are two countries, but where are they?
In the new rendition Romeo and Juliet, the Capulets give their son
Romeo a deadline. He has to not just call off any liaison with Juliet,
if he does not produce her corpse before the 15th of June midnight,
they will quit as his parents.
JVP wanted the President not merely to have nothing to do with the
idea of a tsunami mechanism with the LTTE. They also wanted the
P-TOMS in corpse form. They wanted her to say the idea is dead before
it was born.
brought out the Red Adiar in Chandrika. She decked herself up in
fire-fighter crimson, wore a bulging pendant and tore into the innards
of the JVP political machine -- which is now sans ministerial seats
and sans their pliant media.
was a thorough one-woman show, to the greatest extent at least up
until Amunugma and Maithripala Sirisena gave some side support as
relief firemen with extremely low-pressure hosepipes…..
What would have been an almost boring administrative exercise, has
been now made into an epic political showdown that will determine
which forces are winning: the liberal international backed forces
of appeasement, or the nationalist fringe of political wannabes
ie: hyper nationalists on the make.
Cecille B. De mille gravitas, the newspapers have already cast the
show as a national watershed event. The issue will define the future
of Sri Lanka, they say, and it will decide not just who leads the
country next (…the Walauwwa Bandaranaikes or the party apparatchiks
of the Red and angry left..) but also into which exact slot the
country will fall (…failing-state doing a frenzied last-stand
against the international agent provocateurs and their proxies the
Liberation Tigers, or a country with a half chance as an economic
force which is nevertheless running the risk of being divided and
ruled under the diktat of foreign powers and their agents.)
show after the JVP quit her alliance gave the JVP a window from
which to assess its future. Somanwansa Amarasinghe wants Chandrika
Kumaratunge like he wants a rash on his face. He left an opening
for her in his speech however, when he said ‘’its not
the last alliance that the JVP will have with the SLFP.’’
lambasted the JVP, and then she crept half through that opening,
when she said “we want them to come back.’’ Its
difficult to see such a robust President fade out of the limelight,
taking all her Wallauwa like semi-cute people friendly public relations
smarts with her to retirement in some foggy quarter at the bottom
of London’s roadmap.
This is the JVP’s biggest worry also: will she or won’t
she really truly quit?
week in this space this writer mused that none of the major actors
in this drama are poised to really truly quit. Many of the openings
that they have left for a future reconciliation seem to confirm
this situation. How is this as a love spat, a tentative separation
-- there is no decree nisi granted on this divorce?
Kunmatunge’s constitutional maneuverings have been forestalled
because even the one person who would swear by them Jayampathy Wickremeratne
seems to have told her that the only way she can constitutionally
maneuver herself into remaining in power is if she becomes Imelda
Marcos and throws all democratic nicety into the dustpan, and takes
to wearing too many shoes for her own good – one pair each
day to boot out her opponents.
in a country in which the next potential candidates for power are
candle flames in contrast to Chandrika’s solar powered charisma-quotient,
is it likely that a healthy robust and sanguine -- and I daresay
still physically pleasant leader (I take a bow here to the Sunday
Leader’s sub-Editors who insist on publishing her bad-hair-day
photographs…) will pass on the mantle to a less than mediocre
successor who is bound to reverse her legacy -- whatever her legacy
more likely that Kumaratunga will position herself as Lee Kwan Yew
like elder statesperson, who works the levers of power through a
puppet of the political supporting-actor variety such as Rathnasiri
Rajapakse or even Dilan Perera??
seems to have a personal stake in doing that. Some others will think
that the country has a personal stake in making her do that.
The political establishment feels that the JVP having staked their
claim to power and got in the door in the manner of the barbarians
who breached the outer wall, and are now positioning themselves
for that last vault into becoming the paramount political force
in the country.
they feel is the end of the country. When this writer asked Somawansa
Amarasinghe “there is a view that the JVP is contributing
to one of the worse economic slumps in the country with its pre
emptive destabilizing political tactics,’’ and fobbed
off the questions with the line “Kawada mewatta wagakiyanne’’
a titter ran through the room, and Amarasinghe self consciously
smirked and tentatively replied “if this document is signed,
we have to talk of the economies of two countries.’’
the South seems more worried about the two countries within the
one country that’s the South of Sri Lanka – the one
led by the forces of the working class and peasantry who are knocking
at the door of power and are hoping to overhaul the elite led political
culture that has been the dominant instrument of governance in this
country since even before independence.
when writers frame the discourse for you today in terms of “this
is her most important political decision - - whether she is going
to oppose the obscurantist forces within her own party and open
a channel to the impossible LTTE’’ what they are in
fact thinking without saying it out loud is “will she beat
these JVP hicks who are trying to upset the applecart and take our
comfortable realties down with them?’’
analysts will perhaps say that there is nothing wrong with yearning
for some of those comfortable realities. Compromising to the diktat
of foreign provocateurs and their proxies the LTTE, sometimes, is
expedient. But, they will ask -- is expediency always a bad word?
Certain compromises, such as the tsunami mechanism with the LTTE,
the political establishment feels, is going to buy the country stability,
and economic survival. In crude terms, this is the ability to live
to fight another day - - or even more cynically put, to live to
run another day. …
feel the JVP is ham-handedly and with hick’s finesse trying
to upset this last chance. They see Chandrika Bandaranaike, however
unlikely she is to aspire to that position, as the Mahathir or Yew
like elder-statesperson, who can effectively countervail these forces
- - even in semi-retirement, by pulling considerable strings from
somewhere behind her embroidered and retired sari pota.
want Red Adiar Chandrika in other words and not so much a walrus
mustachioed pretender successor who hated those JVP hicks and now
wants to compromise with them. At least they have excited themselves,
by seeing the discourse framed in these terms - - this is the un-stated
reality for a good section of the viable political elite.