Campaign put together for the implementation of a non-party people’s movement, calling out to the public to reflect on the country’s degenerate social and political system and act towards positive and radical change.
The effect of war is felt more than ever. A war needs money, and wherever it comes from, ordinary citizens ultimately bear the brunt of it. Rising costs as a result of war have made living unbearable for them. Corruption is rampant. Sri Lanka, according to Transparency International, has one of the worst records when it comes to corruption. The crime rate is one of the highest in Asia. Violence against women and children is also common. All economic indicators show that the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. Ever increasing numbers of young people face unemployment with no hope for the future. Reports indicate that fewer and fewer children pass their O Levels and A Levels. The health system which was one of the best in Asia has degenerated into a nightmare of unimaginable proportions. The transport system is a disgrace. Buses and trains are overcrowded, causing a lot of hardship to the commuters who travel to work everyday.
Under the current system, we, the people of this country are politically displaced as citizens; we are not participants of the governing processes of society and life. Decision making is a top-down process, in which we don’t have any say; we are expected to loudly approve and silently follow. The system does not expect us to come together at grass root/community level as citizens to discuss our common life and predicaments. Hence, there is no common political space for us. Are we to continue in the same manner or are we finally going to decide to go against all the odds and create our own space, to transform our country into a just, peaceful and prosperous society which respects diversity and guarantees the wellbeing of all?
We have voted for successive governments in the hope that conditions will become better, but we have not acted as citizens, exercising our rights as free citizens of the country. We have been too passive. We are of the opinion that Sri Lanka needs a renewal – a radical change. Such a change must come from within us. We have to reflect on our own passivity and responsibility. One of the problems Sri Lanka has faced over the years is the lack of a non-party people’s movement which can act as a powerful instrument of social change. Those people’s movements which existed have been destroyed because of internal conflicts and lack of direction. This will not be the case with ‘Prayathna’, The People’s Movement.