The Sunday Leader

Of Patriots, Traitors, Hypocrites And The Fate Of The Sri Lankan Nation

They are blind leaders of the blind; and if blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch. -Bible- Mathew
This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight on self styled patriots criticising other Sri Lankans as traitors and hypocrites thereby causing disunity which if not curbed early would result in a disastrous fate for our nation.
The recent debacle Sri Lanka faced at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva has caused much controversy among Sri Lankans who view the passing of the US sponsored resolution as an unwarranted interference by the international community in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. A cabinet minister who vociferously advocates patriotism has called on the government to close down the Voice of America station run by the Americans at Nattandiya and also called for a total boycott of the use of goods and service rendered by the US. There have been calls for a total ban of Indian goods in retaliation for India voting for the US sponsored resolution. These tactics remind one of the reactions of a child whose toys have been grabbed by the elder brother. When a mouse commences playing with a cat it has to be vary of the consequences. In the good old days during the time of ancient Kings there was a coterie of wise men known as the purohithas, whose task was to advice the King in times of turbulence. But unfortunately such wise men are rare at the present times as one observes a coterie of ‘yes men’ sometimes known as the vandibattayas surrounding the present day rulers. Such men were the advisors of Saddam Hussein pulled out of a pit and Muammar Gaddafi pulled out of a drain pipe after a grand display of might. Their stupidity spelt disaster for the people of Iraq and Libya. One American General had commented that the US pushed Iraq back into the Middle-Ages after the US attacks on Iraq. Such was the devastation caused by the attacks. It has been said that discretion is the better part of valour. The question has been often asked ‘Is might right?’ and are the Sri Lankans to give in meekly to the might of the West or are we to fight to the last knowing very well what the final outcome is going to be in such a scenario. Only a stupid person walks towards an on coming train claiming it to be an act of bravery. It is true that the big bully America has at present assumed the role of the policeman or judge and jury on human rights violations in the World whilst being guilty of being the worst human rights violator the world has ever known since Hitler. With its past unfolding in our minds as episodes of the movies shot on the Wild West depicting their method of solving any dispute by the use of the pistol or the gun one can not expect justice from the ugly Americans. The rulers should value constructive criticism by the fourth estate as it helps to guide them in the proper path without resorting to abduction and murder of journalists to still their voices .The rulers should engage knowledgeable persons to counter adverse criticism by writing and publication in the media rather than splitting the heads and smashing the brains of journalists displaying the lack of intelligence to counter destructive criticism, if any. The story of the Emperor’s clothes depicts the stupidity of depending on ‘yes men’ as the Emperor was unaware that he was naked until a youngster shouted out the truth.The ‘yes men’ are in actual fact  hypocrites who surround a ruler whilst in power for their own personal benefit and vanish no sooner the ruler falls from power and hence are the true traitors to a nation.
Whilst shielding their own soldiers who engage in gross human rights violations such as the recent massacre of 16 innocent civilians including women and children in Afghanistan, it is strange and ludicrous that the wrongdoer has assumed the role of a judge to sit upon judgement on all human rights violations in the entire world.. One may ask how can the Devil assume the role of God? The Americans valued the lives of the slain Afghans at USD 50,000 each and paid the compensation as decided by them last week. If Obama had been shot by a Sri Lankan soldier as Rajiv Gandhi was blasted by a LTTE cadre, what will be the quantum of compensations that the Americans would accept is a question that boggles our minds.
As it is, the Sri Lankans should not antagonise the Indians as the Indian Government and the Prime Minister had to give into both internal and external pressure. There is a saying that if one sets fire to the neighbour’s house his own house is in the danger of getting burnt. If India had voted against the motion many African states would have followed suit and Sri Lanka would have been able to defeat the resolution. It is of prime importance that Sri Lanka should not antagonize India by excessively leaning towards China, to whom Sri Lankans should be grateful for standing by our Nation. Diplomacy is a balancing act that has to be handled by experienced career diplomats and not by inexperienced political stooges, who waste public funds and valuable time by wining and dining in our Diplomatic Missions abroad instead of serving the best interests of Sri Lankan nation, mainly due to their inexperience, incompetence and inadequacy.
As usual let me conclude with an amusing anecdote. A group of soldiers on a first aid course were tested by the instructor. He asked the recruits, ”If the sergeant major sustained a head injury during an exercise, what would you do about it?” One soldier piped up, ”I would wrap a tourniquet around his neck and tighten it until the bleeding stopped.” This episode reminds us of the similarity of some of the actions suggested by the ‘yes men’ to the regime in retaliation to the vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.

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