I am Sisira Fonseka, the elder brother of General Sarath Fonseka. I am writing this letter to express my concerns about the current situation regarding my brother and country as a whole.
I am a Chartered Electrical Engineer by profession having graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya in 1967 and subsequently a Corporate Member of The Institution of Electrical Engineers, London. I have since worked as an Electrical Engineer in the Power and Energy sector in Sri Lanka and in many other countries as well. At present I live with my family in Australia, and work as a Senior Consultant Electrical Engineer.
I have always followed the news about Sri Lanka, particularly the news about the war because of my brother’s involvement as an Army officer. It was with great pleasure and pride that I watched his bright military career, towards which I too have contributed by helping him as his brother whenever he needed me. In fact I was one of the two guarantors to his bond when he joined the Army as an officer cadet, which thereby paved the way for him to commence his illustrious career.
| GEN. (Retd) Sarath FONSEKA
It is with pride that I watched his appointment as the 18th Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and then the unbelievable great victory ending the 30 year war against the LTTE. I felt proud not only about Sarath but about all those who contributed to the great victory, including the other war-heroes and the Sri Lankan people in general.
The end of the war gave immense hope to all Sri Lankans who expected the government to reap the benefits of ending the war to take the country forward. Many who left the country like me were now keen to refresh our links with Sri Lanka and looked forward to return or at least get involved in the development and social activities of our beloved motherland.
Unfortunately our expectations were short lived due to the rivalry which developed amongst the members of the team that won the war, culminating with a split in the team. Such a situation would not have arisen if those relevant were following the teachings of the Buddha, for example, without giving into craving, hatred and ignorance.
However, I believe it is never too late to establish righteousness and inspire the Sri Lankan people with sterling leadership qualities thereby steering the country away from the path of destruction. It is time now to stop selfish pursuits and put the country first and work hard in the terror free environment that has been achieved with much sacrifice and which needs to be safeguarded wisely. Otherwise the world will see us as a foolish, selfish and inhumane lot who are wasting the peace achieved.
All Sri Lankans and their friends know and would never forget the unique and yeoman service that my brother, General Sarath Fonseka, provided to the nation by being the main architect of the war victory that liberated Sri Lankans from terror. Bringing in bogus allegations and harassing him in the inhumane and shameful manner in which he is being treated now can only bring bad ‘kamma’ and also shame to our country.
Furthermore, it is most disgraceful to deny him, a hero who saved the country from terrorism, his basic human rights. It is disgraceful to keep him in filthy accommodation, while denying him the specialist medical attention and also proper ventilation which is essential because of his respiratory problems caused due to injuries sustained whilst serving his motherland.
Your Excellency, please think of those days of glory when you as the President was credited for giving the necessary authority and support to General Fonseka and the team of other dedicated people to achieve the war victory for our motherland. Please take steps to put a stop to violence and injustice and re-establish law and order, whereby all citizens and residents would enjoy real freedom.
In a truly democratic environment, there is no need at all for hunting and harassing those with opposing ideas. Sri Lankans should also resort to decent methods of discussion and negotiation as in other civilized countries. Harassing political opponents in the way General Fonseka is being harassed now only contributes to the idea that someone is trying to hide something.
My brother, General Sarath Fonseka, is a citizen who contributed immensely in a leading role to eradicate the decades-long terror that prevailed in the country, and thereby enabled the ushering in of a peaceful, safe environment for all Sri Lankans. Is it so easy to forget that he nearly laid down his life for his motherland on more than one occasion?
Any mistreatment and harassment delivered to him will only make Sri Lanka an ungrateful nation and its leaders a selfish, ill mannered lot in the eyes of decent Sri Lankans as well as the world community. If there are any true allegations against him, those must be investigated and acted upon strictly according to the law of the country and not in a haphazard and revengeful manner. All peace loving people would like to see the present situation corrected and the decency and humane nature of our people exhibited to the world.
As a reputed world leader said recently about addressing issues, “we must learn to speak with each other — not at each other!”
In January, I was in Sri Lanka to help in whatever way possible in my brother’s election campaign. Though politics is not a subject that I liked, being Sarath’s brother I had to support him and be near him at a crucial time of his life, telling people about whatever good qualities of my brother that I am aware of. It is unfortunate that during and after the Presidential elections so many unwarranted incidents occurred. In addition to my brother being unfairly and illegally harassed, we hear of many instances of Opposition supporters being harassed and intimidated. It is my sincere wish that this kind of activity should come to an end soon.
My total commitment to the Dhamma in recent years has conditioned me to believe that only our good deeds will forge and condition our lives for the better, while any unwholesome acts will only bring misery. I am blessed with the great good fortune of being exposed to true spiritual teachers — and I wish with deep sincerity the same to each and every one of you living in that Dhamma-dipa!
I am aware that the following message was sent from this country to Sri Lanka on the very day the country succeeded in bringing that bloody war to an end: “It is time now for Sri Lankans to sit to meditate ... and meditate deeply on those 25 to 30 years — before bursting into action to prove their true mettle/colours — and teach the world as to how it is done (For they are blessed with all the equipment they need).”
Indeed, what a sad show it’s been up to now!
There is a little book titled “The Buddha Speaks —to the positive man in the world” which went into circulation in the Sri Lankan Army in the early ‘90s. This was the type of motivation given to our armed forces during the war years. Fittingly we may draw from the very first introductory verse from that book to mould Sri Lanka’s future:
“Akkodhena Jiné ködhan
Jine kadariyan danena
Let non-anger conquer anger,
And righteousness deal with evil;
Let liberality vanquish the miser,
And truth defeat the liar”.
A very high standard indeed ... but let us try!
Given the opportunity, I am willing to mediate or do whatever I can to help in bringing peace and tranquility and common sense into the thinking of relevant personalities in order to do good for our beloved motherland. As the person who guaranteed Sarath’s would be dedication as an Officer in the Army, I had confidence in him and I still am very confident about his skills, honesty and law abiding nature. If the country requires whatever services within my capacity at this time I express here my availability again.
I hope to give this letter wide media coverage so that it could serve to remind many to be grateful towards those who deserve gratitude and to unite our nation. I also emphasize that the contents are my personal views and not those of Sarath or any other individual or organization.
Thanking Your Excellency,