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The second phase of "Dependable change"

“I do not mind if the election result was a true reflection of the people's will. But I have reasonable doubts that it is the true will of the majority, going by the way the election campaign was managed, and going by the estimates given by Rajapakse supporters themselves on the proportions in major cities. I know many Sri Lankans feel the same.”
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By Puravesiya

(January 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I have gone through several election experiences in my life. Sometimes the candidates I have supported won and sometimes they lost. However, I have never felt how I feel now before. I wholeheartedly supported Sarath Fonseka's bid to the presidency in Sri Lanka due to few simple reasons:

1. He (and his multi-ethnic coallition) wanted to start a political reconciliation process with the Tamils to strengthen Sri Lanka as a Nation. How much this dream gave hopes to the people in the North was reflected in their massive voting percentage (around 70% in favor).

2. he wanted to give more powers to the parliament and bring in laws to force people's representatives to be transparent (ex. disclose their income details)

3. he wanted to strengthen democratic rights of people and the rule of law.

4. he wanted to improve the efficiency/honesty of the public sector to be of best use to the private sector.

5. he wanted to improve the quality and access to education.

All these things were important in their right balance more than ever before because these were in my opinion the essential steps one should take immediately after a war comes to and end. However, disgusting approaches taken by the ruling party candidate ridiculed this dream. Unashamed abuse of state media, negligence of supreme court orders to stop abusing state property for political campaigning, murder (four election related deaths), instilling a fear psychosis among the people, alleged ballot rigging (The election commissioner himself in his speech said, it is had been a challenge to protect ballot boxes), scaring the people in the North with several bomb blasts in the election day morning (this caused the polling rate to drop to 20%), defamation, threatening to arrest, etc. were among the filthiest strategies I have ever seen.

I do not mind if the election result was a true reflection of the people's will. But I have reasonable doubts that it is the true will of the majority, going by the way the election campaign was managed, and going by the estimates given by Rajapakse supporters themselves on the proportions in major cities. I know many Sri Lankans feel the same. Their mouths have been shut by threatening to arrest if caught spreading rumors. What is a rumor? People spread rumors, when they are not sure of something. When they have lost trust in state media, the only choice they have is to believe in rumors. Therefore, rrumors are spread both by people who supported Mahinda Rajapakse, and those who supported Sarath Fonseka. But, it is clear that only the latter group is being victimized.

I urge you to therefore, resort to a peaceful way or a Gandhian way to continue a fight for democracy - a fight that will one day make sure all Sri Lankans will be able to speak whatever they want without fear of persecution, and where they will be able to vote free from fear, and where their true vote but not a rigged vote will be counted to decide their destiny. And, state terror can not target a Gandhian approach. If they do, they only promote the movement.

We are all very busy people. But lets start something simple where we can spend about 15 mins a day. If we manage to get at least 25% of the people who voted for Sarath Fonseka's cause we will have about quater a million man hours a day. This will over time, develop to be a Gandhian tsunami.

I suggest we do the following simple things:

1. Open your own facebook account, and write how you feel about democracy, freedom of expression, human rights, in Sri Lanka and atrocities committed by the Mahinda Rajapakse regime everyday ON YOUR STATUS bar. already I have seen some people giving good examples.

2. facebook gives you unlimited capacity to upload pictures. Upload nice pictures of Sri Lanka and your life so that people will visit your site and you will be able to give a positive impression about our country.

3. if you have time, interview normal people and upload movie clips to U-tube and link them to your facebook pages.

4. Collaborate in the Internet and write to newspapers jointly. Ex. one initiates a topic on facebook. You write whatever you can within your 15mins a day. Others visit and add facts to it, so that the article will grow over time. Somebody translates it to Sinhalese/Tamil and publish in Sri Lankan newspapers.

5. Set aside about $10 a month to be donated to a bigger marketing effort when time permits (optional).

6. Talk to religious leaders and keep them updated about the need to win back democracy in Sri Lanka. You can do this on Poya days or Church days or whenever you visit your religious place.

7. Motivate artists to write songs of freedom. if the Government bans them, make cell phone ringing tones condemning the Samagama.

8. Continue to collect facts/photos/videos and keep it. Documentation is really important.

9. Get more and more Tamils to talk to the Southern Sinhalese audience and Sinhalese to talk to the Northern masses to reduce ethnic tensions. I believe if R. Sambanthan could talk more to the Southern Sinhalese to alleviate their fears of separatism, Sarath Fonseka would have scored more. If you are an academic, visit to Tamil universities and give free technical talks on your subject matter. Build your own cordial links with Tamils, and Tamils will return their part one day. Don't expect a return though.

Please keep on adding to the list. But be consistent with your 15 min/day contribution. You can cut down on other things like responding to people who hail Mahinda Rajapakse.

Lets join hands. We can fight. Remember, all those soldiers died dreaming of a beautiful Sri Lanka where people would live free. Lets have gratitude to their last will. Our gratitude is to the cause for democracy and human rights that will ensure Sri Lankans will never fight a fourth war on Sri Lankan soil to kill fellow Sri Lankans. People veneration will lead us nowhere. It is your individual 15mins/day that will turn this to a Gandian tsunami. I know how shocked and dippressed you are, because I feel the same. I couldn't sleep last night, and couldn't get back my appetite yet. But today I got some energy. I share it with you. Don't let it die down. Get back on your feet again.

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