So here we are, the most important week in Sri Lanka until the next very important one. Everyone's talking about the election, of who'll win and, maybe more importantly, who'll lose.
Yesterday I had lunch with a bunch of diasporic Lankans and the conversation, in between juicy chunks of gossip about various CMB 7 types, wandered over to thoughts on the election. One fellow said that he reckoned, if the turnout is high, then SF would win. But he said that the turnout could be low and then Mahinda will get his next term.
If I was voting I'd face a tough choice. In one corner we have the President incumbent, the one, the only President who managed to defeat the LTTE. It's a fact, one that really cannot be disputed. We can argue about the methods, the Human rights issues, the allegations, the videos and the Western conspiracy theories, but we can't argue against the fact that Mahinda Rajapkase was the President who finally ended the decades of conflict.
In the other corner we've got Sarath Fonseka, a fact you probably don't need me to tell you, the General who won the war. As a politician he has a track record that's about as long as something very, very short, like me or any other average height Sri Lankan. I don't mean we have a short political track record, I mean we're short, often so short that we don't get any taller as we walk towards you.
As I see it you're faced with a simple scenario; vote for Rajapakse if you want more of the same. The nepotism, the despotism, the corruption and the two fingers up at the international community will continue, maybe even get stronger with MR in for another term.
If you want change then the only option is a vote for the General (retired). But you don't actually know if he can give you change, or if he does, whether it will actually be change for the better.
If I had a vote I think I'd give it to SF, just to take a chance and hope for reformation.
I wouldn't hold my breath though, it just seems like the only way to find out what will happen.
3 weeks ago