Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Foot-in-the-Mouth Disease: Hallmark of the Rajapaksa Administration

If not the grandstanding and the often mutually exclusive rhetoric thrown about prior to the Presidential elections didn't make you giggle, I am pretty sure that the recent developments in the Rajapaksa-administration sure does. If it has not, maybe you need some giggle-juice courtesy Wimal Weerawansa.

Let's take a look at the recent "eviction" saga and everything else that followed.
  1. People were rounded up and sent packing to the north, resulting a huge outcry from various groups.
  2. When questioned in Parliament, defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella says that the people left "voluntarily," and that there was no "eviction."
  3. Supreme Court inter intervenes and stops the whole exercise.
  4. As criticism mounts, President Rajapaksa no less says that the action was wrong, ordering an investigation into finding out who was responsible for initiating such a plan.
  5. Next, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake expresses deep regret and said it should not have ever happened in the first place. Also finds fault with the police for not checking with the people involved whether they in fact wanted to go or not.
  6. The Sunday Leader exposes that the whole exercise was the idea of defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, publishing the official memo of the police.
  7. Gotabhaya defends the whole exercise saying that "anything is fair" when fighting the LTTE. In the same interview with BBC & Reuters, the defense secretary says -- "Without understanding the problem, they are trying to bully us, and we won't be isolated. We have all the SAARC countries, the Asian countries," he added. "Britain or Western countries, EU countries, they can do whatever. We don't depend on them."
  8. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, the chief government whip then makes a statement opposing the statement of the Prime Minister, saying it was uncalled for and that it affects the moral of the security forces.

That's where things stand at the time of drafting this post. The question that of course pleads an answer in such circumstances is what is the government actually saying? Here we have a situation where four top officials saying essentially four different things.

would like to know what Asian countries are specifically "with us -- no questions asked." It might do a world of good for the good secretary to realize that India was thoroughly annoyed with this eviction issue, with the PM of India even saying that he "hopes better sense will prevail" (story) in Colombo. Surely, he has also not forgotten the concerns expressed by India regarding the ongoing military operations and the need for "meaningful devolution of power." Also, wasn't there some Indian chap saying something about how Sri Lanka should not be shopping for arms in Pakistan and China?

What about Japan then? They are not so gung-ho about everything in Sri Lanka either, with the continuous aid only because of the long-standing friendship and goodwill between the two countries (thanks, JR!). However, even Japan in giving aid reasoned that they do not want the people to pay for the bungling of government.

Hypocrisy of the West or not, I don't think the defense secretary telling them off and banking a 100% on Asian-support is a good path to tread. For if not anything else, he's got to go back "home" to California, right? And I'm sure he wouldn't want to be evicted out of his home in California just because the Sheriff in town thinks he's got "no business" being there.

In conclusion, I think what we are left with at the end of the day is a government that lost at sea with no wind on its sails. While the empty rhetoric and grandstanding might attract a whistle or two from the gallery, the lack of strategy and a holistic view and appreciation of international relations has sunk Sri Lanka to the lowest ebb since the riots of the 80's, undoing in the process the hard work of people such as Lakshman Kadirgamar.

1 comment:

Komisiripala said...

another joke, funny or not; i saw some story that certain elements in GoSL are interested in pushing Karu as PM and to force Wickramanayake out (he is of course, part of the old Chandrika guard - the only one left standing?).

jokes aside, this ill-conceived plan to get rid of suicide bombers have played right into the LTTE hands. mark my words, if these trends, including the arbitrary abductions (covert ops - lol), continue, not just moderates, regular people who are only trying find security for themselves will turn to violence or worse, join/support the LTTE. a precedent for this type of governing culminating in the vicotry of the rebels took place in Sierra Leone.

i figure that gota, when he read the leader report, had the same feeling that you get when you know you just got busted for speeding by a cop.