By Tirantha Walaliyadde –
There have been numerous attacks on the Sri Lankan Judiciary in the recent past with allegations of corruption, partiality, and political intrigue, and listeners and readers of the public appear to gobble them up with much relish. There is a saying that no great civilization can be overthrown from without until it destroys itself from within. We are now midway in the process of proving the truth of that statement. The judiciary is the backbone of every civilized society- tarnish that with random, spiteful attacks on it, and that society will fold up and wither away.
“Let he who hath no sin cast the first stone”. (Jesus, when the mob tried to murder Mary Magdalene by stoning.) Likewise, one wonders whether those who cast these stones at the judiciary or for that matter at any institution charged with the business of administering justice, are without sin in these same areas and are paragons of virtue…
Of Buffalos And Men
When the noble Brutus slew Caesar he said he did so because Caesar was ambitious. I have always wondered as to who the ambitious one was- Brutus or Caesar. People do nasty things to other people with different motives- leading the list is the craving by some people for public recognition which has mercurially avoided them throughout their murky lives; some others craving for command and leadership which was never theirs to have, nor within their capacities to wield- there is an interesting story about leadership: there was once a leaderless herd of wild buffalos in stampede. A shrewd old buffalo who was quite past his prime with nothing to show for it but was still craving for leadership of anything took a short cut and started galloping in front of the herd. All the buffalos hailed him as the leader.
You become a hero when it is too late to become anything else.
“Not Us, Old Boy..”
Another matter comes to mind here on the subject of the judiciary and corruption. There have been numerous instances where in the not too distant past and now, where, when the popular verdict of the people is not delivered by the court that in fact hears the case, black flags start popping up, howls of protests and foul allegations of intellectual, moral, or material corruption spew out like sewage running through the gutters of the city. In reality, the fault here is not with the members of the general public who participate in these unruly demonstrations but with the people who instigate these acts of mayhem whilst taking cover behind bland smiles and bare statements with the universal shrug- ”Not us, old boy”. Most of the active participants probably don’t know what they are howling about. They howl. Period. But the consternation caused within the nation, the damage caused to their own selves by bringing the judiciary into disrepute are immeasurable and irreversible.
Cry! My Beloved Country! (3)
Oh! Cry! My beloved country! Do you not see your own destruction by the machinations of a few disgruntled individuals who have already lost their race in life and are struggling for their last gasp by attacking that last fortress that holds the nation together? Oh! Justice! What crimes are committed in thy name!
Sri Lanka is now at the center of international focus in relation to its judicial affairs. One sees the international community exerting its might against this little nation of ours, coercing, cajoling and wheedling to keep the Diaspora at bay. It is heartening to note that on occasion Sri Lanka makes a spurt out of its corner, snarling, spitting and scratching before retreating back into its corner to gather its puny forces for the next confrontation. It is heart rending to see that in this quagmire of serious international political intrigue where the Sri Lankan judiciary is being subjected to severe partisan scrutiny by the international community, unruly elements in Sri Lanka itself, pouring oil upon the troubled waters by their venomous attacks on our judiciary at this crucial juncture and so paving the way for international interference in our domestic affairs, threatening the very sovereignty of the nation. Judas couldn’t hold a candle to these malicious interlopers. Little do they realize that by doing so they spit into the wind and will end up getting their faces plastered with their own spit.
The Supreme Court is mainly a court of review with original jurisdiction only in matters of contempt and a few others where it acts on its own. The time has come now for the Supreme Court to face its adversaries and say – “enough!” If not, the mischievous elements will overrun it and goad this nation towards anarchy, bloodshed and the resurgence of the vigilantes. The Supreme Court is the one most powerful institution in any country and is the bulwark that holds the nation together in the face of invasive and destructive forces that threaten its existence. It is the last rampart beyond which is oblivion. Let that power be now unleashed and the people will breathe a quiet sigh of relief. If not, this Nation will fall while bloody treason flourishes over it.
A word to those who would feast on the vitals of this Nation to appease their hunger for a name- however sordid it may be: “Gentlemen, you are today, what yesterday you were.” (The Devil’s Laughter) Do not, in your wildest dreams, ever imagine that you will be able to hide behind the magnanimity of the human soul for what you have done: yours will be the most hated names that this country has ever known.
And like the Phoenix, a child will rise from the ashes- a child too young to know..
“….and all for the want of a horse shoe nail…”
*Tirantha Walaliyadde, President’s Counsel