| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 26, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) After all, Arab Spring and a much earlier Poland trade union’s overthrow of its regime was due to the matter of the deprivations of bread and meat which resulted in people queuing up for rationed food distribution not unlike the early ‘70’s when sugar, rice and flour became luxury commodities thanks to Sirimavo’s blind patriotic belief in sanctioning foreign imports to become self sufficient in agricultural produce locally overnight.

Reuters reported that rupee is falling. The local currency has been largely on its downward trend ahead of the Puththandu or Aluth Avuruddhu, contrary to market expectations. The rupee usually falls in March and early April due to higher import demand ahead of this festive season.

Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said last week the rupee would be stable throughout this year due to increasing inflows from exports and remittances into the island nation. But then Cabraal is used to predicting positively the economy in accordance with the regime’s orders and the blighter is helpless.

Rupee has been on life support machine for a very long time and the report is hardly earth-shattering news not to mention an ill-boding one. Where will this leave the average citizen - already reeling from rising price of commodities such as food items, medicine and utility bills not to mention escalating rents and house prices - is anybody’s guess.

If Citizen Perera, Mohamed or Appapillai cannot get their just desserts they will vote for anyone and everyone and to hell with patriotism or allegiance to a regime which flaunts its victory over terrorism.

They will march from Dondra to Diyawanna demanding they get food items at reasonable prices they can afford to celebrate New Year according to custom. They will vote on bended knees for TNA if they could deliver.

The government is top heavy with its belligerent wasting of public funds to pander to their bloated membership of politicians and their perks be they attending umpteen trips to foreign shores to garner support to thwart UNHRC resolution or organising rallies for Saturday’s provincial elections.

The government is spending like there is no tomorrow. It is committing hara-kiri not just before UNHRC but on its own turf. This does not bode well for the future of the present regime. If a government cannot look after the bare necessities of its populace it has got to go and people measure a government’s performance by how it satisfies their hunger first and foremost.

After all, Arab Spring and a much earlier Poland trade union’s overthrow of its regime was due to the matter of the deprivations of bread and meat which resulted in people queuing up for rationed food distribution not unlike the early ‘70’s when sugar, rice and flour became luxury commodities thanks to Sirimavo’s blind patriotic belief in sanctioning foreign imports to become self sufficient in agricultural produce locally overnight.

That JVP emerged and finished her political climb is history which should not have been repeated. Fools step in where angels fear to tread. Patriotism cannot garner votes unless the people are fed. Even to shout Ape rata Sinhala; ape vote Mahinda Rajapaksata needs some energy from a full stomach.

As Sinhala and Tamil New Year approaches, how will the government address the people’s concerns over spending during festive season? Thirty rupees for 250g chillies is out of reach for ordinary citizen never mind the prices of other festive food items such as muththu samba and rathu hal, potatoes, parripu, sugar, eggs, thora mal for ambul thiyal and of course the local spirits which make them forget the loans they would have to settle once the party is over.

Can the government retrieve itself from the abyss it has fallen into what with the US and West on the brink of imposing economic sanctions for the persistent failure and lethargy in bringing the perpetrators of war crimes to account and not implementing the diluted LLRC recommendations.

The ill that has befallen this blighted isle riddled with corruption and rampant disregard for individual liberty is what landed it in the predicament it is facing today in Geneva.

The blinders the government puts on its economy is not dissimilar to its facing international criticism over its abysmal human rights record. It is the proverbial cat closing its eye lapping at the milk oblivious to the fact it is being spied upon and think everything is hunky dory in its feline world.

The voters are watching with teeth bared that Prince Namal Rajapaksa is night-racing in Lamborghini or Porsche and co-horting with comely actresses not unlike North Korea’s prince who is obsessed with porn and Hollywood block-busters while the majority are mired in poverty and enslaved to the point they have no rights to speak of.

Rajapaksas have reached the point where their rule has been blighted and now face a serious charge of mismanagement and rule and emptying of the nation’s coffers which to a large extent was diverted towards their own family members and sycophants.

Leaving aside the scourge of war crimes they face a far more accusation that it has let its own people down and brought them to face dire poverty unprecedented in history.

(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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