Disclaimer: It’s not that there’s nothing to say about other things, but President Maithripala Sirisena’s UN visit has provided such mind-blowing bloopers that in the interest of sanity we have to laugh. Actually the poor President is not to blame. It’s his son. Well, the President made the initial mistake of dragging his son to New York, but he can’t be blamed for what the brad did thereafter.
Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri has an interesting take: ‘Namal Rajapaksa has a defence of sorts regarding the abuse of State resources and his father’s executive power, but Daham certainly does not. The people voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa and his political identity in particular. So it can be argued that Namal has the out of his father’s legacy. However, those who voted for Maithripala Sirisena on January 8 (except perhaps some people in Polonnaruwa), did so not to ‘Maithripala Sirisena’, but the common candidate of the Opposition. Therefore he, Sirisena, cannot use the relevant powers as a personal right. Therefore Daham does not even have the straw that Namal can cling on to.’
Convoluted and incomplete of course, but that’s Nirmal. It’s not about why people voted and what they voted for. It’s about what’s right and wrong. Sirisena promised to right wrongs. He said ‘no more nepotism’. He promised that none of his near and dear would benefit from him being President. Well, his children apparently have not been paying attention to his campaign speeches or reading his pamphlets.
The man in the blue suit
It had to be a suave, well-educated, highly sophisticated expert on foreign relations, international law, human rights issues, good governance and all that jazz. Had to be. Could not be a brat called Daham Sirisena.
Next stop Buckingham Palace
The man in the blue suit was photographed shaking hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Singh Modi. Firstly, Modi the Good, Friendly Neighbor. Then? Well, Barack of course. Putin? Nah! But Buckingham Palace beckons. Rumor has it that Elizabeth has a special pair of gloves (never yet worn) which she can take off when she gets the rare opportunity to shake the hand of the Man in Blue.
The man in the blue suit was identified eventually. Daham Sirisena. The President’s son. People asked what Daham’s status in the Sri Lankan delegation was. ‘Nepotism!’ some cried. They all seemed to have forgotten that just a couple of weeks ago his sister and the President’s daughter, Chathurika, had checked out the problems of some folk in a remote village and that she had done so with an entourage of State officials. No ‘status’ there either. Brother Kumarasinghe was put in charge of Telecom. So why should Daham be less privileged, is the question that was not asked.
Change can be photo-shopped
The cries of horror had an impact. Someone was embarrassed. The managers of the President’s official Facebook decided to do some damage-control. They edited out both President and presidential brat from a picture of the Sri Lankan delegation and this when the original was already doing the rounds. That dumb, yes!
The right of transferability
Daham is a brilliant young man. He’s already taught us a lot of things. Like transferability. He says that people are making an issue out of nothing. Apparently his mother had got an invitation and since she couldn’t go he was going in her place. ‘Daham to stand in as Maithripala Sirisena’s spouse!’ is a headline that all mainstream media and social media missed. But there’s something really strange which again no one bothered to ask Daham to explain: What happened to the spouses of the rest of the Heads of State? ‘They were all photoshopped!’ did someone quip?
The deafening silence of the lambs
Here’s the funniest part. All those shrill objectors to Rajapaksa-style nepotism are maintaining strict silence.
Why is Ranil smiling?
Ranil has not said a word about the Man in Blue. He knows which side of the slice of bread is buttered, perhaps. He is smiling though. All the time.