Sri Lankan Political Dementia
British Prime Minister David Cameron last week expressed alarm over the spread of dementia among British patients saying that it was a scandal that the disease was being ignored with a quarter of patients in hospitals suffering from the disease. He doubled funding towards treatment of the disease from 26 million pounds sterling to 66 million pounds.
Today is April 1 and we are not joking when we say that the spread of the disease in Sri Lanka too needs serious study judging from the pronouncements and behaviour of our national leaders in the recent past. Dementia may not be confined to European boundaries. Dementia has been described as insanity causing loss of intellectual power and we need not be psychiatrists or any such medical specialist to say that the disease is widely prevalent among our national leaders.
The latest mental affliction is India phobia. This is a fall out from the recent Geneva UNHRC sessions where India voted for the American sponsored Resolution directed against Sri Lanka on human rights violations. This is a reverse sweep to what took place earlier between 1987 to 2009 when the country was caught up in a wave of India-philia – uncalled respect for our neighbour. Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa were firm India lovers. The Rajapaksa regime flew often to New Delhi in supplication conveying the impression that all their political bets were placed in New Delhi. Kowtowing to the Indians was the term used by some Colombo columnists because of the pliant supplicant posture adopted by our Sri Lankan leaders before the New Delhi overlords – political leaders and bureaucrats. Whatever India said we were in agreement with and the position appeared to be that New Delhi’s political bosses and bureaucratic Brahmins could do no wrong. Friendship with India was the cornerstone of our foreign policy, Sri Lankan political pundits claimed. What went wrong they said was J. R. Jayewardene’s anti Indianism and pro Yankee stance and wrote reams in the editorial pages of the Daily News and other ‘independent’ papers ever willing to take a cue from the Rajapaksa oracles. India wanted implementation of the ‘13th Amendment plus’ and the Rajapaksas parroted it, the last occasion being when Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna was here on an official visit.
But there appeared to be a method in the Sri Lanka madness – or was it Rajapaksa guile - because many of the promises made were not implemented particularly the 13th Amendment plus.
The Rajapaksa regime dragged its feet and kept talking with New Delhi throughout the offensive against the LTTE obviously fearing Indian military intervention like what happened to J. R. Jayewardene when he was about to crush Velupillai Prabhakaran during the Vadamarachchi Operation. But after the ‘historic victory’ they stopped talking to India and went round the country for a near three years celebrating ‘the historic victory.’
Meanwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was feeling the heat with Tamil Nadu activists beating the war drums and demanding that the Indian government support the American sponsored Resolution condemning Sri Lanka. The alternative was to face the challenge of 17 DMK MPs pulling out supporting Manmohan Singh’s UPA coalition government and collapsing it. The General Elections are scheduled for 2014 but may be advanced after the disastrous performance of the Congress-led government and the rival BJP at the recent elections in five states.
Should Manmohan Singh have voted at the UNHRC supporting Sri Lanka risking the defeat of his own government? That was what the Congress-led government should have done despite being led up the garden path by the Rajapaksas for many long years is what patriotic Sinhala supporters of Rajapaksas think.
This is political dementia at its best: To vote for a Resolution that could bring down your own government and save a foreign government that has taken you down the garden path for years!
America and other Western powers brought the Resolution against our country for violation of human rights although throughout history they have committed the biggest crimes committed against humanity. They have no right to condemn smaller countries caught up in a war. But throughout history the elementary law has been: Might is Right. In the animal kingdom as well as in modern human society too it is the same law that is operative: Struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest. If we can fight the mighty West so be it but how are we to do it? Boycott their industrial products which we need? What happens if they boycott our products? Close down our embassies in those countries? This is plainly an acute form of dementia: Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. That is what some leading patriots are suggesting.
What we have written above is on mass political dementia but daily reports in the media indicate individual cases of chronic dementia which in this country appear to have powerful sponsors.
Sponsored Political Dementia
Take for example Cabinet Minister in charge of the Media saying that he had got a journalist assaulted and broken the legs of this journalist whom he considers to be a traitor. He had chased him out of the country, the minister claimed!
Not even in a fascist dictatorship can such claims be made on public TV. But in this Sovereign Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka it has been done and is repeated on TV the next day! Nothing happens to this ‘Hon. Minister’. He has state privileges that he needs – police protection and needless to say political protection at the highest level as well, for he carries on regardless.
This is not just one act of his dementia. He has done much more. Take the instance where he stormed a state TV station with a couple of thugs and assaulted a News Director for not carrying a political speech of his. Irate employees surrounded him, poured paint on him and sent him out in a state of undress along with his pompous bodyguards. All this was screened on National TV but nothing happened to him.
On another occasion he tied a helpless public servant to a tree for not turning up on time for an appointment, videoed the entire incident and screened it on one of his favourite TV channels.
There have been many such outrageous public performances screened on TV and reported in the press but this man carries on regardless. One worthy asked to explain why this all powerful government tolerated such scandalous behaviour said: He has been elected by the public. A demented public no doubt but it is a queer form of democracy.
These events have been repeated and commented on in the media ad nauseam. Not only does this ‘comedian’s’ show go on but he also appeared as a judge on ‘Super Star’- a TV show on a ‘responsible’ TV channel. This indicates the levels to which some of our media shows have descended
What is the impact of all these outrageous acts of thuggery on the general public, police and public servants?
They demonstrate that certain people can be above law and order with the blessings of the powers that be. The omnipotent power in the land is President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The question is: Why does he not clamp down on this thuggery and idiocy once and for all?
Freedom of the Jungle
There is another worthy minister attempting to project ‘gravitas’ all round him but indulges in clownish acts. He calls for revolutions but that is nothing new in this nutty world of politics. His latest call is to boycott American products and services including Google. The consequences that may emanate from this appeal appear to be nil because the people of this country have not yet reached such levels of dementia but his call for the ban of Google is of interest. Perhaps with Google and other Western media outlets closed he will be the sole voice in the jungle of Sri Lanka.
Earlier he tried to fast till death until UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called off his attempts to investigate ‘war crimes’ allegations against Sri Lanka. Moon obviously looked way from this puerile attempt but fortunately the minister was saved by his president by making him break the fast.