GOOD EXAMPLES AND BAD
A local newspaper
columnist recently highlighted the sacking of the U.S Internal
Revenue Service (IRS) chief and admonished Sri Lankan
powers-that-be to behave the same way, and not allow any
witch-hunts against political opponents. Apparently the U.S IRS
head, Mr. Steven Miller, had deployed the powers of his office
to ensnare erring members of the Republican opposition. Our
columnist, a Colombo lawyer, stated that in Sri Lanka there is a
breakdown in law enforcement, and some amount of State
encouragement for public officials to persecute those who are
opposed to the government.
The U.S as the fountainhead of all virtue -- now that's a
familiar refrain, if ever there was one! The U.S system is
supposed to be squeaky clean and streamlined, and functional in
the manner of a well oiled machine. If this was true, the sun
would probably be rising from the West tomorrow, and it's worth
the simple question why.
When there was a meltdown on Wall Street and a resultant
financial crisis that generally hit the poor with home mortgages
etc., U.S President Barack Obama vowed to cleanse the system. He
was elected for precisely that essentially in his first term --
the joke was that 'they hire the blacks all the time to do the
dirty work'. The situation was that dire.
Barack Obama promptly went on to swell the ranks of his
Treasury with precisely the same folk that caused the Wall
Street collapse in the first place. Timothy Geitner and the rest
of the team, had worked for and benefited immensely, and
sometimes dubiously, the fat cat companies such as Goldman Sachs
that were deemed 'too big to fail.'
Notwithstanding the glaring conflict of interests, these
people were appointed - and they were responsible for the
bailout that got these 'too big to fail' concerns out of
bankruptcy and imminent collapse.
The poor and the affected got nothing -- or next to nothing.
Obama's appointment of regulators right from within the ranks of
the culprits that caused the meltdown, was unprecedented.
Yet, the Ravi Pereras that are our columnists this day and
age, are blissfully ignorant of these realities. They say we
should look to the U.S -- and no doubt the rest of the
'wholesome and well regulated Western economies', in order to
build our model!
Quaint, this monumental ignorance, and this phenomenal desire
to deify the white skin, and genuflect before the altar of
'Western good governance.'!
Correct -- everything is not working to clockwork precision
in this country, in terms of regulation, enforcement, and
general good governance. But, show us where it works like that -
certainly, it cannot be anywhere on this planet.
But it suits the narrative of the Western educated, and the
shrill Colombo opinion makers on the make to make us believe
that there is somehow, particularly now, a gigantic failure in
our systems in place of good governance, regulation and law
Most of these people fond of such theses, want regime change
anyway -- they feel left out, in the main because their
favourite party representing the business oligarchy is not in
What can anybody do about it? Does it mean that they can
pretend that the system does not work and shout out from the
rooftops about it, and make the people believe what's patently
Granted that the 'system' needs repair in some places, and
that there is much that's wanting in certain areas of governance
and administration -- but this is the citizens' existential
reality in most countries with a comparable history of being
under colonial rule, that are incrementally coming out of a
period of administrative malaise.
But these things will change. They need time. But to believe
that there are pure and effective systems in the West which we
ought to emulate here, is such a lot of servile, unrealistic
nonsense. Sometimes, the systems we are told to emulate are the
most rotten, with the corruption so subtle that it's almost too
hard to discern. If somebody wants to give this country an
example of good governance and administrative accountability, in
any case, he would have to find a better example than the United