Reading politically savvy newspaper columns from abroad helps to touch base with Weliveriya. Is it a Tale of One City or One City with Two Tales? Was it a dress rehearsal for a regime change or a spontaneous outpouring of dissent?
Look at the end result to determine the origin and intent. People took over the pavements and spilt onto the road. Protested loud and long and the message reached home. Lives were lost, injuries were caused and the military were occupied. Disturbance was on public space and the community-at-large was greatly inconvenienced. Home they went after the discord and stayed at home thereupon. The story ends there on incidents. But the incident has not blown away. Of the two stories which sounds more authentic? Both carry substance, one more than the other.
Weliveriya Town is definitely not Cairo’s Tahrir Square or Tunis's Kasba Circle. It’s a localised incident that gained greater proximity to the international media than the battle that took place in Belfast days ago between Protestants and Catholics where 56 policemen were injured when Protestants set upon Catholics on a march. Was the road leading to Weliveriya destined to wind its way to Geneva 2014?
Weliveriya has gained more fame internationally than Arantalawa or Keppitigollawa where the brutality was more gruesome, with infants and baby monks hacked to death, yet the world slept soundly on it. Tweeting was furious on Weliveriya creating an atmosphere of an eagerly awaited Arab springtime for the jabbing fingers? Fast tracking by foreign elements shows the extent we are watched. Helping hands from our shores, source selective material abroad, to set up furious responses.
"Was it a dress rehearsal for a regime change or a spontaneous outpouring of dissent? Look at the end result to determine the origin and intent. People took over the pavements and spilt onto the road. Protested loud and long and the message reached home. Lives were lost injuries were caused and the military were occupied."
Media travels the distance it cares to reach- destination Weliveriya is indeed a choice location. It includes many facets - human rights; exporter of valued merchandise to US; passing glimpse of a Sri Lankan spring; shades of a Mid-Eastern esplanade with squatting crowds at a busy intersection; A state bigwig carries interest; epistles from western embassies; church as a sanctuary; monks and clergymen on show; environmental phases; Political activists and the foot prints of the military.
Those serial sub plots attract the media that tilt as pro and anti government outlets as they come into the open-switching channels, watching both is to remain balanced. Let the public decide since the government can counter through their media outlets. Don’t blame Sirasa or Hiru as they compete to break news. That is their entitlement.
ST and SI have researched deep and each produced illuminating reports but there is no meeting place for competing trends. They sit poles apart in presenting tales of value. Not a Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward production of a common Watergate. Little bit of this and that need be picked to concoct a cocktail of a better understanding. Reflecting varied views is the function of the unkempt media. Makes reading worthwhile.
‘Water, Water everywhere, not a drop to drink at all’ is the thirst quencher. Could it be an over reaction from a misled quarter that did not originally target the supposedly offending company? Animus was more towards state authority. Queer in not keeping to the traditional script: it gives authenticity to the outpouring but also shows the graffiti of political operators on the walls. Government was too late and did too little to quell and thereafter did too much too soon.
A public commodity denied of its purity turns into a potential health hazard, often overlooked by over-zealous officials at the site. They may realize the ensuing harm but did not want to disturb head office: play safe until the Big Boys move to ease tension. It could have been nipped in the bud without accumulating moss. Don’t tiny acorns cause great fires? End result – its the company that suffers the most.
Timely action was the preventive measure; failure caused greater harm. Long wait for the technical reports. Quality Exports are a lifeline.
The targeted objects on the streets are the state authorities, not the company orderlies. There is the current belief: if results are required move Big Foot. He has to intervene and work out a compromise. He did and it clocked to desired precision. Responding swiftly without allowing issues to drag would have brought the same result. Big Foot is required to smoothen any rumbling. If that gains, currency street shows are likely to multiply to attract attention.
A Company cannot close gates at the flicker of agitation -weakness can become infectious.Timely use of the head prevents a spark setting a forest fire. Interested hands are at work if four complaints are lodged against the company in the Magistrate's Court and then withdrawn.That is the point to pitch.Who was responsible for making the complaints and for its withdrawal? That needs inquiry to determine whether it was voluntarily or under duress or purely cosmetic.
There is a lesson to learn. The time is not ripe for a watery revolution to arise from a road show. Try it and come a cropper - dissatis faction cannot peak in the absence of a stout opposition. Whoever makes the charge of a regime change at the sight of turbulence is an alarmist downplaying reality. Turmoil needs an honest response. If false alarm bells are sounded frequently screaming wolfishly “regime change, regime change” and counter measures are a battering - the situation can get complicated.
That might gradually grow to reach proportions that create an unexpected regime change coming from the streets than from the ballot box.Reminiscent of Rangoon 1988 where a brawl in a tea shop that led to a death of a student escalated on to riots with the over reaction of the security services.
Undoubtedly at Weliveriya much of it was impromptu and impulsive; as it snowballed undemocratic elements joined the melee to plant seeds of social dissension. Government must act with tact otherwise shady elements are using these opportunities as practice games for their spurious activities. Law and Order must prevail without excesses or minimally.