Colombo Telegraph

Ten Days That Can Subvert Democracy

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”– Karl marx.

Lenin changed it. In 1917 John Reed saw it, “with the eye of a conscientious reporter” as he puts it. “A slice of intensified history” he calls it so aptly. With the same intensity, the flow of Sri Lanka’s history may get perverted. Ten days from tomorrow are enough for it. International vigilance can thwart it. The country is alive to it, but remains unprepared. Danger is from the incumbent President, his coterie and his familial regime.

Portents to Make One Shudder

The caption of this article is with reference to Sri Lanka. It is in the same vein as John Reed’s ‘Ten Days that Shook the World’. It is phrased advisedly. Though confined to a small nation, it can escalate to earth shattering proportions. To the polity the eruption may even be volcanic. Signs are ominous and many have sensed it. Ceylon and later Sri Lanka never before stood so precipitously on such unpredictable terrain.

Ten Days in 1917

The allusion is to ten decisive days of the Russian Revolution. As the first successful Communist upheaval it was epoch making. The book too was same. Lenin wrote in the introduction in 1919, “With the greatest interest and with never slackening attention I read John Reed’s book …”Lenin with his sense of history took the title as appropriate.

I have used ‘Ten Days’ many a time because it is not a brief period. It can change history. It can also pervert it. It can supplant humanism. It can rivet fascism. It can reinstate democracy. It can subvert it. It can make a difference between War and Peace. On this dilemma stands Sri Lanka today. In this background assistance is appealed for. A Tamil Hindu saint sang 1000 years ago “without a reminder a mother feeds milk to her infant”.

Positive Action

The imminent need is to forestall blood-letting. When the state itself sets out to lacerate democracy, people’s retaliatory capacity cannot match. The powers to assist, themselves know who they are. The course is preemption, in preparation and strike. It is known to benefactor and beneficiary alike. Why an SOS? The land is over soaked. The people can spare no more blood, whatever the thirst of it for some. It is also popular knowledge that Platonic Love, however amorous can bring forth nothing. When the yearning is for a child, words of solace are poor comfort.

Resolute Approach

Who are these benefactor powers? Who contributed most to save Europe from Hitler? Who saved the Bangladeshis from annihilation? Who tilted the balance in Libya? The world knows who. On them Sri Lanka would place her hope. To talk of international community is only to solicit opinion. To cite the UN, it is for speeches, resolutions, funds and delayed deployment. Those reputed for action are for immediacy and resoluteness.

Dejected, Despondent and Desperate

The worst moment for a tyrannical regime is when it begins to wilt, wither and waste away. This is happening to the incumbent President of Sri Lanka, with erosion of support by the day. The experience is shattering. Certain defeat is writ upon the President, the brothers and the cabal. But the mood is dangerous to the polity when the military is in desperate hands. A finger can reach for the panic button. It is precisely to prevent such an eventuality that the nation would like to see a well synchronized counter measure in place.

Anxious Ten Days

To all Sri Lankans, coming days are anxious moments. How anxious can be appreciated by those who experienced the days of The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

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