Colombo Telegraph

August 17th: Do Not Let The Titanic Sink Again

By Lukman Harees

Lukman Harees

It was the ship of dreams to everyone else. To me, it was a slave ship taking me back to America in chains.” – Rose, voiceover

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic, largest ship afloat, left Southampton, UK on her maiden voyage to New York City.. Four days into her journey, she collided with an iceberg , which proved fatal and 1522 passengers and crew died in vain. Captain Smith ,the man directly responsible for the loss of Titanic , failed to heed ice warnings, did not slow his ship when ice was reported directly in his path and allowed lifeboats to leave the sinking ship partially filled, unnecessarily adding at least 500 names to the list of the dead. This terrible disaster, today stands as a memorial to mankind’s over-confidence in technology and a reminder of how weak we are compared with the forces of nature.

Metaphorically, after the historic war victory in May 2009, euphoric Sri Lankans built a Titanic filled and decked with immense Hope and Aspirations for a united , peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka. Its’ Captain Smith – The War Hero MR quite rightly earned the confidence and trust of the passengers on board – people of Sri Lanka irrespective of their racial or religious differences, to take them to their dream destination. Not even 2 years in voyage, Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) too, like Captain Smith, made many serious mistakes. Throwing all caution to the winds, he allowed many corrupt and the racist elements to virtually hijack his engine control room and have their hands on his steering wheel. Titanic thus gradually began to sink, killing the soul of the nation and its’ social integrity and leaving the people of Sri Lanka in dire straits in mid sea ,isolating their country in the international arena by making it a ‘pariah’ state.

An overconfident MR too, ignored distress signals , refused to slow his ship or change his course despite sage advice , did not attach importance to the need for adequate ‘life boats’ on board, which made him to call an election two years in advance . No one ever thought that he will lose an election after being a ‘Winston Churchill’ winning a big war. However, people voted him out of power during a period of peak of his popularity as he failed to prove himself as a peacetime leader.

Now that the people of Sri Lanka after January 8th, are just about to start another Titanic voyage to travel to their dream destination, MR has started rising out of the ashes and staking another claim for another chance at the wheels citing his ‘credible’ track records. It is therefore very important that the passengers on board do not allow the likes of this Captain Smith and his dubious crew to take them to another Titanic disaster. People of Sri Lanka should no longer allow themselves to be treated like Mushrooms anymore ( fed with sh..t and kept in the dark). They should not allow their new Titanic to collide with another ice-burg- political corruption and communal politics.

Particularly, seeking votes by raising communal slogans and majoritarian cries should stop forthwith. In short, politics of communalism and racism should be shoved into the dustbins of history. Our President Sirisena has led from the front in this regard right throughout his election campaign and after. His warning letter to MR recently was very succinct and clear, where he accused MR of fuelling communal hatred and said: ‘I urge you not to make statements that fan the flames of ethnic hatred,”. CBK too made an appeal to the electorate to refrain from voting for characters like MR and to vote for whatever ‘animal’ they like. She may have obviously not meant ‘BJP Cobras’ when she referred to animals, (who ) were ironically the icons of racism and communalism in modern Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s top business and professionals’ organisations too have appealed to political parties to ensure communal, racial and religious harmony during and after the polls and to all voters to vote to a stable government enabling and guaranteeing all Sri Lankans to live in harmony. “We strongly believe that the country has undergone many calamities and socio-political upheavals, resulting in instability in the past few decades, thus preventing the nation realizing its dreams. Such an environment ultimately brought about the current economic setbacks and therefore it is immensely important for all concerned parties to appreciate the imminent need for stability, the social cohesion and the communal, racial and religious harmony to build a prosperous nation.”, their joint statement said. 

It is therefore important that voters cast their votes with s sense of responsibility this time too, to weed out all forms of racist and communal viruses and help the NEW TITANIC to be navigated by a Captain with an unblemished record sans corruption and inciting communal feelings. Let the entire parliamentary crew be of the same ‘good’ breed whether South or North, East or West- those who have a wider vision for our country and don’t see through parochial lens.

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