I. Elmo Jayawardena: “Wipe them off the walls”
One morning I was out, Sunday the 9th, on some errands and saw a policeman walking with a gun accompanied by a young man in a grey jacket. Seemed like some serious ‘hora police’ business on the Sabbath. Crowds were following them and I too watched whilst jammed in traffic wondering which criminal they were hunting. “Sir, horu nemai Sir, boru karayo” (not thieves Sir, but liars) a passer-by answered my query with a deflated shrug. That was an election poster tearing team, the gun-toting constable and his grey companion. ‘You paste them, we tear them’ seemed like the silent slogan and I saw some ‘political pseudo-grinning’ getting torn and wiped off the walls at a cost of 75 million rupees. Yes, that is what the newspapers said, the Election Commissioner allocated that vast amount of money to remove the posters and cut-outs of the political leaders who are promising us a honey-laden moon and cheese-cakes to munch, and at that, as much as we can eat.
Don’t the people contesting know this poster business is illegal? They can lie as much as they want as there is no law against that. Most politicians are fully qualified on GPBs and PPBs. (Gypsy Sunil’s Gal Palena Boru and Polowa Palena Boru – see his concert in LA on YouTube) But cut-outs and posters are against the law. Isn’t it a shame that election contestants allow their smiling pictures to be pasted everywhere and then expect the poor tax-payer to pocket out 75 million to ‘wipe them off the walls.’ All this is whilst baiting the voter with good governance through Yahapalanaya and Chinthanaya, same as what Dharmishta did in the past. Land for the landless, houses for the homeless, jobs for the jobless are the clarion calls; sounds more like portfolios for the clueless. Such lies are OK but please, no posters, so much can be done for the country with 75 million.
I live in an obscure little lane in Moratuwa. Even in this remoteness my neighbour’s wall is plastered with posters of two big elephants. Never mind the names, they are the prominent types. I am sure the said elephants did not carry a ‘paappa bucket’ and come and paste the posters themselves. But they sure are there and the decorating would have been done by their die-hard green-capped supporters. Of course the ‘wall smilers’ can claim they know nothing and this must be a gimmick of MR to discredit them. That has been the theme song of many a misadventurer; load the blame on the political opponent. Whichever way you look at it, the tax-payer pays the 75 million for the laundry business. Shame on you political contestants, why don’t you set an example whilst blasting away on the TV that you are as honest as the day that dawns?
Now the telephone has started ringing. People calling and asking to cast the vote to the champions they are canvassing for. This is a new gimmick for me and in one morning I answered eight calls. The first one I tried to reason and got a long sermon of what great things the contestant had done and how much more he would be doing. It was all hog-wash, a total waste of time as this ‘do good saint’ was tainted and painted in more colours than a common tart. Try telling that to his entourage, no way man! So I shut up and devised a new method for the next call. “Yes madam, I am an ardent admirer of your demi-god and of course my vote is for him.” That was the easiest way to close the conversation. I wonder with all the evidence available to us who would be swayed by a phone call to select whom to vote.
I started the story by stating ‘Wipe them off the walls.’ That should be a beginning. But the ‘real-deal’ would be not the wall-dwellers. It is the corrupted ones who get elected and go to the parliament. Hope the Election Commissioner could make some arrangement to release ten times the 75 million if only he could wipe out the champion villains who walk into parliament as saints on parade. Mind you, the final result would be whoever wins will have his share of the jury contaminated by big-time culprits. The cleansing responsibility lies on party-leaders. They have the powers to eradicate corruption. Would they or wouldn’t they is the question. There lies Mother Lanka’s dilemma. They act and we win, they tolerate and pamper the 40 thieves, then we all lose. That would be the repetition of what we’ve seen as an independent nation for 67 years.
Yes, I am well aware that we cannot have a political leadership that is totally honest. That would be dreaming in technicolour. But we do have some honest leaders who can make things happen. They must speak up for what is right and clean the stable before we gradually convert to becoming just another banana republic. Their silence is nothing but a cheer to the ones who desecrate on the banks of the Diyawanna Oya. Let’s remember how a man was tied to a tree and no one objected. Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka carried a bucket in Welikada and no one objected. Finally it was the people who changed the tide.
A few more days before we elect the new government to charter our lives for the next 5 years. Does not matter what party you support, but make sure you will not waste your valuable vote on someone known to be corrupt. We owe that to Mother Lanka for all that she has suffered among the corrupt leaders we sent to rule us from the birth of independence. It is the corruption we must eradicate, irrespective of who it is and what party he or she belongs to. That is the curse and the bane and the misfortune of this country. Sadly with the passing of time it has become cancerous to a point of almost no cure.
Capt Elmo Jayawardena…….. Elmojay1@gmail.com
II. George Rupesinghe: “Interesting times ahead for Sri Lanka”
Tisaranee Gunasekera, (National security, in peace time, Island 1 August) would like us to believe that the Sinhala majority was always the enemy of the Tamils and other minority groups in Sri Lanka. This might be a clever ruse to garner support for the anti-Rajapakse campaign in the coming elections, but it does not wash with the hard facts of history. Her claim that Sri Lanka is a “pluralist country” is nothing but political speak to force the majority Sinhala people to sacrifice their cultural, social and religious aspirations on the altar of Tamil and other minority interests.
The smoke of Black July did not billow from nowhere. The fires of discord were being fanned by Tamil leaders for decades. How many Tamil political leaders worked to forge unity with the majority Sinhalese? The enduring hallmark tactic of Tamil political behaviour is constant provocation and antagonism to get under the skin of the Sinhalese and force them to react.
There are still people who remember the cry for “Fifty Fifty” soon after Independence in 1948; the stubborn refusal to respect the verdict of the democratic will of the people in 1956; the absolute intransigence of the Tamil leadership when every effort was made for “the reasonable use of Tamil;” the campaign that morphed into federalism and separatism after the Vaddukoddai resolution of 1976 and its dire consequences in Naidakanal (sic)in 2009.
How many people realise that the majority Sinhala people, mainly Buddhists, (I am not a Buddhist) were alienated for centuries? Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was known then, was, for a long time a country of two nations – the English speaking and the non-English speaking. The former comprised the English speaking Sinhala community, educated in Christian mission schools, and the Tamil community, most of whom were also educated in similar schools.
This group was in the forefront at every level of society, and held all the plum jobs in both the public and private sector. The vast majority of Sinhalese, with no access to an English education, were relegated to the domestic and labourer class and, being Buddhist and pacifist by nature, accepted their fate as “apey karumay,” an attitude that was cleverly exploited by the British oppressors and the Brown Sahibs who did their bidding.
Thanks to Anagarika Dharmapala, the vision of C. W. W. Kannangara and the efforts of Colonel Olcott and Marie Musaeus, the Sinhala Buddhists were given their due place in the education playing field and their vote in 1956 ushered in the biggest political and social revolution in the country’s history.
While one can argue about how this momentous change was managed amid widespread mayhem created by the Tamil leadership, the LSSP and the Communist parties, the die was cast. The majority Sinhala people were no longer willing to accept a second class status and subordinate their rights and aspirations in their motherland to appease Tamil and other minority interests.
It may be the current political fashion to blame Mahinda Rajapakse for several sins of commission and omission, no doubt with some validity. But must we succumb to the unrelenting Tamil narrative and forget the trauma of 30 years? The spectre of suicide bombings and the climate of terror that forced families to travel separately in buses and trains? The invasion of LTTE mobs in scores of villages and the carnage they left in their wake? Isn’t the blood of all those thousands of innocents still crying out for justice?
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it, observed philosopher George Santayana.
Are we so naive to think that the authoritarian rule of Rajapakse was not justified when the threat of the LTTE still loomed large from the frontiers of Canada, Australia, the US and Britain? Like war, the game of politics brings out “extremists” of all stripes in every country. And Rajapakse played his cards just like any other politician for his own expedient purposes.
Nevertheless his record of reaching out to the Tamil people, pursuing a course of restorative rather than retributive justice to “misguided” Tamil LTTE cadres, rehabilitating such cadres with vocational and other training schemes, and restoring the mechanisms for Tamils to choose their own leaders in their respective Provincial Councils is writ large and cannot be ignored.
Despite all the accusations levelled at Rajapakse and his ilk, the telling statistic remains: he lost the presidential election by less that 500 000 votes. Some 5.8 million people voted for him.
The massive behind the scenes efforts by Western governments through their NGOs to dislodge Rajapakse succeeded, albeit narrowly. The Tamil diaspora’s objective of regime change was achieved.
But more ominously, Sri Lanka has now been shunted into a new colonial era. The people who thought they were voting for change have not woken up to realise that they are now in the grip of a new colonial master. Thanks to the efforts of the two “rajadrohiyas” – Sirisena and Wickremesinghe – the country has been gifted to Uncle Sam to be used as a pawn in its geopolitical forays in the region – America’s pivot to Asia. The ramifications of this development are likely to be dire for all Sri Lankans regardless of community.
The coming elections are likely to be a harbinger of interesting times ahead.
ALSO SEE Anura Kumara Dissanayake lashing out at the Rajapaksas = https://www.facebook.com/anurakumara/videos/478369715650814/?fref=
ALSO SEE Emil Van der poorten:“Crunch Time – Less Than Ten Days To Go!” …. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/crunch-time-less-than-ten-days-to-go/