By Kusal Perera –
“@Cokroach You must be soooo happy to see your utter negativity coming true, the country be damned. With cynics like you, #lka has no chance!” (a very recent tweet)
That was a response I got for my very open critical tweets on this “Maithripalanaya” and the way so called experts in “civil society” respond to the major crisis we are heading to. Socio political and economic instability. The “tweep” does accept I have been right in my political projections, but consoles himself saying I’m “negative”. That has been the escape route for most “Maithripalanaya” apologists. While Rajapaksa played around plundering our economy with “cronies” around him, we now have these “crony” civil society apologists justifying anything this government does.
The fact is, the actual crisis we are being dragged into is being overlooked by these MS apologists on a consolation platter, “…but MR was defeated. Isn’t that good enough?”. Just the way the urban middle class they belong to argued “Yeah, what is corruption? LTTE was defeated and isn’t that good enough?”. They therefore don’t want to engage the people in any way, on any of the major reforms promised by MS in his election manifesto “Stable Country – Maithri Government” and the “100 Day programme”. All “reforms” that are talked of in patched and tinkered form are being compromised in an illegitimate parliament with the 70 plus MPs who want to “Wake Up With Mahinda” deciding what we can have. What’s happening is, we are being chased down the “Rajapaksa Road” with a smudged green flag, carried by the same corrupt lot who were with Rajapaksa for 09 long, corrupt, dirty and lawless years.
I therefore wonder what these apologists would say to these major promises and issues that had no social discourse and had no social engagement post elections and implemented at random with no serious interest.
The Code of Ethics for MPs missing while the parliament is turning into a cesspit of vulgar heckling and retorts even PM Wickremesinghe is involved in. Deputy Ministers meanwhile get involved in violent alcoholic brawls in public resorts. Typical “Dr. Mervy” life and no promised code of ethics.
The Right To Information (RTI) Act promised is now shelved. What was drafted as reported, had been behind closed doors and with no Sinhala and Tamil translations.
Despite what’s been hyped as the 19A, it serves absolutely no purpose, no better than what MR had in his crude and despised 18A. The fundamental necessity in de politicising major State institutes and agencies through independent commissions will not happen through this 19A. The Constitutional Council (CC) to be constituted with independent and credible personalities are now controlled by 07 politicians, whom the society wanted out of this process. The Presidential Advisor on Constitutional Affairs, Dr. Wickramaratne, who was till 06 months ago preaching the society of the necessity to have a strengthened 17A, is now saying the CC can function without civil society nominees and that for him is now “good enough”.
Electoral reforms expected to strengthen people’s democratic representation have also got pickled the same way. All arguments and equations by self appointed “experts” and campaigners for this government only want a formula the political parties would agree to adopt in parliament as “20A”. People are no factor in their formulations. 20A even if adopted will not be used to elect the next parliament that will sit for 06 more years, once elected. What then is this hurry for 20A, if the next parliament is to be elected on the present system that brings in “undesirables” just like now?
Corruption is nothing small. Compared to MR’s first whole year from 2005 November to end 2006, this half year of “Yahapalanaya” is horrendous. The CBSL scam is still nauseating. UNP bigwig and Ranil’s erstwhile colleague and businessmen Malik Samarawickrama had been in the meeting, but not asked why. The CWE is being ruined. Chairman Athapattu had many reports of total mismanagement leading to corruption. President Sirisena’s brother Kumarasinghe who was appointed Chairman of SL Telecom, the holding company of 07 subsidiaries, is now rumoured to enjoy a monthly salary of 10 million rupees. President’s son in law was appointed a co-ordinating secretary to the President and a daughter played chaperone for visiting female dignitaries. Son was part of the entourage in all foreign trips the President made.
Minister of Sports and Tourism Navin Dissanayake is accused of sponsoring his mother’s kennel club show at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium with a concession of half a million rupees. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake who raised the issue of defaulted loans amounting to Rs.300 million borrowed from the Bank of Ceylon by two powerful mill owners in the Polonnaruwa district, about which he complained to the COPE in May 2012 is no more interested in it.
Despite all the loud talk about mega corruption in most Chinese funded massive projects, none had been revamped or stopped. What media reports about investigations into them are sketchy, patchy and contradictory.
Wickremesinghe as Leader of the Opposition promised to “scrap” Colombo Port City, but is now continuing, even without the report Wickremesinghe as PM promised to parliament. Both Anura K. Dissanayake the loud talking NEC member of this coalition and SirasaTV who were louder than RW in criticising the Colombo Port City have turned meek apologists for the same Colombo Port City. Bought over by the Chinese, all of them?
All open and peaceful protests have been brutally cracked down to date, in a far worse manner than even during the Rajapaksa tenure. MS apologists who were pre election loud screamers for justice and democracy, is nowhere to be seen when university students are mercilessly assaulted, residents in Meethotamulla protesting against stinking waste mountains are beaten up, Pelvehera farmers are chased away and mass arrests are made when Jaffna residents come on the streets against police complicity in releasing gang rape accused to list just a few.
Whole State machinery is running extra slow and hesitant. President MS had to intervene even to clean up Colombo of waste accumulation, the job of Minister Hakeem. From Wild life to CKDu MS intervenes on very bias and sectarian appeals. Both on Wilpattu, Glysophate and CKDu, he proves he can be taken on a ride on Sinhala sentiments.
Absolutely no difference between MR and President Sirisena in how he hypes the war victory and war heroes. He is running round projecting himself as a good Sinhala Buddhist as his official website proves and the Remembrance Day military parade showed.
All of it proves the political culture is not what has changed, but the names and faces in the game is what had changed. Our crisis at hand is far more deep rooted and complex. None the “Maithri government” and these Colombo urban experts are meddling with, would bring answers to the deepening crisis. And what is that crisis?
It eats into all aspect of social and economic life. It is not just the politicians and political leaderships who are mediocre and corrupt. All social segments that are expected to provide intellectual guidance and leadership to society are also mediocre and corrupt. The professionals, the academics, the administrators are that. They have grown into self centred individuals competing to make their life comfortable and wealthy in a very competitive open market economy where money and political power decides where they can go and what they can achieve in life. This has led to extremely undemocratic and corrupt social and professional organisations used for personal advantage by those who control them. Attitudes and values in society are being cultivated by many means to suit this urban life that controls dominant ideology of society. That is nurtured through media and education.
The crisis therefore is the result of what human resources the education system produces for this society to run it on a daily basis; administrators, professionals, entrepreneurs and politicians including the majority controlled and governed by them. Over the past decades, education has been a neglected area. There had been no serious discourse in how education should be reformed to produce the best human resources this society needs. All what is being argued and debated is “Grade I admissions”, university intakes, privatisation of higher education and the 6% allocation for education that FUTA brought into focus. They have not been put into perspective to dialogue on a national education policy.
We have thus lived with what this ever deteriorating, decaying and polluting education system keeps throwing into society, each generation less competent and more mediocre than the previous. It’s been a case like photocopying from a photocopied. Every copy losing at least 10% quality. Its a photocopied set that always takes over schools and the universities and produces a lesser quality new batch of human resource. They obviously cannot produce a better quality than themselves. This has been a vicious circle over the past few decades, with the open economy turning this human resource into selfish and atomised individuals. It’s they who run all institutions, make policy and also implement them. It’s this mediocre society that lacks creative intellectual leadership, but elects its parliament and expects answers to all ills.
This dependency on mediocrity is what brings out “apologists” for all regimes. MR had them, defending him till he was ousted and MS and RW have them too, now apologising for what had not been delivered as promised. It is this mediocrity and not my cynicism or negativity that will drag us more into this crisis. And to give the tweet that came as a response its due perspective, I would say “With APOLOGISTS like you, #lka has no chance!”
What we need is a new generation of open minded, analytical young intellectuals who could steer a serious discourse outside both MR and MS-RW mediocrity, to seek new medication to old wounds. For #lka to create its own comfortable, secular and plural society.