Sri Lanka blacks out in self defence

Amusing Rambo-like contradictions: According to Eric Ellis, reporting in The Sydney Morning Herald, (22/9/2007), p. 44, flying into Colombo’s civil war on a tourist-less Sri Lankan Airlines flight, the three plugs in the inflight magazine from the country’s in­vestment board extolling the island’s corpor­ate virtues were arresting, if not amusing:

• "generous fiscal incentives";

• "transparent legal system"; and

• "one of the most liveable countries in Asia".

A government for sale: "Generous fiscal incentives" seemed an apt advertisement for Sri Lanka’s public service, for this seems a government for sale;

• Police posts along Colombo’s locked-down corniche were sponsored by a leasing company;

• a steelmaker advertises on the checkpoint to the city’s besieged military HQ, which is fre­quently infiltrated by Tamil Tiger separatists intent on blowing up the brass.

Cult of personality of the Presi­dent;"The growing cult of personality of the Presi­dent, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is plastered all over the central bank’s offices, though its governor insists he and the bank are unflinchingly inde­pendent. The statistics tell their own story:

• interest rates at 18.3 per cent;

• inflation at 16 per cent; and

• a money supply that grew by 17 per cent in April to finance the escalation of an unwinnable war.

Lanka has just eight kilo­metres of motorway, and infrastructure Churchill would recognise as new. When last here, in April, I saw the war frighteningly up close.

ack-ack lights the night:"When the board switched off the power, Colombo was immediately bathed in light, and the HQ of the National Intelligence Board, Sri Lanka’s MI5 and "high-value target", blazed brighter than most. A gun tower barked into action 50 metres from my room in the Galle Face hotel. Its ack-ack lit the night, as excitable grunts on the tower blazed away Rambo-like at nothing in particular, including the hotel".

The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/9/2007, p. 44

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