On Stage at the Sri Lankan ‘Theatre of the Absurd’

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In a piece appropriate to the “theatre of the absurd that passes for governance”   in Sri Lanka, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of the Centre for Policy Alternatives offers up a take on recent events that moves seamlessly from earnest policy analysis to a wry disquisition on President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s upcoming appearance in a new version of the ancient epic Mahavamsa, as well as the Great Leader’s distressing inability to overtake a “Korean songster” in our own Time 100 poll. “An official government release on this stresses that the president is the leading politician in the poll.”

Oh, wait. That last bit is real.

Rajapaksa has many reasons to shore up his base of support at home these days. A local government-friendly newspaper, the Island, has been leaking exceprts from a United Nations report alleging that war crimes were committed during the last months of Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil Tigers. Here’s the most recent installment.

It makes for extremely disturbing reading, and there’s more to come. The United Nations has yet to issue its official version of the full report, but Sri Lanka is already calling on allies like Russia to prevent further action by the UN to investigate or prosecute war crimes allegedly committed during the end of the Sri Lankan civil war —or what the Ministry of Defense calls ” the last phase of the humanitarian operations.” Satire isn’t so easy in Sri Lanka these days.