Beginning a New Page on a clean sheet with the country in mind….
Posted on January 10th, 2015

 Anjalika Silva (USA)

 The Election is over. All the mudslinging and propaganda stunts that were visible and annoying are over.  The loud call for a regime change has happened and many promises have been made both visible and invisible to voters.  The two sides are almost equally divided with the majority being a thin sliver that accounts for mostly the minority votes that didn’t want Mahinda Rajapakse.

Corruption and nepotism was a major issue.  The Executive Presidency that is still in place was one of the pivotal issues – discussions resulted in promises that ranged from abolishing to modifying it.  What happens between the two options is yet to be seen.  Two major players who return to the new team do so with a past record for governing the country and experience in handling the terrorism that plagued the country for 30 years when it didn’t seem to have an end in sight.

A new rule of Maithree which in Buddhist terms means kindness, hopefully is not going to spend one year taking revenge and stripping rivals of their civic rights as history recorded.  People are waiting for tangible and positive action for all citizens.  It must encompass all those who voted regardless of who they voted for and for what reason.  Sri Lanka has gone through bashing of many types that include carnage, punishment for terror eradication with allegations of human rights violation on the state with minimal accountability from non-state players deserves to be left alone to manage their affairs.  This little land was falsely referred to as a nation of religious intolerance when every street is dotted with houses of worship for all denominations, ethnic discrimination when all nationalities had equal opportunities to flourish.  For a country that was introduced to the world as one that had no democracy, proved that it is far from the reputation built up internationally to discredit its leader.  Democracy was amply demonstrated on January 8, 2014.

The push for the UN inquiry against Sri Lanka should be given top priority. There are rumblings of promise from international forces dropping the charges if there was a regime change.  Now that the regime change pushed for has arrived, what is next?  The threats of sanctions will burden its people who just enjoyed only five years of peace after 30 years of suffering.  Human Rights violation against Sri Lanka came about due to a different kind of corrupt influence of international powers and the UN by selected entities with an anti-Sri Lanka agenda.  Now, if the present regime cannot prevent the accusations against the former leader President Rajapakse and the Sri Lanka service personnel from being hauled before international tribunals, they can lose face for turning their back on so many who gave up their life and limb for the country.

We have to remember with gratitude the difference between the dark days and the days of peace and remember the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapakse who paved the way to peace.  There is no room in our lives to have short memories for the good things people have done.  Mistakes are made by all humans including those who criticize believing they are perfect when no one is perfect.  This is not about politics.  This is about the country.

Those who pushed for special inquiries and punishment for the former leader with the possibilities of sanctions against Sri Lanka will be disenfranchised if the big powers let Sri Lanka off the hook with the Human Rights issues.  Punishing leaders with action against a country causes hardship to the ordinary citizens.  Will they then turn their attention to other ways to pursue their agenda to ruin Sri Lanka with violence?  As a part of unifying the country , it is critical that assurances are obtained from all those who make demands too because a one sided push is a very likely possibility.  Peace and unity has to come from all quarters.  It is not only the majority community that supported and sacrificed their children to a larger extent that should be held responsible for unity and harmony.  All quarters must shed hatred and divisive politics to bring about true unity and integrate all minorities.

The new regime is in an unenviable position to be caught between.   As for corruption that was a major issue used in the push for change, many instances of corruption that prevented legitimate business being conducted ranging from minor matters to major projects will have to be taken care of and reviewed.  If the cost of living is the reason for bribery and corruption that slows the wheels from turning, making it legal for a government officer who does their job to be rewarded for timely and efficient work is a deterrent to corruption. In short, actions speak louder than words and the people who were held back and frustrated with the bribery linked inefficiency should be the first priority to be served by public servants.

This country that was called undemocratic should be viewed with admiration for the open and transparent election that brought more than 70% of its community out to exercise their franchise. Such a high voter turnout will be envied by Western countries that take pride in their freedom to choose.  Contrary to his reputation, the outgoing President, known as a power grabbing dictator relinquished power even before all the results were completed.  There was a smooth and civil power transfer between the two leaders.  Only one election related death was reported.  Sri Lankans should be proud and they should not have to compromise their peace or their forward march to development. Further international pressure of demands and sanctions will divide the country.  The new regime is in place, and they have the unenviable task of keeping all the players who came with demands appeased without taking away from the citizens of the country that believe they received a positive change.

Bringing back a positive image of Sri Lanka is paramount considering the damaged reputation of a beautiful country by a few who push an agenda to destabilize a place that is one closest to a perfect paradise.  Congratulations with strings attached is not comforting.  Sri Lankans must unite to support Sri Lanka regardless of political leanings, ethnicity or religion.  That is real and true unity.

Just my thoughts for a better day

— Anjalika Silva (USA)

 

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