11 August, 2022

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Sri Lanka & Democracy

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan –

Prof. Charles Sarvan

There’s soul-searching at present in Sri Lanka about the Island and democracy but most writers on the subject, though erudite and concerned, seem to take the term ‘democracy’ for granted, and don’t pause to explain what they mean by the word. I used to tell students that if the paper they were writing had one or two terms which were of special importance, then at the outset each should clarify what s/he meant by that word or words. If idiosyncratically I were to write at the start of an essay that when I use the word “pig”, it refers to that red, fragrant flower usually called a “rose” then, in the context of that essay (emphasised: only in that context and for that duration) the reader has no option but to read the paper accordingly. Admittedly, it’s rather like what Humpty Dumpty says in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass: “When I use a word, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean”. Further, it’s not helpful if a word to be defined appears in the definition: for example, to say that “democracy is when the state is democratic”. One suggested definition of democracy is that it’s a system of government where the people rule through representatives they have elected. This raises the question: Who constitute ‘the people”?

Etymologically, the word ‘democracy’ is made up of demo (people) and cracy (rule). Ancient Greece is celebrated in the West as “the cradle of democracy”. The Greeks publicly discussed and debated issues, and abided by what the vote indicated. But not only were women excluded from participation, Greece was a slave-owning society. Indeed, Aristotle in his Politics argued that some are naturally slaves and others naturally masters. So it was natural, and therefore right, that Greeks rule over barbarians (an idea taken over by Rome; later by Western imperial powers) and that men rule over women. In his short but justly famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ (19 November 1863) Abraham Lincoln endorsed government of the people, for the people and by the people. But America was a slave-owning society! (As I have written elsewhere, taking into consideration its appallingly cruel nature, the number of victims running into millions, and long duration it can be argued that slavery in America is the worst blot on human history.) Unfortunately with us, human beings, not all are considered to be equally “people”. Only “we” constitute “the people”; others are non-people, different and to be treated differently. Lofty and noble words can accompany and conceal cruel and sordid practice.

We are excellent at deceiving both others and ourselves, and live quite comfortably with contradictions. I recall President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia repeatedly saying that his was a “one-party participatory democracy”: he was either unaware of or chose to ignore the contradiction. During the Second World War, Britain which ruled the largest empire the world has ever seen, proudly proclaimed it was fighting for freedom. As with the word people above, it’s freedom for us but not for others. Winston Churchill who inspired and led Britain in this fight for freedom was a racist (Gandhi was but a “half-naked fakir” who should be allowed to fast to his death) and an arch-imperialist who refused “to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” I cite from an earlier article of mine: While justice is passionately claimed for oneself, it can be vigorously, even viciously, denied to others. Indeed, it’s felt that “our” rights can be secured only by denying rights to “them”. Sri Lankans settled in the West (“West” here, irrespective of geography, includes Australia and New Zealand) take for granted their equality as citizens with those of their host country, yet some of these Sinhalese are virulently “racist”, and deny to Tamils back in Sri Lanka what they expect in the West; usually receive and enjoy. It is a case of multiculturalism and “live and let live” abroad but hegemony, forcibly established and maintained, at home.

In a digression, I may add, and so it is with Buddhism which abroad is presented as compassionate and all-inclusive but within Sri Lanka is politicised and racialized, turned into a weapon of subjugation, dispossession and humiliation: see Sarvan, ‘Buddhism pure’, January 2022; translated into Sinhala by Colombo Telegraph. Throughout history, religion (as distinct from religious doctrine) has tended to support, and collaborate with, the state. In return, the state has extended protection and patronage to religion. It’s a case of mutual support and cooperation with politics (whatever may be the driving motor of politics) being the more potent. Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike was born and brought up a Christian but, being as astute politically as he was bankrupt of principle, he became a Buddhist. (Ironically, he was assassinated by Buddhist monk.)

Sri Lanka claims to be a Buddhist island, and politicians and public ceremonies, loud and ostentatious, reinforce this claim. So one would expect the country’s flag to signal and signify Buddhist doctrine: perhaps, a sign or symbol to suggest peace (a dove?) and serenity (lotus flower?). I have looked at the flags of all nations which belong to the UN, and find that the Sri Lankan flag is among the most violent. It represents not only a predatory beast but, to make it even more menacing, the lion holds a sword in its paw.

Racist politics and not religious doctrine dominates, and identity in the first instance is not with one’s co-religionists from another ethnic group but with those of one’s own population-group. Racism often passes itself off as nationalism: see the extreme Christian-right in the USA today. Further back in time, the sign of the dreaded Ku Klux Klan, given to lynching Afro-Americans, was a burning cross. The teachings of “Gentle” Jesus were perverted and made to service a racist, political agenda – as with the teachings of the “Compassionate” Buddha in Sri Lanka. Afro-Americans were Christian but that did not stop White Christians from their assault, arson and murder. Even Black Christian churches were attacked by White Christians. A tragic instance is the bombing of a church in Alabama, 1963, where little children died. A poem by Dudley Randall titled ‘Ballad of Birmingham’ imagines a mother frantically searching for her daughter:

She clawed through bits of glass and brick

Then lifted out a shoe.

“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,

But, baby, where are you?”

On 17 June 2015, a ‘white supremacist’ briefly attended Bible study at a Black church in Charleston before opening fire on the church leaders who had welcomed him. Population-group identity is stronger than religious belief. Indeed, the latter can be misused to support and justify cruel conduct. Biology is basic: one aspect of ‘culture’ is to make us think and act other than on grounds of ethnicity.

The electoral system, the underpinning of democracy, can be just or unjust. It is just in that the opinion of the majority must carry the day; unjust if the minority is permanently fixed and can never have its wishes translated into reality. In several Western countries, the loyalty of different groups of voters is to different political parties. In England, certain areas are considered to be staunchly Labour or Conservative. They are said to be “safe seats” where whoever stands as candidate is assured of winning, provided s/he is of the correct party. But as recently shown, traditionally Conservative constituencies can suddenly vote Labour and vice versa. In other words, voters are not permanently fixed in their loyalty but go by policy and plans, not to mention past promises and performance. Going back to Churchill, the national hero lost the election that immediately followed War’s end. He was a successful war-leader but what was then needed was social and economic reconstruction. Though having admiration and great gratitude, the people voted for Labour. In Sri Lanka, war-leaders are rewarded by being elected to the highest office. Moved entirely by racial emotion, anti-Tamil war leaders were entrusted by the people with leading peace-time economic development. Proven economic and social ability were not considered. This is but one of several points which confirm that what obtains in ‘the paradise isle’ is not democracy but majoritarianism. Voting is not on policy and plans but, in the first instance, on ‘population-group’ identity. (This last, I admit, is a clumsy phrase but I am reluctant to use the simpler but inaccurate term ‘race’. Scientists tell us that there is no foundation whatsoever for the concept of race but, most unfortunately, irrational beliefs have a remarkable survival record. Though there is no race, racism not only exists but flourishes in various parts of the world.) A black man may become President of the United States, and Rishi Sunak, a man of Indian origin, a practising Hindu, can hope to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. But as things are, it’s beyond fancy to think of a Tamil, a Muslim or even a Sinhalese Christian becoming leader of Sri Lanka. I repeat: it’s not democracy but racist-religio majoritarianism.

Under a dictatorship the people, to an extent, are exonerated from responsibility, the condition of the country being the fault of the leader and his coterie. But in a democracy the people cannot exculpate themselves and lay the blame on incompetent or selfish and corrupt politicians. (It’s rather like Existential philosophy applied not to an individual but to a collective.) To alter Shakespeare’s words in ‘Julius Caesar’ (Act 1, Scene 3), the fault is not in fate but “in ourselves, that we are underlings”. (The Buddha rejected the idea of fate, and preached individual responsibility.) Under an electoral system it’s self-deception, if not disingenuous, to speak of a right-thinking, decent but “silent majority” because it’s the majority that “speaks” with their votes. The vote is their voice. Under the electoral system, there’s no “silent majority”. The majority may make a mistake but, next time round, it can make the necessary change.

Democracy is the form of government which makes the most demand on the people, and the sine qua non for democracy to work successfully is an educated and mature electorate. By ‘educated’ here, I do not mean those who have been to school and are literate: after all, Sri Lanka has a high literacy rate. My meaning of ‘educated’ in this context includes the illiterate, provided the person is alert and informed. The word ‘education’ comes from the Latin and means to lead outward. To quote the words of T S Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Some of the most perceptive and wisest I have met were illiterate but educated, and I acknowledge a debt to them.

But it’s not whether a particular country is democratic in its legal constitution. It’s not form but content; it’s not protestation but actual practice. If it were said of a family, “They now live in a democratic country”, and if we knew nothing else about them, wouldn’t we still make some assumptions about the nature and quality of their life? Among these would be that they breathe freely in a country that is free; that they have rights which are protected by law; opportunity and hope. Is Sri Lanka essentially and truly democratic? 

I turn to The Decent Society by Avishai Margalit, emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In an ethical, principled and compassionate inquiry, Margalit distinguishes between a civilized society where members do not humiliate one another, and a decent society where institutions do not humiliate people. By “humiliation” Margalit means the rejection of human beings as human beings, and their exclusion from full and equal participation; by “respect” he means the recognition of, and regard paid to all other human beings. In as much as it’s easier to identify illness rather than health (the latter can be seen negatively, as the absence of the former) so it is easier to recognise a “humiliating”, than a “respectful”, “decent”, society. Since governments have a monopoly on the use of force, they have a greater potential for institutional humiliation, resulting in a non-decent society.  All countries must honestly ask themselves: Are we civilized and decent? Are we cultured? The problem is that supremacists have nothing but contempt for such concepts and criteria. Their wish and will is to dominate and domination, ipso facto, means subordination of the ‘other’; their exclusion from realizing life’s potentialities and possibilities.

I would suggest that Sri Lanka has never in its history been democratic. The ancient past is much extolled but the Island was then ruled by kings. Today, the British queen is said to reign but not rule: the kings of old did both. Feudalism, and all that the exploitative and humiliating system means, was the norm. Sri Lankan royalty was replaced for centuries by a succession of Western imperial powers: The Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Independence was granted in 1948 and almost the first act of ‘democratic’ (sic) Ceylon was to deprive Upcountry Tamils of their democratic rights on the grounds that they were not Ceylonese but “Indian Tamils”. (As Paul Caspersz, 1925-2017, of Satyodaya fearlessly wrote, if the Plantation folk are Indian Tamil, then the Sinhalese are Indian Sinhalese: see my review of his A New Culture for a New Society in the Sunday Leader, 14 February 2010.) Then followed the ‘Sinhala Only’ Act with its emphasis on the excluding “only”; Tamil satyagraha and protest; anti-Tamil riots culminating in the horrible and shameful pogrom of 1983; the war: as it’s said, “the rest is history”. The onus is on present and future generations to create democracy: past generations have abysmally failed, that is, if they even made the attempt.

Sri Lanka must wait for an “educated” and “decent” electorate to create a true democracy. One definition of a cauldron is “a situation characterized by instability and strong emotions”. What will emerge from the present cauldron is not known. Will it be a selective, racist, structure, as at present? Will it be a continuation of majoritarianism or the ushering in (for the very first time in Sri Lankan history) of true democracy? Shehan Karunatilaka writes: “Witnessing millions of Sri Lankans fight for change gives me hope for the country’s future” (The Newstatesman, 22 July 2022, page 11). Do all Sri Lankans, ethnic and religious minorities included (disappointed repeatedly in the past) share this hope? Altering and applying the words of Tagore in his Gitanjali 35: Where the mind is without fear, where reason has not lost its way, into that “heaven of freedom” [for all] may the Island awake.

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  • 9
    1

    “Sri Lanka must wait for an “educated” and “decent” electorate to create a true democracy. One definition of a cauldron is “a situation characterized by instability and strong emotions”. What will emerge from the present cauldron is not known. Will it be a selective, racist, structure, as at present? “
    Absolute truth!
    As Dr. Sarvan says, the country’s present predicament is not just the fault of a single individual, or family. It is the fault of all those voters who voted for that party, those who believed all the crap that was fed to them about existential threats, all the bullshit about their pristine religion. Now the very same idiots ask for “system change”. What exactly this is, no one seems to know, except that for a start, all 225 MP’s should be thrown out. What next? There are many clamouring to be the next Great Redeemer, from Sarath Fonseka to Champika Ranawaka or Lahiru Weerasekera. But is there any guarantee that any of these are better than the last one, or at least better than Ranil? And of course, the very same clerical charlatans who told the sheep to vote for the Rajapaksa wolves are now questioning the ability of the present regime.

    • 8
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      Democracy is defined as a system of government by its entire eligible population through elected representatives. That’s the ideal concept. But in reality, and given human inclinations, it’s only a corrupted version that gets implemented. And given the power, prestige, perks and kickbacks that come with being among the choses few, the majority of those that sit as elected representatives can be the basest in a given society. The pillars of democracy are listed as the Legislature [with power to make laws], the Executive [who controls and directs the legislature], the Judiciary [judges and courts], and the Media. When these pillars are manipulated and corrupted to various degrees by executives themselves, then all you get are pillars that are cracked, broken and in various states of disrepair, in other words a tottering democracy. Take our recent parliament. Among those within the hallowed chambers was one recently set loose from serving a death sentence, another with a pending bribery and corruption case, yet others with various legal transgressions, some serious, but with the judiciary forced into abeyance through power, fear or illegal influence. No point commenting on the Executives themselves because the pages of Colombo Telegraph have dealt extensively with the abused position.

      • 5
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        Sarath, as you say the pillars of democracy were not built appropriately or cracked way too early, soon after independence. By the time Rajapaksas were done there was only one pillar standing representing executive, legislature, judiciary and media. The recent SHAM is an example, where 134 cronies, in their absence, decided for the whole country. (all in the name of constitution)

      • 5
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        Sarath
        “Democracy is defined as a system of government by its entire eligible population through elected representatives.”
        Definitions are at times wishful thinking.
        Even in science they have quite often proven inadequate.
        This definition will be valid in contexts where voting is by am informed electorate that is not influenced by big money. and even bigger media lies. It requires fair choice too, something denied by all powerful political party cabals.
        *
        See how the US and UK have fared.

      • 3
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        Oh, dear,
        .
        Have we got a recurrence of the problem we had on the 1st of September, when comments disappeared? I’m sure that I posted something here, asking “old codger” to not quote what the lunatic fringe is saying about throwing out “all 225”.
        .
        After that I’ve read the entire Sarvan article. Reference to the aggressive Lankan flag. Yet the Aragalaya decided it was what had to be used.
        .
        Britain has become less racist, but it’s so complex. This was most disappointing from Rishi Sunak.
        .
        https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2022/aug/05/rishi-sunak-admits-taking-money-from-deprived-areas-in-leaked-footage-video
        .
        He tried to explain it away, but he won’t be Prime Minister this year; such a talented man! I hope he will succeed, some time in the future.

        • 1
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          Correction!
          .
          .
          Here, also, I had responded to an old codger comment.
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/have-we-lost-it-all/
          .
          Confusion by me, Panini Edirisinhe.

        • 3
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          That said, Liz Truss pleases few:
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5qnJwrVYM4
          .
          This Professor (five minutes, which is long for him) has always hated her and, over the past year, has provided a string of rebukes. She will win, and prove a disaster.
          .
          Want a really sincere British politician? Here’s Jeremy Corbyn.
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBBGoH-nvEE&t=54s
          .
          I have made a comment there. I try to make sure that I know my subject, but thereafter, I get off the fence.
          .
          Back to Rishi Sunak; Liz Truss will win only because she’s white.

          These hustings are yet to come:
          .
          Darlington – 9th; Cheltenham – 11th; Perth – 16th; Belfast – 17th; Manchester –19th; Birmingham – 23rd; Norwich – 25th; London – 31st. Deadline for ballots – 2nd of September. Results – 5th.
          .
          There are complaints that only c.200K Conservative Voters will pick the next Prime Minister. What will the World say if it knows that Ranil was picked by only 134?
          .
          I “know” all those places, but never been outside Asia. Professor Sarvan, Rajan Hoole, and I remember the same British Headmaster:
          .
          http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/Articles/44_Recollections_of_STCG_by_Charles.pdf
          .
          Prof: where’s your later article, more critical of the British-based History and Geography?

    • 6
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      “But as things are, it’s beyond fancy to think of a Tamil, a Muslim or even a Sinhalese Christian becoming leader of Sri Lanka. I repeat: it’s not democracy but racist-religio majoritarianism”
      And there are still people who think that Sri Lanka is a democracy because it has elections!

    • 6
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      old codger

      “There are many clamouring to be the next Great Redeemer, from Sarath Fonseka to Champika Ranawaka or Lahiru Weerasekera.”

      Late Tony Benn the only honest politician to be democratically elected to Parliament many times, came up with 5 questions for those powerful persons who want to rule the people:

      What power have you got?
      Where did you get it from?
      In whose interests do you exercise it?
      To whom are you accountable?
      And how can we get rid of you?”

      The ordinary people should have the opportunity to question those leaders who think they are beyond scrutiny when and where they appear in public or subject themselves for periodical questioning sessions.

      I like the last question.

      • 4
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        Native,
        “And how can we get rid of you?”
        I think it would be a good idea to include a right of recall in any new constitution.

    • 1
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      Don’t worry about the return of Sarath, Champika or even one or two Rajapakses. Once the 225 are ousted then people will have a clear choice, through their current experience, to elect new faces. If their choice is altogether for old 225 or most of the old then they have to go through the similar things and learn more.

      The needed change may take time, but we should not give up. I’m confident we can do the change that at least our future generation would enjoy with.

    • 6
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      OC, you are absolutely right. Our people think, changing person alone is adequate for changing system. They just don’t realize that they are part of the system. Otherwise how on earth a country for decades vote for family kleptocracy and call it as democracy. Our people need to first understand the real meaning of transparency, accountability, impunity, and oversight/monitoring. For that they need correct translation of these terms in Sinhalese and Tamil ( not what the government tells them ). Millions of our
      so called literate have been voting for a system, without even knowing the meaning of it.

      • 3
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        Amazing to see professionals, intellectuals (viyathmaga), professionals, local Einsteins being convinced by politicians, who did not even complete schooling. What more ??, didn’t Dr/Surgeon Janapriya ( haven’t heard post Aragalaya) say, he voted for Family Kleptocracy, expecting system change. Are we really naive ?? or pretending to be naive ??

        • 5
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          Dear chiv,
          .
          You will recall this
          – others, please don’t get tied up in knots over this comment! Democracy demands that we communicate. But we miscommunicate much of the time. Surgeon Janapriya (a quite distinguished man) had written some good articles on countering the Corona virus, in the year 2000:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/why-corona-why-us-what-wrong-did-we-do-to-you/
          .
          That’s one of them. chiv (whose identity I don’t know), Lasantha Pethiyagoda (always talks sense), and I have all commented there.
          .
          In 2021, he wrote two articles on a quite different subject.
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-letter-to-the-us-senate-a-common-reply-to-the-many-responses/
          .
          We were shocked. Our comments make that clear; I said the tragedy was that he was still quite sincere, but mistaken. I had, by then, established email and mobile phone connections. Some long chats, we even planned to meet. His own children didn’t agree with him. His telling me that was honesty. He declined subsequent rings, but texted me saying “best we didn’t talk” since we felt strongly, on opposite sides.
          .
          chiv, I don’t want to bait him now.
          .
          All humans have limitations.
          .
          The young “Aragalites” have taken risks by posting videos, and clearly identifying themselves. Others may not be able to do so.
          .
          Basta!

          • 4
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            SM, no doubt , he was relentless in addressing Covid related issues and appropriate management. I just mentioned his own admission in electing Gotha and the reason behind his choice. I am aware that he was not the only one.

            • 4
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              No problem, dear chiv.
              .
              Your integrity and decency are without question.
              .
              We may have (hopefully) persuaded him to do some re-thinking. I said this even then: he hadn’t been so tyrannical as to brainwash his children.
              .
              He’s sincere. And he didn’t exactly get angry with me. He politely excused himself.
              .
              If, by what we do and say, we make the racists (let’s not mince words!) less virulent, we would have achieved a lot.
              .
              Also, it goes without saying that I definitely have faults. I may be unaware of them. You may see them, even in what I write. Please point them out. But obviously I try not to advertise my faults, so you can’t know how bad I am!

      • 5
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        Dear Chiv,
        Not much needed, the knowledge of local chartered accountants and auditors can reveal the extent of black and white family hypocrisy and how much public money was squandered by the 2005-2015 Mahinda Rajapaksa regime from 2019 to June 2022.
        But the yellow pets of this country believe that Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family should be protected like gods. Why ?

        At least if local graduate professionals reveal the magnitude of the loss, the media will have to carry the message to the masses so that a new understanding of the cruel family can easily develop. No doubt they faced it in a few nights like Marcos in the Philippines or Suharto in Indonesia or Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
        If they had amassed wealth in Europe, I would risk finding them and exposing them to the world. Our Sri Lankan diaspora in the United States must come forward and reveal the true story of the Kaputas or the 10%’s vast collection of assets. That way we can crush the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in a few days. … It will then pave the way for a better society where the cancer of the nation, the Rajapaksas, will be removed from their false perception.

        • 3
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          “leelagemalli,”
          .
          I admire this new resolve.
          .
          Yes, crushing the SLPP (the way you propose to) will certainly improve our society, but it will take more than “a few days”.
          .
          Thanks.
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe

    • 4
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      Sri Lanka has held elections and misappropriated billions of public funds. Even with free education, people have no knowledge. They can identify better with illiterate Pakistanis. I see no difference between them.
      .
      People never change their cultural orientation which is the deciding factor in elections. Social stigma has driven them into perpetual stupidity. Caste and religious differences seem to have reduced, however, public perception of their attitudes has not changed significantly. Many people seem to publicly blame corrupt politicians, but ironically they vote for them again.
      Its MPs were also elected, but after being elected, none of them fulfilled their election promises. So how can we call it democracy?
      – It has become a dangerous business in Sri Lanka. Although they appear to be kind and trustworthy men and women, many of them are very corrupt. Extreme corruption in the country

  • 6
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    To become a great nation we need to get rid of 225+1 with all armed forces generals , Admirals, and IGPs DIGS etc. As long as these people sitting there you cannot have a decent democracy. These guys all carry dirty baggage. Other problem is the people are just not smart and buy all the lies, all the promises and the religious bullshit soil the nation’s thinking. It will take another 100 years before SL become a great nation. First get rid of militant Buddhism. Follow what Buddha said. Not the Sri Lankan Monk.

  • 11
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    Thank you, Prof. Charles Sarvan. I congratulate you for a timely article, centred on democracy. Your statement that a civilized society is where members do not humiliate one another, and a decent society is where institutions do not humiliate people, is worth its weight in gold.

  • 6
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    “Further, it’s not helpful if a word to be defined appears in the definition”
    There is a catch: nearly all definitions start with the word that is defined.
    *
    Also democracy and democratic need not mean the same thing. One refers to a system and the other to certain features that qualify things.
    The allegedly invalid definition will be valid if the meaning of the adjective ‘democratic’ is known or implied in some way.
    Also, a state can be democratic, but there may be no democracy if the electoral process is dubious.

    • 4
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      “Also, a state can be democratic, but there may be no democracy if the electoral process is dubious.”

      Why waste time, money and energy on conducting and participating in democratic process. Instead lets have one party rule, one paramount leader, one book like bible, Quran, Granth, Torah, …. one language, one nation, one religion, ….

      • 0
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        A glass ball in mad flight.

      • 3
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        Thanks, Native Vedda.
        .
        The sarcasm is so clear that none can miss it.
        .
        However, I’m beginning to realise that sarcasm must be used judiciously. In certain contexts it can be unnoticed; after all, our complaint is that electorates can be misled.

    • 5
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      SJ, you are right. But none of this confusion arise with the term “DEMOCRAZY” as you defined “a democratic state without any democracy, enabled by dubious electoral process”. The word is made up of Demo (people ) Crazy ( rule). A unique system to satisfy 6.9 million retards currently living in “Siri Lanka”. Similar terms SHAM, Silly, Stupid, Sick ….

      • 3
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        Sorry typo , “a unique system to satisfy millions of retards”. (6.9 million +++ )

        • 0
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          Let , Prof Charles Sarvan correct me if I am wrong.

          • 0
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            He may not as you seem to have addressed the wrong person.
            It will certainly help him if you are more specific about the matter on which you seek a verdict..

      • 4
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        People make mistakes unintentionally. It is human nature. But there are many people who do it consciously. The best example is the nomination of Gotabaya who lived in America for about 15 years. He became the Defense Secretary in 2005. What he is doing should have been properly investigated by Sri Lankan media and intelligence agencies.
        . However, it is known that it was not he who eliminated the last stage of the long civil war, but brave forces. Through the direct intervention of the media during the post-war period, they deliberately misled the nation for their political selfish gains. They were fishing in muddy water in a land where myths and lies destroy anything.

        The lie in Sri Lanka made him the presidential candidate. Even a weak candidate can get the nomination because people are tired of jeopardizing national security.
        If this is true, hundreds of innocent worshipers were killed in the Easter Sunday bombings.
        .
        The job should have been done properly by the “Election Commissioner – Deshapriya” who unfortunately turned a blind eye for his advantage. He is yet scot free…. can you imagine ?

        • 1
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          “The job should have been done properly by the “Election Commissioner – Deshapriya” who unfortunately turned a blind eye for his advantage. “
          *
          There was a fellow member of the EC who volunteered to check with the US Embassy about the status of US nationality and cleared the candidacy of the person concerned.
          Who is the bigger culprit?

      • 0
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        I am only dealing with Sarvan’s proposition.
        I think that you would do well to raise the question with Sarvan.

  • 0
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    Even the flag is at fault! Utter racist rubbish presented as intellectualism.

  • 3
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    “Sri Lanka must wait for an “educated” and “decent” electorate to create a true democracy.”
    How do you define the word “educated”?
    Can we call Prof. GL Peries as educated? Can we call Dr. Mahinda Rajapaksa or Dr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa or Ranil Wickremasingha LLB as eductaed? Are they better educated than Pillaiyan or Karuna or Prabaharn who were not even passed GCE?

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    “But as things are, it’s beyond fancy to think of a Tamil, a Muslim or even a Sinhalese Christian becoming leader of Sri Lanka. I repeat: it’s not democracy but racist-religio majoritarianism”
    And there are still people who think that Sri Lanka is a democracy because it has elections….

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    A brilliant and inspiring article that demonstrates great learning, super analysis and profound conclusions that speak volumes about the depth of the writer. I would like to offer an apology on behalf of fellow Sinhala people for the ongoing humiliation that minorities including Tamil, Muslim and Christians suffer daily in that majoritarian state of Sri Lanka which I agree, has never been “democratic”. Symbolism in the national flag does suggest violence if one chooses to see it that way. I believe the idea was to show fearless nationalism in a recent experience of colonial servitude. There is certainly no Buddhism in that set up although the four bo-leaves depict the four noble virtues (Meththa, Karuna, Mudithaa Upekka). I have some hope for a decent and civilized society if the struggle (Aragalaya) becomes a popular revolution that sweeps away the tyrannical parasitic politico-corporate class, forming the basis for a fairer society.

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      LP,
      nice to read from you again.
      .
      “I have some hope for a decent and civilized society if the struggle (Aragalaya) becomes a popular revolution that sweeps away the tyrannical parasitic politico-corporate class, forming the basis for a fairer society.”

      I have partly, if not entirely, despaired that the good struggle which has begun can ever be continued. With the help of some wicked men and women, the manner in which they destroyed and damaged the common property destroyed its ancient and noble character.
      At first its ingredients were pure, but now it has become a rotten, poisonous cake.
      .
      As they join hands with political opportunists, the hopes they had about the struggle have now melted away. The same vanguard political forces that infiltrated our karmic struggle have largely misled undergraduates in local universities. Today’s struggle has been destroyed by none other than the vanguards.
      .

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      Lasantha Pethiyagoda, You are a kind soul. Thank you.

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      Lasantha himself has written this relatively short article:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-lament-of-the-tragedy-of-our-times/
      .
      What an impassioned appeal that is!
      .

      This is the comment that I have there referred to as having my whole-hearted admiration for.
      .

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    (Part I)
    Dr Sarvan,
    The problem or issues causing the malaise is unique in itself, perhaps not replicated to the extent as in this resplendent country, thrice blessed by prince Siddhartha Gautama after his enlightenment!!
    what has happened over a period of ‘so called’ Democracy after independence in 1948 is unfortunate and none takes any responsibility, after the ‘Soulbury Constitution of Independence’ was surreptitiously dumped, “stage by stage”, finally in the culmination of the 1st republican constitution of Sri Lanka in 1972, they call it, “Home Grown to suit SL”, conveniently ignoring or averting section 29(C) in the process, by the steam-roller Majoritarianism and with the tacit connivance or obfuscation of the judicial system!
    Decadence set in thereafter very rapidly and murky waters lapped the shores of SL and became the cause for much misery??!!
    The three pillars of democracy, with separation of Powers
    (None subjugated to the other)
    1. Legislature – Peoples representative to enact Legislature represent, will of the People
    2. Executive – to execute or implement and administer the legislative enactments of SL
    3. Judiciary- To ensure the administration of Justice, importantly Jurisprudence of People

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    (Part II)
    Since the advent of the 2nd Republican constitution, “Home grown” in itself ‘to boot’ but in a Jayawardene domicile and oversight, has become the bane of the republic!!!
    The clear demarcation and separation of powers of the three pillars of Democracy has been surreptitiously undermined to the extent, that it has virtually merged into the hands of the executive!!!
    Bribery, Corruption, Nepotism and Klept•oc•racy running wild??!! Rampant, so much so the legislature’s members have been bought and sold many times over the same issue to the highest bidder and opportunist leader!! “HORSE TRADING” OF SL LEGISLATURE!
    We need to address that immediately to resolve and return to a true democracy, with defined and execute ‘Demarcation or Separation of Powers’ of the EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATURE AND JUDICIARY, with NO OVERLAPPING at all!!
    Until then, unfortunately we would be the “Black Sheep” of Democracy keeping company with Libya, Uganda and Somalia style Democracy??!!

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    Sinhala Bauda Lanka.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJMjVllXO-U

    LOL

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      Dear Bert,
      .
      Now that clip, I have reservations about.
      .
      The words may be good, but unsuitable for the speaker – who is an actor, of course.
      .
      This is the sort of tricky thing on which I wouldn’t want to be the only person passing judgement.

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