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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Western hypocrisy on human rights issues

The US and the European Union are on the act of attempting to convince the world that they are the protectors of human rights and other countries should grovel at their feet and obey their dictates.
The record of some of the EU countries and America on so-called human rights is horrible - their past is stinking.
They robbed other countries of their treasures and fattened themselves with ill-gotten wealth, suppressed the freedom of the peoples of Asian, African and South American countries, colonised and exploited those countries, resorted to plunder, violence and killings - barbarism was the hallmark in the early times and slavery was their business.

Millions of Jews were murdered; Vietnam and Cambodia were ruined; the dropping of second atomic bomb on Japan was inhuman.
The invasion of Iraq and the lies spread to justify the invasion and killing of Iraqis is a crime against humanity.
They think that the monopoly of bombs of mass destruction, arms and ammunition should remain with them. They talk of democracy in Myanmar and freedom of Tibet but do not talk about handing over Falklands Islands and Taiwan to the countries they belong. What hypocrisy?

They want others to adhere to UN conventions and principles, but they go against them as they want as in the case of Kosovo. Who are the godfathers of terrorism? Who armed and sustained Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Prabhakaran?
It will not be long for America and the West to face retribution for their sins and Bush and Blair have expedited the process.

Upali S. Jayasekera

 

It’s just not cricket…

The governing body of world cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC), has laid a lot of emphasis in the recent past on the spirit of the game concept.
However, there had been several unsportsmanlike incidents reported while the gentlemen’s great game of cricket was played, particularly at international matches.
To elaborate further and facilitate this concept, the recent Test matches played in England involving visiting teams were named as the ‘spirit of the game’ Tests.

Even after this new concept, many ugly incidents were reported to the ICC by the respective ICC appointed elite umpires and match referees. Instant action by way of suspension from matches, very high fines, forfeiting match fees etc were enforced on players found guilty of misconduct.
The question that comes to the mind of a knowledgeable cricket follower is that appropriate action had not been taken properly against some who were found guilty and that only a few who had been found guilty were penalised.

It is a question that needed to be addressed as to why those who had committed offences were not penalised having allowed to escape scot-free. Why is this inconsistency?
All will agree that gone are the days when batsmen who used to walk, instead of waiting for the umpires verdict, especially when they were well aware that they had nicked to the keeper may be with the thinnest of edges.
Also, it is quite common for the keeper to appeal confidently along with the bowler and the close infielders when the ball had not nicked, but the umpires had upheld some appeals to the delight of the fielders.
The latest Randiv’s no-balling saga which is much in the news is debatable. Several followers of the game had expressed views in this regard. When so many such similar incidents had happened during matches why did (1) Randiv go to such a low level in apologising to Sehwag by visiting the Indian dressing room? (2) Why did our foolish SLC authorities apologise to the ICC?

In this same series, why was not Rohit Sharma not reported for dissent by not walking back immediately when ruled out LBW? Why was Yuvraj not penalised for retaliating furiously at some spectators when he was called ‘water boy’?

It was revealed in an Indian TV channel that Dhoni had refused to practice on a track that had uneven bounce and they confessed that as a consequence Dinesh Karthik injured his hand.
It was all buff, as the latter played in the ODI that followed immediately. Ishant Sharma on his follow through after hurling bouncers muttered to our batsmen by approaching them very closely on numerous occasions.
All these incidents are not within ‘the spirit of the game’ as spelt out by the ICC.
In the context of the above ‘the spirit of the game’, the concept of the ICC is totally flouted and it should no longer be called so.
It has to be changed to read as the game should be played to the ‘rules of cricket’.

Sunil Thenabadu
Mt Lavinia

 

Democracy and egalitarianism

It was only after May last year, when the ruthless LTTE was exterminated in this country that general conditions of peace re-emerged.
Prior to that, the people were on tenterhooks for nearly three decades.
Where previous governments failed to bring the LTTE to its knees, President Mahinda Rajapaksa accomplished a feat that eluded his predecessors.

President Rajapaksa, despite various obstacles and protests from within and outside Sri Lanka, at critical stages made full use of as it were the dictatorial powers that were latent in the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (1978) in order to achieve the duel objects of governing the country and defeating the LTTE within five years of his assuming duties in November 2004 as executive President. That stands to his thumping credit.

In that regard, our tribute is also due to former President J R Jayewardene, who spearheaded the enactment of the constitution of 1978 with the creation of a powerful executive presidency.
Now that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been re-installed in power by the electorate for an additional term of six years from November 2010, the people expect him in his wisdom and acumen to review all political and governing establishments.

In other words, it will be judicious for him to rationalise the gamut of the structures and their processes by mercilessly chopping waste, bribery, corruption, indiscipline, dead wood and vindictiveness in ministerial, deputy ministerial and official ranks both at the central and provincial levels.
In that regard, the fearless and discerning citizens will most probably extend their unstinted co-operation.
The unprincipled political and obnoxious ethnic and religious approaches and attitudes will have to be transcended.
May the powers that be not fail in their in endeavours for serving in a labour of love manner the prolonged suffering of the masses of Sri Lanka!

D Kuruneru

 

Nailed woman and lessons to learn

The recent news about the nailed woman is - to say the least - atrocious. But, have we wondered what we are going to do about it? That is other than shouting about Saudi.
Saudi, of course, since it is a Muslim country comes under fire. But we must realise, it is not the country which did the nailing - but a person there. It does not mean the country is promoting it. Not that Saudi Arabia always is right. No country is.

But the problem is totally ours - the Sri Lankans. How long - or how many Ariyawathis will it take for us to realise sending women to work abroad is not fruitful? That it is detrimental to the family specially and to the country as a whole? A long long time indeed, for it has not sunk in after thousands of cases of abuse, injustice and losses.

As long as a society does not value its mothers, does not recognise the importance of their presence in the family and turn them into simple money making machines, we would be having many more Somawathis and Wimalawathis coming back with - not just nails - but much more cruelties inflicted upon them. But then do we care? Except perhaps a few letters to the media, a few horrified conversations in common places - and then we will move on. More Somawathis and Wimalawathis will keep going and more will be returning maimed - but life will go on in our paradise island undaunted!

Dr Reffai

 

The right way to rein in alcoholism

More than 90% of crimes are related to the consumption of liquor, according to a police report.
Kassippu is consumed popularly amongst the low income groups.
At one time, Sri Lanka was among the countries with the highest number of boozers.
The Mathata Thitha programme is supposed to have brought down the number of heavy drinkers and liquor sales have dropped since 2006.
President Rajapaksa was elected to office on November 27, 2005. He did not come empty-handed but had a blueprint of a plan I, now named the Mahinda Chintanaya.

The plan was put into operation in 2006 with the President taking office.
The number of heavy boozers has dwindled but illicit liquor still flourishes along with a noticeable increase in the rate of crime. Are the two phenomena related, is a pertinent question.
Has not the World Bank noticed an improvement in the GDP and per capita income in Sri Lanka? The Central Bank too has noticed a rise. Are not the figures significant and related to the Chintanaya? The IMF has confidently lent money, because they have noticed a rise in the economy. The money was lent despite the ravings of the opposition and its leader. The third tranche of financial help was doled out recently.

Pressing and urging the government to stamp out illicit liquor is misplaced. Rather, why not press the government to bring down prices of all alcoholic beverages. Arrack is a Sri Lankan product, so is beer. Reduce taxes and stipulate a price reduction. Those strata of society that imbibe kassippu will relish a change to arrack and beer, for it will be within their reach and their purse. They will be elated and overjoyed to switch over.

The government should have a closer look. The money spent on the ever increasing cadre in the Police and Excise Departments, and on rehabilitating alcoholics free at state hospitals; on curbing the use of narcotics and illicit beverages will surely be saved, compensating for the reduction in prices of liquor.
Will not such action bring about a change in the overall outlook of the wine-bibber who will cast aside the poisonous kassippu and resort to the socially accepted arrack and beer? There are locally produced VSOP arrack, gin and brandy too. Wine will soon come from the North. Then will not the addiction to kassippu subside and indulgence in a more reputable beverage swell.

With that change will not the back of the kassippu mudalali and the trade be broken? The structure, apparatus and the tentacles of the trade will dissolve and reduce to nothing unable to raise its head. The nexus between the politicians, law enforcement authorities and the kassippu mudalalis will come to naught. An all-out war as is believed necessary will be proved dispensable. Alcoholism would fizzled out.
However, an abstemious society will remain a Utopian pipe dream; but a decorous, cultured society will show up with the success of the ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’ plan. Like winning the war against terrorism the Chintanaya will help in ridding Sri Lanka of drugs and alcoholism.

Coming down hard on the illicit trade is myopia for the far-sighted Chintanaya will bury drunkenness, and in its place give life to social drinking where both men and women will sit together sipping a drink, to plan the onward march of our motherland. Crime is the result of economic want.
With more money that the Chintanaya will bring to the individual, resorting to crime will prove unprofitable. The moral fibre will change, while alcoholic beverages will earn revenue to build Sri Lanka as the awaited Asian Wonderland. A Mathata Thitha programme could produce an Al Capone as it did in the US with the enforcement of prohibition.

Ivor Samarasinghe

 

Dejected depositors banking on fate

My daughter deposited two fixed deposits of Rs.50,000 each with now defunct F & G Property Developers (Pvt) Ltd with the sole purpose of supplementing my meagre pension with the interest accrued from it monthly.
My husband is a retired army officer who has no other income other than the pension.
He is 68 years old and needs additional money to meet medical expenses.
Since December 2008, we have not received any interest.
I recently wrote to the Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka, and also went to their office in Kollupitiya believing that they were appointed to resolve this issue.
I was told that they are not in any way linked to F & G Property Developers.
Am I never going to get my interest and capital?
What is the present position of the company?
Do I have to join the Association of Depositors of F & G Property Developers (Pvt.) Ltd?
I was told that some other company is managing the property of F & J Property Developers and I am keen to know the company and its address so that I can write to them.
Those who committed this massive fraud are said to be free and enjoy themselves with this ill-gotten money whereas the poor depositors are suffering. Is this justice?
I hope the authorities will look into our plight and afford some relief.

A desperate depositor

 

Garbage heaps enrage residents

I find the by-road (tarred) adjoining High Level road between Wattegedera road and Elhena road littered with pieces of paper, polythene bags (some with garbage), empty liquor cans, small plastic arrack bottles.
This by-road is the access way to business establishments (Cargills Food City), pharmacies, dispensaries and other shops.
It is used by so many people right throughout the day and night. It is also poorly lit.
The government, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is keenly combating, as a matter of urgency, (as so many lives have already been claimed by the deadly disease of dengue) to eradicate this deadly disease.
Do the health authorities of the Pradeshiya Sabha inspect the roads and see that the dirt and garbage bags removed promptly and daily.
Another fact is that the sides of the by-road are grown with lots of weeds which have not been cut and removed as had been done earlier.

Sometimes garbage matter is burnt by the labourers of the PS.
This is highly harmful to the environment as polythene bags and plastic empty bottles are also burnt in the process.
Over to the Health Minister, Pradeshiya Sabha health officers and the chairperson of the Pradeshiya Sabha (personally) for prompt action.

V K B Ramanayake

 

Priest Samuel Patrick Rajaratnam

He led the Tamil chant beautifully

On World Cancer Day - February 4, 2010 - with its slogan ‘Cancer can be prevented too’, SP as we called our very much loved colleague in the ordained ministry was called Home.
SP joins the many who have died because of this terminal illness.
I first met SP when I as the director of our Cathedral Institute had to meet him since he sought ordination in the Diocese of Colombo.
This meeting with SP led to the Bishop’s Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) seeing him.
We discerned that SP had a sense of vocation.
It was our recommendation that he shall go to our ecumenical Theological College for formation. At that point SP wanted time to reflect on his life/vocation etc., this he was granted.
In the meantime, we had a new Bishop. SP was seen by him and the rest is SP’s story as a member of the ordained ministry, as a Non-Stipendiary Minister (NSM). By the time SP began his formal training as a NSM I had moved from the Cathedral. However, being one of the Examining Chaplains, I was invited by those responsible for activities to teach SP and his batch Liturgy and Worship. Looking back to those classes I wonder as to who taught whom and who learnt what and from whom. SP was a good student, very keen to learn and he brought to the class his life’s lay experience of being a faithful member of his parish church in Polwatte.
SP walked the talk for he certainly was a jewel in the crown of the area of Gospel and Culture. With his God-given gift of music he led worship in a very relevant manner. He had a good voice and led the Tamil chant beautifully. He also composed music, words etc.
Of the three in his batch, he was the only one who did the practical assignment I had set the class as part of Liturgy/Worship.
Despite his very responsible work at Senok and the need to take care of his wife, her mother and also his sisters, SP made time for Polwatte. SP never ever said ‘no’ to work. From Monday to Saturday morning it was at Senok. The weekend was for Polwatte. SP also took weekday services and Bible Studies.
SP was full of life. He always had a smile and a word for all those whom he met in church. By invitation I was part of the Polwatte Team for months in the 2006 - 2008 periods. SP was a great team man. He always appreciated something well done.
During those years at Polwatte, I suffered from depression and SP was a wonderful friend in need. He was always keen to make certain that I was happy in my cottage and that I had a good meal etc. I found it hard to accept SP’s illness. SP’s ordained ministry was only from 2006. But as a lay person he was a servant of God in his home parish of Polwatte.
Since he was by profession an Accountant he was used by his church in this area too. He also served this church as a Youth Chaplain. SP was a good Pastor, a very keen student always willing to learn. He had his own inner life. On Sundays at Polwatte he was there long before the time of the Service to be still and know that there is a God. He was also proficient in all three languages.
SP I am sure that when you slipped into that deep sleep never to get up again you would have heard those words “Well done SP”.
Not only will Polwatte miss you. But all of us of the community of the Ordained also, for you were a very caring person.
Shirani and her mother and SP’s sisters will always be in our thoughts and prayers.
May your portion SP this day be in peace and the dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem!
May you rest in peace and rise in glory!

Sydney Knight

 

Motorists and pedestrians facing risk
The main tarmac road from Galle Road to the Katukurunda junction towards the Kalutara Wagoda general hospital is in a very bad state of disrepair and almost impassable due to the past deluges.
Motorists, ambulance drivers and pedestrians are facing risks daily and sometimes it leads to many accidents too.
The public wonder why the authorities concerned are insensitive, and turning a blind eye to this grave situation.

C M Kamburawala

 

 

 

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