By Emil van der Poorten –
The recent plethora of events proves conclusively what many of us have been saying for longer than we care to remember: there is no alternative to the practice of the highest of moral and ethical codes and an unequivocal adherence to principle in governance.
Nothing less will suffice.
What has emerged from the, oftentimes overstated, pages of what have hitherto been treated as scurrilous scandal-sheets, is increasingly displaying, not merely the ring of truth, but proving to be understatements in quite a few instances. It is undeniable that that the level of probity has to increase as the rank of those governing us goes up. Instead, it appears that the level of arrogance and expressions of entitlement verging on the absolute have begun to emerge with increasing frequency among those with pretensions to leadership positions, if not roles
If the above sounds like “Pie in the sky (when you die)” let me, once more, reiterate the fact that the qualities I have described are not “airy fairy” concepts dreamt up by some writer of children’s bedtime stories. They constitute the very lifeblood of any civilized and democratic system of governance. If that sounds like its written in stone, so be it because that has proven to be absolute fact in the matter of governance of the kind that we all believe should be the foundation on which any civilized society is built.
Particularly in the case of a country whose economy is organized on the capitalist model, the checks and balances that an ethical and moral code and the exercise of principle is a sine qua non for justice and equity to prevail and for the very survival of civilized society. The rule of law to which at least lip service is paid by the vast majority of Sri Lankans cannot exist unless the three elements I have described earlier exist. Why do I say this? Because the basis of capitalist society is the exploitation of the many by the few and it is only the constraints placed by structures based on the three elements I have described that prevents something worse than the law of the jungle prevailing. The reader needs to think about these concepts and not be distracted by the philosophical gobbledegook spouted by those practicing fraud on a scale never witnessed in Sri Lanka even in the dark days of “Empire.” Then, I am certain, there will be very little room for the slightest doubt about our current predicament and what needs to be done in the matter of a complete house-cleaning in “The Land Like No Other.”
What has made matters so much worse in the post-2015 period has been the absolute abuse of Sri Lankans’ trust and the arrogance that has accompanied it. After all, those who risked life and limb to throw the Rajapaksa Rabble out of power did not do so to simply ensure that the masks changed but the players practiced the same deceit and dishonesty. To make matters even more intolerable, our rulers have chosen to treat us as a bunch of cattle without any grey matter.
The icing on the cake has been the increasing evidence of collusion by the current lot with their predecessors in the matter of covering up the sins of the Rajapaksa Regime in what is becoming increasingly evident as a quid pro quo arrangement. In fact, some of us had, much earlier begun to smell this particular rat but were naïve enough to believe that this was a mere hiccup on the way to good governance, giving it the opportunity to right the ship and create a society where equity and justice prevailed. Sad to say, we under-estimated the new lot’s capacity for fiscal criminality.
If all of those politicians who epitomize venality get away with treating us with monumental contempt and we let them, we will have no one to blame but ourselves for the inevitable precipitous slide deeper into the abyss that the Rajapaksa Regime constructed so efficiently over the period of a decade.
If the MR2 (Maithripala/Ranil) government is incapable of “doing the right thing,” they have to be dumped and the sooner the better. If this doesn’t happen, a desperate populace could return to the man who, in the name of decisiveness proved to be a merchant of divisiveness and death. Hitler didn’t ascend to power the first time he reached for the reins of government. He suffered ignominious defeat and it was only the chaos prevailing among those opposed to him and what he stood for that enabled this monster of modern history to do what he did to the world at large and particularly to the minorities who didn’t meet his blonde, blue-eyed (Nordic) standards. Let’s not allow history to repeat itself in this country with the Muslims and Tamils replacing the Jews and gypsies.
For starters, tell the Prime Minister and the President that you are “mad as hell and refuse to take it anymore.” Then get on the streets and demonstrate your displeasure with intelligence and chutzpah. Begin with ridicule, something that politicians absolutely abhor and fear. Then recruit men, women and children to demonstrate their (and our displeasure) educating them, if need be, about what ails our society and what can and must be done to rectify that state of affairs. Persistence and dedication to the cause is essential and when you are at risk of losing heart remember what probably the greatest anthropologist of all time had to say about voices in the wilderness:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”