Thus spake Barak Hussein Obama at the Big Apple gathering: “In times of economic unease there can be an anxiety about human rights.”
“Today, as in the past times of economic downturn, some place human rights aside for the promise of short term stability or the false notion that economic growth can come at the expense of freedom. We see leaders abolishing time limits. We see crackdowns on civil society. We see corruption smothering entrepreneurship and good governance. We see democratic reforms deferred indefinitely.”
I surely would have missed reading that gem of pure truth if not for Nosey Parker from next door who came battering at my wee small door. I opened it and looked to left and right and saw her in her skimpy nightie dressing-gown twin set. She was indignant, she was excited and she parroted what her husband had been saying over bed coffee and newspapers. Have they nothing better to do than read in bed while sipping coffee? Menika volunteers to teach them a trick or two, spinster though she be for she missed not much. But Meniks is not allowed to even say a polite good morning or good evening, and never goodnight to Mr. Nosey Parker. You know why!
Anyways, there was NP at my wee small door out screeching the screech owl and excitedly continuing her tap tap. “Aney chile” she exploded, “Look at this! Obama, the President of the United States, has hinted at us. How dare the man! He may be big for America but not for us.” Here her eyes lit up as ‘big’ has other connotations to her.
“Why can’t they say things straight instead of hinting? (Diplomacy is an alien word to her like to many in our government). They will now not give us aid. As if we care!” Yes, Nosey P is OK, her father left her money and houses in Colombo which her hub exorbitantly rents out. Never mind to them the girl slaving her days away in an EPZ factory and USAID and all that. “Sri Lanka will surely teach this Obama guy a lesson.” And with that threat she left Menika to scramble in her pile of newspapers to retrieve the one with Ob’s speech. And let Menika tell you, reader, she says three cheers to Obama. He’s said it as it should be said. She’ll drink to his health later in the day.
Let Meniks admit that in sessions of sweet silent thought, Meniks has found Obama to be a real great guy. The Americans, of course barring that creature from Alaska who does her own animal hunting for her table, and pronounced her international relations were fine since she could spy Russia when she looked out of her domain, still think highly of him though his popularity rating has declined somewhat. (Human nature – fickle and too demanding). Well, apart from the said Sarah Palin and her co-Republicans, the entirety of America and much of the rest of the world admires Obama and confirms he speaks sense and is eloquent to boot. Give it to these black guys to elocute – ‘I have a dream’ sort of business. But with his latest speech at the UN, which to you and me was spot on, and in which he did not only name names like North Korea and …., he has become even more persona non grata with the big guns of Sri Lanker. ‘Conspiracy’ is a word we will soon hear.
So the brave ones are coming forward, armed, to discredit if not positively attack the said Obama and with him all Americans. They won’t go too far of course, since they need to be able to get visas for their spouses to visit Disney Land or their offspring to enter an obscure American University having failed Ivy League ivory towers. No influence or strong arm tactics with embassy folk and Harvard et al.
The Wanse, we hear, is getting his saline bottle filled, the glucose packet and ginger nuts secreted in a bag which he hopes is invisible, and kurakkan reddish kurta ironed to go lie down on a comfy mattress at the entrance to the American Embassy down Galle Road, Kollupitiya. It is whispered (with great fear that the whisperer will be overheard and given a white van ride) that the tumbler of tambili is being readied and knees strapped with foam rubber to ease the kneeling exercise. Wanse will do an upahara unto death in protest of Obama’s speech. He’s put the cap on tight since it fits.
The Perve, not to be outdone, is readying his kambe and has applied for a US visa to go to Pennsylvania Avenue. To him it sounds as if there are trees around on this avenue. “No one can speak against us,” he thunders. “What happened to Fonny will happen to him, Osama (yakko mokadda uge nama?). I will hang him!”
The messenger from the cupboard is having his beard trimmed and he’s stroking its hairy strands to keep its abundance in shape. He will speak to the nation over all TV channels. “No one, not even the gods, can vilify us. Sri Lanka has a history of three thousand years, not like the US whose history started at a tea party and is only 200 years old.” Those 120 odd who went on the joy ride to NY cannot say anything. They do not want to be identified and hid when cameras turned their way. Only Sri Ranga was bold enough to show his leapfrog face since he was the right hand man to the First Son. Looks like it was a family picnic too.
Those fire-breathing reds of the ilk of Vasu, the great socialist betrayers who voted blue, are honing their speeches of protest against the great capitalist American. They can shout openly in this instance instead of saying one thing and doing another. Thanks to a contributor to this paper, we got all details of numbers who jaunted to the Big Apple; floors at the Waldorf booked – must have been just above the couple of rooms booked for Obama; cost of limousines hired for everyone – a limo each for 19 hours daily for a week perhaps, and mercy me, the cost to us the taxpayers. I won’t tell you what we could have done with the money saved, if only the Prez and First Lady went with essential bods like double speak GL and Prez Secy. Trips are rewards and there are people who accept these knowing full well how mothers substitute water for milk for their babies (future voters) and patients die in hospitals by the hundred due to bad medicines or no medicines.
A startling revelation by no less a person than the Deputy Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs. Thank you Sir, for outing the terrible truth. He announces that 89,000 women are widowed in the North and East due to the war; 40,000 in the Killi-Jaffna areas and 48,000 in the East with 28,000 in Batti alone. Most of them have children and all of them are incomeless. Add to that figure the widowed in the South due to the brave sacrifice of armed services personnel. Also add to that the suffering and near torture meted out to the one who really got his men to fight and win the war. One question Menika asks and closes her case. When the Sri Lankan plane took off, when first class belts were tightened and the well fed awaited champagne, didn’t a single thought of the suffering in the island enter the political mind, leave alone trouble it?
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