07 April 2015

Ranil the Executive, Maithri the Approver

Kolombians are a distinct people from Colombo who know much -- so much that they are wont to think that others don't know and can't think. They have things to say.  A lot of things to say.  The entire country can learn from them. This is the twenty second in a series published in 'The Nation' under the title 'Notes of an Unrepentant Kolombian'.  Scroll down for other articles in this series. 

Those who don’t understand the truth about Kolombia, Kolumbianness and Kolombians just cannot understand the political reality of Sri Lanka.  There are people who are asking some strange questions.  Some are asking, for example, how Ranil gets to call the shots when the people actually voted for someone else.  Well, Maithripala himself has provided a clue. 

A few weeks ago, the man elected to the all-powerful office of the President went to the UK.  He was received by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.  He was also received at No 10, Downing Street by British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Now there’s nothing newsy about these occasions, they are after all courtesies extended to most visiting Heads of State.  What was different about our man Sirisena is how HE received or rather embraced (or understood) the whole thing. 

Before we get to that, let’s just assume that it was Ranil and not Maithri who had gone to the UK.  What would he have done?  Well, first of all, he would have been accorded the same courtesies.  He would have never dreamed of turning up in a national dress.  He would have dressed up in coat and tie as befitting a true Kolombian.  Yes, his uncle JR went for Prince Charles’ wedding in national dress but that was a different time.  Under Ranil we don’t have to pretend that we are not who we are.  He doesn’t have to pretend he is not who he is.  He is a Kolombian and is justifiably proud of the fact, we are sure. 

What would Ranil have done after exchanging pleasantries with the Queen and Cameron?  He would have, I am certain, briefed the media about the conversations that took place.  He would have been quite matter-of-fact about it. 

Not Sirisena.  Sure, he did tell the media what the Queen and the Prime Minister had said.  He didn’t say much about what he contributed to the discussions.  Maybe he just listened for the most part.  What’s striking is how he described the two meetings.  He was clearly overawed.  He just couldn’t get over it.  He blurted it out when he addressed his party faithful.  Even that wasn’t enough.  He said it all over again when he met the media heads, it was reported.  He was clearly less impressed by what was said than by who said it and where. 

This is the difference between Kolombians and others.  Kolombians clearly know who is who and what is what.  For us, the Queen is at the top.  The British Prime Minister is also the Prime Minister of Kolombia for all intents and purposes.  We humbly accept this, but we don’t show it.  We know our place.  If Ranil was President and was visiting the Motherland to pay respects to the Queen and the Premier he would know who is who, who he is and who is not.  He won’t come back and spell it all out.

Kolombians have class.  Ranil has class.  Non-Kolombians like Maithri have a class, act as though they are classless and end up looking like the underclass that they are.  This is why Kolombians have ruled this country, even if non-Kolombians appear to have the power.  The only downside to the current power-arrangement is that Maithripala is revealing to the entire nation what only us Kolombians were privy to.  I am not sure if that’s a good thing.  

 Other articles in this series: