Cassandra Cry: A woman’s scornful look at the beloved country, or rather its politicians


Very many emotions beset Cassandra as she sits back (restlessly) and surveys (despairingly) the state of her country and reads newspapers and watches TV news (desultorily).

Cass surmises this is the general mood of the ordinary people of this fair isle turned stinky rotten by some politicians. Of course we the ordinary people are boosted all the time by these political persons. Everything they do is for the ‘Good of The People’ and every thought they think is for the ‘Good of The People’. Utter, deplorable, unpardonable falsehood! Sh..! Cass is so mad she wants to be utterly rude and say "stick …." If only they – the recently active and rebellious politicians – would forget self for a short while and genuinely think of what’s good and beneficial for the country, we would not feel so very despondent.

The highest

The President himself has said he turned the country inside out, upside down and spun it into turmoil for the Good of the People. How did it help us that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe was unceremoniously unseated and his premiership given to the Prez’s arch enemy of a few moons ago? Now that new incumbent, though proved to be wrongly incumbent by the majority in Parliament and recently in a court ruling, sits tight and refuses to budge. What else could the Prez expect from his unwise move? Not only does the illegal PM stay put but he watches, apparently gleefully and encouragingly, the antics of his Ministers of State and Party MPs as they recreate a worse-than-Mariakade melee in the House that should be sacrosanct. Or they truant themselves from Parliamentary sittings; a cowardly move.

As is done in dire circumstances when one is totally helpless one turns to what one has read, heard and appreciated. Thus Cass turns to William Shakespeare and agrees with what he said in The Tempest

Good things of day begin to droop and drowse;

While night's black agents to their preys do rouse.

Yes, the good things of day that The People had before this political turmoil caused by just one hand, were stability, peace, time to anticipate Christmas and vacations and an assurance tourists were flocking in, advised by Lonely Planet and CNN to visit the best tourist destination and the surest seas for surfing. Thus foreign exchange would flow in and cancel out total dependence on maids slaving in foreign lands; tea would build itself up; and there would be employment in the service sector with full occupancy in hotels all over the island, as was to be before travel advisories emanated from foreign governments. No. Just at this very opportune moment of the tourist season starting and the year ending with a new one to anticipate, our President of this fine island had to give way to his petulance and inability to work with his prime minister and change the incumbent. You know better than poor Cass the consequences. Night’s black agents or rioting MPs came a-preying.

Yesterday, Tuesday 4 Dec, The Prez, HE Maithripala Sirisena, who should be a Statesman and thus a-political, speaks as Chair of his Party at its convention. He said (not exact words) Give me a week and I will restore peace to the country. Has be become a wizard from Hogwarts – Voldermort or Dumbledore? More likely Andare. Why does he need a week is the question when in an hour on 26 October 2018, he plunged the country into turmoil.

The next statement he has made which is so difficult to stomach, leave alone give credence to, is that he will NOT appoint Ranil W as PM. Why? Because he could not work with him. This after his very becoming President he owes to Ranil and his UNP men. With just a little more than a year to go when the change he wanted could have been wrought legally through elections, he jumps the gun and dismisses him. If, as he says, he found Ranil W destroying the country, he should have warned him first, ticked him off, then selected another from the UNP.

Again Cass is reminded of that greatest of great writers who never compromised his integrity - William Shakespeare. He has poor Macbeth – valiant and brave soldier formerly - now holed up alone in his castle in Dunsinane awaiting the English troops led by Malcolm, son of Duncan he killed to get the throne, intone:

Out, out brief candle,

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

How very very true this is. We are in the throes of an idiotic time of sound and fury, ultimately signifying nothing except crass self-centeredness and playing around with an entire nation, costing it so much. Cass so prays that politicians who cause so much mayhem would realize the truth of what Shakespeare said about Man – ultimately minor, of very little, or no, significance.

The Good are still with us

We would surely die of despair, we older ones who have fulfilled our personal responsibilities and now turn our love and commitment to the country of our birth, if we did not have people to look up to. Cass is definitely not a political creature but she cannot help but say that for every shouting, rioting Johnston Fernando, Gamanpila, Weerawansa, Aluthgamage and Pavithra, there are ten persons each on the opposite side of Parliament who are honourable, who are unsung heroes, who are restrained and wise at this juncture. Names that come to mind cannot be ignored: Sambandan, Sajith, Navin, Eran, Harsha, Sumathiran and many others.

Prime among those in Parliament to be admired and respected, nay paid obeisance to, is Karu Jayasuriya who bore the brunt of the UPFA/SLPP hooligans’ uproar, rode the insults hurled and stayed unmoved by all the malicious falsehood flung at him. He remained un-partisan and fair. Here is a true gentleman considered thus by most Sri Lankans. It must be so arduous to have to deal with ruffians in the guise of Parliamentarians, but he keeps his cool. Admirable!

It is the truth that he and a few others save us from total despair.


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