By R.A.Ratwatte –
For 7 seemingly unending years I struggled for survival under the Rajapaksa regime. Feeding my family with nourishing and uncontaminated food was a real problem. Paying the Electricity and water bills was well neigh impossible. The banks squeezed harder and harder and pawning jewellery became a real option.
All the time I had friends abroad who were praising this Government. They are people I respect for their intellect and they are no catchers’ of this regime. They kept saying that the roads were now fantastic, there were new Airports and Ports, the city of Colombo has never looked cleaner. When they arrived from abroad they would marvel at the number of brand new and expensive vehicles on the roads. They simply couldn’t understand what I was whinging about!
Now that I have lived and worked abroad for a while I UNDERSTAND how they feel. When your family is eating real meat and not processed sausages, when it doesn’t matter if you keep the air conditioner on or the computer is used to watch a movie or two. When you can afford to run your vehicle without feeling bad about excessive mileage. When you don’t have to watch Government catchers with absolutely no qualifications doing top jobs and decimating the organizations they work for. Basically driving state assets into the ground. The corruption, the robbery, mortgaging future generations with crippling loans that have to paid back forever!
When those things are out of the equation, you understand what these expatriates are talking about. They look at the external view. They may even be thinking of what this will be (from an external viewpoint) a few years down the track, when they are ready to retire with their hard currency pensions. Their children would have grown up strong and healthy and could choose if they wish to come back or live abroad. They would also have been educated under a properly structured system not the parody of an education system that exists in Sri Lanka.
As is natural of the human condition, those people are looking at things from their own perspectives. The extremely docile (for want of stronger words) behaviour of the general populace, be it due to the education system churning out people unable to think and act for themselves or the bogus standards of society that don’t allow people to confess their hardships and put on a “show” for the neighbours, may actually allow this regime to eliminate all dissention.
Look at the current situation in Syria. The allegations are that a ruler is allowed to gas his own people and the World body looks on. Do you seriously think that a few white van disappearances or allegations of huge numbers of civilian deaths at the conclusion of the war is going to bring forth any action?
The expatriate dream of an expensive paradise to retire to which they can call their OWN may actually be realised. After decades of living as second class citizens in “first world” Countries they can return! It will be horrendously expensive but it won’t matter to them, they have HARD currency. The middle class in Sri Lanka will be eliminated and the poor will be extremely poor living in the hinterland.
Rajapaksaland will be paradise on earth for the catchers who have ripped off billions of the Countries wealth that should go to the people, expatriates who will return not having undergone the mind numbing frustration of surviving the last decade or so and of course the ruling class.
It is up to YOU, the people of this Country to “help your selves” and DO something about this situation. Hoping for Navi Pillays’, Pakyasothy Saravanamuttus’ or Jehan Pereras’ or indeed the Friday Forum to achieve anything concrete and make a difference is a vain hope to say the least!
Do something about this by a civil disobedience campaign, lose a few more innocent lives (for this lot shoot unarmed protestors’ remember) or give up remain silent and jump on the refugee boats if you can’t secure employment abroad!
The future is startlingly clear when you step outside the debacle of Asia. Do something now or perish, members of the middle class in Sri Lanka. Watch your beloved mother land being dragged whimpering, not even kicking and screaming, into becoming a colony of China, with a self appointed ruling family and a dictatorship that makes one a traitor if one does not condone it.
OR remember those who are old enough, Libya, Iraq, Egypt and even Afghanistan to a lesser extent? They too were peaceful, multi religious, democratic societies until the Dictators stepped in and did irreparable damage……and rest as they say is history!
You say I am being fanciful, you say I exaggerate. Think of the BBS in charge in Sri Lanka, think of the North being run as a separate state and the East under Muslim dominance……think of abject poverty, no water service no electricity ..think of Bhagdad today…THINK…please think O people of Sri Lanka !
Neither of these scenarios is what we want for the land that our ancestors nurtured for so many generations. It is our watch that is finally going to oversee the total annihilation of a 2000 year old civilization.