What a Constitution cannot change
It is a futile exercise to claim to change a country’s constitution to meet the aspirations of each and every citizen of Sri Lanka. There are some sine quo non areas and other factors that cannot change just to please some or because its existence displeases others. The unitary status of the country cannot be changed. Sri Lanka should not be made secular-we have a proud heritage that many of the countries promoting secularism do not have. Multicultural phenomena is a new concept for countries that were created and developed because of immigrants. Sri Lanka has a very proud civilizational history that cannot be changed.
1. A Country’s history and heritage cannot be expunged, re-written or plagiarized simply because factual elements displeases or upsets some. It must be made compulsory for citizens to know the history of the island – the South Indian invasions and the destructions caused, the invasions of the 3 colonial European Christian powers and the destruction and damage caused by them – covering murders, plunder, forced conversions, illegal immigrations, destruction of religious sites in particular Buddhist sites on top of which Churches were built, the destruction of property and ruining of fertile soil through scorched earth policies. All citizens must know that in 1815 the country was ceded to the British and it was never conquered. If so it also raises the question of why Sri Lanka needed to be given ‘independence’. Moreover, many citizens are still to know that it was with the Sinhale Nation and the representatives of the Sinhale nation that the British signed the Kandyan Convention. The only religion the British assured to protect at this signing ceremony was Buddhism because Buddhism was the state religion and the British acknowledged this by agreeing to protect it.
2. Status quo for Buddhism cannot be touched. The principles of Buddhism were what the people and the rulers followed even upto colonial occupation and beyond. The very fabric of civilization was built on these values and later day arrivals and neo liberal thinking or experiments cannot be allowed to remove that status that has to continue to be entrenched in any constitution and Governmental policy/Education policy of Sri Lanka. Moreover, the resistance to these proposed changes comes from the realization that the 2 main Abrahamic faiths through their institutionalized political framework have as an objective to remove non-Abrahamic ethno-religious identities of countries and replace with theirs. This objective has been clearly advocated as their religious policy.
3. National Anthem / National Flag A nation’s national anthem must depict the soul of the island’s history & its national identity. No country will change its national anthem on arguments of ‘multiculturalism’ a word coined only in the 1970s. Treating citizens equally before the law is all that is required to ensure every citizen is treated equally – there is no requirement to change the national anthem, the history, heritage sites or demean the role of the ancestors who defended the nation and died sacrificing their lives. The failed experiment of singing the national anthem in two different languages is sufficient to continue the national anthem in its original format. Let us remind those that introduced illegally & unconstitutionally the singing of the national anthem in Tamil should admit the endeavor is a complete failure given that the assurances that the Tamil leaders gave has not come through – Wigneswaran continues with his racism as do all other Tamil leaders, the drop in Sinhala visitors to the North on account of fear following stoning of buses and threats made by Tamil leaders not to allow Sinhalese to come to the North is a case in point. Singing in Tamil has made no difference therefore this should not be allowed to continue in the new constitution.
It is also worthy to note that Mr Sinnelebbe proposed that Sri Lanka continue with the lion flag used by the Kings at independence. The two stripes representing Tamils & Muslims were added much later as a gesture by the Sinhalese to include minorities. Hardly any country denotes the minorities in their country flags. However, even after doing that minorities have nothing but complaints against the majority. Can we have instances where minorities have praised the majority?
4. National Policy Education / Trade / Health / Other essential services. All citizens must have a very clear knowledge of the country’s history that covers period of pre-Vijaya, the Sivu-Hela tribes, the Indian invasions, 3 Colonial occupations & their war crimes, the achievements of our ancestors, the ancient marvels in the form of Stupas, Dagabos, Irrigation works, ancient warfare and these must all be incorporated into school syllabus and every child in public/private/semi-government/international school must be aware of this history as should all members of the diplomatic corps and all public servants.
5. Declaration of National Heritage Sites/Archaeological Sites/National Forests/Fauna/Flora – These areas and sites must not come under any provincial rule and should remain with the State of Sri Lanka and protected. No modern construction or demolition should be allowed under any excuse or reason especially by subject Ministries/Ministers. Clear policy that these areas cannot be sold or leased to any foreign parties under whatever condition. Ancient Buddhist heritage sites must be protected and incursions should not be allowed. These are not multicultural zones. Tourists arrive to see Buddhist heritage sites not newly created modern multicultural zones. These historically valuable places must be protected and anyone harming these sites must be indicted by law.
6. Protection of National Assets, Defending National Security Forces As a policy the country must clearly identify what the national assets of a country are and ensure that these remain within control of the State and are not commercialized for political gain. Moreover, a policy must be drawn to ensure that the country’s armed forces are protected at all times and will not be subject to any international tribunals – the UK example is noteworthy as is the manner the US defends its troops. Internal military tribunals can deal with any wrong doing.
7. No Government voted for a term of office can be allowed to make changes that adversely affects the Nation & its people. We have been victim of various detrimental policies each time a government of coalition comes to power and functions to their whims and fancies totally ignoring its detrimental effects to the country. Such governments have allowed foreign countries/their companies to take over strategic areas on the guise of ‘economic’ development and we have become a sitting duck for global politics by not having a clear country policy that remains non-aligned but friendly with all nations.
8. Provincial councils must have powers only relevant to the basic administrative needs of the province. International agreements, international funds, inviting of international organizations/individuals/groups must be the task of ONLY the State through Parliament and not by Provinces and Chief Ministers elected for only a term. Elections to Chief Ministers & Governing body must select people who have lived without break in the province for over 5-10years. People cannot be parachuted from other parts to contest elections as is the case of the present NPC Chief Minister who had been living all his life in Colombo.
9. No constitution should agree to incorporate liberal neo-colonial experiments like secular, multiculturalism, multi-faith etc all of which have been proven failures by the very countries that first promoted them. When a country has enough places for minorities to worship, enough freedoms for minorities to enjoy, enough examples where minorities have been shown they belong (through commemoration of national holidays, release of stamps, regular festivals, feats and events) there is no requirement to be putting foreign slogans which are simply a means to enable foreign countries their NGOs to start campaigns in Sri Lanka and make money for themselves. Religion, religious rituals etc are all money gainers and emotional triggers for political purposes. Moreover the countries peddling these slogans have hardly a history or culture to boast of. They have blood soaked hands in the manner they have denied the indigenous people their rights to their lands.
10. National Pride – A nation’s pride wrests on the knowledge of its glorious past not on copying foreign cultures or following dictates of foreign norms, slogans and experimental liberal concepts. It is only when a nation and its citizens values its history that its people’s feel the need to protect and preserve that history. The obvious gameplan through subjecting citizens to foreign cultures, foreign concepts and foreign values is to incrementally denationalize people of their roots. When people are denationalized they do not feel the urge to defend the nation and the nation becomes vulnerable to vultures or all forms. People are being trained to mentally feel that history is useless, heritage is nothing special, monuments are irrelevant and these are being promoted by countries that do not have histories beyond 200 years, countries that have been built by confiscating indigenous lands and murdering indigenous people and disenfranchising them and countries that do not have any historic monument to be proud of except beef burghers, starting same sex marriage campaigns, encouraging marriage after birth of children, not getting married and all sorts of weird and bizarre new cultures which are totally upsetting ethical & moral living.
As we can see, a group of people many of whom have questionable pasts and remain uninvestigated for links to terrorist outfits cannot be allowed to determine what should go in and what should be removed from the present constitution to the new constitution. The others are those who are living off foreign funds and are mouth piecing only what those paying their salaries demand of them. The whole process of constitution making is precarious for these ground realities which is why it is best that we continue with the existing constitution without allowing these controversial players to dabble with a document that is relevant to the entire nation, its people and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Shenali D Waduge
WE DO NOT WANT A NEW CONSTITUTION