By Grusha Andrews –
UNP’s “All Men – No Women” constitutional crisis has finished. In true UNP fashion the Galle Face tamasha complete with Flashback playing has ended with Rajitha Senaratne having the last word. He reminds one of Ranasinghe Premadasa, nicknamed Kaanu Kataa, the Gutter Mouth of UNP. Premadasa used to give the wind up speech of UNP rallies of the yesteryears. In traditional Sri Lankan rallies the last speech meant to titillate and entertain the gallery is delivered by the speaker with the highest capacity to utter filth, demean and disrespect opponents and deliver cheap words. In the Pohottu stage this is Wimal Weerawansa.
There is rising concern about the absence of women speakers in the crucial rallies of the UNP during the constitutional crisis. Hirunika Premachandra was used much like Ranasinghe Premadasa in the Live Streams from the Temple Tress to provide ‘bites’ to an intoxicated gallery. She spoke and spoke till our ears were full of her ignorant logic, rants, whining, cursing, justifications and inflating her own political image. She even came on TV and proclaimed that Kavinda Jayawardana was not petting her, but was restricting her in a corner of the parliament while the infamous chili attack was going on. The rest of us cringed. While our constitution is violated and our republic is sieged, Good Lord, did she seriously think that we care?
Death: The Jackpot Of Politics
In Sri Lankan politics a woman’s father, brother or husband just has to die for them to emerge to fill a reactionary vacuum. The vacuum may be emotional, race or caste based. Or it may have political utility. The more violent and gruesome the death, better political cash it is for the female aspirant in politics. The list is obvious: Sirima Bandaranaike, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Srimani Athulathmudali, Srima Dissanayake, Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Hirunika Premachandra, Ferial Ashroff, and Vijayakala Maheswaran- the list goes on.
To recall some of the daughters, sisters and wives of the men who left their female relative as heirs to their thrones: Sunethra Ranasinghe, Amara Piyaseeli Rathnayake, Sumedha Jayasena, Samantha Karunarathna, Nirupama Rajapaksa, Chandrani Bandara, Rohini Kumari Wijerathna Kavirathna, Anoma Gamage, Thalatha Atukorale and Pavithra Wanniarachchi.
Except for Sunethra Ranasinge who notedly served as the Minister of Health and Women’s Affairs under President JR Jayewardene, none of the others in this select list are known for any positive contribution to society. I’m sure the readers can’t put a face to most of these names. The majority of them have apparently “served” in the parliament for so long, now enjoying the perks of retirement. The currently serving women in this list are mainly known for being mere decoration, dolled up to the occasion, in full make up. For example Chandrani Bandara, throughout the constitutional crisis was seen in the front of UNP stage making cute gestures and making cuter faces. I ask you, what great purpose does that serve? What wise word, comment on policy have you heard, coming out of her lips?
Worse are the likes of Pavithra Wanniarachhci, who, through violent behavior and her consistently filthy vocabulary helps bring the universal reputation of all women across the world to the gutter. Less said about Sudarshini Fernandopulle, the thug doctor who attempted to demolish the Speaker’s chair, the better.
More dangerous is Thalatha Atukorale who is apparently civilized. Apparent is the key word. When a media person questioned her about the Bond Scam as a contributor to precipitate the constitutional crisis, she sarcastically responded, face twisted in arrogance, “what is the bond scam? Can you explain to me what it is? We don’t have to answer your questions. You first learn about it and them come and question me!” More like a line from a Walawwe Hamu in a cheap teledrama. Looks like the woman seriously thinks she is better than the reporter. Why, one wonders? The reporter may be inexperienced, but he has not scammed the people’s money. The UNP has. See from 0.52 second to see the attitude of UNP’s female politicians. See how they get together to bully the reporter like a scene from Mean Girls.
Sex, Sexuality and Cheap Celebrity
The author will not waste words to name these individuals. These are the lowest form of female representation in parliament, more dangerous than the former categories of teary widows and “orphaned” daughters.
Professional Politics: Rosy Among Thorns
The only professional politician who rose in ranks in current politics is Rosy Senanayake. However, what the current constitutional crisis showed was that Rosy is now a spent force. She was no better than Chandrani Bandara. She was literally just a well painted stage prop complete in her ensemble of fake acrylic nails, stage make up, looking every inch the ageing beauty queen. I say this not to objectify her or reduce her to a past pageant title, but because this is all she was in the most pivotal and significant political crisis in modern Sri Lankan politics. If she were not just a beauty queen cashing in on her past beauty, and in fact a serious politician, she should have acted like one. In spite of her hard earned political career, her recent elitist and out of touch with reality moves to First Fix My Loo has made her the laughing stock of the common man.
Rather than becoming a role model for young girls who aspire to do politics, Rosy comes across as an insecure Barbie Doll of late. True. We do not hold men in politics to such unjust anatomical scrutiny. But it is the women who are body shamed, reduced, vilified for their weight, ageing and wrinkles if they dare to enter public life. It is the moral prerogative of the likes of Rosy, even if she is just one woman- the only woman- to be a better role model. To be more assertive, to stop being UNP’s Barbie. In reality a better, more civilized and a more rational thinker and a speaker than 99 % of the men who spoke at UNP rallies, Rosy did not once give a speech representing women of our country. She was holding to the end of her saree fall, maintaining her signature pose, flashing a demure smile like she was on a beauty pageant.
In fact, instead of profiling Rosy who has earned her political career through hard work, service to the party and attempted policy reforms, the UNP stooped to the level of using Hirunika Premachandra, who can give Pavithra Wanniarachchi a run for her money any day to titillate “the gallery”. Hirunika’s incessant chatter, uninterrupted by the immature and besotted media was actually a barrage of unwise political vomit. Although it served to keep the fight alive, her incessant insults of sexual nature aimed at the President and his purported mistress only showed that the UNP for its “elegant, classy, educated leader” is actually a cesspit of men and women who are no better than their opponents. The UNP will face the repercussions of the behavior of Hirunika and all others who went down to uncouth levels of communication when struggling to cohabitate with a livid President to keep a government in the future. A golden rule to remember perhaps is that till one utters words, the words are your servant. Once uttered, you are your words’ servant.
It is ironic that Hirunika who has been at the receiving end of the most unjust and inhuman media mafia of sexual deprecation was doing the same to another woman, of whose sexual activity she has no proof of. And all these allegations were made when Hirunika stood to lose her parliamentary term and along with it, her perks. Where was Hirunika when she actually saw these alleged crimes happening? Why did she wait till now? And let’s not forget, it was Hirunika who proclaimed some years ago” I’m a daughter of Mahinda Rajapaksa”. It was Hirunika who went on all her fours to prostrate and worship the feet of Mahinda Rajapaksa. How these politicians think that we have forgotten all!
The reasons for women not being profiled seriously in stages of the UNP is not just the gender insensitivity of Ranil. It is not just that the decisions are made in the UNP within an elite boy’s club. Gender balance is not an organic feature of any of the political parties in Sri Lanka. The women of the UNP are themselves not assertive and even the really strong ones have reduced themselves to powder puppets.
If the women in the UNP want equal treatment, they should claim their spot on the stage. If Ranil Wickremesinghe is even dreaming of trying his luck against a Mahinda backed Pohottuwa campaign any day, he better wake up from his patriarchal dream, get some good advice from his wife Maithree on how to be a man. He should have the decency to recognize women as a part of his party and society. And to not use them for cheap thrills. Because Mahinda Rajapaksa, across social strata is still the most adored, loved and sexually attractive male politician to majority of Sri Lankan women. Personally, the thought makes me cringe and a bit nauseous. But if Ranil wants the votes of those women, he had better show some solidarity towards them.
Ranil, for the love of God and love of your party, let a woman speak at your next rally!