21 May 2012

Sarath Fonseka’s Day

There is a truism about public figures: the bigger the cut-out, the larger the number of comments and the wider the range of views.  Sarath Fonseka is no exception.  Opinion about the man was sharply divided when he was Army Commander, but on a limited range of issues.  He was hero to some, a man to be feared and hated to others. Praised by regime and the regime-loyal, vilified by the opposition.  Things changed, however, when he entered politics.

That’s a different game, obviously.  It has different rules of engagement.  Opinion was, again, divided, but came with caveat and considerations that had little to do with acknowledgment of military skill.  Before, he was soldier, and his non-military life and behavior was hardly known and mattered little. Presidential aspiration brings out stories and opens character to greater scrutiny.  Politics is dirty and the dirt flew.  Fonseka didn’t do himself any favours, but that’s an old story now.
His tomorrow is an open book, some might say, but life seldom comes without operational frames, apparent and otherwise.  Time will make the limits more visible and when that happens a clearer picture will emerge about his options and the impact he can or cannot make on Sri Lankan politics. 
Political commentators, academics, law students and others will read and interpret the recent developments in Sarath Fonseka’s political life, ‘recent’ beginning from the decision to contest, through his arrest and deliberations in court to the presidential pardon that saw him walk out a free man a few hours ago.  There’s time for that.
 Years from now, his place in history will be debated and determined, by history-writers, loyalists and detractors and several images of this man will be etched, in book and general public imagination.  There’s time for that. 
In the immediate tomorrows of post-release, there will no doubt be moves to place him in this or that position, politically, in the political opposition, as per the preferences of would-be movers and shakers.  The man himself has put it simply: ‘I will not forget those who stood by me!’  He reiterated, also, that he will not betray the country and would not stand for any move that sought to turn back the victories won on the battlefield.  What such moves are and how he would respond we will see, by and by.  There’s time for that.
For now, all that matters is that Sarath Fonseka is a free man, an unchained citizen a father and husband free to embrace daughter and wife, a soldier available for garlanding, a voice and mind that can speak of things outside incarceration and legal processes.  He deserves breathing space, that much can be said.
Life is a labyrinth, behind bars and outside it.  Sarath Fonseka, like anyone who has suffered incarceration, would understand this.  There are no sign posts indicating the way out.  But that’s for later.  All that needs to be said right now, is that It’s a good day here in Sri Lanka, all things considered.



fayaz said...

the US which got SF released has done so only to further her own interests in sri lanka, what ever those may be..

let's just remember this small but very important fact.

also the US has a dismal world record of deserting those furriners who ever thought the US of A was ever their personal friend.

Anonymous said...

There was no presidential pardon as the ruling clan utters. Sarath Fonseka felt free even as a prisoner confined to a cell. President may have though that his so-called pardon would compensate the damage being done to his image but it will be an illusion in the long run.

All that needs to be said right now, is that It’s a good day here in Sri Lanka,

Ramzeen Azeez said...

SF said to BBC that its not about being President of this country but fighting to end corruption and hardships on the people. That's not a bad policy statement, eh? Oh Sarath..your battles should have ended. But you just had to start another war.

Shaik Ahamath said...

If, God forbid, Sri Lanka faced charges of the threatened war crimes, I wonder to which side Sarath Fonseka will testify.