Condemning Maoist brutalities over journalists

December 11th, 2013

By NJ Thakuria

Guwahati: Voice of protests against the brutal killing of a dedicated journalist of Chhattisgarh in central India by the Maoists is slowly increasing. After the protest demonstrations by the Chhattisgarh based journalists, various other media persons’ organizations of the country have joined in the chorus.

Recently two national journalist bodies namely Indian Federation of Working Journalists and Indian Journalists Union have issued statements against the assassination of Sai Reddy, who used to work for prominent Hindi newspaper Deshbandhu.

sai-reddy                                                                                                                                         Sai Reddy, who faced Maoist brutality on December 6 last.

Earlier, northeast India based scribe body Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expressed shock at the killing of Chhattisgarh based journalist, who was targeted by a group of Maoist activists on December 6, 2013. Reddy (51), a native of Basaguda village in Naxalite-hit Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh, was attacked by the group of goons with sharp weapons in the broad daylight, while he was returning from Basaguda weekly market. Reddy was sent to the Bijapur hospital, but the doctors declared him brought dead.

An active, honest and committed rural journalist used to receive warnings from the ultra Left outfits in their localities for few months. In fact, he was reportedly caught in the police (authority)-Maoist conflict as he was also suspected to be a Maoist sympathizer.

On the other hand, his articles irritated the Maoists as he was critical against their misdeeds. “We condemn the incident. This is the second killing of a journalist by Maoists in Bastar this year. In February, the killing of Nemichand Jain (43) had led to an outrage following which the Maoists had apologized,” a local newspaper of Chhattisgarh reported while quoting Bastar Patrakar Sangh.

Two more journalists of the State namely Sushil Pathak and Umesh Rajput were also slaughtered by miscreants before Nemichand Jain and Sai Reddy in the last three years. The Chhattisgarh government has hardly acted to resolve the cases and to punish the culprits involved behind the killings till today, added the report.

The JFA, in a statement issued by its president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, termed the killing of Sai Reddy as a cowardice act and demanded the Chhattisgarh police to take appropriate actions to book the killers under the law. “We also extend our supports to the agitating journalists of Chhattisgarh, who have demonstrated against the killing of journalists in the State,” said the JFA statement.

Comparing to the similar situation prevailing in Assam, where over 20 editor-journalist-correspondents have been killed by anti-social elements in the last two decades, the JFA argued that journalists must continue fighting for justice. “We in Assam have not won our battles against the perpetrators of these crimes, but we must not get demoralized and continue our fights for Justice for the victim families,” the scribe body asserted.

The intolerance grown by the Maoists in the recent past should also awaken the section of media persons, who remain sympathizers to the ultras, concluded the JFA statement adding that the incident may also remind the journalists of northeast India to maintain equidistance from both the men in uniform and the separatist ultras for their own security if not for the sack of impartial journalism.

Why The TNA Is Classified As Manipulative Albeit Blinkered Towards Realities That Stare Them In The Face !

December 10th, 2013

 LankaWeb Weekly Editorial,

December 9th, 2013

This surely is  proof that The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) classified in the eyes of many discerning analysts as none but a group of pseudo politicians whose modus operandi  today includes innuendo, denial of harsh realities based purely upon their action as supporters of the Tamil tigers openly supporting their actions during the insurgency and fronting for them at every given opportunity, provable with tangible evidence and a fact of life within Sri Lanka by a greater proportion of the nation’s populace regardless of ethnicity .
 
When today they accuse the Government of Sri Lanka as ” having links with the LTTE by supporting former rebels and giving them government positions, they are  craftily attempting to manipulate and create a situation that they assume will impact the world not realising that it is a ploy which will simply backfire on them.
 
However, to disillussion their objectives it needs to be emphasized while also educating them that the war over Tamil tiger terrorism was won to a greater part due to the roles of logistic information provided by the former rebels as well as their own consciousness of their infirmities who deserve acollades and have been justly rewarded by the Government for their collaboration which helped the Sri Lankan Armed Forces win an unprecedented victory over insurgents who threatened the Sovereignity and territorial integrity. A huge and unprecedented victory which probably impacts all of humanity.
 
This is not supporting the LTTE as  the blinkered TNA seem to be infering through their infertile and whimsical rhetoric but simply paying just rewards and recognition where it is due towards former rebel leaders who joined forces with the Government to make Sri Lanka a better and safer place for all ethnicities. Perhaps the Armed Forces too need greater rewards for the role they played in liberating Sri Lanka from terrorists if there are any misgivings about who deserved the best!
 
There has never been a more manipulative and duplicitous individual than TNA leader R. Sampanthan relative to the role the TNA played as LTTE supportives based on their actions and on many occassions have been caught unguarded yet has the nerve to attempt turning the tables on the Government based on their own actions through reverse psychology perhaps where they must think the administration and the people  of Sri Lanka are uninformed and ignorant of who the perpetrators of terrorism were and who really supported them, which is the furthest from the truth by way of accusations against the Government.
Tamil Nadu should make a significant note of this also, to allay the yappings of the likes of Karunanidhi, Jayalalith and Vaiko to name just a few who bark on the same likes as the TNA!!! 
 
It also needs to be mentioned that it is such actions that have greatly contributed towards what certain world powers and leaders mistakenly believe as culpabilities on the part of Sri Lanka towards their vast witch hunt and calls for accountability where the attrocities of the LTTE seem to be circumvented by far in the attempt to discredit a Sovereign Nation’s legitimate attempt towards self preservation where today all ethnicities including minority Tamils live side by side with the majority Sinhalese and the other ethnicities who make Sri Lanka their home. 
  
It really must take some brazenness on the part of TNA leader R. Sampanthan, speaking in Parliament, to insist that the TNA never supported the LTTE but merely looked to work with them to secure a political solution for the conflict while also thinking the Sri Lankan legislature must consist of  bunch of ‘gullible fools’ as opposed to learned professional legislators and adjudicators where the cap to the contrary fits perfectly on the TNA and needs to be further embellished as orchestrators of innuendo and blatant lies where the salient truth is indelible.

If the Government has chosen to take into its confidence the likes of former rebels such as Karuna, Pillayan, Devananda , Kumaran Pathmanathan and others who have pledged support with the GOSL
and are now directly working with the Government it is a cause for admiration not derision and perhaps the TNA needs to make an example of it towards pledging their allegiance in similar vein towards the well being and smooth functioning of Sri Lanka which at the present is still in the category of a pipe dream based on the TNA’s primary objective which many believe is the resurrection of Tamil Eelam which by itself is another pipe dream which will in all probabilities never be realised! .

Crimes and sins of the Englishman Paul Harris

December 10th, 2013

C. Wijeyawickrema

(After reading Shenali Waduge’s essay on how Paul Harris was treated by Ranil Wickremasinghe and G.L. Peiris, I thought of re- submitting this short essay on Paul Harris saga printed by the Daily Mirror sometime back).

The Tibetan priest S. Mahinda was honoured with a postage stamp. So was the American Olcott. Recently Arthur C. Clarke was given the same honour. I do not know whether Annie Besant was given such recognition by the Indian government. We did not do so to Rhys Davis for his service to Buddhism.

A human being has the potential of becoming a saint or a devil. People find it difficult to understand why the American Dianne Fossey, spent a life time trying to protect gorillas in Africa, or why the Canadian medical doctor Norman Bethune died fighting with the Chinese red army. A young Albanian geography teacher came to Calcutta helping people suffering with leprosy to become Mother Teresa. Simon Bolivar, who liberated several South American countries from Spanish colonialism left Venezuela in frustration. Our own Anagarika Dharmapala left Ceylon in disgust wowing never to return again and spent a long time in India until his death. These are examples of a rare phenomenon in the world scene -foreigners helping other countries, often risking one’s life.

Recently, some writers proposed a hypothesis that this was an attempt to get recognition not possible in the home country! If that is the reason Paul Harris does not need it. He is recognized all over the world as an expert in terrorist wars. Why is Paul hated by the UNF government, its alleged foul-mouthed ministers and by the Sunday Leader Editor? His skin is white and he is an Englishman, and he has first-hand field experience in the Tiger borderland. The only other person with such information in Sri Lanka now is the American Ambassador, who without doubt has field operators. The funny thing about this hate against Paul is that he is not telling anything knew. All those against the present fake-peace movement know what Paul is saying and have been writing almost daily about it.

Just like in the 1880s Olcott with his white skin came to help local brown people from the white skin colonial masters, PA and UNF politicians who worship white skin via foreign embassies cannot stand another white man exposing the peace game.

PA and UNF were so successful in preventing either talking or writing against the peace process by local Sinhala Buddhists, that Sri Lanka is left with a solitary Englishman to tell the true story. An Indian, a Tamil, Subramaian Swamy, recently wrote in the Hindu about how to destroy Tigers to prevent balkanization of India, without strengthening Sinhala chauvinists! This is what Sinhala Buddhists are called by the president, prime minister, former and present cabinet ministers, the Catholic Archbishop, all the NGOs and by Prabhakaran. No one could say Paul Harris is a Sinhala chauvinist. He is telling the objective truth as he sees and foresees it.

Paul Harris visited dozens of countries, but he has decided to live in Sri Lanka and he makes me feel guilty. I left my country of birth 22 years ago and found my country of choice. I became a naturalized American citizen. I left not Sri Lanka, but the corrupt politicians, a Colombo class, exploiting the rest. JRJ made it better than Sir John’s time for the rich and the powerful. When I write a newspaper article, with all the protection given to me by this great country, my wife of 31 years says, “do not get involved in politics, they will kill you when you visit (Sri Lanka) the next time.”

This is why I admire the courage and moral conviction of a person like Paul Harris. His courage and his truthfulness have become his sins and crimes. What I studied in political geography as an undergraduate at Peradeniya, in the 1960s is exactly what Paul Harris is now saying armed with his field experience. Since I am a Sinhala Buddhist what we say has no place in Sri Lankan power circles. I have decided not to waste time writing to English newspapers in Sri Lanka. In April 21, 1998, the Island newspaper carried a research paper that I wrote as a four-part series. In that essay titled “An Alternative to the ‘Devolution’ dilemma: Move the capital to Rajarata,” I have said all that Paul said plus more. This essay is available as a Lanka Academic collection on devolution proposals. We must move the capital towards Anuradhapura and have an international port in Vavuniya, whether we have a land bridge linking South India. This is the way to mix Tamil farmers and labourers with their Sinhala counterparts. With the Pacific Century coming into prominence we must develop Trincomalee as an alternate international harbour, just like during the Atlantic centuries, when the Suez Canal was opened, Galle was replaced by Colombo.

In my paper in 1998, I pointed out how the use of river water could become a point of dispute between the Tamil country and the Sinhala country, but I did not expect the Sinhala government surrendering land the way Ranil Wikremesinghe is doing. This is what Paul identified as the greatest give away in history. If the new country obtains chemical weapons or long range rockets the Sinhala country will be in big trouble because the Tamil country is long and widespread whereas the south is compact and surrounded. Tigers who are now taxing Colombo Tamil businessmen will one day tax the Kotte-Nawala people who think they are safe with their brick walls around their houses. When Tigers killed Jaffna Mayor Duraiappa or the CID officer Bastianpillai, nobody thought that they would end up killing Premadasa, Lalith or Gamini Dissanayake.

Reminding us of this is Paul’s sin and crime. I am sure that one day, a suffering Sinhala country in the south will issue a postage stamp to commemorate an Englishman called Paul Harris for sticking his neck out, acting like a Siri Sangabo in a cruel and dangerous country. I often wonder why Paul wants to live among such cruel politicians!

For empowerment, giving power to local people, for the devolution of power, we had a simple solution. We had a local government system coming from the 1870s, if the Colombo class wanted to strengthen them with economic power. The problem was local government ministers never allowed them to grow and become strong. If local governments become truly independent with real power given under constitutional provisions, then they could become members of a district-level District-Council. This will be the best devolution remedy. No provincial homelands but several Tamil dominated districts with significant power transfers from the centre. Such a system will not create fear in the Sinhala mind of possible South Indian influence.

But for about 100 or so families who have been ruining Sri Lanka since 1948, such a simple solution would not allow continuous exploitation of poor Sinhalese, poor Tamils and poor Muslims.

The speech given by Hon Sarath Weerasekera in Parliament on 3rd Dec

December 10th, 2013

Namo Buddhaya

Mr. Speaker,   In this  Committee Stage of the  Defence Budget let me first start by responding to some statements made by certain individuals, i.e,  Hon Sumandiram,the British Prime Minister David Camaroon, Hon Sambandan etc..

Hon Sumandiran , referring to the treacherous statement made by TNA MP Sreedharan, who said’ that Prabakaran was a hero, a freedom fighter and should be commemorated’, said in this Parliament that the people in a country which claimed to be civilized should have the freedom to commemorate the dead. He tried to insult my country through that sarcastic comment.

First of all I must say that Hon Sumandiran and other Members of TNA are now sitting in the Parliament and  enjoying all the facilities and privileges because we are a civilized nation. We all know that TNA was the proxy, the political wing of  the LTTE which we comprehensively defeated . In the world in similar circumstances, the corresponding political party also  vanished. When Hitler was defeated in Germany, his Nazi political party was eliminated. In Cambodia, when Pol Pot was killed, his political party was also destroyed. When Sadam Hussain was killed the Bath political party evaporated. When Mubarak was taken out of power, his political party was proscribed. But in my country, after we crushed the Tigers, we allowed you to survive and continue your politics, because we are a civilized nation; because our President is kind hearted and  please don’t take that kindness as assign of weakness.

Nations commemorate lives of civilized individuals for their contribution towards the upliftment, advancement of the mankind,/society. Prabakaran, the killer, committed the most heinous andevery possible crime against the mankind unprecedented in modern times. Mr. Speaker, in Terrorism there is no middle man, either you are a terrorist or not. -So only a terrorist can lobby or suggest to commemorate another dead terrorist.

Hon Sumandiran also said that they  the TNA will not participate in the Parliament Select Committee because there is no majority for them there. I must tell Hon Sumanthiran that we have invited them at least  for that, because we are civilized. In actual fact, we shouldn’t have. Because, as I said, TNA was the proxy of LTTE and we defeated it and after defeating the Tigers, if we are going to have discussions  with the TNA, it is like Sir Winston Churchill talking to the Nazis after the Second World War! It never happened so you be happy that at least you are invited to the Select Committee. You are giving lame excuses because you know very well that you will be thrashed out, as there, it is face to face talks and you won’t be able to prove any of your bogus theories.

I also must make a few comments on Hon. David Camaroon. When he landed here, he was accorded the same welcome/reception/respect as for the other Heads of States. But, he completely ignored it and his response to it was very rude. In here, he did not participate in any of the discussions of the CHOGM, but went to Jaffna and played cricket. He held a press conference here and allowed only the foreign journalists to ask questions and  did not allow any of the local media. He flouted the freedom of speech of our media men and had the audacity to go to UK and tell about the absence of media freedom in my country.

On the other hand Prince Charles who came here, conducted himself in a very regal manner,  very charm, gentle, always smiling, a real Officer and a Gentleman . He was in the Royal Navy and I am  really proud, because I was also in the Sri Lanka Navy for 35 years! Hon Camaroon failed to behave like that, it shows his upbringing and we can imagine how he was brought up and get a hint of the quality of the school he attended.

Mr. Camaroon should have known that when he visited here, he never came as David or Camaroon, but as the Prime Minister of Britain who represented the British people and the British government, the country which created the Commonwealth. He should have acted and said things to further the objectives/aims of the Common Wealth, but instead, he was catering for the parochial interests of his constituents back home. That was very unbecoming of a Prime Minister and in the process, he disgraced the British nation in general and Her Majesty the Queen in particular.

Mr. Camaroon says he wants a special investigation in to the human rights violations in our country during the war. I don’t think he has any moral right to say so. He should be reminded about the blatant human right violations they did, when we were under subjugation, 150 years ago. The British couldn’t defeat us and we the Sinhalese, defeated them comprehensively, in different locations as we were experts in Guerilla warfare. Then, they started to hit at our economy , they destroyed all our paddy fields, destroyed our tanks, destroyed our canals, our cattle and killed all the men aged between 18 to 35!! So Camaroon whose ancestors have done that  much, has no moral right to talk about the human right violations in my country and in actual fact, we can demand reparations, if not an apology from them. Also Mr. Camaroon should be aware that our country, which is predominantly Buddhist, for the past thousands of years, have protected not only the rights of Humans but also the rights of animals and birds as well.

Mr. Speaker , the war that we fought was a war against terrorism. Although terrorism is not yet defined in the UN for reasons unknown, in layman’s terms it is killing/massacring of innocents to achieve a political aim.  So whether the cause for terrorism is justifiable or not terrorism  cannot be justified. And terrorism is no more local or  regional, it is global and transnational. ‘ My terrorist today can be Camaroon’s terrorist tomorrow’. Therefore, there has to be a concise and concerted effort on the part of the International community to address this menace. But, when we addressed and  crushed it , instead of congratulating us, they try to find fault with us, with false allegations just for a handful of votes lying with the Tamil Diaspora.

Mr. Speaker , I don’t think there is any other army in the world who sacrificed their lives to protect the  civilians,   like our Army. More than 28,000 soldiers have died in the battle field and 25% of them would have been still living, if our valiant soldiers, both men and women were not concerned about civilian casualties. That was because we have a President, whose heart is filled with compassion and that was because we have a Defense Secretary, a kind hearted, benevolent war veteran.

It is true, a large amount of money is allocated for Defense. I think it is necessary to maintain peace. Mr. Jefferson, the US President has once said that “the price for liberty is eternal vigilance” So our military  should keep vigil all the time. Navy is our first line of defense and it has to be strengthened. We must buy surveillance ships, acquire sophisticated radars, multi sensor integrated systems, etc. Ours is the only navy in the world which faced suicide boats at sea, fought and won. Others navies can come here and learn from our Naval officers, how to fight suicide squads, the tactics we used, the strategies/formations we adopted .

Also Mr. Speaker, in the process, we lost so many navy men at sea and also lost many ships and crafts. You will be surprised that at the last stages of war we apprehended the entire family of Susei, the Sea Tiger Leader, in a dark night at sea. Susei was responsible for making hundreds of our naval wives widows and destruction of large number of naval craft. Only the Commander, the Secretary Defense and the President knew it. We could have easily destroyed them, but now they are among the Sinhalese living happily. That’s how we protected the human rights of Tamil civilians, even if they were close relatives of tiger leaders and that’s why we don’t take it seriously when Camaroons or  Mangala Samaraweeras talk about human right violations, during war because we have acted according to our consciousness.

The TNA wants army to withdraw from Jaffna. In Jaffna Mr. Speaker , there are 2 groups now. Those ex Tigers who were rehabilitated and released to the society, those who were sympathetic to LTTE and those were harassed / whose loved ones were taxed or axed by Terrorists. They are angry with each other. When we look back in history after the US civil war in 1865 the Union Army remained in the South for 13 years and after13 years when they left there were mayhem, massacres . Same thing can happen in Jaffna and TNA must think about it seriously as the majority in Jaffna think their lives are safe with army presence.

Strangers In A Strange Land: Sri Lankans In Staten Island

December 10th, 2013

By Palash Ghosh  Courtesy IBNTimes.com

December 09, 2013

South Asians form an important, and growing, portion of the United States’ increasingly kaleidoscopic population. Bewilderingly diverse, South Asians comprise Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalese, Afghans and others.

One of the most unique and obscure parts of this large diaspora comprise people who arrived from the fabled island of Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon). The largest community of Sri Lankans in the U.S. (and the second-biggest concentration in North America after Toronto) can be found in the unlikely neighborhood of Tompkinsville in the northeastern corner of the borough of Staten Island in New York City.

According to the Little Sri Lanka website, at least 5,000 Sri Lankans currently make their home in and around Tompkinsville — a neighborhood once made almost desolate by the construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in 1964. Like other South Asian immigrants of the late 1960s, the initial wave of Sri Lankans consisted of well-educated professionals, i.e., doctors, engineers, accountants, etc., owing to strict immigration policies. By the 1990s, Sri Lankans trickled into New York City in the wake of the end of deadly civil war that ravaged the island nation for more than 25 years. By this point, the pool of migrants had a more working-class character than in the late 1960s.

Over the past dozen years or so, the Sri Lankan population in Staten Island has increased by more than sixfold. Little Sri Lanka suggested that Tompkinsville attracted this particular migrant group largely due to its large supply of affordable property, its proximity to the job mecca of Manhattan (via the nearby Staten Island Ferry) and the tiny Sri Lankan community that already existed there previously.

In an article written by N.F.P. Fernandes that was published in City Limits Magazine in April 2000, the author spoke of a Sri Lankan accountant named Leslie Gunaratne who settled in Staten Island in 1967 with his family, likely making them the first Sri Lankans ever to make the borough their home. Gunaratne, Fernandes wrote, was “charmed” by Staten Island’s “slower rhythms” and “small-town” feel. “I simply fell in love with Staten Island,” Gunaratne said.

In just a few months, Gunaratne helped his five brothers, four sisters and their families move to the U.S., Fernandes wrote. By the time Gunaratne moved to Houston, Texas, in 1979, he estimated that about 80 percent of the approximately 500 Sri Lankans on Staten Island at that time “were connected to me by blood or marriage.”

Today, Tompkinsville (which also has large black, Mexican and Albanian Muslim communities) serves as a hub for New York’s Sri Lankans, featuring restaurants, shops, video stores, news-agents, a Buddhist temple and many grocery stores. “Staten Island is a name that’s known in big Sri Lankan cities,” Bante Kondanna, a temple priest, told Fernandes. “People know that if they run into trouble while visiting New York, they can come to Staten Island and find a Sri Lankan who will help them.” Of the nearly 500 Sri Lankans who arrived in New York legally between 1990 and 1994, almost one-fourth chose to move to Staten Island, according to the City Planning Department. (By contrast, a mere 1.5 percent of all immigrants to New York during that period said that they intended to settle in the borough.)

As a bizarre aside, Fernandes noted that a disproportionate number of Sri Lankans, like many poor immigrants before them, work at unpleasant, low-paying jobs that no one else is willing to do — in this case, toiling in the porn shops in and around Times Square in Manhattan. Fernandes said that the principal conflict within the Sri Lankan community does not necessarily arise from the remaining conflicts between Tamils and Sinhalese (the two ethnic groups who fought the brutal civil war in their shared homeland and now live side by side in Staten Island), but rather with some peoples’ distaste for their fellow expats who peddle porn. “Some professional Sri Lankans worry their community’s reputation will be sullied by the sex-store workers,” one Sri Lankan complained to Fernandes.

Given the socially conservative nature of Sri Lankan culture, few sex-shop workers admit how they earn their money. “They’re too embarrassed to even tell their families what they’re doing,” added the temple priest Kondanna. But at that time, despite then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s aggressive moves against the porn-shop industry, such dreary, low-paying jobs were one of the few positions available to desperate, poor immigrants, some of whom arrived in the U.S. illegally. During that period, Fernandes estimated that Sri Lankans also owned between 10 and 15 porn stores, or nearly 10 percent of the 140 to 150 such businesses operating in Times Square then.

Fernandes observed that some middle-class and upper- middle-class Sri Lankans who live in Staten Island often attend temple services in eastern Queens (a two-hour drive by car) to avoid socializing with their poorer peers, some of whom work in sex shops. “The [Sri Lankan] community doesn’t like what [the sex-shop workers] are doing,” said Leslie’s brother Hector Gunaratne, who arrived in Staten Island in 1973. “They give the community a bad name.” But poor Sri Lankans working in porn shops is qualitatively no different from the struggles of earlier immigrant groups who were forced to toil in difficult, unappealing jobs to survive — like the Italian ditch-diggers, Irish railway laborers or Chinese fruit peddlers from a century ago.

In addition, Fernandes wrote, “ultimately, the particular patterns of this Sri Lankan enclave are a reminder that the city’s ethnic neighborhoods aren’t endpoints. Instead, they are way-stations, defined largely by accidents of personal preference and history, where immigrants are transformed into Americans.”

Initially, most Sri Lankans arriving in Staten Island came from the Sinhalese ethnic group, which dominate their homeland. By the 1980s, minority Tamils joined the exodus to New York — but, any remaining ethnic tensions and hatred meant nothing 10,000 miles away in a strange land where everyone simply struggles to survive and, hopefully, prosper. Along Victory Boulevard, a key Sri Lankan thoroughfare in Staten Island, Sinhalese and Tamils live, shop, eat and work next to one another without rancor. “We’re in America to make money. Who’s got time to relive the problems at home?” a Tamil man named Mohan told Fernandes.

Neelika Jayawardane, an associate professor of English Literature at the State University of New York-Oswego, who was born in Sri Lanka (but grew up in Zambia, in southern Africa), told International Business Times that Sri Lankans exhibit tremendous sociability, friendliness and gregariousness. These qualities predominate in Staten Island, where Sri Lankan Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Christians mingle. While people may feel strongly about political events in Sri Lanka, these issues are not at the forefront of what the community here focuses on expressing publically. Partly, she states, that’s due to the higher percentage of Sinhala people in Staten Island, as compared to Toronto or London, cities to which many Sri Lankan Tamils immigrated as a direct result of the civil war. Tamil communities in those cities have staged organized political demonstrations to voice their concerns about the ways in which the state of Sri Lanka has waged war on Tamil civilians, especially in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. “As a result of a 27-year-long war, even people in a community as diverse as the Sri Lankans in Staten Island may feel animosity toward political and military leaders, but tend to maintain their views to the private sphere,” she added.

Jayawardane said that another reason animosities between ethnic groups are not as plainly expressed here, in the U.S., is because the political conditions in the homeland are not in evidence here. One’s ethnic group may have been increasingly marginalized in one’s home country, and the more dominant ethnic group may have benefitted — “but here, in the new country, those particular politics are absent, and your home country’s political rivals are not making decisions that affect your life in the same way.”

In fact, she adds, here, in the new country, both ethnic groups may be somewhat marginalized due to the racial politics in the U.S. “So people tend to band together more according to class, and aid each other through the vagaries of immigration, childcare, finding good schools and the like,” she said.

In April 2012, the Staten Island Advance reported on the local Sri Lankan community as it celebrated its New Year at the Cricket Field in Ocean Breeze. “This event, we are hosting because the Sri Lankan Association of New York’s motto is ‘togetherness,'” association President Vidura Jayasooriya told the Advance. “We want to promote Sri Lankan culture in New York, and we are focusing on younger kids.”

The article, describing children playing traditional Sri Lankan games and a cornucopia of Sri Lankan cuisine and sweets, depicts a community firmly established on American soil. “We have the largest Sri Lankan population outside of Sri Lanka on Staten Island,” said Sharmila Mohammed, an adviser to the College of Staten Island’s Sri Lankan Students Association. Even Dr. Palitha T. B. Kohona, the ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, attended the celebration. “May this event bring the community back together and make sure we can progress as a community in the future,” he said.

While Sri Lankans in Staten Island have no desire to replicate the ethnic divisions that have decimated their native land, they do not ignore some of the problems there. In the wake of the devastating tsunami that smashed into Sri Lanka in December 2004, the Tompkinsville enclave mobilized to help and sent cash, food, clothes, medicines and other relief supplies to their needy peers on the other side of the world. Some in Staten Island lost friends and family in the disaster.

Sri Lankans remain a largely invisible and overlooked ethnic minority community in the New York area — to most in the U.S., they are probably indistinguishable from other South Asians. Moreover, due to their small numbers, Sri Lankans have not entered into New York City politics in any meaningful way. Perhaps in the future, if the size of the Sri Lankan community grows, it will make its voice heard.

Robbing the victory of Sri Lanka’s Ranaviruwan through Commissions ” Latest Stratagems

December 9th, 2013

 Shenali D Waduge

When the country has allocated Rs.59million to send its delegation to Geneva in March 2013 to defend the country against mounting human rights allegations the simple question is why has it been so difficult to defend the country against terrorists ” banned by the very nations making the allegations? Why has it been difficult for official representatives to derive a strategy that clearly provides with documentary proof what LTTE did over 30 years (both at home and abroad) and what the Government has been doing post-war to uplift the lives of people in areas that the LTTE terrorists held owing in large measure to a bogus cease fire agreement that was heralded by some nations of the so called international community. Having said that a question every member of the general public is asking themselves is who is out to rob the victory sacrificed by Sri Lanka’s ranaviruwan for in their eyes the key people tasked to steer the foreign policy do not have the respect or reputation to be tasked with such a strategic and important role. The Government cannot afford to ignore these warnings in the light of mounting failures Sri Lanka is unnecessarily experiencing primarily as a result of inexperienced negotiators without courtroom experience and only academic qualifications with negotiating skills that equal appeasement tasked to decide Sri Lanka’s fate which due to their treacherous past will eventually decide the fate of the leaders of the country as well.

 Sajith Premadasa’s accusation ‘Government adopting a misguided and floundering foreign policy’

The accusation by UNP MP Sajith Premadasa on the Governments double speak policy is noteworthy in the context of trying to determine what Sri Lanka has done wrong to defend itself in Geneva and if for lack of defense the chosen option is to simply agree to launch Commissions simply to buy time and keep the accusers silent? Sajith Premadasa has accused the Foreign Minister of giving undertakings to the international community to investigate allegations of human rights violations and to address accountability issues on more than one occasion. Is this why the international community is now demanding answers? Sajith Premadasa is also accusing the foreign minister of signing joint communiqu©s with the UN Secretary General and even gone to the extent of pledging implementation of the 13th amendment plus and the public would also like to know who has given the Minister the mandate to speak of devolving power beyond what the Constitution provided. We ask this question specifically because as a devolutionist he is ideologically prone towards division as clearly revealed in his proposal for a Union of Regions and the manner in which he despite all his educational upbringing watched the implementation of the ceasefire agreement placing terrorists on par with a democratic state, government and armed forces while drafting new constitution omitting the place of Buddhism in an attempt to denationalize the majority populace. It was this same person who belittled the victory of our heroes for his response to the victory of the armed forces was given in philosophical terms that there were ‘no victors in war’ ” this is not what we expect of a person who is paid to defend the nation and enjoying foreign trips around the world at the expense of the tax payer. This is the same person whose Ministry website continues to totally ignore the injustices of the colonial rulers upon the majority populace by placing his personal ideology as that of the State “Reflecting on it, a fair verdict on British rule would be that while, like all alien regimes it had its drawbacks and limitations, especially in the economic and cultural areas, these were balanced, if not outweighed, by positive contributions on the political side which were primarily, the peace which the British regime brought”.

Much of the worries that the public of Sri Lanka share is because eventually whatever decisions are taken against Sri Lanka end up not affecting the leaders, the opposition or any others in power but the ordinary citizens and the brave ranaviruwo who will end up suffering no different to how the people of Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Libya and even Egypt.

 Sri Lanka needs experienced courtroom lawyers to defend the nation not academics

With each passing day as we near another Geneva session the people continue to wonder exactly what the strategy is and how prepared Sri Lanka is to take on the allegations which we are well aware are not without background reasons and have nothing to do with what happened during the war leave alone the last stages of the war. It is with this reality that it is time we realized that we cannot negotiate with the barrage of accusations unless we have people competent to take on the arguments with the legal experience nurtured from the floors of a courtroom ” we need legal luminaries who can argue cases and win them. Not grovel before our enemy who is accusing us without having evidence to substantiate claims of allegations. We need people like Mr. S L Gunasekera, Mr. Gomin Dayasri, Mr. Manohara de Silva to defend our cause for not only do they have the experience they are passionate and patriotic people worthy of taking up the challenge. People can be mesmerized by Oxbridge English but in Geneva we are not sending representatives to bring back marks scored for the quality of English spoken. What good has Oxbridge language been when Anton Balasingham managed to win every debate held over the present Foreign Minister ridiculing Sri Lanka’s defenses further leaving him to simply agree to everything that was being placed across the table.

We cannot afford to have people with one foot here and another foot there who are singing for their supper but not which the Government serves. There are plenty of human rights charlatans who would have been throwing dinner parties in celebration of the humiliation by Cameron for they are all surviving because of funds that keep them alive ” they have no patriotism towards the nation except to function to the dictates of their pay masters.

 The litmus test on allegiance to the nation and leader

The litmus test on the allegiance to the nation was tested during the CHOGM when British premier descended after meetings with Global Tamil forum leaders securing necessary backing for Conservative election campaign and ridiculed the country which was diplomatically unacceptable and unpardonable for any world leader.

Young lawyer Dharshan Weerasekera recently exposed the shoddy preparation of the foreign ministry in the manner it defended the allegations being made and readers of the article felt disappointed at the manner that we have failed and we continue to repeatedly fail despite the Defense Secretary and his Ministry doing magnanimous work throughout the nation in virtually all areas that Ministers, Ministries and officials have failed.

When Cameron embarrassed Sri Lanka as he did not a single official came out in defense of the country or its leader. They simply stood silent and did not utter a word in defense and the person who should have used his English which is his only qualification to remain in the portfolio has not uttered a word still.

It was left to the President with the English he knew to say that ‘people in glass houses should not throw stones’ while the Defense Secretary in his inimitable fashion said what he had to say and no foreign leader would dare mess around with the Defense Secretary because he has built a reputation for his no nonsense attitude and this is what we expect of the officials representing us at foreign forums. When they do not have a reputation or the reputation they have is appeasement it is why these foreign leaders and their representatives have managed to push various Commissions and stratagems indirectly meant to tie the noose round the leaders and ultimately bind the leaders legally and to crucify the country altogether. The people must realize that none of these Commissions are really to serve the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians or Muslims.

Why has it been difficult to say that Sri Lanka defeated Terrorists and not Tamils and question on what grounds Sri Lanka should adopt or design Reconciliation programs? In the same vein Sri Lanka should also prove how the Allies applied denazification and treated the German citizens equaling them all as Nazis and how many Germans were killed by Allied post-War policy. Sri Lanka should be able to showcase how Sri Lanka despite its debt ridden status taking USD3billion loans have uplifted the lives of the Tamils of the North. Why cant Sri Lanka demand proof of what grievances that only Tamils suffer from which are not shared by Sinhalese or Muslims? Why has it been difficult to argue that we do not need punitive or restitute justice and we just need to be allowed to manage post-conflict without busy body nations pocking their noses into internal affairs for they do not like other nations meddling with theirs?

Why has it been difficult for our officials to argue that it is totally immoral to be investigating a last phase when over 30 years the LTTE targeted and killed civilians ” the last phase was in a climate of war and the LTTE were not only given amnesty’s to give up arms and surrender but the LTTE went on to claim that all of those who were with them would die with them fighting for their cause. We should be quoting the legal provisions for when civilians lose their civilian status if they are involved in combat. There is enough of legal jargon to be used to defend the nation ” we want to know why it has not been used by those representing us?

Why have our representatives not given time to argue Sri Lanka’s case related

1.     Colonial Crimes ” for reconciliation must start with the invasion and forceful occupation of our nation, the crimes against humanity to our people, the animals and our land, the policies by colonial rulers that were to exterminate the majority populace, these historical injustices are yet to be rectified and why do they not constitute reconciliation norms? Why have the historical injustices to the Sinhala Buddhist never been addressed? why have the temple lands taken over by the Church between 1505 to 1948 being surveyed and historical and archeological sites of the Western province in particular taken into account? Why are the colonial crimes and reparation for centuries of oppression not included in the justice and reconciliation system?

2.     LLRC shortcomings ” The LLRC attempted to connect the 30 year conflict to the outcome of the 1956 language policy and chose to totally discount the views of the nationalists? Why have ALL the submissions of the nationalists been omitted and not even a mention or reference of the submissions made by them included in the final report. It is now time that ALL these submissions were published in book form to the public to reveal the extent of detail that LLRC has purposely omitted and strengthens the case that it does not carry the full view of the entire polity. Even with regard to language policy why has it been difficult to ask all citizens to learn Sinhala for that is the majority language ” why should everyone learn only Tamil? Do the English require that everyone learn Welsh? When Sinhalese is the official language is it not mandatory for everyone to know Sinhalese?

3.     LTTE cadres on trial ” it is also noteworthy that it is now time that the remaining LTTE cadres who have failed rehabilitation to be tried in court of law for their criminal acts against the Sri Lankan state and the people. We also need to continuously showcase the magnanimous gesture by the Sri Lankan President to offer a Presidential pardon to all the LTTE child soldiers ” all of whom are now leading normal lives with their families. No other country with child soldiers has treated children as victims as Sri Lanka has. These areas need to be showcased internationally by all missions and regularly the foreign missions must have a monthly agenda with the same topic to showcase to the public and officials of the nations they are serving in. This way there is public awareness built across the world at the same time.

4.     Demand ban on LTTE fronts operating overseas ” foreign governments must be made to realize it is through the illegally acquired money generated from their citizens that the LTTE fronts are operating ” the foreign missions must regularly showcase these illegal activities and make the general public of these nations aware so that they would ensure their Governments do something about investigating and take legal action against fundraising for terror.

5.     Grievances of ALL ” cannot exclude the Sinhalese and Muslims throughout the terror reign of the LTTE. This is a mistake the officials continue to make without publicly declaring that rights of Tamils cannot supersede the rights of Sinhalese and Muslims and they had suffered equally.

None of the campaigns that the Government has embarked on gets anywhere and gives the necessary dividends because they do not take place with passion and coherently with all missions steering these initiatives at the same time so that globally a shift of perception can be brought about. Isolated cases of interview success by officials leads nowhere near the end objective of defending the nation.

It is without a doubt that Sri Lanka’s victory over terrorism is envied by a lot of nations most of all those that had been propping up the LTTE over the years as well as those who had been living off the nations supporting LTTE and advancing regime change and ideological changes inside Sri Lanka which are taking shape subtly since the attention of the Government is kept fire fighting an assortment of cases which are now seeing a rise and well timed ahead of Geneva obviously to pressurize the Government on all fronts.

As for the warnings and advise given to the Government regarding the type of officials that it should trust with representing the country ” it comes from sources who are neither funded to say what they say or those trying to usurp the Government but those who are patriotic about the country, its people and most of all those who regard with the highest of respect the sacrifices made by the ranaviruwan towards freeing the nation of the menace of terrorism and LTTE terrorists. It is these credentials that must warrant the Government and leaders to take stock of the warnings and prepare our defense for Geneva 2014.


Sri Lanka’s threats to Journalists ” the Paul Harris episode

December 9th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

In November 2002, a writer and military analyst working in Sri Lanka between 1996 and 2002 as special correspondent for Jane’s Intelligence Review and the London Daily Telegraph was given 24 hours notice by the Ranil Wickremasinghe Government to leave the country. The reason for his cancelation of visa was that Paul Harris was critical of the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement and the LTTE. Two years later, LTTE leadership issued a death sentence on Paul Harris for his writings and speeches and he has been hunted by the LTTE death squads and was under protection of the British secret service shifting locations. Therefore we question the doublespeak of those currently spearheading media freedom and rights of journalists in the context of their treatment towards Paul Harris at the instructions of a terrorist outfit.

The headline of the 2002 Island editorial read as follows Much of the local and, particularly international, goodwill that has accrued to Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe has been because of his liberal attitude towards the media. Whereas the People’s Alliance under President Chandrika Kumaratunga became notorious for the harsh manner in which they treated the media, Mr. Wickremasinghe, even in the Opposition, was in touch with the media and pledged to liberalise media laws and dismantle certain institutions that were considered inimical to freedom of expression.’ The same editorial goes on to say that the action on Paul Harris would ‘smear’ his image. That is exactly what it did and all those associated with the action remain people with tarnished images.

Let us note that Paul Harris was one of the first to bring to the open loopholes in the Cease Fire Agreement bringing to light the manner LTTE would maneuver itself. Harris also accused the Wickremasinghe Government of ‘inaction’ for the ‘greatest give-away in history’. So the Ranil Wickremasinghe Government that now talks of media freedom and journalist rights at the instructions of the LTTE and Anton Balasingham declared Harris a ‘threat to national security’ and Harris was asked to leave the country. The present foreign minister then justice minister simply sat silent. He ‘unwittingly became the most effective propagandist for the LTTE within country. ‘.http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/features/20031118presidential_intervention.htm

It was the same person who used ‘threat to national security’ as a reason to evict Paul Harris from Sri Lanka. http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items02/111102-4.html

Paul Harris technically addresses the LTTE Organization as “Committed Terrorists”. Rightfully he states that the LTTE terrorists approved themselves time and again to be “Unreformed and Brutal”.

The President’s office (Chandrika Kumaratunga) issued a statement on November 6 accusing the government of preventing freedom of the press. In part, it stated, “Freedom of expression and the right of dissent are bedrock requirements for a democratic and free society and this insidious silencing of an often lone voice against the conventional wisdom of the government is a serious erosion of media freedom and (a) set back for democracy in Sri Lanka.”

Some quotes from Paul Harris:

“I’ve seen the blood and miserly with my eyes which terrorists inflict on those people whose interests they often claim to represent. I don’t like what terrorists stand for and don’t like their methods; and I do believe that their very methods intrinsically, deny terrorists the capability of engaging in any meaningful peace process”.

“All the predictions I made ……are now becoming realities. They have become realities in the form of continuation of the war machinery and the use of civilians and school children to attack military camps.”

 “This is in stark contrast to the supine efforts of previous governments who flinched from taking on the LTTE which had, accordingly, been able to engender a myth of invulnerability. Only six or seven years ago, it appeared that Sri Lanka might be terminally divided: a fate which would have doomed this unique and wonderful country as a sovereign entity.’

 “The loss of any civilian life is a matter for profound regret and, inevitably, many innocents will be victims of this final round of the conflict. However, we must not forget the tens f thousands of civilians who have already died in a war that has gone on far too long. The end of this war and the extermination of a longstanding terrorist threat must now be the priority. It is disingenuous of the British and US governments, supposedly dedicated to the worldwide war on terror, to call for a ceasefire at this vital final stage in the conflict.”

 “Foreign journalists who have suddenly arrived in Sri Lanka at this late stage in a conflict that has gone on for decades are questioning on channels like the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera whether real peace can emerge from ‘the military solution’. In daily broadcasts they are claiming there is no other Tamil leadership except the LTTE. Such observations betray their limited understanding of the conflict. If there be no alternative leaders, it is because the LTTE has pursued a specific policy of the eradication of all Tamil politicians who did not adopt their creed of repression and lack of democratic choice. Some of the most brilliant members of the Tamil community have been cut down, men like Lakshman Kadirgamar, who I was privileged to know and work with, and countless others in Jaffna who bravely stood out against the brutality of the Tigers.”

 “I believe the enormously talented Tamil community of Sri Lanka is fully able to produce leaders of integrity and ability once one man is removed from the scene. I refer, of course, to Velupillai Prabhakaran, one of the most vicious terrorists the world has ever produced. Let us not forget, the LTTE is a one man band representing the views and aspirations of its brutal leader. The LTTE has never offered any sort of a future for the majority of Tamils.’

 ‘Hopefully, at an early date we shall see the capture or death of Velupillai Prabhakaran, who has inflicted so much misery on all the peoples of Sri Lanka. To claim him as the representative of the majority of Tamils is a travesty of reality.”

 “Whatever justification there might have been for the demand for “Eelam” has been completely removed by the depraved conduct of the Tiger leadership. Operating a rigid totalitarian system of which Stalin would have been proud, the Tigers have systematically hunted down and assassinated prominent Tamils who supported a united, multi-ethnic Sri Lanka. Well before al-Qaeda popularised the suicide bomb, this form of terrorism was pioneered by the Tigers, who have also made extensive use of child soldiers and of child suicide bombers. Prabhakaran is said to personally choose boys aged 14 to 16 for recruitment to the “Black Tigers” suicide bomb squads.”

 Paul Harris present at the first interview given by Prabakaran in Kilinochchi writing to the Telegraph says Prabhakaran said Sri Lanka’s Tamils, who are mostly Hindu, have cultural roots in India. “India is our fatherland,”  

 Paul Harris returned to Sri Lanka on the invitation of World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka and Sansadaya (Forum) to attend a conference and delivered a lecture on LTTE.

DELIGHTFULLY IMPERFECT is a book written by Paul Harris launched in 2007 giving a unique perspective on politics and conflict in Sri Lanka.

http://www.island.lk/2002/04/18/featur01.html

http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2006/6/7517_image_headline.html  (30minute video clip by Paul Harris on LTTE)

It was Paul Harris who first revealed that the GLPeiris-Ranil Wickremasinghe ‘peace’ arrangement with Prabakaran was the greatest give away in history! Peace cannot be achieved by giving a ‘piece’ of the country. Along the years so many others have voiced similar predictions about the representatives chosen to defend the nation and the ideologies they end up pushing into effect using their official status and the dangers such people are likely to cause. That these warnings have fallen on deaf ears is one of the key reasons why Sri Lanka has failed to build up a proper defense against baseless allegations that have been the source for humiliations. We do not expect the people who enjoy state luxuries at the expense of the tax payer to be silent when the country is being attacked and leave it to the President and the Defense Secretary to be the only 2 to come forward to respond to the attacks.

It is no better a time than now for the Government to take stock of all those who are tasked to defend the nation for it is their inabilities, incapabilities and lack of will that is primarily responsible for the current imbroglio and we continue to wonder why these same people are being kept to create further catastrophes.

 

 

විදුලිය ලබාදà·à¶¸à·š වැඩපිළිවෙල කඩිනම් කිරà·à¶¸à·š අරමුණෙන් නව විදුලි සබඳතා ලබාගැනà·à¶¸à·šà¶¯à· පැවති à·ƒà·à¶¸à·à·€à¶±à·Š ලිහිල් කිරà·à¶¸à¶§ රජය පියවර ගෙන ඇත.

December 9th, 2013

The Media TeamMinistry of Power & Energy

2014 දෙසැම්බර් මාසය වනවිට දිවයින පුරා සියළු නිවාස සඳහා විදුලිය ලබාදà·à¶¸à·š වැඩපිළිවෙලතවදුරටත් කඩිනම් කිරà·à¶¸à·š අරමුණෙන්,විදුලිය ලබාගැනà·à¶¸à·šà¶¯à· මෙතෙක් තිබූ ඇතැම් à·ƒà·à¶¸à·à·€à¶±à·Š ලිහිල් කිරà·à¶¸à¶§ රජය පියවර ගෙන ඇත.

 à¶’ අනුව ග්”à¶»à·à¶¸à·à¶º ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·šà· වෙත විදුලිය රැහැන් ඇදà·à¶¸à·šà¶¯à· නිවාස සංඛ්”à¶ºà·à·€ අදාල නොවන අතර මාර්ගය අවසානයේ නිවාසකිහිපයක් හෝ පවතින්නේ නම්, එම ස්ථානය දක්වාම විදුලි කණු සිටුවà·à¶¸ ලංකා විදුලිබල මණ්ඩලය විසින් සිදුකළ යුතුව ඇත.

 à¶¸à·™à¶­à·™à¶šà·Š ක්”à¶»à·’යාත්මක වූයේ විදුලිය රැගෙන යාමේද෠ප්”à¶»à¶°à·à¶± මාර්ගය දක්වා පමණක් කණු සිටුවà·à¶¸à¶º.එහෙත් මෙම ක්”à¶»à¶¸à·€à·šà¶¯à¶º සංශෝධනය කර, අදාල නිවාස අභියසට විදුලිය රැගෙන යාමට අවශ්”à¶º විදිවිධාන යොදන ලෙස අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමන්ගේ උපදෙස් ලබාද෠ඇතැයි විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය ප්”à¶»à¶šà·à· කරයි.එමෙන්ම විදුලියසම්බන්ධතාවය ලබාගැනà·à¶¸à·šà¶¯à· යම් මූල්”à¶ºà¶¸à¶º ගැටළුවක් පවතින්නේනම්,ඒ සඳහා රු.30,000 කණය මුදලක් ලබාදà·à¶¸à¶§ සැලසුම් කර ඇති අතර ආර්ථික සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶º බැසිල් රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමාගේ මගපෙන්වà·à¶¸ මත සමෘද්ධි ව්”à¶ºà·à¶´à·à¶»à¶º යටතේ මෙම ණය මුදල ලබාදà·à¶¸à¶§ පියවර ගෙන ඇති බව අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය වැඩිදුරටත් ප්”à¶»à¶šà·à· කරයි. තවද අදාල ණය මුදල වාරික හැටකින් ගෙවා නිම කිරà·à¶¸à¶§à¶¯ විදුලි පාරිභෝගිකයන්ට අවස්ථාව ලබාද෠ඇත.

විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶ºà¶±à·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය මේ බව පැවසුවේ, රත්නපුර දිස්ත්”à¶»à·’ක්කයේ, කලවාන මැතිවරණ කොට්ඨාශයේ අයගම සහ කලවාන ප්”à¶»à·à¶¯à·šà·à·à¶º ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයන්හි මෙතෙක් විදුලිය පහසුකම් නොලැබූ ජනතාව වෙනුවෙන් ඉදිකල නව විදුලි යෝජනා ක්”à¶»à¶¸ සහ විදුලි දිගු කිහිපයක් ජනතා අයිතියට පත්කිරà·à¶¸à·š උත්සව අවස්ථාවට එක්වෙමිනි.

 à¶¸à·š යටතේ අයගම ප්”à¶»à·à¶¯à·šà·à·à¶º ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයේ පිඹුර බටහේන උඩකන්ද,පිඹුර ඉත්තගලහේන සහ කලවාන ප්”à¶»à·à¶¯à·šà·à·à¶º ලේකම් කොට්ඨාශයේ මà·à¶´à·à¶œà¶¸ කරුහේන,කොඩිප්පිලිකන්ද කටුතිඹියඹරාව,වැද්දාගල නැගෙනහිර කන්දවත්ත,පැලවත්ත ඉළුක්පොත සහ කජුගස්වත්ත යටන්තැන්න යන විදුලි යෝජනා ක්”à¶»à¶¸ සහ විදුලි දිගු ජනතා අයිතියට කැපවිය.මේ සඳහා වැයවූ මුදල රු.ලක්ෂ 200 ක් පමණ වෙතැයි ඇස්තමේන්තු කර තිබේ.මෙමගින් ආවරණිත පවුල් සංඛ්”à¶ºà·à·€ 300 ක් පමණ වේ.

 à¶¸à·™à·ƒà·š විදුලි පහසුකම් සැලසà·à¶¸ තුළින් අදාල ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·šà·à¶ºà¶±à·Šà·„à·’ වැසියන්ගේ ආර්ථික ශක්තිය වර්ධනය කරගැනà·à¶¸ සඳහා සුළු හා මධ්”à¶º පරිමාණ කර්මාන්ත ආරම්භ කිරà·à¶¸à·š හැකියාව ලැබෙන අතර එදිනෙදා ජන ජà·à·€à·’තයටද විශාල සහනයකි.

Meeting With Tamils in Toronto to Report on your Visit to Sri Lanka

December 9th, 2013

Ira de Silva London, Ontario

Hon. Deepak Obhrai

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign AffairsHouse of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario
 
Dear Sir:
 
 You have made a statement claiming the Government of Sri Lanka did not provide you with air transport to go to Jaffna. You repeated this at your meeting with the Tamils in Toronto on November 30. It is strange that Mr. J. Kenney on his return from Sri Lanka  “reported back” (his words, not mine) to these same Tamils. Now you are doing the same – your government seems to represent only a small group of Tamils, the very same people that funded terrorism in Sri Lanka. By your actions you demonstrate that, in your view, it is a “core value” of democracy Canadian style to discriminate against the Canadians who are non-LTTE supporters. It also confirms the premise that your government is acting on behalf of and are beholden in some way to this small group of Tamils who supported and still support the LTTE. Do you consider it one of the core values you talk about?
 
During your meeting on November 30 with the Tamils who you hope will vote for your party and on behalf of whom you are criticising Sri Lanka, you repeat the claim that you were not given air transport. Could you confirm when and who made the request? Your Canadian mission in Colombo is silent when asked this question. In the interest of truth and transparency, which incidentally is also a core value, perhaps you could respond. You keep repeating about the value Canada places on these core values of the Commonwealth but are violating them by your questionable statements and actions.  Surely being honest and truthful  is paramount. In the interests of accountability and transparency, which are the catch phrases used by the west in criticising other countries, please provide the details to prove the accuracy of your account. Mr. Cameron was provided air transport because he asked for it. He had access to the ordinary people of Jaffna and his meetings were televised. You had access but chose not to publicise your meetings. Why did you not do as Mr. Cameron did?  Based on Mr. Cameron’s antics you fell far short in your efforts to appease the Tamil diaspora so this looks as if it is but an excuse for your dismal performance. It is a sad situation, but politicians can not be taken at their word and the current scandals regarding members of your party leave room for people to question your motives, statements  as well as your honesty.
 
On November 30, you again stated that you laid the wreath for all innocent victims who have been killed in the conflict. You repeat that it was all Sri Lankans . That was the message in English. I understand that of the three languages on the wreath, English is the only language you know, however if you take responsibility for laying that wreath why was it that you did not take a minute to ask what the messages were in Sinhala and Tamil? You did not acknowledge that the message in Sinhala and Tamil were different. As you were addressing a Tamil only audience why did you not state the message as it was in Tamil i.e., that it was for the minorities who died in the war and not lie about it being for all Sri Lankans?  This again indicates your dishonesty and a poor understanding of the core values you keep trotting out at every turn. Are you not aware that truth is a universal core value?  Your dishonesty has diminished Canada.
 
You state that you went to “Jaffna where a terrible civil war has taken place”.  Your ignorance and superficial knowledge and understanding of what took place in Sri Lanka once again is evident. For your information, it was not a “civil war”. It was a war against a terrorist group. It was not Jaffna where the war took place because the terrorists killed indiscriminately all over the island. Are you not aware that it is the duty of any responsible government to protect it’s citizens? When one person was killed in Canada by those called terrorists, martial law was declared and the army was on the streets. Sri Lanka’s war was a legitimate war against Tamil terrorists in Sri Lanka. Thousands were killed by Tamil terrorists,  not just one person. Unlike Canada, Sri Lankan forces did not go to other countries to fight against so-called terrorists as Canada is currently doing and in the process killing thousands of innocent civilians.  When do you plan to go to these countries and lay wreaths for these innocent civilians killed by Canada?   
 
You refer to Elephant Pas as a “neutral place” which merely emphasises your ignorance and subterfuge. Elephant Pass was the scene of heavy fighting between the LTTE terrorists and the Sri Lankan forces. There were three battles there. The most loss of life was in 2000,  when 758 Sri Lankan soldiers lost their lives and 349 went missing due to an attack by the LTTE.  This and previous “victories” by the LTTE were broadcast and celebrated by those you met in Toronto.  In Tamil it states that you were placing that wreath for the “minorities who died in the war” not all Sri Lankans so the Sinhalese majority is ignored and you are commiserating with the LTTE Tamils. This again illustrates that you discriminate against Sri Lankans who are not Tamil but have the dishonesty to talk of upholding “core values of the Commonwealth”. To keep stating that it is a “neutral place” indicates that you either do not know the meaning of the word neutral, or that you are being deliberately offensive and insulting to the Sinhalese. Do you regard being ignorant and offensive a core value?
 
That your actions and statements regarding Sri Lanka are a sop to your LTTE supporters in Canada is clearly evident. That they are supportive of your efforts on their behalf at the summit in Colombo is evident as they broadcast your interview of November 30 with them on their program Kalaapam on Channel 14.  You promise them that you will continue your campaign against Sri Lanka. I wish you luck in your party’s tussle with the Liberals and NDP for the votes of those who supported the LTTE in the Toronto area. Those Canadians who can see through your lies and dishonesty will have to do their best so that your party will not get elected at the next election.
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva
London, Ontario

Truth About Sri Lanka – An Open Letter to Rt Hon David Cameron MP Prime Minister of Britain

December 8th, 2013

Damitha Dharmasena

To Rt Hon David Cameron MP

Prime Minister of Britain

10, Downing Street

London SW1A 2AA

UK

Rt Hon Prime Minister,

While thanking you sincerely for attending the CHOGM summit in Colombo last week, I am bewildered by your hostility and arrogance towards the Sri Lankan State. I have to assume that you have taken the stand that you have, based on what you genuinely believe and not with malicious intent and a hidden agenda. With that assumption, as an average citizen of Sri Lanka who has lived in this Island Nation for all of my 48 years, and one who has no affiliation whatsoever with the Government, I would like to share with you what I know to be fact.

I will deal with 2 main issues that appear to irritate you (and many other international personalities).

(A) The atrocities that are said to have been committed by Government Forces during the last stages of the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers and the demand to investigate such incidents.

(B) Allegations of human rights violations against the Sri Lankan Government in the post war period.

Investigating the last stages of the war

Let’s not kid ourselves. War is brutal. This one was extremely vicious. We were fighting a group who took no prisoners, who deliberately targeted civilians (not only Sinhalese and Muslims but Tamils too) and whose strategic objective was to destroy as much life and property as possible. Though the enemy was cruel and evil, all Sri Lankans accept that Government Forces could not resort to the same tactics. And they didn’t. If the SL Forces didn’t take care to minimize civilian casualties, they could have finished off the Tigers many months before they eventually did. If so, thousands of soldiers who were killed during the last stages of the conflict would have been alive today and many thousands who were maimed would have their limbs intact today. We Sri Lankans know to what lengths the SL Forces had to go to save the lives of non-combatants and we know how many soldiers perished because

they were forced to get in to close combat rather than use the extensive fire power at their disposal. Having taken so many casualties to save Tamil civilians, it is exceedingly sad when people like yourself cannot comprehend the context and get misled after watching adulterated sensationalist material dished out by the likes of Channel 4.

So were there civilian casualties due to attacks by Government Forces? Of course there was. It is impossible to avoid collateral damage in the conditions that the SL Forces were forced to fight in. Any military man worth his salt would tell you that. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was not a conventional army. They were in uniform for their propaganda videos but would shed their battle fatigues and get in to civilian clothes in the battle field. It was to their advantage to claim that every combatant they lost was a civilian. The LTTE never disclosed what their actual numbers of armed and trained fighters were. There was no minimum or maximum age to be in their combat ranks. As long as a child was able to hold a gun and pull the trigger, he or she was a potential combatant.

When the LTTE was being encircled by the SL Army in the Killinochchi and Mullaitivu Districts, they withdrew towards the Eastern Coast and gradually got trapped in a small strip of land in an area called Vellamullivaikal. As they withdrew, willingly or unwillingly the civilian population moved with the LTTE. Even the Government didn’t really know how many people were actually there. It was in the LTTE’s interest to keep the civilians in their midst as they were their lifeline. Had the civilians not been with them to shield them, they would have been decimated with ease. But suddenly around 15th May 2009, a large human stream began pouring out of the area that they were caged in. The SL Army did not fire on these unarmed civilians who were crossing over to the area controlled by the Army. On the contrary, they were taken in to temporary shelters and provided food, water, clothing and medical treatment. There were several suicide bomb attacks even on fleeing civilians and their Army rescuers killing many from both groups making it a very dangerous task for the Army to help those who were crossing over to Government controlled areas to escape the fighting. It is a fact that the Army treated these civilians with care and compassion while risking their own lives in the process. Again, it is a travesty of justice that the army that saved these people from the iron grip of the LTTE and gave them a future, are now being accused of crimes that they did not commit.

What then was the actual number of civilian casualties among the Tamil population that stuck it out with the LTTE in the last months of the military offensive? We will never know the actual number. For one thing, as I explained before it was rather difficult to distinguish between a civilian and a hard core combatant. If I was to hazard a guess, the number is likely to be about 5,000. That is still a lot of people. But during the 28 years or so that the LTTE reined, there would be that many civilian deaths every year. It is now 4 years since the LTTE was obliterated and there have been zero deaths since May 19, 2009. Did the end justify the means? Absolutely. Do the math. At least 20,000 lives saved within this 4 year period.

A number as high as 40,000 civilian deaths in the last months of the conflict is being bandied about. This number has been picked up probably from the Darusman report. Darusman and his 2 colleagues compiled their report from submissions and claims made by various elements of

the Tamil Diaspora and people who claimed to be survivors from the war zone. They never set foot in Sri Lanka. They did their inquiry without any input from the SL Government, which chose not to recognize the exercise which was done without their agreement. The so called panel of experts have assumed that the submissions that they received were true even though they had no means to verify them and they have gone further by doing a weird extrapolation to arrive at the ridiculous figure of 40,000 civilian casualties in the last few months of the conflict. This is a highly inflated number which has no credibility whatsoever. But the anti Sri Lanka lobby has eagerly picked up this shocking figure and is using it with vigor. Any lie, when repeated often enough and when accepted by people of repute, then begins to sound like the truth.

Were there excesses by the SL Army? Probably. This is an unfortunate aspect of war. These soldiers are only human. They were facing a ruthless enemy who were killing and maiming their colleagues on a daily basis. Would they have read them their rights, shared their rations and protected them if they captured enemy combatants in a mud hole in the middle of nowhere, with gun fire and shell fire all around them? Probably not. But one thing is for certain. Unlike some other brutal conflicts around the world, both of the past and the present, SL Forces never resorted to summary execution, rape, torture or such gruesome tactics as a strategy/policy when engaging with the LTTE. SL Forces were well trained and disciplined with a conventional chain of command. I dare say they matched the ferocity of the LTTE in close combat but for the most part, they played by the rules. They are our heroes, the men and women who risked their lives to give us a future, and we will stand by them.

Time will heal the wounds of war. I interact very closely with a group of people who were trapped in Vellamulivaikkal during the last stages of the battle. Having experienced 4 years of a peaceful existence free from violence, the bitter memories are beginning to fade away. They are now more concerned about building their lives and improving their lot rather than reflecting on the agony of the war and reopening old wounds.

Then of course we have the agenda of those elements of the Tamil Diaspora which funded and backed the LTTE, hoping they will carve out a separate state for themselves at great cost to life and limb. They don’t want this issue to go away. Having lost the ground war, they want to keep the propaganda war alive and are hoping they can set up some kind of kangaroo court that will try the architects of the military victory over the LTTE. This is where people like yourself must rise above the rhetoric and the sensationalism and understand the real facts, not what the media and those with vested interests, feed you. Talk to Hon Tony Abbot, your counterpart in Australia. He is really smart and is able to filter out the distortion.

Is the SL Administration doing enough in the former conflict affected areas to heal the wounds of war? They are doing a remarkable amount of work. The reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation program of the Government in the North and East of Sri Lanka is extensive, all inclusive and sincere. I can vouch for this as the company I work for was convinced to undertake a USD 15 million investment which creates 2,300 direct jobs in the North. The Government should take due credit for this as they offered attractive tax

incentives and facilitated the whole process with the sole objective of developing the area and providing jobs.

But are they doing enough? We need to understand that the Tamil community who lived under the fascist rule of the LTTE for almost three decades, have sacrificed a great deal. Borrowing a line attributed to former US President Franklin D Roosevelt, they knew Prabakaran was a bastard but he was their bastard. Through all the suffering and misery, there was a hope of a promised land, a nation of their own, as the end game. A fiercely nationalistic community, they too probably believed ‘the end justified the means’. But with the military defeat of their ‘boys’ the dream came to an abrupt end. There is a generation of Tamil youth who grew up believing that they should be willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause. The endless stream of suicide bombers that Prabakaran was able to activate gives some indication of how powerful his influence was. To this brainwashed community, it will take another generation or two to forgive and forget. Perhaps they never will forgive and forget. Only time will tell. So the simple answer is that this community will be hard to satisfy, no matter how much effort goes in to the healing process.

Let us also not forget that the SL Government is not a ‘Sinhalese’ Government. It is a pluralistic government with no ethnic identity. There are many Tamils and Muslims within the Government ranks. By proportional representation, the Sinhalese which consist of 75% of the population have greater numbers in Government. But the minorities are well represented in Government. I believe the minorities are treated equally in Sri Lanka. Not preferentially, but equally. It is also a fact that more than 50% of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka live in the Southern part of the Island, perfectly integrated with the other communities that call Sri Lanka their home. It is grossly untrue that the Tamils are discriminated in any way in post war Sri Lanka. The problem is that a section of the Tamil community believes they are better off by having their own piece of real estate within this small island. That is very different to being discriminated against, within a united Sri Lanka.

Allegations of Human Rights Violations against the Sri Lankan Government in the post war period

Let us not confuse this issue with the first. The Rajapaksa Government has overwhelming support in Sri Lanka. They have their critics but they win elections, fair and square. If they go to the polls tomorrow, they will get over 60% of the popular vote. Since gaining independence from the British in 1948, Sri Lanka has always had democratically elected governments which have respected and abided by the constitution. In spite of the 28 year ethnic conflict and two leftist insurgencies in 1971 and 1988/89, governments have been elected only through the ballot. This is a proud record for this island nation of 20 million people.

So how does this government remain popular if there is widespread abuse of power and violation of people’s rights? Ironically, they derive their power from their popularity. They appeal to the common man. People respect this government for defeating terrorism, a feat which was seen to be impossible due to the bungling by previous administrations. Sri Lanka is

now one of the safest places on earth. People see the rapid development that is taking place after the end of the war and the benefits that accrue to the larger population from the robust economic growth. The development is not limited to urban areas, they are taking it to rural areas where the majority of our people live. There is political stability because the Government is strong and backed by the people they represent.

I do have my reservations about the way the Government has dealt with certain issues. But these reservations pale in to insignificance compared to all the good work that is being done. I see the cup as half full as opposed to half empty and I believe the majority of Sri Lankans share this view.

So Mr Prime Minister, average people in Sri Lanka like myself, find your almost savage attack on the Sri Lankan administration quite astonishing. I won’t even get in to the legitimacy of the Iraq invasion and the misery that has been caused to the people of Iraq by the actions of the US and British Governments. Going back in time, the colonial belligerence of Britain all over the world is well documented and Sri Lanka itself is a victim of it. We should be questioning you Sir, about centuries of war crimes right up to the present day, but we don’t. Please be decent enough to extend the same courtesy to us.

The LTTE was able to launch suicide attacks on soft targets in Colombo at will. I have lost several family and friends in terror attacks and in battle. Almost every person in Sri Lanka has been touched by the conflict. I don’t know what the actual statistics are but almost as many Sinhalese would have died and been disabled as Tamils. This was a senseless war that achieved nothing but caused untold misery and suffering. The whole world should be applauding the SL Government for ending this bitter chapter in Sri Lanka’s history. Instead we have people like yourself going on a witch hunt. This is the dichotomy that we lesser mortals cannot comprehend.

But Sir, you can help. Not by trying to rake the painful memories of a past we all want to forget. We are a country rising from the ashes of war and we need the support of the developed world to get back on our feet. As the colonial power which occupied our country for almost 150 years, and as many believe that the seeds of ethnic discord were sown by the British through their ‘divide and rule’ policies, Britain has a moral obligation to support Sri Lanka, not undermine it. There were real economic benefits that accrued to the lower income groups in the country through the GSP Plus preferential access to European markets, which was withdrawn by the EU in 2011. If you are genuine in your intent to help the country recover, you should try to restore the GSP Plus scheme for Sri Lanka which would directly help create jobs through export led growth. You can encourage British companies to invest in Sri Lanka. There are many who already have invested here of their own volition and are very pleased with their decision. Thankfully, we are no longer dependent on foreign aid to pay our bills but Britain can participate in rebuilding the destroyed infrastructure of the North as other genuine friends of Sri Lanka have done.

A note about the writer

My name is Damitha Dharmasena. I am Sinhalese by birth but have been brought up in a very pluralistic environment where ethnicity did not matter. Some of my closest friends are from the Tamil and Muslim communities. I have been educated and brought up in Sri Lanka. I hold a senior position in a leading private sector organization in Sri Lanka. I have two kids, now aged 18 and 14. During almost 3 decades of LTTE terrorism, I seriously considered emigrating from Sri Lanka for the sake of my kids. I somehow couldn’t get myself to make the move even though the safety of my family was always a concern.

I am a real person, not a fictitious front for the SL Government or anyone else. I can be contacted on damitha.dharmasena@gmail.com.

This is an open letter.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely

Damitha Dharmasena

6, Longdon Place

Colombo 7

Sri Lanka

18th November 2013

A Sustainable Economy by pursuing employment creation and income increases through import substitution

December 8th, 2013

By Garvin Karunaratne, Ph.D., former G.A. Matara

The warning given to Sri Lanka at the CHOGM by the British Premier tells me that the International Community wants to have a Regime Change. This can be said to be due to the fact that President Rajapaksa was firm and could not be moved to stop battling the LTTE in 2009. That also is indicative of the sinister motives of the SuperPowers. They  wanted to have an LTTE State in a portion of Sri Lanka.  Perhaps the manner in which  the LTTE diaspora is accepted with open arms by the Superpowers Canada, the USA   and the UK today indicates that the LTTE did have some sort of agreements with the International Superpowers.

 The attitude of Premier Cameron tells us that they are  yet having a colonial mentality. They yet want to control us, to structure our economies to contribute to their economies.  That is exactly what they did to all the countries in the Third World through the International Monetary Fund(IMF). The Structural Adjustment Programme is the method they used to pillage our foreign exchange and made our countries the markets to sell their manufactures. The IMF imposed a high interest policy (as high as 24%). This has caused the closure of all our manufacturers as our locals can never make things cheap and compete with manufacturers in those countries where the interest rate is only 2% or even less. Import duties were slashed or abolished. This Structural Adjustment Programme was imposed on us from 1977 and as a result we have become an indebted country where whatever income we have and all inflows of money are drained away to the Superpower countries to get imports from them

 For the future of our country we need a sustainable economy, where we can assure our own people of a fair income with which they can subsist. They have to become productive producing what the country needs. For this purpose we have to develop our production capacity to make what we need and to process the produce into consumable form. In this manner we can find employment and incomes for our people and this will also save our foreign exchange. We have to introduce controls to ensure that the foreign exchange we earn is used in the interests of the needs of the country and not allow it to be used for importing anything that the importers decide and  borrow at over 9% interest to meet this spending spree. Minister Tissa Vitharne has voiced himself that we should not import everything under the sun. I would add that we should become productive to make everything we need.  Since 1977 we have operated our economy on an import and consume basis. Instead we must have produce and consume as our motto. I have been advocating this in all my writings.

 In  reviewing my book, “Papers on the Economic Development of Sri Lanka,” Professor Chandra Dharmawardena  questioned whether the above strategy of building up our production would be feasible in these days of a non authoritarian administration.  In implementing the Divisional Development Councils Programme of 1971-1977 we were never authoritative,. We only guided community leaders to make the people productive. We only guided the youths to work on industries that brought them an income. We never ordered them; instead we worked with them. We administrators have learned the art of working with people. Some of us can even sell ice to the Eskimos.

 To my thinking there is no other way ahead. We have to muster our resources find out how things are made and get down to it. Before 1977 we did produce many items we needed. Thus if we hark back to those days we do have the expertise as well as the experience.

 Take Coffee. We produce the world’s best coffee. In my days in Kegalla where I served as Additional Government Agent  I have seen lush coffee plantations in the Kitulgala area. That is easily our coffee belt. Yet we import coffee and we import vast quantities of Nescafe.  Imported Nescafe is being sold everywhere, with small Nescafe vending machines and the earnings go abroad. The few coffee grinding companies- Harischandra, Island and a few others have never finalized the art of making instant coffee granules. It is my contention that we can easily  make coffee in instant granular form and stop the import of Nescafe.  It will not take long to find how to make instant coffee granules. This  will be a far easier task that our making crayons- the art of which was unearthed by my Planning Officer a chemistry graduate with no experience, aided by a few science teachers and a few graduate trainees, graduates who are now shunned on the basis that they cannot become productive. It was all achieved in a school science lab. (More later)

 Let us take chocolate . We produce the world’s best cocoa and export the raw product. This is snapped up by chocolate manufacturers in Switzerland, California, Europe and Britain.  We have a few manufacturers whose production is tasty and can stand comparison to reputed makes.  They require more technical guidance which the Government should provide.  It will be ideal for the Government to help the manufacturers to better their production.  More people should take up to making chocolates and the Government should guide them  further. Imports of chocolates should be entirely stopped.

 No less a person than Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, easily the Chief of the Dasa Maha Yodhayas we have today had once commented that we even import tamarind. Our tamarind trees are in full bearing but there is no plan to harvest and process it into Tamarind Paste. We fools allow the tamarind to rot under trees and import our needs!

 This story is true of many items. Take tomatoes. We produce tomatoes and there are areas like Hanguranketa and Kekirawa which can produce any amount.  When I worked in Nuwara Eliya I purchased a car  load of tomatoes from Hanguranketa and my entire house was turned into a cannery for one week working in evenings and one weekend and the sauce lasted a full year.  Now we allow the tomatoes to rot because it cannot be sold- we produce more than can be sold and then we import Heinz tomatoes sauce.  It is silly and also idiotic but that is how the IMF decided because it is on their advice that we privatized the Marketing Department Cannery  that produced tomatoe juice and tomatoe sauce. Their Plan was to close down our production so  that their manufactures can find a market.

 We then had the Marketing Department Cannery  I was working as an Assistant Commissioner in that Department. The Cannery enabled us to give floor prices for Red Pumpkin, Ash Pumpkin, where we purchased the total produce and made them into Golden Melon Jam and Silver Melon Jam.  Then on the IMF’s programme we privatized the Cannery and abolished the Marketing Department and we are no longer self sufficient in jam.  Red Pumpkin and Ash Pumpkin grows wild on chenas and imagine the money that poor village farmers made when the Marketing Department bought their entire production. Sadly we create employment for cannery workers in Australia and the USA! And the worst is our leaders either do not understand this fact or are frightened to decide to establish all those industries again.

 Then we had a developed brass foundry industry in Kelaniya and in  Pilimatalawa(Kandy). This industry was lost because of imports from China and India.  This can be easily resurrected.

Perhaps the manner in which small industries have sprung up in Marakesh in Morocco offers us ideas.  There hundreds of copper workers are at work and every tourist walks away with a lamp shade that is attractive. Sri Lanka can well do with a Craft Emporium where there are workers turning our small industry goods. Laksala is only a Sales Emporium. We should add workers making various items for sale to Laksala.

 We import  Chip Board, which is made with sawdust and timber shavings pressed with latex. We can easily make chip board. Today saw dust is even burnt. This is the base raw material for the chip board. All imports should be stopped and we should make chip board ourselves.

 I can go on for ever giving details of what we can do. Many economists will think that we cannot do what I preach. If you take a hard look at the experience these negative oriented economists have you will find that they have never done anything of that type like establishing a viable industry in their lives and therefore they do not know how it can be done. We have to get people with hands on experience at the helm.

 To convince anyone that doubts whether we can get down tp production, let me tell you the story of Coop Crayon- not a hypothetical story of fiction but something that we ourselves did  not long ago. It clearly illustrates what we can do- administrators and politicians working together. This happened in 1971 when the Sirimavo Government made a mad dash to create employment for the youth. I was one of the chief officers as I worked then as the Government Agent at Matara. We were ordered to create employment and a special budget was  created for us.  I asked for authority to make painting colour boxes, something we then imported but it was turned down by the Ministry of Plan Implementation. I asked for authority to develop the dairy industry and establish a cheese and butter creamery. All that was turned down. It came to a point where we had to go on making crafts and petty things like dresses and garments. To me that was a duplication of what the Small industries Department did and was doing successfully.  I had a team of enthusiastic officers at the kachcheri who wanted to something fantastic. We wanted to show the Ministry that we can do something worthwhile. It all began in a spare room in my Residency. We experimented to find the method of making crayons an item that we then imported.  The scientists in the team were Vetus Fernando my Planning Officer the chemistry graduate who had just passed out of the University of Colombo. He was aided by two science teachers. Then there were a few administrative officers who were encouraging the task and I guided them. When the basis equipment in my Residence was inadequate we asked for the services of the Rahula College science lab and the Principal the late Mr Ariyawamsa readily agreed.  We worked in that school lab after College closed and worked till midnight for around two months. We finalized the art of making crayons.. Once during that time Vetus Fernando went to his professors at the University of Colombo for help and advice. He  spent three days beseeching help and advice but the doors of the Chemistry Department with all their sophisticated equipment and the dons that had been even trained abroad were closed to him. He was chased away. Those are the erudite dons that now  prefer to walk and talk on the streets rather than to roll up their sleeves and establish an industry that will help the country.  He came back a broken man and narrated his tale of woe. But we were undeterred and continued burning the mid night oil till we finalized the art and made  crayons that could be easily compared with Crayola.

We made one silly mistake. We never applied and obtained a patent. Because we got into production quickly and the crayon industry was a paying concern we never thought that our industry would face a closure and that was our failing.

 I had to decide as to who would  make crayons. I decided that it should be done by one of the cooperatives and I could trust The Deniyaya Cooperatives because the President of the Cooperative Union Sumanapala Dahanayake, the Member of Parliament for Deniyaya was a maverick and someone who could be trusted with any difficult task. He was of the  dare devil type who would not take no for an answer. .  I showed him the crayons and he readily agreed to get down to manufacture and sell the product., I authorized the cooperative union to immediately purchase the equipment-pots, pans, cookers, tubes etc and the ingredients and to recruit youths and  the officers who had found the art of making crayons moved en masse to Kotapola where Sumanapala worked night and day making crayons. Vetus  controlled the quality. He was ably helped by Graduate Tranee Paliakkara and my District Land Officer the late Chandra Silva.

 I had not obtained authority from the Ministry of Plan Implementation for this. This was purposely so because they never approved any of my suggestions  to make painting colour boxes or making cheese and butter. So I was going it alone on my steam. In a few weeks Sumanapala manufactured crayons to fill two full rooms and we decided to start selling. We decided to do it in style. Sumanapala and I took a few samples and showed it to the Minister of Industries. T.B.Subasinghe who was really taken by surprise. He readily agreed to come and open up sales.  At the Opening Ceremony the industry came to function openly. It was a grand success and it became the best  and the most successful industry done during that period.

 Last year I bought some local crayons in Colombo and found that one even soiled one’s fingers and a desk and the floor had to be wiped clean. The Coop Crayon was of very high quality.

 When we established it we had to buy the dyes in the open market as the Ministry of Industries did not have a vote specifically to import ingredients for cooperative industries.  We were refused foreign exchange to import dyes  by the Ministry because we were doing it through a cooperative. We racked our brains and finally decided to get help from the Ministry of Imports.  Sumanapala and I approached the Controller of Imports, the late Harry Guneratne.  We showed  him that by allocating some foreign exchange for the import of dyes for Coop Craylon, he could make a large saving by stopping the imports of crayons. We did not have to argue for long; he had the brains to realize that we spoke sense. However he wanted us to get the approval of the Minister Illagaratne as this method had never been done earlier. Sumanapala and I went to the Ministry of Industries. Minister Illangaratne was taken aback to see the crayons we made and immediately approved the allocation of import funds for our industry. He also wanted us to establish a Coop Crayon in his electorate.

 From 1972 to 1977 that Coop Crayon did produce around a tenth of the country’s requirements.

 The industry was stopped by the UNP who wanted to abolish everything good done by the outgoing government. That is the fate that we have to face because we yet follow the party system of democracy. In nostalgia  my blood boils in me today the moment I spot a pack of crayola crayons on sale in Sri Lanka. I am taken over by thoughts of what we lost in employment and incomes as well as savings in foreign exchange.

  The details I have given of how we ourselves did produce items that we import today will convince anyone that we can even today set up industries and that the graduates of our universities and our science teachers can all get activised in the task of production. That will also save foreign exchange.  Making cheese and butter, making chip board, chocolates are all easier tasks than making crayons. We have a research and engineering institute called the Industrial Development Board which should be immediately decentralized to the Districts and put in charge of drafting industrial projects to make what we need and therby create employment and incomes for the people. In my days in 1971 the IDB sabotaged  development tasks assigned to them by me and I had to go it alone  to make crayons on our own.

 We had great politicians and administrators in the past who helped us in this task. My book:Papers on the Economic Development of Sri Lanka(Godages:2012)  was dedicated to those giants who helped the country then, those who are not with us. That was to Dr NM Perera, Minister of Finance, Minister of Industries  Mr TB Subasinghe and Sumanapala Dahanayake the Member of Parliament for Deniyaya. The two Ministers guided us while Sumanapala took charge of production, working day and night with the youths.

 It is upto our present leader- President Rajapaksa to find a paradigm for development where we can find employment and increased incomes for our own people and the past experience I have detailed may offer ideas as to how it can be achieved. Every Sri Lankan is indebted to him for delivering us out of the terrorist maniac Prabhakaran. We also look to him to make our country have a sustainable economy where our youths can become entrepreneurs instead of being menial workers in foreign countries. Moving with public sector workers even today I can vouch for the fact that the Grama Niladharis,  the graduates who have been just found employment, the Divisional Secretaries are eager to spring into action if the go ahead is given for a massive programme of import substitution.

 If  one requires a programme to offer further ideas  there is the Youth Self Employment Programme of Bangladesh, which I myself designed and established which is today the largest and most successful employment creation programme in the world. It has guided over two million youths to become self employed (by Feb 2011), a  target that has never been achieved ever. Bangladeshi administrators, lecturers of vocational training institutes and youth development workers were trained by me to work with the youths who received vocational training to motivate them to commence producing for sale and they were guided in selling their wares till they became commercially viable.  (Documented in my book: “How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka & Alternative Programs of Success”(Godages) The closest to this in Sri Lanka is the Divisional Development Councils Programme of 1971-73 where we create employment for  33,271  youths including part timers.(“Papers on the Economic Development of Sri Lanka”(Godages).

 Let us hope that our leaders will put their shoulder to the wheel and take immediate action. We have to have a strong economy to withstand attacks from the Camerons, the Navi Pillais, the USA and India. Either we take up the challenge or slump in defeat.

 Garvin Karunaratne, former G.A. Matara

9/12.2013

ISLAM RELIGION & EVERY BUDDHA’S NOBEL FOOT PRINT

December 8th, 2013

Shripal Nishshanka

Religion also shall be a constant with time. No matter what the belief or the faith is based on, it needs apprehension of conscience.

Simply, energy is an unseen product. Based on positive or negative energies which the substance accumulates, the resultant force or the final energy will gain momentum. Likewise simply, the last breath of a living being will carry the final power with its spirit according to the actions or Kamma (Pali) / Karma performed in life time, to another form in another world.

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) massacred thousands of worshippers in Mecca about 1500 years ago calling it a Jihad or Holy war. There had been 366 Hindu temples circling around the Gauthama Buddha’s Holy foot print in present Qabhah (the black box) in Mecca. A leap year has 366 days. Thousands of worshipers around the globe gathered daily to this place.

Every Muslim turns to the Buddhas Noble foot print direction from all over the world.

May Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana/Nirvana!

G-15 calls for fresh impetus for an early conclusion of the DDA with a “development”- oriented outcome

December 8th, 2013

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva

The G-15, a Summit level Group of 17 developing countries currently chaired by Sri Lanka, in Joint Statement  at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday (5 December), called for a fresh impetus for an early conclusion of the DDA with a “development”- oriented outcome and also emphasizes the importance of the accession to WTO by developing countries, particularly the LDCs.

Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen made this observation when he addressed the the 9th Ministerial held from 3 ” 6 December. The Conference was attended by all 159 Member countries of the WTO and a large number of think-tanks, donor agencies, NGOs and civil society groups.

The G-15, comprises 17 member States – Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Full statement is attached below.

Mr. Chairman,
Honourable Ministers,
Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries, comprising 17 member states1. The Group was established in 1989 on the firm belief that there is a growing interdependence and mutuality of interest among the community of nations for sustainable development. With the global economic and financial outlook in turmoil and growth prospects in developing countries under severe stress, the Group reaffirms the importance it attaches to the rules-based multi-lateral trading system.
2. At the outset, allow me to congratulate you Mr. Chairman, on your election, and to assure you our full support as we work together towards a successful Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC9).
3. The Group also wishes to welcome and congratulate the new Director-General of WTO, H.E. Mr. Roberto Azevªdo, who at a time played an important role in the Troika of the Group. We are confident that he will be able to provide a credible leadership at this critical juncture in the history of the multi-lateral trading system.
4. The Group emphasizes its call for a fresh impetus at MC9 for early conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda with a development-oriented outcome as in it lies much hope for developing countries for boosting their share of global trade and addressing the challenges of the multilateral trading system. The Group also recognizes and reiterates the need to enhance efficacy of Aid for Trade for
1 Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
2
improving trade competitiveness, capacity and better integration of developing countries into the international trading system.
5. The Group emphasizes the importance of facilitating accession to the WTO and calls for expediting the accession of developing countries and in particular, the LDCs, in a transparent manner and without any political impediment. The Group underscores that swift advancement in this regard would be critical in enhancing universality and inclusiveness of WTO and the multi-lateral trading system.
6. The Group welcomes increasing trade and investment flows among developing countries and stresses the importance of united and sustained international engagement in favour of a more equitable, inclusive and development oriented multi-lateral trading system.
7. The Group looks forward to an engaged participation in the post-Bali negotiations, with a view to concluding Doha Round as early as possible, with agreements on all elements of the agenda, and with a clear focus on development, as per our agreed vision when launching the round. Our work

අතිගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමණි, දකුණු අප්රිකාව තුලද෠තම අාරක්ෂාව සම්බන්ධව සැලකිලිමත් වෙන්න!

December 8th, 2013

චන්ද්”à¶»à·ƒà·šà¶± පණ්ඩිතගේ විසිනි

ජනාධිපති නෙල්සන් මැන්ඩෙලා මහතා තම දිවියෙන් සමුගත් බව අප දනිමු. මිනිසෙකු අවුරුදු 95ක් ජà·à·€à¶­à·Šà·€ සිට මියගිය විට අපට කණගාටුවක් හට නොගනà·. නමුත් මේ මිනිසා යනු අවුරුදු 95ක් වයස් ගතවූ අවුරුදු 68ක මනුෂසයෙකි. මේ මිනිසාගේ ජà·à·€à·’තයේ, ඉතාම වැදගත් අවධිය, බටහිර අධිරදවාදà·à¶±à·Š විසින්  à¶¸à¶»à· දමන ලදà·. ඕහුගේ තාරුණය මේ ආකාරයට මරා දැමූ බටහිර අධිරාජ්යවාදà·à¶±à·Š, ඔහුගේ සිරුර 1994ද෠දකුණු අප්රිකානු ජන සමාජයට මුදාහලහ. 

 
 à¶¸à·š අඩපන කරන ලද සිරුරට කල හැකිවූ සමාජ මෙහෙවර ඉතා අලප වූ අතර, අදත් මේ ජන සමාජය තුල වර්ගවාදය ඉතා බලවත්ව පවතà·. සුලුතරයේ බලය, එදා මුලු ලෝක සංවිධාන සියල්ලම අනුමත කරමින් රැක්ක අතර, මානව අයිවාසිකම හා යුධ අපරාධ සම්බනධව ලොකුවට කථා කරන, ජාත්යන්තර තලයේ සුපිරි ගණිකාවන්ගේ පුතුන් මුලු ගැන්ව෠නිදිවැද෠නෙල්සන් මැන්ඩෙලා මහතාව සිරගතකර සිටි අවුරුදු 27ම නොනැගිට෠සිටියහ.
 
සුලුතරයකට බහුතරයක් පාගාගෙන සිටිය හැක්කේ අශුද්ධ දේශයක පමණි. අසාධාරණයට ජයගත හැක්කේද අශුද්ධ දේශයක පමණි. මේ අශුද්ධ දේශයේ, කිසිදාක සාධාරණය ජය නොගන්නා බව අදහන අප, මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතා නෙල්සන් මැන්ඩෙලා මහතාගේ මරණයට සහභාගි à·€à·à¶¸ සදහා මේ යන ගමන අනුමත නොකරමු.
 
නමුත් අපට එය වැලක් විය නොහැක. අපට කල හැක්කේ, සියලුම දිව්යමය බලවේග වලින් එතුමාව අාරක්ෂා කරදෙන ලෙස ඉල්ලා සිතà·à¶¸à¶º.
 
එතුමාට මේ ගමන තුලද෠තෙරුවන් සරණ හා සියලු දෙවි දේවතාවුන්වහන්සේලාගේ රැකවරණය ලැබේවායි පතමු.!
 

සෑම නිවසකටම විදුලිය ලබාදà·à¶¸ මානව හිමිකමක් ලෙස ගෙන, එය රාජ්”à¶º ප්”à¶»à¶­à·’පත්තියක් කරගත් එකම නායකයා, අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමා පමණයි.

December 8th, 2013

 à·€à·’දුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි

 à·ƒà·‘ම නිවසකටම විදුලිය ලබාදà·à¶¸ මානව හිමිකමක් ලෙස සලකා එය රාජ්”à¶º ප්”à¶»à¶­à·’පත්තිය කරගත් එකම නායකයා,අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිඳුන් පමණක්ම බව විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය ප්”à¶»à¶šà·à· කරයි.

අමාත්”à¶ºà·€à¶»à·’ය පෙන්වා දෙන්නේ නගරයට පමණක් à·ƒà·à¶¸à·à·€à· තිබූ විදුලිය, ඈත ගම්දනව් කරා ගෙනයාම සඳහා, රාජ්”à¶º කේන්ද්”à¶»à¶º තුළ සුවිශේෂ෠වරප්”à¶»à·ƒà·à¶¯ රැසක් නිර්මාණය කරදà·à¶¸à¶§ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ ජනපතිඳුන්ට හැකිවූ බවයි.

 à·€à·’දුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශය, යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපුනතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශය ඒකාබද්ධව, දිවයින පුරා කාර්මික පුහුණු සමධ්”à¶ºà·ƒà·Šà¶®à·à¶± 18 ක් කේන්ද්”à¶» කරගනිමින් ආරම්භ කළ විදුලි කාර්මික පුහුණු පාඨමාලාවේ අභ්”à¶ºà·à·ƒà¶½à·à¶·à·à¶±à·Š සඳහා සහතිකපත් ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·à¶±à¶º කිරà·à¶¸ වෙනුවෙන්,2013.12.07 දින කොළඹ පදනම් ආයතනයේ පැවති උත්සව අවස්ථාවට සහභාග෠වෙමින්, අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය මේ බව පැවසුවාය.

මෙහිද෠කාර්මික පුහුණු මධ්”à¶ºà·ƒà·Šà¶®à·à¶±à·€à¶½ විදුලි කාර්මික වසරක පුහුණුව නිමකළ අභ්”à¶ºà·à·ƒà¶½à·à¶·à·à¶±à·Š 431 දෙනෙකු සඳහා සහතිකපත් ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·à¶±à¶º කෙරිණි. NVQ – 4 මට්ටමේ විදුලි කාර්මික පුහුණුව ලත් මෙම අභාසලාභà·à¶±à·Š පිරිස, ලංකා විදුලිබල මණ්ඩලයේ වසර තුනක ආධුනිකත්ව පුහුණුව සඳහා යොමු කෙරේ.

යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපුනතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶º ඩලස් අලහප්පෙරුම හා විදුලිබල හාබලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනියගේ ප්”à¶»à¶°à·à¶±à¶­à·Šà·€à¶ºà·™à¶±à·Š සහතිකපත් ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·à¶±à¶º සිදුකෙරිනි.

 à¶‹à¶­à·Šà·ƒà·€ සභාව ඇමතූ අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය කියා සිටියේ අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමන්ගේ මගපෙන්වà·à¶¸ මත වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්ෂේත්”à¶»à¶ºà·š ලබා ඇති ප්”à¶»à¶œà¶­à·’ය සමාජයේ විවිධ පාර්ශවයන් අතර කතාබහට ලක්ව෠ඇති බවයි.තාරුණ්”à¶ºà¶ºà·š  à¶…නාගතය වෙනුවෙන් තුන්කල් දකිනා නායකයෙකු ලෙස අතිගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමා ගෙන ඇති තà·à¶±à·Šà¶¯à·” තà·à¶»à¶« සම්බන්ධයෙන් සමාජ කතිකාවක් ඇතිකළ යුතු බව පෙන්වා දුන් නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය, ඉතිහාසයේ තාරුණ්”à¶ºà¶ºà¶§ වඩා අද දවසේ තාරුණයය වාසනාවන්ත ව෠ඇතැයිද කà·à·€à·à¶º.

 à·€à·à¶©à·’දුරටත් අදහස් දැක්වූ අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය…………………….

 “වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු අංශය ගත්තම පක්ෂ විපක්ෂ දෙකේම,පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේද෠මෙවර මහා ප්”à¶»à·ƒà·à¶¯à¶ºà¶§ ලක්වුණා. අතිගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමා මේ අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශය භාරව කටයුතු කළා.එතුමා තුන්කල් දකිනා නායකයෙක්.ඔබේ අනාගතය තව අවුරුදු කà·à¶´à¶ºà¶šà¶¯à· කොතනකද තියෙන්නේ කියන එක තà·à¶±à·Šà¶¯à·” කරන්න සැලැස්මක්, එතුමට තියෙනවා.විශේෂ දැක්මක් තියෙන නායකයෙක්,එදා වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්ෂේත්”à¶»à¶ºà·š ගත් ක්”à¶»à·’යාමාර්ග,එක්ක ඩලස් ඇමතිතුමා ඒ විෂය පිළිබඳව  තිබෙන පරිචය සමග,වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්ෂේත්”à¶»à¶º විශාල ඉදිරියකට ගෙනැවිත් තිබෙනවා.

 à¶¸à·™à·€à¶» අයවැයේදි ජනාධිපතිතුමාගේ වැය ශà·à¶»à·Šà·‚ය යටතේ කතාකරන විටසස දැක්කා,ජනාධිපතිතුමා යටතේ තබාගෙන තිබෙන ආයතන මොනවද කියලා. එකක් තමයි, ත්”à¶»à·› භාෂා පිළිබඳ  නිපුනතාවය 2021 ද෠සියයට සියයක් ගෙන ඒමට ජනාධිපතිතුමා ඒ සඳහා මුදල් වෙන්කරගෙන තිබෙනවා.

 à¶’ වගේම පරිගණක තාක්ෂණය,පරිගනක දැනුම මේ රටේ තරුණ තරුණියන්ට ලබාදà·à¶¸ සඳහා වන වැඩපිලිවෙලට ජනාධිපතිතුමාමුදල් වෙන්කරගෙන තිබෙනවා. ජනාධිපතිතුමා බලයට පත්වන විට මේ රටේ පරිගණක ශාක්ෂරතාවය තිබුණේ 4.5% යි. අද ඒ පරිගණක ශාක්ෂරතාවය  45% දක්වා ඉහළට රැගෙනවිත් තිබෙනවා.නැණසල හරහා පරිගණක දැනුම ප්”à¶»à¶ à¶½à·’ත කරන්න ජනාධිපතිතුමා විශාල වෙහෙසක් ගන්නවා.ප්”à¶»à·à¶ºà·à¶œà·’ක නායකයෙක් විදිහට එතුමා,පරිගණක දැනුම දෙන්න ඕනකියලා මහා ගොඩනැගිලි හැදුවේ නැහැ.මුරකාරයෝ දාලා,වෙනම නිලධාරà·à¶±à·Š දාලා, බිල්ඩින් හදලා නෙමෙයි එතුමා ඒ ගමන යන්නේ. ගමේ පන්සලේ හාමුදුරුවන්ට බාරදෙනවා නැණසල පටන් ගන්න. ගමේ පොදු  තැනක් ඒ සදහා යොදා ගන්නවා. අද නැණසල හරහා විශාල පරිගණක දැනුමක් දරුවන්ට ලැබ෠තිබෙනවා. ලෝකය ජයගන්න සිටින ඔබ, අතිගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමා දෙස, තෙවැනි ඇසකින් බැලිය යුතුයි. එතුමා තà·à¶»à¶« ගන්නේ  අනාගතය ගැන හිතලා.

එතුමා මට විදුලිබල අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශය බාර දෙනකොට කිව්වා,2014 දෙසැම්බර් වනවිට ලංකාවේ සෑම නිවසකටම විදුලිය දෙන්න ඕන කියලා.මම කිව්වා ජනාධිපතිතුමනි,ප්”à¶»à·à·Šà¶± තියෙනවා.සමහර පළාත්වල,ගම්මාන වල,අවසන් විදුලි කණුවේ ඉදලා කණු දසහයක්,දොළහක් දමන්න ඕන,නිවාස හතරකටපහකට විදුලිය දෙන්න.දැන් තියෙන ක්”à¶»à¶¸à·€à·šà¶¯à¶º තමයි, ගමට විදුලිය ගියහම, එතන ඉදලා නිවසකට විදුලිය ගන්න අමතර විදුලි කණු අවශ්”à¶ºà¶±à¶¸à·Š, ඒක ඒ නිවාස හිමියන් දරන්න ඕන කියලා.ජනාධිපතිතුමා කිව්වා ඒක වහාම වෙනස් කරන්න කියලා.ඒකත් විදුලිබල මණ්ඩලය හරහා කළයුතුයි කියලා එතුමා උපදෙස් දුන්නා.ඒ අනුව ගෙවල් දහයක් තිබුණත්, එකක් තිබුණත්, විදුලිය දෙන්න, කණු 4ක්,5ක් අවශ්”à¶ºà¶±à¶¸à·Š,ඒක විදුලිබල මණ්ඩලයෙන් කරන්න කියලා එතුමා උපදෙස් දà·à¶½à· තියෙනවා.

අපි ප්”à¶»à¶­à·’පත්තිමය විදිහට පිළිගන්නවා,සැමට විදුලිය දෙන එක මානව හිමිකමක් විදිහට.ඒ නිසා,ගේ à¶½à¶œà¶§ යනකම් විදුලිය රැගෙනයාමේ වගකà·à¶¸,විදුලිබල අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශයේ මගපෙන්වà·à¶¸ යටතේ විදුලිබල මණ්ඩලයට පවරන්න කියලා ජනාධිපතතුමා උපදෙස් දà·à¶½à· තියෙනවා.නිවස ලගට විදුලිය ගියත්,ඒ සම්බන්ධතාවය ගන්න .කාටහරි ප්”à¶»à·à·Šà¶±à¶ºà¶šà·Š තියෙනවානම්,ඒකට ණයක් දෙන්න වැඩපිළිවෙලක් තියෙනවා.ආර්ථික සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶º බැසිල් රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමා සමග අපි සාකච්ඡා කරලා.සමෘද්ධි ව්”à¶ºà·à¶´à·à¶»à¶ºà·™à¶±à·Š ණයක් දෙන්න පියවර ගෙන තිබෙනවා. ගමට විදුලිය ලැබෙනවිට, ඒ ගමට තිබෙන වටිනාකම ඉහළ යනවා. ඉඩමට තියෙන වටිනාකම ඉහළ යනවා. එදා නගරයට පමණක් à·ƒà·à¶¸à· වෙලා තිබුණ විදුලිය,ජනාධිපතිතුමන් යටතේ ගම්දනව් දක්වා විහිදිලා ගිහින්,සෑම නිවසකටම විදුලිය දෙන්න ඕන කියන එක,තමන්ගේ රාජ්”à¶º ප්”à¶»à¶­à·’පත්තියකරගත්ත නායකයෙකු යටතේ තමයි අද විදුලිබල අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශය මෙහෙයවන්නේ.

 à¶‰à¶­à·’හාසයේ තාරුණ්”à¶ºà¶ºà¶§ වඩා, වර්තමානයේ තාරුණයය වාසනාවන්තයි. à¶”බට සතුටු වියහැකි පැතිකඩ රාශියක් නිර්මාණය කරදුන් නායකයෙකු යටතේ මේ ගමන යන්න ඔබට අවස්ථාව උදාවෙලා තියෙනවා” යැයිද අමාත්”à¶º, නà·à¶­à·à¶¥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය කà·à·€à·à¶º.

 à¶¸à·™à·„ිද෠යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපුණතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶º ඩලස් අලහප්පෙරුම මැතිතුමාද අදහස් දැක්විය.

මෙම අවස්ථාවට යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපනතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශ නිලධාරà·à¶±à·Š හා විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶ºà·à¶‚ශ නිලධාරà·à¶±à·Š මෙන්ම විදුලි කාර්මික පුහුණු අභ්”à¶ºà·à·ƒà¶½à·à¶·à·à¶±à·Š සහභාග෠ව෠සිටියහ. 

 The Media Team

Ministry of Power & Energy

Congratulations!!The great musician Joe.B. Perera successfully achieved half century of his musical life.

December 8th, 2013

Claude .Fernando,Brampton Canada

Joe bee  Perera is a real” bee” among prominent Sri Lankan singers who has  given best and quality musical “honey’ to the listeners as well as viewers. His successful journey was not easily achieved towards his popularity by him . he faced so many obstacles during yester year, but Joe bee was never ever discouraged the  so many barriers he had to face during his  victories journey.

He is  an unforgettable and prestigious vocalist who has deeply deposited his creations into our hearts and engraved our minds as well like  late Clarence Wijewardana,Melroy Darmarathna,Noel Ranasinghe,late Neville Fernando, etc. Joe Bee has multiple talents of music not only Sinhala songs but also Spanish, English etc.

He penned songs made nice melodioes. Joe B is another superb product of Maris Stella College ,Negombo. Amids his busy life as an  executive manager of Bank of Ceylon.he continued his sweet sounding life .(although he retired now, he is contributing his great talents for music) During his very young age he had given an incalculable, dedicated contribution for X’mas carols and other religious festivals for Bolawalana, Kurana Catholic churches in Negombo . He used to be a main singer and acoustic guitarist   of choirs of these churches.

No words to articulate Joe B’s famous song “yakada thalanna” still  very famous among  not only adults but also the young generations. Wherever we go for a party or any fun filled gatherings we can hear this beautiful song sung by the participants..Among the  other well popular songs sung by  Joe Bee, are.”sudu mal” “,mala giravi”,”siripa gamana”etc.. Our heart
warming wishes to this humble person Joe bee for his 50 years musical journey.
Long live Joe B!!!

Entertainment provided by the Government

December 8th, 2013

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai, Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela

Whether we suffer from rise in cost of living or not, we can be thankful the  government provides  some amusement for the common man at regular intervals.

There was this plan to jail the beggars and without any  warning some beggars were taken into custody ” and we had beggar free streets just for two days. They are all back where they were ” right in front of the noses of the police, but then who cares? The news provided fuel for conversation among the erudite ”as often it does for two days and ” presto! We forget about the whole issue and life goes on.

The dengue prevention program takes life now and then. The inspectors of the gardens come in whenever they feel like ” in various capacities ” the PHI, the laborers, the army  etc. and if there is a little bit of water on the surface of a pot they threaten court action, while the whole huge drain just outside the houses in the lanes are overflowing with garbage; if pointed out they say it is not their duty to check them but that of the RDA. A thousand drupes into the palm of these people makes them forget about the court action and then we don’t see them for another  month or two.   A good drama of amusement!

Then a couple of officers walks in to your home talking about the home gardens. They bring seeds and talk for hours and how to grow vegetables in pots etc.   The novice gardener starts off very enthusiastically but then the advisors are never seen again. Interesting amusement for a short time.

Suddenly some nitwit gets this idea that the flower sellers must go. Go where? Go home! And do what? Whatever you want to! How to feed the family? How do we know? A good topic of conversation for our armchair critics for a few days. And then are they are all back  where they started.

But the best plan of amusement ever  is the plan to have the parliament proceedings broadcast for public on large screens! With the “dishum dishum” fights going on much better and more interesting  than our Sinhala films, it sure is going to provide much needed entertainment, specially with the raised electricity costs, when people will soon have to shut down their TV’s.

We Srilankans are privileged indeed to be entertained at the expense of the state with no cost for us whatsoever!

Radhika Coomaraswamy & the International Justice System

December 8th, 2013

Courtesy Island

December 7, 2013, 6:11 pm
Last Tuesday, Radhika Coomaraswamy delivered a public lecture on ‘the Rule of Law and the Enlightenment’ at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies auditorium where she spoke in glowing terms of the Western enlightenment which upheld reason, universal truth and universal rights applicable to all societies and cultures. She bemoaned the fact that a ‘toxic mix’ of ideas including nationalism was leading to the death of enlightenment values in Sri Lanka. Speaking of the UN and the international human rights regime, she said that while some African leaders may be against the International Criminal Court (ICC), every African she spoke to was in favour of it and that ‘impunity is a terrible thing’ which point she illustrated by saying that she had come across situations where women who had been raped had to watch the perpetrators walking about freely due to amnesties given in the name of conflict resolution.

When asked what she thinks of introducing a South African style Truth and Reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, she said she was in favour of it. This writer who was in the audience pointed out that there was an inherent contradiction in deeming the international human rights regime to be ‘enlightened humanism’, deploring impunity, praising the punitive justice of bodies like the ICC on the one hand and at the same time favouring a truth and reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.”‚ The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was one part of an indemnity law which sought to wipe the slate clean and start a new journey. In response what Radhika said was that the ICC process is not possible in Sri Lanka because SL is not a member of the ICC and therefore the only process possible here was that of a South African style truth and reconciliation process.

In other words, she favours punitive justice but would be willing to settle for restorative justice if the former is not possible. She mentioned an instance where she too had worked to apply ‘instrumental justice’ to child soldiers in Sierra Leone to ‘punish, discipline and rehabilitate’ them. Radhika Coomaraswamy has for decades been a member of the Sri Lankan academic glitterati. When she expresses confidence in the international human rights regime, and says that the ‘enlightened’ West stands for reason, universal truths and universal rights many people may be convinced that it is indeed so. This writer has known Radhika for a long time and means no disrespect, but there is another side to this story which needs to be told.

Multilateralism stood on its head

Radhika spoke of her work in the United Nations Organisation in words that left no doubt about her conviction that the UN was bringing justice and enlightenment to the world. Many people see the UN as a multilateral body that brings together the global community of nations. That is the tree. What then is the wood that we seem to be missing? Technically, every member of the United Nations is equal. But in reality, those who spend money are more equal than others. The old adage ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’ applies to the UN as much as to any other organisation. The UN is supposed to be funded by the contributions of member states which is assessed on the per capita income, and other economic indicators of a member nation’s ability to pay. On this basis, Sri Lanka’s membership contribution to the UN for the year 2013 was 702,819 USD and for the United States of America, it was 618,481,182 USD. ”‚The ‘membership fee’ collection forms the ‘core budget’ of the UN. But this money does not cover the expenses of the UN which is heavily dependent on voluntary contributions.

Over the decades, instead of retaining the UN as a skeleton organisation to maintain a line of communication between sovereign nations, and a meeting place for the global human family, the Western powers have taken the lead in piling more and more tasks on the UN system bringing about two results ” a shortfall in money to meet those commitments and increasing dependency of the UN on voluntary contributions from ten to fifteen Western nations. The West has for their part turned this financial dependency into a handle to make this global organisation an instrument to further their foreign policy interests.

According to the 2011 Whitehouse Report to Congress on US contributions to the UN system, the US made voluntary contributions in excess of 7 billion to the UN system in 2010. The State Dept was the biggest spender accounting for 5.4 billion, but all departments of the US government were doling out money to various UN agencies.”‚ A 2007 UN Joint Inspection Unit (UN-JIU) Report titled “Voluntary Contributions on United Nations System Organisations: Impact on Programme Delivery and Resource Mobilisation Strategies” admitted that when voluntary contributions come only from a few ‘donor’ countries, the conditions that are invariably attached to these voluntary contributions distort the priorities of the UN agencies.

So dependent is the UN system on voluntary contributions from Western countries that the UN-JIU report observed that various organisations within the UN have ‘internal guidelines and procedures for interaction with donor governments’.”‚ One can only imagine how such a process will impact on the even handedness of the UN. There are two categories of nations involved in the UN – ‘members’ and ‘donors’. Guess who calls the shots! The UN-JIU report further observes that these voluntary contributions had the potential not only to distort programme priorities but even the mandates of UN system organizations and that the outcome may be a concentration on themes that correspond to donor preferences and not priorities defined at the national or international levels. The UN-JIU report admitted that such dependency is inimical to the very concept of multilateralism.

So we have to realise that everybody in the UN system from Secretary General Ban Ki Moon downwards is committed to pleasing the western donor nations who keep the UN funded. This is why Ban Ki Moon went out of his way to compile a report on Sri Lanka outside the standard procedure of the UN and send it around in the guise of an official UN report.”‚ He gave assurances to Sri Lanka that the committee of inquiry he appointed was only to advice him but he sent the report to the UN Human Rights Council ignoring the protests of Sri Lanka.”‚ The reason why even a high official like Ban Ki Moon would stoop so low as to dishonour his word given personally to the head of a member state, is because donors are more important than members to the UN.

Justice for the highest bidder

The situation is no different when it comes to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with which Sri Lanka has been having so many problems. Only one third of the UNHRC budget is covered by the money allocated to them from the UN core budget. The other two thirds come from voluntary contributions from the Western powers including the USA, Canada, Norway and the European Union. Sri Lanka is being hounded within the UNHRC by the very countries that keep the organisation funded. It’s hardly a wonder that Navi Pillay is unable to find anything positive to say about Sri Lanka! Voluntary contributions to the UN system come not only in the form of money, but as donations of goods and even more insidiously, of personnel who are seconded by the donor countries to serve in the various agencies of the UN. These are government servants of the donor countries who are under obligation to promote the national interest of their countries no matter where they serve.

It’s the same when it comes to the various international criminal tribunals that have been established. The International Criminal Tribunal on Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) were set up under a mandate from the UN Security Council hence UN member states including Sri Lanka have to fork out assessed contributions for the upkeep of these tribunals. (Since Sri Lanka is not a member of the ICC, we do not have to pay any money for its upkeep.) ”‚The ICTY and ICTR also cannot be maintained with the assessed contributions levied on UN members and these tribunals are as dependent on voluntary contributions as the rest of the UN system.

The Foreign Affairs and National Defence Division of the US Congressional Research Service said in a 1998 paper that when the ICTY was set up,”‚ the Netherlands helped by reconstructing the tribunal premises. The European Union seconded 22 legal assistants and Britain gave money for the construction of a courtroom. The Americans also provided personnel in the form of prosecutors, investigators and other experts from the Department of Defence, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the State Department. This was in addition to the millions provided as voluntary cash donations by the Western powers. The 2007 UN-JIU report which we mentioned earlier, stated that “in most UN organisations, there was a preponderance of personnel from developed Western countries and that that there should be a more balanced geographical representation”. This is the subject of ongoing debate even within the UN Human Rights Council, where at one point over two thirds of the staff were from Western countries. This led to an outcry from the underdog member states and under relentless criticism, the UNHRC has been reducing the number of white Caucasian staff. But it should be remembered that so long as the money for the salaries of the staff is provided by Western donors, those whom they recruit even from the third world, will be western funded NGO types who will continue to toe the Western line.

The USA was the biggest voluntary contributor of money, material and personnel to the ICTY. The same applies to the tribunal on Rwanda. When the ICC commenced operations in The Hague, the Netherlands waived rent for ten years from 2002 to 2012. They were also given computers, and the utility bills were paid for by the Netherlands government for the first year. A cable sent to Washington by the US Embassy in The Hague on July 6 2004, and made public by Wikileaks shows how closely the ICTY worked with the US. The Chief Prosecutor and Registrar of the ICTY had asked the American Embassy to use their influence with the UN headquarters to allow the ICTY to extend the employment contracts of their staff to prevent staff from leaving and joining the ICC! They also wanted the Americans to do something about the moratorium on hiring new staff to the ICTY which had been imposed by UN headquarters. That was how closely the ICTY worked with the USA. All Sri Lankans know that a UN job is one of the best jobs that anyone can have. Those high salaries and perks have been made possible because of the ‘voluntary contributions’ coming from Western countries and no UN official will ever do anything to anger their benefactors.

Apartheid in international justice

Even though the USA and the Western powers played a major role in setting up international criminal tribunals to try others, US and other Western leaders have been quite emphatic that such tribunals were only for blacks and poor white trash, and not for them. According to a (Woodrow) Wilson Centre document, the National Post of Canada had reported on 22 May 1999 that when Congressman Lester Munson, spokesman for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, was asked if he was concerned that the ICTY might attempt to prosecute NATO officers for attacking civilian targets in Serbia, Munson told them: “You’re more likely to see the UN building dismantled brick-by-brick and thrown into the Atlantic than to see NATO pilots go before a UN tribunal.” Similar sentiments were expressed to the BBC by Robin Cook the former British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary when asked if the UK government did not fear that some of its officials would be dragged to the International Criminal Court for their unjustified invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the subsequent murders of tens of thousands of citizens of those countries. Cook’s angry answer had been “If I may say so, this is not a court set up to bring to book Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom or Presidents of the United States.” In a subsequent interview on the same BBC programme (Newsnight) ”‚John Laughland the author ‘The International Criminal Tribunal’ said “any structure like The Hague court, which is tilted only to third world dictators and not to people in the West, must be unfair and unjust.”

The Americans went one step further”‚to ensure that no international criminal tribunal ever dares to even dream of indicting an American or an American ally. Afghanistan is a member of the International Criminal Court, so American troops can be hauled before the ICC for crimes committed in that country ” including the drone strikes. ”‚(Iraq is not a member.) In 2002, the US Congress passed into law the American Service Members’ Protection Act which is specifically designed to prevent American citizens from being hauled before the ICC. Not only does it expressly prohibit the ICC from exercising jurisdiction over Americans and their allies, it gives the president the authority to apply military force if necessary to free any Americans or American allies who have been taken into custody by the ICC! So if anybody is wondering why no American has ever been hauled before the ICC despite Afghanistan being within the jurisdiction of the ICC for the past decade, it’s because nobody in The Hague wants to die.

If we go by what Radhika Coomaraswamy said last Tuesday, in her books there is nothing wrong in the Western powers giving voluntary contributions to the UN and the war crimes tribunals because they are doing it for an altruistic purpose. If these voluntary contributions with strings attached, gives the western powers leverage over the international agenda, that too is not a problem because the Western powers are the purveyors of ‘enlightenment’ and of ‘universal truths and rights’ to the world and they should have this dominance for the greater good of mankind. It is also OK for them to exempt themselves from the jurisdiction of the international criminal tribunals because the Western powers can do no wrong.

Perverted international laws

One of the main reasons why the US government is so vehemently opposed to submitting to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court is because as the preamble to the American Servicemen’s Protection Act said,”‚ “Any American prosecuted by the International Criminal Court will, under the Rome Statute, be denied procedural protections to which all Americans are entitled under the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, such as the right to trial by jury.” When Navi Pillai was in Sri Lanka recently, this writer pointed out that when she was a judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda she had contributed to turning these international tribunals into Kangaroo courts by perverting the law that had evolved in Western nations over centuries. The first to be thrown overboard were the rules of evidence that would apply to any criminal case at the national level in any country ” even countries like Sri Lanka and India which freely adopt the best criminal justice practices evolved in Western countries.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia was the first latter day international criminal tribunal set up in 1993 and the rules of procedure applicable to the ICTY applied in equal measure to the ICTR which was set up in 1994. Rule 89 of the ICTY rules of procedure stipulated that the judges of these tribunals ‘will not be bound by national rules of evidence’ and that they can apply rules of evidence which will best favour a fair determination of the matter before it and that they may admit any relevant evidence which they deem to have probative value. The ICTY was the first international criminal tribunal set up after the Nuremburg and Tokyo trials to try Nazi and Japanese war criminals in the wake of the Second World War. The above quoted Rule 89 of the ICTY rules of procedure was borrowed from Article 19 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal which carried out the Nuremburg trials, which went as follows “The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence. It shall adopt and apply to the greatest possible extent expeditious and non-technical procedure, and shall admit any evidence which it deems to be of probative value.”

The emphasis in the Nuremburg trials was to finish things off expeditiously. As Bishop Desmond Tutu said in his report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Nuremburg trials administered the victor’s justice on the vanquished. Justice Robert H.Jackson, the Chief US Prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials said on August 12, 1945 – “I have not seen fit to insist that these prisoners have the benefit of all of the protections which our legal and constitutional system throws around defendants.” And indeed, due process was not the main concern of the victorious allied powers. Both Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin wanted to simply bump off the captured Nazi leaders and it was on the insistence of US President Harry Truman that even this rudimentary trial process was instituted. (The Americans always loved litigation.) It need not be stressed that the Nuremburg attitude is wholly inappropriate for an international criminal tribunal that seeks to dispense justice the way national courts of justice would.

However, as we pointed out earlier, the purpose of the western powers was to set up an international criminal justice system which would apply only to others and not to themselves.”‚ These were instruments to shock, overawe and subjugate the rest of the world to the West. Like Gods, they make rules for others but not for themselves. So much for the ‘rule of law’ that Radhika was talking about last Tuesday! In this, the ICC followed the same trajectory as the ICTY and the ICTR. The Americans and other Western powers are well aware that what they have set up are in fact international Kangaroo courts which is why they do not want any Americans to submit to its jurisdiction.”‚ Furthermore, these international tribunals have set precedents that are weighted against the defendant. For example, witness testimonies need not be corroborated to be admitted. Thus, the evidence of a single person with no corroboration whatsoever is deemed sufficient to convict an accused. The ICTY actually argued in one case that Article 96 of the ICTY Rules of Procedure stipulates that in the case of rape victims no corroboration of testimony is necessary and that if the testimony of a single witness is deemed to be reliable enough for a criminal conviction in such cases, the testimony of witnesses in other criminal cases has to be endowed with the same authority.”‚ Furthermore, precedents have been set where hearsay (what a witness has heard from someone else) evidence too has been admitted.”‚ This is why the USA would rather bomb The Hague than allow an American citizen to be hauled before the ICC.

Protecting our rear ends

Sri Lanka should take good note of this. Unlike the Americans we are in no position to threaten to bomb The Hague. But what we can do is to borrow what we can from the American Servicemen’s Protection Act and insert in our constitution a schedule (which cannot be changed without both a two thirds majority in parliament and a referendum) making it a treasonous offence carrying the concomitant penalties (death, confiscation of property etc), for any elected or unelected public official, judicial officer, policeman or ordinary citizen who takes part in handing over or extraditing any citizen of Sri Lanka to any international criminal tribunal or to any other country which claims ‘universal jurisdiction’ over Sri Lankan citizens.

Nelson Mandela died last Thursday. The whole world salutes him. What made Mandela a man revered by all nations is the way he steered South Africa from a situation of conflict into a democratic nation at peace. There are many lessons that we have to learn from South Africa and foremost among them is their ‘Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act of 1995′. This was in effect an indemnity law under which amnesties were granted to both sides of the conflict, wiping the slate clean so that a new South Africa could emerge. The much spoken about”‚Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chaired by Bishop Desmond Tutu was a creation of that Act. The purpose of the TRC was to deal with cases where untoward incidents had already come to light. Those involved could go before the TRC, make a confession and immediately be granted an amnesty with which all civil and criminal liability for the deed ceases.”‚ Those who had done deeds that had not come to light could allow things to die a natural death. There will of course be people in Sri Lanka as well as overseas who will not like the idea of an amnesty for both sides, and will instead be insisting on punishing the victors for having won. The legislation suggested in the previous paragraph will provide a bulwark against such elements.

 

Australia’s Intimidatory Stance Against One Of Sri Lanka’s Decorated Military Leaders Is Unacceptable!

December 7th, 2013

Insight By Sunil Kumar

December 7th. 2013
 
The Government of Australia’s  decision to deprive Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias of the opportunity to join an ICRC-organised project in Australia on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations made by UK media outfit, Channel 4 News is not only biased but certainly also has the makings of an international witch hunt as described by the General himself.

That the High Commission of Australia has declined to comment on it is not at all surprising as it will probably have to admit  that there are links to the hardline attitude of the United Kingdom to whom Australia seems to be paying homage quite forgetting that Australia was once a penal colony of the United Kingdom held in derision by the latter and that  the transparencies which link the two countries point saliently to diversities despite Australia still being a Crown Colony of the UK where the Queen is still the Sovereign Monarch.

Sure Sure Australia !

When asked for a clarification, a spokesperson for the Australian High Commission  has said that  “Our privacy laws prevent us from commenting on any visa matter.” It is the easy way out of an issue that seems to bypass the diplonatic protocols through an insensitive statement lacking the integrity demanded of two countries holding diplomatic ties where the irresponsibility of Australia seems to stick out like a sore thumb where the so called privacy laws have more often than not been used as an excuse to suit Australia on many recent issues which appear to be a mantle to cloak Australia’s guilt when the culpabilities of Australian participation in intimidatory action towards minorities both within and without have become painfully visible.

When Maj. Gen. Jagath Dias expressed dismay that he had been informed of the Australian decision on Thursday, the former Commanding Officer (GOC) of the 57 Division was probably not far removed from the truth when he alleged that a section of the international community was resorting to punitive measures citing unproven allegations backed up by the continued clarion calls of the Tamil diaspora and its unending attempts to discredit the Government of Sri Lanka where the action on Gen. Dias seems an obvious part thereof directed in obvious premeditation.

What the Australian Government apathetically fails to realise ~ as pointed out by Gen. Dias and rightfully so~ is that in a relative sense other armies engaged in fight against terrorism in other parts of the world were never subject to such humiliation though they too were subject to a range of allegations.  When in his words he has protested  that “We are being singled out by those wanting to appease the LTTE rump working closely with the international community.” it is a revelation of Australia’s shameful bias towards contradicting what many world powers have openly praised as Sri Lanka’s defining moment when the Tamil tiger terrorists were vanquished in a precedent setting victory yet Australia and the United Kingdom amongst a few others find it hard to accept and continue to intimidate and harass Sri Lanka’s accomplishment to suite their own agendas which appear to have visible links to the global Tamil diaspora’s now notorious Tamil Tiger rump!

It has also come to light to add further to Australia’s chagrin that rejection of  Gen Dias’ visa application is not an isolated case where as he has described it  ” A legitimate army was being targeted for taking on terrorism, and those who had engaged in terrorism  that contributed to the conflict had been given safe haven in many parts of the world.” and a unacceptable one steeped in bias and portrays Australia as a sympathiser of  Sri Lanka’s adversaries and state enemies based on unprovable accusatrions despite the diplomatic ties between the two countries where diplomacy perhaps has flown out the back door!

Since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, several senior military officials including the GOC of the celebrated 58 Division Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva have been deprived of foreign scholarships.
If this is not premeditated bias on Australia’s part, one wonders what exactly it is as the definition by far overrides any legitimate and rational interpretation based on the concept that Sri Lanka is a Sovereignity that has every right to defend herself from the onslaughts of global terrorism where those who contributed towards it are none but national heroes who need to be acolladed not incarcerated! 

RAJAPAKSHA REGIME ” THE MOST ACHIEVED & COURAGEOUS REGIME IN MODERN HISTORY

December 7th, 2013

Shripal Nishshanka

The whole world shall have the gratitude for the Rajapaksha regime of Shri Lanka which annihilated a dangerously brutal terrorist organization with exemplary with a genuine humanitarian style where other governments can follow.

Today Shri Lanka has been rated as the most developing country in the world with a highest speed of accelerations.  The non-reversible progress and the ultimate dignity which that regime brought to Shri Lanka is perpetual.

Irrespective of race, religion or any other discriminative factor Shri Lanka has come to a top level.

May the true patriotism be lasting forever.

Mandela’s sharp statements rarely cited in mainstream media

December 7th, 2013

Courtesy RT

Nelson Mandela (Reuters)Nelson Mandela (Reuters)

As the world remembers Nelson Mandela’s legacy as South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon, he was also deeply skeptical of American power, the Iraq invasion, and was a key supporter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Here are seven quotes from the leader that are less likely to be published as his life is honored and his death commemorated in the mainstream media.

Prior to the US invasion of Iraq, Mandela slammed the actions of the US at a speech made at the International Women’s Forum in Johannesburg, declaring that former President George W. Bush’s primary motive was ‘oil’, while adding that Bush was undermining the UN.

“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings,” Mandela said.

Mandela did not hold back from making hard-hitting statements against the US, and repeatedly spoke out against the prospect of the country invading Iraq. As the US prepared its mass-action in 2002, Mandela told Newsweek:

“If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace.”

Mandela was a long-time supporter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and made a speech to reporters in 1999, in which he agreed to be a political mediator between Israel and its neighbors.

“Israel should withdraw from all the areas which it won from the Arabs in 1967, and in particular Israel should withdraw completely from the Golan Heights, from south Lebanon and from the West Bank,” Mandela stated, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency’s Suzanne Belling.

Mandela met with Fidel Castro in 1991, giving a speech alongside him entitled “How Far We Slaves Have Come.” The country was commemorating the 38th anniversary of the storming of the Moncada, and Mandela hailed Cuba’s ‘special place’ in the heart of the people of Africa, its revolution, and how far the country had come.

“From its earliest days, the Cuban Revolution has also been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people. We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of the vicious imperialist-orchestrated campaign to destroy the impressive gain made in the Cuban Revolution….Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro.”

Mandela urged for the end to harsh UN sanctions imposed upon Libya in 1997, and pledged his support for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was a longtime supporter of his.

“It is our duty to give support to the brother leader…especially in regards to the sanctions which are not hitting just him, they are hitting the ordinary masses of the people … our African brothers and sisters,” Mandela said.

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, December 4. 1997, Mandela assembled a group “as South Africans, our Palestinian guests and as humanists to express our solidarity with the people of Palestine.” At the speech, he called for the metaphorical flames of solidarity, justice, and freedom to be kept burning.

“The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

http://rt.com/news/mandela-sharp-quotes-media-860/

Deepak Obhrai: His defence in laying a wreath at Elephant Pass

December 7th, 2013

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

6 December 2013

Deepak Obhrai,  Conservative MP

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

House of Commons, Ottawa

 Dear Deepak:

Well…well…well… what do you know?   When you open your mouth to defend your High School Bully antics in Sri Lanka when you represented Canada at the Commonwealth Summit, you seem to get muddied in the salt-sands of the Elephant Pass as well as losing your shawl of Tanzanian dignity too that you drop down from your shoulders.

Here’s the unfortunate story.  When you are on the defensive and think that you are interpreting your thuggish acts by pulling wool over the eyes of people of a developing nation of low intelligence and can get away easily, you are wrong, Deepak. That’s where you went wrong dealing with Sri Lankans, and exposed your weakness as a dishonest politician.  Sri Lanka’s literacy rate is at 92%, and the people can read, write and speak in the language they are taught in, and they are also smart enough to smell a stinking rat and identify the rat too, if there is one among them.

Here’s is what I read in Sri Lanka’s THE ISLAND, of Thursday, 5th December 2013, which cut you out as a disingenuous politician from Canada.

The news item said, “Sri Lankan HR situation like ‘elephant in room’ ” Canada alleges deprived PM’s rep of air transport to Jaffna” bylined Shamindra Ferdinando.

The article also carried a photograph of two people sitting at a desk. The label identified the two persons as ”‘Canadian Conservative Party MPs, Corneliu Chisu and Deepak Obhrai.’    Deepak, since you were not wearing a Joker’s Hat, I gathered that this was a serious interview/conference, and I took it at its face value.

That headline put you on the spot for the readers to be Judge & Jury.   And I have decided to wear that cloak and mantle and be a Judge & Jury on what went on in Sri Lanka with Canada’s MP Deepak Obhrai.  And at the end of this letter I will provide you with my verdict.

That news item also carried your photograph with a label ‘MP Deepak Obhrai lays flowers for war dead just south of Elephant Pass.’   I doubt that a man or a woman happened to be passing by when you were laying the wreath, to focus the lens on you and click their cameras. To me it was a well orchestrated and a deliberate stage managed photograph for the eyes of the Tamil separatists in the Greater Toronto Area, who feed the Conservative Party coffers with green Canadian dollar bills.  Right, Deepak?  Own up!  And  after your return you made it a point to debrief the Tamil community in the GTA and there was no special debriefing session with the Sinhalese community.  You almost gave me the impression that you were a paid hit man by the Tamil Diaspora as was Minister Jason Kenney in January. How come, Deepak?  I am a Sinhalese-Canadian and a Buddhist to boot.  Its such acts of volition that you Conservatives are caught with your pants down, even though you all deny that the Tamil Diaspora do not influence your Sri Lanka thrashing decisions and  hissy-fit bouts.   Jason Kenney did the same ‘kissing the Tamil Diaspora’s behinds’ act in January, when he returned from Sri Lanka and  had a closed door debriefing session with Tamil editors of community newspapers. He had the gall and temerity to preach Human Rights in Colombo when the First Nation peoples were demonstrating a stone’s throw away from his parliamentary office against Canada’s human rights violations of their people.    All this to beg for a Tamil vote at the next federal election. This is where Jason got a F from me for throwing  stones at Sri Lanka when we Canadians are living in glass houses.  We are no paragons of virtue, Deepak.  Far from it.

This is where you ended up as a dunsed-fool when you tried to explain why you hit the road for an 8 hour journey from Jaffna.  It was not because the Sri Lankan Government deprived you of a flight as denied by Chief Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama who has been reported to have said,”The SLAF Chief declined to say what may have motivated minister Obhrai  to alleged closure of Jaffna airport.”

So your disingenuous story keeps snow balling like “Here we go gathering coconuts in November… coconuts in November….coconuts in November….”

The Air Marshal says he did not know what motivated to say what you said.  To me it is as clear as a Church bell ringing on a Sunday morning.  And here it is, Deepak.  Perhaps you may want to pooh…pooh me at a public debate.  I am game, Deepak. Let’s do it. You are the debater and I am not.  I am just a Sri Lankan-Canadian who has a passion for my Motherland and romancing her beauty and with her honest, smiling, gentle peoples, which also includes the stay-put  gentle Tamils who want to live in harmony with the majority Sinhalese.

You were not telling the truth about this incident. The fact is that you had to return to Colombo by road, passing Elephant Pass, with a wreath hidden away in the vehicle to be stopped at Elephant Pass for you to do a quick exit and lay it on the grounds of Elephant Pass where three historical battles were fought by Tamil Tigers killing hundreds of the Sri Lankan soldiers,  And you said that you laid the wreath at  a “neutral ground”.  “Neutral ground”, my foot Deepak?   That’s poppy-cock!  You were cunning to the core of your bones and you were on a mission  as a hit-man to satisfy the Tamil Diaspora in the GTA salivating at their ballot papers.   Nasty….nasty!

You know what Deepak?  If my Mother was still alive, she would have taken you by the scruff of your neck to a wash basin and got you to cleanse your mouth with carbolic soap, for not telling the truth.  You were lucky, Man!

Well, Deepak,  in an island of  25,332 square miles,  to say that you couldn’t find a real ‘neutral ground’ to lay the wreath, proves positive that you were up to Tamil Eelam mischief,   nothing more and nothing less.  Groveling at the feet of the Tamil Diaspora begging, for their votes by even going to the extent of insulting your host Sri Lanka, is sick. That statement by you was pathetic and a gross insult to your host who had welcomed you with the best cup of Ceylon Orange Pekoe, knowing damn well that you were no Canadian friend of Sri Lanka.

Well, Deepak, let me give you a lesson on your “neutral ground” Elephant Pass, which I believe that you were well aware of it, and yet laid the wreath, having rejected the request by a Sri Lankan official not to lay that wreath.  What arrogance…what thuggary….what stupidity!

First Battle of Elephant Pass:

The first battle of Elephant Pass was fought in July 1991 for the control of the Sri Lankan military base, which displayed a strategic importance as its isthmus was the link between the Jaffna peninsula in the North and the South of the island.  It is indeed the Gate way to Jaffna.

On July 10, 1991, a 5,000 strong Tamil Tiger terrorists launched a massive attack on the Elephant Pass army garrison.  Until that time this was the most violent and bloody confrontation that ever took place between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lanka Army.   That attack trapped 800 soldiers of the 6th Battalion of the Sri Lanka Sinha regiment, the Tamil Tigers having blocked off the routes from the North to the South, and placing anti-aircraft guns at strategic positions so that no reinforcements could come in.

With this Tamil Tiger attack at Elephant Pass, Deepak, I challenge you to explain to this Judge and Jury person, how you determined the Elephant Pass as a “neutral ground” to lay that wreath?  You must be  a politician not caring for historical detail or you may have been made to look a fool by the Tamil Diaspora who keeps waving green 20 dollar bills at the Conservative faces to be stuffed in to the Conservative coffers.   You were up to some “ratty” mischief, weren’t you Deepak?

Second Battle of Elephant Pass

This battle was code named ‘Operation Unceasing Wave III’ and was fought in April 2000 for the control of the military base at Elephant Pass.

The Tamil Tigers attacked the twin complexes of Iyakachchi and Elephant Pass, pounding the Government positions with heavy artillery.  It was a multi-pronged assault and over ran the well-fortified camp destroying several artillery pieces, tanks, armoured vehicles and ammunition dumps.  In that battle 758 soldiers were killed and 2,368 had been wounded, and 349 went missing

And you Obhrai, called Elephant Pass a “neutral ground” to lay that wreath with the banner’s Tamil script shedding tears from your bleeding heart for the :minorities.  Thus not recognizing the major Sinhalese community who laid their lives fighting for the territorial integrity and the security of its peoples from attacks by the Tamil Tiger terrorists with their Kalashnikovs, suicide bombs and claymore mines.

What a crock full of cods wallop Deepak.  You are an embarrassment to all intelligent people who would not categorize the Sinhalese blood soaked Elephant Pass as ‘neutral ground’.   The Tamil Diaspora saw you painting yourself in Sinhalese blood by that despicable act of laying a wreath at Elephant Pass which happens not to be a “neutral ground’ for all the Tea in China!

Third Battle of Elephant Pass

On 9 January 2009, the Sri Lankan army captured Elephant Pass for good, crushing the Tamil Tigers and chasing them away by whipping their butts, and four months later the Tamil Tigers were annihilated on the beach of the Nandikadhal lagoon on 19 May 2009.   And along the way the Sri Lankan armed forces liberated 295,873 Tamil refugees who were held as a human shield by the Tamil Tiger terrorists and herded them from the west coast to the east coast like unwashed cattle for 30 months.

And do you know what, Deepak?  I will not excuse Stephen Harper’s Government for not acknowledging the fact of this classic text book example of restoring human rights of the right-to-life of these 295,873 Tamils.   I don’t think you all ever thought that Sri Lanka was capable of liberating all those Tamils, and performed miracles by feeding all these Tamils three hearty meals a day ” breakfast, lunch and dinner by preparing a million meals a day by mostly Sinhalese people.

So what’s your problem Deepak?  Haven’t you guys painted yourselves in  to a corner as  a bunch of disingenuous,  dishonest, galling, ‘Mirror…mirror…on the wall…who is the liar of them all’ Canadian politicians?  That is what gets my goat, when you all have the audacity to complaint about violations of human rights in Sri Lanka during the last five months of the Eelam War out of a 27 year war.  Why not lets get the accountability questioned of this war going back to all 27 years.

Let’s get  at the culprit-nations who supported this Tamil Tiger Eelam War,  like training these Tamil Tiger terrorists for this war  in their military camps (India);  like providing the state-of-the-art communication systems (Norway); and aiding and abetting with funds collected by the Tamil Diaspora to purchase sophisticated war weapons (Canada).

Conclusion by this Judge and Jurist:  The Canadian parliamentarian Deepak Obhrai is guilty for unfairly pointing his finger at the Government of Sri Lanka accusing its administrators for  not providing him air transport from Jaffna to Colombo when all along he had a motive and a Mission to return to Colombo in a motor vehicle, a drive he complained took eight hours.    

The Mission was to lay a wreath at Elephant Pass in remembrance of the victims of violence among the minorities (Tamil script on the banner)  which excluded the members of the majority Sinhalese community who too  had died defending the sovereignty of the island nation from the marauding Tamil Tiger terrorists.  

The fact was that a wreath carried on a plane would not have provided MP Deepak Obhrai the opportunity to achieve his Mission to lay the wreath  at Elephant Pass, which was the theater of three historic battles of the Tamil Tiger terrorists with the Sri Lankan armed forces, where hundreds of Sinhalese soldiers had died.

Canadian parliamentarian Deepak Obhrai was guilty of being disingenuous and mischievous when he called Elephant Pass a ‘neutral ground’ to lay the wreath out of a landmass of 25,322 square miles, which really does not cut mustard.

Canadian parliamentarian Deepak Obhrai was guilty  of  showing a lack of diplomacy and decency of  proper etiquette towards his host, when he made this provocative statement to the host by laying a wreath at Elephant Pass in support of the Tamil Tiger supporters in the Greater Toronto Area, when he was asked by a Sri Lankan official not to carry out this act of provocation in the area where three Tamil Tiger battles had taken place.

The Canadian parliamentarian Deepak Obhrai was suspect of his wreath episode.  It gave the impression that he was a hit-man on a provocative mission as requested by the Tamil Diaspora in the Greater Toronto Area, as he met with them in Toronto  after he arrived to debrief them as to what he had done in Sri Lanka during the CHOGM in their favour.  Deepak Obhrai did not have such a debriefing session with the Sinhalese community.

All in all, Deepak Obhrai is guilty of being a provocative and a bad Ambassador for Canada at the Commonwealth Summit.  The very reason why 22 million Sri Lankans couldn’t care  two prairie straws for the unfriendly Canadian government.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe

තුන්කල් දකින නායකයකු යටතේ,රටේ තරුණ පරපුරට වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්ෂේත්”à¶»à¶ºà·™à¶±à·Š ශක්තිමත්ව නැඟ෠සිටිය හැකි මඟක් නිර්මාණය ව෠තිබෙනවා…

December 7th, 2013

 à·€à·’දුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º    නà·à¶­à·’ඥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි

අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිඳුන්ගේ නායකත්වය යටතේ, වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්ෂේත්”à¶»à¶ºà·š පිබිඳà·à¶¸ සමාජයේ සියලු පාර්ශවයන්හි පැසසුමට ලක්ව ඇති බව විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·’ඥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය ප්”à¶»à¶šà·à· කරයි. අමාත්”à¶ºà·€à¶»à·’ය පෙන්වා දෙන්නේ, තුන්කල් දකින නායකයකු ලෙස අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමා තරුණ පරපුර නිසිමඟ යැවà·à¶¸ සඳහා ලබාදෙන මඟ පෙන්වà·à¶¸ හා ශක්තිය ඉතා ප්”à¶»à·à·ƒà·Šà¶­ වන බවයි.

විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶ºà¶‚ශය හා යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපුණතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶ºà¶‚ශය ඒකාබද්ධව වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු මධ්”à¶ºà·ƒà·Šà¶®à·à¶± කේන්ද්”à¶» කර ගනිමින්  à¶šà·Š”à¶»à·’යාත්මක කළ විදුලි කාර්මික පුහුණු පාඨමාලාව නිම කළ අභ්”à¶ºà·à·ƒà¶½à·à¶·à·à¶±à·Š සඳහා සහතික පත් ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·à¶±à¶º කිරà·à¶¸ වෙනුවෙන් කොළඹ පදනම් ආයතනයේද෠අද පෙරවරුවේ (07) පැවති උත්සව අවස්ථාවට සහභාග෠වෙමින් අමාත්”à¶ºà·€à¶»à·’ය මේ බව කියා සිටියාය. යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපුණතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶º ඩලස් අලහප්පෙරුම මැතිතුමා සහ විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·’ඥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනියගේ ප්”à¶»à¶°à·à¶±à¶­à·Šà·€à¶ºà·™à¶±à·Š මෙම සහතිකපත් ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·à¶±à¶º සිදු කෙරිනි. මෙහිද෠විදුලි කාර්මික පුහුණු පාඨමාලාව නිම කළ අභ්”à¶ºà·à·ƒà¶½à·à¶·à·à¶±à·Š 431 දෙනෙකුට සහතික පත් ප්”à¶»à¶¯à·à¶±à¶º කෙරිනි.

එහිද෠අදහස් දැක්වූ අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·’ඥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය කියා සිටියේ වත්මන් රජය යටතේ වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්ෂේත්”à¶»à¶ºà·š ලබා ඇති ප්”à¶»à¶œà¶­à·’ය සමාජයේ විවිධ පාර්ශවයන් තුළ කථා බහට ලක්ව ඇති බවයි. එමෙන්ම තරුණ පරපුරේ අනාගතය සඳහා වෘත්තà·à¶º පුහුණු ක්”à·‚ේත්”à¶»à¶ºà·š ගෙන ඇති ඉදිරි පියවරයන්  à¶´à·à¶»à·Šà¶½à·’මේන්තුවේ පක්ෂ විපක්ෂ සියලු දෙනාගේ ප්”à¶»à·ƒà·à¶¯à¶ºà¶§ හේතු ව෠ඇති බවද අමාත්”à¶ºà·€à¶»à·’ය කà·à·€à·à¶º.

” කුරිරු යුද්ධය නිසා රටේ අනාගතය මුළුමණින්ම පාහේ අඳුරේ තිබුණා. එම තත්ත්වයෙන් රට නිදහස් කරගෙන අතිගරු ජනාධිපතිතුමා සියලු ජනකොටස්වල අනාගතය සුරක්ෂිත කරන්න වෙර දැරුවා. තරුණ පරපුර ඉදිරියට ගේන්න එතුමා විවිධ සැළසුම් ක්”à¶»à·’යාත්මක කරනවා. යුද බිය තිබුණු සමයේ තරුණයින්ගෙන් හොඳ නිර්මාණ බිහි වූයේ නැහැ. ඔවුන්ගේ හදවත් භà·à¶­à·’යෙන් තිබුණේ. ඒත් අද තත්ත්වය වෙනස් තාරුණයේ අනාගතය ශක්තිමත් කරමින් රජයක් හැටියට සියලු පියවර ගෙන අවසන්” යැයිද අමාත්”à¶º නà·à¶­à·’ඥ පවිත්”à¶»à· වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය ප්”à¶»à¶šà·à· කළාය.

මෙම අවස්ථාවට විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶ºà¶‚ශයේ හා යෞවන කටයුතු හා නිපුණතා සංවර්ධන අමාත්”à¶ºà¶‚ශයේ නිලධාරින් හා විදුලි කාර්මික පුහුණු අභ්”à¶ºà·à·ƒà¶½à·à¶·à·à¶±à·Š ඇතුළු විශාල පිරිසක් සහභාග෠ව෠සිටියහ.

මාධ්”à¶º ලේකම්         

විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්”à¶ºà¶‚ශය

THE HOLY QUR’AN EXHIBITION.

December 7th, 2013

By A. Abdul Aziz,Press Secretary,Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at ” Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at has put up the HOLY QUR’AN Exhibition at Stall No. 37 at the SIYANE NATIONAL BOOK FAIR ” 2013, being held at Public Library, Gampaha. The Exhibition was inaugurated by Gampaha Mayor Aranga Senanayake on last Wednesday. The exhibition ends today – Sunday 8th December 2013. Moreover, a set of books were also presented to the Public Library, Gampaha at the inauguration of the event. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at has translated the Holy Qur’an into 75 languages including Sinhala. Most of them are being displayed at the book fair. This is the first ever Holy Qur’an Exhibition being held in the country. Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at is holding Quran exhibition in many countries.

Ahmadi Scholar Dr. Ifthikar Ahmad Ayaz OBE also had an opportunity to visit the stall while he had been in the country.

Death of a Soldier

December 6th, 2013

Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.

The tragic death of Michael McNeil of the Canadian Armed Forces has raised many questions. According to the news reports Warrant officer Michael McNeil who suffered from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) had committed suicide at the Canadian Forces Base Petawawa in Ontario. He was one of three Canadian soldiers to commit suicide this week.

McNeil had a distinguished military career. He joined the Canadian forces in October 1994 and served in Bosnia in 1998, Kosovo in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2009. His death is a tragedy that filled with irreplaceable void.

Annually a significant numbers of soldiers commit suicide. Sadly Warrant officer Michael McNeil became another victim of combat related PTSD.

Military suicides are complex in nature. Often life stresses and ongoing battle stress could negatively affect the combatant. Lack of social, administrative and professional support is seen as predisposing factors. Military suicide can occur as a sudden response following acute stress reaction or it can be well planned. Sometimes soldiers contemplate their suicides for a number of years.

World War 1 to Afghanistan

Combatants of the WW1 faced extremely harsh conditions in the muddy and rat infested trenches. The soldiers suffered physical and psychological consequences of the trench war. Estimated suicides during the World War One still remain unknown. According to the Military Historians a large number of combatants committed suicide between 1914 to 1918. Depressed and physically worn-out soldiers took their lives inside the trenches. The trench suicides became common during the WW1. Some suicides occurred after the demobilization. Captain Guy Nightingale was one of the WW1 soldiers who witnessed the horrors of the war in Gallipoli. He was haunted by combat related reminiscences and in 1935 he took his own life. At the time of his death Captain Guy Nightingale was 43 years old.

 During the World War 2 combat fatigue consumed thousands of soldiers.  Many suicides in the battle fields were covered up in the Western as well as in the Eastern fronts. By the end of the War hundreds of German and Japanese soldiers committed suicide. The combat trauma of the WW2 still echoes around the globe. The analysis of official death certificates on file at the California Department of Public Health reveals that 532 California veterans over age 80 committed suicide between 2005 and 2008 (Glantz, 2010).

Nearly 8,744,000 personnel were on active duty during the Vietnam War.  Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. (Vietnam War Statistics) Since 1975, nearly three times as many Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in the war. Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended. (Dean 2000). Kang (2010) indicates that level of combat trauma as indirectly measured by having PTSD and being wounded in action was associated with the risk of suicide among Vietnam veterans.  

Persian Gulf War veterans PTSD rates are similar to Vietnam and Iraq combat vets (Rubush, 2010) Studies examining the mental health of Persian Gulf War veterans have found that rates of PTSD stemming from this war range anywhere from about 9% to approximately 24%. These rates are fairly consistent with the rates of PTSD found among Vietnam veterans and Iraq War veterans. (Rubush,2012). The suicide rate has been increased among American troops as numbers have reached nearly one per day in 2012, according to new Pentagon data. Based on the report over the first 155 days of 2012, 154 active-duty troops have committed suicide.

 Military Suicides: Problem without a Solution

According to Dr. Charles P. McDowell of the US Air Force military suicides had been viewed as an individual rather than collective problem; therefore, they have been seen as a problem without a solution because the death of the victim precluded any possibility of a more favorable outcome. There may even have been some general sense that someone who attempted or committed suicide could not be a great loss to the service. In short, suicides within the military have historically been viewed as an individual problem rooted in the pathology of the victim and therefore beyond the control of command authorities. (Homicide and Suicide in the Military-Charles MC Dowell)

 Suicides Triggered by Post Combat Depression 

 The component of depression was evident to Dr. Mendez Da Costa who introduced the term Irritable heart during the US Civil War and Lt Col (Dr.) Fredric Mott who coined the term Shell Shock during the World War one. Depression is common among the combatants. The feeling of guilt and despair plays a major role in post combat depression. Post combat depression is evident among some combatants who were exposed to traumatic battle events. Apart from common depressive signs, Post Combat Depression is usually characterized with unresolved mental conflicts, survival guilt, negative interpretation of combat events and pessimistic outlook on the post combat environment (Jayatunge 2010).

Depression is a mood disorder in which pathological moods and related vegetative and psychomotor disturbance dominate the clinical picture. The Post combat depression  is described as a group of symptoms such as anhedonia (feeling of sadness and loss of ability to experience pleasure) low energy, decreased libido, reduced life interests, somatic pain, alienation, numbing, self-blame and survival guilt that is experienced by combat solders after exposing to traumatic battle events. Depression causes a disturbance in a soldier’s feelings and emotions. They may experience such extreme emotional pain that they consider or attempt suicide.

Soldiers could suffer from depression as a result of survival guilt, collateral damage to the civilians and constantly living in a socially deprived environment. Many soldiers become desolated about their lives and tend to have nostalgic feelings. They gradually shift away from the rational reasoning and find death as an answer to their agonizing problems. Social isolation, moving away from their buddies and lack of unit help and cohesion aggravate the situation leading the soldier to commit suicide.

 Suicides and Combat Related PTSD

The studies have shown that PTSD could be a disabling condition that affects the war veterans. Norris et al. (2002) indicate that Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) represents a common, if not the most prevalent, mental health problem in community studies in post-conflict areas. Numerous researches indicate that there is a correlation between combat trauma and suicidal behaviors (Knox, 2008). Studies suggest that suicide risk is higher in persons with PTSD (Ferrada,  Asberg, ., Ormstad, & Lundin 1998). Many researchers believe that    disturbing symptoms of PTSD increase the suicide risk and others of the view that comorbid psychiatric symptoms that are associated with PTSD drive the victims to commit suicide.  Studies estimated that patients suffering from PTSD have up to a seven-fold increased incidence of suicide, and four-fold increased risk of death from all external sources (Bullman &Kang, 1994).

 Preventing Military Suicides 

Military suicides denote the unproductive way of managing the soldiers during the war and in the post combat era. It is the duty of the military organization to prevent suicides and self-harm among the soldiers.  Suicides do not occur in a vacuum and sometimes soldiers plan their suicides for months and in some instances for years. Many victims show suicide warning signs prior to their fatal acts. The unit members and the unit leaders should be trained and educated about the suicide warning signs.  

Combat trauma can cause depression and anxiety related ailments and often the victims are overwhelmed by stress and could become psychologically vulnerable.  As a result of these complications a combatant could think of suicide as the final solution. Therefore combat stress reactions should be detected effectively and extensive screening and potential case identification would be important to prevent suicides in the military.

 War trauma is not specific to ranks and it could affect soldiers as well as the officers. The stigmatization of mental health issues is a debilitating problem in treatment of traumatized war veterans. Sometimes stigma and discrimination prevent combatants to seek psychological help. Therefore de stigmatization and health education are key components in preventing suicides in the military.

A special attention should be given to the combatants with the past history of hazardous combat exposure and if any signs of PTSD or Depression emerge they should be referred for medical treatments. The health staff should   actively screen for potential victims and offer support with respect and empathy.

  References 

Bullman, T. A., & Kang, H. K. (1994). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and the Risk of Traumatic Deaths Among Vietnam Veterans. Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease, 182(1), 604-610.

 Dean, C. (2000). Nam Vet : Making Peace with Your Past Wordsmith Publishing.

Ferrada-Noli, M., Asberg, M., Ormstad, K., Lundin, T., & Sundbom, E. (1998). Suicidal behavior after severe trauma. Part 1: PTSD diagnoses, psychiatric comorbidity and assessment of suicidal behavior. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 103-112.

 Glantz, A. (2010). ”‰Older veterans twice as likely to take their own lives as those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bay Citizen. 

Jayatunge, R.M. (2010). Post Combat Depression (PCD) retrieved from  http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/10/19/post-combat-depression-pcd/

Norris, FH, Friedman MJ, Watsan PJ, Byrne CM, Diaz E, Kaniasty K. 60,000 disaster victims speak: Part 1. An empirical review of the empirical literature, 1981”2001. Psychiatry. 2002;65:207 ”2239.

MC Dowell , C. Homicide and Suicide in the Military

 Rothberg JM, Rock NL, Del Jones F. (1984). Suicide in United States Army personnel, 1981”1982. Mil Med ;149(10):537-541.

Sri Lankan HR Situation and Canada’s Mr. Obhrai

December 6th, 2013

Ira de Silva Canada

It appears that Canada has found another bone to pick with Sri Lanka and is again misusing the concept of human rights. Mr. Obhrai who represented Canada at the recent Commonwealth summit in Colombo now claims that he was deprived of air transport to Jaffna.  There are many accusations made against Sri Lanka by Canada without any basis. If Cameron was able to go without any problem, why would the third string representative from Canada be not allowed to go? Was it because  the necessary arrangements had not been made for him by the mission in Colombo?  Why had he not instructed the Canadian High Commissioner in Colombo to make these arrangements – they could have even chartered a plane. What proof do they have that they were denied air transport? An easy method to substantiate this claim is for the Canadian mission in Colombo to provide documentation to support this accusation. The silence of the Canadian mission could be taken to be that they are unable to support Mr. Obhrai’s claims. Sri Lankan officials are reported to have accompanied Mr. Obhrai – could they confirm that there were no arrangements made to travel by air?

 It is another illustration of the fact that Canada’s policy on Sri Lanka is geared to it’s domestic politics and desperation to get the Tamil votes of those who supported the LTTE during the war that Mr. Obhrai has also “reported” back to the Tamils in the Toronto area on his return. Minister Jason Kenny who came to Sri Lanka in January this year did the same – reported back to the Tamils in the Toronto area. All this reporting back to a segment of Canadian Tamils who supported the LTTE and maintain their anti Sri Lanka campaign with the goal of dividing the country gives the impression that the current Government of Canada represents only the interests of this ethnic minority. 
 
Mr. Obhrai has declined to divulge the identities of those who he had met in addition to the Bishop of Jaffna, Northern Province Governor and the proprietor of Uthayan and his excuse is that “their lives could be at stake”.  Is it not possible that he did not have the time nor any intention of meeting people because he had to rush to Elephant pass to lay a wreath to provide pictorial evidence to his Canadian Tamil supporters? When Cameron went to Jaffna and was mobbed by Tamils, the whole world was able to see them so it is clear that Obhrai’s claim that lives being at stake is not acceptable and just an excuse. Even in that subterfuge he attempts to fault Sri Lanka. The duplicity of this episode of laying the wreath is illustrated by the fact that the messages in English, Sinhala and Tamil were not the same. That he was pandering to his Tamil vote base is clearly evident in the fact that although in English it was in memory of all Sri Lankan victims of violence, in Tamil violence was changed to war and “all Sri Lankans” was changed to “minority”. In Sinhala too it was not violence but war. However, it is addressed to Sri Lankans, not a “minority”.  This clearly shows that either no one in the Canadian mission in Sri Lanka is able to translate from English to Sinhala and Tamil with any accuracy or it was a deliberate change to satisfy the LTTE supporters in Canada. As for Mr. Obhrai alleging “that there hadn’t been any progress on the ground even in the absence of war” he either travelled with his eyes deliberately closed or slept throughout the journey. It is unfortunate that the Canadian High Commissioner did not brief him on what he had not seen or perhaps she too was asleep most of the time.   In north America before and after pictures are the rage. Is it not possible for those Sri Lankan officials who accompanied these two to Jaffna to give them some pictures of  before 2009 and after 2009? 
 
As for Mr. Obhrai describing Elephant Pass as a neutral place, obviously he was not aware that it was there that in 2000 over a thousand Sri Lankan soldiers lost their lives in the war. On the other hand may be he had only heard about the great victory of the LTTE at Elephant Pass because that murderous event was celebrated in the Toronto area.
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva
Canada

Nelson Mandela and the West ‘weeping buckets’ for him !

December 6th, 2013

P.A.Samaraweera

Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa out of apartheid has died at the age of 95. He fought his entire life against apartheid and he was imprisoned in 1962 for sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the govt. He walked to freedon in 1990 and served as President from 1994-99. He is held in deep respect in South Africa as the ‘Father of the nation’.
 
In South Africa, 10 percent of the whites ruled the 90 percent of the natives. Mandela led South Africa through bloodshed to democracy. While he was in prison he was allowed only one visitor a year and only one letter in six months. During this period, the powerful west who are now paying glowing tributes to Mandela did very little for the Independece of South Africa or for his release. It was 27 years in prison and not two years ! The natives who were fighting for independence were ‘bulldozed’ by the white regime. 
 
The trade bans which were imposed on South Africa had no impact. They were only on paper. Some countries continued to trade underhand. They continued to play sports and the ban came in the late 80’s. Australia played Rugby until thousands  protested against a visiting South African Rugby team and the game had to be abandoned. Sporting bans in the UK as well came after that. Cricketers went through the ‘backdoor’ and played cricket. For the west the South African economy was too strong as it was ‘built on gold, diamonds and minerals’. Therefore, the UK, US and other countries who are weeping buckets for Mandela now did very little for South African independence. They did not ‘bark’ against South Africa on human rights or war crimes. There were no threats by the UN. And no ‘deadlines’ given by the UK. 
 
But these countries today are jumping up and down and making a hue and cry against Sri Lanka for ending a thirty year terrorist war. It was a legitimate war against terrorists by a sovereign govt.
 

The speech given by Hon Sarath Weerasekera in Parliament on 3rd Dec

December 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker,

  In this  Committee Stage of the  Defence Budget let me first start by responding to some statements made by certain individuals, i.e,  Hon Sumandiram,the British Prime Minister David Camaroon, Hon Sambandan etc..

Hon Sumandiran , referring to the treacherous statement made by TNA MP Sreedharan, who said’ that Prabakaran was a hero, a freedom fighter and should be commemorated’, said in this Parliament that the people in a country which claimed to be civilized should have the freedom to commemorate the dead. He tried to insult my country through that sarcastic comment.

                First of all I must say that Hon Sumandiran and other Members of TNA are now sitting in the Parliament and  enjoying all the facilities and privileges because we are a civilized nation. We all know that TNA was the proxy, the political wing of  the LTTE which we comprehensively defeated . In the world in similar circumstances, the corresponding political party also  vanished. When Hitler was defeated in Germany, his Nazi political party was eliminated. In Cambodia, when Pol Pot was killed, his political party was also destroyed. When Sadam Hussain was killed the Bath political party evaporated. When Mubarak was taken out of power, his political party was proscribed. But in my country, after we crushed the Tigers, we allowed you to survive and continue your politics, because we are a civilized nation; because our President is kind hearted and  please don’t take that kindness as assign of weakness.

               Nations commemorate lives of civilized individuals for their contribution towards the upliftment, advancement of the mankind,/society. Prabakaran, the killer, committed the most heinous andevery possible crime against the mankind unprecedented in modern times. Mr. Speaker, in Terrorism there is no middle man, either you are a terrorist or not. -So only a terrorist can lobby or suggest to commemorate another dead terrorist.

               Hon Sumandiran also said that they  the TNA will not participate in the Parliament Select Committee because there is no majority for them there. I must tell Hon Sumanthiran that we have invited them at least  for that, because we are civilized. In actual fact, we shouldn’t have. Because, as I said, TNA was the proxy of LTTE and we defeated it and after defeating the Tigers, if we are going to have discussions  with the TNA, it is like Sir Winston Churchill talking to the Nazis after the Second World War! It never happened so you be happy that at least you are invited to the Select Committee. You are giving lame excuses because you know very well that you will be thrashed out, as there, it is face to face talks and you won’t be able to prove any of your bogus theories.

                 I also must make a few comments on Hon. David Camaroon. When he landed here, he was accorded the same welcome/reception/respect as for the other Heads of States. But, he completely ignored it and his response to it was very rude. In here, he did not participate in any of the discussions of the CHOGM, but went to Jaffna and played cricket. He held a press conference here and allowed only the foreign journalists to ask questions and  did not allow any of the local media. He flouted the freedom of speech of our media men and had the audacity to go to UK and tell about the absence of media freedom in my country.

                On the other hand Prince Charles who came here, conducted himself in a very regal manner,  very charm, gentle, always smiling, a real Officer and a Gentleman . He was in the Royal Navy and I am  really proud, because I was also in the Sri Lanka Navy for 35 years! Hon Camaroon failed to behave like that, it shows his upbringing and we can imagine how he was brought up and get a hint of the quality of the school he attended.

                 Mr. Camaroon should have known that when he visited here, he never came as David or Camaroon, but as the Prime Minister of Britain who represented the British people and the British government, the country which created the Commonwealth. He should have acted and said things to further the objectives/aims of the Common Wealth, but instead, he was catering for the parochial interests of his constituents back home. That was very unbecoming of a Prime Minister and in the process, he disgraced the British nation in general and Her Majesty the Queen in particular.

                 Mr. Camaroon says he wants a special investigation in to the human rights violations in our country during the war. I don’t think he has any moral right to say so. He should be reminded about the blatant human right violations they did, when we were under subjugation, 150 years ago. The British couldn’t defeat us and we the Sinhalese, defeated them comprehensively, in different locations as we were experts in Guerilla warfare. Then, they started to hit at our economy , they destroyed all our paddy fields, destroyed our tanks, destroyed our canals, our cattle and killed all the men aged between 18 to 35!! So Camaroon whose ancestors have done that  much, has no moral right to talk about the human right violations in my country and in actual fact, we can demand reparations, if not an apology from them. Also Mr. Camaroon should be aware that our country, which is predominantly Buddhist, for the past thousands of years, have protected not only the rights of Humans but also the rights of animals and birds as well.

                 Mr. Speaker , the war that we fought was a war against terrorism. Although terrorism is not yet defined in the UN for reasons unknown, in layman’s terms it is killing/massacring of innocents to achieve a political aim.  So whether the cause for terrorism is justifiable or not terrorism  cannot be justified. And terrorism is no more local or  regional, it is global and transnational. ‘ My terrorist today can be Camaroon’s terrorist tomorrow’. Therefore, there has to be a concise and concerted effort on the part of the International community to address this menace. But, when we addressed and  crushed it , instead of congratulating us, they try to find fault with us, with false allegations just for a handful of votes lying with the Tamil Diaspora.

                 Mr. Speaker , I don’t think there is any other army in the world who sacrificed their lives to protect the  civilians,   like our Army. More than 28,000 soldiers have died in the battle field and 25% of them would have been still living, if our valiant soldiers, both men and women were not concerned about civilian casualties. That was because we have a President, whose heart is filled with compassion and that was because we have a Defense Secretary, a kind hearted, benevolent war veteran.

                 It is true, a large amount of money is allocated for Defense. I think it is necessary to maintain peace. Mr. Jefferson, the US President has once said that “the price for liberty is eternal vigilance” So our military  should keep vigil all the time. Navy is our first line of defense and it has to be strengthened. We must buy surveillance ships, acquire sophisticated radars, multi sensor integrated systems, etc. Ours is the only navy in the world which faced suicide boats at sea, fought and won. Others navies can come here and learn from our Naval officers, how to fight suicide squads, the tactics we used, the strategies/formations we adopted .  

                Also Mr. Speaker, in the process, we lost so many navy men at sea and also lost many ships and crafts. You will be surprised that at the last stages of war we apprehended the entire family of Susei, the Sea Tiger Leader, in a dark night at sea. Susei was responsible for making hundreds of our naval wives widows and destruction of large number of naval craft. Only the Commander, the Secretary Defense and the President knew it. We could have easily destroyed them, but now they are among the Sinhalese living happily. That’s how we protected the human rights of Tamil civilians, even if they were close relatives of tiger leaders and that’s why we don’t take it seriously when Camaroons or  Mangala Samaraweeras talk about human right violations, during war because we have acted according to our consciousness.

                The TNA wants army to withdraw from Jaffna. In Jaffna Mr. Speaker , there are 2 groups now. Those ex Tigers who were rehabilitated and released to the society, those who were sympathetic to LTTE and those were harassed / whose loved ones were taxed or axed by Terrorists. They are angry with each other. When we look back in history after the US civil war in 1865 the Union Army remained in the South for 13 years and after13 years when they left there were mayhem, massacres . Same thing can happen in Jaffna and TNA must think about it seriously as the majority in Jaffna think their lives are safe with army presence.

 

‘Sri Lanka in full support of WTO Bali package!’ ” Rishad at Bali’s MC-9

December 6th, 2013

Media  Ministry of Industry & Commerce

The Doha Development Agenda has been on hold for 12 years. And despite challenges, Sri Lanka extends its fullest support and flexibility to a balanced WTO Bali package. “Doha Development Agenda, which was supposed to inject a new impetus to the world economy through trade creation, has been on hold for 12 long years. And despite the rebuilding challenge, Sri Lanka is ready to extend its fullest support and flexibility towards a balanced Bali package that will ensure some tangible benefits” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 05 December.

 Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia representing Sri Lanka at the 9th Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference, WTO’s top-most decision making body, which is held every two years.  The 9th Ministerial held from 3 ” 6 December, was attended by all 159 Member countries of the WTO and a large number of think-tanks, donor agencies, NGOs and civil society groups.

 The Sri Lanka delegation, which is led by Minister Bathiudeen includes senior officials from the Department of Commerce, Colombo and the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the WTO, Geneva.

 Sri Lanka acceded to WTO on 1 January 1995, and its Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) status is ‘Observer’.  According to WTO, Sri Lanka’s contribution to WTO budget is 0.06% of the organisation’s 2013 total. Tariff binding coverage is only 38%  (in that, only 38% of products  in Sri Lanka’s list of commitments are legally committed/bound with the WTO). In 2012, the share of duty free imports of non-agricultural products from rest of WTO members (under most favoured nation rule) is a considerable 63.8% while only 3% of the total Lankan tariff lines were subjected to non ad-valorem taxes. WTO identifies that Sri Lanka’s place in world merchandise exports to be at Rank 92 and for Commercial Services, Rank 81. Sri Lanka is not listed by WTO for any disputes except just one request for consultation.

 “The Ninth Ministerial is taking place at a very decisive juncture in the global economy. The sluggish growth witnessed since the 2008 financial crisis has already posed serious policy challenges for every country, both big and small. The fast rising unemployment figures and the growing austerity measures we see in many parts of the world paint a disturbing scenario. Unfortunately, the Doha Development Agenda, which was supposed to inject a new impetus to the world economy through trade creation, has been on hold for 12 long years. Against this backdrop, we, the Members, should make every possible effort to ensure that the Bali Ministerial delivers at least a small, but balanced package, which can unblock the Doha impasse and provide us with a fresh start for negotiations” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “With the dawn of peace and stability after nearly three decades of terrorism, the post-conflict Sri Lanka now faces the formidable challenge of rebuilding its economy.

Despite this challenge, Sri Lanka is ready to extend its fullest support and flexibility toward a balanced Bali package that will ensure some tangible benefits to every Member in the WTO family.  If there is no successful outcome in Bali, we will not be able to even think of a comprehensive Doha package, which includes many other important areas such as NAMA, Agriculture and Services.  With everyone’s effort and dedication, we have achieved a great deal of consensus on the texts that are before us and this progress did not come-by easily.  I firmly believe that we are not very far from a deal. Letting go of this opportunity at this stage will be a great loss we will regret for many, many years. 

With stronger political commitment and a little more flexibility by every Member, we will surely be able to walk the remaining mile. Let me also inform you that the Group of Fifteen, a Summit level Group of 17 developing countries currently chaired by Sri Lanka calls for a fresh impetus at the ninth Ministerial Council for an early conclusion of the Doha with a “development” oriented outcome. It also emphasizes the importance of the accession to WTO by developing countries, particularly the LDCs.  An early outcome on the intended Bali package is also an imperative for us to restore the credibility of both the WTO and the multilateral trading system it leads.”  

Fantastic method of collection of statistics and decision making!

December 6th, 2013

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai, Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela

Srilanka must be the only country where a major decision is made by a person no less than a Minister asking two or three women he meets in a bus/ train and asks them whether they like to have women only compartment and when they say no, Presto, the Parliament decides there is no need!

Obviously there will be women who will want to travel with their own men and if there are separate buses /trains for ladies this may be difficult. But surely if there are  women only compartments it will be so convenient for not only women and girls travelling alone, but even the ones travelling with their male companions.

What we should have is different compartments in trains and one side of seats in buses allocated for ladies. The convenience, lack of harassment and perversion, safety for those travelling alone are all superfluous to even mention.

Let’s hope saner counsel will prevail and  correct decisions will be made.

 


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