Sinhala kids at a parade, from Rebecca’s Flickr
Note: this is ostensibly for a Leisure Times column and more of a downer than I actually feel. Writing for print gives me a headache, so the structure and 30% of the words come directly from Matthew 24. That would be End Times. I personally think that things will be OK, this is just for structure and style. Sri Lanka has been through worse.
We hear of war and rumours of war. Assassinations, grenade attacks, shootings, and explosions throughout the Northeast, and political turmoil in Parliament. Colombo is not troubled, and would probably be content to let these things pass. Indeed, the war has passed unattended for two years, weaving a thin seam that it took a Tsunami to tear open.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Sri Lankans have offended, betrayed, and hated one another â€“ nation against pseudo-nation. Many false leaders have promised racial pride and land – leaving humiliation and refugees. Many have lost faith with the widespreaded corruption and iniquity, leaving the island to raise their children with vague memories and vacation snapshots. More, however, have endured Civil War with the hope that the country could be saved. This, however, was only the beginning of sorrows.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
The cease-fire was tenous and holding, and it seemed like we could afford to procrastinate. Until, of course, the Tsunami showed how urgent peace really was. The waves brought desolation to the coast â€“ killing those who waited just a moment to save their possessions, and striking women and mothers the hardest. Millions took flight after Poya day, into months and years of tribulation. North-Eastern refugees are caught in a no-man’s land where no one is in charge. Many foreign flights and funds have swirled around the carcass of the coastline, but there is no one to deliver. The lack of a negotiated settlement meant that GoSL doesn’t even control much of the affected land. The Karuna split means that the LTTE doesn’t even control itself.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Like a fat durian perched in a tree, the stinky fruit of Civil War was shaken down by the earthquake. If GoSL had known that disaster would come they might have negotiated rather than leaving the nation so unstable. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka was left woefully unprepared. In 2004 the President seized various Ministries, saying that the UNP was giving the Tigers too much. Negotiations ground to a halt as her government consorted with the JVP, spending and promising 10,000 tanks as if the War was over. Then – when all were unaware – the Tsunami struck the very lands under negotiation. It shook loose all the illusions and delays, leaving a humanitarian crisis on hotly disputed territory. Like the days before the biblical flood, Sri Lanka had been trading and investing without care, refusing to negotiate in due season. Unlike Noah, however, GoSL built no Ark to carry us through rough waters, only a flimsy raft called P-TOMS.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Two parties were in the governing coalition, but now only one is left. The LTTE was united in the North and East, but they too have split. Both sides – fattened from cease-fire and drunk on travel junkets â€“ are in no condition to meet this challenge. The Tsunami caught them unaware, on land which was already threatening to break apart. Now the Tsunami threatens to cut Sri Lanka asunder, with weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.