Snapshots of the week | Sunday Observer

Snapshots of the week

The first snapshot or snapshot that made its mark in this feline’s mind which she passes on to you is of Mahela Jayawardena in tears at the end of the “Trail as one”, “Trail Walk for Cancer” - the 28 day walk by hundreds from Point Pedro to Dondra Head to collect money to built a special oncology ward attached to the Karapitiya Hospital in Galle.

Mahela had walked the entire distance of 670 km, along with, we are sure the originators of the Walk – Sarinda Unamboowe and Nathan Sivaganathan, and other dedicated good people.

The goodness of people

What was discerned from the face of the cricketer apart from the touching tears was real goodness, sacrifice, commitment and wholesome charity, a willingness to give of himself for the benefit of others, expecting nothing in return.

There were very many others like him and that gives hope to us Sri Lankans. Each day entailed a walk of around 25 km starting at dawn and ending midday with all sorts joining in: men, women; young and old; sophisticates, simple people; the able and the handicapped; rich and poor and even the Veddahs.

Protest by war heroes

They were sponsored, the richer of course and others contributed to the tills carried, or sent money. They would surely have collected more than the five million USD targeted. In sharp contrast was the picture of disabled soldiers engaged in a sit-down protest. This cat has no sympathy for people who resort to the recently popularized gimmick of protesting on highways and causing mayhem and delay to travellers. It is said that this is the only way of being heard and complaints registered.

This feline, in all her wisdom, does not agree. A protest by gathering together on a highway must be the last resort, after all other avenues of communication with the relevant authority fails. Protests must never block highways and traffic.

However, one has to view a protest by disabled servicemen with sympathy. The soldiers were demanding pensions. But we heard an official on a news channel say pensions were being paid.

The soldiers let themselves down. They are honoured by us; they have our sympathy; but we do not like to see them demean themselves. Were they, like other protesters, demanding instant recompense? Were they demanding too much when the government is in such an economic bind?

The starkness of the incongruity of the protest is seen when a picture of the disabled servicemen is placed beside a picture of a red paper poppy – the symbol of Remembrance Day or as we term it in Sri Lanka, RanaViru Commemoration Day.

This is the day – 11 November - when we remember all those who laid down their lives or lost limbs and sight and hearing to save the unity of the nation in the civil war ended in 2009.

The red poppy is seen all over: pinned on the shirts of the highest in the land, on TV presenters and office workers; on school children’s uniforms. Even this cat has bought her poppy and will be wearing it from Sunday 6th.

The money collected from sale of poppies by the Sri Lanka Ex-Servicemen’s Association goes towards the welfare of disabled soldiers and destitute families of those armed forces personnel who died in action.

Not by a whimper does this cat imply that with money collected on Poppy Day welfare can be given to all and to a satisfactory level, but soldiers should not sit or lie around public places making known their grievances.Maybe they have a solid complaint to make but it should not be aired as they do now in their continued sit down protest, but informed to authorities and negotiated on.

A new political party

The political snapshot that this cat pounced on, aired by the electronic media and printed by newspapers is of Prof G L Peiris announcing a new blue party.

This feline forgets the name selected since the moment the name was selected it was changed.

But she remembers the symbol: that rising partly closed lotus flower with strings attached (!!) curved lines really, that one saw on Mihin Air advertisements et al.

He, the revered Prof, who can easily talk ten donkeys off their feet, equally fluent in muddling your brain in English and Sinhala, has been appointed leader of this new party. But nothing very much after that about the new party.

Those of the Jt Op posed however in their strength of numbers in a picture presented in newspapers of Thursday 3rd and their strength of stentorian voices over TV news asking for the Prime Minister’s blood.

“We demand the resignation of the PM,” they shouted in unison with glee. “We will take to the streets like in South Korea,” they added.

And there prominently were all those who love this shouting and threatening: Allahaperuma, Wimal Wee, Gammanpila, Authgamage,Yapa Abeywardena, Dinesh G and the one rose among the nasty thorns - PavithraWanniarachchi.They have something to really shout about – the Bond Scam. So let them.

They shouted themselves blue that Mahendran, the eye of the storm, had absconded to Singapore. Ranil W announced with a twinkle in the eye and smile on lips that the said ex-Gov. of the Central Bank had gone to attend a wedding and will return. He returned. Poor man, to face discordant music!

- Menika