The sheer weight of the input of bloggers on the impact of the incidents of the night of the 28th is perhaps an accurate indicator of the effects of the chaos that reigned briefly on the night. It all went horribly wrong right from the outset – for Sri Lankans that is – from the weather, right on through to the end. And then with those deadly bursts of fire arcing through the night sky made even more surreal by the blackout and the absence of the action on the blank screens all over the city, it seemed that the signs were inauspicious, to say the least.

The gathering at the Birthday Boy’s rooftop, giant screen all set up for the finale, gathered momentum with the aperitifs and selection of inebriants adding to the states of mind. The re-run of the earlier matches was muted and the sound replaced by music more appropriate for partying and spacing out, until of course the rain-delayed beginning of play, when things slowly started to unravel.

The fire raining across the blacked-out sky was clearly visible from the rooftop and the sounds of anti-aircraft fire clearly audible to us all – even above the sound of the radio commentary that persisted in conveying the promising partnership between Sanath and Kumar. Some of the folk present were in positions to access immediately what exactly was going on, so it wasn’t long before reasonably accurate information was received – and the night went on.

What is really amazing is that, in spite of the first aerial attack on the Air Force base close to the airport and then the panic reaction a few days ago, no effective deterrent or reaction has been effected by those in control of Defence. This in itself is a shocking indictment of the system that prevails and has exposed Sri Lanka’s Defence capabilities as being perhaps the most pathetically ineffective system ever heard of. Any country with even a modicum of self-respect would immediately take steps to rectify this situation and usually, any self-respecting Secretary of Defence would resign, clearly signifying that he/she was out of his/her depth. But here, the story is different, for clearly ‘self’ takes precedence over ‘country’ and what we will get is not a refreshing (or at least ‘hopeful’) change of structure, but another litany of excuses or red herrings to divert attention from the real problem – the problem the people of the country brought upon themselves and the problem that will persist until the people of the country finally realize that ‘enough is enough’ and do what needs to be done to restore some sanity and stability into our fast disintegrating lives.

So, soon the contingent will return from Barbados, from the splendour of their five-star accommodation and first-class flight and we can be certain of the pious platitudes and tiresome clichés that will flow from the mouths of the hierarchy, but will there be any admissions of failure? Any apologies to the people who depend on these administrators for their protection? Any solutions for future attempts? And are we supposed to grin and bear it? What exactly does one do to catalyse a change? People Power? Is that a dormant force, a sleeping giant that will never awake from its somnambulant stupor, or could this force be jolted out of its apathetic doldrums?

And as we wended our way homeward at dawn, the sense of disappointment at the result of the match combined with the depression brought about by the state of our nation were thankfully dulled by the effects of the party, so sleep quickly engulfed the consciousness.

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