The Colombo District seminar of the series of summits held throughout the island by the National Intellectuals Organization (NIO) under the theme “A People’s Governance to Protect and Develop Country” was held at the auditorium of the National Institute of Education at Maharagama on the 5th with the participation of intellectuals, professionals, scholars and representatives of mass organizations.
The President of the NIO, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences in University of Kelaniya Professor Chandana Abeyratne, former Ministry Secretary A.P.A. Gunasekera, Award-winning Author Keerthi Walisarage, Former Auditor General Sarathcchandra Mayadunne, Senior Lecturer in the University of Sabaragamuwa Dr Hiniduma Sunil Senevi, the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka and several others addressed the seminar.
Popular singer T.M. Jayaratna and singer-lyric writer-specialist Doctor and JVP Member for Colombo Municipal Council Dr Ranil Jayasena entertained the participants with songs.
The Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka addressing the seminar said, “All of us have been forced to rally to change our country. The economy of our country has come down to the worst status. The Governor of the Central Bank has said the amount of loan instalment that has to be paid this year is US$5.9 billion. The export income of our country is US$10 billion. The import expenditure is US$ 20 billion. With the loan instalment, we have to pay US$25.9 billion. Ours is a country with a wide gap between imports and exports. Meanwhile, the rupee is getting depreciated. This has a big effect on people. Education, health and transport are in a massive crisis. The breakdown of the economy in this manner demolishes the lives of the masses.
Meanwhile, politics alone is becoming a very lucrative business. At present politics is not concerned about everything that is ethical in the country. In whichever way you look at it, whether it is legally, constitutionally or according to political ethics, the conspiracy that was committed on 26th October was uncivilized. It displayed the situation when a cobra and a mongoose perch together. What dirty politics! Also, how does the UNP that talked about political ethics then behave now? Even before the warmth of the political conspiracy has died down Ranil Wickremesinghe violated the Constitution to appoint more ministers. Today, people from Ranil’s party are grumbling for not getting ministerial portfolios. Ministerial portfolios are prepared eccentrically. The politics followed by the rulers in this country is indeed disgraceful. As such, a civilized, uncorrupt political culture should be established in this country against the uncivilized corrupt political culture that exists at present. This could be done only by a political movement that is uncorrupt and having moral and intellectual advancement.
Today more people die in motor accidents than the number of people died in the 26 years of war. Records in police books point out a large number of plunder of assets and rape of young girls. What a cruel state our country has been turned into? We ask the citizens of this country whether it should be changed or not. Does your child get protection from such a country? Everyone should ask from their conscience whether there should be a change or not. This state of the country should be definitely changed.
What is being discussed in the country now? Could this political crisis be resolved by bringing son to replace the father or younger brother to replace the elder brother? Instead of such traditional matters, we have a different struggle. When we speak about this change, the media institutions that should be the carriers of such views have taken a very wrong approach. Yet again the media in our country are stirring up communalism. Certain media institutions willingly or unwillingly have fallen prey to certain political parties. Several media institutions have become the operators of the political agenda of the country.
What has become important news in our country at present? More time has been allocated for cobra – mongoose type of conflicts in the news broadcasts. The Thevarapperuma – Fonseka conflict, the fabrication of the coup to assassinate the President, the lies about the federal constitution to divide the country have been allocated more time in news broadcasts these days. What use are these fabrications for the day to day life of the ordinary people in this country? Political leaders who cannot talk about punishment for frauds and corruption are spreading communalism. As such, the politicians who have ruled this country, as well as the media institutions, are responsible for the calamity in the country. A large number of media institutions aided the political conspiracy that was committed in the country recently. They were on the side of the conspiracy. As such, when we talk about a change, this dialogue should be built by ordinary people.
It is certain that the two main political camps in our country cannot take our country forward. There cannot be a debate again regarding whether they can or cannot. What we have to debate is how we could change and what should be changed. A free education system should be established instead of the education system that is based on money. Also, a discussion for a programme to achieve a new economic development that is based on new criteria should be carried out. Today development means buildings. The task of all ministries, whether it is education, health, science and technology, is having more and more buildings spending billions. Why is it so? The minister gets commission only when buildings are put up. As such, a broad dialogue is needed regarding development in our country. Also, the people in our country need a healthy life. During the last 70 years, our Nation has been made a sick nation. The people in our country need a clean, fresh balanced diet. We should have a change in our eating habits. Also, people must be able to have qualitative meals. A healthy life needs a good sports culture. As such, we firmly believe the task of making our Nation a healthy Nation would be achieved by the NIO.
Also, our country needs a pleasant environment. Our environment should be protected. The rulers have destroyed the environment trying to carry out various projects. Hence, the destroyed environment should be re-established. Also, the benumbed society in our country should be made responsive and sensitive. Currently, few people appreciate a novel, a work of art, a poem, a good film. Such a society is not a responsive or a sensitive society. As such, a society that appreciates arts, literature, music, films etc. should be built. This could be done only by a very powerful people’s movement.
This country is ours and our children’s. After the politicians such as Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mervin Silva, S.B., Janka Bandara their children could come to politics. Our society should have knowledge of the destruction these people who would not have any political experience do to the country if they come to power. As such, you all should have the courage and the determination to change the present set up and make a complete change in politics in the country.”