to the cry of the helpless about murder and rape
I am a housewife with two grown-up daughters. I have been following
with concern the debate on the death sentence. I read both the Sinhala
and English newspapers and find that the righteous society which
J.R. Jayewardene envisaged for Sri Lanka in 1977 never came into
being. He would have discontinued the death sentence with good intentions,
but it has led to a huge wave of crime such as gruesome murder,
rape, contract killing, child abuse etc.
Though we call
ourselves religious, our society has become extremely violent. Perhaps
this may be due to the war that has dragged on for 20 years. The
country is now full of army deserters estimated at 35,000 or so
and an underworld which is equally large who are armed with the
latest sophisticated weapons. They terrorize the entire nation.
Thanks to Prime
Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe we can breathe a little, as there
is no war now. But I am frightened. Like politicians and wealthy
businessmen, I have no security service, so I am concerned about
the safety of my two girls. When you read the newspapers, you find
that girls are being raped and murdered (in addition to all types
of other brutal killings, which neither the state nor the NGOs and
the clergy could contain everyday). Many rape cases are not reported,
as the victims are embarrassed to divulge information. They suffer
in silence. So, I believe my fears are well founded.
When the sun
is setting and my daughters are getting late after tuition classes,
I am frightened. There is a stretch of about one kilometre from
the main road upto my residence, which is a cart road. This runs
through desolate coconut estates where the fences are shrub jungles
in which even elephants can hide. There is a stream and a patch
of jungle as well. Who knows whether an army deserter is hiding
to grab young girls?
We have no
car, so my girls have to walk the distance like thousands of other
village girls. There are no houses nearby. There are no street lights.
I am unable to walk upto the bus halt everyday as there is a problem
with my knee. Whenever I can I go, but it is not sufficient protection.
As a woman
and mother of two young girls, I wish to raise my voice and say,
“Please re-introduce the death sentence to combat crimes.
When the village girls are being dragged into the jungles, so-called
'intellectuals', clergy, society ladies and politicians will never
come to our rescue. The police station is five miles away. The road
is dark. It is only a deterrent such as the death sentence that
will safeguard weaker people like us and innocent village girls
who are still in their teens.”
Kumaratunga being a mother of a young girl will understand our plight.
Please introduce the death sentence, for murder, rape and child
abuse. Do not listen to the town-bred affluent people who cannot
understand our plight.
This is the cry of thousand of mothers, the cry of the poor and
the helpless. This is also the cry of the village girls and the
Free Trade Zone girls. The cry of the young girls whose mothers
are in the Middle East.
Seetha Kumari Dissanayake
Let us speak
the common language of peace
We have experienced enough violence in our beloved country. The
war has torn apart our island, leaving thousands of young people
Since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding people have
begun talking about peace. Yes, we're experiencing peace. This is
the need of the hour. Peace is what the people yearn for, pray for
and strive for! We must speak this common language of peace, which
is universal and central to all religious teachings. Let us say,
"No" to warmongers.
Then we will be able to let the world know that Sri Lanka is an
island of peace.
am a politician
Oh citizens! see me, dressed in national garb
In my silken white, see how I rub
Shoulders with the ordinary man
See how I include him, in my plan
See how he smiles, how happy is he
Who would thus rub shoulders, with the likes of me.
The balmy breeze, the rustling leaves
All whisper that I may do as I please
I talk to children gathered 'round my knees
Their parents smile, believing I will answer their needs.
Now the basket of flowers I solemnly take
And ever so slowly to the shrine I make
My way, amidst the smiles and many nods
To worship another alien God.
The cameras flash - like the time at Madhu
When I then worshipped the God I vowed was true
Yet, who's to say I'm false - I must survive
I must pretend.... get used to living a lie
Yet, as I whisper "Saadu" and "Karunawai"
I'm reminded of those who cried - 'crucify!'
happened to the citizens’ committees?
The Citizens' Rights Watch Committees formed during President D.B.
Wijetunga's time in 1994 did a good job under each police division.
As far as the Gampola Police area was concerned there was a good
understanding between the committee and the police which led to
the maintenance of law and order. The committee met every month
with the Superintendent of Police and discussed several matters.
But after a while the meetings stopped.
If these committees are not functioning any more the IGP should
disband them and inform the members.
rights experts or hypocrites?
Poll results published by The Sunday Times (May 25) reveal that
a majority of males and females in the country are in favour of
the death penalty and only a handful comprising less than 8% are
against it. This minority group wants us to believe that they are
the advocates of compassion and mercy towards mankind.This
whom should we be compassionate and merciful? Take the Hokandara
massacre. The victims were the owners whose land had been used by
kassippu dealers to brew kassippu. The owners won a court case to
evict the unlawful kassippu brewers from their land. The result
was the brutal massacre. The killers were the errand boys of the
the human rights experts advocating that the Hokandara victims should
not have taken action against the criminals to ensure their safety
and allowed the kassippu brewers freedom to occupy their land. What
about the gang rape and murder of Rita John carried out with sadistic
glee and disregard for human life?
HRC Chairperson Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy says that weaknesses in
the criminal justice system could sometimes result in innocent people
being executed. It is a fact that witnesses in murder cases are
being threatened with death. There are instances where murderers
escape prosecution for lack of evidence. So when these criminals
are let loose more innocent people fall victim to them compared
to the number against whom there could be a miscarriage of justice.
If human rights are the argument against the death sentence what
of those who commit petty crime such as theft, prostitution, cheating
and gambling due to poverty? When they are found guilty and jailed,
isn't it a violation of their rights, because they may be the bread
winners of the family.
message of peace
On the hallowed grounds of Anuradhapura
Flanked by countless shady trees,
Stands the massive Missaka Rock
On which the Poson moon shines today
Illuminating the starry night casting its golden beams,
Reviving our memory of the "olive-branch"
The message of peace
Brought by Thero Mahinda
Sailing across the blue waters
Landing on the Ambastale
With a retinue of five monks
Two hundred and forty seven years before Christ.
Lo and behold!
The Thero suddenly perceives
The mighty King of Ceylon
Devananmpiyatissa - standing upright
With bow and arrow
Ready for slaughter of animals,
Now hears a clarion call from above
"Samana mayan Maha-Raja..................."
The bow and arrow cast aside
Kneeling with clasped hands sans all pride.
Embraces the Dhamma "Sadhu Sadhu!"
The Culahattipadopama Sutta
Throbs in every ear.
Let us now resolve without procrastination
To revive this message of peace with veneration,
And bring unity and harmony to our motherland.
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