Why is this country’s ever lamenting civil society set of weepers complaining twenty four hours, seven days a week about good governance and regime change, when there are real human beings out there, who are crying out for attention? How much more heartrending can the average news item get than the news about the eight year old schoolgirl who was accused of picking up eight coconuts because she had to contribute to the school fund for a new whitewash for the classroom building?
Yet, it took the allegedly Sinhala supremacist (according to the carping civil society lobbyists, that is ..) and allegedly human rights deaf president of this country (according to the same civil society whiners-brigade) to raise a din about this issue, and ensure that a small child who tried to support her school, was not scarred for life.
But civil society has time for other things, such as echoing the asinine comments of Human Rights Watch for instance, about Colombo’s having to be rejected as the CHOGM venue. What sort of human rights campaigners that have time to carp on non-issues and inevitabilities — the sessions will be held in Colombo and there is no credible chance of anything to the contrary happening — but have no time for real children, suffering tykes, and the chronically underprivileged?
When the story of the eight year old having to save face before her classmates despite her poverty and was penalized by the state found its way to the newspapers, there was nobody that saw the flip side of the episode.
The reaction among the civil society do-gooders may have been ‘well, just another juvenile delinquent’ if they deigned to react at all, before chaffing at the next sip of champagne. But, the other side of the story was that there are children who badly need a hand, from private organizations that have the money and the time to do something.
But the days of the socially productive non-governmental organizations seem to be over. They seem to thrive on more poverty and more privation of the sort experienced by the eight year old in the news, just so that they can blame it on the government and get back to hollering for regime change.
Though nobody raised a finger in the civil society circuit, they have to be mindful of the fact that it’s often their policies that continue to keep little kids such as these in poverty. It’s their carping and their painting of a negative image for the country that keeps investors away, and the economy from developing faster.
What have the peace councils and the peddlers of alternatives done for health, education, child welfare and other issues that have a real bearing on the lives of people?
Nothing, partly because the donors give all the cash for other pursuits, such as muckraking about trumped up human rights issues, and bellowing through loud hailers about governance and the rule of law.
At least a somewhat maligned MP by the name of Rajiva Wijesinha has the time to go into real problems even though in a somewhat theoretical way, about schooling, general health issues and other societal concerns that have some immediacy in terms of making a real difference to common people and the chronically poor. At least, it has to be said, he tries.
But when the rest of civil society generally ignores the problems of schooling for instance expecting the government to wave a magic wand, to say the very least, they do not endear themselves to those such as the eight year old kid in the ‘coconuts for school’ story, the likes of which will grow up to hate the privileged but unfeeling civil society and NGO elites.
It’s small wonder then that these same ladies and gentlemen of the civil society wah-wah caucus spend all of their time writing about the unusual popularity of the president. Take Kumar David for instance. It is easy to see his insane jealousy about the fact that the president is popular when somehow his own town criers are not. May be Kumar in his sophistication cannot relate to an eight years old’s agony, but then again, he can talk for imagined thousands whom he says the president has wronged, even as his (the president’s) popularity remains unscathed and those of his own ilk plummets.