Fifth Column

27th May 2001

Velu: master of surprise

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My Dear Velu,

I thought of writing to you when I heard that you were back to you familiar tactics of waging battle, ending a four-month 'ceasefire' unilaterally declared by you, claiming the lives of seventeen sailors in the process.

Of course this is nothing new to us and I suppose the next logical step is to expect a bomb to explode somewhere in Colombo, just to impress upon everyone that you still mean business, with or without a moustache!

And this time, Velu, I'm sure you will make your presence felt in no small measure because Tony Blair and his government has granted you official recognition as a terrorist organization and you will be falling short of expectations if you don't live upto your reputation.

But, Velu you must spare a thought for Satellite. Every now and again, whenever you say 'peace talks' she bites the bait and what's more she seems to genuinely believe that she can solve this issue by talking to you over tea and biscuits.

Of course, when things start to go wrong she blames everything on the past seventeen years of green rule and alleges there is a conspiracy between you and the green man. You can't blame her, can you when this 'mantra' has worked for her whenever she utters it, not because it is the truth but because her rival the green man is not a good competitor.

And Velu, you would indeed be failing in your duty if you don't show your gratitude to the green man. Whenever Satellite says 'peace talks' he says 'I will support you' only to have Satellite accuse him of conspiring with you.

Then there is the Pee Em who, along with the general provide comic relief with their periodic utterances of 'we will win the war'. Then on the other side, there are the likes of Thonda (Jnr.) and Rauf both having inherited their leaderships under unfortunate circumstances. Of course in the middle of all this there are also the likes of Seeni Bola and Avamangala who have other agendas- never mind the war!

These are the types you are doing battle with Velu and it is therefore no surprise that you have survived four presidents and lived not only to tell the tale but also to dictate terms to them.

This time of course you have a partner in that Solheim fellow whose hobby seems to be getting stuck in the Wanni without transport. Some say the poor chap is after the Nobel Prize but now, his luck seems to be running out, isn't it?

So, tell us Velu, what are your plans? We know you are a master of surprise but it doesn't take much to surprise Satellite or the green man, does it? Whatever you do, I'm sure you won't upset the applecart by ending the war!

Yours truly, Punchi Putha.

PS- By the way, the next time you influence an American journalist to do propaganda work for you, tell your cadres to be a bit more subtle. The way they handled the job this time, everyone knew who was fooling whom!

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