13 April, 2024

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IMF Relief Is Momentary, Blackhole Of A Gulf Between ‘Haves’ & ‘Have-Nots’ Is Widening!

By Vishwamithra

The Texas sky is spotlessly blue; emanating a cold and unresponsive disposition, it’s vast canopy is hardly disarranged even by a thread of white cloud. Yet its  stupendous cover renders an ever-assuring shield to those who live under it. Notorious for its unique character of dispatching all four seasons in one single day, for a visiting vacationer like me, the Texas skies are a way too luxurious for a one whose skin is exposed to the scorching sun in three hundred and sixty five days of the year in Sri Lanka. Albeit being surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the caressing breeze that flows in the parched dry zone is hardly felt in the capital city, for the emission control techniques are either not yet strictly enforced or such sophisticated tools and technology are not yet freely available. Whichever the case may be, the misfortune is that its denizens are relentlessly subjected to the air that hovers above the big cities that is so pregnant with life-threatening elements emitted by moving vehicular population.

Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Texan weather, on the contrary, is  like a balm that soothes many a weary man. Flat as a vast table top, the landscape could be as boring and uninviting to an occasional visitor; yet given the uniqueness of weather patterns, as far as the eye can see, there isn’t even a hillock to beautify an otherwise bland and dull painting. In the distance the blueness of the skies is disturbed by threatening dark clouds as a harbinger of coming showers, like deep shaded drapes falling from the heavens. 

While taking the morning constitutional along well-paved walkways, I was reminded of a recent discussion some close friends of mine and I had with a renowned intellect back in my land on one of our Zoom sessions. He, my friend for whom I have immense respect and regard, threw at us some gloomy pinches of news backed by logical and coherent analysis. My friend is a thoroughbred professional of the highest caliber. His apolitical observations and conclusions  have been, more often than not, pinpoint accurate and authentic. 

According to him the country is living a prolonged nightmare cloaked in illusory images. The IMF loan and the consequent flow of sociopolitical dynamics would not alter one bit unless and until the sickeningly shady character of corruption and dishonesty that surround most of the Minsters and other Pohottuwa politicos is erased from Sri Lankan body politic. One cannot expect that to happen if there is no election, whatever the kind: Presidential, Parliamentary or local government. In other words, the current status of the country is not existing in a vacuum. Nor was it born in a cocoon of emptiness. They all had a context within which conditions and circumstances were created and engineered to perpetuate the sustenance of dishonesty, corruption and stupidity.

Birds of the feather have all congregated together to create a new reality. A reality that is creating new bonds among thieves, new relationships among those whose allegiance is only to self-enrichment and prolongation of their term in power. It is extremely hard to negotiate with such social scum. There is no way one could compromise with such devilish men and women and come out unharmed and unwounded. Men like Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cronies may well be comfortable and cozy being together with those rascals, but any man or woman who has a modicum of conscience simply cannot reconcile with such dishonesty, such corruption and such hypocrisy.  

What one cannot understand is as to why a specially drafted Anti-Terrorism Act with sharpened teeth of terror for the enforcer to suppress, batter, intimidate and eventually kill men and women who ask for their freedom of expression. It is not only saddening to pen these thoughts, it is also utterly depressing even to ponder about the future of our young and yet unborn generations. Once the shackles of state power around the ankles of a people are tight and menacing, the whole nation will become just a bundle of men, women and children. The Gulag Archipelago the great Solzhenitsyn described in his celebrated works  would be a mere forerunner to the sad saga of humanity in Sri Lanka.

It is the burden that the current generation has to carry with or without a forewarning. We cannot  unload the load. For there is no one else to carry it. Active resistance is the only answer and it should be the only response from everyone of us, being soundly aware and forewarned of the impending sociopolitical calamity. IMF loans and their interrelated socioeconomic dynamics are not alien to Ceylon. In 1971 and 1974 two standby arrangements were extended to the Sirimavo-led government. But on both occasions, we never failed to honor the debts so secured. Despite the most cruel of economic hardships experienced by our countrymen, we managed to sustain ourselves as a solvent state.  

What eludes our pundits and critics is the growth of the country’s gulf between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Our Central Bank may have not paid any attention to this crucial detail or they deliberately disregarded it as insignificant. Most of our punditry and so-called super economists may not have been subjected to the harsh realities of day-to-day lives of the average Ceylonese. That economic statistic, namely the disparity between those who are above the middle-class and those who are barely able to place food on the table on a regular basis, cannot be seen and felt by any person other than the ones who endure hardships from sunrise to sunset without cursing the ones who can. The gap is not visible, but could be felt only by those who occupy the lower stratum. It has a direct co-relation to the country’s status as a viable economy or not. 

Corruption and dishonesty on the part of our political leaders has obviously accelerated the process of bankruptcy. As in the case of the Sirimavo-led government in the seventies, the IMF is no magic wand and its beneficial effects would not be signs of a lasting cure; nor would it be a palliative that would arrest the spread of the malignancy that has been eating into our body politic.

When such savage and vicious realities are playing on an unbalanced sociopolitical field, a natural progress towards an acceptable political and economic equilibrium is not possible. We are faced with the proverbial ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Which issue, political stability or economic recovery, should take precedence? It is the pressing and intimidating enigma that confronts all of us as one single nation.   

In today’s Cabinet there is no single person other than President Wickremesinghe who could comprehend the nuanced aspects of an economic crisis. For those whose intelligence level is much to be desired, the IMF loan is another source that would enable them to pilfer the national coffers, the same way they had been doing during the last two decades. The irony is that Ranil Wickremesinghe who can exercise some level of discipline cannot do that as his position as President is totally and absolutely dependent on those who were waiting like vultures for the IMF money, not to make use of it to plan and strategize to get the country out of the economic rut they themselves drove into, but make their ill-gotten millions, billions. That is a real tragedy.

But what can we do as a country to narrow the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’? Resolve the political issues before attempting to employ measures for the recovery of the economy?  It indeed is a Hobson’s Choice. Without political stability there is no economic recovery and without getting the economy going there cannot be any political stability. 

In such an irreconcilable  circumstance the only alternative to national collapse is the unwavering trust the people could place in their leaders. This is precisely the challenge the current government’s leadership is facing. Not only the current government, even the present Opposition is not held in any trust at all by the people. Aragalaya took care of that unkind act, an act that is unkind to the current crop of all politicians; and unless any emerging leadership takes this factor into their utmost consideration when planning and executing their unpalatable solutions to the present crisis (there can never be palatable solutions to the crisis), there will not be any pleasant period following the impending collapse of the system.

The rich are getting richer by the day. They go for their haircuts to Singapore or Bangkok. They lunch and dine at the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Lake of at the Hilton. The current government’s henchmen, even the Ministers and other parliamentarians still do that. The average villager in the deep South or up North is struggling to put food on the table. They are the ones who are tightening their belts. A Blackhole of a gap is existing between the rich and the poor and its widening exponentially . 

However, history is replete with many armed and violent revolutions that sought system change in their own way. Political power being what it is and human nature being what it has always been, one cannot repose total trust in a leader or a set of leaders. Power corrupts without any consideration. When the wheels of power start turning, those wheel do not identify X, Y or Z. It attempts to corrupt all. In such a situation man hardly has a choice. He has to decide the best from amongst very bad choices.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com     

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Latest comments

  • 9
    2

    “…skin is exposed to the scorching sun in three hundred and sixty five days of the year in Sri Lanka.”
    I wonder how the sun reaches out to us during cloudy rainy months.

    • 5
      5

      SJ,
      You know Vishwa is given to hyperbole. Divide by two.
      I believe Vishwa didn’t experience the winter collapse of the Texas grid, which was far worse than anything that happened here.

    • 0
      0

      It cannot reach your skin and bring any senses, even in the sunny days, because the skin is well anesthetized, 365/24, by Deva’s Soma Panam. Then don’t wake up and jump ask me if I have seen a doctor. Because that is an open proof to you that nothing in CT is getting into your skin.

  • 4
    1

    We are now in the stranglehold of a neo liberal ‘user pays’ economic system where cash is king. Our leader appears quite nonchalant about the status quo, and he has not made a public statement about the Express Pearl crisis which has unfolded during his watch.

    • 7
      8

      “The irony is that Ranil Wickremesinghe who can exercise some level of discipline cannot do that as his position as President is totally and absolutely dependent on those who were waiting like vultures for the IMF money,”
      “One cannot expect that to happen if there is no election, whatever the kind: Presidential, Parliamentary or local government.”
      Be consistent, dear Viswa. Do you really believe that the voters will vote Ranil back into power? Or that they will vote in a paragon of purported virtue like AKD? My guess is that Wimal Weerawansa has a better chance than AKD.
      It is the voters who vote for politicians. Don’t blame the politicians.

      • 1
        1

        old codger,
        I agree with you Visva is not consistent about. He thinks Ranil is good but only Others as bad. To your question about whether the voters will vote for Ranil , it is possible with the support of Mahinda Rajapaksa as long as he maintain the position on Buddist Sinhala Fundamentalism. Ranil is a supporter of Buddhist hard liners while showing to the west another face as a democrat.

  • 4
    2

    One major reason why the gap between the rich and poor are widening is the “taxes”! The middle class has to pay its taxes in various forms at the time of purchasing goods and services and income tax which includes PAYEE. However, the mudalalies who collect the sales taxes do not pay or even declare these entirely to the Inland Revenue Department and they manipulate the accounts to show lower profits avoiding paying the actual income tax. It’s the rich and the businessmen and the businesswomen who are the major crooks, they collect and become rich while the rest of the population pay for it.

  • 4
    1

    Thank you, for Vishwa, for reminding us of Alexander Solzhenitsyn- the great soviet writer whose writings portrayed the Soviet Communism as an evil ideology, whereas Solzhenitsyn was basically a Christian humanist and an admirer of western way of like.
    He was an unrestrained admirer of Western way of life and all his writings colured with this prejudice and compromised his literary prowess.
    The main theme in all his novels including “The Gulag Archipelago’, one day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” , “Cancer Ward” In the first Circle” .was anti soviet communism, almost could be considered as propaganda blitz, that compromised a bipartisan approach expected from a writer of his stature.

  • 8
    2

    “He has to decide the best from amongst very bad choices.” That was how the author ended his article. The author is grossly wrong in that assumption. There is a pure and vibrant set of people who comprise the executive corps of the national people’s party or NPP who come from the “have nots”. Their virtuous agenda is most genuinely to develop the country and rid it of this menace of evil corruption and criminal neglect, not to mention economic crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in blatant sight of those willing to look. The reason elections have been postponed is only due to the existential fear of the utterly corrupt house of thieves taking turns at sucking the blood of the nation knowing that the baton, if changed now, will mean the end of exploitation for a long time to come. And they collude to prevent that at any cost. The vermin who benefit from this system concoct many lies about the Aragalaya and seek to demean and discount that noble uprising made in utter desperation. The people MUST come together and rise now, in order to claim back their country from the bastards who have held it to ransom.

    • 4
      0

      LP, You say vermin benefit from IMF relief. Vishwa says IMF relief is momentary. Citizens go into a blackhole as soon as robbers lay hands on the IMF dollars which will not be allowed to reach them. Then a commission will try to investigate and give a report.

  • 0
    0

    Blackhole Of A Gulf Between ‘Haves’ & ‘Have-Nots’ Is Widening!: It should. We have one Bill gates and millions of ordinary people if they don’t have next pay check , they will be kicked out of their apartment and will be in street. Middle class in Srilanka is still fortunate . Democracy is abused by voters and rulers in Srilanka like any other country. Laws needs to be implemented to shape the country like Singapore or South Korea or Thaiwan. Ranil( Srilankan Lee Quan Yu) could lead to achieve this instead of Sajith who may follow his dad path , started implementing a project of ‘one billion houses for all” to drain the gov coffer.

  • 1
    0

    Ali Sabri is kingpin and a ring master in the game of somersault. And on the other side of the coin, he is Alia Sabri, a saber-toothed Alia holding the enemy’s neck. He said last time, when America blacklisted Rapist Police, he said nothing about that because America has its excellent investigation units. This time the Colombo media had hit hard on the ambassador and has delivered to Ali. You know what a blacksmith does when he sees the iron piece on his is soften. He lifts his buttock 100 times and banks the soften iron many times to warn the onlookers how tough he could be (that is a Tamil old saying). But Ex. FAM Mangala only knows whether Ali was such tough or it is his master, the Evil. Who cares about this slave who washes the feet of all dictators for penny. He was given this job by Hitler king because when Evil Emperor’s Yahapalanaya brought fake cases against Hitler, Ali was the trial lawyer for Hitler. Now Ali knows that the New Yahapalanaya will never bring any cases against Hitler King, so for earning, he has joined Nova Yahapalanaya. Do you think these Muslim politicians has any Pisa in their pockets to buy even an Amude before the go in front of people? Shameless clowns!

  • 0
    0

    This is a man teaching everybody economics and Finance, because he was invited to stand in the front in the line of IMF’s donation sharing party. Do you remember when the Central Bank haul received in 2015 April, Ravi and Evil made PTL to write 172 checks for politicians and businesspeople? The Alia Sabre saying, it not the $2.9B, but he is getting another $14B. Honestly, my feeling is if there is a way put the IMF people, Ceylonese must try that. When Rs 10B money was distributed between MPs ministers, Slap Party asses braying hard. Now the Ladle is in the hands of Ali Sabri. So, all the politicians claimed that they all wanted an IMF loan and though the IMF can put conditions, they need not follow them. (Is that 13A to the constitution? Is the Communist Packaya has broken up with his wife, because he pretends to be celibacy on large haul li a $20B)

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