Protests, Black Flags & a Corrupt Government
These days have been really hard – challenging, stressful and so tense. Yet it’s also been like survival mode – we have all switched to do what is required. But the mind can’t really focus. To do things there needs to be some level of freedom to think and just do. When that freedom is squeezed, it’s hard to focus though of course not impossible.
I was wondering why April seems to herald so much change especially in the past 3 years in Sri Lanka. From the Easter Attacks to Covid to now this uprising against the government it’s always been in April or just before. So I checked – it’s the Spring Solstice – hence the tides of change. After all, the energies of the universe are very real, whatever religious mambo jumbo we like to believe.
Sigh. So the protests have started en masse around the island. Non political party affiliated where the people are gathering on their own. It started with a few around key cities. Spread to main cities. Thursday night saw a group surround the president’s private residence. They were peaceful – then along came the President’s goons setting fire to buses and vehicles and then declaring all the people asking for their basic rights –food, electricity, fuel, water – extremists. What bloody rot. The government rode on a wave of Sinhala Buddhist racism to win in 2019 after the engineered Easter attacks which mysteriously have no perpetrators prosecuted. Everyone just passed ball knowing who exactly orchestrated it. That chief culprit is now wreaking havoc on this land and the people are all affected including his so called chosen Sinhala Buddhists. Just goes to show that racism is just a tool for politicians to win elections. And our donkeys swallowed it hook, line & sinker. Now the rot is being exposed for all its putrid glory and people are angry coz there is no end in sight or a solution. We are expected to carry on till the next election. Fuck no. Not this time. So now the protests have escalated thanks to Sunday’s cock curfew and social media ban imposed by a cornered coward. The police barricaded Independence Square against its own people – oh the irony. If you’re afraid of your own people, you ain’t a leader, you’re a pusillanimous jellyfish. Even in the military world, this behaviour is pathetic. So now people are even more angry calling for Gotabaya Rajapakse to quit. Go Home Gota is the trending hashtag and the cry of the protests.
Monday the 4th of April was one of the biggest protests at Nelum Pokuna and independence square. It was a crazy turnout and soon turned into a cricket match type atmosphere complete with the vehicle parade and singing. Yet the spirit was there – people are angry. And the protests continue. All over the country. Laughable are the government goon orchestrated mini protests and big talk. Such juvenile behaviour from adult men. But what can one expect from uneducated fools who ride on thuggery to win elections?
In the midst of this the social media world is waging wars – the minorities chastising the Sinhala Buddhists who kept quiet when they (the minorities) were crying for their rights and when the police and army refused to let them protest. Perfectly understandable. Plenty of us warned people not to vote for a psychopath riding a racist wave. No one wanted to listen coz everyone wanted a ‘saviour’ to help ‘discipline’ the people and ‘clean the roads’. Honestly what stupidity would compel so called intelligent people to vote like this?? The only answer is – emotions.
Sri Lankans ride on emotions on a regular basis. Even a lot of the protests are emotion driven – rightly so. But emotions out of control are dangerous. And insecurity played on by shrewd politicians cancel out any logical thinking.
Why is an ethnic identity superior to humanity? I find this very problematic because it is purely racism – self imposed and otherwise. Our identities are a complex mix of several factors but an ethnic identity should in no way supercede basic human decency and respect. If a religion or ethnicity makes you do that, you really need to question your belief system, biases and priorities.
Are Sri Lankans ready to do this? Not just the Sinhala Buddhists. But even the others – Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Malays, Burghers etc. Are we ready to reach out beyond our social identities to reach out and empathise with a fellow human being? Or have we been reduced to our social markers within which we are willing to operate?
These times are tough and the questions are many and deep. Many people are unsettled and many are wondering what the future holds. Parents are especially worried and many of us are just hoping against hope that sanity will prevail.
The protests continue, the government is still a mess but there are little victories and we are hoping for a system change – long term, slow and steady things that need to be done. Hope the Spring will bring some hope as the Sinhala & Tamil New Year, Easter and Ramadan continue into this month. May we prevail.