THE BIG PICTURE
WHEN ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE
One of the safest nations on Earth turned into a hellhole on Easter Sunday
Conspiracy theories have spread like wildfire in the aftermath of the cowardly acts of 21 April when terrorists who can best be described as barbaric let loose on scores of worshippers, and hundreds of other innocent men, women and children in our precious land – an island that had until then been touted as one of the safest places in the world for nearly 10 years and a haven for travellers.
It would be foolish to speculate on whether or not the rumour mill is right because the stories that have circulated thus far diametrically oppose one another. That said, reports emanating from within the corridors of the intelligence community point in the direction of an ISIS inspired or backed operation that ripped the heart out of innocent people and precious property.
What is far more difficult to decipher is whether or not high-ups and their associates were not only aware of the threat that had been communicated by friends of Sri Lanka 10 days before several suicide bombers wreaked havoc in Colombo and elsewhere, but also if this information was withheld from reaching some of them.
For instance, is it true that a number of bigwigs in the country’s political hierarchy chose to stay at home on that fateful day? And if so, would it be wrong to wonder why they chose to do so? And are we to believe that the head of state wasn’t privy to the dire intelligence warnings when he took flight to a city state on a private visit?
Sadly, the conspiracy theories seem to hinge on whose side people are rather than an intelligent assessment of the information that has filtered through to the public – staunch supporters of the previous regime maintain that the incumbent government has been negligent while those who back the latter charge that the opposition may have had a hand in the death and destruction caused by the brutal terrorists.
The only undisputed belief it would seem, is that the most powerful citizen in this country was caught napping so to speak – and calls for his resignation have come from all corners of the public spectrum.
As for the politicians themselves, the circus has continued with fingers being pointed in all directions, not to mention their clownlike behaviour at press conferences. If there’s any transparency in local politics, it is that the quest to hold on to power or grab it reigns supreme.
It is in this highly charged and deeply divided environment that the nation will have to sift through the Easter Sunday rubble, and regain its composure – which is why there’s a volcano rather than a mountain to climb. What makes this scenario even more precarious is the fact that Sri Lanka will shift into election mode this year, which will leave those of us who aren’t politically motivated wondering whether there’s a clean box to tick on election day.
Yes, there are 225 men and women presently occupying the allocated seats in parliament, and one who sits in his ivory tower elsewhere; but how many of them are worthy of our precious vote if one were to take cognisance of widespread allegations of corruption, heinous crimes and even hooliganism, leave alone nepotism and incompetence?
If your count exceeds a dozen or perhaps two, we’d be surprised. If on the other hand, you end up with two dozen, may we suggest that they form the next government – we don’t need any more than that!
‘So sad’ has replaced ‘So Sri Lanka’ – or so it would seem.