By Muhammed Fazl –
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson, Seventh President of the United States.
Betrayal of a country, its people divided and debauched, destituteness and despotism, desperation dawning from denial of justice…. we have seen it all, and all along! Rules and laws have been changed, broken, absent or made defunct. Promises have been made and broken by the very same rulers, and to whom we have sworn our oath of allegiance.
In a country where GDP is confused with the standard of living and where crimes against humanity is not even a subject of discussions no more, let alone a concern, what worse could befall the afflicted and the wronged? And how long would it last the ‘endurance testing’ of the suffering?
Pawns in the game of politics
Privileged thinkers, writers, rights activists and politicians may have a lot of answers and opinions in finding solutions for the current predicament this country is in. While obsessions with political powers and the accumulation of illegal wealth have no bounds, cloud it does as well the judgments of concerned legislators and stakeholders when it is the time to serve the disenfranchised.
Chasing politicians when in search of justice is akin to chasing mirages. Yet, the monopoly to bring about changes to the lives of millions seems to be the domain of a selected political few. Erratic may have been his actions and words lately, but President Rajapaksa’s (MR) conduct should not be taken for a weakness. Breaking all rules when at the height of power, opposition parties should expect the worst when the ‘M Dynasty’ (‘blood relation’ of the Chinese kind) is actually threatened!
While the ‘Apex kind’ seems to be the last to fall in a long list of ‘Political Dominoes’, sections of the population seems to be having nightmares since Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) of JVP made a speech a couple of weeks ago. Warning of a bloodshed should MR decides to contest a 3rd term presidency, could AKD’s speech be a veiled threat of another JVP insurrection in the making? When growing up as a kid and believing quite foolishly that spots on leopards can be removed permanently when ‘skinned’ (even when alive), I guess I have also been naïve In expecting a ‘different pattern’ from its ‘offspring’.
Budget for ballots and for non-existent battles
Increased expenditure among the defense kind would have been alright if in times of war, but when allocating huge sums when a despotic kind is at the helm of power and in peace times, it does create an unholy alliance. A resultant environment of fear psychosis would make it a side effect as well. While current monetary/budgetary proposals could lead the country in to bankruptcy eventually, the reality of the poor getting poorer does not seems to be understood by the voting majority at present or even at times of elections.
Elections and Electability
The much awaited ‘considerations’ of the Supreme Court with regards to the MR’s 3rd term presidency seems to be a ‘foregone conclusion’. The ability of few crossed-over Members of Parliament in making changes to the Constitution (sans a referendum) in a country of over 20 million does not indicate a vibrant democracy either. Looking back at failures in tackling government corruption, abuse of power, breakdown of law and order and the erosion of independence of the judiciary among others, I believe opposition political parties should take brunt of the blame for the current state of affairs in the country.
The role of the opposition parties should not be evident only in times of elections. Had it been run by selfless, patriotic and honest individuals, considering the enormity of the MR government’s crimes and corruption levels, this country would have seen regular protests, public disturbances, court cases, mob justice in dealing with corrupt state/government officials etc. Contrary it may be to an orderly and a law abiding state, in this context, I believe resorting to civil disobedience can be considered a lesser evil.
Whilst members of political parties are busy finding probable candidates to contest elections, the plight of the down trodden and the less fortunate seems to be deteriorating with every moment passing. And their suffering SHOULD NOT be acceptable or tolerated under any government or leader. The buck needs to stop here, and stop now.
Dead end or light at the end of the tunnel?
It is how one chooses to see it. Much older and wiser, I sense the uncertainties surrounding the lives of twenty plus million and that of their unborn, I hear about tens of thousands unjustly being perished inhumanely and for no fault of theirs, and I certainly feel it when generations are deprived of a decent quality of life. With hardly any opportunities visible in the horizon, I see the youth and their dependent families at cross roads and not knowing which directions to take in life. Philosophies and teachings of major religions being distorted and used as political tools, and the resultant erosion of spiritual and human values had been of no consolation either.
Democracy, the political system and their proponents have all been a failure in the modern history of Sri Lanka. Believing that cries of the anguished and the vanquished have fallen on the ears of the righteous and the patriotic kind by now, I wonder what could be the tipping point for the ‘Defenders of the Nation’ to take matters in to their own hands.
It is indeed a pleasant sight when ‘men of honor’ and ‘patriots’ are hard at work in agricultural fields, construction sites, in rescue efforts in disaster struck areas etc. By being present and intervening militarily at places where regular protests or clashes take place, the powers and importance of the Police Department seems to have been made somewhat insignificant as well. Could these developments be a precursor to heralding a new chapter in the history of Sri Lanka?
While I agree with George Clemenceau, the famous French statesman when he said “War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men”, I also believe there exists a breed of ‘Officers and Gentlemen’ within their ranks and who could be entrusted with maintaining the peace and bringing about a sense of justice and accountability in the country they serve.
While treason can be defined as a violation of allegiance to a country and the betrayal of trust, I wonder what else could be more blatant than crimes committed by the MR regime. The silence of the ‘Defenders of the Nation’ as a result of the ‘soul being sold to the devil’ or due to a case of ‘feigning ignorance’, makes me really wonder if bravery at war will ever cross paths with honour and righteousness!
Facing a decisive stage in the history of Sri Lanka, the suffering of the victimized cannot go on nor allow the rights of masses to be at the mercy of a few. A marriage of convenience where previous charges across the seas (if any) could be negotiated to be dropped In exchange for giving evidence against the Notorious G and for establishing the rule of law. While the ‘honeymoon’ period should not exceed 6 months, during which time a Constitutional Council comprising of eminent academics and honest personalities from the judiciary should be formed, letting the unceremoniously evicted ex-CJ chair the Council would be my idea of a fresh start. And also within the interim period, the separation of state and government needs to be strictly enforced and the constitution re-written to suit the chimes. Many heads may roll in the process, but it would create a conducive environment for free and fair elections for which dates of elections can be announced immediately afterwards.
Wishful thinking or worst case scenario; should prominent men in uniforms who are enslaved by wealth and positions of influence think otherwise, streets will be the abode of the daring while anarchy just might be the order of the day.
Whilst power of the people is indeed much stronger than people in power, let us not divide two powerful forces in the lines of, as Mr. George Bush Junior once said, “EITHER YOU ARE WITH US, OR WITH THEM”…
*The writer is an independent social/political activist and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org and through FB (Fazl Muhammed Nizar).