Dear Politicians

Dilshani Palugaswewa | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 12 2021

Dilshani Palugaswewa pens a letter from the perspective of the land we inhabit

The past few months have been rather excruciating for the people of this country. You on the other hand, may not understand what we are going through, as it would seem from your continuous actions and words. 

With COVID-19 infiltrating every aspect of our daily lives and people contracting the virus every passing second, our situation has gone from bad to worse – but of course, this I don’t have to spell out to you because you’ve been preaching to the public as though you have our best interests at heart. 

For over a year, healthcare workers have put their own life on the line and sacrificed their safety net to help save others; day in and day out they spend more time on the road and in hospital wards than they have had a good night sleep or eaten a proper meal since the pandemic raised alarm on our shores –and just because they are often dubbed ‘super humans’ for almost miraculously nursing people under their care back to health, it doesn’t mean they have the ability to fly their way to work.

 They use cars and thus, it’s perfectly normal for streets to seem busy once in a way, considering there are almost 20,000 doctors in the country, excluding other healthcare workers who may possess the pass –if you catch my drift. But I see how you may deem it to be, “Too many vehicles,” given that there is a big three digit number of luxury vehicles of members of Parliament waiting to take to the streets. 

Only it’s a bit insensitive and double standards of you, don’t you think? At a time when hospitals and the public are crowdfunding to get necessary medical equipment and a ban slammed on vehicle imports for the public, it just seems like all you’re worried about is how fancy and expensive you’d look when this rocky ship that we’re trying so hard to keep afloat, rams into the melting iceberg we call doomsday – a trajectory we are willingly approaching. Speaking of ships and climate change – there are no words to express my disillusionment in how you continuously disregard every other life that is not part of your political arena that you smother with your presence, egoistical ideas, and high-handed decisions. 

Not even the imminent danger from a leaking vessel carrying 25 tons of nitric acid among 1,486 containers on board had you come up with a better solution, to avoid a situation that will now go down in history as the region’s worst ever marine pollution. Moreover, you saw dollar signs in compensation of said ship engulfing in fumes in our territorial waters while toxic materials from it are sinking to our seabed, as thick black smoke pollutes our skies. But do you even care about the irreversible damage it will further cause to our precious coastal lines and the people who depend on these waters to sustain their livelihoods? Even if you help fisherman buy new fishing nets that are worth lakhs to replace their old ones that have now been destroyed by the toxic material at sea, you will not be able to compensate the marine life that have borne the brunt of this catastrophe. Not just them, even people are at risk of respiratory disorders caused due to the inhalation of toxic air, experts say – luckily for us, we don’t have a pandemic stifling us already with a highly contagious virus, right? Speaking of anything, despite the ongoing and highly confusing ‘travel restrictions’ it would seem like a few selected people from several other provinces just happened to make their way to a five-star hotel with no detection or inquiry during their commute. 

Under what pretext were all of them given a pass if they were indeed granted permission? And how did the hotel allow it at all? And lastly, what kind of conscience does each of these individuals have? Repercussions or not – how did they see this kind of erratic behaviour as absolutely necessary just because one of them wanted to celebrate their birthday? Speaking of erratic behaviour and birthdays, recently the Kurungala Mayor had no problem blowing off candles on a cake that invitees (yes, a significant number of people were present) were to consume in a celebratory gathering hosted in the premises of the Kurunagala Police Station. 

Needless, to say they are beneath the law. Speaking of Mayors, we also saw another one of them, this time in Moratuwa take the limelight at a vaccination drive. Is it really an isolated incident like some ‘youthful’ people prefer to address it as? Perhaps he should go undercover at other vaccination centres to see how other mayors throw their weight around. Nobody’s calling for Police there. 

Speaking of calling Police, the duties of diligent officers are constantly obstructed by higher-ups, like when an officer was transferred for turning back the wife of a senior Policeman who was jogging around Colombo recently. Who is the Police working for? Politicians? Themselves? Or the State? The lines couldn’t be more blurred. 

The growing concern for selective law is evidently irrefutable. But I knew that already with the ‘one country, one law’ ideology multiplying time and again for your convenience to ‘one country, two laws’ and most recently with Port City, very clearly ‘two countries, three laws’. Sincerely, Sri Lanka  

Dilshani Palugaswewa | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 12 2021

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