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Demagogues exploit the Rajapaksha family’s weakness for flattery

By Our Political Editor

(March 25, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) TV and radio shows are now full of flattery of the Rajapakshas. The public media is being used for cheap propaganda with all kinds of hyperboles, in speeches, songs, and poems. For any intelligent observer, the whole affair is a nauseating experience.

The recent shows ‘Jaya jayawe’ and the speech by the famous demagogue J.R.P. Suriyaperuma talking about babies for at least a thousand years being named after the president, with all kinds of stupid references to wars and other matters, manifests the level of degeneration of speech that no self-restraining media would ever allow. Like a polluted river, ugly words and metaphors are put together, perhaps only to create and impression of great loyalties to the Rajapakshas rather than to convey any kind of meaning to anybody.

Only one consequence of this kind of cheap propaganda can be easily predicted: that is, the quality of essay writing in schools throughout the island must be degenerating to an unbelievable extent. Perhaps there is some conspiracy to deteriorate the critical capacities of the younger generation of Sri Lankans. Perhaps someone may be thinking that cultivating fools is a necessary for the survival of the type of political systems that are being created now.

Any sensible political leadership would look into this kind of propaganda with contempt.
A sensible political leader will always remember that the final words of their achievements are, more or less, going to be in the terms of Shelley’s poem ‘Ozymandias’. Perhaps President Rajpaksha would do well to have the following poem framed inside the presidential palace, and save himself from unscrupulous demagogues.

Ozymandias

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

If President Rajapaksha does want to remain sane, he would do well to have also a photograph of three year old Amila, who was thrown by his mother into Kalu ganga as she was unable to feed her family, also hung in a prominent place in his presidential palace, to remind himself of the actual realities of the poor country that he is supposed to lead.

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