The Muslim factor:
Where SLMC went wrong
dimension vis-a-vis the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has become
a crucial issue that cannot be ignored. Though the ceasefire agreement,
which is the foundation for the peace initiative, does not speak
about the Muslim factor, the acceptance and accommodation of SLMC
leader Rauff Hakeem as the government and independent representative
to take up Muslim grievances at the negotiating table becomes inevitable.
The people and politicians should maintain a sense of responsibility,
restraint and tolerance towards peace negotiations, with prudent
constructive criticism rather than wallowing in cynicism which will
It is the bounden
duty of the UNF government, the LTTE and the SLMC to maintain transparency,
keeping the people informed about the outcome of peace talk.
agitation against Mr. Hakeem and his answer to the question by an
interviewer could have been avoided if the Muslims had been made
aware of the arrangements for peace talk in Thailand. This is where
the SLMC failed to create awareness about the peace process. Mr.
Hakeem's answer was based on the categorization of issues, such
as core and contentious issues.
The unit of
devolution had not been taken up at the negotiating table when Mr.
Hakeem was confronted with the question about the unit of devolution
for Muslims in the north and the east. So he had to say that it
was not an appropriate time to answer such a question.
But on no instance
has he denied the demand for a Muslim administrative unit.
The SLMC rebels
can iron out their differences by holding discussions with their
leader who has already been identified and accommodated at the negotiating
table. Hope the SLMC and other Muslim politicians will work together
in the interest of the Muslims to find a solution to their grievances
and to enable them to coexist with other communities with dignity,
security and self determination.
Dr. U. L. Sarafdeen
Bring back patriotism
considering the present education system, one sees that patriotism
is not inculcated in students as national history has been removed
from the school curriculum. This is unfortunate. We have a written
history of more than 2,500 years and it will be pathetic for people
not to have a knowledge of the role their ancestors played.
As far as I
am aware, Asian countries such as China and Japan have given a prominent
place to the teaching of the history of their countries. Japan was
devastated during the last World War but younger generation was
able to reach the apex of development during a very short period
with their willingness to work hard being fuelled by patriotism.
Even during the colonial era, an efficient education system was
brought about through the intervention of Buddhists monks such as
Rev. Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera and the revival of Buddhism. We
should reintroduce national history and literature to the school
curriculum. To get children to pass the Year 5 scholarship examination
and get a place in a popular school, parents burden them with an
unbearable workload. This creates an exam-oriented mentality, stunting
the creative ability and the general intelligence of children. Children
confined to classrooms or tutories poring over textbooks have no
social awareness and fail in their spiritual qualities. As they
have been used to a competitive environment, they become victims
to cruel and dangerous thoughts. Therefore, educationists should
implement a system that keeps away the exam-prone mentality.
also be taken to educate the younger generation on the ill-effects
of dividing the country. In this connection, the necessity of a
constitution based on national unity to suit the aspirations of
our people should be emphasized. The proper devolution of power
on the north and the east, ensuring the territorial integrity, independence
and sovereignty of our country should be considered. Action should
also be taken to re-establish the pristine glory of Theravada Buddhism.
The merits of
is one of the pillars of Islam. From the scientific point of view,
many religions have adopted fasting. It was emanated from the Arabic
word, 'Sowm' which means not only avoiding food and water, but also
possessing self-control over one's habits. Its aim is to gain 'Taqwa'
which means to inspire one's soul and prevent wrong things. Fasting
embellishes one's soul, character and body.
science, one's body is a biological machine. This machine acts as
an open system, in which the exchange of materials and energy takes
place. Continuous activity brings about defects. Thus servicing
and overhauling are required. Fasting provides this overhauling
and is considered a 'bio-chemical metabolic exercise'. It maintains
the level of hormones in the body. Excess fat which is stored in
one's body, while fasting, furnishes most of the fuel required for
cellular activity. One's digestive system relaxes during this period
and the body develops the habit of working without food and water.
develops self-control. Thus fasting is a must in Islam. It is a
continuous process and is one of the five pillars of Islam.
On my way to work early Monday morning
On my way home every Saturday afternoon
During last year or so
I admired the changes in landscape
After its dedication
I visited National Remembrance Park
To pay my tribute and offer merits
To those faded human beings
Some known seniors;
some sincere colleagues;
Many unknown juniors
Some fallen; some massacred
Only their names carved in granite
Camaraderie and pleasant memories remain
and 'Malli' awaited my arrival at home
They too were husbands; fathers
Blight of their wives and children...
Misery, agony, loneliness.
reverberated futility of war
Can glorified death justify value of human life?
Plaque at the entrance states, ''Peace and life come from death
I left contemplating, "Is death and strife mandatory to peace
Captain (Retd.) Ranjith Wettewa
a safer pedestrian crossing
It is shocking that many pedestrians including schoolchildren
are getting killed at pedestrian crossings. It is equally shocking
that the Traffic Police and bodies like the Ceylon Association for
the Prevention of Accidents (CESPA) and the Automobile Association
of Ceylon are doing little or nothing about it. Now that the war
has stopped, it looks as if our roads have become the killing fields.
The first thing to look at is whether there is a system in sighting
pedestrian crossings. A reader had recently pointed out that some
of them are at bends. Most crossings are also not visible even to
the pedestrians as the paint has faded. It should be obligatory
for the authorities to inspect the crossings regularly.
also be made aware that they are approaching a pedestrian crossing.
In developed countries there are flashing lights in the form of
globes. As a Third World country like Sri Lanka cannot afford such
a system, prominent signs should be put up with fluorescent paint
in yellow and black on either side of a crossing so that it will
be visible to motorists at a reasonable distance of about 20 feet.
near schools, there should be humps (not mountains) to slow the
approaching traffic with warning signs. May I please suggest that
the Traffic Police top brass leave their offices periodically and
observe what their juniors are doing or not doing on the roads.
I have seen notices by the police that motorists will be breathalysed
but seldom see that this being done. Many smoke belching vehicles
are on the roads but the police do nothing.
red lights but seldom does a policeman give chase and book them.
The vast majority of motorists who are law abiding just grin and
bear. In Britain, digital cameras have reduced the number of accidents.
In the early nineties in Sri Lanka, many motorists used seat belts
and there were advertisements by the Traffic Police about a contest.
Today nobody bothers. A majority of road accident victims are pedestrians
as they have to walk on the roads. The pavements have been taken
over by hawkers, garages etc.
I wish to make is that the policemen who direct traffic at junctions
and roundabouts should be made visible. Those days there was a permanent
wooden platform with a hood. Nowadays a collapsible plastic or aluminum
platform can be used. Then the policemen will be able to see the
line of vehicles and motorists, in turn can see him. He can see
which road is more congested.
should also be computerised. After an accident it is difficult to
get a police report for insurance purposes. If computers are installed,
the report can be obtained quickly and faxed to the insurance company.
The database will also enable the police to identify habitual offenders
and detect and prevent crime too.
Law Abiding Motorist,
I saw in Gamani Corea
I read with great interest the speech made by Lakshman Kadirgamar
at the Gamani Corea felicitation ceremony at the Dr. N.M. Perera
Centre on October 17 (The Sunday Times of October 21). I was not
present at the ceremony due to unavoidable circumstances.
I worked under
Dr. Corea from 1958 to 1968 when he was the director of National
Planning. At that time the National Planning Council included such
men as Dr. B. B. Das Gupta, Walwin A. de Silva, D. B. Ellepola and
W. T. I. Alagaratnam. Dr. Corea was responsible for the 1959-1968
Ten Year Plan. He got down such eminent economists as Joan Robinson,
Oskar Lange, Von Glinstra Bleeker, J. R. and Ursula Hicks, Alan
Hall and R.C. Desai. With the help of these men and women and a
staff of about 18, he produced the Ten Year Plan, one of the finest
economic plans that any Asian country has produced.
Under Dr. Corea,
all worked as a team. Under him there was no favouritism. Everyone
was given an opportunity of proving himself at international conferences.
He sent me as economic advisor to the delegation of Ceylon to the
21st session of the UN General Assembly in 1966.
I have worked
in international organisations such as the Commonwealth Secretariat
but never have I worked under a man who had the genuine interests
of his men like Gamani Corea.
That is why
I am delighted to find him appointed as chairman of the South Commission.
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