Radhika C brings pride to SL and the US mourns Senator McCain

Radhika Coomaraswamy

Democracy is defined as: “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives” and we in Sri Lanka according to its full official name should abide by this hundred percent.

“The power in people is stronger than people in power,” said Saji Ijiyemi whoever s/he may be. It should be thus, but is not. Cass found it proven that both these edits are not applied and hold no water in the Sri Lanka we live in. Proven by two semi government bodies.

The Colombo Municipal Council and Western Province Sabha have both spent our money to unjustifiably benefit themselves disregarding the helluva cry we public raised in protest. We did not march, make a disgusting display of ourselves, create traffic jams and inconvenience people. But our protest was hard, and heard. Notwithstanding, the said bodies have used the spoons in their gravy pots to generously ladle themselves goodies: the Municipal C giving all its officers a generous but to us, unnecessary deemanawa and the Provincial C getting down those very expensive chairs to cushion their cursed backsides (rude word and very ungenteel, but that comes to mind when talking of this utter extravagance!). These are reported news items. Rosy was, it seems, instrumental in the increase of salaries of Colombo Municipal Councillors. Thus though the citizen is supposed to be supreme holding the vote in his hands, he is forever defeated in this newly ordered land of ours.

Military power faulted

BBC news on Monday 27 August detailed a report submitted by a UN fact finding panel on atrocities committed on the Rohingyas, on which panel Radhika Coomaraswamy was invited to serve and did serve, reading her excellent report at the hearings. Deshamanya Radhika Coomaraswamy, having served as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, from April 2006 till July 2012, appointed to this exalted post by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, would have known exactly what to look for and whom to question in this probe into what happened to cause 700,000 of the Muslim tribes of Myanmar to be forced to leave their land and homes and take refuge in cramped make shift shelters in Bangladesh. Genocide, rape, torture, abject cruelty to women and children is what the panel confirmed as having happened and the Myanmar military found guilty. Generals were named and atrocities committed which are against humanity as a whole detailed. Punitive action has been strongly recommended.

Many emotions ran through the mind and body of Cassandra as she watched TV: pride at seeing Ms Coomarswamy on BBC news; admiration of her polished reporting; sorrow for the suffering Rohingyars who have for generations lived in Myanmar and sadness for Suu Kyi who too is roundly blamed. Not only are her hands rather tied, but she is said to follow her father’s policy of great nationalism and being partisanship to the various Buddhist Burmese peoples.

Death of Senator John McCain III

You may wonder why Cassandra writes about this death at 81 of the Arizona Senator from brain cancer, who is far removed from matters of this fair isle. Justified to include him, since tribute needs must be paid to a GOOD man, a true patriot. (There’s much talk over here of patriots and traitors, the GMOA bosses saying they are compiling lists). Serving as a Naval pilot in the Vietnam War, McCain was shot down and was a POW – even tortured, until the war ended and he returned to the US a hero. He stood unsuccessfully for President twice and once (disastrously we felt) selected Sarah Palin as running mate. The greatness of the man is that he fought clean presidential battles and, when conceding victory to his opponent, especially in the case of Obama, praised him well. He stood up for country and what is right, analysts say, and thus he came to loggerheads with Trump. This man Trump exhibited some of our rotten characteristics: cast personal aspersions; tweeted hits below the belt; did not allow the flag flying over the White House lowered though all over Washington DC they were at half mast, and kept mum when asked by reporters on his reaction to the death. He had insulted McCain and derided his term as a prisoner of war. Finally he sent the message: “We very much appreciate everything that Senator McCain has done for this country.” No mention of heroism or serving the country as a true patriot. McCain had the last word. When he knew the end was near he stopped all medication. He wanted it noted that President Trump was not to be at his funeral! It is said Mrs Trump will attend. The best tribute paid to the Senator was said to be Obama’s. McCain had cast the determining vote defeating Trump’s attempt to push aside Obamacare.

Public protests becoming more uncalled for and grotesque

Seen on TV on Tuesday night news was a protest by residents of Deltotawattte in the premises of the Galaha hospital against doctors and staff of the hospital. A child had died. Reports will be forthcoming, but what was said by the protestors was that the child with high fever received no medical attention. Hospital personnel said she was attended to but the doctor/s in charge (it was late evening) moved to attend to a seriously accident-injured patient. The child died. The report in The Island of Wednesday 29 noted that the child was advised to be taken to the Peradeniya Teaching hospital, which the parents did in a three wheeler while the accident patients were sent by ambulance.

What struck Cass as she sat and watched the TV clip was the sheer unpleasantness of the protesting people, more so bare bodied thugs and a screeching woman. (Cass has been ticked off in a letter to the editor for saying the people protesting something or another in the middle of a highway ‘were ugly’. That is what they were but she supposes euphemisms are called for. No calling a spade a spade but perhaps naming it an ‘instrument used to turning over soil’?) The pity for the child and parents in the viewers’ emotions and opinions was substituted by disgust at the ugly scene. (That world again!). As a senior police officer remarked attempting to calm the mob: “The child is dead. We are very sorry about that. But will your shouting and fighting bring her back to life? Let an investigation be carried out.” No, this new disease of raging protest that is even more rampant than the newest variety of flu, is contagious and spreading to all parts of this island that was dignified and mostly peaceful, and to all strata of society from railway engine drivers to village drunkards. Cass has a sneaking feeling the ill child was neglected by his father, his mother was powerless to seek medical help earlier, and the doctors in the hospital are mere doctors, not miracle workers. Of course this opinion may be entirely wrong; there could very well have been medical negligence, but shouting like demented souls and also attacking and destroying the hospital both inside and out, is no way to act. It is obvious some of the shouting is all put on for TV cameras. Fury, lawlessness and ugly behaviour is rampant now. How has this happened since Sri Lankans were known to be peaceful, eternally smiling, foolish even but decent human beings? Acting against injustice or negligence, particularly medical, can be dignified and should be thus. Our peasants particularly were distinctly dignified. No longer, apparently.

Mystery of mysteries! A bronze Buddha statue which was long in the Colombo Mayor’s office went missing and on intimation that an investigator would arrive, lo and behold there sat a Buddha statue – plastic! A Born Again statue!!


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