The Fifth Column

19th October 1997

Yes President

My Dear Satellite,

I thought of writing to you even though I know this must have been a hectic week for you, what with bombs exploding a stone’s throw away from your office.

It was only a few weeks ago that all the security people were jubilant about discovering a plan to blast the Ratmalana Airport. Well, last Wednesday reversed all that, reminding us of the truth of Margaret Thatcher’s words about terrorists: “We have to succeed always; they have to succeed only once”

But, Satellite, what made the attack so different was unlike past bomb blasts, where everything was over when the bomb exploded, on Wednesday there was a Chicago-style drama on the streets with the climax being a gun battle at Lake House.

We did see Dharme, poor chap, tying to be brave but even he must know that tourism will take a nose-dive after this episode.

Now, all this has made people blame you, wagging their fingers, saying “I told you so” about your ‘package’ and the now notorious ‘thavalama’.

Of course, right thinking people should realise the package won’t become ‘good’ or ‘bad’ just because a bomb explodes in Colombo.

But I think you should also realise a bomb at this stage tells us that Mr. P is never going to be interested in your package, whatever form it takes.

So, I think it is time to tell your Uncle General to get on with the job without giving us a deadline every now and then which is as good as your promises about bread for three fifty. I know that it is easier said than done, but of late everybody seems to be dragging their feet about that.

Now, about the package itself, we saw on TV how all your MPs went to the BMICH and raised their hands in support of it. Di Moo made a brave attempt to show everything was well, when we all know what his true feelings on the issue are. Anyway, Satellite, that whole exercise reminded us of how Preme got MPs, to sit with him on the steps of the Parliament during the Impeachment crisis!

Anyway, Satellite take care. You can never be too careful. So, who knows, we may even excuse you being late an hour or two!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

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