Peraliya Train Disaster

It is eight years from the day the Boxing Day tsunami struck, and many Sri Lankans though they remember, do not particularly want to reminisce about the death and destruction caused by those deathly waves. But, it’s the upside of the aftermath of this calamity that has to be remembered, to capture a little bit of the spirit of what we as a country could achieve.

Years after the tsunami, it’s a blip in the memories of many people, precisely because there was nothing that could break the sprit of battered but indomitable Sri Lankans. Our tsunami recovery effort though certainly not without the inevitable downsides, compared favorably for instance with the way the world’s only superpower reacted to hurricane Katrina for instance, not many years after the 2004 Boxing Day calamity.

Natural calamities of this order were not the lot of Sri Lankans before the tsunami, even though annual floods etc., routinely take some lives in this very tropical of islands. The predictions therefore were dire. The experts said that it will take this country decades to recover from the affects of nature’s carnage, but yet the rehabilitation effort was relatively swift, and efficiently executed.

This sealed our credentials as a resilient nation. Five years later, our gallant, never say die forces were able to rid us of the scourge of terrorism. Political tsunamis, terrorist tsunamis, and real tsunamis — Sri Lankans have proved themselves to be more than adept at meeting all of these challenges with a resilience that is spunky, irreverent and famously indomitable.

It’s why those who are waiting for a political tsunami to ravage the country, should perish that thought early, as there is no chance that a country that emerged intact from the tsunami waves and vanquished some of the worst merchants of terror that the world has ever known, will succumb to some cheap political theatre performed by a club of snake-oil salesmen of the NGO and civil society persuasion.

These people are full of cliches these days, some going to the extent of claming in their columns that masquerade as impendent commentaries, that there is an ‘increasingly angry and mutinous populace’ against the leadership of the country’s resurgent post-war development effort.

These people would wish for another tsunami, if it means that they could accomplish their maniacal, outlandish wish for regime change. But the Sri Lankans have never been more ready for any calamity — natural or man made.

From one perspective, natural calamities even in the order of major occurrences such as tsunamis are nothing compared to the diabolical designs that foreign funded NGO types and their handmaidens, the so called civil society sentinels have for this country. They will want to wreak havoc at the best of times, and though a tsunami will strike once in a millennium, these people are poised to strike any time it is convenient.

Now they are hopeful that the waves of an impeachment tsunami will leave the nation desolate, so that they could unleash the vultures on the carrion that’s left behind. Hope wells eternally, they say, but it is beyond clear now that all the hot air about the impeachment is totally disingenuous in terms of substance, and wholly trumped up in terms of possible impact.

Already, the waves of this imagined tsunami are beating back, and though the receding waves were the most dangerous in the Boxing Day tsunami, the returning waves of the ‘impeachment tsunami’ expose the true natures of its instigators. That they all accept that there are glaring integrity issues with regard to the Chief Justice, has not stopped them from maintaining that the impeachment is some sort of a governance calamity that signals the end of democracy, or some such thing they can’t help but keep parroting …

Cynical though it may sound, as far as destruction goes, nature does a better job. The tsunami advanced on us stealthily. But, these political tsunamis are so flagrant that the designs of the authors of such diabolical projects are obvious from the outset. Their partisan motives are red-flagged from the beginning – it’s what’s called in common parlance a dead give away. For a country that weathered a deathly, stealthy tsunami, facing a barefaced thin-skinned political campaign of subversion of this order is slim pickings indeed …


Daily News Editorial