Is the president really in need of several pints of blood of people who don’t eat pork? Are people in specific districts of Sri Lanka undergoing simultaneous mass hallucinations possibly brought on by the collective effects of coastal winds, fasting and being of a particular ethno religious persuasion?
Like the beggar killings, we might never know for sure. Anyone remember the beggar killings? No. Poor souls.
Excuse or no, grease yakas have resulted in increasingly militarized coastal districts. People there have no love for the armed forces, rather they’d just like the police to buck up and start acting like the police thank you very much. Instead, fear and public unrest have had the undesired effect of increasing the presence of the army in these locations.
Grease yakas themselves, though widely pooh poohed as a ‘myth’, are no lie. The people I’ve spoken to and the consistent fantastic facts that keep popping up from different parts of the country testify to this; spring boots, Wolverine like claws, slippery black clothes, high athleticism etc. They are also silent and operate solely to scare, actual injuries having been caused by them being kept to a minimum. Separate incidents from all the districts in the country have produced witness accounts that corroborate with some, or all of these details.
Last week I spoke to a man that fought a grease yaka. He was overwhelmed when the guy he was fighting was joined by two others, and heavily injured.
Like all scary myths involving creatures that draw blood, the GYs come out at night. They target women, and seem to love targeting Muslim women in particular. Perhaps because it is ramadan and they assume that the men of the house must have gone to the mosque, or that breaking fast would have left the people lazy and less inclined or capable of prolonged chase.
Like all good fear mongering tactics, the damage that the greased yakas have caused have been perpetrated purely by enraged crowds and retaliating armed forces. No evidence of foul play. No greasy fingerprints on dead civilians or cops. All that remains of the actual cuprit are stories of shadows that sound slightly ridiculous in the daytime and a clinging fear that has spread like well, greased lightning.
The cops are free to call the people crazy, and the people are free to go berserk with fear and because no one seems to believe them. The people protest, the forces retaliate, someone dies, military presence is increased to provide ‘more security’. This has been a repeating cycle.
The army gets more excuses to set up checkpoints and continue wielding weapons at poor people.; controlling and monitoring their movements. This is not especially strange to the people of these areas, and they’re generally OK with this, having suffered more during the war. Emergency law is more a concern of the international community and liberal intelligentsia in Colombo, these people just want to be left alone, to live in peace.
Ironically though, they are smack dab in the middle of a geopolitical conflict, and are now pawns. Pawns must die. Unrest here serves the purpose of sending a powerful message, that of the continued need for Control. Emergency has now been removed, but that could just be legislative lip service. The army can’t all start cleaning the roadsides.
Meanwhile, Colombo laughs, is slightly shocked, morbidly fascinated and engrossed in cricket by turns, avidly ignoring the steady uptick of taxation and the Colombo Consumer Price Index.
It’s a zero sum game. But who is winning?