Editors Note: The following is the text of a letter written by a collective led by Sri Lankan women.

Mr. President,

A single arbitrary and unilateral decision taken by you, on the 26th of October, set in motion a sequence of events that now has thrown an entire country and all of its people into an abyss of confusion and chaos. Since that day, the economy of our country has almost collapsed. Since that day the political culture of our country has deteriorated to a level of national disgrace and an international spectacle. If this is not stopped and reversed, it is very likely we will soon have our state institutions and the country descend into utter chaos. You are aware that a number of foreign countries have warned economic sanctions if this crisis is not democratically and swiftly resolved. To date, a number of international organizations have stopped the flow of aid to our country. Our country is now heavily dependent on foreign aid and loans, so economic sanctions alone will cripple Sri Lanka and its citizens.

Mr. Maithripala Sirisena, we are asking you, in the name of the children of this country, please do not drag us into this darkness. The chaos around us has risen out of an utterly anti-democratic decision taken by you. It is therefore you who have to reinstate this country within its constitution and set it back on its democratic principles. It is completely within your executive powers to do this. And it is your responsibility.

Mr. President, we and our children have only this country to live in. If this country is dragged into an economic and political abyss, it is we citizens who have to suffer the consequences. We have not amassed wealth and resources for ourselves in the manner that our politicians have. This economic crisis does not hit the Ranil Wickremesinghes or the Mahinda Rajapaksas or even the Maithripala Sirisenas of this country, Mr. President, it hits us.

Leaders of this country need to be elected in accordance with the constitution of this country. Thus without marring the truth by bringing in personal likes, dislikes or conflicts; we demand that you provide our citizens and our country with a stable and responsible political solution in keeping with our principles of governance. We do not accept that a seasoned politician like you does not see that a country that subscribes to the principle of parliamentary democracy cannot function under a Government that has not secured a majority vote in parliament. Damaging the principle of parliamentary democracy is a very dangerous precedent; it could very possibly lead to the utter collapse of governance in this country as we know it. Please, in all of this madness, take a moment to think of the innocent children who will have to grow up in this country that you have begun to create.

It is such a tragedy and disgrace that the very basic precepts of Lord Buddha’s teachings – a clear conscience, principled behavior, not lying, honouring one’s word, delivering on promises – have been so completely shamed and ruined by politicians who frequent temples and visit our Mahanayakas twice a week for blessings. This culture of deceit and hypocrisy cannot be allowed to be brought into the constitution.

Mr. President, it is already very late. We demand that you do your job and stop this country from sliding further into darkness. What lies before you is your responsibility by a country and by the children of this nation.