The time has come for all of us to put our hands together to the plough and begin seriously the process of rebuilding our country making it a land abounding in prosperity and regaining its lost international image that has been stained through a series of tragedies that had overtaken her in the last few decades. It is a matter of urgency both for the citizens at large and in particular for the politicians in whose hands they have placed their trust and confidence in voting them to power.
It is sad to note that a country that had been so much blessed with potential to become a naturally vibrant democracy and an economy that would have been our pride and one of envy to others in the Asian region, has since its independence had cogged her wheels for the last almost six decades. Our neighbours like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea have made gallant strides on their way to economic prosperity and political stability. Many critics in the field of national and international politics as well as local and global economics are prone to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the politicians who at the expense of the ignorance of the majority of people have played their opportunistic games to grab and keep their power, not to mention the fringe benefits accrued there-from.
Party politics is a healthy national system to keep alive the structures and the smooth working of democracy. But when political parties succumb merely to the greed for power and forget the greater interests and urgent needs of the people, it has always proved a disaster, a catastrophe.
It is the paramount duty of political and religious leaders, to work hard in creating a sense of
Sri Lankan identity while not infringing on distinct features as race, ethnicity, language etc. There are many countries where despite and notwithstanding ethnic, language,
racial and religious differences, it has been possible to evolve a national identity without however disrespecting these same differences
The two main political parties in the national arena, the UNP and the SLFP that had swayed power alternatively, though have achievements to their credit, have plunged this nation into an array of complicated situations from which we are still struggling to liberate ourselves. Problems keep lingering that needed urgent solutions which would have helped to avert the terrible national tragedy of a thirty-year ethnic war and two youth insurrections.
This is a history from which both politicians and the people should wisely and humbly learn some good lessons. It merely boils down to the fact that it is a matter of social justice, prosperity and security for all the people. The people of this country are used at every major decisive election to vote to power the party they think had made the best of promises and pledges of extraordinary hope. Yet, in the course of its period of government, there had been more failure than success in carrying out their election pledges.
The devastating ethnic war and youth insurrections could have been averted if the minorities were justly treated as equal citizens of this country with due honour to their language and culture. The youth insurrection of April 1971, the ethnic riots of July 1983 and the social unrest of late-eightees would not have made the soil of this Dharmadeepa turn into a Karmadeepa soaked in the warm blood of our youthful generation, if equal opportunities of education and employment had been provided for them. The rural youth felt a terribly neglected lot in terms of their hopes for good education and dreams of satisfactory employment. They took the social philosophy of Marxism to its extreme and turned to violence and revolution seeking regime change putting the very edifice of democracy into radical questioning. It was leftist trends taken into its violent forms of doing away with state authority, social and political institutions that were the hall-marks of national progress and security.
Both the ethnic war and the youth rebellions were quelled by a counter state-violence with exercise of military force. Violence was met with violence and it is not the best of the religious teachings to take to this path of armed conflict and struggle on the part of any one. The causes and issues for which the northern terrorists fought and the issues on which the youth took to an armed struggle in the South, are still to be completely solved. In the mean time, the country had run into formidable debt having to go with the begging bowl habitually to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to ensure economic security.
The Human Rights Commission of the UNO hurled serious accusations at Sri Lanka in the matter of violation of human rights and destruction of fundamental freedoms connected with the war and its aftermath. We are still to win this battle and clear our good name with the world powers that be who hover over us. The people of the country are still confused as to the best political structures that would bring in solidarity and reconciliation on the national level and what the best home-grown solution would be for the national problem: ethnic and economic.
This is not the time for politicians to advance their sectarian interests, whether they be from the two main parties, the joint-opposition or from other minority Tamil parties. Instead every passing day is warning us that the only way out of this morass is for all to work together as national leaders who love the country and the people. There must be a give-and-take policy in a spirit of genuine and sincere dialogue in an honest type of exercising party politics.
As of now, there is much to be desired from all the political parties as regards their spirit of dialogue and sincere involvement with the national issues. Unless political leadership goes beyond party interests and try to strike common ground in a spirit of understanding among them selves and with love for the country, the chances for a prosperous era to dawn on this our dear Motherland of Sri Lanka are just too dim.
We are on the top of a volcano. It is the people who are the butt-end of adversity caused by greedy politics that has brought this pearl of Indies into rack and ruin. Even now, we do not see mature efforts and discernment in looking for practical solutions acceptable to all. There are blatant contradictions in political statements that really bewilder and confuse the minds of the hoi-polloi. To page 17