FUTA Strike – Dons’ demands are reasonable and justifiable
Posted on October 4th, 2012

By Mario Perera, Kadawata

Much has been said on the above subject. The government channels are trying to whip up public condemnation of the concerned Dons by harping on dubious and contentious themes, namely the link up with a disgruntled opposition and worse still connivance with separatist diaspora elements.  Internationalizing a national problem is a well known way to dilute it. It also resuscitates latent paranoiac fears. That the opposition allies itself with strikers is a well known phenomenon in this country. It is not confined to a particular opposition, but to whoever or whatever be that opposition. In short, the ones in power today would adopt the same measures, once in the opposition as proven by Sri Lanka’s history. Accusations of connivance and collusion with separatists, stoking as they do the racial boiling pot always fires up pent up emotions. Although government TV channels level such charges, no politician has hitherto reiterated them in public. Nothing new in all this for seasoned analysts, but they disturb the gullible.

Conclusions arrived at on this issue are over sprinkled with the somewhat artificial flavours of nationalism and patriotism. It is time to widen the argument by adopting different yard sticks. Up to now, popular sentiment has been galvanized by reference to the plight of school children, which is a very sensitive psychological thrust. Another adduced factor countering the Dons’ demands is the negative fall out on development projects. The gross national income, it is said and repeated, cannot bear the burden of salary hikes the striking Dons demand.

However many features connected with the matter at stake are almost considered as taboos, and are not dwelt upon. I wish to highlight two flagrant instances which would bring to naught the argument about national revenue insufficiency. One, the more recent of the two, is the Malaka Silva incident. The other concerns Duminda Silva, both placed on pedestals for public adulation by the powers that are.

The scion of an Acupuncture Institute’s honorary doctor was released from the remand jail on a false affidavit imposed on his military officer victim. Later, his lawyer obtained court’s permission for this person to go abroad. Earlier it was assumed the jaunt abroad was for educational purposes (an astoundingly hilarious assumption), but later it was bluntly admitted to be a holiday to the USA. Just imagine a recidivist notorious thug hoodwinks a court of law, and even gets permission from the same court, with the dispenser of justice looking on like a useless actor, to go on a holiday”¦and where? To the USA, one of the costliest destinations. A normal “ƒ”¹…”educated’ wage earner would think twice before going on a holiday to Nuwara Eliya.

Pray who is this Malaka Silva who wines and dines, has fun, and frolics in the night clubs of the costliest five and six star Colombo hotels, with admiring women, local and foreign shamelessly dangling on his arms, and chooses the costliest of destinations for holidaying from justice? What is his education? What job does he perform? He has neither one nor the other. Just look at the security afforded to him, and what for? What does he represent to the nation? Only a sheer disgrace, making fools of the educated. The inevitable question then pops up, where from come these fabulous sums of money for his ultra lavish life style and spending? Are those sums outside the national income?

Next I focus on Duminda Silva. He is a notorious drug baron. Just consider the period of time he has spent in Singapore, for medical treatment and rest (or law evasion”¦). What about such astronomic outlays of funds? Are they also outside the pale of the national revenue? Examples are so abounding as to fill endless files. But I limit myself to these two flagrant cases.

In the light of these self evident facts, the arguments advanced by the government spokesmen regarding the unreasonableness of the Dons’ claims and the lack of funds to meet them, are not worth an iota of attention. They are too heavily coated with hypocrisy and immorality to even convince the school children whose welfare they claim to protect.

The conclusion is obvious. In the light of the above facts, which are only the tip of the iceberg. I would maintain that the demands of the dons for a higher standard of living heavily outweigh the claims of the likes of nefarious nincompoops Malaka Silva and Duminda Silva and government sponsored cohorts, all eating from the free buffet of undeclared governmental monetary assets. In fact the minutest part of the funds spent on such people would suffice to meet the Dons demands.

What the government holds out in the publicly displayed right hand as the national revenue, is only a pittance when compared with what the left hand, contains. The funds in the left hand held behind the back or under the table is a monetary buffet, a free for all self service for stooges, hooligans, crooks, swindlers, in short the dregs of Sri Lankan society posing as divinities in the country’s temple of democracy, to help themselves with.

As a final word, I would mention what is public knowledge, that the government while vaunting its contribution to education, comes out publicly with the declaration (which is like cutting its nose to spite its face) that it is its manual labour force, in the form of house maids and similar, that keep the national coffers garnished. In short it is an unintentional yet revealing admission that the national educational system is unproductive and irrelevant even when compared to the country’s unskilled manual labour force. As for the school children, the value they place on the education meted out to them which loses face before manual labour on the labour scene, was seen recently when they beat up their newly appointed principal conducted to his office flanked by an armed police convoy! How then can the six percent increment the dons ask for the upliftment of education be decried as being an exaggeration? The six percent increment they demand is comparable to a fig leave to cover the nakedness of educational pretenses, especially when compared to the billions wasted in corrupt dealings.

This strike of the dons is a lesson to the nation, a lesson that even the subservient judiciary has not dared to impart. The lesson is the following, that Government funds are not used to compensate the worthy, the deserving and the meritorious but brazenly and openly siphoned off to State sponsored Mafia groups, in short to criminals. Education in its present form is an eye wash. What universities yield are abject products not worth the much highlighted migrant manual workers on the labour market. The lesson doled out to the university students is: make the university a stepping stone to a political career. Become part of the pampered and corrupt parliamentary system, national or provincial and enjoy the buffet money that the country’s leaders hold out to those who toe their line, or if not, dump your certificates in the garbage can and go the Middle East or elsewhere as common labourers. The other option is to hike a boat ride on the high seas in the direction of Australia and face the consequences. It is in any case worth a try.

The government is before a choice. Stifle the dissident FUTA voices with undemocratic means and carry on as before with hoodlums ruling the roost, or give the just added value the Dons demand both for themselves and for the system they represent.

8 Responses to “FUTA Strike – Dons’ demands are reasonable and justifiable”

  1. nandimitra Says:

    I will protect free education but at the same time reduce the subsidy on education says the rulers. Whom are they trying to deceive.

    i

  2. aloy Says:

    Mario,
    What you are telling is true. Any government in SL does not need these universities.
    At present our economy is run and maintained by mostly uneducated youth working in garment factories and rural women and young village boys toiling in the middle east and places like S.Korea for about $250 a month. All the bureaucrats and various controllers (who are actually glorified clerks) once a year split their hairs how best to share the booty. This happened under every government.
    It is only the parents of these uni students who wants the unis to function with the hope of getting a good job when they pass out. In the case of arts students (whom I believe are majority) these hopes get dashed as they become unemployable. But our politicians go on opening arts faculties as it is the easiest thing to do. I remember HE the President opening one such faculty in Uva about a year ago. Who advised him for that?. I think majority of the dons who are spearheading this campaign are from arts faculties.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    From SUNDAY TIMES.

    “A group of prominent academics from India have joined a large group of intellectuals from different parts of the globe, to express solidarity with the protesting Sri Lanka University academics; the Chennai based Hindu newspaper reported today.

    In a joint statement, 22 scholars noted that only 1.86 per cent of the GDP was being spent on education in the island nation.

    “Such a predicament has led to the university teachers’ protests, agitations by teachers’ unions and demonstrations by students. These interventions have brought our attention to the crisis of education in Sri Lanka. We stand in solidarity with the teachers, academics and students in Sri Lanka, who have taken it upon themselves to shed some light on this crisis,” said the statement, signed by noted economists such as Venkatesh Athreya, C. P. Chandrasekhar, Jayati Ghosh, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, and C. Rammanohar Reddy, the newspaper said.

    The Indian intellectuals appealed to the Government of Sri Lanka, university and teachers’ unions, students’ movements, parents’ organisations, and foreign aid donors to engage the crisis in education, and arrive at a solution that can rebuild the foundation for a democratic and prosperous society.” The international community is watching Sri Lanka to see if past achievements in education will once again be revitalized,” it said.

    The statement added that their appeal to address the crisis in education has as much to do with education, as it has to do with building the foundation of democracy. Prioritising and democratising education is imperative to the process of rebuilding a just and prosperous society. As people who have invested in accessible, fair and just education for all persons, globally, we strongly urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate note of the education crisis, negotiate with teachers and university teachers’ unions in good faith, and put in place a vibrant process to address this serious concern,” it added.”

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Regime change in action.

    Guess who is involved? INDIA.

    “India is my relative” – President Rajapaksha.

  5. Marco Says:

    Excellent analysis by Mario Perera.
    The future of Sri Lanka depends on the education of the younger generation.
    Unless of course they all aspire to become politicians like the Duminda, Malaka, Namal clones.

  6. Christie Says:

    Education in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) is one of the useless industries.

    We spent almost 10% of the GDP on education.

    Simple addition of national expenses on Education to produce few worthy medical and health staff, few technicals like engineers and a few trades people and useless lot of public servants. All started with the 1956 great revolution (revulsion).

    What we spent on Education now:

  7. Christie Says:

    is

    Government budgeted expenditure on Education +

    Payments to private tutors (mass and individual) +

    Cost on white vans taking children to schools etc +

    Cost of parents (mainly mothers) who take children to educational institution +

    Loss of production due to parents taking children to educational institutions +

    Other related expenses.

    .

  8. Dham Says:

    Dr. Mervin Silva PhD ( Angoda) should be appointed a the education minister to complete the joke of Asia.

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