|Posted by Asitha G Punchihewa on March 13, 2018 at 5:45 AM|
The World Day of Social Justice: Are We On Track? By Asitha G Punchihewa.
In commemorating the world day of social justice on the 20th February the message of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon unfolds a long path way "As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice."Truly it’s inspiring, butin the light of globalization, regions and sovereign nations mainly the ones less influential like Sri Lanka with smaller populations and weak economies virtually have no say. However, the Government of Sri Lanka has demonstrated an unprecedented long term commitment reflecting political will relating to issues pertaining to Social Justice when many sovereign countries, struggle to find their cause within stresses of globalization. It is an obvious and eternal struggle that is witnessed through community to family to individual level to safeguard their identity, dignity, development needs and sustenance. In the name of global requirement, defined and derived by a few haves, have nots being the majority at the individual level obey and play the pawn while being at the receiving end.
Reality of social justice: reflecting how dependent and constrained the individuals in a given country are, on the family, community, national, regional and global contexts.
The publicized global requirement is to make humanshealthy, wealthy and wise, but again according to the definition and derivation of the haves. The haves have eternally decided on behalf of the have nots making it a vicious circle. As we speak nearly a billion people on earth are under nourished even though there is sufficient food supplies, over 1.6 trillion dollars is spent on strengthening defense, officially six trillion cigarettes are produced annually while the governments struggle to find policies to fight around 25% of world mortalities being due to direct and indirect causes of heart disease and stroke, 1.8 million die of HIV/AIDS while the companies continue to monopolize drugs, capitalists invest through world bank to see the realization of millennium development goals. Corporations have been able to influence and direct national and international agendas. In USA itself there are over three million millionaires while over two billion of the world population is enslaved for under $1,000 per year. So is it within reality to believe that the haves would give way for have nots to define and derive their way?
The regions like the South Asia are facing a major identity crisis. Whether to follow the traditions or to follow the joneses? That is what jugglery is all about; you cannot simply keep all balls in the air at once. While being pawns to more powerful nations, dreaming of becoming rooks at the global stage, they become kings in regions, intimidating the interests of the rest.
Resource allocation at the national level already influenced by super-powers placed under pressure by trans - national corporations is done to appease the corporate interest. It is really a double edged sword where nation states have to play with that ultimately bargains the national or community interest. One good recent example is “regaining Sri Lanka” policy document that came under criticism for prescribing an action plan that necessarily bargains public interest. Although the criticizers have exchanged their chairs, the Asian Highway Programme to lay 1,200 km of highways including the Southern and Katunayaka expressways is still under way as it would appease the world order and a wealthy minority of Sri Lanka.
Riches have been able to dictate terms eternally. Even the battle between Choola- udara and maha-udara could be reflecting a war between the large bellied and thin bellied. When poor become rich, they go on cruise control to be belonged by the riches and forget their mates yester year.
Then what plans are there to appease the family level down to individual level? Mahinda Chinthanaya, as a policy is the panacea, but complete realization of it is hamstrung due to counterproductive systematic flaws and personal interests of a few. Sri Lanka has miserably derailed from its programme to make it the knowledge hub of Asia, to make it the miracle of Asia and many more mainly due to a few greedy ministers and administrators operating as economic assassins.
A majority of Sri Lankans are constrained from every aspect of life. They are not in a position to safeguard their identity, dignity, development needs and ways and means to sustain. Fortunately, they are not alone as they represent a majority of the world’s population that is made to believe that they have come to the end of the tunnel. In reality they are in a hypnotic deep sleep and nowhere close to the way out of this stranglehold where even the fetuses are indebt. The hypnotist is mass media whose pay check is channeled by the corporates use every trick in their hat to blindfold the public from reality. Although media freedom is a much talked about issue in Sri Lanka, media man and the politicians have operated ultimately to safeguard the interests of the billionaire investors in an unknown land.
So it is a matter of intervention at all stratato aid the struggle for individuals to become autonomous, to promote and compromise for win-win situations for all. Creating win-win situations is by no means a roller coaster. In such a context changing the world up-side-down to secure social justice is no easy business knowing the consequences that could arise when a Chihuahua takes on a Great Dane. If we don’t take our chances and challenges now, who would? If we do not realize our role, we would be allowing our future generations, both rich and the poor to go to the gallows untimely.
There is a need to find a way to encourage humanity and humaneness to be reflected in every aspect of individual, family, social, national, regional and global platforms so that the haves could be mobilized to be more considerate about the plight of the have nots, human beings to be mobilized to become aware about their actual role on earth as a single species in their short lifetime.
The good news to be brought to public notice on this World Day of Social Justice is that an initiative is being formulated by a few enthusiastic senior people in the development sector who presently work closely with the government stakeholders, civil society and the private sector on social justice concerns of Sri Lanka and the region. The new initiative is planning to
• Conduct research, awareness and advocacy on Social, Economic and Environmental issues
• Provide Expert Advice on Political Economy Analysis
• Design and implement Social Accountability tools and approaches to mainstream Governance and Development Interventions
• Provide Strategic Advice on Technological innovations for Social justice
• DeployICTs in the Accountability and Transparency Domains.
• Design and implement participatory Monitoring ,Evaluation and Learning Systems
• Offer generic and customized capacity building interventions: e.g. Training workshops, knowledge sharing and management events and field exposures.
• Formulate Policy Reforms and Strategic Advises
• Promote Community Empowerment and implementing Gender Balanced Approaches
• Offer Institutional analysis and reform packages to key governance entities like anticorruption bureaux, information commissions etc.