World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


SRI LANKA : Patriotism without justice is pure bluff

SRI LANKA : Patriotism without justice is pure bluff

Basil Fernando

Human beings, however poor or however oppressed, seek justice in the same way. Even a tuberculosis patient looks for fresh air. All wisdom traditions have associated justice as having the same character as fresh air. To deny justice is to deny a fundamental condition of being human.

If a person cannot get fresh air in the normal way, they have to be provided with air through artificial means of giving oxygen. To treat a patient’s illness, the patient must first be kept alive. If they cannot be kept alive by natural means, they should be kept alive through the use of artificial means. Failing to do that is to resign oneself to sure death.

In the recent decades, the Sri Lankan state represented by various regimes, lost sight of this essential truth, that people cannot be kept alive if they are denied justice. The way this most basic trend running through all political philosophy - whether it be Western philosophy rooted in Greek thought or Eastern philosophies, including Buddhism - was forgotten and ignored by these governments is hard to comprehend. Even colonial powers cruelly oppressing local populations understood that, for their own good, some avenues for justice (or at least semblances of justice) should be kept alive. This most basic tenet was what the Sri Lankan leaders in recent times forgot and the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa pays no attention to at all. Perhaps it is a premise that has never entered into his mind. The ruthless and exploitative tradition of the Rajapaksa family in the Hambanthota district over a long period of time may be the reason why he does not know the place of justice in politics.

Since 1971, the processes of justice – however limited they might have been - have been continuously and ruthlessly wiped out from Sri Lanka. In 1971, State agencies began the practice of securing people’s arrest and then killing them, and that practice was continued. One of the most basic tenets of justice, which is to protect persons who have been taken into State custody, was most carelessly abandoned. At no time did the Parliament exercise its power to reexamine and review the factors that led to the adoption of this most pernicious practice. Nor did the Sri Lankan judiciary take the risk of defending the rights of the individual at the cost of offending the executive.

The principle so beautifully entrenched in the Bracegirdle case of 1937 was not a sacred enough principle for the Sri Lankan judiciary to put their all their effort in to secure. The result is simply that even the most basic legal remedy, habeas corpus, became a remedy that is impossible to obtain in Sri Lanka. Literally hundreds of cases demonstrate the carelessness with which this most basic remedy was trampled upon and discarded.

The rest of the history of Sri Lanka’s descent into a justice-less nation needs no enumeration here, as it is a tale so often retold by so many persons. The last episode of this frightening drama was the manner in which the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was dragged down and trampled upon by the executive. Volumes of literature exist on this particular aspect.

At the moment, Sri Lankan Presidents and governments attack the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the 27th of March, during its 25th session, with loud cries of great patriotism. When rulers deny justice, what right have they to talk about patriotism? We are witnessing a moment of enormous hypocrisy exhibited through the largest possible use of public media. However, that is no answer to a people denied justice. They want to breathe. No ruler can stop the people’s wish to breathe.

Seeking the assistance of the international community may be a resort to a ventilator. Between death and the ventilator, it is only natural that anyone would choose the latter. Crying foul against an international body, which was established for no other reason than to provide some avenues for justice when the internal processes failed, is itself an enormous bluff.

It is time, though it is now far too late, to wake up and grasp the fundamental political tenet that no ruler can rule while denying a modicum of justice to their people. We are witnessing a dramatic moment in which this basic truth is once again being reasserted.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news