25 September, 2020

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What A Shame!

By Dhammika Herath

Will Democracy in Sri Lanka die on the 14th of January, the day on which the incumbent chief Justice may be impeached? This question is relevant only if one is willing to consider the state of political affairs in Sri Lanka as of 11th January to conform to the ethics of democracy. It was indeed heart breaking to see the scenes of hooliganism demonstrated by the thugs who shamelessly blocked the Yesterday’s march (10th Jan) by the citizens who value democracy in general and judicial independence in particular. It was apparent that those thugs had been sent there by some politician or another. People in their early morning sarongs worn above the knee and holding clubs against lawyers, academics, members of parliaments, former generals, civil society and other concerned citizens, was indeed obscene to say the least. People shouting against the incumbent CJ and accusing her of compromising judicial independence and respect of the judiciary were asking her to step down in some other quarters in Colombo. I can only pity those people because had they had the slightest understanding of what they were doing, on how ignorant they were of the bleak future of themselves and their children, they would not have done that. Nevertheless, the fact, remains Chief Justice of the Democratic Socialist of Republic of Sri Lanka is most likely to leave her office in 48 hours or less. Unfortunately, by the time she departs, we may be asking very serious questions about the future of this country.

 

Recently, I was reading a book on Culture of Corruption by D.J Smith who mentions that in Nigeria, the police takes bribes not only for releasing drivers after traffic offences, but merely for letting vehicles proceed on roads which are there for that purpose. Virtually most government officials in that country takes bribes, and officials are expected to help relatives and friends from the money looted in that fashion. The top leaders loot the oil, which they export as crude oil, while companies owned by the same top leaders import purified patrol and diesel to sell at higher prices. How far behind Sri Lanka is and will be by 2014, the time we may expect next general elections?

Coming back to the impeachment, how can a government turn such blind eye to all peaceful appeals by most revered and respected in the country; the Mahanayakas, the Cardinal, the Bishops, eminent retired judges, the academics, the bar association, and the civil society…the list goes on. Where are we heading? Some of the worst possible outcomes that I can imagine but pray they will not happen from now onwards include, a referendum to extend the life of parliament along with the repetition of the infamous “Wayamba” type elections (in which people of the province did not go the booth but goons voted carefully on their behalf) unparalleled use of public property for elections and completion of the politicization of the judiciary, extensive militarization, Chinization of the entire economy, and so on. Then comes the intimidation of political opponents with any sense of opposition. Even at prevent one Minister was calling for the “dealing with” the judges who gave the verdicts against PSC. In future, the parliamentarians will find it more and more insecure to speak about corruption and journalists would have less and less room for criticism. Lives will be at risk in doing so. Corruption can engulf the whole economy and public lands can become private property. In short, Sri Lanka is dangerously close to losing all sorts of freedoms. Majority of the Sri Lanka adult population above 18, today and tomorrow will go to sleep after watching their daily teledramas and reality shows and some even News, yet still without realizing that this is happening under their feet.  For me, that is not the most worrying thing. My greatest worry is, I am beginning to lose hope. Sri Lanka can slide into complete dictatorship. For how long???

Let me nevertheless salute everyone who put up a valiant but losing battle against the Impeachment. They may have lost but not the message they gave.

*Dhammika Herath PhD in Peace and Development Research

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Latest comments

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    If the educated people of a country feel that they are not being wanted, they will leave the country. Remote villagers have no option!

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    Whatever happens, due to the political culture we – the people-have permitted to develop in this country over six decades, the current manifestation of our collective failure, has to be a wake up call. The lessons in the current horror story have to learned, remembered and taught. We cannot afford to forget these lessons as is our national habit. Let us learn our lessons in terms of the concepts of Dharma/ Karma and divine justice our religions teach.

    Tamils through their passivity helped the Thambi and Podiyal become the monsters they did. The Sinhalese through their passivity have created a class of monsters that are at their zenith now. They will relentlessly devour everything right, good and decent in this country, until the the relentless sword of Dharma/ Aram, swings their way. We are mere mortals and cannot predict when this will happen. However, the way things are moving, it will be sooner than we expect . The rise and fall of Prabakaran and his band of men and women, is an objective lesson. They rose slowly, but fell faster than anyone expected. VP and his band were not defeated by MR, SF, the armed forces or international players. These elements were only instruments of something much larger- Dharma/ Aram.

    The present government is just about to lose its legitimacy to rule in terms of Dharma/ Aram. The end never justifies the means!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      “The nature of the universe is such that ends can never justify the means. On the contrary, the means always determine the end.”
      (Aldous Huxley)

      The above may be true to a greater or lesser extent in the long run but what happens in the interim? When a Hitler like character with the added advantage of a family to help is in the ascendant? Should not the UN and/or other affiliated bodies give considerations to the ultimate option of air dropping the “peaceful Pill” or making it more readily available? How about asking Dignitas Switzerland to open branches all over SL and ask RW and the GOSL to change the laws to facilitate this. Further info to be had from: – [Edited out]
      To balance the above why not also plead with the UN to expand its Right to Protect (R2P) to include the right to protect Democracies that are deteriorating day by day to pre-empt and ameliorate rather than await expensive cure as in Burma like places?

      Further as this is perennial problems with almost all psycho-sociopathic politicians being exacerbated by the gullible masses due to religious and cultural; mematic baggage. Why not ask the UN to consider establishing a permanent court only to try politicians starting with the charge of Criminal Breach Trust followed by a list misdoings?

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    Even after getting their daily dose of Sinhala teledramas I believe that ordinary people of Sri Lanka will regularly choose their community leaders, spiritual elders, political leaders (not necessarily one leader for the whole land)according to their needs, within the framework that prevails, or within a new framework.

    Unlike in Nigeria, the Sri Lankans have resilience that withstood nearly five hundred years of colonial rule. Good human values like morality, high ethics, virtue in deeds, honesty, reliability, trust, responsibility and accountability should be maintained at any cost. If they let go of these, then any scoundrel can rule them.

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      You are talking utter nonsense

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      Lasantha Pethiyagoda says:

      “Unlike in Nigeria, the Sri Lankans have resilience that withstood nearly five hundred years of colonial rule.”

      Unlike the Sri Lankans my people resolutely refused to go away from the island as vanishing Veddahs and withstood nearly two thousand five hundred years of colonial rule, by Indian kallathonies from North and South.

      Tell me now who is more determined than your people.

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    Lajjai.The things we thought would happen have happened.Judiciary is vilified so much so they will not be able to walk with their heads held high.By resorting to the base insticts of the Regime the Govt too stands on the DOCK.The behavior of the President is no different to the behavior of ruthless ruffians without heeding to the saner counsel of the CLERGY,the Professional bodies, the learned judges, lawyers he now looks a Gadafi,Sadam Hussain and others the world frown at.There is a saying that violence begets violence. VICTORY is always with the PEOPLE. When they realise the TRUTH there will only be Drains for the REGIME to hide. People mark time until then.

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