Happy New year to all our readers!
Oh, by the way, Happy fourth anniversary of the January 8 Revolution, or whatever is left of it!
I do not enjoy Black Humour, yet come to think of it, remember, exactly four years ago, to this date, how the yahapalana government was sworn-in at Independence Square? Weren’t those unbelievable scenes, where an individual who had not been the leader of either of the two main political parties, becoming the sixth Executive President of the Republic, defeating an incumbent President who had conquered the LTTE and ended a 30-year war, thus accomplishing a feat once considered unaccomplished, was being sworn-in to be followed by the taking of oaths of the leader of the main rival party, as Prime Minister in an atmosphere of goodwill, raising hopes of a new dawn of good governance? How sweet, inspiring and moving were those scenes, (of course, if you are a law abiding citizen and not one-hand-in-glove with those marauders who drained the national coffers bone dry).
Yes, that is the fourth anniversary of which we should be celebrating today. But what a pity , those scenes are now a distant memory and the target of bad and
tasteless social media jokes. Those memories of Independence Square on a day like this in January exactly four years ago, are but a pang in the conscience of the 6.2 million people who voted for change; it is like seeing a withered rose given by a sweetheart who broke ones heart; a picture of a family member who was taken away in tragic circumstances; seeing a bosom buddy of yore who back-stabbed one, in the street ; a bitter, sour and embarrassing experience. To those who were opposed to yahapalanaya though, those scenes would give a cruel, sadistic pleasure as they smell blood, the yahapalana experiment crashing big time, rotten from inside and in its last throes!
A war in the losing
The political project of January 8, 2015, to be officially crowned on January 9 as the path this country was to follow, is in shambles. Although the battle engendered by the Constitutional Coup with the ‘insider support’ given by the President on the night of October 26 last year, concluded in a temporary victory for Ranil Wickremasinghe and the UNP,the war is doomed for defeat. Not necessarily a UNP electoral defeat, given the political capital leaked by the Pohottuwa in the public eye during the ‘moonlight putsch’, yet which would have been the case if the coalition has meandered in to 2019, a possible election year.
In fact Ranil and the UNP benefitted most from the 51-day farce, galvanizing their grassroots level party member while tilting the floating voter , given the ugly and nauseating theatrics by their opponents. With reference to ‘losing the war’, I mean the war for what is succinctly labelled good governance i.e. a living democracy, accountability and transparency, reconciliation, constitutional amendments, fundamental rights, rule of law etc. That war that will ultimately be lost irrespective of whether it is the UNP, the Pohottuwa or the SLFP that prevails at a future election.
Beyond a political project
No, it is not merely the political project of yahapalanaya that suffered due to the betrayal by the President and the PM, but the moral and conceptual weight of what it represented. Not only did the two leaders who swore in exactly four years ago, fail miserably in their government to make good the promises for a better country , they robbed the moral high ground associated with the lofty ideals that rainbow gathering on January 8 championed.
Not only did they fail to ensure transparency and accountability in governance, but they desecrated the very concepts in broad day light. Their corruption, decadence and dirty politics, seemed but an extension or even and expansion of the corruption of the previous regime. Those lofty ideals are nothing but bitter lumps now,hard to swallow for those forces who expected clean governance from the rulers they installed on January 9 -- exactly four years ago.
Fall from grace
That the two leaders of the coalition fell from grace like Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, the two men who fell from the sky in the controversial Salman Rushdie novel ‘The Satanic Verses’, is beyond doubt; their fall continues, exponentially gathering speed, till they hit bottom with a sonic boom! Yet that they smashed the hopes and aspirations of 6.2 million voters, in not only failing in their project but also making such a project extremely difficult to get off the ground in a future election is the dagger that hurts the most.
The vistas ahead as a nation are hardly encouraging, cometh a new year. I would refrain from pronouncing resolutions and wishes , associated with the country or the nation. On that account, the stage is all set for the ugly and repugnant game of politics, with those in power gritting their teeth to hang on, squabbling for ministerial posts, playing the numbers game, hoodwinking the public with verbal barrages while economically we wander in the badlands. Those ignominiously kicked out and now in the cold, will seek vengeance and an escape route from the arm of justice, would go to any depths to be back on the throne. Rather, therefore, may I suggest that it is as individuals, that we could have resolutions that in the long run would yield results.
It is not merely the political project of yahapalanaya that suffered due to the betrayal by the President and the PM
In the absence of a national garbage policy, let us be mindful of what we dump our environment with; in the absence of a national health policy let us practise holistic and natural habits that would keep us healthy. In the absence of spirituality despite all the hullabaloo and noise attributed to religions, let us learn to be spiritual and moral human beings. In the face of rampant corruption let us resolve never to put our finger in the lucrative yet nauseating and despicable corruption and bribery that has eaten our society like a cancer beyond cure; in an atmosphere of indiscipline and disorder let us, as individuals try to uphold civility and decency as human beings. All these resolutions are of an individual nature and might not sound convincing in terms re-mapping the future of our nation, I admit; yet if not for these, what else is left to be inspired as we move in to a new year?
For our politicians to put country first and be altruistic? For our religious leaders to uphold spiritual and moral precepts without sniffing around the tempting bones of worldly wealth? For our professionals to be grateful for the free education that catapulted them to dizzy career heights and offer something in return without shutting themselves up in their ivory towers?
If that is your expectation, I wish you all the good luck.
Individual, personal and humane resolutions for the new year; that is the motto!