Former Health Minister says demonstrations can no longer save country, urges unity of all
The staging of demonstrations through a divided approach can no longer serve any purpose and all political leaders, therefore, shall unite to engage in politics in the mission of saving the country, said former Health Minister MP (Dr) Rajitha Senaratne, speaking to TNL.
“Statements made by me and politicians like me may have been subject to criticism in the beginning, but in the end, what was said became true. See how billions were spent on creating disunity among nations and wasting the country? This war was created by the politicians. What is the Sinhalese – Tamil crisis? The Sinhalese harboured Sinhalese Nationalism to secure the votes, the Tamil harboured Tamil Nationalism. Later on, even the Muslim leaders harboured Muslim Nationalism. Each move was made on the objective of upping their vote base,” Senaratne said.
He went on: “We had our votes without making lies. I remember in 2004, I acted as if I was the brigadier of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe to protect his peace treaty. Some days, I argued with everyone burning the midnight oil till 4 – 5 am. Despite them all, the people of my district know of my conduct. They know my ideologies. Some called me ‘Tiger’ back then, I was accused of betraying the country to the Tigers. Even then I surpassed one hundred thousand votes for the first time. The government lost, but I became the first in the district. All the criticism coming from the country is not accepted by our people. Because they know my routine.”
The Minister further emphasised that given the current situation of the country a divided approach cannot save it, saying, “Now those who ruled threw everyone down the bottom of the well. But blaming those who are responsible can no longer save it. Earlier, there was the National Crisis and we fought against each other and solved it. Then there were economic crises – During Chandrika’s regime, the Economy dropped to -1.3%. We came in and rose it up to 5%. Today, there is a Financial Crisis. We have no money. We have been compelled to beg. We have to wait till someone else gives us money. Dollars cannot be conjured. Even if Rupees are printed, Dollars cannot. But the more Rupees you print, the more cost of living we face. The inflation goes up. That being said, we cannot save ourselves alone. We all must unite.”
“Neither can we hold demonstrations, scream out loud, nor vandalise to find solutions. Should they be done, the country will collapse further,” Dr. Senaratne continued. “There was no man like me who craved for struggles. My entire life is a struggle. There are hardly any demonstration in Sri Lanka I did not attend. There are hardly any leftists whom I was friends with. I knew all leftists except Wijeweera. I am a man who held political dialogues with every armed leader in the North except Prabhakaran. One time, I hid comrade Dayapala Theeranagama in my room for three months when he was being man-hunted by the JR’s regime. Nobody visiting our house knew he was there. Having them all done, I am craving for ‘Aragalaya’ very much. But this is not the time for that. The people of our country are vulnerable. No jobs, very desperate. We never even dreamed of facing such a tragedy in our last days of politics. There are no wizards in this country to make this country come out from this crisis. No gods, no robots. Only people who, like us, have good and bad and weaknesses. All people who love the country must unite. The unity shall not take place to clash with one another, but to set the differences aside and sit on a table together – to talk. The united approach is the only form of politics that can save this country now. There is no other.”