Sarath Fonseka, Idi Amin and Army Commander


This week the media reported about former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka's (SF) comment regarding the present Army Commander's 'bald' hair-style, and compared him to Idi Amin. Though their hair styles are similar, the track record of Idi Amin reflects terror. In 1971, General Idi Amin overthrew the elected government of his friend, Prime Minister Milton Obote, and declared himself President of Uganda. He launched a ruthless regime for eight years, massacring nearly 30,000 civilians, and was a brutal dictator. He was noted for mass executions. He was ousted in 1979 and fled to Saudi Arabia. Therefore, apart from their hair styles there seems to be no similarity between the two. They are poles apart.

SF should make it clear to the public if there is any regulation regarding the hair-styles of commissioned officers in the army. The only thing people know is that during their training period they get a crew cut. So without being personal, SF should clearly say it is illegal to have a bald hair-style for an army commander. Apart from public officers, generally people have different hair-styles because it is their personal choice. Years ago, the famous actor Yul Brynner created a stir by appearing 'bald' in films. Many of his fans followed him. Our famous cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya, has a similar style and is proud of it. Then, Sri Lanka's first Governor General was bald and nobody made any comments about it. Some argue that a bald hair style shows masculinity.

The general feeling is that it is not the right thing for a former Army Commander to be critical of the present Army Commander's personality in public. It is his choice, if regulations do not say how he should have his hair style. Instead of worrying and wasting time in other's backyards, Minister Fonseka should see about the elephants running amok in villages, and keep an eye on Wildlife to save the fauna and flora!


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