By Sarath de Alvis / Colombo Telegraph
When Nanda Malini and Professor Sunil Ariyaratne appeared in the protest site, I decided that it is a real literate revolution. They tried to awaken the intelligentsia in the late eighties. They did not quite succeed. I am fortunate to have lived to watch them inspire the young, four decades later.
Ironies of history must be recorded. Mahinda Rajapaksa is on the wrong side of the barricade. Vasudeva has tripped in his somersault. According to DEW, when Vasu last saw NM the savant had advised the fraudulent fire brand – ‘You must read more’.
The intelligentsia of the land have woken up. The young girl carrying a poster in English ‘We are not extremists; we are extremely tired’ attested to the inclusivity of the movement which I would call a very literate revolution.
The young protestors demand a change. They reject politics as usual. Will parliamentarians meeting on 19th April accede to the public demand and engage in some unusual politics?
Politicians are designed to lie to themselves. So doing the unusual will need unusual courage.
Parliament will meet on 19th April. It must take a decisive direction towards dismantling the kleptocracy built by the ‘Rajapaksa family” since the end of the civil war in 2009.
That will not be easy. It has many stake holders. The Lotus Bud symbol must not be underestimated. It has powerful brand value. It represents a ‘Cooperative of Looters.’
The protest has made a difference. In the public psyche, the Great Redeemer of the land has turned in to a ‘Naaki Mynah’.
The self-maintenance mechanism of the ruling family’s dubious devotion to the ‘Ape Hamuduwane’ establishment stands exposed as obscene bunkum.
The ‘Aluth Avurudu’ ‘Raban Sural’ of the creative young have irretrievably humiliated the ‘Medamulana Mafiosi.’
Removing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is not only possible but doable.
‘GOTABAYA Presents to you a Reconstructed Country’ was the grand promise. For good measure it was embroidered with the assurance of Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor.
He has delivered a land reduced to beggary with a future frighteningly bleak. His ‘vistas of prosperity’ have turned in to ‘calamity’ here and now.
The man has the skin of a rhinoceros. His nonchalance amidst the crisis is unbelievable.
His ‘Aluth Avurudu’ message is all about a global economic crisis. He does not explain why he made Nivard Cabraal the governor of the central bank to succeed the neolithic academic – his first discovery in the science of wealth after winning the presidency.
His ‘Avurudu’ message to the nation doesn’t explain why under his watch inflation hit the roof, farmers failed, and the people have run out of fuel and cooking gas.
As late as 17th March he was supremely content to watch Nivard Cabraal performing his insane trapeze act with the sanguinity that would have amazed Saint Augustine.
When those who saw the looming crisis warned him, he was supremely confident in his asininity.
“Governor Cabraal enjoys my fullest confidence and trust and has been a tower of strength in responding to the grave economic challenges faced by the country”
So, this ‘grave economic crisis faced by the country’ is nothing but a spinoff of a ‘global crisis.’
The fake hero is false to the past. He is false to the present. He will be false to the future. He cannot heal the deep wounds inflicted on us. A false leader who strives to deflect blame will not do us any good.
A true hero will accept responsibility. That is halfway on the path of recovery.
The young people in the protest are moved by an idealism of their own. We can only endeavor to understand them.
They expect everybody to tell them the downright truth. The President and the Prime Minster seem focused on muddying the water, drowning questions in rivers of words, and trying to make us forget what the real issue is about.
The President’s ‘Avurudu Message’ demonstrates that, deflecting maters is his idea of telling the people the truth.
I agree with comrade Tilvin Silva. It is time to infuse some political realism into the idealism at the promenade opposite the President’s office.
The ruling clique will not fade away quietly. They must be persuaded to step down.
The literate revolution must now move from the symbolic to the strategic. It now needs a leadership. I do not know from where it will come. But it must come.
As historian Simon Schama points out all revolutions are acts of forcing change. It must make events happen. The ‘Brothers’ are hoping that it will turn in to a carnival. That the youth will get tired.
My own son who majored in political science seems to think that the carnival sense at Galle Face is disconnected from the genuine anger of the multitude in the countryside who have run out of food fuel and gas.
Some genuine anger comes out despite the singing and chanting. The carnival like atmosphere has kept them going over the holidays. That is progress.
That said, the ‘popular energy’ as Professor Simon Schama says must ultimately be redirected towards a concrete political objective. It must change the institution of power that promised prosperity and delivered beggary.
Parliament must disappoint the ‘Brothers’ who are hoping that the young who spit on their ‘Shangri-La’ will go into history as an amphitheater of failed revolutionary energy.
Parliament must now demonstrate that all 225 are not subscribers to a ‘Looters Cooperative.’
(This article was first appeared on Colombo Telegraph on its April 21, 2022 edition)