THE DANCE OF CRABS
By Shyamon Jayasinghe,
We have read of the dance of crabs in the Loweda Sangarawa written
a few hundred years ago. Today, we see it enacted by leaders of our
land. The motions of crabs are typically crooked; so are the ways of
our leaders. The crabs dance in a pot put to boil oblivious of the tragic
fate that awaits them. Our leaders, likewise, dance in a series of acts
that would be seen as hilarious if not for the tragedy that gathers
around them and the land.
The dance is so unmindful of realities that one wonders whether Sri
Lanka is in crisis at all. Who said there is a bloody war in Lanka that
has already killed over sixty thousand persons and maimed so many of
others? Who said there is a serious problem of kids been dragged away
forcefully from the breasts of their mothers and taught to hate and
to kill? And who said the island is threatened with dismemberment? What
one sees is not a nation in defence against death but a nation impatient
to entertain the world with the comic antics of its leaders.
Todays Daily Mirror carries an image that is symbolic of the
break down of basic delivery services in Lanka. It is a picture showing
how private bus drivers are directing traffic in many places, the police
having abnegated their responsibilities for that task. If the police
cannot police the private bus drivers, let the latter police themselves!
Perhaps less school kids will die like dogs on the highways.
Speaking of dogs, the islands bastion of freedom-the judiciary-
is now being charged with giving balu theenduwas. Suspicions
were raised when SBD, the Oppositions able campaigner had been
sent to jail with hard labour for two years and thereafter to be disfranchised
for another seven years thus disabling the latters campaigning
ability. The Supreme Court had given him the conviction for contempt
of court; but the Opposition reads more into it. The Presidents
own charge that the Judiciary and police are corrupt does not help to
liquidate the balu image, although in her case she cannot
be convicted by virtue of her immunity. Therefore, at a huge Opposition
rally, dogs were paraded, as though the judiciary were paraded. Doing
things like this, Lankas leaders are really helping to dismantle
the image of the judiciary, which amounts to national suicide. But why
bother? The dance must go on.
The Chief Justice also hits headlines in all sorts of controversies
unheard of anywhere in the world in respect of persons of such eminence.
Early into the innings of this government, we saw parliamentarians
in the highest assembly of the land surrounding a Buddhist monk MP and
trying to mutilate his genitals. The principal accused in that offence
now goes around the country gloating at his newly won doctorate. Nowhere
are doctorates cheaper than in Sri Lanka where a private self-styled
university awards them in gay abandon. By the way, a good foreign revenue
source for Lanka? The recipient now claims to be a descendent of our
classical hero, Dutugemunu. He certainly has enough brawns for a doctorate
though we are not sure that degrees of that genre are given for that
kind of endowment. One fails to understand how a private institution
can call itself a university and award degrees which is
the legal prerogative only of a university set up under
the Universitys Act.
The British thought they could establish British justice and the common
law in lands with wholly different traditions by exporting wigs and
robes and maces. See what has happened to the Speakers mace in
parliament. MPs have a go at the mace whenever they disagree with the
happenings in the assembly. The JVP took it away once, the UNP next
and the TNA took it away last. Only CBK has to do it next.
While the leader of the UNFPA government, the President, is trying
hard to negotiate peace with the Tigers, her governments principal
coalition partner, the JVP, openly opposes the idea and has in fact
told Norway, the facilitator, to quit Lanka, as our government
does not want you. Thus, what the President and one part of the
government assert, the other part negates. Not only that, the JVP leader
called the President a bibikkama!
The Sangha party in parliament, the JHU, one fine day discovered that
one of its members had been kidnapped before the election of the Speaker!
The JHU, which came to parliament in order to save Buddhism and to set
up a Dharma Rajyaya have apparently found its task a little tough. Thus,
they divert their energies with trifling matters like having a go at
the Indian concert of mega stars. Some monks had been set to fast unto
death over this serious issue; but withdrew with relief when they were
forced to do so. People had been asked by the JHU to go to temples and
meditate on Soma Hamuduruwo instead of going to the concert. However,
these sinful and ignorant multitudes opted for the concert and the party
of monks abandoned their plans to upset the party.
Not stopping at the divisions already created within us one cannot
understand what all this priority about the assertion of Buddhist rights
are. The emotion released by this campaign has already resulted in the
destruction of about a hundred churches. A few days ago, a church in
Katuwana had been torched. This kind of action makes madness. True,
the Tamils, too, are not without serious divisions- Hindus Vs Christians,
Vellala Vs low castes, and Batticaloa Vs Vanni etc. However,
the Tamil militants are smart enough to hide these divisions and concentrate
on the principal target. Nevertheless, Sinhalese people cant see
danger or smell danger. Parochialism is what matters in their camp.
Thomas Hobbes used to talk about a war of all against all.
Here are the Sinhalese engaged in a war of all against all.
In the dance of our crabs, passions are provoked and reason is taken
prisoner, like SBD. Take note everyone! Nations are rarely destroyed
from the outside. The Romans had destroyed themselves from within years
before the fall of Rome. The Weimer Republic effectively self-destructed
itself well before Hitler. Closer home, the Kandyans destroyed themselves
well before the signing of the Convention of 1818. Today, Sinhalese
are seen self-destructing themselves well before the coming fall to