Protests proliferating by the day | Sunday Observer

Protests proliferating by the day

As announced on a news telecast on a TV channel, the number of protests that day matched its date -15th. The announcer said, there were more than 15 protests in various locations across the length and breadth of the island – Anuradhapura,Vavuniya, Peradeniya and Colombo of course. Inevitably, one protest was by university students; the others were by various groups, including disabled soldiers and pensioners.

Appropriately, yet coincidentally, the program soon after the news item was an interview with a UNP Member of Parliament. He is the Chairman of the Youth Front; the Prime Minister commending his appointment as very important to guide the future citizens of the country. He was asked whether he hoped he could get a place in the Cabinet soon to be reshuffled. He was sincerely definite in his saying no, he preferred to remain where he was, as he was doing yeoman service to the Party and the country.

The manner of loud debate in Parliament and road protests were mentioned and the interviewer asked whether the government MPs were not bothered by this, rattled I would say, at the vituperation of JO members.

The young MP said, it was gratifying that people were speaking out since that is a manifestation of democracy, restored to the country by the present government and insistently mooted by the President. Good answer, though this cat is really disgusted by how some MPs give expression to their venom and a couple of oldies their yen for using filth. Maybe, this desire lay suppressed for years and now in their dotage has manifested itself, probably the person being not really conscious of it. A baser nature lurking within starched white garbs and pepper and salt beards, giving way to sound and fury.

This feline abhors protests that block highways, even byways, causing such inconvenience to travellers. Particularly, cruel it is when traffic is blocked on a busy road in the early evening when tired commuters return home. They are sometimes stuck for two hours in crowded buses with vegetables bought for dinner preparation wilting and fish or meat putrefying in the heat. This cat says, protesters like the University students deliberately choose Friday afternoon for their marches, adding to the misery caused by their seniors, the GMOA to patients. Here, the Friday protesters are targeting home-returners after a week of office work.

To add insult to injury, these unruly protesters who get completely out of hand, make much of police manhandling them. The JO leads some MPs and members of the public in shouting against the police. Are the police officers on duty to stand by as the protesters invade the office they target – often the UGC or Presidential Secretary? The disabled soldiers did just this sometime ago and opposers of the government went to town on the injustice caused to those who saved the country. Where were these many protesters during the reign - oops sorry! Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa? His Big Brother cast his mighty shadow. No defying that official of the last government.

No truer words were spoken as those by Health Minister and Co-Cabinet spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne, reported on page 2 in a newspaper of 16 February. He noted that the Medical Council and the Government Medical Officers’ Association were a bunch of cowards who didn’t dare to oppose the Rajapaksa government, but were now behaving like heroes under the newfound freedom.

When the former Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had called the Medical Council and told it to grant recognition to the Kotelawela Defence University, it had within 45 minutes meekly agreed by bending these rules which it now insisted had to be followed. These are facts like galen kotala, as true as inscriptions on stone. What power did Big Brother have? Yes, let’s admit it, of life and death, not mere promotion and demotion. White vans and VIP Police officers willing to bow and scrape.

To this feline this is despicable. Changing sides and colour as easily as a chameleon is to be despised. Chameleons we call bhodilima, are dreaded more than the ordinary lizard in our childhood, yet, fascinated by his clever trickery. We are only disgusted beyond words by such turncoat behaviour of professionals and officials.

So Ranil W has been honoured with a doctorate by a university in Australia. We, Sri Lankans share the glory. We admire the way he stood tall, received the honour with dignity and spoke well. There are people who criticize him as too prone to globe trot. This cat admittedly felt a shade of the same until she saw pictures of him and his wife so graciously dignified bringing honour to the country. He is recognized for the services he has rendered. He definitely earns goodwill when he travels overseas which reflects on the country.

Travel is slim in the people he takes with him: relevant and needed. Hence, time away from his duties in the country and travel expenses incurred are amply paid for in the goodwill he earns from recognized countries. Also, his travel is justified as he was invited by the government of Australia.

This cat sees no reduction in people taking to the roads in protest. They seem to love it, shouting their guts out publicly, making nuisances of themselves to the general public, while abusing freedom. Will a leetle less democracy help? Over to you, respected President! - Menika

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