20 May, 2022

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Eat Lotus No More

By Hilmy Ahamed

Hilmy Ahamed

Politics and governance in the land of lotus eaters will never be the same again. The unprecedented protests in the last three weeks by youth that triggered off mass support from men and women of all ages, religions and cultures across the country will change the politics of Sri Lanka. For the first time since Independence, the high riding political ruffians have been forced to kneel in front of the people’s power. Many are dreading the thought of even visiting their electorates. The once mighty legislators in government have been humbled to seek a dignified exit fearing the worst for their lives and ill gotten wealth. A government that had the highest mandate in history of 6.9 million voters just two years ago is now being kicked out of office by very ordinary people with absolutely no political bias.

The failure of the government to provide basic needs to ordinary people has spurred the innocent bystander to take to the streets to kick out the inefficient government that has mismanaged the economy. This government has brought the country down to even beg from countries and entities we wouldn’t have imagined a few years ago. There are no political conspirators who facilitated or bank rolled this new found awareness of the need to ensure good governance and transparency. There has been no external political interference or money pumped in for regime change. The protesters at the “Gama” (the village) are ordinary people who are supported with voluntary contributions of food, water, tents and other logistics by ordinary people. The commitment to support is only increasing by the day. Politicians of all shades and colour have been barred from entering the protest area. They are itching to join the bandwagon, but wise counsel has prevailed within the protesting thousands who have ensured that their struggle is non-partisan.

The threat of withdrawal of international support faced by Sri Lanka became evident even before the 49th regular session at Palais des Nations in Geneva from 28 February – 1 April 2022 of the Human Rights. Sri Lanka’s continuous broken promises of delivering on the demands of The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) relating to human rights, governance and justice issues, carried with it the possible ostracisation of the country in international fora. Draconian laws, especially the abuse of the Prevention Of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the selective use of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on religious and ethnic minorities became major issues of concern for the international community. Sri Lanka’s hopes of support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were lost last week, unless immediate reforms are undertaken to streamline Government financial polices and support to the vulnerable population, to receive immediate support.

The threat of losing the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) concessions offered to Sri Lankan exports weighed heavily on the government. The Generalised Scheme of Preferences, is an annual trade concession worth over 500 million US dollars that boosts Sri Lanka’s exports to EU member states. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged Sri Lankan civil society and offered to address the core

issues related to rights and democracy. The government in good faith amended the PTA and other draconian laws but was far below the expectations of Sri Lankan and international civil society. They demanded the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and reforms to various other laws in the country. The government is seen as attempting to address some of the core issues that the international community has highlighted and hence have managed to buy some time. But with the current unrest in the country, any hope for this government has evaporated.

The stubborn economic policies of the Rajapaksa government and its former Central Bank Governor became the noose around the neck of Sri Lanka. Flirting with geo-politics of India and China forced the country to accept loans and sovereign bonds without seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund spelled doom. The failure to reform governance and strict financial management expected by international lending agencies like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank led Sri Lanka to play with sovereign bonds that Sri Lanka could not afford. Now, with the failure to settle them, it has driven the country to the bottom of financial credibility levels amongst rating agencies.

Our failure to repay the sovereign bonds earns us the label of a bankrupt nation. A sovereign bond is a debt security issued by a national government to raise money for financing government programs, paying down old debt, paying interest on current debt, and any other government spending needs. Failure to service them leads to bankruptcy of the nation.

The totally mismanaged economy due to stubborn economic polices has led Sri Lanka to unprecedented economic turmoil. There have been no medicine, fuel, cooking gas, milk food or other basic necessities including food. The Government claims that they do not have the foreign currency needed to import these basic necessities that are in high demand. Forcing people not to use alternate methods of remittences through Hawala or Undial is an ill thought out strategy. Most of these remittences come from our RATA VIRUWO (Expats) who send money to their homes for household expenses. Very few will forgo the approx. Gain of rupees fifty on every dollar by this alternate financial system. There is no way the government can control this unless foreign currency is made available for remittence for imports by the alternate markets.

The absolute majority of the population are disgusted with the legislators who have failed to manage the country’s economy and are demanding that the entire parliament and the President resign. There is total disgruntlement against the entire parliamentarians and public officials who most citizens feel were political stooges during the last three to four decades. The demand on the streets is for progressive change, and that is not just against the government only but all 225 legislators who people believe are a drain on the economy with absolute abuse, allocating perks and privileges to themselves unknown in any other democracy. The protests around the country have ignited the peoples awareness to demand accountability by our legislators. A welcome sign indeed.

Light At the End of the Tunnel

This crisis is probably what Sri Lanka needed to become a prosperous and vibrant democracy again. The politicians will never again be able to act with impunity, corruption and abuse of power as we have seen in the last few decades. The quality of representation in parliament changed after the provincial councils were introduced. Those goons, chain snatchers and Kassipu vendors who became provincial councillors filled the vacancies in parliament when their political bosses faded away.

The peoples’ struggle and agitation should continue until the corrupt are hunted and the loot recovered. The meagre funds required for the country’s recovery will be available in the vaults in Switzerland, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Uganda. The Crypto currency balances of some alone should be enough to pay most of Sri Lanka’s debts. Further, additional focus needs to be paid to what has been revealed in the Panama Papers and those named in the Offshore Leaks Database. All we need are top Intelligence hunters to go after the financial looters, similar to the Nazi Hunters who have unearthed unimaginable evidence. There should be no place for our financial criminals to hide on earth. The investment on these experts will not only help to recover most of our loot but will also deter any politician in the future to siphon off state and ill-gotten wealth through corruption. International experts in addition to our top investigators should be commissioned to undertake this task as a priority. Tracking down ill gotten wealth may not be all that difficult as social media has already revealed much.

It is time to shed all political differences and biases and step forward as true patriots to save our country. To achieve this, we need to have a government that would have addressed these many moons ago, yet there is hope. There is no time or money for any immediate election or referendum. The best option remains in Parliament where every member should commit to form a government that will prioritise financial recovery and ensure that the basic needs of the population are met. This interim government could have a fixed term of one year. The first responsibility of all the current parliamentarians should be to introduce the 21st Amendment which should also include a time frame to abolish the executive presidency and make parliament supreme. Thereafter, a Prime Minister (a non Rajapaksa) should be selected by parliament and a cabinet not exceeding 15 should be appointed. The best of the MPs in parliament should be selected to the cabinet. In addition, at least 5 national list MPs should resign and pave the way for technocrats, financial and administrative experts to be appointed to parliament and take over the key ministries as cabinet ministers in the recovery process. All perks, privileges and welfare support to parliamentarians and state sector and corporation employees should be immediately frozen. Austerity measures should include major retrenchment of public sector employees. The remuneration of corporation chair persons should be reduced to a maximum of Rs. 300,000. Perks and privileges should be limited. All loss making state enterprises should be auctioned off to the private sector through a transparent mechanism. A board of management should be set up to monitor and control partisan media outlets.

If parliament and the general public support the austerity measures needed, we can recover as a country within the next three years and bounce back as a vibrant economy in the region. If the loot from corruption is traced and recovered, Sri Lanka should easily be able to maintain her dignity and ensure a bright future to our children.

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Latest comments

  • 18
    1

    HA,
    Thanks for elaborating the actions that needed to be taken to place our motherland on the right step. The Protestors would LIKE not a progressive change but a QUICK change. We need to NAME & shame the corrupt parliamentarians and get them to resign from their posts….especially those who voted for (abstained from voting) for the 20th amendment.We can limit the number needed in the parliament to say 100 and get in as suggested by HA technocrats & other EXPERTS. The other VERY important thing that should happen is for Government security Forces to be WITH the people and not with those in POWER who brought us in to the current PREDICAMENT.

    • 10
      0

      Hilmy,
      .
      People have not yet realized how it would be in a few weeks of now. The very same estranged minister of justice now as incumbent minister of finance, Ali Sabry makes it clear today, that the situation before the island nation is nightmare. He would do anything and everything to protect Gota not the nation.
      And the man who was promising the other way around – with loans and everything, the clown, former governor of CB – Cabral is now out of in the most abusive regime, we ever had since independence.
      Even though that late, people s successes are more alone for the last 4 weeks – they have hung srilanka s Gadafi -Mahinda Rajaapkshe on a last straw (pirith chants for 24/7) no matter people are against it -pirith chants continues to be no different to the last days of any of the kind men, ruined everything of his people.

    • 7
      0

      Rajapakshe’s CRIME/CORRUPTION friendly politics broke records/now they are real prisoners in their offices. This reminded me of Rumania and Lybia. How many more days would it take to see their “go home”.

      ***********TRUTH DOES NOT COST YOU ANYTHING
      BUT A LIE COULD COST YOU EVERYTHING********************

      They returned to power abusing the stupidity of the majority of the island nation..

      Rajapakshes,
      IF LYING WAS A JOB, I KNOW SOME PEOPLE THAT WOULD BE BILLIONAIRES.

      Not only Mahajanathawa-the PUBLIC- BUT also Mahinda ‘s bastard sons will start hating him soon, because his continuous loot is collected and today s mess is created by his mlechcha politics – by MR (nobody else).

    • 3
      0

      really good article. especially liked the part about recovering all the money looted by the rajapakshas and all their hangers on. this alone will put the country back on a speeded up recovery.

  • 4
    4

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    • 16
      1

      Eagle sorry Eye
      Either you are a complete and utter mutt or you are a hired hand to distrupt the truth.
      Either way you are a traitor to the Sri Lankan people.
      I don’t think there is a better example of a psychopath amongst the CT crowd.
      There is no hope for people like you, only kicking the bucket will help rid the world of mistakes to humanity such as yourself.
      If you are in it for the money, I hope it is worth the price.
      Hope your family know the kind of shit you are. I bet even they don’t know who Eagle Eye is, because if they did I am sure they would have done the needful.

      • 9
        2

        Human touch…I know your values and see your point
        As you say no one knows Eagle fully.

        He claims to be a qualified editor of independence long ago
        But recieves a sad night school diploma with youngsters in OZ
        He is a bundle of contradictions in SL and OZ
        His claim– Sinhala Buddhist original inhabitants in SL
        Yet– does not recognize the original inhabitants of OZ
        He enjoys the benefits of a democracy in a big country but upholds autocracy in a little island
        He says Sinhala Aryans ruled Island of Sri lanka
        But- cannot explain what they were doing in Dravidian region of a huge continent.(not that it matters to me)
        He discracefully crossed over from when his first paymaster(PM) died
        He found a new Handdler(hit man) and no remorse in Slandering the old family as his pen was for hire
        In his personal life he could not find a wife in his race and marrys into his enemy camp
        Then disparages the race and religion of his long time spouse

        The entire life of this writer slut is a resounding lie
        His new paymaster is not funding and his dandy wardrobe anymore.
        This is why he is against the voice of conscience we raise.
        Just another kept Jounalist ..
        The truth is his master is rich but he came cheap .
        He is a veteran disgrace to the media and an enemy of his own race.

        • 3
          0

          FCB,
          .
          Human beings are no different to the animals. Some behave their animal aspects all along while others do it occassionally.
          Religions (Europeans, Asians, North and south americans, Africans )and ideologies (Chinese) shape up the human life. Some religions have become life style instruments, while others guide them to a good or bad life.Sinhala buddhism which is far from non-violence based true teachings of buddha has become the opioum of crook politicians.
          Until yestreday, most stinky man in SL politics – MAFIA BOSS, Mahinda abused pirith chants to mitigate the clamours of the protesting youth – THIS WAS AMIDST THE KIND REQUESTS BEING MADE BY MAHANAKYAKA THEROS ON THE VICIOUS ACT.
          :
          In the same time, he is seen licking bo tree – again and again, just to pretend that they are exemplary buddhists.

          • 1
            0

            LLM,
            Whom in Mind, when “stating” this??
            “In the same time, he is seen licking bo (Bodhi Gaha) tree – again and again, just to pretend that they are exemplary Buddhists.”
            Did you mean any one of the following:-
            1. Don David R
            2. Don Mathew R
            3. Don Alwin R
            Am I delirious or are you LLM to comprehend??
            These anglicised ‘Christian’ first baptismal Names
            Not Buddhist!
            They are ‘celebrated’ progeny, of Malaccan descendants of British Malaya, sought ‘refuge’ from abusive Malays; end of the 19th century arrived as refugees, in South Eastern Lankan port of yore?!!
            Converted after being naturalised, as “Animal husbandry and Landed Agriculturalist” of Sri Lanka and their progenies becoming gradually integrated with the Sinhala Buddhists of the Medamulana village and homestead, Hambantota?!!
            The later naturalisation, of family is well evident, incidentally there is NO anglicised Christian first names attributable, after the birth of Mahendra PERCIVAL Rajapakse A. K. A. Mahinda or MaRa or Mahinda Aiya or Appachche!! Circa 1947, Sinhala Maha Sabha, circa 1945!!??
            Therefore, not an indigenous Buddhist lineage of SL imbibed in 2500 years of Buddhism, heritage and culture??

          • 1
            0

            (Part II)
            No lineage to, King Dutu Gemunu, who vanquished King Elara in Battle and built Ruwan Weli Seya (RWS)??!! Though GR was sworn in at RWS)
            Seen your many comments that SB as espoused today is not the same as Buddhism proper??!!
            I agree!
            It is different, because it is Buddhism embraced – SERVE AS MEANS TO AN END – not for the religious precepts and philosophy!!??
            There are a litany of these saviours in SL History and not of any attributable or commendable actions, but condemningly questionable and better erased from history and individual memories!?
            Don Stephen, Solomon West Ridgeway, Junius Richard and it goes on. They had good attributes too!!
            ‘Cracks are showing’ and becoming frequent!!
            Reference, “licking bo tree, again and again” reminds me, instances in my Grand Fathers property, cattle licking the trees/bark to which they are tied to?!!
            Never heard humans resorting to such acts, though claimed as Devine by some, in this stone-age?
            Foolishness abounds, simply universal franchise electors not emancipated/knowledgeable and discerning?!
            Fooled by “repetition of falsehoods” as TRUTH AND FACT by modern day Joseph Goebbels, Reich Propaganda Minister of 1933 – 45!!
            No doubt farfetched trying imitate to be Adolf Hitler??!!

  • 7
    1

    I would like the following speech is translated to Singhalese for the benefit of the civilians and uniformed forces.

    https://youtu.be/J7GY1Xg6X20

  • 8
    1

    The massive amounts of looted money in hard currencies at present sitting in offshore secret accounts will not be easy to recover, as a) the banks that hold the money are doing business – lending to corporates in rich countries b) governments in the banks’ home countries do not want to let go of these moneys as they constitute assets that make their economies strong. Even if a trial like that of Nuremberg is conducted, Sri Lanka lacks the teeth to demand justice from rich countries anyway. Therefore, the best bet is to hold on to the smugglers’ short and curlies and twist them until the moneys trails and permissions are extracted, with a view to their repatriation.

    • 1
      0

      LP,
      Good Morning,
      “Therefore, the best bet is to hold on to the smugglers’ short and curlies and twist them until the moneys trails and permissions are extracted, with a view to their repatriation”
      Very good thought!
      Question is WHO WILL BELL THE CAT and initiate action to achieve?
      None!!
      6.9 Million and Buddhist monks, who were the prime promoters??
      The other part was the acolytes and ‘Boot Lickers’?? No they are happy with their part stacked away for future too??!!!
      No sir! They are busy and this not a priority, until it hits their stomach even more!
      Hit hard, “Right and Centre” and people start “dying”???
      New meaning for Ahimsa and Justice in this promised land of Splendour!!??
      Feel sorry for Sri Lankans, but there seems no quick answers or remedies for the mismanagement and looting by the ‘Family’ as in ”GOD FATHER” – ‘Ali Baba and 40 Thieves’ ruling the Roost, planted in POWER again by the uninitiated!!??
      Even the many “OPEN SESAME”, pleadings does not seem to have any effect in opening the ‘CAVE DOOR’ to reach the loot??????????!!
      Heartless animals, elected and thought to be Patriots? DESHAPREMIS!!??

  • 3
    0

    Long before Nuremberg verdict, Hitler had committed suicide. Surely the rajas having known what the end would be like, fell too deep into the pit to be able to reverse their corruption. Now the only thing to do is to freeze all that can be traced in Sri Lanka, recover the money fast and and use it to bring immediate relief to the robbed citizens wasting their lives in all types of queues. Lawyers no doubt will help those able to file cases in courts, so that these shooting robbers could be jailed. The rest must be united even with their differences. One thing must be taught to all and that is not to spend more than the income or productivity..

    • 1
      0

      DTF,
      “Surely the rajas having known what the end would be like, fell too deep into the pit to be able to reverse their corruption.”
      In addition, they got the Golayas too ensconced in the ‘Devilry’ – not to mean the ‘Devala Puja Wattiya” – but Robbing, Looting (R&L – function), for accomplices to stay silent, without them “spilling the Masters beans”!!!
      The people wouldn’t believe, suggested wrong doings by “ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND FARMING” land owner proprietors’ progeny would resort to??
      Such was the disbelief of the 6.9 million emancipated, they restored power with 2/3rd majority to BOOT, enable, “play some computer Jilmart” as a hobby to ensure competency, when they return to their naturalised country and Job??!!
      Now they stand in queue to obtain, fuel, gas, kerosene to cook and Milk powder too!!
      Hear from the grapevine, Mothers Brest Milk feeding is the NEW AND UPCOMING FASHION CONTEST and ably sponsored by ‘Victoria Secrets’ suspension systems!!
      My P(F)riend Dick with long, respected Burgher lineage, is “SURPRISED, IF NOT ASTONISHED AT TURNAROUND” of these traditional occupiers of this land!!
      New phenomenon SL Contest “Queen of breast feeding mothers”!!!
      Chief Guest and sole Judge – ‘Messiah’!!
      Hi Hi!
      All shortages forgotten!!

  • 1
    5

    Brother Hilmy
    .
    “There are no political conspirators ……. “
    “There has been no external political interference ….”
    ” … or money pumped in for regime change.”
    Can you please inform the Readers as to how you arrived at such definitive conclusions ? (NO political conspirators, NO external political interference, NO money pumped in).
    .
    Or, is it mere speculation based on the maxim : ‘Absence of Evidence = Evidence of Absence’ ?
    .
    Would it not be more correct to state that according to YOUR personal opinion, the probability of there being ‘NO political conspirators, NO external political interference, NO money pumped in’ is very high ?
    .
    Admittedly, that is one possibility. However, there are many others.
    All one has to do is ask himself as to who benefits directly from the continuation of the protests at Galle Face. Who keeps giving oxygen to the protest movement which has changed character from the tiny group of placard-carrying, silent protestors in Kohuwela Junction to the raucous, rambunctious crowds milling on GFG today.
    .
    Consider another extreme possibility : Drug-dealers, Alcohol-sellers and Condom-sellers are doing very brisk business in that ‘captive-market’ and investing part of their profits towards the perpetuation of this market. Mere speculation or highly probable ?

    • 2
      1

      “It is time to shed all political differences and biases and step forward as true patriots to save our country”
      Easier said than done.
      “Shedding all political differences …” would entail making political compromises and concessions. How many of our ambitious, power-hungry politicians would be willing to do so ?
      .
      “Shedding all …. biases ..”. Religious and Ethnic biases which have been exploited by all politicians since Independence have grown and will continue to grow. We should not be deceived by the display of religious/racial tolerance that appears to be seen at GFG. Their camaraderie is simply the manifestation of the belief that ‘The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend’. The protestors at GFG are united by ONE sole objective – the ejection of the Rajapakses from the local political firmament. When this is achieved, this ‘Unity’ will once again be crushed by the forces of religious and ethnic biases.
      .
      Anti-minority bigotry and prejudice nurtured over 7 decades cannot be neutralized overnight by conducting ‘Iftar Parties’ or providing Biryani (Mutton or Chicken) to the ‘masses’.
      .
      Eid Mubarak, Brother Hilmy

    • 1
      0

      Ekelbroom,
      Never accept responsibility for non-provision of human essentials?? First and foremost duty and responsibility of elected Reps and EP (225+1 conglomerate)!!
      Got all their priorities screwed up like in a 7-Eleven store, stacking products to Security, which is essential but not the only and sole responsibility of GOVERNANCE!!!
      UNLIKE IN A 7-ELEVEN STORE, in USA, we are scanning continuously for thieves, looters marauders and mongrels, in losing stock in trade!!
      In Sri Lanka, that worry is less as the most pronounced in that sphere is within the band of 225+1 – all know where to and whom to look for in case of an occurrence – abundance of “Chain snatchers, Imposters and Foreign Tax-Haven Operators”, well TRAINED BY THE PRESENT LOT THE NEXT GENERATION, the possible future CHIEF OF THE GOVERNMENT, becoming a full-fledged graduate of the system and with 10 years’ HANDS-ON experience to ”BOOT”, under strict guidance!!
      “Boot lickers and consumers of “political master’s’ slipper soup consumers” attitude!!
      Always being a detractors and blaming everybody and everything else – foreign influence, Kudu dealers and terrorists, than themselves for all things going wrong in the country!!!
      Idiosyncrasy but would not know, whether they are wearing any clothes or not!!??

    • 0
      0

      Ekelbroom (EB),
      “All one has to do is ask himself as to who benefits directly from the continuation of the protests at Galle Face.”
      Excellent question!!
      Good morning,
      I will not answer, but leave it t the intelligentsia of the 6.9 million enlightened and those emancipated in the Maligawa to discern, limiting to provide ‘Lead questions only’
      Absolutely certain those with that intellect to call for the nomination of a ‘Hitler as EP’, this would not pose any great difficulty to discern?
      Absolutely not!!!
      You have hit the “Nail right on the head”, indeed???
      Better still, answer to the Lead question – 2+ Years ago – “Who nominated the place opposite the ‘Presidential Secretariat’ in Galle Face as preferred Protest Grounds”??!!!
      “Recommended for all protest to be held in that place to prevent ‘Disruption of Facilities and Amenities to the Public’ such as the FORT Railway Station (FRS), or Central Bus Stand (CBS) where it traditionally took place before??!!”
      This question, IMPORTANTLY BEGS AN ANSWER to resolve this puzzle!!!
      THE POSSIBLE BENEFACTOR OR PATRON??!!!

  • 1
    0

    Ekelbroom,
    Never accept responsibility for non-provision of human essentials?? First and foremost duty and responsibility of elected Reps and EP (225+1 conglomerate)!!
    Got all their priorities screwed up like in a 7-Eleven store, stacking products to Security, which is essential but not the only and sole responsibility of GOVERNANCE!!!
    UNLIKE IN A 7-ELEVEN STORE, in USA, we are scanning continuously for thieves, looters marauders and mongrels, in losing stock in trade!!
    In Sri Lanka, that worry is less as the most pronounced in that sphere is within the band of 225+1 – all know where to and whom to look for in case of an occurrence – abundance of “Chain snatchers, Imposters and Foreign Tax-Haven Operators”, well TRAINED BY THE PRESENT LOT THE NEXT GENERATION, the possible future CHIEF OF THE GOVERNMENT, becoming a full-fledged graduate of the system and with 10 years’ HANDS-ON experience to ”BOOT”, under strict guidance!!
    “Boot lickers and consumers of “political master’s’ slipper soup consumers” attitude!!
    Always being a detractors and blaming everybody and everything else – foreign influence, Kudu dealers and terrorists, than themselves for all things going wrong in the country!!!
    Idiosyncrasy but would not know, whether they are wearing any clothes or not!!??

  • 0
    0

    ekel broom, All what you have said is one aspect of living in community where political conspirators if any are expected to be fairly visible to the discerning at least. The expression we see now has common ground in being harassed by queues for most basic requirements and hence leading to a state of poverty for most. Agree that from this origin it can lead in many directions according to the belief systems of the participants. Hence the need for a people believing in love, mercy, forgiveness, caring for others and submission to a higher authority and spiritual power not possessed by violent, lying, robbing and murdering human authority ruling structure. We are under bondage to weird and occult witchcraft practices which need to be rooted out for freedom again

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