Politics in Sri Lanka
is corrupt, unscrupulous, dirty, ugly, and
seems tailor-made for a handful of those in
power who are motivated solely by hunger for
position, power and material gain. This
handful has held the entire nation to
ransom, squandered its resources and has led
it to the position of a failed state.
Overcoming or getting rid of the opposition
by whatever means in order to cling to
power, appears to be the modus operandi of
the regime in power. Abductions and killings
go on unabated, and the failure of the
police to solve any of these crimes, raises
suspicion that there is obstruction and
subversion from the top.
The most glaring examples are the massacre
of the 17 aid workers, and the killings of
MPs Raviraj and Maheswaran. The latter
instances appear to be politically
motivated. Although there is no obvious link
with the case of the aid workers, they all
fall into the category of grave human rights
violations. It is fairly obvious that all
this stems from the political situation
prevailing in Sri Lanka.
The trend in politics has taken a dangerous
turn. The rights of the people are ignored,
media freedom is suppressed, media-personnel
are harassed or killed, protest rallies are
broken up with the use of undue force, and
even if the suppression of the democratic
right of voicing one's opinion is ignored,
the ominous sign that democracy is at the
cross-roads in Sri Lanka, is obvious to all.
The political atmosphere is very unhealthy
for those who are critical of the regime in
power and is it any surprise that Sripathi
Sooriyaarachchi's widow has called for an
independent investigation into the death of
her husband, although on the surface it
appears to be an accident? Will Mano
Ganesan's call for an international probe be
heeded or bear any results? Recent records
make us skeptical!
A Concerned Citizen
Religious and civil society leaders'
Politicians have been labouring and
labouring like mountains to find a political
solution, but have been unable to bring
forth even the proverbial mouse in the form
of the APRC Report. The military solution
pursued so far has brought forth so many
widows, so many orphans, so many refugees,
so much weeping, wailing, gnashing and
untold agony and misery. And this is only
The country is being ruined not only by war,
but also by vandalism arising from
indiscipline, bribery and corruption. In
the past, the issue was that politicians did
not divide on political lines but only on
racial, religious, and linguistic issues.
The present regime has added one more
dimension to these - there are no scruples
in politicians and they can be easily bought
over at a price.
It is unfortunate that the laws relating to
bribery and corruption do not cover this
area. In this situation the move by
religious leaders and civil society is most
welcome. But it has to be said, they have a
Herculean task before them. Will they be
able to bridle the galloping horse singing
the war song and going berserk on a mission
of vengeance and destruction?
I recollect, in 1993 Bishop Kenneth
Fernando's visit to the north on a peace
mission resulted in so much mudslinging,
sneering and ridiculing in the south. Those
of us who have been born in that beautiful
country, Ceylon - "Where every prospect
pleases, and only man is vile"- have no
choice but to watch in silent agony the vile
man who has gone wild.
All good wishes to civil society to bring
about a civilised society!
Lanka's elephants will soon become extinct
What is happening to the elephants in Sri
Lanka? Every few days the news broadcasts
give the death toll of elephants killed. TV
news on February 11 reported the death of
six elephants. A few days ago three baby
elephants were shown on TV, all quite dead.
It was heart breaking.
The cause of all this is the unplanned move
of bringing in new settlers into areas that
are strictly elephant territory. Needless to
say this causes a human/elephant conflict
and the casualties are the elephants.
Now settlers have been moved into an area
that was to be used as an elephant corridor.
Where are these elephants expected to go?
Part of the
is to be used for the construction of a
reservoir. Land is cleared causing untold
hardship to the denizens of the wild, both
big and small.
Who permitted the Maduru Oya/Wasgamuwa
elephant corridor land to be cleared to set
up a private poultry farm? Please do
something about this even now.
And what purpose do reservoirs serve? The
Mahaweli was diverted at tremendous cost -
monetary, environmental destruction etc. It
was supposed to make us self-sufficient in
rice. And what are we doing today -
importing rice from neighbouring countries.
When will we ever learn?
Possibly when the last forest tree has been
chopped and the last elephant is killed.
O.C. de Silva
Let ministers take over postman's job
The postman has become redundant with the
country's President and ministers taking
over the delivery of letters.
The so called representatives of the people
are only serving themselves trying to gain
cheap credit by personally delivering
thousands of appointment letters to an
already overstaffed government service, a
ridiculous situation not seen anywhere in
the civilised world!
According to the Tissa Devendra Commission
Report the government service is overstaffed
by as much as 30% and still we see these
grinning 'benefactors' on TV bestowing what
they want us, the voters, to believe is
their 'personal largesse.'
The solution to the problem appears to be to
give our politicians the job they like best
- delivering letters! Let's reverse the
roles and appoint the postmen to fill the
vacancies created by the President and
ministers taking over the role of postmen.
There are enough ministries to accommodate
the postmen and they will surely do a better
job than the present sycophants! But we will
have to wait and see whether the people's
representatives will do even the postman's
The President boasts that we have the
largest proportion of government servants in
the world! The whole world laughs at this
admission of inefficiency and folly! Who
pays for all these desperate survival
tactics - these redundant jobs, redundant
ministries, redundant tamashas? The entire
cost filters down to the poorest of the poor
- the victims of deception and manipulation.
Money is printed to fund the cost of the 90%
redundant ministries and 30% redundant
government service that gobble up a large
slice of the revenue, and these valueless
pieces of paper only cause galloping
Will our politicians even at this late stage
stop this nonsense and deception and try to
do something for the progress of the country
and the people?
It was wonderful
It was wonderful to read the column by
Sonali Samarasinghe titled "Be the change
you want to see" in The Sunday Leader of
I think there are at least a million people
who would agree with her point of view.
Can you please translate this into Sinhala
and give it to a Sinhala paper so that the
Sinhala reading public and the President
himself might know what the need of the hour
Noise pollution: What? Where?
The latest news is that noise could lead to
hypertension according to a report published
after a four year survey conducted near
major airports such as Heathrow,
Athens and Amsterdam. They had also found a
key factor - that the result would have been
the same, independent of the sound source,
even if they do not wake up during noise
We in Sri Lanka have lately addressed the
issue of noise pollution generated by
loudspeakers, but have totally ignored the
noise pollution created by various vehicles,
notoriously so by the bus drivers with their
continually sounding air hones. There are
drivers of other vehicles too who seem to
enjoy this intimidation with their noisy
horns and there seems to be no one to come
to the rescue of the general public who are
being affected by all this.
Noise pollution is independent of its
source. We should have legal protection so
that the miscreants are brought to book and
suitably punished without any favouritism.
This is the sort of preventive action that
is necessary so that our ailing nation could
reduce the burden on health care.
Naturally this is only a minute example but
there are many areas where we have failed to
take preventive action by addressing the
root cause of many of our ailments and
failings. We seem to be satisfied by taking
the minimum corrective action maybe due to
the people's ignorance, but the same things
appear to happen without any regard for the
law or the comfort of fellow citizens.
A good example is the long drawn out ethnic
war of over 24 years. Politicians are now
saying that they need to identify and
address the grievances of the Tamils.
Instead of wasting time by saying so, why
don't they just do it, and surely, it is not
necessary to change the constitution for
When will the powers that be, learn how to
tackle our problems?
Military Spokesman on "Abductions and
killings in the northeast"
1. Your kind attention is drawn to the
box-story captioned "Abductions and killings
in the northeast - June '07 to February '08"
in your 24 February 2008 issue, in which "An
Army Field Bike Squad" has been blamed for
the murder of Ms Dushyanthan Baleshwari (21)
of Manthuvil, Jaffna near Cholalamman temple
on 31 January 2008.
2. Facts and Chavakachcheri Police
investigations revealed that the victim, who
has married thrice to LTTE cadres earlier,
had been carrying on with another nefarious
affair with another LTTE cadre called "Vellayan"
who has been reportedly hiding in the Jaffna
peninsula. Owing to a personal dispute, this
relationship too broke off and tension has
prevailed between the victim and Vellayan.
Reports also confirmed that her last husband
was in Wanni working for the LTTE.
3. Vellayan, as a result of the persistent
personal dispute, according to the
investigations, has murdered the woman lest
all information and secrets related to his
role in the LTTE be exposed because of her
malice towards him. It was also reported
that the woman became pregnant due to this
4. The criminal behaviour has also resulted
in the death of Balasundaram Pathipan (19)
who was at the scene at the time of LTTE
cadre's reaction to the situation.
5. The said inaccurate statement in the
report is therefore completely false and
prepared in order to tarnish the image of
the security forces serving the area.
6. While the army categorically denying any
involvement in the incident, challenges any
party to prove by any means of evidence the
involvement of the security forces in this
crime. Any interested party could also
obtain all the details related to this
murder from the Chavakachcheri Police
Station, the Security Forces Headquarters,
Jaffna has informed.
V.U.B. Nanayakkara USP
The Sunday Leader states: The story was
based on the University Teachers for Human
Rights (UTHR) Report and it was accordingly
attributed and there had been no prior
denial of that report.
A senior journalist, author of many books
and a renowned film critic, Benedict
Dodampegama passed away on February 19,
2004, at the age of 75, after a brief
illness. Dodampegama, fondly known as
'Ben' in Sri Lanka's journalistic and
literary field, first joined Lake House in
April 1954, after being introduced to the
Observer's then Editor Denzil Peiris by the
film maestro Lester James Peiris. He started
feature-writing to Sri Lanka's renowned
Sinhala journal Silumina and his
contributions helped make Silumina the most
popular Sunday newspaper in the whole
Far East with the highest circulation.
October 8, 1928 at Averiyawatta in Wattala, Benedict Dodampegama had
his education at St. Anthony's College,
Wattala and St. Benedict's College, Kotahena
and later entered
Peradeniya University. When he left the
university, unlike most of his university
contemporaries, fresh faced Ben chose
journalism and films to administrative
service. His enthusiasm for films and drama
made him the most lovable man among his
journalist colleagues not only in Lake House
but also other newspaper groups as well.
Right throughout his life Ben firmly
believed that reading made a complete and
useful man. He encouraged those who were
around him - especially the young budding
journalists - to have a book handy at all
times. He advised them to read more and more
and expand their horizons if they wanted to
be really good journalists. He assuredly
became a beacon to the young band of writers
in our country.
He was a good friend to all associates, a
man with a fine sense of humour plus a
family man and a loving father to his
children. Though he is gone now, the void
created by his departure will never be
filled. However his inspiration will linger
on in the world of Sri Lankan journalism.
Ben will be remembered for all those things
said above, but mostly as an excellent human