July 13, 2022
DHAKA – With the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on July 11 (which will be publicly announced by the speaker of parliament on July 13), we see another curve in the road for the island nation – because nothing can be called a light at the end of the tunnel again. The political and economic situation in Sri Lanka came to a head from that year when fuel prices started to soar. Since then, the quality of life of Sri Lankans has deteriorated miserably, as they experience daily 10-hour power cuts, reduced food intake, severe shortage of money, inability to work even at distance and a collapsed global economy. In April, the country defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt and now has very little foreign currency to even import essential goods. In June, the country’s inflation hit a record high for the ninth straight month, according to government data.
It seems pointless to ask why, even after the resignation of a Rajapaksa brother from his post as Prime Minister, the protests of Sri Lankans continue. It was never simply a question of combating the nepotism practiced by the Rajapaksa dynasty. Citizens protested for months, often in the face of a disproportionate response from law enforcement (resulting in the deaths of several protesters), as they had witnessed in real time how the irresponsibility of officials had upset their livelihoods. But while protesters finally appear to have the upper hand, especially since their takeover of the presidential palace and the burning of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence, the political crisis is far from over until officials can choose the leaders to be elected who will acquire the public sign.
What Sri Lanka’s 22 million people are currently experiencing is certainly the worst economic crisis the island has faced since its independence in 1948. However, the crisis is also a testament to what happens when the politicians at the helm of a country become selfish or want to put on a development show, rather than serving the public. From building infrastructure using foreign funds borrowed from political members of the Rajapaksa family who allegedly laundered millions of Sri Lankan rupees, public anger against this family and their government has been building for a few years now. .
We urge the international community to come to the aid of Sri Lankan citizens by providing them with food, fuel, medicine, etc. Although, given the resignation of President Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is automatically appointed as the country’s interim president, it is imperative that the public be allowed to democratically elect a replacement. Above all, we hope that peace and prosperity will finally prevail in Sri Lanka.