| Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association

( January 3, 2014, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Guardian) The forthcoming Presidential Electionis the last chance to save democracy in Sri Lanka. This is the time to prevent the country slidinginto the mire where the ordinary people endure huge privations for the benefit of a band of rulers.

Development projects are planned to secure fat commissions rather than to benefit the people. The money spent on development and the money the ruling clique gets as commissionsis money that lawfully belongs to the people.

The rulers’ boast that they have carried out huge development projects, while in reality taking an inordinate share of the money as commissions, is an ongoing farce that is enacted to fool the masses.

Tax money belonging to the people is spent on luxurious living by a small powerful group. Interference in the administration of justice, destruction of law and order, corruption and complete misuse of power has reached unprecedented heights. Those who are paid by the people to serve them have virtually become parasites with scant intention of service.

This can be seen from the fact that the peoples’ representatives in the North elected by popular vote are powerless and cash-strapped, while those who have minuscule support enjoy limitless power, cash and privilege.
It is true that the minorities’ question has been placed on the back burner against the need to protect and revive democracy that is in imminent danger of being lost forever.

Neither of the two major candidates nor their strongest supporters showed any indication that they understood the national question. It is thus clear that they have no answer to this question that has sapped, misdirected and wasted the energies of generations since independence and not just of Tamils. However, it is a great blunder to ask Tamils to boycott the presidential election for this reason. Democracy should first be saved for the Tamils to have a voice to demand and fight for their rights. When a democratic dispensation dawns on the entire country, the Tamils too can enjoy its benefits. We must exercise this opportunity that is our right and duty as citizens to cast our ballot at the forthcoming election to secure broader options for the future.

Therefore the Tamils should cast their vote without fail to demonstrate our intention to prevent misuse of our tax money, and to secure justice,law and order and, above all, democracy in this our country.

Default in not casting our vote would strengthen dictatorship that would lead the country towards irreversible destruction. This is the lesson we learn from the history of nations that went down the path of dictatorship.

Even if our numbers are small they may be the determining factor in the choice between democracy and dictatorship. Had the Tamils used the power of their ballot at the 2005 presidential election rather than boycott it; we may have secured a happier and less destructive course of events.

We therefore urge the Tamil people to get the value of their ballot by enabling the victory of the candidate who shows a markedly better prospect of placing democracy in this country on a healthy footing.