3 December, 2022

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This Struggle Of The People, By The People, For The People!

By Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

Sanja de Silva Jayatilleka

With the law enforcement authorities under the new Cabinet having resorted to lethal violence against unarmed civilian protestors for the first time in this protest, the very day after its appointment, every word uttered in Parliament which delays or distracts from the process of relieving the President and his regime of their present duties, will find those responsible with blood on their hands.

They would do well to support the immediately possible, wherever the amendments come from, before attempting the rather more difficult, and at least prevent further bloodletting of the already suffering people of this country.

As new Ministers appear one after the other to announce increase in prices of fuel, flour, transport etc., added to the increasing lack of life-saving medicines, the already heavily burdened people of this country who had no part in bringing the economy to this sorry pass, feel progressively more desperate and flood the streets in protest with every likelihood now of being shot in cold blood by the authorities. One cannot really dismiss any further, the possibility of great misfortune being imminent.

In this urgent situation, the people expect the Government, and the Opposition, to put their heads together to formulate a dignified, expeditious exit for the President and for the regime, and to begin urgently the process of transition to an interim government acceptable to the people in order to arrest this disaster from escalating into a calamitous tragedy that they as legislators could have avoided. All their other petty agendas must take second place to this most urgent of tasks.

Go Home, Take the Cabinet with You

I urge this regime including the President to wear a wig and a false mustache and step into GotaGoGama to see for themselves what the people, especially young people are saying about them. Don’t just rely on the sycophants’ version, see and hear for yourselves. It gives me no pleasure to say this, but the people detest you. With a vengeance.

The version that the collection of loyalist lawyers gave the PM recently, attributing the protests to some organized conspiracy, shows an undeserved lack of faith in the PM’s ability to take bad news. He wouldn’t have swooned in distress. It would have served him well to know the truth. The people want him and anyone with his surname, gone. This lot of lawyers should follow suit. They don’t seem to feel the pulse of the people enough to offer advice to a PM. Just as well that not all lawyers are as isolated from the people and many are now heroes of the struggle.

How can “Gota Go Home” be heard as “Gota Change the Cabinet”? From all that’s happened over the last few days, even after all the shouting of the crowds, it is clear that this regime hasn’t quite got it. A visit to GotaGoGama is sure to clarify any last hopes, starting with the name of the destination. The place is filled mostly with young people but there are people of all ages, with no less verve in their chants. Followed by the ubiquitous chorus about an equally ubiquitous bird sound, the one that is most chanted is “Gota Go Home”, in all three languages.

How is it possible to hear it as a demand or an appeal to shuffle Cabinet portfolios? It’s a day late and a dollar short for that! Especially the dollar.

It is the strangest thing that the Opposition too seems to hear something completely different to what is being said by the people. Not once did I hear anywhere on Galle Face or around the Presidential Secretariat, or on TV when they showed protests elsewhere, anyone chanting “Abolish the Presidency!” Not even a whisper of it. Instead, the demands of the protesters clearly typed on a large canvas plainly wanted the 20th amendment abolished, and the 19th amended and restored. However, in Parliament on April 19th when precisely this change was floated, the Opposition seemed dissatisfied with this as not going far enough.

Please. First things first. Why can’t they see that the people are being crushed under severe economic hardship and don’t plan to hang around for a referendum to change the nature of the state? The people’s urgent concern is their very survival and that of their children. They want the person they see most responsible for their sudden plunge in to extreme poverty, gone, along with the excess powers that enable him to make those unilateral decisions. It has led to this most unusual moment in history where, having lost faith in Parliament, people themselves have taken to the streets to protect themselves from their government.

United in Struggle

In the event that a visit to the site of the protests is out of the question, here’s a little word picture, which does only little justice to the sheer power and determination of a united people that can be felt there.

Galle Face Green has always had multitudes visit to enjoy the sea air and the open space. But never before has its environs played host to such a diverse population in such large numbers to achieve a common goal.

It is energizing to see the motivation of the young as they chant slogans in unison, in different groups who seem to have no connection to each other, but joining-in together to reinforce each other in their innovative chanting. The creative placards, occasionally risqué, but mostly serious with some satire, come from the heart. The open mike hears poignant stories told with passion, by ordinary people ranging from girl as young as 17, pre-A-Levels who bemoan not being able to study or attend classes, to an old man of 92 urging that the struggle should never be abandoned as he himself had brought his clothes in a bag weighing 5 kilos to support it.

The water, buns, biscuits as well as other types of food keep flowing to the protestors. Celebrities give voice to the suffering of the people, some with tears in their eyes. The most recent celebrity, the Laurence Olivier award winner, could not but jump on a plane just days after receiving it, to be here in his island home to give strength to this struggle of the people, by the people, for the people.

Every possible method is being attempted there to send the President home, including black magic rituals performed at the protest village. Songs are being sung, guitars are played and professional choirs sing songs of courage in the setting sun over the Indian Ocean. People in their thousands cheer. Many Sri Lankans have returned from overseas to add their strength. The disabled, the old and infirm have not let their difficulties stop them from strengthening this common cause.

No one had seen anything like this before. A well-turned-out young girl passing behind me with a national flag shouted “Aragalayata Jayawewa” in an unusually strong voice. I realized that there were many young girls who seemed to have developed a strong sense of purpose together with strong voices as they led the chanting as the evening wore on. Old people too joined in with the expected response. As it turned to a regular roar of a thousand voices like rolling waves in thunder, it surely couldn’t have missed reaching those ears up in the hotel towers, trying not to hear.

It isn’t without reason that this great multitude of humanity has come together, defying at this moment, the common understanding of Sri Lankan disunity, jealousy, envy and the like. Their shared misery has brought them together in a supportive embrace of each other, as they find themselves abandoned by those elected to govern the country. This is unusual enough for the government to take note that given our history, no conspiracy could have achieved this unity.

And now, with the guns turned on the people, this struggle has entered a different phase and the unity forged organically, even more important. With a week-long Hartal of over 300 trade unions planned in addition to most professions taking to the streets, and a heartless regime in Terminator mode, the future looks dire.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    2

    Sanja , it’s no more a secret, pretending and acting naive are the only skills our politicians have. They did it for 75 years, and if allowed, will continue happily. Those who are hiding in those adjacent luxury hotels can see and hear ,what is taking place outside in Gotagogama..To help those with night blindness protesters are using LED flashlights to see their message clear. People outside should realize Rajapaksas are here to stay ( using my favorite phrase after a long pause) and will not leave that easily, unless and until you force them out.

    • 17
      2

      Sanja here are some ridiculous quotes by our politicians 1) zero casualty 2) who is Lasantha 3) there is no Covid 4) we will not default 5) few thousands a month is adequate for a family of 3
      6) we controlled Covid by distributing Kothamalli to public. 7) people are jealous of us. They want to tarnish our great country 8) answer to all our issues SOVEREIGNTY, SOVEREIGNTY
      9 )country of “home grown solutions” 10) 2500 year old civilization 11) we introduced agriculture using water to the world 12) soon will export power to Singapore …….

      • 1
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        Chiv,
        “10) 2500 year old civilization”
        —-
        Tamils are jealous that indigenous Sinhalayo have more than 2500 year old civilization.

        • 3
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          Evil , 2500 years of your civilization, obviously has ended DYSFUNCTIONAL, BANKRUPT and FAILED.
          Only a retard like you can be jealous of it.

    • 3
      1

      At last Mara got it out. “If my stupid brothers have to go , that’s okay , but I should be the one leading the interim government”. Lead where?? He also said it’s unfair asking me to step down from PM. What a prophecy??? . Prior to Presidential election he told foreign press my brother will become President and me the PM. And my brother will hand over power to me.

      • 3
        2

        Sanja , amazing isn’t it?? I love Silly Lanka.

    • 3
      0

      Dear Sanja
      Yes, the protest at Galle Face is not replicated to any degree in Parliament.
      Where is the magical 113 to support a NCM. Its almost 3weeks since the cabinet supposed to have resigned wholesale!
      Here we are today nothing has changed in the political landscape as far as the ruling junta is concerned.They will not resign that’s the short answer unless they are forced out. But how?What do we do now?. DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION

  • 14
    4

    You say: “This Struggle Of The People, By The People, For The People”

    You seem to glorify the struggle of the people. We don’t know where it will end as future is not predictable. May be we don’t see the hidden hands, vested interests or external players, etc., etc. May be when the tummies get filled people will go back to their old ways and prejudices.

    Only till they cross the river people are brothers, once crossed they will be strangers. Remember what happened to Tamils at the hands of the Sinhalese ‘brothers’ who wanted independence first from the British and then you know what happened to Tamils.

    I am not sure if it is for all the people of the island. Who knows if an “ayathola” will hijack it, or the state will eventually crush it.

    God only knows what will happen.

    • 3
      1

      Thiru,
      *
      One thing certain that would happen : Sri Lanka will go down, down, down, for a few generations to come. It is only the beginning. It will affect all sectors of society. The people are very aware and are howling in shame, misery, and rage. Temporary filling of stomachs will only drive the Motherland deeper into debt. Better to stay united. The rogues that did this to us after all the hard work of our parents, grandparents, and selves, need to be prosecuted. All Hail to Occupy Galle-Face!

      • 1
        1

        “It is only the beginning.”
        Which?
        What have you got against the protests?

    • 2
      3

      Thiru,
      “Remember what happened to Tamils at the hands of the Sinhalese ‘brothers’ who wanted independence first from the British and then you know what happened to Tamils.”
      —-
      V Tamils in Yapanaya who became the most privileged group in Sinhale, the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo by scratching the back of Brits were not in favor of giving Independence to Sinhalayo because they knew that they will lose the privileged status enjoyed under British rule once Sinhale is taken over by Sinhalayo. But when they realized that British will get rid of Sinhale because it was no longer a profitable venture, Tamil politicians jumped to the Sinhala bandwagon and started clamoring for independence.
      During British rule, Tamils did not launch liberation struggles against British but Sinhalayo did. Several monks and Sinhalayo faced firing squads of British but not a single Tamil faced firing squads of British.
      What happened to Tamils after independence was determined by racist separatist Tamil politicians in Yapanaya who had separatism in their agenda even before Sinhalayo gained independence.

    • 2
      3

      “Remember what happened to Tamils at the hands of the Sinhalese ‘brothers’ who wanted independence first from the British and then you know what happened to Tamils.”
      Not all of them wanted independence– DS Senanayake for one.
      I know how some Tamils did well by talking about other Tamils’ misery.
      What did the Tamils do to the Hill Country Tamils, and what they did to their own untouchables?
      Do you really know what happened to most of the Sinhalese and why they had two insurrections?
      *
      It is time that the Tamil nationalist mind gets itself released from its shell.
      *
      BTW
      When did any Ayotollah hijack anything? If Iran is what you have in mind, Khomeini mobilized the people successfully, without which the Shah’s descendants may still be ruling Iran, with more than a little help from the US.

  • 4
    2

    There is no doubt that Rajapaksas should go out of politics and all their assets in and out of Sri Lanka should be taken by the government. However, it is important to understand what caused the problems of Sri Lanka and priority should be given to solve these problems. The country need fundamental changes to institutions, regulations, laws, and constitution. It is sad that we don’t talk or discuss these changes now.

  • 4
    2

    I think this is our real independence.
    What we had in 1948was just a passing of the batton from colonialism to neo-colonialism.
    From now on we have to collectively look after each other as we are doing in gotagogama.
    I know this will sound like thundering slaps to the likes of Eagle Eye, Champa, Soma, Lester, She-male perera and the rest of those mindless bigots stewing in a fascist racist narrominded past detached from humanity. It will shorten their expiry date.
    Hopefully a people friendly, selfless, pro life set of leaders will emerge from this. They will fast track our country out of corruption, racism, nepotism, fascism, etc and help us achieve greatness.
    Eat your heart-out EE, Soma, Champa, Lester and shemale. Left to me I would line them up and “ula thiannawa” as we roast with their traitorous slave driver masters – Thr Rajapaksas.

  • 1
    2

    This Struggle Of The People, By The People, For The People!
    ——————-
    This struggle of the people, hijacked by freemasons, to install new freemasons into power

    But it wont play out like these freemasons want. Playing controlled opposition is not going to save any of these satanists, and that includes the cunning two faced journalists also!
    Those who dont sincerely repent to the most high before it is too late, have had it!
    There is no slithering around and escaping justice.

  • 2
    3

    I guess the PM, SJB and JVP are heavily bribed to introduce a legislation to “abolish the Executive Presidency and transfer the power to corrupt Parliament so that they can elect the most corrupt MP as the President without holding a Presidential election”, undermining the voting rights of the majority Sinhalese Buddhists.
    I challenge the “Gotta-Go-Home” protesters to name Gotabhaya’s “successor”.

  • 4
    1

    Rajapaksas are the worst kind of devils who will surrender to public truthful protest nor accept the fact, that the majority of people want a change of Government. That’s why Mahinda is praying to resign and to get back with the same cronies back again.

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