Velu Pirbha rolling into action.

  • 3
    0

    The desire of “The Muslim Voice” is that the “Mahinda Pela” should see reality now. “The Muslim Voice” is pleased to have been part of the campaign through it’s nearly 2500 comments, rebuttals and articles published in Tamil and English since January 8th., 2015 to August 6th., 2020 to be partners with the Sri Lankans who voted the SLPP/Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa combine to victory and obtain 143 (151) seats in the August 6th., general election 2020, Alhamdulillah.
    Though the Muslim political so-called “NEW LEADERS” and “Old leaders” will finally crawl towards President Gotabaya, PM Mahinda, Chamal and Basil Rajapaksa now that the elections results have been announced, signals are now confirmed as suggested by “The Muslim Voice” earlier that both Old Muslim leaders, especially a Muslim political party leader from the Wanni is trying to make a deal with Basil Rajapaksa to cross over at the appropriate moment. “The Muslim Voice” thinks that former minister Basil Rajapaksa knows much about the activities of these deceptive Muslim leaders”, Rishad Batiudeen and Rauf Hakeem. We should therefore warn President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Hon. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, Hon. Basil Rajapaksa and Hon. Dullas Alahapperuma to be ALERT about the MUNAAFIKK” (deceptive) Muslim politicians, who will be FLOCKING to them to gain personal benefits trying to say they are the Muslim votes.

  • 18
    6

    On May 18, 2009 – We successfully claimed our land militarily.
    .
    On August 05, 2020 – We successfully claimed our land politically.
    .
    Soon we will claim our land economically.

    • 1
      2

      When?

    • 1
      2

      *95
      3556
      -+
      ++

      Pasky the pest,
      You must be from the family who have had an SLFP member of parliament by the name of Daya Pasqual for the Matugama and even one had been elected on the SLPP ticket the 2020 election…
      \
      You buggers have had the opportunities from 1956, 1960, 1970, 1994 till 2015 and now to rectify the in the positive in the black economy which ever since has been ruined due to your petty racist hypocritical socialist policies where one had to queue for hours to buy a yard of material to sew an amude.
      One cannot forget how we had to have to eat maiocca [ manioc ] as a main dish for lunch which is the main meal in one’s daily life.
      Furthermore, we were all loaded into buses like cattle being taken to be killed to manually plough like buffaloes the paddy fields of various cultivators.
      \
      So my facebook buddy please do not continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting readers.
      \
      Judging by one’s past performances unless an uncanny miracle takes place it will be the same result at the time of the next poll if an election is allowed to be held.?

    • 1
      3

      SCP,
      absolute back licker of Rajaakshe family.

      In the near future, srilanka will be declared as the SOMALIA number 02 in indian ocean.
      .
      Bitch s sonswill loot the last cent of the POOR people and entertain their luxury life styles. My plea is to DIVINE forces, MR to be punished sooner than later. That will be. Glass clear to me. This bitch son ruined this nation as no other in entire developing countries.

      I dont want to call me SINHALAYA anymore because we cant keep the faith on them for a good country. Today all that were branded as HIGH CRIMINALS are re-elected thanks to SCP style low lives. Ethiopians are miles ahead our nation because their people can differentiate good and bad better than our STUPID people.

      • 4
        1

        Mr. leela ge …..,
        .
        No one is going to call you Sinhala my dear.
        Everyone knows that you are bullshiting under a fake name.
        .
        And….
        Carry on your good work.
        Provincial council election is coming under a new system.
        .
        We need you to bullshit some more.

        • 0
          0

          Ms SCP,

          Get the facts from Mr Sinhala Man whom I think is the most gentle and unbiased person/Guru on this page- I simply hate Rajakshes and their family politics from the day one. Knowing and studying the gravity of danger they have made to the country from the begining on. Had they been educated, things would have gone better for the nation, but they are just blood suckers of the poor man. I dont care about the enthnic backgrounds, or what religion they are born into, so long they are human beings. I get on with variou nationalities thanks to my job and current life. Those who have the instint to see it, can read my thoughts easily, but lowlives would not.

          . I am really sorry for you man/women/transgender, but I always thought you would be knowledgeable. Some thought you to have brought some pride in the sports (cricket) now I feel – you cant be the same person we spoke of on and on.

          You can only be a comparable to that of the demented man from Austrlia who is living on the statefunds but being ultra racial to srilanken minorities.

          You the kind of idiots would not see it beyond.

  • 2
    6

    These Yakko’s think that they are god’s gift to civilisation and they roam around assuming that the sun which never goes down is always shining on their rotund backsides.
    \
    Now with the monies just not coming in from the Arab masters who are providing an excellent service or two to their women/daughters/aunts/sisters and neighbours they are lost souls who just do not know as to what on earth to do as the cents have all vanished and they are crying foul foul fowl.
    =
    Even their own SLPP masters are not interested in bringing back home their own yak community brothers and sisters who are surviving by prostituting themselves, become beggars and living in the wide-open spaces in the deserts with no place to call home.
    \
    What a sad lot.

  • 3
    4

    WHERE THE MAJORITY IS FILLED WITH FOOLS; THERE VICIOUS LEADERS WOULD PLAY THEIR TRICKS EASILY. That is how so called democracies would work in the third world countries of our nature.
    Now the family will entertain weeks or month long stay eating MILK RICE but not focusing on the real grievances of the destitute in UVA, North, South and other provinces of the country. That Apawithra with her cesspit would stay shutting the interllectual mind set as if she managed the covid crisis to the top. However, in today s backdrop, it can move beyond the levels the people expeirienced by 2015.

    Teachers that blessed with their salary hikes by previous govt stood against them
    :
    Peoples that didi not even get 25 dollars as COVID allowance nevertheless voted for Rajakashes murderers

    • 0
      1

      So what?

  • 0
    1

    The SLPP/Rajapaksa team should handle them carefully and make sure that they will NOT try present themselves as “BROKERS” of the Muslim Vote bank to show a majority in parliament on August 20th., 2020, if the need arises, which “The Muslim Voice ” is hopefull will not be so.
    When dealing with these deceptive Muslim leaders – Hon. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa should NOT forget those Muslims, Muslim voters and Muslim local government politicians who stood with Mahinda pela”, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa and Namal since they were defeated in January 8th., 2015. During these times, the Beruwela, Aluthgama and Eastern province Muslims have extended their support to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa with a hope of understating and trust that the New PM” will resolve their issues democratically and listen to them after the 2020 general elections.
    They are the people/Muslim representatives who should be our VOICE in the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa – PM Mahinda Rajapaksa government. The Muslim Voice” hope and pray that this message will reach all Muslims and HE. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa who will be the new PM, Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, and Hon. Dallas Alahapperuma who were entrusted to deal with the Muslims leaders to support SLPP at the general elections 2015 and 2020.

  • 1
    0

    There is much research evidence on how the populist parties come to power by manufacturing an enemy and then winning over it. Google “Terror Management Theory” and you shall discover how it is done. The way forward for minorities in SL though, is to join hands with the Sinhala people at community level and become inconspicuous among them. That is, that they need to blend in appearance as well as dress codes etc and engage in community activities together with their Sinhala cousins. That way, communal politics can be broken, and religious and cultural freedoms will also be safe in the future. Politics will then return to mainstream like in the good old days when people voted for Muslims or Tamils regardless of their ethnicity and purely on merit.

  • 0
    0

    Contd: from above:
    The fact remains NOW, the Muslim voters “HAVE ACTED” on their own and do NOT wish to be represented by these “MUNAAFIKK and DECEPTIVE POLITICIANS” or any so-called MUSLIM LEADERS. Those Muslims and local government Muslim members who stood with the Mahinda pela”, Basil, Gotabaya and Namal since they were defeated in January 8th., 2015 continued their support to win the Presidential elections in 2019. Continuing their loyalty to the SLPP and the Rajapaksa family, these Muslims marched “the path of political agony” created at the hands of all the “deceptive Muslim political parties, leaders, Civil society leaders and some of the Ulema and accomplished keeping at bay the “FALSE” propaganda regarding “COVID19” and the oppression of the Muslims by the Rajapaksa regime, as they attempted to show the Muslim vote bank that they are the saviours of the Muslims in Sri Lanka.
    President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the New PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa, Hon. Basil Rajapaksa and Hon. Namal Rajapaksa “SHOULD NOT FORGET” the contributions and sacrifies these loyalists had made (in their little way) towards the great success and “VICTORY” that the SLPP has made today, by the grace of God AllMighty.

  • 0
    0

    Contd: from above.
    When giving responsible political appointments, they must be given due consideration. They are the political soldiers of the Muslims who fought the vicious “yahapalana gang”, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, The UNP, the JVP and the TNA in the fronts where the political struggle was going on to capture the minority votes, especially the Muslims votes and have dilivered their best in support of the SLPP, but, like “COWARD SOLDIERS” who took shelter and waited to score on the victories of the longstanding and loyal Muslim political soldiers, some Muslim individuals have been seen in the SLPP platforms claiming that they will be the New Muslim Leadership under the new government to be formed.
    This has become the sad situation of “PART” of the Muslim vote bank that had suppoted the SLPP in 2015 and now in 2020 general elections. WILL THE RAJAPAKSA FAMILY NOT FORGET THESE MUSLIM POLITICAL SOLDIERS DURING THEIR GOVERNANCE DURING THE NEXT 5 YEARS.
    Noor Nizam – Convener “The Muslim Voice”.

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