15 September 2011

Why lament when we can still laugh?

There are moves in Geneva, we hear.  Documents authored by politically compromised and intellectually inept people who lack integrity and have horrendous writing skills have been tabled for discussion in forums chaired by people who have axes to grind and suffer from partial myopia.  Al Jazeera interviewed me a short while ago, asking me for my thoughts.  My response could be summarized as ‘not surprised!’

The commissioning of a panel, appointment of those appointed, scandalous refusal to recognize the malice and incompetence evidenced in the report, and acceptance of tall tales manufactured by politically motivated individuals and organizations who have been as thick as thieves with terrorists all add up to one thing: witch-hunt.  It was not for purposes of securing entertaining toilet-read, clearly. 

Around the same time, the prime minister of a western monarchy called for a boycott of the Commonwealth heads’ confab in Sri Lanka.  Let’s leave aside the fact that there was never a commonwealth but just a common-thief interested only in passing around a common-welt.  The same premier once claimed he had no truck with dictators (re-claimed, I should say) but not too long afterwards was making deals with the man who carried out a military coup against a democratically elected leader in a Latin American country. 

This self-righteous premier stated ‘the kind of values [he and his country] have in the world: freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law’ and added, “those societies that promote those values tend to share our interests, and those that do not tend to, on occasion, if not frequently, become threats to us.”

My friend, who sent me these tidbits observed wryly: ‘I wonder why we get excited about this kinda news…as if we expect something different...as if they can do anything different considering their way of life.’

That’s what I had to tell Al Jazeera. 

So what do we do in this land called ‘damned if we do, damned if we don’t’ that we are living in?  Weep? Submit? I don’t know.  I just laugh. 

I can’t remember where I heard this first, but after some horrendous right-wing crime, there was a slogan some radical had coined that stayed with me: ‘don’t lament; organize!’ 

In the end, we need to be pragmatic.  We need to have a decent assessment of relative strengths.  We need to factor in friend and enemy, their relative strengths and the possible shifts in degrees of support.  I returned again and again to words penned by my father 27 years ago in a boy scout souvenir: ‘…So, if it is not prudent to stand ramrod straight in the face of storms beyond your strength, you must let them pass over you.  Stand firm if you can, retreat if you must; above all, never panic!’ 

There is no need to lament.  No need to get emotional.  What is required is sobriety.  What is required is assessment of strength, correction of flaw, enhancing overall abilities on all fronts, respecting the enemy, treating things with equanimity, figuring out the correct compassion-wisdom mix and doing the best we can without compromising integrity. Our foundation is strong and even if bombardment takes away the walls, rebuilding will not be impossible. 

Time is longer than life.  Empires are born, thrive, decay and die.  The flame burns brightest before it goes out.  I see a bright western flame and I come to conclusions.  It is darkest before the dawn.  I see darkness and I anticipate light. 



manuri said...

very true malinda....well what we should worry really is not the premier in Canada...but our own lot who call themselves 'free media gurus' who go before them and pretend to be the voice of sri lanka and stand by the tigers...

what I also noticed is that every time with regrads to this particular individual...he is refered to as the 'former freemedia chief "or something to that extent...why is it that ppl reporting this cannot come with the name of this person afterall he has a name ...suanada deshapriya...just write the name damn it....and publish this man in the headlines...with the photos ....over and over again....get it staright first...the country knows who he is...but lets go with the name for goodness sake shall we?