29 September, 2020

Blog

The Delights Of A Rural Existence – Waiting For…………..Godot?

By Emil van der Poorten

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 the Sri Lanka Police, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), no less, to a man who has never, now or during the previous Rajapaksa Regime, been the head of the Police Service. I refer here to the ex-Secretary of Defence. Obeisance paid to the eminence grise of the Sri Lankan political firmament speaks particularly loudly of a particular mindset. The simple term that describes conduct of this kind is “political toadyism” and to the ego of someone who might well end up as the Duterte of Sri Lanka, to boot.

The armed forces of this country, numbering half a million personnel, and the police in particular who have responsibility for the application of the law on a day to day basis to every citizen of this country will soon, if they have not already, be faced with a very tough question: are they going to uphold the letter and the spirit of the law or are they going to bend the vassal knee to orders that are patently illegal? The excuse of “My boss gave me the order,” is totally indefensible. There is an international body of statute and practice that conclusively states that an illegal order from a superior officer cannot and must not be followed. This is not some airy fairy concept concocted by some ivory-tower philosopher. It is an absolute international law, reinforced by the Nuremburg trials and, more recently, the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

The way things have gone in this country recently and given our predilection for using uniformed authority to deal with civil issues, particularly during such conflicts as that at Rathupaswala where unarmed demonstrators were chased down and killed by uniformed members of the security officers, some even in places of worship, we certainly have some horrific precedents in our recent past. The fact that the polluters of people’s drinking water not only got off scot-free but are now lauded as the captains of industry capable of delivering an economic miracle to this country says it all in practice, much louder than those who espouse a line claiming that Chambers of Commerce are the last best hope for Sri Lanka and its people!

Is this a very desperate challenge for our land that can only be met by firm and unequivocal steps? Yes. One that can and must move every man, woman and child to resist the forces of repression: the thugs without any other gainful employment who are being fuelled by free buth packets and arrakku baageys, not to mention joy rides to the locations at which they can create mayhem for the residents.

If force must be met with force and there is no other choice, so be it.

A parallel initiative MUST be a cleansing of the ranks of the Yahapalanaya regime. People like the one-time Minister of Law and Order, who, in the broad daylight of public view deliberately soft-pedalled some of the worst racketeering of the Rajapaksa Regime and now has the audacity to say he did so on the President’s direction, needs not only to be turfed but action to punish him for dereliction of duty leading to public loss must be pursued. As for a one-time Minister of all things Buddhist (and Advanced Education?) who has jumped a non-existent fence to join those he has always toadied to, causing huge losses to the national treasury by blocking appropriate investigation of the Avante Garde/floating armoury case, every legal avenue must be explored to ensure that he pays the price that the law decrees in such circumstances.

One would need more than a single volume to list those pretending to be on “the side of the angels” while, in fact, selling out this nation and all of us, lock, stock and barrel for their personal gain. Those ranks would include those who had (recorded) chats with multiple-passport holders – “nangi”s to them – while playing at being on the side of those exercising the rule of law!

No nation deserves the kinds of politicians and their hangers-on that have been visited upon us. Going on the belief that, “While there’s life there’s hope,” every single Sri Lankan needs to revert to that much-quoted expostulation of a movie actor of years gone by and say, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3
    3

    yes! Ranil and Karu should also be included in the list, for the corruption they took part in. Throw the whole bunch in the gutter, where they belong.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 3
    0

    Mr. Pooten: Long ago, One Tibet S Mahinda Thero said to Sinhala people “Can not you see what is happening to you (My translation is poor). ” CONVERTED CATHOLIC anagarika Dharmapala said “Sinhala People are defeated nation”. It is the muslim Singer LAKshmi Bhai Who said ” We are waiting with mouths opened to the shore looking for the next Ship coming in. So that trend began some where after 1815 was completed in 1978 by JRJ with his Sri lanka has to be a Singapore constitution. Now if Ranil were to live as the PM , Rural Sri lanka would have been the pristine real estate for yuppie Colombo wealthiest to come and rest. Sri lankans including your children would be slaves for foreign owned companies whose profits are moved oveas to make the life of foreigners happy.

  • 3
    1

    Yahapalana is a joke ..
    M&s is a big cheat.
    God punish him and his family for ever for charting public .

  • 3
    0

    Mai Lai

    Between 347 and 504 unarmed people were massacred by the U.S. Army soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade, 23rd (Americal) Infantry Division. Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated.

    Twenty-six soldiers were charged with criminal offenses, but only Lieutenant William Calley Jr., a platoon leader in C Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was originally given a life sentence, but served only three and a half years under house arrest.

    • 2
      1

      sbarrkum:
      The fact that the US let the murderers and rapists of Mai Lai off as leniently as they did, does not, I submit, make any similar subsequent conduct in ANY way acceptable. Far from it. There were thousands who raised the issue in any way possible at the time and it was not for lack of protest that the all-powerful US got away with that despicable crime. Let me ask you a simple question here: does the fact that the US committed a war crime in Vietnam (and got away with it), justify a repeat of that kind of conduct anywhere else?

      • 1
        0

        Let me ask you a simple question here: does the fact that the US committed a war crime in Vietnam (and got away with it), justify a repeat of that kind of conduct anywhere else?

        No, but it shows that the human rights brigade are hypocrites.

        • 1
          0

          Paul:
          You obviously choose to be ignorant of the difference between an answer and deliberate obfuscation and weren’t around when people took serious risks, particularly in the US, to fight for human rights. Ever heard of the Black Panthers? Or were those people simply suicidal maniacs?
          “When ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise!” But then, what would those hiding behind pseudonyms know about principle, morality and ethics, right?

  • 1
    0

    Dear sbarrkum,
    .
    Thanks for that bit of history. All that you have said has been confirmed here. There’s been some (inadequate?) remorse expressed in 2009 by Calley who is still living. Most Americans acknowledge what happened and are ashamed of that entire war.
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Calley
    .
    And there was this great speech, by a man who much later became Secretary of State:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yixdveuf0GQ
    .
    I find that the clip that I have given (hoping that it will lead to some young guy educating himself) leads on to the aged Kerry and Iran. There’s much more stuff on all this, but I’m sure that this is where one should just make the point, and move on. We can’t learn all of History, but we’ve got to sample a little, so that we’re not naive when we have to make that next decision.
    .
    Do we have to make decisions? Yes, every time we vote, at any election.
    .
    Wherever possible, we’ve got to raise issues relating to the teaching of History; formal lessons in the subject stopped at Grade 8 for me. One can’t counter Wimal Weerawansa and Gnanasara with only that much!
    .
    If we care for our country, we must!

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.