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The last straw in local politics today

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 15 March 2019 00:10


 LEANING TOGETHER: As far as the larger polity is concerned, the political super-class as a whole comprises mainly straw men. So is it time for a new generation of genuinely national-minded leaders who can respond to a land at a civilisational cross-roads? Time will tell – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara

I don’t despair easily. But a sense of desolation has overtaken me. Since it is abundantly clear that the last of the statesmen is dead and gone in Sri Lanka today. However much you may hold out hope that some knight in shining armour or street-wise Hercules will come to deliver us from all evils, it is pie in the sky. Therefore let us resolve ourselves to our fate with a sense of humour and the traditional resilience that helps us islanders cope with the realities of political hubris and hypocrisy.

I don’t know where to start. Not in jest but in truth and reality. There are a thousand ills that civics and governance today seem heir to that it’s hard to get started on anything remotely resembling critical engagement with the powers that be. Just go with the flow and hope and trust that as a consummation devoutly to be wished, it will all come out clean in the wash…



Firstly the party of the prime minister’s part: I never cease to find it equally funny and exasperatingly fatuous that the UNP is so good at business carried on as usual during alterations to the map of Sri Lanka. Be it southern ports, western port cities or northern citadels, the GOP of local politics has decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, is adamant for drift and solid for fluidity. 

Surely to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war. But we must draw the line at the verbal inanities spouted by this creaky crumbling oligarchy and ask that it retire hurt. Despite that nagging sensation that it is the only thing that stands between us and the fall of night at the hands of the barbarians baying at the gate…



Secondly, those very Huns. From southern Kataragama to which it returns to appeal to dark gods; through saddened Kilinochchi which it razed with unholy fire; to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte where it raises Cain… the former president’s present opposition is nothing but a hideous apparatus of aggression which once gashed Sri Lanka into slavery and ruin… and threatens – no, promises – to do so again.

Where once many Sri Lankans may have welcomed a Rajapaksa to his rightful place, or cheered his flag upon the troubled seas of sovereignty and territorial integrity, today he and his regime as well as the machine of a man and his former movement are rag-tag tatters reduced to a motley crew. Where once an Iron Curtain descended on the land, today the mask has slipped and we see the joint opposition and its leader’s countenance revealed as empty-faced chicanery. In promising to defeat the budget and failing, they have shown themselves – not for the first time – to be hollow men leaning together, their headpiece filled with straw.  



Last but by no means least on the scale of fatheaded hollowness is the uneasy head on which the crown of state lies… if not for much longer, at least nauseatingly in these present doldrums through which our ship sails. 

Hailed as a leading light in the late great revolution of over four years ago, he has done nothing but usher in a new Dark Age made more sinister by the lights of perverted pseudo-philosophy and bankrupt religiosity. 

The love of peace, the toil for plenty, the strife for significance, the pursuit of growth and development and progress with justice – all these have eluded us thanks to his utterly vain and even narcissistic fatuity. 



As far as failed revolutions go, however, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Out of the ashes of these three leaders, a new leader – no, a new political culture and all its proper accoutrements – can, must, shall, arise like the proverbial phoenix. 

Where shall we find such leaders and such a culture? It is a consummation devoutly to be wished. For far too long we have customarily relied on the established political parties to provide national leaders. Well no longer! Let’s look beyond the pale… to sports, certainly academia and professionalism, perhaps even business, or maybe a favourable concatenation of all these spheres of opinion and influence.  

If we are together in this enterprise, nothing is impossible. If we are divided now as then, once again we shall all fall. 



This then is the lesson for each and every one of us. Let us leave the infancy of cheap posturing chauvinistic self-serving self-seeking self-interested self-indulgent politics behind us. As polls of all stripes loom on the horizon, let us send out a clear strong loud signal to the powers that be and would be all over again. We are done with your tripe and type!  

If you field your usual suspects and unrepentantly criminal elements again, we will not vote or support your leadership (oh, let us make that service) efforts ever again. We will never give in to your vain ambitions or false promises or agendas to feather the nests of family and friends ever again. Never again, let us cry my beloved country and fellow citizens! 

And never give in. Never give in to vile petty partisan perverted politics ever again. Never ever! Never give in. Never give up. Never ever give up or give in.

(Journalist | Editor-at-large of LMD | Writer #SpeakingTruthToPower)

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