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Nebulous in Never-Never Land

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 25 May 2018 00:00


A wag said on social media recently that the inhabitants of our Blessed Isle must have liked the royal wedding so much that the good lord gave them a double dose of British weather. He didn’t put it quite so well, o ye gods above. And the trolls who inhabit Facebook below gave him a full blast of the double barrelled sanctimoniousness that passes for a conscience on antisocial media.

Be that as it may, our blasphemous commentator made a jolly good observation. It’s raining, men. And his critical interlocutor made some equally. Only the powers that be remain as blasé to the plight of the inundated as much as they seem more than capable of turning a blind eye to the flood of transitional justice.

May is the cruellest month. Breeding lotuses out of the dead land, mixing presidential memory with premier desire, stirring dull rooters for a former strongman bureaucrat with borrowed plans, covering a fed up citizenry in forgetful bull-dust, feeding a little life to hungry egos grabbing at straws. 

Strongman surprised us, coming over like that with a seemingly brilliant plan like a shower of rain. But it’s raining men already, Mr. Ex Secretary, in case you hadn’t noticed. And by the way, as that indefatigable defender of the family’s senior branch of the faith would say, you’ve forgotten such trivialities as poverty reduction, inequality, social justice, social upliftment, peasantry and landlessness. True, he’s majored on law and order – but the iron fist in an iron glove is a thing of the past, isn’t it.

Alles klar?

If all or some of the above is as clear as mud – well, that’s the point or part of it that I’m trying to make in my normally dense manner compounded by this deluge. Things are nebulous (clear as mud) in nephelokokkygia (cloud cuckoo land)! 

In words of one syllable:

nIt rains in May. It always rains in May. It rained last year. It rained the year before that. It will rain in May next year too. In terms of plain speak, the rain stays mainly in the month of May.

nBut folks still die. And get washed out of house and home. Big guns have plans. All are the same. Or so they say. But small folks still drown in the flood.

nSeems the state has lost the plot. Peace that was fair to all was once the plan. But no more. For now is not the best time. Or so they say. There will come a time once more to talk of mice and men. Till then we’ll muddle through with talk of this and that and how all have the same plan but ours is better coz we said it first and he’s out of the scene. A has-been. And there is still a charge-sheet to be brought to book him. So let’s bide our time until our lords make up their minds if they’re going to bag him or not or what…  

(OK, I cheated a bit. But so have Govt. and Gota to boot…)

Nicht war?

Let me try that once again. To gain the middle ground between those who speak English and those who feel words of one syllable make it cleaner/clearer, smarter/sharper, lighter and more lucid, etc. That so many stranded members of the citizenry are striving to do the same – get to safe high ground – is neither here nor there. At least to some imperious folks among the powers that be who wave their hands as if they were magic wands and expect Kalutara District to be as dry as Kansas before Dorothy got caught up in the tornado.

On the one hand, a former power in the land is rattling sabre like he and his brood of brothers are famous for doing when under threat. He had the name, game-changing plan once upon a time, and the personal will to make it stick. The problem is he walks softly now but carries a big stick. The rule of law and order under his mantle will be more like the rule of law by order but much more about orders than lawabidingness. Yes, I guess by what happened in the past. Present concerns about the state of the nation militate no less to him than the political powers he served just because he won the war but big bro lost the peace – together with, it seemed at the time, his marbles.

On the other, the present lot in power are being shaken like rats in a cage because they didn’t go the full monty in dealing with that infamous band for whatever reason. They had time, opportunity, motive and perhaps most importantly the goodwill of the people behind as well as the full force of the law before them. 

The problem is that while in marriage the two become one, in a political marriage too it is unclear which one they are becoming. A rift in the lute put paid to both the reforms agenda and the transitional justice vehicle is kota uda for the moment until the divinities that drive our destiny think they can discern a chink in the armour of the juggernaut we call the Rajapaksa Regime – a ghost of which still haunts town hall and marketplace as much as the public imagination in May. 

Be the month of pluvial vicissitudes and pyrrhic victories as it is, it looks as if government is bogged down in the mud of its own pragmatic making or the mire of realpolitik. This sucks balls for a citizenry trapped between a raging war hero and democratic-republican stalwarts who have lost their testicular fortitude and got the cringing taxpayer to fork out for the privilege of constitutional castration followed by transitional trauma.

Ah, ja! ja! bitte – danke

So we’re cold, wet and once again drowning in May. To be fair, as has been observed in the alternate reality that is social media, things are not as bad as they were last year. To be true, this is about the best to be said for the future of our blessed isle under the present dispensation. But “not as bad as it could be” is hardly the lifeboat we expected, is it. And there’s apparently rescue on the way – except that it’s a U-boat with a hold full of torpedoes bought on the never-never together with those MiGs…

There is a saying in a guttural language that captures the climate contrarily. “Mann kann sich nie auf das wetter verlasseen…” – one can never be sure when it will rain, loosely translated. Ah, ja! ja! but one can, nicht war? And it doesn’t take a German rocket scientist or Sri Lankan meteorologist to tell us that if we don’t mind the issue that matter over our own political survival, it’s going to be war-war not jaw-jaw once again.

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

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