No Matter How Dire the Situation is, People Must Not Resort to Violence
Posted on August 6th, 2013

Dilrook Kannangara

Events of 1818, 1848, 1915, 1958, 1971, 1983-2009 and 1989 show violence – no matter how hard pressed the people are – cannot be justified. Further examples can be found in Egypt, Libya and Syria where people have resorted to violence and its coming back to bite them. Lack of clean water is a dire situation for the people in Weliweriya as much as fuel for fishermen in Chilaw, saving storm affected fishermen at sea for their families in Dehiwela and narcotics for drug addicted prisoners in Welikada. However, they have no right whatsoever to use violence to get their demands no matter how life threatening they are. Administrative, political, media, religious dignitaries and other peaceful avenues must be used to rectify the situation. Depicting the government in bad light when the UNHRC Commissioner is due in the island in just three weeks is certainly a well planned manoeuvre of the anti-national camp. Similar acts were done by them during UNHRC sessions.

Plenty of peaceful protests take place in the island almost on a daily basis. They start peacefully and end peacefully. However, time to time, especially when the nation is under the human rights microscope, there emerge protests that turn violent. This trend has been continuing with remarkable accuracy. In addition to NGOs paid to destabilise the nation, an anti-national opposition damned to eternal defeat, political parties with racist Tamil apartheid policies, 13A supporters and Middle Eastern fundamentalist parties, there is a new group that supports these in the local scene. They are former allies of the government who came close to the rulers in the immediate aftermath of the war expecting business opportunities. These opportunists are vehemently against the Defence Secretary for not accommodating their corrupt business ventures into various unscrupulous deals rightly rejected by the government. They instigate violence at the opportune time hoping at least this time violence will overpower the ballot.

What would have happened if the violent incidents were not stopped? If the Weliweriya riot was not brought under control, the rioters would have vandalised public and private property, obstructed roads and the riot would have spread to other areas. Similarly the violent protest by fishermen in Chilaw and Dehiwala would have destroyed public and private property. Hard-core criminals serving prison terms would have caused immense destruction with automatic firearms.

The government must also take part of the blame. People have no channel to inform the government their burning problems. Presidential mobile services introduced by a former president only take place close to elections. Minister for Public Relations is an insult to the people as he is very inefficient to say the least. According to history, a South Indian invader by the name Elara (205BC “”…” 161BC) sensing the hostility of local population against his invader rule established a bell to be rung by anyone with a grievance against his rule. A modern equal of it is needed today. No ministry or government department can be contacted by the people on a timely manner. Even if they get through, nothing works. This lethargic system must be changed to a robust mechanism that is attentive.

The state of lawlessness must be arrested for people to be disciplined. In a country where a parliamentarian kills a presidential advisor in open public, discipline cannot be expected from the people. Duminda Silva who was instrumental in multiple crimes walks free without spending even a week behind bars. LTTE terrorist leaders roam free without any punishment for their crimes. A Chief Justice who gave the correct verdict as per the 13A to the Constitution which makes it mandatory to seek approval of every Provincial Council was impeached. Security forces personnel acting honestly against reasonable terrorist threats in Trincomalee are remanded. Government forensic investigator looking into the Matale mass grave was mysteriously transferred. Leaders must set a good example.

People must use the ballot to convey their disgust. At the forthcoming election, people must vote against the government. A clear defeat will ring alarm bells compelling the lethargic government to deliver and save the remaining governing structures or be kicked out of office. Stakes are very high for the ruling clan. Defeat at the national level leads to them condemned to war crimes, rightly or wrongly.

If people are unwilling to vote out the government from power, they deserve the government they have.

It must be noted that the “ƒ”¹…”invincible’ UNP government that had ruled a continuous 17 years by then was toppled from power by people power that started from the provincial council mechanism. Although the provincial council mechanism has introduced instability, government’s reluctance to do away with it leaves people an additional avenue to get things done their way.

The ambitious Chief Ministerial candidate who crossed over from the Opposition also has a task. He must join the people, not the ruling party, after the election. Otherwise his political career will die sooner than the next parliamentary election. A ruling party defeat at the provincial election in both the Northern Provincial Council and the North Western Provincial Council will send a powerful message to the government to change its self destructive course. It will also re-enshrine people’s faith in the electoral process to get their demands peacefully.

4 Responses to “No Matter How Dire the Situation is, People Must Not Resort to Violence”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Though I agree that nonviolence has its place in solving problems the article cannot evade the fact that the 13th amendment which was drafted between Rajiv Gandhi and Jayawardene was a peaceful try to end the war… and it failed. What did succeed was an unbridled full scale violent attack on the Tamil stronghold and Prabhakaran. That is what ended the war- violence or the management of it.
    I am absolutely against street violence and the act of mob rule but every single power on earth has gained that reputation by developing a powerful military and effectively using it. India’s exercise in non violence or Satyagraha was a limited success for it gave India independence but Satyagraha could not prevent the British from carving India into three portions. Had the Mahatma handed the reign of rule to Nehru who under him he had the vast Sepoy army of which the majority were Sikhs and Hindus who could have defeated the separatist policies of Jinnah and the retreating British Empire India would not have faced 66 years of an arc rival Pakistan and would have been a united nation.
    The Mahatma’s inability to switch methods brought the downfall of a united India for in order to dismiss the machinations of the British brute force was needed to keep India in one piece. Blood had to be spilled. One must keep in mind that even without the use of the Sepoy army India and the newly formed Pakistan spilled rivers of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim blood in the formation of Pakistan and the balkanization of India.
    Back to Sri Lanka. Before the war started Sri Lanka had an inadequate army and in the first years of the war Colombo was hard pressed to find the weaponry denied to her by India to fight the Tamil Tigers. Now after the war Sri Lanka has the only seasoned military in the world. No other military in modern times has seen 30 years of a relentless war and come out the victor. One could even narrow it down to no other nation has seen 30 years of war in the 20th and 21st century. Certainly not any of the nations in the sub continent.
    Due to that war the power of the Jaffna Tamils has been snuffed. India lost a proxy war where her ambition of creating a separate state out of Sri Lanka for the eventual goal of having an unfettered access to the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has signed a cooperative strategic partnership with a Security Council member China and now is a a rapidly rising economic nation with a powerful strategic interest. This allows Colombo to dictate the terms of greater powers who want to ally with Sri Lanka. I end with two sayings. “In order to achieve and maintain peace one must first and foremost be prepared for war”. Secondly “In order to win a war one has to be more audacious than the enemy” thirdly: “Success in war is it’s own validation” fourthly in regard to devolution of power “The only thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” fifthly regarding the 13th amendment:”The purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis”

  2. Christie Says:

    The problem arises due to the fact that majority in the island nation are subjects of the minority imperialist colonial parasites. These Indian colonial parasites run the country.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree with Kithsiri.

    This is the MAIN REAON. One law for Endians in SL and a LESSER law for Sinhalese.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    These are very accurate.

    “In order to achieve and maintain peace one must first and foremost be prepared for war”.

    “In order to win a war one has to be more audacious than the enemy.”

    “Success in war is it’s own validation.”

    “The only thing for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    ”The purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis.”

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