Sri Lanka

Is the Govt. making MR’s New Year resolution a reality?

Jan 10, 2017

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced his New Year resolution a little too prematurely, days before 2017 dawned when he pledged to bring down the government. Last week, his self-anointed cronies put up a good show in Hambantota, though he himself kept way from the scene so that he would not offend the Chinese. Protests at the launching of the Hambantota export zone, where villagers clashed with police highlighted yet again one of the often talked about handicaps in economic development in this country -- people themselves. It is tempting to dismiss protesters as buffoons, because they also have a vote to cast when it comes to elections and the right to protest and not getting shot at. That is the beauty of democracy. That is exactly why Mr Rajapaksa’s former regime was wrong when the army turned its guns on protesters in Rathupaswala. It is also the beauty of democracy that protesters are lionized, no matter the logic of the protest whether it is Rathupaswala or Hambantota. This a catch-22 situation for any democratic government that wants to govern a country democratically while also delivering some form of economic development. That is because economic development in most cases causes physical and emotional displacement and would necessarily be fought back by some segments of society. Perhaps the government can learn from the strategies of its predecessor, which albeit had its faults, but should be applauded for efficiency with which the projects were implemented (though some of them ended up being vanity projects). However, deploying the Special Task Force to evict squatters, as Mr. Rajapaksa did, does not look good on television, yet the government should be able to evolve a subtle yet effective way.

Read more at:

Daily Mirror, January 10, 2017

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