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.
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.
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.
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.
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!