Juxtaposing the past with present Injudicious!
By Helasingha Bandara
Mar 12, 2010
It is disheartening to read the arguments of some of the so called intellectuals , some self-proclaimed and others who are accepted for their known academic achievements or professional brilliance, on the subject of the governance of Sri Lanka,particularly in the light of the past presidential election and the forthcoming general elections. I do not include in this category, the people who just add ‘Dr.’ in front of their names sincerely or bogusly if their writings have been blatant eulogies to the present government but others, genuinely or mistakenly, juxtapose the past with the present for comparison in support of their arguments.

Let us take an example to illustrate my point. It is not an exaggeration to say that extrajudicial killings, abductions, arrests, judiciary interventions, nepotism, ‘family bandism’, discrimination against political opponents, framing of the innocent, fraud, multi-fold corruption and malpractices, financial misappropriation and so on happen in Sri Lanka with the government blessing. When this government is accused of the murder of Lasantha Wikkramathunga, the abduction or likely murder of Prageeth Eknaligoda or twenty year imprisonment or the virtual murder of Tissainayagam, some intellectuals argue that they have seen the worst during the Premadasa era. The purpose of the comparison is to neutralise the intensity of the accusation.

No doubt that many people were put to death by Premadasa’s killer squads. Nevertheless, the comparison between UNP that killed more and the UPFA that killed more or less does not justify killings. The country needs a government that condemns, prohibits and punishes murder. People want a peaceful country without private or state crimes. A crime is a crime whoever commits it. They should be punished in the same manner. It should be considered even graver when the state commits crime because the state is supposed to eliminate the lawlessness and protect people from harm. The people become helpless if the state itself becomes the murderer. “Wetath niyarath goyam Ka nam Kata pawasam e amaruwa” My view is that the people who make such comparisons, intentionally or inadvertently, condone violence, murder, crime, and in brief, the tyranny of a government.

Then a question arises as to why some intellectuals do that. Is that for the five Ps; position, promotion, protection, perks or preposterousness? If it is the former, Sri Lanka can never recover from the curse of people electing and supporting rogue governments. It is easy for a government to please a few and ignore many if the few have the know-how and are prepared to defend the government. Such intelligentsia works to the detriment of the country and its people and thus become traitors. If it is the latter they cannot be included in the category of intellectuals.

A country needs intellectuals with spines to advise governments of their misdeeds and to point out the repercussions of such deeds. A country needs intellectuals who would criticize and condemn murder even if it is only one man murdered during the whole term of a government. A country needs intellectuals to voice their own opinion and rally the opinion of others against bad governance. A country needs intellectuals to lead the rest on the right path for their own good. Is Sri Lanka not blessed with such fortunes? I speak to the conscience of the true intellectuals.

Courtesy: Lanka guardian