your paediatrician know your child’s name?
All parents go through a search to find the perfect paediatrician.
That search is often not as simple as parents would like it to be. The
recommendations of friends are often the basis of first time visits to
Common to most parents is the agony hours spent seated with a sick child
waiting for the good doctor to arrive. Parents often come with the hope
of getting answers to various questions from the doctor. However, no
sooner the doctor arrives often past the time he/she should arrive and
one’s number is eventually called, parents often end up coming out of
the doctor’s room with only a list of medication to buy. The doctor had
no time to answer any of the questions. He had to see the next patient.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
Having visited all the hospitals in Colombo and on recommendations of
friends who channeled some of the best paediatricians in town, a
colleague directed me to a doctor who measures up to all the
expectations that a paediatrician should be.
My children are blessed to have a doctor who remembers each and every
child’s name. No sooner any child walks through the door not only does
the good doctor call him/her by name but also refers to something the
child had done on a previous visit – sometimes even though months had
gone by since the last visit. This is indeed a remarkable service and
often half of the child’s ailments are cured by the friendliness of the
doctor. He has also departed from the files given to parents and instead
keeps a file of each child in his possession and also records every
medicine he prescribes. A simple carbon paper does a tremendous role and
he knows the exact history of the child.
Isn’t this what all parents would aspire for from their own doctors? I
hope that other paediatricians would take a cue from this and also aim
to be like my children’s doctor who belongs to the category of
extraordinary doctors in Sri Lanka.
The UNP malady
From 1994, the United National Party has been suffering from DSS
(Deep Slumber Syndrome) under the stewardship of Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Ranil, it is claimed, is an honest politician with a vision for the
country. But, whether he will ever win an election for the party is the
big question. He does not have the common touch to appeal to the rural
masses and he has an arrogance stemming from an inferiority complex,
which even his close friends will confirm.
Although dress and mannerisms should not really count, it is a sad fact
that in this country, they go to make a “people friendly” politician.
Because of his innate lack of self-confidence, he cannot mix informally
with the common man, unlike Chandrika and Mahinda, who have outwitted
him at every turn. Ranil also tends to hang around with members of his
exclusive club of loyalists like Malik Samarawickrama, Tissa Attanayake,
Milinda Moragoda (now in his bad books!), Weragoda etc., on whom he
depends for advice and support to maintain his position in the party.
This has upset and angered other senior party members. Ranil seems to
enjoy his position as permanent leader of the Opposition, travelling the
globe with not a care in the world, while his motherland is in flames.
Ranil also relies heavily on the party constitution, which the astute
J.R. Jayewardene introduced after his landslide victory in 1977, and
which gives the party leader virtually unlimited powers to run party
affairs. Perhaps it was necessary at the time, but not any longer.
This is why Ranil has been constantly putting off party reforms,
intended to bring in more democracy and power-sharing, within the party
citing conventions and party traditions. He is, in fact, been carrying
on a charade for nearly a year now, quite often running away abroad
whenever, the issue comes up. The constitution has to be changed if the
Party is to progress.
Now some cosmetic reforms have been done, bringing in Rukman Senanayake
as the Chairman (non-executive) and a Ranil loyalist, Tissa Attanayake
as the General Secretary. They were not chosen by popular vote but
appointed by Ranil “according to convention” in his words.
A vicious campaign is now being carried on in the pro-Ranil media
against those clamouring for reforms like Karu Jayasuriya, Rajitha
Senaratne, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Bandula Gunawardane, Hemakumara
Nanayakkara and some others.
The SLFP-UNP talks have come as godsend to Ranil giving him an excuse to
put off reforms. The SLFP would like nothing better than to keep Ranil
as UNP leader, as this virtually guarantees them victory at elections.
I am a senior citizen and have observed with dismay the tragedy that has
befallen this country ever since independence at which point we were the
richest country in S.E. Asia. Now we are a “failed state.”
These are hard facts the UNP has to accept if it is ever going to win an
election again. Any sane person with a modicum of intelligence will
accept that the UNP is the only party that could lead the country out of
the mess that it is in.
I was shocked to see that Ranil has surreptitiously introduced the names
of Malik Samarawickrema (hasn’t he retired as party chairman?) and
Milinda Moragoda into the seven-member UNP team to negotiate with the
SLFP. It was Malik Samarawickrema who signed the MOU with the SLFP!
Milinda Moragoda is a shrewd and ambitious politician who works behind
the scenes currying favour with both sides. It was he who together with
Maharoof, sneaked in the senile and overrated Sirisena Cooray as the
party’s mayoral candidate in the CMC elections, which eventually ended
in a fiasco. But then Ranil keeps protecting them.
This is a wake-up call to the UNP - REFORM OR PERISH!
A Senior Citizen
MP’s murder: Fingerprints look like Tiger paws
The pro-LTTE lobby as usual is gearing itself to pin the blame on the
Government for Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian, Nadaraja
Raviraj’s, assassination. True to form they will condemn the killing and
accuse the Army or the paramilitaries of the crime.
Assuming (for argument’s sake) that some people in Sri Lanka’s ruling
circles wanted to kill Raviraj, would they be so stupid to commit the
crime on a main public highway in the heart of Colombo in day light on a
busy working day and make it so obvious to the whole world that they did
it? Those who peddle this theory should realise that no one with common
sense will `buy’ such nonsense.
Tiger sympathisers are, however, asking the question why the Wanni
Tigers should kill a supporter of theirs. Perhaps the answer could be
the following comments that the slain MP reportedly made on Tamil
children in the North a few days before his untimely death.
“Children are the worst affected. Apart from the shortage of food, they
are unable to even go to school, because in a desperate search for food,
parents send their children to stand in long queues to try and get even
a loaf of bread for their survival. This is the sad plight that has
befallen thousands of children living in the country’s north, while
children of bigwigs live a plush comfortable life on foreign soil,
including the children of LTTE leader Prabhakaran.”
Allegations have been made that a rival Tamil militant group called
Seerum Padai had done the killing and threatened other TNA politicians
with death unless they cease to support the Wanni Tigers. Another Tamil
group issued a similar threat against the TNA after the MP Joseph
Pararajasingham’s assassination in December last year. Neither of these
claims has so far been fully substantiated, although we cannot entirely
rule out such a possibility.
The first question we ought to ask ourselves is who really stands to
lose from this assassination? Clearly it is the Government, especially
in view of unproved accusations that vested interests are already making
against it over (1) the many abductions and disappearances in the South
(2) the civilian deaths in Vakarai (3) the killing of NGO aid workers
and (4) other unsolved tragedies and crimes in Tamil speaking areas. So
this latest killing of a Tamil politician would automatically amount to
a case of the government falling from the frying pan to the fire.
The second question is who stands to gain much from this assassination?
Obviously it is the LTTE because their sympathizers can always cite this
killing as ``strong proof’’ that no peace is possible with a government
that does not tolerate democratically elected Tamil politicians who
share the Tiger’s solution to the current conflict. Through this murder
the LTTE can also rouse public resentment in Jaffna against the
government and boost Tamil separatism.
There have also been reports of the late Raviraj building close
connections with the JVP. If that were true it certainly would not have
been to the liking of the `Sun God.’ May be Raviraj forgot to
satisfactorily play the role that the Wanni Tigers gave him.
In light of these developments all indications are that the crime is the
handiwork of the LTTE. Perhaps Prabhakaran wants Raviraj to do for them
in death what he could not achieve in life.
So as one political observer noted, we can be fairly sure as to who is
behind the assassination. The Sri Lankan Police would be searching for
the murderer in vain, just like their search for Kadirgamer’s killer. By
this time, the killer would be in a territory which is beyond the reach
of even the long arm of Sri Lanka’s law.
A case of missed targets
MTV’s prime time news should refrain from repeating word for word the
commentary they receive from TV channels that back the Israelis no
matter what crimes they commit.
To cite a case in point, their foreign news segment on Sunday November
5, 2006 mentioned that an Israeli sniper had killed a little girl while
targeting a ‘Palestinian Gunman’. The spin on this bit of ‘news’
suggests the good Israeli murderer had killed the child only
accidentally. It also implies the ‘Palestinian Gunman’ was using the
poor thing as a human shield.
A sniper is a well-trained murderer. There is no way he could miss a
target as big as a ‘Palestinian Gunman’ and, in the process,
‘accidentally’ kill a little girl who would be much smaller in size than
his original target.
Anyway it is well known that the Israeli’s kill Arab children as a
matter of policy. The well-televised murder of Muhammad al-Dana some
years ago, the savagery of Israel’s bombing on civilian target in the
recent Lebanese conflict and the current assault on civilians in
Occupied Palestine serve as constant reminders of Israel’s ‘kill the
Arabs’ policy enunciated by its founding fathers.
The word ‘gunman’ is associated with underworld killers. And so this
tagging of the Palestinian resistance movement as ‘gunmen’ is intended
to ‘guide’ the ‘news consumer’ to think of the Palestinians as a bunch
of thugs similar to underworld outfits like the mafia and other such
nefarious organisations. This brainwashing technique is called ‘Thought
Control’, and it was formulated by no less a person than Josef Goebells,
Hitler’s propaganda chief. What the Western media deliberately keeps out
is the Geneva Convention which gives the Palestinians the right to fight
Israel which is occupying their’ country the same way the US and Britain
are occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is no reason why prestigious TV channels like MTV should allow
themselves to be used as pawns to further Israel and the West’s
imperialist designs on Palestine and other ‘third world’ countries.
So look out, MTV! Don’t fall victim to the wiles of the West’s corporate
media! After all you too are being watched!
Hameed Abdul Karim
Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine