Letter to the Editor – Who is celebrating?
Posted on November 20th, 2010

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela.

Have you noticed how we,  the common man  and women, are being kept away from all the celebrations of the country? We have no participation in independence day, the presidents’ swearing in ceremony, the war hero’s celebrations etc. etc. We are not only  kept away, we are also prevented from going about our daily duty. The roads are closed, many offices and schools are closed and parking areas changed.

 Actually the swearing in ceremony of the incumbent President should be a joy for the whole country. After all, whether anyone voted for him  or not, he is the president for all. The whole country should have participated in the ceremony. Instead of the pomp and show off in front of a few officials it should have been a day the President is sworn in, in front of his subjects, the common man. Everyone should have been given a chance to witness  the ceremony and be a part of it. The schools, instead of being closed, should have been open and all students should have celebrated the function with kavun and kiribath.

Now what’s’ happening is like a wedding of a rich relative, the poor(read the citizen)  are condemned  to the indoors unable even to travel to his office or relative’s place.

Do you get the feeling we aren’t the first class citizens of this country? I do.

 By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai

11 Responses to “Letter to the Editor – Who is celebrating?”

  1. De Costa Says:

    Hey Woman,
    Before critizising Sri Lanka, we want to see you critize your Muslim country Saudi Arabia just once. You may be first class citizen in Saudi Arabia. Go there and get lost !

  2. cassandra Says:

    I am reminded of the story of the time when Nehru was visiting the USSR as a state guest. When he looked down from the balcony of his official residence on the street below he saw trams and buses jammed full of people. “Who are they?” he asked Kruschev. “Russia’s masters, the people”, he replied. Some hours later when Nehru looked out he saw a fleet of gleaming, black limousines driving by. “Who are they?” asked Nehru. And Kruschev replied proudly, “That’s us, the servants of the people”.

    Get the picture, Dr Reffai?

  3. Abdul Jaleel Says:

    The president of Sri Lanka deserves some commendations; The ending of decades of war alone is an achievement;
    Lot of leaders lost their lives in the name of liberation; Making safety arrangement is for the security reason;
    During the session the New York government closes couple of streets near the United Nations;Gone are the days of safty movement;It is our frustration make us to feel as a second class citizen;Give him a hand without any condemnation!

  4. Abdul Jaleel Says:

    The president of Sri Lanka deserves some commendation. The ending of decades of war alone is an achievement. It is the land where lot of leaders lost their lives in the name of liberation. Making safety arrangement is for the security reasons. During the session the New York government closes couple of streets near the United Nations.Gone are the days of safe and secure of people’s movement. It might be our frustration make us to feel as a second class citizen. Short comings shouldn’t be the base for condemnation.Give your president a hand who is promising to build a beautiful nation.. Abdul Jaleel , Brooklyn, N.Y.11235, U.S.A

  5. Abdul Jaleel Says:

    Abdul Jaleel Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 22nd, 2010 at 5:57 am

    The president of Sri Lanka deserves some commendation. The ending of decades of war alone is an achievement. It is the land where lot of leaders lost their lives in the name of liberation. Making safety arrangement is for the security reasons. During the session the New York government closes couple of streets near the United Nations.Gone are the days of safe and secure of people’s movement. It might be our frustration make us to feel as a second class citizen. Short comings shouldn’t be the base for condemnation.Give your president a hand who is promising to build a beautiful nation.. Abdul Jaleel , Brooklyn, N.Y.11235, U.S.A

  6. mjaya Says:

    Very nice! Your articles are textbook examples of pathos and melancholy.

    BTW better spend your time on something more useful like say writing an appeal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to spare the life of wrongfully accused Rizana Nawfeek. At least write an article on her, its an ABSOLUTE SHAME ON YOU IF YOU DO NOT!!

  7. Abdul Jaleel Says:

    An e-mail written by Riches is the answer to De Costa who blames Saudi Arabia:

    In 1982 I spent a hugely profitable year in a medical school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where my monthly salary exceeded my annual salary in the Colombo Medical School at that time. I taught the physiology of the nervous system to those Saudi boys (and yes, girls also by special permission) so enthusiastically that, based on their assessment of my teaching, the authorities offered to increase my salary about three times and a five year contract. This was way beyond my wildest dreams of avarice and the temptation to accept the offer was very great indeed. But I knew it would have broken my old mother’s heart if I did not return at the end of my sabbatical leave in 1982. So I returned home, trying hard to persuade myself that as Shakespeare said “poor and content is rich and rich enough”. The point I wish to make is that it was “Muslim money” that enabled me for the first time in my life to tell my wife to buy as many saris as she wanted and to give my daughter a sort of grand wedding at home. To Muslims, therefore, I have much to be grateful for.

    Muslims of Sri Lanka certainly live in consonance with the spirit of the quotations from the Quran MM Zuhair has cited. That is why I went so far as to say that Muslims in Sri Lanka can show the world the way to live in peace and harmony in the globalized world

  8. Nanda Says:

    Dear Dr Jaleel. We are indeed proud of you.
    The problem is there are other countries too. In those countries too , some employers reward clever people like you. Your problem is you go beyong being greatful. As a Muslim you do not have to thank “muslim countries”. You just thant your employer for treating you so well. What happens if your employer were Christian ? Do you still thank “Muslim contry ” or you than your employer ?Do you think others do not treat Muslims well ? This is the core problem why people cannot live in peace.

  9. cassandra Says:

    Abdul Jaleel,

    I read your last comment not merely with interest but also with a sense of ‘deja vu’ because what you have presented as purporting to be from “an email written by Riches” seemed vaguely familiar. And sure enough when I checked today, I find what you have quoted is identical to the concluding paragraphs of an article by Dr Carlo De Fonseka, headed “An Apology and explanation to an Offended Muslim”, that appeared in the Island newspaper of 18th November, which I had earlier read. Strange! How very strange!

    At any rate, I fail to see how what you have quoted answers De Costa’s comment, unless you are trying to show Saudi Arabia in better light than he clearly sees it in.

    I must also say that I find it difficult to understand Dr Fonseka’s own comments that it was “Muslim money” that enabled him to afford the good things he mentions. Given Dr Fonseka’s well publicised ‘rationalist’ credentials, these comments are the more puzzling. Surely, you cannot describe what he was paid as “Muslim money” any more than you could, describe British Pounds as “Anglican money” or Italian Lire as “Catholic money”. Dr Fonseka might have made some sense if he had called it ‘petro dollars” because that at least reflects a realistic connection – it is oil, not religion that is the source of the Middle East’s wealth. And, let’s face it. Dr Fonseka’s situation is hardly unique. The expatriate professional is paid what he is because his employer can afford it and he needs to pay that kind of money to secure the skills that he cannot otherwise obtain.

  10. TERRENCE DE SILVA Says:

    DEAR CASSANDRA – WITH DUE RESPECT TO DR. MRS. MAREENA RHAHA REFFAI MY LEARNED NEIGHBOUR IN S.L. HER COMMENTS ON THE GENERAL PUBLIC OF BEING SORT OF LEFT OUT OF THINGS UNDER A DEMOCRATIC GOVERMENT IN ITS CELEBRATIONS IS ONLY UNDERSTANDABLE, CITIZEN PERERA HAS BEEN TOTALLY DENIED ACCESS TO THESE PAGEANTS – AND IN REFERENCE TO DR. CARLO FONSEKA’S “MUSLIM MONEY” OR MORE APPROPRIATELY “PETRO-DOLLARS” WHICH DR. ABDUL JALEEL & TOO EARNED IN SAUDI ARABIA; THE CURRENCY NOT TAINTED BY ANY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS; UNLIKE THE BLOOD DIAMONDS OF CERTAIN COUNTRIES. IF NOT, I DOUBT VERY MUCH THAT DR. ABDUL JALEEL, WOULD DESPITE HIS PROMPT RETURN FROM KSA TO THE COUNTRY OF HIS BIRTH AFTER ONE YEAR’S SABBATICAL LEAVE; HAVE NOW OPTED FOR THE “YANKEE DOLLAR” INSTEAD, WHICH HAS PRINTED ON IT “IN GOD WE TRUST” IN BROOKLYN, N.Y. U.S.A. TRULY HAS IT BEEN WRITTEN “GIVE UNTO CEASAR WHAT IS CEASAR’S AND UNTO GOD WHAT IS GOD’S.

  11. Siri Says:

    I do not undestand what Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai of Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela is complaining about. I lived in Sri Lanka for forty two years of my life before emigrating to NY, USA. I never gave a second thought to not being invited for state festivities. There were some I was forced to attend as I had a part to play in the activities. Living in Dehiwala you should not have any traffic problems in your neighborhood or parking place. You appear more disgruntled with the government like Ranil W and looking for something to complain about. Has any average citizen on the street complained to you about not being invited. You should be adult enough to realize that state functions are always for a select few. I guess you are not in this category. I suggest you wait till Ranil W or SF becomes President and maybe then you will get an invitation. Be patient.

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