The people may well be learning lessons amid the crises

It goes without saying that the horizon is as dark as it gets, such is the state of paralysis our precious nation finds itself in at this time. But as the adage goes, ‘every (dark) cloud has a silver lining.’ So when a number of ostensibly independent groups of people took to the streets in candlelit vigils in and around the commercial capital in early March, there was an unmistakably encouraging theme.

A number of these peaceful protests emphasised that they have had enough of both governance and the absence of an opposition. One such missive circulated on social media read: “If you are disappointed, frustrated or want to mark your protest at the utter failure of governance or the absolute absence of an opposition, come join us, a random group of extremely disappointed citizens (not affiliated to any political party)…”

Yes, there have been peaceful protests by so-called ‘independent’ citizen groups in the past – for instance, during that shameful constitutional crisis in late 2019 and at election time – but many if not all of them usually turn out to be proxies for one political party or the other.

This time around however, there’s a sense that if Sri Lanka is to come clean of all the dirt that has piled up on its shores from decades of false promises, mismanagement and corruption, it needs a clean start.

Of course, for this to translate into anything of substance, this trend of thought must spread to the masses who elect our ‘lawmakers’; and indeed, viable options from beyond the corrupted inner circle of politics must emerge so that people can exercise their democratic franchise without resorting to the tried, tested and failed policy of ticking the box of ‘the lesser of two evils,’ which invariably means that one evil or the other runs the show and ruins the nation every five years!

Sri Lanka’s multiple woes aren’t all homegrown, let it be said. There’s a dangerous war raging on the borders of the NATO-Russia divide, the once in a lifetime pandemic has taken its toll across the world and our debt has spiralled out of control for a number of reasons.

In the midst of the global mayhem however, we continue to see our lawmakers behave like hooligans in parliament and they’re known to make a habit of breaking the laws they themselves make. The most recent exposé came from none other than the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), which says it is investigating the disappearance of state vehicles costing Rs. 26 million!

That this is a drop in the ocean of what just about everyone knows has gone missing over the years, it’s a reflection of the blatant abuse by a class of undesirable state representatives who seem to have a stranglehold over a nation of 22 million citizens who vote for them.

May the rot stop… soon.

– Editor-in-Chief