5 December, 2020

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A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words!

By Emil van der Poorten

Having failed to thwart the SLFP-led UPFA move to impeach Chief Justice Dr. Srirani Bandaranayake, the UNP parliamentary group joined government members for dinner at the official residence of Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. President Mahinda Rajapaksa shares a light moment with Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga, MP, who quit the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) investigating the conduct of the CJ last Friday. Another vociferous critic of the government, MP Dayasiri Jayasekera and National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Minister Wimal Weerawansa, too are seen in a jovial mood. (Pic by Chandana Perera)”

“Divided in fighting, united in feasting

This picture and the caption which accompanied it which appeared in The Island newspaper of December 10th says it all in the matter of the government being six of one and the (UNP) opposition half a dozen of the other!  Look at the line up in celebration of jollity: Dayasiri  Jayasekera, “Long” John Amaratunge, Wimal Weerawansa, Neomal Perera(?) and that’s without the photographer using a wide-angle lens to capture those not able to nestle as close as they would have liked to the President at a lavish dinner party hosted by Chamal Rajapaksa, the Speaker of the House (not in the picture) at his residence.

While pictures (and captions) like this do nothing but encourage the anti-democratic impulse not to vote, one cannot but pay grudging respect to that old admonition which goes, “Don’t vote, it only encourages the rascals.”

While it might sound repetitious to do so, I have to remind anyone reading this piece of the circumstances of this photograph taken on the occasion of a dinner party thrown by the Speaker of our legislature who only hours before had presided over probably the single most egregious blow delivered to democracy in this country by anyone.

While some might welcome this show of bonhomie from our MPs who are better known for unrivalled boorishness both inside and out of the legislature, what this depicts, most graphically is the cant and humbug of people who are presiding over the daily diminution of our democratic rights and, in fact, our very right to exist as dignified human beings in this country.

This is proof, if proof be needed, of the rank hypocrisy of the vast majority of our legislators.  That ALL of them appear, in the last resort, to be beholden to a Sri Lankan Machiavelli (or is it Svengali?) of unrivalled proportions is one of the less well-kept secrets among those who have an interest in this country’s political affairs.  If you are not beholden to the Maharajananwahanse, it could constitute playing with fire because not to hand such a sword to our All-Powerful One might well make one vulnerable to the ultimate in risks. How does it go? “If you can’t bribe or blackmail them, pick them up in a white van, throw them in jail or simply kill them” isn’t it?  The anthem for those in that small and diminishing category could well be, “Here come de white vans, boys!”

Any investigative political journal worth its salt needs to get the guest list for this occasion and publish it so that the people of this country will have confirmation, if confirmation is needed, of the duplicity of those we elect to represent us, paying them most handsomely for that privilege.  It seems, in fact, that one does not, any longer, even need to cross the floor to be clasped to the bosom of Mahinda Rajapaksa and have bestowed upon one all the goodies hitherto reserved for those who betrayed their party and those who put them in Parliament to represent policies opposed to those of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his stooges.  Now it is far simpler and easier: all one needs to do is break bread with The Royal Family or parts thereof!

In the context of a malnourished population on one hand and a Member of Parliament demanding that prime cuts of pork be served (significantly discounted below the price that Citizen Banda has to pay in the market) in the legislature’s restaurant, this makes for more than the usual Theatre of the Absurd.  One might, in fact, be forgiven if one were to suggest that this IS the ultimate in theatre of the absurd!

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Latest comments

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    Ralph – I hate to argue with you but the fact is what you say in para true belies this nonsense we are over 98% “educated” We are not, in the lines of what you say, most people don’t know what the hell is happening. We are simply 98% literate. We don’t use those fingerprints anymore for signature. Most of our folks, I agree, hardly know what the CJ is about – forget the more complicated impeachment. This is nothing to be proud about. Yours is a brutal indictment of our pathetic quality of education – free for over 60 years. Why do you think the JVPers hardly took part in dissecting the law on the impeachment debate in the House. All of them are Sinhala-educated graduates. The truth is the Bill is far beyond their grasp. So much so for the benefits of our Sinhala Only education.

    Senguttuvan

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    Is this not the equally cunning and clever yet metaphorically deaf, dumb and blind VP’s and his human shields Karmic vengeance from the grave as well as to the nearly 30 odd western nations that helped defeat the LTTE? When will the fruit ripen like an Arab nation for them to do something and get rid of old armaments in a manner similar with the avatars of VP and their cohorts? Or are they waiting for yet another spring cleaning far worse than all the bloodshed the G’sOSL have seen to-date? Yet we must not lose a balanced perspective as in the following pearls of wisdom

    “WHO ARE POLITICIANS?!

    The problem is universal
    what happens if a politician drowns in a river? That is pollution.
    What happens if all of them drown? That is solution!!!

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the miserable, the uncompassionate, weak, corrupt, incapable and incompetent to public office.
    ~Aesop, Greek slave & fable author

    Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumb.
    ~Plato, ancient Greek Philosopher

    Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
    ~Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician

    When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become Prime Minister; I’m beginning to believe it.
    ~Quoted in ‘Clarence Darrow for the Defense’ by Irving Stone.

    Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
    ~John Quinton, American actor/writer

    Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
    ~Oscar Ameringer, “the Mark Twain of American Socialism.”

    I offered my opponents a deal: “if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them”.
    ~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952..

    A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
    ~Texas Guinan. 19th century American businessman
    And John Howard is a fellow who will lay down your life for somebody else’s country.

    I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
    ~Charles de Gaulle, French general & politician.

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      But MARA is the only politician who applied ‘Condom Theory’ to politics.
      The 117 and the 7 are waiting for their judgment from all four….the people, MR,the opposition and the courts…..pretty sad..

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    Congratulations to Colombo Telegraph for encapsulating the photograph in just a line – bonhomie or just jolli karappala with public money. Long
    Johns have short memories and their leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has mercual moods. Most days he is backing the Maharajananwahnse. During his off hours, he speaks in the low voice of an opposition leader. It is not only doom for the rulers but also for the Uncle Nephew Party.

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    Hold your noses tight! Seal your nostrils! Throw up if you like! The stink rises to High Heavens..

    Funny, trying to get a glimpse of Vasu, Dew or Dinesh, I strained my eyes in vain! They were no where to be seen in the picture! If joker Vimal got an invitation, Mervin should have got one too! Probably they were all there.. sans their women and/or girl-friends as Chamal’s party seems to have been an all-boys’ do…..

    Coming on the heels of the saddest event in recent times in Sri Lankan politics, the act of slandering and vilifying the highest official of the Nation’s Judiciary… – What are they celebrating anyway???

    Definitely a mixed message from the UNP – for all its crocodile tears and hypocrisy…. These fellows are inviting the ire of the masses.. Time for action has come!

    While a dictatorship will never work in Sri Lanka, neither will any Westminster-style Democracy… Perhaps, most likely a revolution…. Let it be without bloodshed is all I pray…. for….

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    Tku, Visvajith. I have and do learn much from the comments. Sometimes it pains me to cross swords – words, really – with friends of much learning and whom I hold in much esteem. There is nothing personal here. It is all in wholesome pursuit of the real and the truth.

    I am reminded here of the words of one of my favourites

    “While imagination initiates, it is the critical spirit that creates” (Oscar Wilde)

    Senguttuvan

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    One of the many delusions of reader KA Sumanasekera (Dec 12) in holding a “Mookuwa” for the thunder-struck regime is this “economic boom” he jabbers about. How do you explain the increase of one of the most basic uses of the country – Petrol – by Rs.10/litre that will impact on most essentials if the economy, according to you, is looking up. That too at a time when the price of Petrol in the world market is dropping. GM/CPC also adds they still lose nearly Rs.5/litre inspite of this whopping increase – that clearly goes out to show further Petrol increases are on the way. Who is fooling whom here?

    Senguttuvan

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