The Highest Two Lash Out | Sunday Observer

The Highest Two Lash Out

This cat lies down on her sofa and imbibes the news by switching to this TV channel and that and consolidates most the next morning with her mug of coffee from which she drinks not laps the liquid, as she scans the newspaper she subscribes to. She was duly pleased seeing the usually calm and collected, serene almost, Highest of Free Sree Lanka getting angry and thrashing out. He said that the people find fault with his government and don’t give credit for what good has been done. To this domesticated cat’s purse the reduction of the cost of medicines and the reduced price of gas cylinders is a great boon. To her as a member of the public creating press freedom and passing the Right to Info Act have been real achievements. For so many decades, starting from Prez Premadasa’s time we had to control our tongues.

The story made the round that at that time there were persons in plain clothes who were commissioned to catch gossipers and complainers against the government, more especially, critics of Premadasa himself in public places and public transport. Fault finders were vapourized, we suppose. It got worse during the last regime when we were warned severely not to get chatting with three wheeler Johnnys we hired who seemed decent and started a conversation which soon took a political slant. The chat was recorded, it was said, in contraptions given them during a santhosam meal at Temple Trees. And of course, we knew of the white vans as true and solid as the hand that writes this piece. There are many more benefits conferred on the general public by this government, this cat says, whispering ‘including the reduction in the price of beer.’ Of course the Maithri one does not like this last. But, he is justified in shouting about ingratitude.

The second head of government lashed out at the media. Again to this cat justifiably. Though she word processes this column with her clumsy paws and lucid brain, she is no media personnel, no journalist. She refers to herself as a freelance scribbler. So she is blameless. But, many of the TV channels are biased, some against an entire Party, one against the individual in power. It was obvious at one time and now resurrected with the Bond Business so that while it was this feline’s favourite channel it is now switched off when it gets into know-all, pontificating investigative electronic media journalism over the bond matter and other matters of the Yahapalana government.

Controversy over the second lashing out

There is much said about the second leader’s criticism of journalists. This cat feels he was justified in his outburst as it is obvious some media outfits are biased against individuals. I think he recollected that certain media personal and media offices were under attack during the previous regime. Now certain writers of letters to the editor have tried to turn tables on Ranil Wickremasinghe and the present government by saying that during the UNP’s watch too there were crimes against journalists. They cite Richard de Zoysa. That was a deliberate and utterly cruel killing of a young man of many talents. Actually, he committed no serious crime, only parodied a slogan used to praise President Premadasa and wrote a drama. It was never even produced on stage. But, there was uncontrolled anger and fear of losing power and sycophants of Prez Premadasa committed crimes, we heard, hoping for Brownie points. Such may have been the case with Richard de Zoysa whom even this cat mourned after having seen him on stage electrifying the production with his mere presence along with his thespian skill. An investigation was not possible, it must be noted, because the police officer who was identified by Richard’s mother, seeing him on TV as the abductor, was blown up with Premadasa on May 1.

Actually no comparison

This cat’s contention is that crimes committed when Ranil W was in previous governments pale somewhat when compared to what was done during the Rajapaksa regimes, particularly, the latter one. For one we had Mervyn Silva acting like a great power and doing the unthinkable and still getting no reprimands, never even a demotion. On the contrary to rub the salt in the public’s wound he was made Media Minister and then after strong protests he was given another totally disproportionate-to-him post as Minister of Public Relations or some such.

Valid excuses

This cat’s strong contention is that we Sri Lankans, similar to having short memories for good and also bad done, are very adept at trotting out the excuse ‘It was done earlier’; ‘It happened during previous regimes.’ Same excusing tag attached to corruption. We cannot say in justification of any crime (since justification has no place with crime) that during UNP governments media persons were acted against, killed even, and so it is OK that the Rajapaksa regime acted likewise. This is the answer forwarded to criticize Ranil W’s criticism of the media.

We have to appreciate that we can speak and write freely without fearing a white van or being tailed and our brain dug into with a sharp instrument in broad daylight. We have to acknowledge the fact that there is an eternal cacophony of voices blaming the government on every move it makes and decision it takes. Criticism is superb but not just to have one’s voice heard.

Contest of the two Big Economic Powers on home ground

This cat got this emailed article on Thursday afternoon which made interesting reading. Titled, India Acquires World’s Emptiest Airport at Mattala for US $ 300 Million to Checkmate China From Establishing a Naval Base in Hambantota Harbour, it is by David Brewster. He writes: “Geopolitical rivalry between big powers sometimes yields odd results. The latest development in growing strategic competition across the Indian Ocean region is India’s purchase of what has become known as the ‘world’s emptiest international airport’ in Sri Lanka, maybe just to keep it empty.” He says that the airport is staffed and kept functioning to service the one weekly flight that comes in.

How against this cat and many others were about these two white elephants and the cricket grounds and gardens in Ham Ban Tot, the Colombo port city – a truly colossal waste of money – and even the now nearly complete lotus tower, beautiful though it looks. Extravagant, wasteful showpieces to perpetrate a dynasty and a name. So the Chinese and Indians are pitted in the deep South with the Indians keeping a wary eye on the all conquering Chinese. Good for lax us, is what this feline says.

– Menika

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