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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Laxman Kiriella loses his cool and insults a lady reporter

A comment by Walter Jayawardhana

United National Party’s Laxman Kiriella who lost his cool at a party press conference insultingly told a lady reporter of the Colombo press that by holding a piece of paper and a pen one could not become a journalist.

He became seemingly upset when the young reporter of the fair sex asked him a question about his leader’s contentious statement on the Army victory at Thoppigala that has created a hornet’s nest even among his own party supporters.

Kiriella , a lawyer like his own leader quite average even in his own field , started patronizingly giving a lecture to the reporter on good journalism. He has had no formal training in journalism.

In contrast, his leader Wickremesinghe, a son of a press baron who won a golden pen award for fighting for press freedom, and by his own admission a failed journalist who could not practice his cherished profession because the paper he intended working for was nationalized by a government provoked by his own dad into taking over the family fiefdom . ( I hated his dad’s unwarranted political activism as well as the take over of the press that prompted it) But when in power, as Prime Minister, Wickremesinghe forgot his former claims of love for the press and suppressed all news regarding his controversial Memorandum of Understanding with terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Making use of the MOU and the Ceasefire Agreement that followed it, Thoppigala was turned into one bastion of LTTE violence to sharpen the group’s carnivorous teeth as pioneers of suicide terrorism in the world.

The former UNP Minister Kiriella, who has not studied journalism or practiced it at any time in a recognizable way advised the reporter that she must know the acreage of Thoppigala jungle, the number of trees there (as if he knows), the number of square kilometers etc. before asking questions about his leader‘s unpatriotic and inborn hatred of his people. Needless to say people undoubtedly were amazed by these new Kiriella theories of journalism.

His long harangue left people wondering why a reporter should know the number of trees of the Thoppigala jungles to ask a question why his leader belittled the army, when he made that disgusting and insulting statement ridiculing our armed forces. Even an average person of intelligence like him should know that the historical military achievement singularly brought down many hopes of terrorism on the part of the Tamil Tigers.

Many of the suicide bombers had been sent from the Thoppigala camps of the LTTE in recent times. Many of the Tamil children were kidnapped with the help of those directors there for years to be trained in abominable training camps where they sometimes met with their deaths even before they were used as cannon fodder. From deep inside the jungles they brought nothing but misery to the less privileged Eastern province Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese.

Kiriella’s contention that to inquire why a leader who once became the Prime Minister of our own country belittles the crushing of those camps of terrorism, one should have the mandatory knowledge of the number of trees in Thoppigala jungles, baffles anybody‘s mind. Such statements are contemptible more than Laxman Kiriella’s leader’s contempt for the country’s dedicated heroes who braved their way into those ravines sometimes facing nothing but treacherous death. It is an insult to the intelligence of voters of Kandy who had the great misfortune of sending him to the parliament.

Kiriella and this correspondent once shared the great halls of learning together at the Ceylon law College and enjoyed each others friendship. The man I knew then was more right thinking and pleasant than this rancorous politician today who has most unfortunately started reflecting his leader’s bitterness and disappointment.

- Asian Tribune -

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