Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The true Civil Society!

The so called "Civil Society" which was until recently being trumpeted as "THE" Civil Society from rooftops is crumbling slowly but steadily with its true nature exposes. A Civil Society can never be a foreign funded paid "Civil Society" of which members live thousand miles above the ground.

A true Civil Society should be a one firmly rooted with the value systems of the particular country, which is not being controlled by the whims and fancies of interested countries or parties who have their own sinister agendas. This latest article by Malinda Seneviratne is quite insightful as have always been his articles. He unravels the true nature of the so called "Civil Society" among other things. He gives a fine example of what the real Civil Society is and of which voices that must be heeded when deciding the country's future. I below quote a part of his insightful article.

"A couple of weeks ago, however, a significant section of the real 'civil society' expressed their views on this report.  These were not 'invitees'.  Neither were they paid to participate.  They did not belong to a small circle who hobnob with the high and mighty in diplomatic circles or sip cocktails in elegantly crafted lawns in Colombo 7.  They came from all parts of the country, represented all communities and all religious faiths. Some were old, some were young. Half were men and half were women.  They came together as elected representatives with considerable social standing and sway in their communities.  They were asked what they made of the above report. They unanimously rejected it. I am, by the way, a member of one of these societies and have personal shares too (comparatively abysmal, I might add). I wasn't present at the AGM and had no idea that such a resolution would be tabled.

Let's check the numbers.  This was, ladies and gentlemen, the Annual General Meeting of the SANASA Development Bank.  Now this bank grew out of the largest and most widespread thrift and credit movement in the country, one with a history that goes back to 1906 and which anticipated and practised 'microfinance' decades before it became a development buzz word.
From a movement which counts over 8000 primary societies or groups devoted to the subject of thrift and credit, with social, cultural and moral upliftment embedded into agenda, SANASA counts more than 5000 entities that are active and hundreds with assets and business that easily are the  best branches of well-established commercial banks.   A total exceeding 3800 own shares in the SANASA Development Bank. Each of these societies has 100-2000 members, with the average exceeding 400.  Even at an average membership of 200, this acounts for 740,000 people being represented at the AGM.  Throw in an average of 3 adults per family and you get over 2 million people being represented, for, typically, SANASA membership and operations are associated with households and communities.
That's as accurate as one can get in ascertaining the sentiments of civil society this side of a national referendum, I contend.  These people, let me repeat, are elected representatives of grassroots organizations.  I am willing to wager that if all such elected organizations were brought together and their views on such issues obtained through secret ballot, the result would not be any different.
There are lessons here.  This should indicate for anyone interested in using the report as an instrument to affect regime-change the kinds of cost this country would have to incur. It should tell people  that this report cannot be used to further the cause of 'reconciliation' because it is considered a piece of garbage by vast sections of the population.  Thirdly, it is time that the real civil society stood up and got counted in ways broader than a vote on a resolution at a corporate entity's AGM.
It tells something to the regime too.  The recommendations of the report's backers, namely and principally 'devolution based on the 13th Amendment', should be summarily dismissed as politically untenable". 

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