block traffic on the road and cause inconvenience to
other motorists and road users. After having
prevented other motorists following them turning
left towards Buller’s Road these buses turn right
and proceed towards the parliament. How selfish? Do
Once I got late to be at a deathbed as a result
of the confusion caused by these buses. I have seen
ambulances behind vehicles moving on Elvitigala Road
being blocked at the turn off to Kirimandala Mawatha.
These ambulances carry patients.
All these take place because drivers —
especially private bus drivers — do not keep to
the lanes despite reminders in big letters.
The police must do something about this. They
must insist that vehicles should stick to lanes. Can
something be done, please?
solution — a mirage
Political parties by their narrow policies have
made this island a fools’ paradise, now on the
brink of a failed state. The UNP passed the
Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 depriving 60 lakhs of
Tamil people their fundamental rights. Succeeding
governments dragged their feet in rectifying this
grave injustice and it took 40 years.
The SLFP passed the Sinhala Only Act No. 33 of
1956 denying the Tamil speaking people the right to
their language. In 1957 their Leader S.W.R.D.
Bandaranaike signed a pact with the Tamil leader
S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, referred to as the B-C pact.
UNP Leader J.R.Jayewardene led a protest march to
Kandy in mid 1957. Bhikkus performed satyagraha
at S.W.R.D’s private residence in May 1958. In
1959 S.W.R.D was assassinated, masterminded by two
venerated bhikkus. To rectify the injustice
done to the Tamil-speaking people it took 32 years.
With the passage of the 16th Amendment to the
constitution on December 17, 1988, Tamil language is
enshrined in the constitution, but for the past 19
years governments are dragging their feet in its
Over the years from small bickering, issues have
snowballed into major conflicts and a civil war for
want of trust, understanding and compromise.
Every political party has been primarily
concerned with its own survival, and politicians
with amassing wealth. Politics in this country is
the most prolific business, and the underworld the
politicians’ grand alliance. The likes of Lal
Bahadur Shastri, Gulzarilal Nanda and Kamraj Nadar
of Bharat are hard to find in Sri Lanka.
Day in and day out there is only lip service paid
to a political solution but no action. Red herrings
are brought in to postpone this anxiously awaited
finality. A political solution is only a mirage in
Laughing at people is not very funny, but
laughing at politicians is thought to be legitimate
and funny. The reasoning is simple. They are a bunch
of jokers anyway and should be able to take a joke!
It is said that the British survived the Great War
by laughing at Hitler, especially his silly
mustache. We need to have some humour, political or
otherwise, to tide us over these tragic times, these
murderous times, this winter of our discontent.
Otherwise we will all go mad.
Recently, the President, keeping to his style led
a jumbo delegation of 260 plus hand picked people
including some Buddhist monks to China. It was
supposed to be a love feast: The celebration of a
50-year love affair.
But things did not begin too well. All the
Chinese big shots had made themselves scarce and
sent in only a deputy minister — a podian
— to welcome our Head of State. Sad. So sad. How
can you blame them, really? The Chinese — one and
a half billion of them —had of course heard of
George, Tony, Pervez, Manmohan, Kim Jong and even
Robert of Zimbabwe. But Mahinda? Who, what, where?
Animal, vegetable or mineral? So all the pomp and
circumstance and trumpets and fanfare did not appear
for our man. On the other hand, who would want to
provide gun salutes and honour guards to 260 plus
begging bowls in a jumbo jet?
Our famous state media which officially covered
the visit did not tell us the whole story of what
the jumbo delegation actually did for six long days.
It is all out in the open now. It seems that the
real reason for the visit was a teach-in on human
rights, religious, media and other freedoms on which
the Chinese were experts. Once this main event was
taken care of, they spent most of the remaining part
of the six days admiring the Great Wall from all
The President had secretly wished, we are told,
that some kind souls — Chinese perhaps — would
help him build one like that here in Sri Lanka.
Wouldn’t that be nice to keep some troublesome
groups like the independent media permanently out of
However, there are no reports, official or
otherwise, about what the Buddhist monks of the
delegation said or did during those six days in
With so much time on their hands, someone
suggested that they learn something truly Chinese
while they are there. How about Chinese cooking? No,
no... Colombo is full of too many Chinese cooks...!
How about the ancient art of water torture? The
defence expert of the group cautioned that that art
was old news: that the Sri Lanka Police and the
armed forces were quite familiar with the technology
— actually very familiar.
They had another bright idea thinking of the
population explosion and hunger for land in Sri
Lanka — why not learn the Chinese secret of
expanding the square-footage of the land? It was
very simple, they were told: Just get the army and
walk into a small helpless county like Tibet and
take it over. Just like that! Then you tell the
Tibetans that there never was and never will be a
place called Tibet— only another province of a
They should really be proud about being part of
the great Chinese empire. And another thing —forget
about this Buddhist business. Henceforth you are
communists. Of course they did not mention that the
gentle Buddhist Leader, Dalai Lama, escaped to India
with his life.
The delegation was sad that we had no small,
poor, Tibet near us to do a Tibet like the Chinese.
Actually, the only country near us is a Big Brother
north of us who is staring down at us. And we had
better not talk too loud. Why give ideas to people?
What if the Big Brother gets the idea to do a Tibet
But all jolly parties must come to and end. The
moment they touched down in Sri Lanka, they heard
the bad news that the price of bread (the poor man’s
bread) had gone sky high and that the people were
restless. The world-travellers were furious. One
Minister was particularly angry: "We imported
that guy...what’s his name ...yes, yes ...that
Bandula Gunawardena fellow. He said he was a genius
and would bring down the prices and fix the economy
in a flash... what is he doing?" Another
Minister, a particularly stout one, was heard to
say: "What’s all this fuss about bread... why
can’t they eat chicken buryani like us?"
rights violations in foreign missions
I read with keen interest Upatissa Gamanayake’s
letter which appeared in The Morning Leader
of March 7.
Human rights violations in foreign missions in
Sri Lanka take place in many forms as stated by
Gamanayake in his letter. These missions violate
labour laws of the host country as well as their own
countries. Many missions do not issue appointment
letters to their employees which is a basic right of
Our Foreign Affairs Ministry may say the foreign
missions operating here enjoy diplomatic immunity
and hence such lapses cannot be challenged. If these
missions do not want to follow the laws and
regulations of this country, they could at least
follow the laws in force in their own countries.
The Sri Lanka government and the LTTE are being
portrayed as human rights violators by the
international community. However they all are silent
when it comes to the infringement of human rights of
Sri Lankan employees in foreign missions operating
in Sri Lanka. Is it that they are turning a blind
eye to the situation or are they genuinely not aware
of the human rights violations committed by these
Human right violations are a serious matter and
should be viewed by the human rights watchdogs in
the same light wherever and in whatever form it
I appeal to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry not
to give excuses when its citizens in foreign
missions undergo numerous hardships but explore the
possibility of establishing a complaints unit where
the affected persons could lodge complains against
such violations. These complaints could then be
investigated with a view to obtaining suitable
redress to the affected persons. If violations of
human rights are clearly proved in the course of the
investigations the Sri Lankan Government could take
up the matter with the governments of the countries
represented by these missions and have the offending
head of mission recalled by the government of that
open letter to the Minister of Posts
Several thousands of ‘brothers’ from all over
the world came to Sri Lanka to get the blessings of
our spiritual leader in January. We brought a lot of
foreign exchange to your country.
Bambalapitiya was a good location. But to send
souvenirs to our countries we had to go to Colpetty
as there was no post office in this big town. Even
to buy stamps it was the same. We had to pay taxi
hire to go to Colpetty.
As the new minister in charge of posts and
telecommunications please look into this and remedy
this shortcoming. It is a big mistake on the part of
the former minister and the Postal Department.
Please give priority to this.
Khan Boy, India
Anwar Ali, Pakistan
Abdul Ali, Kuwait
Anwar Khan Dubai
laughing stock of the people
Navin Dissanayake has put his foot in his mouth.
Navin should get on to the streets to find out as to
who has become the laughing stock of the people in
Sri Lanka and the entire world. The people cannot
cry but laugh at the shameless clowns who have
joined the carnival of clowns as quite rightly
claimed by the clown himself who keeps shamelessly
somersaulting. How true is the adage that birds of a
feather flock together.
Had not Ranil signed the CFA, our soldiers would
not have had the much needed five years interval to
train themselves to be the gallant soldiers they are
today. Hurrah to Ranil.
A Street Walker