Rant Against Rajapaksa For The Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections

The Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections are ongoing and if the President's party wins a 2/3 majority, they can change the Constitution.

It's always a conundrum to describe hardline rulers who use brutal tactics.  Who do you compare them to?

  • For some, Hitler would not be too strong, though for me it does seem to be, if only as a resonant image, a symbol, in '.
  • Milosevic is closer, but then, the context is different and that guy really was a right bastard in multiple venues for a long, long time.
  • How about Ceausescu?  I don't know enough about him to make the comparison.
  • Bush?  He had way more capacity to inflict destruction, and was dumber than a rock in terms of policy and its effects.
  • Stalin?  The Sri Lankan story makes you feel wretched and full or what can only be called horror -but is there any sign that this is the culmination rather than a continuation?
  • Netanyahu/Olmert?  Now we're getting closer, I think, but still...

These international comparisons based on a paucity of knowledge are admittedly useless.  Perhaps if I knew my Sri Lankan history better, I could compare him to some of his predecessors.  After all, the Constitution has been changed before, ethnic violence has been incited before, repression has been engaged in before - it just has never succeeded so completely...but is that a product of the ruler or the times?

So why compare?  It is always the tool of those of us who know something's wrong, but doesn't know enough about the local context to say what.  I frame the story in terms of stories I'm already familiar with and lose the heart of the matter in the process.   We could spend time to see him as a subject-effect, living out the trajectory that began before independence, a product of British colonialists, Buddhist fundamentalists, regional power politics, and U.S./Soviet/U.S. hegemony?  Not a monster of his own making alone but one that is the product of his times and that reflects on many of us now and in the past- Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, British, Indian, Russian, Canadian, Chinese, American, United Nations of Epic Fail...

Or we could dispense with analysis altogether.  Rajapaksa could simply be Rajapaksa.  Let us accept him, in all his horridness, for he exists, and fight him and what he stands for and all those who stand with him.  And by 'all those' I mean not a 'national' or 'ethnic' group but supporters of the politics of power hungry fascists, wherever they exist:

Our work is based on Compassionate Communication - also known as Nonviolent Communication. Our international team offers public and private trainings in this communication process, helping individuals and organizations to build skills for resolving conflicts peacefully.

We also serve as conflict mediators, and as meeting facilitators, to help people develop their capacities for creative cooperation.

In our broader goals of supporting healing for all people, and healing for the planet, we are greatly influenced by a form of group work called "The Work That Reconnects", which incorporates the needs and well being of all beings on planet earth, the human as well as the non human.

Color me idealist.

In that vein, for the good of all people in the island and its diasporas and my own notion of humanity, it would be best if the President's party did not secure a 2/3 majority to change the Constitution (again).  I hope the people voting able to vote, and make an impact insodoing, will agree and I will leave this rant at that.

And if they do not, some action points would be urgently necessary, methinks.  To be honest, they already are...

Who does Rajapaksa most resemble in the hit parade of dictators? Who cares?

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