Editorial

30th December 2001

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A year ends another begins

It was a year which, the usual year- end nostalgia apart, was tumultu ous in terms of political developments in the country. An inefficient, self righteous and at times uncaring leadership, after stubbornly hanging onto power through street demonstrations and all manner of protests, and notably through a dubious suspension of parliament, was finally voted out of office unceremoniously by the people. It was heady stuff by any standards and almost movie-like in terms of the sheer magnitude of drama involved.

A new government is now in power and in place. In the first month in power the new government seems to have retained the confidence of the people. This includes the people of Kandy who got up at 5 o' clock in the morning to be at the polling station at 7 a.m. to vote them in; the people of Hambantota who braved a Presidential decree to "kill'; the people of Puttalam who voted amidst sheer bedlam, and the people of Colombo who were helpless bystanders as an economy slipped to zero-growth for the first time since independence, while the leaders of the nation played politics.

After what seems to be a political epoch that has passed, here is a government that says publicly that it wants to run the country together with the people, which includes political parties, and groups, professionals and businessmen, farmers and traders and the like.

A feeling is palpably identifiable, that this is collectively a government of the people. What's apparent is a sentiment that says the people identify with this regime as "theirs'' and not of "one person.'' There is a feeling, however intangible, that there is a true meritocracy in the making. The crucial stage of making political appointments to the public service has been set in motion.The right person for the right job is something the people of this country deserve. Alas, one minister has already broken the rule by trying to encash an IOU for services rendered to the party, completely disregarding thereby, the national interest. More of this is bound to happen as time moves on, but saner counsel should prevail.

The continuing blood letting in some pockets of the nation has to stop. Revenge attacks which take place due to similar attacks which were perpetrated by the victims on the perpetrators earlier, though understandable in some way, cannot be justified by any means. We are talking of people's lives their kith and kin, their homes, and their property. 

The task of nation building has just about commenced. The victory of the UNF government was hard fought amidst, to use a Churchillian invocation blood, toil, sweat and tears. It was a victory for the people and a response to the call of the UNF, which was that "this is your last chance.'' But it is time that the people in turn now told the UNF "this is YOUR last chance - do not squander it."

In sum, the passing year could be considered one of victory for the masses, and a victory, however grandiloquent it may sound, over evil, ignorance and conceit. The people need to be congratulated they have indeed discharged their duty. They can now afford to sit back and be spectators and of course criticize the actions of those who have said that they were seeking public office to save the nation.


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