10 September 2016

The planetary preferences of yahapalana apologists

A self-proclaimed Marxist recently listed 12 things that the Yahapalana Government cannot achieve.  He should have put it this way: ‘should but cannot achieve’.  As someone who once said ‘we must hope that the Government will not defeat the LTTE’ when the latter’s invincibility braggadocio was being put to the sword, so to speak, his support for the yahapalanists is understandable.  In fact he throws in a tired caveat by way of protecting the everything-but-yahapalana regime: 

“All this is not the responsibility of government alone. Religious bodies, public opinion and parents of young people can help, but some like the BBS are a part of the problem not the solution. Recently the Cardinal (an outright Mahinda man) strayed, with political objectives, into matters he does not know the foggiest about.”

The man implies he knows the foggiest about religion, constitutions and reform of the same, policy prerogatives in times of economic stress, crime prevention, counter-corruption measures, responsible media practices, power and energy, judicial procedure, and even stuff like road behavior, ragging in universities, the importance of English and even how to develop public consciousness.  He bemoans that political commentators harass readers with should-do lists which he dismisses as ‘splendid stuff IF only we lived on another planet’.  His list, which is of a should-do-but-cannot kind, is essentially yet another should-do list; only, he discusses the ‘why’ of the ‘can’t-do’, which is at best a convoluted apology for the can’t-do-anything yahapalanists.  

He is not alone (and neither is he part of a massive crowd) in all this.  There are many such geniuses who screamed in horror at the slightest anti-democratic act of the previous regime who are blushing beetroot red over the daily dose of embarrassment slapped on their faces by the yahapalanists. Poor them.  The man in question with his sad apology for yahapalana inadequacy and impotence is but an example.  A lengthy comment on the Central Bank bond issue fiasco perhaps helps him deal with the discomfort of an apologist but for our purposes the should-do list should do.  

Here’s what appears to be the main elements of angst, aptly placed at the top of the list: 1) Redefine the state in Lanka as a secular state, and 2) Provide substantial devolution to the minorities to run their own affairs.   The list comes with a preamble which not surprisingly focuses only on these: “It is dim-witted to award Buddhism (or any religion) constitutional primacy; or to call Lanka unitary when the need is devolution.”

Since the notion on planetary realities and other-worldiness has been tossed into the discussion, one can legitimately ask ‘In which planet is there a perfect secular state?’  That is, a state which in constitutional text and in all the practices associated with the state does not privilege any religion over another?  And how on earth did ‘secular’ obtain some kind of god-given superiority over any other form?  On what basis are wits categorized as ‘dim’ and ‘bright’?  Does the pinning of a ‘dim-wit’ label on someone simultaneously confer ‘brightness’ on the dude that’s dishing out labels?  Could we say, for example, ‘only the dim-witted will talk about multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies without mentioning numbers and proportions’?  Or is that for ‘another planet’ because it upsets some so-and-so’s fragile sensibilities of propriety?  

The devolution call is even more hilarious. First we are told that it is dim-witted to call the country unitary when the need is devolution.  Then we are told, by way of the wistful wish-list apology, that substantial devolution should be provided to the minorities to run their own affairs.  

Now where do minorities in Sri Lanka live?  In clearly defined geographical areas?  Almost half the  Tamils, for example, live outside the traditional-homeland-map of Eelamist myth mongering that have been swallowed wholesale for reasons that are hardly innocent by devolution advocates.  The Muslims are not confined to such an area either.  So what is being advocated here — the corralling (in the  manner of the LTTE’s hostage-taking to forge a human-shield) of Tamils, Muslims and other groups into particular geographical areas so that they can ‘manage their own affairs’?  How about asking Tamils living outside the ‘traditional homeland’ (of Eelamist myth-mongering — yes, it needs to be repeated) for a show of hands with perhaps the additional ‘nationalistic’ impetus of ‘first go live there’?   

Can we now talk about other planets, i.e. not planets in which the wish-lists of the wishful-thinkers who are hard pressed to apologize for the yahapalanists can make some ground but rather planets they are probably inhabiting right now?

Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer.  Email: malindasenevi@gmail.com.  Twitter: malindasene. 


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