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Who’s the liar here?
Neither has a clean record, yet the eventual choice wasn’t too surprising

The war of words between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the former Sri Lankan Army Chief Sarath Fonseka doesn’t seem to be any close to ending; despite the fact that Rajapaksa has gone well ahead of Fonseka in the political race. Both are national heroes (Rajapaksa, thanks to the inherited political dynasty along with the strong leadership during the crisis to defeat LTTE and Fonseka for ending the three decade long battle against LTTE); yet, both are now seen by global commentators to be indulging in double-speak, if not lying altogether. Wondrously, their diatribes and repartees at each other are on their way to attaining folklore status in the hall of comedic dialogues. It’s unbelievable that neither Fonseka nor Rajapaksa are realising that the world today views their accusations at each other with hilarity. We bring to you some golden nuggets:

March 2010, Presidential nominees are declared:
Incumbent President Rajapaksa comes to know that Fonseka will contest in the Presidential election.
Rajapaksa: “He is a fool!”
Fonseka: Charges Rajapaksa with trying to “sideline” him with “unfounded fears” and says he is “disgusted and disillusioned” with the manner in which Rajapaksa is treating him.

The issue of rights of minorities in Sri Lanka:
Rajapaksa: “We will ensure equality and equity among all the ethnicity... I believe the solution should be given to them after discussing it with them.”
Fonseka: “China is ruled by Chinese, England by the Englishmen and Germany by Germans. This is because these countries are ruled by the majorities... What is wrong in saying that this country, which is historically ruled by Sinhalese, will be ruled by the Sinhalese...”

On their relationship with India, being extreme in nature:
Rajapaksa: “India is our neighbour.
We must have good relations whether in war or in peace.”
< Fonseka: “Now we have a daunting task to protect our motherland from India”
Their views on Presidential election and results:
Fonseka: “Government violated election laws, manipulated & misled people.”
Rajapaksa: “This is why the people trusted us and continues to trust us. You should ensure its continuity.”

On freedom of Press, social justice and democracy:
Fonseka: “if elected President, will ensure that Sri Lanka enjoys democracy, social justice as well as freedom of the media.”
Rajapaksa: “We never subjugated the path of democracy. We did not believe in alternative routes and did not mislead the people by holding bogus referendums.”
Admittedly, the two opponents have drastically different agendas on their minds. And they clearly don’t have characters you’ll boast to your grandmother about (Fonseka is even a convicted rapist). But even if one assumes that both of them really do not mean what they speak, whom should India choose to side with? The answer is a clear no-brainer with Rajapaksa winning the sweepstakes.
Rajapaksa statements have – at the least – attempted to provide a sensible outlook to his people. After the election, when questioned on his work post the war, he said, “There is no point in having just peace, we need to be efficient and have fast growth... We have to build an efficient and productive country.” Compare that to Fonseka’s global agenda after the war, “I am not going to save anyone who has committed war crimes... The country has been suffering for too long. Now that the nation has got rid of terrorism, you cannot leave the country in the hands of a dictator.”
The crux is while Rajapaksa’s victory doesn’t make him the unanimous choice of common Sri Lankans, Fonseka was not a glorious choice for the future of Sri Lanka either, perhaps less so. Given that, as has been the rigmarole rote rule across the world, it is better to try one’s luck with an evil one has tasted, than with one right off the gates of hell...

By:- Akram Hoque

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