By Kusal Perera –
After Governor, Sir Henry Monck-Mason Moore left this island Ceylon, the heavy moustached, stocky ruler from Bothale who took over as Prime Minister, assured a Sinhala majority parliament by disfranchising the plantation Tamil polity and colonising the East. Thereafter, the tweed coat wearing, pipe smoking, bespectacled Anglican aristocrat, draped himself in white cloth topped with a white banian to take the ignorant Sinhala Buddhists on a merry-go-round, as their popularly elected PM. Every succeeding political leader after him have done same and no better. Jayawardne did one better, getting minister Cyril Mathew in shirt and trouser, to set about looting and beating Tamil life, to run away from democratic politics.
The two main political parties in the Sinhala constituency thus remain utter racist, despite two liberal sounding leaders, Madam Kumaratunge and Ranil Wickramasinghe who would talk plurality, look secular but were never able to, or rather never wanted to change party politics into decent, democratic politics to have their political parties as civilised parties that could think and act decently. Of these two parties, one is now ruling and the other wants to rule. Given the present rule without law and order, without transparency and accountability, reeking with nepotism and cronyism is by now apathy and needs a total change, what possibility is there ? What alternative is there ?
The “Samagi Balavegaya” (Unity Force ?) was proved a big farce, even before it was launched. It is no better, no different and no stronger than any before it. The “Platform for Freedom” is not heard of now and no one knows what is left of that. Yet the same faces and names got on the same platform, but dressed as “Vipakshaye Virodaya” (Protest of the Opposition) to have a shorter life span and an unannounced shelving. The same lot thereafter came together to sign another agreement as “Samagi Balavegaya”. While there was no serious discussion that took place in drafting the “10 Point” programme [Sic ! X:-(#@?] and those who signed knew not who drafted it, when queried about. The language and content nevertheless smacks of clear Sinhala chauvinism. Sajith proves he fits better as the lead force in the Samagi Balavegaya, while the UNP has absolutely no policy of its own. Reason it would remain Sinhala racist in the future too. Apart from this very chauvinist UNP, there is no “Balavegaya” (force) in this alliance that can collect a dozen or two, on its own. But, there are confirmed racists and proven political lumpens like Hemakumara (after concluding his term with MR, during war), back again in the opposition. They are happy to sit in the front row.
It is any one’s guess how long this Samagi Balavegaya would go around, before changing it’s label into another. Possibly into “Sinhala Samagi Balavegaya” (Sinhala Unity Force). But some day, IF the UNP is voted to power because people’s frustrations and impatience gives no more extensions to this regime, take a look at the table below and see if you could have a decent cabinet of ministers, any better than now to govern this chaos, constitutionally named the “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka”. Also note, some of the certain would be ministers, don’t have any better credibility than some in the present government.
Of course, the practice is for the opposition to draw up family trees and corruption lists of the ruling party. But, isn’t it right to see what the next power bloc would be, if they are voted to power ? This is my personal categorisation and some names in this list may not be there the next time. But for God’s sake, don’t ask for better names. There’s none left in the cupboard to pick a better one, even to give nominations to. The UNP for the past 16 years have not allowed a second level leadership to evolve, proving how democratic it is.]
Compare this list with any that was before. There were in the past, real heavy weights and comparatively better disciplined men and women. But they messed up too and that is reason why we are this now.
What does all this say and mean ?
We need a clearly defined democratic development programme for a secular, plural Sri Lanka, before we pick names and faces. Picking names and faces, counting on charisma (always defined in popular Sinhala terms) for wishful change, have only made the next move for a better day, far more difficult and chaotic.
*The first paragraph of the earlier version of the article above was mistakenly edited out . We apologize to our readers and to the author, Kusal Perera.