Sunday, March 06, 2011

Double fatigue with “Mahintriotic” Cricket and “Eurobarking”

By Kusal Perera | The Sunday Leader

Cricket was a gentleman’s game in the past. Cricket is a businessman’s game in the present. Cricket could be politics of the fundamentalists in the future. Cricket is what’s spooned now into such racist campaigns here in Sri Lanka, with the 2011 Cricket World Cup just getting its pads on, for big time matches to come.

Government MP Sumathipala is on record, hitting out at those who may have cheered Pakistan at the first game which Sri Lanka lost by 11 runs. Sri Lankans have no choice. They have to cheer Sri Lanka and none other. Sumathipala wants all houses to fly the “Lion” flag too during the World Cup tournament, calling it a national event. There was news in mid February, of two other prominent but not necessarily popular Muslim politicians with the government, asking all Muslims to cheer Sri Lanka and not Pakistan at the World Cup matches. A chorus taken over by the mosques in Colombo on a Friday, according to loud whispers that made the rounds.

ricket is getting a new patriotic dressing by a Sinhala regime, making it different to the old “imperialist game” of the British. Cricket is being turned into a political staple, garnished with Sinhala patriotism and served as a salad of “Mahintriotism” that makes everything taste conspiratorial and ghostly.

It is right therefore to assume that Pakistan won the match even by that tiny, hard fought margin, due to a conspiracy that had 18,000 dollars packed in a State employed laundryman’s fantasy, scripted for the State owned and controlled, ITN. Neither Abeysundera nor ITN thus have any reason to apologise to Mahela and Thilan or to Pakistan, for belittling their keenly contested win or to Asif Ali Zardari who wanted ten large bulls donated to the Rajapaksa government as a token of friendship.

Mahintriotism is therefore a right to accuse any, with no responsibility in proving the accusation(s). Its the responsibility of the “accused” to steer clear of further damage. That’s what the war against “Tamil separatism” was fought for. To give the Rajapaksa regime, the unquestionable power to do as it pleases. With brutal State repression, continuously endorsed by Sinhala votes.

The Sinhala supremacy has to be preserved, nurtured and carried forward and needs barbarians stopped at the gates of the “kingdom”. The barbarians come in many assorted forms. As the LTTE through the Diaspora. As external and internal enemies supporting the regrouping of the LTTE. As federalists who still believe in power sharing as a political solution. As democrats who opposed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and talk of de-militarising of society. As media that criticises the government. And now as unpatriotic Muslims, who cheer Pakistan and as conspirators who team up to fix games against Sri Lanka.

Tomorrow there has to be another barbarian at the gate. How else can Mahintriotism keep this regime in power? But there are big time, covert allies too who help, apart from Selvarasa Pathmanathan and his Tamil Diaspora.

he slow tune of “Eurobarking”

During the weekends, crowds swell at the main gate of the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens. Not because the zoo has new and rare species on exhibition. But, because it is a place where those who want to spend some time among an assorted collection of fauna could do so, then get back home and tell others about what they saw. Often the stories sound good, because any other interpretation or insight, would diminish the visit.

Visitors don’t differ much. We have had some during the past few months. They visited, collected information and then informed the media about the good that they saw. Purpose of visit, achieved. Visitors have seen and heard of rehabilitation, about democracy and human rights, post war reconciliation, development and also the affected people, most of them getting back to normal life.

A team of Members of the European Parliament were the latest. They’ve also made their observations to the media; on housing in the affected areas, “there is progress being made….”, on development planning, “there has been some thorough thinking about issues of water supply, power generation, a whole set of issues, even looking at funding sources for these projects”, on the military presence, which is always a concern in post war situations, “there is the commitment that the military will pull back from civil society duties, and it is the duty of parliament and the government to ensure that this happens”.

They also explained that it is a common feature in countries having long-term detainees where they are not being charged and have no idea if they will ever be charged. ‘‘This is an area of concern,” they said. Well, the MEPs should not forget that human rights had been discussed in the European parliament. But they said, “……in a post-war situation, certainty of the rationale for those practices disappears.” So, if emergency regulations are “continuously under review, then that is very positive for the citizens of Sri Lanka.”

This government now stands completely bailed out. “…..there will be a time-lag even with the best government in the world between planning and implementation”, is no small certification. Praise from none other than the Head of the EU Parliamentary Delegation, Ms. Jean Lambert, a Greens member from the UK, who visited Sri Lanka from February 22 to 26.

Did anyone in Colombo ask her, “Ma’am, can we now have our GSP ‘Plus’ back from the EU?” In fact, Minister Samarasinghe could have made that request while defending Sri Lanka’s human rights record in Geneva last week, quoting MEP, Ms. Lambert for certification.

A certification that justified the government’s performance by ignoring the continued Emergency Rule used against opposition protests, serious allegations of death and abduction in the North, illegal registration of persons by security forces in Jaffna, over 146,000 persons unaccounted for since the conclusion of the war as raised at the LLRC by the Bishop of Mannar, allegations of “Sinhalisation” of Tamil areas as raised at the LLRC by the Bishop of Mannar, the undeclared number of supposed ex-combatants detained with no details given, total negligence in concluding independent investigations on extra judicial killings and abductions, heavy militarization of civil administration and the diplomatic service, the lack of judicial procedures which in turn provides for impunity, refusal to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution in full thus violating the Constitution, repression of FTZ workers and the BOI and Labour Department staying silent, refusal to allow workers in BOI approved projects to have their choice of unions and the right to collective bargaining as stipulated in ILO Conventions 87 and 98, creating “sweat shops”, the eviction of thousands of long term Colombo city dwellers with no clear and publicly announced compensation package and with no right allowed to protest and negotiate their status, mega sale/lease of public property in Colombo city with no details of any development plans and budgets, mega construction carried out ignoring regulatory laws and tender procedures and in violation of the National Environment Act No. 58 of 1988 that requires feasibility reports/evaluations to be provided for public consultation.

This is an incomplete list which the EU may chose to leave aside so that the Rajapaksa regime can engage in trade discussions with them. The most recent statement that this government would not want GSP ‘Plus’ renegotiated, often means just that. Its Mahintriotic cricket with a slow tune of Eurobarking, for the cavalry to trek along, for now.

© The Sunday Leader

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