Fifth Column

18th February 2001

It is a long way despite short memories

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My Dear Green Man,

I thought of writing to you when I realised that you must be resting at home now, relaxing after that Jana Bala Meheyuma of yours, where you walked a few miles and travelled the rest in a vehicle.

I heard that everyone is rushing to congratulate Athoo on the success of the Meheyuma, but I don't quite agree with that, Green Man. If the march was supposed to show the people that the Unanduwak Nethi Pakshaya was still alive then may be it was a success.

But, if it was targeted at bringing the government to its knees, then it was not that much of an event, was it, Green Man? After all, most Sri Lankans have short memories and anyway with the English cricket team here, they will soon forget all about your Meheyuma, regardless of the rising cost of living.

And, the organisers of the Meheyuma must take part of that blame too, Green Man because the march did not resemble a protest march at all. Those who participated seemed to be very happy, regardless of the cost of living- singing and dancing and making merry!

You would have been a young man then, Green Man, but do you recall the protests organised by your uncle? Those were satyagrahas and the protestors all wore white and staged a decent, peaceful protest- no four-piece bands and no baila to make the whole thing look like a cycle parade before the big match!

Then, Green Man, there was the lady who was dressed up like Satellite who wore that eye patch. I don't know whose bright idea that was, Green Man, but that was in bad taste. As you know, the state media made a big hue and cry about it and accused you of trying to insult Satellite and you got a lot of bad publicity.

The other thing you ought to know, Green Man, is that when you appear in public all your movements are being observed by someone or the other. That is how that picture of yours, drinking Thembili with a straw came to be splashed on the front pages!

Well, Green Man, I agree it is better to drink Thembili with a straw rather than spilling it all over your clothing, but it just that type of thing which the media will use to tell the people that here is a man who cannot drink Thembili without a straw and you lose a few points there too!

Anyway, Green Man, the latest we heard from your camp is that you have withdrawn the election petition against Satellite. I know Athoo gave some complicated legal reasons as to why it was done, but I assure you most people are confused.

After all, if the election was rigged, why should you withdraw the election petition on a legal issue? At least for publicity purposes, you should keep it going. Or is it that the Unanduwak Nethi Pakshaya is now giving up without a fight?

So, Green Man it looks as if it is still a long way ahead for your party, despite your trek from Kandy to Colombo. This is after all, Sri Lanka where memories are short and a century from Sanath will matter more for the people than the Jana Bala Meheyuma!

Yours Truly,

Punchi Putha.

P S- By the way, now that Britain is about to announce whether the Tigers are to be banned in UK or not, everyone wants you to know what your views are, especially when Kadi is sticking his neck out and calling for a ban.

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