Fifth Column

11th June 2000

Of dwindling power and up-coming elections

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My dear Satellite,

I thought of writing to you after seeing you on television on Wednesday, commemorating War Heroes' Day. It was nice to see you out in the open after a long time- even if it was only at the Presidential Secretariat. And of course, it was really nice to see you right on time!

Anyway, Satellite, why I wanted to write to you was to tell you that people are asking all kinds of questions, especially after what happened at Ratmalana the same day, with poor Clement and twenty-two others being the victims. Clement was one of the better chaps in your team, with his booming voice and sense of humour- but then, they do pick on the better ones, don't they? They wouldn't, for instance, waste their suicide kits on someone like Seeni Bola, would they?

But what people want to know now is what you are planning to do about all this, Satellite. All we hear from you is about 'Saama Kathaa' with the compliments of Norway- with even India and America joining in.

And while you describe yourself as an eternal optimist and talk of bringing Velu to the negotiating table, he is happily eliminating all our potential leaders, one at a time. Remember, Satellite, he began with the greens and eliminated all the top green leaders and it is little wonder that the greens are a weak lot now.

And now, Velu seems to have begun with the Blues. He did try once before to eliminate Simenthipala when he was touring Jaffna but I think that was more of a message not to mess around in Jaffna, rather than because he was thinking of Simenthipala as a potential leader! But now, Velu seems to becoming serious, with Clement being the first victim.

So, Satellite, regardless of what other countries say, is there any point in having anymore 'Saama Kathaa' with this man? Whenever a bomb explodes and so many innocent people die, what do all these countries- Britain and Canada, for instance- do? They just issue a statement condemning the incident but Velu's boys are happily collecting money and running their offices in those countries which do nothing about what is going on under their noses. So, do you really need to consider what these countries say seriously?

So, Satellite, a lot of people now think that the time has come to abandon this 'saama kathaa' nonsense with Velu. Of course you should tell the Professor to go ahead with his complicated package to give more power to the people, to ensure that all the communities are treated equally and without discrimination.

But you must not confuse that with talking peace with Velu. That man understands only one language and you- having lost the vision of one eye because of him- know what that language is, don't you?

Anyway, Satellite, we also know that the elections are around the corner and that you will be thinking about that too- you have to, after all. But we will be grateful if you don't use the war as an election gimmick especially since most people are a little annoyed with you after you increased the prices of gas, electricity and telephones this month.

But of course, Satellite, no matter who wins in the next elections you will be at the top, thanks to the constitution of JRJ! And even if the greens get a higher number of MPs into the House, you could always win them over by offering them a no-good cabinet portfolio!

So, Satellite, think about these matters. We are waiting for the day when you will announce that there will be no more 'Saama Kathaa' with Velu. And I'll tell you one little secret- that's one sure way to win the next election!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha.

PS - If you are not really convinced about this, Satellite, read the 'Asiaweek' poll about the fifty most powerful people in Asia. Velu is ranked 48th and you are ranked 49th! Does it mean that he wields more power than you do? And you were ranked 40th in 1998 and 43rd in 1999 and Velu was not even on the list then. Do we see a trend here, Satellite? It's not good for you if people get to know this kind of thing, so how about censoring 'Asiaweek', Satellite?

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