18 August, 2022

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Shift Of Mindset Required In The New Year

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The chairperson of the presidential commission on one country, one law, Ven Galagodaathe Gnanasara has expressed the view that the country should be ruled by the Sri Lanka army for a few years to put it right. Implicit in his assertion, if rightly conveyed by the Tamil language media to which he gave his interview, is his lack of faith in democracy. Also implicit is the preference for top-down decision making that is inherent in the military together with the use of force to subdue the opposition. So far the opposition to the government has been muted, inside the heads of people, but with time it is bound to spill outside with the economy in steep decline and corruption and impunity on the rise. Difficult decisions need to be made before the people’s frustrations take a public form.

The situation in the country today is especially hard on those with low or fixed incomes. They are finding it hard to feed their families as they could do till the recent past. Their salaries have not changed over the past six months but prices have soared even those of staples such as rice, meats and vegetables. There is apprehension that people may face economic hardships on an even worse scale, and across the board, if the government fails to repay its loans and defaults on them. The agriculture secretary who was sacked through a WhatsApp message had warned that the country could face severe food shortages by April. Already there are ships in the harbours and containers in the ports that cannot be cleared as there is no foreign exchange pay for them.

There are also groups of people who are living an affluent lifestyle in the midst of this crisis. One of the reasons given for the prorogation of parliament was that it was to give parliamentarians a break to enjoy the Christmas vacation with their families. The media subsequently reported that as many as 60 of them had gone abroad with their families. They have not encountered the dollar shortage that the country is facing. The question is how they are doing so well when the masses of people are doing so badly. The belief that the lifestyle of the rules and ruled are far apart may explain the jeers and hooting that have manifested at restaurants and public events attended by leaders of the government. “Let them eat cake” is the quote attributed to Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France before the French Revolution.

Christmas Parallels

The Catholic priest and theologian, Fr Aloysius Pieris has written an article on Celebrating Christmas Amidst a Political Crisis. He looks at the period in which Jesus Christ was born, makes his observations and leaves his readers to come to their conclusions. The situation that existed over 2000 years ago in the Middle East bears many resemblances to Sri Lanka today, and also to other countries at various stages of their evolution. The message of hope is that over the past two millennia, the struggles of great individuals, and groups of people, have led to the development of institutional mechanisms that prevent such abuses. It requires leaders willing to give leadership to take up the challenge of implementation.

There are five parallels that we can draw from the account of Christmas by Fr Pieris. The first is the nature of the ruler of that time when Jesus lived, Herod of Galilee who has been described as a ruler who was dependent on a foreign power (Rome). He was used by another country, which through him, kept his own people in subjugation. Second, Herod was involved in major development projects, such as a port and the building of the temple of Jerusalem which had been started by his father. He was therefore able to obtain the support of the religious clergy. Third, he lived with a large number of bodyguards as he lived in fear for his life.

The fourth parallel is that the king felt politically insecure and this made him resort to violence. When he heard that another king was to be born (Jesus, whom he mistook for a worldly king like himself) he ordered all new born male infants to be killed. As a result the first Christmas took place in the midst of nationwide bloodshed and political turmoil, much like the elections that took in the aftermath of the Easter bombing and killing of innocents. Fifth, the Roman emperor, Augustus, believed himself to be a god, and groomed his adopted son to be his successor. Fr Pieris ends his article with encouragement that “the Prince of Peace who is in our midst with a promise to deliver us from violence and oppression, not with weapons of war but disarming love, not alone but with all People of Goodwill, obviously expecting us to be among them.”

Defeating Impunity

In particular the issues of impunity and corruption loom large as Sri Lanka heads towards the New Year. Holding people to account for the wrongs or mistakes they may have committed has not been in evidence where it concerns those who are politically powerful or connected to those who are politically powerful. A few months ago a government minister entered a high security prison and intimidated prisoners with his gun. Various committees were appointed to look into the matter but the outcome is unknown. The search for the masterminds behind the Easter bombing, sugar scam, central bank scam remain in abeyance. The New Fortress power plant deal is pending. The indemnity clause for government officials that states that action taken in good faith cannot be challenged in a court of law or for the officials to be personally charged needs to be removed and they need to be answerable as administrators to the law and charged as necessary.

The low key manner in which the issue of exploding gas cylinders is being viewed is another example of impunity. Over 800 gas cylinders used by people for their cooking needs have exploded in the past few months. At least seven people have been killed including a mother of three small children. The findings of the committee appointed by the president is that the composition of the gases inside the cylinders were changed, which led to the pressure inside the cylinders increasing. But the impunity to those who put profit before safety appears to be secure. The burden of loss, even of life or of homes being burned down, falls where it lands. This may be due to the fact that those who have been affected are largely poor and powerless people, which is a disgraceful sign of the relative worth of lives in our country today. This is unacceptable in a civilized country that has taken pride in its traditional ethos of caring for those who are less privileged.

Ideas and methods of governance have evolved over the past two thousand years, since the days of King Herod and the imperial Roman army. We do not have to tread that path. More than the targeting of individuals, systems need to change. Institutions that check and balance power, that ensure accountability and prevent impunity, and hold government leaders to standards of honesty and non-corruption are available due to the sacrifices by great and committed people down the millennia such as Bishop Desmond Tutu who passed away this week. They require a shift of mindset by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his advisors and government to be adapted to Sri Lankan conditions and implemented. People may be silent today but they are not ignorant and many empires (and governments) have collapsed when the impunity and corruption has gone beyond the limits.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    Jehan,
    We all know who is behind the corruption — both financial and political — in Sri Lanka.
    Why is no one naming them?
    Is this the story of the elephant in the room that no one talks of?

    • 7
      1

      Shift of SHIT Mindset is not an easy task. That is why reubilding the society I think is need of the hour. May responsible authorities, professionals be blessed to wake from their long slumber.
      .
      Those artists that stood adulating a rascal family not just for one term but again and again seem to have looked back at least to some extent.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe2Rjm5fxZc

      • 4
        3

        “Shift Of Mindset”

        There should be a mind to shift …….. even air can be shifted ……. but ever heard of shifting empty space?


        Has Jehan Perera ever shifted his mindset? ……… Year after year ……..regurgitates the same empty trite mindless clichés/platitudes …….. for a NGO-livelihood.

        Talk about blind trying to lead the blind …….. empty words trying to guide empty minds ………..

        It’s just not only the politicians that are freeloaders ……… Lanka “elite” is a stack of freeloaders standing on each other’s shoulders ……. to reach the holy grail of hard-working man’s blood ………. sweat and tears ………

        • 4
          2

          nimal dear,
          I thought that, by now, you would have learnt to ignore Jehan Perera.

      • 3
        0

        I totally agree with this guy’s assessment of Ranil Wickramasinghe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShcluVlL4zI

        “Wherever the people are Ranil goes and stands against them. Now, the people hate the Rajapakses and Ranil is with the Rajapakses!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKVnpNGruAs

        I give Ranil credit for saving the economy twice which delayed the arrival of the day of reckoning ………. but if we faced this calamity 20 years ago the country would’ve taken a different path.

        Ranil is as …….. or more responsible than even the thieving Rajapakses for the country’s plight today …….

        It’s high time he stopped his rosy-lipped hermaphroditic stutter and jumped in the sea.

        Hope all these pricks die horrible deaths …….. that’s my new-year wish ……… what’s yours Native?

        • 2
          1

          nimal fernando

          “Hope all these pricks die horrible deaths …….. that’s my new-year wish ……… what’s yours Native?”

          Hope they liberate themselves from Sinhala/Buddhism.

        • 1
          0

          nimal fernando

          “Hope all these pricks die horrible deaths …….. that’s my new-year wish ……… what’s yours Native?”

          Please watch this clip:
          George Carlin – List of people who ought to be killed
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVlkxrNlp10

    • 0
      0

      ….Why is no one naming them?……
      Because the subservient Press/Media is very meek. When recently the Prez said though his fertilizer policy is good at a Media Heads meeting, but the officials did not support it, none of the editors questioned why as Prez, he did not take action straightaway or reverse the policy in the interests of the farmers and food security for all.
      Papers only reported the Prez statement.

    • 0
      0

      ….Why is no one naming them?……
      Because the subservient Press/Media is very meek. When recently the Prez said though his fertilizer policy is good at a Media Heads meeting, but the officials did not support it, none of the editors questioned why, as Prez, he did not take action straightaway on the officers or reverse the policy in the interests of the farmers and food security for all.
      Papers only reported the Prez statement of admission of failure but kept silent on why he did not act.

  • 4
    1

    Mindset is a synonym of attitude.

    Changing attitude is next to impossible, you will never change the attitude.

    Attitude is one thing that distinguishes one living organism from another.

    Gotabaya will always remain Gotabaya.

    Forget about changing the mindset of Gotabaya.

    • 0
      0

      REPLY

      srikrish / December 28, 2021
      .
      GOTA WOULD NT CHANGE. Pigs might fly/ once criminal would hardly become a man with sensitivity. All these were overlooked by media which reacted not for the benefit of the masses but for their pocket filling tactics.
      ..
      SO AS THE VOTERS/ MAJORATATIAN AND MINORITARISN IN OUR HELL HOLE.
      .
      THIS IS WHY rebuild the society is of paramount importance/ remains as the need of the hour
      😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

  • 5
    1

    A Leopard never changes its spots.

    The more things change the more they remain the same.

    You can take a horse to the water but you cannot make it drink.

    It is predictable. These rascals will continue their failed policies, and look after themselves, their families, and their cronies. Nandasena does not have the competence/honesty to do the right thing for the people and the country. Their off shore accounts will however swell up even more next year, and they will amass even more ill gotten gains.
    We are doomed as a country.

  • 8
    0

    The progressive approach required to shift the mindset is to establish law and order in the country. Judiciary should be independent and also the 19th amendment independent commissions have to be reactivated with another amendment to the constitution. AG has to be changed. Thugs like Gnanasara, Sarath Weerasekara, Dilum have to be kicked out of the cabinet and even better out of the Parliament. Speaker has to be changed as he has no control over the Parliament and he is a violator of the constitution

    Has the President got the “GUTS” to do all these things?

  • 2
    0

    A “Shift” of “Mindset” is possible only with a shift of “DNA”- (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Next comes “GENES”. These “Genes” operate within “CELLS”. So it is a very complicated process to “CHANGE” this COMPOSITION of “Rajapakse Clan Mindset”. In the long run, it is not FEASIBLE and not WORTH trying even. Even if done, its functioning will be very EROTIC and end in a “DISASTER” to the country and the people. So just allow it to “PERISH”.

    • 2
      0

      Simon,
      .
      There is a technique called Genetically Modified Oragnisms (GMO) being applied well in biotechniology today. That could be very useful making good citizens out of our stupid people – be it your circles or mine, they have much in common regardless of their ” academic titles” as prefixes.

      Honestly saying, their thinking pattern should soon be subjected to a pradigm shift – is to my knowledge is the need of the hour.
      .
      A paradigm shift is defined as “an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new kind of thinking..

      I think GOOD SORT OF MONKS that are tiny portion in srilanken SANGAHOOD along with genuine other religious priests should come forward to promote ” MEDITATIVE PART OF TRUE BUDDHISM ” by kicking out mythos based on ” JATHAKA TALEs” whenver they preach ” BANA” to ones dressed in whites.

  • 6
    1

    Majority of Sinhalese believe that Rajapaksa family is their new god who won 2005, 2010 and 2020 elections after defeating Tamils and Muslims. Rajapaksas won USA, Britain, EU and United Nations. They also believe that Rajapaksa family won the Corona.
    So, Winners mean winners. Winners do not need to change their attitude or mindset. You may think that they lost 2015 Election. In fact, it is a victory again because they now have more victory (Two third). You may say the economy has gone down, People are going to die from hunger, the country going to be sold. That is a victory for them. Now it is a Rajapaksa family victory again over Sinhalese.

  • 4
    0

    The need of the hour is a shift of mindset or shift of minds (change of persons)??

  • 0
    4

    “The chairperson of the presidential commission on one country, one law, Ven Galagodaathe Gnanasara has expressed the view that the country should be ruled by the Sri Lanka army for a few years to put it right.”

    At last he is talking sense.

    • 4
      0

      Eagle Eye,
      .
      we will surely skin Galabodaya in the near future keeping together with PATTAPAL horu from Medamulana cave. But not to the manner they did it by hijacking judiciary inthe country, but by amendiing the laws so that justice would serve to ALL srilankens equally.
      :
      I have no doubt, by that time, you will have kicked the bucket for sure.

  • 3
    0

    nimal fernando

    “Hope all these pricks die horrible deaths …….. that’s my new-year wish ……… what’s yours Native?”

    Hope they liberate themselves from Sinhala/Buddhism.

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