Sri Lanka Fast-track for a totalitarian state: the Divineguma Bill

Sri Lanka is firmly on the way to become a totalitarian state. It is uncanny the resemblance with the European experience of Nazism and Fascism. You have an intolerant nationalistic ideology, thugs violence at the service of a political party and an increasing suppression of press freedom. But the most creeping is the Divineguma Bill.

The other phenomena are to some extent easier to understand and to classify, especially for the masses. The Sinhalese supremacy is a characteristic of all the Sri Lankan parties, that wanted to drag people attention against an enemy. Rajapaksa administration is just the last comer.

Violence connected to political party is a sad feature of Sri Lankan politics and it has been used generously by all the electoral contenders. The will to silence press freedom is a poisoning attempt to eliminate political conscience from the intellectual landscape of the island and it is mostly directed to starve the most educated of feed for thoughts.

But the Divineguma represents a profound and deep modification of the state, with a subtle tendency towards a totalitarian form of governance.

In the first place the superficial appearance and name wave a populist target. In the name of lifting from poverty the poorest and weakest, it operate an implicit division in the social classes. The most vulnerable persons are led to believed that those who contest the president are opposing any progress in economic equality.

Any educated reader will easily understand the difference between the nominal campaign and the real target of the Divineguma Bill. But if you are struggling to put the bread on the table, the simple opposition to some pennies for your meagre meal will equal to the greedy reluctance of the super riches. Anybody against the Bill will appear as a champion of the interest of the fat cats.

The second totalitarian element is secrecy. Even in matter of security, any restriction of information to the public is a limitation of citizenship. In some cases of national interest it can be applied and it should always with extreme care. In a department of economic development this clause sound deviant. This is precisely a derangement of civil servants to become members and partners. When a body of the state become a private party, which benefit from the state protection and resources but it serves a private master, it is clear the path towards a totalitarian regime.

The question now is simple: can you really oppose within the system a political movement that is by far out of control of institutional check and balances of power? The majority of Italians and Germans didn’t radically oppose the extremist movement because they thought they could win them out in accordance with the rules of the system. But when a ruthless dictator grows too big to be controlled, then the rules are teethless. Would you consider an act of terrorism an open rebellion against Hitler or Mussolini? Many will say that Rajapaksa is not such a serious threat to Sri Lankan democracy. But when you are entitled to act? When are you permitted to defend legitimately your rights?

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