12 Must See Movies on Love, Equality, and Emancipation featuring leading Black Actors

By Kiana Wilburg

Kaieteur News – On August 1, Guyanese will officially commemorate one of the most important days in our nation’s history—Emancipation Day. It is of particular importance as it allows for reflection on the triumph of the African spirit over decades of atrocities, dehumanisation, and cultural erosion.

In observance of the significance of this day, The Waterfalls thought it prudent to share a list of movies that incorporate the rich talents of black actors and actresses to explore themes of love, equality, liberation, brilliance, and resilience.

Do enjoy this list of timeless black features.

1.     Cry Freedom:  This is a 1987 epic apartheid drama film directed and produced by Richard Attenborough. It is set in late-1970s apartheid-era South Africa. The film centres on the real-life events involving South African activist Steve Biko and his friend Donald Woods, who initially finds him destructive, and attempts to understand his way of life. Denzel Washington stars as Biko, while Kevin Kline portrays Woods. Cry Freedom delves into the ideas of discrimination, political corruption, and the repercussions of violence. It is without question, a phenomenal documentary and a must-watch for all to understand the plight of Africans in modern South African history and the oppressive nature of the apartheid system.

2.     Black Panther: This is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name.  It stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. In Black Panther, T’Challa is crowned king of Wakanda following his father’s death, but he is challenged by Killmonger (Jordan), who plans to abandon the country’s isolationist policies and begin a global revolution. In the end, only one can win.

3.     Sarafina: This movie is all about strength, about people lacking it and people overflowing with it. Sarafina herself is a Soweto girl with great hopes for the future, despite her family’s poverty and her mother’s (Miriam Makeba) work away from home, forcing Sarafina to take care of her younger siblings. The movie is set in Johannesburg, during the Apartheid regime, and black children are forbidden to speak their own language. In spite of this, Sarafina dreams big and her world brightens up when her class gets a new teacher (played by Whoopi Goldberg), who teaches them about their worth and to be proud of their heritage.

4.     The Colour Purple: This is a 1985 American film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Menno Meyjes, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1982 novel of the same name by Alice Walker. The cast stars Whoopi Goldberg in her breakthrough role, with Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery, Rae Dawn Chong, Willard Pugh, and Adolph Caesar.

Filmed in Anson and Union counties in North Carolina, the film tells the story of a young African-American girl named Celie Harris and shows the problems African-American women experienced during the early 20th century, including domestic violence, incest, pedophilia, poverty, racism, and sexism. Celie is transformed as she finds her self-worth through the help of two strong female companions.

5.     The Hate U Give: This is a 2018 American drama film that follows the fallout after a high school student witnesses a police shooting.

6.     John Q: This is a 2002 American thriller drama film starring Denzel Washington and directed by Nick Cassavetes. The film tells the story of John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington), a father and husband whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart and who finds out he is unable to receive a transplant because HMO insurance will not cover it. He then decides to hold hostages at the hospital and force them to do it.  It is a story that shows a father’s resolve to save his son no matter the cost or consequence.

7.     Hidden Figures: In heartwarming, crowd-pleasing fashion, this movie celebrates the contributions of women to history. Specifically, it tells the inspiring true story of three African American female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, and Glen Powell are featured in supporting roles.

8.     The Great Debaters: This is a 2007 American biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington. It is based on an article written about the Wiley College debate team by Tony Scherman for the spring 1997 issue of American Legacy. The film co-stars Forest Whitaker, Denzel Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Nate Parker, Gina Ravera, Jermaine Williams and Jurnee Smollett. The screenplay is written by Robert Eisele, with story by Robert Eisele and Jeffrey Porro.
Based on a true story, the plot revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) at Wiley College, a historically black college related to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now The United Methodist Church), to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a fear for blacks. The Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University and win.

9.     Django Unchained: Two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, finds himself accompanying an unorthodox German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) on a mission to capture the vicious Brittle brothers. Their travels take them to the infamous plantation of shady Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), where Django’s long-lost wife (Kerry Washington) is still a slave. They worked together to free her but it was not without its fair share of riveting challenges.

10.      Queen of Katwe: Starring David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and Madina Nalwanga, this film depicts the inspiring true story of a girl from the slums of Uganda who becomes an international chess champion. It has strong themes of empathy, humility, integrity, perseverance, and teamwork.

11.      Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a 2013 British-South African biographical film directed by Justin Chadwick from a script written by William Nicholson and starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. The film is based on the 1995 autobiographical book Long Walk to Freedom by anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African President Nelson Mandela.

12.      The Boy who harnessed the wind: This film is based on the true story of a Malawian boy named William Kamkwamba from the Kasungu region who witnesses a terrible drought in 2001. Driven by desperation William starts searching in books for a solution until he comes across the picture of a windmill. Since he lacks resources, he goes to the nearby garbage dump and uses what he could find to build s windmill. In successfully doing so, he is able to pump water from the ground for his family’s cornfields which leads to a successful crop being sown. Word of William’s windmill spreads and he is awarded a scholarship to attend school, ultimately receiving a degree from Dartmouth College.

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U.S. National Bar Association honors Akinwumi Adesina with distinguished Ronald Harmon Brown Award of International Distinction

African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, was honored with the distinguished Ronald Harmon Brown Award of International Distinction, by the National Bar Association, in the United States.

The award is named in honor of Ron Brown, the first African American to Chair a major U.S. political party, and the first African American to be appointed Commerce Secretary.

Other award recipients include the NBA’s chief policy officer, Alicia Hughes, who received the organization’s highest award; Hajia Alima Mahama, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the United States; and Kamil Olufowobi, CEO, Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD).

The black-tie gala was attended by over 800 black lawyers, including 20 past National Bar Association Presidents, and several elected officials. A lively fire side chat between National Bar Association President Carlos Moore and the 91-year-old Fred Gray, legendary chief counsel for the civil rights protest movement, set the stage for the night.

Moore cited Adesina’s transformative role as head of the African Development Bank, and as a former Nigerian Minister of Agriculture.

Receiving the award, Adesina lauded the late Ron Brown as an inspirational figure who believed that “every idea was an impossibility, until it is born.”

As President of the African Development Bank Group, Adesina said he and his team set out to accomplish the seemingly impossible. This included the largest ever general capital increase in the bank’s history, from $93 billion to $208 billion; a transformative High5 development strategy that has impacted 335 million Africans in six years; and the creation of the Africa Investment Forum, the continent’s premier investment marketplace, which has attracted $110 billion in investment interests in Africa, over three years.

In 2021, the African Development Bank was ranked the best multilateral financial institution in the world. In 2022, the African Development Bank was ranked the most transparent institution in the world, by Publish What You Fund, in terms of its sovereign operations.

Adesina, who dedicated the award to his wife Grace—”his inspiration and greatest supporter,” —said: “I thank all my staff and the management of the Bank for their exceptional work, and our Board of Directors for their incredible support. They make our ideas come to life. They turn impossibilities into possibilities.”

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 65,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The NBA is organized around 23 substantive law sections, 10 divisions, 12 regions and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world.
Source African Development Bank Group

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Part 1: Swahili, Pan-Africanism and the Practice of Freedom.


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(ThyBlackMan.com) The rapid rise of the Swahili language to global reach and importance, reflected in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designating 7 July 2022 as World Swahili Language Day, brings with it a deep sense of elation and satisfaction in the good work done to all those in Africa, the US and the world who worked hard to achieve this rightful recognition.

Certainly, Swahili has achieved the global presence and importance that demands international recognition and engagement for its contributions to communications, education, culture, economics, politics and diplomacy. It is the most widespread language in Africa, spoken in 12 countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Comoros) and introduced into the educational systems of various other African countries viz. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

It is also spoken in Yemen and Oman and is considered one of the 10 most spoken languages ??in the world with over 200 million speakers. Both my organization, the African American Cultural Center (Us), and I are greatly honored, proud, and pleased to be a significant part of the worldwide effort that achieved this historic recognition and moment by studying, teaching, protecting, and spreading Swahili throughout the United States and protecting it. at national and international conferences and various other venues, formally and informally since 1960.

Swahili language and English Language

We have also inspired many African-American scholars and activists to adopt, study, teach, and share it in various ways. It has thus become the most widely used continental African language in the US in speaking, naming and practicing and promoting projects and programs organized around Kwanzaa and on Nguzo Saba.

My interest and perception of Swahili begins in the context, consciousness and practice of liberation. In Tanzania, President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere established Swahili as the unifying national language. And he gave refuge and support to freedom fighters from other African countries and they learned Swahili and Swahili in the process became the language of liberation.

It was the same for us in the US, especially in the Kawaida movement among organizations like the Us Organization, Uhuru Sasa, The East, The Institute of Positive Education, Ahidiana and others. And we spoke it and taught it in our homes, organizations, and independent schools, and used it in formulating Kawaida concepts of culture, community, liberation, and struggle.

Self-aware as African and seeking a cultural basis for how best to understand and assert myself in liberating, liberating, and life-enhancing ways, I turned to the study of Africa. I was a student at Los Angeles City College when I began to immerse myself in the independent study of Africa, its peoples, history and cultures, its leaders and liberation movements and social thought.

Here the Swahili word used by Mwalimu Nyerere to urge deep commitment, zhitumbukiza, is most appropriate. Because it speaks of a self-aware and dedicated person who throws himself deep into thought and practice to achieve a goal.

As a student and activist intellectual, deeply involved in the Black Liberation Movement, as an African and as part of entering African consciousness, I decided that I needed to know a continental African language. For me, it was a means of reclaiming a lost heritage, not just of language, but of a distinctly African way of knowing, thinking, relating, and being in the world that was embedded in language and reflected in the views, values, and practices that language yielded.

For me, it was a communal way of understanding and affirming ourselves in the world, a relational way that teaches interconnectedness, mutual respect, reciprocity and shared good in our lives and the world.

Here I chose Kiswahili and was immediately asked about this choice instead of other African languages. My choice of Swahili over another African language as our main heritage language was primarily because I saw it as Pan-African, the most common African language spoken in several African countries. And I reasoned that we African-Americans are a pan-African people, a new nation or national community, originating from and composed of the many ethnicities, peoples, and nations of Africa.

Second, as a pan-African language, Swahili is not tied to one ethnic group like other African languages ??and thus did not involve for me the choice of one ethnic language over another, but the choice of the most inclusive and inclusive African language, again pan-African in character and meaning to us.

Moreover, choosing Swahili was for me, for us, an act of freedom, of self-determination, a practice of resistance. It was part of our choice to be African, despite the dominant society’s schizophrenic practice of on the one hand calling us African to humiliate us, and then denying that we were African when we defiantly claimed or reclaimed our identity as an African people.

It is therefore no accident, but due to a crucial and defining historical moment, that our conversion to Africa and Swahili began at the height of the Black Freedom Movement, the African Independence Movements and similar liberation movements around the world. As Haji Malcolm taught, we “were living in an age of revolution, and the (African-American) rebellion was part of the rebellion against oppression and colonialism that characterized that age.”

And Swahili became the main basis for building, pursuing and interpreting this resistance against various forms of oppression, ie. racism, colonialism and imperialism.

At LACC, I had studied Arabic and continued to study French, but there were no Swahili classes. So I studied on my own until I transferred to UCLA, where I took classes and furthered my studies, benefiting greatly from exchanges with Swahili-speaking students, especially from Tanzania and Kenya. Once grounded in the language, I began to teach it not only as a skill but also as a cultural experience, an African way of understanding and engaging others in the world. This includes the teaching of culture, proverbial wisdom, Abunuwas stories and related cultural and philosophical concepts from across the global African community.

Having chosen Swahili as my preferred heritage language, I taught it in public institutions and on television in 1963 and 1964 respectively and privileged it in my varied lectures on history, community, culture and struggle. Also, in 1964 I introduced and taught Swahili classes at the Fremont Senior School in Los Angeles. The class was scheduled for two evenings a week, but was overbooked with 100 students and had to be rescheduled for two hours and four evenings.

The principal reported that one-third of the students were undergraduates, one-third college graduates, and the other third were ordinary people interested in learning an African language to regain a sense of heritage. Some were interested in visiting East Africa, others in preparing for foreign service as the Peace Corp, and still others were interested in learning the language as a way to connect meaningfully with their African heritage and learn the worldview and values ??embedded in and expressed by the language.

I have always emphasized the communal nature of language and culture. Thus, I would contrast the English words “See you later” with the words “Tutaonana” meaning “see you (later)” in Swahili, which emphasizes the collective and reciprocal nature of the Swahili statement. Or I would create a discussion around why we would use “kwetu“our place, the home of “kwango”, my place, even if you live alone, again emphasizing the relational nature.

Again, this emphasizes the relational nature of this African language and culture and the fundamental concept of man as a person in community, rich in relationships and corresponding responsibilities to bring and maintain good in the world.

Written by Dr. Maulana Karenga

Official website; https://www.maulanakarenga.org/

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U.S.-Latin America Immigration Agreement Raises more Questions than Answers

Active Citizens, Civil Society, Development & Aid, Editors’ Choice, Featured, Headlines, Human Rights, Latin America & the Caribbean, Migration & Refugees, Population, Poverty & SDGs, Regional Categories

Migration & Refugees

A hundred Central American migrants were rescued from an overcrowded trailer truck in the Mexican state of Tabasco. It has been impossible to stop people from making the hazardous journey of thousands of kilometers to the United States due to the lack of opportunities in their countries of origin. CREDIT: Mesoamerican Migrant Movement

A hundred Central American migrants were rescued from an overcrowded trailer truck in the Mexican state of Tabasco. It has been impossible to stop people from making the hazardous journey of thousands of kilometers to the United States due to the lack of opportunities in their countries of origin. CREDIT: Mesoamerican Migrant Movement

SAN SALVADOR, Jul 19 2022 (IPS) – The immigration agreement reached in Los Angeles, California at the end of the Summit of the Americas, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, raises more questions than answers and the likelihood that once again there will be more noise than actual benefits for migrants, especially Central Americans.

And immigration was once again the main issue discussed at the Jul. 12 bilateral meeting between Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Biden at the White House.

At the meeting, López Obrador asked Biden to facilitate the entry of “more skilled” Mexican and Central American workers into the U.S. “to support” the economy and help curb irregular migration.

Central American analysts told IPS that it is generally positive that immigration was addressed at the June summit and that concrete commitments were reached. But they also agreed that much remains to be done to tackle the question of undocumented migration.

That is especially true considering that the leaders of the three Central American nations generating a massive flow of poor people who risk their lives to reach the United States, largely without papers, were absent from the meeting.

Just as the Ninth Summit of the Americas was getting underway on Jun. 6 in Los Angeles, an undocumented 15-year-old Salvadoran migrant began her journey alone to the United States, with New York as her final destination.

She left her native San Juan Opico, in the department of La Libertad in central El Salvador.

“We communicate every day, she tells me that she is in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and that everything is going well according to plan. They give them food and they are not mistreating her, but they don’t let her leave the safe houses,” Omar Martinez, the Salvadoran uncle of the migrant girl, whose name he preferred not to mention, told IPS.

She was able to make the journey because her mother, who is waiting for her in New York, managed to save the 15,000-dollar cost of the trip, led as always by a guide or “coyote”, as they are known in Central America, who in turn form part of networks in Guatemala and Mexico that smuggle people across the border between Mexico and the United States.

The meeting of presidents in Los Angeles “was marked by the issue of temporary jobs, and the presidents of key Central American countries were absent, so there was a vacuum in that regard,” researcher Silvia Raquec Cum, of Guatemala’s Pop No’j Association, told IPS.

In fact, neither the presidents of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, or El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, attended the conclave due to political friction with the United States, in a political snub that would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago.

Other Latin American presidents boycotted the Summit of the Americas as an act of protest, such as Mexico’s López Obrador, precisely because Washington did not invite the leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which it considers dictatorships.

 From rural communities like this one, the village of Huisisilapa in the municipality of San Pablo Tacachico in central El Salvador, where there are few possibilities of finding work, many people set out for the United States, often without documents, in search of the "American dream". CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

From rural communities like this one, the village of Huisisilapa in the municipality of San Pablo Tacachico in central El Salvador, where there are few possibilities of finding work, many people set out for the United States, often without documents, in search of the “American dream”. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

More temporary jobs

Promoting more temporary jobs is one of the commitments of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection adopted at the Summit of the Americas and signed by some twenty heads of state on Jun. 10 in that U.S. city.

“Temporary jobs are an important issue, but let’s remember that economic questions are not the only way to address migration. Not all migration is driven by economic reasons, there are also situations of insecurity and other causes,” Raquec Cum emphasized.

Moreover, these temporary jobs do not allow the beneficiaries to stay and settle in the country; they have to return to their places of origin, where their lives could be at risk.

“It is good that they (the temporary jobs) are being created and are expanding, but we must be aware that the beneficiaries are only workers, they are not allowed to settle down, and there are people who for various reasons no longer want to return to their countries,” researcher Danilo Rivera, of the Central American Institute of Social and Development Studies, told IPS from the Guatemalan capital.

The Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection states that it “seeks to mobilize the entire region around bold actions that will transform our approach to managing migration in the Americas.”

The Declaration is based on four pillars: stability and assistance for communities; expansion of legal pathways; humane migration management; and coordinated emergency response.

The focus on expanding legal pathways includes Canada, which plans to receive more than 50,000 agricultural workers from Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean in 2022.

While Mexico will expand the Border Worker Card program to include 10,000 to 20,000 more beneficiaries, it is also offering another plan to create job opportunities in Mexico for 15,000 to 20,000 workers from Guatemala each year.

The United States, for its part, is committed to a 65 million dollar pilot program to help U.S. farmers hire temporary agricultural workers, who receive H-2A visas.

“It is necessary to rethink governments’ capacity to promote regular migration based on temporary work programs when it is clear that there is not enough labor power to cover the great needs in terms of employment demands,” said Rivera from Guatemala.

He added that despite the effort put forth by the presidents at the summit, there is no mention at all of the comprehensive reform that has been offered for several years to legalize some 11 million immigrants who arrived in the United States without documents.

A reform bill to that effect is currently stalled in the U.S. Congress.

Many of the 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States come from Central America, especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as Mexico.

While the idea of immigration reform is not moving forward in Congress, more than 60 percent of the undocumented migrants have lived in the country for over a decade and have more than four million U.S.-born children, the New York Times reported in January 2021.

This population group represents five percent of the workforce in the agriculture, construction and hospitality sectors, the report added.

 Despite the risks involved in undertaking the irregular, undocumented journey to the United States, many Salvadorans continue to make the trip, and many are deported, such as the people seen in this photo taken at a registration center after they were sent back to San Salvador. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

Despite the risks involved in undertaking the irregular, undocumented journey to the United States, many Salvadorans continue to make the trip, and many are deported, such as the people seen in this photo taken at a registration center after they were sent back to San Salvador. CREDIT: Edgardo Ayala/IPS

More political asylum

The Declaration also includes another important component of the migration agreement: a commitment to strengthen political asylum programs.

For example, among other agreements in this area, Canada will increase the resettlement of refugees from the Americas and aims to receive up to 4,000 people by 2028, the Declaration states.

For its part, the United States will commit to resettle 20,000 refugees from the Americas during fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

“What I took away from the summit is the question of creating a pathway to address the issue of refugees in the countries of origin,” Karen Valladares, of the National Forum for Migration in Honduras, told IPS from Tegucigalpa.

She added: “In the case of Honduras, we are having a lot of extra-regional and extra-continental population traffic.”

Valladares said that while it is important “to enable refugee processes for people passing through our country, we must remember that Honduras is not seen as a destination, but as a transit country.”

Raquec Cum, of the Pop No’j Association in Guatemala, said “They were also talking about the extension of visas for refugees, but the bottom line is how they are going to carry out this process; there are specific points that were signed and to which they committed themselves, but the how is what needs to be developed.”

Meanwhile, the Salvadoran teenager en route to New York has told her uncle that she expects to get there in about a month.

“She left because she wants to better herself, to improve her situation, because in El Salvador it is expensive to live,” said Omar, the girl’s uncle.

“I have even thought about leaving the country, but I suffer from respiratory problems and could not run a lot or swim, for example, and sometimes you have to run away from the migra (border patrol),” he said.


Sri Lanka: Why a Feudal Culture & Absence of Meritocracy Bankrupted a Nation

Asia-Pacific, Civil Society, Crime & Justice, Featured, Headlines, Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies, TerraViva United Nations


Credit: Sunday Times, Sri Lanka

BROMLEY, UK, Jul 19 2022 (IPS) – Sri Lanka is officially bankrupt and a failed state in all but name. How did a country of 22 million people with a level of literacy on par with most of the developed world end up in such a dire position where the state coffers did not have the measly sum of 20 million dollars to purchase fuel to keep the country functioning beyond the next working day?

Whilst the vast majority of the population have concluded that the blame for this economic armageddon is due to the gluttony of corruption and greed, instigated and enabled by the Rajapaksa family , its acolytes and sycophantic nodding dogs, my own assessment is different.

It is a fact that vast sums , amounting to billions of dollars, were indeed stolen and moved overseas through various illegal networks by the Rajapaksa clan and their accomplices.

Many billions were also squandered on gargantuan white elephant vanity projects in order to glorify the Rajapaksa legacy. However, the seeds for the bankruptcy were sown when the country attained its independence from Great Britain in 1948.

Sri Lanka proudly proclaims itself as one of the oldest democracies in Asia which has had a functioning democracy since 1948. The democratic process has functioned like it should do and parliamentarians elected as they should be and the leaders who represent the aspirations and values of the people appointed as they should be.

Why then has the country reached this abyss?

For democracy to enrich the lives of the people and bring about economic prosperity, two essential and fundamental criteria have to be satisfied. The election of individuals based on merit and the adherence to a universal justice system.

In the absence of meritocracy and a universal justice system, democracy becomes meaningless – an utterly futile process which will not achieve what it is intended for.

Meritocracy is however an alien concept in Sri Lanka!

A universal justice system does not exist in Sri Lanka!

Meritocracy does not exist in Sri Lanka because the cultural DNA is that of a feudal society. Sri Lankan culture promotes race, religion, nepotism, old school connections, social connections, social influences, political influences and servitude (where one class of people are held in perpetual bondage or servants for life ) over and above the attributes and qualities of the individual.

That is a primitive mindset and a recipe for disaster.

In Sri Lanka, people are judged not by the content of their character but by their race, their religion, their socio-economic background, their family connections, the schools they attended, where they live, and who they know. (with apologies to the Rev Martin Luther King for using his words in a manner he did not intend)

When a society functions in such a feudal manner, such values permeate throughout and has a direct correlation with the workings of the justice system. The justice system replicates the culture and ultimately ends up being not fit for purpose.

If a justice system is unable to function based on facts and objectivity, the fabric of society slowly starts to tear apart because the checks and balances needed for a society to progress and for nations to grow, slowly start to dissipate.

Since 1948, Sri Lankan democracy has existed on the basis of nepotism, feudal, racial and religious criteria.

The feudal culture masquerading as democracy has elected the Senanayake family, the Bandaranaike family, the Premadasa family and the Rajapaksa family into the highest offices of the land.

The singular qualification that Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake had was that he was the son of the father.

The singular qualification Prime Minister Mrs Bandaranaike had was that she was the wife of the husband

The singular qualification President Chandrika B had was that she was the daughter of the father and the mother

The singular qualification that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (now acting President) has is that he is the nephew of President JR Jayewardene.

The singular qualification that Sajith Premadasa has is that he is the son of the father

The singular qualification Gotabaya Rajapaksa has is that he is the brother of Mahinda

The singular qualification Namal has is that he is the son of the father

The singular qualification Basil has is that he is the brother of Mahinda and Gotabaya.

The singular qualification Thondaman had was that that he was the son of the father.

And this is called Democracy?

This is a banana republic in all but name where Nepotism is the ultimate passport to success – and all done through the ballot box !

This is a culture of entitlement masquerading as democracy , which in turn has given birth to a nation whose leaders are elected not by the content of their character but by their name and association.

It is the equivalent of death by a thousand cuts for what has been spawned is a society where quality has been superseded by mediocrity at best and incompetence at worst.

The end result is the economic armageddon that has destroyed the country.

When leaders of a nation are elected in such a manner, those who serve them and the very fabric of society itself replicates the structural fault line that promotes feudal nepotistic values. It becomes self-fulfilling, promotes mediocrity, encourages malpractice, and creates a culture of corruption.

The legal system, which on paper is there to oversee the rule of law, sadly becomes an extension of the structural fault line which then ensures that impunity and immunity against corruption , theft or even murder, becomes standard operating procedure.

Einstein’s definition of “insanity” is where he states that if we do the same thing over and over again, we end up with the same result. Sri Lanka’s sham democracy since 1948 has been exactly that. A culture based on feudal nepotistic values which enables the same results over and over again.

The people of Sri Lanka must break this vicious cycle if they are ever to escape from the death spiral they have created for themselves.

The critical mass of people who have recently demonstrated for structural change and the complete transformation of government and governance, have achieved more in the last few months than most of the corrupt incompetent deluded half-wits in parliament ever will.

A fundamental new approach to governance based on competence and the rule of law is a pre-requisite to stop Sri Lanka disintegrating into anarchy and chaos.

Does real democracy exist in Sri Lanka ? No !

Real democracy in Sri Lanka doesn’t exist because the culture prevents those with real ability and competence from being elected on merit alone. The vast majority of the electorate simply doesn’t understand that real democracy that provides a positive outcome is based on merit, first, second and last.

It is also unlikely that the majority of the electorate will understand this any time soon.

Can the country find a leader that replicates Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew ? It is imperative that it does find such a leader who leads by example and who creates a structural transformation of society itself where honesty, integrity and the adherence to the rule of law becomes sacrosanct .

However, does such a leader exists within the current crop of parliamentarians? If not within in parliament , then where ?

A leader who will also ensure that all those who have been culpable in this bringing about this catastrophe are forced to change their ways as well as bringing to justice those who have systematically looted and stolen the countries’ wealth – politicians and non-politicians .

Does a universal justice system exist in Sri Lanka – No !

A justice system in a secular democracy has to be independent of parliament. The justice system is meant to be independent of state machinery and should not be influenced by state operatives.

However, in Sri Lanka the parliament overrules and effectively instructs how the justice system should act which in turn makes the whole system corrupt and not fit for purpose.

The country has huge numbers of legal eagles with more qualifications than they have had hot dinners and who know the finer points of the law better than most in the world.

However, they are rendered impotent and toothless because they are beholden to the political masters they serve – either through choice or otherwise.

The corrosive and toxic nature of a feudal culture which promotes false values over merit and the rule of law ensures even the greatest minds of the land are reduced to corrupt sycophantic nodding ponies.

The legal system in Sri Lanka is also an organised money printing racket where the ordinary citizen or client is entirely at the mercy of the corrupt and dysfunctional bureaucracy.

Those who operate within the system make the equivalent of monopoly money by effectively fleecing the unsuspecting and manipulating a system that is not fit for purpose.

As I write this , the elected leader of the country whose policies and incompetence were the catalyst for the economic meltdown, has fled overseas – the ultimate ” runner viruwa ” !

The man appointed as the acting leader of the nation is one whose party has a single seat in parliament – his own ! And that too not due to electoral votes but due to a corrupt system which enables ” grace and favour ” appointments to parliament.

Such is the abyss that Sri Lanka is in.

What truly beggars belief is that there are millions in the country who still believe that this corrupt rotten s–t show of a system can still be tweaked here and there and made to work.

It cannot and the saddest reality of all this is that millions of Sri Lankans will still cling to their delusional sense of self-importance and righteousness and even at this point where mass starvation is a real possibility, carry on repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

A country whose majority population follows the teachings of one of the greatest philosophers the world has known, is simply incapable of understanding some of the most basic lessons the great sage from Lumbini taught – honesty, integrity, introspection, reflection and truth !

If however, a NEW set of leaders with competence, honesty and integrity, whose primary purpose is to serve the people, can be found within parliament, within the Aragalaya movement , within the commercial sector or a combination of individuals from all three , there is still hope for Sri Lanka.

If however the same corrupt incompetent rotten thieves who still occupy positions of huge powers are allowed to maintain the status quo , the failed state that is Sri Lanka will descent into complete anarchy and bloodshed.

At the end of all that, arising out of the ashes, there will be a breakaway part of the country ………called Eelam !!!!!!!!

Charles Seevali Abeysekera, a semi-retired sales and marketing professional, has worked in the UK mailing industry for over 35 years. He also scribes a blog on current affairs as well as reflections and thoughts on his own life journey “

IPS UN Bureau


Indigenous Peoples Must Continue To Challenge Human Rights Violations: PODCAST

Civil Society, Global, Headlines, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Multimedia, Podcast, TerraViva United Nations

Indigenous Rights

KATHMANDU, Jul 7 2022 (IPS) – Today we are starting a new series focused on human rights. For people working to create a more sustainable and just world – as we are – a human rights based approach makes sense as it starts from the premise that only by recognizing and protecting the dignity inherent in all people can we attain those goals.

Today’s guest, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has immense experience in human rights. She is the founder and executive director of Tebtebba Foundation, which works to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples in the Philippines, her home country, and beyond. She was the Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples from 2005 To 2010, and UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples from 2014 to 2020.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode — from Vicky’s analysis of her time as special rapporteur to recent rhetoric around ‘building back better’, the circular economy and other touted economic reforms, versus the reality on the ground. Indigenous communities are facing growing pressure from both states and the private sector to extract the natural resources that they are trying to protect. This dichotomy between the words and deeds of these powerful actors must be continually exposed and challenged by Indigenous peoples, says Vicky.

Asked whether governments of poorer countries are doing enough to protect human rights, without hesitating Vicky answers no. But she also points out that these countries are themselves pressured by international agreements, brokered largely by rich countries, that leave them with few options but to exploit natural resources.

She also tells me about an exciting project — the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, a body of 23 global experts, is creating a General Recommendation on Indigenous women and girls. Among other things, it recognize the individual and collective rights of Indigenous women, the latter including respect for their rights to land, languages and other culture. Vicki says it is the first time that a UN treaty body is developing a recommendation focussed on Indigenous women.


Tebtebba Foundation

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples

UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigneous Peoples

IPS Coverage About Indigenous Peoples Rights

The dichotomy between the words and deeds of powerful actors must be continually exposed and challenged by Indigenous peoples, says today’s guest, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz