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|Israel - Insecure, isolated and inept
The continuous campaign to halt the Iranian nuclear programme for so
long by the US, Western allies and Israel has backfired on
themselves, when the 189 member nations of the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) voted that Israel be subjected to the
NPT by compelling it to be a signatory and observe the rules and
regulations of the NPT. The ongoing attention which was on Iran’s
nuclear programme has now shifted to the nuclear programme and
arsenal in Israel. The whole world is now concerned not with Iran’s
nuclear programme, but is more concerned with the nuclear arsenal in
Israel. The NPT requires members to open nuclear facilities to
inspection and to disarm.
In its statement after the vote, Israel noted that since it is
not a member of the NPT, it is not a party to the resolution. The
Arab proposal for the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) free zone to
pressurise Israel to give up its undeclared arsenal of perhaps 200
nuclear warheads was endorsed by the 1995 NPT conference but it was
never acted on. At the May 2010 NPT review, a conference to begin
talks on a nuclear free Middle-East was considered by many delegates
as the “make or break issue” and the unanimous agreement for the
2012 meeting was widely accepted and welcomed after the 28 page
final declaration was approved by consensus.
The NPT was opened for signatures in 1968. Initially, the US,
Soviet Union, Britain and 59 other countries signed the treaty.
Subsequently, others have done so but not Israel, India and
Pakistan. North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003 and has since
tested a nuclear device. While Israel is believed to possess more
than 200 nuclear weapons, it has not conducted any of its own tests
except perhaps with the South Africans in September 1979. The latter
too had a nuclear programme that it voluntarily abandoned after
apartheid ended in 1994. India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons
in May 1998. Pakistan followed India two weeks after Delhi exploded
its nuclear devices.
What is significant about the May 2010 resolution is that the US
which has continuously supported Israel with funds, weapons and all
forms of aid has voted with the other 188 members of the NPT for the
resolution to have a WMD free Middle-East. It has also underscored
the unanimity of the body to make Israel a signatory of the NTP, to
open its nuclear facilities for inspection and disarmament.
Israel’s long list of atrocities from the beginning has precipitated
a tidal wave of disgust and hatred for it among members of the
international community. Even those in Europe who supported Israel
earlier are now against it. The disgust for Israel is growing by the
Every report on Gaza has given identical details, prolonged and
illegal siege; illegal use of white phosphorous on civilian
population, deliberate targeting and killing of innocent civilians,
destruction of infrastructure - homes schools and hospitals. All of
these constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In its latest criminal atrocity, Israel killed nine persons bringing
provisions for starving Gazans by attacking their ships in
international waters. This event has set a monumental surge of
disgust towards Israel. It now appears that it is not Gaza that is
under siege but Israel itself is under siege, as the whole world is
turning against it.
Israel is now insecure, isolated and pathologically inept. The
latest killing of nine innocents in international waters is a public
relations disaster which will not be forgotten by the world.
Occupation, aggression, war and murder are having their toll. Israel
has become desperate and schizophrenic. Perhaps Israel is aware that
time is running out.
In the real world the Israelis are hurting. The waves of “Aliyah
- the tens of thousands of “Jews” who are moving to the “Promised
land” from hither-and-yon are now history. The demographics of the
Holy Land area are quickly shifting. Islamic self-determination is
on its way in; secular and ungodly political trends are on their way
out. Most importantly the US cannot afford to foot the Israel bill
free of charge as was the case in the past half century. There is no
other way but for a one state democratic system where Muslims, Jews
and Christians live together with freedom to practise their own
religions. The Zionist edifice created by so much blood is bound to
crumble and justice will prevail although it took so long.
Social Justice Movement, Rajagiriya
|Pain of leaving pets behind
were good enough to publish my letter regarding my leaving Colombo,
after 60 odd years, and coming to Jaffna, my birthplace, in your
issue of March 14, 2010. I came to Jaffna on May 15, after a short
delay, just a day before the torrential rain started to play havoc
in the South and causing several deaths of persons and animals and
damage to property, and severe hardship to many thousands of people.
I am staying with my nephew in the town, as I have not been able to
go to the village I was born and bred, which is still a high
security zone. All the people of my village are scattered all over
the country and some in foreign lands.
In Colombo, though an asphalt jungle, I had a convenient and
comfortable residence in a two-storey building living in the first
floor all by myself, by the generosity of the owner who knew me and
after his death by his widow and after her death by their two sons,
one of whom was married and was staying in his wife’s dowry house
and the other son, the only other occupant in the building, with
several rooms in each floor, was living all alone with a casual
helper. I had the privilege of facilities, including the use of two
telephones, all of which were free.
My constant companions during the last two years in Colombo had been
two cats – one which I took care of when it was stranded in the
premises as a very small kitten and the other, a female, as his
partner, a year ago. I couldn’t bring them with me which remains a
greatest regret. I am having a sense of guilt that I have left them
behind. So intimate they had been with me like children. I couldn’t
help it. That is one of the tragedies. I also had to leave two other
cats in a compound that I had been feeding when I went to a house to
get all my meals.
However, I had been assured by the inmates of these two premises
that they would look after these cats and I, for my part, had told
them that I would contribute towards their maintenance though they
did not want it. A friend told me that he would go and feed them
A person who is living in the same compound, a documentary
producer, having seen me feeding the cats with care, wanted to film
the cats and me with them showing the relationship between man and
animals. And two days before I left Colombo, he filmed the cats with
me, for a five minute documentary which, he said, he would air in a
website for the benefit of animal lovers.
|Is gender a taboo to attain Buddhahood?
This is a question often asked by certain individuals. Can a woman
become a Buddha? Does it not amount to discrimination against women?
In fact, there was a debate on this issue in an English daily
According to Gauthama Buddha’s teachings, gender is no taboo to
attain Nibbana (Eternal bliss). Anyone who belongs to one of the
four divisions of the Buddha’s retinue - Bhikkhu, Bhikkhuni,
Upasaka, Upasika - can attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana in this
very life, if one follows His teachings (the Four Noble Truths and
the Noble Eightfold Path) diligently. There is no discrimination
whatsoever against a female.
However, there were 27 Buddhas preceding the Gauthama Buddha, all of
whom were males. The future Buddhas, including the next in line
“Mithree” Buddha, last Buddha of this eon (Maha Bhadra Kalpa), will
be males too, according to the pronouncements of Gauthama Buddha.
This does not mean gender is a taboo. Those who feel this is
discriminatory do not know that there are biological reasons for
this limitation. If a female were to aspire to attain Buddhahood,
the constraints along the journey to Buddhahood - a journey far more
strenuous than that of arahathship - are many.
There is no question of the mental capacity of a human female. The
story of the theri (Bhikkhuni aspirant to arahathship), who was
raped while practising meditation, during the time of the Buddha,
alone suffices to form an idea of the hazards along the journey to
Buddhahood if a female were to aspire to become a Buddha.
Even after attaining Enlightenment (Buddhahood), His role requires a
capacity to withstand the strenuous day to day routine that a female
may not be equal to. Buddha Krthya (Buddha’s tasks) is manifold and
calls for masculine effort.
Is there discrimination in Buddhism? The Buddha’s teachings will
dispel any doubts in this regard. “All beings are equal. One is not
superior to another by birth, race, caste, creed or gender.”
At the first Dharma Sanghayana, of the Three Canons (Thripitaka),
the Vinaya Pitaka (the canon on discipline) was recited by Arahath
Upali Maha Thera, a great disciple of the Buddha who was born to a
so-called low caste (scavenger) family. There was no discrimination
whatsoever in His Order (Sasana)
Gauthama Buddha has extolled the mental capacity of women. See the
sermon on Kundalakesi. He compared motherhood to Buddhahood:
(“Buddho viya matha”). See the sermon on Prajapathi Gothami, the
foster mother of Prince Siddhartha.
Visaka and Sujatha are great names associated with Gauthama
Buddha’s lifetime. Patachara and Kisagothami are two famous ladies
who entered the Order of Bhikkhunis at the feet of the Buddha before
attaining the blissful state. This alone will suffice to understand
the esteemed place of women in Buddhism, contrary to allegation of
discrimination levelled by those who have little knowledge of
|Airline neither going green nor blue
Somewhat recently a hoarding was installed within the premises of
the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (Rajya Osu Sala), Colombo 7,
facing the Lipton Circus roundabout. The billboard featured the
cabin crew – three smart-looking air hostesses clad in blue sarees,
their official uniform – of the State-owned budget airline. This
billboard, a fairly big one, was partly covered by a tall tree in
front of the hoarding, disrupting the view of the hoarding.
The other day, I saw this tree being chopped so that the people
could get a better glimpse of the hoarding of this nascent airline.
And yesterday when I was passing this way, I noticed that even the
skin (flex) of the hoarding has been removed. What remain now are
the metal frame of the billboard and the stub of the tree.
It is ironical that with the global warming, when we are supposed to
go green, it seems to me, that the airline neither wants to go green
with the tree being chopped nor go/see blue with the “blue” print of
the cabin crew with the Sri Lankan smile being removed!
|Forty-year journey in Legal profession
Mousoof Deen, Attorney-at-law celebrated 40 years in the profession
on May 22, 2010. Forty years is a long time, but Mousoof Deen has
made his practice a journey more than a profession and he has had
many experiences that are worth recording for posterity. On this
journey, he has had seniors of the calibre of A.C (Bunty) de Zoysa,
Dr Colvin R. de Silva, Nimal Senanayake PC and C. Renganathan QC
among many other leading legal luminaries.
Deen passed his Advocates final examination and became apprentice
of Dr Colvin R de Silva and C. Renganathan QC, who was an eminent
civil lawyer at that time. He took his oaths before Puisne Justices
A.L.S. Sirimanne, Victor Tennekoon QC and Christopher Gregory
Weeramantry in the Supreme Court in May, 1970.
Mousoof Deen who hails from Kadugannawa was an immediate neighbour
of the famous C.A.S (Sinhala) Marikkar, a member of the S.W.R.D
Mousoof Deen was a front runner in the UNP Lawyers Association in
the Pre-1977 period. He had been a lawyer polling agent in most of
the by-elections. He was, however disillusioned by the holding of
the referendum in 1982, which he says was the greatest fraud
perpetrated on the people of his country and the 1983 riots.
He had also participated in the election campaign of Dr Colvin R De
Silva in the Agalawatte electorate in 1970 with lawyers M.L. de
Silva and I.S de Silva.
On August 1, 1970, A.C. (Bunty) de Zoysa, noted prosecutor in the
Attorneys General’s Department, who had retired from the State,
started his chambers with Mousoof Deen and Justin Perera as his
Mousoof Deen used to supervise Law College examinations and happily
remembers that he had at one such examination one of the candidates,
the young Mahinda Rajapaksa at that time a fresher in Parliament.
He had appeared in a number of well known murder trials as a jury
lawyer in the Supreme Court Assizes all over the country including
the Capitol Theatre murder case, Deputy Mayor Colombo Augustine Dias
bomb murder. Two cases that figure prominently are the Ragala Estate
murder case and the other being the lengthy Dunsinane Estate murder
and attempted murder cases at which the star witnesses were the
champion athlete Darrel Lieversz and cricketer and star tennis
player George Ernst. Twenty-two estate workers were in the dock and
the case lasted several weeks in the Kandy Assizes. M. M. Deen
ensured that all accused in the Dunsinane Estate murder case were
acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal when the acting Attorney
General Ian Wickramanayake conceded that the convictions could not
be sustained. Another crucial case was when Deen swayed the Jury and
obtained 4-3 verdict in his clients’ favour in the Kurunegala
Assizes before Justice O.L. de Kretser in a triple murder case. The
Wanawasala train robber and jail-breaker whom Deen defended in the
Dematagoda murder and robbery case is one that is fresh in his mind
because of the nature and frightening character of the accused.
One of the highlights of his career was when he filed a Habeas
Corpus Application in the Supreme Court and obtained the release of
JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera despite the tension that hung like a
pall of gloom over the country at that time. Deen had appeared for
several JVP suspects to obtain bail from the Secretary to the
Ministry of Justice, who at that time was the authority to issue
He also appeared in the Kalattawa, Alfred de Zoysa murder case in
the Court of Criminal Appeal as one of the juniors of Bunty de Zoysa
for the 2nd and 3rd accused, while E.F.N. Gratian QC appeared for
the 1st accused. The brief consisted of many volumes, and one of the
largest briefs he had ever read. Deen has also appeared as Junior to
H.L de Silva PC in the Court of Criminal Appeal, and with Bunty de
Zoysa and Sarath Muttettuwegama in the same court.
He remembers Asoka de Silva, now Chief Justice, as one the
juniors of G.E. Chitty QC with Mousoof in the Court of Criminal
Appeal. In another murder case in the Court of Criminal Appeal,
Mousoof Deen submitted that there was misdirection on the burden of
proof by the Trial Judge M.M. Abdul Cader and the Court ordered a
retrial. Subsequently, he went before the same judge in Kurunegala
and Justice Cader told the accused he was lucky that his counsel
Mousoof Deen had saved his life and complimented Deen.
Mousoof Deen’s fame grew much during this period of time. He
attracted the attention of Saumyamoorthy Thondaman, President of the
Ceylon Worker’s Congress (CWC) and its General Secretary M.S.
Sellasamy who retained him in a large number of criminal trials in
many parts of the country, including Mullaitivu, Vavuniya,
Bandarawela, Nuwara Eliya and in the Magistrates Courts of Mannar,
Rakwana and Lahugala.
Mousoof Deen did not confine himself to criminal cases alone.
There was a case in the heart of Kandy town where a businessman,
who was occupying the premises had lost his appeal in the Supreme
Court and the fiscal had arrived to eject him. A crowd from the
Kandy market had gathered inside the premises protesting the fiscal
and large crowds had gathered around the shop. This caused quite a
sensation in Kandy town. Mousoof Deen was retained to prepare and
file the appeal in the Supreme Court pending appeal to the Privy
Council. Ever so committed to defend his clients to his best Deen
burnt the proverbial midnight oil and prepared the papers overnight.
The following day he appeared before Justice C.G. Weeramantry in
chambers in Hulftsdorp and obtained a stay order pending appeal to
the Privy Council. Later, appeals to the Privy Council were
abolished, and this was perhaps one of the last appeals made to the
Privy Council. The case was later settled and his client is still in
possession of part of the premises.
In a controversial case, Mousoof Deen appeared in the District
Court of Kalutara supporting the law of the day which related to the
Jurisdiction of Conciliation Boards, where no court should entertain
an action except where proceedings before the Board had failed to
effect a settlement, and that cases should go to the Conciliation
Board before being heard by the Courts. A few lawyers were opposed
to the Conciliation Boards system, but Deen held his ground and won
the day against the two then leading civil lawyers in Kalutara, L.T.
Andradi and Ladduwahetty. When Andradi left for England he gifted a
set of his law books as a token of friendship and also handed him a
large number of civil appeals that he had undertaken in the Kalutara
District which landed him on the opposite side of C. Thiagalingam QC
and H.W Jayawardene QC.
One of the anecdotes that are fresh in Deen’s mind is when he was
Junior to Nimal Senanayake connected with Nadesan QC who was
appearing on the opposite side. The case involved Sir Bennet Soysa
and Muhandiram Wijewardene over a financial transaction. Nadesan
used to give Deen a lift to the District Court of Kandy in his
Mercedes Benz 180. Since it was not ethical to discuss the case, the
conversation concentrated on Nadesans nature’s cure diet habits.
Mousoof Deen also recalls a case from Matale town, a hardware
shop, where the roof had caved in and opened to the elements.
Lawyers had advised the tenant not to do any repairs as an
application for injunction had been filed and Deen was consulted and
having checked the record found that an inquiry into the application
for an interim injunction was pending, but no injunction had been
issued, and he saw no reason why a new roof should not be
constructed restoring the roof to its original position and
accordingly the construction took place. Deen appeared as junior to
Dr Colvin R. de Silva in the Court of Appeal in the Contempt of
Court case filed in that connection, where in reply to H.W.
Jayawardene QC [J.R. Jayawardene was the President at that time] Dr
Colvin R de Silva commented, “Your Lordships be pleased, this is not
the President’s Court. Your Lordships derive your power from the
Constitution of this country and no other”. H. W. Jayawardene QC
appeared with A.K. Premadasa and D. S. Wijesinghe for the
petitioner. The tenant was found not guilty and police officers
reported to the IGP for action for erasing and interpolating police
statements. This case has been referred to in some books on the Law
As a law student Mousoof had won two gold medals for English
Oratory – namely the T.B. Jayah Memorial Gold Medal where G.G.
Ponnambalam QC presented the medal and A.C.M. Ameer QC, Attorney
General was one of the judges; and the Sam J.C. Kadirgamar Memorial
Gold Medal. He was Speaker of the YMCA Forum and was a member of the
Law College debating team for 4 years. Some of the other members of
the debating team included N.R (Dr Ranjith) Fernando, Razik Zarook,
Asoka Somaratne, Ranjith Dewapura, Ravi Tennakoon, and A. Raja N.
Fernando later Supreme Court Judge.
Mousoof Deen had held various positions under the government,
being a member of the Board of Directors of the SLBC, the first
Board to be constituted by the J.R Jayewardene Government in 1977
with M.D.D. Peiris as the Chairman, member of the Industrial Court
and member of the Government Haj Committee which included all Muslim
members of Parliament at that time. He is a Justice of the Peace and
an Unofficial Magistrate.
Mousoof Deen is a warm and friendly person and this is reflected
in the statement of Bunty de Zoysa who spotting such leading
luminaries like A.L.S. Sirimanne and his brother D.Q.M. Sirimanne,
C.G. Weeramantry, Colvin R. de Silva and his wife ‘Mummy’, his
daughter Shereen and son-in-law Weerasinghe de Silva, S. Nadesan QC,
C. Renganathan QC, R. S. Wanasundera, E.R. de Fonseka, P. Colin
Thome, Subbiah Saravanamuthu, T.W. Rajaratnam, S. Thondaman, M.S.
Sellasamy and I. S. de Silva at his wedding at the Hotel Taprobane,
at a time when limited guests were permitted, that within a short
period of time he had made friends with so many important
personalities in the profession.
He also appeared with Subbiah Saravanamuthu nicknamed ‘Pocket
Ponnambalam’ and the lesson he had learnt from him emphasised the
importance of “availability” ‘you must be the first to come to
courts and the last to leave’.
While at Law College, Deen acted as an Advocate in 1969/70 in the
film “Kesara Singhayo” with Vijaya Kumaratunga and Neeta Fernando.
Mousoof is a widely travelled person and has participated in
workshops including “Broadcasting and the Law” and “Mass Media and
Becoming a success as a lawyer is no piece of cake. The process is
long and tedious and only men and women who are committed to the
nobility of the profession can make their mark. It has been often
said that if one can survive a period of six months in the Colombo
Law Library you can survive in any part of Sri Lanka. The challenges
at the SLBC are so intense that it has been said that if one can
survive at the SLBC for one year, you can survive in any part of the
world. Deen survived both. Deen says he owes a lot and dedicates his
life to his beloved parents and above all the Almighty.