SL’s march into the future and
The state’s decision to progressively relax Emergency
regulations and do away with them completely by the end of this
year, is news that would be warmly welcomed by most Sri Lankans
with an interest in this country’s future. Sensible sections are
unlikely not to appreciate the reasons that led to the clamping
of the Emergency, but by the same token, they are bound to
question the need for its continuance, now that the conflict has
drawn to a close.
As we see it, the worst of times, from the security
viewpoint, are now over. The LTTE’s military capability is, of
course, in a shambles and it could no longer pose a credible
immediate military threat to the state of Sri Lanka and its
vital interests. Therefore, further dismantling Emergency
regulations would be the most sensible course to adopt in this
The national interest precedes all other interests and this
goes without saying, but it is also integral to the country’s
interests to restore to the people their fundamental rights.
That is, the task of progressively democratizing Sri Lanka
should be persisted with. We do not narrowly interpret the
national interest to mean the establishment and strengthening of
national security only, although this security dimension is of
crucial significance to a country’s overall interests and
Human development too is an integral part of the national
interest and we are encouraged by the fact that this dimension
too is receiving the attention of the state.
A vital link exists between democratic freedoms and human
development. If a citizen does not enjoy freedom of movement and
the liberty to advance himself culturally and educationally, for
instance, there could be no development of self and without
development of self, we wonder whether we could have human
development in the truest sense of the word. Equally, the
citizen should not find his immediate social and physical
environment to be unusually stultifying and restrictive because
such conditions would militate against the citizen’s legitimate
need to enjoy emotional and psychological wholeness.
Currently, people of the South are visiting the North-East
and the citizens of the latter are freely visiting the South and
mingling vibrantly and happily with the people of this region.
Thus do we see the beneficial impact of lifting the Emergency
restrictions. There is close contact and camaraderie among the
numerous communities of Sri Lanka and this alone is a huge plus
which is attributable to the more relaxed atmosphere in the
country today. That is, the relaxing of the Emergency has been
pivotal in promoting people-to-people contact and this would
accrue to the national interest.
In the days ahead, it is development which would prove
crucial in Sri Lanka’s onward march. For this purpose, not only
would national integration and unity prove vital, the material
development of the country would figure as crucial too.
As we are aware, economic entrepreneurship would not flourish
in a social environment where rights are curtailed. It is
important that the people’s right to engage in legitimate
businesses is respected too. So, for this reason also an
environment free of needless restrictions is important and it
goes without saying that a progressively liberalizing political
order is essential.