19 November, 2018

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Need & Role Of A Sixth Estate

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

From democracy to authoritarianism and tyranny, and from welfarism, dirigisme and cronyism to free market and kleptocracy, Sri Lanka, by stages, is fast descending to a kakistocracy. The question facing the nation is how to halt this slippery slide and reverse the trend. In concluding another of her brilliant piece, “In the Springtime of Tyrants”, Tisaranee Gunasekera notes, “The solution is not to push more people into the hands of would-be autocrats waiting in the wings. The solution is to do something in the here and now to improve living conditions of the masses and, through such concrete actions, to reignite hope of a better tomorrow.” Here is the challenge and the issue is the ways and means of achieving that objective.  

In the current national political climate the two contending groups, RW-MS lose and bickering coalition and MR led JO are the same wine in different bottles. Both are prisoners of an economic paradigm that has the least interest in and therefore no solution to the deteriorating living conditions of the third estate, other than to sing the chorus of the so called ‘trickle-down’ effect of a free market economy. Both groups have benefited from corruption and lawlessness and none of them has released any policy measure to stop these evils. Both have mortgaged the country to foreign capital and institutions, and to service the mounting debt they have no remedy but to borrow more. Finally, both have resorted to and are prepared to deploy again the communal card to win electoral contests. To undercut the rising popularity of far right elements such as JHU and BBS, mainstream parties are absorbing parts of the far right agenda. In such a situation what hope is there for the masses to expect relief by electing either of them in the next election? Should they vote at all?  

Sri Lanka is not alone in adopting this strategy. We witness the same trend in the US, UK, Europe and Australia. The so called national security and border protection programs championed by these governments and the main opposition is to add respectability to and absorb the anti-immigration and xenophobic policies of the far right, which are fast eroding into the traditional vote banks.  On the economic front there is hardly any difference between the government and opposition. Both are wedded to the neoliberal economic paradigm and any difference between the two is only marginal and cosmetic. The interest of the third estate has been sacrificed to the benefit of capital. Even here there is a desperate need for a third alternative. 

In the political and economic chaos that prevails in Sri Lanka at the moment, the search for a third alternative is imperative. That search is the task of the sixth estate, which includes observers and critics who are a counterweight to the fourth and fifth estates, i.e., mainstream media and the social media respectively. The sixth estate can include individuals as well as institutions such as NGOs and civil society groups. Moderate and enlightened religious dignitaries like the Venerable Galkande Dhammananda Thera of the Walpola Rahula Institute are also part of this estate. Sri Lanka’s sixth estate is of a sizeable proportion, thanks to seventy years of educational progress under free education. This estate has to organize itself under one umbrella and promote an agenda for the third alternative. Each of us has an innate ability to contribute to change. It is this contribution that enriches human history and civilization.      

There is one section of the country’s population namely, the retired professionals, educationists and intellectuals who share among them thousands of years of knowledge stock and experience but have gone quiet simply because they are officially not in circulation. It is time they come out of their retirement and contribute to the search for a third alternative. This is one precious lesson that the retirees can learn from the return of the 93 year old Dr. Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia, a country that was also fast descending like Sri Lanka into a kleptocracy. Politicians refuse to change unless they are forced to. It is the sixth estate that should force them to change or to get out.                            

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Thanks Mr. Ali,
    Divide, DISTRACT the masses with hate speech, and Rule is the motto of Sira-Ranil-MR and their cronies in Miracle of Modayas!
    “They have mortgaged the country to foreign capital and institutions, and to service the mounting debt they have no remedy but to borrow more. Finally, both have resorted to and are prepared to deploy again the communal card to win electoral contests. “
    Your are right on re. the UNP-SLFP bi-partisan, fake-reconciliation, corruption racket called ‘national development projects’

  • 3
    0

    Sorry to say ..some politicians play with the life of 22 millions Sri Lanka..
    Country is sold out to China..
    Country is facing a financial crisis..
    More and more borrowing.
    PM is begging IMF so on….
    No way we could come out of this mess without iron man in politics.
    Who is it ?
    Ranil..
    M&S.
    Goata.
    Who else?…
    In Arabic there is saying if the leader of your house is obsessed with dance …entire family will be dancing..
    Let us all Sri Lanka dance with them…let them do what they want to do ..
    So; Lanka will become a poorest of Asia ..

  • 1
    0

    Dr. Amir Ali: Very timely “CRY” for the “URGENT NEED” for that “SIXTH STATE”. Already we see the “Grouping” of those once “Rejected” and still in waiting for “Rejection”. The most visible feature of those “Rejected” and “Waiting” for rejection is a unique “Collaboration” of the two on “Complicity”. Those in waiting for “rejection” are extending all the “asked” for help and assistance by the “rejected” to deploy all tactics of “Delay” in the process of bring them to justice and notably in return to a policy of “You scratch my Back” and “I will scratch your Back”. The “Rejected” are very active, because it is matter of “Life & Death” to get hold of power and ERASE OFF all pending matters of crimes and frauds that hang on the heads of all “MR & CO. Inc.”. This is what all who could assemble into “SIXTH STATE” must take a very serious view and actively participate to resurrect this gravely ill country and chase away both the “DEVILS” who are living to suck the blood of the Nation.

  • 1
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    When the War finally ended in May 2009, we were relieved and grateful; we thought that thee was a peace dividend that was going to come to all citizens of the country.
    .
    Thank you for the rallying call for us all of us aged people to start being part of the movement to sanity. Yes, it is true that most of us enjoy good health longer now. Well, I’m doing what I can, but our task really should be to inspire some younger people who hitherto have dodged politics, to take over leadership of the traditional parties.

    • 2
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      “When the War finally ended in May 2009, we were relieved and grateful”

      Sinhalese did not mind about the $400 B spent by them for the war. Their leaders and they were not willing to accept that fact, though their partners like India was willing to bring that out to keep Lankawe interested in further of that kind of deals. . Sinhalese were not worried about the 300,000 Tamils mascaraed on the name of Terrorism, while the oppressed nation wiggled to breathe free air. Their leaders advised it was Zero Casualty, so Sinhalese did not like to hear anything beyond that. They felt relieved of having annihilated Tamils and celebrated it with Kiribath, Kavumm and fire crackers. Sinhala Jealous, Appe Aanduwa’s mismanagement & destruction of their properties and lives from 1958, lost freedom were the confirmation to Tamils when the war was ended. Their leaders, mainly, TNA, ran to India and begging protection from Man Mohan Sigh, whom hated Tamils.

      When West found out how Sinhalese were seeking abolition of Tamils and describing it as their relief, the West itself was gripped by the masterminds like Ranil. Very first time America find out who Ranil is only after their Ambassador tried to talk to Ranil about moving the Israel Embassy to Jerusalem. Ranil, who was building up ways for three years to teach a lesson to America with the friendship of China, in retaliation for 2015 Resolution in UNHRC, gave his reply to America in December 2017. All have got their prizes and that is fair.
      But Tamils took too much of it for their failure for not having fought the 2009 war in February 1948, but ratifying the Soulbury constitution for the coffee Don Stephen offered to Tamil Ministers.
      Sinhala_man, you regret your mistake from 2009, and excuse us to regretting for our ministers’ mistake from 1948.

      • 2
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        Dear Mallaiyuran,
        .
        People like me realise how much many of you Tamils suffered. We are sorry for so much that had happened, but I must be honest, I felt relieved – but I refused to rejoice.
        .
        Let me elaborate. There have been a few significant events in history, so much anticipated that we know what we were doing when we got the news. The release of Mandela was another.
        .
        It was early afternoon, Tuesday, 19 May 2009. I had just heard that Prabhakaran had been killed, and it was being shown on T.V. I had to discuss English Teaching with a group of mature teachers (mostly women) at the NIE, Maharagama. There must have been forty in the room, at least ten were Tamils, and a T.V. on. I turned volume down.
        .
        I said, “yes, Prabhakaran has been killed. Let’s keep the T.V. on for five minutes – no more. It’s over, most of us are happy, and I know that there are crackers outside; kiribath will soon be distributed. But I don’t know whether we should actually be rejoicing when a man dies.
        .
        “We have gathered from all parts of the country to discuss professional work that we hope will lift our country out of the quagmire. Besides, there are Tamils here. Prabhakaran may have been something of a hero to some of them. We must be sensitive . . .”
        .
        It was the wives of some Army Officers who were furious: “only we know how much agonising uncertainty we have undergone, etc”
        .
        But I was firm: I was never allowed to teach at NIE after that.
        .
        You will never understand our side of the story!

      • 2
        0

        My daughter got married on the 30th of May. She had reserved the hotel some 15 months ahead. We’re not rich people, but my daughter had been determined that it should be a memorable event: she planned meticulously, collected and spent.
        .
        The homecoming was a few days later – a small affair, only the families: that date I’m not sure, but I do remember that there was discussion of the war that took place even on such an occasion.
        .
        I remember telling the new in-laws quietly (not a speech!): “We can be happy that it is all over, and these two can look forward to a better life. But we will never really know the truth. I’m sure that what happened at the end will be discussed for years to come. I’m sure that there will be a [sic.] film made of all this.”
        .
        I was wrong, of course. I don’t know whether any reader can tell us how many films and Youtubes have been made of it.
        .
        Let us not forget the lessons to be learnt. But let the focus be on how we can move forward from here.
        .
        Mallaiyuran, we did mind, but we know it is not simple truth that we must now accept. I feel that at least you now have some politicians for whom you can have a modicum of respect. We, Sinhalese, have been cursed: we have none.

  • 1
    0

    Ameer,
    You’ve criticized every one, except MUSLIMS. 4 million Muslims are becoming a bigger problem by the day. As a community Muslims are the most corrupt.
    /
    Liberalism is dying in the West, and the same thing has started to happen in Sri Lanka. Since the Independence, all the leftist leaders have been doing is empowering, pampering and spoiling the minorities, and stealing native Sinhala-Buddhists’ belongings, and gifting them to minorities.
    /
    Ameer, as a MUSLIM academic, first you must stop subtle attacks on Sinhalese. Then, you must warn your people that they are about to lose everything unless they don’t leave Kuragala, Dewanagala, 10000 acre Muhudu maha Viharaya, 15000 acre Digawapiya, Wilpattuwa, Knuckles range, etc WITHOUT MAKING ANY DEMANDS OR CONDITIONS.

  • 0
    0

    The country is sold out to China is FALSE propagadna by Western journalists or NGOs who are getting funds from the west. Just take the example of North Korea. North Korea was saved by the China when USA was bombing Korea. See North Korea now. Are there any chinese invasion there. chinese businesses invading, chinese spies invading etc. or Chinese govt saying this is how you should run the country Or chinese ambassador saying since 1950s we were supported North Korea. So, cut the crap.

  • 0
    0

    I think ameer Ali is writing for the western funds. I see these days, in Ct, people promoting A bbank robber Ranil to promote Capitalism while UK is for CARING SOCIALISM. another afew comes and say we should get more immigrents when we hear some Yankees are going through our garbage looking for business opportunties, some others promoting Capitalism and while others criticizing the boom and doom of china. All BS. You are no different. that is why Sri lanka needs a considerable deviation in politics to get rid of CBK, MAngi and Ranil right wing, ultra liberal and neo liberal Capitalsits. they want the poor country to be HAVANA before the times of FIdel CASTRO.

  • 1
    0

    The clergy, the nobility and commoners were the traditional three estates. Modern political thinkers feel that the clergy and the nobility must not have any prominence. The fourth estate is a recent addition – it is the ‘free’ media.
    We can see the importance of the fourth estate.
    The fifth estate is the non-mainstream media. It is a recent addition but right now is showing signs of being used as a political tool.
    .
    Ameer Ali is suggesting a sixth estate. Consisting of benevolent clergy, nobility and progressive commoners.
    If the Lanka, sixth estate is introduced, the inaugural meeting will last forever!

    • 0
      0

      Ameer Ali’s sixth estate is the so called NGO and (un)civil society groups that brought the present junta into power. As Ameer now acknowledges those buggers never had a solution other than plunging the country into chaos with an “achcharu” coalition with no plan for the country except their self aggrandisement.

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