By Emil van der Poorten –
Except that it would have provoked the editor’s red pencil, I’d have ended the title of this piece with “… particularly when they (those means) only succeed in perpetuating what the “ends” were supposed to remove!
In case there is any doubt – apart from those embedded in some of the moronic brigades that insist on demonstrating their total lack of intelligence – I speak of the current Maithripala/Ranil (MR2) government.
What has raised the ire of those observing the current political scene has been unquestionable proof that this government has slipped into the cabinet of ministers and into other positions of power and responsibility those who, to use the old term, should not have been touched with the proverbial barge pole. And I make this judgement not purely on the application of the yardsticks of honesty and principle but on the more mundane one of the public’s perception of it’s government. You don’t have to be some kind of a Sherlock Holmes of an investigative reporter to ferret out these names with, at the very least, “doubtful associations.”
The return of the culture of violence that was particularly aimed at dissenting journalists was front and centre again, recently, with the assault on a man who has, apparently and in a regional newspaper, kept investigating the behaviour of the infamous Lansa family of the western seaboard. In case readers are unfamiliar with some of the headlines that these folk generated was one where, after a particularly heinous piece of behaviour which not only went unpunished but was not even investigated, this particular member of the clan was paid what amounted to some “State Visit” by His Majesty Mahinda Rajapaksa, thereby giving the seal of respectability and approval to said crime.
In an effort to provide background to the recent assault on a respected and experienced journalist (again, in the premises of a court of law?) mention was made of the primary suspect being a sibling of a member of the MR2 cabinet. In case the reference escapes the reader, THE MR2 CABINET HAS ONE OF THE LANSA BROTHERS AS A MEMBER PAID OUT OF THE PUBLIC PURSE! If proof be needed that this is not some kind of “white sheep” of that flock, that Minister was quoted extensively in the same report attempting to rebut some of the speculation and accusations of complicity in this piece of thuggery which was reminiscent of the days when Taraki and Lasantha Wickrematunge were “taken out”, Keith Noyahr was beaten within an inch of his life and fled into tombstone silence in Great Britain and there was what can accurately be described as a mass exodus to foreign shores of journalists trying to ply their trade in Silly Lanka. It now seems like the MR2 government is prepared to look aside while we return to a culture where Sri Lanka was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for (honest) journalists.
You want proof of more copy-catting by the MR2 lot of what their predecessors, the Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR1) entourage indulged in?
Perhaps, readers will remember a time when an unbelievably large consignment of heroin, on its way out of the port was (by pure accident?) intercepted by police personnel. This was during the late-unlamented rule of MR1 and his gang.
Bad enough? Let me remind you of a few other irrefutable facts that were admitted to by those involved in all of this.
The shipment was let out of the port premises without the usual niceties being observed on directions issued by the most senior functionary in the office of the then Prime Minister, D. M. Jayaratne, on official letterhead. This was never denied, none of those involved in this crime without precedent were ever apprehended, leave alone prosecuted as they certainly should have been. The prospect of a Prime Minister who was a friend of a man connected to what amounts to the most heinous of crimes – the importation of the “hardest” of “hard” drugs – was hardly even discussed in the media of the time.
Want some icing on that particular cake?
Mr. D. M. Jayaratne, Prime Minister at the time and whose honorific I choose not to use for very obvious reasons, not only admitted to the fact that the king-pin (Pakistani?) drug-pusher was a frequent guest at his (the Prime Minister’s) official residence but often “broke bread” with the Prime Minister and his family. I believe that this practice has ceased because the narcotic master-mind is on the run and is not in a position to accept invitations from the “leaders” of this country and Mr. Jayaratne Snr’s successor is not likely to be extending invitations of that nature to vermin of that breed.
If you might think that the preceding paragraphs are enough in the matter of pointing fingers at “Dimu”, his patrons and confreres, you are wrong. Permit me to add something more that’s relevant: “Dimu’s” son polled the largest number of votes in a provincial election of that time thanks to his campaign being funded to a very large extent by the afore-mentioned drug mogul, something that both the Prime Minister father and the Provincial MP son readily admitted to.
All of the above leads me to the final tidbit of information with regard to the Jayaratne clan: the son whose provincial election campaign benefited from “drug money” is now a member of the MR2 cabinet since his move to national politics!
The only slogan that could be appropriately applied to the goings on just related and which are but the tip of an iceberg of corruption is the JVP one of “Unuth ekai, munuth ekai, “six of one and half-a-dozen of another” as the more prosaic English equivalent would have it.
Returning to the title of this piece, what we keep hearing, ad nauseam, as justification for the increasing equivocation and unprincipled behaviour of the MR2 lot is that “these elevations to high office and tolerance of behaviour of the people so appointed is a necessity for the greater good of Sri Lanka and to ensure the return of honesty and principled and honest behaviour by the government and the return of good governance to this country.”
Pray tell me how this aim can, conceivably, be met? There is a hackneyed phrase that is appropriate in rebuttal of this nonsense and it goes, “The more you do what you’ve always done, the more you’ll get what you’ve always got.”