With four bombings and/or assassinations in the first eight days of 2008, the population of the Colombo district has increasingly become more dependent on news alerts (via SMS text messages or otherwise) to make them feel informed, alert and careful.
I learned today that some news alerts are more accurate than others.
11.45 AM News Alert – Ada Derana
Minister Sustains Minor Injuries, while 5 people are hospitalised from the blast that happened near Rukmani Devi Statue, says Military Spokesman.
12.45 PM News Alert – Ada Derana
Minister D.M Dassanayaka Dies due to the blast injuries says Ragama hospital deputy director.
If the bombing was meant to terrorize, it did not work. The population at large is now largely immune to terrorist acts. Far from cowering in fear, worrying about the whereabouts of their relatives, and calling to see if their kids were okay, most people at office just made jokes about how the word “minor” in the first news message must have referred to a dead mynah bird or a dented Morris Minor.
I, for one, was depressed. Those jokes were really dry. And, this chap D.M. Dassanayaka was a minister in the government of my country – a man who by virtue of his office represented me and my interests. Naturally, I should mourn. Another great leader killed, I thought; another one added to that long list of noble statesmen ploughed down by the evil terrorists. He was after all, the minister for Nation Building, which is a title I don’t even understand, so it must be tremendously important. So, I thought.
On doing a little bit of research however I felt a little better. I found out that he was not exactly the most well behaved minister in the world. In fact, hailing from Anamaduwa, the man was by all accounts a thug with a Mervin Silva-esque reputation in those parts, having had a run in with the UNP breakaway minister Ranga Bandara. He is also rumoured to be a bigamist and to have tried to employ the services of his STF security detail to intimidate his political rivals.
I also found out that he was not really the most important minister in the world. He was a non cabinet minister for Nation Building. We have the largest cabinet in the world with 52 cabinet ministers, and this guy was not one of them. So he can’t be all that. And he was not even the only non cabinet minister for nation building. Yes, we have more than one.
Obviously, Nation Building, whatever that is, must be very important. So I found out that we have six non cabinet ministers for Nation Building.
Had. We have five now. I guess it was just as well we had some spares.