It's 2016 and not 2010. Things are different here in Sri Lanka. Out there, it's same-old, same-old. Today it's the time for the resurrections of ghosts and myth-models, the re-run of the Eelam drive, a regurgitation of old claims and half-truths, the celebration of selectivity. In this context it is not out of place to revisit the politics and the politicians dancing on the global stage, especially a man called Ban ki-Moon.
Ban Ki-moon is cutting a sorry figure these days.
Ban Ki-moon is cutting a sorry figure these days.
The man is half-blind; he could pour over the World Atlas for weeks and not come across names such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza, forget Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib etc. Indeed, when such place-names are mentioned, his feet immediately swell to proportions so considerable that he is rendered immobile. It is natural for a man decapitated in this manner to slip and fall and roll around. He’s consumed enough lies and been exposed so many times that like a compulsive gambler, he’s persuaded to double his bet. And so he blunders along and gets rapped on his knuckles for his pains, now by Russia and now by China.
Ki-moon wants to help us, we are told. His need is so acute that he’s appointed a panel to advise him on issues pertaining to Sri Lanka. Ki-moon’s representative, making the relevant announcement, categorically stated that the key-word is ‘advise’ and not ‘investigate’. Now he clearly hasn’t briefed his panelists. The chief of the panel, Marzuki Darusman, who was a member of the much-discredited IIGEP which tripped over itself and its words a couple of years ago, has said ‘we will investigate the LTTE also’. Well, we don’t really care, for the LTTE is no longer the threat it used to be, but what worries me is that either Ki-moon hasn’t told him or he, Darusman, has not been listening. It is not about ‘investigation’, Ki-moon has said clearly.
If it is just chit-chat over coffee or tea among the ill-informed to further confuse a muddle-head, then what’s all this fuss about? It is clear that someone has had his tail stepped on and is thirsting for revenge. Or else, he’s been called a wimp by so many and so frequently that he needs to feel adequate, big enough, capable, potent, virile etc., and is looking around for a country that is too small or too kind to whip his backside in the manner he clearly deserves.
Fine, Ki-moon, we understand. Yes, we do. We really, really do. You’ve got problems, we understand and hope, once sanity returns to you, that you understand that we have problems ourselves.
This Darusman, we are told, is upset that Sri Lanka has decided not to recognize the panel and as such sees no reason to roll out the proverbial red carpet. Advisors can do conference calls to Ki-moon. They can chit-chat on Facebook or Skype. They can tweet. They don’t have to come to Sri Lanka to do anything. If they want to consult anyone, they can use the internet or send text messages back and forth. Who are they planning to consult in Sri Lanka? Prabhakaran’s ghosts? Prabhakaran’s apologists? Well, the former can visit Darusman and his pals anytime he chooses. As for the latter category, its membership is ‘internetted’ and I am fairly certain that’s where the bug that’s biting Ki-moon’s behind was ‘Dollied’ (ref Dolly, the first cloned goat).
Darusman is upset. He says, ‘Everybody loses out if we cannot go to Sri Lanka, it will make it harder for the truth to be unearthed’. We are talking ASSUMPTION here. The truth is out there. It has a number; 300,000 hostages freed. It has a history; a country that eliminated the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit. There are comparisons and they have names: Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, and other places where the USA and its allies have killed hundreds of thousands of people (there’s PROOF here, unlike in the case of Sri Lanka, where there is WILD CONJECTURE based on NOTHING).
We are upset too, Darusman. We are upset that you lack intellect, basic intelligence, integrity and the basic language skills necessary to distinguish the difference between ADVICE and INVESTIGATION. What do we have to lose, Darusman? We lost so much in 30 years of being held to ransom and being besieged by terrorism and during this time I would like you to tell me WTF were you doing and WTF you were doing it. You could ask your pal Ki-moon the same, BTW. We lose NOTHING if you don’t come. If you DO come, we lose something, because we’ve already got our quota of bad smells and one more whiff would result in national asphyxiation.
I think there are things that best said with great economy of words. Lakdasa Wikkramasinha, I am told, had once written the following lines about the British Council (very valid today, in terms of the rubbishy English that the BC is promoting these days and its celebration of the mediocrity in the name of championing English literature by Sri Lanka authors). Since Ban Ki-moon is doing this for me and my fellow Sri Lankans, and Darusman and his pals too love me and my fellow Sri Lankans so much, let these words inspire us all and keep us on our toes.
When they kiss my ass
save me from the clap!
This article was first published in the Sunday Island (June 27, 2010).
Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: malindasene