The 50 Footsteps - Let Us Look Back

Place: Sri Lanka | Courtesy: TamilCanadain
| Date: 19980204

By: Pon Kulendiran

Now that we are approaching the 4th of February 1998 let us look back at the 50 foot steps we Sri Lankans took from the date of independence and pause the following questions.

What have we achieved ?

Where are we heading ?

What are the outcomes ?

Here are the answers to these three questions.

What have we achieved?

During the 50 year period the unity between the Sinhala and Tamil communities deteriorated to a very low level where by the Tamils were treated as second class citizens. There were several state sponsored massacres of innocent Tamils. More than thousands innocent Tamils lost their lives. There were frequent communal riots where thousands of Tamils were killed and properties destroyed. The 1983 riots resulted in the deaths over 5000 Tamils and destruction of Tamil business establishments. The prison massacre of 53 Tamil prisoners will rem ain as a black mark in the Sri Lankan history.

Sri Lanka was awarded a second place to Iraqi in Human rights violations as a result the image of a so called Buddhist country was tarnished internationally.

The destruction to the infrastructure such as roads, buildings, railway was endless which affected the productivity and economic growth of the countr.

y The ecology too underwent a severe beating. Forests and cultivable lands were turned into barren lands in order to annihilate the Tamils Unproductive Projects resulted in corruption and loss of Financial resources.

As a result of the contest to grab political power several Political assassinations were staged in the name of democracy. The first was that of SWRD Bandaranayake by a Buddhist monk

The culture of Political Vendetta was the developed among Political Parties. Commissions and Acts were used as whips to take revenge.

The 50 year rule has demonstrated the Growth of a Political dynasty.

Judiciary was politically influenced on actions relating to Human rights violations.

The Educational system was outdated and frequent changes in the system affected the younger generations. The discriminatory Standardization policy adopted for entrance to the University was one of the causes of the Tamil crisis.. Five decades of democracy saw a growth in Unemployment rate. Emergency rule interfered with the freedom of expression and mobility.

The civil war created a society of disabled people.

The intellectuals left the country due to Political interference and job dissatisfaction. The present Civil war too was one of the main causes of Brain drain To suit the political needs there were frequent changes to constitution and electoral system. Rate of Inflation was growing without much control. The rupee value dropped tremendously. The Cost of Living shot up and lead to bribery and corruption in the Public sector.. In the name of Tourism the country invited AIDS into the country. Child prostitution and sexual crimes increased. There is deterioration in the morality of the people. Sri Lanka was named as one of the countries with High suicidal rate. Corruption by the Defence forces and Politicians.

Loss to valuable human lives and properties of all communities.

Abuse of power by all governments.

Increase in number of Public holidays affecting the productivity.

Increase in Foreign debt. Loss of reputation of the country in other parts of the world. A Sri Lankan pass port holder is treated as a Pariah in other countries. Changing the name from Ceylon to Sri Lanka (a big achievement) Changing the name of the International Airport, and Roads (Like changing the color of the curtains and letter heads in the government departments) Emergency rule during 70% of the 50 year independence period.

The list is extensive.

Where are we heading ?

A Media with a concept of unethical journalism.

More and more fanning of communalism and hatred by Buddhist Clergy, Politicians and media Widening of the gap between the Rich and poor.

Moving away from self sufficiency and depending more and more imported goods.

The Defence forces and Politicians for pocketing the foreign aid.

The involvement of the Buddhist clergy in Politics.

The selling of the LankaThe top VIP's and their families accumulating wealth .

A state of bankruptcy.

A situation where by the poor will revolt against the rich.

What are the outcomes?

  • More Widows.
  • More Orphans.
  • More Disabled people.
  • Loss of intellectuals.
  • More arms dealers.
  • More and more agencies to send people out.
  • More Mafia gangsters
  • Lower standard of Morality
  • Destroyed buildings and Infrastructure.
  • Destroyed Ecology.
  • Destroyed international reputation.
  • Political interference.
  • More Human rights violations
  • Weak currency.
  • Bribery, Corruption, Fear, Loss of Freedom

Do you think we can improve on these achievements?.

Are we heading for a Army sponsored Dictatorship or a People's revolution?.

The symptoms are that we are moving towards one of the two.