Letters to the Editor


Will there ever be another statesman and patriot?
The sudden demise of our Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar brings to mind the words of Shakespeare in the play Julius Caesar:
"If you have tears prepare to shed them now."

In Sri Lanka, whenever anybody (even if it is a nobody) dies, statements are made by various people describing the death as "an irreparable loss". In my opinion, the death of our foreign minister definitely qualifies for this sentiment. He was not only erudite, he had the personality and the conviction to make leaders of other nations listen to the voice from Sri Lanka. In recent memory, Sri Lanka has never had a foreign minister of his calibre who could articulate the sentiments of our collective nation. We must congratulate the President for her excellent choice.

There is no doubt in anybody's mind that Lakshman Kadirgamar made it his mission to have many countries ban the LTTE. One might say he was only carrying out the government's writ. However, one has to have conviction and the ability to articulate the government's views to the international community so that those leaders will be convinced of our cause. I doubt that any other minister or foreign minister was able to do this as adroitly as Mr. Kadirgamar, especially when no other foreign minister since the 1980s or government was able to neutralize the massive propaganda blitz unleashed by the LTTE in the international arena, to the detriment of the government of Sri Lanka and its people.

This is the great loss for our country. Who will now espouse our cause so forcefully and with such conviction, without any bias towards any ethnic community? Undoubtedly, his, will be a hard act to follow, as the saying goes.
Mr. Kadirgamar was an "accidental" Tamil, but he was a Sri Lankan to the core. He rose above his ethnic background to ensure that all Sri Lankans may call this country their home and be able to live in peace and harmony. I think this would be the legacy that he would want to leave behind.

Sometimes, evil deeds such as this, result in greater goodness for the rest of mankind. If by this great sacrifice our nation can come together to rejuvenate our country, Mr. Kadirgamar may rest in peace.

We have hundreds of politicians in this country but the sad lament of many of us has been the lack of "statesmen" and "patriots". The exception was the late Lakshman Kadirgamar. My heartfelt condolences not only to his beloved family but to my beloved nation, Sri Lanka, for this great loss.

Quintus De Silva
Colombo 5

Beware of the colourful paintings on the roads
I hope the police, the municipality and the government will not allow LTTE sympathizers to paint the road opposite revered national figure, Lakshman Kadirgamar's residence with coloured paintings as they did in other places where the LTTE slaughtered decent, great and wonderful human beings.

This is done to instil fear, that the punishment for crossing the LTTE, is death.
Why perpetuate violence by reminding us of it if it is not to instil fear?
The Rosmead Place junction is testimony to this, especially as it was a Tamil person who was killed — in other words, Tamils especially beware.

Fortunately the paintings on Flower Road and Independence Square have been erased as they have possibly served their purpose. I hope the one at Kynsey Rd. will be tarred over as it only shows how cruel the killers are, in taking the life of a decent human being. Seeing the painting only brings feelings of revulsion or fear of the Tigers, who by nature, kill.

A.N. Abdul
Colombo 3.

Grab the chance and go for clear working majority
In the presidential poll of 1994 when President Chandrika Kumaratunga got 62% of the total polled–while her opponent polled a paltry 27 lakhs of votes– a much desired innovative measure could not be introduced, as the interim President after the death of President Ranasinghe Premadasa was none other than D.B. Wijetunge, who faded away with grace.

If the outgoing president at that time had been from the SLFP and in the national interest had called a general election simultaneously, a crisis situation — preventing a clear majority being obtained as we witnessed in April 2004 — would not have arisen. Over the past five years have we not gone to the polls at least thrice but still not producing a stable result?

The scenario has now gone into reverse gear, with the President at the helm and the Presidential candidate a "fresher" with a clean track record. The euphoria caused islandwide over his entry into the fray, is most tantalizing. Grab the chance at any cost is what one could say!

The desired result could be obtained at no extra cost, with the same ballot box used for a dual purpose. The swing in the country will then not be contradictory -causing conflicts.

At the General Election of April 2004 with the Sandanaya in a comfortable lead at electoral level the ultimate result was that the Sandanaya had no majority at all for six months, until minor groups in sheer desperation decided to go with the government before the budget vote, for their own survival. The constitution of 1978 has taken its toll many times over in this manner.

Let us seize this opportunity to obtain a clear working majority, with a 2/3rds majority well within the reach of the government, with the Kurakkan shawl aspirant well ahead of Colombo 7 sophistication.

Asoka Raddalgoda

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