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Letters


 

Blaming the voters

An open letter to the Speaker

As reported in The Island of February 2, speaking at the Water’s Edge book launch of COPE Chairman Wijedasa Rajapakse – a man the voters would have been privileged to vote for had he faced the hosting – you have stated that we, the voters, should bear the blame for wrong choices for Members of Parliament, the august assembly of the nation’s representatives that you preside over.

Their conduct is so reprehensible that you have taken the extreme, albeit most sensible, step of prohibiting school children from coming to the public gallery – a sad admission of the putrid extent to which the House, that you control, has sunk. A national shame indeed.

This reminded me of a similar decision dating back to about 50 years when that portly genial Dr. Aubrey Weinman who ‘presided’ over the Dehiwala Zoo debarred children from visiting the area where a grizzly chimpanzee was caged; the reason being that this brute, so much akin to homo sapiens, gleefully masturbated when it saw children!

Speaker, what choice have we, the voters, got in electing our representatives to Parliament? Is it not the party leaders who select the candidates and implore us from the rooftops to vote for them, solemnly promising that they will help build a better future for us?

You know very well that under the present system, the voter has no chance of even nominating or seconding a candidate. Needless to emphasise, the conduct of some members inside and outside the House amply reflects the attributes that party leaders look for in candidates. Good men just do not qualify.

Finally, aren’t there honourable ‘inmates’ in your House who have been rejected by the voters but come in as nominated members? The whole country recently witnessed how one of them recently behaved. Now, who is to blame for such choices? No, no, not we!

You are a mature man. A man of wisdom. But you have certainly disappointed the voters.

Edward Gunawardena

Battaramulla

****

Conductor-assisted pocket picking in buses

The increased activity of pickpockets in buses in the Colombo area, especially Nugegoda, is creating a dangerous situation for commuters.

Backed and even aided by the conductors, these pickpockets, working in gr­oups of two or three, mostly target women and older commuters. I have personally witnessed three such incidents in the short space of a week, where the gang was thwarted by vigilance or luck.

In two cases the con­ductor turned nasty and even threatened the victims with the prospect of violence to follow for daring to protest.

In this regard, the practice of displaying the bus or coach number on the inside front panel in front of the driver seems to have been done away with. It should be reintroduced by the Police as a compulsory req­uirement so that a victim can immediately contact the Police with the ve­hicle number so that quick interception can be made to recover the lost money or articles.

I hope that the Police superintendents of the different areas will take this step to protect the commuters. It is a sad commentary on the prevailing law and order situation that these thugs operate with such impunity, and perhaps immunity from arrest. God save Sri Lanka!
‘A. A. B.’

Attidiya

****

Why eating pork is forbidden to Muslims

Sydney Ranatunge (EYE p. 9 24-2-2008) says, “Muslims do not eat pork following the death of the prophet after a meal that contained pork”’. This is absolute rubbish and I do not know from where he picked this up.

The Islamic prohibition against pork is contained in Sura 2 Ayat 173 (and elsewhere) of the Quraan - “He” (Allah) has forbidden you dead meat (ie. carrion), blood and the flesh of swine…….”

The Quraan for Ranatunga’s information was revealed during the Prophet’s lifetime and the contention that the prohibition came in after the Prophet’s death just does not compute. The Jews do not eat pork because in Leviticus Xl 7, it is declared “and the swine
- . - - - - he is unclean to YOU~ (also in Deuteronomy XIV .8) .
The Bible contains the following in Mathew VIII - 31 “So the devils besought him (Jesus) saying if Thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine” and in VIII - 32 “And he (Jesus) said unto them;.” Go .And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine”. ..

It will be seen that this abhorrence of the swine has a long history long before the Prophet.
The story of the death after a meal containing pork refers to the founder of another religion, not Islaam.
C.P. Scott, a British journalist (1846-1932) once-observed that “Comment is free but facts arc sacred” Sydney Rarummga must keep this in mind and research his facts before be puts pen to paper.

In making his comments, Mr . .Ranatunga is exercising his constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and he is welcome to it . Formidably for the rest of us there is no constitutional corollary that requires us to take him seriously.
Naufel Rahman

****

Do we now need an APRC at all?

Soon after the heavily-flawed Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) has been abrogated comes another monster, the APRC. Supposed to be by all the parties, although it leaves out the major parties, the UNP and the JVP, it is in reality the independent proposal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to the information now being revealed.

After having got rid of one monster, we are now threatening the country with yet another monster, at a time when we have enough and more troubles already – A truly unworthy and unnecessary exercise.

It must never be forgotten that this APRC or the 13th Amendment, was unleashed on Sri Lanka by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and was totally rejected by the people and our country at that time. The country was initially shocked by it. It is indeed strange now that this same act is now being rushed through by the very people – Mahinda Rajapaksa and others – who totally rejected it.

This was the time the LTTE received the blessings and support of India for what it was doing in the north against Sri Lanka, and little Sri Lanka was virtually bullied accepting it. Of course, the LTTE did not hesitate to kill Gandhi. Since then even the Indian tide has changed and today the Indian Congress seems to be becoming a little more concerned about LTTE terrorism.

Even if India says it supports the 13th Amendment it forced on Sri Lanka, why should Sri Lanka have to accept it? Can the people of this country be blamed if they want to rethink it or even reject it? Do we not have this right? Must we subject ourselves to India or even the international community?

Basically, this is hardly the time for the country and its people to think of the APRC. We just do not need it. We have a war on our hands. Now that all our efforts to bring the Tigers to the negotiating table have failed, and the lives of our people continue to be in danger, is there any purpose in our talking peace with the LTTE?

We should forget about talking peace and carry on retaliating. The country has no alternative but to destroy the Tigers and then engage in what has to be done to rid the north of the dictatorship that the Tigers have plunged the north into for the last 25 years.
From here the President has to look into graver issues, such as the problems of our people, particularly the poor. They cannot bear the burden of the heavy cost of living. The people are being crushed under this soaring cost of living. Many are perhaps going without at least one meal a day.

It seems tragic that whilst the people are having the hardest time of our lives, the country continues with its 225 Members of Parliament.

Look at the extravagance of Mihin Air, the wasteful expenditure on the Members of Parliament and the ministers enjoying themselves on trips all over the world, the VAT scandal. Hardly any effort is being made to halt corruption, and even those who are held responsible are not even being questioned about the huge looses that have taken place while they were in office.

Then we have the Constitutional Council (CC), which can now be appointed, and the President has hardly made any move to make any arrangements to make the CC function. The President should take immediate steps to install the CC.

It is time for the President to give the country the right leadership and take immediate steps to call a halt to the suffering the people of the country are now undergoing and give them relief.

It is time for the President to reflect on what the people and the country are now going through – and have been going through for the last two years – and to realise that he must lose no time in granting them relief.

It is not possible for the people to endure the ongoing crisis indefinitely. Unless some relief is immediately forthcoming, then it will be matter of time before the people take the government to task.

Maurice Lord
Colombo 13.

****

The abrogation of the CFA

The abrogation of the non-operative Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) has been criticised by certain local and foreign politicians and leaders. There is no justification for such criticism and they have not been realistic in doing so.

In February 2002, the UNP Leader, as the then Prime Minister, entered into the CFA with the LTTE though he had no power to do so. It was the President, the head of State, who could have legally and constitutionally, entered into such an agreement.

The Prime Minister had no authority to do so. The CFA was not presented to Parliament. The President was unaware of its contents. So much for the UNP Leader’s adherence to the provisions of the Constitution, even with the limited power he had. Accordingly, the CFA, in a strict sense, had no legality.

The CFA permitted the LTTE to come to the south and establish political offices but no one could enter the so-called LTTE controlled territory freely. This serious anomaly in the CFA signed by the UNP Leader shows that it had not been studied intelligently prior to the signing. What irresponsibility.

The LTTE never honoured the CFA as expected. They used it to penetrate the south and go on a killing and kidnapping spree. The government, led by the UNP Leader, stood inactive and merely ‘complained.’ The world leaders and human rightists protested as a matter of routine. The armed forces were confined to the barracks. The LTTE used the CFA to arm and strengthen itself. The UNP Leader did not have the courage to counter LTTE atrocities. The LTTE as a result used the CFA to its advantage to achieve its objectives.

Thereafter, during the time of the UNP Leader as the Prime Minister, the LTTE in April 2003 withdrew from talks and refused to come to the negotiating table, after having piled up arms and ammunition and electronic media equipment under cover of the CFA due to the government’s weak-kneed approach towards the LTTE. That meant that the LTTE, in a practical sense, abrogated the CFA.

At the last presidential election, President Rajapaksa promised to abrogate the CFA. The voters endorsed it and voted him to power. Nevertheless, the President did not proceed to abrogate the CFA, apparently in the belief that he would be able to convince the LTTE to come to the negotiating table.

The LTTE’s Mavil Aaru adventure of denying water to the people changed the scenario. The President still wanted to settle the issue peacefully. The LTTE stand did not permit that. The LTTE foolishly presumed that the President could be brought down on his knees over the issue. It was at this juncture that the JHU and the JVP decided to walk to Mavil Aaru to open the sluice gates. In fact they commenced the walk.

Envisaging a civilian blood-bath at the hand of the ruthless LTTE, the President decided to call in the armed forces to capture Mavil Aaru and restore water to the people. The so-called human rights activists, national and international, were fast asleep at the time.

With the intervention of the armed forces, the LTTE forces were made to retreat. Water to the people was restored. From then on, the armed forces went from victory to victory. Certain UNP leaders belittled the victories.

The LTTE brooks no opposition. They annihilate those who oppose them. The LTTE has forced the TNA to be subservient to it, and be its Parliamentary wing. The TNA is periodically summoned before the LTTE leadership to receive orders that need to be followed. Knowing what will happen if they do not adhere to LTTE commands, they just follow LTTE instructions.

Those out of step even by mistake have to pay with their lives. What befell Parliamentarians Raviraj and Maheswaran is a good example. As such, the TNA cannot be taken too seriously as it is an unwilling partner of the LTTE.

The world leaders who have promoted terrorism and sustained terrorism but who criticise the abrogation of the CFA by the government should keep mum and set an example by entering into a CFA with Osama bin Laden and the Taliban and stop the bloodbath that is taking place.

The human rights activists who are engaged in well paid jobs and are mere puppets in the hands of their masters should do what they are paid for. They need to be ignored. The UNP should adopt a more realistic and nationalistic approach to the present crisis. The ‘oppose and protest’ strategy will not be effective and the people will desert them in the long run.

The government should decide to abrogate all dealings on this issue with the Western countries which have never been sincere about bringing peace to our country and look to the East and Middle East for support and cooperation.

What is required today is an independent group of Tamil leaders who could come forward to find a lasting solution to the problem facing the nation. The President should go ahead and find an acceptable solution and ensure unity, stability and peace in the country.
Ours is an internal problem. No outside interference is warranted.
Upali S. Jayasekera

****

Meat eating by Buddhists and Hindus – Is there a controversy?

In a recent letter (January 16) to an English daily on ‘Religion and non-vegetarianism,’ Tuan Riza Rassool (USA) quoting the Gautama Buddha from the Book of Discipline, Vol. 4, page 125 and verses 5-30 and 5-31 of the Manu Smurti (the law books of the Hindus) and the complete works of Swami Vivekanandha, Vol.3, page 536, justifies the eating of meat by Buddhists and Hindus. I would be glad to hear the views of learned Buddhist and Hindu religious authorities / teachers in Sri Lanka on this controversial question of meat consumption for the benefit of Buddhists and Hindus. I give below my own views / observations on this matter.

1. According to Saivism, a main offshoot of Hinduism, the religion and philosophy of those who believe that God Shiva is the Supreme Being, the slaughter of animals for food or sacrifice is totally taboo.

2. The Lankavatana Sutra eloquently denounces non-vegetarianism in no uncertain terms. Any thought, word or deed that directly or indirectly results in the destruction of life is surely contrary to the spirit of Buddhism where much emphasis is placed on purity, non-violence, compassion and respect for life.

3. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, which need not necessarily always be correct.
4. Let me humbly state that God is the almighty supreme judge to judge all our actions in the world – whether they be right or wrong.

Finally, let me conclude saying ‘Verb-sap,’ the Latin abbreviation for ‘Verbium sapienti!’ – A word to the wise is enough.

Prof. M. Sivasuriya
Chancellor, University of Jaffna

****

Morning radio shows in English

Regular listeners would agree with us that, on most of our local radio stations, the daily morning English programmes have become a boring chat show. Whenever there are two or more radio presenters at a given time, it becomes a chat show. Whereas what we listeners would like to hear is a bright and lively music channel with valuable information such as ‘breaking news,’ traffic situations, weather forecast, but alas, what we hear is a mere talk show with gossip.

One would recall the past eras where we had such great presenters like, Jimmy Beruchaer, Niranjan Abeysundara, Manik, Ravi John, Krishna and Rajan Vairavanathan, Eric Fernando, Roger Cool and his female partner, Omega and Andy, just to name a few.

Today, what can the media institutes do to encourage and motivate and train our present teams at radio stations? Perhaps by instituting a ‘Finishing School’! We would like to debate this matter with our regular readers of this Sunday journal...

We need to have quality English morning shows on radio, and could the relevant mangers of these stations take some action please! Take for an example the Lite Café, each morning on 89.2…


L. Jansze and the radio fans
From Kandana

****

Stupidity of Sri Lanka’s Police

I witnessed a comical scene of a serious nature opposite Royal College, Colombo, a few days ago, where the traffic police abruptly stopped vehicles entering Reid Avenue from Rajakeeya Mawatha, around 11.00 a.m. A gentleman in a vehicle who was proceeding that way, was seen frantically trying to turn his vehicle and go back, when the Police Officer shouted to him, “You can’t go back. It is a one-way route”. Although I was not in a hurry, the driver of the other vehicle certainly was as he was carrying alms to some monks.

This incident clearly demonstrated the stupidity of our Police. The authorities concerned should have displayed a sign-board at the entrance to Rajakeeya Mawatha stating, “No thoroughfare - road closure ahead”, in which case the particular vehicle with alms to monks could have used an alternative route.

Over to the IGP.
Concerned Citizen of Sri Lanka

****

Use of uncultured terms and language in the electronic media

Certain radio and television programmes use Sinhala terms and words such as coo, moo, yako, kalakanni, hath elawwa etc. which terms, in no way, could be regarded as civilised language for the use in the media. Then again umba, diyan, ganin, waren, palayan are used even when addressing parents, elders, children and domestic aids in teledramas, which set a bad example, especially, to the younger generation. The media authorities should prevent the use of such terms and language.

Upali S. Jayasekera
Bambalapitiya

****

 

 

 

 

 

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