Sri Lanka: Election Decisions

Election frenzy is picking up – Muddleland on why the votes goes to Ranil.

17 comments

  • Unite to Stop Division in Sri Lanka the answer is EQUALITY

    What are we talking about when we say that equality is a basic requirement for effective democracy? Do we mean equality of income? No – most of us are willing to grant a higher income to those who contribute more valuable services to society. Equality of wealth? Perhaps, but how can we prevent inequality of income from leading to inequality of wealth? Equality before the law? Yes, definitely; but to be effective this depends on equality in other forms of social power, such as money to hire a lawyer. Equality of opportunity? Yes, certainly; but in the essence of democratic society. Obviously all people aren’t created equal in musical ability. Or mechanical ability. Or physical strength. Or even intellectual ability (whatever that means). Nor is there any agreed-upon way to add up the various inherited abilities of an individual to get their total “ability.”

    The greatest inequalities between individuals are not in their inherited characteristics, which are relatively unchangeable, but in the characteristics they acquire from their social environment as they grow up and take their place in society – personality, education, experience, wealth, contacts, etc. These things give people most of the social power they have.

    The equality required by democracy is equality of social power. This doesn’t mean there should – or could – be equality between all individuals in income or social position or any other particular form of social power. It means merely that there must be equality in the total complex of social power. Weakness in one form of power must be counterbalanced by strength in other forms. Nature offers us a model for such democratic balancing of power.

    Only a few people want to control or exploit others. Most people just want to live their lives in peace and security as respected members of their community. Consequently, to keep power-hungry people from unduly interfering in the lives of everyone else, defensive forms of social power are especially important in achieving an equally balanced distribution.

    Mr. Wickremesinghe also reiterated his pledge to provide employment and to bring about massive economic development it could be accomplished through Political democracy, social democracy” and economic democracy are only meaningful in emphasizing single aspects of the total structure of social power. In reality these aspects are interdependent. Democracy is indivisible; it is a condition of the whole society. Power is fluid and transmutable. If there is concentrated, irresponsible power in some aspect of society, it will soon, like an insidious cancer, permeate the whole society.

  • Vote with wisdom for Ranil

    When people talk about wisdom, they often use sight-related words like insight, foresight, discernment, farsightedness, brilliance, reflection, illumination, enlightenment, visionary and seer. The owl, often a symbol of wisdom, has prominent eyes that see clearly in the dark, and seem to be watching everything with penetrating attention.

    This metaphor of seeing makes a good place to start in our exploration of wisdom.

    Among other things, wisdom involves extending our seeing beyond the appearances of life, while also looking deeply into life. We are wise — at least to some degree — whenever we extend our seeing from any small perspective into a larger or deeper perspective. This expansion of perspective takes us closer to encountering the Whole of life. Even though that whole can never be experienced in its full scope and detail, it seems to me that any motion in its direction is a motion into wisdom.

    This way of thinking about wisdom can help us understand ways we could be wiser — individually and collectively. It can help us evaluate the wisdom of decisions, actions, policies, leaders, and so on. As the scope and complexity of our world’s problems grow, so grows our need for wisdom.

    So let us consider some ways we are already wise and could be more so.

    We are wise when we extend our seeing into the future to the consequences of our present actions — and learn from reflecting on those consequences, especially before we act. There is much wisdom, then, in applying this expanded perspective to help us meet our needs in ways that don’t undermine the ability of our children’s children to meet their needs. Some call this “sustainability.”

    We are wise when we extend our seeing beyond the clamor of this moment’s shallow desires and immediate demands and opportunities, to understand and care for our deeper, longer needs. This is doubly wise because, while our desires and appetites may feel vividly personal, private and unique, our deepest needs are universal. Great peace can be found in satisfying them in harmony with others and in co-creating the common good. There is much wisdom in pursuing our own best interests through the pursuit of a world that works for all.

    We are wise when we extend our seeing beyond current events — both personal and collective — back into the history behind those events, and forward into possible futures. In that history and those futures lie causes and stories and motivations that call forth the events of today, and that can therefore be worked with to call forth new options and energies on behalf of greater life. There is much wisdom in bringing the power of such Deep Time understandings into the present unfolding of Life.

    We are wise when we extend our seeing beyond our personal view — and beyond the dominant view of our group or culture — to hear and understand the views of others. Every view has blind spots, and all knowing rests on unexamined assumptions. As these are revealed through encounters with other views and other knowing, understanding can deepen and become more whole. And so we are wise to value diversity, dissonance and dissent and to learn how to use their potent gifts well, as we’ve learned to use the potent gifts of electricity and fire. There is special wisdom for democracy accessible through the brilliant use of dialogue to help us tap that latent power together on behalf of our whole community.

    We are wise to see beyond our narrow plans and wishes to the larger field of life within which we are pursuing those plans and wishes. Other lives and greater forces are at work in that field, whose presence can aid or hinder our efforts and whose journey is impacted by ours. There is great wisdom available in understanding those indigenous lives and forces well enough to work with them, collaborating in the co-creation of outcomes that serve all parties involved, using thoughtful inclusion, existing passions, and cultivated synergies to proceed with more elegance than effort.

    We are wise when we extend our seeing beyond convenient labels and judgments, to see things more as they are which is always beyond labels and judgments — and even beyond words. “There is more to it than that, always.” We are wise to become familiar with the ways our personal thoughts and feelings — and, collectively, our culture and media — trick us into narrowing our view. This awareness can help us return to a bigger, truer picture of life where greater wisdom awaits us.

    In particular, it is wise to see beyond the dichotomies dictated by our culture, our language, and our preferences. Good and bad, order and chaos, individual and collective, you and me, simplicity and complexity — these tantalizingly useful distinctions hide the fact that reality, in all its dynamic wholeness, embraces both sides of every dichotomy. There are ways in which order and chaos, good and bad, individual and collective not only define and depend on each other, but live within each other and dance together. Much wisdom lies in coming to understand that, and joining that dance, lightly and mindfully.

    We are wise to see beyond isolated facts and linear logic into the whole fabric of life, using all the forms of knowing that are given to us, particularly intuition, heart, synthesis, spiritual experience, and the sciences that attempt to appreciate the whole and our relationship to it — such as ecology, living systems science, complexity and chaos theories, quantum mechanics and the consciousness sciences. With each way of knowing we access new dimensions of reality. Much wisdom lies in weaving them together, painting our knowing with a full palette and using each tool in our cognitive toolbox according its best purpose, along with all the others, and letting none colonize our awareness to the exclusion of the rest.

    We are wise when we see beyond certainty to the underlying, all encompassing, ever unfolding Mystery of life. Not only does this lighten our ideological burden and open us to each Other and to Change, but it allows us to befriend the ultimately unknowable Whole. Once we see through the illusion of certainty, humility is natural, humor is natural, and paradox, ambiguity and change become furry friends and teachers on our Journey though life. In the midst of wonder, we encounter each situation with the curiosity and sense of adventure befitting wise and joyful spirits — and our wisdom expands through the learning we do as we marvel at the nuance and vastness we encounter at each bend in the road.

    We are wise, in general, as we see beyond our personal world — or through it, deeply — to the world of our fellow humans and all other life. We can track this larger reality through our own opened hearts or through the rich fabric of natural and social systems studded with living beings and their stories. This reaching into the world of other lives is the wisdom of compassion — and of what has come to be called “enlightened self-interest,” the realization that our destiny is bound up with the destiny of all others. At the center where we are most deeply ourselves, we are also most deeply kin to all Life, and no one’s story is fully alien to us. From that deep common center — and from realization of our vast and vivid interdependence — flow many soulfully effective solutions to the diverse sufferings of our world and its people. We need our wisest eyes to find them.

    Those wise eyes are ours. We share those eyes. We could see through them together, if only we would look together come Nov 17 the wise eyes will vote for Mr. Ranil Wickremerasinghe and elect him as President of our beloved country Sri Lanka. This is my clarion call to votes, settle for the best not for the less….Wow what a great feeling!

  • Ranil in Mirigama – A Leader Should Make Promises that could be fulfilled

    The lack of political transparency in Sri Lanka of opinion-making is an ongoing scandal. What we have today is a system of opinion laundering, where politicians make promises to create public support for their side of issues without disclosing the hidden agendas. Media organizations then publish or broadcast credulous reports that may be grossly biased, without even hinting to news audiences what’s going on.

    We need far, far more transparency in our political system. What we have, instead, are increasingly more sophisticated efforts to hoodwink the people, example Mahida’s manifesto.

  • Ranil Pledges to Unite Country under One Flag

    UNP Presidential Candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday reiterated his pledge to unite all people of this country under one flag by reaching consensus with the SLFP on the peace process, once he is elected the President.

    The Dalai Lama describes the world as “a human garden” filled with a diversity of plants and flowers. By looking after each plant, we honor the harmony of the whole garden. The Dalai Lama calls for the development of good hearted children. Education for this must take place both in the home and in the school. He also celebrates interdependence in ecology and in religion. We must respect differences in faith while working together with other religious people to bring love to fruition in the world.

    The Dalai Lama concludes with a condemnation of the violence that has characterized the twentieth century. He urges us to usher in a new century of dialogue and compromise. He speaks to the yearning we all have for a more compassionate, caring, and peaceful world.

    We as Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians have it imbedded in us, and unity can be achieved with the able leadership of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe who can provide us with a human garden of Peace and unity.

  • Who will Triumph at the Presidential Election?

    It seems the election of Ranil Wickremesinghe, as the next President of Sri Lanka is inevitable. Ranil’s winning formula appears to have come out of three main factors. One is his leadership characteristics viz Sincerity, Consistency, Integrity and Experience and Knowledge in governance. Second is RW’s apparent adequate grasp of the current issues of Sri Lanka -Uniting the country and achieving economic development with emphasis on resolving unemployment – and his agenda thereto to move forward. Third is the introduction of new blood in the form of young and capable organizers to reach the masses, which has become very imp active

    Mr. Wickremesinghe’s Integrity comprises the personal inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from honesty and consistent uprightness of character. Integrity is holding true to one’s values. Said another way: being one’s word; doing what he said he would do by when he said he would do it. Integrity is knowing what is important to you and living your actions accordingly. It may take the form of a sense of etiquette that runs very deep, as in Confucianism or the political virtues.

    Who will conquistador at the Presidential Election? In my assessment it will be the man who has the leadership, sincerity, consistency, integrity, experience, knowledge and good governance and that’s the best of the best, our visionary statesman and Asia’s success story Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe.

  • Treasure Island – New President Must First End Decades of Civil Strife

    Back in the 1960s, Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew said that he hoped his island nation could one day emulate the success of Sri Lanka. In those days, the former Ceylon had a lot going for it: its per capita income exceeded Thailand’s and was roughly equal to South Korea’s. What’s more, Sri Lanka’s literacy rate was very high and its infant-mortality and birthrates low—attributes that Sri Lankans still enjoy today. With its proximity to India, ancient Buddhist culture, enviable geostrategic location and 1,600 kilometers of coconut-palm-lined beaches, Sri Lanka seemed poised to become a shipping, airline, tourism and foreign-investment hub of Asia.

    The history of Sri Lanka after independence in 1948 is largely a story of a squandered opportunity. One element of the failure was the attempt of the dominant Sinhalese political parties after the death of D.S. Senanayake to deny the Tamil element of the population any cultural autonomy. Sinhala, the language of the Sinhalese, was declared the only official language. Tamils, who under the British had had a greater success in business and administration than the Sinhalese, were discriminated against. For example, admission standards for for universities were set higher for Tamils than Sinhalese. The Sinhalese looked upon themselves as being an isolated Aryan Buddhist minority in danger of being swamped by an overwhelming Tamil majority in their region of southern India and that justified the special treatment accorded Sinhalese. When this attitude and treatment prompted a separatist movement in the Jaffna area of Sri Lanka, Sinhalese political leaders made advocacy of separatism a basis for denying political participation. In particular the elected representatives from the Tamil areas were expelled from the legislature on the basis of their refusing to swear an oath against the advocacy of separatism. This effectively denied the Tamils even a minority voice in the government. A tragic consequence of the anti-Tamil policies of the dominant Sinhalese parties was that a rancid Marxist element emerge as the leader of the Tamil separatist movement. Usually Marxist socialists are people of a feudal mentality pretending to be progressive, but in the case of the Marxist Tamils the mentality was that of a primitive tribal war band. The subsequent guerilla war led to atrocities which escalated the bitterness. For example, in 1983 when 13 Sinhalese soldiers were killed in ambush by Tamil separatists in north Sri Lanka, Sinhalese in the south went on a rampage against Tamil citizens and businesses which resulted in 400 deaths. Voter lists were used to systematically locate the homes of Tamils.

    The civil strife drained the government of financial resources which led to creation of money to cover the deficits. The creation of money led to inflation and economic hardship. The strife also led to Tamil from Sri Lanka fleeing to the Tamil Nadu state of India which then made India a party to the problem.

    Had Britain not conquered the Kingdom of Jaffna in the 19th century most likely there would have been an independent Tamil state on the island. In a number of places around the world the British created administrative units made up of incompatible ethnic elements. As along as the British as outsiders were administering these political Frankenstein’s the incompatibles were not important. When independence neared there was even some cooperation among the incompatible elements in their mutual desire to end British control. But these administrative units were turned over to dominant ethnic groups who became the local imperialist who replaced the British imperialists. This was the case in Nigeria and India as well as Sri Lanka. To some extent it is the case of Canada as well.

    Although Sri Lanka achieved independence with a relatively high level of education and literacy there was a negative side to the educational achievement of the British in Sri Lanka. It is clear that the British spread to the Sri Lankan that notion that education was a sufficient qualification to run the country. The socialism of the British Labor Party that failed in post-WW II Britain failed as well in Sri Lanka. Government bureaucrats are generally not qualified to run anything anywhere. The record around the world is clear on this point. It is not a matter of education or intelligence. Probably the I.Q.’s of bureaucrats is above that of successful people in business, but organizational ability is different from academic ability. Furthermore the market system has an intelligence that is superior and independent of the intelligence of the people who operate in the market.

    It is no surprise that the Sri Lankan government in taking properties away from private individuals and putting them under the control of bureaucrats produced an economic disaster. Sri Lankan politics adding additional touch that led to Trotskyite communists getting the Sri Lankan government to try to create Welfare Socialism. This took the form of the government giving a free rice ration to all families. So those who produced rice had no incentive to go to the effort of growing rice for themselves if it was available from the government free. The domestic production of rice declined and the government had to use more and more of its scarce foreign exchange credit from the export crops like tea to buy rice. By the mid 1970’s the Sri Lankan economy was a shambles.

    The political party responsible for this disaster was the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP) under the leadership of the Bandaranaikes. Although the SLFP was perceived as more leftists than the UNP and it was, the crucial difference between the two parties was that the SLFP was more militantly Sinhalese chauvinistic. The race-baiting of the SLFP often forced the UNP to adopt similar stands to the SLFP to avoid losing all support among the rural Sinhalese.

    The voting public of Sri Lanka have two options: I) For a Horror Island vote for Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse and for a Treasure Island of Pease and Prosperity vote for the able leadership of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe.

  • Sri Lanka Politics Endorsement of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe

    If it isn’t blindingly obvious to my faithful readers, I’m fairly liberal in my political leanings. It should come as no surprise, then, that I endorse Ranil Wickremesinghe for President. Now it’s on record.

    If Ranil wins on November 17, 2005 (as I fully expect him to), in the upcoming years, I will try and be a fair observer of his performance, and judge him no more or less harshly than I have Mahinda. I want you, my readers, to help keep me honest. I thank you all for supporting my opinions in the past few weeks that this blog has been operational.

    I also take this opportunity to thank Harvard University’s esteemed Global Voices online, Google, MSN, Yahoo, Technorati, Bloglines, Blogger.com, LankaNewspapers.com and Unpsrilanka.org for extending there fullest cooperation in many ways to make my blogging experience a success.

    That said, when I started this blog, I didn’t mean for it to be entirely Presidential politics. That’s just been the main issue on my mind for months, so it’s been mainly what I’ve been posting about. From here on out, I’ll try harder to shift my mind into more burning issues of the Sri Lankan political and economic culture and other topics occasionally, and make thoughtful and educational posts about them.

    Dr Politics

  • Sri Lanka’s top official handling the peace process with the Tamil Tiger rebels has resigned

    Jayanatha Dhanapala said his decision would allow a new president to appoint his own official but gave no other details for his resignation. The fate of the three-year-old truce between the government and the rebels will be a key issue in the 17 November presidential election. Peace talks between the two sides have been on hold since April 2003.

    A VOTE OF THANKS TO MR.JAYANTHA DHANAPHALA:

    Jayantha Dhanapala, a Sri Lanka national, had his secondary education at Trinity College, Kandy, where he was awarded the Ryde Gold Medal for the best all-round student of 1956, On the basis of nation-wide essay competition he was selected to represent his country at the World Youth Forum organized by the Herald Tribune and spent three months in the USA in 1957. His tertiary education was at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree; at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London where he studied Chinese and at the American University in Washington, D.C. where he obtained a Master of Arts degree in International Studies.

    After a period of three years as a corporate executive in Sri Lanka’s private sector, Dhanapala was placed first in the combined open competitive examination for admission into the Sri Lanka Administrative Service and the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, and opted to enter to Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1965. Between 1965 and 1983 he held diplomatic appointments in London, Beijing, Washington, D.C., and New Delhi in addition to being Director of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) Division of the Foreign Ministry during Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship of the NAM. In 1984 he was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva with concurrent accreditation to the UN agencies in Vienna. In 1987 the UN Secretary-General appointed Dhanapala to head the Geneva-based United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNDIR) as Director. Returning to the Foreign Ministry in Colombo in 1992 he was Additional Foreign Secretary until his appointment in January 1995 as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the USA with concurrent accreditation to Mexico. He relinquished this appointment on 30 April 1997 opting for early retirement from the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. In August 1997 Dhanapala joined the Center for Non-proliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in the USA as Diplomat-in-Residence. In January 1998 Dhanapala was appointed Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs in the United Nations and assumed duties on 1 February 1998. At the end of February the Secretary-General appointed Dhanapala as a Commissioner in UNSCOM and the Head of the Special Group visiting the Presidential Sites in Iraq in addition to his duties as Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs.

    Dhanapala has represented his country at the United Nations General Assembly and at many NAM and Commonwealth conferences. He has also chaired many international meetings including the widely acclaimed 1995 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference. He was awarded the 15th “Jit” Trainor Award for Distinction in the conduct of Diplomacy by the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Georgetown University. On the invitation of the Government of Australia Dhanapala served as a member of the Canberra Commission – a group of 17 eminent international personalities who published an influential report on nuclear disarmament in 1996.

    He has published three books and several articles in international journals and lectured in many countries. Mr.Jayantha Dhanapala is one of Sri Lanka’s greatest intellectuals and will continue to serve mother lanka if requested by the next President of Sri Lanka Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe.

  • Good Governance is One of Ranil’s Top Priorities

    Addressing a news conference in Colombo this morning UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said good governance is one of the priorities of the new president Ranil Wickremesinghe. He said that soon after the independence good governance was prevailing in the country, trains ran in time, letters were distributed in time, and the judiciary worked independently. Because of the politicization of the society, Sri Lanka after 50 years of independence, good governance has considerably eroded.

    Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. Who is accountable to whom varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law.

    It should be clear that good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality and when we speak about reality the one only person who could achieve good governance is our visionary Asian statesman and next President of Sri Lanka Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe.

  • Peace Process to Commence Soon after Ranil’s Victory

    There is a famous saying in Tamil to depict the intelligence and efficiency of an individual, Neenga kodu portal nanga road ae poduvum. Roughly translated, it means “If you draw a line, we will pave a road”.

    That said, the only political solution for the ethnic conflict is a federal solution for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, and prosperity for Sri Lanka. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s presidency should be efficient, transparent and accountable with definite functions and powers so that the peace pledged to the people can be delivered to the people without delay, without excuses, without bureaucratic obstacles.

    The road map for peace and prosperity in Sri Lanka could and will be achieved after Nov 18 under the able leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe the man who is respected nationally and internationally for his leadership, sincerity, consistency, integrity, experience, knowledge and good governance our visionary statesman and Asia’s success story Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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