By Muhammed Fazl –
Nobody can give you freedom, nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you are a man, you take it – Malcolm X
In the nation of alcoholics, wife-beaters and hateful losers, it becomes an irony when transvestites come out of the closet brazenly at night and onto the streets to ply their trade as against ‘war heroes’ and ‘men in power’ being enslaved and gagged from speaking out. Talk becomes cheap when it does not ‘walk the talk’. It has also been the norm to look for a change of government through elections when democracy does not exist, to seek redress in courts of law when the independence of the judiciary is seriously compromised and to make powerful speeches in parliament and elsewhere only for it to fall on deaf ears.
Taking into account the recent hate-mongering acts/speeches against the Muslim minority by racist elements enjoying state patronage and immunity from prosecution and the down-played war crime allegations against the Sri Lankan armed forces and their political leaders, it could be seen as a futile exercise if opposition forces opts to ‘play by the rule book’ in their quest for change and/or justice!
Having referred the dictionary for the word ‘traitor’, I cannot help but see the spotlight fall on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ‘band of brothers’, and it makes me contemplate between being coy and a coward or standing up for what is right. It is also precisely this feeling that which takes me in to the camps of ‘men of honor’ and the ‘patriotic kind’ in robes!
Having fought a war on ethnic lines, it would be interesting to read medical reports on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tests carried out on serving soldiers. Since sections of the forces are familiar only with the Sri Lankan version of the ‘art of war’ as a life skill, it need not be surprising to find them craving for fresh blood. With all due respect to their training, wearing a set of military uniforms does not change one’s mindset or loyalties to one’s race and religion. Their conduct was quite evident especially during the last stages of the LTTE war when unarmed and innocent Tamil lives were just numbers. In recent times in Aluthgama, they were ‘on duty’ largely as mere spectators if not complicit when homes, business and lives belonging to the Muslim community went up in flames!
Marching over the dead bodies of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians unjustly killed in order to capture or kill a few hundred key enemy combatants is definitely a NO in my book of heroism either. And when a leader of a country murders its own unarmed and innocent civilians, it is essential for it to be considered a crime so the rule of law can be upheld. Five years after the end of war, the failure to interrogate suspects of mass murder to date (as alleged), let alone taking legal proceedings against them, could also be the catalyst for a state of lawlessness. As for the ‘men of faith’ in saffron coloured robes, it must also be mentioned that their attempts in the revival of a violent form of a philosophy under the banner of Buddhism for legitimacy and their stirring up of racial passions for Supremacism for political gains of the present government seems to be getting steam.
With no end in sight for my ‘love affair’ with the Secretary of Defense Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, it becomes imperative for the public as well to identify their real enemies and not to get swayed or misled by rhetoric speeches of powerful people who are well versed in exploiting weaknesses of the ignorant masses! If Mr. Gotabaya considers instilling fear and carrying out extra-judicial killings and beatings against anyone threatening his and his brother’s corrupt empires as a right and a privilege for being part of the war effort, it would be a serious error in judgment on his part.
And every time a journalist or a rights activist is harmed or killed, there would be many more to fill the empty slots …..and some of them would be even more determined and relentless in their conscientious acts and attitudes. Fear lasts only till such time when one is killed or beaten up. And sooner he realizes the existence of a fearless and an outspoken generation, it would be much easier for Mr. Gotabaya and his patrons to deal with the ‘God of Mercy’ when their ‘natural term’ expires in this world. With the end game being imminent, for fear of accountability and the resultant showdown at the ‘guillotine’, Mr. Gotabaya’s acknowledgment of the next elections as NOT JUST ANOTHER ELECTION and his intended ‘no stone left unturned’ effort in winning it by ANY means necessary needs to be understood. Reaching a breaking point in their daily struggles in life, the masses should brace up for interesting and trying times ahead should a united coalition of opposition parties gets their act together and considers the next one as the ‘mother of all battles’.
*The writer can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org