By Emil van der Poorten –
Given the realities of Sri Lanka, I am certain that I will need to use this title in the future as well because there isn’t a word that more accurately describes the goings on in the Debacle of Asia, hence the “1” that follows the single-word title.
A word of caution would certainly be indicated at the inception – those responsible for the bizarre goings-on in this country who would certainly fit into the category of boors, buffoons and the uneducated might not represent the peak of human development but they can and have given evidence of their ability to inflict violent physical, mental and psychological cruelty on those they’ve decided to be “the enemies of the state” (a term interchangeable with their last name) and who are perceived as placing obstacles in the path of their pursuit of unimagined power and pelf.
With the Uva Provincial Council election campaign in full swing we have a never-ending litany of violence being visited upon those standing in the way of the Rajapaksa hegemony which has a very personal complexion here with the son of the eldest of the siblings standing for election to the Chief Minister’s post, one he came by with the President, his uncle, exercising his dictatorial power and removing the legal prohibition to his incumbency of the head position at the Kataragama shrine while running for, leave alone occupying, political office. While hardly surprising, there was barely a whimper of protest from “the Official Opposition” or from Sri Lanka’s mainline media which had already begun its descent into abject servility when this occurred. So we now have the spectacle of a man running for re-election to a position that he should not have held in the first place!
Every single report on the election that since this aberration of justice, talks about organized violence employing Land Rover Defenders sans licence plates or similar identification and containing men carrying sophisticated assault weapons. But, hold on a moment here because these accusations are not coming from the (opposition) victims but from the (government) perpetrators. Even the dolts who constitute some (most?) of those reading the English-language media would need more than the proverbial pinch of salt to swallow this nonsense. But then, who knows, Sri Lankans are renowned for their ingestion of sodium chloride in excess of that required by the human body!
Then there is the recent headline in yet another edition of our mainline English daily media that goes, “PS member wanted for abusing 7 boys.” This, like all reports of its kind, will end up at the bottom of various bird cages in a day or so to collect what the alimentary tracts of various budgerigars will produce out of the birdseed fed them. The Sri Lankan world will, in the meantime, proceed in duly ordained fashion with a) a Presidential pardon of the accused (if he ever comes to trial and is convicted, b) “charges dropped for lack of evidence” or c) charges left in place for application at a later date when that kind of blackmail may be most effective.
I don’t know about Sri Lanka being the “Miracle of Asia.” It certainly is well on the way to qualifying as the capital of cynical lies and double-talk.
“Wellawa missing girl found.” This is the continuation of the story of a little girl, allegedly abducted for the application of some kind of black magic which, given the respectability accorded such pursuits by the very highest in the land, can hardly be considered surprising. After all, the Chief Soothsayer to the Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is not only a (restored) member of the Board of the National Savings Bank but has proudly gone on record, replete with photographic proof of the fact, that said “connection” has enabled him to build a four-storeyed residence in the deep south, complete with an unimpeded view of the Indian Ocean. The level of his sophistication can be judged by the fact that his pride in this achievement encouraged him to collaborate with an Australian publication known to be very critical of the conduct and morality of the Sri Lankan state to boast of his castle by the sea!
Incidentally, I was compelled to end the last paragraph with an exclamation mark despite my determination to avoid that kind of punctuation because its constant repetition, no matter how justified, could well destroy its effectiveness for all time.
The same newspaper contains a news item that reads, “Sources said Selvarajam, 28, who ran Hyderabad-based event management company Ice Events, was being tracked for the past few months and was in touch with officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka. Authorities alleged that he conducted reconnaissance of vital installations like Kalpakkam nuclear plant near Chennai and naval facilities in Vizag and Kochi.” The total absurdity of anyone heading up a business titled “Ice Events” doing “research“ of any kind in Sri Lanka should have set off warning signals in the Debacle of Asia, unless of course Sri Lankan security organizations, aka Paranoia Personified Inc., had yet another brainstorm in its efforts to cozy up to their Pakistani buddies who tend to march in lock-step with their Chinese buddies. Chickens coming home to roost? Perhaps, in a context of panderers posing as “Supervising Ministers” while displaying criminality in a variety of colours, padding their cozy nests with moolah they could only have dreamt about in their originally very pedestrian existences. Don’t you think, also, dear reader, that those who run the Pearl of the Orient like some personal fiefdom might be well advised not to go around being too smart by half and running the risk of pee-ing off one of the behemoths of Asia?
“Shashindra vows not to take part in public debates” reads the heading of yet another article in the same English-language daily. Now here is a piece that promises to restore a degree of normalcy to public discourse in Sri Lanka because it certainly fits the tradition of Royalty never descending to the level of political mud-wrestling with the great unwashed. Would you, for instance even imagine HM the Queen of England engaging in “public debates?” Come on folks, give your head a shake to rid it of the cobwebs of democratic illusion and return it to those glorious times, prior to such abominations as Magna Carta, when the Rulers never displayed anything resembling accountability to their subjects.
And all this from just one English-language daily, pretty much all of it coming on one day of the week.
The irony of all this is that there are still many among those who will read this column and very loudly and abusively contest the relevance of its title!