On the broken road to nowhere

Martin Luther King once said that “history will have to record that the greatest tragedy was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people”. This may be as equally applicable to modern day Sri Lanka, as it was to the 1960s civil rights driven America.

Today, as Sri Lankans hear of daily tragedies, one can but ask the simple question of our once blessed island, could things get worse than this? Bombs, political assassinations, media intimidation, human rights violations, blatant corruption and, not to mention, the skyrocketing cost of living, for the average Sri Lankan citizen that is. Well, Sri Lankans have seen it all in the recent few weeks. Worse yet, we have seen the depths to which this beautiful country could descend to, if not the good people rise in her defence.

The last couple of weeks have displayed that there could be little expected from this administration to make things better for the average citizen. The New Year gift to the masses was the near profane increase in essentials, including gas and flour. This was while pro-government nationalists’ elements such as the National Movement Against Terrorism and some Ministers in the administration itself, encouraged the masses to eat bagiri or bird feed, to ensure the long awaited military victory. This was while members of the jumbo cabinet and their extended families were wining and dining on the tax payers’ account – most of them overseas for their Christmas vacation.

On the first of January, UNP MP T. Maheswaran was brutally killed at a temple in Kotahena. The UNP MP joined a long list of Tamil leaders who will be added to the ‘unresolved murder’ category. Despite Maheswaran’s assassin being a former member of the Ministerial Security Division attached to a leader of a Tamil party in government, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama claimed yesterday that he has no doubt that the killing was the work of the LTTE. In one of his occasional press conferences, while on holiday in Sri Lanka, Bogollagama claimed that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) investigation had led to that conclusion, even though it has been just three days since the assassination. With the IGP himself expressing the same opinion, it is anyone’s guess what the Sherlocks at the CID would say in their report; that is of course if there is such a report.

At least the masses were treated to some entertainment this holiday season by the State television no less, when the government’s pet monster Mervyn Silva tried to assault the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation’s (SLRC) News Editor. The incident demonstrated that it is not only the public, but even those who are supposed to be the lackeys of this administration, are having their patience tested with the antics of some of the regime’s seemingly indispensable elements. Not surprisingly, little has been done against the perpetrators of that ugly scene, including the all powerful Minister from Beliatta. However, the CID is now hounding SLRC employees involved in the incident.

Justice from the top was, however, more swift on SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill, for allegedly not providing the presidential entourage a massive number of seats onboard the national carrier. The Emirates appointed CEO was denied his working permit in the country, while Mervyn Silva, who stormed SLRC with notorious criminals, is yet to get even a warning from his Party.

Every school child is taught about Sri Lanka’s strategic location at the centre of the Indian Ocean and its immense potential of being a regional trading hub. Yet, for decades, our island has failed time and time again, to realise that potential to take itself one notch up in the global pecking order. Though every parent hopes for a better future for their children, as every generation is expected to live a better life than their predecessors, Sri Lankans have not seen anything but our beautiful country taking a broken road to nowhere. While a handful of goons and political loyalists have been accumulating unimaginable wealth and power, the average citizen has seen their aspirations of a better tomorrow dashed time and again.

With political leaders failing to deliver justice and all hope of a better future now in shatters, in this coming year, we Sri Lankans might well pray for divine intervention to save this country from her leaders.