Suicidal sycophants - a new trend in this country


Mervin Silva

To die for one’s country, or for an equally noble cause, is indeed praiseworthy. Throughout history, men and women have died fighting heroically defending their motherland. Such gallant men and women are remembered as heroes.

The closest that we have seen to dying in action, albeit remote is 'fasting unto death' resulting in actual death. Such cases have been rare in the world; and the few who had died are remembered. In our own country many ‘cardboard heroes’ have started ‘death fasts’ with much fanfare but given them up sipping orange juice offered by a VIP in the full gaze of television cameras. Photographers have captured some of these 'fasting heroes' lying down on mattresses under protective canopies with a fan close by and even biscuits and fizzy drinks within their reach!

But to actually commit suicide for the sake of the country, the defence of the President or for any other cause, is indeed a brilliant new concept worthy of attention and praise. Unlike 'fasting unto death' suicide is swift and final. One cannot bluff other than by shooting himself with a blank cartridge!

If they chose to self-immolate or electrocute themselves, the entire nation will mourn the deaths of such patriotic sons of the country. They certainly will find a special place in the country's history.

Criminologists, sociologists, psychologists, etc., have, from time immemorial, tried to ascertain the causes for suicide. Although hundreds of reasons have surfaced, there is not a single instance, in world history, where a man or a group has committed suicide for the sake of the country or in the defence of the honour of another human, king or commoner. The suicide bomber is different. Suicide bombers need to be trained. They have to move about unidentified and kill by explosives attached to their bodies, targeting groups or individuals, and killing themselves in the process. In this respect, if the 'suicide training' programme of Dr. Silva does, in fact, end up in the trained 'Kelaniya Kids' committing suicide, it will undoubtedly be a unique event in history.

As for the Minister's unique project, one wonders whether it is possible to train people to commit suicide. Brain washing, as in the case of suicide cults, is, of course, a possibility. But the 'Kelaniya Kids' do not appear to be a suicide cult. In the US, there have been mass suicide by cults. One wonders whether we are beginning to see such a trend in this blessed country.

Furthermore, training men and women to commit suicide must surely be having legal implications. I trust a competent legal mind will provide some clarifications and insights into the legal aspects, promoting and encouraging suicide.

The most baffling and mind-boggling question is: 'How does one train a person to commit suicide?' There are numerous ways of committing suicide. Out of these, a potential suicide will like to select the easiest, least painful and the swiftest way to die. But the fact is that most suicides are triggered by sudden impulses; and the subject chooses the available method. Hence in agricultural communities the use of pesticides for suicide is common.

But this special group being trained at Kelaniya, needs not look beyond the method that was successfully resorted to by the LTTE for over three decades––the Cyanide Capsule. The hitch is that Cyanide sold surreptitiously could be adulterated like most other commodities sold in this country today. As the leader, Dr. Silva must demonstrate to his followers that the cyanide is genuine by tasting it! Even if the capsules are absolutely reliable, he needs to be exemplary and bite a capsule first.

As the editor of The Island has pointed out in his editorial, loaded with pungent satire, Minister Silva has bounced back with a bang and crept back into the palace again. Let’s all hope that the straight talking Minister Rajitha Senaratne and the determined DIG Anurna Senanayake will not relent, necessitating the shifting of the fish market to Police Headquarters. Amazing indeed, this country starved of circuses and clowns continues to be entertained by state paid toadies whose antics become funnier by the day.

Let's hope and pray that this never-ending comical behaviour of the fortunate band of sycophants will not drive our much loved President to suicide!

Edward Gunawardena

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