Thursday, March 22, 2018 05:40:52 PM

National Reconciliation – A Pipe Dream unless Inclusivity Achieved

By Lukman Harees - Mon Jul 25, 2:23 am

Featured image courtesy Rotary Peace Centre

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” -Benjamin Franklin

 It is ironic that Sri Lanka, which had such a favourable point of departure and was one of the most affluent countries in Asia in 1947; a model which even Singapore was yearning to emulate,  gradually lost its sense of direction and purpose in an environment of increasing fragmentation and factionalism. The unity and mutual trust which emerged among the communities when gaining Independence quickly dissipated, with the hopes and aspirations of the people becoming evaporating fantasies in the process, as Dr Tambiah once put it. “The introduction of the majoritarian model of democracy rule in Sri Lanka chosen already during the late-colonial period, paved the way for political forms that were undemocratic in the moral sense of the term. Far-reaching decisions regarding the political process were based on political expediency rather than on fundamental discussions of democratic rule” as Peter Kloos in ‘Democracy, Civil War and the Demise of the Trias Politica in Sri Lanka’ pointed out.

It was unfortunate that following independence from Britain in 1948, cracks began to appear in inter-community cohesion and mutual mistrust led to decades of ethnic conflict between Sinhalese and the Tamils….

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