Sabry’s parallel universe

Monday, 11 December 2023 00:00 –      – 41

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Politicians are not alien to making their own narratives of events, irrespective of how detached it may be from reality. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry appears no different to this mould, attempting desperately to change the narrative on one of his most questionable legacies as Justice Minister in the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime.The forced cremations of Muslim victims of the COVID-19 pandemic will go down in history as one of the most callous and blatantly racist policies enacted by the Rajapaksa administration. This policy extended to the Sri Lankan President requesting the Government of neighbouring Maldives to bury the mortal remains of deceased Muslim citizens in that country and later mandating bodies to be transported to Oddamavadi in the Eastern Province under military escort for ritual burial. These communal burials were performed in a highly militarised environment with only two relatives allowed near the site. The ad hoc burial site did not even have basic amenities to serve grieving families.

Sri Lanka was the only country in the world to have forced cremations and banned burials. The policy was not based on any scientific evidence of a virus being spread through ground water after burial of human remains which an ordinary level science education would have taught since viruses need living cells for their own survival.

Sabry was the Justice Minister while all this was happening. Last week in Parliament he claimed that he took numerous attempts to raise the matter with the then Government and the expert committee deciding on the cremation process. “A monk termed me a ‘terrorist’ because I spoke up against the cremation of the COVID-19 deceased. A court case was also filed in this regard. Leading media outlets provided the stage for this,” he said in Parliament.

The most fascinating revelation from the current Foreign Minister was when he told Parliament that he had engineered the former Prime Minister of Pakistan to make representations to the Sri Lankan Government on the forced cremations issue. Here is the former Minister of Justice and current minister in charge of Sri Lanka’s international relations admitting that, he as a member of the Cabinet, had to request a foreign leader to impress on his own President to change a national policy. Sabry is expecting the people of Sri Lanka to applaud him for all this.

Whatever parallel universe in which Ali Sabry may be living, history and the people of Sri Lanka will judge him by his actions in bringing into power the most vile and short-lived administration in the post-independence history of Sri Lanka led by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. As the former President’s personal lawyer Sabry was fully aware of the individual he was promoting to the Sri Lankan people. Sabry was also one of the foremost proponents of the 20th Amendment which entrusted enormous powers with this incompetent individual.

Minister Sabry in his attempts to rebrand himself under the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration as a champion of rights is falling short in the reality of events that actually occurred.




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