Sri Lankans Face Authoritarian Government

Watching the country that generations
of my family call home fall apart is
difficult, especially when I hear that my
grandparents who live there can’t buy
the medications they need at their local
pharmacies. Over the past few weeks,
my family has been frantically watching
the news and calling my grandmother,
who is living in a country of chaos.
Sri Lankans blame President Gotabaya
Rajapaksa and his cabinet for their
mismanagement. The government’s
corruption is costing citizens their lives
and is leading to billions of dollars of
foreign debt and the devaluing of the
rupee, the Sri Lankan currency.
Lack of air conditioning and
refrigeration in the tropical nation has
forced many essential businesses to
close. Constant unannounced power
cuts leave the nation’s capital, Colombo,
in the dark for hours. The lack of stock
has forced citizens to ration food.
Gas lines have hours and days-long
waits because of widespread shortages
and high prices. Long wait times at the
pump have caused some to die from
heat exhaustion and others to leave their
jobs just to wait in line.
While gas in the U.S. is obtained
through gas stations, Sri Lankans stand
in lines with containers and jugs to hold
and transport the gasoline to fill up their
cars at home.
In protest, citizens have taken to
marching through the streets to force
Rajapaksa to leave Sri Lanka and for
his entire cabinet to resign. However,
Rajapaksa comes from a family that has
long standing power over the Sri Lankan
government and will not surrender
it easily.
The Rajapasksas have refused to take
any blame for the crisis and claim the
COVID-19 pandemic is the main cause
of the crisis.
It’s heartbreaking to see Sri Lankans
suffering, but the way the country is
coming together to challenge injustice is
a good start to a better future