Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Encounter Orders: The Final Frontier for many

The Sri Lanka Police are keeping very busy these days. With the number of grenades they are dodging and the grenade throwers successfully shot in the process, the guardian angels must be happy.

I for one, am not too unhappy about the recipients of the street justice (or underworld rules) that the Police are doling out these days. Due to the culture of impunity, the delays in the courts and the corruption in the prison’s one can easily tell themselves that these are ‘justifiable encounters’, ordered or not.

I do however take issue with the fact that it is a slippery slope the powers that be are on (or forever has been). A few months ago, it was LTTE Cadres. Now it is the Underworld figures. Tomorrow might be druggies. Day after tomorrow, it could quite well be political dissidents.

The power and effectiveness of these ‘encounters’ will be an irresistible seduction to the powers that be. But at what cost does this take place? Policemen and Citizens who expect to deal swift (irreversible) justice on top of which, 25 years of indifference to all manner of mindless violence, will never raise a voice against it.

The Sri Lankan armed forces was once classified as the most obedient armed forces in South Asia. In India, the forces have a lot of political clout given the situation with Pakistan. Pakistan itself has a history where the country’s leadership and military leadership has been one and the same. Given all this, it is a small wonder that no single member of our armed forces has executed a coup d’etat or successfully navigated the murky waters of democratic political leadership (except Ranjan Wijeratne, may he rest in peace).

In the current climate of fear, uncertainty, corruption and familial loyalties building monarchical dynasties, thumbing of the nose to good practices and law, the complete and utter lack of respect to fellow human beings and their fundamental rights. The time has come for a new kind of leader. A visionary. A man with a mission.

A leader with a vision, accomplishments to their name, the love and admiration of the people regardless of present treatment and position. Someone who has demonstrated the ability to do a job no one else has been able to do. Who commands respect and does the necessary thing in the face of rabid opposition. A person who is capable of bringing the best out of people and exhorting them to higher endeavors through sheer courage and bravery.

Do you know anyone who fits that bill? I think I do.

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