the national temper tantrum
doomsayers should be banished so should incorrigible optimists.
There was one UNF Cabinet Minister who used to go around saying
that as far as he is concerned his glass is always half full.
implication was that most listeners were pessimists and their glasses
were always half empty. When he came and threw at me this cliché
I said there is only one glass that I'm really worried about and
as far as I'm concerned this is always full.
present seems to be the season for doomsayers. Not that they can
really be blamed with the government hanging virtually by the thread
of a sari pota. All kinds of ill portents such as a rupee sliding
against a dollar are signaling the impending disaster we are being
told - and of course the peace talks too are in jeopardy.
a plague on all politicians' houses - and a whopping bubonic plague
on both their houses as far as the two major political entities
are concerned. That definitely should be first in the order of events
for the day.
also doomsayers should not fall into the familiar trap of making
their fears self-fulfilling. What needs to be struck -- to put it
albeit a little clumsily -- is a fine balance between doomsaying
and the necessity to ensure that the polity and the economy carry
the face of it, the malaise of the new government seems to be its
irresponsibility. The President has a desire to enjoy a very long
political life and all other issues are subservient to this consideration.
While this situation persists, there is of course the deteriorating
situation in the East of the country, which is generally seen as
being resultant from the Karuna factor. Doomsayers are entitled
to say at this point that the Tiger is ready, and that it is a matter
of time before it pounces.
to borrow from the ex-UNF Minister, whether your glass is half full
or not one thing needs to be conceded -- which is that the doomsayers
are half correct.
the oft forgotten point is that they are only half correct. Without
seeking to beat about the bush, it's important to bring out the
main sticking point in the tenuous peace between the LTTE and the
government, which is that the LTTE feels that the army or the government
is using Karuna to destabilize the East and weaken it.
government swears it is not the case. Mr. Mangala Samaraweera has
almost plaintively pleaded his case on this point and when Mangla
Samaraweera becomes plaintive one can say that the government is
next commander of the army Gen Shantha Kottegoda is a good man but
will his army like many armies not succumb to the pressure of taking
advantage of a split in the enemy's forces?
LTTE habitually takes advantage of the balance of power issues that
arise due to the monstrous J.R. Jayewardene constitution that is
still the supreme law of the land. The LTTE and of course all minority
parties thrive in the divisions that are encouraged by the Clauses
that have been written into the 1978 constitution. Who is to blame?
It is the Sinhala Southern polity of course for being unable to
get its house in order and for being unable to evolve a system of
government that is at least marginally respectable.
there are no tears shed on behalf of the Sri Lankan government for
this state of affairs. The international community on the other
hand has always rapped the Sri Lankan leadership on its knuckles
and said if the government cannot get its act together there will
be drastic consequences.
if that's the way the biscuit breaks, there is no point in fantasizing
that the cookie should crumble in a different way for the LTTE.
If there are schisms and divisions within the LTTE -- at least someone
is bound to take advantage of these even if it is not the Sri Lankan
government - - and the LTTE will have only itself to blame for that.
now there is an effort to blame the Sri Lankan government for the
fact that it cannot provide the glue to keep the LTTE together.
This takes the cake. The Sri Lankan government is more or less faulted
for not keeping the LTTE united; the government is also blamed for
the fact that various elements are taking advantage of the Karuna
split within the LTTE.
best however this will only be a diversionary tactic, because the
LTTE needs to heal its rift before it comes to the negotiating table
while the Sri Lankan government also can use the breather to at
least paper over its deep divisions and talk as a cohesive unit.
what's happening in the meantime is that the doomsayers are having
a field day as a result of which all the signals are being skewed.
There is the usual lack of energy in the business and investment
sector which is almost a given now with the advent of any SLFP led
while all Cassandras are perhaps well meaning, it appears they are
not contributing to untangling the knot. Their prognostications
are having the contrary effect of pushing the country deeper into
are some positives at least in the dramatic catharsis that's taking
place in the national body politic. Its being in one sense cleansed
of the fringe elements. For example the Sangha which at least sometimes
voices an obscurantist agenda has been totally demystified and deconstructed.
firebreathing entry into Parliament has resulted in making them
look a tame and ineffectual commodity. Sometimes they are exposed
for what they are.
JVP's radicalism also has a lot of the gloss taken off it. The JVP
has been forced to work as opposed to talk, and their education
is proving to be a traumatic exercise for them. But through all
of this the nation may eventually grow out of its tempestuous adolescence.