Let us wash away the stains and smears

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech delivered at the opening of Parliament on Tuesday should be read and listened to again and again by every citizen of this country, and what he has said should be acted upon, says Ven. Galaboda Siri Gnanissara Thera (Podi Hamuduruwo).

The full text of his statement follows. “It is no secret that some of those who lead now and who led earlier have a few stains and smears that need to be washed away.

Our President Rajapaksa has completed a long and arduous journey. His speech delivered at the opening of Parliament should be read and listened to again and again by every citizen of this country, and what His Excellency has said should be acted upon.

Ven. Galaboda Siri Gnanissara Thera
(Podi Hamuduruwo).

“The President’s vision for our country is that its citizens should not be divided according to their race and religion, but as those who love or do not love our motherland. By this he meant that all of us should love our country and act with love towards all – our families, neighbours and all inhabitants of Sri Lanka. Without such a vision it will not be possible to put together this now fragmented country.

“Those who espouse terrorism can be found in any community and sometimes a terrorism which declares itself openly is better than covert terrorism, because it can be easier dealt with. Such a result can be seen in the annihilation of Prabhakaran and his chief associates. We should not forget that there are many who espouse the cause of terrorism who live both here and abroad.

We should at this time eschew opportunism and selfishness and turn this disaster that we have faced into a resolution and never to allow a recurrence in the future. Writing is for those who read and there should be a freedom to criticise. It is for us to sift such criticism intelligently and to take to heart that which is valid.

“We must always keep in mind the fact that terrorists were able to coax those countries which themselves had suffered from terrorism, to interfere in our internal affairs. How did they succeed in doing this?

“Although our citizens were entitled to travel freely to some countries, that facility was frozen by our Government as a precaution for our own benefit. But some of those countries to show their humanitarian intentions, gave protection to terrorists treating them as refugees. These persons became rich and affluent and they began to assist terrorism in Sri Lanka, monetarily as well as in kind, going to the limits of even providing weapons as well as aircraft.

They systematically introduced terrorist activities even in those countries that gave them shelter. They are causing enough complications in those countries now. In order to rid themselves of such influences, those Governments tried to force us to act as they anticipated.

The President of our country is an extraordinary and unique person. He did not take notice of those pressures. He preserved the goodwill of India. He accelerated the development of our country. Without being intimidated by the terrorists, he had managed to crush terrorism now and he succeeded in obtaining support from all corners. Our war heroes are strong enough to face any challenge and may our President who made it a reality be blessed.

“However the fire may appear to be extinguished but there could be glowing embers hidden inside and these are capable of causing destruction again.

“We must all be determined to unite and live in harmony. We must all wake up from our wonted slumber and work hard to develop our nation, with dedication. We must protect our economy. Our future generation should be turned into a disciplined, educated and clever people. All must respect equality.
“Those Sri Lankans who live abroad should try to save their earnings in Sri Lankan banks. What other countries need, we may have in our country. We must encourage the export of Sri Lankan goods.

“Today the world is suffering from recession. We must improve our agriculture and at the same time try to minimize wastage. The politicians and the clergy should encourage the entrepreneurs in our country.
“Let us avoid malpractices and instead strive to work to bring honour to our nation. The menace of drugs should be completely eradicated. This country cannot be corrected only by the President, the Secretary of Defence and the Commanders of the Armed Forces. We have to do this ourselves.

“Should we not look into ways to make the lives of war heroes’ families more comfortable? Special attention should be given to those heroes who are no longer able to care for themselves.
“Refugees need to be rehabilitated and those who have been misled should be guided to take the correct path.

“Much remains to be done. “It is well known that outside influence abound in many projects, as well as in trade unionism here. Our President has to provide leadership in getting rid of such trends, before long. Otherwise, the foreign investors will leave this country very soon, and no one will come to invest any more. Already a large number of mega industries have been affected.

“Legislation must be brought in to cultivate all abandoned land. High quality seed, seedlings and plants should be made freely available. Use of local fertilizer should be encouraged.

“The poor should be helped to be benefited from rain water harvesting. The banks need to have programmes to assist the less affluent, in their endeavours. “The resources allocated for education are being wasted now as sensible administration systems have vanished from schools. The temple based traditional education is being gradually destroyed.

“There are no children to become novices and that has resulted in having less Buddhist monks. If there are facilities even for the lay children to pursue their education in temples, this may release resources allocated by the Government to be better made use of. The temples are still capable of providing an effective education for the children.

“The Police and Armed Forces have to provide the security for all the people of this land and not to an exclusive few. “The time has come for all to understand that this victory over terrorism is not just a case of changing a pillow for a headache nor is its significance only for celebration and to make a lot of noise.

We have to realize that there are more terrors and dangers that are looming over our heads, and for both educated and not so educated to think as one and to be conscious about our duty towards our nation.
“India is a country that has won in all directions. We must not forget that, we are also a country with a meaningful history.

“May all become determined to look after one’s own family, then the society we live in and our own
Motherland !”

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