It seems that the average person in post-war Colombo no longer fears war-related violence. The government, on the other hand, continues to rule under emergency law, to staff military checkpoints, and to regulate all foreign travel to the war zones in the Northern Province.
When I ask Sri Lankans (of any ethnicity, religion, or class) about their government, responses range from the purely cynical to the absolutely terrified. Everyone expresses a common aversion to causing trouble, drawing attention, or making enemies.
As for me, I get the distinct feeling that the government is keeping an eye on my day-to-day activities…literally. This week, I documented every image of Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, I pass during my daily 30-minute round-trip commute. (I apologize for the quality of some of the pictures. I had to take many of them steps away from military personnel, speeding traffic, or both).
First sighting: on my way to the bus stop, 8:00 am.
On the bus, 8:05 am.
Overlooking Lipton Circle, 8:07 am.
Supporting the children of Sri Lanka, 8:12 am.
At the bank, 8:13 am.
From the bank, 8:15 am.
With a Buddhist monk, 6:00 pm.
Another supportive bus crew, 6:02 pm.
Promotion at the Convention Center, 6:07 pm.
A friendly wave, 6:08 pm.
A more subtle image, but he’s up there, 6:10 pm.
Another shot with a monk, 6:11 pm.
Next to a flashing neon Buddhist flag, 6:16 pm.
Lending political support, 6:20 pm
Doubly supportive 3-wheeler, 6:30 pm.
Ultimately, the President’s omnipresent smiling face reminds everyone in Colombo of just who runs the show.
Posted By Kerry McBroom
Posted Jul 23rd, 2010