26 February, 2020

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The Season To Be Merry!

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

I have to admit the provocation for the (corny) title of this piece is the time of year and the need to take yet another look at the year just drawing to a close behind us.

By the time you read this, Santa would or would not have descended down your (metaphorical) chimney and placed gifts in abundance or the proverbial piece of coal (in our case an anguru kaella probably) at the foot of a metaphorical tree.

But what of the time between such an event last year and the one this year?

Let’s try to do a little summing up.

We went through the last days of 2014 with excitement in the air at the prospect of a very real chance to be rid of the first real dictator we had encountered in our modern history. We began the New Year by dumping the head of the most violent and corrupt government we had ever experienced.

However, the flurry of excitement that followed the January 8th overthrow of the Rajapaksa Regime has steadily evaporated with many indications that its replacement was seeking to live up to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s pithy condemnation of the parties to the “right” of it – Unuth Ekai, Munuth ekai,” six of one, half a dozen of another.

MaithripalaIf one were to understand the local (English-language) media, Sri Lanka had become one big barbecue: all kinds of prominent members of the recently-dissolved royal court were being “grilled” here, there and everywhere particularly by a newly-established tribunal established under the aegis of the Police department. One was entertained – if that is the word – by veritable legions of the “important” of yesterday being escorted into these places in which justice was allegedly to be dispensed. What distinguished these from the “common or garden” variety of (alleged) criminal was the fact that the latter invariably sought to avoid being recognized by the video or still camera and, therefore, the wider public, by covering their faces with whatever was most easily and quickly available: a hand, an arm or a handkerchief.

On the other hand, the politicians who held, literally, the power of life and death over us ordinary citizens till very recently, displayed a totally different demeanour as they entered these places: they grinned from ear to ear and waved their arms triumphantly like little Caesar’s entering a recently-liberated Rome, notwithstanding the manacles that sometimes hindered such an exercise! This was particularly true of those entering the place of interrogation of a brand new commission that was certainly not named by a public relations expert with a feel for such things as easily comprehended titles. It was called the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Massive Fraud and Corruption (PRECIFAC), even the acronym being of jaw-breaking proportions! Interestingly, the “Massive” part is missing from the acronym and some speculation has it that this is a Freudian slip However, it could simply be another concoction by some innovative local journalist, a breed not completely alien to our Sri Lankan experience where North American scandal sheets at their peak (or nadir) weren’t in the same league as some of our “black and white and read all over” productions for public edification!

PRECIFAC seems to have passed its “best before” date insofar as entertainment value is concerned and has begun to look like some tired old sitcom with a bunch of B-status movie stars.

That “Commission” though, probably epitomizes the current Sri Lankan condition where there is a definite sense of déjà vu in the matter of the apprehension of those who’ve burgled the public treasury and stashed away their loot either through money-launderers whose identity is a matter of public knowledge or ensured that their “takings” have been deposited in dollars and other currencies significantly more valuable than our rupee, in jurisdictions where such dirty money storage constitutes their very economic lifeblood. Of course, our lot go through the (silly) motions of asking the governments of the countries in which this blood money is stashed to reveal all, an exercise that would make the term “ludicrous” a generous one if applied to it.

There is the occasional bleat from within a government that puts the proverbial Curate’s Egg to shame in that one would be very hard put indeed to find any “good parts” in it! Do I even have to allude to the flotsam and jetsam that has been recruited into a Cabinet whose proportions and percentage of dead wood could well challenge the abomination of the Rajapaksa years?

That, my friends is the “engine of progress” that we seem destined to ride into 2016!

To carry the rail analogy a point further, one has to admit that there might be a little speck of light at the end of our national tunnel if we are able to sustain day-to-day life minus the White Van Culture encouraged under our recently-deposed Emperor. Let me go on record, for the benefit of those who feel that I am unduly critical of the current regime: the fact that people are no longer “disappeared” as a matter of routine or threatened, in one way or another, into shivering silence is progress, even if it is akin to being able to crawl out of a virtual cesspool of violence into a desert of Saharan proportions.

Demands for unpolluted drinking water are no longer met with an assault-rifle response.

People do appear to be free to launch protests (as long as they seem unlikely to be effective!)

No matter how desperately one casts around it is very hard indeed to find tangible signs of anything resembling real progress. However, that said, we do have the opportunity to organize in such a manner that public servants of every description – and I put every damned elected politician in that category – begin, at least, to understand that theirs is not simply a life of privilege at the expense of those who, literally, put them there but one in which the primary considerations should be responsibility and accountability to that public.

Pushing that particular envelope could well be Priority No. 1 for all of those seeking to take Sri Lanka in the direction in which we seemed headed more than half a century ago and from which we have deviated thanks to some very unscrupulous people called politicians.

How about that for a New Year’s resolution?

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  • 3
    22

    Emil van der Poorten

    “By the time you read this, Santa would or would not have descended down your (metaphorical) chimney and placed gifts in abundance or the proverbial piece of coal (in our case an anguru kaella probably) at the foot of a metaphorical tree.”

    Santa did descend to the Landof Native Veddah Aethho, on Jauary 9, 2015, but he was following the Orthodox Christmas Calendar, not the Corrupted Western Christian Roman Calendar. He was delayed a few days because there was less snow and he was getting stuck in the sand and had to confront many Sinhala “Buddhists”, who were misled by Mara, and supported MaRa.

    Santa gave us Mr. Maitripala Sirisena, and took away Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cronies.

    Going by the results, data, Santa Claus must be real!

    • 2
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      Emil van der Poorten

      RE:The Season To Be Merry! The Pagans Had it Best!

      Some Fundamentalists seem to have a different view in the “Holy Land”.

      The Bible seems to be creating more confusion. Pagans had no confusion. They just celebrated the Winter and Summer solstices.

      “Christmas has no place in the Holy Land”: Far-right Israeli leader wants to expel Christians and ban the holiday.

      Benzion Gopstein, head of hate group Lehava, said Christians are “vampires and blood suckers.”

      “Christmas has no place in the Holy Land,” insists Benzion Gopstein, the leader of a far-right Israeli group that has indirectly received support from the government.

      According to Gopstein, Christians are “vampires and blood suckers” that must be expelled from Israel, the U.S.’ closest ally. “Let us remove the vampires before they once again drink our blood,” he wrote in a recent article on an ultra-Orthodox website.

      Gopstein, a religious extremist also known as “Benzi,” calls “the Christian Church” Jews’ “deadly enemy for hundreds of years,” which has used “the maximum tools at its disposal to destroy the Jewish people.”

      He laments that the “disgust” for Christianity “has disappeared with the ‘good life’ of the democratic age.”

      Leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Gopstein’s remarks. It also noted that the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and the Coalition Against Racism have asked the government to investigate.

      Gopstein has a long history on the far-right of Israeli politics. In the past, he has publicly insisted that setting fire to Christian churches in Israel is justified.

      His group Lehava, whose name is a Hebrew acronym for “Preventing Assimilation in the Holy Land,” has frequently been called “fascist” and “radical right-wing.”

      Lehava is infamous for violently harassing and threatening Israeli Arabs who are in relationships with Israeli Jews. In the name of fighting “harassment,” the far-right group created racist beach patrols in order to prevent Jewish women from interacting with Arab men.

      Its members have also set fire to and vandalized the few remaining bilingual Hebrew-Arabic schools in Israel, and yet are often not charged with hate crimes.

      The group has additionally organized boycotts of businesses that employ Palestinians, and has protested against Jews who rent housing in Israel to Palestinians.

      Holocaust survivors have warned that Lehava reminds them of the horrors of fascism they experienced.

      Many of the group’s members, including Gopstein, are followers of Meir Kahane, an Israeli-American fascist leader who founded the extremist Jewish Defense League, which is considered a “right-wing terrorist group” by the U.S. government and a “radical organization that preaches a violent form of anti-Arab, Jewish nationalism” by leading hate group monitor the Southern Poverty Law Center.

      Isaac Herzog, leader of Israel’s centrist opposition party the Zionist Union, has called Lehava a “Jewish terrorist organization.”

      Posts on Gopstein’s Facebook page include pictures of some of the few Arab lawmakers there are in Israel that were photoshopped to look like they are being hanged.

      Far-right Israeli-American extremist Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Muslim civilians and injured 125 more at the religious site the Cave of the Patriarchs in Israel in 1994. Lehava and other radical right-wing Israeli organizations consider Goldstein — who, like them, was a follower of Kahane — a hero. At a 2010 ceremony honoring the mass murderer, whom the Israeli government considers a terrorist, the Lehava leader said Goldstein “avenged the enemies of the Jews. We are here to honor his legacy.”

      http://www.salon.com/2015/12/24/christmas_has_no_place_in_the_holy_land_far_right_israeli_leader_wants_to_expel_christians_and_ban_the_holiday/

    • 0
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      how short sighted can you be to drink this coolaid

  • 5
    18

    My landlord benefactor’s reference to the “Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Massive Fraud and Corruption” (RWSI-FUC) is obviously incomplete.

    He should have mentioned the (PRESIFUC’s failure to catch anyone yet, strangely against all the howling by my benefator about “most violent and corrupt government we had ever experienced”.

    In return for the Rs 25 a month he paid to put me through uni, I ask my benefactor, for KiriMenika’s sake, are you talking about your fatherland of Holland or Belgium, or our mother land of Sri Lanka?

    Because none of the land thieves and transparency rogues have not yet caught anyone for any crime or corruption here, in ubai or in Switzerland.

    So up yours benefactor.

    • 0
      10

      Yapa Mudiayanse;
      BeforE you pretend to anything resembling Kandyan roots, don’t you think you should learn how to spell MUDIAYNSE?
      As far as “up yours in concerned” I would like to return the compliment with the addition of “with a rubber hose” (assuming that you know what that REALLY means!)

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

  • 22
    2

    Mr Poorten,

    Not just a a speck mate, there are two Silver Linings if you care to look around, instead of harping on the same old Rajapakasa and White Vans…

    If you want to tell your loyal subjects something serious, you could have done a piece on Defenders and Hirunickers.

    Besides the brand new Federal Constitution to give Vellalas the Homeland, Batalanda Ranil is making another one for the UNP Elite.to secure his job for at least next ten years,

    Batalanda must have got a DNA analysis and plans to do an Uncle Junius.

    The second is the most important as far as the Dalits are concerned.

    So I thought it is appropriate to dissect it.

    Ex UNP heavy and the only Dalit to hold the PM, as well as Presidential gig, the Man from Keselwatta is going to be erased from the UNP Mahawamsa.

    Batalanda’s new constitution is to castrate Keselwatta Kid and his Master Jayasuriya, both in one hit..

    That means no Sinhala Buddhist representation in the UNP going forward.

    Hope our Mudalalais who vote UMP,will take note of this.

    It is not a spelling error mind you,

    And I didn’t call you mate.this time.

    • 0
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      Sumaney:
      Translation into comprehensible English (or even another language)please.

      • 0
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        Mr Poorten,

        You give the impression that you are not interested in Hirunicker’s Blak Defenders..

        Is that correct?

        May I know whether this is because you don’t want to hurt the Elite in Colombo by exposing the real beauty of Batalanada’s hand picked Beauty from Kollonnawa?.

        Or are you scared of your mate Kirra who also has a Black Defender..

        Kirra wouldn’t drag you by the neck.

        He will send a letter like the one you mentioned before and ask you to a report to him personally, if you say bad things abut UNP MPs in the Elite Homeland.. Sorry Heartland.

  • 2
    13

    The Season To Be Merry!

    I am merrier than the previous 60 odd years.

    Because……

    I thoroughly enjoyed my G & T on the Christmas day with my buddy. What a died anchovy varuval by my buddy Rajash. I got a good paavadai present.

    New Year celebration is going to be the best. Few more going to join my at my G & T party to discuss about the revision of the Mahinda Chinthanaya.

    We will be launching the Mahinda Chinthanaya in 2006 with a high profile event to be attended by Mahinda and possibly Gota, Namal, Basil and Wimal. BBS may also attend.

    Anyone interested please contact me.

  • 2
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    By the way….

    I am practicing my tip toe dance for the New Year celebrations.

    I am so good at it.

    • 0
      3

      Not us but gold business lady former first lady should be worried of you. since you are trying to unhitch her. Else, we cant get as to why you are theat close to Mahinda Chintanaya

  • 0
    1

    [Edited out]

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