Monday, July 18, 2011

Foxes, lions, tigers and elephants -- Sri Lanka exports anacondas

Stewart Elephanpakse

(NB: This was eventually published in the Sri Lanka Guardian on 27th July, 2011)

(Unpublished) There is a strange combination of animal affairs in the Sri Lankan press today (July 11) but I suppose this is only natural in a country that imports camels. (Caligula and Rajapakse -- Horses and Camels by Stewart Rajapakse -- Sri Lanka Guardian January 26, 2011)
First we have the story that Liam Fox paid a visit to Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka's self-styled lion. Fox almost certainly didn't say what Mahinda wanted to hear when he called for freedom of expression, accountability and positive attitudes. Only one of these would have been really welcomed by Mahinda, the call for positive attitudes, because we can all be certain that if Mahinda is positive about anything it's the speed with which he plans to consolidate his hold over the people he is supposed to be protecting. Then of course Fox really put his paw in his mouth when he said that he was looking forward to the publication of the LLRC report in November this year. Sadly this doesn't say much for Liam because anyone believing in the credibility of the LLRC report has obviously been outfoxed by Mahinda and his brothers.

Then we have the article about how Sri Lanka is going to trade anacondas for tigers (the furry kind, not the terrorist type). One might think that there is something ironic about a country that exports anacondas. But then, if we consider that the country is exporting a disgraced Inspector General of Police as the Ambassador to Brazil and has already exported a military officer suspected of war crimes to the United Nations, perhaps this is not so strange.

Then there is the news that Sri Lanka will have to import tuskers ('elephants', for those that are unfamiliar with the term) from India for the Perheras. Sri Lanka used to have more elephants than you could shake a stick at; unfortunately it was decided that they were not as important as everyone thought they were and now when one of them dies it is the people that mourn them, not the government. The thought springs to mind that they should have looked after the ones they had a bit better. Apparently however, there are plenty of them available because the government, in the form of the Wildlife Conservation Department Director General Dr Chandrawansa Pathiraja, has emphasised that no elephants in the South will be relocated due to the construction of an airport runway or for the proposed Games City in Hambantota. Hmmm, whenever a representative of the Rajapakse government categorically announces that something is not going to happen I always think it's time to start worrying. If I was an elephant I'd start packing my trunk. And that reminds me of an old story; what is gray, has four legs, a head, a tail and a trunk?

Why, a mouse going on holiday of course!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pigs can fly, the earth is flat and there are no secrets in Sri Lanka

Stewart Sloan

(July 07, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka Guardian) Once again President Mahinda Rajapakse stretches our credibility by announcing boldly in public that there are no secrets in Sri Lanka. In a meeting with a group of media persons and editors Rajapakse said that any attempt to pass a bill protecting the peoples' right to information was unnecessary as he could personally ensure access to information. All we have to do is ask him.

The next thing you know he'll be telling us that pigs can fly and the earth is flat. I'm reminded of a line from George Orwell's Animal Farm: If Comrade Napoleon said it, it must be true! So, therefore, ergo and to wit (to coin a phrase) if we want to know something all we have to do is ask Comrade, er, President Mahinda.

A barrage of questions spring to mind and as he stated in public that: "..... he could ensure access to information excluding what was covered by the Official Secrecy Act and national security," here we go.

Please President Rajapakse, tell us the whereabouts of Prageeth Eknaligoda, who actually killed Lasantha Wickrematunge and on whose orders, why are all the key governmental posts filled with your brothers and relatives, did your son actually pass his law exam or did you fix it for him, who killed the 17aid workers of Action Contre la Faim, who was responsible for the deaths of the five students killed in Trincomalee and, perhaps most importantly, as you are now so willing to reveal the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, did you win the last presidential election fair and square?

So many questions, so little time!

Please President Rajapakse, fulfill as least one promise you have made in public. Make us believe in flying pigs