Miracle to Reality?

-By Virgil

(Lanka-e-News -09.March.2024, 9.00 PM) “I never paint dreams or nightmares; I paint my own reality.”  ~Frida Khalo

Four hundred and eighteen thousand (418,000); taken as a percentage of the total, it was just over three percent (3%). That was the number of votes and the percentage respectively of a total valid vote Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) received at the last Presidential Elections held on 16, November 2019. The difference between the winner Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and AKD was six million and five hundred and six thousand (6,506,000). A phenomenal number. As a percentage jump, it is forty nine percentage points, from 3% to 53%. If AKD were to win the forthcoming Presidential Election, he has to obtain at least 45% to 50% of the total valid vote this time. Absolutely unlikely, nearly impossible. In other words, only a 'miracle' can cause such a transformation. Can it ever happen?

Not be daydreaming at all..

Those who are dreaming about an AKD victory at the forthcoming Presidential Elections must bear in mind that such an electoral miracle is never probable, maybe possible as it is possible that one might get electrocuted by a flashing lightening while meandering in a misty drizzle! The gulf between a miracle and reality has never been so wide. But...how has the context been changing from one to the other, from impossible to a slimmest of slim chances? In politics nothing is impossible. Remember, politics is the art of the possible and within that profound context, Anura Kumara Dissanayake has two chances of being elected as President in the next elections: slim and none. Mathematically speaking, it would be near to none; but within the glorious uncertainties of political sub-context, there does exist a slim chance. All signals are pointing in that direction and the daydreaming of all the supporters of the National People's Power may not be daydreaming at all.

Nevertheless, the task ahead for them is beyond monumental and as at this moment in time, the NPP is the only political party in Sri Lanka that is fully engaged in a serious political campaign. They are being checked and thwarted by the current President and all those who seek to safeguard and protect the status quo of traditional socioeconomic and political environment at all costs. The NPP's multi-pronged attack does not present itself as one that is easy to handle, even for a seasoned campaign staff which no other party, either in the government or the opposition, could claim to be in possession of and employing as an aggressive campaign operation.

Reached an unprecedented peak..

Harini Amarasuriya, the parliamentarian representing the National People's Power emphasized, when asked by an interviewer recently, that miracle is the wrong term to use; instead the very evolution of the NPP as a political organism has come a long way in a very short time and reached an unprecedented peak; the cause for such a magic is the total failure of the last seventy six years of traditional politics and its leadership by an elitist group of men and women who could not relate to the pain and hardships suffered by millions of our men and women.

Along this curvy and obstacle-laden journey, the NPP seems to have identified the problems the country is facing. Its genesis, its deep and wide-spread impact on the total population in the country, what specific segment of that population currently is hardest hit and the way forward with seeking reasonable and authentic resolution of these varied issues and concerns are being addressed by the speakers on the NPP platform. Speaking about and articulating in most drastic sense is one thing, but seeking genuinely veritable solutions is totally a different enterprise. The questions the doubters raise are: are these guys for real? Can they deliver on their pledges? Would their application and implementation methods match the rhetoric that they enunciate on platform?

Not easy questions to answer...

These are not easy questions to answer. Nor the answers would be simple and straight forward. A system change that is being brandished like an all-answering magic rod, will not be coming in a hurry. As much as a society takes a long time to make up its mind that such a drastic change is the only alternative available, so shall the process take to manifest itself in real, with flesh and blood. Those who expect quick results like turning on a switch, they will be disappointed, sometimes beyond belief.

In such a slow developing surrounding, the impatient will eventually desert their trust and confidence in those who are presumably charged with delivering the change. Self-pity might set in; demands of the daily chores would overtake their pursuit and such men would ultimately settle into the same old way, reinforcing the view that nothing can cause a system change. That would indeed be traumatic to the grassroots, for their dreams will have been shattered for the umpteenth time.

It surely is not the fault of anyone. Those who never give up are the ones who would deliver the final results. Those who deliver those results in turn may know that only from their deathbeds; or from inside the four dilapidated walls that make up a cell in a prison. Some may be already dead and gone for ever, but the change that they yearned for has come about. The celebrations have not been very fancy or extravagant; they have had it with more of a sigh of relief than a wild celebration, with their younger generation.

How can one turn a miracle into a reality?

These are the realistic elements of a hard, brutal and painstaking attempt at a system change. Leaders as well as followers would be subjected to unspeakable hardships, suffering and humiliations. Their devotion to the cause may not be enough; that devotion must produce tangible results. Many a night without sleep and neglect of family affairs would not put the food on the table. If they do have families, they must and should do both: attendance to the family needs and completing the job given unto them by the agents of the system change. Otherwise how can one turn a miracle into a reality?

They would be required to memorize the details of each and every neighborhood household that needs to be converted; from Pohottuwa to the NPP; some from UNP to the NPP and others from uncommitted to the NPP. How many doors have to be knocked each day, how many pocket discussions need to be held each week and all the details and facts and figures need to be recorded. If anyone thought that attending a massive Women's rally would do the job, then they are just hallucinating.

If the activists are located in a rural farming zone, the task would be doubly difficult for the distance between two households would be much longer and the trekking more tiresome. The JVP in the sixties and seventies and eighties could have completed this task much more easily for the numbers were fewer than now. The party was centered on a cell; its area was much smaller both in geographical and socioeconomic terms. The expansion of that party into the National People's Power has not only brought in many followers and activists into their midst, it has also doubled and tripled their activities and attention at all possible levels.

The road from Miracle to reality..

Some may have been asked to identify the potential speakers, both men and women; if such talent is found, they need to be trained and further refined in their speaking abilities and contextualization of their arguments. A 'finishing school' method of identifying and training speakers is a massive task by itself. Maybe such a task should be handled by a separate arm of the main Party altogether. The road from Miracle to reality is not paved in soft velvety roses; it is harshly contoured in irritating gravel and thorny grass-like textured vegetation.  

The NPP's calendar may be filled until the end of this year. Its crowded programs may have gone beyond the achievable boundaries. Its close monitoring might be almost impossible. The Party and AKD and leadership must realize that what they have ventured into is no mean undertaking; increasing its vote base from a mere 4% to 35% - 45% is indeed a miracle in the truest sense of the word. When they get close to the election time, the overwhelming demand for time, sweat, and labor would eventually claim one or two casualties. They must be ready for that too. Ultimate planning is planing for every conceivable unpredictability. When the top leadership is strategizing, the second and third and fourth layers must be clever and crafty enough to employ their tactics independently.

Can they finally climb that greasy pole of power?

Can AKD and the NPP do all this and more? Can they finally climb that greasy pole of power? How many disagreements amongst their own circles would have to be settled without the occurrence of a major fissure within? How professional can they be? If the miracle becomes a reality, the story of that process will be testimony to their potentiality as the country's leaders. Because such miraculous journey is not possible for the ordinary. Only the extraordinary can boast about such a stupendous achievement. Are AKD and the National People's Party worthy of such monumental results? Only time will tell.

-By Virgil

The writer can be contacted at [email protected]

Virgil's Collection

by     (2024-03-09 15:42:37)

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