Do you honestly know what it feels like to be treated like a terrorist? Well if you don't, look no further... the opportunity is not far away. Make your way to Galle Road in Colpity between the Colpity junction and Galle face, where ladies, gentlemen, fruits, flowers, the young, the old, cats and dogs are all alike treated like terrorists.
In order for your experience to be a truly complete one, come during the morning rush hour (around 9 - 10) or during the evening rush hour (around 5.30 - 6.30). You will experience the whole works which include verbal and physical abuse and much more...
I'm one of the unfortunate ones who's work place happens to be located between these said landmarks and thus suffer the torture everyday.
When his Excellency decides to make his way from his residence in Fort to his office at the Temple Trees, a bustling section of Colombo is brought to a complete hault. Traffic is stopped from both ends. No vehicles. No pedestrians. People and traffic have to stand still, on some occassions for even more than an hour... and when I stay stand still..I mean very still... If your behind a barricade, you cannot walk from one end of the barricade to the other. If you do you run the risk of receiving a tirade of insults or possibly even bullets from the nearest armed guard.
Those closer to Galle Face are the worst affected. Everyone is pushed inside the Galle Face Court, barricades thrown across all openings and an armed army officer will stand right in front of you. There have been occassions when people are all placed against the wall as well.
A girl working in an office adjoining ours had been walking through the Galle Face Court, when suddenly, His excellency had been passing by. The girl was physically handled by an army officer and pushed against the wall, much to her dismay. The girl ended up in tears and certainly took awhile to overcome the shock.
If His excellency's arrival is sudden, then all passing cars are hauled to a side, which is followed by police and army officers yanking open the vehicle doors and pulling out the occupents while offering a healthy dose of insults and foul language.
It is nauseating to see one man's pomp become such a curse to a people.
Will it end? I think not...