with honour only lasting peace
Sri Lanka is facing a grave crisis as a result of the serious
problems between the government and the President. Vital issues
are on hold, with both the UNP and the SLFP waiting for an
opportunity to gain political advantage over the other.
meantime, the LTTE is advancing and is in a strong position.
It is ready to run through the north and the east and seems
to have a strategic hold on the country.
While the Tigers have won enough and more concessions, they
are still demanding more. They are asking for an Interim Administration
for the N-E which appears to be totally unacceptable to the
rest of the country.
built camps in the government-controlled areas violating the
ceasefire agreement. The government has not condemned the
Tigers but asked them feebly to dismantle the camp.
the President has demanded that the government get the Tigers
to dismantle the camp, it has not been able to stand up to
the Tigers. For 20 months, this is what Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe has done - allowed the Tigers to do anything
with the virtual withdrawal of the armed forces from strategic
zones and a drop in morale among the soldiers, we are at the
mercy of the advancing Tigers.
Trincomalee, our prized possession, is now under threat. If
the Tigers decide to launch an attack, Trincomalee and the
rest of the north and the east could collapse like a pack
is this conciliatory talk to go on while the country is virtually
being held at pistol point by the Tigers? It is time the government
stood up to the Tigers. It must have the courage to tell the
Tigers to stop making impossible demands and work towards
a negotiated settlement. Both groups should adopt a spirit
of give and take to solve the problem.
must not only hold back unreasonable demands but also end
their violence.It must be borne in mind by both the government
and the Tigers that peace with honour will be the only lasting
governments, particularly the Americans, should caution the
Tigers against going back to violence. This is also the time
for other foreign representatives to be cautious of providing
support to the Tigers. This is the only measure that will
hold the advancing Tigers.
need for better qualified politicians
The UNP has called for nominations from those who wish to
contest the 2003/04 Provincial Council elections. The candidates
who sent nominations prior to independence in 1948, were well
educated. Many were professionals. A majority of them used
their own wealth to uplift the masses and assist the economic
development of the country. They were honest freedom fighters
who sacrificed everything. Some even served prison sentences
under the colonial masters.
in the past five decades our country has had to face several
problems, perhaps due to the wrong type of candidates being
elected to Provincial, Municipal and Urban Councils and Pradeshiya
Sabhas and even Parliament. They promote their kith and kin
for jobs and appoint unsuitable persons as Justices of the
Peace. Some of these politicians do not have basic qualifications,
only money and weapons.
What the people want today is peace and stability in the country.
To achieve this, political parties should select suitable
candidates to represent the masses with at least the following
minimum educational qualifications should be G.C.E. Advanced
good knowledge of Sinhala, Tamil and English.
character certificate from the temple, church, kovil or
mosque on the suitability of the candidate to hold high
of assets and liabilities of the candidate.
one's own bias
My attention has been drawn to a comment made by All Ceylon
Women's Buddhist Congress Secretary Indrani Devendra on a
column of mine 'When are conversions improper' ('Focus on
Rights', The Sunday Times, September 14), on the basis that
it has been clouded by personal religious beliefs.
only express my bewilderment as to how Ms. Devendra (a lady
who is happily, entirely unknown to me), could profess to
be aware of my personal religious beliefs? Ms. Devendra would
perhaps be the first to acknowledge her mistake if she was,
in fact privy to my beliefs, which are deeply anti-thetical
to all coercive forms of established religion. Her comment,
therefore, is as ridiculous as it is misinformed.
thanking Ms. Devendra for her comment at the outset that many
of my earlier columns have been reasonable and objective,
I would beg to differ from her conclusion that this instance
is a departure from the same. As a practising lawyer and legal
analyst, I examined the recent determination of the Supreme
Court with regard to religious conversion (SC Determination
No 19/2003, SCM 25.07.2003) from the basic standpoint that
unethical and forcible conversions should be condemned in
the strongest possible terms while, however, critically examining
the applicable constitutional framework.
sense, Ms. Devendra manifestly contradicts herself when she
remarks at one point that I have passed strictures on the
Supreme Court judgment but states later that I have “shrewdly
fought shy of doing this” and instead concentrated my
ire on the plaintiffs. I must state that I have done neither
but instead attempted to put the issue in its proper perspective,
particularly in the context of rising religious tensions.
Those who prefer to think otherwise need to examine their
Ms. Devendra also needs to be educated regarding Lord Atkin's
famous warning that "in the democratic constitutional
order, justice is not a cloistered virtue. On the contrary,
she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful,
even though outspoken comments of ordinary men". (per
Lord Atkin in Ambard v. Attorney-General for Trinidad and
Tobago  AC 322)
bouquet for ‘MediScene’
It gave me great pleasure to read 'MediScene' in the The Sunday
Times. I am sure that many will be healed just by reading
the important articles it contains.
I do hope that this magazine will continue to be published.
I am sure many readers will benefit. Keep up the good work.
Sri Lanka Telecom advertises that the first 200 units will
be free with effect from September 1, 2003. What additional
benefits do subscribers derive from the monthly rental? Could
the SLT say whether the service of Directory Inquiries is
covered by this rental?
SLT offers discounted rates after 6 p.m. On September 5, I
dialled 161 several times between 6.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m.
The answer I got was "Calls cannot be connected due to
161 be so busy in the evening? What a farce?
spice names in English
I wish to place on record a few comments on the Sinhala publication,
'Spices - its history' authored by Ayurvedic Dr. M.A. Jagath
book has been registered as a 'school book' by the Ministry
of Education. It highlights the medicinal benefits of various
herbal spices such as mustard, ginger, curry leaf, coriander,
pepper, tamarind, Bombay onions, garlic and various other
congratulating the author, I request him and all concerned
to get this book published in English, so that expatriates
visiting Sri Lanka will be able to gain some knowledge on
herbal spices available here.
The Advanced Level results are out. Some students will be
able to enter campus on their results. However, the Z-Score
ssytem is posing a major hindrance to bright students. The
authorities should seriously look into this matter.
columnist sees only one view thru’ the glasshouse
Thalif Deen, The Sunday Times correspondent in the United
Nations, writes a weekly column called 'Inside the glasshouse'.
I suppose the term 'glasshouse' refers to the United Nations.
he is reporting about the business of that august body, why
does he report only on things pertaining to the Muslim world?
Surely, there are many more important topics on political,
economic, social, environmental and human rights issues being
discussed, debated and decided upon in that world body.
so blinkered that he sees and hears only things that interest
the Muslims? We buy The Sunday Times to read fair and critical
reporting, not one-sided reports. In most of his reports he
seems to enjoy US bashing. That seems to be his only interest
in remaining in the UN.
latest despatch he uses terms such as "bogged down",
"crawls back" (suppose he implies that the US is
going back to the UN on hands and knees. He must be peeping
through the glasshouse to see these things!) "six bloodied
months", "disastrous aftermath", "humiliating
experience", "a coalition of willing terrorists"
(these could be phrases picked up from Al-Qaeda propaganda
machinery), "the multinational peace-keeping force will
also go the way of the US-British Coalition" (words of
a prophet on the side of international terrorism!) with glee.
is this the only topic worth reporting? Like Bush, he seems
to think that the only worthwhile thing the UN can do is to
represent one's own view of the world. Isn't this the same
thing that Osama bin Laden also expects the UN to do? So,
Thalif seems to be on the same wavelength as Bush and Osama!