Letters to the Editor


People power to rebuild our devastated country
We are all grieving at the loss of life and property in the recent tragedy. The message I wish to share with all our people regardless of race, religion or location is the poignant response of the people of Sri Lanka to the suffering of our fellow-men.

The public, at large, and I mean the "common man" unselfishly gave of their all to alleviate the misfortune of their brethren. How magnanimous was the response - in these trying times when our cost of living has escalated, with shortages of commodities, and difficult living conditions, yet the spark of 'human kindness' is clearly demonstrated today. There is no class, ethnic or religious discrimination - and this should be an 'eye-opener' to the political parties and politicians of our country. While all they do is fight for 'political survival' the rest of our people are rallying to help their countrymen. Cannot we get together in our national crises and not let politicians dictate their methods of 'trying' to run the country.

How can they 'run the country' when they are unable to even 'run a train or bus service'. Friends, Lankans, country-men, let this enormous tragedy be a starting point for us. It is the people that make a nation and not a nation that makes people. Rally round now, with "people power". After all isn't it our vote that puts any party in the driving seat? Let not rhetoric, lies and hollow promises ever take us for a ride! Let us, all unite and put our land on 'the road again' and put politics on the 'run' by creating a "Janarajaya" (sans present idlers).

The entire nation is hurting - let that pain stir our desire to a life free of war, poverty and sickness - and let not a 'tsunami', or for that matter any upheaval, be a stumbling block.

Brian Jansz

Post-tsunami tourism: Tourist Board should launch media campaign
The beach is not everything in Sri Lankan tourism and all is not lost. There's the hill country, the Cultural Triangle, wildlife and so many other attractions. The hotels and the entire tourism infrastructure in these areas are very much intact. Unless we communicate this fast we will get labelled as a 'disaster island'.

We now have all the international camera crews here. CNN, BBC, you name it. It is only a matter of days and these journalists will be called back because the world will get bored with tsunami news. Thus the government must invite these journalists and show them the parts of the island that have not been hit. Let them experience the best rooms of the most beautiful hotels, and get a first hand experience of what Sri Lankan hospitality has to offer. Tell the journalists it would be a great help to Sri Lanka if they would show the world that the island is still beautiful and interesting – a treasure trove for individual cultural tourism in luxury. And there are also beaches that have not been hit. You can still have a wonderful holiday in Sri Lanka without being confronted with the misery of the disaster.

Explain to the journalists that the negative effect of the coastal disaster would spread inland if this disaster scares away tourists away from Sri Lanka. Give them a motto like: 'Help Sri Lanka, come to Sri Lanka'. A simple message like this is needed urging people not to be frightened away from what otherwise might be labelled a 'disaster island.'

Five minutes of television time showing what Sri Lanka has still to offer in the way of tourism would be of immense help. The next few days are crucial in saving Sri Lanka's tourism industry.

Nissanke K. Gamage

I waited and waited and lashed out in anger
Dear 'Man'
I watched you
century by century
decade by decade
year by year
minute by minute
second by second!

You came to see my beauty
I tried to be beautiful as ever
Changing my colours, ways
I made you come to me again and again
You were happy
I was happy!

I watched many other things!
how you invaded me without control, without discipline
how you used my space for all the dirty work; drugs, child abuse, rape, smuggling….

how ignorant you were when you dumped all the garbage into me which affected the lives I protected.

You never realized, some of you were talking about it but nothing changed…
You took the lives I protected for food day by day, when you had other means of living, although I gave you the thing that added taste for your food
Just as much as I wanted to make you happy I wanted the lives in me to be happy!
But …………………………

You were ignorant!
I had to do something
There came the 'giant tsunami' for my help
But I felt sorry; I had feelings for you, I gave you warnings
You were not listening
You were blind
You took me for granted
You were depending on 'meters' for everything!

"My dear man" hope you would learn your lessons
Beg your pardon! I was not allowed to select properly
('free aid' doesn't allow 'us' to do it)


Let us come out of this darkness together
While extending a helping hand to the survivors of the tsunami to the best of its ability, the Sri Lanka Women's Conference, a consortium representing several women's NGOs, appeals for peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of a tragedy, which has not spared ethnic and religious groups, rich and poor.

Can't we realize even now that we are Sri Lankans, with common dreams and aspirations and common griefs and deprivations? Let us all join hands in this dark hour so that we may together have the courage to come out of the past into a future of recovery and hope and above all, of trust in and love for each other.

Manel Abeysekera
Sri Lanka Women's Conference

Protect us from natural disasters
A leading daily on December 29 highlighted the concern and advice by local scientists to take immediate steps to acquire WEWS (Weather Early Warning Systems) following the "tsunami" that decimated life and property in the coastal belt on the morning of December 26. We hope the government will take this advice seriously and act on it. The security of the nation from natural disasters should have been the foremost responsibility of the government which should have seen this as equally important as acquiring military hardware.

At least in the future, state funds should be spent on more important national issues.

Colombo 3

Tremors and fears
Prof. Stephen A. Nelson of Tulane University, U.S.A. is reported to have declared (Daily News of December 31, 2004) that two underwater explosions by nuclear tests by U.S.A. in the Marshall Islands, generated tsunamis in 1940 and 1950. One maybe constrained to ask whether such tests could shift and split submarine plates, creating the possibility of catastrophes in time, at a future date, with added pressures on them, due to other cumulative conditions as time goes by.

Also, now with frequent minor tremors, reportedly at our doorstep, will these undermine, weaken or loosen the foundations of buildings, particularly those high-rise giants, again creating the possibility of future collapse, even with minor shakes in time to come?

S.A.M. Wickramasinghe

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