Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Update from Sri Lanka Part II

By Ru Freeman
Jan. 27, 2010

Meanwhile, after a long drawn out drama that involved Sarath Fonseka refusing to leave the hotel and making a public statement saying he was afraid for his life and requesting security, he has finally left the hotel without fuss. (This was one of those moments when I wished we had the American tradition of the losing candidate conceding victory). Wickramasinghe has thanked the government in the press for fair polling and in the aftermath appealed to the people to preserve the quiet and peace. There were rumors about SF punching Mangala and arrests of this or that person, but they remain rumors. No such thing is evident from the news I'm getting from the inside. The whole debacle over the occupation of the hotel by Sarath Fonseka appears to have been restricted to a few officials and to high level negotiations. Most people were actually unaware that any such thing was even happening. Celebrations in the streets have gone on all day - in terms of noise, firecrackers. Lots of posters came out congratulating the President.

Curfew has been declared in Gampola due to an incidence of a Buddhist priest being shot. I don't know more about the story than that right now, but will let you know if I do.

I would like to add that this morning during his interview, Malinda Seneviratne spoke pursuasively about the nature of victory and loss, and about the role that each of us must play in changing the country for the better. It was a perfect example of moving beyond the election to what still remains to be done and doing so in a manner which ensures some amount of dignity for all parties. In other analysis, the point was made that Mahinda was given the Presidency by the people the first time because they wanted him to end the war. He delivered on that promise. This second win is therefore one where the people are now expecting even more of him and it is up to him to see that he does what they have asked him to do.

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