Wednesday 13 July 2022


13 July 2022

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam



It felt good to read the Ceylon Today Editorial ‘‘Aragalaya’ Losing the Plot?’

I have been expressing much distress over the conduct of many in the Protest group. For the first time, I read with relief that Ceylon Today was also able to identify that the protest was not as per the portrayal by mainstream media, nor the external media. A true protestor has early indicators. A believer does not need proof.  Below is an excerpt:

[Unfortunately, the events that followed inside those historic State buildings were nothing short of tragic. It is true that the elected leaders kept the doors of those buildings closed to the ordinary general public, shielding from their eyes the kinds of luxury they enjoyed at the public expense.

However, those three buildings – now ransacked and vandalised – are part of this country’s historical and cultural heritage. They contain historic documents, invaluable paintings, mementoes and souvenirs brought here by foreign dignitaries to mark their visits, all of which are part of this country’s heritage and should be preserved for posterity.]

It is not unfortunate. It was a manifestation by  the People whom the Protestors claimed to represent. The crowd did not seem to be starving. Many were dancing. Had the protestors fasted as Gandhi did, that would have confirmed that they were representatives of those who were starving due to food shortages. Gandhi wore the clothes of labour class which confirmed that he was one of them. That is needed to represent those who are driven more by the seen and the heard – rather than by intellectual discrimination. Such physical representation is part of the common experience. In this case the group was not seen to be starving.

As per the editorial:

[This also brings to light one of the pertinent lacunas that were present since the beginning of the ‘Aragalaya’ – the absence of focused, clearly defined leadership. The ‘GotaGoGama’ protesters were a motley group of disgruntled citizens. However, any people’s force that aims to overthrow a Government must have a political plan to follow through once their struggle comes to fruition. Otherwise, what will follow is anarchy.]

Had the protestors been true representatives of the starving, their abstinence would have become their leadership force from within. Towards this they needed to be self-governing and independent of politicians. They are now openly listening to politicians – including Mr Shanakiyan who was preaching to the protestors to get rid of Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was heartening to read that the President had followed Due Process confirmed as follows:

PM appointed Acting President: Speaker

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Acting President in accordance with the Article 37.1 of the Constitution, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardhane said today.

He said in a special statement that the President informed him that the Prime Minister was appointed as the Acting President as he was away from the country.

Article 37.1 provides as follows:

37. (1) If the President is of the opinion that by reason of illness, absence from Sri Lanka or any other cause he will be unable to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of his office, he may appoint the Prime Minister to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the office of President during such period and may also appoint one of the other Ministers of the Cabinet to act in the office of Prime Minister during such period:

 Thank you and bless you Mr President.


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