Dear Sri Lanka,
By Dilshani Palugaswewa
If we had paid more attention in our History classes at school, we would have all probably understood the magnitude of drawing an analogy to Adolf Hitler, as an example to proudly uphold our own Head of State.
It hardly comes as a surprise that the State Minister of Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments, and Motor Car Industry recently proclaimed his desire or, in his vantage, ‘the expectation of voters’ who apparently anticipated their new President to rule the country in a similar manner to the person who is known throughout history, as the epitome of evil. The State Minister said that, “The 69-lakh people who voted for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election expected a ruler like Hitler...The Government is facing a lot of criticism from the public now because they do not see the ‘Hitler’ they expected.”
Ummm...no. I can name at least a hundred people I meet just on a daily basis who will vouch on their vote which elected him as President, that the highly problematic leadership of Nazi Germany was indeed not the path they envisioned the leader they elected to take or rather expected him to reprise.
What they perhaps did expect from him was discipline and decorum – a far cry from tyranny, genocide, devastation of World War II, concentration camps, and horror of the Holocaust which are just a few words that one can think of when remembering the German dictator whose hands were stained with blood from war crimes accredited to his autonomous rule.
Also disturbed by these horrendous claims was German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Holger Seubert who stated in response, “I‘m hearing claims that ‘a Hitler’ could be beneficial to Sri Lanka today. Let me remind those voices that Adolf Hitler was responsible for human suffering and despair beyond imagination, with millions of deaths. Definitely no role model for any politician!”
Right? So simple to understand, one would think. But sadly, it is not too far-fetched of a possibility considering the President himself on occasion has outright said he knows how to kill one like a dog, implying the same fate could befall on an MP of the opposition who at the time had said something that clearly wasn’t well-received by the President.
Mind you, all this comes at a time when UNHRC is breathing down our throats for the grave human right violations committed with zero accountability – weeks after several allegations were levelled against the Government. And in the meantime, the world is yet to be freed from the shadow casted before and after the rise and fall of Hitler as we are still trying to forget the unimaginable affliction caused by the man who single-handedly brought the world to the very brink of destruction – a man who in no light can be hailed a hero.
Our lack of understanding the repercussions of such extremist ideologies is what has brought us to this state of political paralysis.
That’s why we aren’t a country making progress but merely one that is forever appearing to do so. That’s why corruption is ubiquitous. That’s why we encounter casual cruelty on a daily basis. That’s why we don’t have professionals climbing the ladder because that space is already occupied by someone who arrived on a parachute. That’s why complacency is valued more than competency. That’s why a representative Government is a myth – because one country has two laws, and the list goes on.
So, why do some people seem to be of the opinion that a man who showed no contrition and compassion in his leadership is exactly what we need to run a country successfully?
It’s because, kakistocracy, plutocracy, and autocracy are rooted deep into our political system and prioritised over meritocracy, literacy, and democracy. A truth they will categorically deny but is the painful reality.
In plain words, while the last thing we need is to be engulfed in another war, those in power do nothing more than redefine the term ‘no-brainer’.