"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest"- Confucious
rapidly approach the half-a-century mark on my birthday calendar I have a
choice of three ways to sum up my life;
so I opt for the third “......and third by experience, which is the bitterest". Like those of my generation thirty
of fifty years I have known only war, bloodshed and communal hatred. Shortly
before that my school classmates and I were ripped apart and shoved into
compartments labeled the Sinhala, Tamil and English stream. Somewhere during
this time my mother kept complaining about bread queues, kerosene smelling
fabric and everything being rationed. I also recall my parents having to pull
strings, grease palms and creep through back doors to obtain the requirements
of my annual school book-lists. I had no toys (I still envy those kids today)
so I ended up loving books instead,
which was a good thing; but I still
would have loved to have had a few toys.
That more or less sums up my fifty
years as a Sri Lankan and I’m still looking for the much-trumpeted but evasive
Miracle Sri Lanka! I envy those who lived before me in the not-so-miraculous days
of our country. It had to be better than this. So in my eternal quest to
discover the miracle I have returned to fables that I loved so much as a child!
a time there was a God called Democracy who also overlooked our country. This
was a time when we were governed by Men and Women of Letters who ruled
according to the teachings of God Democracy. These rulers had one powerful
weapon to govern with- the common ‘Word’.
Word was understood and respected by all, not only the rulers. For Word
had the power to reward as well as to punish or correct with no bloodletting or
broken bones. Law and order prevailed as all feared and revered Word.
This was a time when Word also
entertained, intoxicated, enlightened, educated etc., and God Democracy had
given us the freedom of expression to use Word be it written or spoken without
fear, whatever one’s views. This was also a time when guns were used, but for
sport and at ceremonial events. And
Kelaniya was a sacred city to which people flocked in large numbers, and not
the Capital of the underworld where drug dealers, murders, rapists et al are manufactured in large numbers.
Word, were ‘Siblings Language’ named Sinhala and Tamil who got along well,
worshipped God Democracy and respected Word. Of course Siblings Language had
minor skirmishes from time to time like in any healthy family with one feeling
superior to the other.
Somewhere down the line Men and
Women of Letters got their letters in a twist resulting in Siblings Language
taking precedence over Word. Men and Women of Letters then made the first faux pas by taking sides. Thereafter
came the expected polarization with Word in the minority understood and
regarded by few and Siblings Language at opposite ends.
By now God Democracy was beginning
to look more and more like a wallflower displayed whenever required for
International Consumption and thereafter shoved back out of sight. Mayhem was
now tapping on the door of the land God Democracy was supposed to overlook.
Word had lost power it once enjoyed and SiblingsLanguage were preaching to their followers in their vernacular not
understood by the other, save a few.
Into this tragic sequence along
came ‘Satan Racism’ smelling blood! He had come to stay put and the peaceful
country that God Democracy had once overseen was soon to become a lost
civilization. With the destruction of the country as a peaceful one foremost in
his mind, Satan Racism’s master plan was to eliminate all Men and Women of
Letters who posed a threat to his objective - to create a breed of blundering
idiots in the country who would finally destroy each other.
With both camps of Siblings
Language now being educated in their vernacular and following ideologies
detrimental to each other Satan Racism’s master plan was further boosted and
took root in the land.To jazz up the scene with
fireworks, Satan Racism then created an army of buffoons to abide by his laws.
This army came in all shapes, colours and sizes belonging to both camps of
Siblings Language. The gun was no longer used only for sport and at ceremonial
events but to maim and kill one’s opponent. The once mighty ‘Word’ was replaced
by the gun!
With God Democracy now relegated
to the Outhouse there entered on the scene ‘Clown Idiocracy’!
Before long the dregs of society embracing
Clown Idiocracy entered the once sacred precincts of politics. This was
obviously to result in a government of idiots, by the idiots, for the idiots
such as what is felt and seen today.
However it appears that Men and
Women of Letters are not a totally extinct species although in the minority.
Word is still their master and God Democracy is still worshiped by some.
Through such columns such as these and others, we see and hear such men and
women rumbling, grumbling and complaining to each other with views and opinions
thrown in for good measure. But then for whose benefit? If it is meant to stir the
conscience of the Idiocracy which has no understanding of Word it would be akin
to casting pearls before swine.
Would then these Men and Women of
Letters and remote-control intellectuals be willing to come forward and take on
the system of Idiocracy presently running/ruining the country? Do they think
that by writing columns the system will fall? Or do they think by writing
columns others might take note and do something about it? I really wonder.
So I believe the sole purpose
these columns serve is to provide a platform to vent frustrations as we stick
our heads in the sand and make ourselves believe our hands are tied.
Find a way Oh Men and Women of
Letters and remote-control intellectuals and we shall follow you!