By S. Sivathasan –
Bloodless Revolution and Counter Revolution
If Sri Lanka saw the first ‘Bloodless Revolution’ in April 1956, she saw her second in January 2015. Temple Trees was ‘stormed’ on 8 January and ‘royalty’ fled on the 9th. The flight was not without a try with a sinister stratagem that failed. Even after the regime is displaced, the dynasty lingers on.
Jim Corbett the hunter of man eating tigers of Kumaon, India says “A tiger is not dead till it is skinned”. After a regime is supplanted, its structure requires to be dismantled. Laments of the dynasty are not about its demise. Thoughts are on resurrection. Plots are about counter-revolution. The deposed President is not at ease twiddling his thumbs at Hambantota. His dreams are on a glorious morrow. The ‘Ancien Regime’ knows the possibilities of the electronic age. The ‘Nascent Regime’ should fly apace at supersonic speed.
France and Russia
Even in revolutionary times, history did not move with lightning speed. In the matter of dealing with royalty, France lumbered along. Louis XVI had a span of 42 months between the storming of the bastille on 14 July 1789, and his fate with the guillotine on 21 January 1793. Intervening in between were two episodes. Flight (horse carriage) to Varennes on 21 June 1791 and capture on 13 August 1792. Details illustrate post revolution happenings in slow motion. The revolutionaries hit back when counter revolution threatened them with Louis as the rallying point.
A similar story holds for the Russian Revolution of October 1917. Czar Nicholas and his family were executed in July 1918, when Lenin found the counter revolution rallying round the Czar. Speedier events are seen in succeeding centuries. 21st will be faster still. Execution is not in Sri Lanka’s tradition. The point made is that the Head of the coterie that was supplanted serves as the best leader for subversion. The new government needs to be absolutely wary of it. Preemptive measures are mandatory.
People’s power installed the new government. It is the sheet anchor to secure it. Twisting all the fibres and strands into the strongest chord is the immediate imperative. The 100 day programme and the 100 point plan, set out so precisely are unprecedented. The National Advisory Council that is envisaged will survey the contours, set out the roadmap and presumably monitor the journey. The National Policy Framework may blazon forth the perspectives for planners, investors, developers and implementers.
Idealistic and long term aspirations apart, are the mundane expectations of the immediate term. Price reduction on 10 commodities, tax reductions, salary increase, samurdhi allowance being raised, higher producer prices and the like will have a great effect on consumer sympathies. When the whole programme becomes real in 100days there will be a tectonic shift in voter sentiments. The first 100 days giving a foretaste of the menu to come will effect the biggest transformation towards party loyalty.
It will be ideal if in the first 100 crucial days, all the items are accomplished or taken near the point of completion. Such an achievement can swing confidence and support to the government as has never before occurred. The deposed President belittles the margin of victory as less than half a million. Every Sri Lankan knows that it is more than a million but for bribery unlimited. It is also known that it is more than 1.5 million, if not for limitless corrupt practices.
Tear the Mask
It is hoped that the President and his able lieutenants will enlist mass support with their success story. No less important is to alienate their sympathy for the previous government. A misplaced faith built through severe censorship and all the misdemeanours that a barbaric regime can impose on the people, has to be demolished. For lack of exposure four putrid Tamil hands – one from the hill country and three from the North East – had the temerity to sneak into the sanctum of governance offering their unsolicited support. A major platform the coalition collective mounted to defeat the previous regime was its corruption. Having done so, to relent, soften or to delay action will destroy credibility with the electorate. So shattering their image the truthful way through due legal process becomes urgent for the very survival of the regime at the coming elections.
The President though defeated argues still that but for the Tamil vote he is the winner. By the same token, Ranil was the winner had the Tamils voted in 2005. They were prevented through the mechanism of a huge bribe to one who mattered. By whom? The whole country knows. Denying any space for all such quibbling, the incumbent President and the Prime Minister need to score a devastating victory at the parliamentary election in April 2015. Superior capability at delivery of promises has to be demonstrated. The nascent government with new energy is certainly capable of doing it.
A Nation Saved
The country which was on the throes of a ruthless permanent dictatorship has been miraculously saved. Very many have contributed to the victory of right over insolent might. In the public domain we find four officials singled out for fulsome praise: Attorney General, Election Commissioner, Army Commander and the Inspector General of Police. They have had their reserves of character to speak out in the nation’s defence. There are trying times ahead as well. Investigations will loom large. Very early the Judiciary will have occasion to show its independence.