With 8 to 10 hours of intermittent sunshine and weather as warm as Sri Lanka, over the past ten days, nobody in their right senses is wanting to visit A&E (Accident &More
During a meeting in Anuradhapura recently, President Wickremasinghe, deliberately, or inadvertently and/or innocently touched on a core issue that is at the heart of the dissatisfaction people have with the political system and what it has produced over the years. He mentioned that the original spring (or ulpotha) that gave rise to subsequent political parties, (authors remark, Sinhala Buddhist oriented parties) was the United National Party (UNP). He mentioned late SWRD Bandaranaike who was in the UNP, and who subsequently formed the Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP), a section of which has since evolved into the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Party (SLPP) under the leadership of the Rajapaksa brothers, Chamal, Mahinda, Basil, and Gotabaya, and whose father late D A Rajapaksa had broken away from the UNP along with SWRD Bandaranaike to form the SLFP, and the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), a breakaway from the UNP, had their origins in the UNP. In making these observations, President Wickremasinghe extolled all these parties to come together now in the country’s hour of need as they all had a common source of origin.
While all political parties must come together at this hour of need to forge a future together from the ashes of the economic debacle that the country is in, President Wickremasinghe must realise that such a coming together cannot be and must not be for a return to the status quo and to perpetuate the system that has existed since independence, as it is this system that has brought about the economic bankruptcy of the country.
The system that political leaders and political parties established and managed since independence had some successes, but many failures. The weaknesses outweighed the strengths. In hindsight, the country can see this and should learn lessons from past mistakes. The bankruptcy of the country in economic terms is a result of the system and those who the system produced and who then managed it. Policy flip flops, absence of strategic thinking and action, huge debt based investments without assessing costs and benefits and return on investments, systemic corruption at all levels of the society, absence of a coherent and consistent foreign policy, have all been inherent features of the political system that has failed the country. The reluctance and/or inability of political parties to get together to develop a governance policy for the next 12-18 months when the country is at the bottom of the pit is an indication of the dynamics of the political system. The next election and who acquires power is more important for the constituents of the system, than the interests of the country. This is the reality.
In this context, whatever other motives Aragalaya or some within it may have had and still have, the fundamental premise is the need to change the political system. And why? Simply, because it failed the country.
The spring or ulpotha that the UNP was, and all the rivers and rivulets that flowed from it no doubt would have had good intentions overall, but the stark fact is that they all failed. The present and coming generations do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. All they see is the system that failed them, making all possible attempts to resurrect itself.
Rather than arresting, detaining, and charging some who were associated with the Aragalaya, it would have been far more strategic and politically more prudent to have begun a discussion with the Aragalaya and encourage it to have discussions with the broader public rather than attempting to silence its voice. In saying this, there is not even a hint made that any violent action should be condoned and tolerated. However, some would view the use of the PTA, detention, and court action against protestors as nonphysical violence against them if one were to consider these means as part of the status quo, system-wise.
The following excerpt from the Daily Mirror is quoted to support the contention that the system had failed. Quote “the list of creditors in the $81 billion economy ranges from Western sovereign bondholders, who together account for the largest $14 billion slice of debt, to bilateral players such as China, Japan, and India. Then there are the multilateral lenders — the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The country’s outstanding foreign debt is a staggering $51 billion, with some independent economists estimating that China’s lending to Sri Lanka from 2001 to 2021 amounted to nearly $9.95 billion. Sri Lanka had a foreign debt bill of $6.9 billion that it had to service in 2022 but defaulted in April after it ran out of foreign reserves, a first in the South Asian nation’s history.
The country of 22 million currently has $300 million worth of usable foreign reserves, not enough to ensure a steady flow of food, fuel and pharmaceutical imports. The latest figures from the Department of Census and Statistics show that food inflation in July soared to 82.5% on the year “unquote.
The country’s economic bankruptcy cannot be clearer than this. It is a country surviving on debt, and with almost no assets in the form of foreign exchange reserves to buy its essentials.
When mentioning systems, it is not only the political system that is the subject of the discussion. Many parts of the administrative system, the judicial system, the law enforcement system, the prison system judging by shocking and disgusting revelations made by a recently released high-profile prisoner, are also in a state of dysfunction, with bribery and corruption permeating to these as they have to the political system.
Sinhala Buddhist hegemony has become even more evident and a stronger influence in the outcome of elections leading to who governs and who does not. There is increasing evidence of Muslim extremism from a Sri Lanka perspective, with more fundamentalist Wahabism taking hold in in the country and amongst Muslims. Christian church groups outside of the more traditional Catholic, Anglican and Methodist groups have spread and have become stronger. One needs to question whether strengthening of Sinhala Buddhist hegemony has been a consequence of other religious denominations veering more towards orthodoxy and fundamentalism or whether it has been the other way about. There is confusion as to where the Egg is and where the Chicken is.
The political system, and in a general sense, the politicians it has produced, one inextricably linked to the other, and the unquestioning attitude of voters, their expectation of maximum governmental interference in economic affairs of individuals and society, the opposite of a laissez-faire system, has contributed to short term politics and who gets their vote in return for small handouts. The political literacy of the public, in a general sense, has been questionable as they have been averse to considering and accepting a middle ground economic model.
In this climate, and context, unless the politicians of today take the lead to metamorphose themselves and the system, and learn lessons from the likes of the Aragalaya, the system could well be replaced by something else which everyone may come to regret later. Persecuting people associated with the Aragalaya is not the answer. Listening to their message, and the message of many who are very likely a silent majority, is the answer.
In effect, the current political system distances people from governance, and pays only lip service to the adage that democracy is about electing governments for the people by the people. No doubt there are no perfect democracies, and some might agree with the Churchillian adage that democracy is the least bad system of governance.
The purpose of mentioning these dysfunctional state of affairs is to pose the question where Sri Lanka is with human rights, moral and ethical conduct in all aspects of governance despite its 74 year post independence history, and the much publicized Sinhala Buddhist majority heritage.
If one takes the view that the political system is at the pinnacle of all systems considering its role in political governance, it would not be out of place here to conclude that the root of the cancer has been and still is the political system. Unfortunately, this cancer appears to have spread to all other parts of overall governance, and it is questionable whether it is possible to excise the cancer from the primary source of the eventual spread, the political system. Even if it were possible, leaving such a task in the hands of politicians themselves would be stupid and a guaranteed failure.
A new Aragalaya, comprising of as many non-partisan political bodies and personnel functioning as opinion facilitators amongst the public, should lead the task of exploring a new political system for the country. While some are calling for elections, it will not address the critical need to change the governance system that has brought the country to where it is now. Without a change to the system, it will continue to produce the kind of politicians who have governed the country so far and brought it to where it is today. The political literacy of the public too needs advancement, and this should be led and facilitated by a new breed of politicians as well as by religious and society leaders. The same machine will produce identical sausages. The machine must be changed to produce different sausages. A crude analogy, but a logical one.
A new system that focuses on long-term planning carried out by experts in economic, agricultural, energy, health, education and social areas, which provides equal rights to everyone, including women, which recognizes the ethnic and religious diversity of the country without any one segment of the society labeled as more equal than others, which ensures all citizens are equal before the law and which ensures that adherence with the law of the land entertains no compromise, which has strong punitive measures against bribery and corruption, and which provides for a political governance council drawn from all levels of the society and which devolves administrative governance to peripheral levels, are some features that a future governance model could consider.
One does not need to be an Einstein to say that it would be foolish to expect different results if one continues to do the same thing.
Those of us in Sri Lanka having never seen a coalmine, but most often have canaries as pets in our homes, may wonder what understanding of the real meaning of this English idiom, has to connect with the energy. But we also know an idiom is a group of words, which together assume new and different meanings, in the spoken word.
Native speakers use idioms in everyday conversation, but the idiosyncrasy is when Brits use idioms to impress foreigners. It is as a technique to show their superiority. But, when Sri Lankans use quotations to impress foreigners of our mastery of the English language, we sometimes show our literary incompetence, but more often our lack of historical perspective.
“Canaries in a coalmine” is an idiom especially apt today because coal is a fossil fuel which when burned, produces greenhouse gases, contributing to Earth’s warming. Thus its connection to what we call “climate change”.
In simple language, this idiom refers to someone or something that is an early warning of danger.
The talk of the town today in England, in fact in UK and in Europe, is how much we are unprepared of the fuel price inflation, which now fuels inflation. Everyone connects it with Russia and the Ukrainian war. But we hardly understand how it is associated to the greed of the multinational energy suppliers who used energy prices, to boost their shares and in turn provide lucrative dividends to their shareholders.
From what we can make out, it has been coming for years, well beyond the pandemic. We saw small energy companies mushroom in this energy supply market, offering customers cheap energy, over the years.
Small energy providers, some from US, and dozens from UK and Europe did spring up boosted in the 1990s when the UK Government relaxed the rules around energy supply to consumers. We were told to shop around for cheap energy.
Over the past year, however, many of these very small suppliers hit the buffers and went bust. Customers were moved to larger more dependable sources/suppliers. When the larger suppliers, the likes of EDF Energy of France, and say Shell Energy, managed to cream off the market price for their existing customers, well in advance, the problem started.
What they were not planning to cope with was the huge increase in the number of customer households, thus causing them to buy additional energy, to cope with demand at much higher prices than the prevailing market price.
This caused an increased cost of buying energy for thousands, if not millions of new customers at wholesale prices. What these larger energy providers added a new ingredient, a fixed amount called a Daily Standing Charge? This fixed charge was irrespective of the amount of energy used by households.
This was a bonus to suppliers/providers of Energy, both gas and electricity. This was unfair especially to customers with low usage. People on the one hand were warned to conserve energy, with all the noise of “climate change”. Simultaneously customers who acted to save energy by lowering their usage were clobbered with new and additional charges.
Fleecing the poor
Ofgem, the independent UK’s National Regulatory Authority regulated the monopoly companies which run the gas and electricity networks, acting in the interests of the consumers, as well as helping the industries to achieve environmental improvements. Its role was to protect consumers by working to deliver a greener, fairer energy system.
Ofgem became jittery of the balance between the interests of customers and the interests of the mighty, near monopolistic energy providers.
The Energy Ombudsman was an independent organisation, appointed by Ofgem to investigate consumer complaints and facilitate compliance of energy supplies. This was the recourse available for hard-hit customers?
Cause of energy inflation
One of the real causes for energy bills going through the roof this winter is the lack of foresight on the part of the Energy Suppliers and the Government. October 2022, is the date the existing “price cap” is removed. No one will now admit that this winter’s fuel bills will make for fuel poverty – the poor, much poorer.
What else could be more brutal than gang rape of a pregnant woman and murder of seven members of her family including her toddler daughter? That was 3 March 2002 and it all happened in a village near Ahmedabad India during the Gujarat Riots. The name of that 21-year-old unlucky Muslim woman is Bilkis Bano. 11 convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment for that brutality; now on India’s76th Independence Day, they all have been released by the Gujarat government under its remission policy.
Mockingly the culprits had to stay in Godhra jail for 15 years for their heinous crime. And more pathetic is the fact that the released culprits were given a very warm rather passionate welcome by their relatives and friends outside the Godhra jail. According to the Hindustan Times, a committee was formed a few months back to look into the matter of the 11 convicts which unanimously recommended ‘the remission of all the 11 convicts in the case. Later the recommendations were sent to the state government for final approval which issued the orders for their release. Injustice leading to cruelty, suppression and violation of basic human rights has been the most grievous issue of Indian society at the hands of the government. Though a large portion of the Indian society comprises people having a very moderate approach towards life a handful of extremist mindsets is also always there; unfortunately that extremist mindset is getting stronger and stronger and prevailing over the whole society simply because of the support and supervision of the BJP government.
Whatever happened there in the Illegally Indian Occupied State of Jammu Kashmir on 5th August 2019 is the worst example of the unethical and immoral support and supervision provided to the extremist element by the BJP government. That was the day when India took a very inhuman step against the people of the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370 and Article 35-A. Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was an article that empowered the Jammu and Kashmir state legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them. These privileges included the ability to purchase land and immovable property, the ability to vote and contest elections, seeking government employment and availing of other state benefits such as higher education and health care.
Non-permanent residents of the state were not entitled to these privileges even if they were Indian citizens. The female permanent residents would be deprived of these privileges if they married someone out of state; said to Article 35-A. On 5 August 2019, the President of India Ram Nath Kovind issued a new Presidential Order which nullified Article 35-A and took back all privileges earlier given to the people of Jammu-Kashmir State. The helpless people of the State raised their protesting voices against that abrogation but their voices were crushed by using military force.
After the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A, things are now at their worst in the Jammu-Kashmir valley. The Territory was given a special autonomous status through Article 35-Aand all the provisions of the Indian Constitution, which were applicable to the Indian states did not apply to the territory. Due to this Article, Jammu and Kashmir was a region, that (despite being a part of the Indian Union under the so-called Instrument of Accession) enjoyed a separate constitution, flag and official language. It was only because of this Article that except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, the Indian Parliament needed the concurrence of the so-called government of Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, the abrogated Article debarred non-Kashmiris from acquiring property and jobs in government institutions in the territory.
According to various media reports, since 5th August 2019, more than 2 million non-local voters have been added to the voters’ lists in IIOJK. Experts are of the opinion that this new induction to the list of voters would simply change the demographics of the State and directly affect the right of self-determination of the native residents of the valley. This unfair addition of non-locals to electoral rolls will enable BJP &RSS to implement their fascist agenda more emphatically. Ultimately the fascist Modi government shall succeed in installing a puppet BJP Chief Minister in IIOJK to subjugate the masses. More shocking is the fact that India is doing all that injustice by violating the UNSC resolution and disregarding international norms. It seems no one is there to stop this ‘genocide’ and even the so-called ‘international peacekeepers are providing support to the Indian hegemonic designs with their criminal quietness. Silence over injustice in itself is a heinous crime and it simply encourages the ‘future criminals’.Providing favour and support to any criminal simply means encouragement of crime. The unjust remission ‘awarded’ to the criminals involved in the gang rape of Bilkis Bano would encourage other rapists behind the bars and they all would wait anxiously for the Independence Day of India every year.
Views are personal
Sri Lanka has a long way to go before resolving its economic problems, President Ranil Wickremesinghe warned in his original policy statement earlier this month. The situation is still grave, and it is no exaggeration when Ranil says it is his duty “to light even one lamp rather than cursing darkness”.
He is still pursuing the plank of political unity to tide over the crisis collectively. His statement underlines the challenges the government has to overcome before setting the economy right: “Our country suffered disputes due to disunity. We were divided into ethnic groups. Divided into languages. Divided into religions. Divided into parties. Divided into classes. Divided geographically. Divided by castes… Ever since I entered politics, I wanted to create a society with a Sri Lankan identity. I suffered political defeats. I was criticised by extremists because of my continued stand against extremism, and bigotry. Some political parties slandered me as a racist. However, I will not deviate from my principle, from my policy.”
Inspiring words, but does it stand the test of actual governance? Though relatively peaceful at the time of Independence, the country soon plunged into civil wars, which made Sri Lanka one of the most notorious killing fields of the world—with Sinhalese killing Sinhalese, Tamils killing Tamils and the State killing all—Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. Ranil’s tall claims remind me of W H Auden’s words: “Beware of words. For with words we lie. We say peace when we mean war.”
With India, especially Tamil Nadu, rising to the occasion spontaneously, the government and people of Tamil Nadu rightly feel that food grains, fuel, milk powder and life-saving medicines should reach the neediest and most vulnerable sections of the population.
Recently, I received an email from a good friend, which makes for painful reading. To quote: “In the ubiquitous petrol queues—now all over the urban areas—mafia-like ruffians intimidate the innocent in the line-ups and sell petrol given by the Government at SLRs 250 per litre at SLRs 2500 and more. They force their ways, out of the line into the queues, again and again, to continue their brazen black-marketing on their own people, at a time of great suffering.”
The need of the hour is for India and the international community to persuade/pressurise Sri Lanka to introduce the Public Distribution System (PDS) throughout the country. With all its pitfalls and shortcomings, the PDS works satisfactorily in all parts of India, especially in Tamil Nadu.
The PDS was introduced during the Second World War when there was artificial famine throughout India created by the British colonialists. The PDS is a system of distributing essential commodities to the most vulnerable sections of society under the control of government departments and agencies at an affordable price. Thanks to the admirable zeal and commitment of civil servants like A D Gorwala, the Bombay Presidency was saved from famine. Even in native states, the PDS was introduced. In my hometown, Ernakulam, capital of the Cochin State, the
Maharaja not only introduced rationing but also made arrangements for serving standard vegetarian meals in government-run restaurants for four annas (25 Naya Paise). Textiles were scarce, and the ration shops distributed cheap cloth to the needy. The imported rice was stinking, but the people survived those difficult days because they were convinced that the government was doing its best to serve the people.
The PDS involves twin tasks—1) Procurement of essential items through imports and local procurement and 2) Its distribution through fair price shops or what we call ration shops in India. It is the duty of the Central government to implement these tasks. The items to be imported should be identified in advance, and they should be stored in warehouses spread throughout the country. It is essential to store an additional quota of food grains and essential items to meet unexpected contingencies like famines and floods.
In the Sri Lankan situation, the items include food grains, milk powder, sugar, and kerosene. As far as life-saving medicines and medical equipment are concerned, these should be handed over to the International Red Cross for distribution to the hospitals. It will be a good idea if the Government of Tamil Nadu volunteers to provide medical facilities, including surgery, to needy people. They could be airlifted to Chennai and treated in local hospitals.
Sri Lanka never had a PDS. According to the information I gathered, essential items are distributed through the Divisional Secretariat, a wing of the Central government. In order to strengthen participatory democracy, Sri Lanka requires strengthening the provincial governments, which came into existence as a result of the 13th Amendment. The opening of ration shops, distribution of essential items to the needy, and recruitment of personnel to carry out the public distribution should come under the provincial government, just as it is in India. A ration shop could be opened for every 5,000 families if one considers the Tamil Nadu example. Each ration shop employs four or five people. In recruiting this personnel, preference could be given to women who have been widowed, differently abled persons and refugees who have returned to Sri Lanka.
In the present situation, where unemployment is very high, the start of PDS will greatly boost the economy. The need of the hour is the constitution of an expert committee, which should visit Tamil Nadu to study the situation and make positive recommendations, avoiding the pitfalls of the Tamil Nadu experiment.
Views are personal
“There is no more Swan Lake…Tchaikovsky is out”. Olesia Vorotnyk, a Ukrainian ballerina who took up an AK 47 to defend Ukraine
I came across this intriguing story in The Economist of July 2nd, 2022, of a dancer with Ukraine’s national ballet – 30 years old – and a professional dancer since 2009 who had lost her husband in a conflict east of Ukraine 3 years ago. When the “new war” began in February she had to do something, and she took up the gun; gave up her ballet and took a position at a checkpoint. The Economist quotes Ms. Vorotnyk as saying: “ There was this great myth of great Russia and its great army…we see the truth: they come here to steal our toilets…I wonder if those Russians read Pushkin”.
I have every respect for Ms. Vorotnyk ’s rationale and noble intent. Whether she intended to or not, she was adhering to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter which says inter alia: “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”.
But her mention of Pushkin got me first to think, and then to wonder about war, culture, and national dignity. Alexander Pushkin, widely acknowledged as the father of Russian literature, posited that there was a compelling need for Russian cultural, economic, and political development to blend harmoniously the thinking of “Slavophiles” and “Westernizers.” – who followed two schools of thought – the former being anchored on the unique national characteristics of Russia, and the latter being based on the global or Western approach. Pushkin thought that the two philosophies should be symbiotic and should form one and the same approach by the Russians.
Doubtless, some Russians, particularly those who initiated and carried out the invasion, might consider Pushkin “old hat” in the modern world of ideologues, populism, and autocracy which Gideon Rachman so eloquently elaborates in his book The Age of the Strongman. Some might even argue that it’s justified to think that Pushkin’s vision is archaic. What causes me amazement is that even some of us “Westernizers” in the Western world think and act so. Alarmingly, as a reprisal to the Russian invasion, some have eschewed all forms of Russian culture (particularly music, ballet, drama, and other fields of fine arts) cancelling pre-booked performers by Russian musicians, performers, and conductors in their countries.
Classic FM Digital Radio reported that “All Russian participants have been banned from Dublin Piano Competition, prompting one performer to exclaim “I’m just curious how this will help to stop the war!” In another case, 20-year-old prodigy Alexander Malofeev had his piano recital at Vancouver Recital Society cancelled.
Prominent figures have lost their jobs because they did not make public statements against the invasion. Conductor Valery Gergiev, chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, was fired for this reason as he refused to issue a statement condemning the invasion and ensuing consequences endured by Ukraine. Yet another luminary, Tugan Sokhiev —considered by some as Gergiev’s protege — left his post as music director of the Bolshoi Theater after feeling growing pressure to make a statement.
Thomas Sanderling, the conductor who headed the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra resigned his position in protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, he has been vocal in protesting against a blanket boycott of Russian art and artists, saying he feels it’s unfair to impugn cultural figures who do not speak out against the Russian invasion when requested and that it is unjust to terminate their services ipso facto. Sanderling said: “It is important to have a position, but it can’t be demanded. I think it’s a matter of individual choice. I know that many artists in Russia are disturbed, that they are expected to absolutely take a stand. And I think it’s also part of our European culture to recognize the right of the individual to speak out on an issue or not.”
Asking a civilian and non-actor in a war to make a public statement under pain of termination of his services which is calculated to cause adverse effects to his career and livelihood is an asinine thing to do. It borders on incoherent buffoonery and counter-intuitive revenge and vindictiveness based on a complete misapprehension of what war is. The defining quality of intelligence is that it should make a point, and this attitude just doesn’t. War is a state of armed conflict between different States or different groups within a nation or State. War is not a state of armed conflict between nations – which are the people of a State. It is indeed regrettable that modern-day warfare targets civilians as well as States as a result of a perceived and purposely contrived misapprehension incapable of differentiating between the State and the Nation.
Such feckless thinking is the philosophical antithesis of democracy and a rules-based international order. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – adopted for the people of the world – which commences its Preamble with the words “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”, goes on to say in Article 2; “ Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.
Furthermore, the Declaration continues, no distinction must be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty”. While Article 6 of the Declaration gives everyone the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, Article 23 gives everyone the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
History records many instances where nations have helped nations in need – a phenomenon that can be seen around the world even at the present time. One of such moments that stands out in history is reflected in the speech made by J.R. Jayawardene, then Finance Minister of (then) Ceylon at the 1947 signing of the post-war San Francisco Treaty, who refused to accept compensation for harm caused by the Japanese, saying that Ceylon did not intend to accept compensation as the Ceylonese nation believed in the words of the Great Teacher [Buddha] whose message has ennobled the lives of countless millions in Asia, that hatred ceases not by hatred but by love. He ended the speech by saying “We extend to Japan the hand of friendship and trust that … her people and ours may march together to enjoy the full dignity of human life in peace and prosperity”.
It was clear that Minister Jayawardene had a sage understanding of the distinction between State and Nation. Perhaps we should too.
Man has from time immemorial tried every means available to adjust our environment for none other than survival. Continuous high temperatures around the world have created drought. Drought is caused by low precipitation or no rainfall over an extended period of time. Atmospheric circulation such as climate change, ocean temperature, changes in the jet stream and changes in the local landscape are all factors that contribute to drought. Putting it simply, it results in a water shortage.
When there is a change in surface temperatures, particularly over the sea areas, air circulation patterns are altered. New weather patterns are most likely to throw water supply and water demand in an imbalance, or in sync.
We hear of how China plans to end drought with induced rainfall. This is called “Cloud Seeding”. This practice is a form of weather modification. It is nothing new as it has been a tool that involves using aircraft, rockets or now drones to release materials including silver iodide, which has a similar structure to ice into the clouds. This catalyses the process by which water droplets “clump together and falls as rain”. However, when cloud cover is too thin, researchers state this technique is not as effective.
Why is it not as effective?
The ability to alter the “weather at will” was practised as early as the 1940s. But, to be successful in producing appreciable quantities of rain, certain uncontrollable conditions have to be met concerning the types of clouds and the state of the atmosphere. It is also an expensive technique and although it can help lessen the impact of severe drought, cloud seeding does not solve its systematic causes. The technique needs to be part of a broader water plan that involves conserving water efficiency.
It is not just China that has attempted using this technology during the 2008 Summer Olympics when rockets were fired at clouds “to prevent the opening and closing ceremonies to be rain free”.
Ski resorts in US use cloud seeding in order to enhance snow coverage.
UAE is a particularly large investor in rain-making technology called “geo-engineering” for rain enhancement. These are some ways of “stealing a cloud” by Cloud seeding, which conducted 185 cloud seeding operations in 2019 alone. That year saw “torrential downpours in a country rarely associated with rain, with people wading through streets, workers pumping water from the flooded residential area and rainwater flowing down escalators at the world-famous Dubai Mall”.
Now Scientists have pointed out that weather manipulation can amplify drought conditions in one area or increase the risk of floods in another.
It is now possible for one country to steal another country’s rain water?
It is also now contemplated that the wars of the future will feature water manipulation?
Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results – Albert Einstein
“Where are the protestors, the system has drowned them. Where is the system, it is where it has always been. Where are the people? they’re all back in the hole they have always been” – paraphrasing the lines taken from the traditional Cossack folk song “Koloda-Duda”, by Pete Seeger for his famous song “Where have all the flowers gone”.
Pete Seeger was a legend in his own time. As the New York Times notes, this musician, songwriter and song collector-historian “helped spur the politically tinged folk music revival of the ’50s and ’60s. He spoke out against the Vietnam War and has remained an activist, notably on environmental issues.”
No one condones violence, and unruly, undignified behaviour. The original Aragalaya movement was the opposite of all this. It was a breath of fresh air, and for once, an embryonic discourse began about changing the system of governance. Unfortunately, it was hijacked by political opportunists who sensed there was a wave they could ride. They rode that wave and marched and occupied the President’s house, the Prime Minister’s house, the Prime Minister’s office and burnt the acting Prime Minister’s (now the President) private residence. A President and a Prime Minister were forced to resign. Some ministers resigned. Many who could not and still do not differentiate the original Aragalaya from the subsequent one, and many disgruntled members of the public cheered. They thought it was the dawn of a new era.
Systems are hard to change, and the hijackers action has managed to restore the status quo, and the breath of fresh air has turned stale. Self-serving politics is back. Deck chairs may have changed, but the farce lives on.
Rightly, questions are being asked whether the Aragalaya was akin to a Soda bottle, and whether the system has subsumed the fizz. Opposition parties led by the SJB are trying to cross every “T” and dot every “I” and there is no agreement in sight as to the kind of interim governance model they would support. The JVP has decided to oppose any kind of all party governance system. Plenty of talk, but no action on the all-party governance front.
Since Ranil Wickremasinghe, Sri Lanka’s accidental President ascended the chair, political parties have been brawling and struggling like schoolboys, each group trying to outdo others. All eying the next election, whenever that is to be held, rather than being empathetic to the plight of the ordinary people of the country and the dire economic situation in the country. Motherhood statements clog the media and airways, and yet no party is yet to come up with some specific immediate, medium, and long-term strategies to overcome the dire situation in the country.
Availability of fuel, even on a rationed basis, and cooking gas, has sent the country to a state of complacency, not realizing that this situation can only last if there is foreign exchange to purchase fuel and gas. No political party has stated how they would find that vital influx of foreign exchange to the coffers. No political party has come up with specific proposals as to how Sri Lanka could make the situation last even if some foreign exchange is found in the immediate term.
No political party has come up with specific proposals as to how the country would find rupees to foot the salary bills of public sector and private sector workers and for health, education, and other essential services
No political party has come up with proposals as to how numerous commercial sectors like the construction sector and the tourist sector, major contributors to the national economy could be revived.
The list of things not done is endless. Yet, there is much talk.
The president’s call for an all-party government, which all parties seemed to agree with in the past, has turned into many diversions. Some are supporting the concept, but are not willing to join one. Some are on the fence and wondering what their future political fortunes would be, should they join such a government.
The ordinary folk of the country are very likely sick and tired of this farce. They are concerned about their children’s schooling which has been disrupted for more than 2 years due to the Covid pandemic and the economic catastrophe. They are concerned about their jobs and how they will make ends meet if they lose their jobs. Those without jobs are struggling to find jobs as there are no jobs they can apply for. They are concerned about the high cost of living and spiraling prices of essentials, including medicines. To add to their frustration and sense of despondency, they are fearing what their next electricity and water bill would be considering the steep hikes in rates announced recently.
There is no light at the end of the tunnel for most such ordinary people of the country, while politicians argue about matters that affect them and their political future. They could have at least agreed on a common plan of action for the next 12 months, with some specific courses of action as to how foreign exchange is to be found for import of essentials, on measures as to how the country’s rupee income could be increased, and how the most affected citizens of the country could be compensated to relieve them at least of some pressure on their living expenses.
They could have agreed on some strategies to ensure how school children could continue their education in their schools. Transportation is a major issue for them as well as for those who use public transport for work or business as there are less buses on the roads and they are crowded to the brim as a result. It is no wonder the covid spread has increased. Without making this a political issue, political parties could have agreed to provide more fuel for buses and reduce the minimum quantum of fuel for motor cars, and increase diesel imports and reduce petrol imports, as most buses run on diesel.
Train services too could be increased combining bus services to and from rail stations so that more people could make use of train services. A similar arrangement could have been done for distribution of goods using train and a lorry service. Food distribution would have benefited greatly if such an arrangement was in place. There are many measures that could be taken to bring relief to the hardest-hit segment of the population and to revive the economy for the benefit of all. Under normal circumstances, if there was no crisis, one would have expected the incumbent government to take such necessary measures. However, the situation is not normal, and the incumbent government is an accidental, interim one. This is where governance must be a shared responsibility as an interim measure until the time is right to hold elections and test the will of the people. The time is still not right for that to happen.
It would benefit the country and its ordinary citizens if all political parties could agree on a few fundamental courses of action and take partisan, self-serving politics out of some crucial areas of governance. Some possible strategies are noted below.
- Agree that a general election will be held say in 12-18 months
- Agree to form a governance council with the leader of each party being a member of such a council
- The governance council should agree on a governance plan for 12-18 months and the President and a cabinet of ministers, with a maximum of 15 ministers tasked to implement the plan and report to the governance council.
- Collectively agree to vacate a total of 5 national list parliamentary positions to allow the President to nominate 5 technocrats with a proven record in economics, finance, education, commerce and agriculture as national list MPs and thereafter as cabinet ministers.
- Agree to combine foreign policy with international trade policy and appoint one cabinet minister for the combined portfolio. Investment promotion, the BOI, the Port City Commission, and the Export Development Board, among other relevant entities should be within this portfolio. It is strongly suggested that overseas consular activity should be outsourced to suitable private agencies and many of the overseas consular missions closed. Foreign Affairs should be about foreign policy, and Sri Lankan diplomatic missions should be located only in countries where the country could effectively project and promote a non-aligned foreign policy. High Commissioners and Ambassadors appointed should be persons who can promote such a policy and who can promote investments in Sri Lanka.
- Agree to have a Constitutional Council comprising of representatives from all political parties in and outside Parliament, representatives from the business sector, the academia, unions, women organisations, etc to seek views from the public, conduct discussions and present a blueprint for a new constitution.
- Agree on a blueprint for the economic revival of the country and measures to attract, and conserve foreign exchange, and measures to increase rupee revenue.
- Agree on a donor consortium and a meeting of members of such a consortium to extend long-term funding and/or credit facilities for essential imports such as petroleum, gas, medicines, food,
- Agree on a restructuring plan for entities like Sri Lankan Airlines, Petroleum Corporation. A Public/Private partnership model, complete privatization should be considered.
- Agree on appointing a nonpolitical expert committee to study and submit a plan of action to transform Sri Lanka into an export-oriented, import substitution industrial economy, with self-sufficiency in food to ensure food security.
Politicians may not know it, and they may not wish to know it, but they must know that public confidence in them is at the bottom of the barrel like the economy of the country. They have an opportunity to take some concrete action now to restore even a modicum of confidence. If they do not do this, and the country’s situation gets worse, as many are predicting, the next Aragalaya will result in total anarchy. International vultures will descend on the country then and its sovereign status will become a just memory of the past.
They used to call it `the million-man swim.’ That was the US Navy’s sneering dismissal of any Chinese attempt to seize the island of Taiwan by a massive amphibious invasion.
The US Navy’s strike carriers, submarines and surface combatants, backed by the Marines and Army in Japan, Okinawa, South Korea and Guam, would tear to shreds any Chinese invasion force. That, at least, was a decade ago.
Today things look very differently. US naval and air power in the western Pacific have declined by about 20%. America is tired after waging its decade-long war in Afghanistan, which cost $1 trillion and achieved none of the US imperial goals. While the US was blowing up Afghan villages and paying off Afghan mercenaries, the Chinese were diligently building up their amphibious and air forces. Their goal was conquering next door Taiwan.
I’ve been over some of Taiwan’s fixed defenses. Many of the island’s beaches are amenable to amphibious operations. Rugged mountains with many caves further inland. In short, excellent defensive topography. Taiwan’s armed forces are well trained and motivated. Most Taiwanese appear to prefer independence from Red China and their current democratic system. Taiwan is also the world’s leading producer of high-tech computer chips. The world electronic industry would grind to a halt without Taiwan’s chips.
China makes a huge noise over Taiwan as it tries to whip up nationalism. In fact, not so many Chinese care about Taiwan aside from a few slogans and drumbeating. But it has become the Pacific’s version of Alsace Lorraine, a permanent ‘casus belli’ that provides the politicians with grist for their mills. Interestingly, whether Taiwan has ever really been a part of China – or maybe of Japan – is uncertain.
However, the rugged island appears fated to become of Greater China. Those other non-Han Chinese regions, Tibet, Mongolia, and Eastern Turkestan have been absorbed into China. This leaves northern Manchuria as the last remaining region of the former Chinese Empire. It is ruled by Russia – at least for now. Interestingly, I once asked a senior Chinese intelligence general how long it would take for China to capture the Russian port of Vladivostok, Russia’s principal Far East port.
‘Two days,’ he replied.
Confrontation over Taiwan has simmered between the US and China since the 1950’s when anti-communist Chinese forces fled from the mainland to Taiwan, or Formosa as it used to be called. War almost erupted in the 1950’s over the small, Nationalist Chinese offshore islands of Matsu and Quemoy. This could happen again.
To understand just how angry US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whistlestop visit made the prickly Chinese, imagine if a delegation of Chinese Communist officials went to the US state of Hawaii and proclaimed its ‘independence’ from Washington. The US has a less than noble record in Hawaii. American planters staged a coup that overthrew its legitimate Hawaiian government and annexed the territory – rather as the US recently did in Ukraine.
What will Chinese do next? Probably huff and puff and impose a limited naval blockade on the independent island. Taiwan relies on maritime and air trade so any punitive Chinese action would be highly painful. A full blockade cutting off oil, food, medicine and spare parts would be catastrophic.
In the recent past, China would not have managed to effectively blockade the island. Its ‘brown water’ coastal navy could not confront the mighty US Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait. Hence the ‘million-man swim.’ By wasting billions on useless colonial wars, the US has seriously weakened its naval and air forces. Washington’s Asian allies are not anxious to go to war with China over Taiwan.
As Soviet Brezhnev used to say, ‘quantity has its own quality.’ The US Navy is a superb, deadly military instrument. But China now has more warships, subs and coastal aircraft. Even so, its military forces would be decimated. But they could also impose severe damage on US Naval forces, notably with their new DF-21 anti-ship missile – if it really works as well as advertised. In this case, US aircraft carriers could be in jeopardy. The same applies to Chinese submarines firing volleys of anti-ship missiles.
Having said that, I’ve been at sea on the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and nuclear attack submarine Minneapolis St. Paul and can attest to their crew’s impressive skills and professionalism. Those skills began at the battle of Midway and Guadalcanal in WWII. The Chinese are still in day one of naval school.
Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2022
Ranil Wickremesinghe has to tread carefully. The victory of reaction is far from stable and the Sri Lankan revolution is not over. What is over is merely its first, most innocent chapter. Ranil’s regime exists because of a temporary retreat of the movement, and it rests upon illusions built up in him by the liberals. This has affected a thin, well-off layer of the middle class, who now yearn for some return to ‘order’, and hope that a stable government will unlock an IMF bailout and will lead to a kind of normalcy. This is a weak basis indeed. The imperialists certainly are not fooled by the outward strength of the new regime. As the international credit ratings agency, Fitch Ratings, explains:
“The new president was confirmed by a large majority in parliament, and his government has drawn in some opposition members. This gives some hope that it will have sufficient support to negotiate and carry out difficult reforms as part of efforts to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. Such reforms could unlock funding support from the IMF, which we view as important for Sri Lanka’s emergence from default.
“The government’s parliamentary position appears strong, but public support for the government is weaker. President Wickremesinghe was prime minister in the previous administration under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was brought down by protests. Parliament and the government also remain dominated by politicians from the Sri Lanka People’s Freedom Alliance, which is closely affiliated with the Rajapaksa family. This may increase the risk of further destabilising protests if economic conditions do not improve and/or reforms generate public opposition.”
It’s only a matter of time before the movement erupts once more. In just the past 24 hours, new protests of fishermen have erupted in Chilaw on the west coast, demanding kerosene oil. The conditions in Sri Lanka are such that the masses have no choice but to enter the struggle time and again.
This government, like the last, is neither capable of nor interested in solving the problems that the masses face. One class or the other in society must pay for this crisis. And this government, a servant of capital, will strive to restore the economic stability and ‘credit-worthiness’ of the country at the expense of the workers and the poor: through currency devaluation, austerity, scrapping of workers’ rights, etc. Only on this basis will the imperialist creditors like the IMF step in with a bailout.
With each passing day, it will become clearer to the advanced workers and youth that the victory of the Sri Lankan revolution means the overthrow of capitalism on the island, as part of the socialist revolution across South Asia and the world.
The temporary setback that the aragalaya has suffered will have proven to be a valuable experience. Right now, Ranil himself is giving the Sri Lankan masses a lesson in the ruthlessness of class war. If the urge for unity masked the real class content of movement in its advance, the selective repressive violence of the counter-revolution has exposed its true content in retreat.
As Marx explained in The Class Struggles in France, in reference to the setbacks suffered by the French revolution of 1848:
“With the exception of only a few chapters, every important part of the revolutionary annals from 1848 to 1849 bear the heading: Defeat of the revolution!
“What succumbed in these defeats was not the revolution. It was the pre-revolutionary traditional appendages, results of social relationships which had not yet come to the point of sharp class antagonisms — persons, illusions, conceptions, projects from which the revolutionary party before the February Revolution was not free, from which it could be freed not by the victory of February, but only by a series of defeats.
“In a word: The revolution made progress, forged ahead, not by its immediate tragicomic achievements but, on the contrary, by the creation of a powerful, united counterrevolution, by the creation of an opponent in combat with whom the party of overthrow ripened into a really revolutionary party.”
[ Excerpts from the article entitled, Sri Lanka: lessons from the struggle, published in www.marxist.com. Click here to read the original. Views are personal]
Europeans went to West Asia pretending to be businessmen and fostered political intrigues and treachery to become the ruler of the Sub-Continent. The conquest and looting of Moghul India in 1857 transformed Britain into “Great Britain.” British and French for a while competed for military and political influence to pave the way for ultimate hegemonic control. Portuguese and Dutch also engaged in trade and a wider scheme of colonization.
The European colonization schemes originated from its socio-economic-political and ethnic supremacy over all other things. They shared a common military strategy to subdue most of the Islamic people from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to North Africa to erect new empires. They subjugated masses to “divide and rule” policies and practices of the European mental microscope which never viewed the besieged subjects as equal human beings to stand beside the colonial Masters. The masses across these continents were not conquered at the doors but first betrayed and then systematically divided and degenerated by the Master European race. They institutionalized the colonization scheme by establishing institutions of armed forces, police and civil service to govern the nations of Muslim Pakistan and Hindu-dominated India for a long time to come. Consequently, freedom gained by political movements was lost by the institutionalized scheme of imperialism. Any prospects for change and new beginning were opposed by the institutionalized colonization. H.G. Wells (Outline of History, Book 5) said it right: “So began the first of the most wasteful and disastrous series of wars that has ever darkened the history of mankind.”
Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers but none would dare to concede it for the FEAR of unknown intellectual, moral and political consequences in contemporary history – this author elaborated the dictum of imperialism (“Western Imperialism and the Unspoken Tyranny of Colonization.”
When the European businessmen explored new world markets for diminishing resources and their armed forces invaded and occupied the vast Islamic world, there were no television, internet, video cameras and stone-throwing public and voices of reason to call them foreign mercenaries, aggressors and terrorists. The colonization scheme of things was not outcome of the Western democratic values to spread freedom, liberty and justice but ferocity of violence and killings of millions and millions of human lives for the Empires to be built on coloured bloodbaths. The European crusaders crossed the channels and unknown time zones to subjugate the much-divided Muslim people as part of their superior nationalism perception and values that Muslims were inferior to the European race and could be used as subjects without human identity and as raw material to build the new Empires.
National freedom looks more like a hypothetical phenomenon rather than a political reality. India and Pakistan continued to be at war and political enemies as if national freedom had no practical meaning. The engagement with dubious past remained active and alive in politics. British colonialists had historic animosity towards Muslims as they occupied Moghul India in 1857 by forcibly removing its last Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar and imprisoned him and his family in a garage in Rangoon, Burma where he died. British had small wisdom of seeing beyond the obvious but to Muslims, the loss of the Moghul Empire was the loss of an enriched progressive civilization.
British Educated Political Leaders Sought Freedom from the British Empire
Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Mohammad Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Khan though educated in British intellectual traditions but articulated new mission and visions for national freedom as a revulsion against the British colonial political traditions and continuity of British Raj in India. Was this violent and ruthless indoctrination part of the British heritage or history-making efforts to besiege India forever? Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy made sure that Indians will remain loyal and committed subservient to the futuristic blending of so-called celebrated national freedom after the 1947 partition into India and Pakistan. British by design failed to deliver the truth of national freedom to both nations in a universal spirit of political responsibility and political accountability. Hindu mythology believes in “Mahabharata” (Greater India) and teaches school children that ‘Pakistan and Afghanistan’ are part of the “Mahabharata” plan. Abu Rihan al-Biruni, a 10th-century Muslim scholar wrote the first ever book: “Kitab ul-Hind” (Book on India), after living a decade with Hindu priests at various temples; he describes Hindus being extreme nationalists believing to be superior to other human races (caste system) and highly proud and prejudice to other people.
History could not have confined the tyranny and oppression of British imperialism policies and practices – “divide and rule” against the will of the Indian masses. Was it a disguised democracy inflicted on the Indian subjects? Canons of rationality clarify that national freedom granted to both new nations on August 14-15, 1947, was a fake chronology of time and history. Does it not signal a naïve and void imagination of national freedom professed by both nations since 1947? They continue to interact with one another as the most hated enemy of time and history, wars, the threat of nuclear arsenals, Kashmir dispute and worst of all lacking direct people to people contacts or business relationships – all seem to be part of a highly ruptured and purging pursuit of national freedom.
Entrapped Political Freedom and Colonized Elite doing the Wrong Things
Since the partition of 1947, India was overwhelmingly led by religious phenomenon of Hinduism under the pretext of secularism. Pakistan fell victim to military coups indoctrinated by British-trained military Generals making Islamic ideology fake imagery of the nation-state. Under PM Modi, Hinduism is the top priority to divide and rule India by social and political discards and infested hatred against the minority communities of Muslim, Sikh, Christian and so many others. India’s geography is enlarged every day by such religious-political conflicts. Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu extremism, Nehru died a natural death. Mohammad Ali Jinnah died on a Karachi roadside in a broken ambulance and Liaquat Ali Khan, the first highly acclaimed PM was murdered by Punjabi political enemies. After 75 years of lost time and opportunities, Pakistan under the dictatorship of various army Generals dismantled public institutions, devastated social and economic affairs, corrupt and indicted criminals turned politicians; most recently, Imran Khan – a new age visionary elected leader was abruptly dismissed by military intervention to drag the nation into havoc socio-political chaos and degenerating future.
British changed the sub-continent in 90 years, but Pakistan after 75 years has no viable system of political governance. Its home-grown enemies and traitors like ZA Bhutto, General Yahya Khan, Zardari, Sharifs and General Musharraf were more harmful than foreign enemies. The Five individualistic military coups and its by-product leaders flunked the originality of ideological Pakistan. They all escaped legal accountability for stolen wealth and heinous crimes against the people. Along with few military Generals, they were complacent in robbing the nation of its freedom, integrity, security and sustainable future. Pakistan lives in limbo with missing a legitimate system of political governance, public institutions and legal system of justice.
History will see the Leaders by their Actions, Not by their Claims
Contrary to Gandhi’s peace and non-violent political movement, shortly after the 1947 freedom, India invaded militarily and occupied some of the regional states wanting to join Pakistan as was Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad and Juna Gahar. Despite the UNO assurances of a democratic plebiscite in Kashmir, none of these issues were resolved to this day. A panoramic view of New Delhi’s Grand Mosque and famous Taj Mahal at Agra enlightens the foreign visitors with everlasting image of Islamic culture and civilization, not of obsessed Hindu mythology of political domination under PM Modi.
India under the Congress Party of Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru evolved some of its political institutions and systems of people-oriented governance. They shared a vision for political change and secularism. At times, power was transferred peacefully to opposition groups. It did not happen in Pakistan as it fell victim to political conspiracies and military interventions losing its ideological originality and intellectual capacity for planned thinking, a system of governance and nation-building. In 1971, with the help of then Indian PM Indira Gandhi, ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman were installed as the new rulers of defeated Pakistan. Please see: “British Colonialism and How India and Pakistan Lost Freedom” .
How to imagine a New Future and Peaceful Co-existence?
Unless concerned intellectuals and politicians RETHINK for a Navigational Change, the Indian and Pakistani political horizon overshadows dark imagery of catastrophic nuclear and conventional conflicts. They desperately NEED new generation of educated, proactive and honest leaders to make a different future to happen. PM Modi is committed to Hindu extremism; he could be replaced in the next election as more Indian intellectuals are getting worried about national politics, human equality and future-making. If Imran Khan returns to power during the next election, it could be seen as a positive move for peaceful political change and stability away from the corrupt governance by military dictators. But the current chaotic political culture carries a lingering suspicion of naïve and egoistic Generals involvement in political configuration process. The evidence supports the alliance of indicted Bhuttos, Sharif’s, and some military Generals to remove Khan in a defunct National Assembly. If there is a fair system of justice, the current Chief of Staff General should be held accountable for his alleged intervention to oust Khan.
Likewise, Sharif brothers should face accountability for money laundering, stolen wealth and political mismanagement. Imran Khan needs intelligent advisors to plan political change with concerted actions. He lost four years of precious time but he was not corrupt and he did not kill or robbed any national treasury.
At the edge of REASON, a rational thinker and peacemaker would view extremism and violent assumptions of racial superiority as inhuman and immoral, be it Hinduism, Muslims or Europeanism could plague the sense of mystery and endanger the futuristic movement for change, security and normalization of human relationships. Progressive nations produce the best, most educated and intelligent people to assume leadership roles. Both Indian and Pakistani failed the demands of masses and of formative history for a change. PM Modi‘s Hindu nationalism will not move India to nation-building and peaceful future-making, and military Generals and affiliated corrupt and indicted criminals in Pakistan will be of no use to the security and future of Pakistan. The unchallengeable truth arising from the facts of history states that leaders either lead or they are imposters and stage puppets. Proactive vision and truth live in a spatial, pure and simple narrative. Pakistan and India need desperately new, educated and intelligent proactive leadership to facilitate friendship, resolution of major political problems and a sustainable future to exist in peace.