By Imtiyaz Razak –
Sri Lanka’s just concluded provincial elections [southern and western] suggest that the ruling regime still enjoys considerable amount of supports among ordinary people despite the fact it had lost some ground to opposition parties in both provinces. The reasons for the regime success are complicated, but the fact is that it still enjoys supports.
There are many reasons as to why opposition parties are not successful to mobilize masses to overthrow the regime. Studies suggest that nationalism often provide hands to politicians to win power in electoral democracies. Since the end of the war against the LTTE, the regime was successful to provide stability despite the fact it was fairly tough on liberal dissent. The regime’s intolerance can be understood as the result of external pressure and Tamil Diaspora activities which were and are aimed at punishing the regime for the military collapse of the LTTE, which claimed it was liberation fighters, but murdered Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese who oppose it’s policies, actions, and agendas.
On other hand, neo-liberal NGO and INGOs as well as some “liberal international” actors have been ardently trying to depose the regime, which is rather close to China, rising power of the 21st century. These external forces with the help of both diasporic and local liberals among Sri Lankans have been working very hard in several ways, including financially support to depose the regime for the reason that the regime is basically opposes to the west’s agendas in the island.
I am not a supporter of the regime and do not have any records of supporting any ruling regimes in my life. But I have seen and experienced enough sufferings caused by the neo-liberal regime from 1977-2005 under the United National Party [UNP] which introduced the liberal economic policies that opened the doors to the west while curtailing socio-welfare programs to poor. Sri Lanka also witnessed horrible anti-Tamil violence during the UNP regime. The anti-Tamil violence in 1983 under the UNP regime negatively contributed not only to polarize the polity, but also it led some Tamils to adopt violence.
I am not a favor any external pressure on any country. In Sri Lanka case, external forces know very well that the regime is still popular among masses, especially among Sinhalese. So they may resort to some other options to depose the regimes, including in the form of UN resolutions. In many ways such pressures are very counter productive and would lead to a circle of hatred and violence. It may also help politicians to use that external pressure to garner votes. Being that said Sri Lanka regime needs to address the concerns of all people including Tamils and Muslims. The war crime allegations need to be addressed. Such investigations should begin from 1983 so affected parties including Muslims parties can seek justice.
Winning elections would not provide effective solutions to the entire crisis and problems Sri Lanka faces. In some cases, elections trigger tensions and thus contribute to instability if there is a heavy politicization. What state should do is to take actions to solve the basic problems of common men and women, provide conditions for upward economic mobility and take against the Sinhala extremist forces who now target Muslims.
In any society, trust is the key. When there is deficit in trust from below, it may well contribute to tensions or it may give space to external actors to fish in the troubled waters. The regime lead by Mr. Rajapakshe should know this reality. What ordinary masses generally need is better food, bread, and security. If the regime is able to provide these basic needs to masses, there is less reason to raise concerns about instability. Any failure to this effect may lead to instability.
justice / March 31, 2014
If absolutely free and fair elections with all election laws being observed,many more would have voted,and the results would have been very much different.
Almost 50% did not vote due to intimidation and threats of violence.
Kalupahana / March 31, 2014
The low voter turn out is a RED LIGHT for ALL political parties – except the new DF and JVP. Sri Lankan voters are particularly fed up with the corruption in the 2 political parties that have dominated politics in the country since independence – the UNP and SLFP which are both intellectually and morally bankrupt.
The fact is that the whole POLITICAL CULTURE AND SYSTEM is CORRUPT in Sri Lanka and the voters are fed up of one and all the political parties because the vast majority of politicians are CORRUPT, Criminal and unethical.
Thiru / March 31, 2014
Imtiyaz Razak has shown his views and prejudices and indirectly supports the familial junta or Rajapakses.
Sri Lanka cannot be tinkered by conducting elections to be a functional democracy internally with majority Sinhalese prejudices against Tamils.
A true solution to the ills of Sri Lanka and its rulers since independence can be solved only along the lines suggested by Yasmin Sooka.
A recent interview with Yasmin Sooka.
Q: What is necessary for peace building in Sri Lanka in your opinion? A: “Peace in Sri Lanka can only be achieved if the government commits itself to a political solution for the Tamil speaking people of the North and the East which addresses their legitimate aspirations. In addition, the GOSL must address impunity for past violations, end the ongoing violations and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. A necessary prerequisite to a dialogue for peace also entails that the government end the military occupation of the North and the East, removing the high security zones, returning the land to those to whom it belongs and ending the Sinhalization policy. Above all, it must end abductions, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and sexual violence of Tamil citizens. It is only when the playing fields are levelled that a dialogue can begin around a shared sovereignty for the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka which allows the TNA as the legitimately elected representatives to assume their proper role.”
Foreigners are not trying to interfere in Sri Lanka through the UN but they want to help bring true peace, harmony and justice to everybody in Sri Lanka.
Citizen / March 31, 2014
sach / April 3, 2014
what nonsense. I too voted there was no intimidation at all. In south ppl are normally reluctant to vote in PC elections.
Unreal / March 31, 2014
Dr.Imtiyaz Razak in,
* Claiming that the way he understands,the regime’s intolerance is caused in part by the activities of Tamil Diaspora,
* Suggesting that Tamil Diaspora is for punishing the regime for the military collapse of the LTTE,
* Accusing that LTTE – which claimed that it was liberation fighters – murdered Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese who opposed it’s policies, actions, and agendas,
Is casting doubts about LTTE outfit’s claim that they were liberation fighters, arguing that they murdered Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese who opposed it’s policies, actions, and agendas.
Is putting the blame for the intolerance of the regime on the shoulders of Tamil Diaspora and their activities.
Is reasoning that Tamil Diaspora is punishing the regime for the military collapse of the LTTE.
In short, Dr.Imtiyaz Razak is arguing that,
** LTTE cannot be a liberation force because it also murdered many members of the various communities.
** The opposition to the regime is orchestrated by a Tamil Diaspora in vengeance for LTTE military demise.
Extending the same logic, would it be accurate to say that,
*** The regime is not a just Government because it murdered a lot more Tamils who were not in any way militant.
*** The regime is taking revenge on Tamils for supporting a force that set to liberate them from the oppressive forces.
Pandaranayagam / March 31, 2014
A careful study in the voting pattern of both the Western and Southern Provincial Elections will show – rather than “the ruling regime still enjoys considerable amount of support among ordinary people” – the Rajapakses appear to be losing their grip in both Provinces although they have subverted the Election Commissioner’s Dept and the Police to function as support units of the regime in the election. Assets of the State – vehicles, personnel and many other have all been commandeered to force-support the State’s election machinery. Despite all this only 64% vote for the Rajapakses in the South and 12% less in Gampaha this time. The situation is no better in the rest of the WP. Mr Imtiyaz Razak did not mention voters in neither Province asked for this election. It came by because Mahinda Rajapakse knew he was going to get a drubbing in Geneva and, therefore, he wants to fool the world he is still popular within. Listen to what he had to say on May 26 “I don’t care what happens to the Voting in Geneva. I am only interested in the voting in the 2 PC elections in Sri Lanka”
Is Mr. Razak, writing perhaps from the comforts of distant Philadelphia aware even marginal protests and demonstrations by workers and students in the streets of Colombo are illegally put down by a heavy-handed Police – often with support from the military. The presence of armed gangsters from the vigilante armies of
Drug-traffickers Mervin and Duminda Silva break these legitimate strikes brutally right in the presence of the Police. It was only the other day a few thousand students from the Kelaniya University walked all the way to the vicinity of the Presidential Palace. The demo of the students was put down only by the use of excessive tear gas and violence by the Police and the army.
The main Opposition you speak of is unable to mobilise the people – for several reasons. To begin with the major UNP is divided into several factions with a “leader” – dubbed a serial-loser – hardly leading the people in the street. He is quite content with the enormous comforts he enjoys, his Mercedes limousine and his regular tamasha-trips overseas.
The JVP tries to put up a show within the meagre resources it has but the mass supports appears to have long lost their affection to the JVP. No surprise with such opportunists as Weerawansa – now a Capitalist mudalali – who took this new party for a jolly ride.
What is “the stability” the regime has been able to provide, Sir? Prices of foodstuffs, Sugar, Milk Powder are at an all time high. The people are satisfying their hunger on a few vegetables and rice – that are, thankfully, available within their means to keep them away from starvation. Do the Rajapakses know this or have the many “catchers” around them kept this info away from the benign leaders.
Proteins in the form of meat, fish, dhalls, Dried Fish are all out of the reach of the ordinary man’s meal tables. They are now the preserve of the Rajapakses, their immediate families and the endless army of pandankarayas.
Your remark “Tamil Diaspora activities are aimed at punishing the regime for the military collapse of the LTTE” is nothing but a fallacious and mischievous statement – more out to catch the eye of the Muslim community. My comment is based on the many irrelevant references to the Muslim community in the article in a conflict that has, is and will be one between the Sinhala and Tamil Nations.
The Tamil Diaspora that does not have a central organisation. It has succeeded so far because of the genuine case it pursues where the Tamil Nation was subject to a relentless, carefully programmed attack by way of ethnic-based Colonisation, Police and military barbarity against Tamil civilians for a long period. The Diaspora has carefully documented the crimes against them and have, over the years and through stint of hardwork from thousands of committed volunteers in many countries in the world where they live, canvassed the entire Western world to the long-denied justice due to their beleaguered community. Last week’s Vote in Geneva is a further victory in the restoration of the Tamil-speaking Nation in Sri Lanka by a more caring world that understands matters in perspective.
What is the “Agenda of the West in the Island” you speak of? You write as if the West is some single entity under a central command out to harm innocent Sri Lanka. You harm all minorities, including your own, in the country with such reckless statements.
You misguide yourself when you talk of a UNP Govt from 1977-2005. Please note JRJ’s 1977 ended under Premadasa/Wijetunge in 1994. Ranil’s Govt was from 2002-2004. CBK ruled in between. Also your uncharitable reference to the West is unfortunate coming from a man who draws sustenance and academic opportunities from the generosity of a Western power.
Please also be assured changing of a regime by a people by democratic means in free countries is perfectly legal – a feature not usually available in countries ruled by despots as in the Middle East.
What you should counsel the Rajapakses, Sir, is to show more backbone and reason in providing the necessary resources to TNA’s NPC to run effectively, efficiently and smoothly. If that Election, which the world forced on the Rajapakse tricksters, provides decent living, security, economic opportunities even after the past 7 months to the Tamil Nation the regime will substantially reduce their problems proportionately. Sri Lanka then can look forward to that journey towards reconciliation.
Lasantha / March 31, 2014
From where did you get this lovely Pres.Rajapakse Propaganda Photo.
Do you see how Sri Lanka’s Tax payer money is been spent…..in the photo.
Welcome to Chinthana V. Asia’s miracle.
Muralitharan N / March 31, 2014
Looks like you are beginning to lose your marbles because of the professor title.
Get real about the Gross violations and the Gross Medamula before you harp on about the west or china…
Otherwise you may experience your own form of genocide from the hands of the BBS assisted by your american uncle Gota!
Upul / March 31, 2014
Sri Lankans must learn that in democracies, voting matters and therefore elections matter. Staying home, whatever one’s logic, is a precursor to one-party domination. The UFPA deserves to be booted out, but most Sri Lankans have come to the conclusion that nothing will change, no matter if they vote.
The apathy and indifference shown by the public is self-defeating because it helps the powers in place, to continue their hegemony. It does not help when the opposition is lead by a bunch of useless leaders with no credibility with the public. The fact that the JVP and the DP scored so well should inform the spineless bunch in the UNP that they better find new leaders soon, or they will be irrelevant as a political force.
The DP is getting the protest vote that should go to the UNP, but from the nationalists. Fonseka has proven he does not have the acumen or intellect for leadership no matter his command of the armed forces at one time.
The JVP will always be the third force because the UNP and SLFP will always be ahead of them.
Three revelations to ponder: Hakeem needs to be kicked out before the SLMC gets dumped. Sajith is a liability and he helped proved that in Hambantota. Mangala Samawaweera for all his talking, is a spent force in Matara and is a liability too. What does an amateur fashion designer know about communications except figuring out ways to game the system? Ask the LTTE about the election bribes.
Bebon / March 31, 2014
Copied from context
“take against the Sinhala extremist forces who now target Muslims”
I dont see a single article on CT which criticize Muslim extremists thus the Muslim community knows the truth but act as blinds as it target back them name of religion ..
No article were ever described brutality of Tamil LTTE or Muslim extremists..
NO ONE TO CONDEMN http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26781731
But big talk on Myanmar….
soma / March 31, 2014
Lacklustre performance of the curent election results further prove that the change is inevitable. A nation that have been caught by all tricks applied by Rajapakshe oligarchs will take some more time to grasph it.
Anyway, I am happy to see walmeeharaka of the nation, who once publicly violated election laws and never did not show the reue (Gommanpila) not to achieve the top man in the western province gives me somewhat pride, nevertheless I hate to see the sitaution stagnate in this way.
Aman / March 31, 2014
Bebon, it’s nice to be observant, but was there any Muslim ‘extremism’ for CT to talk about……..anything that comes close to Myanmar barbarity against Muslims? Please try not t be xenrphobic.
Paul / March 31, 2014
Yes there are Muslim extremists, Wahabbis attacking Sufi mosques in the East.
Goraka / March 31, 2014
Another ‘turncoat’ article from Imi. When BBS was attacking Muslims, he blamed the Muslims. Now, he is betting for and against Mahinda. He is talking from both sides of his mouth. Shameful and Muslims get a bad rap because of people like him.
Percy Jilmart / April 1, 2014
Imthiyas Razak, you say “I am not a supporter of the regime and do not have any records of supporting any ruling regimes in my life.”
Your such a liar. You lived in China and support everything the Chinese did or continue to do. But at any given moment you run down your adopted home the US taking advantage of the freedom of speech that country has. Why don’t you come and live in China or Sri Lanka? Two of the most democratic countries in the world. :)