By Namini Wijedasa
It’s safe to assume that nobody expects Wimal Weerawansa to die. Maybe wither, shrivel and droop a little, but not to really, really, really die..
It is also safe to assume that few, if any, think our Wimal embarked on this epic journey with the specific and precise intention of biting the biscuit at the end of it. For all the publicity it might get him after the fact, suicide is not Wimal’s style. Besides, it would be such a waste of the nice black shirt he strategically picked out for this television drama outside the UN compound in Colombo.
But on his behalf, let us thank Ban Ki-moon and his ill-advised, self-serving meddling for resurrecting Wimal from the particularly dry and arid hellhole of political nothingness that he had been wilting in lately.
After the parliamentary elections ended, the government appeared to have little use for Wimal’s beak. The war was over, the LTTE were decimated, the NGOs and civil society took a back seat, the opposition was in shambles and the Rajapaksa regime was more stable than ever. Wimal was rudderless, to say the least, and even the government wondered what to do with him.
They eventually shoved him into the housing ministry, albeit without the most valuable Urban Development Authority, and hoped he would do, you know, stuff there. But that is not Wimal’s style either. With television cameras no longer dogging his footsteps or recording every golden morsel that spouted from his supine gob, Wimal was, to put it mildly, getting bored.
It was not a good situation to be in when all you ever did for a living was speech and drama. So Wimal, the revolutionary who had thrived like a parasite on controversies (even creating them, if none were readily available) was now a miserable rebel without a cause. People were even starting to say he didn’t stand a chance at the next election. What a disaster that would have been. Don’t you think?
Then, like manna from heaven descends Ban Ki-moon and his advisory panel. And a starving Wimal, both parched and hungry, pounces on the new controversy with gleaming eyes and devours it with glee. In fact, it must have been the last thing he ate before he decided to embark on a full-fledged death-unto-fast. Sorry, farce-unto-death. Sorry, fast-unto-death.
First, he called a press conference and encouraged the public to surround the UN compound and hold staff hostage. Next, he actually put the damn thing into action. He got his protesters together and organised a siege. But all this is already known.
A few of his party members decided, then, to stage a fast-unto-death. A day later, they were missing from the makeshift stage that had been set up at the site. Apparently, they had gone for lunch. But no matter, Wimal breezed in from the horizon like the cowboy of Sri Lankan politics and declared that he would fast to death instead.
And there he lay in front of the UN compound, dramatically declaring himself weak after a mere day without (one assumes) food and water and looking just about ready to go out like the snuff of a candle. Doctors checked on him regularly, clearly driven by an utterly contemptible desire to prevent Wimal from achieving his noble objective.
By yesterday, a private hospital sent over an ambulance and medical staff who “forced” Wimal to get on the drip. Look like he is getting the best medical care for someone who insists he WILL go to the happy hunting ground if the UN secretary-general does not withdraw his stupid advisory panel.
For god’s sake, people, the man wants to die. Who are we to stop him? And if he is getting saline and injections, he might as well eat, no? Why clog up the city for patriotism sake when you have every intention of staying alive?
Oh, let our Wimal have his moment of glory. He is as close to heaven as he will get. Posters of him are pasted everywhere again. There are flags flying in his name. There aren’t any bodhi poojas yet, but no doubt these will happen if he does not give up this thing up overnight.
Loudspeakers are singing his name and giving him veritable demi-god status. Newspapers, radio and television stations are reporting his case several times a day, every day. Readers are going online every hour to check whether he is still alive.
What more could this revolutionary want? And if all else fails, there will be a career in the movies waiting for him.
News Flash: Wimal called off the fast (a bare two days after he started it) when President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at the scene and offered him a glass of water. He drank the water--despite having announced that he would not suspend his protest even if the president asked him to--and was rushed off to hospital in an ambulance.
TOLD YOU SO!!! TOLD YOU SO!!!! Hooo... ! Hoooooooooo Hooooooooooo!