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The Games Played By Lanka’s Political Prophets

‘Was dissolution of parliament on the advice of trusty astrologers who erroneously saw benign configurations of planets in the Solar System on January 15, 2015 or did MR’s Treasury Secretary T. B. Jayasundera tell him that the Treasury vaults were cleaned out for construction of narcissistic projects to perpetuate immortality and that the debt burden would by 2016 go over the Himalayas…?

by Gamini Weerakoon

Throughout the ages prophets have not been recognised in their own countries and for good reasons. Apart from a few prophets, the rest have been trouble makers and not been treated kindly as they should have been by their rulers.

The 21st Century’s prophets are the political prophets in the Media are also a source of much concern not only for current rulers but the general public as well.

These Media Prophets are of different kinds: The Minor Prophets, those who provide information or disinformation – fake news as President Donald Trump has it and Major Prophets – commentators who interpret and misinterpret the news and also the Pundits who predict what the future should be or is going to be in accordance to their likes and dislikes. Most of them would fall into the category of Fake Prophets.

Mahinda Rajapaksa and T. B. Jayasundera

The Pundits may not necessarily be in the media profession but have used influence and guile to creep into the press, TV and radio to offer their political wisdom voluntarily in accordance with their political agenda.

To get a perspective of prophets past and present this old quotation on them is helpful: ‘The urge shown to serve humanity is always a false face. Power is what messiahs really seek, not the chance to serve fellow beings but themselves’.

 

Epidemic of prophets

Sri Lanka has been experiencing a fast upsurge in political prophets in recent times – as fast as in the spread of Dengue. New political prophets are inundating the print media and radio while proliferating like mice in the Idiot Box. They make ex-cathedra statements that are not contested and are likely to be taken as absolute truths by the gullible partisan viewers, the Sinhala population being sharply polarized into two factions.

With the stage being set for the proposed new constitution to be taken up in parliament it is the season for political prophets, as is evident in TV talk shows now going on in all major TV channels.

 

Constitutional Prophets

The debate on a new constitution is back at the starting point of Constitutional debating in 1958 with Tamils still opting for federalism and Sinhala hardliners resisting. The 30-year war and the 8-year interregnum of peace appears to have somewhat brought about improvements. But there are the prophets of doom and gloom against the current government – though paying lip service for reconciliation – will opt for the toppling of the government.

Most of the Devolution artistes of 1986 – when New Delhi forced creation of provincial councils with a military intervention – are still playing the game and many have somersaulted many times during the past 30 years from their original positions. Political opportunism is their main inspiration for constitutional making and undoubtedly these disgusting talents are bound to be on display soon.

Some of today’s prophets for devolution were convinced advocates of a Unitary Separate State of Tamil Eelam and were aggressive proponents of the armed struggle. They pooh-poohed the Sri Lankan village lads who joined the armed forces and called them mercenaries – unemployed youth who enlisted for a paltry salary in contrast to freedom fighters for Eelam trained in Indian and PLO camps who routed soldiers with barely a few weeks of military training. The political leap-frogging of today’s prophets can all be read in black and white in some of their now defunct journals. Read all about what the prophets said about a military solution being a stupid gung-ho exercise and that the only solution was a negotiated settlement. There were no Rana Viru (War heroes) then but unemployed youth inveigled by ‘buth packets’.

 

Prophetic wisdom

The distilled wisdom of a prophet in a newspaper last week left us somewhat confused.

It was asked whether a government ever benefited from the postponement of an election and whether there were governments that have not paid the price for doing so.

Most of us are aware of the government led by Sirima Bandaranaike having done so and having paid a heavy price for it.

We are also aware of a government which advanced the elections by two years and paid for it having suffered an irreparable defeat.

Mahinda Rajapaksa and his merry band would still be in power had he not dissolved parliament two years in advance. Whether dissolution of parliament was on the advice of trusty astrologers who erroneously saw benign configurations of planets in the Solar System on January 15, 2015 or whether it was his Treasury Secretary T. B. Jayasundera telling him that the Treasury vaults were cleaned out for construction of narcissistic projects to perpetuate immortality and that the debt burden would by 2016 go over the Himalayas, we have not been told.

Logically it may be argued that there is no nexus between advancement and postponement of elections years apart but it does underscore the fact that political parties in power advance or postpone elections to their advantage. It may be argued that the people are deprived of their basic right to elect a government within a specified period in accordance with the law.

On the other hand it may also be argued that early dissolution would deprive those voters who elected their government to reap benefits for a specific period it was elected.

 

1 Comment for “The Games Played By Lanka’s Political Prophets”

  1. Peraheras are a big business for Buddhist Priests. So they don’t care for the anmial welfare.

    Siri

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