Time to think in new ways The events on May 9 have devastated all of us patriotic Sri Lankans living in the country and all over the world. When we dream of seeing a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, what we witness is a ravaged country, divided again by political thuggery. It is all because [...]


Letters to the Editor


Time to think in new ways

The events on May 9 have devastated all of us patriotic
Sri Lankans living in the country and all over the world. When we dream of seeing a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, what we witness is a ravaged country, divided again by political thuggery.

It is all because some do not have patience or tolerance to see any difference. Freedom of expression is reserved only for themselves. Blinded by the empty rhetoric of their beloved leaders or inducements of money, food and alcohol or simply blind faith, the pro-government political elements thought they are beyond the law this time too. This is clearly the case of the violence that was unleashed on that Monday, another Black Day in Sri Lankan history.

The whole world watched the gruesome events that subsequently unfolded as participants of a political meeting held at the Prime Minister’s residence rushed out to attack peaceful protesters who had been camped at Galle Face for over a month.

Their arrogance and blindness to the consequences of their actions had been circulated all over the world instantaneously thanks to social media. When watching the videos, it is pathetic to see how those unarmed protesters, including religious figures were attacked, no mercy shown to women, children, disabled civilians, vendors and bystanders.

It sadly led to loss of life and destruction of property. Hundreds were injured and hospitalised –  a vicious cycle. This will exacerbate the economic instability and debt crisis that Sri Lanka is currently facing.

Sri Lanka boasts of democracy. If so, the government should uphold the right to peaceful protest, ensure that everyone is treated equally and no excessive force is used in controlling public uprising.  Thinking of the leaders that misled their supporters, it is obvious that they all suffer from hubris. Hubris is from Greek, where it meant fatal pride and arrogance. In history, hubris had led to the downfall of many a politician. In fiction, we come across important figures that prided themselves above every other mortal. In classical mythology, hubris was considered a dangerous shortcoming where the hero attempted to assume godlike status.

All politicians must be flexible and adaptable in the face of crisis. And in the face of rejection, they should gracefully quit. Hitler, Ceausescu, Saddam and sons, Gaddafi, Mussolini etc thought they were gods and that the country was them and they were the country. But they remain in history as the most hated rulers.

Times have changed. Old rigid ideologies that do not favour people’s rights are rejected. Rulers who cannot change are rejected. It is time to think in a fresh way and replace arrogance with humility.

Savithri Jayasinghe Cooray  Melbourne

What should we do with ageing politicians?

Like in every other career, there should be an age of retirement even for politicians. Depending on the country and the type of career, this retirement age varies from 55 to 65 around the world. In Sri Lanka, a public servant usually retires at the age of 60 whereas a few professionals such as university professors are allowed to work until the age of 65. I suggest that every politician should be below the age of 60.

A politician plays a key role in policy making. Therefore, a politician should be energetic, healthy and creative. Also, it is important that they are capable of being updated and renewing their knowledge according to current world trends. They should be able to understand modern technology, how it works and also to use the technology whenever it is necessary.

Apart from that, they should have a genuine interest to perform well in every activity that leads their country, province, district and village toward development. What we see is that when people reach a certain age, they start getting weaker gradually: physically, mentally and socially. They get tired after completing a task and the body  requires rest more frequently than when they were young. They feel lazy to think and to put in a lot of effort on anything because their energy levels  are dropping.

They also lose interest in being creative and prefer meeting with their peers, talking about their good old days.

We have seen in Sri Lanka  that the nominations of old politicians are still being accepted and many people have chosen to vote for them. Therefore, the political party cannot refuse to offer them a seat in Parliament. But, they should refrain from appointing these senior citizens as Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers, and let them be just Members of Parliament.

Political parties should choose to appoint middle-aged and young people for that way, the village, district, province and the country will start flourishing with a lot of energy, new ideas, creative methods, thorough knowledge and active  involvement. It is true that the senior politicians do have a lot of experience and expertise in the particular areas they have been working in. Therefore, they can be appointed as advisors within the party in order to guide the younger politicians and the new members of Parliament.

Inthija Careem  Via email

Democracy on the march and the power of the people

Walking in the cool evening breeze of the ocean-front promenade at Galle Face Green where action abounds these days, I gazed wide-eyed at a sea of heads and flags fluttering in the air whilst a freedom song reverberated “Do you hear the people sing, it is the song of angry men, it is the music of the people who will not be slaves again”!With fists punching the air and voices rising to a crescendo to frenzied waving of a myriad Lion flags, the battle cry evoked spine tingling emotions.

To witness and be part of that ubiquitous spirit of unity which invoked a burning passion within for one’s motherland was infinitely intoxicating.

Who would have dreamt that a bunch of young freedom fighters, aka ‘Aragalaya’ could be a vanguard of a movement that would engulf an entire nation to shape the destiny of Sri Lanka?  Indeed, an inconceivable prospect until a few weeks ago!  But these indefatigable young men and women, camping for weeks on end at the Galle Face Green, and elsewhere, exposed to threatening elements are battling for truth and justice against breathtaking fraud and injustices committed by the highest echelons of a government.

The externality of their peaceful protests is transforming ripples into waves for a ‘system change’ in the country! It is helping to awaken a ‘sleeping giant’ in the masses.

Since gaining Independence 74 years ago from Britain, Ceylon inherited relative prosperity, high levels of education and a stable macro economy. But successive governments plunged the country into a political and economic abyss with divisive politics and unsustainable economic policies which led to the exodus of Burghers, Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims to emigrate to greener pastures and who, today, have enriched those nations with their contributions.

Quo Vadis Sri Lanka? Once a proud and vibrant nation has now been regrettably reduced to bankruptcy and its people brought to their knees crippled by monumental fraud and mismanagement. Primarily, an agricultural nation endowed with verdant pastures where farmers should be treated as our kings but relegated to nought and lands laid bare!

Coupled with the above and more, the jaw-dropping excesses of the Rajapaksa ruling elite and their acolytes were anathema for the young, hardworking men and women aspiring for a decent life.  The need to clean up the august assembly became an obsession.

The final nail in the coffin: the masses denied their basic daily needs – fuel, cooking gas, electricity, medicine, milk powder, essential foods and apocalyptic prices, all controlled by government backed mafias.

The ‘People’s Power’ of this peaceful revolution are the eyes and ears of democracy, watching hawk-eyed. They will not rest until their goals are met. Let these events be a powerful deterrent to those who will come as ‘Servants’ now to serve the masses sans their V8 gas guzzlers and contingents of security backups. The tables have turned.  The masses will be the new ‘Masters’ in heralding a new dawn to embrace all that is good and decent; “Let Justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty river” -  (Martin Luther King Jr.)

 Savitri de Alwis  Via email

I wonder how many ‘patriotic’ citizens really pay taxes

‘Painful reform process: Many taxes to be raised’ was the headline of an article in the Sunday Times of May 1 where Finance Minster Ali Sabry clearly outlined why every citizen who is liable must pay the due taxes to the country. He also explained why taxes should be increased. One financial pillar of the country is taxes.

The present crisis situation that has arisen in the country due to various reasons has suddenly created a bond of togetherness among Sri Lankans. We also see people becoming very patriotic and professing their love for the country. This is a good sign.

My question to those who express patriotism and love for the country is ‘if you are liable, are you paying your taxes to the country according to your earnings’? If your answer is ‘no’, then these sentiments you express are mere hypocrisy.

There is not much data but I am certain there are many people who earn millions who are not paying their taxes as they should, thus depriving the country of income.

B. Joseph  Wattala

No one should take any position under incumbent president 

No politician nor an outsider has any right to accept any position under the presidency of the incumbent, that springs due to the “struggles” at gotagama (I prefer g for G) and all over the country, where the main and the persisting demand happens to be “Go home Gota”.

The act of all Rajapaksas resigning now from their positions has been converted to committing hara-kiri by the demand added a little later ‘Give back our robbed wealth” and the recent public exposures by the JVP. Though various types of crimes that took place under Rajapaksa regimes are no secret, those were never revealed in this manner. The President is trying all his tactics to stay in power as that is the only guarantee the family has at the moment to live in safety. I repeat, “No person who loves the country and its people, should take over ANY position under Gota’s presidency.”

Buddhi Perera  Via email

Please don’t keep senior citizens waiting in long queues at banks

Senior citizens who maintain SDAs (Special Deposit Accounts) at all commercial banks in the country (including state banks) are required to renew these accounts on the due date according to new regulations of the Central Bank.

How could feeble pensioners especially those in their 70s and 80s etc, be expected to go to banks and queue up there for a very long time for this purpose? PBOs (Personal Banking Officers) in many banks who attend to this matter are busy with their other transactions and take a very long time to attend to them, causing much inconvenience to all those waiting in the queue.

I earnestly request the bank authorities to give priority to the senior citizens in this regard considering their age.

W.G. Chandrapala  Kadawatha

Don’t limit JVP accusations to file covers only

 When JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) made a serious public disclosure about some politicos and their kith and kin robbing people’s money using various ruses, a handful of people jumped up and said it was all hocus pocus and the allegations were made to defame these politicians who are in a boiling cauldron now. We the public also don’t know if the documents are truthful or not.

Nothing will happen now beyond denials via media announcements. People know how the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption in Sri Lanka works. So will BC hearing be fruitful?

The best method to bring out the truth is through open courts by legal action which will work without political interference now. This can be achieved by friends of ADK or some lawyers’ association by filing a case against ADK for defamation of public figures as a matter of public interest. Here both parties will have to come to courts and prove their innocence.

If not, all these accusations will be limited to file covers only and people will forget and vote for the same politicians the next time also.

Sumith de Silva  Via email


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