Dear Sri Lanka,

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June. We are smack dab in the middle of the year and we are made to watch the same old movie.

Politicians doing the same old, same old. The Head of State is refusing to quit on the basis that he had better plans for his tenure. (We’ll have to assume he is unaware of the words ‘divorce’, ‘resignation’ or ‘choice’. Or he probably is a fan of Winston Churchill –they all seem to be – and thus swears by the adage, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”).Certain ministers are absconding authorities despite being summoned until they absolutely must surrender. The sons of certain MPs have no shame throwing their political weight around in altercations with the Police when they were clearly in the wrong. And the country, at the brink of a complete and devastating economic collapse, is more than happy to have an escape to cheer on their national side at a jam-packed stadium, even if it is surrounded by complete darkness courtesy on-going power cuts.

In the same vein, a former minister of everything is still turning up for everything (he doesn’t need to be at) and making smart claims in interviews with foreign news channels with statements like, “You cannot give a political solution for an economic crisis.” And then we wonder why our country is so messed up – because some politicians are of the opinion that the two aren’t intertwined, when in fact they are one and the same. Why else do we/they give so much importance to elections?

According to the Cabinet spokesperson, his father too is going around attending meetings he shouldn’t be a part of.

Meanwhile, in another ‘smart’ move, Parliament has decided to go paperless, owing to the paper shortage we are experiencing. Considering they were incapable of setting up link and joining a zoom meeting in the aftermath of the manic Monday – where goons from the ruling party literally set the country on fire – to talk about the dire situation the country with a Prime Minister’s seat vacant at the time, it is pretty much granted going digital will only bring in a fair share of lame excuses and more inefficiencies.

In other news or same old news, ministers who’ve been found guilty by Court for misconduct, are still allowed to fulfil their ministerial duties as lawmakers. The former Chief Minister of the Western Province, who also served as the former Public Security Minister, was accused and convicted for threatening a businessmen and demanding millions as a bribe to evict unauthorised occupants of a plot of land. The verdict comes amidst other accusations levelled against the current Minister of Housing and Urban Development of attempting to illegally acquire State and private land, in previous years.

If that is not amusing enough, here’s why he is sentenced to just two years rigorous imprisonment which has been suspended for five years, while he is ordered to pay a fine of Rs 25 million. The reasoning by the defence attorney for a diluted sentence is, “The tough sentence must be reduced on the basis that sentencing a Cabinet Minister could give a wrong message to the international community.”

A slow clap for that one.

Instead of working around the solution and demanding the resignation of the minister in question, they deem it better to work around the problem and keep him in his office with a sentence reduced to nearly a probation-like ‘option’ or ‘problem’, whatever you’d like to call it.

Not like convicted murderers given presidential pardons, State-sanctioned violence (better yet from a leader revered for ‘winning’ a war), convicted criminals on death row holding office as a Member of Parliament, or ministers allegedly accused of enforced disappearances and war crimes also allowed to preserve their positions would have shed bad light on the country anyway.

If that was not interesting enough, the ‘bird’ has left the building making way for another to fly in with credentials such as alleged tax evasions, misappropriation of funds and literally bringing garbage into the country.

These recurrent events would perhaps explain why there have been over 288,645 passports issued within just this year.

Sincerely,

#soSriLankan

By Dilshani Palugaswewa