Of that grave matter
(This editorial contains interesting and laughable political anecdotes)
The government is in overdrive, trying to destroy its opponents politically. It is making use of the entire state machinery for that purpose. Determined to defend themselves and make a comeback its enemies are trying to enlist the support of even gods and demons.
It was reported yesterday that evidence of hoonium (a form of black magic) against President Maithripala Sirisena and his trusted lieutenant, Minister Duminda Dissanayake’s siblings had been found in a graveyard at Kebithigollewa. Two youth chanced upon a copper plate with the names of the President and others carved thereon besides several other items used for rituals associated with hoonium, we are told.
President Sirisena’s political enemies seem to have graduated from dashing coconuts at Kovils to black magic. What they will resort to next to achieve their goal is anybody’s guess. Pro-government kattadiyas are likely to make a killing by undertaking to neutralise the malefic effects of hoonium. Astrologers are already divided between the government and the Opposition and making a lot of money. They are engaged in a star war, as it were; a similar division is likely to occur among the practitioners of black magic as well.
The Kebithigollewa hoonium episode reminds us of Hoonium Yaka or devil, which has got elevated to devatava (a kind of good spirit) over the years. Will a devatava with shrines dedicated to him even at some Buddhist temples, favour those hell bent on destroying their political enemies? In a country, where evil humans become demigods after entering politics and wielding political power for a couple of years, the rise of devils to the same level as gods should not surprise anyone.
Politicians consider no disaster bigger than losing their grip on power. They don’t baulk at anything to capture or retain power as is common knowledge. They solicit help from gods and demons alike and become easy prey for wily elements like exorcists. There have been instances where evil leaders terrorised their people by claiming to possess occult powers. In 1963, Papa Doc of Haiti, a self-proclaimed witch doctor, notorious for his savagery and corruption, not only misruled his country but also tried to frighten an American President when the US finally decided to let him stew in his own juice; he summoned a group of his favourite witch doctors and cast a voodoo spell on President John F. Kennedy. Shortly afterwards, Kennedy was assassinated and that tragedy helped Papa Doc instill more fear into Haitians and continue his sordid operations.
Sri Lankan politicians’ superstitious beliefs are only too well known. This newspaper revealed in 1992, a President, faced with the prospect of being impeached, enlisted the support of some kattadiyas from the South in a bid to tame his enemies. It was rumoured that the seats of the rebel MPs who were out for his scalp had been anointed with some charmed oil. When those lawmakers returned to Parliament after the abortive impeachment attempt they took with them lard to apply on their seats as it was believed to neutralise the effect of charmed oil! It was reported about 15 years ago that an elderly male politician had got into a sack of gingelly, in the buff, seeking vitality and longevity, at the behest of some crafty astrologers who claimed to possess occult powers.
What the government’s reaction to its enemies’ attempts to cast a spell on its leaders is not yet known, but it seems to believe that there is some sort of voodoo on their yahapalana project, which has ceased to be attractive to the public. It has got only itself to blame for that. With a bunch of failed ministers intoxicated with power it needs no enemies using black magic to destroy it.