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Strikes, Protests.....Plasters?

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Do you think that activism is the way for a solution? Do read to double check whether it is the way.

The entire country is entrapped in a horde of public protests and demonstrations. Ranging from university protests, which completely cripple the public education system, to hospital strikes, which renders the innocent people helpless, the mania of public protesting has swept the country through, swallowing up many citizens. The future looks bleak for the civilian of Sri Lanka since the strikes in the transportation sector are never-ending. The constant protests carried out by the disabled soldiers of the army have now elevated to the level of a suicidal mission. With the country’s main institutions in disarray due to the protests, the breakdown of the functionality of the system is inevitable.

This inefficiency is directly followed by instability. There is no greater disaster for a country than an unstable system. Instability leaves space for attacks and harmful events to take place. The April 21st Easter attacks are a good example to prove this. No country really deserves such a level of destruction. Therefore to create a just and a stable system, the proper unhindered and unbiased understanding of the situation within the country is important indeed.

Back in the day, the most simple and most efficient method used by most parties was to hire whomever mercenaries or such powers to put an end to protests which threatened their seat. But now, this had been replaced with tear gas attacks. Protestors spanning from university students to disabled army soldiers have all been at the receiving end of these attacks. But these measures are as punitive as a children’s game of trying to hide a rubber ball underwater. The moment the weight upon the ball is lifted, it comes shooting back out with even more momentum. Thus, without argument it can be proven that the reasons which drove people to the streets cannot be solved by mere attempts to suppress it. The ruling parties should opt for a more scientific approach with the assistance of the specific individuals without resorting to the same old tactics of “forgive and forget” which isn’t welcomed by the emerging youth of the country.

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It is foolish to ignore these protests by branding an ulterior political motive behind them. This causes the issue to domino out into the spheres of other fields thus spiraling the entire issue out of control. Neither a protest, a strike nor any form of rebellion against the set system will succeed unless there are no proper justifiable reasons to base it upon. Or it will not garner the only partial support from the stakeholders of the field, at least. Therefore when tackling a public protest, the first realization that the opposing authorities should come into is that the people have a set of reasons for them to engage upon such an action. Therefore the first attempt of the governance is to clearly identify those reasons and thus understanding the basis for the eruption.

It is an established law of nature that without a cause, there is no effect. Thereby isolating that cause for a protest and tending to it, stops the issue being magnified into arguments that pan out to the entire country. Ironically, the creation of new problems in the attempt to solve a single problem is a common sight in our country. This is due to the fact that the temporary solution given to a long-standing issue in a certain field directly affects another field. The graduate job crisis is an example for this.

It is common sense to understand that there should be a national protocol to provide graduates with job opportunities. But recently, the solution to limit this rising tide was to divide the unemployed graduates to two segments, namely Internal and External. The moment such division is caused and statements are being made that the external graduates shall not receive any job opportunities, unrest starts growing in the collective mind of the external graduates. We’ve all heard the common epithet, “divided we fall”, and that is exactly what happened here as well. The mental unrest causing for the aggression is unavoidable after that. The logical result of such unrest would be the start of little little fires in the social fabric across the nation. It is clear that this has become the sad reality Sri Lanka has shunned itself into at the present times.

Applying a plaster to a wound without giving it proper medical treatment would not help whatsoever in stopping an infection from spreading. Sadly, such temporary plasters or burying in the forgotten pile of clothes to problems as they crop up has become a staple in the politics of this “paradise island”. This results in the the exaggeration of a simple problem, which could have been solved by a single pen, into a very complex issue that becomes too entangled in other fields to be isolated and treated separately without causing disturbance to the fragile social structure. Because by the time the officials’ attention falls upon it, there is almost nothing that they can do except attach a plaster. The acts and pretenses of the political arena trying to defend either their inaction or lack of knowledge to take an action has become so common that most mass media companies thrive upon this mismanagement and chaos. While it is a good subject for domestic entertainment and meme page admins, it is without doubt proving the pathetic situation of the people in the higher echelons of power in our country.

The answer to this is to convene the specialists of each field and bring out a proper conversation dwelling deep in through the layers of complexities and try to glean scientific resolutions for the problems that are happening and to avoid the rise of more issues in the near future. It should be and is a major element of governance. Because that’s what governance is ultimately about. It’s about solving the problems that affects the citizens.

It has been 71 years since Sri Lanka received independence from the British. But still, no clear step has been taken to increase the standard of living by providing sound solutions to the matters that concern entire groups and communities of people. On a comparative basis, Sri Lanka is not doing well in political stability within the commonwealth. The destiny that has been laid out for us is clear. If we are to keep trudging upon this muddy plain, getting stuck and being sucked into a pit of quicksand is inevitable and definite.

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