4 December, 2020

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Wenasak: A Post-Election Reflection

By Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Yesterday’s energy

Sri Lanka is still overwhelmed with the peoples’ energy that a few days ago brought the immeasurable gift of democratic regime change.

As the campaign heightened, one word; “ wenasak”– (Sinhala-“a change”) became a spontaneous and variable slogan or code, determined by the context in which it was used. There was no need to mention a name or colour or symbol; people simply wanted a change. Over 80% voted.

“Wenasak” was however possible due to a convergence of several democratic forces. Some of these were;

  • The several opposition politicians who tirelessly monitored a deteriorating political culture and addressed matters of public interest.
  • The determined vigilance of a cross section of Civil Society ranging from formal to informal groups who upheld the cause of good governance.
  • The persistence of sections of the media, who investigated, exposed, wrote and spoke in circumstances of deceit, censorship and harassment.
  • The dogged initiative of a small group of persons led by a senior Buddhist Monk who asserted that a primary cause of our crisis in governance; the executive presidency, can and must be abolished.
  • Shrewd and carefully guarded political planning, in a culture infested with informants and surveillance that facilitated the emergence of a common opposition candidate and a rare show of consensus among several political parties to come together to back him all the way.
  • The professional and sensitive role played by the Elections Commissioner and the IGP and their respective departments in circumstances of acute politicisation.
  • The presence and expertise of teams of monitors and observers; both local and International.
  • The street wisdom of at least one political party whose cadres provided a protective presence that contested voter intimidation and helped build public confidence on the ground.
  • The quiet resilience of the people who affirmed their democratic right to come out in large numbers and vote, despite desperate attempts to manipulate their democratic freedom of choice, through the abuse of state resources and vicious propaganda.

Todays’ reward

This cluster of forces points to persons of conscience who placed the common good before self- interest. Many worked separately but all contributed to a common momentum. As some spoke and acted, others under pressure to give up were encouraged to renew their strength to persevere. The nation was not without persons of calibre.

Identity added to this impetus as more and more names and organisations stood up to be counted. People had understood that if “Wenasak” did not come now it would not come for a long, long, time hence. The result was an incredible non-violent peoples’ revolution. The sympathy of the world turned to admiration.

Tomorrows’ nation                                                                                                                                                         

These forces have proved that no matter how bleak the future of a nation may appear, regime change is possible and best from within. Waiting for external intervention invariably proves counter-productive. It neutralises hidden reserves of peoples’ energy, inevitably stimulated under oppressive regimes, and tends to divert a conflict in a more complex direction. It can also become an excuse for silence.

Just as this regime change took time, the change in social values and political culture that must follow will also take time. But tomorrow begins today. All who want a just, reconciled and safe nation are to sustain this momentum. The nations’ need of diverse human resources and skills; critics and visionaries; sages and activists, never ends. The forces that made “Wenasak” possible consequently remind us that if the nation is to embrace truth, justice, reconciliation and integration, both people and their elected representatives are called to continue to place the common good before self-interest.

They also teach us that none can do it all. In fact none should be allowed to, because it is when some imagine they can, that we return to where we desperately want to move away from.

With Peace and Blessings to all

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    Bishop Duleep de Chickera –
    “”They also teach us that none can do it all. In fact none should be allowed to, because it is when some imagine they can, that we return to where we desperately want to move away from.””

    `Cloister praising Idleness` and that too from a Sinhalese- Hooo Hooo call of the long eared Owl.

    Fine Chinese Philosophy:
    “Nothing matters to a man who says nothing matters.”

    “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
    ______

    Patriotism is to politics what faith is to religion: The unquestioned acceptance of information that is either unverified or that may actually be in conflict with factual evidence. Patriotism is the incubator of wars.

    • 2
      8

      “Shrewd and carefully guarded political planning”

      Dear irreverand, there is one word that sums up your description – conspiracy.

      But we wouldn’t expect such intelligence from a man who worships Henry VIII’s bogus church.

    • 6
      1

      “; the executive presidency, can and must be abolished.”

      The royal we have a `Magna Carta` that did not permit the verbose of them all Winston Churchill to move any gear further which he attempted as any ambitious human would do and is the norm for incompetency.Churchill the English of our times.A peace time miserable that he had to relinquish his rights and post and be satisfied in the upper house like bLiar the international war criminal.

      A lesson of the importance of Magna Carta that `fathers of the nation but never the mothers`threw away (DSS and JT’s for vote in 48- a million lives of poor servers who toiled for the lazy) because you keep on praising all your fathers (freeeedom dom) as if time is constant. Like Mountbatten DSS fell off his horse. Is it Karume or Karuna at large?

      A man becomes a saint after 200 years – was that date in 1652 correct? the VOC were businessmen not on crusade; yes there were ruthless golden ball wars but they were yet the best in the world 1. they beat the Brits at China first battle and then negotiated for other business reasons back home.

      • 6
        8

        Javi’s attempt to rewrite history is despicable.

        The Magna Carta was the first step in the conspiracy to undermine the non-Eurpopean world. It put a meaningless, unwritten document above the rule of the king (or other strong rulers) that was working well universally. Since then, all developing countries relying in written constitutions have failed due to wrong focus on irrelevant issues before economic development.

        And the VOC was an illegal cartel of pirates and looters of Indian and Sri Lankan wealth for profiteering in Europe. They deceived Rajasimha II big time by reneging on the Treaty of 1636 and occupying Galle, Batticaloa and Colombo ports.

        God inervened in 1796 when Napoleonic France overpowered the Dutch thieves, making the rober barons refugees in London. They were forced to transfer their control of Sri Lanka to the British who went on to usurp the Kandyan kingdom.

        It is amazing that the remaining Dutch Burghers of Sri Lanka continue to speak of the VOC in adulatory and nostalgic terms. They were nothinng but looters and pirates who finally went bankrupt due to internal corruption of the ‘share holders’ who started operating individually.

        May God’s wrath visit upon them.

        • 5
          1

          “May God’s wrath visit upon them. “

          Firstly proves that you are not worth the sod you are perhaps a low down scum bag. go keep carrying the shit bucket that you love and stopp washing your backside with your bare hands.

          the issue of god is never an issue because science has disproved it. Never have you read a Sartre who began to trust men in the concentration camps but never god/dog.

          We know our country of Magna Carta better than you do colony boy. Go listen to BBC the discussion now on how Magna saved the problems of common people.
          Common sense is for scum like you thinking you are middle class and church pillars.

          Perhaps when you get persecuted/economic you would love to come our way hey its not for smell o- matic religious.
          Need more offshots try us again.

    • 5
      6

      Javi
      As usual, your comments are shining examples of brilliant insight, clarity, and above all, relevance to the topic.

      • 4
        0

        Common problems are for common people,

        common sense is for the middle class,

        Nonsense is for nobles and bishops,

        the pews are empty cause a heartache,

        charities(NGOs’s) are the gravy train.

        “If The Lights Go Out”

        They say the world must end somehow,
        They say the end’s not far from now;
        I think they’re wrong,
        Don’t worry your life away,
        Start living for today,
        Don’t think about tomorrow….

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0Dng3-3N5I

    • 5
      2

      Bishop Duleep de Chickera –

      RE: Wenasak: A Post-Election Reflection

      “There was no need to mention a name or colour or symbol; people simply wanted a change. Over 80% voted.:”

      Thanks for the summary, and the reasons for the change. However, the message did not get across to everybody, for various reasons.

      Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Actor did not want change. He wanted his Family Dynasty to Continue.

      “This cluster of forces points to persons of conscience who placed the common good before self- interest. Many worked separately but all contributed to a common momentum. As some spoke and acted, others under pressure to give up were encouraged to renew their strength to persevere. The nation was not without persons of calibre.”

      However, one thing was missing.

      The Common Sense Phamplet, Sri Lanka 2014 Edition or the 2015 Edition.

      Common Sense (pamphlet)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

      Common Sense[1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 that inspired people in the Thirteen Colonies to declare and fight for independence from Great Britain in the summer of 1776. The pamphlet explained the advantages of and the need for immediate independence in clear, simple language. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution and became an immediate sensation. It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places.

      Washington had it read to all his troops, which at the time had surrounded the British army in Boston. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history.[2] As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title.[3]

      Common Sense presented the American colonists with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of whether or not to seek independence was the central issue of the day. Paine wrote and reasoned in a style that common people understood. Forgoing the philosophical and Latin references used by Enlightenment era writers, he structured Common Sense as if it were a sermon, and relied on Biblical references to make his case to the people.[4] He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity.[5] Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as “the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era”.[6]

  • 4
    1

    The people of Sri Lanka who supported a ‘Maithri’ government based on good governance won this election. Now the concern is the impact of all the politicians who are crooks, drug dealers, illicit alcohol dealers, bribe takers and extortionists supporting this government. I hope the police and the relevant government departments will act impartially to file action against the politicians and their shadows who have amassed money by these nefarious activities.

    Thank you for your untiring efforts to point out what was going wrong in Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    5

    Bishop Chikera, you mention all the mundane reasons for the change except refer to the minority factor. You have conveniently avoided writing the Muslim and Tamil grouse, which contributed nearly 99.9 percent of the Muslim and Tamil votes to bring change (Wednasak) as you say. You have anything against them? It is writers like you who in media circles slant the true image and distort facts to suit your whims and fancies. Speak the truth for a change at least from now on, and don’t lead your ‘frock’ astray.

  • 2
    1

    @Media_watch

    Why would you want to give prominence to only the tamil and muslim votes, yes they did vote as every Sri Lankan should have voted for democracy. Sri Lankans on the whole voted for this change……. Stop with the ethnic division, we are all Sri Lankans, what religion or language we follow is immaterial and if you do not accept that then please do not get your self involved in the workings of our country.

  • 3
    0

    Let’s not forget how social media played it’s part in this election. The news feeds that were posted on face book by the young and savvy voters was quite significant and contributed immensely towards how, especially ,young people voted .

    • 4
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      R.D.

      The best of investigative journalist on CT has this to say with easily verifiable statistical evidence.
      Mahinda Rajapaksa lost in 2015 not just because he lost the minority vote. Mahinda Rajapaksa lost in 2015 also because a large chunk of Sinhala voters who supported him in 2010 voted for the Opposition in 2015;
      “”and because an absolute majority of first-time voters voted against him.””

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/racist-tom-toms-and-electoral-statistics/
      ______
      Walking Owl! `just turn about for turning about sake! Go to the zoo and watch a pair of monkeys picking each others ears- there you have the promise of Newton and Einstein.
      ______

      Peace time Marshall Plan for the two Idealist losers who had a better and advanced life than the sleeping giant who never woke when London was blitzed. Worked quick because they were idealist guided by realist.
      WTO doors opened to China the collective and its worked because of their education.
      illogical collective thinking. They can manufacture in their sleep so its the workshop of the world. But their logic does not let them innovate and that is where your great neighbour to the south with its logic and mathematics guides them with software for hardware while its north buys and sells.
      All are hora oru/ kallathoni in the island (there is documentary still sealed and signed to prove where you came from – like the windes islands above all your DNA?? Is it north indian mughal or south east to west??)
      The nation needs a guaranteed structure to follow not fancy foo action plans which only follow the nonsense of aristocrats.
      LKY Singapore was a `weretiger`(ancient han chinese like the werewolf mahawamse) who took his opponents to the cul de sac and let them have it because its there culture and he has said it. See how the Yankees still back Guinea- diamonds gold bauxite. You have non but can only think like the clean Swiss with no waterways (2nd largest container shipping in the world still growing) simply attached yet detached with all its neighbours.Freedom is plucked and never given on a dish- lanka was an accident make use of it friendly.
      Lanka the Sihala Buddhist State of Greater Hindia and its Ocean.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJtJYme_yOM&index=10&list=RDDxHCOygRIDg

      ¬It’s only pain¬
      It only hurts
      I am only down on the floor
      Where I have been before
      And I’ll be here again
      Though it hurts to lose you
      It’s only pain….

      Everybody wants Hindia- `jai Matha jai`.

  • 0
    2

    An excellent in depth analysis.Thank you Bishop Duleep

  • 0
    4

    I think the Bishop’s opinion is rather good.

  • 0
    0

    We can all see which side you were on. I wish you had written this before the election so Christians would be able to know how to vote. It is not the practice of the church to tell people how to vote, however, the opinion put forward here is that people needed a change which is clear which side you are for. That may be your view and that of more than half the country, but please do not put that forward as the only honorable stand to take.

    ” persons of conscience who placed the common good before self- interest”

    “There was no need to mention a name or colour or symbol; people simply wanted a change”

    and

    “People had understood that if “Wenasak” did not come now it would not come for a long, long, time hence. The result was an incredible non-violent peoples’ revolution. The sympathy of the world turned to admiration.”

    I do not know how people could see the future – that change cannot come for a long time – for Buddhist for whom change is constant, and for Christians who feel God can bring about change this is a not a familiar stance – perhaps it is part of the fear mongering that took place ‘on both sides’. In any case parliamentary elections were due this year and presidential in two years, with a strong IGP and and a Elections Commissioner in place – are you so sure change would not have come?

    You mention ‘regime change’ over and over again, and you must be aware that ‘internal regime change’ is what took place in Libya, Egypt, and is now being sought in Syria.

    I think we missed out returning the congratulatory message to John Kerry for a successful regime change. As usual they had no involvement at all.

    Finally I will let you know that neither the government propaganda nor Facebook, no religious leaders will ever changed my vote, I hope other people are just as strong.

    Anyone is free however to change my vote by manipulating the media and lying to me but obviously that will not happen under good governance.

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