By Vishwamithra –
“The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.” ~Bertrand Russell
When the carcass of our polity is sprawled across the landscape of the country, when the carcass is well beyond recognition, when its heart has stopped beating, its nerves ceased to twitch and its blood has hardened so much so that it’s no redder, but eerily crimson, we know that the predators have done the job. Fortunately we have not arrived at that burial ground as yet. The heart of Sri Lanka’s polity is still beating; its nervous system is intact and its blood still redder than ever. The Joint Opposition that is parading our streets and feeding a starving media with delusional tidbits of political character-assassination is made up of the Rajapaksa family and other parliamentarians who contested the last General Election on the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ticket. They were the ones who opposed Maithripala Sirisena’s Presidential bid on January 8, 2015. They were the ones who backed Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid for an unprecedented third term Presidency.
What is the common tie between the Rajapaksas and these other political hoods who have opted to stand behind Mahinda Rajapaksa and his blatantly deep corrupt practices? I have written about this before and have no hesitation in writing again and again, even to the utter boredom of the reader. They are the comrades-in-arms (or more aptly, comrades-in-‘alms’) of the Rajapaksas when they had the coffer-keys. Make no mistake. It’s all about the money. From power they got the keys to coffers and after that it was always money, money, money. With that money they entertained their friends; with that money they had unlimited luxuries; with that money they acquired cars and houses and girlfriends and boyfriends. All decipherable signs of moral decay were present; all tangible results of avarice were in evidence; all nuanced cryptograms of sloganeering were abundant. Yet the majority in the country refused to see. They refused to look at them, for they did not want to see what lay beneath the veneer.
It is quite natural for any victim of any crime or misdemeanor to confront the truth. That is a human condition and we find that in abundance in everyday lives of many men and women. For what reason or excuse, I’m not qualified to reason out. Yet its corrosive presence, one simply cannot dispute. This is the gullibility political sharks of a yester-regime exploited to the hilt. The gullibility of the masses was shown when the Rajapaksas declared that they were ready to go to the ‘electric chair’ to safeguard the ‘honor’ of the brave soldiers who fell on the battlefield. The phony patriotism of Rajapaksa and his henchmen is exposed as nothing but phony. But patriotism, if craftily sloganeered and presented as justifiable and gut-wrenching as the Rajapaksa cronies were capable of portraying, it is really dreadful. It has been recorded in many an international fora and has been debated whether the subject of patriotism defined in a narrow context of local politics is valid and whether that patriotism offers a blanket assurance of insulation from the international audience seeking justice and fairness to all people living in the world, as a majority or a minority. Such nuanced arguments are a way beyond these pathetic, uninformed merchants of corruption and nepotism.
The May Day show has understandably given Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts a false sense of hope; it has given them a massive ego-push that the crowd that gathered on the Galle face green came on their own volition. If one is offered a bottle of arak and a packet of rice and curry and free transport, of course, who is going to refuse that on a national holiday? The enormous wealth that the last regime made via various deals is coming out now. In 1960 and 1970 the United National Party (UNP) managed to gather massive crowds for their May Day rallies. On both occasions the UNP lost at the Elections. This delusional madness of the Rajapaksas and their supporters would eventually have its infectious effect claiming not only their immediate staff and cohorts, but will trickle down to the broad masses that rally around him and his failed policies of phony patriotism and groundless and unproven love for them.
Mahinda Rajapaksa has to realize the significance of one modern political dynamic. The social media is not something that could be kept under a carpet of secrecy; it need not have leadership; it need not have even to verify the accuracy of what they are alleged to reveal. But fortunately or unfortunately, the social media is a double-edged knife. Against a backdrop of darkening clouds of suspicion in some intimidation, abductions and killings of prominent journalists who had both guts and craft to use their ‘power of the pen’ to attack the Rajapaksa regime and the then first family, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s malicious attempt at galvanizing massive crowds on May Day celebrations looks hollow and barren.
When one sits down to analyze the current political tempests in Sri Lanka, after a defeat of a maligned regime (I used the word regime intentionally as the Rajapaksas portrayed themselves as a regime as against a Democratic Republic) whose alleged attempt at hoodwinking the masses with slogans such as electric chair, brave soldiers on the battlefield, etc. was thwarted by the voters in January, 2015, one has no option but to deduce that the Rajapaksas attempts are indeed malevolent and treacherous. They ruled the country for more than eighty four months. Never did a day pass without a member of the first family or their henchmen, in and outside Parliament, allegedly committing at least a white-collar felony. Such white-color felonies are being investigated today and hopefully, for the relief on many a man and woman. These political swindlers simply do not realize that taking the voter for granted and treating him or her as a simpleton and sometimes as an idiot is a sin that has no equal. Condescending treatment of equals may be pardonable but if such conduct extends down to the average Siripala and Ran Menika in the rural hamlets, it is not only unpardonable, it is grossly repugnant and deplorable.
But who is there to tell the Rajapaksas; certainly not the local politicians, nor the native henchmen. It had to come from a visiting Head of Government of our ‘big brother’, India. Prime Minister Modi did not come to occupy the highest seat in India’s polity by being naïve and uninformed. If Mahinda Rajapaksa refuses to learn any lesson form the alleged treatment extended to him by Narendra Modi, then he is beyond help. The May Day rally organized by the so-called Joint Opposition has already claimed two lives. For the organizers of the Joint Opposition this may not be abig ado. Yet one must remember that those who died as a result of participating in the May Day rally also may be having sons, daughters, wives and parents. Sacrifices made for the sake of personalities around whom a cult is being built are indeed grave and more often than not, stupid. Yet our unequivocal sympathy goes out to them.
Sigmund Freud said that ‘no one who shares a delusion ever recognizes it as such’. That is precisely what has happened to Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts. They do not seem to recognize the delusion; the delusion of a broad mass assent of a failed regime is lingering on and it is being intentionally promoted by them.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org