“censored”

Please note that the views expressed in this article are that of the author and does not reflect opinions of any organization or institute of that the author represents.

“Lot of people, I meet are very pessimistic, especially the Sri Lankans”, well this has now become a part of the culture of the Sri Lankans of looking at things in a very negative sense. Let me give you a very simple example.

Imagine that you live in a village in a very rural area of Sri Lanka, and there is a bridge linking your village to the closest town and the bridge is in a very dilapidated state. Your village’s main economic source is agriculture, so definitely you need to transport the crops to the town to earn a penny every day. Now you know that something needs to be done to save the bridge before it is too late, and you take the initiative of mobilizing people to either construct an alternative bridge or to repair the existing bridge. Imagine what people would say; don’t ruin the bridge we have by trying to repair it; we don’t have the money and the technical know-how to do this; the carpenter and the masons might say; “I don’t have time to do this; I can’t sacrifice my daily wage for this”; will be some of the answers you might get and comments you might hear, you will never hear a positive response. People will always try to point out the negative aspects of what you want to try out, and will start to de-motivate you.

People being pessimistic is one reason  why Sri Lanka is facing a huge draw back in terms of economic growth, personal development, infrastructure development, career development and in a nut-shell the standard of living as a whole.

“They (the government) can certainly win this war, I personally believe that they can do it” I am very confident and will continue to stress that the Rajapakse Government can win this war. I am very positive on this view, and was telling that one reason why the international community is supporting the government is because, they believe that “they (the LTTE) is not going to fight a conventional war” in the current situation.

Most of the super powers say that “we don’t want to give a lot of military support, which will pro long this war”. Certainly you might have a question right now, where does the international community stand in our conflict? Are they supporting the Rajapakse Government to finish this war, or are they also defending the LTTE?

I believe that this war can be fought if our people want to. Lot of international development programmes are setting up vocational training centers around the country especially in the north and the east so that the LTTE caders leaving the LTTE can be rehabilitated and be re-integrated successfully in the community without much conflict.

Of course, it seems that most of the members of the international community very pro Mahinda, but looking at a very popular angle, one reason is of to why they support MR is that “Mr. Wicramasinghe comes from an elite family from Colombo and when he comes to power only people in Colombo benefits, but Mr. Rajapakse is from the south where the majority can relate to. This advantage gives Mr. Rajapakse to win the trust of people on what he says and what he does.”

Well its quite true in a way, let me give you an example; I believe what MR is doing at the moment is to pressurize the LTTE at a international level and bring them to the table and then negotiate a deal with them on power sharing, which will ultimately happen if he is genuine enough. What Mr. Wickramesinghe did in 2002 was the same. Chandrika Bandaranayake pressurized the LTTE in the last minute before Mr. Wickramasinghe was elected as the premier and RW easily made used of it to get them to the table. So ultimately MR is doing the same thing what RW did in 2002, but of course using different strategies. My point here is that people in the north and the east supported RW when he was doing it and now the people of south are supporting MR to go for a solution without knowing what he is doing.

It also important to note that most of the members of the international community  (some would say that only few) supported the Rajapakse Government in bringing in Karuna and Pillayan to the democratic frame work as “to make the Tamils believe that the government is listening to them and supporting them” in the present context so that they can fight this war and keep no chance for the LTTE, so that the Tamils will support the Rajapakse Government at a turmoil situation like what we are facing at the moment.

The agriculture of Sri Lanka also plays a huge role especially in Sri Lanka most us say that “agriculture is equally important, at least politically”. Lot of people do stress that agriculture is a grate tool to get closer to the people, which I believe what MR is doing at the moment.

“There is a million of Sri Lankans out side of Sri Lanka, we say lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc” speaking about the “brain drain” lot of economist point out that despite the millions that the government spend in educating people of this country and developing them to the level of professionals, there is only a very little return on the investment to Sri Lanka itself and at times its almost negligible. Most of you might be under the impression that foreign currency flows in to the country through these professionals, but the fact is, the highest return to the economy is from the service and care sector (in other words, the domestic migrant workers in the Middle East), who are not at all looked after.

“Sri Lanka is a food importer, but ideally you should be exporting food” and it is one of the reasons why the government expenditure is so high. In my personal opinion, Sri Lankans are not encouraged at all in terms of developing their local products to be developed to a level of export quality. Certainly the government is to be blamed on this as none of the governments in Sri Lanka has done much on this except for the Premadasa Government.

There is a success story of the US, which I would like to share with you guys, one of the state municipal councils at one point distributed solar panels to its residents free of charge with a long term plan. Now you might question from where they found the capital to do this. Yes you are right it’s in fact a huge expense from the government’s side. However, the plan behind it was that; once the people fix the solar panels to their houses the tax value of the houses increased, and thereby the municipality was able to recover the cost in the long run, and also they looked at a very important aspect here, which was to cut down the demand for locally produced electricity using coal plants and thereby reducing the burden of the government in producing electricity. So ideally the municipality got a higher tax and reduced the cost on electricity at the same time. For me, I think this was a very positive move by the municipality in terms of development also by means of responsible consumption.

There is one question what is been asked by lot of professionals in and out of Sri Lanka “what is your vision for Sri Lanka?” most of the answers we get are not very positive, and that’s why the opening remarks of this post is been proven.

Well, very true, the biggest mistake that Sri Lanka has done is that, we don’t have a solid plan for the next decade or so in terms of what we want to achieve. Most of the political analyst mentioned that to the question raised of what will be the changes if presidential hopeful nominee Barak Obama wins the election, was that “that’s the main difference between US and any other country that no matter who comes to power the US’s foreign policy will remain the same”

Firstly Sri Lanka doesn’t have a proper foreign policy to stand straight and secondly we don’t have the political will to change. Unless of course we make things change in both of those Sri Lanka will remain the same. One last remark is that the most of the members of the international community needs to have a proper stand and responsibility in what they say, no matter whether it is official, unofficial, personal or even if it is on record or off the record, because every single word they say; action they take affects every ones lives here in Sri Lanka.

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