The charade that constituted the State of Emergency being permitted to lapse, while the even more draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act continued unabated and then had added to it, immediately, more new laws that permit (as if permission was required!) military government throughout the country, brought to mind the famous/notorious statement by the late J. R. Jayawardene which indicated pithily the extent of Presidential power
something to the effect of “I can do anything except turn a man into a woman or a woman into a man.”
The behaviour of our current regime though, appears to seek to add a (wholly unnecessary) complication to the business of exercising untrammelled authority. After all, given the constant demonstration of the fist of steel, why bother to put on it some kind of velvet glove?
I propose today to make a few suggestions which, I hope, will dispense with these totally unnecessary hypocrisies and expose that fist of steel without sham and humbug.
All of this will be done, of course, under the cloak of benevolence and benignity which is the overarching cover for all that is done in Sri Lanka today from bumping off “underworld killers” through terrorising political opponents and members of the media to ensuring victory for anointed sports teams.
In any event, what I’d like to do this week is put down a few areas in which the Absolute Power of the Executive might be applied to clean up the mess that might possibly be mistaken for some form of liberal democracy in practice and, in a manner similar to Mussolini draining the Pontine Marshes or making the trains run on time, get our “Land Like No Other” running like a really well-oiled bicycle (or was that a well-boiled icicle?)
Since this government is particularly adept at drawing the red herrings of trivia across the public’s horizon let me start with that much used and abused red herring, the circus that constitutes sports activity in Sri Lanka. This will include, but not be restricted to, competition on the international stage.
Instead of the hypocrisy of Interim Committees, every sport will have a Czar who will, under the direction of The Executive, decide who will represent the country in international competition, who will captain every national team and how much any athlete in any sport will be paid. The results of any local competition will be pre-determined and matches will be conducted, with or without the use of assault weapons, keeping in mind that sport exists purely for entertainment purposes and to fulfil the “circuses” part of the “bread and circuses” equation. The Czars will be directly accountable to The Executive, and will do whatever is necessary to ensure the desired final result. They may delegate whatever authority they think fit to minions of their choosing whose perks will be entirely at the discretion of the afore-mentioned Czars. The head of this pyramid will be The Executive and operational systems will be streamlined to assist in interference at every level with minimum of inconvenience to the said Executive. It should be noted that such interference will include nominating retired athletes to act as commentators in English irrespective of whether they can string together even one coherent sentence in that language.
In the matter of the Rule of Law, the first step will be an absolute ban on both the concept and any discussion of the term. As a requirement of basic conformity in a “Land Like No Other” with a “Ruler Like No Other,” the dispensation of punishment and rewards will be at the absolute discretion of The Executive. At one end of the spectrum, since it is only gender-change that is beyond The Executive’s authority, he/she will have, literally, the power of life and death over every subject. At the other end of the spectrum – in the matter of rewards for sycophancy in particular – the current reality will be recognised by a proclamation that everything is available to everybody as long as “everybody” is unequivocally loyal to The Executive. Payments in recognition of loyalty may be made in kind or in currencies of The Executive’s choice, inclusive of, but not restricted to, Swiss Francs.
In order to remove any impediment to the alienation of state land in the Capital City or elsewhere, the requirement of Gazette Notifications and similar impediments to swift eviction of those in residence will be removed. Here again, this will recognise the reality of the absolute power of The Executive and the need for beautification of urban communities. It will be clearly understood that those evicted from their current abodes may be re-located to any part of Sri Lanka because this is a small island and sending people from Slave Island to Kilinochchi is not as serious a dislocation as sending people from Moscow to Siberia, for instance. It is suggested that, because this is a beautification project, uglier people, particularly the old and decrepit, be sent farther away than the better looking.
Instead of the out-dated tender system whereby the lowest bidder was awarded the contract, every “infrastructure project” will be advertised at a particular value. Thereafter, the bidder prepared to increase this amount the most will be handed the task and the difference between the “floor” price and the new value of the contract paid, in a manner to be determined, to those designated to receive such largesse.
All those sycophants with PhDs hitherto burdened with official tasks and designations of one description or another will have such removed and be paid simply to sing the praises of The Executive in the local and foreign media. Some of those praises may be couched in language that might even suggest some degree of objectivity, conditional on the tone and content of the piece indicating, clearly and unequivocally, the infallibility of The Executive.
Finally, and perhaps most important, Sri Lanka will cease to be referred to as a Democratic Socialist Republic. It will instead be designated as an Absolute Monarchy with the structure of succession to be defined by The King which term will recognise the current reality, dispensing with the misnomer, “The Executive.”:
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