THE BIG PICTURE
SRI LANKA UNITED
A picture is worth a thousand words as they say
The hundreds of protests around our precious island in early April culminated in a poignant and peaceful show of strength during what was the festive season – when people celebrate the ‘Sri Lankan New Year’ (or Avurudu, as it is known) – on 9 April at a promenade known as Galle Face Green, which now appears on Google Maps with a second name: ‘Gotagogama.’
Not only are the people calling for an end to a corrupt and inept government, along with the many others who represent them in parliament, but an end to corruption that has plagued this nation for decades – some say for as long as Sri Lanka has been an ‘independent’ nation.
So politicians past and present have come under the microscope for ruining a beautiful country that can well afford to fend for itself, if not for corruption in high and not so high places.
When our forefathers led the struggle for independence in 1948, they must surely have envisioned a nation led by honest and capable leaders; but between then and now, a paradise isle has been run to the ground by politicians and their accomplices who have only one thing on their mind – to serve themselves, not the nation.
Generations of Sri Lankans must share the blame for what has unfolded, for voting for corrupt politicians, while the business community has a lot to answer for too – for aiding and abetting rogue politicians, and hero-worshipping them to such a degree that they’re often invited as chief guests to corporate functions.
The people of today – led by a brave younger generation – have come out in droves with one message: corruption will no longer be tolerated.
What’s more, the ethnic and religious harmony we have seen since this movement took root is also unprecedented, perhaps because the modus operandi of the protesters has been peaceful so as not to expose themselves to provocation by politically affiliated forces that are often guilty of inciting violence.
We are by no means out of the hellhole as yet; because even if and when the incumbents ‘go home’ (as is the call), they’re likely to be replaced by equally corrupt ‘representatives of the people,’ a majority of whom have been part of failed governments in the past.
Food for thought perhaps, as we continue to demand justice and an end to the mess we’re in.