23rd March 2003 Volume 9, Issue 36
Or at least not in Sri Lanka. With the signing of the MoU by the Sri
Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), de-mining
received some prominence and then the matter seems to have been left solely
to the local and foreign non governmental organistaions. The opening of the
A9 highway and the removal of barbed wire barricades marking the forward
defence lines of each party have created a sense of relief and a slow return
to normalcy. Unfortunately, the sense of relief experienced by the people in
these areas has been short lived as they now have to face another nightmare
learn to live with landmines. The two-decade conflict between the Sri
Lankan government and the LTTE has left many scars on people, especially
those in the north-east region. Apart from the psychological trauma, most of
them have to deal with physical trauma as well. Landmines are nothing new to
them and they have learnt to live with them.
to a report by UNDP on landmines, the conflict has resulted in an
unquantifiable number of UXO (unexploded ordinance, which includes small
arms, ammunition, mortars, rockets, grenades, etc. as a result of heavy
fighting in affected areas, considered to be very unstable and highly
dangerous) and mines abandoned or deliberately left in the northern and
eastern districts of Sri Lanka. The report further states that of a total
population of 19 million, the conflict has directly affected areas where
approximately 2,500,000 people live.
has received (December 20, 2002 - January 2003) approximately 1,000
minefield records and sketches and an additional 1,000 minefield locations
from the Sri Lanka Army. They are still waiting for minefield records and
locations to be provided by the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force and the
Police Special Task Force.
Barnes from the UNDP District Mine Action Office in Vavuniya (covering
Vavuniya, Wanni, Mannar and Trincomalee), has recorded around 3,000
minefileds except those in the High Security Zones (HSZs). She explained
that recording minefields is no easy task as most often the person who
plants the mines keeps the map in his pockets and in case he is killed
during the conflict, the map is lost with his life.
explained that since 2000, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) has
cleared 94,000 anti-personnel mines while the army had cleared 60,000
anti-personnel mines since Novemebr 2002. As for UXO, the Humanitarian
De-mining Unit (HDU), operating under the TRO has cleared 163,000, while the
army had cleared 6,686 UXO.
LTTE has so far claimed to have lifted mines laid in the government
controlled areas, but whether they have conducted this humanitarian demining
100% is still being evaluated.
for the time it will take to see an end to all this pain caused by mines,
Barnes explained that it is a long and tedious process, which takes time as
the standard of clearance required for humanitarian demining is 100%.
According to her, it will take at least five years to bring it down to a
manageable level. Explaining further, she stated that mine clearance teams
operating in Thalaimannar, which is infested with mines, have recorded that
30,000 mines have been laid in 32,000 sq meters. Speaking of mine clearance,
Barnes observed that the process includes four sections - general mine
action assessment (a basic socio economic survey to assess the impact of
mines and UXO on communities), technical survey (a dangerous area
identification), mine clearance (may be conducted immediately based on
minefield records provided by the army or LTTE) and quality assurance
(process ensuring a high standard of security).
this takes time because we need to be 100% sure of the task we do. One mine
means one limb and each mine that is lifted means a limb saved," Barnes
said. At present, people are moving back to their homes in de-mined areas in
the former Vavuniya HSZ.
social and economic problems caused by mines and UXO are being addressed
through the combined efforts of numerous governmental, non-governmental
organisations and the United Nations (UNDP and UNICEF) with the support from
national and international bilateral and multilateral donor agencies.
anti-personnel landmines has received much prominence internationally with
many countries signing a convention to prohibit the use of, stockpiling,
production and transfer of anti-personnel mines. Article 1 of the Convention
on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of
Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, which covers the aspect of
general obligations states, "each state party undertakes never under
any circumstances: a) To use anti-personnel mines; b) To develop, produce,
otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or
indirectly, anti-personnel mines; c) To assist, encourage or induce, in any
way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a state party under this
convention. And each state party undertakes to destroy or ensure the
destruction of all anti-personnel mines in accordance with the provisions of
Sri Lanka is not a party to the aforesaid convention, the Sri Lankan
government has shown its interest in signing the convention. The LTTE, as a
non-state party, in such an event may sign a deed of commitment, which would
be formally lodged in Switzerland.
as we all know is cruel. A war in any country affects every person in that
country, but some are more affected than the rest. It is sad to know the
number of innocent civilians who suffer as a result, even when the conflict
comes to a halt. UXO and landmines in affected areas are a further torment
to those who have survived a bitter war. This also hinders the repatriation
of refugees as when they do go back, what welcomes them to their own homes
or what is left of it, is an injury (if in luck) caused by an unforgotten
mine buried in the compound.
Roads have opened and barriers have been removed symbolising a path to peace and freedom, but whether this path is safe to traverse is the question that needs to be addressed.
* * *
A point of view
there enough reason for war?
are the consequences of
the US military strike on Iraq? What would emerge in its wake and who
would be the beneficiaries of this war which many in the world see as a war
for the sake of war without any valid legal, moral or other justifications,
but would only help the 'merchants of death' in the arms industry to
be a safer place in its aftermath? And how can the US, which turns a blind
eye to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's crimes in the occupied
Palestinian lands, talk of Saddam Hussein's crimes? Will the US which waged
war on Afghanistan and installed a puppet regime in Kabul and allowed mass
murderers, hooligans and thugs to control a major part of the country in the
name of bringing democracy,
introduce democracy to Iraq without harming its friendly, but
oppressive regimes, in the Middle East.
are few of the many questions constantly raised in many regions elsewhere in
indications are that the US backed by UK, will launch its destructive war
for what an admant US President George Bush described as "regime
change" in Iraq. Assuming Saddam Hussein is removed or killed, his
regime toppled and a new pro US regime installed in Baghdad, who would
govern and maintain law and order in the country known for its centuries old
and deep rooted religious, ethnic and tribal conflicts?
is not an easy task in a volatile country like Iraq with its vast territory.
Will the US employ its soldiers to do this job? Daunting task
involving high risks? And what would be the fate of hundreds of thousands of
Saddam's armed forces - carefully screened and recruited from amongst
Bathist members? Eliminate them as they did in Afghanistan?
the new regime will not be able to exercise control beyond Baghdad, as in
the case of President Hamid Karzai's government in Kabul.
of thousands of people whose loved ones were eliminated by Saddam's
oppressive security forces
will certainly try to exploit the opportunity to take revenge - as it
happened in Iran in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in 1978 - and
turn the country into a killing field.
Iraqis will flee in their thousands causing refugee problems in the
neighbouring countries and already Jordan has taken preventive measures.
the US will solely depend on its airpower to minimise its casualties
and to make the campaign effective. Already there were reports of the US
planning to drop 3000 tons of bombs a day continuously for seven days in a
three pronged attack on Baghdad in particular, and Iraq in general. Thus, it
will be fierce, massive and indiscriminate bombing killing hundreds of
thousands of innocent civilians. But the casualty figures will never be
known, as in Afghanistan in 2001 and during the Gulf
War 12 years ago, though many Western sources expected it to be
between 500,000 to a million.
not known to what extent the government to be installed by the US in
Baghdad, in the aftermath of the war, will be able to wield power over the
south dominated by Shiites and the north by Kurds. In fact Iraq was
virtually divided into three - Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the centre and
the Shiites in the south - ever since
no fly zones were introduced
in the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991.Since then Kurds were
enjoying a relative period of calm,
prosperity and some kind of autonomy and they are scared that a
regime change would turn this into a short lived dream.
the event of
and Shiites enjoying little more freedom, the Kurds in Syria, Iran
and Turkey may be tempted, or encouraged, to ask more autonomy from their
own countries, triggering
off bloody conflicts. Already Kurds in the north of Iraq have warned Turkey
of a bloody conflict in the event of Turkey despatching troops to their
territory. Shiites in the south always had their hearts closer to Tehran,
which is bound to
forge closer links paving the way for new developments and challenges
in the Gulf. Rebel troops trained and armed by Iran are simply awaiting for
a US military strike to enter Kurdish areas in the north and the Shiite
areas of south of Iraq.
regime change in Baghdad will also place both Syria and Iran in very
Iran will be sandwiched between US installed governments in Kabul and
Baghdad while Syria too, known for its radical views which were not so
friendly to US and Israel, will be squeezed by a 'pro US Baghdad' and
is already having
problems with its Afghan border
and Iran's Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani recently accused the US of
inciting Afghan bandits to create trouble along Iran's eastern fronts. A
weakened Syria can also be blackmailed to tighten the Shiites fighters in
South Lebanon to the benefit of Israel. And, if provoked, cornered Iran and
Syria, with their proven capacities to unleash violence and wreak havoc, may
resort to such activities with unpredictable consequences.
importance of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many other countries in the region
will be minimised changing the political map of the Middle East
overnight with Israel emerging as the strongest power to further
destabilise the entire region for years to come.
all in its current
military designs for the region, the US hardly cares or respects the
Arab opinion as they realised that contrary to all predictions, the Arab
streets, kept under tight control by Arab dictators, did not explode as
predicted following the outbreak of the second intifada triggered by Ariel
Sharon's visit to Masjid Al Aqsa premises, accompanied by more than 2000
policemen supplied by then Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
all these developments are bound to have very serious repercussions on the
geopolitical situation of the entire region including the Gulf. Battered,
traumatised and starved Palestinians will be the biggest losers as Israel
will intensify its oppression, increase new settlements for Jews and force
Palestinians to flee. Already
more than 80,000 left West Bank and Gaza during the first half of
breeding grounds for future conflicts and violence! This frightening
scenario was already highlighted by the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohammed during the recent meeting of Non Aligned countries in Kuala Lumpur.
the regime change in Baghdad will have its own, open and secret, economic
dimensions as Iraq, the second largest oil producer in the world, will be
change its oil policies to suit US, and
of course Israeli designs and interests as against the GCC economies.
Hussein did not become a dictator yesterday. He had been an oppressive and
ruthless dictator for almost a quarter century. Yet when it suited, the US
backed him and turned a blind eye to all his crimes even against his own
many ways Saddam Hussein had been a great blessing to the West and the US,
as all what he did went in their favour and helped destabilise the region,
causing untold misery to his people. in this regard it is worthy to note
that a 45-minute BBC documentary on Saddam Hussein in October 2000, spoke in
detail about the role played by the CIA to bring Saddam Hussein to power.
example by unilaterally tearing off the 1976
Algiers Agreement between Iran and Iraq
to share the Shatt al Arab waterway and declaring war on Iran in 1980
the West to arrest the rising tide of
what was described as an Islamic revolution in Iran. The eight year
war ended after killing more than a million people besides billions of
dollars of damage to the economies of the two leading oil producing
countries, often described as the richest war in history as only the enemies
of the Arabs and the arms industries in the West benefited. It also made the
eastern front safe for Israel and encouraged it to invade Lebanon in 1982.
the aftermath of the war in 1988 when the Iraqis began to recover from their
long suffering, Saddam Hussein once again despatched his troops to Kuwait
and destabilised the entire Middle East, paving the way for the US to get a
foothold in the region. Many still believe that he did so encouraged by the
conversation he had in Baghdad a week before with the US Ambassador April
again who benefited? The US, Europe and Israel.
the US which managed to subdue the countries in the region under the
guise of fighting terrorism, is trying to exploit the opportunity to change
regime in Iraq and redraw the political map to suit its and Israel's
interests. Already President George Bush warned that
"action will be unavoidable" if UN fails to disarm Iraq.
But so far UN weapons inspectors have failed to produce any tangible
evidence to show that Iraq is still hiding weapons of mass destruction.
President George Bush
and his team in
Washington were hell bent on unleashing a destructive war on Iraq under the
guise of regime change to implement their designs on the Middle East as a
prelude to carry out their designs on the region.
supporting this view the British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that
"Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should leave the scene paving the way
for a new government in Iraq."
But so far the world was not convinced, as there was no proof to
substantiate this claim.
the US against military strikes, former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter said
"Iraq is not a threat to its neighbours, as it is not acting in a
manner which threatens anyone outside its borders. This was confirmed by the
UN inspectors who, during seven years of their intensive inspections, found
no evidence to show that Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction.
Reiterating this view David Albright, former consultant to UN nuclear
weapons inspectors said the "evidence now discussed is ambiguous at
best and it is not strong enough to make a case for pre-emptive military
the US makes its final preparations for the war on Iraq, the former US
Marine General, Anthony Zinni, former National Security advisor General
Brent Scowcroft and Commander of Operations during the 1991 Gulf War,
General Norman Schwarzkopf have expressed their opposition to a military
one in the world, least of all the Arabs including Iraqis, is
going to shed tears at Saddam Hussein's demise.
But all in the region are questioning the motive behind the military
strike while allowing the equally worse tyrant in Israel, Ariel Sharon, to
carry out his daily crimes on the Palestinians.
who cares? Backed by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and others together
with powerful lobbies such as Jewish and Christian pressure groups that
control US politics, President Bush has gone a long way in his campaign for
military strikes to back down without losing face. On top of all, the much
anticipated military campaign also helps divert attention from the declining
question is where will these destructive manoeuvrings end?
Who is next on the list? And what next after Saddam? Aren't they
creating fertile breeding grounds for future conflicts?
life should be so cheap
radio presenter reads on. A never-ending list of names, ages and
identifiable physical characteristics of all the missing persons for
that particular day. Around four to five girls between the ages of 18
and 20 are amongst the list. They are from all over the place. Some from the
south, others from the north and certain others from the hill country. The
list also includes a few youth in their early teens plus two women in their
mid 40's whose husbands have reported them missing. As you go on listening
you can't help but wonder where on earth they could be? What on earth could
they be doing? Have they gone missing because someone's taken them away
forcibly or have they left their loved ones on their ownfree will? And at
the same time who is bothered - apart from close family of course ?
Police Public Relations and Media Unit does help to break the silence to
some extent for the families of missing persons. Publicity given through
'police news' on radio is one such measure. It is broadcast with the hope of
tracing the whereabouts of the missing people. But how effective can this
publicity campaign be? If the amount of public response to police news is a
yardstick then the whole exercise is carried out in vain. "Apart from
the inquiries made by the near and dear of the missing there is not much of
a response," said a police officer at the police PR unit. "People
caught up in their daily struggle to survive don't really pay attention to
this sort of thing. You might hear the news on radio somewhere and that is
about it. People these days tend to prioritise their own personal needs over
helping somebody in distress," added the police officer.
to police sources, currently news on missing people is only broadcast over
government radio. "Earlier there were a number of private radio
stations which came forward offering air time free of charge. They no longer
do it. May be the stations are pressed for air time and they can no longer
allocate time for police news," said a police officer.
police, the definition of a missing person is anyone who's whereabouts are
unknown and where there are fears for the safety or concerns for the welfare
of that person.
the local police station informs us we forward it to the radio
station," said the police officer.
most developed countries the issue of missing persons is given a far greater
share of prominense. For example the police in those countries would have a
separate 'missing persons' unit and in certain countries there are 'national
missing persons' weeks' declared.
just the authorities and welfare organisations but the public awareness and
assistance in this regard also seem to be on a much higher level. Prominence
is given as it is considered a community issue.
in the Sri Lankan context the issue of missing persons is given rather
lukewarm treatment. According to police sources public awareness of
the issue lies at a very low point. "Let alone the general
public's response, even the families who inform us of the missing fail to
inform us if they happen to turn up at any point after the
notification," said a police officer. As a result the statistics on
missing persons show a regular rise. It seems that the information more or
less goes into a black hole. Statistical evidence on the missing people for
the last few years proves this. For the year 2000 the number of women
reported missing had been 609 with a total of 980 men reported missing. The
next year's figures show an increase with 715 women and 1048 men reported
missing. The numbers for last year - again on the increase - are 981 females
and 1155 males. However families who have been grateful enough to inform the
police if and when they happen to find their lost loved ones stands at a
mere 14 out of the total 2146 people who had gone missing last year.
for this year there has been a total of 170 people reported to police as
missing during January and 194 for last month.
issues of poverty and lack of resources is the main reason for our country
to have such a low quality support network for missing people and their
families. People simply are not interested in responding to such requests,
" said most of the police officers The Sunday Leader interviewed.
times that we live in are such that life has become cheap while bread and
wine are dear. "The blame cannot be totally placed on the public,"
said one police officer. "People would want to get to work on time or
take their child to the doctor on time rather than stop and match the
description of a missing person to people on the streets."
to police sources reasons for most young people to go missing is attributed
to various situations ranging from family stress - rebelling against
parental authority, escaping adverse circumstances, or eloping that results
from love affairs. "Then there are the older people who might be
suffering from mental illnesses and would wander off and get lost,"
said the police. There are many others who go missing in response to
personal tragedy or when they are faced with insurmountable problems. Some
are reunited with their families and there are other cases that sometimes
end in tragedy. "There are times where we are asked to match the
descriptions of the missing to the unidentified dead bodies
which turn up on
an average of around four to five per day," said a police
of time change the face of Weli Oya
people appreciate the ben-efits the ceasefire has wrought than those living
in Weli Oya. These are people for whom bunkers were an absolute necessity -
people who listened to the sound of gunfire on a daily basis until it became
these people, who expected attacks constantly and lived in fear and
uncertainty, everything depends on the ceasefire and its continuity. This is
their fervent hope: that the ceasefire holds and there will be no war again.
long years of war have left their mark. In most places only the skeletons of
houses remain. Barbed wire is everywhere. Police and army personnel and
check-points are all over the place but the environment is no longer
is prevalent though the fear and doubt that this peace may not last can be
seen in the faces of the people. "Do people in Colombo even know what
it is like here?" some of them question. But there is no anger, only
hope that things will only get better from now on.
now, they say that their living conditions have improved remarkably. No
longer do they have to constantly run for cover; no longer do their children
go to school unsure of whether they will be sent back halfway through; no
longer do they fear stepping out of their houses once darkness falls.
is one bunker for every three houses they say. "Even the smallest child
knows where the bunker is and how to get there fast. They learn that from
the day they are born."
is good. We are very happy about the ceasefire. We can stay in our houses
and we can go on the roads without fear," is what most of them said.
peace is just one aspect. The people of Weli Oya are still undergoing a lot
of hardship. Water, medicine, transport, education, housing, electricity.
the list goes on and on of what these people need.
the ceasefire, we lived in the jungle most of the time and we suffered a lot
because of the war. Our houses were ruined and nothing is left. We have got
no compensation at all though successive governments have promised to do
something for us. All the governments are the same. They say they will give
us water but it never happens. There is electricity only in a few
is a hospital but very few nurses and doctors, the people complain.
"There are enough wards but no one to see to the patients. It even has
a mortuary but no ice," said one woman. "Even if a child is born,
we have to go to Anuradhapura to get a birth certificate."
Piyasena, a home guard who has been living in Weli Oya for the last 18
years, is grateful that at least now they can go out on the roads after dark
without fearing for their lives.
lot has changed with the ceasefire. Now the main problems we have are the
lack of water, transport facilities, medicine and education. When there are
no rains we really suffer. There is no transport available. There is no way
to study beyond O/Ls or A/Ls."
to Piyasena, the schools have about 400 students with only around 12
teachers. "We don't have enough teachers."
for medicine, he says that in case of an emergency there is no way to go to
a doctor except by bike - if there is one that is. According to him,
sometimes it takes over two and a half hours to get treatment even in an
lack of water is a big problem the people of Weli Oya face. "There is
no water here by August each year and then we have only the tube wells. That
water is not good to drink. There is no Mahaweli water coming here
either," they lamented.
Ariyadasa and D.W. Wijekoon came to live in Weli Oya in 1984. They say that
in Weli Oya, marriage when one is quite young is common because parents
cannot afford to spend even on their children.
people in Weli Oya work as farmers or labourers. A few are fishermen or home
guards. "Our children like to study but there are no jobs. There is no
place for a person with education here," they say. According to them,
the majority of the people in Weli Oya have studied only for a few years or
upto their O/Ls with only a minority doing their A/Ls.
only during the last one year that the children of Weli Oya were able to go
to school regularly and study without the sound of guns. "During the
war the children used to be sent home all the time."
when there is enough water, there is enough to eat as well. "Everything
grows here except leeks," they say. One only has to look around to see
vegetables and paddy fields everywhere, lush and growing despite the effects
of endless years of war.
these people, the ones who have really known the destructiveness and terror
of war on a day-to-day basis, their one hope is that things stay this way
and that they will be able to build their homes and lives up again through
the charred remains and shattered dreams.
this place where one wakes up to the sound of peacocks calling, this place
where everything grows although the sun glares down unmercifully and the
wind is filled with dust, the ceasefire and the silence of the guns is all
is this pain in our stomachs?
5 is a day they ought to have celebrated - their second birthday. But there
was nothing to celebrate, because it is the same day on which their mother,
30 year old Shanthi Perera, died at the De Soysa Maternity Hospital due to
alleged medical negligence in 2001.
these two year old twins, Malith and Malithi had to live. And for two years
they have struggled to eke out a bare existence. From help received after
articles in this newspaper, they managed to survive when they got milk food
for the first year of their lives after Asoka Bandara from Nestle's respond
on behalf of the establishment. The twins also received baby clothes and
cereal. The children of Minhal International School in Wellawatte also
brought them some essentials and milk food when they were babies.
the first year, it was their father Lalith Perera, who had to work as a
labourer everyday to feed his offspring and the two grandmothers. Sixty five
year old Leelawathie is Shanthi's mother, weak and frail, the woman who has
been trying her best to give a better life to her daughter's babies. Seventy
year old Charlotte, mother of Lalith Perera, also joined the family to help
bring up these children.
March 2003 and the twins did not even know that they had passed a
birthday which made them two years. "These children are
starving," Charlotte tells me. "My son is in remand custody after
he got involved in a squabble involving his sister and now there is no way
we can feed these little children," she cries.
is crying. She is old and she is poor. She cannot bear to look at her
daughter's children. "What is this pain in our stomach" they often
ask her. At first Leelawathie had been worried, but they complained of 'that
pain in their stomachs,' only at meal time.
is no food and no kerosene. The house is full of gloom. There is no laughter
from the children, only cries punctuated with sobs. Their older brother,
Ashan, just seven years old sits on the ground helplessly. He loves the
little twins, they bring him happiness and consolation, but he had to give
his mother up to get these two. Ashan views them with mixed feelings.
world outside is full of good things. There are toys for these children,
dolls, jeeps, tea-sets, mini cars, all ideally made for toddlers like Malith
and Malithi. Seven year old Ashan wants a telephone to play with. Not only
are there toys, there are clothes too, tailor made for this little trio, but
nothing filters down here, for they are so poor. They have nothing to eat
and nothing to drink, so hunger-stricken are they all the time that they
have no thoughts for other things.
sad, so sad that the world is full of so many things made just for children
in these ages.
ironic, these little children need to be looked after and the two
grandmothers need to be looked after too. They are in the evening of their
lives, a time when they ought to be sitting down and enjoying a cup of tea.
But seldom do they even have a cup of tea to keep their hunger away. Their
bodies are old, tired and weak and hunger in the children mean that there is
a greater hunger in these two women. "We barely eat and if we do get
anything to eat, we give it to these little children," point out
Charlotte and Leelawathie.
space they call their kitchen is shockingly bare. There is not a little bit
of flour or sugar in the house, let alone a biscuit.
house is at No. L25 Navagampura in Orugodawatte. It is past the Orugodawatte
junction when one approaches from Borella and
at the turn off is a building, possibly a garment factory. On the way
to the house is a temple. This is our third visit to the house in two years.
For most of us, time heals, but
each year there seems to be more poverty and more heartache and tears
here. Very soon it will be time for these motherless twins to go to
pre-school, but it is very unlikely that these children will ever be able to
go to school
without some help from those who can help.
on the wall
only happiness in their lives is the warmth they receive from their
grandmothers and their older brother. What a happy family they would make,
if only they had food to eat and some bare essentials of life.
their bare walls hangs a picture of Shanthi Perera, who had great plans for
the babies and who died allegedly at the hands of inexperience.
the mention of the word 'mother,' the
toddlers get up with difficulty from the floor and run unsteadily
towards the picture on the wall. "Amma, Amma," they cry. But
nothing happens. They touch the wall with their little fingers and their
tears take time to stain their cheeks as they look up. They begin to cry
softly for their mother, but there is no response from the cold wall.
Perera who watched his wife wake up at 5 a.m to go to maternity clinic at
the De Soysa Maternity Hospital was told that she had died after these
babies were delivered via caesarean section. It is alleged that Shanthi
Perera did not receive the basic 48 hour aftercare that such patients are
kind of a society do we live in? How can we bring so much misery and
suffering into the lives of poor helpless people like these and then relax
as if nothing has happened.
is the future of these twins? Can society take their mother away at birth
and then ignore them? Is there some authority, somebody who will make life
bring happiness for these motherless twins, whose father too is today behind
bars. "I am not a strong man, but the thought of my children,
especially the twins keeps me going. I will do everything I can to bring up
these babies," Lalith Perera once told me. That was all he could tell
me because he was shaking with uncontrollable sobs.
babies do not understand why they do not have a mother. They do not
understand why their father is missing for the past two months. From time to
time they hold their stomachs - they do not understand the pain inside, they
only wish it would go away.
disease in post - menopausal women
are several studies which suggest that Hormone (oestrogen + progestogen)
Replacement Therapy (HRT) could prevent Coronary Heart Disease (C.H.D.) in
post-menopausal women. But according to randomised trials (HERS study and
WHI study) HRT does not lower the risk of C.H.D. (heart attacks) in women
who used HRT (i.e.
oestrogen and progestogen).
(Heart and Oestrogen, Progestogen Replacement Study) investigated the risk
of cardiac events (e.g. cardiac death and new heart attacks) among 2763
post-menopausal women with documented C.H.D and showed that the risk of
heart attacks increased by 29% after administration of HRT.(JAME,1988,28,60513).
When HRT (combination of oestrogen and progestogen) was given it had been
shown that progestogen has been shown to adversely affect serum lipid
profile (i.e. caused elevation of bad cholesterol).
WMI Study (Women's Health Initiation Study) HRT was used in 16608 healthy
post menopausal women who were taking HRT. This study showed a significant
of invasive breast cancer. Thus, in both above studies the cardiac events
(heart attacks and cardiac death) increased when a combination of oesteogen
and progestogen (HRT) was used.
Nicole Cherry of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada carried out a
study using only oestrogen to find out whether oestrogen alone is helpful in
the prevention of heart attacks in case of post-menopausal women. The above
trial was carried blinded, placebo controlled and randomised using only
oestrogen (without progestogen) and 1017 post-menopausal women aged 50-69
years who have survived a first myocardial infarction ( heart attack) were
used. Patients were recruited from 35 hospitals in England and Wales. As
mentioned earlier the purpose of the trial was to find whether oestrogen
therapy helps these females to prevent (a) a second heart attack (b) cardiac
deaths and (c) all- cause mortality.
was found that oestrodiol valerate does not reduce the overall risk of
further cardiac events such as re-infarction and cardiac deaths (secondary
prevention) in post-menopausal women who have just survived a heart attack.
D. P. Atukorale
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