|The News Line: Feature
Thursday, 1 March 2007
SRI LANKA: CRISIS OF AN ISLAND
SRI LANKA is undergoing a turbulent period, with the introduction of an executive presidential system, along with an open economic policy (Laissez Faire) exposing the country to an arrogant administration, foreign investment and exploitation.
|Tea workers are still living in the shacks that were provided by British imperialism in the 19th century. Note the open sewer (bottom left)
Asian countries are noted for nepotism and Sri Lanka is not immune to that.
As a result, from the time of so-called independence from the British in 1948, dynasties have evolved here, first Senanayake’s family, secondly Bandaranayake’s family and recently Rajapakse’s family.
Each family had tried to strengthen its hold on power while holding the reins.
However, the horse has never traversed the correct path.
This has led the country to a turbulent midstream, proverbially between the devil and the deep blue sea.
This is the stark fact of the country.
The incumbent president, Rajapakse, holds a wafer-thin majority from the presidential election in 2006.
So he had to consolidate his position.
Like all opportunistic politicians, he too was not averse to adopting any type of manoeuvre.
Further, this arrogance has increased by leaps and bounds.
Today he resorts to, or makes use of, his omnipotent position to stifle the voice of dissent from any quarter.
This has led to a dictatorial situation.
In order to consolidate his base, he uses tactics and strategies. One is his open racial outburst and the other is creating fear psychosis amongst the minorities.
His ambitious sojourn has reached down to the Sinhalese.
This scenario, though unexpected by opportunistic politicians, has made dents amongst the countrymen.
Whichever government comes to power, it sharpens its teeth by promulgating stringent emergency regulations.
After the holocaust of 1983, a notorious and barbarous regulation, termed as the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was introduced.
Overtly, though it was said to intend to eradicate terrorism, it had a subtle intention, to stifle every sort of dissension.
Today we witness the total breakdown of society.
There is a nothingness in every sphere.
Human rights violations are rampant.
There is unabated abduction and murder. The police are absolutely silent on these matters.
Nobody talks about who is responsible for the lawlessness.
Probes and commissions are appointed to find out the culprits.
This is eyewash. Nobody trusts them. Day by day the accusing finger turns towards the capitalist state organs.
The state media carries utterly genocidal programmes against the minorities.
The gap amongst the communities widens rapidly under this pressure.
A hopeless future ensues unless amity is forged amongst the communities.
While carrying out such an agenda, the media has become a total victim of the repressive regime.
There is no freedom of expression.
The media has been coerced to act according to the whims and fancies of the government, and quite a number of media personnel have already left the country in fear.
Several media men have been brutally murdered.
While writing this article, about five persons including a lady are in police custody.
Recently, extra teeth were added to the emergency regulations.
The explanation given was to control terrorist activities.
However, abduction and murder have become daily occurrences.
These regulations therefore aim at physically stifling decent voices.
One of their principal targets is the proletariat.
The country’s tea workers struck work for two weeks, demanding a wage increase.
Just at the moment when the urban trade unions were beginning to rally round them, the president threatened prominent plantation union leaders with jail and made them sign an agreement with the employers.
The gap between the haves and the have-nots widens rapidly.
Peasants, workers and other marginalised sections of the population suffer in poverty.
While the ruling elite enjoys luxury, the poor masses suffer in silence in the circumstances of internal chaos.
External forces are making use of all sorts of tactics to fish in murky waters.
The ruling elite is lenient towards imperialist forces, because they want to safeguard their interests at any cost.
This is the first scenario of Sri Lanka.
However, dialectics teaches us that dormant forces will erupt when a melting position is reached.
Forward to the socialist revolution.
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