3 December, 2022

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Looking At The Problem Of The Point Of View Of The State

By Harsha Gunasena

Harsha Gunasena

Sri Lanka has become a bankrupt state. Sri Lanka has stated that it is impossible to repay the foreign debts obtained and therefore suspended the repayments. There is a shortage of essential services and goods such as electricity, gas and fuel. There were spontaneous protests by the people throughout the island without any political leadership. These protests were peaceful and nonviolent. The main protest site ‘Gota Go Gama’ at Galle Face Green was attacked on May 9th by the goons provoked by the politicians led by then Prime Minister. It was of a violent nature and the counterattack spearheaded by the general public throughout the island was also of a violent nature.

As a result of this, then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government had to resign, and the President appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister. Nonviolent public protests continued. The Masses came to Galle Face Green in numbers and stormed the President’s House, Presidential Secretariat and to the office of the Prime Minister. The resignation of the President was imminent. Later the private house of the Prime Minister also was burnt down.

The President left the country without resigning. He wanted the diplomatic status until he reached his destination. Later from abroad he appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe the acting President. Subsequently he tendered his resignation and the Parliament according to the provisions of the constitution elected Ranil Wickremesinghe the President.

The Former President did not use power against the public protests. The only power used against the protesters was the attack spearheaded by the former Prime Minster on May 9th. We learnt subsequently that it was happened without the consent of the former President. The reason for not using power may be that he was well aware that there was a huge public disapproval against him. His intention seemed to be to convert his state of failure to a state of success prior to the end of his term.

The power of the state was not used against the people at the time of the people occupying state property on July 9th. There was no possibility of using power against such a vast gathering of people.

Our country faced three armed struggles and strugglers were not successful of acquiring state power or persuading the leaders of the governments to resign. This struggle popularly called Aragalaya which was nonviolent in essence but was violent in certain instances and was not an armed struggle at any event, was able to make changes at the top of the government forcing the President, Prime Minister and the Government to resign. It was a victory of the people and the honour should go to the youth who protested continuously day and night and the general public who supported it.

It was a victory of the people since the government which was overthrown triggered this economic catastrophe. The Former President admitted it when he addressed the nation on May 11th prior to the appointment of the new Prime Minister. He admitted that his pet project, organic farming was a failure and it was wrong not seek the assistance of IMF at the appropriate time. However, after making such colossal bad decisions which led the country to such a calamity, he did not think that it was appropriate to resign. Therefore, the move to send him away by force was justified.

We have to look at the total issue at last in the point of view of the state. People create the state and the people appoint governments to run the state. It is the duty of the state to protect the people. If the state does not do that then the people have the right to request the government which was appointed by them to leave. However, in this whole process the state should not disintegrate which will cause anarchy.

The strugglers tried to encircle the Parliament at the last stage and there was a move to occupy it. However, there were some leaders of the struggle who did not agree to that move and hence it did not materialize. If it happened, it would be anarchy.

What the strugglers should have done was to conclude the struggle and leave the occupied places soon after the former President tendered his resignation since the main demand of the struggle was his resignation. The Former President did not know the time he should leave, and the strugglers did not know the time to end the struggle. Therefore, the strugglers had to force the former President to leave the office and they have created the opportunity to the new President to force them away from the occupied Presidential Secretariat.

That forceful evacuation created widespread protests locally as well as internationally. We look at the problem in the point of view of the people in general. It can also be viewed in the point of view of the government. However essentially the problem should be looked at in the point of view of the state as well. The State is not the government. People appoint governments to run the state. We all should protect the state. In the case of a foreign invasion people join the war in order to protect the state and not to protect the government.

The strugglers as well as the people wanted the former President to resign. The slogan was “Gota Go Home”. It was not the intention of the strugglers or the people who supported them to disintegrate the state. The mechanism used by the strugglers to chase him away was to forcibly occupy his official residence, the President’s House and his office, the Presidential Secretariat. After his resignation a new President was appointed. Thereafter those who occupied the President’s House left the place and those who occupied the Presidential Secretariat continued to stay. This cannot be approved by the state. Therefore, the incumbent President using the same methodology used by the strugglers to occupy the place took steps to remove them from that place. In both instances the methodology used by both parties was the same. There was no use of arms. The former President as well as the strugglers delayed their respective exits, and they faced the same consequences.

Hunting of the strugglers subsequently was a result of a straight-line thinking. It is well evident that all are not treated equally.

Now what we should do is not to plan the methodology to remove the President. All should get together and plan to get out of this mess. Although the immediate reason for this economic disaster was the series of immature decision taken by the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government starting from the reduction of taxes and thereby reducing the government revenue, the country was heading in this disastrous path for decades. The reasons were the long-standing deficits of the government budget and the long standing shortfalls of the current account of the state. i.e. import expenses were more than the export income. These reasons should be removed to get out of this situation. Reduction of budget deficits would secure the IMF loan but to have economic recovery the focus should be export led growth.

The positive point is that the IMF is now emphasizing on the concept of social safety net. They were not sensitive enough to this aspect in the past and now they have realized that the entire system would collapse if this aspect is not properly addressed.

IMF would provide assistance to Sri Lanka if the proposals of the country adequately address the causes which led us to this situation. Our proposals should get the approval of the Parliament. Since when the governments are changes there are drastic policy changes in Sri Lanka if all the parties in the Parliament approve these proposals there is strong possibility that IMF approval can be obtained for those proposals.

In addition to that Sri Lanka needs the consensus of all the debt holders including the holders of international sovereign bonds to restructure the debt. Sri Lanka has taken loans from China and China has already disagreed to the proposal of restructuring debt citing the reason that all the other borrows might have the same request. China suggested that fresh loans could be given to repay the old loans. However recently China agreed to restructure the loans given to Zambia.

To handle China in this respect is a colossal task. The main reason is the prevalent power struggle between the USA and China. India is also involved. The issue of Chinese vessel has created tensions among Sri Lanka, China and India.

Ranil Wickremesinghe was identified as a person with a bias towards the West. Recently he expressed his views of the Ukrainian war and the views were against the West. He said that the war was started by Europe, and they should resolve it. Then criticizing the stance taken by the Ukrainian President he said that Zelenskyy’s responsibility was to safeguard his citizens. He said that Asia was neutral at the voting of the resolution against Russia at UN General Assembly citing that China, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh abstained from voting.

This stance is different to the policy of former President J.R. Jayewardene that to support the friends. At the resolution of Falkland war, he decided to vote against Argentina in favour of the UK. This was done setting aside the advices of then Foreign Minister A.C.S.Hameed. This stance is different to the foreign policy of Rajapaksa brothers which is based on the benefits. This stance is closer to the foreign policy of Sirima Bandaranaike.

When he was the Prime Minister in 2015 to ease the debt burden he has decided to lease the Hambantota port to a Chinese company. India and the West was critical of that decision. He also has taken steps to convert the ownership of the portion of Port City allocated to China to a long term lease.

I think the best person to handle China, India and the West is Ranil Wichremesinghe. He should follow the advice he has given to the Ukrainian President.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    3

    Problem is with citizens, not with State.

    • 3
      0

      The problem is that they ignore their blindness to the religious and other beliefs of their own nation, whether they are native Sinhalese or Tamils ​​or Muslims. We must finally fall to earth, only then can we see who we are. I think we’re back on track now. People thought – illiterate cattle rustlers can give us a new life. Of course this is obvious to everyone but not to Sri Lankans. See, not only Sinhalese scumbags, Muslim Tamil people also united as one force and supported a man with no educational background like that “Dhammika syrup man”. No matter how stupid decisions Gota makes. … Who appointed Gota…. … Would people ever do that if they had knowledge? See how Mahinda did not give power on May 09 – I don’t think he will ever resign if he is not forced. He is the cancer of this nation. All others surrounded him for their own selfish gains. This is mlechcha srilanka….it is naturally beautiful and like paradise.

  • 13
    1

    HG
    Most authors of CT articles do not want to touch on the topic of long standing GRIEVANCES of Tamil speaking SL citizens which is one of the most important reasons for the Economic downturn. Please do give urgent attention to it in order to get the Tamil Diaspora’s support for the economic emancipation is SL.
    Remove the PTA
    Release Political prisoners
    Reduce DRASTICALLY the defence forces from North and East of SL
    Give prominence to ethnic and religious harmony/Meritocracy/EQUAL application of Law and order to all
    Take action against bribery by politicians

    • 9
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      You are right most of the writers including this author in CT purposely ignores the impact of war against Tamils for more than three decades and the impact anti muslim violence including the Easter Bombing not only on economy but also in the lose of rule of law which is fundamental cause forhigh level corruption and protection of high level corrupters, abduction, murders as we now see daily unidentified bodies floating in Colombo waters. In my opinion, all Tamil and Muslim politicians should not engage with this government unless they take substantial initiatives such as removal of armed forces, release of political prisioners and policy statement of how they going to find a permanent solution within a period of six months.

  • 7
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    Generally, I agree with your points of view. I do not have to every time.
    “I think the best person to handle China, India and the West is Ranil Wichremesinghe’, does not necessarily mean that he should be running the country.
    We need whoever who stays clear of repeating our past mistakes.

    • 4
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      Yes, each and every one are different and I may or may not be always right.

  • 2
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    Adult franchise !

  • 4
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    Harsha Gunasena,

    ‘I think the best person to handle China, India and the West is Ranil Wichremesinghe”.
    I don’t think so!.

    The best person to handle the West, the IMF, World Bank ADB and JICA may be Ranil, but not intergovernmental relations. He is too pro Western to take an independent and prudent decision on foreign policy.

    Necessary flexibility is not with Ranil.

    Even in the case of foreign financial assistance he may decide in favor of foreign Donor agencies without realizing the adverse consequences to people in Sri Lanka..

    • 1
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      ‘I think the best person to handle China, India and the West is Ranil Wichremesinghe”.
      I don’t think so!.
      When we say best person we are comparing him with others. I am not sure whether he should be a President or Prime Minister or Finance Minister or something else. It is a relative term and we can only compare him with Gota, Mahinda, and Chandrika. We can’t compare him with Sajith,Anura, Sumanthiran or Rauf because they never had to work as President or Prime Minister, Finance Minister or Foregin Minister who had at least some experience with China, India and West. In his 45 years of experience he couldn’t win the people support or couldn’t solve any of the problems whether it is political or economcal or administrative problems.

  • 5
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    Harsha G.,
    Morning.
    Splendid contribution – correct perspective of current situation Sri Lanka Vs. Others, specially, West (US, UK and Europe), India, China, Russia and other SEA and SA nations in particular in this tumultuous time of economic crisis, starvation and geo-political upheavals.
    Splendid comprehensive analysis indeed!
    My feeling is that the Aragalaya was good in intent and purpose and agree with you that it achieved its purpose – reach the objective of the struggle – remove then incumbent EP and government!! Slogan “GOTAGOHOME”!
    The protestors and leadership, didn’t have a clue or plan, “What should or desirable to happen once the “prime demand” is achieved”??!!
    May be they never expected to achieve their objective in the ‘first place’?? So, that question was destined to, the “Back Burner”!! Perhaps their leadership too didn’t envision that far, which is bad reflection, a Negative, if they were thereafter to lead the country??!!
    When 9th May and 13th July occurred, they continued ‘JOURNEYING ON’, without realising that “DESIRED DESTINATION REACHED” signal was ON?!!
    Another factor, the ‘herd’ instinct or mentality which masks one’s ability, think clearly, of rapidly evolving situation in its correct, dispassionate perspective??!!
    Sadly, typical Sri Lankan – example July 1983!!

  • 5
    0

    Harsha G.,
    “I think the best person to handle China, India and the West is Ranil Wickremesinghe. He should follow the advice he has given to the Ukrainian President”
    Fully agree, not because affinity for Ranil, but the lack of alternative leadership of stature and persona with strategy – not tactics??
    Credible to note, that the present crisis with Wang 5 is the making of the Professori, as he was the Foreign minister who authored the approval – outdated thinking devoid of perception of the gamut of circumstances contributing to the issue??
    If we are to believe, what Bandula G – spokesman and FM gave as the reason pronounced by the Chinese as reasons for the visit – Replenish provisions and Fuel – any 7thstandard student in the country would have discerned that those items are in scarcity and cannot be spared.
    That wa sthe correct, justifiable reason and declined in the first instance??
    Retarded thinking and NOT COUNTRY AND CITIZENS FIRST ATTITUDE!!!

  • 2
    1

    Core problem is the system we adopt
    So many uprisings, even Aragalaya prime objective was to change the system. Gotta may gone now but he will come back take up PM through back door.
    How Dhamika came and went,he would entitle pensions and pearks

  • 1
    0

    Core problem is the system we adopt
    So many uprisings, even Aragalaya prime objective was to change the system. Gotta may gone now but he will come back take up PM through back door.
    How Dhamika came and went,he would entitle pensions and pearks
    Stalin dont send ships of food,send your troops we as Lankasn we cant governs on our own tried last 70 odds.we were good any invaders

  • 1
    2

    Both Ranil and Rajapaksas are bad for the Motherland. Both are ultra-capitalists, capitalizing on the hard work of the long-suffering Lankan Masses. One is patriotic towards China ; the other is attempting to play around with both East and West. Both attempt to use the Lankan “charm” and Lankan lawyering “skill” to intimidate diplomats on both sides. Its the only kind of brains that can come out of our forsaken land. True ingenuity towards the struggling Masses is crushed down by this controlling so-called savvy bunch of megalomaniacs. Lanka needs to be cured from this madness. Future honor and integrity of our Motherland now depends entirely upon the patriotism and tenacity of the JVP-NPP.

  • 3
    0

    The strugglers tried to encircle the Parliament at the last stage and there was a move to occupy it. However, there were some leaders of the struggle who did not agree to that move and hence it did not materialize. If it happened, it would be anarchy.

    What the strugglers should have done was to conclude the struggle and leave the occupied places soon after the former President tendered his resignation since the main demand of the struggle was his resignation. The Former President did not know the time he should leave, and the strugglers did not know the time to end the struggle

  • 2
    1

    government in SinhaLE, the Wildlife Sanctuary, Lankawe. This communist author, because of his hidden racism against minorities, after all the Ceylonese turned away from the Evil Emperor, he is taking the hands of 225 Afghan Dokeys in parliament to make the Evil the legitimate president. His greatest theory is the former president who came to power with 6.9M voting did not know when to resign, but the Evil who sat on the top of the Grand Old UNP for 40 years and made it a zero entity is well understood when to resign from this presidency. What a comedy! Come on Man! Come on, please tell us honestly the whole story of how Gothapayal resigned, and he seated Evil as president to cheat the protestors who wanted System Change. His brother brought prisoners to Temple Tree House, fed them inside, supplied drinks and narcotics, only to attack protesters at Temple Tree House. This author only knows protesters occupied the Presidential House, on their own. What shameful hanky panky writing is this, which is not ready to condemn supplying narcotics to the henchmen inside TTS, but finding fault on protestors for entering the Presidential House because the President refused to resign?

  • 3
    0

    Rowdy King refused to resign from the PM chair even after the Official President dismissed him and his entire family wanted him to resign. Then that Rowdy King told the media he was waiting for a proper person (Evil Emperor) to come forward for him to resign. For months Evil Ranil and Rowdy Royals mooted the power to a person who was completely rejected by people. After many secret deals and illegal mountainous amounts of money changed hands, Ranil Evil was made president. These Sinhala Intellectuals say what protestors asked was done (President resigning) so, they should step back. Man, does anybody know which school this guy went to study his logic? Under Evil’s leadership, the protesters have fallen in the fire fallen out from the pan.

    What a Cock and Bull story, the entire article is. It is very artistically mixing poison into the sweet milk to be fed to the Babies, the Sinhala Buddhist Modayas. On the special order for Modayas, this is a 75-year-old wine, in the bottle found in the Ehelepola-Philimatalawa’s ancient Mansons. This essay is written with the aesthetic feeling of “The Sinhala Intellectual’s legacy government is restored with the framed story of Anarchy. When was the last time Ceylon was a democracy, after the implementation of the Soulbury commission’s constitution?

  • 3
    0

    There has been anarchy ever since from 1948. Anybody remember what was the argument of the Single-issue CC campaigners cited as the reason to bring in the Yahapalanaya government? They said they were restoring democracy by replacing SLFP Anarchy with UNP Anarchy (ha ha ha Comedy Thamai). It was Ranil who dissolved the parliament one year early in 2019, because he said, anarchy or not, the Royals had the mandate to rule the country, so dismissing UMP parliament was the democracy. Then what is this crazy of Making Ranil as chief to restore democracy in Langkang? Why did Ranil hand over the power back to Royals without making the anarchy into democracy in 2019? So, this essay is just telling the framed, concocted, divide and rule Dutugemunu story for the Sinhala Modayas and keep amassing the wealth for the elites, the Sinhala Intellectuals(Viyathmaga) .

    Please let me know, other than this communist, which other communist ever advocated getting loan from the IMF and what the Appe Aanduwa did with the previous 15-time borrowings from IMF? Why a communist is thinking this time Ranil’s borrowing is going to make Milk and Honey flowing in the country, without making the citizens more indebted to the world?

  • 2
    0

    Rowdy King was tactfully dealing with the Dragon. Ranil Evil, in 2015, for his itch to become the PM, rubbed on the Dragon and ended giving out Hangbangtota Harbor to China. Ranil said in the election (2015) that he will take back Colombo Pong Cing. That made China angry, and it demanded the Hangbangtota loan and when not paid by Ranil Evil, they took the Port. China owning this port is going to cause the Third World War start in Hangbangtota and it would become the dumping ground for world’s unnecessarily overproduced atomic bombs. For his fault of rubbing at Dragon, Ranil paid $300 M penalties by delaying Colombo Pong Ching and Pahatu Tower developments. Pahatu tower is still with China. China defeated the Pong Cing project after West and India forced it against holding a freehold Land near to India in the Indian ocean. Even the previous American Ambassador, who was very friendly with Appe Aanduwa, warned that Colombo Pong Cing is an arrangement for international money laundering Mainly Royals’ blacks).

    Ranil Evil is not the best to revive the country. Currently, this Evil anti- Colonialists crusader has no support in West, not in Japan, not in China, nothing in India, (as per Sumanthiran& Amp Bag Lay story)

  • 2
    0

    At this time Ranil Evil has no idea of how to run the country and what to do for the current problems. So far, he has not put forward any idea how to revive the economy, other than finding a safe haven for Gothapayal to hide in Thailand. (Remember, Thailand said as Gothapayal has a diplomatic visa, he is entitled for 90 days (about 3 months) in Thailand. Will Evil Ranil provide a diplomatic Visa for CBK to hide in Thailand. Remember how much CBK was struggling from the Royals after she retired? This diplomatic visa for the ousted criminal was a special arrangement by Evil, until the end of October, or until November, the crucial period for all Royals at UNHRC. Evil has worked hard to secure a hiding place for Gothapayal in Thailand until November, but still there is no answer from where the money for the next shipment of oil is going to come. The author fools everybody that Lankawe went bankrupt by the ban of fertilizer. Author knows fertilizer import was stopped to save the dollar that has to be paid for the West to import luxury items for MPs and ministers. So, they decided to import Hunu from China. Because Hunu was infected, farmers refused to use it. (Otherwise, production might have diminished, but no other problems would have started.

  • 2
    0

    The infected Hunu was sent back to China and paid only $7 M fine (not a big deal, but nearly the same amount is being paid to the Oil Ship owners, because shipping is arriving to harbor without fund allocation and made to wait outside of harbor. Compare this to $300M Ranil paid Construction delays and 5 villages for free. China has the option of holding the port for another 100 years if the port’s market value would not be paid and bought back from China. So far Evil Ranil did not tell people something like “I, at any event, will convince the IMF and obtain a loan from them and show the door to the predatory lenders in the future” to bring confidence in the people’s mind.

    Tell me something more, how many billions $, in today’s value, the UNP founder Don Stephen lost by deporting the Tamil tea pluckers? Ranil Evil said to a foreign Media that this is not a good time for Gothapayal reappearing in Langkang. Audience may think that he was referring to the protest. But Neo Stalin knows how to use the Military and suppress any protest. He only meant about the IMF loan and UNHRC Sep-Oct sitting. For the media, he said he had stopped a Chinese Spy ship from coming to Hangbangtota.

  • 1
    0

    In fact, he had told nothing to China about the ship coming to Hangbangtota. So far, no official document of government position has been given to the public, on this. But it was a warning to the IMF that if he did not get his loan, that the Chinese warships would start to use their port as they wanted. I do not know if the IMF has been already knocked off by these techniques, But India is. Lanakawe allowed the Pakistani war planes to refuel in Colombo passenger airport. So, Mrs. Gandhi gave Katchatheevu to turn Langkang to her side. To thank for that, Langkang Navy shot 700 TN fishers for fish around that Tivue. That is why she wanted the LTTE to overthrow the Langkang government. India went back to Mrs. Gandhi’s starting path. It could not stop Chinese ship spying ship from coming to Hangbangtota. So, it has given a free spy plane to Ranil so Langkang Airforce can spy India from Palali, for China.

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