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Mahinda’s xanadu

"It is unbelievable that Sri Lanka which practices Buddhism mainly, the preaching of which is not to even cause hurt to an ant, was united in its cry to annihilate a good proportion of its population. And this is what we are celebrating today."

by Pearl Thevanayagam

(November 20, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) How about this for a bon mot from the Daily News?

“Simple, solemn ceremony marks President’s swearing-in

President Mahinda Rajapaksa took oaths yesterday for a second term as President before Chief Justice Asoka de Silva at the auspicious time of 10.16 am opposite the Presidential Secretariat at a simple but a solemn and dignified ceremony.

The entire environs of the Galle Face Green where the ceremony was held took a ceremonial atmosphere with the performances of over 400 traditional drummers and dancers soon after the President was sworn in amidst a roar of applause of thousands of invitees and members of the public.”

The headline and the body tell two contradicting tales and that is the hallmark of journalism from the house by the Beira.

Suddenly this island nation has been transformed into a utopia of myopic vision as seen through the eyes of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Sri Lanka is not riddled with insurmountable debt. It has not lost its GSP+ concession from the European Union over its abyssmal human rights track record. It has not brutally suppressed media freedom and it has not murdered 17 journalists since it elected the authoritarian ruler and his family which now controls 70 percent of the national budget. It has not caused the massacre of a sizeable Sri Lankan population in the name of vanquishing the LTTE rebels.

Dream on people. Today we celebrate a dictator who transcended all levels of norms and decency into hoodwinking the people that everything is hunky-dory in this Pearl of the Indian Ocean. The dictator has got his rosy sun-shades on and he honestly believes he is the redeemer of Mother Lanka which his predecessors brought to ruin. Adolf Hitler too believed he was creating a race of Aryan stock and in the process gassed six million Jews who did not fit in with his vision of a blond and blue-eyed race. He almost succeeded but for a teeny weeny GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) difference and failure of communications. His suicide pact with Eva Braun and his closest allies ended his honeymoon and the world was free of a monster and murderer of pandemic proportions.

For a man who originated from the backwoods of the South the President has done well for himself. Never in his wildest dreams would he have thought that one day he would be the grandiose ruler of 20 million people and that his dictat would be the ultimate and only voice be it governance or his selection of the cabinet which is filled with his closest family members. Whether they are up to the job or have credentials to hold positions is not something the average citizen should question.

Let us consider his cabinet of ministers. Mervyn De Silva – a common thug who used to be a Poosari and a magician and who practices witchcraft, Prof. G.L. Peiris who would jump through the burning hoops to get a place in any party in power who sold his brilliant academic credentials to engage in murky politics and who trots the globe lying for the state, Wimal Weerawansa who forfeited his allegiance to the JVP and genuflected before the powers to get his own place in the cabinet and who beats up the drum for the President and of course his entire family.

General Sarath Fonseka stands testimony to the stark reality that challenging the President forced him into a cell in Magazine Prison for at least three years along with common criminals although he is credited with commanding the security forces into vanquishing the LTTE which struck terror into the four corners of the island for nigh on three decades. During the last throes of war the line between LTTE terrorism and state terrorism became blurred. Both sides have blood on their hands.

It is unbelievable that Sri Lanka which practices Buddhism mainly, the preaching of which is not to even cause hurt to an ant, was united in its cry to annihilate a good proportion of its population. And this is what we are celebrating today.

When Mahathma Gandhi fought for the liberation of India from British colonialism little did he realise that his concepts of Ahimsa and Sathyagraha more than the British suppression of the rebellion would cost more lives. He pitted Muslims against Hindus and vice versa. He advocated mass rebellion. The masses who rebelled were illiterates while their instigators Jawaharlal Nehru and Ali Jinnah carefully co-horted with the British. India still has not emerged from the abject poverty of its majority populace although it is competing with China to emerge as an economic giant.

Nelson Mandela is idolized the world over for his stand against apartheid. But post apartheid South Africa’s Blacks still have not raised their heads above abject poverty and they still live in slums. Soweto is still the same crude erections of shanties for Blacks. John Pilger’s book, Freedom Next Time, elucidates Mandela’s grandiose lifestyle after he was released from prison and his earlier collaboration with the Afrikaners and British rulers while purportedly championing Black cause.

Sri Lanka’s economy is picking up. Sure. Per capita income has risen considerably but you need to off-set this with inflation and cost of living. Per capita income includes those earning fat-cat salaries so that taken on average this includes those at the bottom rung of the ladder who now cannot even buy bread to survive never mind eat rice.

The two leaders, one President Premadasa and the other Sarvodaya Leader Ariyaratne could have uplifted the poor of Sri Lanka but one was bumped off and the other suppressed. Now we are only left with a megalomaniacal opportunist President Mahinda Rajapakse who never had it so good and who has no intention of letting go of his xanadu thrust upon him through sheer co-incidence and luck.

The President is the emperor who lost his clothes and could not see his nakedness since the populace has been too stupified into a mental blackout to point out to him that his veneer has been stripped off. A stupor cloaked in celebrations and record-breaking kiributh to celebrate an occasion which should mark with silent memorials to the sacrifice made by innocent soldiers from rural Sri Lanka and blindly patriotic LTTE cadres also from impoverished families and the thousands of lives lost rather than the victory claimed.

The international human rights watchdogs, the Tamil diaspora and the hungry masses are watching in anger the tamashas enacted in every corner of the island. Inadvertently the President is fuelling another rebellion.

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