It is a fact that the non-violent protest at Galle Face led by our youth for more than three months demanded the resignation of the President and the Prime Minister. We hope that the Cabinet and parliamentarians will also resign soon. To achieve the intended results of this people’s struggle, an Interim Government must be formed without further delay.
A presidential and a parliamentary election should be followed immediately. Once a stable government is established, we must work together diligently to remove the root causes which led to the current crisis.
Some of them are: (1) The power and party-political system that paved the way to the destruction and deterioration of our value system. (2) Executive Presidency where the people are controlled by one man on the top. (3) Communities must be empowered to look after the majority of their needs to cease the large-scale corruption, financial malpractices and exploitation of power vested upon the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet, and other politicians.
This is why it is essential to elect non-partisan community leaders in the next presidential election and general election. After accomplishing this task, the office of the Executive President should be immediately abolished. I would like to emphasise that the country can be recovered from the fallen cliff not by an All-Party Government but by a Non-Party Government. There is a danger that if an all-party government lasts for too long, we may get into a situation much worse than now.
I request all the party leaders to dissolve all your parties and please hand over all the financial and physical wealth acquired by your parties to the people through the Treasury. Help establish a people-friendly government with community participation at large that assigns responsibilities from the bottom up, not from the top down. This is the time to show your true patriotism.
I say to the handful of people who took advantage of the party-political system and participated in various forms of bribery and corruption to earn billions and billions of wealth, enjoy only the legitimate and fair share according to your conscience and return the rest to the people. Similarly, surrender your wealth invested and hidden in various countries, I tell the concerned families.
I request that the Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and other religious institutions, follow the true teachings of their respective Teachers to the very letter. Please do not align your establishments with political parties and individuals.
It should not be forgotten that the Police and Armed Forces must maintain law, order, justice, and public safety. Looking at some of the recent incidents, it is evident that they have put in a lot of effort to protect powerful politicians and their families and friends. This should be rectified immediately. The events that took place on 9 July proved that.
Sri Lankan people are no longer afraid of tear gas, water cannons, and live bullets. The Police, Armed Forces, and civil servants at all levels must contribute to building a country that can be an example to the entire world.
Civil Society Organisations, Unions of Teachers, Students, Faculty Boards, Lawyers, Doctors, Nurses, Farmers, Fishermen’s unions, and various professional associations, as well as media organisations, have given immense support to this struggle. What all these institutions together should attempt now is to think creatively and innovate to build a new social order.
I request both, the general public and the urban elites, to adhere to a simple lifestyle to satisfy their daily needs. Instead of urbanising our villages, take the lead in building a new society based on spiritual, moral, and cultural values. Let us promote alternative power generation, and appropriate technology to turn our villages into self-sufficient Gram-Swarajs (self-governing villages) based on Swashakti (self-reliance). If we come together as one nation foreign powers would not be able to dictate terms upon us.
Finally, I would like to emphasise that this is one of the finest opportunities we got to follow a new path to prosperity after independence. Let us not miss this opportunity. Let us dedicate ourselves to building a progressive new social order in our motherland.
(The writer is the Founder of Sarvodaya Movement)
Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne