all towns are one, all men our kin.
|Trans State Nation
Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha
A Page from Aesop's Fables
17 August 2000
The political farce which premiered in Colombo from Aug.7, would have given even Charlie Chaplin, the undisputed grandmaster of comedy, much food for thought. For his early silent movies, Chaplin made everyone laugh by using policemen as his humor vehicle. Only when he had to switch to talkies in 1940, to produce the much acclaimed, 'Great Dictator' , Chaplin thought better of replacing policemen with bombastic politicians of his days (Hitler and Mussolini).
For the Sri Lankan farce which premiered in Colombo, the cast consisted of ruling SLFP politicians, opposition UNPers, dissident UNPers, political turn-coats and fence-sitters, JVP noise-makers, quacks in the yellow garbs and even Indian 'diplomats' turned ventriloquists.
Rajpal Abeynayake, the columnist for the Sri Lankan newspaper Sunday Times (Aug.13) had suggested that, "the whole jiggery-pokery in Sri Lanka this week was high fun from any perspective, and was political theatre of such a farcical quality, that somebody has to write this into drama soon."
Maybe, Rajpal is somewhat ignorant of the fact that the original script for such a Colombo farce has been authored by that wonderful story-teller Aesop, more than 2600 years ago. The Phrygian slave, who is believed to have lived in the 6th century before Christ had passed to posterity the following story.
Now, let me substitute the four animals featured in this story with Colombo characters. The lion, is nothing but the SLFP. The elephant, is of course the UNP. The cock, undoubtedly, represents the quacks in the yellow garb. The gnat, is none other than the JVP.
For Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, a coward lion, the Aesopian cocks and gnats give nightmares. Her father was felled by a 'cock' and her husband was fatally pricked by a 'gnat'. So, in a desperate move to pacify the angered cocks, she has now replaced her mommy Mrs.Bandaranaike from the prime ministerial chair with an old SLFPer Ratnasiri Wickremanayake.
Though the official line states that Mrs.B. resigned for reasons of ill-health, Chandrika's estranged brother Anura Bandaranaike believes that the real reason for such a self-protecting action has much to do with Chandrika's cowardliness against the Aesopian cocks. This sounds more logical since Mrs. Bandaranaike has been in ill-health since 1994 and the spineless Sinhalese electorate didn't even bother to protest such a questionable, nepotic appointment in the first place.