The word hybrid seem to be getting thrown around often these days, especially in Sri Lanka. According to several dictionaries hybrid means the offspring of two plants or animals of different species; of mixed character; or composed of different elements. It is also used to refer to a person or a group of persons produced by the interaction or crossbreeding of two unlike cultures and traditions.
When going through these meanings, we are reminded of Zebroid = Zebra + any other equine, Liger = Lion+Tiger, Wholphine = Bottlenose Dolphin+ False Killer Whale, Grolar Bear = Grizzly Bear+ Polar Bear etc. These are the results of the combination of animals of different species or of mixed character, and all are referred to as hybrid versions.
The car industry provides another instance of the frequent use of the word hybrid: cars that run on both electricity and fuel are the latest discovery, creating a revolution in the production of cars. This latest hybrid combination helps to counter the problems resulting from the skyrocketing of fuel prices.
Another hybrid creation we Sri Lankans are enjoying at present is the water tank with triple layers, which they say offers a threefold commitment to alleviating the water shortage which is affecting many lives in Sri Lanka.
Although we can pinpoint many a hybrid situation clearly observable in our social strata, the best example, affecting the future well-being of our nation, is the prejudicial call for hybrid courts. This cry is vocalised by some leftovers of the defeated LTTE outfit in the Tamil Diaspora, and some NGO lackeys; with the blessings of some unnaturally-oriented elements. The UNHCR commissioner, whose eyes are closed to the human rights violations of powerful western countries, has also demanded that these hybrid courts be established.
How do they want these hybrid courts set up? As they say the courts should integrate judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators who are of foreign descent. As they believe these hybrid courts comprising “aliens” will be in a better position to judge whether our war heroes -- who rescued our motherland from a dangerous terrorist gang, controlled by a deranged criminal -- had committed war crimes. It is sad to say that some of our unnaturally- inclined elements too seem to be wagging their tails to this, in the name of reconciliation.
With this “hybrid method”, they are able to take revenge for the debacle they experienced -- at the hands of true patriots who sacrificed their lives and limbs in protecting our motherland, by defeating the criminal elements who disguised themselves as Tamil Nationalists.
In a lighter vein, we could equate these hybrid courts to the conjoining of a coyote with a monkey!
Leaving aside the rigmarole connected to this hybrid judicial unit, we must also see whether the word hybrid can be used to describe other situations in Sri Lanka.
What about the economy?
Can’t we describe Sri Lanka’s economy as a hybrid one?
At present we may not be able say so, but with what the so-called economic know-alls have promised. we may, in the future, be able to describe it as a hybrid economy . With all the dreams about foreign investors invading Sri Lanka and start buying our valuable assets, with ships full of foreign exchange, we shall be enabled to refer our economy as "hybrid". Elara, Thapassu and Balluka and Sena and Guththika also performed the same act in times of yore.
With all the money pouring onto our shores, the economy will turn into one helluva hybrid carnival. It will definitely be a crossbreeding of two or more unlike cultures and traditions, very similar but much worse to what we experienced after the so-called “economic miracle of 1977”, in which "robber barons" were invited to come and rob us.
But what else can we expect when two differently-oriented forces have combined as one hybrid unit to rule the roost.
One last word is about how this word hybrid came into being. It actually comes to us from the Latin term hybrrida, meaning the offspring of two similar animals: specifically a tame sow and a wild boar. In the present context we have figure out who represents the tame sow and who, the wild boar!
By Vijaya Ariyarathne