By Malinda Seneviratne –
Meanwhile in a parallel universe
To be frank I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I could laugh for many reasons. I could cry too. Let me explain why.
Recently some of my colleagues in the United National Party visited Hambantota. Now President Rajapaksa, his brothers, sons and other relatives act as though Hambantota belongs to them. Sure, they’ve been there for generations. I am a relative newcomer. But then again, it’s my ‘home base’ now and the people have thought fit to elect me to represent them. I have a claim. Since I have a claim, I have a say. I have a right to a tear. Or a smile.
The gentlemen from the UNP didn’t come anywhere near during the Southern Provincial Council election. They hadn’t scheduled a courtesy call either. That’s bad. Made me want to cry.
Maybe that’s because I have not been kind to them. They probably know that I invited people kicked out of the party to speak at my rallies. The invitees blasted the party leaders, including the Leadership Council. The good MPs who visited Hambantota would not have been pleased. Still, they had to come to MY backyard. That made me smile.
They were attacked and some of them manhandled by some local thugs led by the Mayor of Hambantota Eraj Fernando. That made me sad. Made me want to cry. On the other hand, I know as almost everyone knows that there’s no love lost between that set of gentlemen and myself. They don’t exactly love me and I don’t love them either. I am an electorate man and some of them are national-list men. I am a people’s person and some of them are release-writers. I talk, I walk. Now they know what real politics is like. Now they know what kind of challenges the rank and file of the party, the men and women on the ground, have to face when taking on the regime. I couldn’t stop the smirk, sorry. Still, there’s a tear that swells to ear and that swelling wipes off smirk. I am sad they had to face a barrage of rotten eggs and tomatoes. It makes me cry to think they had to see a man brandishing a pistol running at them.
I have other reasons to be sad too. The media made me sad. Some media institutions tried to implicate me in the attack. I am not an attacking person. I won’t attack anyone. I didn’t bring thugs to Sirikotha. I prefer to put in a word here and there, look the other way, and when it gets so hot that I might get burnt, I appeal for calm. I am sad that it was suggested that I sent thugs to ‘receive’ my UNP colleagues.
It made me laugh too. I mean, who would swallow that kind of lie? No one believed it. As anyone would have expected, there was stuff caught on camera. It was clear who was armed and who was throwing the punches. Sajith Premadasa was nowhere near.
All this made me sad. Some of it made me laugh. The saddest thing for me, however, is the fact that the UPFA thugs have not seen me as a big enough reason to worry about to attack me. They have ample opportunity because I spend a lot of time in Hambantota. They’ve never bothered me. I’ve not been attacked. I feel bad. I wish I caught a rotten egg on my face once in a while. That would mean that someone takes me seriously, someone considered me a threat. I am livid that these thugs consider the visiting MPs to constitute threat. I am even more angry that they have not even tossed a pebble in my direction. AM I NOT A THREAT? AM I NOT A CHALLENGE? WHY IS NO ONE TAKING ANY NOTICE OF ME? WHY, WHY, WHY?
I can’t take it. I can’t go on. I need tissues. A boxful of them.