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Silent Majority: The Sri Lankan Catastrophe

Silent Majority: The Sri Lankan Catastrophe

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In this paper Ravindra Ranasinha explores how the present regime in Sri Lanka utilizes its ideological labels and regime’s machinery to keep its citizens gagged. He further depicts the sorrowful change taken by the populace to be voluntarily silent. Worst of all is the indifference shown by the citizen and his/her inability to voice or engage in revolutionary action to vindicate himself from the present servitude.
In this paper Ravindra Ranasinha explores how the present regime in Sri Lanka utilizes its ideological labels and regime’s machinery to keep its citizens gagged. He further depicts the sorrowful change taken by the populace to be voluntarily silent. Worst of all is the indifference shown by the citizen and his/her inability to voice or engage in revolutionary action to vindicate himself from the present servitude.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Theekshana Ranasinha on May 17, 2011
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SILENT MAJORITY: THE SRI LANKAN CATASTROPHE
ByRavindra Ranasinha
In this paper Ravindra Ranasinha explores how the present regime in Sri Lanka utilizes its
ideological labels and regime’s machinery
to keep its citizens gagged. He further depicts thesorrowful change taken by the populace to be voluntarily silent. Worst of all is theindifference shown by the citizen and his/her inability to voice or engage in revolutionaryaction to vindicate himself from the present servitude.
What makes a citizenry in a country quite different to other people in the world? Should welook for answers in the political context of Sri Lanka, we could find one vital factor, namely, the
extraordinary ‘stillness’ of that people. This stillness is nothing but the subjugation to
theregime and, especially, to the familial rule
of the Rajapakse’s. The
continuity of emergencysituation in the country, effecting the 18
th
Amendment to the Constitution, imprisonment of General Sarath Fonseka, continuous threats to freedom of expression, and defeating of allefforts to cause a political solution to the ethnic rife have made the majority to accept theregime as the absolute power and the sole authority to decide on human lives. Hence, the SriLankan population has voluntarily transformed itself to acknowledge servitude underRajapakses for its own comfort and security.What really has happened to Sri Lankans reminds me of how Gregor Samsa waking to findhimself transformed into a monstrous insect
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. And there was one other play by Eugene Ionesco
named ‘Rhinoceros’
in which we find transformation of human to a beast. The allegories showthat conditions - social, political, economic, cultural
 –
force humans to voluntarily accepttransformation letting humane qualities to evaporate and to act as if they are nonentities. Thissorrowful condition is what we experience presently in this island.The silent condition of the majority of Sri Lankans has brought their own plight with an inabilityto voice for their own rights. The prices of essential goods escalate rapidly and the pensionschemes have been done away with by the State, of which the citizenry has no say. The fear tomake the rulers unhappy and earn their wrath is what makes this citizenry to be so submissive.This is nothing but a reflection of how a populace has tragically given up their rights for the sakeof ensuring their own survival. However, the survival is in question for most elders without
pension and also with the rapidly escalating prices of essential goods. The ‘survival’ of 
the
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human being is now a grave question in this State. This is no exaggeration but the forciblyevacuated people who have lost their own lands in Colombo prove of this horrendoustreatment they have received. The land grab in Colombo
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is the current phenomenon that hasput the human lives into uncertainty; however, there seems to be no voice that could ensuretheir rights and modest living.It is regretting to note that Sri Lanka has become immensely
suppressed and ‘castration’ is the
term now we could really apply to the situation which has ensured the smooth existence of theregime. Emasculation is seen in every human, from the laborer to the top politician and all havebent their heads before the tools of 
power to ‘castrate’ them. The military and the
police arebeing used vastly by the regime to crack down on dissenting parties and to suppress allprotests. These tools have emasculated the citizenry and the disappearances and murder thattake place in the North, at present, should be taken into serious consideration
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. The
‘victorious’
war of Rajapakse had its finale two years ago but the North has not been vindicated of all thisharassment, possibly, with an aim to remove all remnants of the LTTE.Few independent media institutions, despite threats that they encounter, continue to engage inthe
task to keep the populace aware of the regime’s activities
, though, a passive reaction isvisible among the masses towards such information. It is an indifference that reflects thesilence of the majority. Further, most media institutions, in order to keep themselves gaggedhave transformed to be the trumpets of the regime. This silencecomes because of fear, a fearof being labelled oppositional, fear of becoming a target of the State apparatus, fear of losinggovernment contracts or being victimized in one way or another.
This shows that the ‘
critical mass
had stopped being critical of anything
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.The "masses" had become a place of absorptionand implosion;
hence the ending of the possibility of politics as will and representation
. All this prove thatthe citizenry has voluntarily abrogated its rights as decision-makers in thecountry.
This has brought down the citizen to a level of ‘mere’ voter who is pushed through a
narrow passage of party politics and power p
olitics. The ‘victory’ of the politician over the
citizen is thus enshrined and it is no exaggeration to say that the citizenry in Sri Lanka isvictimized gravely and is deprived of human rights in every sense. However, this alienation isnot felt by the m
asses that merely take the victory of the ‘political party’ as ones victory and
become indifferent to all decisions taken by the respective party. With the masses no longer
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Baudrillard, Jean ‘In the Shadow of Silent Majorities’ (1978).
 
 
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"alienated" as Marx had described, but rather indifferent, this phenomenon maderevolutionary explosion impossible, says Baudrillard
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.
 
The silent majority was in a worse manner used to support the war that was waged as a
‘humanitarian mission’ which made more than two hundred and fifty thousand innocent Tamil
civilians to suffer in the c
onflict zone and in so called ‘welfare camps’ set up by the
regime. Thewar was called a patriotic mission by the regime and the silent majority imposed on themselves
the responsibility of a patriot to support the war that made part of the country’s
citizenry,namely Tamils, to suffer immensely. The label of a patriot became so important to the silentmajority to show how faithful it is to the regime. So none will raise his or her voice against any
‘wrong doing’ of the Rajapakse
regime
. So the ‘right’ became ‘wrong’ under the label of ‘patriotism’ and the ‘wrong’ was transformed to ‘right’.
Whatever blunders and mishandlings of 
Rajapakses, therefore, amount to be ‘right’ and those who voice against will be called ‘wrong’
and imprisoned, the consequences of which is now experienced by General Sarath Fonseka.
Silencing the citizenry was quite easy with the label of ‘patriotism’ and with the emergence of 
the Report of the UN
Secretary General’s Panel of Experts On Accountability in Sri Lanka
, thisflame of patriotism was put into action once again causing people to engage in protestcampaigns against the United Nations. Politicians, religious, NGO personalities, and especially,Tamil politicians of TNA contribute to this patriotic flame lighted by Rajapakses for their ownsecurity. As one columnist has written, the TNA is silent as it has, in the past supported the LTTEin its inhuman actions.
‘…..
the TNA is assisting the Rajapaksa efforts to conceal the true nature
of the Darusman Report. The TNA’s own response
to the Report makes no mention of its severe
critique of the LTTE. By tacitly consenting to the Tiger’s inhumane treatment of Tamils, the TNA
 failed its own people in an hour of desperate need. Therefore, acknowledging the Tiger abuseslisted in the Darusman Report is, for the TNA, akin to a self-indictment.
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Quite a patheticsituation when considering the Sri Lankan politics as one could see no way out from thispolitical quagmire created by Rajapakses. Very correctly the same columnist mentions that the
Tamil politics cannot embark on a journey of democratic rejuvenation until a frank criticism/self-criticism is made of its Tiger past; the Darusman Report, an objective analysis by an impartial entity, is an ideal starting-point for such a journey. Unfortunately the TNA (and most of the Tamil Diaspora) seems to lack the courage to seize this opportunity. And in this failure, the TNA is, inadvertently, helping the Rajapaksas to falsely depict the Darusman Report 
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ibid.
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