SL on auto pilot
By A. Pattapandige
SL is on auto pilot. It has been so for nearly 4 years. The ‘good governance’ guru and captain cajoled, enticed and fooled a nonentity to join him in 2015 as co- pilot to sail not a fishing boat but the ship of state in 2015. It was a monumental blunder and a Machiavellian stroke. He has to sink with him now.
Both had hidden agendas. Very soon they started steering the ship in different directions as it took their fancy. The crew after being decades in the wilderness, rejoiced in the confusion. They plundered and distorted the state with a vengeance. It began with the Central Bank. Lined pockets burst. Life for them was ‘like no other’, luxurious, duty free and dishonest if well cloaked. Budding terrorists had a field day. Minorities never had it so good to do anything bad. The leadership of the Opposition was given to a minority party that was outnumbered. It kowtowed with the government for enormous returns. SL became a dysfunctional state for 4 years. The people, considered fools were held in utter and absolute contempt.
Fed up to the gills the people gave their verdict at the local government elections. The government party was given a hiding. In October 2018 the co-pilot in desperation tried hijacking and fell flat on his face.
The world knew SL was heading for a cataclysmic crash but that did not bother this lot. In the land of the lotus eaters they dreamed only of American battleships and tourist arrivals and giving free visas to all and sundry including potential Arab terrorists. Apparently this helped increase revenue in a country shamelessly thriving on slave labor.
Come Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019.Two hundred and fifty three (253) innocents, mostly whole families praying at 3 churches, others breakfasting in hotels were murdered in synchronized suicide bombing attacks, all within 15 minutes. The country was bereft with grief. The world mourned. The captain’s face was expressionless. He concentrated on battening down at Temple Trees.
SL was told that prior operational intelligence giving exact details of the impending attack were known to the state beginning from 4th April. This included the names of the attackers, places targeted, date and time. Sickeningly there was absolutely no move by the state. It had been beguiled into believing security and peace which was handed over to them on a platter, was guaranteed by genuflecting to the West. Reports of brewing turbulence were humored.
‘The Prince of Paris has lost his shirt and number 2 has it’. ‘No sir, not I Sir, number 3 has it” and so it goes on in SL
SL became a funeral house. Whole families had gone missing. The sorrow ran deep and was inconsolable. The people held their breath, fearful of a backlash. Thankfully for rudderless SL, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of the Catholic Church took the lead. He alone prevented bloody mayhem as in 1983 when the ‘captain’ was a Minister.
The government and its satellite leaders went into hiding. Their only wish was for enhanced security for themselves!
The co-pilots were paralyzed. The depraved killers were all locals who were under surveillance since 2014 but had not been arrested. Minority votes and lucrative benefits mattered more than peace or national security or the lives of 21 million.
The tried and tested medical services, once again as in the conflict days, did yeoman work. About 500 seriously wounded were cared for and most were saved.
Anger built up. The chief pilot somewhat removed emotionally from the calamity, claimed lamely he was not in the loop. He remains so for all purposes.
He said, to the amazement of all including the Field Marshal that he had not been allowed into the Security Council meetings. He had not objected for 6 months. Obviously he had no intention of ever doing so. He cared nix for the security of SL. He was after tourists, Americans preferably with their battleships and demands for land corridors Instead he attracted ISIS trained and brain washed terrorists who hate the Americans.
The amendments to the constitution in 2018 made the prime minister an elected dictator. This is exactly what he wanted. Why could he not attend the Security Council meetings, the most important of all meetings for a PM? He had over turned the co- pilot’s decisions earlier whenever it suited him. . He floored the hijacker legally in October 2018. He had stood guard at Temple Trees .There were candle or fiddle stick bearers for ‘democracy in plenty for the TV cameras then. They were missing after 21/4. Had not yesterday are heroes become lepers?
The ‘captain’ looking very much a dangerous failure, now portrayed himself as an emasculated PM while his co-pilot had turned into a walking, talking, restless touring doll. Between the two, 10 years of peace for which 21,000 military men and 80,000 civilians died in 30 years, was shattered in 15 minutes. The two then spent their time babbling to escape remorseless nemesis closing in.
Having tossed the IGP and the Defence Secretary overboard, the co- pilot dreamed that he could survive. Both then declared that the terrorists were fully neutralized and the situation was completely under control. They ordered schools to be reopened. Most schools in the Capital had less than 5% attendance even after a week. The public had indubitably shown that the government had not a semblance of credibility. Encouraged however by the Opposition the children started to get back to school in bigger numbers by mid May.
Rioting of a serious nature then followed in the North Western province. The security forces remembering the Geneva betrayal were not in any hurry to face insidious charges of HR violations to bail out the government responsible for 253 deaths and dysfunction, 1983, 1989-90 and the rise of the LTTE. Curfews continue. Two innocents have died since. One stabbed by mobs and the other shot for ignoring an order to stop at a road check.
The death toll is now 255. Damages are not only physical. They may tear communities apart as never before.
It will take SL many years to come to terms with the enormity of what happened. Punishing all those responsible must be immediate to restore the confidence of the people. Justice cannot be delayed much longer.
The ‘pilots’ may believe the people will be distracted in time and forget as before. That cannot happen this time.
There has been too much tragedy and suffering due to criminal negligence. There is no escape.
Some must resign. The cabinet too must then also resign. That is collective responsibility. Command responsibility applies to all commanders, political or military, Geneva or not. Who were the political commanders?
The tragedy will not be forgotten. Those responsible for criminal negligence cannot be forgiven. SL is in despair and on the brink. It has been criminally and wickedly abused by corrupt leaders who through generations want only power and its unholy benefits.
In addition to what the law prescribes, politicians responsible should be stripped of their civic rights too. They cannot be let loose to set the stage for a holocaust. The guardians of the law must act immediately.SL will surely disintegrate if it remains on auto pilot any longer.
Some wonder what will happen to SL if both the President and the PM resign immediately and together. Since SL is not responding to them now it can’t get worse. These two and their crew are only a hindrance. In fact the public and security services have taken almost complete control and are doing a super job.
Do not forget the dead and wounded. The bells toll for us too.