By Emil van der Poorten –
While the Rajapaksa Regime’s response to the attempt at wholesale intimidation of the group of UNP MPs who visited one or the other (or both?) of the Ultra-Pale Ruhunu Magampura Pachyderms recently was typical of the behaviour of the most corrupt and violent of Sri Lankan governments in its modern (or ancient) history, there was little cause for any great surprise.
This mode of behaviour has been a feature of this government’s conduct, steadily accelerating as the days and weeks speed by.
There were, however a few little variations from the usual modus operandi.
The absence from the fray, both in a physical and vocal sense, of The Hon. Mr. Weerawansa and the Hon. “Dr.” Mervin Silva was cause for some surprise. After all they usually, one or both, attempt to be the “Stars” of the UNFPA circus. Whatever the reason, they were conspicuous by their absence.
What was also surprising was the fact that several members of the Royal Family, inclusive of its Reigning Monarch, chose to enter the fray – the print and oral one – after the opening salvo had been fired – literally – down south.
The man who threatened the UNP MP’s with a side-arm – now claimed by him to be a “toy” – claimed that he was there as some kind of “peacemaker” on the orders of Namal Rajapaksa, patently the Heir Apparent (HA) to the Sri Lankan throne, and that he was seeking to protect the Parliamentarians. He subsequently chose to remove himself from the discussion of these events when the HA denied that he had issued any orders to the (very large) local politician (the Mayor of Hambantota?) to play (armed) peacemaker. The ensuing deafening silence from a man who appears to be the closest thing to a Sumo wrestler in Ruhuna should be obvious to all with even a smattering of knowledge of how the Monarcy operates in this country and the level of subservience displayed by those beholden to it.
Then we had the Head of State himself claiming that the opposition MPs provoked the attack by making critical comments about the Ultra-Pale Ruhunu Magampura Pachyderms. In case any readers of this little piece needs to be reminded, this serves to reinforce the nature of our particular “democracy” where anything resembling criticism of the Miracle Works embarked upon by our rulers may be considered as adequate provocation for abuse, assault and worse.
In mediaeval times there was a term for this: “Lese Majeste.”
The UNP MPs of course went bleating back to Colombo swearing to “do something” about the breach of their privileges as Members of Parliament. That even the more intelligent among their number choose to continue to participate in this Theatre of the Absurd – there is NO OTHER WAY to describe this state of affairs – defies analysis of any kind. Let’s get this straight: they are going to the brother of the man who has already pronounced criticism of His Works in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s ambition to be The Miracle of Asia as being totally unacceptable in an effort to obtain “relief” of some kind? Like the man said, “Give me a break!”
All of this violent idiocy on the national stage was somewhat relieved by statements about this and another “vexed issue” by three people of very different political persuasions during the same period of time.
The Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero made a statement that many of us have made months and years ago. It was to the effect that if this government had nothing to hide with regard to war crimes and crimes against humanity, it should simply accept, support and co-operate with any United Nations inquiry into those allegations.
Interestingly, the man who commanded the army that crushed the LTTE expressed similar sentiments. He should also be lauded for resisting the temptation of offering his posterior to a non-existent UN electric chair in the event that the UN might be contemplating a “frame-up” of some kind in the matter of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
During the same period, one of the men primarily responsible for paving the highway that led to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first ascent to the throne (by organizing delivery of the “santhosam” to Prabhakaran) made a gallery-fetching appeal to Kamalesh Sharma to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa from the Chair of the group comprising the Commonwealth Heads of Government. Mr. Mangala Samaraweera certainly can’t be faulted in the matter of hitting the headlines, no matter how totally ineffectual such an appeal is going to be. Considering the fact that Mr. Sharma owes his position in the Commonwealth secretariat, or whatever that ineffectual body is called, to the likes of the Sri Lankan President, the likelihood of his removing anything from anywhere near Mahinda Rajapaksa, leave alone the deity himself, is hardly worthy of anything resembling comment!
Somebody really needs to resurrect something on the lines of that acerbic old British television series to cover Sri Lanka’s political scene. Even if it means navigating one’s way through all kinds of government “blocking” to access the material, it will certainly provide some very appropriate and timely entertainment. I refer here to the iconic “TWTWTW” (“That was the week that was.”)
After all, even if we are denied bread we need to seek circuses to keep our spirits alive in our pursuit of the larger and absolute need for sanity, don’t you think?