The watershed that pales 1956 into insignificance | Sunday Observer

The watershed that pales 1956 into insignificance

This takes time to sink in. The people have spoken with a two-thirds majority. This super-majority says so many things, but most of all it underscores that the people of Sri Lanka are nationalists. Simply, almost simplistically put, the people of this country love the other people of this country. Nationalism is about people — all of them, barring none.

Five years of anti-national skulduggery has come back to haunt the perpetrators to a point where they will rue the day they got elected in 2015.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is home, unless he smuggles himself into Parliament with the one National List seat won by the UNP.

The people have sent a thundering report, and that’s not just by way of a two-thirds. It’s by the way they conducted themselves in this election, sans violence, sans one single incident of thuggery of any consequence.

This result is also a nationalism of unity. Just look at the way the fortunes of the TNA deteriorated.

The details can be scrutinised later one day, until the cows come home, but it looks as if the people had enough of the NGO brand of indoctrination they had to put up with even after the battle against terrorism, and so the worm turned. At the time of writing, Sumanthiran the great-godfather of the Sinhala humiliation that was his pipe dream, is himself fighting with the skin of his teeth for his seat. Recounts galore.

Treated

Well then, there is no explaining this victory with platitudes, with racist screeds couched as liberal panaceas by the likes of you know who in the world of liberal puffery and bluster. It’s over. There are no excuses. This is the single most important watershed since 1956 and if it’s not treated like that, that should be put down to a congenital inability to square with reality.

This vote, however, galling that may seem, should also be seen as a vote of atonement. The people have acknowledged they made a gigantic mistake in 2015.

Mind that this election victory of two-thirds was secured in the teeth of a pandemic, after several postponements which the political opposition thought would count in their favour.

Basil Rajapaksa must be some kind of magician. But there is no forgetting that the force behind this surge of nationalism, the organic force, is Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa did such a good job that in the end he sealed the victory for the triumvirate, and all the progressive nationalist forces of this country with them.

It’s a victory for the ages, and sagely I say, to assert that is not to get carried away. The truth can’t carry anyone away. The truth is that the people waited patiently, and boy, did they turn the tables.

The fissures in the Opposition notwithstanding, there was enough pressure due to the pandemic and the lockdowns and the economic fallout etc to unnerve the most formidable.

It could have derailed the best of campaigns, and eight months after the election of the President in November at that.

But the people didn’t think about their stomachs, or even the spurious 20,000 offered gratis by the SJB leader, which he could never have given anyway.The achievement therefore is magnified manifold in the circumstances in which it became reality.

Nationally

This compact with the vast majority of the people of this country says that we are a self-effacing nation. We are modest. We don’t fall for the glittering largesse promised by the comprador. But if we fell for their trap once, we make amends — and do it in style.

That’s the lesson from the last five years. Make no mistake the enemies of a nationally conscious, united Sri Lanka were not sheep. They may have been thoroughly incompetent, but they had their knee on the throat of the people of this country for five years.

They passed resolutions in world forums against the country, and that was just the beginning of it. So, the nation was thoroughly traumatised.

There is no room here for pop psychology, but the trauma had a positive effect. The people all united against blatant humbug, and rank hostility towards a nation by a comprador class, that had nothing but their own interests at heart.

It would no doubt take several pages and weeks for various commentators to do justice to all aspects of this truly comprehensive victory, but it cannot be traduced. No doubt they will try to traduce it, but the architects of this victory — with a bow to Basil Rajapaksa — are the people of this country. They saw the crisis as it unfolded, and decided no more can they be complacent, or take for granted that the vast mass of people will be left unmolested by elements in troth to various interlopers, disruptors and downright racists.

The vote is also in the main, one against the racism of the politically expedient who tried a new version of divide and rule — taking after the one that was left for us by the colonial masters.

Saloon

But they couched that racism by projecting their own branded racism on the people of this country. It’s why those who formed and nurtured blatantly ethno religious parties such as the SLMC for instance, made the biggest noises about racism, and pretended to be liberal — and even odourless.

The two-thirds majority is also unprecedented and a tad mind blowing, considering that not even after successfully completing the war effort did a two thirds materialize, though under PR (Propotional Representation), the then dispensation came ever so close.

But this time around, there is a clear two-thirds majority, and no MPs have to be invited through the so-called saloon door. The people have responded to the call for constitutional change, and the constitution ergo has to be overhauled, and the first to go must be the odious but hilarious 19th Amendment. There can be no doubt that the 19th Amendment was strung together purely for the single cause of keeping national unity at bay, and sowing division and discord for the project of divide and rule. See how the institutions were prostituted, by ensuring that the Opposition was led by the TNA.

This cynicism was insane, but it happened, and that’s why that fact which was harder to believe than fiction, has been responded to by this new fact — the reality of a two-thirds majority for the party that was the chief target of the hit-men in 2015, for five years thereafter.

There are no ‘good’ horror stories, but one could have imagined the terror, the raw vengeance that would have been wreaked upon the poor, the innocent and the honest had this two-thirds been given to the other side — the UNP and the SJB, to name some names.

To that extent that five year interregnum taught people to value what they have — their freedoms, their dignity, and above all their right to be Sri Lankan; Sinhala, Muslim or Tamil or whatever the label they are born to carry.

That’s why the two-thirds came so easily. The people were made to realise the contrasts. They seemed to have willed themselves to have a tryst with that destiny, because it was their mistake that brought on the crude absurdity of ‘Yahapalana’ in the first place. They went there to that dark place, and realised that it contained demons of the sort they never imagined existed. Five years on, they did an exorcism that left large burn marks on the terrain, to signify the fact that they don’t take these things lightly when they are challenged, and affronted.

It’s the lesson of these times. A scourge can bring about a cleansing, a wholesome catharsis. It’s the nature of being. Sri Lankans seem to know about the efficacy of that, more than most.

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