The Fifth Column

28th April 1996

Broken Promises

"Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "Why did they raise the price of bread?"

"They say it is because they cannot afford to sell bread at a low price," Bindu's father Percy said.

"But I thought they promised to sell bread at three fifty..."

"That was nearly two years ago, Bindu..."

"But a promise is a promise, Thaaththa," Bindu argued.

"Not in politics Bindu," Percy said.

"Why do you say that?"

"See, they promised never to postpone elections..."

"And they have postponed Local Government elections...."

"And they promised not to use the Emergency, unless it was absolutely necessary...."

"And now they have imposed an emergency...."

"And they promised a free press..."

"And now they have imposed a censorship again...."

"And Thondaman promised not to create trouble in the estates with this government...."

"And he has launched a strike once again..."

"And Srimani promised to co-operate with the government on all issues....."

"And she is not agreeing with the Devolution Package...."

"And they promised to abolish the Executive Presidency..."

"And that is continuing to this day....."

"And the General promised that the war will be over before the New Year..."

"And a new war has only just started...."

"And they promised to eliminate thuggery in politics...."

"And there was so much thuggery recently in Anamaduwa....."

"And the Electricity Board promised us there would be enough electricity...."

"And now there are power cuts..."

"And the President and the Leader of the Opposition promised us they would have a live debate...."

"Ah", said Bindu," but there is still time for them to keep to that promise...."

"I don't think so," Percy said.

"Why do you say that, Thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.

"I don't think either of them wants a debate, anyway. That is why both of them are debating now on the procedures of the debate..."

"But now, Ranil has issued a challenge and the President is sure to accept it...."

"Then, it won't be a live debate...," Percy argued.


"Why, if one of them talks about the military what will happen? All news about the military is censored now....." Percy pointed out.

"Ah," Bindu said, "If there is a will to avoid an issue then there is a way....," Percy agreed.

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