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CaptureHomer’s Iliad, most memorable of epic poems, is full of stock phrases, used again and again to describe people and things throughout the poem. When scholars in the last century established that the poem developed orally, they noted that these phrases were used to fill up the metre as the poet thought of how to move his narrative forward.

But I believe too that they are literary devices, not merely functional, and they add to the impact of the tale. They entrench in the mind of the reader, as of the audience for the oral version, the defining characteristics of the person or object described. Thus I cannot now see the Mediterranean without thinking of it as a wine dark sea, just as goats are, in my mind’s window, always sure-footed.

Some such defining description would help in making clear what is going on in the long drawn out narrative of the Central Bank bonds. For instance, when there were references recently to Saman Kumara, it might have been forgotten that, on August 1st, it was reported that ‘Mahendran directed me… he threatened me to do that… (to put Saman Kumara in the front office)’. It would serve to keep the strange story clear in our minds if, whenever Saman Kumara’s name came up, it was noted in parenthesis ‘forcibly placed by Mahendran as chief dealer of the EPF’.  That would make things clear, though adding the term ‘millionaire’ would remind us too that ‘Saman Kumara and his family members own assets exceeding Rs. 80 million’.

This paper I think understands the need for this type of characterization for, in describing Anika Wijesuriya, it noted that she provided the testimony that Ravi Karunanayake ‘may have received gratification…from Arjun Aloysius’. Not entirely coincidentally, I have now written to the Bribery Commission about another incident involving Ravi Karunanayake and this time Anika’s father Nahil, involving cheques to the value of Rs 60 million given to the Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2019
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