In the light of triumph the mistakes of the past are often thrown in to the shadows to be forgotten. For Sri Lanka this bodes true, as the government continues to bathe in the “glory” of its defeat of the LTTE back in 2009. Four years have passed since Sri Lanka’s brutal and bloody civil war came to an aggressive end. At the time many rejoiced with the news, and expectations that after 26 years the country could reconcile. It now appears as though reconciliation is playing second fiddle to the growing political intrigue on all sides. Continue reading
Category Archives: democratic measures
The reactivation, of the Press Council Law and the government-proposed Code of Ethics for journalists have to be viewed with great suspicion for many reasons. Ethics is beyond the realm of legal codification. Ethics is about moral principles that govern a person or a group’s behaviour. While some philosophers suggested that it should exemplify justice and charity, and benefit the person and society, others later introduced the idea that ethics entrains one’s duty towards others and respect for others. The attempt to encourage better ethics or behaviour amongst journalists, while being laudable cannot become coercive. Attempts to legalise ethical systems have been made by religious orders from time to time the world over empowering clergy to become the ethical police. Such systems have universally failed. A Code of Ethics for the media imposed by a government will of necessity make the relevant government ministry the ethical police. The recent Island newspaper editorial made the point “There is no difference in our book, between politicians extolling the virtues of ethics and prostitutes pontificating on chastity.” Continue reading
S. Sivathasan in the Sunday Leader,13 May 2013
When the Jaffna Development Council started functioning a Minister who made frequent official visits to Jaffna was Hon. Gamini Dissanayake. His known closeness to the President lent some significance to the discussions he had with Mr. Nadarajah the Chairman of the Council. A warm rapport developed between the two. To the Chairman it opened a two-way communication connecting the District with the Centre. The Minister perhaps was not unaware of the political fall-out for the government, if things turned out well.
Quite a few meetings with the Minister were held in Colombo. The Chairman, the Government Agent Dr. Nesiah and the writer participated in these meetings. What were emphasized from the Council’s side were substantially larger funding and more devolved powers to utilize the finances effectively. The proposition struck a sensitive chord with the Minister and he took the initiative in arranging for a meeting with President J.R. Jayawardene one evening at his residence. It was in the latter part of 1982. The five of us took part in the discussions for over an hour. Development priorities with central funding were outlined by us. The Jaffna Lagoon Scheme and bridging the Mahadeva Causeway were among them. There was responsive interaction. Continue reading
Darshanie Ratnawalli courtesy of the Nation and the Colombo Telegraph, with the latter drawing a volatile discussion which readers may wish to view … SEE note below pertinent to that discussion
I am the legitimate issue of a woman who unabashedly claims to admire the Bodu Bala Sena. This affords me a critical perspective into the issue, without which everyone is floundering like headless chickens. There may be other people, whose mothers etc. harbor soft spots for the BBS. But because they are not me, they would either try to keep these mothers in the closet or, in contradistinction, empathize with these soft spots; whereas I…Well you shall see.
My mother represents the Sri Lankan equivalent of Middle America and, as such, the demographic bloc that makes or breaks any movement dependent on mass support for its success. In Middle America (SL), one becomes a Buddhist by being a stakeholder of the Buddha Sāsana (deliberately called henceforth, the Buddhist Church of Lanka) and by emotionally aligning oneself with the age-old mission of fostering this Sāsana on this soil for the allocated five thousand years. Once one has fulfilled this basic requirement adherence to Buddhism proper becomes peripheral and is largely left to personal discretion. Continue reading
The Bodu-Bala Sena (BBS) is a political movement crystallizing mainly around Sinhala-Buddhist advocates of strong anti-Islamism. The knee-jerk reaction of opportunist political observers is to regard this as an example of a majoritarian populace behaving brutally, after having `caused Sinhala-Tamil terror’ by allegedly provoking the Tamils with ‘Sinhala-only’ discrimination. The BBS has also provided fodder for anti-government critics as well as the usual `I told you so’ liberals who believe that mass movements can be corrected by a little bit of sermonizing by `good monks’ holding vigils around the Lipton circus. Continue reading
Kusal Perera, in The Hindu with different title: “Martyrdom does not help Sri Lanka’s Tamils”
I read with much sorrow that Vikram, 30, set himself on fire and died in a hospital. He was the second such victim of the new campaign in Tamil Nadu for Eelam. The first was Mani, 41, from Cuddalore who set himself ablaze on March 4. Mani and Vikram will be remembered only when the numbers have to be counted if there is another self-immolation. But wait, where do they want this Eelam established and for whom? The separate State cannot be for Tamil Nadu. It cannot be for anybody there, nor for those students who are fasting and agitating.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) raised a separatist demand for a “Dravida Nadu” many decades ago, but had to give up its call as, after the creation of linguistic States, there were no takers for Dravidian separatism. In 1963, the DMK officially dropped its demand. Murasoli Maran had said, “I am Tamil first, but I am also an Indian. Both can exist together, provided there is space for cultural nationalism.” A leading theoretician in the DMK, Era Sezhiyan, had said it was more practical to demand a higher degree of autonomy for Tamil Nadu, instead of a separate State. Continue reading
Jared Owens, in The Australian, 16 March 2013
THREE-quarters of boatpeople who appeal their failed asylum claims to the Refugee Review Tribunal are rewarded with permanent residency in Australia. As the Opposition affirmed a pledge to prevent maritime arrivals detained in Australia from seeking independent review of their cases, figures obtained exclusively by The Australian indicate the tribunal has overturned 503 departmental decisions to refuse refugee visas to boatpeople from a total of 676 cases heard since July last year. Those refugees will join more than 3200 other boat arrivals whose negative refugee assessments have been overturned on appeal since Labor introduced an independent review system in 2008.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the figures made “a mockery of the initial assessment of asylum claims” by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. “These latest figures have confirmed that under Labor’s appeals process a ‘no’ almost always turns into a ‘yes’ and the prize of permanent residence for people who arrive illegally by boat,” he said. “Even if they get a no they can just keep appealing.” Continue reading