By Vishwamithra1984 –
“Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort.” ~Jean Cocteau
This is the stuff that myths are made of. Agriculture, power and education, three key areas where development could be visible and tangible, are all showing, if not stagnation, certainly a slowing down of pace. Cost of living is spiraling but the Government backed by its main economic loudhailer, the Central Bank is pouring out fictitious facts and figures to buttress its lies and half-truths. They are recreating modules and models, restructuring statistical tables and omitting key indices so that a rosier picture could be painted about a ‘booming economy’. In plain and simple words, all these lies are based on a mythical document, embellished by fairytale-like exaggerations and impregnated with useless appendages.
One is reminded of how Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government made the great Mahaweli Development Scheme which was already launched by the then Dudley Senanayake Government of 1965-1970, look like a dream of S W R D Bandaranaike. Determined minds would travel any length to prove a fiction as fact and fact as fiction. All governments led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) have no equal on this field. Replacing plaques and inscriptions with re-worded scripts is no outlandish phenomenon to them. They tend to have a thicker skin. Claiming ownership to others’ goods is quite simple and they would do it in the most artless fashion. In our history there was the King ‘Nissanka-Malla’ who, as assessed by some celebrated historians, resorted to the same ‘public-relation’ stunt of erecting brand new plaques and plates with his name inserted to replace the existing ones. In fact, King Nissanka-Malla is dubbed the ‘blabbermouth’ of Mahawansa.
We have such blabbermouths in Sri Lanka today. And the exercise of blabber-mouthing has been institutionalized and the institution which once was the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has now passed that shameful baton to its successor, the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Ably aided and abetted in manpower, airwaves and money by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC), Independent Television Network (ITN) and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), the official versions of history are being rewritten and exaggerated to give a slant to the powers that be.
A self-respecting people cannot and should not tolerate such dishonest pronouncements and declarations; they shouldn’t condone such double-tongued political talk, for keeping quiet about such palpable lies would make the perpetrators reach the wrong conclusions- that the general masses are foolish and shallow, uncaring and insensitive and as cynical as they themselves are. It is not a very prudent setting for a young republic and an old nation that is struggling to raise her head among unfriendly and envious neighbors. Above all, it is extremely injurious to the psyche of a people who have been constantly fed some false stories of mythical proportions about themselves.
A people whose self-estimate is boosted by some ego-centric leaders who have come to believe in their own lies are susceptible to the vagaries of their own false propaganda. The moment it is injected into the flesh and blood of the nation-proper, the nation itself tends to get infected with the same ailment. The nation gets insensitive to the bragging of the leaders; they become accustomed to the exaggerations and give the exaggerators, instead of a clod warning and punishment, a pass and an approving nod through sheer incapacity or genuine acquiescence. Therein lies the danger. An occasional jolt such as the Uva Provincial Council election results might serve as an initial warning. But that is hardly sufficient. Because they have become deeply comfortable with their own lies and exaggerations. By no means did the Uva PC elections give the Opposition in general or the UNP in particular a victory. Yet the eventual outcome of the elections was much more palatable to them than to the governing coalition. For the first time in a decade or so, the ‘Rajapaksa myth’ seems to be vulnerable and it clearly showed in the cosmopolitan Badulla district. But the emphatic fading-away of the Rajapaksa glitter in districts such as Moneragala, which is more than 90% Sinhalese-Buddhist in make-up, in the rural genre and vulnerable to unscrupulous politicking, is striking to say the least. The myth is being stripped, layer by layer, ever so slowly but if the undoing of the ‘myth’ is to continue until the skeletal stem is open, bare and naked, then as determined old men would say, no stone should be left unturned.
That is the challenge for the Opposition led by the United National Party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Democratic Party. However, one cannot but be skeptical about the way in which the UNP is responding to this slight tremor that was felt within the Government coalition. Instead of making it their resolution to unseat the Rajapaksas from power even harder, they began a session of celebrations, distributing the spoils before they were even reaped to the full. One is invariably reminded about how the UNP always distributed Cabinet portfolios before election results were declared. An unpardonable sense of dwelling in a comfort zone has been the fatal flaw of the UNP in the last two decades. They must realize that they haven’t won a thing in the last decades. Even in Uva, they came close to defeating the UPFA led by the Rajapaksas in Badulla but did not actually win.
They must engage the entire country in the process of stripping the ruling cabal of the thin veils of myths that they had built around the body of lies and deception of phony patriotism. Building of civil infrastructure alone is not development of a country. The way in which the country’s motor-vehicle population is expanding, the development of road and bridge infrastructure is a must. If not, we would have literally choked to death on the highways and byroads. But all wrong-doers must be identified and labelled; the amounts of money played out in the name of development must be discovered; those who are alleged to have been having connections with the underworld must be brought before justice; any dabbling in the drug trafficking and drug distribution must be exposed despite how high the names go. Those who interpret (or misinterpret) official financial and economic statistics must be taken to task and dealt with most vigorously and ruthlessly, for the crimes that they have committed against the country, the sins they indulged in at the expense of the common man, the wastage of public money and favoring their relatives, friends and ‘lovers’ are measureless.
An orgy of corruption and nepotism is being acted upon the center stage of the land and those who refuse to allow such gory vandalisms of human values are increasing in numbers, as shown in the Uva PC election results. The responsible professional who has an obligation to pen these misdeeds and violations of basic trust that a governing party should repose in the subject people must be encouraged and given a pat on his or her back, for the might of the pen that will strip a delusional ruler to the bone is so enormous, so powerful and will cause the Emperor to be seen without his clothes. Those who wield swords and guns would ultimately surrender before the puny pen.