The hydra-headed monster or monstrosity of economic neo-colonialism by the rich world and its business partner the transnational corporations (TNCs) are attacking Third World Countries including Sri Lanka in vital areas. Unfortunately, most Sri Lankans including top politicians and officials are either not fully aware of it or in different ways are colluding with it like the fifth columns of military colonialism.
Since 1505, Sri Lanka has undergone much damage and devastation by military colonialism and the plunder of our wealth and resources by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British colonial rulers. If we are to be grateful for small mercies, we were at least aware of what was happening at that time when the colonial masters came with their military might. What is happening now is much worse if not catastrophic. But it is being done in such a sophisticated and hi-tech manner that most of our people are not even aware of how Sri Lanka is being stripped of its wealth and resources.
Yesterday the Daily Mirror in its editorial headlined ‘Our royal farmers being turned into TNC beggars’ exposed how the rich world and TNCs were trying to take control of our agriculture and turn it into an agribusiness while making our farmers beggars or slaves of the TNCs. We pointed out how traitors in patriotic clothing were trying to impose the new Seeds Act on our people whereby the farmers would be forced to buy foreign seeds and could be fined if they did not or refuse to do so.
In the vital area of health, we see how this monster of economic neo-colonialism is trying to operate in a multitude of mysterious ways. Last Sunday, our sister paper the Sunday Times splashed a front page lead story on how the Ministry of Higher Education and its Minister were trying to degrade medical education. The newspaper revealed that the Ministry of Higher Education had issued a gazette notification giving private institutions the authority to start medical colleges without the approval of Sri Lanka’s governing council for medicine, the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC).
The SLMC’s widely-respected Chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) and other medical bodies strongly protested against this and went directly to President Mahinda Rajapaksa who on Wednesday cancelled the gazette notification of the Higher Education Ministry. The GMOA at a news conference on Wednesday welcomed the President’s decision to cancel the gazette notification, but warned the people to be alert because it feared the ministry might try to re-introduce the notification in a dubious if not deceptive way. What the Higher, or may we say hire Education Ministry, tried to do is seen by most independent analysts and opposition parties as part of a move to scrap or dismantle one of Sri Lanka’s most hallowed virtues, the free education policy of the revered C. W. W. Kannangara.
Sri Lanka has achieved a literacy rate of about 90 percent—the highest in South Asia—mainly because of the free education policy through which millions of poor children also had access to education which is vital for them to become wise, good and productive citizens. But now transnational forces in collusion with local, political and business circles are trying in different and devious ways to put education in the market, thus slamming the school doors in the faces of millions of poor children.
The Daily Mirror has often spotlighted how this is happening in the health sector too. Trans-national pharmaceutical companies with the support of top politicians and officials and in consultation with medical circles are trying to take full control of the health sector. If we allow that to happen, healthcare will also be put on the globalised open market, and the poor will be left to die.
Ten days ago, we celebrated the 66th anniversary of our independence from colonial rule. We need to reflect deeply on the multitude of ways in which our independence and sovereignty are being violated by trans-national forces which are trying to take control and plunder our resources through remote-controlled measures.