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Oh My Lord What a Morning!

24 August 2015 06:33 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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This title of Marian Anderson’s autobiography seems appropriate to describe the feelings of elation and joy we had on the morning after the night before, which was election night. The title suggested by a reader was as what had seemed like a distant dawn, finally did dawn with hopes of an UNF victory with Tennyson’s words ‘the old order changeth giving place to new’ echoing in our hearts and minds. What gave us even greater joy was that the wrongfully much maligned UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe was heading for a massive unprecedented record with a 560,000 preference votes and equalling the late Dudley Senanayake’s record of being Prime Minister for the fourth time. 


To those of us who had believed in him, and stood firmly by him, before and throughout his Leadership, it was a firm endorsement of our loyalty which was never built on shifting sands. To me, personally, Rudyard Kipling’s words in ‘If’ ‘to meet both Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’ seem the epitome of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s stormy journey in politics. No politician or Leader has ever been maligned so much and the way he took it all was further proof of his greatness. He never hits back at those who slander him with vicious lies, foul language or hits out with his fists. As I have often written, he may not smile easily or pat you on the back, but he will never stab you in the back. He may not hug or kiss babies which is unhealthy anyway, and an insincere way of winning votes, but his vision, his sense of history, his uncluttered mind and clarity of thought, have always been well in place.  




The fingers pointing at him accuse him of not smiling, lacking the common touch, of being a loser, not being able to communicate at grassroots level and a myriad other things. I always fought for him on all these points. I have known him since he was four years old; a toddler when his mother, the late beautiful, dignified and stately Nalini WIckremesinghe enrolled him as a Kindergarten pupil at Bishop’s College where I was as a teenager helping out as a pupil teacher. I have always kept in close touch with him, his late mother, his wife and his siblings and know how much the mud slung at him hurt them all, through the last ten years. Perhaps, even much more than that it has always hurt me when he was insulted. I have never asked him for any favours or got any, but I always believed that he was the only Leader in the present scenario who could and would give us good governance. His unwavering belief in democracy and an independent judiciary, integrity and the rule of law, strict adherence to justice for one and all, combined with his intellectual vision, love of reading and music make him what this country needs at this moment. All  his interests  are those of a liberated, civilized person. In politics, he has been a firm believer in more representation for women, and urged firmer action against perpetrators of rape and other abuse against women and children.   It was while he was Prime Minister between 2002 and 2004, that the Domestic Violence Bill was drafted and moved. The appointment of a National Commission for Women to attend to all issues connected with women was included in the UNF manifesto this time at his instigation. It was also because of him that more than once there has been a peaceful transition of power, when his side was the victor, and this time a relatively peaceful election.




I canvassed for him this time as I always did,  helping his sister who is one of my dearest friends and everywhere I went; my friends, those I spoke to in Banks, in shops, beauty salons, senior citizens groups, on the streets; had no qualms  in expressing their confidence in him and assuring me of their votes. No one expressed any doubts about him to me. A few sweet ladies among senior citizens wanted to give him all three votes to ensure that he would be the Prime Minister. I had to explain that these would be spoilt votes and decrease his majority!  But some others mentioned that their friends among the rich and privileged had said they were not voting for him. Today, we who stood by him have had the last laugh, as those votes not given to him, have not been needed for his unprecedented record. So many campaigned against him, even starting marches saying that he must step down. His calm demeanour through it all has got its just reward. He rarely loses his cool which is essential for good leadership. I am sure that many who slandered him, wanted him to step down, circulated unkind emails about him will now swarm around him like bees round a pot of honey, wanting handouts. Sometimes I feel he is too forgiving, but I hope he will see through all these traitors, who will now pretend that they always were his ardent supporters. 

 


"So many campaigned against him, even starting marches saying that he must step down. His calm demeanour through it all has got its just reward. He rarely loses his cool which is essential for good leadership"




There is a God above who knows right from wrong and good from evil, who is a better judge of character than any of us. Ranil Wickremesinghe is not a God. He is human. And like all of us, has frailties which are not faults. I have always said that I will support him till I die, a promise I will fulfill to the end. I have closely followed his time in politics from his first role as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Industries and Minister of Education and as Prime Minister. His contributions to our progress and development as a nation, in all these roles have been immense. While reading the words of Charles Swindell the other day, ”The longer I live, the  more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us, and 90 percent how we respond to it,” These words too, seem to epitomize Ranil’s dignified walk and talk in politics. I am very proud of him and prouder still, that I was his first teacher.   
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  • ASH CHRIS Wednesday, 26 August 2015 05:21 PM

    WELL SAID.BEAUTIULLY WRITTEN.HATS OFF.


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