An Open Letter to the Former President

Dear Mr. Rajapaksa (no, you are not a King. We are not your subjects. Stop deluding yourself),

I would say I’m sorry for your loss, but I am not. If nothing else, I promise you honestly in this letter. I am glad about your loss. Truly glad. See, unlike a lot of people, I never loved you. (Why should I love you, or any other politician? If I knew you personally, then I would have emotions) In fact, I only had respect for you until the 2010 election, after which it plummeted beyond oblivion (although I did hear a hiccup from the side of respect on 9th morning, when I heard you graciously left office). I am not going to do the like the old Sinhala saying – ඔළුව අතගාලා ටොක්කක් අනිනවා; instead, I shall start off mean, and be nicer as I go on.

You called yourself “the proud father of the nation”. Well, you were a lousy Dad. If you were to be a good father, you shouldn’t have had favorites. When your favorite kids went around bullying the others – especially those who were already oppressed, you should not have turned a blind eye. When houses were a fire in Aluthgama, when people lay dying in Rathupaswala, when a hundred and one other atrocities took place by your favorites, you turned a blind eye. Speaking of Aluthgama, I will never forgive you for bringing out racism. You had the perfect opportunity to unite everyone under the title of “Sri Lankan”. Yet, what did you do? You ended up highlighting ethnical differences (which is rather strange considering how all three of your sons were educated in Christian/Catholic schools). How dare you call yourself our father?!

A lot of thoughts are running across my mind – how you treated university lecturers, why does a country with a very high literacy rate have the lowest budget allocation for education, what wrong did the uni students do for you to treat them in such a way, many whats, whys and how-could-yous. But you know what. I just realized something. All your issues could be summed up in one main problem. You turned a blind eye. When there were problems, you turned a blind eye. When something went wrong, you turned a blind eye. You, dear (Self-proclaimed) father, chose only to see what you wanted to see. And we, suffered.

Mind you, I respected you for winning the war. War was older than I am, but I do remember the terror it instilled those days – the fear of going somewhere, not knowing if you would come back; the suspicious glances in a bus; the feeling of loss. You see, the problem is, even though you won the war, these emotions did not go away! We still feared to speak up in case we pissed off on of your henchmen and be white-vanned; there still were suspicious glances in buses because you generated another racial conflict; loss – ha! I don’t need to tell you about the lives lost under your tyrannical rule, do I?

You see, if you had left office in 2010, you would have been hailed the greatest president in history of Sri Lanka. If you had realized that you owe people, that you cannot ride on winning a war forever, things might have been different. You were pretty awesome during the first term. But then you became less concerned about us, and more concerned about your image.

However, you were the president who managed to win the war, with the help of a million billion people (a fact you conveniently forgot). For that, kudos. I’m glad you left the office without a hassle. I would hate to see the president who led the country out of war, be remembered as the president who ordered a military take-over and went against people’s choice.

I don’t cry for your departure. I am thankful for the urban development in Colombo (but the commissions. Seriously? C’mon). I respect you for a job well-done (initially). You know what, don’t feel bad. Winston Churchill had said: “Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war”. You were the man who won a war. Let’s allow someone who is capable to make peace.

A piece of advice. Get your sons to behave and not appear like spoilt little royal brats, if you want some respect.

Thank you for all you did. The good and the bad. The bad united the country, and reinstated my faith in power of the people.

Good Luck!

Yours sincerely,

Me.

PS: In case you are wondering, I am not a Maithree supporter. If he doesn’t abide by his policies, I would do all I can to have another.

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