25 September, 2020

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The Choice Is Between Moving Towards Democratisation Or Falling Back Into Abyss Of Narrow Nationalism: Friday Forum

The Friday Forum has today called upon all political parties to declare their stance on at least the ‘National reconciliation and integration’, ‘Economic crisis and development’ and ‘Foreign policy’.

“We are once again being called to make crucial decisions between moving towards substantial democratisation or falling back into the abyss of narrow nationalism and authoritarianism, this time through the establishment of a new Government.” the Friday Forum said in a statement.

We publish below the statement in full;

Parliamentary Election—Challenging Divisive Politics with an Alternative People’s Narrative

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The country is about to face another decisive Parliamentary election shaping our political future. The Friday Forum wishes to place some crucial concerns before the voters.

There is much confusion among the public about what is at stake with the Parliamentary election. Is it the danger of a return of terror and war, or is it the return of attacks on democracy, deterioration of the rule of law, authoritarianism and governance that is not accountable to the people? Indeed, the election campaigns have already begun with accusations and counter accusations. The polarising rhetoric in recent weeks is worrying, as it points to the possibility of an election campaign with incitement once again of racial and religious hatred and violence. The damage done during such virulent election campaigns may trouble the country for years, as we all know from our tragic political history.

Despite the end of a brutal armed conflict over six years ago, it was only with the recent Presidential election that serious attempts were made to restore democratic institutions and values leading to a democratic ethos. We are once again being called to make crucial decisions between moving towards substantial democratisation or falling back into the abyss of narrow nationalism and authoritarianism, this time through the establishment of a new Government. The controversies and bargaining that took place recently over necessary amendments to the Constitution demonstrate once again that many politicians are motivated by self-interest rather than the public interest. Therefore, it is when voters are informed, vigilant and far thinking that a people stand the best chance of electing a government most inclined to uphold the sovereignty of the people and serve them through justice, equal rights, freedom and integration.

The Parliamentary election campaigns are already centring on personalities and comparisons in performance, and drowning the real social, economic and political challenges that face us as a people. We call upon all political parties to declare their stance on at least the following crises that have remained unaddressed for decades.

National reconciliation and integration

What steps will be taken to address the decades-long grievances of all communities affected by war? What mechanisms will be adopted to discover the truth about the violence and destruction that occurred, and build a sense of national identity and belonging as citizens of this country? What initiatives will be undertaken to strengthen and recognise the right of all communities to equitably share national resources and live in the country with a sense of security and dignity? Also, will the constitutional devolution of power have a place in the political solution to the national problem and if so what will be the degree of devolution?

Economic crisis and development

How will the vast inequalities and increasing economic deprivation and poverty of large sections of our population be resolved? How is it intended to honour our massive foreign debt without cuts for instance in social welfare, education and health that benefit the poor? How will the preservation of the environment and ecology be prioritized in development and how will garbage disposal for example of plastic and toxic material be managed? How is it proposed to keep abreast with the positive benefits of progress without spreading greed in some sectors and further dehumanising and adding to the misery of the poor and the deprived?

Foreign policy

What measures will be taken to construct a stable and comprehensive foreign policy that will restore relations of dignity with our immediate neighbours and the world, and at the same time protect our sovereignty and ensure our international commitments especially with the UN of which we are by choice a member state?

It is by repeatedly returning to such sensitive and daunting issues, which are often conveniently forgotten, but so fundamental to our body politic, that we can set the country on a meaningful path towards integrity, dignity and progress. As we face one of the most divisive and yet crucial Parliamentary election, all citizens must have the courage to hold those entrusted with political authority accountable. For this a strong alternative narrative, challenging the political culture of expediency that we have allowed our politicians to build, becomes indispensable. Furthermore, this is our moment as citizens to defeat the actors and forces which are against pluralism and democracy. We must recognise that our collective future demands respect for the rights of all citizens of whatever community to live in peace and with dignity in our country. This task cannot be limited to election times alone. It is a continuing struggle for democracy and the sovereignty of the people.

Professor Savitri Goonesekere – Bishop Duleep de Chickera – Ahilan Kadirgamar

For and on Behalf of

Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Bishop Duleep de Chickera , Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Mr. Pulasthi Hewamanna, Mr. Ananda Galappatti, Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Mr. Faiz-urRahman, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Professor Arjuna Aluwihare, Mr. Javid Yusuf,  Professor Gameela Samarasinghe,  Dr. A.C.Visvalingam,  Ms. Damaris Wickremesekera, Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Ms. Manouri Muttetuwegama, Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda, Mr. D. Wijayanandana, Professor Camena Guneratne, Ms. Suriya Wickremasinghe, Mr. S. C. C . Elankovan, Professor Gananath Obeyesekere, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Mr. Danesh Casie-Chetty, Dr. G. Usvatte-aratchi, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne

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Latest comments

  • 4
    12

    When Chickera steps out to make a noise or too about “high moral values”, one knows that things are not going well for the conspiracy.

    What better to expect from a man who worship Henry VIII?

    • 8
      2

      @Slayer, the Anglican mission believes in Jesus Christ not Henry the 8th. Henry the 8th created a denomination called Protestants. Get your facts correct. If these dirty douche bag Buddhist monks can wander the streets and preach hatred, so can other religions.

      • 2
        3

        A person who advises others get their facts straight seems to believe that ” Henry the 8th created a denomination called Protestants”! I won’t say any more.

        Heard of Martin Luther or John Calvin, Tamil from the North? They founded the Protestant conspiracy. Obviously the Brits who converted you (giving the bones and crums of colonial opression of SL)did not give you the correct “facts”!

        Here are the true facts, Tamil from the North: Henry cynically used Protestant doctrine to avenge the RC church for refusing permission to divorce Catherine of Aragon. Henry then claimed jurisdiction over the English Church for himself through the Act of Royal Supremacy of 1534. The English Church was still a Catholic one until 1536, its religious doctrine hadn’t changed at all. Henry then moved in an evangelical direction and he was the founder of this illegitimate crappy “no-faith” they spread in the colonies.

        Pity you myth believer.

      • 0
        1

        Tamil from the north

        “Henry the 8th created a denomination called Protestants. Get your facts correct.”

        ??

        Martin Luther was the main force behind Protestants.

        Martin Luther

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther

        Martin Luther (/ˈluːθər/;[1] German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ] ( listen); 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German friar, priest and professor of theology who was a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation.[2] Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God’s punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel, a Dominican friar, with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the Pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Emperor.

        Luther taught that salvation and subsequently eternity in heaven is not earned by good deeds but is received only as a free gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin and subsequently eternity in hell. His theology challenged the authority and office of the Pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge from God[3] and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood.[4] Those who identify with these, and all of Luther’s wider teachings, are called Lutherans even though Luther insisted on Christian as the only acceptable name for individuals who professed Christ. Today, Lutheranism constitutes a major branch of Protestant Christianity with some 80 million adherents, while Protestantism itself is represented by an estimated more than 800 million people worldwide.[5][6][7]

        His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible, which had a tremendous impact on the church and on German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation,[8] and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible.[9] His hymns influenced the development of singing in churches.[10] His marriage to Katharina von Bora set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant priests to marry.[11]

        In his later works, notably On the Jews and Their Lies, Luther expressed antagonistic views toward Jews, writing that Jewish synagogues and homes should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed. These statements and their influence on antisemitism have contributed to his controversial status.[12] Martin Luther died in 1546, still convinced of the correctness of his Reformation theology, and with his decree of excommunication by Pope Leo X still effective.

  • 7
    3

    In simple terms it’s vote between Toiyo and Baiyo. Who wants to publicly proclaim that he/she is a Baiya ?
    After the election following will be known

    All island By percentage and count
    District wise By percentage and count
    MP who is getting the most no of By votes
    Most of All no of Biyo voting for HORA (Hodama Rajya Nayakaya :) will also be known

    This election is a sanwedee one, I am looking forward to Freedom,prosperity, equality, and self respect after this election to all Sri Lankans.

    May all Sri Lankans be blessed with common sense! May there be less no of Biyo among us !

  • 12
    2

    We have seen what kind of democratisation would take place under UPFA and MR. Their actions in introducing 18th amendment and removing the CJ so unceremoniously are clear examples apart from many others.

    From all indications Ranil will lead UNP to victory with a majority and form the government. They will have to establish the CC and appoint all independent commissions and also RTI to be made as a law. If necessary the members of the supreme court should resign and reappointed under the new independent commissions.

    Any member of the cabinet or parliamentarian if found corrupt and guilty should be removed from the party and parliament.

    • 5
      1

      “”The Choice Is Between Moving Towards Democratisation Or Falling Back Into Abyss Of Narrow Nationalism: Friday Forum “”

      Alibaba and 40 thieves think they lost by tamils & muslims and not by people and try hoodwink south to come back power.
      People in south will show this time they really meant to send Aliababa and gang back home.

      There is no place for thieves, drug mafia, ethanol mafia, murders in Sri Lankan parliament.
      People will send this message to Alibaba and gang in this election.

      • 0
        0

        Sumith seems to be categorized people NOT according to their acts but according to their political side. For Sumith, Yahapalana ethanol is better than MR ethanol. What a mockery of criticizing!

  • 1
    7

    Once again the Friday Forum is taking sides in an election, at least it is commendably honest.

    The elections commissioner and the president have accepted the current election lists and manifestos. In fact, the president has accepted the manifesto, as chairman, of the party that is supposed to be leading us back into the abyss,

    The January 8 revolution seems to me an exercise in naivety and west-leaning bias. There are other people in this country, with opposing opinions, we need to remember.

    • 2
      0

      I say Vanguard, opinions don’t matter. What matters is what is right, not how many who back what is wrong.

      The curse of this country are the numbers. Numbers of ignoramuses who count at the hustings and on whom some bloodsuckers have thrived.

  • 0
    0

    Friday Forum! What is the mass appeal this organization enjoys? What is the contribution these so called forums put for the betterment of this country? They just meeting at a particular place on Friday evenings and chilling out.

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