Home for the aged club of ex politicos afflicted with dotage, now tendering unsolicited, gratuitous advice
Posted on March 28th, 2012

By Mario Perera, Kadawata

 Unsolicited gratuitous advice is now being tendered to Sri Lanka by members of an exclusive Home for the Aged Club. This self constituted club comprises former Heads of State of certain nations. They all bear the label EX. One of them is Nelson Mandela. He is an ex in more senses than one. Ex-president of South Africa for sure, but also ex-husband of Winnie. His consort is also the ex-wife of another African Head of State. That is all fine and no one objects. The aged have every right to become “ƒ”¹…”ex’ and also to marry any x, y, and z, of their choice, and live happily ever after.

 About Nelson Mandela. His greatest claim to fame is that he spent several decades in prison under white apartheid rulers. Now why did he go to prison? Those who put it mildly say he was an opponent of apartheid. Others more bluntly say he was quite simply a terrorist. Whatever that be, he demonstrated his virtues and perhaps also expunged his sins in his prison cell. Then he was released and was elected president of South Africa as head of the ANC. He remained in that post for 4 years before relinquishing it, thereby becoming a symbol of the struggle for equality of the blacks against the whites, and also of all  those who are oppressed. He thus became ideal foil for the Tamil Elamists. There is an important fact to be remembered about the Reconciliation Commission he established. Very significantly the chief perpetrator of the apartheid policy of that time, the then Prime Minister Botha refused to go before the commission in spite of the personal entreaties of Mandela. Mandela even told him: do it for me! Botha replied that he only answers to God. To that extent the Reconciliation endeavour was a failure. It was like staging Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark. Yet the South African Reconciliation Commission is held out as exemplary to the whole world and even a model for Sri Lanka.

 The other most ostentatious member of the club is Mary Robinson. She is the Ex-president of Ireland. Ireland’s aspirations to glory come from the fact that it is a pillar of Catholicism and also, that some of its migrant population to the USA held, hold and aspire to hold high offices in that country. The Kennedys are one such example. Mary Robinson later held the post of Head of the UNHRC. In the final analysis Mrs.Robinson is a lady who has nothing of the stature of our Mrs. Bandaranayake, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher. She is a little saint who was placed in a big shrine.

 All that however is acceptable and quite in order, being the ways of the world. Now from where does the disorder come? The disorder is that this all exclusive club of the “ƒ”¹…”ex’ so and so, sitting in the exit (ex-it) lounge of life has now become another front line of the high powered western bully nations, to propagate their ideologies and hold country’s they dislike to ransom. This is the case of Sri Lanka.

 This dotage club meets on an irregular basis. One such occasion is the birthday of Mandela.  That too is quite understandable seeing that they are all in their tottering twilight years and not in a condition for too much locomotion. And when they meet they reminisce about the good old days when they wielded power and had their way and say. Just think of a meeting of old cronies around a bottle of arrack and you will understand. Such “ƒ”¹…”get-togethers’ instilled in the minds of their patrons that this club could be utilized to serve their purposes. The recently concluded General UNHRC is a case in point. And so the club met again. Mrs. Robinson was shown on that occasion offering a seated Nelson Mandela a large bouquet of flowers. Naturally they had to show of their knowledge of the resolution, its pros and cons and what it entailed. So prompted by the sponsors and co-sponsors Mary Robinson the sounding brass, demonstrated that the antique club was not devoid of brain waves. In the process she uttered senile nonsense. She said the resolution was not a western product. Then for god’s sake whose product was it? She also said the resolution was not aimed at the government of Sri Lanka. Then against which government was it brought? And finally to show that though old and unsteady they still wielded some clout, came the veiled threat: do not let this resolution be brought again”¦as if they were ready to parachute from Indian migs with parippu tied to their bellies.

 Now is this not a joke going too far? We have had ex heads of state be they prime ministers or presidents, and they never took on advisory roles for governments in place. If they had such pretentions then it was only in their minds. Whom are these western powers trying to impress by setting up this club of old timers of “ƒ”¹…”gone are the days’ and whose “ƒ”¹…”heads are bending low’? This club of the twilight years would do better to sit in their exit lounge of life, and contemplate their contemporaries taking off to wherever never more to return, rather than make themselves into a laughing stock of the world at large. As for the spokeswoman of the tottering shaky legged club, Mrs. Robinson of highly Catholic Ireland, she would do well to think of take-off time herself, and reflect on the words of the song which could have well been intended for her:

 And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson

Jesus loves you more than you will know, wo wo wo God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson Heaven holds a place for those who pray, hey hey hey Hey hey hey

 Mario Perera, Kadawata

7 Responses to “Home for the aged club of ex politicos afflicted with dotage, now tendering unsolicited, gratuitous advice”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Other people in this Elders’ club are bishop tutu and former President Jimmi Carter. All talk for the Church.

    If you listened to Sandeshaya today, Dr. Dayan Jayathilake took what happened Myanmar as the example and explained what we should do. In other words, Myanmar also had gone through the same procedure via UNHCR. Then, according to him, Myanmar went though lot of democratic changes and finally, now, Myanmar is going to be the chair person of ASEAN. How ever, he did not mention anything about how US harassed Myanmar and how Myanmar was close to China…. and Now US somehow wanted Myanmar out of Chinese hands and what ever happened after that…

  2. R.M.W Says:

    Congratulations Mario Perera. A well formulated analysis and a factual one at that. Only point you forgot to mention was that; most of these ex-iters are Nobel Peace laureates. Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Mother Teresa, Henry A. Kissinger etc. Soon Mrs. Clinton will be a member of this club for the excellent job she is executing for the Norwegian ‘war’ industry, oops, I mean the peace industry. In this manner she will be able to bury her Husband’s sex-a-pades.
    How can we ever forget that classic which was making its rounds at the time about Mr. Clinton; the one he supposedly had said to Monica Lewinsky: I did not ask her to lie, I just asked her to lie down, and take it in the mouth? Obviously he was taking about his lollipop he had brought as a present for her. Curiously I must admit that I am stupid I know; for I still fail to grasp why she has to lie down to lick a lollipop, may be Mrs. Clinton or perhaps Mary Robinson will be kind enough explain it to us?

  3. cassandra Says:

    Mario Perera,

    As my old, trusty dictionary tells me, gratuitous advice is, by definition, unsolicited advice. But it is not necessarily bad advice. In fact all the good advice I received from my parents and teachers when I was growing up was gratuitously given and I consider that I am all the better for having heeded it. Nor do I think that the advice that comes from the elderly is, because of their years, lacking in merit. Indeed, it is a tradition in all cultures to look to the elderly for wise words and good counsel. And it is also universally customary to treat the elderly with respect. It seems to me that, sadly, neither of these factors counts for much with you.

    I think you have shown very little sensitivity in the manner you have written about Nelson Mandela and Mary Robinson, referring to them as members of a ‘dotage club…..all in their tottering twilight years and not in a condition for too much locomotion’. It will do us well to remember that the frailties of old age and the limitations that come with the advancing years are part of the human condition and one day will be visited upon us all.

    It will also do us well to remember that the advancing years, whilst impacting on the faculties do not necessarily make the old stupid or malicious. And correspondingly, it would be a mistake to think that those who are not so old are necessarily blessed with wisdom in greater measure!

    Whatever your views are of Nelson Mandela and Mary Robinson, there are enough people out there who hold them – and rightly – in high regard. You have seen fit to say that Mary Robinson is not of the stature of Mrs Bandaranaike, Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir and Margaret Thatcher. That is a matter of opinion. Comparisons are always invidious but now that you have made one, let me say that Mrs Bandaranaike, the fine, gracious lady she was, has only one great claim to fame – that of becoming the world’s first woman prime minister. And that came about purely through the accidental circumstance of finding herself the widow of a popular leader. Those who remember the privations they had to endure during her time in office will no doubt take a less kindly view than you do of her administration, and the fact that she was thrown out of office by a massive and unprecedented landslide tells its own story. As for Indira Gandhi, also a beneficiary of the dynastic politics of the East, how could any Sri Lankan ever forget that it was under her watch that India trained, armed, financed and assisted various Sri Lankan Tamil terrorist groups? And yet you see fit to say Mary Robinson is not of her stature. It beggars belief.

    In regard to Mary Robinson you have also had to drag in her Catholic faith, regardless of the fact that has no bearing on the matter. But having noticed from your previous writings that you have a ‘hang-up’ about the Catholic Church this is hardly surprising. And on the matter of relevance, I cannot see that your use of the lines from ‘The Graduate’ with which you have ended your article is either germane to the topic or very clever.

    But what really is your grouse? What is really so unacceptable about what Nelson Mandela and Mary Robinson said when they counselled that Sri Lanka should try to avoid being hauled up again before the UNHRC? Is that not kindly advice? Is that not what Dayan Jayatilleka himself has said?

    All the anti Western and anti Indian rhetoric surrounding the vote in Geneva will avail Sri Lanka little unless the country takes a good, honest look at itself and puts its house in order. What the issue calls for is rational, objective discussion – not engaging in the counter-productive exercise of heaping ridicule on those whose remarks are not to your liking.

  4. mario_perera Says:

    Cassandra,

    I m replying only to the linguistic issue you raise. There are two sides to every story which means to this story as well. in the issue under scrutiny, there is the giver of something and the other to whom that something is given. In other words, there is the ONE and the OTHER.

    The word ‘gratuitous’ has to do with the ONE who is the GIVER of something.

    The word ‘unsolicited’ has to do with the other to whom that something is tendered.

    Gratuitous (from the Latin ‘gratis’), means FREE. It also means UNWARRANTED, given or done without sufficient reason or justification.

    To solicit means to apply, ask, beg, canvass, tout.

    The advice of the CLUB my article refers to was complimentary, FREE, irrelevant, needless, nonessential and voluntary. And what is more UNWARRANTED i.e given for no rhyme or reason except the loquacious tendency associated with old age. I am not being sarcastic. Anyone who has a grand-mother at home knows this.

    From the Sri Lankan side, those FREE and UNWARRANTED utterances were not asked for, applied for, begged for, canvassed or touted.

    If I am to condense my article into one sentence I would say: Those with one foot dangling over their graves, should not put the other foot in their mouths.

    I would also wish to state, that the literary style of using overlapping adjectives is nothing new in any language. A new word has a new impact. Do we not say ‘time and tide wait for no man? You would know Cassandra (your ‘old, trusty dictionary’ might tell you), that ‘time and tide’ in that phrase means just the same, yet it enhances and beautifies the phrase, so much so that generations have preserved that time consecrated line.

    I have nothing against your ‘old trusty dictionary’. Please hold on to it and treasure it, but feel courageous enough to keep an eye open on others as well.

    Mario Perera, Kadawata

  5. cassandra Says:

    Mario Perera,

    Your point about using overlapping adjectives is well made but I still cannot see that the example you give – of time and tide – is on all fours with ‘unsolicited gratuitous advice’. There are two distinct things involved when we speak of time and tide but ‘unsolicited gratuitous advice’ reflects a clear tautology.

    It is presumptuous of you to conclude from my reference to my old, trusty dictionary that I have been enslaved in outlook within the confines of that book. That book has by no means been my sole guiding light. I have indeed kept my eyes open to a wider perspective and can assure you I shall continue to do so.

    Good Day.

  6. mario_perera Says:

    Cassandra (Mr? Mrs? Rev.Fr.?)

    I leave the last word to you with pleasure.

    As I stated on a previous occasion, I do not engage in substantial debates with people using pseudo-names.

    Enjoy your day

  7. Dham Says:

    South Africa always supported LTTE – Mandela imncluded. This is a fact.
    Desmod Tutu is just another South African.
    Who is Mary Robinson , I don’t even know – did she work with the unfortunates in India like mother Theresa ? But this great woman did not waste time politiking.

    Whatever it is , we must listen to elders ( except the South African aged) and
    “All the anti Western and anti Indian rhetoric surrounding the vote in Geneva will avail Sri Lanka little unless the country takes a good, honest look at itself and puts its house in order. ”
    is very true and we must respect Cassandra for that statement.

    We can also ask cassendra to avoid Indian products.

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