September 10, 2016, 8:53 p
Stressing the importance of rescuing the country from the debt trap, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday expressed confidence that the government would overcome the obstacle “without leaving the challenge of resolving it to the future generations”.
Addressing the UNP Convention to celebrate its 70th anniversary in Colombo, he assured that “we will resolve it without leaving the burden to generations to come”.
“As a UNPer, I am proud of the immense good the party had done to the nation. But as a party, we may have taken wrong decisions as well. I apologize for all the wrong the UNP has done,” he said.
“This is not the time to talk about the past as the county should steadfastly move forward. It should forge ahead to fulfill the aspirations of the people and rescue the country from the debt trap,” the UNP leader stressed.
Did the United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon commit a serious error when he lumped the Rwanda and Srebrenica genocides with our war against terrorism? The Joint Opposition (JO) charged that he deliberately tarnished our image, ahead of the proposed war crimes probe.
Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, in a special media briefing, insisted that the media had misunderstood. Ban, he stated, never equated Sri Lanka with the above massacres, but as situations far worse than was in Sri Lanka. The UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq, however, stated that the UNSG’s words spoke for itself.
Ban’s words were, “Something more terrible and serious that happened in the past. In 1994 in Rwanda, there was a massacre. More than one million people were massacred. United Nations felt responsible for that. Of course, it was their war and massacres. But the United Nations was not able to act on it. We said repeatedly, “Never again, never again”.
“It happened just one year after in Srebrenica. Again, many people were massacred when they were not fully protected by the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. So we repeated again, “Never again”.
Never again, never again
“How many times should we have to repeat, “Never again, never again”? We did it again in Sri Lanka. We have to do much more not to repeat such things in Sri Lanka, Yemen and elsewhere.”
UN.org skips over this contentious quote and highlights that Ban commended the efforts to a comprehensive transitional justice agenda, the Constitutional reform process, as well as singing the National Anthem in Sinhala and Tamil on the Independence Day. He however said, “More can and should be done to address the legacy of the past and acknowledge the voices of the victims…There is still much work to be done in order to redress the wrongs of the past and to restore the legitimacy and accountability of key institutions, particularly the judiciary and the security services.”
UN.org further highlights, “In the conflict’s decisive final stages, tens of thousands of civilians perished. The war was ended – an unquestionable good for Sri Lanka, the region and the world. But we also know that even in its ending, the price was high.
“I again commend Sri Lankans for examining the difficult period you have now begun to leave behind. I am sure those efforts will continue to generate important lessons for the international community that can save many lives in many places.”
Ban must expose his source that testifies “tens of thousands of civilians perished”, as that has been denied by legitimate investigations.
Sri Lanka’s humanitarian mission that rescued the largest hostage situation in recent history certainly holds important lessons for the world that is increasingly besieged with terrorism. The tragedy is that the focus is not on such crucial lessons.
Be that as it may, disputing the JO leader Dinesh Gunwardena’s interpretation of Ban’s remarks, acting Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva opinionated in Parliament that Ban’s visit and remarks improved Sri Lanka’s image overseas.
On that note, it is pertinent to visit the Ruwanda and the Srebrenica genocides.
The Rwandan genocide
The majority Hutu aimed to wipe out the minority Tutsi from Rwanda in 1994. From 7 April to mid-July, it is estimated that as many as 70 per cent of the Tutsi and 20 per cent of the Rwandan population perished.
Historically, Hutu and Tutsi are of the same ethnicity, but of different castes. Traditionally, Tutsi herded cattle while Hutu farmed land. Since the 18th century, Tutsi became increasingly dominant and in a corvee system Hutu were forced to work for Tutsi chiefs. During the colonial era the Tutsi were favoured, while Hutu’s traditional lands privatized and hardly compensated. Though the Belgians modernized Rwanda with large scale projects in health, education, agriculture and public works, Hutu were disenfranchised and subject to large scale forced labour.
After World War II, Hutu agitated for their freedom. Tutsi also agitated, but on their own terms. The Belgian administration sided with Hutu and Rwanda regained its independence in 1964 with a Hutu-dominated republic.
To avoid Hutu reprisals, more than 300,000 Tutsi fled to neighbouring countries. They formed armed groups and frequently attacked Rwandan territory, which led to a cycle of further reprisals and more exiles. With President Juvenal Habyarimana ascending to power in 1973, violence against Tutsi reduced somewhat.
However, Tutsi refugees continued to intervene militarily. Chiefly, the Rwandan Patriotic Front with the backing of Uganda engaged in guerrilla warfare. After two peace negotiation attempts, Arusha Accords were agreed upon in 1993. It accommodated RPF in the Broad-Based Transitional Government and in the national Army. The peacekeeping force, United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) arrived during the setting up of the BBTG.
The events earned Habyarimana his government’s and military’s wrath. Racist propaganda increasingly ridiculed and belittled Tutsi. The civil defence force trained and armed with machetes by the Army in early ’90s to combat RPF’s terrorism now transformed to radical militia.
In 1993, Burundi’s first ever Hutu President was assassinated by Tutsi army officers. This exacerbated hatred towards Tutsi.
On 11 January 1994, UNAMIR commander, General Romeo Dallaire, appraised UN headquarters on the developing situation. The then UNSG Kofi Annan refused to intervene – even three months later, after the killings began.
Parties to the conflict
His reasons are unclear as the UNAMIR was established with the consent of both parties to the conflict. Thus, the intervention would have been by the UN and not a member State. Then, UNAMIR could not be charged with intervening as it was requested and consented by both parties and authorized by the UN Security Council.
On 6 April President Habyarimana was assassinated. However, PM Agathe Uwilingiyimana was not allowed to take over – despite Dallaire’s insistence. When 10 UNAMIR Belgium soldiers escorted her to Radio Rwanda to address the nation, soldiers and civilians overwhelmed her escort and forced them to surrender. They were then tortured and killed. PM and her husband too were killed. Then onwards, prominent politicians and journalists were hunted down and killed. Dallaire notes, by 7 April noon, the political leadership was either dead or hiding.
Anarchy and genocide followed. The military hierarchy blamed the RPF for the President’s assassination and ordered the Hutu to “begin their work” and spare none – not even babies. In villages where families knew each other, Tutsi were easily identified and killed. In towns, roadblocks were set to identify Tutsi by their identity cards and summarily executed.
HIV-infected men were formed into “rape squads”. Tutsi women and even Hutu women who were married to Tutsi men or harboured Tutsi were raped. Thus, many survivors were infected with HIV and/or with unwanted pregnancies.
800, 000 Rwandans killed
It is estimated that in the first six weeks, as many as 800, 000 Rwandans were killed. Yet, RPF was the only advancing counterforce. UNAMIR was expressly forbidden to intervene, except in self defence.
Early on, the French launched a military operation with Belgians’ and UNAMIR’s assistance to evacuate expatriates from Rwanda. They however separated Tutsi spouses and only evacuated their families of foreign nationality. Those who boarded the evacuation trucks were forced off at checkpoints, where they were killed. The French, who were close to Habyarimana, rescued several high profile members of Habyarimana’s government. RPF was a threat to their influence.
On 23 June the French-led UN returned with about 2,500 soldiers. However, their humanitarian mission went awry, when genocidal authorities also displayed the French flag on their vehicles, luring Tutsi from their hiding.
As RPF slowly gained control, Hutu en masse, fearing reprisals, fled to neighbouring countries. By 18 July the genocide was officially over.
The Srebrenica genocide
Following WWI, Bosnia was incorporated into what became Yugoslavia. On 29 February 1992, in the referendum held, the result was in favour of independence. At the time, the Bosnian multiethnic composition comprised 44 per cent Bosniaks, 31 per cent Orthodox Serbs and 17 per cent Catholic Croats.
Though Bosnian Serbs firmly rejected the outcome, the European Community and America formally recognized the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian Serbs, supported by Serbian Government of Slobodan Milosevic and the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA), attacked the newly formed republic to unify and secure Serb territory.
The region around Srebrenica was of primarily strategic importance to Serbs. Without it, their new political entity, Republika Srpska had no territorial integrity. Therefore, they sought to expel Bosniaks from Srebrenica.
In the bitter conflict for territory, Srebrenica became isolated in the Serb-controlled territory. The advancing Serb military cut off Srebrenica’s only link to Bosnian controlled land and reduced the enclave to 150 square kilometers. As residents of outlying areas sought refuge in the Srebrenica town, the population swelled to 50,000-60,000.
When Commander of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), General Philippe Morillon of France visited Srebrenica in 1993, the town was overcrowded and under siege. There was no running water, proper electricity and scarcity in food, medicine and other essentials. He assured the panicked residents that they were now under the UN protection and would never be abandoned.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees began to evacuate thousands of Bosniaks. The Bosnian Government however opposed it, claiming it contributes to ethnic cleansing. Even after Serbs warned that the town would be attacked in two days unless Bosniaks surrendered and agreed to be evacuated, Bosniaks refused.
From 1992-1995 the besieged population was deliberately starved. The world attention however was on the fight for Sarajevo and the peace process. Srebrenica was far removed geographically from Sarajevo. Thus, its rapidly deteriorating plight rarely came to focus. Only Dutchbat – the fourth tier in the UNPROFOR command chain – was assigned responsibility for the Srebrenica Safe Area.
On 16 April 1993, the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Srebrenica and its surrounding areas be considered a safe area and free from all hostile acts. On 8 May it was agreed to demilitarize Srebrenica. The Bosniak forces within the enclave were to handover their weapons, ammunition and mines to UNPROFOR. Serbs would then withdraw their heavy weapons and units.
This safe area agreement was violated by both parties. The Bosnian Government forces used the area as a convenient base to launch counter offensives, which UNPROFOR failed to prevent. The Serb forces prevented Dutchbat personnel, equipment and ammunition from getting through to Srebrenica. UN headquarters issued specific instructions to UNPROFOR not to be zealous in searching for Bosniak weapons and that the Serbs must withdraw their heavy weapons before Bosniaks gave up their weapons. The Serbs did not withdraw their weapons.
By early 1995, fewer supply convoys made it through to the enclave and even the UN forces started running dangerously low on essentials. On 6 July the Serb offensive began in earnest and UNPROFOR posts rapidly fell. The Dutch soldiers either retreated into the enclave or surrendered. NATO bombers could not attack VRS artillery positions due to poor visibility. Then it capitulated to VRSs’ threats to kill Dutch and French military hostages and attack refugee sites with 20,000-30,000 civilians. Thereafter, Dutchbat commander was captured on film, drinking a toast with General Mladic of VRS under whose command the killings perpetrated.
Young girls gang raped
In the following days and months to come, as Dutchbat failed to protect Srebrenica, boys and men, mostly but not necessarily of fighting age, were massacred. Even young girls were gang raped. Though 25,000-30,000 women, children and elderly were forcibly transferred, not all buses apparently reached safety.
It is baffling how Sri Lanka came out smelling of roses when Ban laments that the UN failed in Rwanda, Srebrenica and again in Sri Lanka. The government insists that the international community is good with Sri Lanka. However, Ban grouping Sri Lanka with the carnage indicates otherwise.
Hence, it is imperative for the government to stop playing politics with national security and immediately rectify this errorneous statement. After all, our war was not one without witnesses. Ban’s ardent defenders can extensively brief him the significant role India, America and other prominent diplomatic bodies played bringing humanitarian aid including medical attention to the civilians held hostage by the terrorists.
A week after the UN Secretary General visiting Jaffna, President Maithripala Sirisena who was invited to the 200th anniversary celebration of Jaffna Central College on Friday (9) said the decisions that should be taken regarding the development of the country cannot be postponed under any circumstances. If that happened the people of the country will suffer from poverty, the President pointed out while adding that the swift measures will be taken to ensure the carrying out of the development work of the North without any delay.
President Sirisena also said, he will tour the province in the future to take necessary steps to prevent any delays of the development work and to find out causes for those issues.
The students warmly received the President when he arrived at the venue and he was seen engaged in a very cordial and friendly discussion with them.
A book released to mark the Jaffna Central College Scout Centenary Celebrations was presented to the President by the Principal of the College. A commemorative stamp was also issued in this regard.
The Principal, presented a special memento to the President.Expressing his views further, the President said, he will fulfil every responsibility to make the dreams of the children in the North as well as the South, a reality.
The present government allocated the maximum amount of funds in history for the development of education in the North, he added.
Meanwhile, the President opened a newly built state-of-the-art Police Station in Jaffna. Later he also made an inspection tour of the Police Station.
The Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, Ministers and MPs, including, Minister Sagala Ratnayake, State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, Douglas Devananda, Angajan Ramanathan, MP, Inspector General of Police, Pujith Jayasundara, Jaffna Security Force Commander Major General Mahesh Senanayake and many others participated in this event.
President Sirisena went to Jaffna in a jubilant mood after concluding the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)’s 65th Anniversary Convention, with gloomy clouds of being a flop looming over up until last Sunday.
Even though, Rajapaksa loyalists backed out, the rally was a complete success with many describing it as having the true identity of the SLFP with many cultural events taking place.
Despite the lack of support by these SLFP members, the 65th SLFP Convention attracted a massive crowd, which according to many party stalwarts was the biggest an SLFP convention has ever attracted.
As it was made clear that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not attending the Convention as he had already undertaken a tour in Malaysia, a seat was not allocated for him.
Unlike on many previous occasions where Rajapaksa received a remarkable cheer from crowds than Party Leader President Sirisena ever received in the recent past, a warm reception and a loud applaud thundered whenever President Sirisena’s name was referred to.
Addressing the packed Maligapitiya ground, he stressed that the SLFP will contest upcoming Local Government elections under the party’s traditional ‘Hand’ symbol.
He invited other political parties supporting the SLFP and those that are willing to do so in the future to contest as a common front at future polls under the ‘Hand’ symbol. President Sirisena also invited SLFP parliamentarians in the Joint Opposition group to work within the party to form an SLFP led government in the future.
“I took over the leadership to form an SLFP led government,” the President added.
While observing that some were attacking him both openly and in secret, the President questioned whether they were conspiring against him as he is a man from a humble background.
He pointed out that he is the President who is most close to the general public as he came from a humble background when compared to the other six Executive Presidents in the country. “We need the support of all for this endeavour,” he added.
Meanwhile, all 38 SLFP parliamentarians in the Joint Opposition, the group of MPs loyal to former President Rajapaksa, stayed away from the 65th SLFP Convention as predicted.
Earlier, MP Dullas Alahapperuma said that the 38 SLFP members supporting the Joint Opposition will boycott the convention.
What is noteworthy was not giving former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, a chance to speak at the party convention.
Maithri goes green
Meanwhile, upon returning from Jaffna, President Sirisena yesterday attended the 70th Convention of the United National Party (UNP) held at Campbell Park in Colombo under the patronage of UNP Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
President Sirisena was undecided whether he would make a speech at the UNP Convention till the last minute as he came under heavy criticism by SLFPers for not only becoming the first SLFP leader to attend a UNP Convention, but going ahead with a speech too.
However, despite these concerns expressed President Sirisena continued the trend he set by making a strong speech at the UNP Convention.
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was also seen at the UNP Convention.
The Convention which began by singing the National Anthem in Sinhala concluded with it being sung in Tamil.
CBK at crucial UNP meeting
In the run-up to the 70th Anniversary Celebrations a special dinner was arranged at the Water’s Edge to discuss the preparations for the Convention.
Prior to this, the UNP Working Committee also met under the leadership of Premier Wickremesinghe and unlike on an ordinary day, UNP MPs who are not in the Working Committee were also invited to it.
Leader Wickremesinghe, in a lengthy speech, described the sacrifices he made from 1994 to 2015 when the UNP was in the Opposition, to make sure that party was not split.
Hinting at the party’s leadership he said that he has no intention to be the UNP leader when Party celebrates its 80th Anniversary. This remark prompted whispers amongst many who saw it positively while there were those who attempted to read between the lines.
For them, it was the way Wickremesinghe indirectly implied his wish to serve two more terms as the UNP leader.
After the Working Committee meeting PM Wickremesinghe arrived with his wife Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe to the dinner party at the Water’s Edge.
Everyone was amazed to see another VIP arriving at this UNP special dinner and it was none other than former President Kumaratunga.
Protest against MR
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in Malaysia to address the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) organized by the Malaysian Government at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).
According to Malaysian media reports, some 50 people of Indian ethnicity had gathered outside the Putra World Trade Centre to protest against Rajapaksa, whom they dubbed a “war criminal”.
The group claimed Indian Malaysians have been insulted by Rajapaksa’s presence in the country and criticized the government for according ‘VIP treatment’ at the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) to the Sri Lankan whom they accused of having killed thousands of Tamils in his country.
Demonstrators held up banners and posters featuring his likeness horned and fanged with messages that read “Rajapaksa is a killer”, “Sri Lankan Idi Amin” and “Get out Rajapaksa”.
MR pays no heed
However, Rajapksa paid no heed to the protests and in fact was roaming around the country meeting people and visiting places as previously planned.
After his address he briefly met the Malaysian Prime Minister upon the latter’s invitation and was engaged in a cordial discussion.
However, Rajapaksa did not visit the temple where a Buddhist monk got assaulted as Sri Lankans in Malaysia as well as Malaysian security advised him against his intention to visit the temple and meet the victimized monk.
The Chief Incumbent of the Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in Sentul was assaulted by a small group of demonstrators who were against Rajapaksa visiting the temple, Free Malaysia Today reported.
Members of the Malaysian Indian Progressive Association, Malaysian Tamilan, and the Malaysian Indian Education Transformation Association began their protest by burning an effigy of Rajapaksa. When the Chief Incumbent, Sri Saranankara Maha Nayaka Thera (a Sinhalese), came out of the temple, some persons went to question him about Rajapaksa’s visit, and abused him using vulgarities and obscenities.
One person touched the monk’s face, prompting another to punch him in the face. Two members of the crowd also kicked the monk, forcing Sri Saranankara to run back into the temple.
Sentul Police arrived in time to prevent the crowd from pursuing the monk into the temple.
Subsequently, the President of the Malaysian Indian Educational Transformation Association (MIETA), A. Elangovan, went into the temple with the police and apologized to the monk.
He said his group had gathered at the temple “because we want to give a stern warning to all Buddhist temples not to allow the mass murderer here.”
However, Rajapaksa protests went out of proportion when a group assaulted Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia Ibrahim Sahib Ansar last Sunday, in a restricted area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The CCTV footage of the incident, shows the group of men cornering Ansar and questioning him before beating him down to the floor.
According to sources, the attackers had actually come in search of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and asked Ansar about the whereabouts of ‘war criminal Rajapaksa’.
“When he replied that they should go and find out from security officers, they beat him and left him bleeding,” sources said.
On Monday, the Sri Lankan Government condemned the incident and lodged a strong protest with the Malaysian High Commissioner in Colombo for failing to provide him adequate security.
When Rajapaksa arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, ending his tour full of drama in Malaysia his supporters had gathered at the normal arrival entrance to welcome him.
A commotion erupted when the security personnel attempted to prevent Rajapaksa from using the ordinary exit.
MP Prasanna Ranatunga was adamant against security concerns and demanded that Rajapaksa would leave the airport from the normal arrivals gate and would speak to his supporters who have gathered there.
However, when Rajapaksa arrived at the normal arrivals gate to exit, the power supply was interrupted only in that section prompting MPs Mahindananda Aluthgamage , Lohan Ratwatte, Dullas Alahapperuma, Piyal Nishantha, Prasanna Ranaweera, Indika Anurudda, Johnston Fernando and Roshan Ranasinghe to flock around Rajapaksa and escort him out under their security.
An Executive Director, UN, in his keynote address on the Rule of Law organised by the Institute of Justice, Thailand, sometime back had stated “Weak rule of law and lack of good governance pose a major threat to social and economic development the world over and they have hindered attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”. He had added that “investments in justice systems and the rule of law were pre-requisites for long term prosperity”.
Didn’t we experience the country becoming worse day after day? We began to hear about drugs, kidnappings, murder, rape, death-threats and underworld gangs including politicians taking law into their hands. Prisons became overcrowded with people who did not have access to political power. Politicians involved in criminal activity and their henchmen due to the culture of impunity escaped without being legally punished. Didn’t we elect representatives since 1970s, who created carnage, chaos and instability in the country?
Considering all these, don’t we need long-term durable solutions. We need statesmen to lead the country. “Integrity is doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching them” C.S. Lewis. Do we have such leaders to lead our country? Do our leaders deceive the masses to remain in power? Isn’t that the kind of governance they had mastered since 1970s?
Why did President in Kurunegala while addressing the 65th SLFP Convention say “My intention is to form an SLFP government by strengthening the party? I was invited to accept the leadership after my victory and I happily accepted it with the intention of building this great party and steering it to victory”.
“Our future policies should therefore be based on morality imbued with compassion, kindness, affection, truthfulness, sincerity, moderation, love, simplicity, tolerance and respect for life of all living beings, whether they are fauna or flora”
It was the President and the Prime Minister who convinced us that a “National Government” was needed to take the country forward. The President in an exclusive interview with Sunday Times had also told that the two parties together would work for the benefit of the people. The people having placed immense trust in their words had voted overwhelmingly to elect the good governance team.
The President at a meeting held in the Presidential Secretariat with newspaper editors and media recently had said “We have to forget our greed for power and remain united to create a better country for the next generation”. President had added that “the national unity government, in which the two main political parties function as the key stakeholders had laid the perfect foundation to find solutions to long-drawn socio-economic issues”.
Why should the President waste his energies to build up a party? A vast majority campaigning in support of the JO did not attend the convention in Kurunegala. They had defied the decisions taken by the SLFP leadership time and again.
He must not forget that he came forward as the common candidate for a specific purpose? It also appears the President is vigorously planning in order to gain control over the SLFP, when in fact it should be the last item among the priorities. There has been severe criticism that President Sirisena should take the blame for splitting the SLFP. The Former President had also said that the decision to remove 16 SLFP electoral organizers has resulted in fragmenting the SLFP into pieces. He added that popular stalwarts had been replaced with individuals who have been defeated. Has the President filled the vacancies with people with integrity, honesty, moral courage, kindness, generosity and the like? NO.
Shouldn’t the President therefore place trust continually on people who had elected him? People expect the President to continue with the programmes he had already begun under the Unity government. Couldn’t the President gauge his own performance so far as the Head of State? Hasn’t he done well so far? Shouldn’t he act in a more responsible manner as a Statesman in the making?
I am surprised why the President did not use his communication skills to tell his party men to support his cause to establish the rule of law and good governance. In fact, he is the President of the entire country including the UNP. The President supported by the Prime Minister previously had said that the UNP and SLFP should unite and sink their differences in order to take the country forward. President also had said “There are several reasons why I should be happy. I took over a country which did not have proper democracy. The country was plagued with corruption. There was disregard for human rights and fundamental rights. The judiciary was corrupt and the country was burdened with debt. The foreign debt remained at Rs. 9,000 billion”.
This is why people believe that the President should standby firmly in support of Unity Government. The President should not cause any embarrassment to those who voted them and extended the support to constitute the present government. President should not shatter the people’s hope because it is those corrupt self-centred politicians who would come back if he strengthened the SLFP. Country needs new blood for statecraft. If not, who knows whether the former regime could also use all their gimmicks to come back to power? Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character – Albert Einstein. As President, he had rightly pointed out about Sri Lanka’s crippling burden of debt, absence of rule of law, bad governance, corruption, civil unrest, ethnic violence, overloaded and inefficient public sector. WB, IMF, and other international agencies too have pointed out public sector corruption or the use of public office for personal gain had hindered development and economic growth.
Didn’t we expect the present leadership to change the destiny for the benefit of the people? If they are good leaders, they should be able to make things happen, things that otherwise could not have happened? If they do not work together it would no doubt be impossible to fulfil the aspirations of the masses.
Do you think most of our politicians have been self-aggrandisers and self-perpetuators who subvert and degrade key institutions, programmes, legislation etc of government to serve their interest and not that of the people? Saddam Hussein has stated “Politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said nor what you intended”.
“The rulers must administer the country with affection, care and discipline considering that it is the responsibility of that of a father. Aren’t they duty bound to look in to their welfare and happiness too? Haven’t they instead feathered their nests to-date? “
Nevertheless, dishonest inconsiderate politicians without moral courage, assisted by shady public officers under the present government, too spend billions for luxury motor vehicles. having curtailed essential public services. Shouldn’t they think that economic and other impediments faced by the people had stemmed from the way that the political power had been exercised and monopolised by selfish politicos since 1970s.
It is therefore encouraging that President professes his commitment to “poverty alleviation”. They should professionally study the systemic causes of poverty and the need to change present economic and social policies for achieving the goals for the benefit of the people. President also announced that he did not want to reside in the Official Residence in Fort because he does not like wasting government resources.
Paradoxically, with an abundance of potential and natural resources, we are mired in steaming squalor, misery, deprivation and chaos. Due to these reasons, even locally produced food stuff has gone up in prices by leaps and bounds pushing food stuff nearly out of bounds for the poor masses. Eating has therefore now become a luxury in Sri Lanka. President himself has pointed out around 20% of the population is suffering from malnutrition.
The rulers must administer the country with affection, care and discipline considering that it is the responsibility of that of a father. Aren’t they duty bound to look in to their welfare and happiness too? Haven’t they instead feathered their nests to-date?
Shouldn’t we therefore change the electoral system and nominate clean, capable people who do not seek fame, luxury cars and official bungalows. There should be people who are willing to sacrifice to take the country forward and who would dedicatedly work towards the well-being of the people. Why is that SLFP nominating mavericks as organizers as yet? President said at a meeting in Jaffna that the government does not want to earn bigger revenue from Liquor. If so how can the President appoint liquor shop owner as an organizer in Colombo district? People seem to be unhappy about the way how the leaders handle these affairs.
Dr. Abdul Kalam, former President of India had said “creative leadership is the essence of good governance” and a creative leadership requires qualities – (a) A Vision (b) Passion to realise the vision (c) Leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path (d) Knowledge of how to manage a success and failure (e) Courage to take decisions (f) Nobility in management (g) Transparent in every action (h) Leader becomes the master of the problem, defeats the problem and succeeds (i) Leader must work with integrity and succeed with integrity. Dr. Kalam had expressed confidence that the creative leadership qualities will be the foundation which will transform a country into a performing nation.
Our future policies should therefore be based on morality imbued with compassion, kindness, affection, truthfulness, sincerity, moderation, love, simplicity, tolerance and respect for life of all living beings, whether it is fauna or flora.
Resources will have to be sparingly used. It is unfortunate that both the President and the Prime Minister are hell-bent to provide elected representative with luxuries we cannot afford.
Denis Halliday, UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative to Singapore in 1970s had said the Singaporean Government had used aid wisely “focussing heavily on education, industrial development and the urban planning, on every aspect of the now successful industries”.
In the recent times, the architecture of politics has changed. Didn’t the party bosses do that for their own benefit? Nevertheless, the Buddha’s exhortation to the first monks was ‘go forth monks for the good of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good. Let not two go by one way’. Buddha on several occasions advised the kings to lead a path of righteousness and non-violence. “To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day” Winston Churchill.
Shouldn’t we therefore turn the whole thing upside down? Shouldn’t we remove the tyrannical Machiavelvlian type dynamics, which have proved to be dysfunctional? It is not too late if there is political will to make it better for the citizens and achieve growth and development.
– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/115636/ARE-PEOPLE-HAPPY-ABOUT-LEADERSHIP-That-HANDLES-GOVERNANCE-#sthash.TNOeZ4Oc.dpuf
Matara district Joint Opposition MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane, in an interview with Daily Mirror, says it will continue to fight against the government come what may. He says the government seems to be trying to postpone national elections.
Q Amidst the present state of affairs, how does the Joint Opposition plan its political activities?
We carry out our political activities as usual. We meet people. We go for funerals and weddings. It is as usual. Q Still you do not have a proper political identity in the form of a new party or movement. How are you proceeding with it?
Actually, there is no need for us to build a new identity. We have already carved it out in politics. This is my 33rd year in politics. People know me well in my electoral district and vice versa. We will continue to do politics. Q You were expelled from the organiser post of the party. What do you feel about it?
For me, it was a foregone conclusion. It is nothing new. I knew it would happen at one point given the manner in which the party affairs were conducted.
Q How does the Joint Opposition plan its political activities?
We continue to agitate against the atrocious political activities of the government. We will not stop it at any cost. Q But, public perception is that you will form a new party. What is the actual position?
Actually, we will contest the next elections definitely if we remain alive. It is premature to announce from what side we will contest. One thing is clear. We are contesting. Q You are referring to the parliamentary elections. What about the local government elections?
We will field candidates for that election. We will support them. We have not yet decided modalities for it. We intend to form a political force. As things stand at the moment, we do not even need a political party. People will rally behind us even if we contest as independent groups. If we explain to people the dangerous trend the country is heading towards, they will accept. Both the country’s sovereignty and future are at stake. Clear signs are emerging in this regard. A lame duck government is there. It does not have a proper plan. Its only plan was to unseat former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. There is nothing more than that for them. Virtually, the country is caught in a heap of creepers. The Ministers contradict each other. There is contradiction within contradiction and confusion within confusion. Is this a government? Where is it heading? What will be the end result?
There is growing public unrest against the government. It is our duty to give leadership to these people and unite them for a common front.
“We did not listen to anyone. We assumed that we were correct all the time. We did a lot of development work. But, they received scant publicity. We disregarded giving publicity. Instead, there was negative publicity by the other side. We did not counter it well “ Q You were a Cabinet Minister of the previous rule. In your view, what are the reasons for its defeat at the January 8th election?
It was defeated merely because of falsehood established in society by the forces with vested interests. There was a malicious propaganda campaign. There was one form of propaganda targeting the Muslim community, and another for the Sinhala community. It was a well calculated and well planned move. It was a conspiracy planned systemically over a period.
The western countries and some other countries in the neighbourhood pumped in hordes and hordes of money for this conspiracy. Everyone possible was bought over. Regional politics also played a role. The end result was the defeat of the government. Q Then, why did you fail to counter such false propaganda?
Of course, our shortcomings made way for establishments of such false propaganda in society. Some of our activities served as impetus for untruths spread by these forces. Q What are your shortcomings?
We did not listen to anyone. We assumed that we were correct all the time. We did a lot of development work. But, they received scant publicity. We disregarded giving publicity. Instead, there was negative publicity by the other side. We did not counter it well. We could have done so. Q How have you corrected it now?
Actually, at this time, the current government is giving us opportunities to be seized for publicity. The Central Bank bond scam was one. The conduct of some Ministers was another for us to campaign against the government. There is ongoing political victimisation and vendetta. It is loathsome for people. There are corruption allegations against the government. The government is virtually helping us. Corruption involving local politicians is talked about in the Australian media. Q How do you plan your role in Parliament now?
We are planning it amid various hurdles. The government is placing all possible stumbling blocks. We are not recognised. The Speaker is yet to recognise our group formally. We are not allotted time adequately. We have the support of 51 MPs. Time is not allotted for them adequately and proportionately. However, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) with 16 MPs and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) with six MPs get time more than enough time.
“We feel that the government will not go for the elections. It is scared of elections. The government seems to be planning to postpone even the parliamentary elections”
Q Do you intend to fight for it?
Yes, we will. We will request the Speaker to recognise us as an independent group. Q But, you contested the election on the ticket of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). It is a party to the government. Then, don’t you see any legal barrier for it?
We contested on the UPFA ticket. Its leader President gave us permission to sit in the opposition. Otherwise, he should have asked to stay with the government. We were permitted to sit in the opposition as a group opposed to the government. In fact, we voted against the government’s budget last time. Then, why can’t we be recognised as a group formally. This is nothing but repression. We seek the help of the Speaker as the custodian. Q Are you planning yet another Pada Yatra?
No, we won’t do it. One is enough. Next, we will have a series of meetings at village level. Q Is it in view of the local government elections?
We feel that the government will not go for the elections. It is scared of elections. The government seems to be planning to postpone even the parliamentary elections. Instead, there will be a referendum seeking the extension of the present parliament as done by late President J.R. Jayewardene. It is being planned with the support of international forces. Q How do you make such allegations without substantial evidence?
That was what we heard from reliable sources. We can sense what the government is up to. Foreign nations never help us. They deal with those dancing according to their tune only. They won’t deal with us. Q The government is talking about a massive development drive in the south. You are a politician from the southern province. What are your views?
The government talks very highly of its planned development projects. But, nothing is planned out other than those laid down in ‘Mahinda Chintana’ policies. The government sees whether it is possible to implement at least what was there in that policy document at that time. We promised to give 1000 acres for Chinese projects. Now, the government is promising 15,000 acres. The government has virtually admitted that our policy was correct.
The government vowed to scrap the Port City Project. Now, they have decided to go ahead with it even with the offer of more land for China. They are going after China with a begging bowl. We had a plan for the development of the country. Q The alienation of minority groups was yet another reason for the defeat of the previous government. What is your position?
It is like this. It was false propaganda. It is clear who was behind Bodu Bala Sena that carried out an anti-Muslim campaign. Now, I think Muslims have realised it. Their business operations are down. Recently, a Muslim businessman was abducted. Had it happened during our time, the government would have been blamed. Today, there is a Police Force trying to bend the law. It is called law bending Police. The Police are used to carry out political victimisation.
– See more at: http://www.dailymirror.lk/115637/JO-to-fight-for-recognition-in-Parliament-as-a-separate-group-Mahinda-Yapa#sthash.ONmId2Zv.dpuf
The pledge that has been given by the Government to protect the foremost place of Buddhism must be credited, Bishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith says.
He expressed this view while participating at a religious ceremony held at the Holy Cross Church in Gampaha.
“We thankful for the President and the Prime Minister as they have vowed to give the right status and respect deserved for Buddhism,” he added.
Cardinal Ranjith also went on to say that there was a move to add a new term to the proposed Constitution in a bid to promote atheism in Sri Lanka.
“This was also a reason why I stressed that the right status and respect deserved for Buddhism should remain intact in the Constitution. The 9th clause of the Constitution should remain unchanged,” he added.
– See more at: http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?mode=beauti&nid=36895#sthash.2EyJvyQ8.dpuf
BY SÖNKE IWERSEN HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE Courtesy Handelsblatt Global Edition
From a hotel in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden shocked the world in 2013 by disclosing the extent of U.S. intelligence spying. Then he vanished ore flebefeing to Moscow. Handelsblatt found the people who hid Snowden — refugees with nothing, and everything to lose. read
Edward Snowden doesn’t like vegetables. Nadeeka* smiled at this as she washed the dishes in her small kitchen. The guest who had slept in her room for the last three days may have been the world’s most-wanted man, but when it came to his eating habits, he strongly resembled her daughter, Sethumdi. The meat disappeared, the side dish stayed on the plate. Now, on this hot summer day in 2013, Mr. Snowden and Sethumdi were playing in the hallway. Times like these, the American acted normal.
Nadeeka, a petite woman with jet-black hair, finished the dishes and went into the hallway. Her guest had withdrawn to his room again. She knocked on the door, opened it and found him bent over his laptop, as usual. Nadeeka told him she was going shopping. She felt sorry for the young American for having to spend so much time in the stuffy room. He looked at her for a moment, without moving. Then he said: “Nadeeka, I’m alive in this room. I’m dead outside.”
The world had never seen a spy like him before. “My name is Edward Snowden. I am 29 years old. I worked for Booz Allen Hamilton as an analyst for the NSA,” he said at the beginning of his interview, which was broadcast on June 9, 2013. Then he told viewers about all the things an analyst for the National Security Agency could do.
The interview sent shockwaves around the globe. People were already suspicious of intelligence agencies but Mr. Snowden’s revelations sent shivers down their spines. Here was a young man talking calmly about how the NSA was recording and storing every single email and text message sent anywhere in the world. Every telephone number in use was archived, as was every internet address visited and every online purchase. All of this was being done without court orders or political mandates. The world was outraged.
One reason Mr. Snowden’s revelations found such resonance was that he had prepared them so well. Weeks before his interview, he had traveled to Hong Kong with a collection of USB sticks in his luggage. The storage devices contained countless U.S. intelligence service documents. Then he set up a meeting with a journalist from British newspaper The Guardian and U.S. documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras.
video: Interviews with the Hong Kong Refugees Who Hid the NSA Operative En Route to Moscow.
Articles began appearing in June about PRISM, the massive eavesdropping program the NSA was using to access data from Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and other tech companies. The disclosures drew outrage. For several days, the world puzzled over who the source of the revelations could be. Until Snowden outed himself in his own interview. Going public, Mr. Snowden became the face of the protest movement against U.S. surveillance activities.
Despite the care he had taken preparing his revelations, the young man had given precious little thought to what would happen afterwards. The interview with the Guardian journalist, Glenn Greenwald, took place on June 6, 2013, at Hotel Mira in downtown Hong Kong. The whistleblower was still staying at the hotel when the interview was broadcast three days later.
Now the whole world could recognize his face. Mr. Snowden could no longer set foot outside. And Mr. Greenwald, who had checked into a different hotel, no longer felt safe visiting him. Other journalists were at his heels. The whistleblower was trapped.
One reason Mr. Snowden’s revelations found such resonance was that he had prepared them so well. Weeks before his interview, he had traveled to Hong Kong with a collection of USB sticks in his luggage. The storage devices contained countless U.S. intelligence service documents.
The sun had just set over Lantau, the biggest of Hong Kong’s 263 islands, on Monday, June 10, 2013, when Robert Tibbo’s phone rang. The 49-year-old attorney opened his eyes and looked at the clock. Annoyed, Mr. Tibbo rolled over and closed his eyes again. The phone rang again a few minutes later. On the third try, Mr. Tibbo finally picked up.
He was sitting in his Mazda 20 minutes later. He was heading to Kowloon, where Hotel Mira is located. Mr. Tibbo felt queasy. He had been working as a lawyer in Hong Kong for eight years. In an earlier life, the Canadian had worked as a chemical engineer for Monsanto in Australia. Then he set up shop in Hong Kong as a corporate consultant, and went to law school, specializing in human rights. About 12,000 refugees were living in Hong Kong at the time, many under miserable conditions. There was plenty of work for Mr. Tibbo.
The lawyer drove quickly. Hong Kong, a special administrative zone on the southern coast of China, has a population of 7 million. But thanks to an extremely high automobile tax and excellent public transportation, Hong Kong has fewer traffic jams than most other major cities. Mr. Tibbo drove as fast as he could. What a Monday! He reached for his phone.
“Where are you now? What? Oh, no, that’s too dangerous. I’ll be right there,” he said, breathlessly to the person on the other end.
Mr. Tibbo walked into the lobby of the W Hotel, the hotel, where Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist, was staying. He looked around.
Dozens of journalists were camped out in the lobby. In their frenetic search for Mr. Snowden, they had discovered Mr. Greenwald’s whereabouts. They still didn’t know the identity of the man they were looking for. But they had a simple plan: Follow Mr. Greenwald until he led them to Mr. Snowden.
Mr. Tibbo was shocked. Like millions of other people in the world, the attorney had seen Mr. Snowden’s interview on television the night before. He had marveled at the American who appeared relaxed as he chatted about the NSA. But hours later, Mr. Tibbo’s admiration had turned to consternation. Had Mr. Snowden and the journalists actually betrayed the biggest secrets of the U.S. intelligence agencies and then simply gone to bed?
Shortly after Mr. Snowden’s television bombshell, Mr. Greenwald received a call from a long-time aquaintance. The man warned the journalist the entire world would soon be looking for Mr. Snowden. The American needed a lawyer, and fast, his friend told him. Mr. Greenwald’s reader knew two of the best human rights lawyers in Hong Kong: Robert Tibbo and Jonathan Mann.
At the W Hotel, Mr. Tibbo went into action. Jonathan Mann headed to went the Mira Hotel to speak with Mr. Snowden, while Mr. Tibbo went to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Mr. Greenwald was ordered to stay put.
Mr. Tibbo rushed out of the W Hotel straight to the head of the UNHCR. He made his case: An American was in Hong Kong urgently needed political protection. The official was reserved and perplexed by the puzzling request. Mr. Tibbo’s phone rang again.
It was Mr. Snowden.
He was nervous. Earlier, Mr. Snowden had said his testimony was more important than his freedom. But now, the consequences of his disclosures were starting to sink in, and he realized he would be arrested if he left his hotel. Where was he supposed to go?
“Don’t worry about it,” Mr. Tibbo said. He had an idea.
A HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH EDWARD SNOWDEN
Snowden shows up
Nadeeka didn’t recognize Edward Snowden when she met him. The young man was standing in front of her apartment door, wearing a baseball cap and carrying a blue plastic bag. Robert Tibbo stood beside him. The attorney, to whom Nadeeka owed her freedom in Hong Kong, had called a short time earlier. There was someone who needed protection, he said, and asked Nadeeka to help.
That night, Mr. Snowden slept where Nadeeka and her daughter usually sleep, on an old mattress in a 100-square-foot room with bare concrete walls. Nadeeka and her daughter Sethumdi slept in the hallway.
The next morning, Mr. Snowden asked his host to buy him a newspaper. When Nadeeka opened the South China Morning Post, she was dumbfounded. The man whose photo she was looking at was sitting on her bed. Nadeeka was harboring the world’s most-wanted man.
When Handelsblatt met Nadeeka in Hong Kong, she wasn’t doing well. It was a hot summer day in 2016, with temperatures reaching 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) and 90 percent humidity. Nadeeka was just out of hospital, and wanted to hold her three-month-old son, Dinath, in her arms. But Dinath was still in hospital, with ear problems following a kidney infection. The doctors decided to keep him there.
Her apartment is on the fourth floor of a high-rise in Kowloon. We walked up through a cluttered stairwell, passing piles of garbage and fuse boxes with cables hanging out. Looking out the windows as we climbed the stairs, we saw the illegal structures people built on top of buildings nearby.
The four members of Nadeeka’s family live in a two-room apartment. The shower is in the stairwell and the stove is next to the toilet. The walls are bare, and the only spot of color is a colorful landscape Nadeeka’s husband Supun painted onto the walls.
When Nadeeka opened the door, her daughter Sethumdi jumped excitedly behind her. The five-year-old is seemingly unaffected by the poverty of her surroundings. Bright-eyed, the little girl showed her plastic toys and lost herself in a fantasy world where she is a princess. Nadeeka stroked her daughter’s head. Then she pulled out a tattered chair and a plastic stool, sat down, and told how she had ended up in Hong Kong.
Nadeeka and Supun’s apartment is on the fourth floor of a high-rise in Kowloon. We walked up through a cluttered stairwell, passing piles of garbage and fuse boxes with cables hanging out. Looking out the windows as we climbed the stairs, we saw the illegal structures people built on top of buildings nearby.
Nadeeka was born in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, in 1983. Her father was a bus driver and her mother a housewife. When Nadeeka turned 18, she started working as a seamstress in a factory, where she made baby clothing for Nike and Marks & Spencer. She worked 10 hours a day, six days a week, and overtime was standard. Workers had to ask the foreman for permission to use the bathroom. If Nadeeka did not complete the required number of garments, she had to continue sewing without pay until she fulfilled her quota. When there were urgent orders to finish, the 600 female employees had to work all night long.
But hard work wasn’t the reason Nadeeka left her country. The reason was Nuwan. He was the man Nadeeka saw every day on her way to work. Nuwan was from a politically influential family. He spoke to Nadeeka, a shy young woman, for the first time in March 2003. He asked to go on a date with him, but she turned him down.
For six months, Nuwan followed Nadeeka from the factory where she worked to her parents’ house, begging her to be his girlfriend. Nadeeka relented – at least a little – in October, telling Nuwan he should speak to her parents. They took a look at the young man and told him to come back with his parents. Finally, they gave him permission to go out with their daughter.
Four months later, they were sleeping together. Nadeeka, whose upbringing forbade premarital sex, was against it at first. But Nuwan was persistent, and because Nadeeka was certain that she would marry this man, she finally gave in.
Nuwan went abroad in late 2004. Soon there were rumors that he was living a very loose life. When he returned to Sri Lanka in mid-2006, Nadeeka’s parents told him that his relationship with their daughter was over. That was when the torture began.
Under a false pretext, Nuwan lured Nadeeka to a friend’s apartment, where he raped her. From then on, he demanded sex several times a week. If Nadeeka refused, Nuwan beat her and raped her. Fearing she would be stigmatized, Nadeeka didn’t go to the police or the hospital. When she threatened to press charges against Nuwan, he showed her a video he had secretly made when they were having sex. He told Nadeeka that he would publish the video if she resisted. At the same time, Nadeeka discovered that Nuwan was married and that his wife was expecting a child. Nadeeka felt dishonored and feared that she would never find a husband. She tried to commit suicide by swallowing insecticide.
After doctors saved her life, Nadeeka hid at a relative’s house. But Nuwan found her and threatened to kill Nadeeka, her parents and anyone who helped her. Because his family was closely aligned politically with the governing party, he had political protection. The police wouldn’t touch his family. In December 2007, Nadeeka fled to Hong Kong, where she met the man she wanted to marry.
THE EDWARD SNOWDEN TIMELINE: FROM MARYLAND TO MOSCOW
Romeo and Juliet in Colombo
Supun* was once a proud man. As a teenager in his native Sri Lanka, he was a promising cricket player, the country’s national sport. He was popular and a heartthrob in school and dreamed of being famous. Today, he sits next to Nadeeka in their run-down apartment, with bloodshot eyes, and is ashamed.
Supun has been stuck in Hong Kong for 11 years. All that time, he has been dependent on his father, who sold his house to help his son. Supun would like to provide for his family, but he can’t. As an asylum seeker, he is not permitted to work in Hong Kong, and because his legal status is unclear, he is not allowed to leave. He is a prisoner in a system that makes no sense.
War drove him away. Supun was nine when he heard the first bomb, on May Day in 1993, as he was fixing his bicycle. He suddenly heard a huge explosion that shook the ground. A suicide bomber had blown himself up at a rally, killing then President Ranasinghe Premadasa and many bystanders.
A civil war had been raging in Sri Lanka for years. The government and rebels were ruthless in their combat and recruiting methods. It was almost impossible not to take sides and anyone who supported one side immediately became a target for the other. Supun regularly saw charred corpses on his way to school, the bodies of people insurgents had killed by placing tires soaked in gasoline around their necks and setting them on fire. As a deterrent, the police often hung in front of the school the bodies of beheaded students who had opposed the government.
Supun started playing cricket when he was six. His talent and love of the game helped him get chosen for all-star teams. Sri Lanka won the World Cup when Supun was 12. No one in Sri Lanka earned more respect than someone who knew how to hold a cricket bat. Supun hoped to become a professional cricket player, and later an actor or a singer.
Supun fell in love at 17. It was a problem. His girlfriend Inoko was from a family that actively supported the opposition, while his parents and relatives supported the governing party, the UNP. It was a Romeo and Juliet scenario.
Inoko’s family threatened to kill Supun when they realized their daughter was seeing someone from the opposition. The family wanted to marry Inoko off to a man she didn’t know, but who fit the family’s plans. Supun and Inoko married secretly in October 2003.
In Sri Lanka the political situation worsened dramatically in 2004 when the UNP lost an election. Soon after, Supun received a call from his wife, who told him to go into hiding. She had overheard a conversation between her brothers, who had found Supun’s new address in Colombo and were going to hunt him down.
Supun moved from one hiding place to the next, but his wife’s brothers were on his trail. They beat him with metal bars and sticks and demanded he leave their sister alone. But the couple kept meeting nevertheless.
The situation got worse when Inoko’s family found out the couple had married. Inoko’s brothers beat Supun severely and placed their sister under house arrest. They forced Inoko to file for divorce, threatening to kill her husband if she refused to comply. Inoko obeyed her brothers, but Supun refused to accept a divorce. Again, Inoko’s brothers beat him with sticks in broad daylight, this time before his wife’s eyes.
Supun finally went to the police, but it was no use. The party Inoko’s family supported was now in power. The police didn’t lift a finger. Instead, Supun was beaten again after filing charges. He fled to Hong Kong in March 2005. There was only one reason he chose Hong Kong: It had no visa requirement – all he needed was a ticket. Supun left Sri Lanka with one suitcase to start his new life.
The Mira Hotel in Hong Kong is one of the city’s most stylish hotels. Dressed in jeans and a faded T-shirt, holding a Rubik’s cube to identify himself, Mr. Snowden met journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald on June 1, 2013.
Misery in paradise
At first, Hong Kong seems like the land of milk and honey. With its picturesque location on the South China Sea, the city has a magnificent skyline. The world’s major banks all have skyscrapers there and the streets are lined with fancy cars. The Ritz Carlton in the International Commerce Center is the tallest hotel in the world. Hong Kong has a budget surplus of €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion). Tiny apartments with 20 square meters (215 square feet) of space cost close to €1 million. An luxurious apartment recently sold for €69 million.
This is the side of Hong Kong that Edward Snowden experienced when he arrived in May 2013. The Mira on Nathan Road is one of the city’s most stylish hotels. Limos line up in front of the entrance and visitors enter a lobby with curved white walls and designer furniture. Here, dressed in jeans and a faded T-shirt, and holding a Rubik’s cube to identify himself, Mr. Snowden met journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald on June 1, 2013.
Ten days later, on the run from U.S. intelligence agents, Mr. Snowden became acquainted with the other side of Hong Kong.
The apartment where Nadeeka and Supun live, and where Mr. Snowden first took refuge, is managed by International Social Services, a company headquartered in Switzerland. Officially a non-governmental organization, ISS has a lucrative contract with Hong Kong to manage housing for asylum seekers. In 2015, major protests forced city administrators to shut down more than 60 slums: ISS employees had reportedly sent refugees to slumlords, who were housing asylum seekers in pigsties and pigeon sheds, for which they were paid millions from the city’s welfare coffers. Party members, ISS directors and slumlords are still linked today.
ISS has denied the reports, defending the status of its properties in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s welfare support for refugees has also come in for criticism. Refugees receive food vouchers that are only valid in the ParknShop supermarkets, a chain owned by Li Ka-Shing, one of Asia’s richest men. And no matter how many times people like Nadeeka and Supun complain that prices at ParknShop are higher than at other stores, and that the vouchers don’t last until the end of the month, nothing changes.
The first refuge
This was the world Mr. Snowden discovered in June 2013. His interview with The Guardian made him an enemy of the state. The United States issued a warrant for his arrest, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pressured Hong Kong to find and extradite Mr. Snowden. The Americans also conducted their own search, in what intelligence insiders called the biggest intelligence manhunt in history. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham at the time said: “I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the earth, [and] bring him to justice.”
For Mr. Snowden, the end of the world was Nadeeka and Supun’s apartment. Neither hesitated to take him in. When they first saw the American, Robert Tibbo was standing next to him. They would have done anything for Mr. Tibbo. The human rights lawyer was the reason the two asylum seekers hadn’t been deported. Both had been arrested several times, and Mr. Tibbo secured their release each time. In the special administrative zone, where only 0.3 percent of applicants gain asylum, Mr. Tibbo’s voice is one of the few on behalf of refugees. It was no surprise Nadeeka and Supun welcomed the man everyone was looking for into their home.
Mr. Snowden was shy and nervous. All he said to them was: “They’re coming after me” before falling silent. In the next few days, the whistleblower spoke very little with his hosts. Mostly, he would sit at his laptop with earplugs in his ears. Nadeeka and Supun had no idea what he was typing.
It was the beginning of a surreal period for them. The world’s most-wanted man was sitting in their apartment, and they couldn’t speak to anyone about it. Mr. Tibbo instructed them to remove the batteries from their phones and not to Google terms like ”Snowden” or ”NSA” on their computer. The attorney had deliberately hidden the American where no one would look for him, and he was determined to keep it that way.
As little as Mr. Snowden spoke, his hosts quickly gained a taste for their role. The entire city was talking about the American. Everyone wondered where the man who had opposed the omnipotent U.S. intelligence service could be. “We are protecting a hero,” Supun told his wife. A few days later, when Mr. Snowden told them it was time for him to leave, the family wept. But his attorney insisted that he be moved for security reasons.
Vanessa* couldn’t quite place Edward Snowden when he stood before her.
“This man needs a place to hide,” Robert Tibbo told her on a summer evening in 2013. That was good enough for Vanessa. She led the stranger into her apartment, gave him a pillow and a blanket, and asked him if he was hungry. “I like muffins,” Mr. Snowden said. Vanessa reached for her wallet. As he was leaving, her attorney took her aside and said: “Speak with no one. When you open a newspaper tomorrow, you’ll know who he is.”
When Vanessa, 42, went out the next morning to buy muffins and fresh underwear for her guest, she got a shock. The face of the man she had let into her apartment the day before was everywhere — in newspapers, on TV and on websites. “I was shaking with fear,” she recalled. “The world’s most-wanted man was sleeping in my apartment. If anyone had found out, my daughter and I would have been in a lot of trouble.”
But Vanessa didn’t send Mr. Snowden away. “I couldn’t do that,” she said. “Hiding Edward was an important task, and Robert Tibbo asked me to do it. I didn’t want to let him down, and I was proud that he had asked me for help.”
There is hardly anything Vanessa wouldn’t do for her attorney. Mr. Tibbo is her anchor in a city that doesn’t want her. She hid from the authorities for years, and it was only through Mr. Tibbo that she learned she had a right to stay in Hong Kong.
She was 24 when she arrived in Hong Kong. She thought her entry visa for a job as a maid was a ticket to a happier future. She grew up in a village in the northern Philippines, in a province where rebels with the New People’s Army, the military arm of the Communist Party, were entrenched. Battles with government forces were common. As a child, Vanessa could tell how far away the fighting was from the sound of the explosions.
The world seemed better in Hong Kong, a city that would grind to a halt without foreign domestic help. More than 300,000 people, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, work in Hong Kong as domestic servants. Vanessa was pleased in the first few years. But then a wedding sealed her fate.
In the summer of 2000, Vanessa attended a friend’s wedding while home in the Philippines. One of the guests wanted more from Vanessa than she felt comfortable with. It wasn’t a big problem at first. She was already looking for her next job in Hong Kong, but then realized she didn’t have enough money to pay the employment agency. The longer she stayed, the more Vanessa was harassed by the man, who she realized was a well-connected member of the NPA rebels. He raped Vanessa in December 2001, and then he abducted her.
Vanessa said she tried to escape three times, and each time the rebel caught her and beat her. Then she gave birth to a son. The rebel allowed her to visit her parents. With their help, she eventually secured a contract for a job in Hong Kong. She hid her son with her parents and planned to return for him later.
But her plan failed. A few weeks after fleeing the Philippines, Vanessa received a call from the man who had made her life a living hell. He had taken her son and threatened to kill Vanessa if she returned to the Philippines. To this day, she doesn’t know how her son is or whether he is even alive.
Unable to return home to the Philippines, her life in Hong Kong became harder overnight. Domestic servants live under difficult circumstances in Hong Kong.
“This man needs a place to hide,” Robert Tibbo told her one summer evening in 2013. That was good enough for Vanessa. She led the stranger into her apartment, gave him a pillow and blanket, and asked him if he was hungry. “I like muffins,” Edward Snowden said.
In Hong Kong, maids are required by law to live in their employers’ homes. The young women are usually housed in children’s rooms. When children cry at night or wake up at 5 a.m. and refuse to go back to sleep, the maids get up.
Many of these women see themselves as modern-day slaves. Vanessa’s employers often sent her to their parents to clean there as well. But her pay, like that of all domestic help, was below the legal minimum wage. And if she were fired, Vanessa would have just two weeks to find a new job – or face deportation.
Domestic servants in Hong Kong only have Sundays off, when anyone strolling through the city can witness a strange spectacle — thousands and thousands of young women having picnics, sitting on flattened cardboard boxes on bridges and streets, and in overcrowded parks. The women are too poor to eat in restaurants. The groups of young Filipino and Indonesian woman look like protesters, but they are not. They are simply poor and living on subsistence wages.
Those who do not conform are weeded out. Vanessa lost her last job as a maid in 2010. Unable to return to the Philippines, she scraped by, staying with friends. But she was caught in a police raid, and unable to produce valid papers, was arrested. For more than two months, she was held in a jail cell with 12 women, sleeping on metal beds without mattresses.
Robert Tibbo found Vanessa and told her she had rights. She became a founding member of the Refugee Union, which has registered more than 2,500 of Hong Kong’s 12,000 asylum seekers. The group draws attention to people who are all but forced into crime by Hong Kong’s bureaucracy.
The money refugees earn in Hong Kong isn’t enough to survive. But they are banned from working and those who work illegally risk 22 months in jail. The penalty for robbery is two to three months, while drug dealers usually spend less than a year in prison. More refugees are arrested in Hong Kong for working illegally than for dealing drugs, which is far more lucrative.
Ed has to go
The refugee sitting in Vanessa’s apartment in summer 2013 had other problems. He had been accused of treason by Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. The Americans were determined to catch Edward Snowden at any price.
Besides hosting Mr. Snowden in her apartment, Vanessa was his messenger, shuttling documents to his attorney. She wore a different baseball cap each time, to avoid being identified on security cameras. Mr. Snowden’s passport was now in her refrigerator. For his 30th birthday, Vanessa bought him a chocolate cake. “Ed liked anything sweet. My daughter and I sang Happy Birthday to him. Then Ed blew out the candles. It was nice.”
The happy moment was brief. “One morning, Ed suddenly said that he had to go,” says Vanessa. Mr. Snowden seemed very anxious, she said. “He told me he was afraid to die. But I said to him: Don’t worry, Robert Tibbo will take care of you.”
Mr. Tibbo’s office doesn’t look like the office of a man capable of taking on the U.S. intelligence community. It has no marble floors, no lobby, not even a reception desk. He works in a single room on the 14th floor of a high-rise in Tsim Sha Tsui, a building in a neighborhood located next to a Thai massage business.
His office is full of desks and cardboard boxes. Files are stacked high on shelves, on tables and on the floor. Each file contains one person’s story. People constantly stop by to thank him for his work. Ajith*, who served as Mr. Snowden’s bodyguard during his two weeks underground in Hong Kong, was in the office when Handelsblatt interviewed Mr. Tibbo.
Ajith’s job began the afternoon Mr. Tibbo asked him to go to the UNHCR office in Hong Kong. “He wanted me to see if white men were standing outside the door,” Ajith said. Then Mr. Tibbo left the building with a stranger. “I know you,” Ajith said right away. “You’re the one on TV.”
Ajith was 18 when he joined the military in Sri Lanka. He had dropped out of school three years earlier when his parents were no longer able to pay the tuition. Ajith was unable to find a real job. His parents were confident that if he joined the army, at least he would have something to eat. The reality turned out to be different.
Ajith enlisted for 22 years. He had hardly arrived at the Ambepussa Army Camp in southwestern Sri Lanka when the nightmare began. The young recruits were sexually molested and often raped daily by their supervising officers. Those who complained were brutally punished. Ajith ran away after two weeks. He spent the next three years hiding from the military policy and surviving on occasional jobs.
Ajith returned to the army in 1993, because he felt he had no alternative. He enlisted under a false name. In the new camp, the recruits were also sexually assaulted by supervising officers, but this time Ajith did his best to avoid the assaults. He was sent to the front after three months, serving as a soldier with government forces fighting Tamil Tiger rebels. When he was injured in fighting and received no medical care, he ran away again.
For the authorities, Ajith was a two-time deserter. He spent six years on the run. During that time he worked as a fisherman and in the mines, hid in the jungle and once in a Buddhist temple. He was seized by the military police in 2002 and put in prison. That was when the torture began. Ajith was beaten with sticks, helmets and chains. Some days, his tormenters poured gasoline on his open wounds. On others they almost drowned him. Then they threw him into a garbage pit.
Ajith had given up on life when he was suddenly released. His family took him in and tried to nurse their severely abused son back to health. A few months later, the military police returned with more questions. They had discovered that Ajith had been in the military not once but twice, and both times left without permission. The family panicked, knowing Ajith would not survive a second round of torture.
The family decided Ajith had to leave the country. They found a man who said he could obtain forged documents so that Ajith could flee to Canada. Ajith’s father mortgaged their house and the family gave the stranger all their money and some passport photos.
In October 2003, the broker and Ajith flew to Hong Kong – a stopover, the man said. From the airport, he took Ajith to Chunking Mansions, a hostel operation of 2,000 rooms. The stranger got out of the taxi and told Ajith to wait for him. Ajith never saw the man again. He was stranded in Hong Kong.
Ajith’s only stroke of luck was that there were tens of thousands of Sri Lankans in Hong Kong. A few took him in under their wing, and Ajith lived underground for three years. He only found out in 2006 that as a torture victim, he could apply for asylum. His status is still unresolved.
But in 2013 he had a guest: Edward Snowden.
Ajith spoke hesitantly about his time with the American. Sitting in Robert Tibbo’s office, the heavily tattooed man had trouble concentrating. He experienced things in Sri Lanka that people don’t recover from. It seems unlikely that Ajith had the strength to protect Mr. Snowden. But when asked by Handelsblatt why he did it, Ajith said: “He was like me. Ed was a refugee, and I was a refugee. Of course I helped him.”
The two didn’t talk much. Sometimes Ajith would pick up food for his American guest. Snowden liked McDonald’s. Otherwise, Ajith accompanied his charge whenever he moved from one hiding place to another. “I simply felt more comfortable when Ajith was there during the transfers,” said Robert Tibbo, adding: “Ajith was the only one with experience on the front.”
Like in free fall
Nadeeka and Supun, the couple from Sri Lanka. Vanessa, the maid from the Philippines. Ajith, the former soldier. Robert Tibbo called upon an odd group in summer 2013 to protect Mr. Snowden but nobody else was there.
Handelsblatt asked the fugitive’s videographer, Laura Poitras, how she came to film her famous interview with Mr. Snowden on June 6, 2013, which was broadcast on June 9. Why hadn’t the journalists taken Mr. Snowden to a safe place long ago?
“We had no time to make plans,” Ms. Poitras said. “Things were just moving faster than we could think. We were in free fall.”
Robert Tibbo rescued Mr. Snowden. “He was the one who really knew what he was doing,” she said. “Rob immediately had a plan for how to get Ed out of the hotel. And what to do after that. We would never have made it without him.”
Mr. Snowden, in an internet interview, spoke highly of Mr. Tibbo. “Robert was a man who carried the weight of human lives on his shoulders every day,” the American wrote to Handelsblatt through an encrypted channel from Moscow. “Every day, he fought against a system that is designed to ensure that you can never win. And as far I’m concerned, his plan was brilliant.”
How come Mr. Tibbo was the only one with the overview of what was happening with Snowden the summer of 2013? He shrugged. “As a human rights attorney, you often find yourself in extreme situations,” Mr. Tibbo said. Of course, none of his other charges was ever as famous. Still, matters of life and death – winning residency for his clients, preventing deportations that could lead to their deaths – is the core of his work. “I was just doing my job,” Mr. Tibbo said.
The two weeks with Mr. Snowden left their mark. Sleep was rare during those summer days. Aside from taking naps here and there, he worked around the clock to find ways to get Mr. Snowden out of Hong Kong. In the end, the American chose Moscow. On June 23, 2013, Mr. Tibbo drove Mr. Snowden to the airport.
But that wasn’t the end of the attorney’s adventure. Mr. Tibbo said he was followed for a year after Mr. Snowden’s departure. He communicates almost exclusively through encrypted channels, concerned anything could be intercepted by intelligence agencies. Smartphones are banned in Mr. Tibbo’s office – visitors must place their phones in his refrigerator.
Mr. Tibbo said he is still Mr. Snowden’s attorney. He visited him in Moscow a few weeks ago, but was unwilling to say what the two men discussed. He said that Mr. Snowden seemed exhausted. But it was important to him to meet his client in person.
Oliver Stone wasn’t interested
The refugees who hid him would also like to see Mr. Snowden again, but the chances of that happening are close to zero. Vanessa, the single mom from the Philippines, can’t afford schoolbooks for her daughter Keana. Ajith continues to suffer from the torture he endured and needs psychiatric care. Nadeeka’s and Suduka’s tenuous existence is still day-to-day.
When Handelsblatt met Nadeeka and Suduka again in July, their situation had deteriorated. In Kowloon it was pouring. Supun huddled under a plastic tarp with Dinath, their three-month-old son, leaning against the building wall in rage and despair.
The landlord had shut off their power. It’s 10 p.m. and outside it’s 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit). the apartment is pitch-dark. Without power, there is no ventilation from fans. Supun’s son had a kidney infection and his medicine needed to be refrigerated. Supun had bought a bag of ice.
The children, sweaty and squashed on a small bed and mattress with their parents, cried through that terrible night. Their parents didn’t get any sleep and the next day, the family was exhausted. They went to the office of the building administrator, ISS, where a clerk said he had no idea why the electricity was shut off. Eventually, he said it was likely a billing error. It took half the day before the apartment had power again.
This is also part of Edward Snowden’s story. The refugees who harbored him three years ago still live in miserable conditions in a wealthy city that doesn’t want them. Their asylum applications are still being processed for 10 years or even longer. Their children don’t have passports – they were stateless when they were born.
Others have done better from their contact with Edward Snowden. Journalist Glenn Greenwald turned his experiences into a bestseller. Laura Poitras became world-famous for her documentary “Citizen Four,” and won an Oscar. Together, they launched a new journalism project with $250 million from EBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. Hollywood director Oliver Stone’s $50 million film about Mr. Snowden, called “Snowden,” is to debut this month.
Mr. Stone didn’t talk with the refugees who saved Edward Snowden’s life, the Hong Kong lawyer said. “The subject didn’t seem to interest him,” Mr. Tibbo said. Would he watch the film? “No. I know what happened.”
The Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet and writer Boris Pasternak became world famous for his controversial novel Doctor Zhivago which underscores the plight of the Russian upper middle class during the Bolshevik Revolution. Pasternak was a great composer of images. His grand novel is full of humanism and Pasternak presents the character formation in a poetic vision. He saw the gigantic social changes of 1917 in a human kaleidoscope.
Although the novel was written during the years surrounding the revolution (1910-1920), it was published several decades later. Pasternak’s vision of cosmology, and passion for the individual as well as for life splendidly written in this great novel. It is a snapshot into Russian life Russian Revolution and the early Soviet era of life.
Pasternak highlights the problem of modern sociopolitical existence through his masterpiece Dr Zivago. It is a panoramic social and political chronicle, which describes the social turmoil during and after the Russian Revolution and how the Russian upper middle class was despondently affected by it. Pasternak’s revelation highlights a dramatic question. Is it fare to sacrifice personal freedom and personal life for a social ideology?
In every generation there has to be some fool who will speak the truth as he sees it. Boris Pasternak
The concept of ideology is most generally associated with power relations and often has no regard to human feelings. The ideology can be interpreted as the way in which people think about the world and their ideal concept of how to live in the world. It is a shared belief of a group of people, groups deliberately planning to oppress people or alter their ‘consciousness. In this process violence, torture and terror are used and people are judged by their ideological views.
The Bolshevik Revolution had brought about a fundamental change in the organization of Russian society. The Bolshevik idea of “building a new man via social construction was an indigestible paragon for people like Uri Zhivago. Such people should adopt, perish or leave the system. When there is a dynamic social, change it, gives no place for personal feelings and everybody should get used to a collective life. Ideology and slogans become the center of life. People are judged politically. In such an environment, individuals are given less choices. DrYury Zhivago was one of the countless victims of such a system.
The romance between Yuri Zhivago and Larissa Antipova was a personnel issue and it had no place in the Bolshevik concepts although Lenin enjoyed his private married life with Krupskaya and Stalin with Nadia Alliluyeva. Even though the Red hardliner Strelnikove states that, the personal life is dead in Russia it was not applicable for everyone.
Uri Zhivago a doctor and a sensitive man dramatically torn apart by forces beyond his control. Dr Zhivago became a victim of a personal tragedy as well as a collective tragedy. Yuri’s mother died when he was a child, leaving him only a balalaika. Young Uri was adopted by his uncle. While living in Moscow he had a passionate interest in poetry. Doctor Uri Zhivago was recognized as a professional as well as a poet in the Russian society. But his life was torn between his two lovesTonia Gromyko his wife and Lara Antipova the beautiful nurse.
When the Civil War erupted, Doctor Zhivago was forcibly removed from his wife and family by the Red Partisans and eventually his wife Tonia escapes to Paris with the children. When Strelnikove was arrested, Lara’s life was in danger and she was compelled to go with Victor Komarovsky –the immoral man and an opportunist. Thus, Dr Uri Zhivago lost Lara as well and becomes a fragile man. Lara disappeared off the street during Stalin’s Great Purge. “Perhaps in a labor camp,” narrated General Yevgraf, “A nameless number, on a nameless list which was later mislaid.” Love and innocence lost he was aimless. Dr Zhivago dies of a heart attack while pursuing a woman he believes to be Lara down a Moscow street.
The collective tragedy fell upon on him with the Revolution. The bourgeois Moscovites grand lifestyle of enjoying champagne, caviar and vodka came to a hold with the Revolution. Their lives became topsy-turvy. Doctor Zhivago’s family wealth was confiscated and their house had been divided into tenements by the new Soviet Government. Zhivago’s family was confined to a small room. Dr Uri Zhivago was hated by the Bolsheviks because of his middle class bourgeois roots. His poetry was considered as lines of petty indulging verses.
The revolution brought them misery and disappointments. Thousands were shot dead. The Revolutionary Committee could arrest or execute anyone labeling a counter revolutionary. Wealthy landowners were exterminated classifying them as Kulaks. There was no clear definition or a demarcation of a Kulak. A person owned thousand hectares of land was considered a Kulak. At the height of the state terror under Joseph Stalin, a farmer owned two pounds of grain also labeled as a Kulak and executed.
Bolsheviks believed that they had found the pathway to Utopia. They rationalized the devastation followed by the Revolution stating that if you want to make an omelet, you’ve got to break some eggs.’ Boris Pasternak indirectly puts the question to Bolsheviks through his book Dr Zhivago.Pasternak is questioning –`I see the broken eggs, but Where’s the omelet?’
Pasternak passionately renounced the Bolshevik idea of “building a new man” according to the Revolutionary measurements. Pasternak knew it was against nature. He argued that you could cut the tumors of injustice, which is a painful operation, provided that the patient should be kept alive.
The novel Dr Zhivago is a saga, spanning Zhivago’s life depicting several authentic characters.Boris Pasternak adored the poet Alexander Block Dr. Zhivago may have been based in part on the real life Russian poet Alexander Blok who was the most famous and influential in Russia. Alexander Block was a symbolist poet who sought to convey individual emotional experience through the subtle, suggestive use of highly metaphorical language. In the years after the revolution, Blok was very involved in social and political journalism and in criticism. Blok’s disillusionment with the Soviet bureaucracy and censorship is suggested in his fierce and eloquent essay in 1921 “On the Poet’s Calling” Blok died in Petrograd on Aug. 7, 1921 at the age of thirty-seven. Like the fictitious character, Dr Uri ZhivagoBlock died under physical and emotional exhaustion and with a great disillusionment.
The second character Pavel Antipov or Strelnikov’s personality is much similar to Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronshtein). Pavel Antipov was a son of a railway worker. He marred Lara and moved to the Urals. He joined the army as a volunteer during the World War One and fought in the German lines. Wounded in the battle Pavel Antipov was presumed dead but later returns, using the pseudonym Strelnikov with a total personality change. He was not a warm caring man anymore, turned in to a bloodthirsty military commissar.
Like Pavel Antipov, Trotsky was against the Bolsheviks in the early stages but later deeply embraced the Bolshevism. Leon Trotsky formed the Red Army that fought with the White Guard in the Civil War. Leon Trotsky spent his time during the civil war in a train traveling widely across the young Soviet Union. According to the novel Pavel Antipov alias Strelnikov was a ruthless character who travels by a special guarded train destroying villages and eliminating people who help the Whites.
When Dr Zhivago accidentally encountered Strelnikov’s well-protected locomotive he was arrested and taken before Strelnikov. When Strelnikov sees Dr Zhivago he immediately recognizes the famous Russian Poet. These were the words of Strelnikov when he denounced Zhivago ’s poetry.
I used to admire your poems. I shouldn’t admire it now. I should find it absurdly personal. Don’t you agree? Feelings, insights, affections… it’s suddenly trivial now. You don’t agree; you’re wrong. The personal life is dead in Russia. History has killed it. I can see why you might hate me.
Leon Trotsky and Strelnikov shred a common fate. Both of them fell from grace. The Bolsheviks relinquished both. Strelnikov committed suicide while he was taken to a firing squad and Trotsky was murdered in Mexico.
Yevgraf Zhivago is another Character Pasternak introduced in this novel. According to the bookYevgraf was Dr Uri Zhivago ‘s younger illegitimate half-brother who was working for the Cheka.Cheka was a secret police force that was founded soon after the Revolution. Cheka had power to arrest people. No judicial process was involved in assessing the guilt or innocence of any of its prisoners. Punishments, including the death penalty, were arbitrarily applied. The Cheka was granted the power of summary trials and execution of death sentence.
There are much resemblance between Yevgraf Zhivago and Felix Dzerzhinsky – the founder of Bolshevik secret police the Cheka. Dzerzhinsky was not a Russian, he was a Polish. InPasternak’s book Yevgraf Zhivago was illegitimate (non Russian ?). Like Dzerzhinsky, Yevgraf Zhivago combats internal political threats executing suspects.
Dzerzhinsky once publicly stated that “We represent in ourselves organized terror — this must be said very clearly and the terrorization, arrests and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles.”
Yevgraf Zhivago ‘s words correspond to the power that Cheka members had.
Indeed as a policeman I would say, get hold of a man’s brother and you’re halfway home. Nor was it admiration for a better man than me. I did admire him, but I didn’t think he was the better man. Besides, I’ve executed better men than me with a small pistol.
Chekabecame ill famous for large-scale human rights abuses, including torture and mass summary executions, carried out especially during the Russian Civil War.
Another relatively small but rousing character was introduced in the novel whose name is Lieutenant Razin. He was categorically against demobilizing Dr Zhivago from the Red Army Partisan unit. In a public debate, he expresses his opinion thus …
As the military struggle draws to a close, the political struggle intensifies. In the hour of victory, the military will have served its purpose – and all men will be judged politically regardless of their military record. (Please compare this with the power struggle between President Rajapaksha and General Sarath Fonseka. Was Pasternak a genius?)
Lieutenant Razin could be Kliment Voroshilov who was the commissar of the 1st Cavalry Army and later became the People’s Commissioner for Military and Navy Affairs and Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR. Voroshilov gave his full support to Joseph Stalin’s 1930 Great Purge, denouncing a large number of his colleagues who served in the Army.
John Locke and Jeremy Bentham described society as comprising individuals interacting through market relations. However, Bolsheviks went further and wanted to create a socialist Utopia through revolution and subsequently via Stalinism. Nonetheless, Pasternak viewed it as a colossal social upheaval caused millions of human lives in Gulags or slave labor concentration camps that became a symbol of tyranny and oppression.
Pasternak’s novel Dr Zhivago was banned in Russia for 30 years when he attempted to publish in 1957. As the protagonist of the novel,Uri ZhivagoPasternak was once considered by the system as a misfit. He was persecuted by the Soviet authorities as a traitor. Pasternak won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, but he was compelled to deny it following the pressure put by the Soviet regime. In 1987, the Union of Soviet Writers posthumously reinstated Pasternak.Doctor Zhivago was finally published in Russia in 1988 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Pasternak left us with moral questions that are convoluted to find answers. But words of Alexander Berkman coincide Pasternak’s inner thought about the revolution.
“No revolution has yet tried the true way of liberty. None has had sufficient faith in it. Force and suppression, persecution, revenge, and terror have characterized all revolutions in the past and have thereby defeated their original aims. The time has come to try new methods, new ways. The social revolution is to achieve the emancipation of man through liberty, but if we have no faith in the latter, revolution becomes a denial and betrayal of itself.”
When I read above new item, I find that every country which underwent a difficult time during wars has developed quite fast and started their own industries. After the second world war Japan,Germany ,and many European countries including Russia developed quite fast .They started their own Industries.Germany and Russia built tanks and warships and now building ships .Japan is building cars and electronic equipment .
We had war and we built Fast attack crafts and tugs during my time in dockyard .We built passenger vessels .Dockyard built supply boat to India .
Now SLPA being a state organization is buying or hiring tugs despite the fact that Sri Lankan Yards can build them .
I can guess the reason .
Politicians go for foreign purchases for some obvious reasons, Officers keep rejecting offers from local yards as they can travel to foreign countries when they give order .
It is high time that the government identifies the companies who can build Tugs etc and ask for offers and evaluate .I am sure that our prices will be lower .Sri Lanka will not only develop industries but save money going out of the country.
This is how India and China and even Vietnam is growing fast.
We have to develop a nationalistic feeling not by encouraging various extreme elements but giving recognition to what we can do in the island .
We are good in making “ Galkatas “ and “Hakkapatta” and the business is surely flourishing !!!!!
But we import even shoes and helmets for the soldiers even now !
Whether one stays at home, travels by bus, train or car or even happens to be a pedestrian on the road you cannot escape from an earful of blares emanating from radios to blast your ear drums, but certainly not for any personal listening pleasure.
Currently in Sri Lanka there are around 37 radio stations operating under licence, which commenced broadcasting in 1993. The only exception is the good old pioneer Radio Ceylon, which has been transformed into Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. ‘Lak Handa’ (government owned) is also owned by Independent Television Network (ITN). A variety of radio stations broadcast only in one language, Sinhala, English or Tamil, but the majority conforms to broadcasting in Sinhala.
Later the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation adopted rather a conservative approach in its broadcasting style which still it maintains adhering to traditional Sinhala and correct grammar in pronunciation by announcers, but the private FM channels have set the trend of broadcasting in a completely different style (more or less in ordinary day- to-day spoken language) which has paved the way as a “benchmark of the entertainment industry“.
Latest digital technology
‘Sirasa FM’ is equipped with the latest digital technology, up-to-date transmission equipment and the DJ style broadcasting studios – a totally new concept to Sri Lanka. It was the first to launch a Sinhala radio channel with crystal clear reception island-wide. They were the first to launch a non-stop 24/7 transmission in Sri Lanka, and has gone on record as the “first to launch interactive radio programmes with listeners over the phone”, to go on line with a webcast to become “the first ever worldwide Sinhala radio station in the world”.
Some broadcasters use local transmitters to relay their broadcasts. Deutsche Welle broadcasts are relayed via Trincomalee on medium and short wave bands. Trans World Radio India broadcasts on medium wave using SLBC’s transmitter in Puttalam. The International Broadcasting Bureau transmits programmes from Voice of America, Radio Free Afghanistan, Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty, Radio Sawa and Radio Azadi on short wave using Iranawila relay station.
Radio broadcasting and commercialisation developed in the 19th century along with electromagnetic waves and experimentation, wireless communication and technical development. In 1894 Italian Gugliemo Marconi initially developed the commercial wireless telegraphy system based on radio Hertzian waves. He later developed portable transmitters and receiver systems that enabled long distance operations and finally his idea of antenna became the first successful ‘engineering-complete’ in radio transmission system.
In 1896 Marconi received the ‘British patent 12039’ and established the first radio station on the Isle of White, in an offshore island in England. Subsequently, in 1903 an amalgamation of Siemens and Halske and the General Electric Company formed the Telefunken Company which led the way towards the progress of the radio industry.
The licensing of public radio stations in the world took place in October 1920 in the US with the very first broadcast going on the air to announce the American Presidential Election results. This was followed by the arrival of Frequency Modulation (FM) of the radio wave, which is commonly used today in many of the modern radio stations. Immediately prior to the FM invention in 1933, by Edwin Armstrong, US Federal Communications Commission introduced the Analog television broadcasting in some parts of Europe and in North America to receive television sound. During the World War II, Germany was equipped with a number of medium-wave frequencies only, which were inadequate for broadcasting. This urged Germany to come up with the novel idea of broadcasting on shortwave bands, which later became popular as VHF.
Copyright and Intellectual Property
In the 1920s the general public got accustomed to the radio as wireless broadcasting became extremely popular. Commercial enterprises, which always kept their eyes open and ears glued to grab every possible opportunity, deliberated in promoting the radio service as a business. However, there were other sections in society who dreaded the drastic consequences on the sale of records and live performances. Such moves and fears made companies which had engaged popular artistes at the time to enter into official contracts and agreements thus restraining their clients from appearing for the radio.
Seemingly the copyright owners woke up from their slumber and became alert and concerned with their loss from the popularity of the radio and the ‘free’ music it provided. This made them seek protection out of the already existing copyright law. Finally, the copyright holders for songs had full control over every public performance for profit. The problem became somewhat complex when the radio industry was just contemplating on ways and means of making money from advertising while free music was offered to anyone with a receiver and profiteering out of songs. This made the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to initiate a licensing fee of $250 from radio stations in 1923 initially, which has ballooned subsequently.
There is a difference between advertising and promotion, which are often used by marketers interchangeably. In advertising, a product or service is viewed against competitors to condition the minds of consumers. Brand impartiality and individuality are believed to develop over the longer term. Many advertising exposures, therefore, require the responsive jerk for the consumer to feel towards an offering product or service.
In Sri Lanka the advertising industry spends hundreds of millions on TV, print and radio advertising. Quite often TV is made the scapegoat to advertise some of the radio stations, mostly when the TV and radio belong to the same organisation. Advertising today has become part and parcel of everyone’s life, whether one likes it or not, and it can be a hindrance to a listener of a radio or television viewer. This is due to the fact that advertising is regarded as a tool to sell, woo and condition customers or listeners to a particular brand, a specific product or a service.
In any developed society there is a code for marketing which limits advertising to a number of spots per hour, both on the radio and television, and a maximum permissible percentage in newspapers or magazines not to override the news content. In Sri Lanka unfortunately, from the viewpoint of radio listeners and TV viewers, advertising tends to surpass the programme content to such an extent that half a hour programme, for instance, becomes limited to 10 or 15 minutes the maximum where the rest of the time is eaten up by advertising.
This has become a most irritating aspect in the eyes of listeners and viewers as programmes are interrupted mercilessly willy nilly to give prominence to advertisements repeatedly to the repugnance of the public. This often happens on TV these days with the announcement of time at every quarter or half hour intervals with a particular brand name. It makes worse, when a cricket enthusiast watches a test match on TV and a series of advertisements are pushed through at the most crucial moment of play e.g. when a controversy arises on the playing field and the matter referred to the third umpire for a decision.
In the eyes of the viewer, he loses all the excitement and entertainment out of watching the match. International TV operators such as HBO have fixed blocks for advertising and some channels even denote through an electronic indicator on top of the TV screen how long the advertising continues. At least this gives the viewer the option of moving out from watching the programme and to have a breathing space to put the kettle on to make a cup of tea or coffee.
Bribing the public
The most impolite, inapt and boorish means of advertising in Sri Lanka is the adaptation of a down grade method of bribing the public with money openly by the so-called reputed radio stations that employ staff to go round the country and speak to the public at random for millions of viewers to see and pop the question as to what the interviewee’s favourite radio channel is? The recipient shows his thirty-two teeth and comes out with the name of the radio channel the advertiser represents.
This is followed by a hearty laugh and an obnoxious display of handing over thousands of rupees in Rs 1,000 notes where the guy from the radio channel comes out with the slogan, ‘Kivvath Salli, Ahuvath Salli and the interviewee concludes the sentence by saying Salli Thamai‘ (it’s money whether you say it, or listens)!
This certainly is a cheap way of promoting a service where each radio organisation is trying to compete with one another by increasing their ‘give away money’ while inducing bribery indecorously. The million-dollar question is whether one is inclined to ask these organisations would be that when they claim to be the top brand radio stations of repute in Sri Lanka why on earth have they stoop to such gutter level of advertising despite having the whole world of air space and programme time unto themselves to convey any message to the public in any manner they wish to advertise. After all, it’s the quality of programmes that count rather than cheap advertising and belittling themselves.
Japan prevents the use of mobile phones in trains, restaurants and indoors.
For first to sixth primary year, Japanese students must learn ethics in dealing with people.
Even though one of the richest people in the world, the Japanese do not have servants. The parents are responsible for their house and also their children.
There is no examination from the first to the third primary level because the goal of education is to instill concepts and character building.
If you go to a buffet restaurant in Japan you will notice people only eat as much as they need without any waste because food must not be wasted.
The rate of delayed trains in Japan is about 7 seconds per year! The Japanese appreciate the value of time and are very punctual to minutes and seconds.
Children in schools brush their teeth (sterile) and clean their teeth after a meal at school, teaching them to maintain their health from an early age.
Japanese students take half an hour to finish their meals to ensure proper digestion because these students are the future of Japan.
The Japanese focus on maintaining their culture. Therefore,
No political leader or a prime minister from an Islamic nation has visited Japan. Not even the Ayatollah of Iran, the King of Saudi Arabia or a Saudi Prince!
Japan is a country keeping Islam at bay by putting strict restrictions on Islam and all Muslims.
1) Japan is the only nation that does not give citizenship to Muslims.
2) In Japan permanent residency is not given to Muslims.
3) There is a strong ban on the propagation of Islam in Japan
4) In the University of Japan, Arabic or any Islamic language is not taught.
5) One cannot import a ‘Koran’ published in the Arabic language.
6) According to data published by the Japanese government, it has given temporary residency to only 2 lakhs Muslims, who must follow the Japanese Law. These Muslims should speak Japanese and carry their religious rituals in their homes.
7) Japan is the only country in the world that has a negligible number of Embassies in Islamic countries.
8) Muslims residing in Japan are the employees of foreign companies.
9) Even today, visas are not granted to Muslim doctors, engineers or managers sent by foreign companies.
10) In the majority of companies it is stated in their regulations that no Muslims should apply for a job.
11) The Japanese government is of the opinion that Muslims are fundamentalist, and even in the era of globalization they are not willing to change their Sharia laws.
12) Muslims cannot even rent a house in Japan.
13) If anyone comes to know that his neighbor is a Muslim then the whole neighborhood stays alert.
14) No one can start an Islamic cell or Arabic ‘Madrasa’ in Japan ..
15) There is no Sharia law in Japan .
16) If a Japanese woman marries a Muslim, she is considered an outcast forever.
17) According to Mr. Kumiko Yagi, Professor of Arab/Islamic Studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, ” There is a mind frame in Japan that Islam is a very narrow minded religion and one should stay away from it.” The Japanese might have lost World War II, but they are in charge of their own country. There are no bombs going off in crowded business centers, “Honor Killings”, or killing of innocent children or anyone else.
There are 16 UN Missions currently operating with over 85,000 blue helmets. These men are serving in countries where conflicts have not arisen without a reason. Many of these conflicts have been planned and plotted by the very nations passing resolutions recommending UN Missions because these missions are only extensions of the goal to plunder and help weaken or reduce the powers of the locals over their own country. In such a scenario should we not be asking ourselves why we would want to send men to guard countries and territories where UN is stationed illegally to face death because the very countries that created the conflict end up arming both sides while sending parties to solve the problem or rather delay solving the problem. When a report by the U.S. GAO, dispatching UN peacekeepers to Haiti was eight times less expensive than fielding a comparable U.S. mission it goes to show that the nations that start trouble are happy to despatch soldiers from poorer third world countries than sending their men and highlights the hypocrisy and double standards that prevail.
The UN PeaceKeeping was created in 1948 and PeaceKeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Its first mission was to maintain ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israel War.
There have been so far 69 Peacekeeping Operations, 56 of which have been since 1988 with peacekeepers from 120 countries contributing. Its annual budget is $8 billion
Over 85,000 soldiers
Over 11,000 police officers
Over 1700 military observers
Over 17,000 civilian personnel (majority international, some local)
Over 1700 UN volunteers
30% of UN peacekeepers are women
Over 34,742 vehicles, 144 helicopters, 350 medical clinics, and 56 airplanes are used to support the work of the 16 UN peace operations around the world
Since 1948 more than 3,000 UN peacekeepers have lost their lives
Democratic republic of Congo which has the biggest deployment – 26,612 personnel
Total fatalities in current operations: 1,728
Total fatalities in all peace operations since 1948: 3,505
In 1988 UN Peacekeepers won the Nobel Peace Prize!
May 29th is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers
Currently 17 UN peace operations are deployed across 5 continents (16 peacekeeping operations and 1 special political mission)
9 in Africa
3 in the Middle East
2 in Europe
1 in the Americas and
1 in Asia.
UN Peace Keeping Missions
Middles East (UNTSO) –
established in 1948, it is the 1st peace keeping mission of the UN and the UNTSO military observers have remained in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other UN peacekeeping operations in the region.
Strength: 382 total, includes 148 military observers / 234 civilian personnel – international & local
Appropriation (biennium 2014 – 2015): $74,291,900
India & Pakistan (UNMOGIP) –
UN military observers arrived in mission area on January 1949 to supervise ceasefire between India and Pakistan in State of Jammu & Kashmir and was commanded by Military Advisor appointed by UNSG. Hostilities commenced in 1971 and Mission remained to observe ceasefire since December 1971
Strength: 116 total, includes 44 military observers / 72 civilian personnel – international & local /
Appropriation (biennium 2016-2017): $21,134,800
MOROCCO (MINURSO) –
The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was established by Security Council resolution 690 of 29 April 1991. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General was to have sole and exclusive responsibility over matters relating to the referendum
Strength: 461 total includes (uniformed personnel – troops & military observers/ civilian personnel – international and local / UN volunteers)
Fatalities = 15
Approved budget for the 461 personnel = $56,582,500 (07/2016– 06/2017)
Cyprus (UNFICYP) –
originally set up by UNSC in 1964 to prevent fighting between Greek Cypriot & Turkish Cypriot communities. Hostilities recommenced in 1974 and the Peacekeepers have been given additional functions and remains on the island to supervise ceasefire, maintain buffer zone, undertake humanitarian activities.
Strength: 1,080 total, includes 929 uniformed personnel – troops & police / 151 civilian personnel – international & local
Approved budget for 1080 personnel = $55,560,100 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Golan (UNDOF) –
In 1974 on 31st May the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established by the UNSC 350 following the agreed disengagement between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan. Peacekeepers have remained in Golan (Syria) since 1974
Strength: 927 total, includes 787 troops/ over 140 civilian personnel-international & local
Approved budget for 927 personnel = $47,714,100 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Lebanon (UNIFIL) –
Created in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and restore peace and security and assist Lebanese Government to restore governance. After 2006 UNSC enhanced force giving keepers additional mandate to monitor cessation of hostilities, accompany and support Lebanese armed forces and assist humanitarian access to civilians, and help voluntary and safe return of displaced persons.
Strength: 11,345 total, includes 10497 troops / 848 civilian personnel – international & local
Approved budget for 11345 personnel = $488,691,600 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Kosovo (UNMIK) –
Created by UNSC 122 in July 1999 the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kovoso was to enable people of Kosovo to enjoy substantial autonomy. The Mission was given authority over the territory and the people of Kosovo including all legislative and executive powers and administration of the judiciary. Following declaration of independence and new constitution on 15 June 2008 the Mission focuses on promoting security, stability and respect for human rights in Kosovo.
Strength: 362 total, includes 15 uniformed personnel – military observers and police / 328 civilian personnel / UN Volunteers
Approved budget for 362 personnel = $36,486,900 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
established by UNSC 1509 in 2003 to help implement ceasefire and peace process, protect UN staff, facilities and civilians, support humanitarian and human rights activities and assist in national security reform including national police training and forming a new and restructured military.
Strength: 3,100 total, includes 1803 uniformed personnel (troops & police) / 1159 civilian personnel – international & local /UN volunteers
Approved budget for 3100 personnel = $187,192,400 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Haiti (MINUSTAH) –
established on 1 June 2004 by Security Council resolution 1542. MINUSTAH succeeded the Multinational Interim Force authorized by UNSC in February 2004 with Aristide’s exile. In 2010 an earthquake left over 220,000 dead. UNSC Resolution 1908 of 19 January 2010 with UNSG’s recommendation to increase peacekeepers to stabalize country and promote political process and rule of law structures and promote human rights. UN has admitted its role in the cholera outbreak!
Strength: 6,014 total, includes (4686 uniformed personnel – troops and police / civilian personnel – international and local / UN Volunteers)
Approved budget for the 6014 personnel = $345,926,700 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Ivory Coast (UNOCI) –
UNSC 1528 in 2004 established UN Mission with mandate to implement peace agreement signed in 2003. After 2010 Presidential elections and political crisis the Mission remains to protect civilians, provide good offices, support Ivorian Government in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, security sector reform, monitor & promote human rights.
Strength: 4,556 total, includes 3502 uniformed personnel – troops 2601, military observers, police / 961 civilian personnel-international & local / UN Volunteers
Approved budget for 4556 personnel = $153,046,000 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Darfur (UNAMID) –
African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) established on 31 July 2007 by UNSC 1769 to protect civilians, contribute to security for humanitarian assistance, monitor and verify implementation of agreements, assist in political process, contribute to promoting human rights, rule of law and monitor/report on situation along borders with Chad and Central African Republic (CAR)
Strength: 20,616 total, includes over 17000 uniformed personnel (troops/military observers/police) / over 3000 civilian personnel – international/local / UN Volunteers
Approved budget for 20,616 personnel = $1,039,573,200 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
Sudan – Abyei (UNISFA) –
Created by UNSC 1990 in 2011 following violence and population displacement. Peacekeepers monitor border between north and south and facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid and has mandate to use force to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.
Strength: 4,778 total, includes 4546 uniformed personnel – over 4000 troops, military observers, police / 202 civilian personnel – international & local / UN Volunteers
Approved budget for 4778 personnel =$268,624,600 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
became the newest country. The UN site describes it as “the birth of the Republic of South Sudan is the culmination of a six-year peace process which began with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 (does this mean that peace agreements pave way for independent states!) Following resolution 1966 of 2011 the UNSC determined that the situation faced in South Sudan constituted a threat to international peace and security in the region and established the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) to consolidate peace & security and help establish conditions for development. Despite independence crisis broke out in 2013 and UNSC 2155 of 2014 reinforced UNMISS to protect civilians, human rights monitoring and support delivery of humanitarian assistance and implement cessation of hostilities agreement. http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/unmiss/
Strength: 16,147 total, includes 13741 uniformed personnel – over 12,000 troops, military observers and police / 1973 civilian personnel – international & local / UN Volunteers
Approved budget for 16147 personnel = $1,081,788,400 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
DR Congo (MONUC) –
MONUC was replaced with MONUSCO by UNSC 1925 on 1 July 2010. The new mission can use all necessary means to carry out its mandate relating to protecting civilians, humanitarian personnel, human rights defenders under threat of physical violence.
Strength: 22,498 total, includes (over 18000 uniformed personnel – over 16,000 troops, military observers, police / civilian personnel – international & local/ UN Volunteers)
Approved budget for the 22,498 personnel = $1,235,723,100 (07/2016 – 06/2017)
established by Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political process in Mali and carry out security-related tasks as well as support transitional authorities of Mali to implement transitional roadmap. Resolution 2164 of 25 June 2014 gave the mission additional duties of ensuring security, stabilization and protection of civilians, supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation, assisting the reestablishment of State authority, rebuilding security sector, promoting and protecting human rights.
Strength: 13,083 total, includes (uniformed personnel – over 10,000 troops, military observers and over 1000 police/ over 1000 civilian personnel – international & local / UN volunteers)
Approved budget for the 13,083 personnel = $933,411,000 (07/2016– 06/2017)
Central African Republic(MINUSCA) –
Security Council authorized on 10 April 2014 to protect civilians and assist in transition process, facilitating humanitarian assistance, promoting and protecting human rights, supporting justice and rule of law, disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and repatriation.
Strength: 13,327 total, includes (uniformed personnel – over 12,000 troops, military observers and over 2000 police / civilian personnel – international & local / UN volunteers
Approved budget for the 13,327 personnel = $920,727,900 (07/2016– 06/2017)
In short, the UN missions have been increasing as well as expanding their mandate to subtly influence decision making of countries that they are stationed in. Notice how with each Mission they are expanding their roles – influencing law & order structures, restructuring military, drafting constitutions etc. These are all influencing the people subtly. None of the issues there were mandated to attend to have been solved except that the UN continues to add to its mandate and continue presence in countries. While UN adds to its reports and cries over its failures, instead of solving any failures it happily adds on Missions which is getting no country anywhere.
What needs to be also said is that when taking these countries where UN Missions are currently operating in, there is a geopolitical interest for Western imperialist agendas. Many of the conflicts that have ‘necessitated’ UN involvement and fact finding missions and troops have served the imperial agendas of these western nations who have been either funding covertly and conniving the issues from behind the scenes. None of these covert and overt operations have ever been mentioned in any report or even investigated.
In the light of these realities we need to abstain from sending Sri Lanka’s war heroes to any of these Missions. Our war heroes fought fair and square and won despite plenty of covert foreign involvement too. The whole world should give special treatment to our soldiers for their achievement. They should not be induced by money more or less a bribe to be sent to these conflict zones where they are virtual guineapigs and their lives lost would be in vain for the cause is not genuine and they would be going to nations where conflicts have been illegally created to facilitate geopolitical goals of western imperial nations for whom the UN is now serving as a slave provider.
Our war heroes should never be sent to any UN Peace Keeping Mission even if the inducements are lucrative.
Rt. Hon. Maithripala Sirisena: President of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat, Galle Face, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
Hon Ranil Wickremasinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka,
Prime Minister’s Office, 58 Sir Ernest De Silva Mawatha,
Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
Hon. Karunarathna Paranawithana, MP.
Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media.
Fife Road, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka
Sunday (4 Sept.16) THE ISLAND’s news item bylined Maheesha Mudugamuwa regarding the UN Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-Moon’s comparison of civilian deaths during the Vanni war with acts of genocide in Rwanda and Serbia in 1994 and 1995, was commented on for the GoSL by the Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranawithana. He, “…said the GoSL would not seek clarification as UNSG’s remarks were not mentioned in his prepared speech made at the Colombo Hilton during Moon’s recent visit to Sri Lanka, and therefore UNSG’s personal comments would not be accounted as that from the UN.”
This is claptrap, this is poppy cock, and this is insane. Didn’t Ban Ki-Moon visit Sri Lanka in the capacity of being the UN’s Secretary General? If he indeed did, then the GoSL’s position is a cop-out. And reducing Sri Lanka as a door-mat to be treated as a door-mat by this arrogant western-lackey UN official. Letting Ban Ki set his feet on Sri Lanka’s charnokite-kabook soil, and let him Moon Sri Lanka one more time without seeking an explanation is being gutless on our part and deplorable. His comment should have been challenged by asking for an explanation, as his arrogant twin-Mooning was an outrageous insult on yours and my sovereign nation, but importantly was vulgar and disingenuous tarnishing of the dignity of our valiant armed forces that annihilated the most ruthless terrorists in the world, the Tamil Tigers, on 19 May 2009. He also showed his disrespect to the poor village Mothers and Fathers who had inculcated their sons to be true patriots and let them march into battle with the Tamil Tigers to save our island nation from being decapitated and give you three back, and 20 million other Sri Lankans your right-to-life which had been hijacked by the Tamil Tigers for 30 bloodying years. And Ban Ki-Moon was so cocky and sure of himself when he insulted those parents who greeted their sons with chest-thumping wailing when they returned home in plywood caskets. For God’s sake don’t you three see through all this? That is a reality check for you three. Take a deep breath, sit in a half-lotus, clear your minds and ponder!
And you all let this UN official get away that easily providing him with another window of opportunity to Moon at Sri Lanka one more time, without having rapped his knuckles as protective-rulers of our beautiful sovereign nation. Gentlemen, this is not acceptable. This is asinine!
And you, Deputy Minister Paranawithana continued with your statement which was tantamount to covering-up the UNSG’s twin-moons. This was sick. You said, “The government has no intention of taking up that issue as it was not the way to handle diplomatic relations.”
Phew! Man, come again Mr. Paranawithana. My question to you is, did your official visitor from the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, cross the sacred line of good diplomacy when he made that calculated oblique comparison of genocide in Rwanda and Serbia with the Wanni war that was not acceptable to our dignified sovereign country and our disciplined armed forces. Come on, Deputy Minister, let’s be real. Don’t you understand that Ban Ki-Moon caused considerable harm to Sri Lanka with his comment? This was well calculated as he made it happen just prior to the judicial inquiry into War crimes allegations against our valiant armed soldiers.
It is obvious that your knife cuts only one way reducing Sri Lanka into a door-mat for this arrogant, I-know-Sri Lanka-is- not-going-to-touch-me cocky UNSG, and you bet, he will treat Sri Lanka as his door-mat. You know what Deputy Minister; my knife has cut both ways on such issues always in Canada. Did I get results? Of course, I did, always, upholding the dignity of my Motherland, Sri Lanka. And, then, I was not a paid employee of the GoSL. I did my part as an expatriate Sinhalese-Sri Lankan for the love of my Motherland.
But to be honest, I thought that you three honourable gentlemen had at least 75 years experience between you of international- diplomacy having dealt with foreigners who interfered in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. It would have been a cake-walk for one of you to have dealt with Ban Ki-Moon as a class act and taught this UN official a lesson in Diplomacy 101. I am disappointed, I am stymied and flabbergasted.
Gentlemen, think for a moment. Did you not realize that Ban Ki-Moon succeeded well with his statement to tighten the screw on Sri Lanka’s neck one more time, by shocking the pro-Sri Lankan international conscience, thereby strengthening the process for a UNHCR War Crimes Probe? Don’t tell me that you three are naïve not to see through Ban Ki-Moon’s successful, cunning endeavour.
Let us not forget that Ban Ki-Moon was the UN’s point hitter for his western government clients against Sri Lanka to bring her down to her knees for getting rid of the Tamil Tigers when they demanded from the Rajapaksa government to stop firing bullets at Prabhakaran and his gang of terrorists and declare a ceasefire. And the response they got quite rightly was “We are not your colony anymore”, “Why don’t you go fly a kite”, and “why don’t you go home and jump in the river” and leave us to deal with our troubles that you all created in the first place, by aiding and abetting these Tamil Tiger terrorists.
It was Ban Ki who ‘Mooned’ at Sri Lanka once again by appointing the anti-Sri Lanka Darusman Gang to investigate the alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Remember? Most of us questioned the UNSG of the impartiality of the panelists.
Marzuki Darusman, the former Attorney General of Indonesia who was heading the panel was also a member of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIEGP). This Darusman left the panel with a huff disagreeing with the Sri Lanka Government and made hostile observations about Sri Lanka, and yet signed the report without paying a single visit to Sri Lanka to ascertain himself the actual ground situation. And Ban Ki-Moon, who you all have decided to cover his twin-Moons over his comments on ‘genocide’ is unbelievable. Durrr…! What impartiality did you expect from your friend Ban Ki-Moon? Do I trust him? Na! Not even for a bushel of Roasted Korean Coffee Beans.
The second panelist who Ban Ki-Moon appointed was Steven Ratner, an adviser to the NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW) that had been very critical of Sri Lanka from the inception of the Tamil Tiger terrorists’ Eelam War. Ratner had also-authored a book, with Jason Adams titled “Accountability of Human Rights: Atrocities in International Law beyond theNuremberg Legacy”. On page 123 he had stated that the “convention on banning apartheid should be invoked in relations to countries such as Sri Lanka”. With that backgrounder Steven Ratner should have been dismissed instantly as a panelist by your friend Ban Ki-Moon, but he didn’t. So he turns the screw tight on Sri Lanka’s neck one more time. So you trust this UNSG to the point of making an effort to cover his twin-Moons from flying angry darts. Durrr!
What a thing!
The third panelist was South African Yasmin Sooka who was a close associate of South African Tamil, Navi Pillai, the Head of the UNHRC in Geneva, who was the patron of the Sooka Foundation, and also responsible for the failed resolution that was brought against Sri Lanka before the UNHRC in May 2009. In the world of ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’, what impartiality did UN’s Ban Ki-Moon expect from Sooka? Durrr… This was stupid wasn’t it? Not smart but was the appointment of an anti-Sri Lanka panel deliberate! I won’t trust Ban Ki-Moon even for a stick of Korean candy- floss from a Seoul carnival stall.
What got my goat most about Ban Ki-Moon was that he let his Commissioner in Geneva, Navi Pillai use the Darusman Report as the Bible of Sri Lanka’s alleged Human Rights violations during the last phase of the Eelam War when the Report was explicit in saying on the opening page: “Due to the scarcity of objective reporting from the conflict zone, it was difficult to determine precisely what had happened during the final military assault,” You honourable gentleman should take off your rose-coloured glasses, and you would see what I see. There is an anti-Sri Lankan vindictive rat in the UN office in New York.
Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, although your Yahapalanayos have got better at playing Cops and Robbers with the Rajapaksa and Company watching them traipsing in and out of revolving doors at Magistrate Courts, you have shown your pathetic servile-diplomacy when dealing with the United Nation’s and western government personnel and allowing them to tighten the screw on Sri Lanka’s neck. It’s just too bad. It is time that the Yahapalanayos snap out of the silly season of servile-diplomacy when Sri Lanka is been thumped with ‘genocide’ allegations and clawing at the dignity of our kaki, sky-blue and Indian Ocean-surf white uniformed heroes of the Army, Air Force and Navy who gave the 20 million peoples their dignity and their right-to-life by ridding the last Tamil Tiger terrorist with a live bullet on the beach of the Nandikadal lagoon.
It is time you draft a press line-manthra in your choice diplomatic words which your Deputy Minister of Mass Media is quite competent to write, something to this effect: “But it is unfortunate that no government or Sri Lanka Human Rights Watchers who are ever ready to charge Sri Lanka with ‘genocide’ during the final three months of the Eelam War, acknowledged that by 19 May 2009, the Sri Lankan armed forces, had rescued 295,873 Tamils from the clutches of the Tamil Tigers who used them as a human-shield and herded them for 30 months from the West to East in the North under a scorching sun like unwashed cattle, and that even soldiers participated in preparing a million healthy meals a day, to feed these Tamil refugees a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner, to keep them alive. This amazing humanitarian Class Act, a major rescue Mission in modern times, surely cannot fit into your charge of ‘genocide’, will it? What has been your problem to acknowledge publicly this fact that does not fit into any creative formula or definition of the word ‘genocide’. There lies the disingenuous hypocrisy of the Sri Lanka bashers.” Let’s use this as a manthra and drum it into every thick skull of the Sri Lanka bashers like that of Ban Ki-Moon. Let every Head of our Foreign Missions memorize it and spit it out at every charge directed at Sri Lanka and her armed forces heroes. Gentleman, the silly season of servile-diplomacy is over. Let’s be smart and be on the offensive. The screw around Sri Lanka’s neck is getting tightened by the day. And Ban Ki-Moon did his bit with his statement on the Wanni killings and the massacres in Rwanda and Serbia
There is a wee bit of advice that I wish to pass on to you. Please stop challenging the intelligence of persons who question what your ‘Yahapalanaya Good governance’ is up to. It is their prerogative to question and it is your responsibility to respond, without being uppity or having a hissy-fit.
My tribute to those who died at site, until I learnt that it was a CIA & US Govt. conspiracy to escape bankruptcy blame at home and justify attacking Iraq and Afghanistan!
After both Aircrafts were broken in to the two towers (file photo)
Although nostalgia to me after 12 years, but the fear, uncertainty and pain I had to endure by me in particular in my own situations I was in New York that time will never be forgotten. In fact that incident was the main candidate that destroyed my ambitions of going there to get out of my woos and difficulties due to which I left Sri Lanka. Simply to say my American Dream was broken and shattered by 9/11.
That day like several other days earlier, I left Jersey City room where I was temporarily staying by a fellow Sri Lankan and I left the room and got in to metro bus from University Boulevard to come to Port Authority bus stand in Manhatton. As I alighted from the bus there was some this fishy about, people rushing with unusual attitude. Only after coming out of the Port Authority bus terminal, I got know from asking few people that there had been an accident where an Air craft had hit one of the tower of WTC and its smoking. The NYPD and NYFD are all running in rampage like mad dogs with full of siren sounds from all over, which resembled me the 1991 Gulf war time when I was working in Saudi Arabia at the time.
I anyway rushed to the 9th avenue and beyond towards the WTC to see what has happened and I was closer to the location in direct view I witnessed huge smoke and fleeing people in a rush, some women weeping with tears and it was a real rampage out there. A security officer of a nearby shop smiled at me and identified as from Asia, he is an Indian told me see what has happened, he was so sorry to see the incident although he commented s an accident. As we were talking I spotted another Aircraft coming closer too low unusual for such large Aircrafts and I quickly started to think would this be not an accident but some kind of sabotage, before I concluded my thoughts the second Aircraft in my clean view blasted on the west tower and it started to blow up, I said the security guard that this is a sabotage or some kind of an attack he did not believe or did not have sense to understand, so I told him watch news later on and turned quickly and started running towards the port authority bus station to get back as soon as I can to jersey City to where I was staying, the reason is that if entry points were closed I will be caged up in New York city without food and water and no place to sleep.
New York City has three entry points namely the Hudson underpass, Holland Bridge and Verrazano Bridge where all three entry points can be closed when necessary so none can come in or go out.
I noticed there were hundreds of ambulances plying amok and taking injured in a rush to hospitals, on the road side I came across some fallen, aged and young alike but unfortunately I was not in a position to help them since it was not my home country, and situations under which I was terrible. With sad feelings, I had to pass them leaving the task to NYFD rescuers of their duty.
I did not posses more than 5 dollar which I brought only as return bus fare and had only my water bottle in the bag, should I get late to go I have no food, no cash to buy food.
While I was coming to the NY bus terminal, there were scores of chaos on the streets as well as in side the port authority train / bus terminal, no metro buses were available, I was shivering and in fear but noticed a private bus operated by Hispanic was about to leave which runs a bit far away from where I stay, but I decided to board although I will have to walk a long distance from where I will have to get off.
I was one of the last few passengers they boarded to stand and travel, but I noticed there were many who were unable to board the bus and the bus I boarded was the last the driver said. That means I knew the Authorities had already given instructions without panicking the public much, as the bus passed the Hudson underpass, the entry gate was closed while we passengers were watching. I could not understand what others say as many were Hispanic people, but their moods gave me the feeling they were worried much.
When I reached the Jersey City where I was staying and it had direct view of New York City over the Hudson River when I came to the verandah. I came and changed my clothes, came out to see what is happening and around 2 pm local time I was watching the WTC was collapsing just as some as spreads, a scene very rare and shocking.
From that time my heart was also in shock as I knew that big disaster could be nearer and these incidents will shatter my dream and just as I thought in few weeks I had to move out of New York to Texas and from there to LA and finally to DC looking for survival and work to live.
What happened and being happened in USA is history and its glory is gone, which I noticed by rapid declining economy, miles long abandoned factories, shops just out of cities, empty streets, medium and small business that closed almost on daily basis were all catalysts to ever declining glory of the USA of yester years.
It economy entangled in misery, there were no jobs for migrants, no proper scope, migration laws tightened, visa status cannot be changed due to the newly imposed Homeland security law and exactly six and half years later I decided to get out of USA and forget the American dream. It can never be recovered for both Americans and me alike!
The rest you all know about USA now!
The world is entangled with same conflicts that entangled in the 19th century as we are coming closer to 100th anniversary of WWI. Throughout the history it has proved that whenever the Imperialists encounter economic and own failures they went in to war with others, the only way they could straighten faults and overcome economic bankruptcy. They very badly need a war, that’s the truth. For that matter Verbal attacks on Russia and China goes on, some armed vehicles and Aircrafts being moved to the NATO front in Europe.
The time is very much apt now and be prepared for a war!!! It’s quiet obvious history repeats though may be in different form of structure and outfit, but by same integrity. Attack on Iran is nearing as I am writing this which will set fire to a long conflict. This time it’s not just bombs, but Nukes. Hah…..ha………………………………!
Anyway, let’s pay tribute to those unsuspecting innocent who died on 9/11 in New York. The federal news says only 3000 + dead but at the time in that early morning there should have been over 20000 people of all walks inside the WTC the workers, customers and visitors and also one Sri Lankan kiosk shop keeper on the ground also perished.
Courtesy FT.LK Published : 12:01 am September 9, 2016
We the undersigned bring to the kind attention of His Excellency the President and the government of Sri Lanka the need to consider, as a matter of highest priority, lifting the ban on the weed killer Glyphosate, in order to save Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector from an unprecedented decline, until at least until such time that an alternative, equally safe and cost – effective weed control method is made available.
Glyphosate is the most widely used weed killer in the world. In fact it is also the most widely used pesticide in the world. It is also one of the least toxic weedicides on the market. In Sri Lanka and in most other countries too, the quantity of glyphosate used far exceeds the total of all other pesticides. The total global use in 2014 was 850,000 metric tonnes. It is highly effective in the control of many noxious weeds, in particular perennial grasses and sedges which cannot be effectively controlled manually or mechanically. No other weed killer is as effective as glyphosate in this regard.
Unfortunately the government banned the use of glyphosate in the North Central Province and some neighbouring districts afflicted by the chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology (CKDu) in 2014, and then banned it in the entire country in 2015, in the mistaken belief that glyphosate has a role in causing CKDu. The subsequent ban has very seriously affected the production of all crops. Of the plantation crops, tea is the most affected reducing the income of the industry by no less than Rs.14.5 billion.
We rest our case on the following facts:
1. The ban on glyphosate in Sri Lanka was probably instigated by a hypothesis published by a few Sri Lankan scientists that it may play a role in CKDu. However, this hypothesis has been refuted by many scientists, and no other research publication has endorsed it.
2. The WHO-Sri Lanka Report (2013) on CKDu did not implicate glyphosate in the aetiology of the disease.
3. Further, the WHO-Presidential Taskforce Joint International Consultation on CKDu (April 2016) with the participation of 54 local and international experts concluded that there is no evidence to implicate any agrochemical in the causation of the disease. There is thus no evidence to implicate glyphosate in the aetiology of CKDu.
4. Glyphosate is equally used in other areas of the dry zone with similar agricultural practices and in plantation and other crops in the wet and intermediate zones. No CKDu is reported in those regions.
5. CKDu is also prevalent in many other countries such as India (Andra Pradesh) several Mesoamerican and African countries but none has implicated glyphosate in it
6. No country has banned the use of glyphosate in agriculture
7. A cancer risk re-assessment of glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015, lead to a re-classification of glyphosate as ‘probably cancer causing’ . This became a subject of much debate. However, two subsequent comprehensive studies carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2015 and the Joint Meeting of Experts of the FAO and WHO on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) in 2016 cleared glyphosate of carcinogenicity and genotoxicity (toxicity to genes)
Given the above information, it is our firm conviction that glyphosate has no role in the causation of CKDu.
However, its ban has already had serious repercussions on the entire agriculture of this country, in particular the tea industry, as evident from the following:
1. In the absence of an alternative effective weed killer, many tea plantations have been compelled to resort to physical weed control methods, especially using implements that disturb the soil causing serious soil erosion.. This practice, in the past, prior to the 1960s, that is, before chemical weed control methods were introduced, led to soil fertility losses leading even to the abandonment of tea lands , especially in the mid country.
2. Growth of weeds, apart from competing with crop and reducing yields, promotes insects and in turn rodents and snakes, making it risky and cumbersome for labourers to effectively work in the field.
3. In addition, weeding costs have increased by no less than 1,471 % and the overall cost of production by Rs. 25.75 causing serious concerns on the viability of the tea industry, particularly at this juncture when world tea prices have declined substantially and employees are demanding higher wages. As a result of increased costs of production, plucking of less productive fields of some plantations and a large number of smallholdings has been abandoned. The dire shortage of labour in plantations is making matters worse.
4. The cultivation of other plantation crops, in fact all crops, has been similarly affected. There already evidence of substantial (20-50%) decline in extents and production of field crops cultivated, which according to farmers is essentially due to non-availability of glyphosate..
We, therefore, urge the government to lift the ban on glyphosate. If the government so wishes, it could appoint a team of independent experts to review the ban by way of a risk- benefit analysis, as a matter of highest priority, and a decision taken based on its outcome.
Although not a single case of toxicity to humans due to the use of glyphosate in Sri Lanka at rates applied for weed control has been reported, pesticides in general are being misused. Application in excess, non –use of protective gear during application, incorrect storage and disposal are common problems. The government must make every endeavour to ensure judicious pesticide use by strengthening farmer education and training through more effective extension programs. At the same time rules and regulations on all agrochemicals must be strengthened to ensure their safe use.
We assert that we have no vested interests in the pesticide industry. Our genuine interest is only in the well being of agriculture and farmers of the country.
Dr Tilak Abeysekara (Consultant Nephrologist)
Dr Sarath Amarasiri( Former Director General of Agriculture)
Prof. Rohana Chandrajith (Professor of Geology, University of Peradeniya)
Dr Jinadari de Soyza (Former Director General of Agriculture)
Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana (Former Professor of Chemistry and Vice Chancellor, Vidyodaya University)
Dr Nande Dharmawardana (Former Director, Sugarcane Research Institute
Dr Jinasiri Fernando (Director General of Agriculture)
Dr Lionel Gunaratne ( Former Director, Dept. Of Export Agriculture)
Dr Jayantha Gunatilleke (Former Director, Coconut Research Institute
Dr Sarath Illangatilleke (Former Chairman, Tea Research Board)
Prof.Oliver Illeperuma ( Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of Peradeniya))
Dr S T W Kirinde (Former Director, Dept. Of Export Agriculture)
Prof. Ananda Kulasooriya (Former Senior Professor of Botany, University of Peradeniya)
Dr Ranjith Mahindapala (Former Director, Coconut Research Institute)
Kamal Mankotte (Former Director General of Agriculture)
Prof. Gamini Rajapaksa(Senior Professor of Chemistry, University of Peradeniya)
Prof. K Samarasinghe (Professor & Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya))
Prof. Upali Samarajeewa (Emeritus Professor of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya)
Prof. J Thattil ( Emeritus Professor of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya)
Dr L M K Tillakeratne (Former Director Rubber Research Institute)
Dr Parakrama Waidyanatha (Former Chairman, Coconut Research Board)
Dr Sarath Weerasena (Former Director General of Agriculture)
Dr Stanley Weeratne (Former Professor, Faculties of Agriculture, Ruhuna & Rajarata Universities)
Born in the Ukraine, Gogol published his sardonic tale ‘Diary of a Madman’ in 1834, in which he described the inner psychic conflict of the person named Axenty Poprishchin. It has been speculated that this short story contains one of the earliest descriptions of schizophrenia.1 In 1842, he wrote about pathologic hoarding in Plyushkin, a fictional Russian hoarder who appeared in his novel ‘Dead Souls’. At school, Gogol himself was called ‘mysterious dwarf’ by his peers and he lacked the ability to build and maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with them. Many authors considered that he suffered from a mood disorder.2,3 In the latter part of his life, Gogol presented a religious delusion and his delusional thinking had a great social and professional impact. According to an eyewitness, Gogol experienced hallucinations and often reacted violently. He became paranoid and burned all his manuscripts, including the second part of ‘Dead Souls’. In his final days, he refused his meals and starved himself to death, leaving numerous novels and short stories that had great impact on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
A pathography can be defined as ‘the study of the effects of an illness on the writer’s (or other artist’s) life or art, or the effects of an artist’s life and personality development on his creative work’.4 Many pathographists in the history of art and literature can be included in this category including Ernest Hemingway, Vincent Van Gogh and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. However, the concept of autopathography is a more recent conceptualization of literary and artistic works in which autopathographists describe their own suffering from a serious, chronic or incurable medical condition with the aim of (1) destigmatizing the illness, (2) helping other patients to accept their situation, (3) earning money and gaining empathy, and (4) educating and criticizing carers and society.5,6 Accordingly, Nikolai Gogol is a pathographist who wrote many stories while being affected by a severe mental disorder. However, at the same time, he might be considered as one of the first autopathographists in history since, on one hand, many similarities can be found between Gogol’s biography and pathography and, on the other hand, Gogol’s mental disorder might have prevented him from acquiring insight into his own psychiatric symptoms and therefore he might have written of his own suffering without meaning to do so.
References and notes
Altschuler EL. One of the oldest cases of schizophrenia in Gogol’s Diary of a Madman. BMJ 2001; 323: 1475–1477.
Janka Z. Artistic creativity and bipolar mood disorder. Orvosi Hetilap 2004;145: 1709–1718.
Upthegrove R. On Nikolai Gogol’s Diary of a Madman – reflection. British Journal of Psychiatry 2014; 204: 156–156.
Aronson JK. Autopathography: the patient’s tale. BMJ 2000; 321: 1599–1602.
Moran ST. Autopathography and depression: describing the ‘despair beyond despair’. Journal of Medical Humanities 2006; 27: 79–91
Dr. Rami Bou Khalil
Rami Bou Khalil born in Kfarhouneh, Lebanon, in 1980. Graduated from medical school at Saint Joseph University, Lebanon, in 2006. Graduated in general psychiatry from Saint Joseph University, Lebanon, in 2011. Holder of a partial specialization degrees in general psychiatry from Paris-Diderot University, France, in 2009 and from Louvain’s Catholic University, Belgium, in 2011. Holder of several university degrees in cognitive behavioral therapy (Saint Joseph University, Lebanon, in 2008), psycho-oncology (Paris-Descartes University, France, in 2009), organic and psychiatric comorbidities (Pierre and Marie Curie University, France, in 2009) and addiction (Saint Joseph University, Lebanon, in 2010). First year of master in biomedical sciences from Saint Joseph Unievrsity. First year of Euro-mediterranean interuniversity master in biotechnology and neurosciences. Psychiatrist at the department of psychiatry at Saint Joseph University and at the Psychiatric Hospital of the Cross, Lebanon. Author of several book publications in English and in French in the domains of clinical psychiatry, neurosciences and psychopharmacology.