Vol. 5 Num 91 Wed. August 25, 2004  

Let us put our act together, here and now

Sanity, decency, and moderation seem to have been stricken from the political culture of our present day politicians. The recent spate of bombings and the carnage that took place at the opposition political meeting on Saturday bear testimony to that fact. Admittedly, this was an act of some criminals who may not have any political affiliations, or, for that matter, any human values, the fact however remains, but for the licentious and complacent behaviour on the part of the ruling class, such dastardly actions by a group of criminals could have been avoided. The Leader of the Opposition had been telling the government about beefing up her security arrangements for quite sometime, which apparently fell on the deaf years of the ruling class.

I am simply appalled that the Leader of the House merely issued a routine statement. To me, she should and could have done better. Look at it from whatever angle, you may choose to, just consider the fact that one of the first ones to express his concern and sympathies was none other than the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. The telephone call was followed by visits of such individuals like the US Ambassador and the High Commissioner of India.

To my mind, if anything, this is reflective of the kind of human values we represent. I find it hard to believe that such moves have not been made as a matter of the ruling class's political strategy and tactics. If this is the case, politics or no politics, it is indeed reflective of poor taste. As I proceed with this brief commentary I am reminded of that famous incident when Field Marshall Ayub Khan shouldered the coffin of his arch enemy, the then Prime Minster of India Lal Bahadur Shastri in Moscow in 1965. The two were on a mission to bring about a ceasefire under the mediation of Soviet Union where Mr. Shastri died of a heart failure. The ruling class would do well to remember that they are not here to stay forever and as the famous saying goes:

"Beware of the day when the hunted becomes the hunter."

I was first informed of the incident by one of my sisters who lived in another part of the city, away from mine. I then immediately tuned in to BTV where to my horror the lead news was something relating to the President calling the Parliament into session. I then tuned in to Channel I, where the details of the incident were being broadcast. I kept telling myself, how could this be? I could not believe my eyes. Has this government lost all humanity and respect for human life? Just consider the way the LGRD Minister reacted to the incident on being asked by a member of the media.

There is also much to be said about the police. May I humbly ask as to why the Inspector General of Police failed to appear at the scene of the carnage shortly after? Will someone also give some satisfactory answer as to why the police refused to register the cases when the leaders of the opposition approached the concerned police station? It is indeed outrageous to find that so many similar incidents have taken place and the police are yet to provide the people with half a clue as to who are behind all this. I believe the actions of the police are also "deliberate" and they are "hand in glove" with the establishment.

One of my closest relations was the Inspector General of Police during those troubled days of 1975. I called on him to help me out with a case of robbery, which took place in the house of a colleague of mine, a British national. Every piece of valuables in the house was looted including the jewelry. Lo and behold, each of the items was recovered in just 72 hours. As I went to thank him along with my colleague he made a parting remark, which I remember to this day: "Look here my friends, the police knows about all the criminals all the time and thus it was no problem." Does the police really know everything?

I would also like to say a few words about us "the people." As soon as I heard the news over television I said to myself, "This is it." There would now be an all out people's agitation and protest marches throughout the country. I was disappointed; instead what I witnessed was nothing but sudden outburst of sheer vandalism, rage, anger, and frustration leading to massive destruction of both private and state properties. Where have all our venerable members of civil society and the intellectual community gone? Are they scared, still hiding in the comforts of their homes and basking the glories of their superior intellectual pursuits? I have often this feeling that we as people perhaps do not deserve any better political leadership.

We better put our act together fast or else there will be others who will do it for us, like they did in Somalia and else where.