Gems of thought
We have received a copy
of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's so-called manifesto
Anagatha Abhiyogaya courtesy Friedrich Naumann Stiftung fur die
Freiheit (Future Challenge). It is an interesting read. There
are many gems of thought that one could ponder on. Whether they
are fact or fiction is a different matter. Nevertheless they are
gems, sapphires. Let us examine one or two.
Here is one:" During the 61 years after independence what we
have done was to come to power through false promises and
mortgaging the country's resources once in power resulting in
taking the country to the brink of destruction." How true! The
United National Party that he happens to lead today has been in
power for more than half the period. It abandoned the path of
independent development begun in 1956 and sold the country's
resources for a song to the Robber Barons who were welcomed with
both arms by his uncle J.R. Jayewardene, also known as Yankee
Dickie for his political leanings. Is his, 'future challenge' a
resurrection of the infamous 'Regaining Sri Lanka'?
Take another: "We have failed completely as a country, as a
nation during the 61 years after independence". Sounds familiar,
isn't it? Yes, the same charge was levelled against the country
by NGO circles some time ago. So it is somebody else's gem, a
Sri Lanka has several health and education indices that would
earn the envy of even developed nations. Recently it was named
as the country with the happiest living index. Its per capita
income is one of the highest in South Asia. To cap it all Sri
Lanka has defeated the world's deadliest terror outfit and
unified the country. Failed state- my foot!
Here is another, the rarest gem; "A methodology with definite
criteria and accepted norms has to be formulated to ensure
transparency and purity in inner (political) party dealings".
Hear, hear! This comes from a leader of a party that nominates
its highest body - the Executive Committee and manipulates its
numbers so as to ensure a majority for himself always. How
credible would the call for transparency seem when it comes from
a party from which more than a dozen leaders have crossed over
to the rival side citing various irregularities and lack of
democracy within it. When the call comes from a leader who has
defied all calls for his resignation by subterfuges doesn't it
border more on fantasy and the ludicrous?
Ranil Wickremesinghe's essay on future challenge, on the
other hand, seems to be a child's work. Perhaps, originally
written as a manifesto for his personal entry into the
Presidential contest, it contains many instances of his life and
refers to his growing up as a politician. Though these could be
excused as idiosyncrasies of a juvenile mind what is dangerous
is his attempt to draw conclusions from them in charting the
future politics of the country.
Season of cheer
Today begins a season of cheer. The Presidential election
season starts officially.
As usual elections are times for amusement, cheer. All of us
will find uninvited guests. Even distant relatives and long
forgotten friends might suddenly pay courtesy calls.
The stars forecast a busy schedule for every home. Some would
get their walls plastered free of charge. Nice smiling 'babies'
would be peeping from every corner of the street and even from
Now that there are nearly two dozen entering the nearly six
week race you may find even complete strangers knocking at your
door trying to promote themselves or their choice candidate.
They will smile at you as if you are their closest buddy or
fiance. They will hypnotize you with their charming smile.
Beware, there may also be enough members of the fair sex too
doing the home rounds.
As the bard advised 'Give every man thy ear, but few thy
voice'. Keep your options free.
A little warning too: This is the time of the pandemic AH1N1
virus speeding freely. Your visitors could promote the virus
along with promoting their choice of candidate. Health
authorities have advised against attending mass rallies. Do not
heed for what fun in an election without mass meetings and those
wonderful speeches. You could have a lifespan's stock of foul
humour and theatricals that would please your senses.
Yes, it is a season of cheer. Look forward to it.