By S. Sivathasan –
Who Helps When State is Paralysed?
The caption is a tragic commentary on the events likely to unfold in Sri Lanka in just three weeks. May not, is a distant possibility; but if they do what is the response of the International Community, the government and the people? When Tamils faced mayhem, there were certainly good and noble deeds at all times from the better ones. From 1977 to 2009 against the Tamils and in 2014 against Muslims, when pogroms were unleashed, the state apparatus stood idle struck by rigor mortis. Worse still paralysis was induced by the government itself. Blood-letting went unrestrained. Can these calamities of 37 years be allowed to recur?
Even after such harrowing experience should we have more of the same?
Electoral reaction however was continued applause and sustained endorsement. Successive governments had confirmation that evil found acceptance. Yet today even with impeding reservations, impelling sentiments seek a rare togetherness to see despotism out of their way. It may be noted that the entities are affected in different ways, but the target and the resolve are same. In the next 22 days they have to be strengthened resolutely.
Far sightedness is rare. Decisiveness is rarer. They were manifest in Europe particularly in the thirties. As early as in October 1930, Churchill warned that Hitler will seize the first opportunity to resort to armed force. Even as Hitler rearmed other European countries disarmed. Chamberlain joined Hitler to dismember Czechoslovakia. Then he prated about “Peace for our time”. Churchill had foresight and spent impatient years. “Decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent”. So blurted out Churchill in 1930s, after witnessing for long, continued inaction of the British and their lack of preparedness for war with Germany. In July 1939, he warned of a Russo-German Alliance. A Pact was signed soon after and Poland was invaded on 1st September 1939.
Need of the Hour is Preemption
In Sri Lanka are not parallels foreseen of impending mayhem? It may seem to the world some turmoil in a tea cup. But to the more percipient citizens, loss of both tea and cup is sighted. More unsettling is that under the aegis of the state and spearheaded by security forces, violence will be unleashed. They are sensed more and more by all entities and most by the minorities. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Armed with what? Unblocked communications, assembly without fear, movement without restraint and fortitude to stand against the state’s evil – both intentions as well as actions.
The International community must know that the following are true and without exaggeration.
1. Sri Lanka is as much a Police State as was Philippines under Marcos.
2. Media freedom is as much suppressed as in Shah’s Iran.
3. Tamils in North Sri Lanka are chaperoned by the military at One per Five adults.
4. Tamils are as free as North Koreans under the current dictatorship.
5. Military governors for the Northern Province and the Eastern Province.
6. Devolution made a caricature of in the Tamil dominated North and Tamil speaking East.
7. Para military marauders are on the rampage in the North and East for full 9 years.
8. Rampant corruption of the ruling family on par with that of Gaddafi.
9. ONE TRILLION rupees of military expenditure in the last FIVE years. Rs 300 Billion savable in peace.
10. Subordination of the Judiciary to the Executive
11. Ruin of nation’s Foreign Service with increasing military dominance.
12. Ruin of administration by subordinating public service to the military.
The above and a myriad more have made nonsense of governance. The Executive President, the CEO to the Social Contract has violated all terms and norms. The people are straining at the leash for change.
A Warning from an Analyst
“As I’ve predicted several times before, The God-Father of the Mafia-regime will openly violate election-laws to provoke democratic-forces in the country into street battles with state-forces, while he happily touts a bogus-victory on 09 January. He’ll use state-media to tell the people of Sri Lanka that imperialists are trying to destabilise the country. He will impose curfew as a stepping-stone for a naked dictatorship. I always thought a military-rule would be the logical conclusion of Sinhala-racism which relentlessly got worse since Independence. I can see that happening before my eyes today….
The most powerful defence Sri Lankan masses will have in this inevitable confrontation is the power of the working class to bring the entire country to a standstill – on a much bigger scale than the 1953 ‘Harthal’ (general strike). Keeping this highly probable scenario in mind, all left-parties, including the JVP, along with Tamil and Muslim leaders and trade unionists, should unambiguously appeal to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim masses to rally-round the ‘Common Candidate’ at this unique juncture.”
Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution – 18 November 1989, in Prague
A smooth, orderly, non-violent, half a million strong demonstration that heralded the Revolution. Men, women and students, together with workers striking for only two hours, swelled the massive ranks.
Presidential Election January 8, 2015
When the people revolt and chafe, an election to replace a failed President is their right. A free and fair election is the democratic process to realise it. At this juncture the President intervenes to make nonsense of the constitution and to secure a third term. A kept judiciary abets. Yet the people will have none of it. They are opting for the Opposition Common candidate and the derelict incumbent contemplates extra parliamentary means to continue with his despotism.
It is here that a mortal combat is anticipated. Already a Buddhist monk and a politician have thrown a challenge of siege and forcible removal of a ruler who wants to overstay his welcome. Will the world of democracy assist Sri Lanka to bypass blood and mayhem? Will Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Malay, Burgher and others join in the noble enterprise?