By Basil Fernando –
What happened on the 9th of May was a tragedy. It is a tragedy that the entire nation should genuinely mourn. Such genuine mourning has a capacity to generate reflections that could transform the thinking and practices of all those concerned about how to avoid such tragedies in the future.
Such genuine forms of mourning are very different to manipulations of a tragedy or a part of a tragedy in order to achieve petty ends, whether these ends are political or otherwise.
It is quite natural for Members of Parliament to commemorate a brutal murder of one of their colleagues. This murder is a tragedy that should not have happened and should not have been allowed to happen.
That was the very reason why the reflections conveyed through the speeches in the Parliament should have been of a sober nature with the aim of trying to lead the thinking within the nation about the situation that has arisen in the country with the view to bring about a certain understanding about the ways by which such tragedies should be dealt with in a manner that such situations could be avoided in the future.
However, instead of such sober observations, what happens by way of speeches of most of the participants at that debate was an attempt to unleash further violence and also to encourage a greater repression within the country. The target of most of these features was not the particular incident but the protest that is taking place throughout the country for many reasons. Making use of a tragedy in order to unleash further violence could in no way be called a mourning. It is another political event used for limited political purposes which will further add to the tragedy rather than resolving them.
No tragedy can be discussed without placing it within the context in which it happened and without placing one tragedy within the overall context of a larger tragedy.
A meaningful discussion of a tragedy like this murder of a Member of Parliament could have been an occasion within which the larger tragedy that is devastating the entire nation of all spheres, in the sphere of the economy, in the sphere of the political system, in the sphere of the legal system and above all within the arena of ethics and morality were brought into the discussion. That is how the literature on tragedy has contributed to the greater understanding of many aspects of the causes that produce such situations.
It is not possible to discuss a tragedy without placing oneself as also a contributor to that tragedy. Whereas tragedy is seen purely in terms of outside actors, it is not possible to portray how not only the so-called villains, but the so-called heroes have contributed to the tragedy.
The murder of the MP which reflects the enormous gravity of the mental unrest that exists within the entire society if properly discussed in the Parliament could have led not only to the formation of a better outlook within the Parliament itself but it could also have led to the better understanding of the problem in the entire nation.
The whole effort at this debate was not to acknowledge how far the tragedy that is taking place within the total society of Sri Lanka was also a product of the political failures of various Governments and in particular of the recent events which has brought to the consciousness of the people that an unprecedented calamity is developing in their country. Had many of the speakers at this debate held these views while acknowledging their own contributions to the tragic circumstances that have developed in the country, it could have been a message to the people that there was an attempt by the leaders of their country to grasp the totality of this tragedy and that may have created a more positive response on the part of the people themselves to take a broader outlook about what is taking place.
When the former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa who himself was the first person responsible for unleashing the situation that arose on the 9th spoke even without acknowledging that he himself had an indirect role to play in the loss of one of his own followers, the whole exercise of that commemoration lost its genuineness. If he did make use of this situation to make an apology on what happened in that morning where people who were called to have a meeting with them, went out, and attempted to engage in a rampage of peaceful demonstrators, that could have carried a message of some form of acknowledgement of a wrongdoing. Also, sober mourning carries within it an element of compassion. There was no such acknowledgement or a confession during this commemoration.
The core of the tragedy was the failure on the part of the law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order at all cost. As the failure on that area was acknowledged, the question that really should have been discussed would have been how much the Government itself is responsible for the failure of law enforcement in the country. There was no discussion about this matter at all though there were references to what was called the Police inaction to prevent this murder. However, it was not only on the murder that the Police failed. They failed also at the beginning of these events on the 9th of May. They failed throughout the country at all points.
It was on that basis that the Parliament should have apologized to the family of the deceased MP that they have failed to protect the life of a MP and also a husband and a father by their failure to ensure that there exists a law enforcement agency in the country that is capable of maintaining law and order in all circumstances.
The continuing tragedy of Sri Lanka is that it lacks a reliable law enforcement agency that at all times maintains law and order at whatever the cost. The talk about conflicting commands issued by different authorities is no excuse. That could bring no consolation to the family of the deceased MP.
In fact, the Parliament should at least not publicly admit that the failure to protect everyone who suffered on that day primarily lies with the failure of the Government itself to maintain law and order through a competent and efficient law enforcement agency.
There is no attempt at all to resolve this failure. This debate saw no call towards ending the failure on the part of Sri Lanka’s premier law enforcement agency and the expression of a determination to correct this by proper means so as to ensure that the people of the country including themselves are being protected. So long as that does not happen, nobody is safe in the country whatever be their status or position.
There were several calls for a quick trial relating to this murder. A trial without delay is an obligation of any State. Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Sri Lanka has undertaken to ensure a speedy trial for everybody. However, the State has failed in this regard and it has failed everyone.
A speedy trial is not a privilege. It does not depend on the status of the person who has become the victim of a murder. It is a right of every person. The basic principle of equality before the law is that all survivors of murder have the right to see that justice is done in a speedy fashion. If the State has failed to provide for ensuring that the people who suffered grave wrongs like murder are unable to get justice in the country, that is the failure of the State and the State must accept responsibility for this.
It again calls for the basic issue of a failed system of justice which is at the root of all the violence that has taken place in the country. Recently, within just five days, seven murders were reported. The level to which murders are taking place in the country makes Sri Lanka a rather dangerous place. However, neither is there even a single statement on the part of the Government in order to ensure the improvement of the system of justice so as to ensure protection to the people.
There are more people being blamed for the tragic murder of this Member of Parliament. The very Parliament of which he was a Member of, itself bears a grave responsibility for this sad situation. However, the Parliament in their condolences did not acknowledge their failure to ensure the protection of everybody including this Member of Parliament.
Prime Minister’s speech was aimed at provoking more persons with the view to increase repression, was in no way to honour a Member of Parliament who has dedicated his life as it was said, for public life, and for achieving public good.
Thiru / June 14, 2022
Rule of law and the law enforcement agencies in the country failing to protect innocent Tamils from 1956 onward is a recurrent problem.
Law enforcement agencies aided and abetted in the murders of thousands of Tamils in periodic pogroms, but nobody bothers about it except the victimized Tamils.
In fact the hidden hands behind these pogroms were the rulers themselves.
I am surprised that people are protesting when the same thing is meted out to the Sinhalese people.
Rulers and the law enforcement agencies have been “drilled” in violating the rule of law for 74 years. Habits die hard!
leelagemalli / June 15, 2022
You question about Parliamentarians’ Inability To Mourn- what about the very same people, I mean whole lot of stupid people voted for them ?
Today those monks that spread chain-lies on racial based fabriactions made on Dr Safi, amidst international warnings – ……. are they existing today ?
What about that Mahanayaka thero, who was the first to have made a public statement ” GOTA to be a Hitler and save this nation ? Is he caught by palliative wards as of today ?
What about Dadoriya aka Galabodaaththe dog who became the panel head to promote GOTA-SANGA-SQUAD ?
What about that MADAGODA ABEYTHISSA, who would do any low work wearing his Prof Title ? Does he has the same guts to come forward and leave a word for the sake of those victimized people ?
This is the societal collages before our eyes today.
Ajith / June 14, 2022
“Prime Minister’s speech was aimed at provoking more persons with the view to increase repression, was in no way to honour a Member of Parliament who has dedicated his life as it was said, for public life, and for achieving public good.”
The Rajapaksa family appointed Prime Minister has proved that he is not much different to President or former Prime Minister and his duty is only to protect Rajapaksa family rather than a member of parliament. He did not utter a word in parliament about the violence initiated by the former Prime Minister and other Ministers who were with him on that day. In other words, Prime Minister supported the attack on the innocent non violent protestors and public.
Humble / June 14, 2022
Parliamentarians’ Inability To Mourn
Inability is right. Most of them are tares (serpent seeds of cain).
Very cold blooded, calculating, reptilian humanoids.
Humble / June 14, 2022
Freemasons are also experts at faking their deaths, so dont always be sure, when the media claims a famous/influential person ‘died’.
Kobe Bryant is a classic recent example. The conman is still alive.
The masons do this in order to mess with the emotional state of real humanity, and parasite off our collective energies.
Sinhala_Man / June 15, 2022
I’m sometimes asked, “Who was responsible for all the violence that took place after the 9th of May 2022? We must compensate the noble members of the SLPP who suffered so much!”
Who can answer such queries? Well, why not say, that these were the people?
They’re young, intelligent and tattooed. So different from us in every way.
Somebody’s missing the point that these people were merely monitoring the activities of the government. A simple villager like me can’t even try to understand all this.
Here’s Ranil explaining in Sinhalese how he has planned to end the queues for energy supplies:
Strange, how few the comments.
Here is the English report on it:
Perhaps he has his own cunning plan. When only a handful of those governing us have money, only they will visit the petrol stations. No more queues.
That’s the plan that he will present to the IMF. And they will probably accept it.
Given the current situation, and given that so little thinking is encouraged by the media, most will marvel at the “connections” that Ranil has!
leelagemalli / June 16, 2022
Writer asks about the acts of parliamentarians, what about the very people that paved the way them to give unfettered access to ruin the nation ?
They are all so gentle today. Those yutubers such as SEPAL and SUDDA were the decorative animals of the Rajapakseh parades. People in this country should be well aware of the facts, that yutubers of the day are no different to neo-parasites.
Yutubers fish in muddy waters today as no times in the past, more you explain it in filthy langauge, much better it could traverse through the mlechcha society…. – they criticise everyone. Ranil risked it, but not knowing the real depth of the situation, since THAT KANU KATA s son junior premadasa stood standstill not doing the due, while utopic dreamer for a better nation, AKD spent days while biting their last nails. ?
I listened to that Kanchana W sounds to be realistic with his hard work being done amidst kunuharupa throwers at him. It is the culture in SL, not being able to practise patience even if they wear PIRITHNOOLE (pirith chanted threads ) also around their genital parts.
All in all, the metastasized cancer is now spread all over the body, as no cure would be the case, only miracles could give a life to the patient – so is the situation in SRILANKA today curse to Rajapakshes.
Simon / June 16, 2022
Sinhala_Man: Who “is” and “are” responsible for “9th May” violence? In my opinion, Mahinda Rajapakse and his “Cohorts” (all who volunteered to bring the people from various Districts to “Aralitagaha Assembly”. Remember, even MP from Galle Dr Ramesh. Pathirana said: “I brought 20 people from my electorate”. Incidentally, his house in Akmeemana was also attacked.
My question is: If Maninda Rakapakse wanted to announce his “Resignation” he could have used the State Television (Rupavani & ITN) and addressed the whole country and exited in an “Honorable” manner. Why did he “Opt” to bring these “Thugs” to Temple Trees and “Instigate” (by making speeches and providing the Tools to attack) them to attack a “Non-Violent” protestors on the Gall Road and Galle Face? Not only Mahinda but there are also MANY MORE who wrote the “SCRIPT” and “EXECUTED” the plans.
Sinhala_Man / June 17, 2022
I hope my own long comment, above, doesn’t confuse anybody.
The crucial factor to note is who began the violence?
Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has experience enough to know how it would end.
leelagemalli / June 17, 2022
In a civilized country, Mahinda Rajapakshe has no chance to be away from being arrested.
Ranjan Ramanayaka is jailed for having slipped a word against very same judiciary.
The judiciary is yet today SPEECHLESS when Rajapakshes’ provocations caused country wide riots, – dont mind his henchmen being attacked, but whole lot of innocient people were also targeted and their properties were demolished.
Satakaya wearing Rajapakshes were that patirotic and people#s lovers, would they ever behave like animals ?
I think not only me, whole lot of hearted souls would want to see Mahinda Rajapakshe gets his just deserts. – when would that be ?
Fakeculturebug / June 15, 2022
Basil– You are a professional who has sacrificed your career for humanitarian causes,
you have seen Hong Kong’s transition, adult franchise in an Island nation before and after China. Spot the difference ?
Across the palk starits Hindutuva is doing its rounds and you know China best. Arab leaders don’t need votes to be arrogant, and Sri lanka has our branded priests and of course cute Cardinals in the game, all with their own mind boggling slant in franchised vote catching and power talk.
Spot the difference ??
Naman / June 15, 2022
“What happened on the 9th of May was a tragedy.”
There had been more than a million times of Tragedies since the British left our country because of the MINDSET of the Sinhala Buddhists[SB].
SB do NOT think about the TRAGEDIES the Tamil speaking Citizens of
SL +Ceylon gone through. I still remember the day, when I saw Sinhala thugs walking down the 55th Lane in Colombo-6 in 1958. Still, no Singhalese person has felt any REMORSE over them. Still, no attempt to make them feel FEAR FREE to live in SL. Still, the SB with the Sri-Forces support take over the Tamil lands to build Buddhist Temples. Under the cover of Archeological survey, they try to distort the history of the country and take over lands in the North and East of the country. If SB wants real solution to country’s economic and political issues bring in a NEW CONSTITUTION that is palatable to MINORITIES.