Perhaps it’s my inexperience, perhaps it’s my foolishness that makes me ask this question, but ask I must.
I seem to remember that about a year or so ago, when MR, his chintanaya, and red satakas rolled into town, the clear idea was to destroy terrorists and the like. And with no time wasted the North was well and truly bombed and cleansed. I also seem to remember pictures, albeit a bit blurry, appearing of airstrips and all sorts of other technologically-advanced areas, which the LTTE had dared to build/ develop, being bombed to smithereens. We, in the rest of the island was told, by implication, to breathe a sigh of relief for the chinthanya was here and we can finally rest in peace. For every grenade that went off and killed our civilians, revenge was taken on the combatants in the North. People were safe. Combatants were not and so the chintanaya was cheered on. And those who preach non-violence were jerking off just on the sheer number of combatants killed whilst reminding us to be aware of our soldiers losing their lives for us.
And we were also so very suddenly proud to be Sri Lankan.
Yet, those destroyed, not-any-longer-technologified terrorists managed to bomb a military base next to the international airport with ‘newly acquired air power’ recently. I’d have thought that, even if not the security forces, airport officials would have wondered why there was an unauthorised plane flying towards Colombo and raised the alarm, but then again, I’m not capable of thinking like a highly intelligent
person official generally would and so what would I know of these things? And once again, it was not that we did not have the equipment nor the intelligence to stop this threat, but rather that it was almost an accident – something malfunctioned – and fortunately for our dearly beloved motherland, it wasn’t the Defence Sec’s brain.
Four days ago, another plane(s) entered our airspace and was shot at. Yet, we are yet to hear how many of these planes were shot down and how many killed and taken into custody. Since we still pay our taxes, and there is still a substantial amount spent on national security, I think it might be safe to make the assumption that the military is trained to actually hit terrorist planes if they were to, God forbid, so much as think of trespassing. At first, it confounded me as to how terrorists managed not only to fly into our airspace but also to fly out of it. It also confounded me as to why the airforce bombed the areas where the said planes would be in the North after they’d bombed Colombo and gone back home to rest. But then I remembered that the SL govt does not take offensive action but only defensive action and therefore in all logic must wait to be attacked before chasing after them to
attack back defend our motherland. And, being the patriotic twit that I am, I will stand by the thought that everything that was ‘for the best of the country’ was undertaken that night and be grateful enough to thank those responsible for the fantastic display of colours in the night sky. And while I’m in this grateful mood, let me also thank the terrorists for being kind enough to (thankfully, of course!) drop a couple of bombs ‘off target’.
I believe I started this post meaning to ask a question. Perhaps it was something about how a group of terrorists who had been substantially bombed, and was on their last legs, managed to ‘newly’ acquire planes. Or maybe it was about how the very same terrorists managed to make it into the Colombo airspace when such ‘tight security measures’ were in place. Or perhaps it had something to do with why security forces checked everyone entering Colombo that morning to make sure the LTTE didn’t get in because, of course, it would never have occurred to the LTTE to come by a few days/ weeks earlier if they meant to carry out a bombing Saturday night. Or maybe it was about how none of the planes sighted that night were brought down and destroyed and paraded through the city so we can line the streets cheering ourselves hoarse whilst holding aloft national flags with patriotic satakas entwined lovingly around our necks.
But right now, the world seems to have got a tad bit hazy and for the life of me, I just can’t seem to remember exactly what it was that I meant to ask.
Into My Own
– Robert Frost
One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ‘twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.
I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.
I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.
They would not find me changed from him they knew –
Only more sure of all I thought was true.
Naz’s recent post of Frost’s The Road Not Take inspired me to post this poem up here for now..while I deal with a heavy bout of blogger’s block :)
Last week I was lucky enough to catch a couple of Sri Lankan movies I had missed out on last year – Sudu, kalu saha alu (Sudath Mahadivulwewa) and Uduganyaamaya. Having seen them now, both rank very high in my personal favourites and kudos to the kid in the latter (I never got his name) whose performance was..well..fantastic..and that must be the understatement of the year!
Sudu, kalu saha alu revolves around about 15 characters who live in a border village in Sri Lanka. The director said, of the movie, “border village is a description novel to our vocabulary. Sri Lanka had never had a border till the war. And, of course, it now begs the question: whose border is this? The extremists say it is theirs. The Government says it is theirs… My focus is on those caught in between — the innocent, the individual, the family, none of whom know why they are the victims. The film also questions the behaviour of the Army. I, as a civilian, have a right to ask the question. “
However, having sat through Sudu, kalu saha alu, at the Regal last Wednesday, a part of me wished I’d been smarter and had bought the dvd instead to watch at home instead of among the uncouth things who were sitting mere meters from me.. *shudder* while another part of me was glad I had now (quite rudely) been enlightened as to what an ugly society I am living in. Why? Because
1. There was a (rather long) “sex scene” (which consisted of a few kisses on the neck) that was greeted by a volley of whistles, catcalls and exaggerated kissing-noises by some audience members. This, I put down to a lot of immature youngsters in the crowd. Then there was a scene of a twelve year old girl, having “grown up”, being bathed with a jugful of jasmine petalled water..again the kissing noises and whistles. At a TWELVE year old girl. But as if the thought that there were paedophiles sitting a few inches away from me wasn’t disturbing enough..
2. One of the last scenes of the film was of the same twelve year old girl sobbing to her friend the story of her having been taken to Colombo as a servant by the head of an NGO and subsequently raped by the “master” of the house…she narrates, very child-like, ‘one day the nona went out and the master took me to a room and took all his clothes off and then made me take all my clothes off and then..and then..’ and trails off to break down sobbing.
How was THIS scene, of a child telling the story of being raped by an adult, greeted? You guessed it: lots and lots of whistles, cat calls and loud kissing noises. The word ‘disturbed’ doesn’t even start to express how I felt at that moment..
And for the first time in my life, I was really and truly ashamed of being a part of this society I live in.