Rajpal's Column30th September 2001
JVP, and a candle for your thoughtsBy Rajpal Abeynayake
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are politicians, and no matter how important principles are, holding onto
power is more important.
I heard that one somewhere, and must say that as far as truisms go, it has a particularly familiar ring to it. Literally being in the dark, forces many people to be idle these Sri Lankan nights, and cliché though it may be, the idle mind is the devil's workshop.
Idle minds which ponder the power crisis begin to wonder that the Minister of Power and Energy's ragamuffin political tendencies, or those of his son, have more to do with this than the rains.
There is all kinds of speculation to be frank about it. There is talk that the water has been sent out of the sluice gates, that so many people are getting powerful kick-backs from the import of generators and mini thermal-plants or what have you.
Rumour is a Sri Lankan speciality, but the association of ideas about the tendencies of the Ratwattes and the current power cut are too strong to resist. The fact that it is raining cats and dogs is not helping either.
But one thing is certain. The PA government's association with not being able to do the job, and not being able to deliver the goods, has been sealed with the prolonged power cuts. When you are more or less flooded — and told that there is no power due to the lack of water, psychologically, it is the equivalent of maybe, the rhyme of the ancient Mariner, which goes something like "water everywhere, all the boards did shrink, water water everywhere – not a drop to drink.''
Sure there will be a lot of technical explanations, but that will be like telling the ancient Mariner that brackish water cannot be drunk unless a desalination plant is installed.
But then, see this. There is a government that is too jolly to deliver the goods, delivering Commissions. It is the JVP which everyone knows, which basically carried the government kicking and screaming to the vote, and delivered the Commissions to the people.
It is something like the incorrigible school dropout and black-sheep of the family who gets kicked out of school for smoking ganga, coming back to school ten years later as the school headmaster . As if the return was not spectacular enough, now the headmaster is running the school, re-introducing corporal punishment and telling the Principal that if he doesn't get his act together, he will be sacked too.
Anyway, not that this political marriage has to be made a total caricature. Some say it's a great feather in the cap for the JVP to come back and get the government to deliver the Commissions almost over the President's dead body.
But now, this bucolic scene is often rudely interrupted in my mind, perhaps due to a power cut induced process of negative thought. But, two thoughts cannot help but get all juxtaposed and mixed up in my mind. (1) Politicians are politicians, and no matter how important principles are, holding onto power is more important.(2) It's been a long time since it was confirmed that the PA is too corrupt hypocritical and inefficient to deliver the goods.
So, you tell me, the JVP's boys are too smart and too principled to think that holding onto power is more important than principles? It's a bit like saying that the bad boy who came back to school as headmaster, will go back to the pavement, if he can't get the school back in some sort of shape. But, analogies are but for the poets.
The JVP's soul is being blackened by it's association with a corrupt inept and inefficient government. Now, there are some wishful thinkers who think that the JVP is not in coalition with the PA – that it is still running the show from the opposition benches.
It's as good a simpletons argument as there was. The JVP may appear to be like the dominatrix holding the whip over a salivating Chandrika, but the fact of the matter is the JVP is doing nothing in the end but propping up and perpetuating this whole orgy. Some also think that there is no parallel between the SLFP-LSSP coalition of a different time, when the SLFP's Sirimavo Bandaranaike finally ended the orgy by consuming the dominatrix. That's even more laughable.
It's only the naive who will ignore the scenario that's unfolding right before their eyes. Last week , the JVP was willing to argue that the President should have a vote that will tilt the balance of the Constitutional Council, because if the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have a vote, it's wrong for the President much higher in the totem to be deprived of one! What did they say — power corrupts slowly, because, repeat, for politicians, no matter how important principles are, holding onto power is more important.
I know the Jathika Chinthanaya types don't like this sado-masochistic decadent Western-lifestyle sodden imagery, but at least try and take a vicarious pleasure in this. The dominatrix is now getting a few licks and heavy petting for the work done. Sooner or later — the dominatrix will be tamed. Will melt. Will end up inside Chandrika's stomach. Or will be so spent, nobody will want to stomach it.
Correction: Column 4 of page 6 of this writer's article last week "Commissions: a quantum leap or small step for Sri Lankans?'' contained a typographical error. Commissions may have their own in-built Achillie's heel, should have read as Commissions may have their own in-built Achilles heel. The error is regretted.
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