Sri Lanka Mourns for its Future

By Jayani Randima Marasingh

What’s the current Situation in Sri Lanka? Our country is in the midst of one of the worst economic and political crises ever seen. Our country has just defaulted on its foreign debts for the first time. The country’s 22 million people are facing crippling 12+ hour power cuts, and an extreme scarcity of food, fuel and other essential items such as medicines. Due to this the people of Sri Lanka had to wait in long queues to get their essentials such as fuel and gas.

Sometimes people who have been queuing for such a long time have received nothing; this caused a huge hindrance to the Education in Sri Lanka; shortages have scaled to such heights that examinations for examinations for millions of students in the country had to be postponed due to lack of paper and ink.

Credit Image: The Indian Times

Around five elderly people have died after collapsing in queues. Fuel shortages have led to long lines at petrol stations and rolling power cuts across much of the country. A serious shortage of diesel has shut multiple thermal power plants causing rolling power cuts across the nation. The sudden rise in prices of commodities has pushed up inflation to record levels. Job losses have become a common phenomenon in almost every household. Besides, fall in earning has led to rise in poverty.

The cost of living is rising day by day and the number of people who are unable to continue their lives is increasing daily. But I have never seen politicians in these queues; they have everything; They are rich. This is one of the major weaknesses of our country.

How Sri Lanka fell into its worst Economic Crisis?

The Rajapakse family and their supporters/backers were the main reason for why our country was soon plunged into such a crisis. In 2021, the Rajapaksa government, with the aim of moving toward 100% organic agriculture, chose to ban chemical fertilizers. This decimated farmers’ yields, more so in the rice and sugar sectors. In a bid to revitalize the economy, the government cut taxes.

Credit Image: BBC

When the economy started dwindling, the Rajapaksa government not only resisted aid from neighboring countries but also held off talks with IMF (International Monetary Fund) and Rajapakses robbed innocent people’s money since 2004 and they showed no sympathy for the helpless people in Sri Lanka. Rajapakse’s chose violence. All the politicians who have ruled the country for 72 years should responsible for this bad situation in our country.

Protesters?

The Sri Lanka protests are a series of ongoing protests in Sri Lanka against the Government of Gotabaya Rajapakse. Protesters have taken to streets to show their anger and displeasure over the mismanagement of the economy by the government. The main demand of the protesters is that the government run by the Rajapakse regime immediately resign and paving the way for a completely new set of qualified democratic rulers.

Credit Image: CNN

Protesters have commonly chanted slogans such as ‘Go home Gota’, ‘Go home Rajapakses’, ‘Give us our stolen money’, etc. These protesters have mainly been staged by the public, including teachers, school/university students, religious leaders, priests (the nuns and reverends stood in the frontline to prevent the police from attacking the peaceful protesters), doctors, social activists, sportsmen, engineers, farmers, IT professionals, artists, retired soldiers etc… without any direct political affiliation.

The young generation of our country has played a major part in carrying out protests at Go home Gota village (Gall Face Green). Sometimes these peaceful protesters were unlawfully arrested by police officers. These protesters have the right to demonstrate peacefully. This protest has become a rare sight of national unity with all communities in Sri Lanka. That’s the best thing. These protests are still ongoing island wide. These protests brought about some political changes, for example the resignation of the former Prime Minister, former Minister of Finance, etc. These protesters present their protest very peacefully and artistically.

No one knows when our country will be better off. Until then we are with the struggle.

Victory for the Struggle!

No Food No Life : Crisis in Sri Lanka, Sprouting allover Asia

By Neilan D’Souza

How is it possible that today’s modern world still struggles to successfully practice and implement one of the oldest occupations ever known to humankind – Agriculture. And at the same time we are able to easily ignore the fact that it is also responsible for the highest number of deaths in the world – Hunger. No disease/disaster what so ever has come close to claim lives in such figures. No this not another variant of any virus but a mere consequence of a human developed economic system – Capitalism.

According to UN, each day, 25,000 people (around 9 million people every year), including more than 10,000 children, die from hunger and related causes. Some 854 million people worldwide are estimated to be undernourished, and high food prices may drive another 100 million into poverty and hunger. Hunger and under-nutrition are the greatest threats to public health, killing more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And this is not because the world is not able to produce enough food to feed 7.5 billion people but it is simply because most of the food is wasted or not consumed on time.

Image: https://news.cgtn.com

1.5 billion tons of food is wasted every year, we clearly do not have a problem of supply and demand what we have is a problem of production and distribution. Food insecurity is not a natural result of population growth but a man made crisis caused by a failing inhumane system as with many other basic human necessities under a capitalist system which regards food as a commodity which has to be traded in order to make a profit.

The more food we make and sell the more money there is to be made. And so under the disguise of creating a system which produces food for all we have developed a modern intensive farming method which aim to produce greater quantities to be sold, in contrast has brought down the quality of food and also caused immense environmental damage. It is only now in the recent decade that we have began to witness its catastrophic effects in our daily lives.

This vicious cycle of a capital lead economy has to go away because the new normal of Climate Change, Food Insecurity, Consumerism and Throw-away Culture simply cannot sustain the World anymore. An eye opening example is the present economic crisis which the common people in Sri Lanka are suffering from. The present government’s move to suddenly ban chemical fertilizers overnight led to drastic crop failure at the same time when the country was slowly reviving itself from the damages caused by the pandemic.

https://news.un.org

Today this has escalated the cost of food so much that most of the people in Sri Lanka can only afford one meal a day. It is impossible to imagine the struggle of a country where almost 30% of the population are engaged in agriculture but cannot afford even three meals a day.

Without food there is no life – and if the intention of food production is catered towards earning capital and not life we need to stop and undo such systems which requires involvement from each one of us. We all can begin from denying the popular throw-away culture, cutting down on consuming more food than we actually require and without neglect we must atleast share food with those who do not have or fall in short of.

If there is one thing that we Christians must learn from the teachings of the Bible is that from the Bible’s beginning all the way to the end, there’s a clear picture of God’s compassion for the poor. God is passionate about caring for the needs of the vulnerable, and also promises to champion their cause-even when the rest of the world neglects them.