The people of Sri Lanka are presently caught up in two wars. The first, against an unmitigated repacious terrorist organisation, the second against a profligate political system.
The fight in the north is nothing more than a struggle for power and political leadership. To acquire legitimacy it is couched in such high faluting terms as seeking rights for the minorities. There are other minorities also in this country, but they are not apparently affected by this malady. The northern regions have always had Tamils in the majority and having certain rights which even the Sinhalese cannot claim. Hence they certainly are not subjected to harassment from the Sinhalese. If the Tamil people living in Colombo for decades, had staged protests, one could have at least imagined they are a deprived lot. These people will never go to the north even if the package is implemented or even if Eelam is declared.
One of the most inexplicable paradoxes is that the very leaders selected by the Tamils and who were most raucously and vociferously advancing theories about rights of the minorities were mercilessly gunned down by the LTTE. It is clear that the LTTE will not brook opposition from anyone even if it were from those they are fighting for. The few out of power fawning politicians are also bleating away about the rights of Tamils, while of course being within the safe sanctuary of the Sinhalese. They are no doubt hoping to share some crumbs from the Eelam table.
All the reasons adduced by the agitators for Tamils' rights are merely psychological complexes found in all minority communities strewn over the globe. If at most the Sinhalese could be faulted for not using sufficiently the Tamil language as a means of communication, it is not due to lack of genuine intent, but in fact an administrative inadequacy. The only country in the whole world that has legally recognised Tamil as a language of parity is Sri Lanka. No other country where Tamils abound in large numbers such as India, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia or Britain will ever use even a single Tamil word in its official communications.
All those countries in the world who either overtly or covertly tolerate LTTE agents or sympathisers on their soils are in fact conniving and even encouraging a ruthless merciless terrorist organisation that has no scruples to even completely violate the basic covenants and tenets of Geneva peace conventions, drawn up by these very nations themselves, ensuring that places of religious significance will not be destroyed or defiled. The Tamil people themselves must hang their heads in shame at the dastardly and mean acts of their kind. We are all waiting to hear what the high principled righteous obstreperous Tamil leaders have to say now about their ''boys''. They will possibly only derive some vicarious satisfaction for these brutal acts construed as justifiable reprisals.
History has repeatedly shown both in the past and the present that those who achieve power through the gun will also maintain their power with the gun. The brave Sinhalese soldiers are in fact sacrificing their blood and guts in the north to in fact to salvage the ingenuous simple non-demanding Tamils from being repressed by the LTTE. The biggest hoax is that there are a number of Tamil parties with Eelam goal, but who are murdering each other, at every turn . What is the type of Eelam that the hapless Tamils are ultimately hoping to get?
As the year 2000 is approaching nigh,
Oh we look back with a parting sigh,
Of great deeds, achievements and victories won,
Of hapless miseries, wars and killings on the battlefield done
As mankind relentlessly races towards mass destruction,
Is there no hope for a peaceful resurrection,
Of aims and ideals to save the present generation,
From fire, carnage and utter anihilation
If peace is earnestly desired for the happiness of mankind,
Then let it be firmly enshrined in our mind,
To do away with ethnicity, racism and religious division,
And co-exist on planet Earth with this heavenly vision
It is indeed heartening to note that the Government has appointed a Committee to inquire and report on the bomb explosion at the Sri Dalada Maligawa on January 25. At the same time, it is a matter of regret that the government has not considered this national disaster serious enough to be probed by a Presidential Commission.
The members of the Committee, at least two of whom, who are personally known to me, are undoubtedly men of high integrity. But considering the fact that the Chairman of this Committee is also the seniormost bureaucrat responsible for the country's defence, one wonders whether it will be able to carry out an impartial and meaningful investigation.
However, particularly in view of the fact that the terms of reference have not been specifically defined, it is hoped that the Committee will address its mind to at least the following questions:-
1. When the decision was made to have the Independence Celebrations in Kandy, was a security assessment made? Is there a report? What were the additional measures recommended?
2. Was a security plan drawn up identifying the maximum security areas? By whom was the plan formulated and by whom was it approved?
3. Was such a plan put into effect? If so, from what date? What were the new measures put into effect?
4. Had the Diyawadena Nilame made any recommendations regarding security? If so, have they been considered?
5. Was any consideration given to security technology such as CC TV, Rapidex, automated barricades to prevent crash entry of vehicles etc?
6. Was a vital check point and barricade removed? If so on whose instructions?
7. Was there a clear division of responsibilities between the Police and the Armed Services?
8. Was there a co-ordinating officer for the Security operations?
9. Was there a Disaster Management Plan involving all the emergency Services of the State?
10. After the renovation projects were identified and the work allocated to different government departments etc:-
(a) Were the Contractors security screened?
(b) Were the workers screened? Were they given special ID Cards?
(c) Were the vehicles to be used, identified and passes issued?
(d) Were lists of vehicles, workers etc. issued to officers manning the check points?
In my view, if the committee can find the answers to the above, it would have achieved something.
Muruttetuwe Ananda Thero, the Secretary of a Buddhist monks Association and the President of the Nurses Union is famous for strikes making the sick to suffer and die due to strikes, has come out now blaming the President for addressing the nation in English on the 50th Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The 13th amendment of the Sri Lanka Constitution states:- Article 18 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (herein after referrerd to as the "Constitution is hereby amended as follows:-
(a) by the renumbering of the Article as paragraph (1) of the Article.
(b) by the addition immediately after paragraph (1) of that Article of the following paragraph :-
(2) Tamil shall also be an official language
(3) English shall be a link language
(4) Parliament shall by law provide for the implementation of the provisions of this Chapter."
It should not be forgotten that the President was addressing the whole nation, comprising Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims and Malays and all registered citizens and the foreign delegates and invitees. What is more apropriate than the Link Language to deliver the speech and make them know all what she spoke came from her own mouth, in all sincerity rather than a translated version which does not have the same effect and feeling.
The "Sinhala Only" cry of the Buddhist Clergy has brought about the present deadly plight where even the Sacred Relic at Kandy and places of Buddhist worship are not safe. Nurses Trade Union strikes make the innocent patients suffer untold misery and die cursing those who strike. In the same manner let not the whole country suffer in following fanatics and rabble rousers. Well done President Kumaratunga! The intelligentsia and all true Buddhists are with you in this hour when your leadership is most valued.
More letters to the editor * Wishful thinking is it? * The nation is bleeding * Fr.Marcelline Jayakody victimised at his death as well * Trees can be beneficial or deadly
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