If change is to come to our nation it must begin with us, ordinary citizens No one realized early in the morning of Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, that events later would shatter all our lives.  Although many of us did not lose a loved one or a friend – the numbness, sense of shock [...]


Letters to the Editor


If change is to come to our nation it must begin with us, ordinary citizens

No one realized early in the morning of Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, that events later would shatter all our lives.  Although many of us did not lose a loved one or a friend – the numbness, sense of shock and grief enveloped the whole nation. As I write this, it is about six weeks since the blasts. So much more has happened subsequently.

Many families lost more than one loved one and their lives will never be the same. For those who are still in hospitals, the physical pain is compounded by the emotional trauma as they try to understand what really happened.  What does one say to a mother who weeps inconsolably for her child snatched away, or to a child left with no parents? What can one say except stand beside them in their grief.

What do I say to a 14-year-old Muslim girl when she weeps? She is sad and angry that some men in the name of Islam killed so many innocent people.  She harbours a sense of shame which is heightened when someone looks at her community in condemnation and judgment. These young ones are made to feel that all are responsible for the carnage.

I discuss with some children who a terrorist is – an individual who kills in the name of religion or an ideology, but in reality is one who does not represent any true religion. A terrorist ‘terrorizes’, and cannot represent his/her ethnic group. So how would we define what happened in the North Western Province when terror was unleashed? I talk to the group of children about terrors of the past that I knew: that of the JVP and the LTTE.  These groups did not represent their communities.

I hear many voices of fear since April 21.  For many younger folk this is their first experience of a bomb and its devastating effects that endure long after the explosion. A lot of them now sleep with their parents. Thankfully many say that they feel school is a safe place.  I hear the sense of sadness felt by some, when friends and adults talk of staying away from Muslim owned shops and restaurants. As a Sinhalese I feel a sense of shame. We’ve lived side by side as neighbours for over 40-50 years; I grew up in a school where we saw each other not as from different communities, but as fellow schoolgirls forming one community, one family.

We let the terrorists win if we divide a nation on ethnic or religious lines. All four major communities are represented on our flag and all religions teach us a common humanity; one of compassion, kindness, forgiveness and tolerance.

My life has been the richer for knowing those of other faiths and communities. I am grateful for a home where we grew up learning to love and respect all people. We were taught by the example our parents set and I hope we have passed that on to succeeding generations.

So, who IS my brother/sister? She who takes flowers to the kovil; He who goes to the mosque on Friday; one who takes flowers to the temple on Poya day and another who worships at a church on Sunday. Their lives and well being are inextricably linked to mine. So YES, I am my brother’s keeper!

I love the African story which talks of “Ubuntu” which means “How can I be happy when others are sad?” It also means: “I am – because we are”!

So I weep with the families of the bomb victims and those whose lives have been shattered. I also weep with my Muslim brothers and sisters who are made to feel a sense of shame for something they never did.  I so want to believe that there is much good in very human being, as I believe we are all made in the image of God. We cannot and must not let the worst in us come out because of our suspicions and prejudices.

We cannot let fear dominate our rational thinking. We know better and must listen to each other, and sow seeds of understanding where mistrust grows; to talk and have conversations face to face, and on social media. To build relationships rather than destroy. If change is to come to our nation it must begin with us, the ordinary citizens of our land.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jnr.:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Sarla Williams  Via email

The karaniya meththa sutraya, a timely doctrine for today

Poson poya is the second most important day for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Buddhism is a philosophy rather than a religion. There are many things in Buddhist philosophy which are useful to all humans. One good example is mindfulness, that originated from the first discourse of Lord Buddha.

The ‘karaniya meththa sutraya’, preached by Lord Buddha to a group who were practising meditation is heard by most of us every day. However, the meaning of the sutra is probably not known by those who hear it routinely. It is a universal doctrine for peace and harmony for everybody.

This sutra has two parts; the first part describes personal development and the second about true loving kindness.

In the first part it advises how to be competent and honest, straightforward, calm – pleasant, assertive, contented, not over busy, simple, tranquil, prudent, without over attachment to dwelling and not resorting to do anything that intelligent people would reproach.

The second part starts  with, “May all beings be happy, enjoy comfort, be safe and secure’’

Then it describes all types of living beings in the universe.

“What so ever living beings, feeble or strong, long, short or medium, very small or large, visible or not visible, far or near or spirit or being awaiting a birth in a womb or egg,

“May all enjoy comfort, be safe, secure and happy!”

No one ever should deceive others, nor look disparagingly at another anywhere, avoiding anger or hostility, not wishing unhappiness on another.

It states the quantity of loving kindness one can give should equal that of  a mother to her own only son, unbounded and  immeasurable, advising to  care for all with kindness,  as a mother would her only son.

Loving kindness unbounded should rise to the whole universe, above, below and across, without a boundary. It further advises to mindfully be kind at each moment, standing, walking, sitting, reclining or any other.

The karaniya meththa sutra is a timely doctrine needed by everyone irrespective of any differences.

 Dr D.P.D Wijesinghe  Vie email

Look into these frequent power failures

There are frequent power failures in the Nugegoda, Kalubowila and Kohuwela areas ranging from five minutes to two hours that occur in the morning, afternoon and late at night. The authorities seem to be not taking any action to get to the root cause of the problem. These power failures affect our daily work routine and also damage our electrical and electronic equipment.The problem could be either due to low quality spare parts or poor maintenance etc.

This matter should be urgently addressed by the Area Engineer of CEB Dehiwela.

Anxious resident  Via email

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