By Sarath de Alwis –
‘Koley Iragena Angey Halaganta epa. Londery Hathakinn Suddda Karanta Behe’ is the advice in pithy Sinhala idiom, the President offered to his critics and opponents in a recent homily delivered at Nikaweratiya.
His analogy was inch perfect in accuracy and savagery. His reference was to the compulsory gravy bag that comes with the ‘koththu roti’ one takes home – the universal social leveler in our urban life. Mishandle the delicate knot and seven laundries will not remove the stains on your sarong, trouser or whatever.
Now he himself has got drenched in nauseating gravy of political jiggery-pokery. He has called Anagarika Basil Rajapaksa [one with no home] and pleaded for help to unite the SLFP.
Bhikkhu Medagoda Abayatissa who led the ‘Pindapatha’ to collect the fine imposed on the two convicted in the ‘Sil Redi’ case and Rasputin in the Mahinda masquerade is the middleman.
The reported conversation between the President elected on a reform agenda and the person who is denounced and stigmatized as being responsible for unimaginable financial villainy evades comprehension by the average mind of this writer. When it surfaced the natural inclination was to dismiss it as a fabrication, a falsehood.
We live in times of great turmoil. Understanding the compromises made and truths reconstructed and reshaped is not easy. More difficult is the business of deciphering outright lies from simple deceptions. The past three years of good governance has been a trying experience. We have had to accept false fronts. Deceit is now almost a virtue because it protects the reputation of someone who is indispensable to what is termed a ‘yahapalanaya’. The term that was once a galvanizing call is now a term of derision if not an outright obscenity.
The report that appeared in the widely read Sunday Times political column has been confirmed by Basil Rajapaksa in a direct quote to its sister paper Daily Mirror on Monday.
Basil Rajapaksa has clearly gained credibility as the Pied Piper. Following this aborted unity talks, rats on both sides of the SLFP divide have taken due note of who holds the numbers.
A Mistake We Elected
President Sirisena is a mistake we elected. Under the new electoral scheme, he could have easily claimed moral high ground and fielded credible, honourable men and women at the local government elections and delinked the process from partisan politics. Local government is about community. Local government is about providing municipal services. It could have been made in to a debate on creating social justice at grass roots. A creative campaign could have put distance between a new SLFP and the scandal tainted UNP and the corrupt clique that is focused on avoiding prosecutions.
President Sirisena is free to speak to anybody he decides to interact with. That freedom is his only if he repudiates the process that put him in that high office.
Leaders in quest of the presidency of a republic must fight all the way to the top. They must outwit and demolish rivals and even destroy those who stand in their way.
But, that is not the path that brought him his present high office. He owes it to the most venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha thero who made him the common candidate and persuaded a rainbow coalition to make him president of the Republic.
The ‘Sobhitha’ Idea needed a big mind. We now know, that what we have is not what we hoped for.
The Sobhitha idea will not take root until we find enough big minds to run for high office and to occupy high office. President Sirisena by calling Basil Rajapaksa has shown us that he has a little mind that cannot cope with big problems.
He has unmistakably shown that he cannot see beyond the narrow agenda of gaining control of the SLFP. He is willing to compromise, even if it entails coopting those corrupt and autocratic whom we wished to eliminate from public life. We are back to base camp.
Bishop Duleep de Chikera in the first tribute he penned for the visionary monk who made 8th January 2015 possible has explained the mesmeric process that made the Maithripala presidency possible.
Sobhitha Himi demonstrated a spiritual rhythm that other religious leaders did take note of. He listened with sensitivity to the grievance and hardships of the people and applied the Dhamma to what he heard.
Sobhitha Himi preached the dhamma and talked politics at the same time. That was why Sobhitha Himi was understood not only by Buddhists, but by Hindus, Muslims, Christians and the secular world as well.
Sobhitha Himi created a movement. Sobhitha Himi was no deal maker. If he was alive, Sobhitha Himi would tell President Sirisena that what he is presently engaged in, is an unvarnished sell out.