It will only get worse
“Brotherly dictatorship” (Feb), by the anonymous writer, is one of the best articles I have read on the issue. What currently exists with the Rajapakse brothers is a politico-military fascist dictatorship – a junta, if you like – that has the temerity to call itself a ‘government’. The Sinhalese, of which I am one, will learn it to their detriment, as the guns, now turned on the Tamils, are eventually turned on the Sinhalese who are critical of this monstrous regime. Lasantha Wickrematunga is the best example. The Sinhalese poor will have to pay a price for this damnable, corrupt, nepotistic, irresponsible regime, which is taking Sri Lanka towards becoming a failed state. The recently published Failed State Index documents this, as does the fact that Sri Lanka was tossed out of the UN Human Rights Council in May 2008, an international condemnation of Rajapakse and his gang of crooks.
I fully agree with the noble ideas expressed by Jayampathy Wickramaratne (“A political, constitutional settlement”, Feb). The hope for a peaceful and united Sri Lanka is certainly much needed. But I believe that the power-greedy and immature extreme leftists – not all the leftists – will be the problem at this juncture.
Raising the bar
A Angelo D’Silva’s “Through the slums, lightly” (Feb) is a nuanced and layered look into the much-feted Slumdog Millionaire. It is a relief to come across a film critique that addresses the many aspects of cinema and, rather than rehash accepted wisdom about a film, re-examines its inner workings. (In particular, that Slumdog’s conclusion is just another happy ending.) Please continue to raise the standards.
Vote of confidence
With reference to “Brotherly dictatorship” (Feb), whatever you journalists write against the present government, the overwhelming majority of Sri Lankans know by experience that Mahinda Rajapakse is the only leader with the courage, vision and backbone to solve the burning problems facing the country. After all, he solved the crucial problem of LTTE terrorism, and gave us the Norochcholai coal power plant and the Upper Kotmale hydropower plant.
Ahilan Kadirgamar’s criticism of the LTTE (“After the Tigers”, Feb) is by far one of the most analytical and thoughtful that I have read. This is especially true regarding the Tigers’ lack of a unified vision to serve the Tamil people as a whole. If the LTTE is to continue to exist, it will need a brand-new tactical approach, just as much as Colombo needs one. It is also refreshing to see Kadirgamar’s optimism, perhaps even idealism, for a Sri Lanka beyond the LTTE and nationalism, which in a post-LTTE era is apropos to saying beyond a Sinhala Buddhist nationalism.
I believe, unfortunately, that the victors of this war will also rewrite history, while advancing their own nationalist and religious agenda for an all-Sinhalese, Buddhist Sri Lanka. Who will prevent the government from relocating military families and creating new occupied territories in the north? While this article is very critical of the LTTE, it seems to take a less critical view of the Sri Lankan state. Is it because that is the only system that Sri Lankans have to work with? Is there really no alternative vision except political representation for minorities in a deeply communal and entrenched system that has failed time and again, even before the advent of the LTTE?
Instead, we need to demand a post-racist Sri Lankan state for everyone, or a government beyond corruption and opportunism – or, better still, one beyond playing out a farce of democracy. This is all wishful thinking, though, because there doesn’t seem to be a single honest bone in the state. Yet I agree with the writer that it is the Sri Lankan populace who will ultimately make their will known because, indeed, they are not a monolithic people. Only time will tell if the Sinhalese left has what it takes to hold their government accountable. But what about Tamil representation? Which Sinhalese or Tamil intellectual is going to give up the safety in which they live in the West to join the ranks back home? Or, will the progressive Sinhalese left in Sri Lanka show their grit?
New York City
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
Flickr / girl.from.melbourne
An early monsoon
On June 16 2013, the India Meteorological Department confirmed the early arrival of monsoon rains across the whole of India. Full coverage was not expected until the middle of July, making farmers hopeful for a bumper crop.
From our archive:
C K Lal discusses the fixation of Southasia's political leaders with 'monumental waterworks.' (September 2007)
Somnath Mukherji explores the sights, sounds, smells and feelings that monsoon evokes. (June 2007)
Venu Madhav Govindu notes the 'fundamental importance' of a good monsoon for both city and rural dwellers. (August 2003)