Who guards the guards?
Posted on May 3rd, 2018

Editorial Courtesy The Island

Simple as the aforesaid question may seem, on the face of it, there has been no clear-cut answer thereto. It has provoked philosophical discourse for centuries. The general consensus, however, is that guards have to guard themselves, for want of a better alternative. According to some philosophers, guards have to train their souls properly. But do guards really care to guard themselves?

Self-proclaimed guards have failed to guard themselves in many a field in this country. A female lawyer has recently made quite a stir and incurred the wrath of her seniors by refusing to ignore the elephant in the room. Sugandika Fernando is her name. A speech she made, at a public event, disclosing the sad state of affairs in the legal profession, the police and the judiciary, has riled some senior members of her profession. They think they are justified in having taken exception to her views. They are entitled to their opinion. But, we believe, she has struck a responsive chord with the ordinary people, who have serious reservations about the aforesaid institutions. One may even argue that she has made no revelations, at all, and only preached to the choir.

People are wary of criticising lawyers, the police and the judiciary in public, for obvious reasons. They are without any defence. They do not want to run the risk of being thrown behind bars for contempt of court or bastinadoed for criticising the police. They need someone who can stand up to the forces they fear, to speak for them. Sugandika has done so, in the public interest. We hope she will not be a victim of a witch hunt for doing that.

If institutions, public or private, are to be cleansed of rogues who bring them into disrepute, those who are concerned about their wellbeing must go beyond whistle-blowing, use megaphones and fight against the forces of evil. There is no other way. This is what some Hollywood actresses have done after suffering in silence for decades. Sexual predators had been a law unto themselves in Hollywood until a few moons ago, when a group of courageous female artistes decided to go public with their stories, which shook the world.

A movie mogul has got exposed for sexual harassment. More and more victims of sexual assault in the movie industry are plucking up the courage to break their silence and take on the sickos who have harmed them with impunity. Thanks to them, the whole world now knows Tinseltown for what it really is and the leading lights therein will have to do something drastic to make it a better place. This would not have happened if the victims of sexual assault had chosen to remain silent, for fear of reprisals.

Sugandika has embarked on a similar mission. She has claimed that some senior lawyers sexually harass their juniors and obtain sexual bribes from the wives of their clients. This is a very serious allegation which must be probed urgently. She deserves praise for having taken up this issue which has gone unaddressed.

Sugandika has made about 20 allegations, as a news report in this newspaper said yesterday. Only an impartial inquiry will help discover the truth or otherwise of her claims. But, we believe, her right to speak up must be defended.

It is said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Good men and women must be encouraged to fight against evil if it is to be defeated and those who stick their necks out for the sake of fellow citizens must be protected and commended.

Let all those who cherish the freedom of expression and abhor malpractices that plague vital institutions and professions be urged to join forces and defend the courageous men and women who speak out on matters of public concern.

2 Responses to “Who guards the guards?”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    What she did is great. But the timing is questionable!!!

    We have to find out the motive of her public stunt carried out all of a sudden after coming from overseas. Who is giving her the assurance of protection or a citizenship of a Western country for doing this??

    Her allegations will add to the reasons why the UN should push for Foreign Judges in Sri Lanka for the alleged war crimes trials.

    I can relate this to Pacha Champaka coming from Singapore and starting his “MEGA” stunt against MR.

  2. dingiri bandara Says:

    It is very sad state of affairs. There is too much corruption and dishonesty all over the world because the society itself is corrupt. Whether it is lawyers, doctors, judges,politicians , police officers, they all come fro the corrupt society as the rest of the people. One reason is extra greed for wealth or power or both. And also people do not live by the good basic teaching of the different religions and the the present day religious leaders most of who do it as paid job tell the followers to praise and worship god and then collect money. They do not tell or teach the people to live like good humans which God or Buddha would have wanted them to live. People today think of only going to heaven by worship and pray but do not realize that by living a good life will automatically will open the doors where ever they want go after death.
    I know what I have said above may not be considered politically correct but those are my thoughts.

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