Sunday, July 3, 2016

Have Sri Lanka’s Decision-Makers Taken Leave Of Their Senses?

by Emil van der Poorten
While the unprecedented thrashing that Sri Lanka took at the hands of England in a recent 50-50 game may not have been of earth-shaking significance in a world where the Farages, Le Pens, Boris Johnsons and Donald Trumps are exulting at Great Britain’s exit from the European Union, it is symptomatic of where our current government is taking us in the matter of sliding down the slippery slope of equivocation and unprincipled behaviour in dear old Silly Lanka.
Bearing more than a passing connection to the debacle at Edgbaston, is the fact that preceding that annihilation was a reported exchange between the skipper of the Sri Lankan side, Angelo Mathews, and the Chief Selector, Sanath Jayasuriya, in the matter of who should be retained on the soil of Blightly and who should be sent back to the shores of Sri Lanka.
Mathews came off second best and, while I do not know whether that fact had any significant bearing on the final outcome of the match (mismatch?) with England, it was certainly of a piece with what has recently been going on in Sri Lankan cricket.
In the matter of ‘coming events casting their shadows’, was Thilanga Sumathipala being placed in the apex position of Sri Lanka’s most popular sport.  His previous stint in this position generated an accusation that an alleged/convicted murderer made his exit from Sri Lanka (never to return?) thanks to the provision of a visa provided by the Cricket Board under blatantly false pretences. The mainstream media of this country, at a time when saying anything even vaguely critical of the Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR1) government and its minions could result in serious bodily harm, went to bat on that one and never, to my recollection, was there so much as an excuse made for this fact, leave alone an official l rebuttal.
Guess who the Maithripala Sirisena/Ranil Wickremesinghe (MR2) government re-installs in the top job in cricket?  Need I say it again? Thilanga Sumathipala!
With the return of Mr. Sumathipala, one of the first events of any import in our cricket world was the return to the limelight of another of the same ilk – Sanath Jayasuriya.
In case readers’ memories are even shorter than mine, Mr. Jayasuriya was one of the early recruits to an MR1 regime swollen with the euphoria generated by the defeat of the Prabhakaran horde. Not only did he parlay this connection into an overwhelming victory in the south under the MR1 banner, he began demanding Ministerial status under his mentor! Worse yet, one of the less well kept secrets of the time is that he had a cricket career that had certainly passed its ‘best before’ date extended on the orders of The Highest in the Land, resulting in a few more shekels in the Jayasuriya bank account at the expense of our national team carrying a ‘passenger’ on its roster.
His return to authority and eminence was recently celebrated with he and his Minister, another opportunist turncoat named Dayasiri Jayasekera, taking, seemingly, everyone including the proverbial ‘mother, father and baby duck’ in their immediate and extended families to enjoy a summer of cricket and frolic in England. The good news from that front which hardly offsets the bad is the fact that Jayasuriya did not, again as he had in the MR1 days, had the opportunity to inflict his execrable English on the helpless compelled to put up with the soundtrack of his television coverage of first-class cricket!
I have on previous occasions spoken of similar ‘logic’ that led to the likes of Rajitha Senaratne being made an official spokesperson for the Ohey Palayang government. Specifically, I did scribble something on the subject of his appointing a person who went out of his way to intimidate his subordinates into silence (and one into a complete mental breakdown if truth be told) to a position of power and authority in hospital administration that could well have been filled by any number of eminent and honourable members of the medical profession who did, in fact, observe their Hippocratic Oath.
Now, a dentist, the exercise of whose skills obviously doesn’t control what comes out of his oral orifice, pronounces in a page one banner headline that Mahinda Rajapaksa had no responsibility whatsoever for what his siblings did in the matter of fiscal rape and pillage of our resources! Pardon me, Mr. Dentist, but didn’t Mahinda Rajapaksa have control in excess of anything exercised by a feudal monarch in the matter of governance of this country and does he not, therefore, bear some responsibility, at least, for what took place under his watch?
While that kind of statement constitutes stupidity, teetering on the edge of criminality, it is simply yet another bit of ‘insurance’ being bought by yet another of the MR2 gang in the event that the MR1 horde returns to power.  Simplistic? I’m afraid not. This is basic, blatant logic, given the performance of several of the ‘insurance buyers’ at the apex of our current government, ranging from big businessmen who did very well under the previous dispensation to simple hangers-on. What other explanation can even the idiots parading as ‘political commentators’ trot out in these instances?
What we are currently observing is, to put it kindly, equivocation and a blatant surrender of principles where even the hypocrisy of pretence to good governance is being dumped in the trash can in anticipation of the return of the most repressive and violent of Royal Families.
It is becoming increasingly apparent, even to a non-believer, that divine intervention is going to be Sri Lanka’s only hope for salvation!

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