path to destruction
Just for two Israeli soldiers being kidnapped by the Hezbollah on
July 12, the Israelis have retaliated by killing over 1000 Lebanese
civilians, injured another 3000, displaced a million more and bombed and
damaged seaports, airports, power stations, oil storage tanks, bridges,
roads, buildings, and targeted ambulances and vehicles carrying
civilians moving away from the war zone.
Israeli action has been condemned globally. Israel has flagrantly broken
all international laws and conventions governing war fare. Some
countries have demanded that Israel be indicted for war crimes. Never in
history has war been declared for the loss of two soldiers! Israel has
followed their doctrine of disproportionate response to the utmost. In
an utter, state of paranoia, panic and frenzy her aims change daily; to
destroy Hezbollah, to disarm them, to drive them out of South Lebanon.
The more the war continues, the clearer it becomes that these changing
aims are not realistic. The Lebanese ruling group does not represent
anybody but a small and rich corrupt elite. The Lebanese Army cannot and
will not fight Hezbollah. The new security zone will be exposed to
guerilla attacks and the international force will not enter the area
without the agreement of Hezbollah. With the swagger and bluster of Ehul
Olmert and his Israeli government, the Hezbollah cannot be vanquished.
Most important of all the flow of Hezbollah rockets cannot be halted.
There is a visible contrast to how Hezbollah is conducting the war as
opposed to how Israel is doing it. Firstly Hezbollah has remained
steadfast; secondly it has managed to absorb the Israeli strike; thirdly
it is moving to the stage of taking the initiative and fourthly, to
offer some surprises, which it has promised.
In the field Hezbollah is still managing the battle calmly, slowly,
quietly, and without any emotional reaction. There are no unnecessary
threats and no random rhetoric. Hezbollah is following her war strategy
very judiciously. It is not surprising since Hezbollah is imbibed with
goals such as martyrdom, resistance, jihad, wounded, steadfastness,
confrontation, liberation, freedom, glory, dignity, pride and honour.
Hezbollah has about 5,000 regular soldiers, 15,000 reservists and is
based in 75 areas of the whole of Lebanon. Hezbollah holds 14 seats in
the Lebanese parliament and two ministerial portfolios.
Israel despite being better armed with more soldiers is conducting the
war in a very haphazard manner. The priority should have been to
concentrate and target Hezbollah only but in a paranoid and
schizophrenic frame of mind with bellicose rhetoric and threats, Israel
has unwisely attacked civilians and civilian targets in all of Lebanon
earning the outright condemnation of the whole world except the US and
Being unable to stop the rocket barrage from Hezbollah, the Israeli
people are now questioning the wisdom of the Olmert government war
strategy. They are claiming that Ariel Sharon would not have done what
Olmert did. They claim that Olmert, a non- military man was by his
actions trying to achieve military glory. A wise move they say would
have been to negotiate, a prisoner exchange when the two soldiers were
captured on July 12.
Even the latest thrust into southern Lebanon by the Israel army is
fraught with great danger as Hezbollah a classic master guerilla group
is awaiting for such a move by the Israelis to mine the area, ambush the
tanks with explosive fire and laser guided anti-tank missiles to
surround the soldiers and decimate them. If the Hezbollah become
victorious as in May 2000, the myth of invincibility that surrounds the
Israel armed forces would be breached.
The Israel people will start losing confidence in Olmert’s government
and the armed forces, triggering a political crisis in the country. A
war that Israel thought could have been finished in a few days will
continue indefinitely; the US will be compelled to bailout Israel, but
US intervention in Lebanon will meet more fierce resistance from
It is very unlikely that Hezbollah will accept any UN resolution for a
cessation of hostilities without the withdrawal of Israel forces from
Lebanon. It is most likely that Hezbollah will fight on till it evicts
all Israel soldiers from Lebanon like in May 2000. Meanwhile Hezbollah’s
popularity is soaring in the region and Iran its backer will enjoy
immense prestige, influence and respect and be the principal player in
the region, not the US.
Draconian laws at elite social clubs
Two of Colombo’s elite social clubs have introduced laws under the
guise of a minimum charge, ostensibly to increase revenue.
The irony of this draconian law is that it has been passed by a small
number and not the general membership. An attempt made by a member to
put this to a vote at the AGM was brushed aside on the flimsy excuse
that due notice was not given, although seven days clear notice in
writing was given. This law requires a member to spend a minimum of
Rs.1500/- per quarter or pay up.
A classic example of the application of this law is the case of a member
who spend Rs. 51,000/- in the first quarter and was billed for a
shortfall of the minimum charge in the second quarter, as he could not
visit the Club for personal reasons, whereas, any member who spends Rs.
6,000/- per annum at the correct time is exempt. Now where is the
justice fair play and equality of these clubs? Is this not
discriminatory and a subtle form of extortion?
In the past these clubs were run by a host of honourable gentlemen and
ladies who gave numerous concessions and subsidies to the membership,
and would not in their wildest dreams resort to such practices to induce
revenue, or strangle-hold the membership to ransom.
It is up to the membership to abolish this law of a few in the
hierarchy, so that they could with dignity exercise the freedoms and
privileges they hitherto enjoyed, at their will and pleasure.
Physical stature and happiness
If Mother Nature does not provide a man or woman with a specific
height and weight, such a person will have to face untold problems.
The world’s tallest man Leonid Stadnik is 8 feet 4 inches in height and
facing many inconveniences in his life. Born in a small village 1300
miles away from Ukraine, the man mountain at 33 years of age says that
he does not want to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, because he
is still growing.
Doctors believe that the nonstop growth of Leonid Stadnik is due to the
brain surgery he underwent at the age of fourteen; in this surgery the
pituitary gland was made to function faster. However, a man living now
in Tunisia has claimed the Guinness record with a height of 7 feet 9
inches, though Leonid is 7 inches taller. The Guinness book records that
a man named Robert Wadlow from Illinois, America, who died in 1940 was
the world record holder with a height of 8’, 11”.
Leonid Stadnik resides with his mother Helena in a small house and has
to join two beds when he goes to sleep. He has to bend his body sharply
to enter the entrance of his house and when he stands up, his head
touches the ceiling. He says his height is a punishment given by God.
Then there is the problem of transport and dress. Week by week his
clothes become smaller and he is unable to travel out of his village
because there is no vehicle to accommodate this human bulk of
extraordinary height and weight. Recently because of a dreadful pain in
the knee, he fell and fractured one of his legs. Three years ago he
worked in the veterinary surgery division of a dairy farm in this
village. The work involved was out of doors but he had to resign from
the job due to an injury to his foot as he did not have proper footwear.
A businessman who heard about this spent 200 dollars and got him a pair
of shoes stitched. His shoe size was 17 inches.
Thereafter, Leonid looked after his cattle and pigs, and grew flowers
to eke out his livelihood. He says. “I can’t find my life partner. I
like to go round the country and see but it’s only a dream. I’m
imprisoned in my house.”
On the other hand the world’s shortest men are twins, from Florida,
America. They are less than three feet in height but are two successful
businessmen. They told Leonid that they are happy in the world because
one’s physical stature will not influence one’s happiness and advised
Leonid to be happy.
A. F. Dawood
Harassing the tax payer
I am constrained to write this letter but circumstances compel me to
do so. I am a tax-payer whose income is based on my employment. I have
submitted my returns for 2004/2005 before the due date i.e. November 30,
2005, wherein I was entitled to a refund.
I have attached all relevant documents pertaining to my refund. I was
instructed to furnish further documents which I did almost five months
ago. I have being to the department concerned a number of times, to see
about my refund payment but I have still to receive any intimation of
the refund due to me.
I do not wish to go in to details of the happenings of the Department of
Inland Revenue since “Brevity is always appreciated”.
I presume there are many tax payers who are subject to this harassment.
Hope the authorities try to expedite the refunds.
A tax payer
The winds of change
It was reported in The Nation of July 30, 2006, that the JVP leader
Somawansa Amarasinghe had asked whether the President was the same
Mahinda Rajapaksa who carried out the Mahinda Chintanaya campaign to win
So the question itself underlines that the President has changed. If he
has changed, it is so much the better for the country. A person
particularly the head of a country, if he does not change with time and
events, he is dogmatic, rigid and undemocratic. Of course, the change
must be for the better.
The Mahinda Chintanaya is a document of convenience for various forces
to get together on a common platform for the election campaign. It is
another election manifesto just like any other. The defeat of Ranil does
not mean an outright rejection of his election manifesto just as the
victory of Mahinda does not mean it a lasting document with outright
acceptance. The fact is that hardly anybody reads an election manifesto.
Of the people who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa, less than 5% would have
read the Chintanaya. People voted for Mahinda placing trust in the SLFP
in general and in Mahinda himself in particular. People always have
greater faith in man than in any document prepared to serve a particular
purpose because nothing harmful could come from an honest man. The other
parties who supported him had no alternative but to support him or else
they could have contested on their own and lost their deposits or would
have supported the UNP.
The JVP became acceptable to the people as a part of the administration,
only because it allied with Mahinda and therefore, nothing adverse could
come from them.
There is nothing strange in Somawansa seeing a change in Mahinda. Even
Somawansa himself has changed from who he was in the early 1970’s. In
fact the change in Somawansa is drastic. With age and maturity people
One does not change if he is a figure-head or is insensitive to new
developments around him.. Even the Mahinda Chintanaya should not remain
static and it also should change. The Buddha said that all component
things are subject to change and the Mahinda Chintanaya too, is a