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Government Gazette

JJ's sirens fail to tempt

Light Refractions by Lucien Rajakarunanayake It's so unfair of the army high command to have refused that offer of sirens for military camps by Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana. What is he to do with all the sirens he had placed orders for, when such a wailing gesture is turned down so unceremoniously? I can't imagine him putting them up round his home, surgery, clinic or political office to warn him of the approach of too many of his voters asking for the favours that politicians are expected to provide.

Dr. JJ is a very generous man, whose generosity may seem to flow with a gush when it is directed at the LTTE. But there are many types that make up this world and he is one such type. It may seem naive for army camps to use sirens to be warned of any enemy advances near it. Just imagine the sentries manning an observation tower at a remote military camp spotting approaching tigers and sounding the siren in a call to arms. All it would do is alert the tigers to the fact that they have been spotted, and help them make a hasty retreat.

Real game plan

This could well have been the real game plan of the doctor in offering the sirens. Not that he liked the tigers more as some believe, but that he hates bloodshed in any form, the good man that he is, what with papal audiences and all that.

It may have been better if Dr. JJ, in keeping with his usual practice of philanthropy, had offered spectacles to soldiers to observe the advance of the tigers. Any soldier with poor vision may have benefited from them in spotting the advancing enemy. With all the considerable financial resources at the good doctor's disposal, the army may even have been able to negotiate for night vision glasses for its troops, which can be really handy when it comes to spotting tigers lurking in the dark.

It could be that those who decided to turn down the offer of sirens for army camps may have thought of the other sirens that can be dangerous inside a military camp. I mean the classical siren, or the sea nymph? part woman and part bird? that is supposed to lure sailors to destruction on then rocks where they lived. What is dangerous for sailors at sea could well be a threat to soldiers on land too.

Lonely life

Let's not forget that a siren is also a dangerously seductive woman, or enchantress. One wonders whether Dr. JJ in all his concern for the lonely life that soldiers lead in distant camps, cut away from family and friends, had thought of distributing these live sirens to the military camps. If so, are they to bring light relief to the soldiers as an escape from their tough life, or to be put on display when the enemy advances to attack, as an assured naughty diversion from their set goal.

The top strategists in the military must have pondered deep on the value of such seductive women in military camps. Their thinking would have weighed the advantages of such tempting sirens to distract the enemy, against the disadvantages of creating unwanted human tension within the camps.

Dr. JJ is among our best known? protectionists? He has given sirens to people in Tiger threatened villages to raise alerts about terrorist attacks.

He has also given bullet proof glass casings to protect Buddha statues and statues of the Virgin Mary. One may say he's got his own spiritual protection well looked after, with blessings from more than one side to keep him safe.

However, when it comes to using sirens for protection, the greater need just now may be for his own party, the UNP; to have them at the ready to sound the alarm when the next batch of jumbos make a move to flee the green camps and enter blue terrain.

With all this talk of cross-overs that's going on, and the eager expectations of a Cabinet shuffle, there will be a great demand for the warning wail of the siren on Dr. JJ's own side of the political divide, that's if there is a real divide today. Lets wait for the wail of the sirens at cross-overtime.

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Sri Lanka
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