Colombo Telegraph

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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