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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.

 

Ban faith healing to save lives

A friend of mine from America sent me a paper cutting titled “House: No Faith Healing Defence for Murder” appearing in a Northwest Mail Tribune of March 11, 2011, where it says, “SALEM – Frustrated with repeated deaths of children whose parents belong to a small Oregan Church, the State House on Thursday voted unanimously to remove future healing as a legal defence for murder”.
In our country – Sri Lanka – there had been cases reported of such prayer meetings and patients have died without medical treatment. We also read frequently in the press of faith healing meetings being held openly without any legal recognition or the law turning a blind eye. My friend in his letter to me says, if there is no adequate legal provision, the government should earnestly pass such laws to protect and save innocent children dying without medical attention.
Interestingly, it should also be mentioned that Pope Benedict XV1 too has condemned such miraculous healings by prayer in an article which appeared in The Telegraph Group London of 14.01.2009 and has said to investigate the person’s level of education, financial standing and whether these so called ‘Faith Healers’ suffer from conditions of hysterical or hallucinatory character or from delusion of leadership.
It is hoped the Bar Association of Sri Lanka will earnestly pursue action to have laws passed, if not already in existence and bring to book such offenders without making innocent children and ignorant people to be misled to believe in Faith Cure.
G A D Sirimal

 

Devolution opens the door to separation

“Lanka should forge ahead as a single united Country.” This was what the President said addressing those at the opening ceremony of the Sambudda Janthi Mandhiraya at Thunmulla, Colombo 5. “Theravada Buddhism taught us to move forward as a Nation on the path of kindness, tolerance, humanity, equality and harmony as the greatest gift we can bestow upon the world. In Sri Lanka, there is freedom to observe any religion. From ancient times our kings treated other races with respect. In Sri Lanka, communities must respect each other and live in harmony. We Sri Lankans have always respected humanity: We have acted with compassion, kindness and gratitude,” he further said.
That is what Buddhism has bestowed on this little island in the Indian Ocean. Originating in Nepal its tenets wafted down to lodge in Sri Lanka. Prince Siddhartha, son of king Shudhodhana and queen Mahamaya, like other men married Princess Yashodara who bore a son, Rahul. Despite it, in solitude he went into prolonged contemplative moodiness, then on a full moon night he slipped out, gazed at his sleeping wife and baby son, he called for his chariot and raced towards the Anupriya forest. On reaching the forest he got off.
Chandak, the chariot driver was horrified on seeing Siddhartha take off his princely clothes and jewellery. He handed them to Chandak requesting him to return to the palace. He was shocked to see Siddhartha speak to him with folded hands, “Brother! I am renouncing all worldly relationships, return. God bless you.” With that commenced the saga. The Buddhist romance will spell out the advancing culture of Lanka inspired by God, but a down to earth pragmatic philosophy, embracing all aspects of human life. The appeal of the philosophy to humanity, its humanitarianism, so appealed to the human psyche that searched for spiritual meaning in human life, that it spread from Nepal to China, Korea, Japan, but took root in Sri Lanka. Despite the fervent attempts of the conquistadors from Europe though armed with sword and shield, the egalitarian lifestyle and simplicity of the Sinhala Buddhist fought back refusing to submit.
With the island placed strategically on the trading routes, with near half the world’s container traffic passing through, giving it the potential to impede and control trade in the Indian Ocean West Europe is concerned and its political stability is being tested by advocating a ‘Political Solution’ that will embrace the Tamil habitations in the North and East. The hand of the Secretary General of the UN is visible. Dignitaries of the Church too have expressed their desire for a ‘political solution’.
However, some schemers have raided the home of the Chief Minister in the Eastern Province presumably to create bad blood with the Government which has withstood the onslaughts of those who wish to destabilise Sri Lanka using the Tamil as the petard, forgetting that Elara was the last of the conquistadors. The proposed talks on solutions, if they veer to separation as the final answer, should be discontinued, and a proposition made in Parliament for a Referendum. If such a proposition is approved by a 2/3 majority, arrangements may be made to call for a vote by those eligible to do so.
If successful, the Political Solution will be a democratic decision of the Nation. The attempt to stealthily smuggle in the divisionary needs of foreigners could thereby be averted. Devolution entails the grant of power to the devolved region, opening the door to separation, a foolhardy, imprudent act. The Sixth Amendment in the Constitution of 1978 rules out separation.
Only a Referendum, open to the Nation, could approve separation, as a democratic choice of the people not thought out and foreign codgers may venture to pressurise the Government, coerced by the Tamil Diaspora and moon gazers egged on by the TNA and dignitaries of the Church, as a backdoor introduction of the Eelam demand which may have materialised following the treacherous Cease Fire-Agreement of 2002, engineered by the warmongers in Norway. To fully comprehend Darusman and his accomplices refer up the John Kerry report to the US Senate a scoop of which appeared in a daily newspaper in 2009. Its perusal will be a cautious first step to avoid the mire.

I L P Samarasinghe

 

Retribution visited US for Iraq attack

The world was flabbergasted when ex President George Bush of the US declared war on Iraq, though unprovoked. There was no casus belli to destroy the Mesopotamian civilisation that continued in Iraq led by Saddam Hussein.
Iraq teetered on peaceably, but George Bush who oiled his industrial empire using mineral oil that gushed out from the soil in Iraq and the Middle-East decided that trading with a Moor, a godless infidel was unwelcome and prepared the ground for a military attack on hapless Iraq, by declaring that since God was on his side and he had information that Saddam had a store of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ he would unleash his Security Forces to bring Iraq to heel.
Despite Saddam’s protests and investigations by the UN and the absence of any weapons, he ordered war on Iraq, and his idling arms industry was activated. Victims of that onslaught still abound as beggars, while those taken prisoner are being utilised for scientific exploration and experimentation replacing guinea pigs. Some are in Guantanamo as prisoners who serve the sex need of the Yankee soldiers. Retribution visited the US for the attack on Iraq resulted in the twin towers in Washington being bombed on September 11 by pilots serving Islam commanded by Osama Bin Laden. Tit for tat.

Segu Mohamed

 

English Manuscript Competition winners not released

I am writing this letter with reference to the “Open English Manuscript Competition” to which entries were to be sent before April 15, 2010, to the Director of Cultural Affairs.
However, so far the results of this competition have not been released.
When I made inquiries, an official from the Cultural Affairs Ministry informed me that due to financial constrains, they are not in a position to publish the winning entries of this competition.
Incidentally, I have submitted my entry for the above mentioned competition, a collection of poems titled “The Crisis of Civilization.”
However, I came to know unofficially that my anthology has won the second place in the category of poetry from this competition.
Naturally, as expected I was very much disappointed, for finding a publisher for a manuscript of poetry is always going to be a difficult task.
Anyhow, I hope saner counsel will prevail and the results of this manuscript competition will be released without further delay, even if the Cultural Affairs Ministry cannot under take to publish the winning entries of this competition.
I here by humbly appeal to the Cultural Minister and as a last resort to the President to look into the affected writers’ grievances, for it has already become a nightmarish experience, as far as yours truly is concerned.
I am looking forward to witness a miracle in the form of a positive development, enabling to solve this crisis, which has affected many writers, whose manuscripts have the audacity to make the grade.
Ranjan Amarasinghe

 

Cricket

When the bowler sends the ball in the field
His line and length is accordingly placed
Each over, six balls delivered and faced
¬To face the ball the batter is then braced

The batter’s job is to face the bowling
Other side’s wish to see all wickets falling
This when done when playing the game kept in mind
Worth much more than a win or loss to find

Now when ‘out’ the batter has to go ‘in’
New batter is out ready for facing
When a wicket falls it’s time for the call
For a new batter to face the next ball

While the game is played scores seen on the board
Its second team’s turn when other has declared
Pleasing and satisfying the watching horde
When appealed, Umpires word is final word

Even Third Umpire’s verdict depicted
Time now for either team to take the lead
While batting and bowling is taking place
Enjoying by watching is the populace

Clarence Silva

 

Tribute to Murali

You were like a great worrier
When you went round the cricket grounds
Accompanying your dear friend Sanga
On the day you said good bye
To cricket and cricket lovers

You started as a small boy
At St Anthony’s College Kandy
You took a great interest in cricket
When you took Malini teacher
By her hand and practised
Throwing the cricket ball

You practised cricket under coaches
Sunil Fernando and Alfred Coorey
You became the schoolboy cricketer
Then joined the Tamil Union Cricket side

Your performances were outstanding
When you were placed in the National side
You had a great long carrier
With a lot of ups and downs
Yet, you never gave up
And became the world best bowler

Your soft-spoken and humble smile
Has taken you a long, long way
Murali – you are an example
To the whole nation and sports
To say Good Bye to the nation
With your unbroken record
That will exist for a long, long time
Congratulations and all the best
To our young lion Murali

Edward Wijeratna

 

APPRECIATIONS

Thank you for your ecumenical vision

The certainty of death has removed from our scene Fr Claver Perera of Blessed Memory.
Fr Claver left Peradeniya 50 years ago the year I joined what was used to be a very liberal and enlightened University. Therefore, I have known Fr Claver for 50 years.
During these 50 years, amongst other matters I remember two features.
When as the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Colombo I had to get a new organ for the Church. It was Fr Claver who bought the old organ. I had no hesitation in selling it to him because he was going to repair the organ and make music for the good of the people.
A mutual Peradeniya friend asked me to handle a funeral with Fr Claver.
Despite the differences between the Church of Rome and the Church of England that evening at the Jawatte cemetery both of us stood together to handle the funeral.
This spoke volumes for Fr Claver Perera’s ecumenical mind for which I will be eternally thankful to God.
In a divided Church and broken Sri Lanka, we will miss Fr Claver. When I went to St Mary’s Church Bambalapitiya to pay my last respects and participate at the Requiem Mass for his life at All Saints Borella and thereafter stood at Kanatte to say goodbye to Fr Claver I was thanking God for Fr Claver’s life and work.
That evening with the sky blue, the sun settling and the moon waxing with the St Mary’s and St Peter’s choirs in attendance we bade sad farewell to the only Peterite past student Rector of our times. Thank you for your ecumenical vision. May your soul rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen.
Sydney Knight

 

Twenty-third death anniversary of my father

Twenty-third death anniversary of my father

Cherished name ‘n fame from eighteen to ninety-three in field of education
Humane qualities, noble profession for seventy-five years worthy of emulation
Adorable legend in your time versatile in Latin,French, German, English, Mathematics ‘n more
Richmondite old under popular Rev. Small in Galle, never known a single foe.
Legacy of spirituality ‘ll never part from ten loving aching hearts.
Epitome of simplicity, brilliant talents, perfect fatherhood, encased in our hearts.
Significant milestone in life, performed seven stages in life indomitable character.

Esteemed personality, moulded, adorned popular figures many a generation
Disciplinarian, devout Buddhist countless benevolent acts sans lamentation
Monumental patience, unquestionable integrity, a guiding star indeed
Unending nostalgic varied memories, I recall how you helped the desperate in need.
Ninety-three fruitful years well past Biblical span.
Devoted to noble profession teaching, specific systematic plan.

Polymath inimitable, students scattered island-wide, vital personal matters had to undergo.
Reputed pedagogue at Ananda, Nalanda, Colombo, Trinity Kandy, Principal Kosgama Vidyalaya decades ago
Immense unwavering courage, lead pupils on proper path, veteran, teacher efficient.
Meritorious deeds countless at Mallikaramaya Dematagoda, dayaka prominent
Unflinching faith in Gautama Buddha, daily priority observances religious
Sorrowful departure, still I mourn, eldest daughter of a father so prestigious

‘Kumarasinghe’ fondly known to all irrespective of caste or creed.
Umpteenth times blessed ten of us individually, our decisions you agreed.
May whatever you wished for in Sansara genuinely be attained.
Amiable personage by virtue of pious deeds lifelong generously performed.
Regardless of rewards, in silence contributed for charity ineffable
Admirable sterling qualities, irreplaceable vacuum, journalist remarkable
Soaring tolerance in your divine heart for unity ‘n togetherness
Imprinted in the sands of time your lucid righteousness.
Numerous reminiscences on your twenty-third Death Anniversary calmly glide
Genius, linguist, walking Encyclopedia, you’re a living deity, our pride
Honourably honest, enriched students in the laborious long way
Exemplary calibre, without your succor they would have lost their heyday.

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

 

Mediate in Thai-Cambodian border dispute

I wonder how many readers noted that the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia is over a swathe of jungle containing the ruins of many Buddhist temples - of which Preah Vihar is but one. May I suggest to our President Rajapaksa to offer both warring countries Sri Lanka’s good offices to mediate the dispute. Both countries are Theravada Buddhist [with percentages much higher than ours].
Both became Buddhist [as did Laos] through the missions of pioneering Sinhala Bhikkus from Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is superbly qualified to offer a mediatory mission to both countries - who are almost sure to accept it. This mission could be composed of renowned scholars, recognised for S.E Asian Buddhist studies, such as Professors Rohanadheera and Hema Goonatilake, as well as a small military contingent led by well educated [and culturally sensitive] graduate officers. A few professors from Thailand and Cambodia should complete the team.
In all humility, I would suggest that such a proposal from our President, in this year of Sambuddha Jayanthi, will find acceptance in both these firmly Buddhist countries and will enhance his reputation as a peacemaker, in Asia and the world.

Tissa Devendra

 

Will Norway ever ban LTTE?
May be agitation to ban LTTE in Norway would never have crossed the minds of the Sri Lankan governments or any other worldwide anti-LTTE organisations as Norway has been the adopted home of LTTE. I may be wrong as I don’t remember seeing/reading any demand to ban LTTE in Norway though there were umpteen numbers of letters/articles written against Norway and Eric Solheim for their cordial relationship with the LTTE.

But it was taken for granted with Eric Solheim as a peace facilitator who has been appeasing LTTE from the very beginning, giving LTTE cadres military training, taking them around Norway’s military installations, providing them with sophisticated telecommunication equipment and millions of Krones to LTTE kitty and to TRO and other LTTE proxy fronts, there wouldn’t have been an iota of chance of LTTE being banned in Norway. Even during last days of the war, Eric Solheim, the Norwegian minister has been concurring with the UN officials (John Holmes and Nambiar) and KP to save LTTE and his Leader Prabhakaran and his family from being killed/captured by the Sri Lankan forces.
The latest is a Norwegian newspaper Afterposten alleging and revealing the involvement of the Norwegian embassy in Sri Lanka helping a group of 12 active LTTE cadres with air tickets, visas and escorting them to the airport to escape to Norway.

The SL Governments over the years were successful in getting LTTE banned in the USA, the UK, Canada, EU countries, India, Malaysia except Australia to date after numerous consultations, negotiations and requests, meeting rulers of the respective countries. Anti-LTTE organisations worldwide also played a major role in getting LTTE banned in these countries. Since Norway was the safest haven for the LTTE (and still is) and had the Norwegian Governments’ protection and patronage to LTTE, it would have thought that even requesting the ban of LTTE in Norway would be a fruitless effort.
Be that as it may, Perinpanayagam Sivaparan aka Nediyawan, the LTTE leader in Norway had a plain and safe sailing in that country as LTTE wasn’t a banned terrorist outfit in Norway until the Dutch Police wanted him for interrogation for possible funding of the LTTE from the Netherlands for some time and he is being interrogated in Oslo District Courts.

It is now interesting to note after a couple of decades in slumber, Chairman of the Defence and Security committee of the opposition Conservative Party Peter Gitmark has open the can of worms in Norway and according to BBC reports, he has expressed it was wrong to allow the Tigers to operate in Norway. He also alleged to have said that he hoped the Norwegian Police will also be able to interrogate Nediyawan and shed light on the LTTE activities within Norway. He has also alleged to have said: “I think it is not in the interest of the people of Sri Lanka for the LTTE to raise money in Norway and other places to renew its violent struggle against the government of Sri Lanka.”

Gitmark’s good intentions had come rather late as horse has already bolted from the stable but yet again it’s never too late as it was coming from a horse’s mouth. Gitmark should ask these questions from Eric Solheim who is a minister and closely associated with LTTE to throw more lights on his comments. Norway is one of the countries that nurtured the LTTE terrorists, turned a blind eye of LTTE’s illegal operations, fund raising, extortions, drug trafficking, procurement of arms and in other words who oiled the LTTE engine continuously.

However, though it’s too late as hundreds thousands of lives were lost, it is still not too late for MP Gitmark to fight the case until LTTE is banned as terrorist outfit in Norway. The LTTE remnants among the Tamil expatriates in Norway continue to raise funds for LTTE willingly and unwillingly, through extortions, drug and human cargo smuggling to continue until they achieve their “Eelam”. Of course, it will be a daydream only.
Gitmark needs Sri Lankan Government’s unstinted support in his endeavour to get Norway to ban the LTTE as a terrorist outfit by endorsing EU stand, so that their illegal activities within Norway could be monitored. But will Norway ever ban her adopted child LTTE?

Malin Abeyatunge

 

 

 

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