Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Mahinda Musings of a Migrant Mullaitivu Crane

by Sachi Sri Kantha, January 27, 2009

“Feathered-friend, I got your logic. You project the view that the Tigers have put Mahinda’s neck on the line for the next three years. It was the policy of he and his predecessors that made the Eelam land suffer. If he promises so much to do, from his government coffers, then wouldn’t it be fair to let him do it?”

The other day, a migrant crane from Chundikulam Bird Sanctuary landed on my apartment balcony. Pleasantly surprised by this visitor, I fed him with some berries and grains to gather the latest gossip.

“Feathered friend, what brought you here?”

“Heard that you guys are starving for real news from Vanni and Mullaitivu.”

“So what have you got?”

“To borrow a line from Juvenal (AD 55-127), the Latin satirist, ‘It’s all panem et circenses (bread and circuses).’ ”

“I heard that Vanni folks are starving, and you are twittering about bread.”

“Don’t be a silly? What I meant is that Mahinda is feeding his patriotic brothers and sisters in the south with bread. The circus tents and balloons have been erected north of Vavuniya by the army, navy and air force.”

“So what is the prevailing mood in the Tiger camps?”

“Contrary to predictions by the pundits, Tigers are in good spirits. They keep their vigor by reciting Blake’s poetry.”

“Blake, the American ambassador in Colombo? When did he become pal with the Tigers?”

“Now, don’t you ever pull my feathers? I meant the British poet William Blake (1757-1827), not our contemporary dimwit Robert Blake. Remember those lines of the Victorian poet, ‘Tyger! Tyger! burning bright – In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye – Could frame thy fearful symmetry?’ ”

“Now, I hear that the military pundits have predicted that the Tiger spine is broken, and its tail has got trapped.”

“Guess what were Blake’s next lines: In what distant deeps or skies – Burnt the fire of thine eyes?, On what wings dare he aspire? – What the hand dare seize the fire?

“So, you mean to say that the game ain’t over yet?

“Do you know the other poem of William Blake, ‘The Scoffers’? Here are its lines:

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau – Mock on, mock on; ‘tis all in vain. You throw the sand against the wind – And the wind blows it back again.”

“Oh – you mean to say that Tiger scoffers are on a roll these days.”

“The next lines of Blake notes, And every sand becomes a gem – Reflected in the beams divine; Blown back, they blind the mocking eye, But still in Israel’s paths they shine.”

“Feathered friend, what do you think is the game plan of Tigers?”

“They have opted to prove in the next three years that Mahinda is either a glib-talking cheat or an effeminate wimp.”

“Why do you think so?”

“The Tigers have studied the Mahinda Chindana, the Manifesto Mahinda presented for his presidential election in 2005.”

“What was their logic?” In the Mahinda Chindana, Rajapaksa promised the stars, sky and moon to the Tamils. If Tigers kept their territory, when Mahinda faces the people next in 2011 or 2012, he could easily wiggle out of his promises by faulting the Tigers for not permitting him to complete his promises.”

“Do you remember what Mahinda had promised?”

“Care to check his Twelve promises to Tamils living in the North East:

1. ‘I also intend to reconstruct the Northern railway to Jaffna, and the railway line to Mannar.’ (p. 64)

2. ‘I will establish a fund to reconstruct the houses damaged by the war and also to rehabilitate lives affected by the war.’ (p.80)

3. ‘I hope to construct 80,000 houses damaged and provide livelihoods within the first year itself. A part of this cost will be paid as a subsidy and the balance will be provided as an interest free loan.’ (p.80)

4. ‘I will make arrangements to pay a temporary allowance to people who had to leave their homes as those were located in high security zones.’ (p.80)

5. ‘All those who are displaced will be (sic) resettled in their villages expeditiously.’ (p.80)

6. ‘The Jaffna-Mannar railway line will be reconstructed for the benefit of the people in the North. Construction of all highways and rural roads in that area will be completed through a special project implemented under ‘Maga Neguma’ – Road construction programme.’ (p.80)

7. ‘All damaged and destroyed infrastructure relating to health services will be reconstructed to cater to future needs.’ (p.80)

8. ‘All damaged or destroyed schools will be rehabilitated according to high standards.’ (p.81)

9. ‘I will take action to expand the programmes already started to revitalize the fisheries industry in the North. A factory for processing and canning of fish will be established in the Northern Province.’ (p.81)

10. ‘Priority will be given to restore the destroyed plantations of palmyrah, coconut and cashew.’ (p.81)

11. ‘The Trincomalee-Batticoloa highway will be fully developed.’ (p.84)

12. ‘The Tincomalee Batticoloa (sic) railway-line will be developed.’ (p.84)"

“Feathered-friend, I got your logic. You project the view that the Tigers have put Mahinda’s neck on the line for the next three years. It was the policy of he and his predecessors that made the Eelam land suffer. If he promises so much to do, from his government coffers, then wouldn’t it be fair to let him do it?”

“You got it. If Mahinda defaults from any of his 12 promises, his circus tents and balloons are bound to burst. Only inconvenience is that we have to put up with the Scoffers’ galore for a while.”

*****