FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Education Crisis in Sri Lanka

by NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA

“Liberty is meaningless where the right to utter one’s thoughts and opinions has ceased to exist. That, of all rights, is the dread of tyrants. It is the right which they first of all strike down.”

— Frederick Douglass (1860 speech in Boston)

Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The tread of hundreds of thousands of feet walking across the country in search for the liberty of education has ended (as has the lives of two students in the process) at the Ministry of Economic Development, one of the ministries headed by a brother of the president. The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) had the ‘opportunity’ to sit with the minister of the subject at his high security compound and receive his ‘political’ answers. Later, they met the Secretary of the Treasury, P.B. Jayasundara, who tried to explain the real facts and figures that comprise the banana republic, now world famous as a laboratory of nepotism.

However, things are still unstable and unclear. Even the president of FUTA, who spoke to this writer earlier this morning, does not have a clear idea about the ruling family’s policy towards the education crisis. And this is after one of the longest union actions in the recent history of Sri Lanka.  It is obvious that the President of the country is ignorant of the concept of good governance; his chief political strategy being nothing more than using the armed power under his control or simply killing time until all that oppose get tired and give up. Today, what we are witnessing in the name of politics is that sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity, which, as Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked, comprise the most dangerous scenarios.

As this writer has repeatedly pointed out, the basic foundation of politics in Sri Lanka is embedded in habitual lies and vulgarism. These are the core tactics which the government is using to stay in power. Spreading baseless gossip against opponents has become a very important strategy not only for keeping up its reputation but in undermining the truth. In this context, popular politics has sincerely ignored the political wisdom, eventually overlapping with popular cultural aspects rather than organizing within the framework of the rule of law.

Generally, politics has more connection with culture than with legalities and because of this an idea of “social change” entered into the discourse where social moments originated. It was the revolt against the “culture of silence.” Our culture is based on a pyramidal hierarchical chamber, which is always allowed to dominate and undermine the people who are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Caste has registered a system where freedom has no room. We do not have common authentic acceptance on conditions for justice. We value human beings according to the place they have in the hierarchy. Religion came after culture, but reality was too harsh; religion has been adapted into cultural acceptance and habituates each of the communities. The whole scenario has been based on one question, which is, abstaining from the rule of law and the habitual cultural deviation from the rule of law.

In this circumstance, the idea of “no alternative if we lose the present” has rooted into our system, becoming part of the culture even after colonial inventions in the sixteenth century.  The rule of the country was based on the emotional intention of the king, people’s rights were none other than what they received by birth. No one has dared to challenge the “power centric system”, preferring to rather obey everything. The idea to struggle against “absolute power” or the “royal absolute” was the first time questions rationally arose. This was during the end the colonial times, courtesy the social change that occurred in Europe over the ferment of the industrial revolution, though there were minor incidents reported in ancient times, which were basically identified as “power struggle between brethren.”

We never fought to change the system. We fought to protect the system on behalf of the kingdom, while people who really wanted to change the system were labeled as “nation traitors.” Basically, we did not have courage to fight against authoritarianism and unjustness until the British established a system based on the electoral process. This was developed up to a certain extent, but our own politicians were unable to read meaning into it. As a result, the electoral process has become a cynical manipulation of power and believing in the system is nothing but infantile. In this context, politics has become agitation without visionary political ideology. The very core reason behind this failure is that we do not extend our knowledge to understand the importance of dissent or collaboration of voluntarily work in politics.

FUTA entered into society in this prevailing situation. That is why many people started to believe that FUTA itself had tremendous opportunity to change the system. Perhaps many thought it had the capacity to re-construct authentic dissent in this country.  Creating dissent is absolutely dependent upon voluntarily based social movement and there is a minimum role to play in the political parties in this country. It will be another betrayal if FUTA were to lose their voluntary-based battle just for “politics of vulgarism.”

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is journalist and editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily news paper based in Colombo Sri Lanka. He can be reached atilangamuwa@gmail.com or editor@srilankaguardian.org 

More articles by:

Nilantha Ilangamuwa is Editor of Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives. He also edits the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily newspaper. He is the author of the recently released non-fiction books, “Nagna Balaya” (The Naked Power), published in Sinhalese, and “The Conflation”, published in English. 

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail