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Phew, What a country

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(August 17,2014, Bradford UK,. Sri Lanka Guardian) Hee, hee, what a country. We are a sovereign nation and we make our own rules and regulations and we will tell those super-powers to go and fly a kite since we wiped out terrorism and 40,000 or more Tamil civilians in just five months. As a sovereign state we can do bloody well as we please and nobody can touch us.

But since you invaded us since the 15th century and plundered our resources we want our pound of flesh in return. We want your World Bank and IMF to lend us ad infinitum and we will pay you back when we are good and ready and not a day sooner.

Although we subscribe to being a non-violent nation as Buddhist majority we do not turn the other cheek as Lord Jesus Christ preached. We are the only country where our Buddhist monks have lovers and the blessings of the government and who demand meat feasts for danas and who order SUVs from devotees just for chanting Pirith (Buddhist mantras) and tying poonools (holy threads at funerals and marriages). Tell the man on the moon that Buddha’s preaching of not harming a living organism is just an ancient precept and not to be taken seriously.

Their saffron robes come askew and they do not tolerate other religions. The much bandied about 2500 year old Buddhist culture is not in keeping with Buddhist principles of loving kindness towards fellow human beings and all creatures great and small. The kurakkan robe who leads parliament closes one eye when his naughty boys step out of line be they contrabands of drugs masquerading as consignments of essential items.

We are also a gay paradise and advertised in tourist magazines for our boys to be exploited by western gay community as a result of which we are on the brink of superseding India and Thailand for HIV Positive cases.

We are unique in that how we spend our money is not accountable since we have Nivard Cabraal, the Central Bank governor, who would defend the government to the hilt and proclaim the economy is bullish while IMF and World Bank say it is on a downward trend and our spending far exceeds income. Bullish or bearish, the concern of the sheepish citizen is whether his family can be fed, clothed and sheltered with his salary and not the numerical data thrown by economists.

My late great aunt who had several hundred acres of coconut land would mop up spilt coconut milk on the table with the squeezed grated coconut so as not to waste it. She would slice the cabbage to its finest with the knife between her toes so that we ingest all its goodness. Although she could barely read or write she was a far better economist than all the Harvard trained experts put together with her simple philosophy of waste-not want-not. The old woman was cheated by the goldsmith who stuffed the thali with copper with just a thin coating of gold for her only daughter’s wedding. So hey-ho, all her scrimping and saving went up in smoke.

We can buy our scribes for a bottle of whisky or laptops and they will wipe the floor with us just to keep their positions since they have neither pensions nor permanency in their tenure. We will keep these media hacks on edge and not give them any permanent perks so that they are forever beholden to our benevolence.

They lose their jobs as and when government changes and if they do not toe the line they are out the door and desks cleared of their family photographs on the table and those of mistresses in bottom drawers.

When George Arney of BBC asked a pertinent question regarding the plight of the Tamils JRJ countered him with “what about your IRA problem”, and that shut him up. He was booted out post-haste when he foolishly posed on top of a Buddha sculpture but that is another story.

Our laws based on Soulbury Constitution can be bent and twisted at will by successive powers just because they can. Although Britain does not have a written constitution it abides by democratic principles no matter how flawed they are.

We did not sign up to the UN treaty on Geneva Convention for Refugees in 1951 and we did not ratify UN war crimes tribunal and Ms Navi Pillay, the UNHRC High Commissioner, who will relinquish her post this month would be barking up the wrong tree since we have engaged our own international arbitrators who have been paid handsomely. Money talks and to hell with human rights.

Pillorying Ms Navi Pillay has become a pastime for pro-government media. That she is of Tamil origin is a truncheon the Sri Lankan state is touting about notwithstanding the fact she was elected as human rights commissioner for UNHRC where she exercised her justice and impartial investigations into human rights in many states and managed to bring them before the ICC (International Criminal Courts) in Hague much to the chagrin of leaders who thought their human rights violations would go un-noticed.

The list is endless and this writer feels enough has been said.

Ho,ho, cry my beloved country.

(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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