A newspaper reported on its first page, Monday, October 25, that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says the on-going crisis at universities is an international conspiracy. And we need to believe him since he knows what he is talking about and further, he is the third, fourth, or fifth in succession.
What G. Rajapaksa, who rid the island of LTTE terrorism, says is: “those bent on destabilising the country are exploiting bankrupt politicians.” Asked whether the government had reliable info to link the university crisis to a plot being hatched by any foreign power, the DS (goodness, Meniks had better spell that in case she is faulted for disrespect) — Defence Secretary — replied in the affirmative. “…country couldn’t achieve economic goals… unless there was political stability.” We all agree on the last, needless to say.
But who is destabilising the country? Politics, politicians and policies now in place. There is so much power concentrated in the President, that fissures are appearing. Too much pressure and bang goes an eruption – volcanic or human uprising. Democracy is needed, justice is needed and most important of all, faith that justice will be meted out.
Menika is intrigued by the mention of ‘bankrupt politicians’. A guessing game is always exciting. So Menika reclined on her sofa with the TV off and ruminated (suggestive of a cow chewing the cud! Not too far wrong, not at all since, as a very popular TV show points out, paribogikayas are cattle and Meniks is definitely a bovine parabogikaya, fast losing the battle with the COL and of course lost almost all hope). To return to the bankrupt politician/s rousing a foreign country to destabilise Big Wonder Sri Lanker using the university students as tools, I see someone initialed RW and some country beginning with N and ending in Y. Or is it a party with first initial J and last P?
The coupling of the word ‘bankrupt’ with ‘politician’ in money terms and perks is hugely paradoxical. Most politicians are bloated with riches and good living. Bankrupt in sense; bankrupt in loyalty first to country and then to serving it and not oneself is correct. Can think of only one person and a party that is the opposite of one of the two conditions and again the initials spring up in Menika’s mind – RW, Mr Clean (comparatively) or the J-P that is not accused of money making. Once in a while, please, please lay the blame at our doorstep, meaning the government’s and don’t keep seeing foreign eyes casting jealous looks at wonderful Sri Lanker. Another popular and ridiculous barb – jealous — thrown at Western countries accused of wanting to destabilise us. We are destabilised enough and more through our own hands, or rather, the politicians and their sycophants’ collective hands.
Post script to this: the papers and TV reported on a hapless young man, student of Kelaniya University or not, being manhandled on the road in front of the university. The name Kelaniya rings invariably a mental alarm bell. Thursday’s dailies point the finger at a person whose name Menika dares not mention. So who is really destabilising the country — university students, who are karachal but need wise hands to reprimand, or never changing spots-of-thuggery politicians? What is needed is not a thug arm but listening to these students, treating them with respect as impetuous young adults, and conveying the idea the authorities are just. We do not want virginity tests being ordered and a deputy minister sending thugs to ‘arunta padamak ugannanta.’ Listen to the students’ complaints. The vicious circle becomes ever more vicious.
Mercy me! The President, sorry, His Excellency or His Royal Highness the Prez has asked for mercy for Rizana, the maid from Sri Lanker in Saudi who supposedly killed the infant she was employed to care for. Good and merciful gesture, but so paradoxical with Sarath Fonseka incarcerated and the jail sentence and all signed and sealed by the said merciful President. And Fonseka’s crime? Lots of people say it is merely contesting the Prez in an election and being the only threat, if at all, to the Prez and his dynastic rule. Of course both Rizana and Sarath Fonseka are Sri Lankan citizens and human beings. But in the scale of judgment, Fonseka is so much more deserving of justice, OK, mercy too. He saved the country by leading his men in battle; Rizana neglected the babe in her care, even if she did not kill it, but let it choke on the milk she was bottle feeding it.
Even the Buddha accepted a hierarchical system. Don’t we believe that it is more cleansing ourselves of greed and taking joy in being generous, to give alms to a virtuous monk than to a beggar? Both human beings with the second having the greater need, but the monk is on the path to his deliverance and deserving of sustenance. Leaving all that philosophical talk aside, mercy, particularly HE the President’s mercy, should be for all. The best army leader, according to the Prez himself, incarcerated like a common thief and suffering not only immense physical privation but indignity and frustration, found guilty of — what? No crimes as we see it. Political ambitions while in uniform (who does not talk of politics in this country) and awarding a minor tender to a relative he says played no real part in the tender (while previous army people along with politicians have made billions, not millions, on tenders). And mercy is pleaded for a girl who lied about her age, went to Saudi Arabia and was found by the highest court of that country to which she appealed, guilty of having killed through neglect, the baby in her charge.
Equally rich it is that HE the President is asking for mercy from the country that was so undiplomatically spoken to when a maid returned from that country with nails in her body. Oh gosh, how everyone went to town against oil rich and powerful Saudi. Foreign Ministry and foreign employment persons jetted it fast to tell Saudi Arabia where it got off. OK, so they, the Saudi royal family and subjects, did take note of this Kingdom’s undiplomatic lambasting by closing that lucrative kingdom’s doors to our unskilled labour, whom we Sri Lankans back home live off and merry-make on. Menika in her homely woman’s wisdom has often bemoaned the lack of true diplomacy of this country. No wonder when all sorts of bods are high commissioners and their staff, while the trained in diplomacy DPL officer languishes in Colombo or has to support a nincompoop of a high comm though many have royal blood, just traces sometimes or transfused stuff coursing through their circulatory systems.
‘Trouble, trouble, boil and bubble,’ chants this spinster witch, Menika, not yet old and withered but, burning in the fires stoked by VIPs who should know better. Why act like violent university students? Also mercy should not be selective. What is needed as a venerable Buddhist monk and the Bishop of the Anglican Church said, is not mercy and pardon but justice. Our history (longer than 2500 years and all that) boasts of so many noble and just kings, not those who stubbornly fattened themselves on the sweat of others.
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