Letters to the Editor

3rd June 2001

There is enough terror already

Three ministers have warned that the JVP is organising itself to unleash violence once again. 

Former President J.R. Jayewardene spoke of violence and a Naxalite movement, before banning the JVP and postponing elections then. The present warning by three ministers, considered to be very close to the Head of State, it is hoped, is not a repetition of what happened earlier. 

The resurgence of the Marxists and the possibility of their coming to power or unleashing violence send shivers down the spines of some western nations. Hence the JVP violence story can also be a ploy to attract aid from hesitant western countries. It could be possible that the JVP is merely attempting to defend itself in the event of an attack. 

On the other hand, if the JVP is preparing to take to violence, it is hoped that it will not as it seems to be very disciplined now. We already have a political culture that is violent. The Wayamba elections, Presidential elections, parliamentary elections and even elections to village co-operative societies, have seen violence. 

Then again, the JVP is Marxist-oriented. So are the Communists and LSSPers, who are partners in the PA Government. 

The former Marxists who have turned blue deserting the revolution, aiming at positions of political power, may perhaps be still having a little Marxist- Trotskyte sting, who knows. 

Remember the 'Attanagalle doctrine' of former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, which defended violence against the UNP at Attanagalle, on the grounds that the people had the right to object to outsiders coming to their electorate. Perhaps her association with the former red shirts made her think in those terms. 

Lenin wrote in 1901, "We have never rejected terror in principle". And over 100 million people throughout the world have died of Marxist violence. 

Food for thought!

Upali S. Jayasekera
Colombo 4 

It's the law of the jungle

The open letter to the government, "Madam, we're sitting on a volcano" by Tim Eisbad (The Sunday Times May 13), is indeed a mirror, reflecting the true sordid state of the country. We hope the President and her king-size Cabinet read it and do something to put things right. 

I wish to ask whether nothing happens without the President's intervention. We often hear through the media that the President has instructed this or that person to do something. Whenever there is a riot, the President instructs the IGP or the minister-in-charge to apprehend the perpetrators. The police have to enforce the law. The courts have to mete out justice. When a serious crime is committed, the President need not instruct the IGP and other officials as to what they should do. 

When a senior Customs officer is killed, the IGP and his men are bound by law to do everything possible to find the killers. It is not necessary for the President to direct the IGP to do so. 

On the other hand, no matter how severe the offence, the police will do nothing -whatever orders are given by the President- if it has been committed by a government MP or his henchmen. 

What kind of law enforcement system do we have here? 

E.N. Dofus

Not one Bishop, but two

In 'Churchmen and statesmen' (May 27), Claude Fernando of Moratuwa named the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera as the 15th Bishop of Colombo. He is actually the 14th Bishop of Colombo. 

Following are the bishops of Colombo from the inception of the Diocese of Colombo:

Rt. Rev. James Chapman-1945-1861, Rt. Rev. P.C. Claughton-1862-1871, Rt. Rev. H.W. Jermyn-1871-1875, Rt. Rev. R.S. Copleston-1875-1902, Rt. Rev. E.A. Copleston-1903-1924, Rt. Rev. M.R. Carpenter-Qarnier-1924-1938, Rt. Rev. C.D. Horseley-1938-1947, Rt. Rev. A.R. Graham Campbell-1948-1964, Rt. Rev. Harold de Soysa-1964-1971, Rt. Rev. Cyril Abeynaike-1971-1977, Rt. Rev. Swithin Fernando-1978-1987, Rt. Rev. Jabez Gnanapragasam-1987-1992, Rt. Rev. Kenneth Fernando-1992-2001 and Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera-2001.

The Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa produced not one but two bishops, the Rt. Rev. Swithin Fernando and Rt. Rev. Kenneth Fernando. Bishop Kenneth studied at Prince of Wales College before he entered Royal College.

We should not forget the fact that the credit for producing the highest number of Christian clergymen goes to Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year together with its sister school, Princess of Wales College.

R.A. Piyadasa

Tribute to a quiet hero

The Cocos mutiny took place on May 8, 1942. Watumullage Gratien Fernando who led the mutiny was executed two years later, with two colleagues. 

My parents visited him before his death. He had been very calm and collected. 

Reading through the newspapers, I noticed that some do not know him. He is kin to Vijaya Kumaranatunga. His first cousin was the late Dr. W.J.E. Fernando, owner of one of the first nursing homes and private hospitals started by Sri Lankans at High Street (W.A. Silva Mawatha), Wellawatte during World War II. He was an old Thomian. 

That one man, Noel Crusz, should spend a whole lifetime researching this incident is tribute enough to a quiet hero. 

Oscar Gunewardena
Colombo 6. 

Justice for poor patients

We commend The Sunday Times for the stand taken on behalf of the sick, especially the less well-to-do patients, by promoting the case for generic drugs. 

Most people are unaware that there is such a thing as a generic drug and often pay more for brand names. Sometimes as much as five times more. 

When my wife was treated at the Jaye–wardenepura Hospital, had I been advised not to buy brand name drugs, I would have been on the road today. Fortunately, she was treated with generic drugs. 

As advocated, we should start by buying generic paracetamol instead of expensive tablets sold under different brand names, to cut costs. We could always ask the doctor or the pharmacist for the cheaper generic drug, as approved by the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation. 

R.A. de Silva

Are we Buddhists?

On Poson full moon day
It was the Message of Peace
And non-violence
That great Arahat Mahinda
Introduced to our Pearl of the Orient.
The great Arahat extolled
The value of Ahimsa
Or not torturing animals or humans
To a generation that lived on hunting
O, thy advice, thy message is 
Today invaluable and priceless
To a generation rotten with
Greed for power and wealth;
Endless bloodshed in a gruesome war
Countless lives lost and maimed, 
Aren't we humans?
Can't we unite?
Can't all Sri Lankans get together
And live in this holy land
As one family, respecting one another? 
Where is loving kindness to animals? 
The majority are meat and fish eaters, 
The Buddhists should ask themselves
Are we Buddhists?

Malini Hettige

That message of peace

Yonder over the Missaka Rock, 
Behold! the Poson full moon shining bright, 
Illuminating the starry night. 
The temple bells are pealing, 
The resonant drums are beating, 
Pious devotees silently walking
With clasped hands meditating
The Precepts may be Five, Eight or Ten. 
Behold! Above
A pious monk in saffron robe
Landing on the Ambastale
On the Missaka rock, 
Carrying the olive branch
The Message of Peace. 
Calling "Tissa, Tissa" 
The mighty ruler of the land
King Devanampiya Tissa. 
Bow and arrow cast aside, 
Embracing the Dhamma sans all pride, 
Listen! Oh listen!
To the culahatthipadopama sutta
So melodious to hear 
Vibrating in every ear
With cries of "Sadhu Sadhu" 
Let us now take courage with firm determination
To revive this peace message without procrastination. 
And pray for unity and harmony to be born
Once again on our beloved motherland, today war-torn

Amara Samaratunga


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