Hambantota Port Mayhem — What went wrong?

We need the service of security and the service of journalism. We are so addicted to read and watch news that updates our knowledge of current affairs. Even if I skip the breakfast, the newspaper must come in time like the sunlight. Reporters are not creating news but they are gathering news.

by Rufus Randeniya

( December 19, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) People could turn in to bullies and even murderers within a very short time propelled by uncontrolled anger. Cheetahs are known for their capability to get a hunting speed of nearly 120 km/h within 3 – 5 seconds burst. A human being with unconstrained quick anger could do much damage to fellow beings. Scientists have measured the bite force of crocodiles. The sea water crocodile has the strongest bite according to their reports. Their experiment with a 17 foot sea croc has yielded a bite force value of 3,700 pounds. Imagine getting punched or rough handled by a strong healthy man. The force applied could vary individual to individual, but no doubt it is a substantial bonk on some unfortunate victim. I have seen people with unchecked anger grinding teeth while attacking. Anger unsuppressed has sent many to spend time behind bars. The focal newsy point of the incident that took place at a harbor finally narrowed down from an enormous ship to a grapple between two persons, one a commander of the navy and the other a reporter who repeatedly identified himself as from media. This lonely man is not alone. He has an invisible journalistic multitude all over the world to back him up as a battered reporter.

Hitting a person is wrong. Police can’t hit a suspect, teachers or parents can’t hit a child. It is the law. This physical punishment has been eliminated in schools, but we read of such rude behavior in action once in a way in social life. Police training schools as well as training academies for other services must emphasize on anger management which should be a great quality of a person invested with powers to control people. During my school days, I was standing at a junction on the Colombo – Negombo main road. A man came there from the side road with about 20 buffalos. The animals that saw the commotion of the honking heavy vehicles naturally got panicked. The man was doing his best to keep them together but the frightened animals were scampering. Just then a police jeep approached the herd. The officer in it was mad (for no reason) and proclaimed a truth frowning at the frightened man, “Umbalath Meeharak, Apith Meeharak” you are buffalos and we are buffalos. He just expressed his irritation identifying who he was. Unnecessary apalabrados gushing out of angry mouths. Lately I was standing at a busy intersection in Washington and saw a similar situation which could trigger a verbal attack from Sri Lankan perspective. An elderly gentleman who may be an octogenarian was in his car waiting for green light. His car was almost half covering the corner lane busy with moving vehicles. Vehicles went dodging this car but no one honked. One may stand by a highway here for hours without hearing a vehicle horn. Just by then a police car arrived. Policeman saw the elderly driver and with a subdued smile signaled with his fingers to reverse the car to clear the blocked lane. I was disappointed. No yelling. Not heard the officer yelling ‘you are a buffalo and I am a buffalo’ or some firing to that effect. Higher education and quality training make an intelligent officer who uses his power and force discreetly. We don’t want soldiers or MPs that rattle filthy words in public.

US judges frequently send those who messed up in domestic violence and social altercations to  anger management sessions conducted by psychiatrists. This helps enormously. I heard those attendees are given mental relaxers (tablets and capsules) as needed which is covered by their medical insurance. These lectures are professionally prepared to suit individuals and their attitudes show a marked improvement. Millions are in need of anger management in Sri Lanka. Bus crews, coworkers, team players, politicians and the list goes on. Stress free relaxed people deal with others with understanding ignoring petty irritations.

We need the service of security and the service of journalism. We are so addicted to read and watch news that updates our knowledge of current affairs. Even if I skip the breakfast, the newspaper must come in time like the sunlight. Reporters are not creating news but they are gathering news. Of course, those who attack them create news. In order to gather news, reporters step in to hot spots, unsafe places and risky depths. Many veteran journalists from CNN, BBC and such news agencies have lost their lives in battle fields trying to cover exactly what is going on. They take us to rubble after earthquakes, messed up metal tangles after bomb explosions. Once we are in Alleppo fearfully hearing gun fire. Alarmed civilians are running for cover. Then we are in dusty Iraq. Families flee in 122F degree heat. Fear is written in their faces. Humanitarian response activities….Food shortage…Army shells exploding….Will we ever dare to go there on our own hoping to come back in one piece? Reuters US edition just now has a picture of a man holding a flag and below the picture it says ‘Syrian rebels prepare to withdraw from Alleppo.’ These are not staged scenes. We see these true happenings because someone with a video camera had ventured in there endangering his or her dear life. They are not forced to run their but journalistic instincts urge them to go there and feed us with reliable news. They do their assigned work at times disregarding personal safety. I love them because I have a thirst for what’s going on and I depend on them for this vital supply. We see reporters in CNN, BBC, Reuters news casts and they are recognizable in crowds because they have ‘MEDIA’ marked in bold letters on shirts and even terrorists attempt not to target these harmless progeny. In this context, a reporter in casual dress with an insignificant ID card hanging from the neck have to show it and repeatedly squeak “media….media….media” and one punch shuts the begging mouth. Sri Lankan media agencies are rich enough to throw expensive promotional programs and distribute wads of thousand rupee notes. Now let them provide a distinguished recognizable attire to their field workers that even a child may know who they are and all big and small must bear in mind these career reporters have their siblings all over the world.


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