Editorial Mr Wasantha Mudalige, who is said to be the convener of a certain student union, is currently in custody and national and international parties are giving priority to distorting the truthMore
“The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all their happiness and all their powers as a state depend.” – Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
The day Dr. Senaka Bibile died mysteriously in a foreign land, Sri Lanka’s future of public medicine was jeopardized. Dr. Bibile was not only an influencer in Sri Lanka but also in many South Asian and other developing countries. However, it was clear that the West, led by the United States, was not in favour of Bibile’s public health policy as their pharmaceutical companies struggled to penetrate the local market. With Bibile gone, his public health policy also disappeared, marking the beginning of the decline of Sri Lanka’s public health sector.
Since then, many pharmaceutical companies have flocked to Sri Lanka, and private hospitals have boomed. However, the public health sector has survived by overcoming greater challenges. Yet, the system itself is now in peril, and the entire system may soon shut down. While successive governments are responsible for this breakdown, the medical community as a whole bears a greater degree of responsibility. Irregularities in medical education, acutely politicized trade unions, and excessive staffing have added fuel to the fire.
Now, it is evident that giant corporations originating from the US and India will take over the entire system, and the once well-functioning, internationally acclaimed public health sector will soon be a thing of the past in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was not alone; many countries faced the same scenarios. Let’s take Chile as an example.
Chile is often cited as an example of how neoliberal policies can have a devastating impact on public health. In the 1970s, the Chilean government implemented a series of neoliberal reforms, including privatizing the health care system. The government provided subsidies for private health insurance while cutting funding for public hospitals and clinics. The result was a two-tiered health care system, where those who could afford private health insurance received quality health care, while the poor and vulnerable were left to suffer. The privatization of health care also led to skyrocketing healthcare costs, making it even more difficult for those who could not afford private insurance to access quality care.
The decline of Sri Lanka’s public health sector is a significant loss, not only for Sri Lankans but also for the entire South Asian region. Dr Bibile’s public health policy was based on the principles of affordability, availability, and accessibility of medicines. However, with the rise of multinational corporations, the focus has shifted from public health to profit-making. The multinational corporations’ primary objective is to make profits, which means that drugs are often expensive and inaccessible to the poor. This is not the case with Dr Bibile’s public health policy.
It is crucial to revive Sri Lanka’s public health sector and restore Dr Bibile’s vision if Sri Lankan policymakers have the mind and heart to protect the country’s basic foundation. This requires political will, a commitment to public health, and a shift in focus from profit-making to public service. The medical community must also play a significant role in restoring public confidence in the public health system. By working together, Sri Lanka can restore its once world-renowned public health system and once again provide affordable, accessible, and quality health care to its citizens.
The rise of private hospitals in Sri Lanka has also contributed to the decline of the public health sector. Some private hospitals operate like mafia enterprises, pursuing profit at the expense of human lives. Patients are often subjected to unnecessary tests, procedures, and surgeries, all in the name of maximizing profit. Doctors are incentivized to perform more procedures and prescribe expensive drugs, regardless of whether they are necessary or not.
Moreover, private hospitals often cherry-pick patients based on their ability to pay. Wealthy patients receive preferential treatment, while poor patients are left to fend for themselves in overcrowded public hospitals. This has created a two-tiered healthcare system in Sri Lanka, where those who can afford it receive the best care, while the poor and vulnerable are left to suffer. Private hospitals have also contributed to the brain drain of Sri Lanka’s healthcare system. Doctors and nurses are lured away by the promise of higher salaries and better working conditions in private hospitals, leaving the public health sector understaffed and under-resourced. This has further weakened the already fragile public health system, making it difficult for it to compete with the private sector.
To address this issue, there is a need for greater regulation of the private healthcare sector in Sri Lanka. The government must ensure that private hospitals are not operating like mafia enterprises and that they are held accountable for their actions. There is also a need for greater investment in the public health sector, to ensure that it can compete with the private sector and provide quality health care to all Sri Lankans, regardless of their ability to pay. As Dr David Satcher, former Surgeon General of the United State says that “public health is the science of social justice, the art of preventing disease, and the calling of healers and caregivers.”
The decline of Sri Lanka’s public health sector is a significant loss for the country and its people. The rise of private hospitals driven by profit has only exacerbated the problem, creating a two-tiered healthcare system that is inaccessible to the poor and vulnerable. It is time for Sri Lanka to prioritize public health over profit, and to restore the vision of Dr Senaka Bibile, who believed in affordable, accessible, and quality health care for all. Otherwise, successful control of the Covid-19 pandemic will be marked as the last national endeavour of Sri Lanka’s public health system.
by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor
It is well known that Sri Lanka is currently facing a significant debt crisis, with one of its major creditors being China. As such, the recent visit by highly placed delegates from China to Sri Lanka during the tenure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa came as no surprise. What was surprising, however, was the strict suggestion made by the Chinese delegation for Sri Lanka not to declare default.
According to reliable sources with knowledge of the issue, China strongly believed that Sri Lanka would lose its grip irreversibly if the country declared default. Furthermore, they warned that such a move would have a series of bad impacts on the country’s future. Despite China’s warning, the Rajapaksa government decided to stand with India and the USA.
India and the USA had promised not only to strengthen cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but also to protect Gotabaya Rajapaksa under any circumstances, reliable sources said. However, “at the last moment, none of those countries came to help Rajapaksa to protect his presidency. Instead, they manoeuvred political scenarios to mark his exit while defaming his political career,” the sources added.
The cautionary tale here is that countries like Sri Lanka should exercise caution when dealing with foreign powers. In particular, the country should not rely too heavily on one country or group of countries, as this can lead to a dangerous dependence.
China’s warning to Sri Lanka not to declare default is a timely reminder of the importance of foreign relations. While it is important for countries to seek out economic opportunities, it is equally important to ensure that they maintain their independence and protect their national interests. Sri Lanka’s experience should serve as a cautionary tale to other countries that may be tempted to rely too heavily on foreign powers.
by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor
“All things are ready, if our mind be so.” – William Shakespeare, from Henry V, Act IV, Scene 3 (inspired by a saying attributed to the ancient Greek general Themistocles)
One of the highest officials of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), made a secret visit to Sri Lanka, according to reliable sources in diplomatic missions in Colombo with knowledge of the issue. He was accompanied by a “delegation” led by US Principal Duty Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, Jedidiah P. Royal. Furthermore, there are rumours circulating that the United States and India are planning to establish a joint military base in Trincomalee. While there has been no official confirmation on this matter, it is clear that Sri Lanka has become a battleground for a great power competition against China. Before assuming his current role as Director of the CIA, William (Will) Burns served as a diplomat and played a crucial role in American diplomacy. He is also the author of the memoir “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal,” in which he highlights the importance of strategic diplomacy and the use of backdoor channels. It is a really useful read to understand the true colours of diplomacy.
To understand the severity of the current geopolitical crisis in Sri Lanka, let’s examine an incident that occurred recently. Three universities in China, Sri Lanka, and an African country had planned to sign a tri-party Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). However, the Indian consul general office in Jaffna intervened and compelled Jaffna University to cancel the initiative, raising serious questions over “academic freedom.” Furthermore, reliable sources have revealed that India is funding several students’ unions in both the North and East provinces to take actions against Chinese development programs. In a recent interview, a young politician in Jaffna expressed concerns that former LTTE cadres may be receiving arms training in a neighbouring country, raising the possibility of a repeat of the tragic history. All of these developments suggest that a great game is being played to undermine the relationship between China and Sri Lanka. Key players in Sri Lanka must be very cautious in their analysis of this geopolitical situation, as there is a risk that Sri Lanka may become a vassal state controlled by the India-USA alliance against China. If Sri Lanka fails in its diplomatic strategy, it could face an unprecedented crisis, worse than prevailing economic meltdown.
China and Sri Lanka have a long and interesting history of diplomatic relations that dates back to the early 15th century, when the Chinese Great Admiral Zheng He made a visit to the Kotte Kingdom on the island. Zheng He, also known as Cheng Ho, was a Chinese explorer and admiral who is credited with exploring and mapping many parts of the Indian Ocean, including Sri Lanka. During his visit to Sri Lanka, Zheng He established friendly relations with the local rulers and introduced Chinese culture and traditions to the island. This visit marked the beginning of a long and enduring relationship between China and Sri Lanka, which continued for several centuries.
The Kotte Kingdom was a powerful Sinhalese kingdom that emerged in the 15th century in Sri Lanka. It was founded by a regional leader named Alagakkonara, who managed to establish his dominance over the region. However, by the mid-16th century, the Kotte Kingdom began to decline due to internal conflicts and external pressures from foreign invaders. The kingdom was weakened by a series of wars with the Portuguese, who eventually succeeded in capturing the capital city of Kotte in 1565. This marked the end of the Kotte Kingdom and the beginning of Portuguese colonial rule in Sri Lanka. After the fall of the Kotte Kingdom, the Sinhalese people migrated to the central hills of Sri Lanka and established a new kingdom in the city of Kandy. The Kandy Kingdom was established in 1590 and became the last independent kingdom in Sri Lanka. The kingdom was able to resist foreign invasion for many years due to its strategic location in the central hills, which made it difficult for invaders to reach. The Kandy Kingdom also maintained strong diplomatic relations with other neighbouring kingdoms, such as the Mughal Empire in India.
Indian influence in Sri Lanka can be traced back to ancient times when Buddhist teachings were brought to Sri Lanka from India. In the 3rd century BCE, the Indian emperor Ashoka sent his son Mahinda to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism. From then on, Sri Lanka became a hub of Buddhist learning, and Indian scholars and pilgrims regularly travelled to the island to study and worship at the Buddhist sites. In the 11th century, the Chola Empire of South India invaded Sri Lanka and established a short-lived empire on the island. However, Indian influence in Sri Lanka reached its peak during the Kandy Kingdom, when the kingdom maintained close relations with the Mughal Empire. The Mughals were interested in Sri Lanka’s strategic location and trade opportunities, and they established diplomatic and commercial ties with the Kandy Kingdom. The Mughals also helped the Kandy Kingdom to resist the Portuguese, providing military aid and training to the Sinhalese army. Simultaneously, Chinese diplomatic relationship was diluted. Due to Indian influence and other factors, the relationship between China and Sri Lanka declined for many decades, and this history was even wiped out from local history books. However, after the 1949 Communist Revolution, China again started to focus on building its relationships with other countries, including Sri Lanka. In recent years, China has been a key economic partner for Sri Lanka, investing in major infrastructure projects such as the Hambantota Port and the Colombo Port City.
While the relationship between China and Sri Lanka has had its ups and downs, the two countries continue to share a strong bond that is rooted in their shared history and culture. Today, China is one of Sri Lanka’s most important economic and strategic partners, and the two countries continue to work closely together to promote mutual growth and development. It is true that there are some competitors who are seeking to reduce China’s influence in Sri Lanka. Some countries, such as the United States and India, have expressed concern about China’s growing presence in Sri Lanka and other parts of the region. In recent years, there have been reports of efforts to limit or curtail Chinese investment and influence in Sri Lanka.
However, it is worth noting that China’s involvement in Sri Lanka has brought significant benefits to the country. Chinese investment has helped to fund major infrastructure projects, such as highways, ports, and airports, which have helped to boost economic growth and create jobs. China has also provided support in areas such as education, healthcare, and disaster relief. While there are certainly concerns about China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka, it is important to remember that the relationship between the two countries is based on a long and complex history that goes back many centuries. Despite the challenges and competition from other countries, China and Sri Lanka should continue to work together to promote economic development and mutual growth in the years ahead. Sri Lanka is passing its moment of “know thyself” through its historical roots.
“The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned.” – Antonio Gramsci
President Wickemesinghe’s accidental presidency was seen by many as a solution to the deadliest crises in the country and a way to bring about normalization. However, several of the key initiatives he had promised are still in limbo, and rhetoric has surpassed reality. As a result, people are being forced to compromise in order to survive daily, while those responsible for the economic turmoil remain at large. It’s no exaggeration to say that Sri Lanka’s sovereignty is at risk, as various actors disguised as protectors are plotting to interfere with the country’s internal affairs.
Sri Lanka has a long history of democratic governance, with its citizens enjoying the right to vote and elect their representatives. However, in recent years, the country’s democracy has been in decline, with the government under President Wickremesinghe accused of manipulating state institutions for political gain, postponing elections, and failing to build consensus with other political parties. As Plato says, “the price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
One of the key indicators of a functioning democracy is the holding of free and fair elections, which allow citizens to choose their leaders without any interference or manipulation. However, Sri Lanka’s government has been accused of postponing local and provincial elections, which has led to a democratic deficit in the country. This has also contributed to a lack of accountability and transparency, as government officials are not being held accountable for their actions. In addition to using every possible trick to postpone elections, President Wickremesinghe has been accused of manipulating government institutions to promote his own political agenda. This is constantly eroding public trust in these institutions and undermined the rule of law. The lack of checks and balances has led to a concentration of power in the hands of a few individuals, which is a dangerous trend for any democracy.
Another critical issue is the failure of the government to initiate a national consensus among political parties. Without a shared vision and common goals, it becomes difficult to make progress on important issues, such as economic growth and social welfare. The lack of consensus has led to a situation where the government is unable to build consensus with other parties, which has further contributed to a democratic deficit. Moreover, the current government lacks a people’s mandate as it has been accused of obtaining the consent of a few politicians who were themselves accused of plundering the country. This has further weakened the democratic institutions in the country.
The current situation in Sri Lanka, where the government is facing accusations of undermining democracy, could have serious consequences for the country’s stability. Sri Lanka has a history of social unrest and armed struggle, which was triggered by similar issues that are being faced today. In 1971, an armed uprising led by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was launched against the government of Sri Lanka. The insurgency was fueled by economic and social grievances, as well as a lack of political representation for marginalized groups. The government’s response was brutal, with thousands of people being killed or imprisoned. The insurgency was eventually suppressed, but at a high cost to Sri Lanka’s social and political fabric. Similarly, in the late 1980s, Sri Lanka witnessed another period of armed struggle. The government’s failure to address the grievances of the Tamil minority led to the rise of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The insurgency lasted for over two decades and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people, as well as the displacement of many more. The LTTE was eventually defeated in 2009, but at a cost to Sri Lanka’s social and economic development.
These examples show how the failure of democratic institutions and the erosion of public trust can lead to social unrest and even armed conflict. If the current situation in Sri Lanka is not addressed, there is a risk of history repeating itself. The government must take urgent steps to restore trust in democratic institutions and engage with other political parties to build consensus on key issues. It is important to note that Sri Lanka’s history of social unrest and armed struggle has had a devastating impact on the country’s development. The conflict has left deep scars on Sri Lanka’s social fabric and economy, and it will take years to heal those wounds. Therefore, it is in the interest of all Sri Lankans to work towards a stable, peaceful, and democratic future, which can ensure that the country does not have to suffer through similar events in the future.
Sri Lanka’s democracy has been on a downward trajectory for some time now. The government’s failure to uphold democratic values and institutions has led to a decline in public trust and a democratic deficit. President Wickremesinghe’s days are numbered, and it is time for him to step down, if he is expecting an honourable existence, and allow for a democratic transition of power. Only then can Sri Lanka restore its democratic institutions and ensure that its citizens enjoy the rights and freedoms that are their birthright.
by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor
“The decline of democratic norms in India has implications not only for India, but also for the region as a whole. It is crucial that steps are taken to strengthen India’s democracy and ensure that the country remains a stable and democratic force in the region.” ~ Open letter by 71 former civil servants of India.
Alas! The largest democracy in the world is unfortunately deteriorating at a rapid pace, with certain individuals taking advantage of the resulting chaos. In contrast to Nero, who was committed to quelling fires in ancient Rome and preventing future incidents, the contemporary political figures in power are cynically manipulating democratic systems and mocking the citizens they are meant to serve. The rise of Modicracy in India is leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many, and it is only a matter of time before the consequences of these actions become clear, potentially resulting in far-reaching damage to the country.
The decline of democratic norms in India has been a matter of concern for several years now. The country’s democracy, which was once hailed as a shining example for the developing world, has been eroding under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government’s crackdown on dissent and the media has been particularly alarming, as it threatens the very foundations of democracy.
Risk of losing India’s economy and international standing
Under the Modi government, democracy has been replaced by what some have called “Modicracy.” The government has used its power to silence dissent and consolidate its grip on power. Journalists, academics, and activists who criticize the government have been targeted, arrested, and even killed, reports asserted. The government has also used the judiciary and other state institutions to its advantage, often at the expense of due process and the rule of law.
One of the most concerning aspects of the decline of democratic norms in India is the government’s control of the media. Media censorship is rampaging, and media houses are being raided based on fabricated charges. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started its own media outlets to develop a cult around the prime minister, rather than promoting a healthy governing system. The government’s influence over the media has been particularly alarming, as it limits the free flow of information and prevents citizens from making informed decisions about their government.
The consequences of this decline in democratic norms are manifold. First and foremost, it threatens the basic rights and freedoms of Indian citizens. It undermines the ability of the media to hold the government accountable and limits the space for open debate and discussion. This is particularly concerning given India’s diversity and the need for different voices to be heard.
The decline of democratic norms also has serious implications for India’s economy and international standing. The erosion of democratic values can make it harder for India to attract foreign investment and maintain the trust of international partners. This is particularly important given the country’s aspirations to become a global economic powerhouse.
The fact is that, the decline of democratic norms in India is not a unique phenomenon, and other countries provide examples of what could happen if the trend continues. Countries like Egypt, Hungary, and the Philippines have all experienced a similar erosion of democratic values in recent years, which has resulted in a concentration of power in the hands of their leaders.
Like these other countries, India’s decline towards “Modicracy” threatens to undermine the rule of law, restrict freedom of speech and the press, and suppress dissent. The government’s tendency to label dissenters as “anti-national” or “enemies of the state” creates a culture of fear and intimidation, which makes it difficult for civil society to hold the government accountable. The situation is further compounded by media censorship and raids on media houses, which have created an atmosphere of self-censorship and fear among journalists. This will not only be beneficial for India’s democracy, but also for the country’s economy and international standing.
The Modi government’s economic policies have also come under criticism for their adverse effects on the economy, and for allowing selected cooperate tycoons to assault the country’s spinal code. The way government is handling many critical issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic has been widely criticized, with experts arguing that the focus on symbolism over substance has led to a devastating impact on the economy and public health.
To avert future national calamities, the BJP should learn from the failures of other countries that have experienced a similar erosion of democratic norms. They should prioritize building strong and independent democratic institutions, respecting the rule of law, and protecting freedom of expression and the press. The government should also ensure that it engages with civil society, provides a platform for dissent, and listens to the voices of its citizens.
The Modi government’s increasing power can be attributed to a lack of unity among the opposition parties in India. The opposition has been unable to present a united front against the ruling BJP, which has enabled the government to consolidate its power and implement its policies without much opposition.
Opposition Disunity and Genealogical Nepotistic Culture
However, it is not just the lack of unity among the opposition parties that has helped the Modi government to become so powerful. The Congress, which is the main opposition party in India, has been criticized for its genealogical nepotistic culture. The party has been accused of promoting members of the Gandhi family or its stooges, rather than promoting merit and talent. This has not only led to a lack of fresh ideas and leadership within the party, but has also made it difficult for the party to present a strong alternative to the BJP.
The Congress has also been criticized for its lack of strategy and vision. The party has failed to articulate a clear vision for the country, and has been unable to come up with a strategy to counter the Modi government’s policies. This has made it difficult for the party to attract voters and build a strong opposition against the BJP. The congress must know that walking from south to north and west to east may not provide any insights into the revival of the political opposition against the cult-driven BJP government without addressing the true failures within, but certainly it can still aid in burning belly fat.
However, it is important to note that the consolidation of power by the BJP is not just a result of these factors. The government has also been successful in implementing its policies, such as demonetization and the Goods and Services Tax, which have been popular with some sections of the population.
Implications for neighbouring countries
At the same time, the decline of democratic norms in India is not just a concern for the country itself, but also has implications for its neighbouring countries. As one of the largest and most influential countries in South Asia, India’s political and economic stability has a significant impact on the region as a whole. The erosion of democratic values and the increasing centralization of power in the hands of the Modi government could have serious implications for India’s relationships with its neighbours.
One major area of concern is India’s relationship with Pakistan. The two countries have a long-standing history of conflict, and the decline of democratic norms in India could exacerbate tensions between the two nations. The Modi government’s policies, such as the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, have already strained relations between India and Pakistan. The lack of democratic values in India could further fuel resentment and hostility in Pakistan, which could have serious implications for regional stability.
Dr. Jaishankar, who was chosen by Modi to lead India’s external affairs, has made statements regarding Pakistan that have sparked controversy. Some feel that his recent comments, including calling Pakistan the epicentre of terrorism, are not in line with the strategic diplomacy approach of many other respected Indian diplomats. It is important for top enablers of the country’s foreign policy to avoid making statements that could be seen as confrontational and potentially detrimental to diplomatic relations. It is essential that Jaishankar does not resort to tactics of sensationalism or political posturing, and instead upholds the values of professionalism and impartiality expected of his position. Diplomacy is a different ball game.
Another area of concern is India’s relationships with other neighbouring countries, such as Bangladesh and Nepal. These countries have traditionally had close ties with India, but the decline of democratic norms in India could strain these relationships. The centralization of power in the Modi government could make it more difficult for these countries to engage with India on an equal footing, which could lead to resentment and instability.
In addition to political implications, the decline of democratic norms in India could also have economic consequences for the region. India is a major economic power in South Asia, and the erosion of democratic values could make it more difficult for the country to attract foreign investment and maintain its economic dominance. This could have a ripple effect throughout the region, as other countries depend on India’s economic stability.
Bottom line is that the erosion of democratic values in largest democracy on the planet could exacerbate tensions and fuel instability in the region, which could have political and economic consequences. It is crucial that steps are taken to strengthen India’s democracy and ensure that the country remains a stable and democratic force in the region.
by Our Economic Affairs Correspondent
“The IMF’s emphasis on fiscal austerity has proven to be misguided and has resulted in economic stagnation, high levels of unemployment, and increased poverty in many countries.” – Noam Chomsky
Sri Lanka is eagerly anticipating change. Sri Lankans are tired of being robbed by many parties, be the local or foreign. Recently, politicians who were on the run have been now secured their safe houses, while innocent people are being targeted with usual measures. This has been attributed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a well-known international financial institution that relies on the support of others. Even those in rural areas who previously showed little interest in the IMF are now discussing its role in the country.
However, the IMF is not a charity, and it is not expected to resolve Sri Lanka’s crisis. Instead, it will provide guidance similar to an accountant overseeing the accounts of a struggling company. Unfortunately, neither the IMF nor the power-hungry politicians in Sri Lanka seem to genuinely care about the country’s crisis. We must thank Gotabaya Rajapaksa for unmasking, knowingly or unknowingly, the issues that Sri Lanka faces, and for forcing Sri Lankans to acknowledge the country’s state. If the IMF is honest in its efforts, it should explain why their interventions failed the last 16 times Sri Lanka sought assistance. Could Sri Lanka become the next Jamaica, with the IMF taking control? We must take a closer look.
No doubt, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been a key player in the global economy since its creation in 1944. The IMF provides loans and technical assistance to countries facing economic challenges, with the goal of promoting economic stability and growth. However, there are many examples of IMF policies and loan conditions that have had negative consequences for the countries they were intended to help. One of these examples is Jamaica, where IMF policies have been blamed for exacerbating economic inequality and hindering long-term development.
Jamaica is a small island nation in the Caribbean, with a population of just under three million people. Like many other countries in the region, Jamaica has faced significant economic challenges over the years, including high levels of debt, inflation, and unemployment. The country has received multiple loans from the IMF over the past few decades, with the most recent loan approved in 2016. However, many Jamaicans feel that IMF policies have only made their economic situation worse.
One of the key criticisms of IMF policies in Jamaica is the focus on austerity measures, which often require the country to reduce public spending and increase taxes. These measures have been particularly harmful to the poorest sections of the population, who are most vulnerable to economic shocks. In Jamaica, the government has implemented a series of austerity measures over the years, including cutting social spending and increasing taxes on essential goods such as electricity and fuel. These measures have contributed to an increase in poverty and social inequality, as well as undermining the country’s long-term development prospects.
Another criticism of IMF policies in Jamaica is the focus on privatization and liberalization. These policies have led to the sale of state-owned assets, such as utilities and transportation, to private investors. While these policies may lead to short-term gains, they can have negative consequences in the long run. For example, privatization can lead to higher prices for essential services, as private companies seek to maximize their profits. This can further exacerbate the economic challenges faced by the poorest sections of the population, who may not be able to afford these higher prices.
In addition to these specific policies, some critics argue that the overall approach of the IMF is too focused on short-term fixes and not enough on long-term development. IMF loans often come with rigorous conditions that require the borrowing country to implement specific policies or undertake specific reforms, but these conditions may not address the underlying structural issues that have contributed to the country’s economic challenges. This focus on short-term fixes can make it difficult for countries like Jamaica to build a sustainable and resilient economy that benefits all its citizens.
Well, Jamaica is not alone. There are several other examples of countries where IMF policies have been criticized for their negative impact on the economy and society.
If the IMF fails in Sri Lanka, it will be just a case study for them, but it is the fate of more than 22 million people. Who will take note of this seriously when those in power are playing modern-day Nero?
One such example is Argentina, which has a long history of economic instability and has been a frequent borrower from the IMF. In 2018, Argentina received a $57 billion loan from the IMF, the largest loan in the organization’s history. However, the loan came with strict conditions, including austerity measures and cuts to social spending. Critics argued that these policies exacerbated economic inequality and contributed to a deepening recession in the country. Consequently, according to Xinhua, “Argentina recorded 98.8 percent year-on-year inflation in January, after starting the year with a monthly price increase of 6 percent, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) reported Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”
Another example is Greece, which received multiple loans from the IMF and other international lenders during the debt crisis that began in 2009. These loans came with conditions that required the Greek government to implement austerity measures and structural reforms. However, these policies were deeply unpopular with the Greek people and contributed to social unrest and political instability in the country. Many argue that the IMF’s focus on austerity measures delayed Greece’s economic recovery and hindered its long-term development.
A third example is Zambia, which has received multiple loans from the IMF over the past few decades. Critics argue that the conditions attached to these loans, which often require the government to reduce public spending and increase taxes, have contributed to social inequality and undermined the country’s long-term development prospects. For example, the IMF’s requirement for Zambia to reduce public spending on healthcare led to a decrease in the availability of essential medicines and equipment, making it harder for people to access healthcare services.
These examples illustrate the complex and often controversial role that the IMF plays in the global economy. While the organization’s loans and technical assistance can be helpful in promoting economic stability and growth, there are concerns about the impact of its policies on the poorest sections of society and on long-term development prospects. As such, it is important for the IMF to take a more comprehensive and long-term approach to its lending policies, one that prioritizes sustainable and inclusive development over short-term fixes.
True, it is difficult to predict whether Sri Lanka will become another Jamaica, Greece, or Argentina, but there are certainly concerns about the impact of IMF policies on the country’s long-term economic and social development. Sri Lanka has received loans from the IMF 16 times in the past and is currently negotiating its 17th bailout, with the aim of addressing the country’s ongoing economic challenges, including high levels of debt, inflation, and unemployment.
To avoid the negative consequences of IMF policies seen in other countries, Sri Lanka could consider adopting some of the recommendations put forward by top economists and experts in the field of development economics. One key recommendation is to focus on sustainable and inclusive economic development, rather than short-term fixes and austerity measures. This could involve investing in infrastructure, education, and other long-term development initiatives, with a focus on creating jobs and promoting economic growth in a way that benefits all citizens.
Another recommendation is to address the underlying structural issues that have contributed to the country’s economic challenges, such as corruption, inefficiency, and poor governance. This could involve implementing reforms to improve the business environment, increase transparency, and reduce bureaucracy, which could help to attract investment and create a more vibrant and dynamic economy.
In addition, Sri Lanka could explore alternative sources of funding and technical assistance, such as regional development banks or partnerships with other countries. These alternatives may offer more flexibility and a more nuanced approach to development challenges, which could better address the specific needs and priorities of the country.
Overall, Sri Lanka has a challenging road ahead as it seeks to address its economic challenges and promote sustainable development. To avoid the negative consequences of IMF policies seen in other countries, it will be important for Sri Lanka to take a comprehensive and long-term approach to economic development, one that prioritizes the needs and interests of all its citizens.
Sri Lanka, a beautiful island nation in South Asia, has been facing severe economic challenges for decades. Despite multiple interventions by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s economic crisis has not been resolved. In fact, Sri Lanka is currently seeking its 17th loan from the IMF, but there are doubts about the effectiveness of this latest effort to address the country’s economic woes. Why Sri Lanka has not been able to solve its economic crisis, and why the ongoing 17th IMF loan may lead to social turmoil without producing a lasting solution?
Sri Lanka’s economic challenges can be traced back to the country’s long-standing civil war, which lasted for nearly 30 years and ended in 2009. The conflict caused significant economic damage, and the country’s post-war economic recovery was slow. Moreover, the country’s high levels of public spending, corruption, and lack of investment in key sectors such as infrastructure have contributed to a sustained economic crisis. These challenges have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further weakened the country’s economy.
The IMF has been a key partner of Sri Lanka in its efforts to address its economic challenges. The IMF has provided loans to Sri Lanka for 16 times in the past. However, despite these efforts, the country’s economic situation has not improved significantly. There are several reasons why the IMF’s interventions have not been successful in addressing Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.
First, the IMF’s loan programs often require the borrowing country to implement strict austerity measures, such as reducing public spending and increasing taxes. These measures can have a significant impact on the poorest sections of the population, who are often the most vulnerable to economic shocks. In Sri Lanka, the government has been reluctant to implement these measures, fearing the political backlash that could result from public protests and unrest.
Second, the IMF’s loan programs are typically focused on addressing short-term economic challenges, such as balancing the budget or reducing inflation. These measures may not address the underlying structural issues that have contributed to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, such as corruption, weak institutions, and lack of investment in key sectors. Without addressing these structural issues, any short-term gains achieved through IMF programs are unlikely to be sustainable.
Third, the IMF’s loans often come with conditions that require the borrowing country to undertake significant economic reforms, such as liberalizing the economy or privatizing state-owned enterprises. These reforms can be politically challenging and may not be implemented effectively if there is insufficient political will or capacity to do so.
Given these challenges, the ongoing 17th loan from the IMF may not produce a lasting solution to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis. The loan program is expected to include conditions that require the government to undertake significant economic reforms, including reducing public spending and increasing taxes. These measures are likely to be politically unpopular, and the government may face significant public protests and unrest if it attempts to implement them.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires a long-term, sustainable solution. While the IMF has been a key partner in Sri Lanka’s efforts to address its economic challenges, the organization’s loan programs may not be sufficient to address the country’s underlying structural issues. Without addressing these underlying issues, any short-term gains achieved through IMF programs are unlikely to be sustainable.
Sri Lanka needs a comprehensive, long-term strategy that addresses its underlying economic and social challenges, including corruption, weak institutions, and lack of investment in key sectors. The government must prioritize addressing these structural issues and work towards building a more resilient and sustainable economy that benefits all Sri Lankans.
While the IMF can be a valuable partner in this effort, the government must take a leadership role in driving the necessary reforms and ensuring that they are implemented effectively. Without a sustained and comprehensive effort to address its economic challenges, Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is likely to persist, causing further harm to its people and undermining its long-term stability and development. Consequently, no wonder if Sri Lanka becomes the IMF’s new Jamaica.
Nothing better than take the sage words of a well-known economist, Joseph Stiglitz, “the IMF has a history of imposing harsh economic policies on developing countries, which often lead to social and economic turmoil, and are designed to favour the interests of wealthy creditor nations and international corporations over those of debtor countries.” If the IMF fails in Sri Lanka, it will be just a case study for them, but it is the fate of more than 22 million people. Who will take note of this seriously when those in power are playing modern-day Nero? Real Nero never did that, but in our time Neros, certainly will.
Velupillai Prabhakaran, the former leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was killed in action in May 2009 during the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. His death was widely reported and confirmed. Period! But, pro-LTTE Tamil politicians and separatist elements are continued to mislead the public by saying that Prabhakaran is still alive to ensure their political existence. Nedumaran, the slain LTTE leader’s long-time associate, has resumed drumming. This is his usual dramatic fallacy. According to him, the Tiger leader is still alive. Media organizations in India as well as in Sri Lanka are allowing their false statements. The media wants viewers, not the authenticity of their messages. None of those who are working in these institutes has any sense of the serious harm they are causing to the common people by spreading the lies of such fraudsters without any credible evidence.
However, we do not know that anyone is planning to give arms training to a group of Prabhakaran-style lunatics and plunge the North and Eastern provinces into violence again. We are not surprised by such a scenario as our history has set the record straight, but that is a different investigation. We don’t know if that is what Nedumaran is trying to convince the public. Then it is a separate cautionary issue.
Nevertheless, the use of lies by political leaders can create a culture of cynicism, where people become sceptical of all information and unable to distinguish between truth and falsehood. This can lead to a breakdown of the social fabric and make it more difficult for people to work together to solve common problems. In the case of the LTTE and its supporters, spreading rumours about the continued survival of Velupillai Prabhakaran is an attempt to keep the memory of the LTTE and its goals alive, or to maintain a sense of hope among those who supported the organization. However, it’s important to note that spreading false information can undermine trust in public institutions and the credibility of those who spread it, so it’s not a recommended or ethical practice.
Nedumaran was a firm believer in the idea that Tamils should have their own separate state; separate from India and Sri Lanka, which he argued would ensure the protection of their rights and interests. The impact of Nedumaran’s extremist political views can be seen in the polarizing effect it had on Tamil society. While he was able to mobilize a large following among Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, he also faced significant opposition and criticism from those who disagreed with his views. This division within the Tamil community made it difficult to achieve meaningful progress on the issues that the Tamil nationalist movement sought to address.
Like many other politicians, Tamil politicians are no exception when it comes to misinformation. Misinformation is a growing problem in our society and it can have serious consequences, particularly when it concerns matters of public safety, security, and political stability. Tackling misinformation requires a multi-faceted approach that involves the collaboration of various stakeholders including governments, media organizations, and individual citizens. But for someone like Nedumaran who is thirsty for social attraction, there is nothing but hanging on the LTTE remnants.
In a major step forward for Sri Lanka Guardian, we are pleased to inform our readers that we and Xinhua News Agency have signed a syndication agreement recently. This agreement will allow the two media organizations to share content, resources and information to provide more in-depth coverage of regional and international news to their respective audiences. With the rise of digital media and the globalization of information, it is essential for news organizations to collaborate and pool their resources to provide comprehensive coverage of the world’s events.
The syndication agreement between Sri Lanka Guardian and Xinhua will provide benefits for both organizations and their audiences. Sri Lanka Guardian will now have access to a wider range of news from China, the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond. Having the opportunity to exchange the content and resources of Xinhua will also foster greater understanding and cooperation between the two countries. This is especially important in a world where the flow of information is often fragmented and biased. By sharing content and resources, both organizations can help to provide a more balanced and accurate picture of the world’s events.
The signing of the syndication agreement between Sri Lanka Guardian and Xinhua is a significant step forward for cross-border journalism. This agreement will allow us to better serve our audience by providing more comprehensive and accurate coverage of regional and international news. It also highlights the importance of collaboration and cooperation between media organizations in an era of overwhelming information inflows.
Xinhua is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with a global network of correspondents and bureaus. The role of media organizations like Xinhua becomes even more critical in today’s fast-paced and interconnected world. The rise of digital media and the proliferation of information have made it increasingly difficult for audiences to separate fact from fiction. By providing accurate and impartial coverage of events, these media organizations help to inform and educate the public and promote greater understanding and cooperation between countries.
In conclusion, Sri Lanka Guardian and Xinhua are two of the most important media organizations in their respective countries, playing a critical role in providing accurate and impartial information to their audiences. The signing of the syndication agreement between these two media organizations will provide significant benefits for both organizations and their audiences, fostering greater understanding and cooperation between Sri Lanka and China.
– Editorial Team
The recent earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey (Türkiye) serve as a stark reminder of the devastating impact natural disasters can have on communities and individuals. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the border region between Syria and Turkey on February 6th, 2023, was the deadliest earthquake to hit the region in recent times, leaving thousands of people dead and many more injured or homeless. The first earthquake was followed by two more earthquakes and rescue operations became more complex and challenging. The disaster was a devastating blow to communities in both countries, and has had far-reaching consequences for the survivors and their families.
In the aftermath of natural disasters like earthquakes, it is important that we come together as a global community to provide support to those in need. Friends in need are the friends indeed. The immediate priority is to provide emergency assistance to those who have been affected, including food, shelter, and medical care. Governments, international organizations, and humanitarian groups have a crucial role to play in this response effort, providing crucial resources and support to help people get back on their feet. Many countries, including Russia, China and India, are greatly appreciated for their quick dispatch of experts to facilitate rescue operations.
However, the response to natural disasters like earthquakes cannot be left solely in the hands of governments and aid organizations. It is our common responsibility as individuals and members of society to support those in need, whether that be through donating money, volunteering, or simply spreading awareness about the situation. By working together, we can help to ensure that the victims of natural disasters like earthquakes receive the support they need to rebuild their lives and communities.
One of the key challenges in responding to natural disasters like earthquakes is the lack of resources and infrastructure in affected areas. In the case of this natural disaster in Syria and Turkey, many communities were already struggling with poverty, conflict, and displacement, making the response effort even more complex. The earthquake also caused widespread damage to infrastructure, including homes, schools, and healthcare facilities, making it difficult for people to access basic services.
In these situations, it is important that we not only respond to immediate needs but also focus on long-term recovery and reconstruction. This includes supporting the reconstruction of homes, schools, and healthcare facilities, as well as providing support to communities to help them recover economically. For example, this could involve providing training and support to help people start businesses or access new income-generating activities.
The irony is that this natural disaster was followed by a series of manufactured social calamities in the region. It is common knowledge who is behind those heinous acts.
In recent history, that was the western hegemony which schemed to destroy this region and ruin its heritage by leaving human lives in miserable conditions. Though, many countries and organizations are worried about the situation in Turkey, (of course, it should be), it is sad to see how certain powerful elements in the west trying to marginalize the grave condition in Syria. However, regardless of political differences, no one can deny that it was the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his team who decided to solve many problems, including the large influx of refugees to their country from neighboring Syria. As a single nation, Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world.
The civilizations of Syria and Turkey have played a significant role in shaping world history. These ancient cultures have left a lasting impact on art, architecture, religion, and philosophy, influencing generations to come and contributing to the diverse tapestry of human civilization.
Syria is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited regions and has been at the crossroads of various civilizations for thousands of years. As a result, Syria has been a melting pot of different cultures, religions, and ideas. During the ancient times, Syria was home to great civilizations such as the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians. These civilizations made significant contributions to the fields of science, mathematics, astronomy, and literature. For example, the Sumerians invented the wheel and cuneiform writing, while the Babylonians developed a sophisticated system of mathematics, including the use of a sexagesimal number system.
Turkey, on the other hand, has been the birthplace of several great civilizations, including the Hittites, Byzantines, and Ottoman Turks. The Hittites, who ruled over large parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria from the 16th to the 12th century BC, developed a sophisticated system of government, religion, and trade, and made significant contributions to the fields of metallurgy and military technology. The Byzantine Empire, which was centered in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), lasted for over a thousand years and played a crucial role in shaping the religious, cultural, and political landscape of Europe and the Middle East. Finally, the Ottoman Empire, which was established in the late 13th century and lasted until the early 20th century, was one of the largest and most powerful empires in world history, spanning three continents and influencing the course of world events for centuries.
Needless to say, the civilizations of Syria and Turkey have made a lasting impact on world history and continue to shape the world as we know it today. From the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Akkad, and Babylon to the modern-day influence of Islam and Christianity, the cultures of these regions have played a crucial role in shaping the course of human civilization. Whether through their contributions to art, science, religion, or politics, the civilizations of Syria and Turkey have left a legacy that continues to inspire and influence people around the world. This natural calamity not only destroyed two countries but also significantly damaged our archival records of human civilization.
In the aftermath of these events, it is the responsibility of the international community to stand with the victims and provide support to help them recover and rebuild. This support must be delivered in a timely and effective manner, with a focus on ensuring that aid is distributed equally and that those who are responsible for providing assistance are held accountable and transparent in their actions.
One of the most important elements of responding to a natural disaster is empathy. It is essential that those who are providing support have a deep understanding of the experiences and needs of the victims, and are able to respond in a compassionate and sensitive manner. This includes being aware of cultural differences and working to build trust with the communities that have been affected.
In conclusion, standing with the victims of natural disasters and providing support to help them recover and rebuild is a shared responsibility of the international community. This requires providing effective and timely emergency assistance, supporting long-term recovery and reconstruction, and ensuring that aid is distributed equally and transparently. It also requires empathy and a deep understanding of the experiences and needs of the victims, and a commitment to accountability and transparency in all aspects of the response effort. Let us stand with the people of Turkey and Syria at this difficult time.
The almighty and his holly son equally condemned the false prophets and teachers; no matter what they dressed. Liars are the bane of humanity and the doom of liars is spoken of in Revelation of Holly Bible. “As the messengers of God taught us, the liar will forever be separated from a loving and holy God. The liar will have all eternity to regret the deception they refused to renounce as they hear their lies echo in their memory.”
One liar who deceives himself as well as others suddenly came before the media and expressed his hypocritical hatred. What an ugly show. This is what we called; the Rip Van Winkle moment of any personality. He was fast asleep, and just before getting up he was sleepwalking; now he’s as awake as Rip Van Winkle.
After a period of silence, Father Cyril Gamini, a media spokesman of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, called a press conference in Colombo yesterday and once again expressed his views on the Easter terrorist attacks. On what authority Father Gamini can criticise the appointments of the senior officers climbed based on merits and seniority? Does he know that the basic legal ideology, the presumption of innocence, every person should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty due process of law?
Before and during the Galleface Aragalaya, many self-proclaimed civil society activists made a big fuss in the country about the Easter attack, but after the Aragalaya, their focus shifted. Consequently, many of them were pushed into a hideous silence. Simultaneously, the sources of income of those “revolutionaries” have also changed. According to reliable sources; some have received asylum in foreign countries and others have applied for it.
There were widespread allegations of a conspiracy behind the attack, but no one has any data to prove it is true. Their response is clear; I say because the other person said so. However, one good thing is that those who blame the attack was the result of a political conspiracy formulated by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa are now struggling to continue their blabbering to mislead society. With the rapid development of information technology, Goebbels’ theory that a lie becomes a truth just by telling it again and again has changed. But Father Cyril Gamini is reluctant to come out of the Goebbelsian cage.
Ensnared in such a confused social context, the new despicable attempt of the group of conspiracy theorists including Father Cyril Gamini is to attack the characters of the government officials they are targeting. At the press conference held yesterday, he proved his new vice. Father Gamini could be observed in the media yesterday to be so low as to express his views in a very obnoxious manner targeting government officials while the conspiracy theory he articulated and kept on repeating in last few years, unfortunately, has exhausted without substance.
A few days ago, in the official propaganda magazine released by Islamic State, a detailed narration of the 2019 Easter attack was published. The publication has vividly cleared in detail that there is no political conspiracy behind this attack, but a group of fanatics motivated by Islamic State ideology. This has dealt a serious blow to conspiracy theorists. In fact, Father Cyril Gamini should answer that, instead of proving his ugliness in front of society by personally attacking the officials who have proven with data that they fulfilled their responsibility to the best of their ability.