By Fr JC Pieris
Like the low black monsoon clouds heavy with unshed rain ominously raising a dark fearful mood is the state of mind of the normal, good and decent citizens of Sri Lanka who are depressed and infected with discontent, discouragement and the frustration of helplessness with the disgusting situation in the country.
Everything is wrong and simple decency has vanished from the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.
All human societies, however imperfect they may be, need a semblance of public decency. Crooked, illegal, illicit and criminal activities go on in any given society in the world but normally behind closed doors, privately and secretly. But in Sri Lanka today, in our Dharmadveepaya, these nefarious activities are going on in public, in the open, like canine couplings that we can do nothing about except look the other way.
Decency, self respect, legal correctness, orderliness, honesty, transparency, gentlemanliness, sportsmanship, fairness and humanity are looking for places to hide and going underground while the underworld has come out in the open. They run the country hand in glove with their political cronies who are pretending to run the country from Diyawannawa according to their Chinatanaya.
Chintanaya says one thing and the spineless parasites go and do just the opposite. In the recently held ‘baala’ elections, (These staggered elections, whenever the boss fancies one, are not held on a level playing field. What with His Excellency and the sacred relics of Kapilawastu taking to the campaign trail the poor Opposition has no chance whatsoever. Hence like everything else in this country they are ‘baala’ elections and consequently we have ‘baala’ democracy.)
Chintanaya prohibited any relatives of the incumbent politicians to seek election but just the opposite happened. Now we have not one parasite in a family but broods of parasites. Even the Chintanaya has become ‘baala”. The ‘baala’ Colombo Stock Exchange is stinking like nothing but for the Mafiosi it is sweet fragrance. ‘Ecstatic’ ministerial brats thrash the army, the great Sri Lankan Army that beat the deadliest terrorist outfit in the world! Has the SLA too become ‘baala’ like the police?
The Rajapaksa touch, unlike the Midas touch which turned everything into gold, is corroding every institution, every sector in the country. Whatever they touch turns to rust and becomes ‘baala’. And they don’t leave anything alone, they touch everything even the sacred relics of Kapilavastu. As the ‘Geihamy’of the newspaper Ada says in its 13.09.12 edition, there is nothing left for us to do but to sleep it out.
‘Geihamy’ may be right but I have an axe to grind. The worst corrosion has taken place in the political parties. None of the mainline parties, SLFP UNP JVP, are in good shape. All of them are in tatters. SLFP has no freedom; it is under a dictatorial thumb which doesn’t care two hoots for the Vision of SWRD. And its alliance UPFA can now be more correctly called the United Pedophiles’ Freedom Alliance. The poor UNP, once the GOP, is a misnomer; It must be renamed the Disunited (if you like, Dysfunctional) National Party or DNP. The JVP is neither for the people (janata) nor radical (vimukthi); it has lost its way and its identity.
I accuse these three parties of the Great Failure of the last sixty four years. The Great Failure of independent Sri Lanka was the inability or the unwillingness of all the parties and alliances that governed the country to establish the National Education Policy and the National Drugs Policy.
The present situation of education and health care in the country makes one cry. People, one and all, feel the dire need for these policies so deeply they are on the streets; FUTA, university students, A/L students, O/L students and even the parents of year five scholars are on the streets holding placards and shouting their throats hoarse. The country and the people need to be reminded again and again of the importance of Free Education and Free Healthcare which our forefathers established in their great wisdom and love for the people of this country.
Comparing the advanced egalitarian ethos of our society with inequalities and blatant injustices of other countries in South Asia we can be proud that we are way ahead of them. The cause of this ‘samanathmathavaya’ is neither religion nor the socialist political parties or their ideologies. Not religions because even the Sangha is divided along caste lines and neither Christian Churches are any better. The old left and the new left simply did not impact the majority of the country to make any changes for equality on a national basis.
The only reason for the advancement of ‘samanathmathavaya’ in our country was free education and free healthcare. The father of free education Dr Kannangara will rest in peace, wherever he may be, only when the National Education Policy is passed into law by the parliament.
Similarly, Dr. Bibile will rest only when the National Drugs Policy is established. We owe these great men a huge debt and if we do not allow them to rest in peace we are the worst ingrates in the world.
I can understand why the UNP was reluctant to establish these policies. The policies go against their ideologies of liberal, free enterprise capitalism which privatize and commercialize everything under the sun.
The IMF and the WB relentlessly kept on forcing our country to liberalize, deregulate, privatize and so on and so forth but it wasn’t easy. JR and his robber barons tried to do it somewhat successfully but could not breach the citadels of free education and free healthcare. Neither could RW, the born loser, with his ‘Regaining Sri Lanka’.
But MR seems to be (going against his own Chintanaya) succeeding in doing it by trying to destroy the two systems from within with a ‘baala’ officialdom, ‘baala’ ministers, ‘baala’ medicine or no medicine. Where are the true blue SLFPers? Cannot they see that MR is destroying the greatest boon left to us by our forefathers, free education and free healthcare and in the melee also destroying the SLFP?
If not the SLFP who is there to protect education and healthcare in this country? Sometime back the health minister was whining that his administrative cadres were sending the National Drugs Policy from pillar to post and never got it ready to be presented to Parliament.
What a pathetic statement! He cannot send them show cause letters and sack them for duty not done. One can guess why. The multi-national pharmaceutical companies are the richest commercial organizations in the world. Bribing Sri Lankans from top to bottom is nothing for them.
There is even a suspicion that Prof. Senaka Bibile did not die a natural death and these companies are behind it. Will the true blue SLFP, if it is still extant, wake up, assert itself and save education and healthcare for the future generations?
I accuse the JVP and the leftist parties of neglecting the establishment of these two policies all these years. They are the champions of an egalitarian society. They scream, shout and demand ‘samanathmathavaya”. They are the intellectuals.
How come they did not realize that these two policies are the bedrock on which ‘samanathmathavaya’ is being built? Have their student or trade union organizations ever walked the streets demanding these policies be established? When they were in governing alliances and had the remote in their hands why didn’t they do it? Has the JVP lost its sting?
Is it too dissolving away, rusting away like the pathetic parties of ‘Vasi’ and ‘Due’? All the left parties must hang their heads in shame and guilt that they did not promote and establish these two policies.
What they did not do in their heyday how can they do now in their decrepit old age?
But hope undying keeps beating in the human breast, hoping against hope, at seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
Something is brewing in the stifling, sweaty monsoon heat. People are ready or almost ready; it is people we see on the streets, in towns and villages, demanding that they be given a school or teachers or justice or whatever; they don’t wait for trade unions or political parties. The whole village spontaneously attacks police stations when murderers don uniforms. People power is slowly raising its head.
It is coagulating around small groups, around individuals. It is looking for leadership, an unfailing, trustworthy, courageous leadership. People are waiting for the heavy, thundering, monsoon downpour that will wash away indecent and rotting muck from the country with their indecent and rotting perpetrators.
On that day when the monsoon clouds have shed their load of discontent and frustration sun will shine again on Sri Lanka bringing smiles on our faces, self respect and confidence in our hearts. and so as the Bible says:
“There is a time for everything; a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to embrace and a time to refrain; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace; a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Is this the time to be silent? As ‘Geihamy’ says is this the time to go to sleep and wait it out?