By Suranimala Umagiliya –
“We are what we do repeatedly. Excellency, therefore is not an act but a habit”
Oh what a country Sri Lanka is. On the surface everything seems Hunky Dory. Scratch the surface if you will and Lo and behold the worst is in plain sight. Warts, burns and scars. God bestowed a natural bounty and asked the simplistic peasants to enjoy it. They became thespians over time.
Hark back to the recent history of this nation. Vile as any can be. Led by politicians whose only focus is to gain and retain power, they appealed to the basest instincts of man. Having jostled a majority to fall in line with narrow, divisive politics in addition to a few through crumbs being thrown their way, the politicians helped themselves to disgraceful amounts of money through graft, bribery and corruption. Of course they justified the corruption as a necessary evil to raise party funds for their re election which will ensure that the peasants get a few more crumbs thrown their way.
The icing on the cake is that the peasants yet have faith and belief in them. And so as time went by it became worse and the loot got inflated. Another dangerous game was invented. Divide the people between the majority and the rest. Add religion to the race if you must, to bolster the equation. That is what we face, in Sri Lanka today.
With each President the levels of accountability, good governance slipped downward.
Corruption and the amounts involved climbed upwards. Greed has reached “No Limit”, a la the clothes outlet. Add to that murder, abduction and the infamous white vans, not to speak of murdering a journalist or few along the way are necessary evils to “Save the nation” from being divided. Can a country survive in this fashion? Yes. Subject to the vilest amassing filthy money and retiring in comfort, within the country or without, leaving the peasantry to eke out an existence. Generation after generation. The rest of the world will give us loans.
The Burghers were chased out in the late 50’s and 60’s. They went to UK and Australia. The third generation of Burghers are Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Public servants,living comfortable lives. They pay their taxes and their adopted countries give them living wages and more, to enjoy a very comfortable retirement with five star medical benefits.
The Tamils were accepted into more countries in the West after 1983. Their next generation are in Universities if not already serving as Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants. They too will get a more than a living wage, own houses, pay taxes, bring to them their extended families, who will also become Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers. All of them too will pay their due taxes and will benefit by getting a comfortable retirement with five star medical treatment.
This is not to leave out the Sri Lankans of the majority community and others who have secured employment overseas due to their professional qualifications, as and when required by such developed nations. They too fall in line and their next of kin go on to reap the benefits of living in a developed country.
Sri Lankans left behind in their thrice blessed land? What becomes of them?
They had to endure family rule of the worst kind. One brother the President, another Economic Minister, another Speaker of the House, another head of all the Security Forces and son an MP, wife a benefactor for pre school children, brothers in law as Ambassadors, Aunt as repository of Gems and the list is endless. Added to this lot are the Ministers and parliamentarians who amassed filthy lucre under that administration. But, they won the war ! Is that good enough to bring them back ?
The repressive regime of Rajapaksa’ was defeated. An inept, listless and a weak leadership followed showing that Sri Lanka has no statesmen nor an enlightened electorate demanding a better life for themselves and their children. We find a President exhorting the Police for arresting figures whom the Sangha thinks are “war heroes” in order to stay with the majority sentiments. A Prime Minister, who too is unable to assert authority by showing the way to his cabinet colleagues and the keepers of the law. Is it not wrong for legislators, be it a President, Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister, Member of Parliament to interfere with the law taking it’s course ?
The most talked of murders as in the rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and Prageeth Ekneligoda, are yet being investigated. A Deputy Inspector General of Police Anura Senanayake is in remand for messing with evidence into the Thajudeen murder. The murder was window dressed as an accident.
Doctors messed with the Post Mortem reports. A Rajapaksa government had to be changed to get to the truth. Wickrematunge was murdered by the military intelligence. A Deputy Inspector General by the name of Nanayakkara, Senior Superintendent named Adikari and an Inspector called Sugathapala are in remand for altering evidence recorded in Police logs, purportedly under instructions of The Inspector General of Police Wickramaratne. He has sought to delay such arrest by going to Court. Pray, why should an Inspector General wish to hide/alter Police logs in a murder case when his job is to find the murderer? Orders from the top or instinct says he knew who ordered the murder. The former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and the former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa blame each other for this murder. Surely, its one or the other by their own admission? Prageeth Ekneligoda is considered “missing” but for all purposes he too has been murdered by the Army ( I use this word in the absence of the Army investigating to clear it’s good name) and scattered beyond the horizon. What a nation. Top Police Officers are criminals.
Meanwhile the Maha Sangha are lulled by gifts such as Mercedes Benz cars and camouflage visits by top politicians seeking photo opportunities. They are made to “feel good” so as to appease the people drunk with the now fashionable Sinhala-Buddhist label. The GMOA gets involved in all the causes but does not come before the public to say that there are no infertility pills (Wanda Pethi) in existence. They should know. The teachers in schools carry pin up style posters offering tuition for hefty fees. The carnival goes on. Health services are free but the Doctors practise privately within a hundred meters from the hospitals they serve in.
Those who have means or a manageable income go about without a care expecting life to go on forever. Consider them ” I am alright Jacks”. As long as I am alright I need not bother. But it will catch up Sir/Madam. It will.
Consider the present. Sri lanka has a President elected by ousting the Rajapaksa regime in 2015, giving sane people some hope for a better future. Every political party combined to oust a dictator under whose watch all the murders. bribery, corruption and profligacy held sway. President Sirisena now wants to go to bed with one of the Rajapaksa’s who has several ongoing criminal investigations against him in progress. That is Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Please Mr President, let Gotabaya Rajapaksa first clear his name in Courts before you thrust him in to political office. You may think it is the best way to get a second shy at the Presidency. It might happen. Peasants are gullible. But, you would forever have a doubt in your mind if you let loose a corrupt murderer, before he could prove himself to be innocent. Once a corrupt, criminally bent person gets into high political office, all sins disappear. Do not forget our legal system stinks too. It takes an average of over ten years to prosecute a case. Throw out selfish ideas. You owe it to the next generation.