19 November, 2019

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What Have We To Show For Our Independence

By R.M.B Senanayake –

R.M.B Senanayake

Tomorrow it will be 65 years since we obtained independence from foreign rule. Should we rejoice or lament for we have lost our personal freedom now. We are no longer governed according to Law but according to the will of the ruler. If we displease the ruler we will be punished not according to any pre-existing law but according to the dictates of the ruler.  We will be punished not by the courts of law which were established by the British and which we inherited but by some unknown criminals who will abduct us in a white van and destroy us without a trace.

The nation is now 65 years free but our life expectancy as individuals is 74 years. What will be the life expectancy of the nation? We know there have been many nations and civilizations that have disappeared in history. The past in Asia and Europe is littered with states and kingdoms, large and small that are scarcely remembered today. While their names may be unfamiliar- -their stories should change our mental map of the past. We can glean much from these lost empires. Why did they vanish from history? Often they disappeared as a result of internal conflicts. They failed to resolve their internal differences. We too have failed to resolve our ethnic and religious differences. Our rulers seek to equate the nation with the Sinhala Buddhists and seek to over-ride the others who inhabit the country. These minorities can in no way rejoice at the freedom we celebrate tomorrow. Nor can those who value personal freedom do so. It is a day for lamentation.

Robert Higgs the economist of the Independent Institute asks the question –what is the difference between a government and a criminal gang or a protection racket? Governments which claim to have been elected use force or violence according to prior established rules called laws. But when they find these laws do not permit them to do what they want, they make their own laws. So the President now wants to pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to make the Standing Orders of Parliament equal to laws. He has changed the Criminal Procedure Code to allow the Police to detain suspects in police custody for two days. That should be enough for the criminal Police to torture a suspect to death and claim that he committed suicide by hanging himself in the cell.  Instead of cleaning up their dismal human rights record, the authorities will most likely criminalize human rights advocacy and undermine the courageous work done by human rights defenders and others seeking to expose the violations that take place almost daily.

This type of behavior is not different from that of a criminal gang. Criminals too have their own code of honor among thieves. They will change the rules that bind the gang. But the gang may not accept such new rules and that is the beginning of disputes. In the case of a State the rulers can change the laws but they have to be accepted by the people. But like in the case of the criminal gang the consent of the people only means the consent of those who are part of the gang. So to pretend that the peoples consent has been obtained it is necessary to manufacture such consent. The regime will use the news media, judicial decisions of subservient judges who are stooges, public speeches by political vermin who have bartered their souls for power or perks and now the Face book to imbue the people with the idea that their actions are legitimate. These justification efforts are bogus and any purported expressions of public opinion are also bogus. They do not represent the acquiescence of the people to such arbitrary actions outside the law. Any such manufactured consent of the people is only tacit consent- a mere acquiescence – a widespread resignation ( perhaps based on Buddhist Karmic acceptance) that signifies only that most people are reconciled to their fate, come what may.

Rights to our people are nothing but conventions since they are not based on any religious principles of their religion unlike in the case of the West where rights originated in the Bible. There the concept of freedom is that of a free people with a free will endowed by God and it is this conviction that drives them to protest against violations of their freedom. Patrick Henry said “give me freedom or give me death.” But don’t expect any such convictions from a people to whom religion means nothing more than conformity to rites and rituals rather than any deep rooted commitment to values. Those few brave souls who protested will now have to endure the government’s bullying and intimidation. They risk being abducted by a white van and being killed by hired criminals. But they will have the consolation of seeing the President himself calling over to condole with their family.  Mussolini who is one of the modern exponents of state terrorism got King Alexander of Yugoslavia killed in 1934. He attended his funeral in full uniform and wept profusely.  Activists for human rights face harassment and intimidation. They will be under constant surveillance by the security forces, and will lose their freedom of movement both within and outside the country in breach of their right to freedom of movement. Many are likely to be beaten up, by men in civilian clothes who are agents of the security forces.
The most we can expect from those who oppose terror is a type of sullen resentful acquiescence. It is not that they have surrendered their values and moral compulsions but their lack of will in the face of the insurmountable enemy. The danger is that our people  may after a time get used to accepting things as they are because they have not known anything better. The English educated middle class may not fall into this category but the large bulk of the peasantry know nothing of such values of freedom. The politicians have over the past 50 years bribed the people with goodies and made them look up to them for favors. To get such favors the people would have to vote for the victors. If they have voted for the defeated they will be harassed and deprived of whatever benefits their compatriots enjoy from the State. The people have bartered their rights for the favors doled out by their politicians.

Robert Higgs points out that the assumptions about the nature of politicians are wrong. He states “I quickly learned that the politicians in Olympia did not fit the model I had mastered in my education as an economist. To be sure, they sought to feather their own nests, by hook and by crook. But, in many important cases, they acted simply to hurt their political and personal enemies—whose ranks, in some cases, were quite large. Often, it seemed, Mr. P was clearly “out to get” Mr. Q, and he was not simply seeking this objective, other things being the same; he was actually out to get Mr. Q even if he had to bear a cost in doing so. So, despite the formal models and informal rhetoric that economists and other academic specialists wield in their research and writing about politics and government, a critical element tends to be completely overlooked: the powerful role of aversion, dislike, and hatred”.

This sort of preference is the political sentiment Vladimir Lenin expressed when he remarked: “My words were calculated to evoke hatred, aversion and contempt . . . not to convince but to break up the ranks of the opponent, not to correct an opponent’s mistake, but to destroy him.” Henry Adams observed that “politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” So don’t be surprised that the Bodhu Bala Senawa is attacking the Muslims. A new enemy must always be manufactured for the safe tenure of the ruler’s power, as George Orwell pointed out in 1984.

“Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral color when committed by ‘our’ side.… The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”So who says our soldiers and those in command committed war crimes? Not by us but only by them.

The only consolation is to know that Libya under Gaddafi provided every benefit for the people from the coffers of the oil rich State but could not prevent the upheaval. Sri Lanka of course is not Libya. We have no tradition of revolution and the youth who staged them were mercilessly decimated on the two occasions in 1971 and 1988/89 without any protests by the elite . So lament for God alone can help us now.

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Latest comments

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    It is unfortunate that we mark this 65th independence with the demise of the independent judiciary. The democratic vision of the founding fathers of the nation have been usurped. As stated by the father of the nation Hon D S Senanayake 65 years ago –

    “We have regained the independence enjoyed by the inhabitants of this small island for a very long time from the foreign dominance.

    “The independence we won would be a reality only when the people are ready to safeguard their newly won rights and responsibilities. By winning the independence, we have seen the end of a struggle but it would be the beginning of another struggle which is mightier and challenging than the one just concluded.”

    Unfortunately today we are in danger of losing the rights we regained after 450 years of colonial rule under the Dutch, Portugese and British. We are now under the dominance of another type, far more insidious and vengeful.

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    The journey towards a dictatorship, like the growth of a slum, is almost imperceptible. It sort of happens around you without your being conscious of it until one fine day you are surprised at the outcome. But it runs its eventual course because we choose to ignore the first signs that something is amiss. We accept them without demur.

    What we see today is beyond the first signs of a journey towards authoritarian rule. Sadly, there are enough politicians who are so venal, so corrupt and so unscrupulous that a designing administration is able to ‘buy’ them over and secure the required majority to help it rule as it will.

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    Since 1978 WE, SRI LANKAN pawned our Independence to the FAMILIES OF SCOUNDRELS AND LUNATICS.

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    Sri Lanka’s 65th Independence Day celebrations parade will also include
    the Rajapaksa White Van arsenal.

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    Yes, there is nothing to celebrate after the recent end of the rule of law.

    There is less freedom under the current dictatorial rule than what we enjoyed before the independence. We were the second most prosperous nation at the time of independence. Now we have young women prepared to work as slaves in Arab countries. We have boatloads of people undertaking hazardous journeys to get out of Sri Lanka.

    We had a bright future after the end of the war in 2009, as reflected by the rise in the stock market, which is based on future returns. Even that euphoria is no more. The only hope is that we will follow the footsteps of Malaysia under Mahathir and accelerate our economic growth rate under this limited Democracy.

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    The opportunity must not missed to roll out the”Floating armoury” so
    that the local Gota-affi can frighten is enemies from down South.

  • 0
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    The writer has touched on quite a few very sensitive topics in the article above. His analysis with examples from history should form a basis for more diligent discussion on the points made, rather than unfounded rants and abuse or shallow remarks…

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    I think we have another problem now. That is generations after generations migrating to other countries looking for greener pastures as there are no opportunities here. The older generation is left alone ending up in Homes for Elders. What a sad situation at the 65th independence day!

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    Nothing to show or to be proud about. This is all the making of explosive national blood thirsty speeches and supporting the slaughtering of the revolutionists for their own benefits of the rulers in the past as mentioned above by the author. This is all to do with the CURSE on the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Whats happening to CJ ,SF and so on to name the few is all to do with KARMA. what you sow you reap. It’s nothing to do with the yellow robed clowns. One such clown is serving prison sentence in Britain for his own sins committed. So no one can escape from mighty god above us. It all happens in our life time to serve and pay the penalty to god. SriLanka is no different from any other cursed nation in the world. Like Afganistan the religion and the extremism go hand in hand. That is the downfall of a nation. Live and let live and Religious tolerance is the essence of prosperity .

  • 0
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    Why not the BEGGING bowls are there to show the WORLD how much we have achieved since 45 years of independence.

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      CORRECTION 65 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE . HELL OF A LONG TIME IT APPEARS TO BEG AND TO BORROW.

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    The Pearl of the Indian ocean is rotting ever since Ceylon became Sri Lanka. As Ceylonese all communities were equal in claiming ownership of this Paradise Island. Research shows that the Muslims in the Island will lean towards the Tamils if the Sinhela were to attack their faith and the rest of the world would sympathize with them. The majority of the peace loving Sinhala people in the Island realises this, however it is apparent that the Ruling family and a few diaspora (who have nothing to lose except their dole) is making a grave mistake in playing to the BBS.

    Did not the sinhela only policy ruin Paradise Isle economically (currently Debt Ridden; pawning its sovereignty) and socially (35 years of Terror)? Did not a Monk sacrifice the life of SWRD for sinhela only? Should not the Past Lessons be a Guide to the Future.

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    The President has enough intellectuals to guide him, let the President to do his job. Do you want a leader who allows the fools to mislead our young people, and turn them against their own people in the name of democracy? Did you forget what the LTTE and the JVP have done to the young people and to the country? Do you really believe that minority Westerners will implement a policy or political system that would work for the majority Asians? Do you believe that minority Westerners are prepared live under the majority Asians? Do you believe that minority Westerners are ready give up their world dominant power? Do you have any idea how much India is behind China, because of its political system? There will be no comparison between the mighty China and India in 20 years.
    Due to my writings, the New Zealand government started to tightening of the noose that is around my neck. I can’t get a job. I can’t even get an accommodation in New Zealand, because of the Westerners’ dirty propaganda. The Westerners must walk the talk, before preaching to the developing countries. Australia abolished its white Australia policy in the 70’s, but its constitution continues to portraits white Australia policy. The Australian government still refuses to acknowledge indigenous people as the first inhabitants of Australia through its constitution. I found that Canada does not practice what it preaches to the developing countries either, in terms of democracy. The ideology and histories of Australia and Canada are the same. Canada also treats its First Nation People badly; and the Canadian government also feels uncomfortable with my writings. Canada allows its First Nations to live in their lands, but refuses to give ownership to them, in order to use the resources without any restriction. This tactic also allows the Canadian government to have full control of the money profited from the sale of resources. The Westerners invade others’ countries, but preaching law and order to others!

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    What have we to show for our independence reads the
    headline to the article. The answer is clear – There
    is a Mahinda Rajapaksa autocracy ably assisted by
    Minister of Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s hypocrisy.
    What more do you need? What Rajapaksa says, Ranil says
    loudly. Rajapaksa does what he wants. Ranil does what
    Rajapaksa wants. Soon there will be another exodus from
    the 40 some UNPers in Parliament.

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    If you look at the encyclopedia published in 1950s it says.Sri Lanka enjoys the highest standard of living in whole of south Asia.also says that civilization has brought to Malaya by Jaffna Tamils.look at where are we today.probably we are better than only Pakistan which is a good friend of Sri Lanka.even Bangladesh is making great progress.We have such a wonderful land and hard working people.the bloody politicians have taken us to a point of no return.I have never seen an idiot like Ranil.if you cannot perform please leave and go.He is hanging on for petty benefits while the country is burning.

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    The Tamils never had the freedom to the meaning of the word. They were subjucated right throughout the 65 years. The unfortunate and unwanted war had made things still worse for the Tamil people. Although we call ourselves as Sri Lankans where ever we are but we are not so. I do not know what would happen to the future generation of the Tamil people of dispora. Will the grand children and great grand children call themselves Sri Lankans. No one knows the number of Tamils murdered during the last days of the eelam war. Only the Sri Lankan Army knows about it and how they disposed of the dead bodies. Of course the LTTE is partly responsible but the government which is for the people should take more responsibility for the lives of the civilians. But it doesn’t want to recognise but continue the human rights violations. Nearly 30 to 40,000 people of Vali North (belonging to 8 villages) are still languishing elsewhere. The army is taking over those villages without resettling the owners of those lands. This is another human rights violation. For the Government the Army is more important than the people because they are Tamils who has nothing to do with the war or LTTE. Miss pillay who visited the North states that she has observed some improvements in the North. What is the improvement she had seen. It is the carpeted roads which were built for the use of over 50,000 army personnel stationed in the North. There is no other development taking place in the North of Sri Lanka.

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