Once upon a time, there lived a king. He had a pet monkey, which played all sorts of tricks to keep him entertained. One day, he set out on a journey and halfway through, fatigued, he thought of resting his royal self. The primate accompanying him stood guard. Before long, to its horror a fly materialised and landed on the potentate without a scintilla of respect. Exasperated by this show of disrespect, the monkey, wanting to teach a lesson to the winged rebel desecrating the royal torso, drew the king's scimitar and struck the fly with all its might––in good faith. What happened to the fly we do not know, but the king for sure did not survive the sabre strike.
This fable shows dangers that monkeys could pose to their royal masters who blunder by trusting them. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we saw some political primates at work at the Colombo Port, the Kelaniya temple and the Kolonnawa Ceylon Petroleum Corporation facility respectively.
Pro-government mad monkeys intoxicated with power set upon a port worker on a picket line on Wednesday. The victim was hospitalised. (Port workers proved they, too, were no angels by attacking and injuring a naval rating on Friday.)
The Kelaniya monkey organised a mob to boo and jeer Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who visited the Kelaniya Temple after handing over his letter of resignation on Thursday. The incident left a bad taste in many a mouth. Even those who have not taken kindly to General Fonseka’s decision to hang his boots prematurely and be putty in the hands of those who sought to sabotage the war and ridiculed him by calling him names in Parliament and elsewhere, were furious about the despicable manner in which a former army commander was treated.
Another cutlass-wielding monkey swung into action against the CPC workers engaged in a go-slow on Friday. The politically motivated trade union action in the petroleum, water, electricity and port sectors amounts to holding the hapless public to ransom and some bankrupt political elements behind them deserve public condemnation. But, on no grounds could physical attacks on workers be countenanced! No one has a right to resort to violence against workers, however misguided they may be. The best way for the government to defeat them is to maintain essential services in the public interest within the confines of the law.
The much advertised JVP-instigated go-slow became a grand flop but the deranged government monkeys gave it a turbo boost. Nothing would have served the purpose of the bankrupt politicians better, who are abusing their trade union muscle to shore up their troubled image and crumbling support bases.
Now, the government has had to face a crisis situation in the petroleum sector unnecessarily. The country is experiencing a fuel shortage and long lines of vehicles could be seen near refilling stations. These signs will, no doubt, warm the cockles of the hearts of sinister political dregs deriving a perverse pleasure from the woes of the public. For, they are using trade union action as galkatas to achieve anarchical objectives and they must be stopped in their tracks; but, we repeat, unleashing violence against them is certainly not the way to set about the task.
If the government is as smart as it claims to be, it must be able to checkmate the union Mafiosi short of resorting to violence.
It behoves the government to restrain its mad monkeys that have become a menace to one and all except their handlers. Attacks on CPC and Port workers must be probed and the perpetrators brought to book immediately. They must also be ordered to steer clear of former military top brass who helped rid the country of terrorism.