Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Sri Lankan Blogosphere Protesteth

It's almost 2 years since I started this blog and it's a fair bit longer since I started to peruse the SL blogosphere on a regular basis. In all that time I've never seen such an array of blog posts discussing the political situation as I've seen in these past few days.

And to even call it a "political" situation seems to be to treat it with a lesser term than it should have. A political situation implies that it's merely politics, easily solved by changing governments or calling a general election. Well those have been tried and so far haven't really worked.

Perhaps we call it an ethnic crisis, but I don't think that defines it, even though we have the usual polarisation of opinions based on ethnicity flying around for all to see. Does it matter? Everyone knows what I'm referring to.

A glance across Kottu a couple of days ago on Independence Day, at 4.15 PM London time, showed an amazing statistic. There were 50 blog posts listed on Kottu's front page, 27 of those wrote about the crisis / political situation, call it what you will. That's staggering isn't it? There's probably one thing that everyone has in common; the desire for peace. The only real difference is what each person sees as the best route towards it.

It's unlikely that the Sri Lankan blogosphere can be cited as a representative sample of the Sri Lankan population, but it's also true that just about every opinion is represented on it.

There were opinions like this from Dragons of Eden. He says:

"I hate this government but I hate to think what would happen if the war effort wasn’t going on in the manner it is now! I’ve had enough of this war and I just want it to end…and the only way it will end is through bloodshed. The tigers must be wiped out. No peace talks, no negotiation..."

And he's clearly pretty pissed off with things. I think his liberal use of profanitiy and his desire for the loved ones of NGOs to die probably dents his credibility, but many agree with him, as can be seen from the comments made.

There was this one from Java. He asks how long people are prepared to wait for peace, how long will prices keep going up for before people run out of patience? Unusually in my opinion Sittingnut makes a good point; that peace won't necessarily result in prosperity. The harsh fact is that the cost of the conflict will be borne for a long time by many, but the conflict has to finish before the path to prosperity can even be set foot upon.

Here over at Rants, Raves and Miscellaneous Musings our blogger takes a very different approach. I'm sure many would disagree with his assertion that "we actually had it good under the Brits", but there are millions who would agree with every one of his other words. Guess what? He wants peace too.

Indi's post here asks what Sri Lanka has actually gained independence from. He tells us in his eloquent way:

"The laws which regulate the government are ignored and the ones that protect us are suspended."

Some would say that the laws have been suspended simply to protect the people, but fewer would disagree about the government bit.

In the Lakbima blog there's a post that has left me startled, startled at my own reaction. Simply because at first glance I thought it was a piss take. It's not, or is it?

One thing that is evident though is the desire for peace. It's there and it shines through. Some think it will come from sheer military might over the North, some think it will come from negotiation, some from the LTTE, but it is there.

It's only a slither, it's only faint but it's a glimmer of hope.

But what would I know? As someone said to me recently, I don't even look Sri Lankan!


Darwin said...

Heh that Lakbima post made me smile. I wonder how many people think the same way...

Anonymous said...

The lakbima post could be a highly complicated jest. Or the writer might be seriously ass kisser of the president.

Surely with all the problems the Sri Lankans are facing, corruption dictatorship and all, no serius self respecting blogger would say something as stupid as "I love the president"

That is so, so ... uncool!

Java Jones said...

I thought that 'peace won't necessarily lead to prosperity' line to be a bit platitudinous. The fact that it would obviate the need for such disproportionate use of the budget on military and other war-related expenditure - not to mention putting a stop to the ridiculous loss of life and limb, would be an immediate result. All the other advantages would follow and for sure we would be more prosperous than we are now - a fact that is conveniently ignored by a lot of folk.

I didn't get into it with SN for all the obvious reasons!!!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Java - On reflection I should have added another word to that sentence, like "quickly" or "overnight", I didn't mean to state the obvious, even though I had to look up "platitudinous". Agreed that the end of the conflict would bring huge advantages to most people virtually instantly, but I also think many have the belief that everything will be great within a shorter time than is practical.

sittingnut said...

there is peace and there is "peace".
depending on the kind of peace and the price we want to pay for it. we may have hope or not. ppl in old soviet union were at "peace" too.

and there are ppl who commit and there are ppl who don't commit, to this policy or that, to get "peace"

unlike some sri lankans aboard or in colombo cocoons ( all of whom have prefect right to their opinions - however they look ) most ppl in sri lanka don't have the option of not committing to and supporting any particular course of action with regard to ltte. they have to deal with ltte . and that means being aware of reality and facts of life.

in light of that, whether we should take ppl, who deal with it abstract removed from reality ignoring facts on ground, or who cannot commit to a policy, describe it, and defend it, seriously, is a question we have to ask.

that is one reason i am disappointed to hear java jones "didn't get into it ...for all the obvious reasons" :-)

i did not initially want to write the part below here instead of java jones' blog, but since it was mentioned here and not there. -

sl spends far less (as calculated by absolute terms and as percentage of gdp) on military than most "peaceful" countries. we have one of the most efficient an "productive" military forces by that measure. anyway if "peace" leave facist ltte in control of an area, a question ( among many other moral and pragmatic questions resulting from such a "peace" ) will remain whether that expenditure can be reduced safely. and as cfa from day one made clear, other costs ( including "loss of life and limb"- loss of which is tragic even when it is not "ridiculously" high ) wont go down either by such a "peace"

L said...

For some reason I remembered this line from a poem in school:

"When you see the millions of the mouthless dead"

While we chatter away about time frames, the economy and tourism.

Indyana said...

Rd...I don't know a fig about this post...but, my friend...what's with the blog colour???!!

indyana said...

Ah...better now!

B. W. London said...

Hi, 27/50 qualitatively is a generally good benchmark for a piece of qualitative research.

So basically in a broad sense we know that about 2.5% of Sri Lankans (Internet access in Sri Lanka) are actually very unhappy with the current situation in Sri Lanka.

I don't profess to have the answer, when you see whatever that goes on in Gaza in current news, is peace or giving the Tamils in Sri Lanka a separate state the answer.

What would be the real answer?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Lakbima - I never know what to believe when it's got "Lakbima" before it!

Sittingnut - Thanks.

Indyana - Just playing around, glad you like it now.

BW London - Not sure that it's accurate to say that %age is unhappy with the current situation, but it's definitely the case that a unusually high amount of SL bloggers are talking about it. As for the real answer, well most of us think we have it.

sittingnut said...

you are welcome :-)
do ppl from cocoons who think of ltte (and situation in sl ) in abstract and avoid expressing an opinion on how to deal with ltte (one way or other), have a moral right ( they have a right to express themselves, which is different ) to pass opinions on actions of ppl ( which includes most sri lankans) who must commit to a course of action (directly or indirectly)and are dealing with ltte terror in reality? should such opinions matter or taken seriously ? imo no. they may even be treated with contempt

if this was a play, it is basically the difference between bad mouthing due unexamined and subconscious "unhappniess", prejudices , personal dislike, etc, and constructive criticism/review.