Letters to the Editor

4th June 2000

A sensible censor: need of the hour

Nobody can maintain that there should not be censorship during wartime. But the censorship should not be counterproductive. It is only news that could be of use to the enemy that should be censored. 

News that the enemy is already aware of should not be kept from the people. To do so, would have the worst possible consequences. 

The policy followed with regard to the present censorship is counterproductive. 

The message it is sending is that the war is strictly a matter for the government and not for the people. 

The people should only pay their taxes, supply cannon fodder when needed and remain in utter ignorance of the facts about the war, which however are known to the rest of the world. 

The result is that patriotic people have no feeling of being involved in the war effort. 

The government keeps asking people not to spread rumours. 

But, just as flies breed in rubbish dumps, rumours proliferate during a censorship. 

During World War II, Britain had strict censorship. 

But only news that would benefit the enemy was censored. Military defeats were not hidden from the people. 

On the contrary, the whole country was kept fully apprised and so the people, aware that their country was in danger rallied round the government. 

Very early in the war, the British Expeditionary Force was decimated by Nazi troops in France. Thousands of soldiers were stranded on the beaches at Dunkirk. 

Churchill did not hide the news. Instead, he took them into his confidence and called for their support. 

Hundreds of people who owned boats sailed to the coast of Dunkirk, at grave personal risk and brought the soldiers home. 

This was a military defeat, but a psychological victory. 

In Britain they still speak with pride of "the Dunkirk spirit". 

Obviously, Sri Lankans who are kept in the dark about what's going on cannot be expected to generate anything akin. 

It is not too late for corrective measures. 

It is vital that the people should be involved in our nation's war. 

Vijaya Perera
Colombo 3

Nationalism is important

What chance do the Sinhalese have once they surrender their identity?

Without an identity and their heritage the Sinhalese could well endure the plight of an insignificant minority in international politics. Hence, nationalism is an important issue in our country.

But nationalism must not be confused with the extremism of the LTTE and some elements of the Sinhalese community.

We would have witnessed much less anguish if the human race did not inherit the divisions of colour, religion or race. However, the reality is that every peaceful country, while accommodating several nationalities under the banner of a single entity, has that country's identity well entrenched in the aspirations of the majority community.

The long and turbulent history of Sri Lanka bears testimony to the sacrifices that our leaders and society had to make when the country's freedom and way of life were threatened due to foreign invasions.

Despite the traumatic contact with successive invaders, and the duplicity and betrayal of our own at times, our ancestors left us with a unique identity that is well known.

Their prudence and sacrifices prevented the Sinhalese from sharing the fate of lost civilisations like the Aztecs of Mexico and Incas of Peru.

Dewan Perera

Where are the veerayas?

Sri Lanka is threatened by an outfit of terrorists calling themselves the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, with tentacles in many large cities in the world, claiming that they are the only representatives of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. 

They are determined to carve out a part of the north of the country as a separate homeland for the Tamils, and have ruthlessly exterminated several prominent Tamil leaders who were not in agreement with them.

For seventeen years, Sri Lankan governments have tried to bring the terrorists to the negotiating table so that their grievances could be settled amicably, but they are hell bent on fighting the Sri Lankan armies to achieve their ends.

The time has come for our nation to stir from its lethargy and exterminate this menace with determination before it is too late. 

Leaders and politicians should stop this puerile mud slinging at each other at this critical hour. Unite and destroy the enemy! should be the resounding battle cry. 

'Unite under one flag for one country,' should be the President's clarion call to the nation.

Who is the patriotic and gallant Maha Veeraya who will lead the country to victory? 

We had patriots like General Denzil Kobbekaduwa, General Vijaya Wimalaratne and many others who led our heroic lads to almost victory, but they had to sacrifice their lives for nothing, due to political bungling.

This nation has thousands of gallant sons and daughters who wish to fight for our country. Who is the 'Veeraya' who can stir them into action for the glory of our country.

D.L. Sirimanne

Drug baron's dansala

Reference the Police man-handling of The Sunday Times journalist, Leon Berenger, how many are aware that on Vesak Day a dansala was organized by an alleged drug dealer at Saranankara Road, Kalubowila.

The police were in full force at this dansala where even gazetted officers were alleged to have been entertained with expensive liquor and food. 

SSP D. A. de Fonseka wiped out illicit liquor and drug dens when he was OIC Dehiwela. We yearn for such a period. 

An honest citizen


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