Violence to safeguard Democracy?
In the movie “V for Vendetta”, 2027 Britain has become totalitarian, and is ruled by the Right-wing Fascist Norsefire regime. There is a rebel, a mysterious Guy Fawkes-masked vigilante who’s known as “V”, a freedom fighther seeking to obliterate the fascist government while pursuing his own violent personal vendetta. Early in the movie, V destroys the Old Bailey. The next day, when the government tries to mislead the public by explaining the incident as an emergency demolition, V shows it to be a lie by taking over the state-run British Television Network (BTN) the same day. He broadcasts a message, urging the people to rise up against the oppressive government on the fifth of November, one year from that day, when V will destroy the Houses of Parliament… The Sri Lankan government has never been fascist, for although it suppresses openness and opposition, and although it blames capitalism and liberal democracies for pretty much everything, and although it (supposedly) seeks to build the country by basing it on a heightened sense of national belonging and ethnic identity, it doesn’t (at least openly) advocate the creation of a single-party state, and doesn’t (at least openly) press for the destruction of elections, legislatures, and other elements of democracy, and doesn’t openly reject liberal ideas such as freedom & individual rights… This government is certainly not totalitarian, for it lets people live & work in comparative independence, provided they refrain from politics. This is not the case with modern totalitarianism. It makes people completely dependent on the whims & wishes of a political party and its leaders… But this government is definitely authoritarian, for it is characterised by rule of men (not rule of law), rigged elections, virtually all important political decisions made by unelected officials, a bureaucracy operated quite independently of rules, and the informal and unregulated exercise of political power. These are some of the characteristics of authoritarianism according to Theodore M. Vestal… Also, as Dr. Rohan Samarajiva has pointed out, “Sri Lanka, under the Rajapakse regime, is becoming a feudal kingdom with constitutional veneer.” He writes “where but in a Feudal state, would you name a government airline for the current head of state and put his campaign livery on the tail.” Of course, people call him king… But since the goverment isn’t totalitarian, and tolerates some pluralism, I do not believe we should follow the path of V, the path of violence, the path of vendetta, which is what the JVP seems to be suggesting now. We must acknowledge the fact that this government is popular, and its leader is loved very much. Either there must be a reason for that, or the people must be incredibly irrational. People aren’t stupid. If somebody takes the path of violence against the government now, he’ll lose, for it’ll be terrorism, not a revolution… Nobody can seriously compare President Rajapakse with inhuman freaks like Hitler & Mussolini. No one can compare this UPFA government with the Nazi government which established the Third Reich. Certainly, this is not the time to take the path that V took… But I believe, there is always a time to act, and if it comes to that, if justice and freedom and everything good are really in peril, we mustn’t chicken out. Until then, although it is a real risk, we can write, we can speak out… V, mortally wounded in the fight, returns to Every, and tells her that he has fallen in love with her, and dies. She places his body upon the train with the explosives, and is about to send it down the track when she is found by inspector Finch, who allows her to proceed. Thousands of Londoners, all wearing Guy Fawkes masks, march towards the Parliament to watch the event. Without orders (V killed the Chancellor before he died), the British Army stands down in face of a civil rebellion. Parliament is destroyed by the explosion. Finch asks Every about who V was. She answers “all of us.”