Cinnamon Lakeside, yesterday
I think Mahinda Rajapaksa won the Presidency. Fonseka has real legal concerns about the election, but it was free and fair enough for most observers. So now what? Me, I have to go to the bank and go get a wedding present. See, through all the seeming chaos, Sri Lanka actually runs fine. That is in many ways the paradox of the place. Sometimes it looks like the wheels are falling off but they never do. Unlike the days of insurrection (both Sinhala and Tamil) I think we are thankfully entering an age of political rather than visceral absurdity. I mean visceral as in blood and guts. This sucks, but significantly less than it used to.
I say this because all the international attention is of a rather bad sort. As in, ‘will my hotel get surrounded by troops, I’d rather go to India (but not the Taj), or Thailand (but then the airport), then Florida’. I think the siege was wrong, but it was never dangerous to guests. If anything, it was entertaining. While the election is a travesty of intimidation and abuse, it was nothing like the days where the JVP threatened to kill people who voted, and did.
This is not to excuse anything. It’s a bit like saying I’m sorry I punched you in the face but at least I didn’t stab you. I mean, it’s still not kosher. I think the election was unfree and unfair, but it will stand. I think Fonseka’s complaints of abuse, intimidation and vote rigging are true and that the Constitution should be legally binding, but people don’t care. So you get 6 more years of Mahinda, or 8 if he wants to bend the law a whole lot more (and why not).
So that’s what it is. It sucks, but it’s a 21st century kinda horrid, not the carnage in the streets of before. It’s not good, but it’s not that bad. This is, I think, the modern condition.