11 August, 2022


When Shall We Ever Learn?

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

When shall we ever learn that the nation is more important than the power quarrels and ambitions of this or that person? Last week we saw that we shall never learn. A few politicians led a crowd to the street, not for the sake of the nation but, in fact, against the very idea of the nation. Their demand was that law should not be enforced equally and impartially. No nation that is incapable or unwilling to enforce the law can be called a nation. The failure to enforce the law is a prescription for chaos. For decades now, we laid landmines on our own road to peace and normalcy by this very same failure. The new government did not heed to this lesson, and now they have placed themselves in a position in which they are unable to answer strongly that, come what may, they will enforce the law.

When shall we ever learn that JUSTICE is a hard taskmaster? Those who pursue justice must do so with complete commitment and fairness and, at the same time, swift action is a non-bargainble requirement of justice. Those who are accused of crimes, especially very serious ones, will do all they can to defeat justice, even by destroying the system of justice itself. They resist going to jail more than they would resist going to hell itself. When those who are so accused are rich and powerful persons, they will use all their power and wealth to remain out of jail. Leaving room for them to do so is to invite peril. Allowing delays to destroy successful prosecutions not only places the government at risk but the whole nation. A wise ruler always gives priority to the requirements of justice and thus prevents those who are accused of crimes from doing even more harm by remaining free.

When shall we ever learn that what all ordinary folk in the country want, above all things, is peace and quiet? They want that their little ones can go to school without being sexually abused; that women can go about without having the fear of being raped; and that each and every one can seek the assistance of the police and other law enforcement agencies without the fear that they will suffer abuses in the hands of those very same people. They want to live with whatever little they have without having to pay bribes or extortion with that little that they have. They wish to walk on the roads without the fear of an accident at any moment, however careful they are. They want to go to a hospital when they are ill with the hope that they will be received kindly, and that they will get the attention and the medicine that is required for their cure. They wish that the schools that their children go to will give the education and instruction that these children deserve, and that these children do not have to spend all their free time, including their weekends, going from one tuition class to the other in the desperate hope of not failing their exams. People want their drinking water to be drinkable and not to be contaminated with all kinds of chemicals that create kidney problems and other illnesses. People wish that, when they go to their little boutiques and shops to buy their rice and other basic essentials, that these, too, have not had their prices raised to unaffordable levels. The young people hope that they will have the good notes of being admitted to a job so that they could support their families and, particularly, their ailing parents. The old people want to dream that, after years of hard work, they will not have to spend their old age with the prospect of starvation or malnutrition. Little children want safe places to stay and play when both their parents have gone to work solely for the purpose of providing them with their food and clothing. These and other simple things are what people want. People elect governments for this purpose, but, each time they do so, they learn that the new governments have learned nothing from the earlier ones, and they keep repeating the very things that brought people misery. Then the so-called opposition takes to the streets, not for the purpose of bringing them those simple things that they want, but for greedy politicians to have another go at pacifying their greed.

When shall we ever learn that the people want to hear the very simple truths about their economy and the way politicians propose to solve their simple problems? But, instead, what the people hear are lies and more lies. No politicians spend even an hour to fully contemplate the ways to solve any of the problems that the people want them to solve. The politicians can only promise a pie in the sky. People know all the time that a pie in the sky is something good to think about but not something that they can ever eat. No politician ever asked why they cannot tell the people the truth. The truth about how much money there is in the treasury, how plans are made for expenditures by the central bank, what more loans will be taken and who gets the benefit of everything. Why do the politicians think that telling the truth to the people is the most harmful thing they could ever do to themselves? When will the politicians ever think that the truth that they know and the truth that people want to know are the same?

When shall we ever learn that there is nothing more harmful to the nation than living on the false hopes that the politicians and the media create, illusions that are not only putting people’s lives in peril now, but also for the future? That spinning illusions is a dangerous game because it harms the people’s capacity to think critically, even about very difficult problems that may take a long time to solve. After all, it is the capacity for critical thought that has the potential to solve the problems people face and the people are capable of making sacrifices when they know that they are doing it for a good cause rather than the pursuit of an illusion.

When shall we ever learn that people should trust only themselves and themselves alone? By following one bad politician because they are frustrated with another, they will never solve their own problems. They have to consult each other and, for that, they should talk to and listen to each other. Their energies, spent in mutual consultation, can lead to creating more clarity on what they really want and how they can achieve what they want.

When shall we ever learn from the old wisdom that says that greed is harmful, that uncontrolled anger is harmful, and that ignorance is harmful and that sloth is harmful?

To support the greed of our politicians is as harmful as the pursuit of one’s own greed. The support of political provocation from ill-intended politicians is as harmful as the pursuit of one’s own uncontrolled anger. Following ignorant politicians is as harmful as the pursuit of one’s own ignorance and blindness. The support of slothful politicians, whose sole way of promoting themselves and achieving their aims is my misleading the poor, is as harmful as people being slothful themselves.

When shall we ever learn that people have to learn to be wise if they wish to have a political system that can act wisely? That a wiser people never become followers of foolish and ambitious politicians, that they instead learn to discern where the truth is and resist all evil political schemes with all the might that they are capable of? That wisdom and enlightened resistance are inseparable? And that the wise can find solutions against all the odds that they face if they never deviate from the part of enlightened resistance, courage and perseverance?

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Latest comments

  • 1

    [Edited out]

  • 9

    When the society itself is corrupt and immoral in many respects, how can you expect wisdom from them?

    Furthermore the corrupt politicians the society has been producing for several decades is a reflection of the corrupted nature of the society.

    If the society is virtuous and only the politicians are corrupt, the people will rebel against the rulers and create a revolution to throw out the corrupt rulers.

    If the society does not value the strict enforcement of the rule of law it will continue to be third world country:

    If one looks out in the world he or she will find that the rule of law is valued in developed countries – not in developing ones.

    It is as simple as black and white!

  • 16

    “”When Shall We Ever Learn?””

    Like the west indies where settlers were taken to work in the plantation.- they are never happy even with their music which is about race though they are free.

    Lanka has Always been learning the wrong doings of the master `westerner`
    and implementing the wrong as right- and call it `sovereignty of natives`

  • 6

    Mr Fernando

    It’s a dog eat dog world in SL. A few businessmen with questionable integrity, own a majority of the blue chip companies. Those with black money are able to invest legitimately in business enterprises. Insider trading, cartels & monopolies are common, Company Chairmen & CEOs are happy to bend over backwards to please politicians & their cronies, obviously in anticipation of favors returned. The result is the poor getting poorer & the rich getting richer exploiting the poor. So from professionals like doctors, lawyers & judges to clerks in the Govt. service, teachers & police officers, all fight for survival, some get rewarded handsomely in the process & those who do not have the opportunity make some extra cash on the side or live by principals just fade away.

    This is the reality of third world countries. The slope only get slipperier.

    • 0

      There is no developed country in the which doe snot proote corruptions i the developing countries. Some developed countries do that in the open whole others show act like gentlemen but their compnaies do all the dirty work.

      • 0

        Agreed. One can only make money by exploiting others & there is no ethical way of profit maximizing. In recent years in UK, bankers received millions in bonuses while the banks collapsed & a businessman who owned a retail chain which went bankrupt recently had been knighted for his services to the industry while he siphoned £4 billion during his 5 year ownership of the company, leaving the pension pot of its employees empty. However, there are activists in these countries who campaign for justice by exposing exploitation & though no legal redress is possible, naming & shaming, bad publicity & boycotting such business keep unscrupulous businessmen at bay at the least.

        Unfortunately in SL, it is free for all to make hay while the sun shines & now that we are used to it, there is no turning back. There are a few brave activists like Nagenda Kodithuwaku but SL needs more who are willing to stand up for injustice instead of joining the gravy train.

  • 3

    Unfortunately, Sri Lankans can never learn. We still keep doing the same mistakes, never able to learn from the past, and our politicians operate in the most selfish way – first for themselves and those around them, and never for the Sri Lankan people, who foolishly keep voting these jokers in.

    Our mentality must change for the country to prosper.

  • 1

    Lanka has Always been learning the wrong doings of the master `westerner` -Siripala
    It’s a dog eat dog world in SL. – A few businessmen with questionable integrity, own a majority of the blue chip companies. Those with black money are able to invest legitimately in business enterprises. Insider trading, cartels & monopolies are common, Company Chairmen & CEOs are happy to bend over backwards to please politicians & their cronies,- Raj


  • 1

    Dear Mr.Basil Fernando. How would you expect our people – who have a 2500 year old history and who are living in the land of the Buddha which can proudly boast of being the safety vault of Original Buddhism – to learn anything from inferior nations? Insted of learning we are ready to teach them, because we have specialized in fields robbery, thuggery, murder, Komis hitting, Washee bola science, patriotism, bribery, rape.

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