Fifth Column

19th March 2000

Perks of the top job

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My Dear Satellite,

I thought of writing to you when I heard that most people are blaming you for these bomb blasts and shoot-outs that occur regularly now. They claim that you are not doing enough except talking about peace and negotiating with the Tigers with Norway as the middleman.

Don't take any notice about these people, Satellite. They do not realise that you have now become not only the first woman Chief Executive but also the first leader of our country whose every movement outside of her house and office is fraught with danger which is why your only public appearance since the election was to present the Budget in Parliament.

Everyone else who wanted to meet you had to come all the way to Temple Trees and sometimes wait for several hours munching sandwiches until you appeared well past the appointed time!

Anyway, they must be excused because they might be a little confused with what is going on. Take for example your talks with the Green Man. There you are on day one, smiling so charmingly at the Green Man through your tinted spectacles and we the people heave a sigh of relief thinking 'thank God, these two are on talking terms again!' Then on day two you give an interview to a foreign magazine saying the Greens and the Tigers are conspiring together!

Of course, the obvious question is if they are conspiring against you, why are you talking to the Greens? And I think I know the answer. You are negotiating with the Tigers through the Greens while most people believe that Norway is the middleman!

Then Satellite, the General complicates matters further by saying that the Tigers are not banned and the people are even more confused because they believed the Tigers were banned all this time and that we were even able to convince the Indians and the Americans to ban them.

But of course, what the General was saying was that though they were banned on paper, they are moving about, forging identity cards, setting up shop in abandoned buildings right under the nose of police checkpoints and then blasting themselves to pieces, taking the lives of dozens of civilians with them!

And remember, Satellite how we were told that we have captured over ninety per cent of territory from the Tigers and only the remaining ten per cent needed to be cleaned out. Unfortunately though, the Tigers seem to have thought that a little bit of that remaining ten per cent was in that hideout along Parliament Road!

Then, Satellite, you must also excuse the people if they are confused about all these events and start blaming you because most of them get their news and views from the House by the Lake.

When I heard someone talk of a 'den of corruption' I thought they were referring to the House by the Diyawanna Lake but later I realised it was the innocent Media Man himself talking about the House by the other Lake!

Anyway, Satellite, now you will realise why all the people are angry and blaming you for all that is happening. Take no notice, it comes with the job.

Remember, first they blamed J.R. for everything and then they blamed Preme for everything. Now, it is your turn. But at least, we must thank you for letting us know even six years later that you intend to keep the Top Job and any talk about abolishing the 'bahubootha viyawasthaawa' is mere wishful thinking!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha.

PS- We heard you say in the Budget that any salary increase for public servants must be referred to a commission. But we also heard that Parliamentarians were given a big increase in their salaries and people are asking why that was not referred to a commission. But then, you can't blame politicians, can you?. They go through enough commissions anyway!

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