By Primus Salgado –
It’s interesting times once again. Elections are here again, a la Happy Days. I ask you a question.
For whom? Time and time again people of this thrice-blessed land are fooled by politicians who promise to make this land the envy of the world. That is not a matter to be trifled with taking into account that this is the sixteenth time the people WANT to be fooled. Let us accept that our literacy rate has fooled us to believe that we have wisdom. We do not understand the difference.
Ever since gaining independence from the British in 1948, we have failed to offer Ceylonese and Sri Lankans a life filled with hope in achieving their true potential. Consider, the current President and the soon to be elected government will be for the Sinhalese Buddhists governed by the Sinhalese Buddhists. Or that has been the majority sentiment. It is the very same rhetoric that is projected at the upcoming elections by the President and Prime Minister who constantly appeal to the 6.9 million who voted for one person at the last Presidential election. That number was Sinhala/Buddhists.
Consider again. Since 1948 this country has been governed by the Sinhala / Buddhists anyway. Every government since independence has had a Prime Minister or President who has been a Sinhala / Buddhist. All such governments have had a Cabinet of Ministers who have been Sinhala / Buddhists save for a sprinkling of others accommodated to garner a majority at times.( PLEASE PUT THIS IN BOLD LETTERS)
The Sinhala / Buddhists must consider whether their brethren have been able to place the country on a sound footing giving each citizen an equal opportunity and a comfortable life. Does the country portray the high literacy rate? Is our education system in line with the employment requirements of the modern world? Can a young man or woman who enters the job market now entertain hopes of having access to the mod cons of today through their earnings? Have we not had 72 years and 15 parliaments to get a grip on this? Why not we ask parents to select the language of instruction for their children when entering grade one? They are their children and must have a say. This will result in children of varying ethnic and religious persuasions to grow up together with respect towards each other. That is what takes place in the modern world.
It is true that one cannot find solutions to problems by following the same systems which caused them. We are at it again. Do not expect a messiah to emerge through an election process. We have failed to find one in 72 years yet hope springs eternal in our breast. Sri Lankans do not have the capacity to decide what is best for them. Constantly having ones hand outstretched for a free handout will not get them far. Yet, that is exactly what is being promised by politicians of each hue today. So, more of the same again.
There will be no takers when I predict that all the rogues, criminals et al will be elected perhaps with larger preferences at this election. I ask those who would lambast me after reading this column what they would expect from such rogues? There are good nominees entering the fray from all political parties. There must be not only a cry to elect such people WE MUST DO SO.
Unless and otherwise, Sri Lankans led by the majority Sinhala / Buddhists, who have ruled this country since independence assert themselves by changing track we will wallow in the same cesspit for another 72 years.
Let us preserve the proud Sinhal heritage, let us preserve the proud Tamil heritage, let us preserve the proud Muslim heritage, let us preserve the Malay and Burgher heritage and that of the plantation Tamils. They are all Sri Lankans. Similarly, let us preserve all religions. They too are Sri Lankan versions evolved through our culture. But please keep such out of politics. Let the clergy be in their temples, churches, mosques. We will go to them for our religious and spiritual emancipation. That would be a good beginning.
Unless we the Sinhalese majority change this country will remain ungovernable. We, the Sinhala / Buddhist majority have been in control since 1948 and must take responsibility for the mess we are in. We will be in control as the majority community for another 100 years and unless we change our country is doomed. there is no use in blaming the minorities nor expecting a messiah to wave a magic wand. That is better confined to Aesop’s fables.