Chaotic pluralism

What we see today in Sri Lanka is that the most textured discussions on politics is often led by those outside political parties. It is a discussion that is rich, varied and multi-polar, anchored to not just one entity, location or language. It cannot be censored and through a variety of mediums encourages those who were never before part of these dialogues to participate, freely, through like, comment, selfie, hashtag, video, soundbite, emoticon, filter, livestream or instant message, aside from the consumption of traditional mainstream media.

My conversations with individuals and institutions over the course of last week highlighted what a few in government and many more outside already know and fear. Since the 8th of January 2015, politics as usual has trumped the promise of a new political culture, captured best by the yahapalanaya brand. This was expected, though to see and live through it, is no less depressing. A friend succinctly flagged salient features of the challenge at a meeting held to trace the contours of what today is a promising, new, government led communications initiative. Those in power now trust more those they perceived to be loyal (either to self or party) more than those with skills and experience. Critical commentary, including that which holds the President, PM and the rest of government accountable to the promises they themselves made, is seen as unnecessary, inconvenient and as a sign of trouble. So…

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