Colombo Telegraph

Is It Too Late?

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Recent events on the political scene seem to suggest that it may be too late for the Yahapalanya lot to make what, in 21st century jargon is called a ”course-correction.” In fact, having taken longer than usual in putting this piece together, I am suddenly faced with the task of completing it as even more disgusting events intrude as each week progresses!

The slide into the morass of corruption and bribe-taking has reached a point where, as it was with the previous regime, it is the rule rather than the exception. Most significant, the parade of corruption goes on without the semblance of risk of consequences such as prosecution for what are, without a semblance of doubt, criminal offences. The degradation of governance by members on both sides of the House is almost beyond description and most important, perhaps, these are crimes against the national interest of the nation and its citizens. How else can the previous and recent shenanigans of MPs on both sides of the aisle be described?

That there is a very strong undercurrent of duplicity, leading to the undermining of what little is left of the justice system is obvious as the nose on one’s face. The most recent example of this is the seemingly endless line of judges of our highest court “recusing” themselves from occupying the bench at a time when a criminal offence allegedly committed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to be heard. From all accounts, this has reached the point when there are not enough judges of the required rank left to hear the matter. Period. If this is not INTERNATIONALLY WITHOUT PRECEDENT, would some reader please correct me? 

Sri Lankan politics, any politics anywhere in the so-called democratic world, have deteriorated and, in every instance, where a public has turned to some politician or politicians promising to replace what is seen as the “establishment” with governance no second to nirvana, the result has been even more corruption without even the semblance of a silver lining to the cloud.

Rohitha Rajapaksa ‏@Rohitha_Chichi Jul 22 More Visiting #Moscow with my brothers was a great experience. @YoshithaR @RajapaksaNamal | Photo via Namal Rajapaksa’s twitter handle

The move to conservative, nay reactionary, agglomerations of politicians probably reached its peak (nadir?) with the ascent to power in the world’s most powerful nation of the “The Donald” and his minions.

The difference between the so-called “developed democracies” and Sri Lanka, though, is that in those jurisdiction the law prevails so that its citizens, irrespective of rank, can be investigated, prosecuted and even put in the crowbar hotel, as might conceivably happen to our Donald if the Mueller investigation goes where it’s expected to.

The smaller and less important nations of the world such as Sri Lanka have not been spared the same fate, though probably on an economically lesser scale. Because we do not have the mineral resources that have been the great magnet for the international bandits, we have been targeted for other reasons.

The importance of our geographical location which was pivotal to those seeking control of the seas in the days of sail has returned because of the need for security of the sea lanes used to move fossil fuel to the exponentially-growing industrial giant of Asia, China. The needs of industry in the other dynamic Asian economies such as Japan, the Koreas, Indonesia and what used to be French Indo-China only serves to increase that importance.

In fact, China has provided ample evidence of its interest in controlling Sri Lanka, primarily by structuring the “development assistance” provided in a manner that enables absolute control over our homeland without the nuisance of dealing with dissent, something which is on the plate of the local political entities who will continue to squabble about which of them is best able to “Safeguard 2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist Civilization.” Talk about a nation of Neros fiddling while Rome burns!

Recently, both in web and print publications, there have been detailed descriptions of how the previous regime, not satisfied with the self-immolatory impulses of the current one, are putting in place an obvious plan to use modern media technology and the more old-fashioned strikes-and-demonstrations to make this country ungovernable. The widely-published picture of the three Rajapaksa siblings on a “pilgrimage” to Red Square, apart from the obvious contradiction between pilgrimages and an avowedly Communist nation, is fascinating to say the least, particularly in the context of what is emerging with the Mueller investigation into Mr. Putin’s efforts to influence the last Presidential election in the US through the use of people close to the most powerful in that country. Wouldn’t you accept the fact that Namal, Yoshitha and their baby brother would be very close to the ultimate seats of power in the event of a Rajapaksa Return?

The scribbler of this piece, as insignificant a citizen as he is, appears not immune to the de-stabilization impulses seemingly sweeping in Sri Lanka.

As one who does not pretend to be in the 21st Century of electronic communication, the fact that one’s access to internet communication disappears, literally, overnight is a bit disconcerting to say the least.

Then, to find your Facebook presence seriously violated simply cannot but add to one’s consternation when you are not particularly technologically savvy.

Then comes a viciously and devastatingly critical anonymous review of one’s primary means of existence – a home-stay operation – on probably the most widely consulted travel website in the world. The fact that the critique referred to a stay with us in a month when we didn’t have a single guest only made it marginally less aggravating. Do I have to make reference to the malice that drives this and the kind of people capable of this type of behaviour?

Then comes a little more icing on the cake: a winner of a Gratiaen Prize directly accusing me of receiving money from Great Britain and quoting his (now deceased) female source and refusing to respond with anything resembling fact, no matter how slim, in support. When our local “Nobel Prize for Literature” is awarded to such indescribably malicious fabricators, one really has grounds to question what “2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist” philosophy has yielded, at least in the matter of literary awards! Need I add that the litterateur in question is considered one of the “theoreticians” of that particular brigade?

The Noel Gratiaen that many of us remember must be turning in his grave at those who are being honoured in his name!

It certainly seems that anonymous abuse and vilification does not fulfill the needs of these types, they need to go the extra yard to seek to deprive you of your means of livelihood as well! That said, people who seek to practice the dark arts should also accept the fact that there are many, present company included, who refuse to bend the vassal knee to such sub-human impulses. Such is life and, to translate from Robbie Burns’ Scottish, “The best laid plans of mice and men, oft go awry.”

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