If my memory serves me right Sri Lankan politics and politicians have always used sensitive social topics and issues as tools to achieve their political agendas in order to outrun their political opponents. These manipulations were mostly used against stigmatized society to get that extra edge for political profit. Politics has always been a game of manipulation for personal gain. The greater majorities of politicians who target the underrepresented stigmatized section of the population do not understand, care or even empathize about the social injustice brought on this category of Sri Lankans. But they only focus on the bucks that flow into their already lined pockets, the greed for unlimited power politics brings, making somebody out of nobody by elevating politicians above civil society to misuse and abuse privileges as they please. This isn’t anything new to the general public by now, as every successive government that has been in power in the last few decades has been an utter disappointment to the democratic minded citizens in the country.
"Politics has always been a game of manipulation for personal gain"
The current political crisis has left citizens confused and agitated about what is happening in the country with the two main political parties claiming to be the rightful owner of the position of prime minister of Sri Lanka. We have been in this game of party politics since Independence 70 years ago. The majority of citizens continue to blindly follow parties and or individuals due to their preconceived notions of one party being better than the other. We are so divided that this preconceived notion is present in all Layers of society. The confusion gets compounded as the experts of the Sri Lankan legal system too share split opinions about the legality of the political situation and also due to the loopholes within the Sri Lankan constitution that open up the constitution to different interpretations. As a non-political citizen regardless of the legality of the matter, I’m of the opinion that the recent political turn that took place in Sri Lanka is undemocratic as it undermines and hinders the very concept of democracy; if a president is able to override the decisions of the elected government of the nation who happens to be the direct representatives of the general public.
"Politicos only focus on the bucks that flow into their already lined pockets"
The concept of democracy is structured on the principles of rule of law and majority rule (the choice of the populace), therefore the ability for the president to veto the very foundation of democracy portrays to be an undemocratic move to any reasonable person. Since we are already on the topic of majority rule the recent speech of President Sirisena at the ‘Jana Mahimaya’ rally organized by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has grown into a burning topic of today only because of the derogatory language used by the President to refer to his political opponents sexual orientation, which has nothing to do with politics. The interesting fact this speech highlights is, that president Sirisena’s use of disrespectful, belittling language was not aimed to condemn his political opponents’ lack of political abilities or his political decisions, but was directed at his sexual orientation which has to be reiterated has nothing to do with his political stance. Rather it is used as a form of attack on an easy target to get political popularity evidently.
"Comments made by the highest office further escalate the stigma"
As the President made these comments the audience cheered, a very common sense of humour when insulting someone’s sexuality which is different from the social norm. In a country which has a sigma of high level towards the LGBTQ community such comments made by the country’s highest office only helps to escalate further the stigma that is already in existence in the country and multiplies the disconnect of this community from the mainstream. It also affirms that discrimination of any sort is acceptable within our society.
"Recent political turn that took place in Sri Lanka is undemocratic"
It should be noted that the “principle of majority rule” explicitly states the importance of majority rule without the infringement of the rights of the minority communities. The comment on someone’s sexuality which does not reflect the norm of the society is not only an attack on an individual rather a direct attack to the entire community of individuals whose sexuality is beyond their control, in fact, is a violation of their fundamental right to dignity and respect.
"The concept of democracy is structured on the principles of rule of law"
Another interesting component of the president’s speech was the explicit use of references regarding culture and tradition in order to convince the audience present at the meeting that his political opponent represented more of the western culture. Which points a finger at the very identity of Sri Lanka, and its culture, seeming to imply that the LGBTQ people reflect the culture of the west. The funny part about the concept of culture is that it represents the dominant opinion of the society which does not necessarily mean it is moral, ethical or right. It should be stated that traces of non-heterosexual behaviours could be identified throughout the history of Sri Lanka and it is the dominant ideologies of the colonial rulers that marked such individuals and activities as taboo. Ironically at present our past colonizes are legalizing and fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ communities while we are fixated on their outdated ideologies. Maybe it is time our leaders realize that the LGBTQ community and other sensitive social issues and topics should not be used as tools of political advancement any longer and it is time to restore the rights of these communities that they duly deserve.