09 December 2018

Is charcoal black, red or purple?

Several years ago, I wrote a regular column for the JEANS section of 'The Nation'.  The editor of JEANS, Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna now handles the 'Littlestars' tabloid distributed with 'The Sunday Morning'. This is the eighth article for Littlestars.  Scroll down to find the full series of articles written for JEANS and the those of this new series.

Some people love to argue, have you noticed? It’s almost as if the most important thing is to hear one’s own voice. That’s not enough either. They also want to get the last word. Otherwise they are upset. They feel they’ve lost an important debate.

Now some arguments need to happen, make no mistake about it. Sometimes when we strongly feel about something and someone else appears to be talking nonsense, we feel we have to voice our opinion. We feel that we must make the other person see reason.  

Reasonable people will step back and admit if they are wrong. They won’t fight. They won’t get angry. The problem is that it is not only reasonable people who argue.

Typically, people start with some idea of what’s best. For example, someone might think that blue is the best color for a wall. So that person will bring up all kinds of reasons why blue is best and will not listen to any other opinions.  

Not all arguments are about which color a wall should be painted.  Some are about very serious things. Sometimes it’s a worthwhile argument, but there are times when we yap and yap and yap over trivial things. 

Supposing someone picks up a piece of charcoal and claims ‘this is red’.  You know it’s black. You say, ‘no, it’s black.’  ‘It’s RED!’ your friend insists.  The friend maybe color blind or maybe just wants to have an argument. Sooner or later you will realize that you can’t convince your friend, even if you got other friends involved and they all said ‘black’.  

Black. Red. Black. Red. No, black. No, red. What nonsense, it’s black. Don’t be silly, it’s red. 

You could go on and on.  If your friend thinks that getting the last word (red) in the argument settles the matter, that charcoal is red and not black, that’s being silly don’t you think? If you think getting the last word (black) convinces your friend that charcoal isn’t red, that too could be silly. Maybe the friend is just tired of arguing or has decided something like this — ‘it is red, and red it will be, whether or not I got the last word.’

Lots of arguments are like that. And sometimes there will be one person saying charcoal is red and another one insisting that it is yellow.  

Does it really matter?

That’s the question we don’t ask ourselves often enough.  Charcoal doesn’t seem to care, does it? Whatever you call it, whatever color you think it is, it does its thing.  Same as grass or a mango or a paper weight.  

It’s a simple question that needs to be asked: ‘will it make a difference one way or another?’

If not, it’s probably wise to let it go. Let the other person have the last word. Give yourself the last smile. That’ll keep longer than the word.  

Articles for THE SUNDAY MORNING

Articles for THE NATION
A puddle is a canvas
Venus-Serena tied at love-all
Some jokes are not funny
There's an ant story waiting for you
And you can be a rainbow-maker
Trees are noble teachers
On cloudless nights the moon is a hole
Gulp down those hurtful words
A question is a boat, a jet, a space-ship or a heart
Quotes can take you far but they can also stop you
No one is weak
The fisherman in a black shirt
Let's celebrate Nelli and Nelliness
Ready for time travel?
Puddles look back at you, did you know?
What's the view like from your door?
The world is rearranged by silhouettes
How would you paint the sky?
It is cool to slosh around
You can compose your own music
Pebbles are amazing things
You can fly if you want to
The happiest days of our lives
So what do you want to do with the rain?
Still looking for that secret passage?
Maybe we should respect the dust we walk on
Numbers are beautiful 
There are libraries everywhere 
Collect something crazy
Fragments speak of a thousand stories 
The games you can and cannot play with rice
The magic of the road less-traveled
Have you ever thought of forgiving?
Wallflowers are pretty, aren't they?
What kind of friend do you want to be? 
Noticed the countless butterflies around you?
It's great to chase rainbows
In praise of 'lesser' creatures 
A mango is a book did you know?
Expressions are interesting things
How many pairs of eyes do you need?
So no one likes you?
There is magic in faraway lights
The thambilil-seller of Giriulla
When people won't listen, things will
Lessons of the seven-times table

06 December 2018

Predecessors are great teachers


Dr Suranjith Senaratne is an Anthropologist. He’s a meticulous and dogged researcher. He once opened batting for Royal College and earned himself a reputation as a man who had an almost impregnable defense. It was almost impossible to get him out, apparently, although he didn’t score quickly or much. He recalls all this with a laugh. 


Many years ago, Dr Senaratne advised a young man interested in postgraduate studies in Sociology. Dr Senaratne was skeptical about Euro-Centric theories of development and indeed the approach to the social sciences themselves. He suggested that the young man think about studying in India. Nevertheless, he insisted that the boy study and comprehend fully what were known then as ‘The Classics’; that’s Karl Mark, Max Weber and Emil Durkheim in the main. 

‘You have to engage with them and know them well before you can take issue with them,’ he said. 

The young man didn’t quite understand then, but realization came to him years later. That’s not because he was a good student of sociology. One day, he heard a senior and world renowned chess trainer talk about ‘classics’ to would-be coaches. The following is the gist of what was said.

‘Teach the kids the classics, show them the great games played by the greats. They inspire. They are helpful when you get stuck in a position. Suddenly you’ll remember a particular idea and you’ll know how to deal with the situation.’

He went on to talk about a series of books written by one of the strongest players ever, Gary Kasparov. The title of the series is ‘My Great Predecessors’.  In the five volumes, he annotates the games of those who were World Champion before him. 

The logic is simple. There’s a reason why a player becomes a World Champion. Simply, he brings something new to the game of chess, he has in fact added to the sum total of knowledge on the intricacies of chess theory in one way or another.  So we learn, in this way, the secrets of becoming better players. 

Of course this is very different from having a role model. That does help. Kusal Janith Perera was naturally right-handed, but since his cricketing hero Sanath Jayasuriya was left-handed, Kusal shifted and has benefitted from the shift. He’s not (yet) a Sanath Jayasuriya, but still! Learning is different from mimicking. It’s less about borrowing techniques than about obtaining insights; less about a particular tactic than about formulating strategy.  

It requires study and of course practice. The true test of learning is in practice, obviously, i.e. in real match situations. You can learn all the theories of breaking down things to manageable targets so you don’t lose focus, but until such time that it becomes second-nature the chances are you are yet to obtain full understandings.  

Now imagine if Kasparov had never studied deeply the games of Alekhine, Capablanca, Botvinik, Tal, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov and others? Supposing he had, instead, gone through thousands of games so that no one could surprise him with an obscure opening line or a novelty? The chances are that he would have had to work it all out by himself. It would have taken much longer for him to master the game’s most elusive secrets.  

Think of a batsman who had never watched footage of Muralitharan and was ready to rely on on-the-job learning, i.e. only by facing Murali. What are his chances against the Wizard of Spin Bowling? Slim, one would think.

Now suppose that batsman had diligently watched lots and lots of footage of Murali, frame by frame. What if he had studied what kind of techniques were used by those batsman who were most successful against Murali? The chances are he would have better success. 

Isaac Newton remarked in 1675, ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.’  

The question is simple then: how far do you think you could see if you chose not to climb up to the shoulders of the greats who have come before you? Pierre Bourdieu could have been a commentator on Marx, Weber and Durkheim — he went further, according to some. Einstein was smart enough to have built a considerable career teaching Newtonian Physics; he clearly went further. Kasparov could have been as good as Karpov; he became better. Murali could have been another Lance Gibbs who at one time held the record for the most number of Test wickets (309); he more than doubled that number (800). 

It is never by talent alone that one achieves greatness. It is by first learning all that has already been learned and then by improving on it through practice and execution. 

There are ‘great predecessors’ in every sport. That’s a treasury of knowledge that someone aspiring to greatness can ignore at great cost.



OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES

So who is cheering the 19th Amendment now?


When Maithripala Sirisena said bye-bye to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and went against Mahinda Rajapaksa, there were wild cheers from those who supported the United National Party (UNP) and/or were against the Rajapaksas Regime. Sirisena was hero. He was poster-boy. Chandrika Kumaratunga even said that he was the only honest politician in the party she once led.  

It was not only about ousting Rajapaksa.  It was about doing things differently. It was about correcting flaws. It was about putting in place robust systems that made for good governance and the prevention of corruption and incompetence. So it was not just about regime change; it was about good governance as well. It was about democracy; so said the ‘good governors’ if you will.  A key part of that program was dealing with the cornerstone of the 1978 Constitution, the Executive Presidency.  

The rhetoric was about abolishing it. The word on the manifesto was ‘change’ and not abolition. Sleight of hand, certainly.  Then came the 19th Amendment. It wasn’t abolished. Even constitutional experts such as Nihal Jayawickrema said that the 19th did away with 80% of presidential powers.  

Not only was the 19th mischievously (rather than carelessly) worded to make for a bloated cabinet, it made a mockery of independent institution thanks to the clauses regarding the composition of the Constitutional Council.  The decisions of the politician-heavy body, made even more politically suspect by the inclusion of politically compromised ‘independents’ clearly subverted the objective. The appointment of judges, in one case seniority being disregarded, clearly indicates that these commissions alone won’t deliver. Whether they are necessary is also a moot point. After all, not all democracies that are said to be thriving have independent commissions. The members, let us note, are not answerable to the voter.

Need we even talk about how its authors and approvers bungled the issue of presidential powers pertaining to dissolution of Parliament?  

And where are we at, ladies and gentlemen who fervently believed that the Yahapalanists were serious about good governance? Well, what we have is a situation where the only individual who possesses power is in fact the Executive President. That’s Maithripala Sirisena. And he’s a man who earned the wrath of all, mind you. So much for the project of the anti-Rajapaksa forces to scuttle the Executive Presidency! 

Now how did we get to this? Did those who hand-picked Sirisena err in judgment? That’s certainly one argument. Did they have no other option? That’s possible too. What’s most laughable about it is that all those who point fingers at Sirisena act as though they had done nothing to put him in a place where he could do what he did. There’s no place or sympathy for naïveté in politics, ladies and gentlemen, sorry.  

What is not funny is this: the most ardent voices against Sirisena were dead silent about his many acts perverting democracy (some of which were jointly plotted with the UNP; for example dissolution of Parliament on the day the COPE Report on the Central Bank bond scam was to come out). They were fine with postponing local government and provincial council elections. It is only when Sirisena tripped the UNP that their purported democratic sentiments were wounded.

It’s simple. The 19th Amendment was a document that was made to benefit the UNP. The hitch was that its success depended on the goodwill of the President.  That’s how serious Jayampathy Wickramaratne was about constitutional amendment. It was, in short, a third rate document produced by perverted notions of the political. 

The most serious question now is, ‘where do we go from here?’ Put another way, ‘what do we do now?’  If it is a matter of tiding over a crisis, then one of two things would do the trick. First, a court determination affirming that dissolution was constitutional. It would imply that the court has determined the 19th Amendment itself (specifically the clauses regarding dissolution) was unconstitutional in the first instance. There is precedence of the judiciary making such determinations, for example certain articles in the 13th Amendment. We cannot be presumptuous though. Court can determine that dissolution was unconstitutional. It can determine otherwise as well. 

That would upset the UNP of course. It would only benefit a political formation led by Rajapaksa and Sirisena. Indeed, Rajapaksa might prevail even if he shed Sirisena. The outcome may not the be the best to be desired, but whoever wins we would have a new chapter and a new dispensation. Whether or not the government formed subsequently addresses the vexed issues that have generated this crisis is another matter. At least there would be clarity.  

What if court determines otherwise? That would mean that the unsavory status quo would remain, pending further court determination. It would also mean that the people would be forced to watch while the UNP plays hide-and-seek with sovereignty and the people’s will (i.e. refuse to go for a General Election), and the Sirisena-Rajapaksa combine (or the forces they represent, individually) try to figure out how to deal with the arithmetic conundrum in Parliament. 

In such a situation, the ‘out’ for the nation would, unfortunately, be predicated on one of three individuals (on account of the office they hold or believe they hold, and as leaders of political formations) taking a step back. 

Sirisena, Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa can all decide to blink. Whoever blinks would confer the initiative to the political other (of this moment). Sirisena stands to lose all if he steps back and reinstates Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe and the UNP will lose so much initiative that it would cripple whatever hope remains of clinching a General Election. Rajapaksa alone can step back, give the edge to the UNP momentarily and still retain enough clout to score a decisive election victory.  He has the language, the pulse of the people and the political sense to give a bit of ground and immediately recover lost ground with interest. It is easy to stick to guns and insist it is done for the love of the country and the people. It is harder to say ‘I am not going to be party to a tug-o-war where country and people are used as a rope — I will let go.’  

In the long run, however, the entire nation must revisit the discourse of constitution-making. It has to be a serious matter and not the frivolous exercise it has been since 1978. Lawmakers must understand that it is not a means to tide over a difficult moment. The worth of a proposal has to be assessed not in terms of whether or not one likes (or dislikes) the immediate beneficiary but how one would feel if someone considered despicable were to benefit.  For example 19th was flawed but the UNP went along because of the benefits. The political silliness of betting it all on Sirisena’s goodwill alone should be enough to disqualify that party from the right to govern this country — they are far too sophomoric for the serious business of governance.  The same goes for the SLFP and the newly formed Sri Lanka Podijana Peramuna (SLPP) because their representatives voted for this same amendment.

The entire saga has thrown up one redeeming factor. The people are far more mature than their representatives. They’ve been patient. They’ve watched with dismay and disgust. It is not imprudent to believe that they are waiting for their moment.  That is a court decision too.  It is, in a way, a SUPREME court decision. That case cannot be postponed forever.  


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malindasenevi@gmail.com. www.malindawords.blogspot.com

04 December 2018

Let's talk about civility now, shall we?


‘Let us be civilized now. Let us deplore barbarism and show it the political door. Let us act with dignity and let the undignified be banished forever from the august chambers (of Parliament).’

Now the above could very well be an excerpt from any one of the many who are commenting (mostly in English) about events that have transpired in the Sri Lankan political firmament over the past 4-5 weeks, that is, from October 26, 2018 onwards. 

And of course there are comparisons: ‘Look at countries in North America and Europe. Look at Australia and New Zealand. Look how dignified and respectful the representatives are in how they conduct themselves!’

Appearances matter of course. What’s beneath the surface is not seen and seldom explored. The racism and criminality is North America and Europe, throughout history and even now, are not seen. It’s not shown either. The ‘civility’ we do see is that which transforms into wrecked economies, cities turned into rubble, massacre of civilians, refugees and such. All in the name of democracy, need we add?

Let’s talk of closer-to-home civility. The born-again democrats have been expressing horror over the uncivilized and in their minds illegal sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe. They’ve been horrified by the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. They’ve been disgusted by the behavior of the Mahinda camp in Parliament. 

They’ve talked numbers (as they should). Mahinda’s camp couldn’t show 113. So, lacking a Parliamentary majority, they’ve accused President Sirisena of violating the constitution. They didn’t ask if 113 WANTED Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister (just like they didn’t worry about numbers on January 9, 2015 when this same President swore in Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister even though he had just over 40 MPs supporting him in Parliament). Now that the Tamil National Alliance has expressed said they would vote for Wickremesinghe if it comes to a parliamentary test of support, they might say, ‘ok, now he has over 113!’  

Numbers are strange things though.  Principles are strange too. Consistency even stranger.  When it was very clear that the TNA was supporting the Yahapalana Government and the Joint Opposition as a group was opposed and their numbers exceeded those of the TNA, the born-again democrats did not talk numbers, propriety and parliamentary tradition. No talk of civility there, then.

Speaking of protocols, the motions of vote confidence against Wickremesinghe and then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake were taken up weeks after they were tabled. The Speaker, in his wisdom, hemmed and hawed before allowing a debate. The motion against Wickremesinghe was debated and duly defeated. Good parliamentary stuff, the born-agains said.  

Then, just the other day, the very same Speaker violated all established procedure embedded in standing orders to take up a private member’s motion, allowed no debate and declared the motion ‘held’ within a matter of less than five minutes. There’s no way he or anyone else could have counted the ‘ayes’ and ‘nays’. Indeed, in that chaotic situation, members who voted ‘aye’ had their hands up when the ‘nays’ were being expressed!

That’s democracy and decency. That’s civility. The Speaker exceeded the limitations imposed on his office. He was blatantly partisan. He arrogated upon himself executive powers.  Decent. Civil. Democratic. Fine.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the JVP leader, on the other hand, did the half-way decent thing. He acknowledged indecency.  He implied that it was not the best way to get things done. He interjected an important qualifier though. He correctly pointed out the indecency of the President’s recent decisions and directives and implored that the decency or otherwise of actions aimed at overturning these decisions not be questioned.  

Milinda Rajapaksha, a member of the Colombo Municipal Council from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) gave an appropriate rejoinder.  He listed some damning instances where the yahapalanists demonstrated rank incivility and were quite undemocratic, instances that were uncommented by the born-again democrats, and threw Anura’s own words back at him: ‘if this, this and this were not civil, then don’t question the civility of actions taken to overthrow the political forces that are culpable here.’

Therein lies the issue. It’s black and white or rather black or white. It is about end justifying the means. Both major political coalitions are hell bent on grabbing or retaining power. They are not worried about how they do it. They are, however, very concerned about the ‘how’ of things when they get the short end of the stick.

In this entire exercise, entertaining though it is, it is not the President or the two people who are convinced they are the Prime Minister or their backers who are being civilized. It is the masses of this country.  They’ve watched. They’ve waited. They’ve let these so-called representatives disgrace themselves, their parties and their constituencies. They’ve not partaken of any of it. It is almost as if they are at the metaphorical doors, waiting for people to leave so that they can be shut. That’s civil. That’s democratic. And that is the civil and democratic voice that the goons in Parliament and their vocal defenders are reluctant to give voice and decision to. Quite uncivilized on their part, wouldn’t you say, ladies and gentlemen?


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malindasenevi@gmail.com. www.malindawords.blogspot.com

29 November 2018

Democracy is alive, ladies and gentlemen


What’s the talk of the town? ‘The town’ of course can be anything from Cinnamon Gardens to Hokandara to Debarawewa. If you are talking about Cinnamon Gardens as the trope that it is for a significant portion of the decision-makers of the United National Party (UNP) and those who balk at power shifting to Debarawewa (or Kebithigollewa or Karandeniya or Kachchativu), then the talk is all about democracy.  

And democracy (or its subversion) was SUDDENLY noticed.....!

Here are some of the low-tone rumbles that are making the rounds in that particular echo chamber: ‘Democracy is under serious threat,’ ‘we need to fight to the last to safeguard democracy for future generations,’ ‘this is not about Ranil, it’s about democracy,’ ‘this is not about us, but about all of us (i.e. the entire nation).’  Well, considering the deafening silence of most of these born-again democrats (the Sinhala term is better, ‘heenen bayavunu prajaathanthravaadeen’ or ‘democrats waking up from a bad dream’) on all anti-democratic moves by the UNP from DS to Ranil and not forgetting JR and Premadasa and in particular the dictatorial party constitution and post January 2015 subversions, we can safely say ‘it’s about you, it is about Ranil, it is about the UNP.’

In their case, it’s a matter of outcome-preferences framing political comment. In the case of the less partisan, the outcome-fears (‘If Mahinda returns, he will bring back the 18th’) overrides all.  And so, they conclude (prematurely) that a) the removal of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place was illegal and unconstitutional, and b) the dissolution of Parliament was illegal and unconstitutional. They conclude, therefore, that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is a hero (never mind that he flouted procedures he was almost worshipping a few months ago).  

The ‘other lot’ is no different. They have their outcome preferences, they have their fears. They will happily conclude that the President was acting constitutionally, never mind the high-handedness, never mind that if the UNP lost mandate and political legitimacy on February 10, 2018, so too did Maithripala Sirisena. 

But let’s focus on democracy.  

Fact: we got a terrible constitution in 1978. Fact: of the 19 Amendments passed since then, 18 were partisan and favored incumbents. Fact: the 19th amendment was flawed. Fact: the architects of the 19th, in particular Jayampathy Wickramaratne, the ardent backers (the UNP and the NGO cheering squad) and the ‘aye-sayers’ including those in the Joint Opposition except for Sarath Weerasekera, are guilty of irresponsibility if not utmost imbecility.  

A polity is not made of a constitution alone. Democracy is not a synonym of either constitution or parliament. In these things, people count. In these things process matters. There are times when limits, especially those couched in vagueness, need to be tested. This is one. Whether Sirisena’s intention was to test limit or otherwise is immaterial. 

At the end of the day, the law-makers appear to be stumped. The President, for all the power-curtailing, has prevailed and in prevailing, at least for now, has thumbed his nose at the architects of the 19th Amendment and its approvers. Hopefully, the courts will offer clarity on all the vagueness that the executive and legislative branches of the state have together inscribed. At the end of the day, also, everyone is learning that constitutions are not cast in stone, that there are no accidental errors (no, not even the discrepancies in Sinhala and English and possibly Tamil versions), and most importantly, the people need not get into fisticuffs on behalf of their so-called representatives. If Parliament is a joke and parliamentarians are jokers, let them do their thing — we can laugh. That seems to be a common enough response.  

Let’s assume this happened in some country in Europe or even some other South Asian ‘democracy’.  There would be riots, it is safe to assume. By and large, Sri Lankans have determined, ‘it’s none of our business’.  It is our business, true, but then it seems more prudent to let the courts have a say before the streets do. Those who are street-bound are essentially a partisan lot; the majority will have none of it. That’s healthy. There’s a time for agitation, this just isn’t that time. The diehards will rally around their leader(s), i.e. either Ranil Wickremesinghe or Mahinda Rajapaksa, but let’s not fool ourselves into believing that they are doing this for ‘all of us’ or for ‘democracy’.   

The ‘us’ of it all, is biding time, it seems. ‘Our’ time may or may not come soon, but it will only be at the politically auspicious hour that ‘we’ will speak, it is safe to assume.  Here’s a Facebook post (pruned and edited to capture the essence) that captures some of that ‘us-sentiment’:

‘The people of our country have been behaving exceptionally well. If any other country were had a headless state, life would have been grim, but the lack of a Government has not deterred nor derailed our ppl [people] from their daily paths. Even though the macro environment is worrisome, focus is not lost. It proves we don't need the 225 donkeys to govern and even if they did or didn't no one seems to give two hoots. It proves our people our innately good, have the power to regard or disregard.  Hopefully we will continue to be calm and collected, draw up the courage from our 2500 years plus culture and do what needs to be done to get over this speed bump and put our country back on track.’

So what’s this hullabaloo about democracy then? Perhaps the answer can be found in an insightful observation made at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike on September 2, 1951.

SWRD at the inauguration
of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party
‘It will be thus seen that unlike other countries such as India, Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia, Ireland, etc., which advanced to Freedom through the instrumentality of Mass Movements based on clear-cut principles and policies, our Freedom Movement was really one proceeding from the top and cut off to a great extent from the masses (SWRD had previously referred to D.S. Senanayake and his aides getting the Soulbury Constitution amendment to obtain Dominian Status ‘without placing amendment before country or parliament but prepared according to Mr Senanayake’s personal views — hint, hint). It has created a feeling in the minds of some people that our freedom is not something that the people have obtained but one that a few individuals have succeeded in getting, and one therefore that is looked upon to a great extent as the private property of these individuals, the benefits of which should be chiefly enjoyed by them. It is this psychology that is chiefly responsible for the nepotism and cliquism which our rampant today and for the reluctance to deal effectively with the many important problems that face us, a free country today, particularly in the context of the present trend of world affairs.’




SWRD’s own errors and culpabilities notwithstanding, this could be read as a damning account of the born-again democracy-brigade of today. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the 1818 Rebellion and the capture of Keppitipola. Democracy was blood-less and something we owe the D.S. Senanayakes, they believe and/or would have us believe and therefore it is an elite-birthed project for the benefits of political progeny, they seem to think. No wonder that the general public are not inspired by their siren call to save democracy from ‘the yakkos’.  

Well, the masses appear to know what’s what. In retrospect one might conclude that they knew the dangers of electing Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2005 and knew the dangers of re-electing Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015. It is unlikely that they have any illusions about these two individuals or about Maithripala Sirisena. They know better than democracy-experts that democracy was always an unholy creature which didn’t die on October 26, 2018, and moreover has to owe its longevity to the people, who have been patient and have largely refused to purchase all the lies about it. They know what it is and what it is not. They don’t need tuition on the same.  

malindasenevi@gmail.com. www.malindawords.blogspot.com