Fifth Column

9th January 2000

And then what will happen?

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"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "What will happen to our government now?"

"Why, Bindu," the boy's father Percy asked, "Why should anything happen to the government?"

"Why, thaaththa, there was all this talk about a national government...."

"There is still a lot of talk about a national government...." Percy said.

"But thaaththa, how can there be a national government now?"

"Why do you say that?" Percy wanted to know.

"Why, Satellite was on television the other day, scolding all the greens...."

"But that's her hobby, isn't it?"

"Yes, but she was accusing the greens of talking to the Tigers. She said a green doctor was carrying messages from the Tigers to the green leadership...."

"Maybe she is angry that she herself could not talk to the Tigers...."

"But, thaaththa, with all these accusations against the greens, will they agree to a national government?" Bindu wanted to know.

"Not if they have any self-respect...." Percy said.

"Why do you say that?"

"Why, they say some more greens will become blue in the near future...."

"But, thaaththa," Bindu said, "I don't understand...."

"What is puzzling you?" Percy wanted to know.

"Why, Satellite first extends her hand of friendship to the Green Leader. Then she takes off to London for treatment and on her return is accusing the greens of all kinds of conspiracies...."

"Well," said Percy, "It may be that after treatment she began to see things a little better and anyway a lady is entitled to change her mind...."

"And then, despite all that she readily accepts any green who wants to cross-over....."

"And that's why she is called a politician...." Percy explained.

"But she said initially wanted to become a doctor...."

"Well, we must at least be thankful she didn't become one, shouldn't we?" Percy suggested.

"Why thaaththa?" Bindu argued. "They say she is a caring leader; she would have been a caring doctor too...."

"But just imagine a doctor who is not punctual, who doesn't listen to anyone and who changes her mind every week...."

"But thaaththa, what will she do now?"

"Well," said Percy, "in her next TV address, we might see her accusing the greens of killing Mahatma Gandhi and starting the second World War...."

"But surely, thaaththa, that is not possible...." Bindu protested. "In this game, Bindu what matters is not whether it is possible or not; what matters is whether people believe it is possible or not...."

"So, will people believe that it is possible?" Bindu queried.

"With that charming smile, Bindu, anything is possible...."

"And then what will happen, thaaththa?"

"Then maybe Satellite will win the next elections too...."

"There's nothing wrong with that, thaaththa" Bindu countered.

"Of course not," Percy said, "No one would say that...."

"Why is that, thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.

"Why, Bindu, there's an old saying, 'every country gets the government it deserves'....."

Bindu didn't argue with that.

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