Monday, 6 September 2010

Why all this fuss over the changes to the Constitution ?……Well Why not ?

In ancient times in Sri Lanka when there were wrongs done to the people they appealed to some higher, spiritual power –a God, a deity or even to the village Yakadura and the Kapuvas to invoke the devils or other mighty powers to strike thunder bolts against the perpetrator.

But today it is different, people also have changed . There are now the western educated intellectuals, academics, politicians, journalists, and web masters, who unlike the ordinary people appeal or make a big “fuss”, expecting India and the International Community to intervene.

But what is all this present “fuss” over the Constitution ? It is about removing a restriction in the Sri Lanka’s Constitution which limits the number of times the same person could be elected as the President of Sri Lanka.

According to this limitation a President of Sri Lanka cannot seek re-election after his second term in office. The removal of this restriction allows an incumbent President to seek nominations along with other candidates for Presidential elections after the two consecutive terms in office, and as long as his wants.

However, his election depends on the voters, and he may or may not be elected. So it is not by appealing to any higher spiritual power that the candidate even if he was twice the President of Sri Lanka could win the election, but it is only by successfully appealing to the ordinary voters-the people, that he could get elected.

Therefore, the power is still in the hands of the people, to elect a candidate who proves to the voters-the people, that he is the best candidate among all the rest of the candidates, including the incumbent President who is seeking election. The incumbent President may be called a dictator only if he usurps the rights of the voters, and denies any other candidate to seek Presidential elections, thus making himself the only choice for the people at the Presidential election.

Now where does the democracy comes in this “mêlée” ? Democracy a system practiced by the ancient Greeks was introduced to us by the west, to keep the developing countries bound to “underdevelopment”.

Why should we adhere to democracy with such fervour ?

We could modify it to a system which follows a political middle path towards progress and development. It is our thinking fortified by our western education and knowledge acquired through reading western authors and writers that has made us believe that democracy is the only political system appropriate to Sri Lanka, and that we should protect it at any cost.

Even people of China- an economic giant of to-day, and the people of Russia which is also a recognised world power did not appeal to the West against the usurpation of their democratic rights by the respective governments. May be people were forced to face economic hardship, and disciplined by force to allow the government machinery to function to give the people a better future, an economic fulfilment.

But that is how all countries advanced economically , and politically to be finally recognized universally as developed countries . Great Britain went through it , and so did America and all other “civilised Christian democracies” not to mention India which is still scrambling towards that goal.

But nothing in the world has begun its existence with comfort, joy and fanfares. Even the birth of a child is not without danger and uncertainty. The mother goes through untold discomfort and” the birth” is at risk both to the mother and the baby. So it is with a country -a developing country at that, breaking in to development and prosperity. It also has to wade through the periphery of uncertainty, risk, danger and suffering.

But when we take our problem with the Constitutional changes to the intellectual arena to discuss its rights and wrongs, and see whether it is breaking down all norms of democracy, we remove the problem from the ordinary people that matter. In the intellectual arena the President Mahinda Rajapakse who had done marvels not only in the elimination of terrorists, but also in all fields of development, is immediately treated as a despot, a dictator.

When the problem is taken away from the ordinary people and transferred to the “ intellectual arena”, it will take a different dimension. Unless the problem is discussed pragmatically turning towards commonsense- the tool used by the ordinary people in the assessment of their leaders, the intellectuals may fail to make the ordinary people understand their point of view as the language they use is not the language of the ordinary people. They will only confuse the ordinary people.

Even the Great Buddha when he spoke to the people he did not confuse them with theories and profound Dhamma. He did not speak to them of paramattasacca ( ultimate truth), but spoke to them in terms of voharasacca(conventional truth).

The Ground view website has roped in the intellectuals, the TamilNet the terrorist sympathisers, the Sri Lanka Guardian anti-Sinhala racists and so on and so forth. But where is the “untainted “ voice of the ordinary people ? Untainted to mean the minds uninfluenced, by the intellectuals, the academics and the politicians.

The ordinary people accept a leader for what he is, a man who they think is a “good” man, a man who they can approach, a man who listens to them, a man who is not different from them, a man who is disciplined, a family man who loves his wife and children, a man who has not forgotten those who are close to him relatives and friend, a religious man, in other words a man who they can trust. The ordinary people do not care for what Lord Acton, Machiavelli, Pontius Pilate, Baron de Montesquieu or for that matter even Peter Bouckaert, has to say.

Then the critics speak of perpetuating a dynasty. That is a historical fact existing even today in the sacrosanct “Western Christian Democratic model” we are trying vehemently to imitate. The critics of the present government seem to be unaware or conveniently avoid speaking on the issue as their main target of attack is the President of Sri Lanka.

For the ordinary people of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse, Chamal Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Basil Rajapakse and Namal Rajapakse represent persons they like, on whom they can place their trust. They do not think of them as the Rajapakse dynasty. That is what the politicians, the journalists and the so called intellectuals try to inculcate in the minds of the ordinary people reluctant to accept such nonsense.

When the intellectuals, academics, politicians, professionals and the business men sent their children to London, Canada, Australia, or America or to International Schools, the ordinary people sent their children to the Government Armed forces perhaps to death in liberating the Tamil people who were not their close relatives, or fight in Mulativu, or Kilinochchi places they have not even seen or previously heard of .

No one then said it was dictatorial. Because every one profited from that “war” in which the “other children” died to give them freedom of movement to rid themselves of fear and uncertainty of life.

But one would say that those children of the ordinary people were not forced to join the Armed Forces, and therefore there was no Dictatorship to talk about. Then why the allowing of an incumbent President to contest a Presidential election like any other individual any number of time be undemocratic and dictatorial ?

In any relation ship there should be the element of trust. If we accept the fact that the President Mahinda Rajapakse who had lot of power concentrated on him as the Executive President , had not used that power against the people or the country, we should then have the decency to place our trust on him to continue with that power, which he may need once again to use in the defence of his people and his country, and not against the people..

The 17th Amendment to the constitution is not workable. But if it becomes evident only after its implementation, then an amendment to it would have been impossible if the government did not have the required two third majority. Therefore, now that the government has the two third majority why not make it the opportunity to replace the unworkable 17 th Amendment with a more workable legislation.

The West is against any third world country rising above its underdevelopment. We have trusted the white colonialists to such an extent, we have become blind to their scheming projects to keep small nations under their control integrating them in to a global network., through globalization, demanding conformity to norms of human rights etc.

Our development depends on not adhering to democratic norms setup by the West, but by placing trust on our leaders recognising their sincerity, and patriotism, adhering to norms set up by them for the development and progress of the country.

This is not the time to call for anti government demonstrations .We have come to a decisive cross road in the history of our country, we should seize this opportunity to place our trust in the President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse to allow him to proceed further in the process of development he had initiated.

This is not the moment to hesitate. If the members of all political parties in the Parliament support the President Mahinda Rajapakse, placing their complete trust on him and adopt the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, future generations will be thankful to the decision you have taken today the 8th September, 2010.

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