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Letters


 

 

 

 

‘White is Right?’

Sushila Gunaratne, writing to The Nation, has said “Mr. Dominic Chillcott is by far the best High Commissioner Britain has sent us in recent years.”
It seems obvious that she is personally acquainted with Mr. Chillcott, but was she equally well acquainted with all the other British High Commissioners we’ve had in recent years? If not, how would she know? She goes on to assure us that “he and his wife are both highly intelligent, humane people who reach out to others.” This puts it beyond doubt that Gunaratne is a close friend of the Chillcotts and therefore her effusiveness about the couple is to be viewed with circumspection.
Chillcott is a diplomat. We know that a diplomat’s duty is to lie abroad for his country. We must presume that Chillcott is doing what he is paid to do. Augustin Marquis de Ximenez (1726-1817) coined the phrase la perfide Albion, perfidious Albion. The fact that this phrase has survived to this day indicates that it has validity. The history of Britain is a history of perfidy.
Gunaratne claims that Britain has the highest standards of justice. She is displaying extreme naïveté. In the early 1950s, a British judge was paid 20,000 sterling pounds (a pound was worth considerably more then than it is today) to convict Jomo Kenyatta and send him to jail. After World War II, British judges hanged William Joyce (Lord Haw-­Haw) for high treason although he was not, and never had been, a British citizen and so owed no allegiance to the Crown.
The one crime a non-citizen cannot be convicted of is treason. But the judges knew what they wanted and went for it, law or no law. Quite recently, a British judge, Lord Hutton, saved Tony Blair by finding him not responsible for the suicide of a senior official, Dr. David Kelly, who was being harassed by spin doctors of Downing Street, without so much as hearing Blair in his defence.
“We are still benefitting from tea planted by the British and the roads they built,” writes Gunaratne. She must try to understand that the tea was planted by the British on land plundered from our peasantry who were left destitute and the roads were built primarily to carry their produce to the port at Colombo. The people of Ceylon were taxed to pay for these roads. The plantations were taken over from their British owners by Mrs. B’s government on payment of compensation, though there are those who argue that the compensation should have been paid by the British!
No doubt, Gunaratne has not heard of what the British government did to the British citizens of Chagos Islands. The Americans coveted the principal island in this archipelago, Diego Garcia to be used as a base for bombers. Ever-willing to please America, the British were faced with a major snag. The islands were fully populated, and by British citizens at that.
However, these citizens who carried British passports were not white; in fact they were descendants of slaves. To please their American masters, the British decided to sacrifice their own citizens. The Chagossians had to be evacuated from the islands. They did this on the sly and illegally. Using violence, and intimidation, they succeeded in ridding the islands of its owners and handed them to the Americans. Having a British passport is of no avail to a British citizen if the British government wants to do America a favour.
The distinguished research scholar, Mark Curtis, in his book Unpeople (i.e. those whose lives are deemed worthless, expendable in the pursuit of power and commercial gain), has calculated that Britain bears significant responsibility for around 10 million deaths of ‘unpeople’ since 1945. Curtis writes that many people were shocked at the extent to which Tony Blair lied over Iraq. He claims that “British ministers lying to the public is systematic and normal, and the culture of lying is deeply imbedded in British policy-making. Humanitarian concerns do not figure at all in the rationale behind British foreign policy.”
Curtis tells us of an unelected cabal of foreign policy advisers at No.10, which has been heading an unprecedented propaganda campaign to deceive the public and has appropriated power of the state to an unprecedented degree, even to the point of capturing its legal functions.
Vijaya Perera
Colombo

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Criminality: Where do we go from here?

The gallows have been declared the ultimate solution for the horrendous problems that beset our small country. In my lifetime Sri Lanka’s human population has increased three-fold, and that of vehicles, perhaps hundred-fold! Large areas of forest have been cut down, but our total land-area continues to remain the same and the sea surrounds us. Where do we go from here?
The problems of criminality at the hands of a trained-to-kill armed force of deserters would leave no place for the simple, law-abiding people of this country with a 2,500-year heritage of Buddhism. We have to find a different and quick solution!
I suggest that we enter into pact with Russia and appeal for a small, isolated area within the icy wastes of Siberia where we could drop off our convicts: and according to their karma, they would live or die. I’m sure Russia would oblige this small island with such a space. We could even pay Russia rent.
I visited the prison in Freemantle, where the British transported their convicts. It fell to their lot to build their own prison, which today is an Australian Heritage Site! Maybe our convicts would build their own igloos. My suggestion is serious – freezing to death is a fearful prospect. Spending a lifetime in a prison in Sri Lanka is not frightening at all.
A 76 year old mother
Mirihana

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Talk without a power of good

Only humility mixes well with power and greatness, not hubris.
It is pity that the above thought had not crossed the mind of India’s National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan before he asserted that India was a big power in the region… that Sri Lanka should not go to Pakistan or China… that Sri Lanka should ask India for its arms supplies… that India would provide Sri Lanka with only defensive weapons… etc., etc.
U. M. G. Goonetilleke
Mattegoda

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CBK’s security from ‘the enemy within’

Ranil Wickremesinghe has made an impassioned appeal to restore Chandrika Kumaratunga’s security knocked down by the court. Is it not obvious that all that talk of “After April, I am Regini!” and “After April, I am President!” of Chandrika and Ranil, and the ‘xposure’ of the government by Sripathi and Mangala, was very well planned and timed with the LTTE? As mentioned by their friends and the media, it was no prediction of fortune tellers. They all hoped that when the LTTE bombs dropped in April/May, there would be pandemonium. The government would fall, Chandrika crowned queen, Ranil installed as president and Sripathi and Mangala powerful ministers in the new government. Unfortunately, it turned out to be another “pus vedilla” of the LTTE and its treacherous accomplices. Mahinda remained firmly in charge.
Newspapers informed us that Chandrika put Prabhakaran’s daughter into a western school and helped the family however she could, with correspondence and cards exchanged between the two families of Chandrika and Prabhakaran. She offered the north and east to her pal for 10-years too, like a ‘mukunuwenna’ patch in her back garden. Why does she need security, unless to save herself from the enraged citizens of this country? No security for such at taxpayers’ expense!
Denzil Pathirana
Colombo 04

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JHU proposals to the APRC and Tamils’ land-lust

The JHU proposals, especially the introduction, has smashed into smithereens all the false, hypocritical meanderings of those obsessed with the idea that the Sinhalese have no right to their motherland, but must chop it into pieces to satisfy the land-lust of the Tamils allowed to reside here.
A glance at the world’s history and the methods used to spread the word, enslaving the mind of man into mindlessness, typifies the present state of our nation – hemmed in by weak-kneed leaders, a parliamentary opposition of mostly Sinhala ‘kotiyas’ led by an ineffectual member whose greatest asset is his membership in most of the Christian societies, national and international NGOs and INGOs. Tamils here and abroad, an international community against terrorism but not against the Jesuit/Sun God super-terrorist Prabhakaran, all with their tongues hanging out, wait for the greatest Tamil coup of all – the creation of a Tamil nation inside our Sinhala nation! The Sinhalese should lose no time to show our Tamils that they already have a nation – that of Tamil Nadu, and here in Sri Lanka, they are just a miniscule minority of 9% only!
We urge the JHU to print their proposals and distribute them island-wide and worldwide to nail the federal lie of the ‘kotiya’ once for all, especially the Sinhala ‘kotiyas’ paid in dollars to keep the treacherous idea going.
S. T. Wuewardena
Colombo 04.

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Use media freedom in a responsible manner

If anyone says that there is no press freedom or freedom of expression in Sri Lanka, it is an absolute untruth. When you go through the large number of newspapers, tabloids, magazines, etc., published in our country, you realise how much freedom we have – especially given what they write about and whom they criticise!
The problem is otherwise. Today there is an undeclared war in our country. In that situation, if any news is considered dangerous or adversely affects the establishment, such news should be taboo. If published, those responsible should pay the penalty and should be called upon to reveal the source from which the news emanated. Other countries operate in a similar manner.
In democratic countries where democracy is practiced, a writer or anyone could express one’s views or write to the press for publication. But all that one writes does not get published. What one writes gets rejected by the publishers or those who work for them, although democracy requires, or in your own opinion, such articles or letters should be published. That is press freedom.
Take for instance Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s decision to close down a TV station critical of the establishment – the government. Such criticism according to the Venezuelan President is not democratic. He is obviously of the conviction that there could be no uncommitted or independent media. His democracy is relative. A certain newspaper which is supposed to have won international awards failed to correct a wrong news item though requested to do so several times. And that too is press freedom.
The late President J.R. Jayewardene once said that there is no independent press or independent journalism. Journalists take sides. That is a fact none could deny. But during war or on controversial matters affecting national security, taking sides could be dangerous and should be avoided.
American writer William Saroyan, in relation to the Spanish Civil War remarked, “I am for the people defending themselves against Franco.” But how could you be on one side or the other, when people are on both sides?
The media needs to use its freedom responsibly.
Upali S. Jayasekera
Colombo 4

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Minister eats the cake and has it

Abuse of power is fairly common among politicians in failed States, especially, in those where the head of State and his/her henchmen fleece the country with impunity, and hope to escape the wrath of the people by using the military and the police to restrain them. This does not always work, with some having to pay the ultimate price. However, they leave behind several generations of their countrymen victims of their greed, whose futures have been destroyed. Our people, the citizens of Sri Lanka, have long suffered this phenomenon with no effort at all to cleanse their leadership of the taint of corruption and theft, which they still bear without shame. Nobody questions how some of our politicians, who, before entering politics, were people of modest means, now live in houses of the utmost luxury, send their children to schools and universities abroad (average cost over Rs. 5 million a year) and travel abroad regularly, when they are not joyriding on pleasure trips at State expense. A case by case examination of the assets and expenses of our Members of Parliament, would provide sufficient evidence to imprison them for bribery and corruption, stealing State property, tax fraud, and countless breaches of the law, for which the ordinary man is normally punished.
I have followed for some time, the antics of one minister, whose short political career has seen him performing several “jumps”, which have up to now, brought him much personal success. At the same time, his personal life has received public attention but, would not be so, had it not been involved with his official duties as a minister. The name-calling, the slaps and punches and other exchanges with his wife, a government employee, all occurred in a government office, within earshot of ministry employees, who were shocked and disgusted of it all. To cap it, the minister started an affair with a subordinate, who occupied a seat in his room, during most of the day. When the minister was transferred, everyone breathed a sigh of relief but, there were new losers. Within days of taking up his new appointment, the minister had this lady transferred to his new ministry, to an elevated post, for which, she has neither the qualifications nor, the capability to occupy.
Wolfowitz of the World Bank, transferred his mistress to a post outside his institution, to allay criticism, though he incriminated himself by giving her a hefty pay rise. He has now lost his job.
This minister gets his girl closer to him, gives her a rise in pay and status and is answerable to no one. Where is the Public Service Commission, the Parliamentary High Posts Committee and most of all, where is our President. Is this minister not answerable to the President, not only in this matter but also, in the manner in which he uses public funds, as when he spent thousands of dollars on his wife and son while in Geneva, in a very posh hotel, while the rest of the delegation occupied rooms in the Chateau provided by the Swiss Government, and a recent trip to Moratuwa in a rented helicopter, which cost the country Rs. 350,000, to mention two instances only. In addition to the manner in which he uses the power vested in him as a member of the government, his expenses on his trips abroad, should also be closely monitored, as it would be unjust to have the long suffering public pay for anything other than what is connected with his official duties. We would urge the President to show the public that he has some authority over the government’s representatives in Parliament, all of whom are ministers and already enjoy considerable privileges at public expense.
L.E. de Silva
Colombo

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Note to all entrants:

All crossword entries should bear the names in which cheques must be made out to in the event of a win. Correct addresses must also be sent along with the entries. Please note that cheques will not be rewritten on request if the correct name is not sent with the crossword entry.

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