Letters to the Editor


Danger at Wellawatte market

The central market in the heart of Wellawatte is an eyesore. The building over a hundred years old, is dilapidated.

Although hundreds of people use this market daily, nobody seems to be worried about the danger they face. The walls and roof are cracked with even trees growing in the cracks.

The city fathers need to take urgent action before someone loses life or limb at the Wellawatte market.

M.T.A.P. Fernando
Mount Lavinia

A circuit bungalow in Jaffna for US envoy

To quote H.L.de Silva (The Sunday Times April 17): The agenda of the LTTE is merely considering federalism as a temporary expedient and a tactical manoeuvre adopted for the achievement of its ulterior motive which is the establishment of a separate state in the north and east.

The track record of the LTTE is well known, that to believe its credentials of power-sharing and peaceful co-existence within a multi-ethnic society in their so-called liberated areas would only be a daydream.

It may be possible for the LTTE to hoodwink the Sri Lankan government and international donors who are involved in rebuilding the north and the east and establish Eelam. What of its promise to US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage that it will renounce the armed struggle and enter the mainstream to establish democracy? The LTTE was debarred from the Washington meeting due to the ban imposed on it in the United States. Mr. Armitage has issued a strong warning to the Tigers to give up terror tactics if the ban is to be lifted in the US.

The plan to establish a US cultural centre and a circuit bungalow in Jaffna for the American Ambassador would be ideal as it would allow US officials to keep an eye on the Tigers to prevent them from switching over to terror once the democratic system is established in the north and the east.

S. Emar

How little Ali was “liberated” in Iraq

The other day, when I went to the hotel where I work, I saw tears flowing from the eyes of a guest who was reading a newspaper. I stole a look at what she was reading. She was looking at the photograph of 12-year-old Ali Ismail Abbas.

Ali, a victim of US bombing in Iraq, had both his arms amputated and suffered 20% percent burns on his body. He was also orphaned in the bombing. The guest was looking at a picture of his arrival at Kuwait's Ibn Sina Hospital's Burn Centre on April 16.

There was a tiny smile on Ali's face. It looked as if Ali was trying to fathom why at the tender age of 12, he had been reduced to a bundle of hopelessness. None can blame the guest for crying. Lint covering burns over more than a third of Ali's body and sans both his arms as a result of the US rocket attack, he seemed to be braving pain, despair and frustration.

It was a mad day. The day US-UK coalition forces battered many innocents with cruise missiles and cluster bombs, bunker busters and mortars. Ali's parents were scared. Ali was sleeping with his brother and two sisters and the poor parents sadly had no way of protecting their children.

The rocket attack in the night resulted in Ali's sheets catching fire. Not only did the rocket attack maim him but it also claimed the lives of his beautiful mother who was five months pregnant, father, brother and two sisters.

It will be no comfort for Ali to know that he is not a lone victim of the hi-tech barbarism of the coalition. There are thousands of other Iraqi children who have been killed or maimed.

Thousands of others have been given away to religious organisations, orphanages and individuals for adoption. In a situation like this, if I may say, he was lucky to have been noticed by the world media. Ali is a hero in the sense that it is his plight that drew the world's attention to the sorry condition of other wounded Iraqi children.

US President George Bush and British PM Tony Blair appear on TV to tell the world they have come not to invade or oppress but to liberate! Lies, damn lies.

President Bush feels that Iraq belongs to him. The US and rich western countries comprising nearly 15% of the world's population control and manipulate about 85% of the world's wealth and resources. Yet they are not content.

But Ali we love you. Our hearts go out to you. We grieve over your plight, discuss your situation and pray for you.

Asoka Mendis

Where's the date on postal seal?

A person pays Rs. 16.50 for the registration of a letter. But the date on the stamp is not visible. It is either because the postal-seal is wasted or there is no ink in the pad.
The receipt is important in the event of the loss of the letter. The postal authorities need to take action to issue clean receipts.

H.G.P. Jayasekera
Colombo 1

Expedite animal law revision

Years ago, animal welfare societies lobbied for the amendment of animal laws, which are almost a century old. We hear that the papers are now with the Law Commission.
Seeing the unbelievable cruelty to these helpless creatures, may we request the Law Commission to hasten submission of the revised laws to Parliament.
Prema Ranawaka-Das

Cancer cure: Beware of quacks

A person claimed on TV recently that he had cured several cancer patients. A few of those patients were also interviewed. Every now and then, we hear of people who say that they have cured cancer patients. This is done, either to get fame or pecuniary gain, or because they genuinely believe that they have done so. The media, especially television, should not give publicity to such claims in the belief that they are doing it in the public interest. It could do more harm than good.

Those cancer patients, who learn from their doctors that their disease is past the curable stage, wouldn't hesitate to go to places even 100 miles away several times a month in hiring cars, to meet the so called 'cancer specialists', though they cannot bear that heavy expenditure.

An uncle of mine, who took treatment from the Cancer Institute for advanced cancer of the throat, did several such trips from Balangoda to Anuradhapura during the last few weeks of his life. Even on his last visit, he was told to come back for further treatment in seven days. These 'specialists' never say outright they cannot cure the patient but always give hopes. This is a sad state of affairs.

For a claim that a cancer cure has indeed occurred, certain criteria need to be met.

l that the person does have cancer, confirmed through the examination of blood or other tissues through a microscope;

l that he has not taken any other treatment previously and

l that the cancer no longer exists after the completion of treatment.

In western medicine, the most widely used treatment is the removal of the tumour and adjoining tissue through a surgical operation. If done early, it can cure the cancer in many instances. If done late, it could re-appear at the old site, or some distance away in another organ such as the liver, lung, bone, brain or lymph nodes. Because of this uncertainty, surgeons do not claim that they have cured the patient.

A microscope is essential to diagnose cancer with certainty, which is done through the examination of blood or other tissues. So, whoever found such cures for cancer should have had direct or indirect access to a microscope.

Claims of those who do not have such facilities have to be ignored because they may have been treating something other than cancer. Of the lumps we see on the surface or inside the body, over 95% are not cancers.

My advice to readers is not to be fooled by claims made by those who have not had a proper training in scientific medicine. Millions of dollars are spent every year in different countries on cancer research, and if any miraculous cures are discovered, we will no doubt hear about them the next day through the media.

Dr. Wijaya Godakumbura


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