9th January, 2005  Volume 11, Issue 26

First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    


Chandrika's 10 years of rule - the facts

Recently, the government's mouthpiece, The Daily News, was like a monkey praising its own tail when it came to celebrating 10 years of Chandrika Kumaratunga's achievements in this country. We all know that Lake House editors are adept at separating fact from fiction - and then they go to print the 'fiction.' Now an essay competition for school children is on the cards and the subject, yes you guessed correct - it's about the prowess of Chandrika. Well and good for budding fiction writers but there is another side to this fiasco. We need to face the reality of this celebration by correctly enumerating the real facts behind the woman.

Year 01 - Imagination - Chandrika is a master of this art - imagining that she is born to rule, imagining she has graduated from a world-class institution she never did step into, imagining she has total rule over the proletariat, imagining she is a super-star politician who has the panacea for the ills of this nation, the very ills of which she is the architect.

Year 02 - Domination - With the abundance of an addled brain she needs to downtrend and dominate any person, subject or her own cabinet. Instances: (a) dominating her mother's SLFP heirarchy to deny her brother's shot at it's leadership (b) Going against all odds to bury the SLFP under the PA and now dominating the UPFA with a bunch of rebels grovelling under her spell (c) dominating the judiciary and security heads. In fact, domination is another form of dictatorship.

Year 03 - Desecration - Sad but true - the social, religious and traditional values of this country are in jeopardy. Chandrika has lost her sense of administration. Police officers, vandals, murderers taking the law into their hands, politicians desecrating the sanctum of parliament, Buddhist monks running amok, religious harmony and tolerance being eradicated by the President's insensitivity.

Year 04 - Devastation - Look around the country - the economy, infrastructure, commerce and trading systems, even the very land and lives of the citizens are daily being devastated by Chandrika and her cronies. Utter chaos everywhere!

Year 05 - Depredation - With a bunch of inefficient politicians behind her, Chandrika goes on her bungling way, ostrich-like. Plunder and destruction of our national assets by politicians be they government or opposition is not her concern. Exposes of ill-begotten gains are according to her thinking "media aggression."

Year 06 - Damnation - That's the tone of Chandrika for our nation and it's future. It's her political survival that matters. Law has taken a back seat - she as Commander-in-Chief points fingers of accusation at the very persons she has nominated as 'pagakarayas'. If she really has a heart for the welfare of this nation, she has to shed this mantle of damnation.

Year 07 - Procrastination - The paramount characteristic of Chandrika as President. This anomaly is her trade mark. Matters of state, public affairs, meetings, conferences are usually put off or delayed or excuses made. A classic example is the peace process that is at bursting point. With all the moderators, peace makers, monitors, Chandrika's attitude is yes, no, yes, no, maybe, ad nauseam!

Year 08 - Degeneration - By her actions, the entire process of economic growth has deteriorated. Our society is reduced to "animal" status. She has lost control of the government administration - people know it, but they are just too lazy to be defiant and rise up. Everyone intends to make a 'fast buck' - to hell with the nation. That attitude reflects even on the opposition.

Year 09 - De-Humanisation - It's self-explanatory. Political adversaries, underworld minions, deserters, murderers, thieves, con-men all taking a terrible toll of human life. Does Chandrika care? You be the judge.

Year 10 - Defecation - That's the end result of Chandrika's years in politics. Everyone experiences it, smells it, the media exposes it, the parliamentarians wallow in it. Is there not one honest, fearless, upright person in this land to stand up and say 'enough'? Chandrika it's time for you to take a hike? Will our country ever be rid of the smell of Chandrika's political jugglery? And please - I am not lying!

Brian Jansz

SWRD's federalist stance not applicable now

Suranimala of Devinuwara in his letter in your issue of December 5 refers to a statement which appeared in the Ceylon Morning Leader of 17 July, 1926, where S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike had said that "the federal system of government will be the only solution" for the country. In relying on this statement as to its applicability to the present situation, the writer has apparently ignored the following circumstances.

What Bandaranaike said immediately after returning from England, having completed his education at a university where Ceylon History would certainly not have been a subject taught, can be construed as arising out of political immaturity and ignorance of the ground realities. With the passage of time and after he matured, and having been well informed of the history of the country, he did what he thought was best for the country, by introducing Sinhala as the official language. After all, in India, with a Tamil population of nearly 60 million, the only official language is Hindi and any communication with the centre has to be in Hindi. Based on this fact, Bandaranaike's decision in 1956, can certainly be justified. Of course, it must not be forgotten, Tamil too was given official language status subsequently.

If anybody is in support of federalism, he/she should give his/her own reasons in support thereof, without relying on the dead to support their stance.

G.H. Wijedasa

Laugh awhile

IN lighter vein I wish to state the following incident regarding S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike:

When SWRD who brought about a revolution through his Pancha Maha Balavegaya was asked why he kept more often than not the company of those who belonged to the Salagama caste, his reply was;

Govi hathakam - karala pehenakam;

Kevul hathakam - wela goda enakam;

Dura hathakam - labba pirenakam;

Haali hathakam - pana thiyanakam.

Punchi Singho
Mt. Lavinia

Trust Fund to help poor Buddhists?

Much has been discussed and written about the unethical conversion of Buddhists to other religions.

As a Buddhist I wish to suggest that a Trust Fund be established in Sri Lanka where each Buddhist will contribute a minimum of Rs. 100 to this fund which is to be administered by honest and trusted Buddhists who have a clean track record.

These funds are to be utilised to help poor Buddhists who are likely to be the target for evangelists who are trying to convert them.

R. De. Silva

Look out for vultures while channelling aid

The recent disaster could have been an act of God to unite the communities which were getting communal minded day by day creating hatred against one another.

Today we are happy to see the valuable services rendered by all communities in whatever possible way, assisting the affected no matter whatever community, caste or creed and we wish and pray this unity will prevail in years to come.

We have to be grateful to the countries that have come forward to extend a helping hand at our time of distress and our brothers and sisters in foreign soil putting all their efforts to help their motherland and we must consider ourselves privileged to have a tremendous response.

I earnestly appeal to the government and members of parliament on behalf of the citizens of our country to utilize these funds that are pouring in a proper manner bearing in mind that they have been donated towards the affected and not utilise them for the personal and political gains.

Upto date we saw unity that prevailed over our media and today we observe cheap publicity stunts by members of parliament posing themselves at sites, showing they are concerned and posing for the camera as if the donations were being made out of their pockets not realising that they look jokers, and that the people cannot be fooled always. Where were all these MPs at the time of destruction? And dear members, please don't take advantage  of this situation for your personal gain as some day you too could be a victim of such happenings.

I repeat, channel the funds obtained concentrating on all those who were affected, shedding aside all differences and please do not misuse these funds and make this look like a political business as the contributions received could easily uplift the destroyed, provided they utilise them truly, not trying to make a quick buck or fatten the supporters of each member or electorate.

We hope the NGOs and the relevant diplomatic missions get themselves involved in the development projects as this will eradicate the vultures who are looking forward to gain their objectives over a situation like this.

In conclusion I wish to state a saying of our Prophet 'let not your left hand know what your right hand does.'

Shafi Mohideen
Colombo 4

Should we hand over Sri Lanka to a bunch of frauds?

For over 50 years, under the pretext of democracy, Sri Lanka has been misruled by Sinhala dominated political parties propped up by self-seeking minority groups, to the detriment of the innocent and gullible people of this country.

Politicians and their families (including their brats), and political stooges all supported by their goons (mainly from the state agencies) and underworld thugs, have fattened and enriched themselves at the expense of this nation.

Is this democracy as envisaged by the ancient Greeks where only the citizens (the educated elite?) and not the slaves, had the right to vote? In Sri Lanka the majority of the voters are simple and gullible village folk, without any political wisdom, who only know hunger and poverty, and will blindly accept any vote catching rhetoric like 'rice from the moon,' 'taking from the rich and giving to the poor,' 'Sinhala Only,' 'foremost place for Buddhism' etc.

The latest bit of rhetoric is 'Do not divide Sri Lanka!'. This is mouthed by the UNP, SLFP, JVP, Hela Urumaya, the Sihala Urumaya and the self proclaimed leaders of Sinhala Buddhists - the Maha Nayakes. I too will in my small way agree but would add that the 'Undivided Sri Lanka' should not be handed over to a bunch of frauds who have proved themselves so over the past years.

Therefore, let us hand over Sri Lanka in its entirely to Pirapaharan who might do a better job. There will certainly be no strikes or bribery and corruption.

Colombo 10

Perpetuating power by altering constitution

In 1994 the presidential candidate of the PA gave a written undertaking to the lone member of the JVP that she would do away with the 'bahubootha' constitution of JRJ within one year of assuming office.

Here, it must be pointed out that the mother too, in her greed for power, extended her tern of office by two years without any reference to the electorate.

Likewise, the daughter was celebrating 10 years in office, with tamashas all over the country, having taken the oath under the 'bahubootha' constitution twice, (or is it thrice?) which confers untrammeled power. Having enjoyed the power, now she wants to perpetuate it by altering the constitution.

In the meantime, the JVP with all the rhetoric and threats at street corners, have been given a slice, and are kept busy, oblivious to the earlier promises, which they even do not mention. What hypocrites!

H. Godage

Attacks on places of religious importance

You have, in your issue of November 7, 2004 spotlighted an attack on a church, in a specially written article, along with photographs etc. You are, perhaps, unaware that very recently, a Buddhist monk who was the sole occupant of a temple in Eravur was killed and the land belonging to the temple had been forcibly occupied by non-Buddhists.

In another incident in a place close by, a Buddhist monk in a temple had made arrangements to dig a well for the benefit of the pilgrims visiting the temple and he was prevented from doing so by a section of the non-Buddhists in the area Some papers carried the relevant news reports recently without giving much prominence.

The gravity of the two incidents referred to is hundred times more than the incident reported in your newspaper of November 7. In the circumstances, this writer would very respectfully request you to spotlight these two incidents, in the same manner, so that your newspaper will not be accused of being partisan to a particular religion.

D.H. Gunadasa

Annan Wijesuriya


The Scriptures tell us that "we must be like the stars lighting up a dark sky" and Jesus specifically says we must be the "light of the world and salt of the earth." A true Christian must light up the way for others, not just through dogmatic and doctrinal assertions and a flair for regularity of practice, whether it turns out to be just routine or meaningful, but through the witness of an illumined life which makes God re-born in the society of his time and especially in the sphere of his being and living: family, workplace, dependability among friends and a refusal to be judgmental and a flair for forgiving and forgetting. Many of us, so called religious people in religious garb and formal fa‡ade, just don't measure up to the definition of a true Christian gentleman. That is the tragedy of institutional religion today and little wonder that it is on the decline.

Annan was a regular churchgoer: all the more credit for his being a genuine human being and a Christian witness to his faith. His church going didn't ossify him into routine, meaningless practice. Whenever he chose to be a little critical, it was redeemed by a constructive and positive approach. Generous to a fault, he had the knack of showing interest in anything a friend was involved in. He was an unsensational supporter and nourisher of all my religio-musical projects whether concerts or CDs or any other venture.

Many a time, his contributions were financial as well. He was, until recently, when he turned over the full management of Thompson Associates to his elder son, its managing director and proprietor. It was further proof of his not wanting to cling to authority and power: another Christian attribute: that he was familiar with self-emptying and happy to see others take over and be in control. It must have made his passing easier and less trammeled with mundane concerns.

To the best of my knowledge he was gentle with his employees, without compromising on standards. Although in advertising, a necessarily competitive area, he remained simple, detached and without the urge to turn everything into a profitable or money making venture. Today, indeed, the dividing line between gentlemanly business and unscrupulous manouvering is very thin and many there are who unwittingly cross the almost imperceptible dividing line.

His family shared his convictions, principles and priorities. His wife, Wendy, has refreshingly preserved the better traditions of her Methodist upbringing and infused her practice of Catholicism with an inspiring evangelical dimension. There is a rare genuineness about their way of living and moving and being. If that is the legacy Annan has left to this society, country and church, he isn't 'dead.' He lives in their genuineness and is perhaps their chief inspirer. We who believe in resurrection, because of the unique resurrection of Jesus Christ, are blessed to have known people whose resurrection is already a living, though invisible, force; all the more because Annan seems to have been prepared for the call that came to him, suddenly, for those who were unfamiliar with his final days.

God seemed to have rewarded him for his goodness with a kind of premonition of his passing. He seemed to have seen his master beckoning him to his eternal reward. Death came to him, not as a thief in the night, but as a friend. He embraced it as a way to a better and fuller life. May the light of God's countenance shine upon him and light up our way as well.

Fr. Claver Perera

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