By Emil van der Poorten –
While the endless yammering of the Dayan Jayatillekas and Rajiva Wijesinhas continues unabated both in Colombo Telegraph and the mainline media, suggesting that the same criteria were applied in the awarding of the PdDs to them as was to Dr Mervin Silva, the government of the day continues on its path of procrastination in the matter of bringing those who raped and pillaged this country to book.
Apart from the unacceptable permissiveness that this conduct by the Sirisena–Wickremesinghe cabal displays, they do not appear to realize the personal danger they are placing themselves in. There is an oft-quoted dictum to the effect that those who do not read history end up paying the ultimate prices for such neglect. And we do have a historical precedent (or two) in this matter right here in Sri Lanka.
Our politicians appear to have terminally short memories, considering that one of their number, the iconic (I use the term in its broadest application here!), Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike was done in because those who wanted him gone saw him as standing in the way of their self-aggrandisement. This is made even worse if you take the “mad Buddhist priest, Somarama,” out of the tale and substitute the notorious Ossie Corea as the man who actually pulled the trigger.
The late Don Philip R. Gunawardena made no bones about the fact that he knew who was behind the assassination: some of those closest to SWRDB, both personally and politically. There is a real irony in the loudmouth son of ”The Lion of Borolugoda,” Dinesh, being one of those leading the charge to restore Rajapaksa to the wanna-be 21st century Monarchy of Sri Lanka, our home-grown version of the House of Windsor! That certainly sounds like it runs contrary to the old saying that the fruit does not fall far from the tree!
Anyway, back to the burden of my refrain and the real danger to the current political establishment and, most important, the prospect of the restoration of something resembling democratic practice in this country.
What there can be absolutely no doubt about is the rampant corruption, accompanied by unprecedented violence that was the day-to-day reality of life in Rajapaksa Sri Lanka. This extended beyond the “traditional” gang wars between drug barons competing for monopoly rights in Sri Lanka’s best established enterprise to low-level opponents of ”wanna-be” local political overlords venting their spleen on perceived challengers at the local level, sometime bumping off political functionaries such as Chairmen of Pradeshiya Sabhawas from their own political parties.
The significance of this culture of violent crime is that, despite whatever shortcomings it might have demonstrated in meeting all the swiftly-expanding “needs” for power, prestige and lucre that it demonstrated, it was “no-contest” when juxtaposed against the prospect of a return to the norms of basic democratic governance.
The bed-fellows might be considered strange when one considers the broad coalition that embraces the Duminda Silvas, the Mahinda Rajapaksa, his illustrious brother with his selectively-applied private transport system, the “Patis-Kata” professor, the (currently-apostate) holder of another PdD – Mervin Silva, Wele Suda, those in and around the Prime Ministerial cabal involved in the spiriting out of a container-load of heroin without anything resembling legal consequences etc.etc. However, make no mistake about their capacity for violence of a kind that even this country might never have encountered in its recent chaotic past.
The last thing you want to do in the name of progress is give cornered rats the ability to re-group and re-arm, in every sense of the word, and resist the return of civility and civilization to this nation already on the slippery slope to hell and damnation. The mayhem that they are capable of sowing is not going to be selective. The stakes are far too high for that. The assault weapons will not be on “single-shot” mode. They will be used to spray the primary target(s) and any of those inconveniently in the vicinity of said primary target(s). Think about it: the preceding sentence could be simple reality, not just a figure of speech. There is wealth, power and hegemony beyond the ken of the average Sri Lankan at stake here and that’s certainly worth fighting (and killing) for, particularly for those who’ve already supped at that particular trough and can conceive of no other means of returning to it.
What the Ranil/Maithri coalition is engaged in at the moment is simply goading these rogue elephants with, at best, a besmirching of the god-like persona that they’ve created over years of enormous “cut-outs” in every part of the country and clear evidence that they will brook no opposition, no matter how token, to their grab for absolute power.
Also, factor in the logical outcome of success in their truly evil endeavour: absolute power, with all its accoutrements, for generations to come! Does it make any sense for people of this kind to even proclaim that they will go quietly into the night like good democratically-defeated sheep! Give your head a shake, buddy, that’s not the way that the “normal” people of Sri Lanka (or any other place) behave and react once they’ve developed a taste for fame and fortune that is truly beyond the imagination of the average Banda or Biso.
If the Ranil/Maithri government continues to give evidence of a terminal inability to get off the pot, they need to be shoved off it. And their camp-followers, the PhD-worthy insurance-buyers with them. Even if it takes such as the sophomoric-socialists of the JVP to perform that task, so be it. Better that alternative than the current, totally-counterproductive posturing of this everything-from-soup-to-nuts coalition whose actions are taking us down the road to making Rajapaksa 1 look like the model of benign governance!
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