The Sunday Leader

Good News And Bad As Per Everything Sri Lankan!

Menika feels so like the cat which got at the cream. She’s purring and licking her lips in delight while gloriously savouring her G&T as she kittenishly laps it in. This euphoria has lasted for the last two weeks, ever since the President stripped Mervyn Silva, oops sorry, Dr Mervyn Silva, self proclaimed pretender to Dutugemunu kinship, from his deputy ministership.
Could this be true? Did the Prez actually remove his pet lap animal from positions of power? Menika wondered seriously whether she was dreaming when she heard the good news. Then she worried whether her wishful thinking had manifested itself in a proclamation like a mirage in a desert or as  happens when Menika is short of money to buy her thirst quencher, a bottle of gin floats around with Menika oft times involuntarily stretching her hand to – sadly clutch bare air. Such questions crowded Menika’s celebrating mind.
But with Mervyn Silva one never knows. He can Houdini himself or raise a riot of goons or even brandish a file of a secret kept closely guarded to save himself. Hence Menika’s doubting mind and niggling fear that the man may be re-installed in a position of power. Many predict a change: wait for November and the new Cabinet, they warn.
A loud hurrah and unqualified praise for Deputy Minister of Environment, Faisze Mustapha, for overcoming international obstacles and objections and succeeding in getting some of our central hills declared a World Natural Heritage Site. The Deputy Minister contends he ‘broke his back’ to achieve his aim of conferring World Natural Heritage status on parts of the central highlands. Here is a minister we should all laud and sing hosannas to. Menika saw the well built, handsome man at a tourism seminar and heard him speak – no loud pontification; no slithering around verbally to please all factions. Menika wishes more Ministers of State were even half like him. Home and school backgrounds proclaim themselves. When he faced opposition from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) he did not cry foul, urge a colleague to launch into a saline-dripped fast unto death nor did he puerilely spout out: “you are jealous of our hills”. No, he persisted in presenting points for his case diplomatically, and won the day. So our nature resources can be saved. While the wild orchid and exotic fern of the central hills and the cutely ugly-faced loris and the rare leopard and hunting fox are now protected and need not fear extinction, the people of the country are also saved from Mervyn Silva. Menika hopes she will see no more of his clownish, vicious antics, nor read about him after his crucifixion by the highest in the land.
Of course Menika’s elation is short lived. She cries copiously for a dethroned national hero. General Fonseka has been stripped of his title and medals, honours won and his pension and perks due to him. Reason: treasonous plotting to overthrow the government while in military khaki. We do not accept that. We firmly reject the verdict. We are a nation of political nuts. Politics is discussed in every tea boutique, every kassippu party. Old Girls cannot get together to reminisce about their giddy girlhood but the talk turns to politics. Sewing circles and bridge foursomes, even men on exercise machines developing their muscles, soon enough get heated over politics and politicians. The main item in Menika’s conversational diet is politics. So maybe the General merely discussed some political issue. He was too disciplined to break a basic military law. Why hound the man who was one third the war-winning team? Menika does not wish to state the obvious – the chalk and cheese difference in treatment meted out to General Fonseka and K P. This man, K P, Menika means, seems to be going places. Money talks even in Hell! Ambition to power also seems to talk. A heinous crime it appears to be to challenge a Power-that-Be at a lawful election. But never mind that collected money killed thousands of babies, children, youth and the old, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim.
To Menika’s mind there has never been such a hunting down and a hounding out as was meted to the General and his family, even to distant connections by marriage. Expressions crowd the mind, mangled adages: Killing with unkindness; hell hath no fury like a revengeful ex-buddy; pull down the hero and stamp on him; strip him of his dignity and he will soon fade away. Those last two will never happen! Take it from Menika. Also, believe in her belief: vengeance and despicable acts will invariably boomerang. If only General Fonseka was set free and co-opted to participate in all the work that peace entails. He would be an invaluable asset. Some say he shot his mouth while electioneering, talking of putting people behind bars. Who doesn’t – shoot their mouths, I mean, when electioneering? Maybe that stuck in the mind and it was a case of gleefully reversing roles.

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