Cassandra Cry: Snarling View of politicians in this land of ours


Headline in The Island of Thursday 22 January: "Chartered flights for MR: UL not paid Rs 122.3 mn." That sort of truancy in meeting one’s obligations and fulfilling them and being decent seems to be the normal behaviour of some politicians; the higher they are on the ladder of importance the bigger the debts they bear. Cassandra who never is in debt, returning even the smallest loan she has taken from a friend in an emergency vacuity of her purse, was shocked beyond words. And then came an indignant growl accompanied by the most sensible of comments, lashed out: So get him to pay this amount. If he does not pay it, confiscate it from his vast wealth. One recent proof of it was the several wedding ceremonies for youngest son and bride.

A poor man not returning a loan; a woman failing to pay in her repayment installment from a bank acting on the Grameen principle due to failure of her small industry, are dealt with peremptorily. Not the likes of the Rajapaksa Big Brother. Have any of the diehard UNPers been guilty of getting joy rides free from the airline bordering on bankruptcy? Will such an accusation be leveled against a person like Karu J or the JVP high ups? Never! So in the short time left for this present government, it should get MR to pay what he owes the airline that his b-i-l sent speeding down to near insolvency. Cass and many others remember how Emirates with which Sri Lankan was flying high in tandem was sent packing from our shores and its tie up with Sri Lankan knifed due to 32 seats, as Cass recalls, was not given to MR and his entourage returning to the country from a jaunt abroad. Facts had it that a couple of seats from a fully booked plane were offered to the Prez for himself and his family. No, he wanted all his trippers to return in one gang, never mind that he was demanding the usurpation of paid ticket holders. Details show that these chartered flights were so very nonchalantly ordered; such a loss to SriLankan since for instance once, a plane with capacity for 243 passengers carried only 26 – Prez MR and his Men and of course a few women too. This was repeated.

Our present President too has been roaming much in the recent past. He flies Economy Class it was said at the beginning of his presidential tenure and his team kept small. Nowadays those who join him, though not shown in photographs, is almost as large in numbers as those who went with Prez Rajapaksa. Air trips are awards for loyalty etc. How juvenile!

Pronouncements so rich!

"Opposition leader urges the government to focus on eradicating Sena menace." How easy it is to give orders; to want to appear the greatest benefactor of the country; to appear to be so concerned about the farmer peasant. No need to give orders since people are sure the agriculture department and others concerned will be doing the needful. Sometimes the incumbent Prez or PM has to enter the arena of action to quicken matters, since we Sri Lankans across the board are laid back; time is of little consequence. But there is no need for the Leader of the Opposition (contested) to issue orders to the government and its officers, more so from Buddhist temple premises. Double pollution!

Mr Wimal Weerawansa was shown up again like once he said Guy de Maupassant wrote the well known, Nobel Prize winning The Old Man and the Sea. This was an unpardonable faux pas pronounced at a state literary function. This time he pontificated that the Sena caterpillar could not have flown in to attack our plants. He was corrected: the moth with its wings flies here and lays its eggs which hatch out as larvae – caterpillars, which cannot fly unless, perhaps, on broomsticks!

Unpardonable pardons

Rumours float around that a monk and a murderer are to be released from prison granting them their independence from jail sentences on Independence Day or The National Day of Sri Lanka that the Fourth of February is now named. These pardons being a privilege of the President. The monk now in prison clothes is no monk but the murderer was proved beyond doubt to be thus. Gnanasara the yellow robed is to be set free as some prisoners, incarcerated for minor offences, are sent out of Welikada and such like as Sri Lanka celebrates its independence from British rule and now its national-ness. He is guilty of very many offences not just the two of abusing a woman in a courthouse and then his contempt of court which gave him the jail sentences. The President should not give him a reprieve of his sentence. He does not deserve it and giving it to him is merely a sop to the ultra Buddhist or a political move. Murderers cannot be set free at the whim of even a Prez. But it was done. Remember a woman who had caused the death of another who was believed to be a ‘deep friend’ of her political husband was pardoned by the incumbent President. Was it President Rajapaksa? This pardon was not more than 14 years ago, so it points to the Prez Cass has named. If not, pardon is begged on bended knee.

Something good and healthy;

two wonderful persons

Everest conquerors, (and that’s no small honour or feat), Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peiris are reportedly training hard to scale and stand atop a mountain in Argentina. To each his own and climbing mountains and conquering them, as is the word to use when summitting them, is these two persons’ ambition and favourite pastime. Cass had a wonderful conversation with Jayanthi and she admired her equally for her complete lack of pride and the feat she had achieved. Climbing mountains is absolutely no joke; you drain yourself of all energy and at the last moments it’s the body you think of and register its protests, not anticipation of the hurrahs and hossanahs that will be yours once you summit the mountain you are climbing. Jayanthi said that it was her Sherpa guide who goaded her on to go those last terrible steps; he feigning irritation and anger and expressing them to her. So she climbed and was the first SriLanka and one among a few women who have stood on the summit of the Top of the World. The next day she had to move from her tent to another for breakfast. She said she was so drained of strength that she actually went on all fours!

We wish them all the best for the climb and congratulate them and rejoice with them - win or lose. Never mind if they do not summit the 22,841 ft Mount Aconcagua in the Andes range they are due to climb shortly. Our blessings to them in abundance! Two Sri Lankans to be proud of!

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