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Mangled Monitor

Now that the LTTE has fired volleys at a vessel with truce monitors on board, and followed that up with a finger wagging warning to the SLMM, the Norwegians could get out of bed one of these fine mornings, and realize that the LTTE represents the forces of freshly brewed anarchy.

It took Norway an eon to come to that realization perhaps, but at least it's clear now that the Nordic pantomime in this country always had a quantity of theatre borrowed from the absurd.

Norway covered for the LTTE as if for a sibling conjoined at the hip, but this cohabitation between Siamese twins is never easy. Eventually, the habits of one would become intolerable to another, and one Siamese twin is bound to decree that they be separated even at peril of joint fatality, with a swift surgical incision.

Nothing could have been more representative of the LTTE's current pose of belligerence than the warning issued with the swagger of a Northern tough draining his last dram at a tavern. "Travel in one of those Sri Lankan Navy boats, and you do so at your own risk,'' the Tiger spokesman said. So what are the Norwegians waiting for?

But, could Mahinda Rajapakse, who is a practised exponent in the art of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, salvage peace from the gateway to anarchy?

He is trying, and it's an almost tantric spiritual exercise to tame a mob that respects no elder, no mediator, not even the Norwegian hand that covered up for its inflagrant moments of utter embarrassment after egregious violations of a truce.

Now, the warlordism of the Vanni command has reached uncontainable limits. Visualize Farah Adid, or Slobodan Milosevic, and a fairly accurate mental note could be made of the current posture of the tribal leader of Killinochchi.

He is at a point of being able to mouth near-obscenities at his most ardent sponsors, ranging from the liberal sacred hearts of the media to the nursing-specialists and handmaidens from the NGO lobbies, and the unctuous troubleshooters from Norway. To all of them, it's a contemptuous dismissal from the man who formented war while entertaining every simpleton who waltzed into his parlour singing a ballad of peace.

In retrospect, therefore, it appears that it's time for a mass reckoning. Every sucker born every minute since Velupillai Prabhakaran signed the ceasefire with a penetrating stare through ill-fitting spectacles, could now stand up and be counted.

Wasn't that an edifying experience for many of these folks for whom Prabhakaran could do no wrong?

But, historical records will show that these are cyclical happenings. Prabhakaran is in the doghouse one day, and he is out in the open the next, with a smile that looks like soap lather emblazoned cheek to cheek.

That's almost the natural order of things now, the phenomenon of the repeated banishment and rehabilitation of the Tamil Liberation Tigers. In this round, the liberators, the Norwegians, almost had two of their own paid hands obliterated in a bomb blast that can be attributed to the Tiger with a frown on its face.

But, up next will be the happy Tiger, the Tiger with a smiley face that could be used as a sticker for a schoolboy's picnic lunch. That's the way of the world then. Tigers have discovered the art of metamorphosis through the good offices of the international community, and therefore the Tiger has more skins it can shed than certain species of snake. We need a new lesson, it seems in botany, and strangely, it has to be taken in a course for International Relations.

Giving the finger

Bishop Duleep de Chickera has said he will not walk into the finger printer's den in the British High Commissioner's office, and he has imparted the British a lesson on history if not on political correctness. He said that 'authorities have not been adequately briefed on the impact of colonization which we suffered under British imperialism for one hundred and fifty years.''

This is assertive, and almost as sternly delivered as a papal encyclical, but its worth the question 'will the British care, or at least dare a reply to this man of the cloth who talks.'

It's the selective fingerprinting by the British that's been obnoxious about British immigration practices, in the context that fingerprinting is becoming a common practice that's encountered by most international travellers crossing borders.

But the British singled out Sri Lanka, as a laboratory test case for biometrics, or whatever this odious practice of fingerprinting for Visa issuance is called. If there is a slur that's perceived, we could suggest that there are answers. Every British citizen seeking entry into this country could be asked to produce at least one of the digits on his forearm for a little biometric data clustering.

Once this is done, Mr. Earl Gray from Fulham or Lady Windermere from Putney could go their merry way, and keep their stiff upper lip, and how is that for a welcome please?

But, reciprocity on the other hand is not an exercise that is fully optional in the conditions that obtain in the international playing field. We could try to put this across politely. Just because the British colonized us, we never tried to colonize them? The only way to turn the other cheek, is by refusing to go to Britain, as the Reverend Chickera has done.

But we presume the business he has there is strictly spiritual, but what of the man who is hailed to Blighty for more pressing concerns?

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