By Emil van der Poorten –
While the media – electronic and print – is saturated with predictions and prognostications ranging from the attempted-erudite (read Dayan Jayatilleka) to the pompously ghost written (Mahinda Rajapaksa in the words of G. L Pieris), those of us in the hinterland of this now-turbulent land have, seemingly, to “grin and bear.”
Yes, there seems to be a singular and deliberate neglect of what the people of this country, outside the self-appointed elites, think about all of this and, more important, the practical implications, on a day-to-day basis for them.
The prices of food, if not soaring is increasing in a manner that puts essential nutrition in very serious jeopardy for every man, woman and child in this country. The Rajapaksa “government” has, with much fanfare, reduced the price of petrol by five rupees. View that in the context of what a Sri Lankan rupee is worth in relation to a US$ and my calculator comes up with 0.005 US! This is a simple mathematical fact! Place this great boon to the Sri Lankan travelling public in the context of the fact that petroleum-producing jurisdictions are curtailing production in significant fashion in order to shore up prices of crude going through the floor, the largest city in the second-biggest country in the world is experiencing its lowest gasoline (prices) in its history and this insult to the intelligence of any sane person is evident.
While that is plain insult to the Sri Lankan citizenry’s intelligence, the marshaling of the youth from the deep south of this country in order to take extra-Parliamentary action to negate the rulings of the highest court in the land is sinister in the extreme.
The sixty-four million rupee question now is: will a country that has as many personnel under arms as the largest country in the world – Russia – choose a Sri Lankan version of Duterte-ism in the name of “stability” or are the roots of parliamentary democracy deep enough to resist that impulse?
A most disturbing, photographically-documented, recent event in that respect is the formal obeisance paid by the head of t