By Tisaranee Gunasekara –
“Negligent, ambitious, and perverse Princes are the real causes of public misfortunes.” – D’Holbach (Excellent Sense Without having God)
This month, a female university-entrant fell off a seven-foot wall and suffered spinal injuries[i], even though participating in the Leadership Coaching Programme in an army camp.
The military spokesman says the wall was just six feet high. Let’s think him.
What sort of ‘leadership training’ entails jumping from a six-foot wall? Armed robbery? Kidnapping? Movie stunts?
What is the logic of herding students into army camps and forcing them to engage in mindless and useless pursuits which have no place in a normal law-abiding civilian existence?
The leadership education programme is a close to best symbol of Rajapaksa pondering and Rajapaksa governance. It is unnecessary, does no good to anyone and senseless virtually to the point of insanity. It has not achieved any of its stated aims. The execrable practice of ragging continues the only distinction is that freshers get ragged twice – by the military as nicely as by seniors. (The Leadership Education Programme may broaden the sadistic horizons of future raggers, teaching them more degrading, hazardous and inhuman ways to torture the next batch).
The Leadership Education is a waste of everyone’s time and everyone’s money.
But it will not be scrapped due to the fact it is a brainchild of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Scrapping the programme would be akin to admitting that the Rajapaksas can make blunders, which violates a essential maxim of Rajapaksa rule – Rajapaksa infallibility.
The leadership instruction programme also provides a clear warning of the future awaiting Sri Lanka, if Mahinda Rajapaksa wins a third term.
Mahinda is not just Mahinda. Mahinda is Basil and Gotabaya, Namal and Shashindra, siblings, nephews, nieces, cousins and in-laws. And acolytes, always acolytes, those pawns empowered and glorified for 1 crowded hour – or two. There will usually be Sajin Vass Gunawardanes, Sampath Chandrapushpas, Duminda Silvas and Mervyn Silvas (and their sons) and Galagoda-Atte Gnanasaras. The Rajapaksas cannot rule without them.
Is this the future we want?
This is the future we will have, if Mahinda Rajapaksa wins a third term.
Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated the LTTE. He did not do so alone but let that be. Is defeating the LTTE a logical cause to give him a third term, understanding what he and his brothers did in the second term?
Make Mahinda Rajapaksa a gazetted national hero. Give him all the accolades and statues his megalomanic heart craves for. Rename every public facility following him. Make his birthday a national vacation. Have an annual parade honouring him. But do not give him a third term, so that he can institutionalise familial rule and render dynastic succession inevitable.
It is only in fairy tales that the monster-slayer gets the country as a reward. This is actual life.
Mahinda Rajapaksa is indubitably a friendly man. Fine set up a Mr. Conviviality award and give it to him every single year. But that is not a good adequate reason to vote for him, realizing what he will do and what he will enable his brothers, relatives and acolytes to do.
Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot defend national sovereignty. He is in the method of turning Sri Lanka into a Chinese protectorate. Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot create peace. He has failed to reconcile the Tamils whilst antagonising the Muslims and the Christians.
The only way Mahinda Rajapaksa can defend territorial integrity is by igniting another unnecessary war with an additional minority and winning it – right after a number of much more decades of bloodshed and mayhem.
Mahinda Rajapaksa’s thought of development is to create expressways, airports and ports, although ordinary folks like, his personal Sinhala-base, sink into greater want.
Do we want the Rajapaksas – and that means all the Rajapaksas, not this or that Rajapaksa, simply because theirs is a loved ones business – to rule this nation for at least six a lot more years?
Do we want Gotabaya Rajapaksa in parliament, poised to step into his brother’s presidential shoes, legally and constitutionally?
Do we want a entirely degraded judiciary? Do we want judges who are manifestly the pawns of the rulers?
Do we want the new Rajapaksa commonsense to grow to be hegemonic? Do we want impunity, abuse and corruption to turn out to be the only normal the next generation of Lankans know?
Do we want the militarization of economy, civil society and our minds? Do we want a morality which despises the weak and worships the powerful and the effective?
Do we want a nation which can’t defend its most vulnerable (children and the elderly) even as it spends most of the national wealth on defence?
Do we want an acolyte-capitalism and a serfocratic administration, a nation exactly where Dhammika Pereras rule the economy and Sajin Vaas Gunawardanes thump Chris Nonises?
Do we want a nation where advancement and security depends on slavish obedience to Rajapaksas?
Do we want Sri Lanka to grow to be a battleground of regional and international powers?
Do Sinhalese want a lasting peace or a new war with one more minority?
Do Tamils want to live under de facto occupation, a life of worsening humiliation, powerlessness and insecurity?
Do Muslims want to grow to be the new Tamils?
Do Christians want to live like second class citizens?
Dislodging the Rajapaksas will not solve all Lankan troubles. But the absolute majority of Lankan difficulties can’t be solved without dislodging the Rajapaksas.
The Final Trapdoor
Defeating the Rajapaksas becomes an uphill job with every single passing year. Not due to the fact the Rajapaksas turn into far more well-known, but because the Rajapaksas make the politico-electoral playing field much more uneven, from within.
But economic discontent is growing, specifically among the Sinhalese (as the CPA survey reveals). That provides the opposition a trapdoor of opportunity, a decent opportunity of pushing the election into a second round. For the opposition, an outright victory is not necessary preventing an outright victory by the Rajapaksas will suffice because it can result in a political tsunami, such as within the SLFP.
If the Rajapaksas win the presidency, they will move swiftly to neutralise the most efficient figures in the opposition. As soon as the opposition is reeling from attacks, arrests, calumnies and internal squabbles, the parliamentary election can be held. When a Rajapaksa occupies the PM post, the Achilles Heel of familial rule will be no far more.
Life has not improved for Tamils and Muslims during the second Rajapaksa term. But has life turn into much better and happier for the Sinhala majority during the second Rajapaksa term? The Sinhala-South may possibly not be interested in the atrocities committed throughout the war and in the aftermath. They may possibly be indifferent to Tamil and Muslim problems and fears. But has the situation of the Sinhala-South enhanced for the duration of the second Rajapaksa term? Are Sinhalese greater off socio-economically, a lot more safe and much more hopeful about the future than they were in 2010? Are they satisfied about the path in which the Rajapaksas are taking the nation? Are they willing to sacrifice the fundamental rights they take so much for granted and the prospect of a far more peaceful and prosperous future, for the sake of a dead or an unseen enemy?
The Rajapaksas will attempt to muddy the waters of our thinking by screaming about Tigers and Jihadists, traitors and conspirators, so that we forget the actual situation.
Do we want a Rajapaksa future?