I’m a liberal, who believes every living being cherishes freedom, liberty. Liberalism is about freedom. More specifically, it’s about giving the greatest possible freedom to every individual, politically, economically, and culturally… We are democrats, even though we do not think it’s perfect. Democracy is majority rule, nothing more, nothing less. Of course, the majority is often wrong. They will believe any ridiculous lie if the one who tells it knows how to tell it. Yet we are democrats. Why? Because we believe in democratic traditions… Has democracy failed in Sri Lanka? Of course it hasn’t. It is Sri Lanka that has failed. We were given the universal franchise in 1931, just one year after the British parliament gave it to its own people. But why does it now look like a tyranny rather than a democracy? Because democratic tradition in Sri Lanka wasn’t strong enough to handle it… Ours used to be a country where sons killed fathers and younger brothers killed elder brothers to be kings. In other words, ours was a country where transitions of power took place through violence. A democracy lets the people get rid of the government without violence. In a tyranny it never happens that way. Take the last presidential election. What did we see before and after it? Killings, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests and detentions… Not only that, in a country like ours, loyal opposition is unheard of. Before the election, I told one of my UNP friends that some government propagandists had received death threats, and that if Fonseka won, those people would be assassinated. My friend thought that they deserved to die for the lies they tell. My response was a little undemocratic too. I punched him on his stomach… It is because the democratic traditions are weak that the people don’t care when one family takes full control of the government. Look at the faces of those people who attend political rallies in places like Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa or Mahiyanganaya. Can you even imagine them ever understanding the value of Human Rights? Can you ever imagine them understanding that allegations of war crimes being treated as treason is undemocratic and is ultimately hurtful to the country? They never will. At least not in our lifetime. Until the day they do understand, they will have a king. We will have a dictator… The aforementioned friend asked me whose side I was on. Can’t these people understand the ability of some of us to be a little idealistic?