By Nishthar Idroos –
In this contemporary period of time in history never seen a people trampled, oppressed as the Sri Lankans. Perpetrators of this awful oppression are none other than their own leaders. Few see this persisting tyranny. The most unbearable is the economic oppression. Its subtle and not readily comprehensible, nonetheless impact is crushing. It’s like boulders falling on an unsuspecting people. Ordinary folk rendered impecunious for no fault of their own. Almost overnight there is an attack on their purchasing power. An overnight robbery.
The innocent masses do not know whom to blame except to make passing remarks. They do not understand Keynesian Economics nor do they understand the harsh impact of inflation, or quantitative easing. For sure they do not understand sophisticated ways of stealing whether it’s the bond scam or MiG scam. They do understand one thing, the hundred rupee that enabled them to purchase three loaves of bread just a couple years ago will only make them get just one, barely.
Does Punchi Singho really understand the impact of white elephants by way of ports, airports, convention centers and cricket stadia built on credit extended by the mischievous Chinese in the district of Hambantota? Does he understand that he and all his progeny will pay for this for a good time to come? It’s already happening.
Regardless of race, religion, region or caste Sri Lankans are unsuspectingly manipulated and controlled. Ridiculed and deceived especially during elections. Certainly humiliated and immorally so by none other than their very own politicians who come in their numbers just before an election and let loose powerful cannonballs – lies and damn lies that sells well amongst a gullible audience.
I can hear the power hungry scoundrels cackling through every orifice of their foul anatomies contemplating loud which lie to let loose when. They are sheepish and servile for the moment. Once elected they will break all records in amassing lucre and in double quick time voters won’t be able to even recognize them due to their newly adopted adipose structure. Also they will start to kill, rape, intimidate etc. This is entrenched reality in Sri Lankan politics in the local government. A country like no other. This writer is placing facts and certainly not dabbling in some sort of hyperbole.
It was Samuel Johnson who made that very famous pronouncement that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel – how true! In Sri Lankan politics it is the last resort of scoundrels. Educational qualifications and backgrounds of many members of our national legislature bear ample testimony. Their behavior in the national legislature is just additional information. Local governments are studiously bound to follow the trend.
When it comes to the Sinhala Buddhists masses I have a sympathetic soft corner, simply because they withstood the brunt and sacrificed the most. Whether it was the relentless terror of the LTTE, the unforgettable yet deadly Tsunami of 1994, the recurring dengue outbreaks, the mysterious kidney disease in the central districts, unending economic burdens that threaten to annihilate them and last and certainly not least the chronic poverty that persists like a ravenous blight devouring a toll and crying for more. The Sinhala Buddhists have indeed paid dearly.
Additionally when the war came to an end in mid-2009 it was joyous occasion because prosperity and dignity now could be restored to all Sri Lankans especially to the Sinhala Buddhists. It was not to be so. What actually happened is even darker than the LTTE revolt. Sinhala Buddhist leaders preempting their own people from enjoying the true dividend of peace. They initiated their own agenda and the motherland is in a worse predicament than the LTTE days.
The above is not to say that other minorities did not have issues or problems. They too had many but in my opinion a people who for a long time being victims of manipulation and deception deserved as stronger attention.
Many things have gone wrong in this beautiful paradise. Look at Sri Lanka Cricket. Its coach is being paid obscene amounts for record losses of the national team suffered under his stewardship. Sri Lanka had lost a home ODI series against Zimbabwe 2-3 before suffering a whitewash at the hands of India, losing three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20 International.
It’s again that kind of season once again in Sri Lanka. Season during which paper merchants make a killing and the general masses are cheated in the name of democracy. Glistening poster paper with faces of every potential scoundrel litter the street. Public walls becomes a virtual menagerie. Lithographed posters that eventually become fodder for Appuhamy’s Billie’s.
It’s made to understand that 33 political parties and 12 independent groups have deposited bonds for the upcoming local government elections. Most of them seen coming to handover their nominations wearing milky white clothes. This is the first and greatest deception our politicians enact. Though outwardly white hearts and minds are not so. They’re busy engaged in the calculus. How to earn the fast buck.
Political corruption is entrenched and institutionalized in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka ranked at 95 in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2016, dropping down the rank by 12 slots when compared to 2015. The report released by Transparency International, the global movement against corruption.
The World Bank findings suggest much of the world’s direct aid to developing and poorer nations ends up stolen and stashed in safe havens. It estimates as much as a staggering $40 billion in recent years have taken this route. Sri Lanka doubtless has to be a celebrated member of this much envied club. Our politicians have earned the dubious sobriquet “inimitable illusionists” They’ve enacted and accomplished many “mission impossible” adventures of vanishing crispy fiat money in double quick time. Armored cars had been used and full security extended to transport the loot.
There will always be scoundrels in political life. But there is also a novel and ominous concept of a statesman emerging. The probability and times we live in augurs well for scoundrels only.