A colourful July that ejected Rajapaksas
The month of July has passed. Not without adding anything. It has added winning memorabilia to history. July is a month in which this country’s history was painted in black. It has shown how base politics is, especially in July. However, all those Julys belong to the period of the dictatorial frenzy of JR Jayawardene.
A brief reminder is essential. First the July 1980 strike. It was to win several demands, including increasing the salary of government employees by Rs. 10 per day. What finally happened was that 80,000 government employees were thrown out. JR’s wild young people were deployed to those places. No educational qualification was required. Having supported JR at the 1977 elections, having launched crimes against the Tamil people in August 1977, and being involved in political activities became qualifications to get these jobs. Athulathmudali, who appeared as a great democrat at that time, said that the strikers would be sent to the graveyard. The government also worked to the point where a significant number of people committed suicide.
Then came Black July 1983. It was a month in which Sri Lanka became a land of savages written in black in front of the whole world.. It is correct to say that the lives of innocent Tamil people were drowned in an ocean of blood. Revenge for the killing of 13 army personnel in the north by armed separatists was taken from the innocent Tamil people across the country. Their property was looted. Those that could not be looted were burned. They were burned alive. K. Venkat, who made the movie ‘Sri Pathula’ (a Buddhist story), was burnt in his car. That is how the blood and tears of the Tamil people flowed in Colombo, distant villages and plantations. On the pretext of Black July, political parties were banned. Especially, the JVP was banned. That was what JR really wanted.
Then came July 1987. JR Jayawardena, whose power was significantly challenged, betrayed the country to India. An agreement was signed with India. An agreement allowed hundreds of thousands of Indian troops to invade this land. The agreement was signed in July. Opposing this, a river of masses gathered near the Bodhi in Colombo Fort. There was no party or colour difference. People who love the country gathered together. Ranil Rajapaksa’s uncle, JR Jayawardene, who was in the presidential chair, ordered the army and police to shoot. One hundred and sixty people who had gathered near the Bodhi were shot and killed.
Something special needs to be said here. The security forces were the first to take up arms against JR Jayardhana’s treacherous and genocidal acts. The Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who signed the Indo-Lanka Agreement with JR, was attacked by a navy soldier with a rifle. Rajiv Gandhi was walking on the red carpet to receive the Tri-Army Salute. JR Did not join this walk. If he had been there the rifle would have landed on JR’s bald head. Sirima Bandanayake, Dinesh Gunawardena, DEW Gunasekara and others who were on one front against the Indian invasion soon left the struggle. Patriotic masses fought against Indian invasion. In March 1990, that army left. 60,000 lives of patriotic people had been lost by that time.
If only the month of July is considered, it has been added to history in this way with painful incidents that caused rivers of blood and tears. However, July 2022 is entirely different. It has added a different colour to history. On July 09, the struggle of love was a colourful day. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was puffed up with a power beyond JR Jayawardene, was kicked out. Hundreds of thousands of people thronged Colombo and surrounded the President’s House. The presidential secretariat was surrounded. The gates were broken and entered. There was not even a pebble in their hands. At first, one or two of the soldiers’ firearms fired. Tear gas and water cannons were fired. A few drops of blood from the protestors fell on the ground. Thousands of soldiers’ firearms and batons turned to the ground. They left, allowing victory to the masses. The bleeding stopped there.
This passing year of 2022 began when unlimited pressure was being piled on the people, not day by day but hour by hour. Public protests, especially with the participation of farmers, fishermen and teachers, built up all over the country. Even though public protests were raging everywhere, the arrogant Rajapaksa family rule was bragging about 6.9 million votes.
The guard dogs that chewed bones thrown by Rajapaksas barked. They said, “Everything would be alright when a crow is killed and its wing hanged.” The struggles across the country symbolically spilt over to the Galle Face. “Gotagogama, Mainagogama” were built. April 09 is symbolically a day full of struggles. The struggle came forward, becoming colourful and widening the horizons of love.
One month of The struggle was one month old on May 9. Thugs sent from Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Temple Trees launched a vicious attack on peaceful protesters in broad daylight. The people of the whole country saw with their own eyes how the clothes of the Rajapaksas were falling off. People say that there are no flowers in the Rajapaksa’s vases. All-out general strikes had already been launched to give impetus to the Galle Face struggle. Hartal actions were taken in every corner of the country. There were other protests. The people of the country had said that Galle Face is not an isolated programme of hooligans. But the Rajapaksas thought they could carry out the “kill a crow and hang a wing” theory. That is what caused the brutal attack on May 9th . But Mahinda Rajapaksa had to leave the Prime Minister’s chair. 6.9 million people proved that they were not cowards even though they had been deceived.
Basil Rajapaksa also had to leave by June 9. This is how the public turned the theory of killing a crow and hanging a bald head into a myth. July 09 is the symbolic day when the Rajapaksa family left control. But the victory is not yet won. Now is a time of transition. This transition period should be completed without prolonging it. It can be done by changing the system that has destroyed this country for 74 years. The colourful month of July, when the Rajapaksas were expelled, will begin to reflect colourfully in the lives of the people only after this system is ended. For that, it is the responsibility of all of us to elect rulers who are not thieves and are not corrupt.
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