British soldier murdered by two Black men opens a PandoraƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Box

May 27th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

The cold blooded killing of an Englishman in British army uniform in broad day light in Woolwich, London by two black men a few days ago was a heinous crime that shocked the public in both England and overseas, but it has nevertheless opened a PandoraƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s box related to accountability for crimes committed by people in British army uniform on black and Muslim people in Africa and Middle East over a considerable length of time, and the role of the criminal justice system in Britain, British colonies and the international criminal court in failing to bring to book perpetrators of such crimes in British Army uniform.

The killing of Drummer Rigby byƒÆ’-¡ Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22 is generally seen as an act of terrorism.ƒÆ’-¡ Michael Adebolajo says on tape that the killing was to avenge the killings of Muslims.

Righteous indignation

Is righteous indignation an admissible defense in a criminal court?

The purpose of this article is not about arguing whether it was morally right and legally permissible to avenge a killing by another killing but for the world to realize that we are now stepping into a very volatile future because of the double standards that are taking root in the international legal system ever since colonial expansionism in the world led to racism, unlawful demarcation of territory of native lands, planned and systematic plunder of lands, destruction of native environments, divisions and dissent created in a policy called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-divide and ruleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, transporting natives and colonizing them in different parts of the world, the scores of murder, inhumane treatment, massacres by foreign men in uniform upon natives who were merely trying to protect their ancestral lands, and lack of investigation of such conductƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ and lack of commitment on the part of the international community to raise accountability issues concerning these massive crimes against humanity.

Drummer Rigby was an unfortunate death because he was in uniform. Elsewhere men in uniform have blood on their hands for scores of civilian deaths. The world may like to recall series of civilian killings – 1999 Bombing of Aleksinac, Grdelica train bombing, targeting civilians walking in a column, NATO cluster bomb on a hospital in Serbia by NATO, the countless bombing raids on Iraq, the unlawful Atom Bombs used in the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombing that killed 140,000 civilians are just a handful of notorious crimes against humanity that have been committed and the perpetrators continue to remain unindicted and without expression of any remorse.

A key word is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-remorseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ because there is no remorse by these same perpetrators whether it was during colonial times or post-colonial the manner in which they selfishly target Third World nations on concocted charges or by creating false flag events to facilitate their invasion and intervention and then engage in the same acts of crimes that are allegedly being committed by the people in the home (invaded) country.

The natives in Africa and other parts of the world during colonial times did not have proper arms or ammunition to fight back ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” they were forced to sacrifice their lives in an unequal armed contest. The memory of such lop sided armed conflict in the past leading to oppression of third world people by the whites is nowƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ driving people likeƒÆ’-¡ Michael Adebolajo andƒÆ’-¡ MichaelƒÆ’-¡ Michael Adebowale to take the law unto their own hands as we see another similar copy cat incident of an uniformed soldier in Paris being stabbed. France was a major colonial power in Africa.

It would not be possible to accept the West claiming victim status because it is their planned and staged atrocities that are bringing calamities thereby contributing to the killing of innocents. Today people are well read and in spite of them being bombarded with a barrage of distorted news and twisted commentary favouring the stand of western countries by the pro-Western media both locally and internationally and have got their citizens mesmerized into believing all that their governments do and say is correct there is a large and increasing gathering of observant and independent people that are now uniting on the side of righteousness to say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-enough is enoughƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the playing field must be made level.

Slave Trade

MichaelƒÆ’-¡ Adebolajo may well be a descendant of one of the generations of Nigerians who were originally enslaved and then taken all over the world and forced to work on British plantations as black slaves.ƒÆ’-¡ If these past crimes have been pushed into the background in an unprecedented move to make up for the crimes done by helping these now poor Third World nations to rise up from what their nations became ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” but it is the exact opposite of what should be happening that is now making people stand up and be counted.

The murder of Drummer Rigby is something far more than the present euphoria associated with anti-Muslim sentiment. What we need to extract from the murder is the fact that no longer can we continue to have a biased world wherein killing of a white becomes defined as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-terrorismƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ while whites commit killings on civilians elsewhere round the world wholesale and with impunity. It happened during colonial times and it is still happening now in a world that is supposed to be civilized and doing civilized things under the umbrella of terminologies that supposedly promotes human rights, transparency, democracy and the very tenacious term now being thrown freely called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-reconciliationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.

Crimes against humanity

There is no time bar on reconciliation nor human rights violations such as crimes against humanity which demands that for reconciliation to be seriously addressed it needs to cover ALL atrocities and by all atrocities reconciliation cannot omit the crimes against humanity that all the colonial rulers unleashed on the people of the nations they conquered and governed.

We are likely to see more ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-eye for an eyeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ avenging type incidents if the West does not come down from its high pedestal of bullying and arm twisting third world people. But so long as there are people like Gen. James Cartwright and Sen. Lindsey Graham who believe that the US has the right to kill its ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-enemiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ even when they are ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-asleepƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, there is likely to be more tension. Not many in the US or UK were shocked and aggrieved when scores of Iraqi civilians ended up victims of US sanctions, children died due to lack of food and as long as there are people like Madeleine Albright who says ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-it was worth itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ the hatred that the West is daily generating will not fade. We at times wonder whether the hate is actually intentional ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…”Michael Adebolajo was approached by MI5 to do a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-jobƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ on their behalf. We now question what exactly that job was meant to be.

Scramble for Africa

Africa was divided into 50 nations in 1884-85 at the Berlin Conference.ƒÆ’-¡ TheƒÆ’-¡ Berlin ConferenceƒÆ’-¡ regulatedƒÆ’-¡ European colonizationƒÆ’-¡ and trade inƒÆ’-¡ AfricaƒÆ’-¡ during theƒÆ’-¡ New ImperialismƒÆ’-¡ period, and its outcome, theƒÆ’-¡ General Act of the Berlin Conference, can be seen as the formalization of theƒÆ’-¡ Scramble for Africa. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity by European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of AfricanƒÆ’-¡ autonomyƒÆ’-¡ and self-governance.

Africa is in a state of ruin and relative poverty because of what the West did and what the West is continuing to do. But there are magnanimous gestures ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Brazil has written off US$ 900m of African debt.

We do not justify the killing of Drummer Rigby ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” he was a soldier killed by a civilian. Elsewhere through colonial history hundreds of thousands of soldiers have killed innocent civilians during colonial rule and it continues to happen even in the present. Not a single British soldier who committed crimes during colonial rule was ever put on the dock, convicted and punished like what happened to Nazi war criminals atƒÆ’-¡ Nuremberg,ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ and even now the scale of justice for crimes that Anglo ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” American troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Okinawa commit never get the same level of accusations that non-Whites get. This is a perversion of justice. It is also tantamount to racism and cover ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” up of crimes committed. Such conduct is no longer acceptable to the unfolding new world order that is emerging under Asian stewardship.

 

 

Understanding American attitudes: International Relations and Security

May 27th, 2013

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP Courtesy The Daily NewsƒÆ’-¡ 

One of the sadder aspects of Tissa JayatilakaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s celebration of American values and conduct with regard to Sri Lanka is his suppression of the change that took place in American policy with the change of government at the beginning of 2009. While many of us thought that, in the interests of the world as well as the majority of the American citizenry, a change would be good, we knew that things would be worse for Sri Lanka if the Republicans were defeated.

We were relieved, given the manner in which the diaspora with its ties to the LTTE had cultivated Hillary Clinton, that Obama was the Democrat candidate, but we still knew things would be tough. When Obama then appointed Hillary as his Secretary of State, we had to prepare for a very different approach.

European resolution

I am astonished though to find Tissa too of such a myopic mindset, and asserting that the United States along with India ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”supported us to the hilt from 2002 onwards in our battle against the LTTEƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. He has obviously not read Wikileaks, which makes it clear that in 2009 the US attitude had changed, and they were fully behind the European resolution against us.

Barack Obama Hillary Clinton Condoleezza Rice Robert Blake

The fact that the US had changed was obvious from the manner in which Bob Blake, in his last days, was no longer the pillar of support he had been earlier. In 2007 for instance, the US supported government actively in the East when the European Union was sulking because we had driven the LTTE out of there. In that year we found both the US ambassador in Geneva, a solid old school Republican, and his more left-leaning Deputy, extremely sympathetic. The latter was indeed one of Dayan JayatillekaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s best friends in Geneva.

In 2009 however Blake had told a former State Department employee that his different approach was because he now served a different administration. I do not know whether Blake was one of the ambassadors Tissa got on with ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” he was not at the party Blake had on the occasion of ObamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s inauguration, when he said he had got together Sri Lankans he saw as special friends of his country ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” but Tissa must surely have realized that things had changed. Britain, which had been leading the attack on us, did so, and David Miliband got a far more sympathetic hearing from Hillary than he would have done from the intellectually more rigorous Condoleezza Rice.

Third World countries

Tissa is right in drawing attention to the fact that the US, when Bush was President, was more consistent in its response to terrorism and terrorists, and supported us in our efforts to get the LTTE proscribed. But LTTE supporters understood this, as well as the softer touch Hillary was going to be ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” which unfortunately our Foreign Ministry could not see ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” and changed their approach. Though the LTTE could not quite be presented as largely innocent freedom fighters, which the Americans have convinced themselves Contras and Chechens and the Taleban have been in their time, by 2009 Blake was involved in what might be termed a rescue operation. Thankfully, the Indians put a stop to this, helped also by the intransigence of the LTTE.

Where TissaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s misleading interpretation of international relations comes through is in his assertion that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Although the likes of Miliband and Kouchner tried their utmost to initiate international action against us, Sri Lanka was able to ensure that no government took a concerted diplomatic initiative at the UN Security Council to compel Sri Lanka to abort the final military push against the LTTE, something similar to that which India, acting unilaterally, had done in the 1980s by compelling us to halt the Vadamarachchi operation.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢

MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s objective

There were efforts to put Sri Lanka on the agenda in New York, but these were restrained because of the veto that our solid supporters could be relied upon to use. Tissa makes no mention of what happened in Geneva, because of his animosity to Dayan Jayatilleka, in line with that of the less civilized Americans he follows (unlike the intelligent Democrats who realize that Dayan is potentially their best ally if they can be satisfied with Non-alignment based on a solid understanding with India).

In effect he ignores the fact that the actual scene of action was Geneva, as it is now, where it is numbers that count.

He ignores the fact that the sort of professional diplomat he affects to admire had failed to restrain the British from tabling a motion against us in 2006, a motion they sought to reactivate in 2007. Fortunately by then we had Dayan there, and by skilful diplomacy, building up a solid coalition of Third World countries whilst also talking actively to the West (so that some European countries were telling him what the Brits were up to, even though formally they could not break ranks), he was able to ensure that the motion was dropped from the agenda.

That was when the British Representative there, who had been hoping to go on to New York (and might have been sent there, had he fulfilled MilibandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s objective with regard to Sri Lanka, which was and still is an ideal test case for changing the dynamics of the current international order), told me that our Ambassador thought we had won, but we should wait to see what would happen.

He moved on then, though, and I found his successor much less abrasive. But as we saw in 2009, Miliband was relentless.

Update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights On her Annual Report to the Human Rights Council

May 27th, 2013

Statement by H.E. Mr. Ravinatha P. Aryasinha Ambassador / Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka & Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council, 27 May 2013

At the outset, Sri Lanka wishes to associate itself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

ƒÆ’-¡ My delegation takes note of the High CommissionerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s statement and is firmly committed to supporting the High Commissioner in the discharge of her mandate as contained in GA Resolution 48/141.

ƒÆ’-¡ Sri Lanka urges the OHCHR to redouble its efforts in mainstreaming economic, social and cultural rights, which remain disproportionately marginalized, by allocating more financial and human resources to the promotion and protection of these rights.

ƒÆ’-¡ We reiterate the primacy of the role of the States Parties in the treaty body strengthening process.ƒÆ’-¡  It is also important for the special procedures mandate holders to adhere to the Code of Conduct as stipulated in Council resolution 5/2 in the execution of their respective mandates, through a professional, impartial assessment of facts. We would like to see an equitable distribution of financial resources among all special procedures mandate holders through a transparent process to safeguard their independence.

ƒÆ’-¡ Sri Lanka notes the challenges faced by the OHCHR, particularly with regard to the budget which is paramount to the effective and independent discharge of the mandate of the High Commissioner.ƒÆ’-¡  We believe that there is an urgent need for a more sustainable resourcing of the OHCHR in order to ensure efficient and objective fulfillment of its mandate under the administrative direction and authority of the UN Secretary-General and the General Assembly.ƒÆ’-¡  To this end, Sri Lanka believes that the bulk of the OHCHR funding must come from the UN regular budget.

ƒÆ’-¡ Sri Lanka remains deeply concerned that the lack of financial independence of the OHCHR also leads to disproportionate attention being paid to country-specific action in the Council which selectively targets some countries, while situations, human rights violations and restrictive practices in other parts of the world that warrant more urgent and immediate attention and action remain conveniently ignored. The continuation and proliferation of the practice of the selective adoption of country-specific resolutions in the Council is a tool that exploits human rights for political purposes.ƒÆ’-¡  We reiterate that such politicized action is contrary to the high purposes and principles of the Council and must be arrested.

ƒÆ’-¡ Regrettably, a similar pattern is evident in the case of continued action on Sri Lanka in this Council. It would be recalled that the call for an international investigation into the situation in Sri Lanka emanated here barely a week after the GovernmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s defeat of LTTE terrorism which reunited the country 4 years ago. As we have already informed the Council during past sessions, the ill-conceived resolution on Sri Lanka resulting from politicized action, diaspora compulsions and reports not mandated by the inter-governmental process and therefore lacking in legitimacy and credibility, is completely unwarranted and is for that reason rejected by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL). The collusion, which is increasingly evident between some countries that support action against Sri Lanka and some extreme elements of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora with vested interests, is a concern that must be addressed more comprehensively by the OHCHR. The fact that some of these diaspora elements were accredited as members of a country delegation at the 22nd HRC sets an alarming precedent. Let alone not adding any value to the ongoing domestic reconciliation process, such action has caused mistrust about international processes among the people of Sri Lanka, and also negatively impacted our reconciliation efforts.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ Notwithstanding these distractions, in the four years since the defeat of terrorism, Sri Lanka has made significant strides in the reconciliation process. In keeping with Sri Lanka’s policy of continuous engagement with the Council, I am pleased to avail myself of this opportunity to update the Council on progress made since the Council last met in March 2013:

ƒÆ’-¡ – In the months of January, February and April 2013 of this year, GOSL has made public the continuing progress made in implementing the National Plan of Action towards the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the home-grown reconciliation mechanism in Sri Lanka. In addition to the majority of the recommendations which were deemed most significant and incorporated in the National Plan of Action (NPoA) for immediate implementation by 22 key government agencies in July 2013, GOSL is presently in the process of integrating into the NPoA further recommendations made by the LLRC.

ƒÆ’-¡ – With the last batch of IDPs having been resettled in Mullaithivu in September 2012, and 23,398 choosing to live with host families, all 295,873 IDPs resulting from the ending of the conflict have been successfully integrated.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ – As at end March 2013, only 96 square kilometers remains to be demined, out of 2,064 square kilometers left contaminated with landmines and UXOs at the conclusion of the terrorist conflict. Over 961,447 explosive devices (anti tank ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” 1,459, anti personal ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” 523,797 and UXO ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” 436,191) have been recovered and the Sri Lanka Army was responsible for demining approximately 75% of the land.

ƒÆ’-¡ - Of approximately 12,000 ex-LTTE combatants who were arrested or surrendered at the end of the conflict, as of 15 May 2013, 11,551 persons, which included 594 child soldiers, have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.ƒÆ’-¡  As of 15 May 2013, 374 ex-combatants including 18 female ex-combatants are undergoing rehabilitation.ƒÆ’-¡  Among those rehabilitated, 212 youth who were previously pursuing tertiary education were re-inducted into the university system to follow their undergraduate studies.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ – Legal proceedings have been instituted against 194 ex-combatants who are under judicially mandated custody, remanded or enlarged on bail by Court. In order to expedite the cases of suspects that are in remand custody after serving indictment, the Government established 3 additional courts in Vavuniya, Mannar and Anuradhapura besides the Colombo High Court. Separate state counsels and dedicated staff including Tamil translators and typists have been allocated for this purpose. Furthermore, in order to file cases for the suspects that remain under remand custody pending indictment, a special committee has been appointed to look into their cases. The scope of this committee is to review and advice further legal proceeding of these cadres, including the possibility of release of suspects following rehabilitation.

ƒÆ’-¡ – The Government has also established a mechanism to ensure the right of information of the relatives of the LTTE suspects. A centralized, comprehensive database of detainees established by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) of the Police with units operating around the clockƒÆ’-¡  in Colombo, Vavuniya and Boossa enables next-of-kin (NoK) to receive details of detainees and those who are released from detention. It may be noted that this information is only provided to NoK, as detainees have requested that such information not be released publicly due to privacy concerns. Upto now, around 3,220 inquiries have been made by the relatives to the TID alone (486 phone call inquiries, 5 email inquiries and 2,729 physical appearances). 2,729 complaints have been recorded and 1,628 investigations have been completed and 1,101 investigations were in progress as of February 2013.

ƒÆ’-¡ – While ICRC access to prisons and detention centres where detainees under the Prevention of Terrorist Act (PTA) continues, the Ministry of Defense and the ICRC have also held a series of discussions on the issue of disappeared persons and continue to maintain a positive dialogue on areas of cooperation. In an ongoing operation, a Family Tracing and Reunification Unit (FTR) has been established in collaboration with UNICEF, primarily to trace missing children.ƒÆ’-¡  The Unit recorded 2,564 untraceable persons out of which 676 were children, while 1,888 were adults.ƒÆ’-¡  About 64 percent of tracing requests were reported by parents of children who had been recruited by the LTTE.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ – Addressing concerns relating to accountability, the only authoritative and credible source of information relating to the demographics and those killed and untraceable in the Northern Province during the period 2005 – 2009, the Enumeration of Vital Events 2011 in the Northern Province (EVE 2011) by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) conducted during the months of June and July 2011, has estimated that the total number dead from 1 January to 31 May 2009 is 8998, including deaths caused due to old age/sickness, natural deaths, deaths due to accidents/homicides/suicides and other causes. Out of this, 7896 are probable conflict related deaths, which include LTTE cadres killed in action, LTTE cadres and civilians who escaped from the conflict zone and had travelled to other parts of Sri Lanka/overseas, civilians likely to have been killed in cross fire and civilians killed by the LTTE whilst escaping from LTTE control, false reporting, found to be alive, deaths reported but not during the period of Humanitarian Operation and those who have gone overseas/moved to other parts of Sri Lanka/ untraceable etc. It would be recalled that from Jan ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” May 2009 around 2,400 Sri Lankan security forces personnel were killed and around 11,000 wounded, which indicates the intensity of the LTTE resistance at the time. The GoSL has embarked on a fresh survey on deaths, injuries, untraced and property damages as recommended by the LLRC NPoA and this survey is expected to provide vital information to respond to many questions raised related to deaths, injuries and those untraced during the conflict.

ƒÆ’-¡ – Pursuant to recommendations made by the LLRC, in relation to the killings of the 5 students in Trincomalee, investigations have been concluded and upon studying the material, the Attorney General has advised the Police to initiate non-summary proceedings, and the formal institution of these proceedings before the Trincomalee Magistrate is due to take place in the first week of June.ƒÆ’-¡  The investigation into the killings of the 17 ACF aid workers is continuing.ƒÆ’-¡  Further, an Army Court of Inquiry is presently investigating allegations made following the Channel 4 video footage, irrespective of its authenticity or otherwise. To date GOSL’s request that Channel 4 provide the original material used by them to help the investigation process, has not been acceded to.

ƒÆ’-¡ – The security forces presence in the Jaffna peninsula and the islands, which was over 50,000 personnel at the height of the conflict, has today reduced to approximately 13,200. WhileƒÆ’-¡  rationalization of this presence would be considered in line with the national security interests of Sri Lanka, efforts are also underway to explore possibilities to relocate troops in the Palaly cantonment and in other identified Government lands, in order to allow original owners to settle in their native lands. While some lands have been earmarked for use in the expansion of the Palaly airport – KKS harbour complex as part of the redevelopment of the area after almost 3 decades of conflict, owners of private lands acquired would be given compensation at market rates, and additionally alternate lands in adjacent areas.

- To address issues pertaining to land, the Government is in the process of formulating the Terms of Reference of the Fourth Land Commission. In May 2013, as per the recommendations of the LLRC, the Land Commissioner GeneralƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Department launched a special accelerated programme to resolve issues pertaining to state land in the Northern and Eastern provinces in the post-conflict context, in collaboration with Provincial Land Commissioners, Government Agents and Divisional Secretaries,.ƒÆ’-¡  A notice issued by the Land Commissioner in this regard has been widely circulated in all three languages in order to inform the public of this initiative.

ƒÆ’-¡ – The economic growth rate and the share of the contribution to the national economy by the Northern Province have grown since the end of the conflict. The province recorded an economic growth rate of 22% in 2010, and 27.1% in 2011. The corresponding figure for 2012 is expected to be released in June. In 2012, paddy production in the Northern Province recorded an increase of 24% while the highest growth in marine fishery was also recorded from the Northern Province, which grew by 28%. The Government continues to focus on infrastructure development activities in the Northern and Eastern Provinces through significant public investment, in road construction, power generation and transmission, port development and extension of railway lines, etc. 139 destroyed and damaged schools were reconstructed and rehabilitated while 348 schools had been reopened in the Northern Province in 2012. On 14 May 2013, the 43-kilometre Medawchchiya-Madhu segment of the 106 kilometre long Medawchchiya – Thalaimannar railway line was commissioned under the first phase of the Northern Railway Project. The northern railway network was destroyed by the LTTE several times and the train service completely ceased operations after the 13th June 1990.

ƒÆ’-¡ – Following the conclusion of the Census in the Northern Province and preparation of the electoral register, elections to the Northern Provincial Council is scheduled to be held in September 2013.

ƒÆ’-¡ The Council may additionally wish to note that the High Commissioner for Human Rights has now decided to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka from 25 to 31 August 2013, in response to an invitation formally extended to her by the GOSL in April 2011. Sri Lanka considers this visit as part of its continued, transparent and proactive engagement with the High Commissioner and the OHCHR. We believe that the visit would enable the High Commissioner to experience at first hand the significant strides made and also efforts presently underway in the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, in the relatively brief period of 4 years since the end of the ruthless terrorist conflict that decimated our nation and its peoples for 30 long years. We hope that through the visit, a platform will be built for constructive engagement between GOSL and the OHCHR, laying by the fallacies that have in recent years guided the UN system’s actions and engagement with respect to Sri Lanka and its reconciliation process.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ In conclusion, Mr. President, Sri Lanka looks forward to constructive engagement at the 23rd session of the Council.

ƒÆ’-¡ Thank you.

105th Anniversary of Ahmadiyya Khilafat.

May 27th, 2013

By A. Abdul Aziz Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ May 27 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” is being observed as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Khilafat DayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ by Ahmadi Muslim throughout the world. After the demise of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in May 26, 1908, the system of Khilafat (the Spiritual Leadership in Islam) was re-established in May 27, 1908, in accordance with the promise by Allah the Almighty in the Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an (Ch: 24, Verse: 56).

Given below is an excerpt of the Friday Sermon of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Supreme Head of the world-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam, delivered on 24th May 2013, at ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Baithul NoorƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, Calgary, Canada. gave a discourse on the system of KhilafatƒÆ’-¡  inƒÆ’-¡  Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam.

ƒÆ’-¡ Ahmadiyya Khalifa started his sermon by reciting verses of Holy QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an from Chapter 24 and versesƒÆ’-¡  52 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” 57, the meaning of which are:-

Allah, the Exalted, says:

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The response of the believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger in order that he may judge between them, is only that they say: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”We hear and we obey.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ And it is they who will prosper. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-(24:52)

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-And whoso obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah, and takes Him as a shield for protection, it is they who will be successful.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ (24:53)

ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that, if thou command them, they will surely go forth. Say, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Swear not; what is required is actual obedience in what is right. Surely, Allah is well aware of what you do.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ (24:54)

ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Say, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ But if you turn away, then upon him is his burden, and upon you is your burden. And if you obey him, you will be rightly guided. And the messenger is not responsible but for the plain delivery of the Message.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ (24:55)

ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ (24:56)

ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-And observe Prayer and give the Zakat and obey the Messenger, that you may be shown mercy.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’-¡  (24:57)

ƒÆ’-¡ For the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at there is a special day that comes in the month of May. I mean the 27th of May, which is known as Khilafat Day and is celebrated as such by the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at. With reference to this, despite the fact that three days still remain, I have chosen to talk about this topic today.

While the 26th of May 1908 was a heart rending day for the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at, and it shook the faith of many, and caused restlessness in the hearts of some, for the enemies of Ahmadiyyat it was a day they used to inflict pain and try and suffering on the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at.

In the history of Ahmadiyyat, there are such painful accounts recorded of the statements and acts of the enemies of Ahmadiyyat that one is amazed to read them and it is difficult to imagine that a human being can stoop to such a low state and involve himself in the kinds of actions that they undertook at the time of the death of the Promised MessiahƒÆ’-¡  – Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (peace be on him).

How could such deplorable deeds be expected from those who attribute themselves to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who was sent as a Mercy to all the worlds!

People act in accord with their nature but on the 27th of May 1908, we saw the Might and Decree of Allah manifest itself and we saw Him fulfilling His Promise. 27th of May came heralding a message of peace and security for the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at. This day came bearing the glad tidings of the fulfillment of the promises that God had made with the Promised Messiah (as) and it came to scorch the enemies of Ahmadiyyat in the fire of their own rage and frustration and it came as a day that destroyed their false joys and happiness.

The 27th of May is not an ordinary day for the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at. This is a very important day and this importance increases yet more when we cast a glance at the prophecies of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The vast majority of the Muslims of the world look to the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at with great regret and resentment, infact we should say they look at us grudgingly and with great envy that we have Khilafat (System of Spiritual Leadership established among us.

They have tried many times to establish Khilafat among their own selves and they keep trying, but they have always been unsuccessful in this endeavor for the very powerful reason that they have disobeyed a clear directive of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said that when the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi appears, they should take whatever pain and suffering may be necessary and go, crawling on their knees, over glaciers of ice if need be, and convey his salams, greetings of peace, to him.

ƒÆ’-¡ Then, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) also informed everyone of the signs, that if they see being fulfilled, they should realize that the one making the claim is true in his claim. These signs that the Holy Prophet mentioned are both heavenly and earthly and they are frequently made mention of among our gatherings and also we present them to our opponents with regularity – but I will not mention them at this time.

It is, however, a cause of great misfortune for those who do not believe that, for worldly and material reasons, or for fear of the so-called Muslim divines and clerics, or because they do not pay attention or heed the directives of the Holy Prophet, not only have they not accepted the one who made the claim to being the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi, but their governments have become so audacious as to use most foul language when referring to this holy personage who has been sent by God.

Their actions are indeed evil. And all this, despite knowing full well that the age in which we live is shouting and informing anyone who cares to listen that this is the time for the one who was to come to have indeed made his appearance. Allah has shown all the signs confirming these things and continues to show signs, but still these people continue to oppose the one sent by God.

After each act of opposition by the enemies of Ahmadiyyat, Allah castigates them with a new punishment but their defiance and audacity is such that they are not willing to give up their opposition. So if this is not their great misfortune what is it and what can we say it is?

In any case, as I said, this day is of great importance and the Holy Prophet (sa) has himself made an announcement to this effect in one of his prophecies. The exact date was not foretold, but certainly, by announcing the advent of one who would be his greatest and most ardent and true lover, who would come as the Promised Messiah and then after him announcing that an era of Khilafat would begin, he made a prophecy of this dayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s coming.

So what could be more important than that about which the Holy Prophet himself should have made an announcement?

There is a hadith (sayings of Prophet) of the Holy Prophet (sa) narrated by Hazrat Huzaifa (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be on him.) said:

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Prophethood will remain among you as long as Allah wills. Then He will take it away and Khilafat on the lines of Prophethood shall commence, and then, when Allah wills, He will take away this bounty also. Then in accordance with His Decree corrupt/erosive monarchy would be established, which will make people sad and feel constrained and then when this era will come to an end, in accord with another Decree of God, despotic kingship would emerge till the Mercy of God will descend and bring this era of tyranny and excess to an end. Then again, Khilafat on the precept of Prophethood shall be established,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ and then after saying this, the Holy Prophet became silent.

ƒÆ’-¡ So clearly in this Hadith, first the Holy Prophet (PBUH) talks about his own Prophethood and then he talks about the establishment of Khilafat-e-Rashida, the Rightly Guided Khilafat which would move forward on the pattern, or lines of prophethood, and the world saw and witnessed how the first four Khilafats, which are referred to as Khilafat-e-Rashida, had nothing to do with the worldly kingships and their pomp and glory. They operated with just one goal in mind; to please Allah and kept this in view as they discharged the duties of Khilafat. Then also the world saw how every word of what the Holy Prophet had said came true when he said that there would be times when kingships would reign and at times these would be a little less severe and at other times they would be very severe in their treatment of the people.

So if we read history we see the words of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) coming to fulfilment by the establishment of Khilafat-e-Rashida and then the kingships in which to some degree of severity we saw tyranny and excess taking place. The kings who came were more inclined to the world and material things than the faith.

Then the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that, as it has always happened, God turns with Mercy to His creatures, and after a long period of darkness, GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Mercy shall descend and bring to an end the era of tyranny and excess. And Khilafat on the pattern of Prophethood would again be established. And then he became silent as it is stated in the Hadith.

Every one can ponder on this hadith and see that the Holy ProphetƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s prophecy about Khilafat-e-Rashida was fulfilled, then his words predicting the coming into being of relatively less despotic, and then immensely despotic era of kingships also were fulfilled.

So then how can there be any doubt about the last part of his prophecy? So when all the signs have been fulfilled and also Allah has declared in the Holy Quran:

And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise. (62:4)

In other words Allah will again arrange things for the coming into being of Khilafat on the pattern of prophethood.

Allah, the Exalted, says, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-He is the Mighty, the Wise.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

So when AllahƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Mighty, All Encompassing Wisdom determined, and when His Mercy was moved, the Muslims were freed from despotic kingships and Khilafat on the pattern of prophethood was established as He desired.

So we Ahmadis are fortunate because we bear witness to the truth of the first part of the Holy ProphetƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s prophecy, and believe in it, and have seen it being fulfilled, and we are those who also believe in the last part of his prophecy. We believe fully that this part of his prophecy also has been fulfilled.

There is another hadith of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) which relates to the verse from Sura JumuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ah,

And among others from among them who have not yet joined them. He is the Mighty, the Wise. (62:4)

Keeping in mind these words of Allah, and keeping in mind the conditions of the world and having seen all the signs that have been manifested, we have believed in the Imam of the Age who was to have come.

In one of his sayings, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has referred to the Promised Messiah (a.s) as, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-nabeeullah,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ or Messenger and Prophet of Allah. Then the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has also said that between me and the Promised Messiah (as) there is no Prophet. Then in accord with verse 4 of Sura JumuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ah, wa aakhareena minhum, the Holy Rrophet (PBUH) said that the one who was to be raised in the latter days would be like unto his own coming into the world.

In other words, the person who was to come, the Promised Messiah (a.s) would be so totally immersed in his love of the Holy Prophet, that he would become, as it were, his reflection and thus he would attain the title of Prophet upon being sent into the world.

While explaining this verse of Sura JumuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had placed his hand on the shoulder of Hazrat Salman Farsi (r.a) and said that the one who was to come in the latter days would be from among these people and would be a non-Arab.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also told us the sign which relates the disappearance of faith and it being lifted to the farthest heavens. This is a sign of the times that these Ulema, Muslim religious divines, clerics, also accept and they acknowledge that at the time when the Promised Messiah (a.s) had made his claim, the condition of the faith of the Muslims was extremely poor as if faith had disappeared from the world.

So they all see that all the signs have been fulfilled. And the signs having been fulfilled tells us that the Promised Messiah (a.s) who was to come had indeed come at the appointed time.

ƒÆ’-¡ Here, let me also make clear that by virtue of the Promised Messiah (a.s) being the Khatamul Khulafa he attained to the very highest pinnacle of Khilafat on the pattern of prophethood or we can say that he was bestowed the very highest pinnacle of Khilafat on the pattern of prophethood.

And by virtue of him being the Promised Messiah (a.s) and in fulfilment of the words of the Holy Prophet, by being totally immersed in the love of the Holy Prophet he was bestowed also a reflected prophethood. Thus the system of Khilafat that began with the Promised Messiah (as) is in reality a continuation of the pattern of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet (sa). And the work that is to be done by this Khilafat is to insure that the commandments of the Holy Quran are followed by the Muslim Community (Umma), and the rights and duties that are due to Allah and to His Creatures are fulfilled and discharged by the Muslims. And by making the practice (sunna) of the Holy Prophet our model, insure that it is acted upon and the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at is urged to act upon it. So Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyys is a continuation of Khilafat-e-Rashida in this period of the rejuvenation of Islam in the latter days.

With regard to the first period of Islam, and after learning from Allah, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had announced that the Khilafat-e-Rashida would come to an end after a certain period of time. But with regard to the Khilafat that would be started during the renaissance of Islam in the latter days, he had given the good news from God that this Khilafat would remain forever.

But for which people is this good news given? Most certainly this good news is given and will be true in favor of those who will discharge the dues of Khilafat. Those who will walk on the ways of righteousness (taqwa), righteousness, and do good deeds, and those who will go on perfecting their worship.

Ahmadiyya Khalifa went on to say that the greatest heartrending time that came upon the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at was indeed when the Promised Messiah (a.s) passed away. The enemies were happy and the members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at were in a state of fear but the Promised Messiah (as) had been preparing the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at for this for quite some time by telling them that Allah had told him repeatedly that the time of his death was near. But he had said that this was no cause for concern or of becoming despondent.

Ahmadiyya Founder Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – the Promised Messiah (a.s) wrote all this down in his book, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The Will.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ And where he wrote this, that he would soon be departing from this world, he also laid out the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢atƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s spiritual, financial, and operational methodology and informed everyone that the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at would indeed become established and continue to exist forever.

He informed the members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at that they should not worry, because Allah had promised to him that He would cause the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at to go on flourishing; because this was the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at, regarding the progress of which, the Holy Prophet had given the good news, and it was the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at within which he had said that Khilafat was to be re-established in the latter days.

The Promised Messiah (a.s) writes in his book ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Al WasiyyatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢,

God’s Word informs me that many calamities will occur and many disasters will descend on the earthƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚ some during my lifetime and some after I have gone. And He will promote and advance this JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at to the full. A part of it will happen at my hands, and some after me. [Al-Wasiyyat]

ƒÆ’-¡ He goes on to say:

Thus He manifests two kinds of Power. (1) First He shows the Hand of His Power at the hands of His Prophets themselves. (2) Second, when with theƒÆ’-¡  death of a Prophet, difficulties and problems arise and the enemy feels stronger and thinks that things are in disarray and is convinced that now this JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at will become extinct and even members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at, too, are in a quandary and their backs are broken, and some of the unfortunate ones choose paths that lead to apostasy, then it is that God for the second time shows His Mighty Power and supports and takes care of the shaken JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at. [Al Wasiyyat]

ƒÆ’-¡ He says further:

… it is essential for you to witness the second Manifestation also, and its Coming is better for you because it is everlasting the continuity of which will not end till the Day of Judgement. And that second Manifestation cannotƒÆ’-¡  come unless I depart. But when I depart, God will send that second Manifestation for you which shall always stay with you just as promised by God in Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya. And this promise is not for my person. Rather the promise is with reference to you, as God [addressing me] says: I shall make this JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at who are your followers, prevail over others till the Day of Judgment. [Al Wasiyyat]

ƒÆ’-¡ Ahmadiyya Khalifa said:

So by the Grace of Allah, the Exalted, for the last 105 years we have been seeing Allah fulfill this promise of His. The JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at went through all kinds of periods of difficulties, but by the Grace of Allah, the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at kept moving forward at a very considerable speed along its trajectory of success and achievements.

If the enemy tries to impose upon the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at a period of tyranny and brutality in one country, Allah counters by opening up for the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at, in another country, extraordinary ways and means for progress. But not only this, even in the country in which difficulties are created for us, there too, Allah continues to strengthen the faith of the members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at. And then, when I see this and experience it in my own person, that despite all my weaknesses, how Allah, the Exalted, enables the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at to continue to march forward on the grand and expansive freeways of success and achievement, faith increases even more in Allah, and belief in His promises continues to become yet more perfect and complete.

Certainly it is the invisible Hand of Allah which continues to push the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at forward more and more. And whomsoever Allah will make the Khalifa, regardless of what the condition of that person maybe, He shall continue to bestow upon him His Help and Support. Insha-Allah!

Ahmadiyya Supreme Head further said: as I said, Allah, the Exalted, has initiated this system of Khilafat in Ahmadiyyat and this system can not be initiated anywhere else. Ahmadis are indeed fortunate because, by accepting the Promised Messiah (as), they have been blessed with the bounty of Khilafat.

So always remember that the Promise that Allah has made is not unconditional. It is conditional on certain things. And when these conditions are fulfilled, then, by the Grace of Allah, security will also be bestowed and the state of fear shall be changed into one of peace and the members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at have experienced this many times.

A non Ahmadi leader of some renown, a friend of an Ahmadi, said that although I do not believe you to be true, yet this I believe, after watching this whole affair, that the practical and manifest decree of God and His support is with you. So there are such people also who despite witnessing everything still insist on sticking to their heedless and obstinate ways.

The wave of tyranny that is blowing in Pakistan these days is an expression of the fact that Ahmadis are continuing to make gains and progress and they see the fields of our success continue to expand more every day and all their attempts to finish us never succeed. They continue trying to figure out how they should go about destroying us?

But I say to these people that, O enemies of Ahmadiyyat! Remember that our Lord, our Friend, is that God Who is the Possessor of All Powers. He will never allow you to succeed. The progress of Islam is now destined to take place through the Promised Messiah (as). The flag of the Holy Prophet of Islam will now be raised in the world through the servants of the Promised Messiah (as), this flag will be raised now in the world by those who have firm faith in Khilafat on the pattern of prophethood, those who are attached to Khilafat, who have become the beads of the necklace that is the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at-e-Ahmadiyya, who have firmly gotten hold of the rope of Allah. So no effort of yours, and no misdeed or attack that you carry out, even if it be with the help of any worldly government, will be able to stop Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya from achieving its purpose nor will any such effort be able to stop the progress of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

The members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at should also remember that, as I said, treading on the paths of righteousness (taqwa), righteousness, establishing salat, prayer, and advancing in financial sacrifices will continue to enable them to benefit from the bounties of Khilafat. So it is the duty of every single person that he make a full fledged effort so that by the Grace and Mercy of Allah, he should take a large share of these bounties.

In conclusion, Ahmadiyya Khalifa read out few writings of Ahmadiyya Founder – Promised MessiahƒÆ’-¡  and some of which are:

Don’t think that God will let you go to waste. You are the seed which the Hand of God has sown in the earth. God says that this seed will grow and flower and its branches will spread in all directions and it will become a huge tree. So, blessed is one who believes in what God says and does not fear the trials which he suffers in His path. For, the coming of trials is essential so that God may try you to see who is true in his declaration of BaiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at and who is false.

ƒÆ’-¡ Then the Promised Messiah (a.s) says:

God addressed me and said that I should inform my JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”at that those who believe and their belief is not adulterated with worldly considerations and is free from hypocrisy and cowardice and is not found wanting at any stage of obedience, such people are the favourites of God. And God says that indeed these are the ones whose station is that of Truth.

May Allah enable all of us to fulfill all the wishes and desires that the Promised Messiah (as) had and enable all of us to establish a true and fully loyal connection with Khilafat and bestow upon us the ability to establish the highest standards of obedience and enable us to achieve the highest levels of our worship so that we all continue to be blessed with the bounty of Khilafat.ƒÆ’-¡  Aameen!

The English translation of the Sermon, the video link is as below:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W3P258qRwY&feature=youtu.be

Srilankans can never become vegetarian

May 27th, 2013

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,

With the recent immolation of ƒÆ’-¡ the bhikku demanding cattle slaughter to be banned from Srilanka and advocacy for vegetarian food to be staple diet of Srilanka is gaining attention. We can safely predict this will never come to pass.

The first and foremost reason being that the politicians will never allow it to pass. If anyone thinks all the politicians who will give up the delicious gourmet food at the parliament for anyƒÆ’-¡  reason they have another thought coming. They will fight tooth and nail to stop it. But then the alternative to allow it only for the politicians of Srilanka ƒÆ’-¡ is not beyond reality. After all wasnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t there a move to give car permits the FAILEDƒÆ’-¡  politicians in the PCƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s? ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ Only our country can come out with such atrocious suggestions without blinking an eyelid.

The other reason beingƒÆ’-¡  the plight of the fishermen. If everyone become vegetarians what would the fishermen do? How will they survive? How to find jobs for the thousands of them and what becomes to their families?

Some may wonder whether banning cattle slaughter will inconvenience ƒÆ’-¡ the Muslims. Not so. Eating beef is not a pre requisitive to the Muslims. They can be vegetarians if they want to. They can eat fish, eggs, mutton and camel meat if they want to. Of course the Muslim butchers will have to find alternative income measures, as much as the non ƒÆ’-¡ Muslim ones have to.

Actually instead of demanding the government to ban the slaughter, the easiest way toƒÆ’-¡  minimize ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” or even abolish slaughter is to train the people to become vegetarians. Or else illicit slaughter and illegal import will becomeƒÆ’-¡  another ƒÆ’-¡ lucrative measure of income for the politicians and their goons. .

Let it start with the bhikkus who should set an ƒÆ’-¡ example for the people to follow and first to ƒÆ’-¡ be followed by the politicians. While the slaughter of animals decrease people will have time to find and adjust to alternative means of income, like poultry and farming.

 

 

Shame on you Sunday Island Editor

May 26th, 2013

Christine Perera

The Sunday Island editorial is shameful and resonates why the Buddhists are angry. When a monk self-immolates himself in protest against cattle slaughter ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” what does the Editor of the Sunday Island say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-why only cattleƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ using his pen and his ability to reach out to the people who buy the island newspaper and belittle the sacrifice made by a Buddhist monk who gave up his life for a cause. Is this editor so naƒÆ’†’¯ve to not connote cattle with all animals ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” does he think that the monk can mention every living animal to meet the criteria of the Sunday editors sympathy and that too on Wesak? Such editors are unsuitable to carry out their duty and is a perfect example of how the English newspapers are using their medium to humiliate and denigrate the majority Buddhists of Sri Lanka.

The monk did what he did because the current legislation in place has not sufficiently addressed the animal welfare.

The Government cannot allow a sacrifice to go in vain because it wants to court the minorities for their votes and we wonder how many minority votes lead MPs into power. Realistically not many. It is always the Buddhists that put politicians to power. Politicians may well do to remember this. to be

The Government owes it to the Buddhists to enact the animal welfare bill in MEMORY of this monk who gave up his life to save the animals being slaughtered in Sri Lanka. 5000 cattle are slaughtered EVERY DAY ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” calculate that into a month and a year!

Buddhists must demand the enactment of cattle slaughter from the Government without delay.

 

 

Changes in Law – Attempt to get away with War Crimes

May 26th, 2013

By Afshain Afzal

Changes in Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) of 18 September 2001 thatƒÆ’-¡  allowed USA forces to go after the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks on Pentagon and World Trade Centre are being worked out. The barbaric geographicallyƒÆ’-¡ limitless War on Terror that allows USA without any legal authority to carry out armed attack on any nation. So far those countries that witnessed US attacks, over a decade and a quarter, include Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Congo, Syria and many more.

One wonders where is United Nations Organizations and hundreds of international peace groups and organizations. The list of war crimes and human rights violations by US personnel as well as partners have never been condemned by these organizations. There are serious concerns if any International Law or UN Charter exists or not. These organizations have become coffin thieves deputed on the distribution of graves. Why the mass graves in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are not visible to the world? Which law allows USA to intrude and occupy another country on the suspicion that some elements of Al Qaida are hiding there? USA’s intruders were not welcome by the governments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and many other countries but still world and international organizations are supporting them. One wonders Washington and some other countries claim that Al-Qaida is involved in terrorism. Even if it true (for the sake of discussion), Al Qaida is not a nation that justify a foreign nation like US to breach the sovereignty of other countries to hunt Al Qaida in foreign lands.

The media personnel who dare to write the truth are threatened for dire consequences while emails and crank calls are received by them in the shape of death warnings. This speaks of level of freedom of expression. In a recent development, all of a sudden the US President Barack Hussain Obama has changed his tone. In a statement, he said, “As Commander-in-Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field.”

With these remarks, the freedom of press in USA, especially for investigative reporters has come under draconian check. Where, state machinery express determination to maintain the freedom of press in the country, the impression that world generally carry after the recent series of incidents is that investigative journalism that once claimed to holds US government accountable has been taken its last breath.

Serious concerns have been witnessed among media personnel about the impartiality of the US’ state machinery in dealing with the journalists. The communication of the media personnel was being wired without authority was doubted but recent phone records of journalists and media have left no room for any ambiguity. Some of the foreignƒÆ’-¡  journalists in contact were asked to comment on statement of President Obama, “The Justice Department’s investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society.”

Many declined to comment that no media personnel can dare talk about anything. Some said that they admit that they work on the dictation of CIA. Yet one of them started talking rot about US policies with regard to immigrant reporters. Presently, reporters are governed under Department of Justice guidelines for investigations but new changes would allow state and intelligence machinery to easily blackmail them.

Interestingly, the US media policy for the enemies and adversaries are quite opposite what Washington expect from own reporters, journalists and other media personnel. The Congress has been tasked to pass a media shield law to guard against government overreach.

A code of conduct has been framed that brings media personnel under aƒÆ’-¡  law that demands their commitment to protect classified information. The problem with the law, once passed, would be treatment of US media personnel working in foreign land or at home and committing the same offence against foreign nations.

Is Washington prepared to see American and other foreign journalists prosecuted. Washington wants to brings changes in AUMF to continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing. The development is linked with humiliating defeats at various theaters around the world and rise of home grown terrorism.

The events compelled President Obama to say, “Americans cannot be on a war footing forever”. Washington must be prepared for self-catharses and accountability. Where there is immediate requirement to restore the rule of law inside USA as ironically there is public reaction inside US, in which war-veterans and agents have become worse enemies of US and western world.

These discarded beasts have neither been able to earn ƒÆ’-¡ respect in the American society nor the world at large. War crimes and human right violations haunts them. The dead bodies of thousands of Muslim infants and those who have not even reached their teens do not allow them to sleep. The rape and torture of men and women and their brutal killings on the basis of suspicion have no parallel in the world history. One wonders how we can allow the United States of America as a state to run away like this. It is high time that trial of ƒÆ’-¡ these war criminals and enemies of humanity must be carried out in International Court of Justice and sanctions be imposed against these them.

afshain@hotmail.com

The Buddha through modern literary eyes

May 26th, 2013

By Prof. Sunanda Sugunasiri writing from Toronto

British author, Salman RushdieƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s The Satanic Verses was regarded as blasphemous and raised ire in the Islamic world. A fatwa condemning the author to death was issued by the Iranian spiritual leader in 1989.The furore brings to mind the treatment of the Buddha in two works of fiction, one originally written by a Swiss writer and translated into English, and the other in Sinhala in Sri Lanka.

There are both parallels and differences between Herman HesseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s ever-so-popular novel, Siddhartha, and RushdieƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s work.

Both were written in a Western language and published in the West, although Hesse was not born into the faith the book deals with.

Renunciation

If Prophet Mohammed is thinly veiled under the name of Mahamed, Siddhartha is the lay name of the Buddha before his renunciation. The Buddha himself becomes a fictional character at the hands of Hesse. Indeed, the cover of the first English translation of Siddhartha in 1951 shows a seated Buddha.

HesseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s character, however, does not match the life of historical Siddhartha in all its detail. Our protagonist, for example, ends up as a ferryman and not a Buddha. But there is little doubt that Hesse had the BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s life in mind when he developed his character.

Born to a Kshatriya family (the Buddha was born a prince), Siddhartha leaves home ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-to join the ascetics,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ and goes from teacher to teacher. Dissatisfied, he goes on a solitary search.

All this is the life of the Buddha. Even the ferryman is symbolic of the Buddha, the one who found the way to help sentient beings across the ocean of life.

Twist of history

In a clever twist of history, Hesse takes Siddhartha, and his companion Govinda, to the Buddha as his last teacher. Leaving the Buddha, Siddhartha goes on the solitary search, just like the historical Siddhartha did, vowing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ll conquer myself.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

This search, however, takes him on a different course from the historical Siddhartha: to a courtesan who he asks to be his ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-friend and teacher.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ But this again is clearly not created out of the blue by the author, but drawn upon the character of courtesan Ambapali who goes on to become an Arahant under the Buddha.

In the course of the psychological transformation from spiritual seeker to prisoner of the senses, Hesse uses the same dream technique as the one that has stirred up the Rushdie controversy:

During the night … Siddhartha had a dream. He dreamt that Govinda stood before him, in the yellow robe of an ascetic … He embraced Govinda … and kissed him. He was no longer Govinda, but a woman, and out of the womanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s gown emerged a full breast, and Siddhartha lay there and drank; sweet and strong tasted the milk from her breast. It tasted of woman and man … (Siddhartha, 1951, p. 50).

According to the Abhidhamma analysis of a human being, there is both a woman and a man (yes, listed in that order) in each of us. While elements like the senses ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” eye, ear, nose, tongue and body, are the universals, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”femininityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”masculinityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ are particulars. While each of us come to be of a dominance of one or the other of the latter at conception, the one not opted for remains dormant within us nevertheless. Indeed it may be reflective of this that in the Sinhala Buddhist culture, the Buddha comes to be called both ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”motherƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (of nectar) (amaa maeniyan) and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”fatherƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (budu piyaanan). Formally speaking, if the former refers to the affective, i.e., the feeling domain of the right brain hemisphere, the latter refers to the cognitive, i.e., the rational domain of the left hemisphere.

This scene, as well as the lengthy encounter with the courtesan (covering a full quarter of the novel), who finds herself with child, can be seen as drawing upon Prince SiddharthaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s own lay life of twenty-nine years. He lived in a royal household, entertained by wine and dancing women. He had a wife and a son.

HesseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s portrayal of Siddhartha, no doubt, is an extension of historical SiddharthaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s life up to renunciation, but incorporating significant elements of life after renunciation.

And he is clearly exploring the human side of the pre-Buddha, through thinly veiled fictional detours.

Just as clearly, all this is offensive to the sensibility of the Buddhist who likes to think of only the Buddha, as the one beyond a shadow of lust, and in complete control of the senses, with the pre-Buddha, the very anti-thesis, and preferred to be kept far off from memory.

Despite the liberties taken of the type that would raise the ire of the devout, Hesse departs from Rushdie in one significant way. He does not treat the Buddha irreverently. Indeed, the protagonist addresses the Buddha as, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-O Perfect One.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Yet, Siddhartha challenges him:

You show the world as a complete, unbroken chain … linked together by cause and effect. … But … this unity and logical consequence of all things is broken in one place. Through a small gap there streams into the world of unity something strange, something … that cannot be demonstrated and proved; that is your doctrine of rising above the world, of salvation (p. 35).

Siddhartha is challenging here one of the BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s most fundamental teachings: Nibbana. The entirety of his teachings thus comes tumbling down. The Buddha is no longer the Perfect One!

Or the All-knowing One, as known to millions of followers. The Buddha responds to the challenge with the words, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-You have found a flaw.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Now the Buddha admits to his fallibility!

The Buddha even wishes the departing young Siddhartha well in his search.

Sensibility

WouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t all this step on the Buddhist sensibility? A redeeming factor for Hesse is that such a freedom is allowed by the Buddha himself. In his Discourse to the Kalamas, the Buddha says: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-… it is proper that you have a doubt.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ The Buddha cautions further not to accept anything, even in the faith that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-this is our teacher,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ but only upon personal experience.

Today, after over six decades, Siddhartha still adorns the shelves of libraries and university course outlines in both the Western and the Buddhist world. But what about when it first hit the bookstores?

As I recollect it, the publication hardly moved a feather in the Buddhist world. Buddhist countries like Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand were just beginning to enjoy political freedom. The literary elite had had their own education and training in the West, and were perhaps too benumbed to the local culture. For the more sensitive, Siddhartha would have been simply a twitch of the decadent West, and something to be ignored!

Where Siddhartha found ready acceptance, of course, was among the North Americans whose search for an alternative lifestyle ended in the hippie culture.

A closer parallel to the Rushdie furore, however, is the Sinhala novel written in the early seventies by Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s foremost writer of the time, Martin Wickramasinghe. Bava taranaya (Crossing the Ocean of Life) is the very story of the life of the Buddha.

While Wickramasinghe, born and raised a Buddhist, handles the Buddha story fictionally with the same respect that Hesse does, his imagination runs riot in one scene, which cuts to the very core of the Sinhala Buddhist sensibility.

As in history, the Buddha in WickramasinghaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s novel (1973) returns to his hometown. Here, he is venerated by his father, nursing mother and the royal retinue with deep respect, but keeping their distance.

Now without waiting for Yasodhara, his former wife, to come to him, the Buddha goes in search of her, and meets her in the bed chamber. And here the reader is treated to the following moving scene:

Restraint

It was with the greatest restraint that Yasodhara held in check any verbal expression of the surge of happiness that arose in her heart upon seeing the Buddha. But the surge held in check was so overwhelming that it knocked her right down. Soon up on her knees, she embraced the BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s feet, kissing them, as tears rolled down. As if in a stupor, she then reached up the legs to just below the knees and started kissing them. When King Suddhodana tried to remove her, the Buddha stopped him, signalling with his right hand . Now Yasodhara gave vent to her love, sorrow and happiness, turning them into a stream of tears. Seeing the bed chamber and the contents therein that ushered in flashes of his lay life from winning YasodharaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s love through a skilful display of the martial arts to the time of the birth of Rahula, the Buddha entered into a Samadhi. Across his face spread an aura of Metta and Karuna. An immediately sensing Yasodhara stopped kissing his legs and gazed at the BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s face. Even as her heart came to be overwhelmed with a happiness at seeing the face in its lustre of spiritual happiness, she was given to a fear (Bava taranaya, 13th printing 2008, p. 175,).

Clergy

If my memory serves me right, critics, journalists and the intelligentsia, and most understandably the Buddhist clergy, were outraged. And there were calls to ban the book, and pull it off the racks of bookstores and university libraries. But luckily no effigy burnings or death threats!

Luckily again Sri Lanka was no theocratic state. The multifaith secular government let the matter lie where it should: in the hands of the literary world.

Perhaps my literal translation does not capture all the nuances intended by the author, but what does the literary world see in this classic and powerful portrayal of conflict, denouement and resolution in one single paragraph? IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢d say a deft literary hand at work, inviting the reader to at least six of the nine literary ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”tastesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ as in Bharata MuniƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Natyasastra, depending on what the reader brings to it. First, for the uninitiated and the immature reader, it is the srangaara rasa (love), while for the conservative and traditional reader, it is raudra (anger). There is also the karuna (compassion) for the helpless Yasodhara, but also the compassion and the empathy of the Buddha himself who, just prior to this scene, goes to where Yasodhara is, without waiting for her to come to meet her. There is also the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”apprehensiveƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ taste (bhaya) as Yasodhara ends given to a fear. But in the end, it is the saanta rasa (peace), a Buddhism-inspired sensibility, that wins the day, along with again karuna (compassion).

In the scene, the Buddha is portrayed as the Arahant with the kilesa defilements jettisoned, and Yasodhara as the woman in samsara, in the unsurprising vise grip of sentiment and feeling, and dukkha suffering. Putting the book aside, the student of Buddhism is treated to a sixth taste: heroic and energetic (utsaaha), reminiscing the story of the Buddha leaving the household life, subjecting himself to self-torture to the point of death and then experiencing the Awakening. And happily, it is the same sentiment of energetic effort that comes to be associated with Yasodhara who eventually becomes Arahant BhaddhƒÆ’†’  KaccƒÆ’†’ nƒÆ’†’ , and identified by the Buddha as being ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”foremost among those who quickly attain direct knowledgeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

In the end, critical dialogue prevailed. Today, as then, I presume, bava taranaya adorns the bookshelves and course lists of universities and high schools.

Author Wickramasinghe, too, died the same way he lived ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” respected as a provocative but mature novelist, a scholar of Buddhism and Sinhala Buddhist culture, and, most importantly, a humanist. On a personal note, as a budding literary buff, I was happy to have had the pleasure of benefiting from all this, taking many a walk with him in the neighbourhood of his Nawala, Rajagiriya home. And I still treasure on my bookshelf the many books given to me, with his signature signature!

But why go to Switzerland or Sri Lanka to see how the Buddha has taken kickings and beatings with a smile? A Zen master titles his work, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha.

Closer to home, in a restaurant lobby in Toronto, a pot-belly laughing Buddha invites you to a soup named after him!

The last time I tasted it, I thought Perfection had found a home in the hands of the Chef!

Poet and short fiction writer, Prof. Sugunasiri is a Fulbright Scholar in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, his current research area is Buddhism.

The Buddha Proclaims the Second Law of Thermodynamics as Parting Gift!

May 26th, 2013

Prof. Suwanda H J Sugunasiri, writing from Toronto, Canada

The BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s last words, and last advice to his Disciples, were, “Samkharas are subject to decay. Strive with diligence” (Vaya dhammƒÆ’-¾ saƒÆ’†’¼khƒÆ’-¾rƒÆ’-¾. AppamƒÆ’-¾dena sampƒÆ’-¾detha).

SamkhƒÆ’-¾ra is a difficult term which is probably why there is no Sinhala term for it. All we have is a Sanskritized phrase, samskƒÆ’-¾ra dharma. What I remember seeing on a funeral banner half a century ago was a jocular ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-anisa saema sakaradamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, a rhythmic invitation to dance, it sounded, more than a call to share grief! But thatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s altogether another story.

Sugunasiri

An English translation of SamkhƒÆ’-¾ra captures the sense better. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ForcesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. So ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Forces are subject to decayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.
What, then, are these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”forcesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢?

First, there are the psychological processes – what we sense through the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. But there is also the sixth mind process itself. They all involve neuronal processes centralized in the brain. And neuropeptides, carrying messages, along the neurons. Yes, there are literally, no kidding, an estimated 10 billion to a trillion of them! So they are no simple force to reckon with. Then there are the physical forces: breathing, using your limbs, using language, etc.
Both the psychological and the physical forces do use high quality energy, technically, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”exergyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. So how and why does that high quality energy go to decay? As explained in Western Science, “The quality of energy deteriorates gradually over time. How so? Usable energy is inevitably used for productivity, growth and repair. In the process, usable energy is converted into unusable energy.” And this process is called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”entropy increaseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, “a measure of unusable energy within a closed or isolated system”.
The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, or the entropy law, explains this process in relation to matter. But is there any reason why it would not equally apply to the mindbody? It is as much a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”closed systemƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, meaning that it enjoys its own independent existence. Is there anybody other than you in yourself?

As usable energy decreases and unusable energy increases, entropy increases. Living, by definition, means using up high quality energy ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” breathing, thinking, digesting food, maintaining our health, going on with our daily activities, even sleeping and resting and meditating.

So the BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s last words would be “Forces are of the nature of entropy”. What we have translated here as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”of the nature ofƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ is Dhamma, which in Western Science is called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”LawƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ as in the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Law of ThermodynamicsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. (Law. Hm! Note any theistic connotations in Western Science?)

Entropy is the result of change, i.e., impermanence – anicca. And this impermanence, says the Buddha, is of everything in the total mindbody. And in life, everything relating to the mindbody undergoes change in three phases: whatever ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”high energyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ rises, comes to be used and ends up as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”low energyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ at break-up (uppaada, thiti, bhanga). Or in four phases, if we were to count the two types of genesis as in the Abhidhamma: initial and subsequent. GrayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Anatomy, the standard Medical Text, calls it prophase, metaphase, anaphase and telophase.

But it is not just a matter of usable energy going to waste being turned into useless energy. Like used up food ending down the toilet! “Entropy is also a gauge of randomness or chaos within a closed system. As usable energy is irretrievably lost, disorganization, randomness and chaos increase.” Ever heard of Dukkha?

As would be heard at a funeral oration from a Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni , “Of entropic nature indeed are the forces; arising and cessation their nature. Having arisen, they cease to be. Calming it is bliss.”
If the translation doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t ring a bell, perhaps the Pali rendering will:

aniccƒÆ’-¾ vata saƒÆ’†’¼khƒÆ’-¾rƒÆ’-¾ ; uppƒÆ’-¾da vaya dhammino.
uppajjitvƒÆ’-¾ nirujjhanti ; tesam vƒÆ’-¦«pasamo sukho.

Entropy is dukkha; Calming the yo yo of arising, staying put and ceasing is sukha. Be it in life, or in terms of Nibbana.
Get it? Got it! ItƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s as simple as that.

Thus the Buddha advices, “Strive with diligence”. DonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t let chaos, disorganization and loss pull you down. Pull up your socks (strive) and walk with head high (with diligence). But humbling your mind, of course, retaining your equilibrium, mental and physical, and cultivating equanimity (upekkha). Remember, your Autonomous Nervous System is watchinƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ ya. Nervously!

Did I say the Buddha was anointing the Second Law of Thermodynamics as his parting gift?

And what a parting gift! What Western Science limits to matter, Buddhian Science extends to the mind, and cumulatively, to the totality of sentience.

But more, the Buddha, as elsewhere, ethicalizes it, too. Shall we then say, “Good to see you around, Lord(ess) Entropy. But how do I work around you to make my life happier, and spiritually uplifting, and eventually work myself towards liberation?”
Unlike in Western Science, then, where knowledge is just for the sake of knowledge, the BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s proclamation of yet another reality on his deathbed was a final pragmatic, and compassionate, contribution to the welfare of sentient beings.
Saadhu saadhu saadhu. Well said. Well declared. Well proclaimed!

FOOTNOTE: It is to mean ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The Enlightened OneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The Awakened OneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ve used the nomenclature, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Lord BuddhaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, as I see in common usage, is to equate the historical Buddha with mythical figures, such as Lord Ganesh, Lord Siva, Lord Rama, etc. It is also to turn an epithet into a proper noun.

(Prof. Suwanda H J Sugunasiri <suwanda.sugunasiri@utoronto.ca> is author of several books on Buddhism, including one on Abhidhamma, YouƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re What You Sense: Buddha on Mindbody, 2001; Dehiwala: Buddhist Cultural Centre. His latest publication is Arahant Mahinda -

Continuing book review of Dayan Jayatilleka’s, Long War, Cold Peace — Part V- INDIA PAVING THE PATH TO THIRD WORLD WAR

May 25th, 2013

H. L. D. Mahindapala

India has not only lost its moral compass in foreign policy which was packaged and hailed as the “Panchaseela” at the height of the Non-Aligned Movement but also the strategic compass to navigate in the Indian Ocean. India needs an ethical / balanced foreign policy to win back the moral and political leadership which it lost in the post-Indira Gandhi period. India’s moral posturing in international fora may appeal to the West and its “strategic partner”, America, right now, not to mention its local boot-lickers and knaves. But how far can India go with America, leaving its neighbours behind? And how far can India go to stabilise its own security against emerging rivals in the East if its neighbours are on the other side? Can India secure her interests and security in the region without stabilising its neighbourhood and wining the hearts and minds of the SAARC members — the deciding factor in her overall security? Isn’t India digging its own grave by relying too much on far away America, (which, of course, has its own limitedƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ and temporary advantages,) instead of buildingƒÆ’-¡  lastingƒÆ’-¡ bridges of strategic friendships with its indispensable neighbours? To what extent will India’s “strategic partnership” with America protect India if India keeps needling and antagonising its neighbours? Can India put all it security interests in the American basket alone?

Indian and regional critics of Indian foreign policy are urging India to go for “soft power” rather than the big stick for the simple reason that India’s security depends essentially on the stability and progress of its neighbours. A destabilised region will invariably affect India’s security and economy. An anti-Indian neighbourhood is going to be the worst nightmare for Indian foreign policy-makers.ƒÆ’-¡ India’sƒÆ’-¡ pursuit ofƒÆ’-¡ aggressive interventionist and provocative policiesƒÆ’-¡ have not only sent negative ripples into every corner of SAARC but also raised alarm amongƒÆ’-¡  its own domestic analysts in the media, academia and the seasoned India-watchers.ƒÆ’-¡  LeadingƒÆ’-¡  analysts ƒÆ’-¡ like Dr. Subramaniam Swamy,ƒÆ’-¡ mature ex-members of the South Bloc and the military establishment are no longer hawkish as the politicos sounding off at the street level for electoral gains. India cannot risk any further military adventurism in the region without devastating blow-backs to its ownƒÆ’-¡ strategic and internal structures.

India, so far, has not gained byƒÆ’-¡ increasingƒÆ’-¡ tensions andƒÆ’-¡ rupturingƒÆ’-¡ relations in the SAARC region,ƒÆ’-¡ in particularƒÆ’-¡ with its excessive andƒÆ’-¡ counter-productive pursuit ofƒÆ’-¡ self-interests. Take the case of Sri Lanka. India has been the chief exporter of terrorism to SriLanka. Indian -made terrorism mushroomed in every corner, leading to the longest war in Asia. India trained, financed and, in addition, gaveƒÆ’-¡ diplomatic cover to the Tamil terrorists whom they knew would violate all known canons of human rights.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ What has India gained so far? Has it even solved the problemƒÆ’-¡ it created by exporting terrorism?

IndiaƒÆ’-¡ steppedƒÆ’-¡ in with its Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement of 1987 and its Peace Keeping Forces to eliminate the evil which it planted in the first place on Sri Lankan soil. It muscledƒÆ’-¡ in on the pretext of stabilising Sri Lanka. But the Indian intervention set the nation on fire. No one wanted the Indian solution. Not the TULF. Not Prabhakaran who was offered the Chief Ministership. Not the SLFP, a pro-Indian party. Not the UNP who signed it under duress. Not the JVPƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ nor the masses as a whole. It was purely an Indian solution for an Indian problem which never worked for the Jaffna Tamils, for the Sinhalese or the Indians who had to retreat leaving with their tails between their legs. In fact, the Tigers boasted that they defeated the fourth largest army in the world.ƒÆ’-¡  Intervention in Sri Lanka was a disaster for India. No Indian general, nor sensible analyst has claimed that the IPKF escapade in Sri Lanka was a victory for India.

The Indian cure was worse than the Indian disease it exported. Its Peace Keeping Force committed gross violations of human rights among the Jaffna Tamils. It is claimed that Rajiv Gandhi was assasinated by one of the female victims of anƒÆ’-¡ IPKFƒÆ’-¡ rapist.ƒÆ’-¡ Having done the damnedest against Sri Lanka, including voting on country-specific resolution at the UNHRC, India has the audacity to joins hands with America — another war criminal who admittedƒÆ’-¡ just last week that its dronesƒÆ’-¡ targeted and killed four of its own citizens — and accuse Sri Lanka of violating international humanitarian law. According to the latest reports,ƒÆ’-¡ US drones had killed 28,000 to 44,000 victims.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ Will India move a resolutionƒÆ’-¡ at the UNHRC accusing its “strategic partner” ofƒÆ’-¡ conducting its warsƒÆ’-¡ violating international humanitarianƒÆ’-¡  law? There isn’t aƒÆ’-¡ turban big enough in India to hide its hypocrisy and humbuggery. What moral right has India to point an accusing finger at Sri Lanka after exporting terror and creating all the conditions for the violations of human rights in Sri Lanka?

From Kashmir to Sri Lanka India has been the primary cause of instability in the SAARC region. With its bull-in-a-China shop policy (this can be even taken literally now) India can continue to play havoc in the region. But it will boomerang on India’s own stability, security and even economic growth. My friend Dayan Jayatilleka’s Indian bogeyman threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka can do so at its own peril in the future, particularly because it is trapped in the intersecting geo-political forces competing in the Indian Ocean.

Second, neither the build up of bases in the Indian Ocean by America, nor the new “strategic partnerships” in the region, indicates that the Indian Ocean is going to be the swimming pool of India. Dayan’s scenario of India coming out as the genie out of theƒÆ’-¡ bottle to dominate the region, with American aid, is good on paper. His theory assumes that Sri LankansƒÆ’-¡ , SAARCians,ƒÆ’-¡ and the other rivals of India willƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ curl up and die, allowing India and America to dominate the Indian Ocean. He even claims thatƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ the Americo-Indian forcesƒÆ’-¡ will target Hambantota and rule the waves of the Indian Ocean.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ The only thing he hasn’t said that China will have to find a new route over the north pole as it will have no space in the Indian Ocean. His knowledge of dialectics should inform him that every action has its reaction and that neither India nor America can have their own way.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ Does he seriously believeƒÆ’-¡ that the other powers will hand over the Indian Ocean to Americo-Indian forces and not do anything about it?ƒÆ’-¡ 

India will have to fight for every drop of water to maintainƒÆ’-¡ its presenceƒÆ’-¡ in the Indian Ocean. In other words, in the new geo-political realities emerging in and around the Indian Ocean India’s position is not that strong as it imagines. India never had the strength to stand on its own. Nor does she have the capacity to keep all its neighbours under her thumb. The extreme swings from one bloc in the west to another in her foreign policy reveal that India is not sure of itsƒÆ’-¡ security nor herƒÆ’-¡ neighbours. India’s power in the global theatre depends on the strength of its “strategic partners” in the west. But the more it goes with the West the more it will alienate the regional neighbours as seen in India’s decision to vote with the US-led anti-Sri Lankan resolution at the UNHRC.

India’s failure to win a single nation in the region as a committed ally has serious consequences to India’s moral, politicalƒÆ’-¡ and strategic standing in the region. India is perpetually plagued with disputes of distribution of water, contested territories, and borders. SAARC which should have taken off like any other regional bloc have stalled because of India’s expansionist ambitions, imperialistic interventions and super power posturing which have angered all its neighbours.

Third, if Sri Lanka is to be carved up it will have to be by military force because Sri Lankans will never agree to carve up its territory under any circumstances. As seen in the previous failed IPKF adventure India will be faced with stiff resistance from the Sinhalese, particularly with a battled-hardened army who knows the terrain like the back of their hands. The resistance to foreigners — a historical trait ingrained in Sri Lankan genes — will bleed IndiaƒÆ’-¡ into economic anaemia and political discombobulation.ƒÆ’-¡  India got a taste of Sri Lankan resistance when Rajiv Gandhi narrowly escape a deadly blow from a naval rating who was on parade farewelling him. India, of course, may try planting one of its stooges as its surrogate ruler. Ranil Wickremesinghe is a likely succesor to Don Juan Dharmapala. But how long can he survive as a stooge of India?

Fourth, how safe will India’s investments be in Sri Lanka if India decides to balkanise Sri Lanka. India’s best strategy will be to make Sri Lanka an integral part of its growing economic empire. But for that India cannot be only one side. India has to keep Sri Lanka as a whole and not as fragmented parts. That is on the economic side. But if India thinks that it can get away by doing to Sri Lanka what it did to Pakistan it has to think again. India’s military adventure in dividing Pakistan into the east and west has not paid any long-term dividends to India.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

Furthermore, if India decides to solve the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka by dividing it into two ethnic enclaves it would only end up as a bigger burden on India’s back. Holding and influencing Sri Lanka as one unit is much easier than dividing it into two: it is certainly one problem less because the Jaffna Tamils would definitely play India against other forces in the region to get more and more. If, however, a part of Sri Lanka goes to India’s agents the other part would automatically go to India’s enemy, whoever it may be. Can India afford to lose its most vital southern flank when the north, west and east are already in peril ? India would have no clout in keeping the most vital part of the Indian Ocean balanced between India and China. What can India gain by dividing Sri Lanka except the permanent hostility of the Sinhalese?

Right now Asia is hotting up as an emerging Bermuda triangle of tensions, conflicts, and big power rivalry. America is pushing Japan, Pillipines and Vietnam to get tough with China on territorial claims. At the same time India, Australia, Japan and US are collectively getting together to throw a defensive ring round China. Beneath the theatrical Indo-Sino bonhomie expressed overtly, tensions over contested borders and territories are simmering, waiting for an opportune moment to erupt. Many more explosive Kashmirs and Ladahks will recur until it blows up in a big bang, sooner or later.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

Oddly enough, the preconditions for war which prevailed in Europe in the early 20th century, just prior to World War I and II, are reappearing menacingly in the East. Big power rivalry, testing each others nerves trying to gain supremacy in the East, looms large in the horizon likeƒÆ’-¡  ƒÆ’-¡ dark clouds that can come over suddenly, drenching the whole region in nuclear fall outs. Each attempt to muscle into disputed space in land and sea is an ominous cloud thatƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ wouldƒÆ’-¡ darken the Asian horizon.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

New alignments, new bases, newƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ “strategic parternships”ƒÆ’-¡  are emerging with the sole intention of winning supremacy over the other. India continues to view Pakistan as the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”real threatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ even though it is adjusting its military strategy to include the possibility of a limited two-front war with both Pakistan and China. The first Blue Book on India published by a Chinese think tank, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, (CASS) said: “New Delhi is focusing to deal with limited war with China and Pakistan at the same time…. It spoke of large increase in troops at the borders and upgradation of border forces with new weapons and equipment,” said a PTI report.”It also spoke of increase in Indian defence budget with the rapid growth of the Indian economy making it the biggest buyer of the international arms,” said PTI.

These new developments are falling into place ominously threatening peace in the East. The last two World Wars were fought in the West. The Third World War, if it comes, will be fought in the East with India as its epicentre. After the two World Wars and the rise of the European Union and the collapse of the USSR tensions between warring European nations have eased. Nor is there a race for armaments in Europe to threaten each other. Their armaments industry is aimed at exporting weapons to flashpoints in the East or Africa in the main.

China and India, on the contrary, are building up their military hardware at break neck speed. Besides, with the backing of America India is provocatively needling China on many frontsƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ under the veneer of friendliness. The symptoms, the threats and the tensions that divided Europe and caused the two World Wars are emerging in the East. ChinaƒÆ’-¡ is being hemmed in from all sides. India has been most active, with US as its “strategic partner”, to throw land and littoral rings round China. Most significantly, there are four nuclear armed nations in Asia — Pakistan, India, China and North Korea. Of the four nations China, Pakistan and N. Korea form one bloc. India has to look far into the West to balance the combined nuclear superiority of the other three. Hence “the large increase in troops at the (Indian) borders and upgradation of (Indian) border forces with new weapons and equipment ,” as stated in the CASS report.

Whether Sri Lanka likes it or not it will be drawn into the nuclear holocaust of the Third World War, if and when it breaks out. India and China are focussed on the Indian Ocean which means thatƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ Americo-Indian “strategic partnership”ƒÆ’-¡ will keep a sharp eye on Sri Lanka. The CASS report too focussed on IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s maritime military deployment in recent years, the prime cause of ChinaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s worry as it regards IndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s fast expanding blue water navy as a major threat. In this scenario being India’s neighbour has serious consequences. Those communities nearest to India will receive the first nuclear fall-out on their heads.

The Indian naval and air bases in S. India are definite targets in any war. So, as they say, it is the moths closest to flames that will get burnt. Whether it is going to be a man-made nuclear war, or an explosion of nuclear plants due to unforseen acts of nature, like 9.0 earthquake which caused the nuclear plants in Fukushima to explode, it is the Jaffna Tamils who will be the first victims of any nuclear fall outƒÆ’-¡ over India. The Japanese government evacuated people within a 30 km radius of Fukushima. In the event of a nuclear explosion of any kind in India my friend Dayan’s formula of 13th Amendment will not save the Jaffna Tamils. They will have to abandon the 13th Amendment and come down to live with the Sinhalese, as the 75,000 Muslims did when they were driven out like cattle by Prabhakaran.

This is why the Sinhala south will be indispensable to the Jaffna Tamils and other minorities as it has been in the past. Not for the first time the Tamils will find the Sinhalese not so bad as they are painted to be, if and when the region goes up in flames. As in the past the Sinhalese will have no problems living with the Tamils or Muslims as long as they are willing to share the land as common property without any borders. After all the majority of the Tamils live with the Sinhalese in the south. Additions from the north fleeing the Indian nuclear holocaust will not make much of a difference to the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, democratic Sinhala community.

Despite sporadic soda-bottle outbursts of violence, provoked mainly by aggressive minorities, the Sinhalese have co-existed with relative ease and harmony with all minorities down the ages. Though the differences are exaggerated they are not visceral or even historical. When, for instance, the tsuanmi hit the east it was the Sinhala peasants who took food and other essentials to the neighbouring Tamil victims in the east before the Government or NGOs ever reached them. It was the Sinhalese who elected Muslims, Burghers, Europeans ( H. R. Freeman, Government Agent in NCP) and even Tamils as their representatives to the legislatures at all levels. The list is long.

Quite rightly, Dayan quotes Buddhism as the most viable doctrine for harmonious living. This doctrinal influence has always opened up space for minorities to co-exist non-violently until the mono-ethnic extremism of the north exploded in its most virulent form in the forties, as pointed out by historian G. C. Mendis. Mono-ethnic extremism, driven byƒÆ’-¡ theƒÆ’-¡  new kid in the peninsular bloc,ƒÆ’-¡ G. G.Ponnambalam,ƒÆ’-¡ to beat theƒÆ’-¡ established old aristocracy of MahadevasƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ and RamanathansƒÆ’-¡ of Jaffna,ƒÆ’-¡ (Jane Russell) overan the most constructive political movement of the Jaffna Youth,ƒÆ’-¡  who boldly went against the caste and communalism. It was snuffed out byƒÆ’-¡ rabid and oppressive Vellahla casteismƒÆ’-¡ which morphed into virulent communalism –the most violent and negativeƒÆ’-¡ force inside and outsideƒÆ’-¡ the peninsula.ƒÆ’-¡ 

The Sinhalese do not claim sole ownership of the land for any particular sentient being. Even the fringe elements who claim that the land belongs to the Sinhalese have not advocated ethnic cleansing, or the right of minorities to share the land as common property.ƒÆ’-¡ If any extremists have made such claims they do not belongƒÆ’-¡  to the traditional Sinhala-Buddhist mainstream which had opened up its space down theƒÆ’-¡ ages for all migrants to live in harmony with them. The founding father of the Sinhala-Buddhist civilisation, Ven. Mahinda, laid down the doctrine of trusteeship — not ownership — which has been the guiding force in dealing with the minorities. In this doctrine of trusteeship it has been the established tradition of the Sinhala-Buddhists to share the land not only with fellow human beings but even with birds and beasts. We are to be the guardians only and not land-grabbing, exploitative owners. However, at the heart of the conflict is the obnoxious and divisive concept of exclusive ownership of land of one northern tribe which insists on mono-cultural supremacy denying multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious co-existence.

Consequently, minorities who violate this doctrine with violence (Vadukoddai violence is an example) and claim parts of the territory exclusively to one group, excludinig others, rouse the wrath of the Sinhala-Buddhists. Resisting such mono-ethnic extremism to keep the land open for all communitiesƒÆ’-¡ to share it as common property is not a denial of the human rights of any minority group. Those who claim human rights must respect the rights of all other human beings to live and let live in communal harmony, adjusting to each others needs, no matter how long it takes, without resorting to violence.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

Those who resort to violence must also learn to accept the consequences of their needless violence. They can’t forever blame others for their sins. Above all, they must learn to share the land as common property of all communities. The intrasignet refusal to find space for non-violent co-existence has been a problem created and perpetuated only by the Jaffna Tamil leadership which has been described aptly by Bishop S. Jebanesan andƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ R.F.ƒÆ’-¡ Young (The Bible Trembled) as “Vellahla-Jaffna-SaiviteƒÆ’-¡ ” — the trimurti, or the Holy Trinty of Jaffna politics.ƒÆ’-¡ ThisƒÆ’-¡ compound word encapsulatesƒÆ’-¡ preciselyƒÆ’-¡ the over-archingƒÆ’-¡ peninsular political culture which went berserk when it fell into the hands of the first-born children of the Vadukoddai Resolution.

TheƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ideological contest thatƒÆ’-¡ dominated the Cold WarƒÆ’-¡ period has been replacedƒÆ’-¡ by theƒÆ’-¡ plagueƒÆ’-¡ of theƒÆ’-¡ majority-minorityƒÆ’-¡ confrontations. Defining the parameters for co-existence between these two groups hasƒÆ’-¡ tortured the best of minds.ƒÆ’-¡ Identity politics has taken centre stage.ƒÆ’-¡ At the end of theƒÆ’-¡ 33-year-old warƒÆ’-¡ the majority and the Jaffna Tamil minority in Sri Lanka areƒÆ’-¡ at loggerheads still, arguing who should get what in what quantity.ƒÆ’-¡  Whatever the diffferences may be non-violent co-existence within a democratic framework is a sine qua non for peace and stability. Dayan accepts this. The disagreement is on the means not the end. He saysƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ the 13thƒÆ’-¡  Amendment is the way out. It raises more questions than it answers.

More of this in the next article.

To be continued

Dawn of the Tamil Eelam through the Northern Provincial Council ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” What the Government and we, as citizens can do can do to stop it

May 25th, 2013

ƒÆ’-¡ Sri Lanka Support Group, Australia

Further to our Sinhala Media Release (posted on Lankaweb on 24 May 2013), we unequivocallyƒÆ’-¡  repeat that formation of the Northern Provincial Council under 13thƒÆ’-¡  amendment of the Constitution will lead to formation of the Tamil Eelam.

We say the Government can fundamentally do two (2) things to abolish the 13th ƒÆ’-¡ amendment, prior to the proposed Northern Provincial Council election, as follows:

  1. Article 86 of the Constitution ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Based on the issue of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”national importanceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ the President can call for a national referendum. The question to be asked from the people will be ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Do you agree to abolish the 13th amendment in the Constitution, that was enacted in 1987, that has created the present provincial council system?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢

Prior to that, a draft Bill in this regard (the current JHU Bill with minor amendments is sufficient)ƒÆ’-¡  should be duly certified by the Cabinet (per Article 80 (2).

ƒÆ’-¡ It is expected that the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”YesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ vote will win, with a resounding majority.

ƒÆ’-¡ Thereafter, again per Article 80 (2), The President is required to issue a certificate ƒÆ’-¡ in the following form: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-This Bill/provision has been duly approved by the People at a Referendum.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ This activity alone is sufficient to abolish the 13th amendment (no need to obtain 2/3 majority of the parliament). Then, that will be the end of the provincial councils (all 9 of them).

ƒÆ’-¡ Note Article 4 (a) of the Constitution ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” In addition to that of the Parliament, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”the Sovereignty of the People shall be exercised and enjoyed by the People at a referendum.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢

  1. Article 129 of the Constitution ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” The President can obtain opinion on the 13th ƒÆ’-¡ amendment from the Supreme Court. If this right is exercised, then, the Supreme Court will investigate the illegality of the enactment of the 13th amendment in 1987 and can essentially, provide opinion to the President (its hearing can be public), such as the following:

(i)ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  Due to extreme duress put on Sri Lanka by India to sign the Indo-Lanka Agreement that led to the 13th ƒÆ’-¡ amendment ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the whole nation opposed it in 1987, ƒÆ’-¡ the Agreement was signed after placing the country under curfew (more than 300 people that protested against it were shot dead by the government, about ƒÆ’-¡ 500 government owned buses alone were set fire by the angry public and other large scale damage to public property, a vicious assault on the then Indian Prime Minister by a member of his guard of honour and numerous other anti-Agreement incidents), the Supreme Court can find that the 13th amendment is null and void (void ab initio ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”there was no 13th amendment at allƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢). Then, all the 9 provincial councils will instantly become invalid (no referendum or 2/3 majority from the parliament will be required). Due to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”duressƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, the Supreme Court is not estopped by Article 80 (3) to provide this opinion in the form of a declaration. The problem herein is that one could argue that then all the acts of the provincial councils since enactment are also null and void.

(ii)ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  In 1987, the majority of the Supreme Court ƒÆ’-¡ was of the view that a referendum should be held ƒÆ’-¡ to pass the 13th amendment, the then government disregarded it, hence the present government should put the matter ƒÆ’-¡ to the people at a referendum:

(a)ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  The President can either follow the procedure prior to the referendum under Article 80(2) (see above 1); the 2/3 ƒÆ’-¡ vote ƒÆ’-¡ of the parliament will then not be required or

(b)ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  upon successful outcome at the referendum (ie, having obtained the majority ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”YesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ vote), without using Article 80 (2), proceed and obtain 2/3 majority from the parliament.

An ordinary member of the public (as opposed to initiating the above two actions by HE the President), can do the following to obstruct the forming of the Northern Provincial Council which will lead to formation of the Tamil Eelam. These may not be strong causes of action as the above two (2), yet, worth pursuing:

  1. Use the current JHU Bill or a different Bill to seek any of the above number 2 reliefs from the Supreme Court: (2 (i), 2 (ii) (a) or 2 (ii) (b) (the petitioner ƒÆ’-¡ is not estopped by Article 80 (3). This will bring the end result of abolishing the 13th amendment (ie, end of the provincial councils).
  1. A usual resident of the Northern Province, who has not been given voting rights for the forthcoming election (eg. a Navatkuli Sinhala resident) (who is constantly being harassed by northern separatists), can file a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court seeking relief ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…”an injunction to stop the Northern Provincial Council election being held on 7 September 2013, until the petitioner is given voting rights.
  1. A usual resident of the Northern Province who is currently displaced (eg. an ex- JaffnaƒÆ’-¡  Sinhala resident), can file a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court seeking relief ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” a declaration/mandamus that until the petitioner ƒÆ’-¡ is duly re-settled in the North, the Northern Provincial Council election should not be held.

The above 2 and 3 will bring the end result of only postponing the northern Provincial Council Election, not abolishing the 13thƒÆ’-¡  amendment.

We note the draft Bill that will be tabled by the JHU in the parliament inviting the legislatures to vote to abolish the 13th amendment. If this is passed with 2/3 majority (currently, an unlikely scenario), that will be the end of the 13thƒÆ’-¡  amendment. We commend the JHU for taking this bold move.

We have herein shownƒÆ’-¡  ways how the Government/the Public/MPs can ƒÆ’-¡ do things legally to abolish the draconian 13th amendment ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” that will lead to creating the Tamil Eelam. We stress that the Government and people of Sri Lanka should do everything possible to stop that from happening. Again, rather than doing things to facilitate the forming of Eelam (like holding the September election), we must do everything to discourage and stop it (like the draft JHU Bill and agitation by the NFF). It is the duty of the general public and the Sinhala Diaspora to express theirƒÆ’-¡  opposition to the 13th amendment and holding of the 7 September 2013 election. Unless you express your opposition, the Government will not know it. In this regard, we urge you to sign the Petition in Sinhala in Lakaweb dated 24 May 2013 (see below in the website). This is a joint effort of Sinhala intellectuals, professionals, Buddhist monks and various patriots in Sri Lanka and overseas. If you wish to comment about it,ƒÆ’-¡  please feel free to do so.

We must be realistic to accept that the abolishment of 13A may solve our problemsƒÆ’-¡  domestically, but, like what Mr Dayan Jayatilleka et al state, ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ internationally this could cause us huge problems (opening of a PandoraƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Box). Mr Jayatilleka has argued the abolishment of 13A will lead to stringent Geneva Resolutions in 2014, imposition of sanctions against Sri Lanka etc. Some have predicted even a possible invasionƒÆ’-¡  of Sri Lanka by India ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” we believe this is unlikely.ƒÆ’-¡  We should bear in mind whether ƒÆ’-¡ we abolish the ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 13th amendment ƒÆ’-¡ or not, the international community (our current ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”enemiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Geneva etcƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” US, UK,ƒÆ’-¡  Canada, Norway, EU, India) will not give up its desire to carve out a separate state in North Eastern Sri Lanka for Tamils. The ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”enemyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ forces are slowly and steadfastly working towards this common objective. The elected ƒÆ’-¡ Northern Provincial Government (most likely led by TNA) and of course the most powerful Tamil Diaspora will continue to falsely agitate the international community (largely western) that Sri Lanka is discriminating against the Tamils ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” they will never give up of making false accusations against the Sinhalese and the Government. Once the Northern Provincial Government is formed, they can request the international community to accept them as a separate nation (similar to how Kosovo was formed). There is provision in the current Constitution for them to merge with theƒÆ’-¡  East (using Article 154A (3), and eventually create a bigger and more prosperous nationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”North-Eastern Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” encompassing 1/3 of the current Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s land mass and 2/3 of the coast.

To avoid and ƒÆ’-¡ minimise the international pressure on us, ƒÆ’-¡ we should do the following (by saying these, we are not being unpatriotic, we believe as citizens it is our duty to assist the Government fully to find solutions to this most difficult and complex problem that the nation is currently facing, and we make the suggestions in that spirit).

  • Conduct informal discussions with the US on equal footing (if we can convince the US, the other countries who voted against us in Geneva will fall in line with them) ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” there must be a series of discussions with the US ( it is ok to explain to UK, Canada, Norway, EU and India also, but US is the key). We must clearly explain to them why it is imperative that the 13th amendment must be abolished (true they will not accept our point of view, but, it is important to open a window of dialogue with them. We must openly and freely discuss with our ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”enemiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and at least explain them why we do this ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” again, true they may not accept our position, but let us engage them ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” something the Tamil Diaspora does so well and we have failed so miserably).
  • We should find out from the US in writing what works exactly they want us to do in order to comply with the current Geneva Resolutions, and if we comply,ƒÆ’-¡  they will not pursue us again on the same matter/s in Geneva or other forum (we should obtain this assurance from them in writing before embarking on any Geneva compliance work). If the US is too unfair with us in negotiations, we can raise the difficulties in Geneva in September 2013 and beforehand. We should not forget we have thirteen true friends in Geneva ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” we should also work towards cultivating more friends ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” especially those who abstained fromƒÆ’-¡  voting.ƒÆ’-¡  It is a blessing we have such true friends like China and Russia in the UN Security Council, but we should also realise they may not be there for us all the time (note, when the UN Security Council approved the referral of Mr Omar Al Bashir of Sudan to the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, his best friends, China and Russia abstained from voting ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” they did not veto the proposal. The same thing happened in relation to Libya, to overthrow Gadhafi).
  • For above purposes, we must sit down with Robert Blake et al on equal footing (emphasis added) and engage in extensive discussions/negotiations with them. Only those with exceptionalƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  communication and negotiation skills and possessƒÆ’-¡  a sound knowledge on the matters can do this type of work.ƒÆ’-¡  The government has to be extremely careful in picking the right people. They should not be mere political nominees. We need the best patriotic brains of the country to go into negotiations with these top US diplomats. Our team should be able to confront/convince John Kerry,ƒÆ’-¡  Robert Blake, Michele Sison ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ et alƒÆ’-¡  and obtain best possible outcomes for the country.ƒÆ’-¡ 
  • When negotiating, our team must always keep the best interests of Sri Lanka at head and heart.ƒÆ’-¡  We must constantly bear in mind that we will not agree to anything that will be a threat to Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s sovereignty and territorial integrity (this is what JR Jayewardene and his team failed to do when his Government signed the 1987 pact). We should envisage both short and long term threats toƒÆ’-¡  the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

At talks with the US (can be held both in Washington and Colombo), if we can come up with theƒÆ’-¡  following agreements in relation to scrapping the 13th ƒÆ’-¡ amendment and regards to the outstanding Geneva Resolutions, it will be a huge win for us (note, currently we are totally entrapped by 13A, ƒÆ’-¡ also by the Geneva Resolutions ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…”that is why especially India has taken the upper hand over us).

Again, there is absolutely no alternative but to scrap the 13th amendment (removing the land and police powers from the concurrent list (9th Schedule) will not eliminate the threat to our sovereignty), in lieu of our adversaries accepting this or at least understanding why the country must do this and obtaining assurances from them that they will not take adverse action against us,ƒÆ’-¡  we could agree to the following:

  • We can agree to some toning down of military from the north but not entirely as suggested by the US
  • We can agree to hold an independent enquiry about the last stages of war, but, it is not international, but an entirely local enquiry. They must provide us with the complaints
  • We can agree to hold an independent enquiry about the alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka,ƒÆ’-¡  but, it is not international, but an entirely local enquiry. They must provide us with the complaints
  • We can implement most of the LLRC recommendations provided that a special fund is set up by the international community to assist Sri Lanka (some of the recommendations are very costly to implement)
  • After the provincial governments are abolished, we can agree to decentralise moreƒÆ’-¡  power to ƒÆ’-¡ provinces especially to North and East (so the people can attend to most of theirƒÆ’-¡  affairs within the province rather than travelling to Colombo etc), through ƒÆ’-¡ Divisional District Councils (Pradeshiya Sabhas), whose memebers are elected

In summary, basically, we have two solutions at hand ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” (1) abolish 13A ASAP (before the proposed Northern Provincial Council Election), and ƒÆ’-¡ (2) engage positively with the international community to the maximum to minimise the adverse impact flowing from the abolishment.

After strenuous, positive negotiations with the US (and other adversaries) we would be able to obtain a firm written assurance from the US that we will not be hounded down again in Geneva or any other forum, and that they will not impose sanctions and do other things like initiating action against our leaders and war heroes in the Hague, they will not seek to split Sri Lanka ƒÆ’-¡ (for a brilliant diplomat, these are achievable), all peoples can thereafter live in Sri Lanka as One Nation. And, Sri Lanka will flourish in international forums, and will be able to keep its head high, like in the past.

The writer, Chanaka Bandaarage, President of Sri Lanka Support Group, is an Australian Lawyer

__________

If you wish to sign the Petition to HE the President requesting him to take action to abolish the 13th amendmentƒÆ’-¡  (please read it below ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Lankaweb, dated 24 May 2013), please provide us with the information below:

ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚ ¶±ƒÆ’‚ ¶¸ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ¶»ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ·”‘ƒÆ’‚ ¶»ƒÆ’‚ ¶¸ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’‚ ¶”‚¦ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ¶±

ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ·”‘ƒÆ’‚ ¶¯ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ¶ºƒÆ’‚ ·”‚ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚ ¶¸ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒÆ’‚ ¶°ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ¶ºƒÆ’‚ ¶ºƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ¶±ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚ ¶´ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ¶¸ ƒÆ’‚ ¶”‚¦ƒÆ’‚ ¶­ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ¶±ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚ ¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ·”‘ƒÆ’‚ ¶»ƒÆ’‚ ·”…”ƒÆ’‚ ¶¸ ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ¶³ƒÆ’‚ ·”…¾ƒÆ’‚ · ƒÆ’‚ ¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ¶»ƒÆ’‚ ·”‚ƒÆ’‚ ¶«ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒÆ’‚ ¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ¶» ƒÆ’‚ ¶ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ¶¸ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ¶½ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚ ¶´ƒÆ’‚ ¶«ƒÆ’‚ ·”‘ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ·”‘ƒÆ’‚ ¶©ƒÆ’‚ ¶ºƒÆ’‚ ¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚ ¶”‘ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ¶±ƒÆ’‚ ·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ¶± ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” srilankasupportgroup@bigpond.com

 

Jilani Never Visited Lanka, No Mention of Kuragala by Ibn Battuta

May 25th, 2013

Dilrook Kannangara

Twisting history to claim ownership of land has become the modus operandi of certainƒÆ’-¡ communal elementsƒÆ’-¡ in the island. Obviously they cannot have a long history in the island as they still practice religions and use languages not unique to the island. If they had a long history in the island, there is no reason why these equally developed people could not have developed their unique religion and language like ethnic Sinhalese. It is true Sinhalese may have partially their origins in the Indian subcontinent and Buddhism arrived in the island from there, but they have since developed their uniqueness not found in modern India. Any group of humans living in their own space for millennia is bound to develop their own language and religious beliefs different to neighbouring countries. Given a very high population density close to 320 persons per square kilometre, the threat of land grab is to be expected. However, no concession should be given to these history twisters since any concession will only embolden them for bigger threats.

Jilani Never Visited Lanka

Jilani (Abdul-Qadir Gilani – 1077 AD to 1166 AD) was a highly articulate Islmaic scholar and saint who deserves reverence from Muslim and non-Muslims alike.ƒÆ’-¡ He stood up to the truth and denounced various ambiguous interpretations of Islamic teachings. He insisted on truthful interpretation of teachings. Claiming he visited Lanka is an insult to what he stood for. There is absolutely no record in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, India or Lanka that he visited the island nation. Association of Jilani with Kuragala is purely fictional.

Even the belief that Jilani made the pilgrimage to AdamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Peak (pre-British name being Samanala Kanda) is an insult to this great scholar who totally denounced such pilgrimages and homage as anti-Islamic. He spent 25 years in desert regions of Iraq and not elsewhere.

There is no tunnel to heaven in Kuragala. The tunnel and the mountain were part of a sinful and pleasurable venture of King Ravana in the past (circa 2400 BC). King Ravana was a devoted worshiper of Lord Shiva. Kuragala was associated with many other historical and religious antiquities way before Islam was even invented in 622 AD. Miracles said to happen in Kuragala are not associated with Islam in anyway as according to Islam only the one true god Allah (PBUH) possesses all power and His will be done always. Traditional customs performed by South-Eastern Muslims at festivities at Kuragala are Hindu customs that are performed in the worship of God Kataragama. These rituals include piercing the tongue, cheeks, etc. followed by dancing.

There is no reason to convert Kuragala into another Jerusalem, Ajodhya, Nalanda or Dighawapi by artificially creating an Islamic tradition over a pre-existing religious affiliation.

Actions of MLM Aboosally in 1989 when Sinhalese Buddhists in the region were subjected to war crimes by marauding forces are despicable and racist. He made use of the predicament of Buddhists to build a mosque in the vicinity and turn the pre-Islam historical location into an Arabic 13th century construction dedicated to an Iranian scholar who never visited the island. The so called Arabic ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-inscriptionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ found there is very recent.

Jilani lived in the 11th to 12th century AD. This was the time the great Buddhist university of Nalanda in north eastern India was destroyed and its monks were massacred by Muslims. Very close links existed between Nalanda and Sri Lanka. Buddhist text Tripitaka was documented in Sri Lanka in 89 BC in Matale. Needless to say the concentration of such knowledge was not in isolation. All Buddhist knowledge bases were very closely connected as Indian, Thai, Burmese, etc. Buddhist learning has the Sri Lankan written Tripitaka as the foundation. Until the 12th century very close state level relations existed with Nalanda Buddhist University. Nalanda Buddhist University was destroyed by Islam invaders in the 12th century. It is unthinkable for Muslims to seek any acceptance in Lanka after such a horrendous crime against Buddhism.

This may be the reason why there is an exception to the spread of Islam in selected countries notably Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand in wide contrast to Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia, modern day Pakistan, Bangladesh and India in the region. Countries associated closely with Nalanda were less welcoming of Islam than others.

No Mention of Kuragala by Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta, the Arabic traveller from Morocco, visited the island nation in 1344 AD. He landed in Mannar and made his way to the AdamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Peak (then known as Samanala Kanda which is still the correct name). He doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t mention Kuragala whichƒÆ’-¡ is outsideƒÆ’-¡ his path from Mannar to AdamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Peak. He mentions a place by the name ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”KonarƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ which may either be a Hindu shrine close to Mannar or a place close to Kurunegala which was a major city at that time. It was the capital city a century later. He travelled to modern day Galle and Colombo too.

Ibn Battuta is no independent historian when he talks about his own Arabic community. Himself an Arab, he is not independent in his writings about Arabs. He presented himself at the king who was marvelled not by his Islamic faith but his fascinating stories of travel. ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

The Despicable Crime of Stealing Older Religious Sites Must Stop

There is the nasty practice of claiming and occupying othersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ places of religious worship. There are examples the world over how it leads to needless war. These include Jerusalem, Ajodhya, Mali, Nalanda, Bahamians, etc.ƒÆ’-¡ NoƒÆ’-¡ room should be allowed to replaceƒÆ’-¡ older shrines.ƒÆ’-¡ 

Absurd beliefs about Adam living in the island must not be entertained by the learned. It is a scientifically proven fact that man originated in Africa. Biblical interpretation is not too far from this scientific fact. Besides no right thinking person worships or pays homage to Adam just for being the first man!ƒÆ’-¡ 

Laws must be enacted toƒÆ’-¡ prevent the replacement of religious shrines. Cleaning up Kuragala is a move in the right direction.ƒÆ’-¡ It must not lead to any violent acts by anyone.

Wesak Celebrations in Malaysia

May 25th, 2013

Sumanananda Premseri

Kuala Lumpur, Fri- Wesak was grandly celebrated throughout Malaysia. Millions of adherants throngedƒÆ’-¡ the Buddhist temples and centers all over Malaysia including local Buddhists and foreign Buddhists from Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, etc.

VesakMalasia1

At the capital, more than a hundred thousand people visited the 118 year old Buddhist Maha Vihara Brickfields, which was foundedƒÆ’-¡ byƒÆ’-¡ Sri Lankans in 1894, over the last 3 days.ƒÆ’-¡ Long queues of devotees waited paitiently for blessings and sprinkling of holy water by monks, at its Main Shrine Hall. Elsewhere an exhibition by the Sunday School was held, an organ and blood donation campaign carried out, and free food, drinks, books and CDs on Budddhism distributed. Thousands of lit oil lamps were neatly laid in front of a Buddha image. Throughout the day, Buddhist chanting and Buddhist Hymns in Pali, Sinhala, Tamil, Mandarin, Malay and English were playedƒÆ’-¡ through their sound systems giving aƒÆ’-¡ sense of serenity pervading the air.

VesakMalasia3

At night, more than 30,000 people joined a float and candle light 10km procession from the Buddhist Maha Vihara to the city center and back. About 50 Buddhist organizations and 30 beautifully designed, decorated and bulb lit floats carrying the images of the BuddhaƒÆ’-¡ joined the procession. Buddhism is the second largest religion in Malaysia and make up 19% of its population of 28 million.

VesakMalasia2

TNA called upon to adopt constructive attitude :Lanka expects integrity and impartiality from UN – External Affairs Minister

May 25th, 2013

By Manjula FernandoƒÆ’-¡ Courtesy The Sunday Observer

External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told the TNA to shake free of the notion ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”that it is the international community that is going to frighten us, intimidate us and impose a solution on us.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢


External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-I tell the Hon. R. Sampanthan on the Floor of this House that it will never happen,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ the Minister asserted, wrapping up a debate on the adjournment motion moved by TNA Parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan on the US-sponsored UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka, in Parliament last Tuesday.

Inviting the TNA for talks, the Minister urged them to adopt a constructive attitude and help the Government to find a lasting solution to the issue at hand.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The international community is neither disposed nor able to impose a substantive solution on the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. That is a futile illusion,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ he cautioned the TNA.

He said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Let us resolve these problems within our shoresƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, adding that a direct dialogue is more promising to throw up solutions to the domestic problem – the problems facing the people of the North and the East.

Explaining the Government’s decision to reject the US-sponsored Resolution which was adopted in Geneva in March this year, Prof. Peiris said the Resolution is never founded upon objective premises.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The Hon. R. Sampanthan, moving this Motion, very early in his speech said that the ideas contained in the Resolution adopted in Geneva and his own initiative in proposing this Motion were not intended to inflict any harm on the country or its people. That, Sir, is the fundamental disagreement.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

He said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The whole thrust of the speech of the TNA leader was that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”this Resolution passed in Geneva is a good and proper Resolution; it embodies the truth; it is something that should be accepted without question and the principles contained in that Resolution should govern our conduct in the future.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

He said the contrary is very much the case.

The Minister said one important point was not mentioned by the TNA Parliamentarian.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-There was one very significant circumstance which my friend omitted to mention. It is this; I am sure he knows that. This Resolution was not proposed for the first time by the United States of America. That was not the case. It was originally brought up by another country. It was brought up by Canada. Canada actually submitted a draft resolution in Geneva. So, the initiative came, not from the United States of America, but from Canada. This happened in September 2011.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Original resolution

Refuting the argument by Sampanthan that the influence and clout of the mover of the Resolution was totally irrelevant to the outcome, he questioned as to why the Resolution failed dismally in 2011 when Canada originally submitted it.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-When we were in New York, we were informed by our Permanent Representative in Geneva that this Resolution had been submitted to the Human Rights Council by Canada and a text of the Resolution was sent to us.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

After Canada’s strong efforts to garner support for the resolution failed, a bilateral meeting was held between Prof. Peiris and his Canadian counterpart in New York on the request of the Canadian Foreign Minister.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-At that meeting, the Canadian Foreign Minister informed me that Canada was not proceeding with this Resolution on that occasion. The reason was that they did not have support.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬He said what Canada could not do was taken over by the US and the superpower garnered the necessary votes with its might.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It is quite idle and entirely disingenuous to suggest that the attitudes of countries have nothing to do with the economic, military and strategic influence of the United States.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-You cannot gauge the influence of the United Sates on those countries by simply looking at the bare figures relating to direct aid. Influence takes a variety of forms as my friend is very well aware. So, many countries did have a very substantial difficulty in saying ‘No’ to the United States.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ He said the members of those governments have shared their individual sentiments to him personally.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-International relations are not founded upon unlimited altruism. Foreign policy is all about enlightened self interests. These countries are trying to protect and nurture their own interests. It is not their job to make a very clinical, objective and dispassionate appraisal of the situation. That is not how decisions are made with regard to the patterns of voting in Geneva.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ Commenting on the attempts by the TNA leader to give the Resolution a humane face, Prof. Peiris said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-I do not think we should try to dress it up and give it a complexion that it simply does not have.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬He said what happened in Geneva has ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”many unusual features’. The US came into the Human Rights Council in 2009 and they have a track record of being highly critical of country-specific resolutions. Many countries who voted for the Resolution have gone on record that they were in principle against such moves.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-They deviated from that policy, not because of great moral and ethical considerations, that is to live in a dream world.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Practical dynamics

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It was the practical dynamics of the situation and issues involved in the bilateral relationship between the country bringing the resolution and the countries whose votes were canvassed that accounted for the result.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Speaking on the EU vote, he said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-At any given time, there would be more than 10 countries belonging to the European Union that would be members of the Human Rights Council. Those countries, as I am well aware, cannot make an independent decision on how they are going to vote. They cannot. Because, that is a subject that is delegated to the Commission in Brussels.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

The Minister said that the the Human Rights Council today is the most politicised among all organs of the United Nations system. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It is a fact and that has very considerable consequences, not only for Sri Lanka, but for other countries as well.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

He opined that the implications of that situation far transcend the specifics of the Sri Lankan situation and are of far wider interest to the world community and in particular to developing nations. He said there is an acute reason for concern about the implications of the unfolding situation in the UNHRC with regard to Sri Lanka.The Minister said the manner in which the Human Rights High Commissioner has acted in relation to Sri Lanka is highly questionable.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The report that the Commissioner submitted to the Human Rights Council seeks to incorporate into the formal documentation of the Human Rights Council, certain other documents and the whole purpose of that exercise is to sanctify those documents by being brought into the mainstream of the documentation of the Human Rights Council.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The Darusman Report, the virtues of which Sampanthan extolled eloquently, describes the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as the most disciplined and nationalist organisation; it was the same organisation that liquidated a member of his party who graced the Chair of the Leader of the Opposition in this august assembly.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam was killed brutally by the LTTE and this is the organisation that is described as the most disciplined and nationalist organisation and that is a report which Sampanthan finds eminently acceptable.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The Report further goes on to analyse the conflict in this country which raged for such a long period as essentially a conflict between the Sinhala and the Tamil people.

How come the LTTE liquidated most of the leadership of SampanthanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s party, not to mention many other distinguished Tamil citizens of this country – professionals, academics, industrialists and business people?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

The Minister said this was a bizarre characterisation by the Darusman Report. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The committee has gathered information in a clandestine and furtive manner, and cannot possibly be held to be doing justice.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Incredible feature

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-There is also one other, absolutely incredible feature of that Report. If the Hon. R. Sampanthan would care to refresh his memory and read some of those passages, they describe in the most horrendous terms, events which are supposed to have occurred and then, believe it or not, they say that these should not be accepted as facts. They are not prepared to vouch for the accuracy of what they are putting into that Report.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The African Union and the Organisation of Islamic Countries have unequivocally rejected the Darusman Report because it is incurably flawed and yet that is the report which the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights is incorporating into the formal documentation of the Human Rights Council and therefore, the United Nations system.

That is something which we vigorously and vehemently object to.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

As for the Petri report, which was mandated to examine the manner in which the UN system had operated in the country, the Minister said it has been exposed that they committed portions of documents used which did not support their pre-conceived conclusions.

Referring to the 40,000 casualty figures mentioned in the reports, the Minister said Sir John Holmes himself admitted that this figure was not based on factual information.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-This is why we say that this modus operandi spells disaster for the system as a whole, because it strikes at the very root of credibility and confidence.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Speaking of the visit by a technical team from the office of the Human Rights High Commissioner, the Minister said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We wrote to the Commissioner 11 months before the Resolution was adopted in Geneva, inviting her to come to this country to rely on the evidence of her own eyes and to see for herself the progress that was being achieved on the ground. She said she will come, but that she would like her visit to be preceded by a visit by a technical team from her office.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Appreciation expressed

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-So, that is how we received in this country, Hanny Megally, one of her officers who was accompanied by two or three other officials of the Commissioner.

We have in our Ministry a letter from the Commissioner expressing appreciation of the assistance which we gave her officer at every point. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-What happened when Megally went back to Geneva? The first thing that happened was that he went to the residence of the United States Permanent Representative to brief selected invitees.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

The Minister said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-That is why we have every reason to expect integrity and impartiality of treatment. Countries big and small; powerful and not so powerful are all equal in the eyes of the United Nations and we reject this kind of behaviour as thoroughly unacceptable. So, these are the reasons why we think that the system is going wrong.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Speaking on the ‘motivation underpinning the extraordinary behaviourƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ by the Canadian foreign Minister who called Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”evilƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, the Minister cited a Canadian newspaper, Globe and Mail, which reported a Cabinet member of the Harper Government, Peter Kent criticising the relationship between the Canadian Government and a gentleman called Paranjothy who had very close connections with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Kent has called the situation ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”outrageous’.

The Minister also reminded the TNA leader that although the LTTE is no more as a military outfit, the international threat posed by them is still there.

Commenting on the upcoming Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in November, Prof. Peiris said, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Strong voices were raised in support of Sri Lanka and Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s leadership of the Commonwealth for the next two years.

This is not simply a matter of a physical event that will take place within the shores of the island.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It has far greater significance because this country will lead the Commonwealth for two years from November and President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be heading that organisation during that period.

This is what some people cannot stomach and that is the stark reality of the matter.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Book- The Patriarch

May 25th, 2013

ƒÆ’-¡ Pravin Banker Greenwich, CT., USA

Dear All Sri Lankans

I was born in Srilanka when it was called Ceylon before migrating to the USA by chance. I would like to inform readers that my first in a series of four books has just been released by Amazon and is available globally on its website under Amazon books/The Patriarch by Pravin Banker. It is also available through the website www.createspace.com/3621640.ƒÆ’-¡  A summary of the back cover, author description, and an inside look is posted. The hero is a youth born in Surat to a Family of Shah. The setting is India at the end of the Eighteenth Century. Buried within the story are revelations heretofore unknown. For example, the book addresses the question why a small, purely mercantilist sea faring nation sailed half across the world to India/Ceylon and how it managed to engineer the conquest of an empire 20 times its size in just a few years…

ƒÆ’-¡ The late Eighteenth Century was a humbling time for King George.

Following the loss of its Colonies in America, and under pressure in Continental Europe from Napoleon Bonaparte, the British Prime Minister Pitt hatched a plot to venture forth. With the connivance of the Duke of York, Pitt’s government used the private East India Company and the then little known Wellesley family as the instrument. The objective was to drive the French out of India and to deprive Napoleon access to its wealth. Rumors of the gold, silver, and precious stones in Baroda, Hyderabad, and Mysore, having already reached Europe, hordes of Arabs and European soldiers-of-fortune were already flocking to India to serve the Rajahs.

ƒÆ’-¡ To succeed in this daring venture against great odds, the youngest member of the Wellesley clan Arthur, recruits a youth barely seventeen years of age. By a stroke of good fortune he discovers that this youth is the oldest son of the House of Shah; a family of traders with two enviable assets –alliances with the ruling Rajahs that held sway over the Maratha kingdoms that the British wished to usurp, and control over a disciplined crew of goondas (bandits), skilled in guerilla warfare and able to flit in and out of an enemy camp unnoticed — essential in subversion and espionage. Soon after arriving in India as the British Viceroy, Richard Wellesley, Lord Mornington, decides to go for the jugular by adopting a strategy of “Divide, Usurp, and Conquer”. His target is the various Maratha Kingdoms which controlled over 65% of the Empire that was India. Arthur Wellesley goes on to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo and become the Duke of Wellington. The youth follows his karma to establish the first merchant banking house in India as its Patriarch.

ƒÆ’-¡ The reader is guided by a Map of India, a Calendar of Events, and Sage Quotes from across the Centuries, each quote having relevance within the story, from “the moving finger having writ” by Omar Khayyam in the 12th Century, to “there is a tide in the affairs of men” by Shakespeare in his play Caesar in the 17th Century. The story begins with the Duke of Wellington reminiscing at Apsley House in London; quickly moves on to a pigeon carrying an ominous message over 400 miles to its home in Surat demanding a “life for a life”, an execution of two Pindari bandits in a marketplace, and a jailbreak of a prince under sentence of death in a Fort in Nagpur, 400 miles East of Surat.

ƒÆ’-¡ The story is an action adventure. It includes the Dance of Shiva, which was used to convey the Maharajah Scindia of Gwalior’s response to Wellesley’s ultimatum –War or Peace. It culminates in the Battle of Assaye, the greatest battle that Wellington ever fought, against an enemy five times his size, and a battle in which he escapes death miraculously by a hair’s breath, not once, but twice, saved by the timely action of a youth. It is currently being circulated to independent Film Directors.

ƒÆ’-¡ I sincerely hope you find this desciption fascinating, and the book interesting and exciting. British involvement and control for over 140 years, from 1803 to 1947, is an integral part of India’s heritage, regardless of the merits.

ƒÆ’-¡ Pravin Banker

Greenwich, CT., USA

www.houseofshah.com

ƒÆ’-¡ Book Two … “The Sinai Conspiracy”…ƒÆ’-¡  scheduled to be out in the Fall of 2013.. begins with a ship sailing from Colombo harbour in the midst of a hurricane.

Castigation of Sri Lanka by the Affluent West

May 24th, 2013

Asada M Erpini

ƒÆ’-¡ It has been a series of incessant calls from every human rights preacher and his dog for war crimes investigations as regards how the armed forces of Sri Lanka concluded their campaign, shifting of the CHOGM meeting away from Sri Lanka, giving the Tamils the opportunity to live with dignity or implementing the 13th amendment to the full and beyond. The Prime Minister of Canada plays the Pied Piper of Hamelin role and wants Sri Lanka castigated, and the CHOGM, scheduled to be held in November in Sri Lanka, to be avoided like the plague by the other members of the Commonwealth. The External Affairs Minister of India is clearly attempting to outdo the Prime Minister of Canada: he tells Sri Lanka that the island nation should implement the 13th Amendment to the letter, clearly forgetting the simple fact that the so-called Indo-Lanka pact was no pact at all ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” a pact is an agreement between two consenting parties – but an unwanted interference that was rammed down the throat of the then President by the Indian Prime Minister in 1987.

ƒÆ’-¡ For a change, Sri Lanka has at least queried why Canada is so keen on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-human rightsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ in Sri Lanka, according to a local media report dated 22 May. The answer is simple: nearly 300,000 Tamils from Sri Lanka have managed to settle in Canada, the majority of whom lives in the Greater Toronto area. The strange irony in this whole episode of the so-called Tamil refugees who end up in far, far lands is that none of them opted to go to Tamil Nadu and settle down in the Country of Tamils. Tamil Nadu is separated by Sri Lanka by a mere 30 Kilometres, and is home to over 72 Tamilians who share the same culture, food habits, religion, caste divisions, marriage customs and skin colour, but the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”refugeesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢- those who were running away from danger ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” preferred a sea voyage or air travel to traverse a distance of 12867.48 km or 7995.48 miles (as the crow flies) to end up in Canada. Now that all these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”refugeesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and asylum seekers are comfortably settled in Canada and had obtained voting rights, is the Canadian Prime Minster a fool not to do his best to grab as much as possible of the bloc vote of the Tamils in Canada. How much he knows about the real Sri Lanka of today or the degree of truth in what he tells his pals who constitute the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”international communityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ about a distant island is of no concern to him or to the international bigwigs who make important decisions. The end, no doubt, justifies the means!

ƒÆ’-¡ It is time to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” nay, long overdue for – Sri Lanka to make it clear to ambassadors, Prime Ministers and External Affairs Ministers of foreign countries, who are obsessed with telling or advising Sri Lanka – with warnings thrown in ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” as to how the country should be administered, that Sri Lanka is not a colony of any Western country any more or a state within the Indian Federation. A warning to a country such as Canada may not be out of place: even if that that results in severance of diplomatic connections, the relationship between the average Sri Lankan and Canada is already soured beyond redemption.

Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s sympathy for the murdered British soldier

May 24th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

All Sri Lankans are united in extending their sympathies to the family of 25 year old British army officer Drummer Lee Rigby who was cut and chopped to death in broad daylight by 2 Islamic protestors who were allowing themselves to be taped and gave a message to the world that beckons us to review the status quo of all conflicts that prevail round the world and necessitates the general public of all countries to stand up to their Governments andƒÆ’-¡  their local representatives and say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-we do not want wars and conflicts, stop manufacture and sale of arms, we donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t not want extremists to be armed to advance our political agendas, we do not want to be victims any more of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-eye for an eyeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ policy which is what the killing was all about.

The President of the powerful nation of America and the nation that once the sun never went down on can come before its people and make the most emotional of speeches but it cannot hide some home truths and it is these home truths that are now finding their nemesis cutting short the lives of innocent people like Drummer Rigby whose life ended abruptly.

There are many Drummer RigbyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s round the world ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” it is not ONLY the West that can weep.

There are many 2 year old JackƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s round the world too ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” who have no one to call father.

Our politicians are failing us every day. Instead of finding nicer ways to bring up the economies of nations, the standard of living and the sustainability that we owe to the Earth as citizens of the planet, we are destroying it by engaging in nuclear arsenal, chemical weapons, scientific experiments that put to the dustbin every value and good thoughts religions of the world promote, we are polluting the environment with man-made creations that are slowly but surely going to blow up in our face and destroy the only planet where humans live and can live.

The people of the West are blinded because their media relay information that hides the truth about what their governments did, are doing and will do in the future. Many of these people appear to think that the entire world is their enemy and everyone other than their governments are terrorists. This is a notion that has been incrementally fed to them by their media. There are only a handful of journalists who dare to speak the truth in the West all others are essentially gagged on what they can say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” so much for media freedom. But that is the truth ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” they know it but there is the faƒÆ’†’§ade of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-human rightsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-democracyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ to promote because these slogans have been the footsoldiers to upstage and upset nations and national leaders.

The eye for an eye policy has been brought upon the West by their own actions. This is certainly not the way to go but the greater meaning behind this is for Obama and Cameron and the Christian EU nations to seriously evaluate to wonder whether their multicultural experiment has not brought the enemy home. When oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s freedom fighter is the otherƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s terrorist we can understand why the UN remains a ceremonial entity and nothing but a job bank and nothing else.

When the very powerful nations of the world manufacture arms and depend on its sale ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” these arms need to have a demand, that demand is created to kick start a supply and that demand and supply needs conflicts. Are we surprised when there is no end to conflicts, are we also surprised that illegal arms manufacturers also exist using the logic that if governments can make profits selling arms and creating conflicts why canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t they? But there are also governments that make double profits by arming both sides of a conflict! Those involved in the conflicts who know the real game also get their commissions on a chessboard that really ends up fooling the masses. In the international arms trade ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-roughly $2.5 billion a year is paid in bribes, nearly a tenth of turnover

Therefore, to do what Sri Lanka did calls for a lot of pluck whilst naturally upsetting the equilibrium that existed ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” an entire chain of people got affected monetarily and other wise.

The negotiators and the peace talkers are simply part of that chain because it secures their existence and to this basket we shall put the human rights organizations as well ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” their job is to create Stockholm Syndrome type situations.

Of the 100 arms manufacturing companies 75 are Western (41 American / 34 West European). The 3 largest arms manufacturers are all US – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing. Their combined revenues account for 1% of the United States’ $10 trillion GDP. Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion in 2011, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals. From 1998 to 2001, the USA, the UK, and France earned more income from arms sales to developing countries than they gave in aid. In 2003, The United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in active conflicts. 20 of the top 25 US arms clients is declared by the US State Department as violators of human rights!

The newest trend has been to outsource terror to Islamic extremist groups who are degrading the Prophets teachings by applying a new version of how the Muslims should live under Sharia laws they create. We cannot accept that a universal religion like Islam would advocate killing of people unless the British created Wahhabi cults are defacing Islam. They are carrying out an agenda targeting the Muslim world on the one hand while the West plunders nations occupies those that are of strategic interest whilst it does not mind leaving the rest to the Wahhabis to turn to Sharia nations. These ƒÆ’-¡ exported-imported rebels unleashed in countries currently face a wave of Islamic extremism and end up in battle with the rest of the world wondering why Muslims are killing each other. There is a bigger story in this and a little bit of research will reveal the true story. It was these imported extremists that created the Arab Spring on behalf of the West, created Kosovo, supposedly ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-liberatedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ Iraq and Libya and who now rule Egypt with Egyptians now realizing their folly.

The West in cahoots with these extremists must be told by the people of the world that we think these Western governments anything but democratic and these extremists anything but followers of Prophets Islam.

Not many Muslims would like to accept the connivance of the West in particular the British in creating the Wahhabi cult targeting the Muslims but within this hate conundrum it is not unusual to find many people like the men who killed Drummer Rigby because they are unable to trace the links to the connections that exist between democracy and extremists.

Much as we sympathize with Drummer Rigby and his family who mourn his untimely death what Premier Cameron and President Obama needs to understand is that behind their eloquent speeches a totally new game takes place covertly and overtly. So when they declare their desire for nations to be democratic ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” what they really mean is entirely the opposite. Whenever nations rise following a democratic way ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the West goes and destroys it. Democratically elected governments are overthrown or rebel groups are armed to destabilize these nations or dictators are installed instead. When democracy could have prevailed in the Muslim world ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the West made sure it didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t. The people who could have introduced democracy, freedom and human rights were killed ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” CongoƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Patrice Lumumba is the best example.

The West is guilty of making a bad thing worse ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” instead of allowing people of sovereign nations to elect and choose their leaders the West interferes to elect people who will serve only the West. Should we be surprised that there are over 12billion ammunitions (almost 2 for every person living on earth).

If the West were to ask itself ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Did we create these monsters?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the answer is why the West is today hated.

Unless the people of the West is aware of the ACTIONS by the West that create these REACTIONS ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the world will continue to fail to find the root cause to the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s ills.

World disorder needs to end. We need to return to fundamentals. The craving for power, money is turning people into inhumans.

The people of every country must finally tell their politicians that diplomacy is not destroying fellow nations. Good will and good ethics need to prevail. Profiting from arms manufacture and waging conflicts must stop.

ƒÆ’-¡ 

 

Justin Trudeau: Statement on the anniversary of the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War

May 24th, 2013

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

23 May 2013

Justin Trudeau, MP and Liberal Party Leader
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Justin:

I was appalled, sickened and humoured reading your Statement on the Anniversary of the End of the Sri Lankan Civil War.

I suspect you have not only been talking to the separatist Tamils who abandoned your Liberal party at the last election and switched their allegiance to the governing Conservative party and saw ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Maria Minna (Beaches-East York), Dan McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East), Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West), Michelle Simpson (Scarborough Southwest), John Cannis (Scarborough Centre), Ken Dryden (York Centre), Alan Tonks (York South-Weston), Bryon Wilfert (Richmond Hill), Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale-High Park), Bonnie Crombie (Mississauga-Streetsville), Paul Szabo (Mississauga South),ƒÆ’-¡  Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East-Cooksville), Joe Volpe (Eglinton-Lawrence), Mark Holland (Ajax-Pickering), Andrew Karnia (Brampton West), Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley Eat), Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Brampton South) of the Greater Toronto Area and its suburbs where there is a Tamil Bloc vote,ƒÆ’-¡  go down like ten pins, but also Bob Rae, who thinks he has got a handle on Sri Lankan affairs, and Jim Karygiannis who has been an Eelam supporter since day one.

Let me give you the reasons why I was ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-appalled, sickened and humouredƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬:

You said : ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Today marks four years since the end of the Sri Lankan war.ƒÆ’-¡  We share in the grief of the Tamil community, and we remain steadfastly committed to achieving accountability and justice for the countless innocent civilians who dies or have had their lives irreversibly changed by the long and bitter war.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

I am not quite certain whether that statement is going to get back your Tamil bloc votes.ƒÆ’-¡  If youƒÆ’-¡  think you are Justin, you are just day dreaming.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Grief of the Tamil communityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ you said.ƒÆ’-¡  What about the Sinhalese and Muslim communities who suffered enormously by the killings of their kith and kin by the Tamil Tiger terrorists?ƒÆ’-¡  With what you said by neglecting the Sinhalese and Muslim communities, Justin, you just failed your Public Relations 101 big time.ƒÆ’-¡  If I was marking your paper, I would assign 0 out of a 100%.ƒÆ’-¡  And with that backgrounder you surprised me that you are trying to lead the Liberal Party to resurrect it from its death bed.ƒÆ’-¡  Ha! Dream on Justin.

The Tamil Tigers killed the Sinhalese and the Muslims with impunity, with Kalashnikovs, claymore mines, hand grenades, suicide bombs and so on.ƒÆ’-¡  These are the Tamil terrorists who assassinatedƒÆ’-¡  Sri LankanƒÆ’-¡  politicians the equivalent to the following Canadian members of parliament – Prime Minister Stephen Harper (President Ranasinghe Premadasa), Foreign Minister John Baird and Minister of Defence Peter MacKay (Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragamar and a former Foreign Minister and State Minister of Defence Ranjan Wijeratne),ƒÆ’-¡  Rona Ambrose (Minister of Labour C.V. Gooneratne), Tom Mulcair (Leader of the OppositionƒÆ’-¡  Appapillai Amirthalingam), and Three Mayors of Quebec City (Mayors of Jaffna ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…”Alfred Duraiappah, Sarojini Yogeswaran & P. Sivapalan)ƒÆ’-¡  They were assassinated by Tamil Tiger suicide bombers and by a sniper bullet.ƒÆ’-¡  And, of course, they chopped with machetes, and shot and killed innocent Sinhalese and Muslims, some who were breast feeding their infants, pregnant mothers, seniors and those who were at Buddhist and Islamic prayers.ƒÆ’-¡  And these are all facts that have been recorded and catalogued.

These are the Tamil brutes who ethnically cleansed 27,000 Sinhalese by killings and terrorizing them between 1971 and 1981 from the Jaffna Peninsula who had been living there for generations.ƒÆ’-¡  They also cleansed the North of the island of 100,000 Muslims by giving them 24 hours to get out leaving their gold and other valuables at the nearest mosque in October 1990,ƒÆ’-¡  which made Idi Amin look like an angel as he gave the Ugandan-Indians three months to get out.ƒÆ’-¡  Justin, did you know all this?ƒÆ’-¡  If you didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t, then you have missed this sickening story of the Tamil separatists, who are in Canada in scores of thousands.ƒÆ’-¡  And some are hard-core Eelamists according the RCMP Reports.ƒÆ’-¡  And these are the Tamils that you are pandering to for their votes ignoring us/me the Sinhalese-Canadians.

Did your advisors Bob Rae and Jim Karygiannis let you know all this?ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  Or are you just parroting the Tamils the way these anti-Sri Lankans go about attacking the Government of Sri Lanka and theƒÆ’-¡  majority Sinhalese which I happened to be one.ƒÆ’-¡  And thatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s what gets my goat.

Justin, it is time you get your home work done before you go about being a sympathizer for the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka, as a guy who wants to lead Canada one day,ƒÆ’-¡  as right now you sound inadequate andƒÆ’-¡  pathetic on this Sri Lanka file.

Your steely eyed Dad,ƒÆ’-¡  former Prime Minister, Hon. Pierre Trudeau, whom I admire considerably, wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have tolerated these Tamil separatists in Canada one bit as he had little time to tolerate the QuebecƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s FLQ separatists.

You were not even born when I was landing in Ottawa in an Air Canada plane from London, England, on 16 October, 1970 evening, and watching through the window of the plane I didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t understand why there were so many helicopters buzzing around the sky.ƒÆ’-¡  It was like a night scene in Colombo, where I come from, where mosquitoes would buzz my ears when I was trying to sleep.

Later I understoodƒÆ’-¡  that the scene was tied up to the FLQ ƒÆ’-¡ (Front de Liberation du Quebec)ƒÆ’-¡  October 1970 Crisis and your Dad had invoked the War Measures ActƒÆ’-¡  suspending all civic rights allowing the police to imprison 465 people arrested without warrants, and brought the army out and they were standing at every Street corner in Ottawa. And I was told it were so in Montreal and Quebec City too guarding the cities and its peoples from a handful of FLQ terrorists.

Why?ƒÆ’-¡  Because the FLQ terrorists had been detonating bombs rigged onto mailboxes in MontrealƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s upscale Westmount; had kidnapped QuebecƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Minister of Labour, Pierre Laporte and who was later killed, and also the British Trade Commissioner James Cross who had been kidnapped on that sunny morning of 5 October 1970.ƒÆ’-¡  The situation was getting bad and serious.ƒÆ’-¡  So your Dad decided to nip this terrorist threat in the bud and invoked the War Measures Act.ƒÆ’-¡  And this was his legacy for our safer nation.

Justin, the fact remains that if only Sri Lanka had taken a page out of your DadƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s (Pierre Trudeau) steely determination to wipe out terrorism, andƒÆ’-¡  let the FLQ Crisis last only 84 days, Sri Lanka would not have dragged the Tamil Tiger terrorism for 9,885 bloody days.ƒÆ’-¡  Sri LankaƒÆ’-¡  should have acted with determination as your Dad did when the first Tamil Tiger political assassination of the Tamil Mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duraiappah happenedƒÆ’-¡  on 27 July 1975.ƒÆ’-¡  He was assassinated by the budding Tamil Tigers and its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who was a smuggler by profession.ƒÆ’-¡  Sri Lanka should have kicked the butts of the Tamil Tigers then and not wait until 19 May 2009 to eliminate them militarily.

IfƒÆ’-¡  Sri Lanka did what your Dad did, then your Liberal parliamentarians would not have aided and abetted that Tamil Tiger terrorist war for 13 years by letting the Tamil separatist Diaspora collect 2 million dollars a month and stuff it into the Tamil Tiger war chest to buy killing weapons to drag on this terrorist war for 27 years.

Justin you were absolutely naƒÆ’†’¯ve when you said like a bright-assed firefly, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦we remain steadfastly committed to achieving accountability and justiceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.

Sure, sure, Justin lets do it.ƒÆ’-¡  LetƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s put Canada on the accountable bench and lasso in your Liberal parliamentarians, everyone of them who aided and abetted that war of killings by going to that FACT fund raising $60-a-plate dinner for the Tamil Tigers in Toronto on 6 May 2000. That stupidƒÆ’-¡  bunch included Paul Martin, the Finance Minister, Maria Minna the Minister responsible for CIDA and several back benchers.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  Come on Justin; let’s haul them in front of an International War Crimes Court. You and your Liberals cannot whitewash yourselves and tell the world, we are lily-white by showing your palms which are still red with a film of Sinhalese blood.ƒÆ’-¡  That is indeed the rub.

ThatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s how stupid your statement was.ƒÆ’-¡  You continued by saying ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We have called for an independent and transparent investigation into alleged war crimes during the Sri Lankan civil war.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

That call of an independent investigation will sure enough prove CanadaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s guilt of the killings of innocent unarmed Sinhalese civilians because its your Liberals who let the Tamil Diaspora cutƒÆ’-¡  cheques to buy 60 tons ofƒÆ’-¡  RDX and TNT explosives from the Rubezone Chemical Factory in the Ukraine.ƒÆ’-¡  A sum of $990,987 was wired from the account of one B. Thambirajah from his bank account in a Vancouver Bank to a Tamil Tiger procurement account overseas to purchase the above consignment of explosives in 1994.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  This was part of the $7.5 million that was sent to the Ukraine factory for that purchase.

It were these explosives in a truck bomb that brought down the Central Bank Building in the Fort in Colombo on 31 January 1996, killing 114 and maiming for life another 1,338 innocent civilians.

Justin, when you tried your smarts with the intention of cornering the Sri Lankan government by saying ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦and we remain steadfastly committed to achieving accountability and justice for the countless innocent civilians who died or have had their lives irreversibly changed by this long and bitter warƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, I demand that you look into this truck bomb that brought down the Central Bank Building in Colombo on 31 January 1996 and killed 114 and maimed 1,338 that irreversibly changed their lives, and who was it in Canada that paid for the explosives,ƒÆ’-¡  and which is the Canadian government that was in power that looked the other way when these Canadian Tamils were stuffing money in to the Tamil Tiger war chest to buy RDX and TNT explosives from the Ukraine.

I want to see where the dice finally falls and who would be accountable.ƒÆ’-¡  That is how the cookie is going to crumble.ƒÆ’-¡  Justin, just be careful what you as the Leader of the Liberal Party wish for, and trying to show your smarts as you will regret it later as the Liberal party was part of the problem in Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Tamil terrorist war.ƒÆ’-¡  You Liberals cannot hide from itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦hide from facts that are staring at your faces.ƒÆ’-¡  Jim Karygiannis knows itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦.and so does Bob Rae, and I am prepared to challenge both of them at a public forum.

And you know why Justin?ƒÆ’-¡  Because you Liberals are responsible for killing Sinhalese people back in Sri Lanka which was my home for the first 19-years of my life. And I want to show the worldƒÆ’-¡  that the Canadian Liberals are certainly not squeaky clean when it comes to the Tamil Eelam war in Sri Lanka as you Liberals have been part of it.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe. (Mr.)

Buddhist compassion for sentient beings warrants enactment of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Animal Welfare Bill without any further delay

May 24th, 2013

Shenali D. Waduge

Sri Lanka with a Theravada Buddhist civilization that protected and fostered Buddhism has much to introspect. With over 70% of the population being Buddhists it is a national shame that we continue to forget the very basic teachings of the Buddha whose message to us was to treat non ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” human sentient beings with compassion and loving ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” kindness, as though they were no different to humans with feelings and pain. If animals share emotions no different to ours, is it not a huge embarrassment that in this reputed Buddhist country our elected leaders fall shy of enacting the Animal Welfare Bill tabled in Parliament in 2010 as a Private MemberƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Bill and which has its genesis in the Animal Welfare Bill drafted and sanctioned by the Law Commission in 2006?

We cannot be Buddhists by name

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth.

NOT GOING ALL THE WAY and NOT STARTING

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Buddha -

What sort of legislative reform is the Ministry of Justice supposed to be undertaking when the primary statute in Sri Lanka governing the protection and welfare of animals to this day is an antiquated statute enacted during the British colonial era in 1907 i.e. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, where the maximum punishment for a heinous crime to an animal is a mere Rs. 100 (less than one US Dollar)?.

If the International probe on Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s human rights record is to be extended to cover the legislative protection given to animals in Sri Lanka and lack of interest shown by our lawmakers in improving the standard of care and treatment afforded to other living creatures, we will have nowhere to turn. It is shameful that we have stooped to this level of intolerance. We stand almost last in the queue of nations very close in this respect to several Islamic nations like Sudan, Iraq, Somalia and, Saudi Arabia, that by deliberate choice refuse to provide legislative protection to animals.

As a pre-dominant Buddhist nation is the Sri Lankan Parliament beholden to protect animals by enacting the Animal Welfare Bill already sanctioned and gathering dust since 2006? Can Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Parliamentarians morally defend their silence?

The need to enact the Animal Welfare Bill is further strengthened by the international Petition gathering momentum the world over by the Dharma Voices for Animals launched in the USA.

http://dharmavoicesforanimals.org/petitions/

Life is dear to all beings

To a Buddhist, good conduct requires ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-putting away the killing of living thingsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ and holding ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-aloof from the destruction of lifeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ (barring self-defense)ƒÆ’-¡ 

All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.
All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.
He who for the sake of happiness hurts others who also want happiness, shall not hereafter find happiness.
He who for the sake of happiness does not hurt others who also want happiness, shall hereafter find happiness.
- Dhammapada 54

The first, and most fundamental Buddhist precept requires followers to refrain from killingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚not just human beings, but all living beings. This prescription against killing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-is central to the Buddhist tradition. Indeed, it is in fact one of the few common features across the vast Buddhist tradition and its many sects, strands, and branchesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

The Sutta-NipaƒÆ’…'”…¾ta includes the following beautiful contribution to spiritual literature encouraging compassion in humankind:

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-may all be blessed with peace always;
all creatures weak or strong,
all creatures great and small;

creatures unseen or seen
dwelling afar or near,
born or awaiting birth,
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚may all be blessed with peace!

. . . as with her own life
a mother shields from hurting her own,
her only child, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚
let all-embracing thoughts
for all that lives be thine,
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚an all-embracing love
for all the universeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢

Buddhist Social Order

We do not expect leaders to be simply ceremonial Buddhists paying only lip service to Buddhism as is happening. Look around and see how life has been devalued and killing has become a way of life. We need to return to a Dharmishta society where a Buddhist Social Order prevails like in the days of our ancient Sinhala Buddhist Kings who upheld righteousness and projected themselves as role models of piety to the subjects. A Buddhist Social Order is one not espousing everyone to be Buddhists but for all Buddhists to follow the fundamentals and for all others to respect these fundamentals without intentionally hurting by actions that run contrary.

The Mahavamsa records the noble conduct of our past rulers and extols righteousness, justice, piety and the need to strive for human perfection with love and compassion towards all, both human and non ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” human.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

We must renew that journey and it must start with the enactment of the Animal Welfare Bill. There is no need for any further delay. We must not allow the religious bigotry of a few with different and extremist beliefs including members in the Cabinet to stand in the way of the State governing this nation in line with the teachings of the Buddha.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 

We need to relook at how life should be looked upon. We have destroyed nature enough ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…”the flora and fauna are all suffering as a result of manƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s greed and desires. We are affecting the animal habitat and that is likely to return to us in manifold ways. The 2004 Tsunami was just one example. Nature treats us the way we treat nature.

The leaders of the nation cannot be leading the country based on political opportunism ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” doing what is right by both man and animal is what the nation of Sri Lanka is now required to do. We need to return to the fundamentals of life in trying times where water and food may well become the basis of future wars.

The reasoning behind enactment of the Animal Welfare Bill goes far behind its enactment and will benefit future generation and the existence of Sri Lanka in terms of sustainability too. That message is what all Sri Lankans need to ponder over.

ƒÆ’-¡ 

 

Statememt on Sri Lanka of May 19,2013

May 24th, 2013

Ira de Silva London, Ontario, Canada

Hon. Justin Trudeau
Leader of the Liberal Party
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario.

ƒÆ’-¡ Dear Sir:

ƒÆ’-¡ ItƒÆ’-¡ was with disgust that I read your statement of May 19th on the anniversary of the death of the leaders of the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world, ƒÆ’-¡ the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) which is clearly aimed at the Sri Lankan Tamil community of Toronto in a continued effort by your party to retain the Tamil vote base it acquired by decades of supporting Canadian Tamil sponsored terrorism in Sri Lanka. You can not be unaware that members of the Liberal Party not onlyƒÆ’-¡ supported Canadian Tamils to collect funds for terrorism in Sri Lanka but even helped to raise funds.

ƒÆ’-¡ In case you are ignorant ofƒÆ’-¡ Canadian sponsored terrorism in Sri Lanka, I bring to your attentionƒÆ’-¡  a few facts to enlighten you.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ 1. Two million dollars a month was sent by Canadian citizens to fund the LTTEƒÆ’-¡ so they could buy arms and bombs to terrorise all Sri Lankans.

ƒÆ’-¡ 2.ƒÆ’-¡  Several high profile bombings in Sri Lanka were paid for by Canadian Tamils most notably the bombing of the Central Bank where the RCMP established that the cheque for this bombing was sent from Canada. Another wasƒÆ’-¡  the bombing of theƒÆ’-¡ Temple in Kandy, one of the most revered Buddhist shrines in the world.

ƒÆ’-¡ 3. The hundreds of bombings of civilians in buses, trains, places of work, shops and roadsƒÆ’-¡ as well as the massacres of many villagers as they worked or slept in their homes were all greeted with praise and encouragement by the Canadian Tamils andƒÆ’-¡ broadcast in Canada as examples of their money at work.

ƒÆ’-¡ These facts illustrate that Canada was responsible for the death of thousands in Sri Lanka and a firm supporter of the mostƒÆ’-¡  extreme terrorist organization in the world, the LTTE. The Liberal Party in particular, was responsible for this terrorism for decades with the active participation of members of your party.ƒÆ’-¡ They provided the political backing for the Canadian Tamils promotion of terrorism and therefore are as responsible for the death and destruction in Sri Lanka as the LTTE cadres who carried out the acts of terrorism. Incidentally, many of the LTTE cadres who killed in Sri Lanka were welcomed by the Liberal adminstrations as “refugees”ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ which factƒÆ’-¡ was clearlyƒÆ’-¡ stated in the Canadian media such as Maclean’s Magazine.

ƒÆ’-¡ You state “We share in the grief of the Tamil community”. What about the grief of the other communities who are the victims of LTTE terrorism? Once again it seems that the victims are penalised by your support for the acts of the perpetrators of terrorism. It appears that because Canadian governments areƒÆ’-¡ part of LTTE terrorism, you are only concerned about the perpetratorsƒÆ’-¡ and a callous disregard ofƒÆ’-¡ the victims.ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ Do you believe that they do not have grief that you ignore them?

ƒÆ’-¡ “We remain steadfastly committed to achieving accountability and justice for the countless innocent civilians who died or have had their lives irreversibly changed by this long and bitter war” – good. ƒÆ’-¡ Just remember and acknowledge that it was the LTTEƒÆ’-¡  terrorists, sponsored by Canada, that was responsible for the long and bitter war and if you are committed to accountability and justice for the countless innocent civilians, that most of those who died were killed by the LTTE and were from the Sinhalese, Muslim and Tamil communities and that Canada was in great part responsible for prolonging terrorism in Sri Lanka. Please take immediate steps to be accountable by acknowledging to the people of Sri Lanka Canada’s role inƒÆ’-¡ terrorising them, for irreversibly changing their lives by leaving thousands injured, homeless and without a means of livelihood because of Canadian sponsored terrorism. Establish an independent and transparent investigation into the role played by Canadians and Canadian governments into terrorism in Sri Lanka. You are the new head of the Liberal Party, if you are to be taken seriously, practice what you preach. Also, make note that it is not only the Sri Lankan Tamil supporters of the LTTE who have votes in Canada.

ƒÆ’-¡ As for the Commonwealth meeting in Sri LankaƒÆ’-¡ you state,”the Liberal Party of Canada will continue to advocate for a boycott of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this November in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and insist that the venue be changed”. Canada can insist all it likes but the fact of the matter is that Canada does not control the members of the Commonwealth who clearly indicated inƒÆ’-¡ on April 26th, after hearing the bombastic John Baird’s statementƒÆ’-¡ on behalf of Canada and his LTTE dictated policy,ƒÆ’-¡ that the venue would not be changed. ƒÆ’-¡ The whole world knows that Canada’s policy on Sri Lanka is based on pandering to the Tamil votes in Canada and not on any principles. A picture of Mr. Baird greeting LTTE supporters outside the meeting venue in London, U.K., spoke volumes. Further, most of the members of the Commonwealth have suffered from colonisation and remember the death, destruction and plunder of the colonisers. Also, they were not supporters of LTTE terrorism as were Canada, BritainƒÆ’-¡ and the other “white” colonies and soƒÆ’-¡ do not take dictates from the Tamil diaspora that is doing all it can to chastise Sri Lanka for killing the leadership of the LTTE and for notƒÆ’-¡ giving into the demands of the “white west” to save the LTTE leadership so that they could continue to terrorise Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ Finally, your statement, “Canada is a proudly diverse and compassionate society, and we stand alongside our Canadian Tamil community on this solemn occasion. Let us continue our efforts to see the violence and human rights violations end once and for all”.ƒÆ’-¡  That you consider the elimination of leaders of terrorism a “solemn occasion”ƒÆ’-¡ clearly illustrates your lack of understanding of Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ May I point out to you thatƒÆ’-¡ you are standing by those in the Tamil community that sponsored LTTE terrorism and claim that they will vote for you if you make these outlandish statements. By doing so you have alienated other Tamils who do not support the LTTEƒÆ’-¡ and members of the other communities from Sri Lanka. With statements such as this, you may or may not get some of the LTTE Tamil vote but will surely not get the votes from otherƒÆ’-¡ Canadians of Sri Lankan origin.

ƒÆ’-¡ Yours truly,

ƒÆ’-¡ Ira de Silva

London, OntarioƒÆ’-¡ 

ƒÆ’-¡ 

A Dayan Jayatilleka story of an Indian invasion Sri Lanka

May 24th, 2013

C. Wijeyawickrema

Reminding us the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-this war is not winnableƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ Colombo black-white crowd in the past decades, and as if he got a propaganda job from the Indian RAW, Dayan J has begun a vigorous campaign to scare MahindaR about an imminent Indian invasion of Sri Lanka with American backing, if MR does not hold the promised NP election or if removes land and police powers from the 13-A (death trap).ƒÆ’-¡  This is humiliation of the worst possible kind. One can imagine how the senile and dysfunctional JRJ felt in front of the boy racing car driver Rajiv.ƒÆ’-¡  Secretly, perhaps, he was feeling pleased for what the 20-year old Rohan Vijithamuni did at the airport parade! Of all the 13-A jockeys, DJ is the only one openly talking about this possible or already planned invasion. If it is in the works it can be known at this early stage only by a person like Ms. Sison, the American ambassador. Surprise Indian invasion of Goa or Bangladesh invasion to liberate it from Pakistan are previous Indian examples.

Sri Lanka is not like Cuba next to America or Taiwan next to China. In 1905 Japan defeated Russia and Napoleon or Hitler of Europe could not capture England.ƒÆ’-¡  So simply because big India is next to Sri Lanka does not mean a tiny island has no escape from an Indian gun power. DJ is hinting that if Hambantota is or becomes a Chinese fortress Indian or American fighter jets can reach it.ƒÆ’-¡  This kind of stories by DJ is an attempt to divert serious efforts and discussions to abolish 13-A, and make the whole country mentally sick with an Indian ghost in the closet. ƒÆ’-¡ I decided therefore, to take DJ by the horns and point out how he has become so disoriented and rankled by Eelam supporters sabotaging his theory that if 13-A plus is done Tamil separatism will vanish into thin air. This can begin with a comparison of Dayan with his mango friend Douglas Devananda who knows that he cannot be the Chief Minister of NP.

I can still remember the picture showing Douglas inside an army tank going to a polling station in the North. He has a record of escaping about a dozen attempts to kill him by Prabakaran.ƒÆ’-¡  Dayan did not face such threats. The worst he can say is people making him naked at the Kobbakaduwa funeral and Tisaranee Gunasekera covering him with her sari. ƒÆ’-¡ Operating as one of key Rpremadasa agents at the time he should not have taken the risky visit. He is a book realist not knowing what is realistic with people. This was what the retired geography Prof. G.H. Peiris was trying to teach him recently, when Dayan presented his theory that India forced 13-A, because Sri Lanka failed to introduce 13-A before India did so! He says 13-A is a genuine home grown plant.

My public dispute with Dayan and Douglas is that, on the one hand Dayan is asking us to take a big risk that he is used to take in his public life. Douglas on the other hand shows signs of proposing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-little now and more laterƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ game of SJV Chelvanayagam.ƒÆ’-¡  ƒÆ’-¡ For example, DouglasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ logic to 13-A problem is so simple. He says for now do not give land and police powers to PCs! This means give it later when they are ready or ready to ask for it. Douglas thinks that his solution will solve any difficulty preventing NP elections, because what he wants is an election. If there is an election and in case Douglas wins he may decide to ask for land or police powers if the political climate changes in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nad, India or the Maldives Islands. So Douglas is in a way honest. He wants a PC or a Chief Minister job with land and police powers at a future date. Even if Douglas loses the election, TNA will ask it on his behalf! It is a win-win situation for Eelam plan. Douglas made it so clear that now we know it is a no win situation for MahindaR, whether Douglas wins or TNA wins.

Thus, Douglas is honest. But I do not think Dayan is honest in this regard.ƒÆ’-¡  His plans became much clearer in recent times from what he wrote and what he said. I thought he thought that by giving 13-A plus Tamil separatism will be over for good in the island. If Tamil separatism is a cancer it cannot be cured by feeding it. Fortunately the island did not get into this mess under B-C or D-C pact in 1958 or 1966. SWRD and Dudley were foolish to think that to give land powers to a set of Tamil politicians with a political party name called the Tamil kingdom party was not a deadly betrayal of Sri Lanka, an act of providing ladders to jumping monkeys. Both Mrs. Chandrika and R Premadasa wanted to give NP to Prabakaran on lease as if it was her or his private property. Then in 2002 RanilW gave all of N-E provinces and unlimited access to the entire country to Prabakaran and still P was not satisfied.

Now Dayan thinks he can solve the cancer issue by his 13-A plus magic.ƒÆ’-¡  The problem is the relevant and concerned Tamils of all kinds and types express views so against and contradictory to what Dayan proposes. Instead of applying his book theory to real world actions, he cites a monk from Vidyalankara (Kelaniya U) about what is Buddhism, and says that monk is the last pupil of the great (his adjective) Walpola Rahula.ƒÆ’-¡  Dayan is a lizard. DayanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s friend H.L. Seneviratne from Virginia in his book the work of kings blamed Rahula and Yakkaduwe Pragnarama Theros for the ethnic problems in Sri Lanka. Now Rahula has suddenly become a great monk for Dayan! The Dayan kind and the useless politicians in Sri Lanka got so upset with what BBS has done to them. BBS upset their apple carts.

Instead of trying to tell Buddhists or BBS what Buddhists or BBS should do or should not do with his Christian and Marxist glasses Dayan should try to understand the contradiction he is faced with in a step-wise fashion. DJ says 13-A plus is the remedy to the Eelam cancer. Next DJ says Tamils have a Tamil core (homeland?) in NP. Next DJ says by giving NP all possible powers other than an Indian F (federalism of the Anandasangaree kind) will satisfy this Tamil core. The contradiction comes when DJ says May 19 war victory cannot be used as a day of mourning for the death of tiger terrorists. He suggests a July date, the black July. Next DJ says that Eelam flag at UK rallies attended by UK MPs is a bad idea. He thinks New York Tamil exile govt. of Rudrakumaran or Tamil Nad demand for a separate state are bad ideas sabotaging or damaging his moderating efforts. In short Dayan is in a mess. Dayan found an escape goat by attacking Bodu Bala Sena. But Dayan says not a word about Arun Tambimuttu. Why is Arun refusing 13-A? Can Dayan present us a theory on this new phenomenon?

cwije7@gmail.com

Launch of Lotus Communication Network

May 24th, 2013

Dr Kalinga Seneviratne, Coordinator / Founder, Lotus Communication Network

On this auspicious day of VESAKƒÆ’-¡  we would like to officially launch the website of the LOTUS COMMUNICATION NETWORK (http://www.lotuscomm.net/)

ƒÆ’-¡ The Lotus Communication Network (LCN) is an informal network of like-minded Asian Buddhist media practitioners and scholars that is in the process of being developed into a regional non-governmental network.

ƒÆ’-¡ The lotus is one of the most poignant representations of Buddhist teachings. The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies pristinely above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. By using the name LOTUS we hope that this network will also grow in that spirit helping to enlighten Buddhist communities across Asia through the exchange of knowledge and culture.

The rationale behind the formation of this network is to bring media practitioners and communication scholars within Asian Buddhist countries and communities together to promote better understanding and cooperation between Buddhist communities across Asia.

ƒÆ’-¡ While Buddhism is gaining a lot of attention in the West, today, Buddhists in Asia are facing many threats and often their communities are misrepresented in a very negative fashion by the international media. It is time Buddhist communities across Asia re-establish the communication links that were destroyed by centuries of European colonial conquest. We have enough large Buddha statues and Temples across Asia, what we need is for Buddhists in Asia to mobilise their financial resources for the socio-economic and cultural development of their communities, not to confront other communities but to live in harmony, while preserving and nurturing Buddhist ideals, practices and cultural traditions.

ƒÆ’-¡ We hope Buddhist media practitioners, scholars and philanthropists across Asia would join our network and help us to grow through the various projects we are planning to empower Asian Buddhists to communicate among themselves and the outside world through their own perspectives.

ƒÆ’-¡ We welcome Buddhist volunteers to help us build our content base such as contributing audio-visual material, articles, information and pictures to our sections such as Lotus Radio New Features, Lotus TV,ƒÆ’-¡  Country Information, Key Issues, and Buddhists Organisations.

ƒÆ’-¡ I would like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend Dr Sunil Jayasekare in Perth, Australia for kindly agreeing to sponsor the setting up of this website.

 

 

Learn From Ladakh And Abolish The 13th Amendment Or Demilitarize The North And Dig Your Political Grave!

May 23rd, 2013

Janaka Yagirala

I am no expert on military matters or national security but I can never ignore the uneasy feeling I get when the Army Commander of Sri Lanka states that the number of army camps in Jaffna will be reduced to just 3 from 17. When a persistent request was made by the US, UK and India for this, one cannot help feeling so.

Lets face the facts, the current government since winning the war has done little to win the hearts of the people who voted it into power (and volumes for secessionist and extremist minorities) and let corruption and nepotism go rampant. There is a reason why the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Wonder of AsiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ has ended up as a comedy staple. The current electricity hike has given the anti national garbage forces (opposition in tatters) a new shot of steroids despite the fact that the can do nothing about it should the be in power!

Giving in to Indian and western demands is no good. As we have seen before, allowing India to set up a high commission (aka RAW safehouse) was a big blunder. Before long memorial services were held in the University of Jaffna for LTTE terrorists and the police had a tough time cracking down on these parasites who enjoy free education. After all, it was completely OK for effeminates to hide in female hostels but a big issue when the police entered to bust them.

First of all we need not bother two cents about India. India is just a bully that barks with no bite. All bullies end up buckling down when faced with superior force. When China intruded into Ladakh (Indian sovereign territory), India ended up dismantling key border fortifications and retreated from the Chumar region on May 12th, 2013. It only took a single platoon of 50 Chinese troops get bully India to do so!

Sri Lanka will always benefit from closer ties with China and keeping India at arms length. We must reclaim our tank farms from the IOC, stop importing Indian junk vehicles, stop importing impotent Indian medicine and deport all fake Indian doctors. We have to support our local manufacturing and regain what we lost due to the detrimental free trade agreements with India. One only needs to travel abroad to see the how these trade agreements have trapped us with Indian junk which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is time to put an end to the rip off by the Indian junk industry which we help keep afloat by these unfair trade agreements.

The 13 Amendment (13A) is the ultimate Indian cancer in Sri Lanka. The symbol of wanton waste and political inefficiency. Seeing the 13A vanish is the will of all common people of Sri Lanka. Volumes have been written highlighting why they should be abolished, its time that the government finally realize this fact even if it will take a blow to the back of the head. Any act that compromises the achievements of the sacrifice of so many young soldiers will be nothing more than the last nail of the coffin of the current regime. After that the anti-national opposition will come to power and our nation will be doomed.

I’ll echo what so many have said, the people had so much hope in the current regime, that is why it got nearly a 2/3 majority, something deemed impossible. However, nothing has been done to make use of this political blessing. It is late but not completely lost so get it right at least now.

Abolish the 13A without any further delay. The rest of the beneficial reforms can then follow.

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BritainƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s accountability for ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Bloody SundayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ massacre takes 38 years!

May 23rd, 2013

Shenali D. Waduge

We certainly agree that everybody have to be accountable for their actions. But, we chose to pass on following BritainƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s example of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-accountabilityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ when its own investigation into a massacre that took place in 1972 underwent 2 British inquiries and lasted 38 years for families of the slain to finally be told that it was the British troops that fired upon the unarmed civilian protestors 7 of whom were teenagers in Londonderry on January 30th 1972 and not the other way round as the first inquiry report by Lord Widgery revealed though there were an estimated 50,000 people attending the march to end anti-Catholic discrimination. We will kindly pass on following British example of carrying out, not carrying out, delaying or hiding evidence. In Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s case Sri Lanka concluded its investigation within 3 years of its appointment and all that needs to be said is enough of allegations ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” bring forward the evidence if people think otherwise. ƒÆ’-¡ 

Nevertheless, what is noteworthy and alarming is that Britain of all countries, the land formerly known as the British Raj that controlled virtually 90% of the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s nations at its height would take 38 years and flawed inquiries to declare that the 14th victims (7 were teenagers) who died did not shoot and that it was the British troops who shot first.

This is certainly alarming in the backdrop of a wave of new slogans that chirp from West to East on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-accountabilityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-transparencyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-democracyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-freedomƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.

HereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s why we are baffled that Britain of all countries would take 38 years to reveal its findings and finally apologize.

We shall compare the findings of the 2 reports. It must be noted that the Blood Sunday massacre overshadowed peace talks with Sinn Fein to secure the Good Friday agreement that it was this reason for Tony Blair to appoint a fresh inquiry in 1998 and nothing to do with justice for the victims.

Lord Widgery Report findings 1972 Lord Saville Inquiry appointed in 1998
The Report released 11 weeks upon its appointment in April 1972 Took 12 years to publish its findings on 15 Jun 2010. report cost nearly ƒÆ’-¡£200 million
  • The British Government accepted the Widgery report
  • Nationalists condemned it
  • Exonerated British soldiers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” said soldiers had fired in self-defense and had been fired upon first
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  • Condemned the British soldiers claiming they lied about their actions and falsely claimed they had been attacked first.
  • The dead were declared guilty
  • Exonerated the dead victims
  • The dead said to possess firearms
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  • Dead victims not possessing firearms and posed no threat
  • Claimed forensic evidence available to prove the dead held firearms
  • John Martin the forensic scientist who carried out the original tests now says he was wrong and the lead deposits found on the victims could have come from emissions from car exhaust and not guns.
  • Lord Widgery ignored eyewitness accounts – Over 500 witness statements were recorded by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the National Council for Civil Liberties shortly after Bloody Sunday and presented to the Widgery Tribunal in March 1972. ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ 
  • Investigations took 2 years. 2500 statements were taken. 922 people were called to give direct evidence. 160 volumes of evidence, 121 audio tapes and 110 video tapes.
  • “To those who seek to apportion responsibility for the events of 30 January the question ‘Who fired first?’ is vital. I am entirely satisfied that the first firing in the [Rossville Flats] courtyard was directed at the soldiers.”
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  • “Despite the contrary evidence given by soldiers, we have concluded that none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers. No one threw or threatened to throw a nail or petrol bomb at the soldiers on Bloody Sunday.”
  • “Those accustomed to listening to witnesses could not fail to be impressed by the demeanour of the soldiers of 1 Para. They gave their evidence with confidence and without hesitation or prevarication and withstood a rigorous cross-examination without contradicting themselves or each other. With one or two exceptions I accept that they were telling the truth as they remembered it.”
  • “In the course of the report we have considered in detail the accounts of the soldiers whose firing caused the casualties, in the light of much other evidence. We have concluded, for the reasons we give, that apart from Private T many of these soldiers have knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing.”
  • “In the events which took place on 30 January the soldiers were entitled to regard themselves as acting individually and thus entitled to fire under the terms of Rule 13 without waiting for orders ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦ the soldiers’ training certainly required them to act individually in such circumstances and no breach of discipline was thereby involved.”
  • “In this belief soldiers reacted by losing their self-control and firing themselves, forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training and failing to satisfy themselves that they had identified targets posing a threat of causing death or serious injury ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦ our overall conclusion is that there was a serious and widespread loss of fire discipline among the soldiers of Support Company.”
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  • “It is understandable that these circumstances have given rise to suspicion that the CO 1 Para [Colonel Wilford] exceeded his orders, but I do not accept this conclusion in the face of the sworn evidence of the three officers concerned.”
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  • “Colonel Wilford either deliberately disobeyed Brigadier MacLellan’s order or failed for no good reason to appreciate the clear limits on what he had been authorised to do. He was disturbed by the delay in responding to his request to mount an arrest operation and had concluded that, by reason of the delay, the only way to effect a significant number of arrests was to deploy Support Company in vehicles into the Bogside.”
  • This is the best conclusion ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-no deaths would have occurred if there had not been an illegal marchƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬
  • DEMOCRACY ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” British style!
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ƒÆ’-¡  What the British Government and its Army hid

  • Major General Robert Ford, then Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland referred to the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Derry Young HooligansƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ who continued to destroy the city expressed that the army was ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-virtually incapableƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ of dealing with them and concluded that to deal with them was after clear warnings to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-shoot selected ringleadersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ (Saville Report)
  • The Tory Government had a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-shoot to kill policyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ in Northern Ireland at the time
    • In 1999, the High Court rejected an appeal that the identities of 17 paratroopers who fired should be revealed and hundreds more were granted the same anonymity. Most of the documents made available to the inquiry were also subject to immunity.
    • In 2000 the British Defense Ministry admitted it had destroyed 2 of the 5 remaining rifles used by the British Army on Bloody Sunday. Of the 29 rifles used 14 were destroyed by the Defense and 10 were sold.
    • A confidential memorandum from Gen. Sir Robert Ford, commander of land forces in Northern Ireland, to his superior, Gen. Sir Harry Tuzo, expressed concern at the number of no-go areas that the army was prevented from entering by pro-Republican youth, the Derry Young Hooligans (DYH). He wrote, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH, after clear warnings have been issuedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.
    • The Saville Report cost 200 million because of the insistence of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on obstructing Saville at every turn to try and block the emergence of the truth. All the British army photographs from the day are missing – there were at least ten army photographers taking photographs of the march, which had been declared illegal. Most of the remaining rifles used on the day were destroyed by the MoD after the inquiry asked to have access to them.

About the victims:

  • Bernard McGuigan (41). Shot in the back of the head when he went to help Patrick Doherty. He had been waving a white handkerchief at the soldiers to indicate his peaceful intentions.
  • James Joseph Wray (22). Wounded then shot again at close range (1metre distance ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” which equates to deliberate murder) while lying on the ground. Witnesses who were not called to the Widgery Tribunal stated that Wray was calling out that he could not move his legs before he was shot the second time. (Can Channel 4 British forensic expert who appeared on the Callum Macrae fictional documentaries against Sri Lanka be shown these pictures to determine authenticity)
  • Barney McGuigan, 41 and father of 6 was shot in the head with an illegal ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-dumdumƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ bullet.
  • Michael Gerald Kelly (17). Shot in the stomach while standing near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats. Widgery accepted that Kelly was unarmed.
  • *John (Jackie) Duddy (17). Shot in the chest in the car park of Rossville flats. Four witnesses stated Duddy was unarmed and running away from the paratroopers when he was killed. Three of them saw a soldier take deliberate aim at the youth as he ran

Incidentally, Lord Widgery failed to take evidence from those wounded or even bother to read the eyewitness accounts available ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” this echoes a similar inquiry into the death of UN Chief Dag Hammerskjold in 1961.

Lord Widgery lost his credibility and historian Max Hastings described the report as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-a shameless cover-upƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” a good lesson to all those in the legal fraternity all round the world.

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Further reference:

http://www.dfa.ie/uploads/documents/bloodysunday%20report.pdf
The British are now asking the same questions Sri Lankans have been asking for donkeys years – ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-why are the Bloody Sunday soldiers being pursued when paramilitaries have an effective amnesty?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬. Sri Lankans would ask ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-why are Sri Lankan soldiers who saved 294,000 civilians at the cost of 6000 military lives, rehabilitate and reintegrated 11,000 former LTTE combatants being hounded with unverifiable accusations when LTTE terrorists are treated as VIPs and LTTE foreign representatives still run their show from London happily moving with UK Parliamentarians?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Upon the release of the 2nd inquiry findings, as a true Brit, Premier David Cameron apologized on behalf of Britain. But, what about the unarmed civilians killed before and even after the Bloody Sunday murder?

The year before Bloody Sunday, in August 1971, British paratroopers shot dead 11 unarmed civilians in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast. Among the dead was a 50-year-old woman, Joan Connolly, who had been standing peacefully on the street. Another victim was a priest, Fr. Hugh Mullan, who was shot dead while trying to assist a man wounded on the ground.

On 9 July 1972 – six months after Bloody Sunday – British troops again shot dead five unarmed Nationalist civilians in another area of West Belfast, Springhill. Three of the victims were children, including 13-year-old Margaret Gargan, who was shot in the head by a British sniper as she was walking to her home. The two adults who died that day, Patrick Butler and Fr. Noel Fitzpatrick, were killed with the same bullet, it ripping through one manƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s head into the other.

The massacre in Derry, Ireland took place in 1972. Why did it take till 1998 for Tony Blair to commission an inquiry 26years after the killings took place?

Thereafter, from 1998 the inquiry took a further 12 years to complete their findings ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” this is not how British accountability takes place or is it?

We are talking about the country that held 90% of the world that ran administrative systems in all these colonies, taught and continues to teach nations what is human rights, what is accountability and what countries should do and not do, taking such a long time to complete an investigation on the deaths of 13 people some succumbed to their injuries making the total 16?

All throughout the colonies have been taught to follow their masters ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” the British, in literally everything they do ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” does this mean that Britain wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t mind former colonies also taking donkeys years like their one time masters to complete investigations?

Well, some Sri Lankans may like to follow their British masters still but then again we believe in true accountability and the Sri Lankan military has concluded its investigations in less than 3 years and all thatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s simply left to say is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” provide the evidence and the Sri Lankan army would certainly conduct the investigation, if they held an inquiry no sooner the war was over and completed it without dragging its feet for decades, that pretty much speaks volumes of accountability and sincerity!

Incidentally every day is a Bloody Sunday in all the nations that US, UK and NATO now forcefully occupy.

Well it was Sunday bloody Sunday
When they shot the people there
The cries of thirteen martyrs
Filled the Free Derry air
Is there any one amongst you
Dare to blame it on the kids?
Not a soldier boy was bleeding
When they nailed the coffin lids!
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚John Lennon and Yoko Ono “Sunday Bloody Sunday”

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Astrology is false, dated and unedifying.

May 23rd, 2013

R Chandrasoma

ƒÆ’-¡ A hypothesis (or belief) is false if it does not square with the facts. It is also false if its deductive entailments do not match the facts as empirically revealed. Suppose some learned person declares with a great sense of infallibility that those born when stormy weather conditions prevail will die prematurely. This is not very different – in epistemic worth – from the astrologers who declare with great conviction that ‘the position of the wandering stars (planets) in the zodiacal constellations at the nativity of an advanced relation of the Apes (and Monkeys) determines its secular destiny’.

Were the hairy ancestors of man influenced by the stars? This question seems hilarious to us but let us recall that a few hundred years ago the celestial world was our backyard with gods (devas) moving freely from the celestial vault to the sublunar world below. That this ‘display’ above bore portents for the wretched of our Planetary Abode seemed obvious – and astrology flourished. Today the ‘heavens above’ have expanded into a mighty Muliverse of mind-boggling size and complexity that makes our minuscule existence a cosmic fluke that has no significance beyond our planetary habitat.

Many ‘revolutions’ have taken place since the heady days of horoscopes and forecasting – first, the realization that we are small and insignificant in a vast universe that wheels along with no ‘feedback’ of signs and portents that may help us along. The Universe as we know it today is a violent and complex place (Black holes, neutron stars, gamma-ray bursts, colliding galaxies etc) but this stupendous show has no meaning for us – collectively, a minuscule bleb of of organic complexity on a forgotten rocky outpost of the Universe.

This ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”forlornnessƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in a vast and indifferent Universe is bitter medicine for ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”mysteriansƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of all kinds ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” be they saints or fore-tellers. That the wheeling stars have something for us is an expression of that longing of our ignorant predecessors to wrest significance where none exists. Man appeared about half a million years ago ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” in the hundreds of millions of years before this seminal event, did the stars ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” their astrological portents ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” influence the evolution of life? Did astrology count in the glory days of the Dinosaurs?

There is an ancient saw that says that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Suppose we set aside the cosmic considerations outlined above and seek a direct demonstration of the ‘Fundamental Theorem of Astrology’ – that planetary positions directly affect human fortune and misfortune at the individual level. Has any man of learning or science provided verifiable evidence of the truth of this assertion through a minute examination of the data and unambiguous prediction? If such proof exists, then we can turn to astrologers to guide humanity in this turbulent phase of human history. Apart from some foolish Asiatic leaders, no man with intelligence or sense will call in Astrologers to settle matters of public importance that call for a rational survey of the facts and their ramifications in secular history. The current vast audience (on Radio and other Media) for ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”forecastsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ is a sign that our basic irrationality in the assessment of our innermost personal concerns exists despite the great advances in human knowledge.

A concluding note on the stand taken by Dr. Nalin de Silva that Western ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”storiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that parade as the scientific truths are no better than the religio-mystical stories of Ancient India ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” including stories about Man and the stars. While conceding that all attempts to understand nature necessarily involves metaphor and story-telling ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” as the real is fundamentally beyond cognitive reach – some stories are far better than others in being more securely grounded in observations that use a technology that the ancients did not even dream of. Thus, EinsteinƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s General Relativity is closer to the actuality of occurrence than NewtonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Clock-Work Universe. Both are immeasurably superior to the Animistic View of Man and Nature that is presupposed in Astrology. There is a natural selection of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”storiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that makes the astrological story a defeated myth. While admiring the great learning in Mathematics and Physics that Dr N de S undoubtedly has, the tenacity of his hold on the oriental mis-beliefs and the airy-fairy suppositions of the ancients must be accounted for in terms that go beyond science as conventionally understood.

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Travels of a journalistƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚The Yala Adventure: SRI LANKA REPLACES NEED WITH GREED AT ALL TOURIST ATTRACTIONSƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚STEEP ENTRY FEES FOR EXPATRIATES TOO

May 23rd, 2013

By Shelton Gunaratne, author of From Village Boy to Global Citizen (Vol. 2): The Travels of a Journalist (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris).

On my island wide tour of Sri Lanka last month (April), I was taken aback by the official ticket checkersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ insistence at some tourist attractions that I should pay the incredibly high entry fees of a foreigner. ƒÆ’-¡ I told them in rustic Sinhala that I was born and raised in the village ofƒÆ’-¡  ƒÆ’-¡ Pathegama in the korale of Weligama, but they insisted that I show them my passport to prove my nationality.

I, Weligama Podda of yoreƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚now carrying an American passport, was not ready to give in to their piranha-like instinct to grab my greenbacks. ƒÆ’-¡ Foreigners have to pay a $25-to $30 fee for admission, which is more or less Rs. 3,100ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚a lot of money in local terms. I reasoned that the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-piranhasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ should recognize my birthrights as a native son and spare me the foreign tourist treatment.

Having got a taste for exploring the famous U.S. national parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia, Olympia, Yellowstone and Big Bend, my spouse Yoke- Sim and I agreed that we should have a taste of the 979 sq. km Yala National Park, one of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s two oldest parks set up as wildlife sanctuaries in 1900 and designated national parks in 1938. So, we spent the night of the first Tuesday of April at the cozy Lake View Cottage on the northeastern edge of Tissa Lake in Punchi Akurugoda, Tissamaharama.

Our driver, Amal, told us that our rental vehicle would not fit the rough gravel roads in Yala. He said we would have to hire a tracker and a jeep to do our safari at an extra cost of Rs. 4,800 (about $ 39) in addition to the park admission fee of Rs. 3, 822 (about $ 30).ƒÆ’-¡  The hotel, which charged us Rs. 5,000 (about $ 40) for the nightƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s accommodation, made the necessary arrangements for the tracker to pick us up at dawn Wednesday.

The tracker showed up at 6 a.m., and we took off on the jeep to the Palatupana

Yala National Park

VisitorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ Center and main entrance to the Yala NP, also known as the Ruhuna NP, munching on the takeaway Spartan breakfast the hotel gave us.ƒÆ’-¡  The tracker, a go-getter type, bought the admission tickets for my wife (who is a foreigner) at the tourist rate and for me at the local rate. Even though the total cost of visiting Yala seemed reasonable with this concession, I would have considered it a waste of money if the park had enforced the tourist rate on me as well.

I wasnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t pleased with the Wildlife Conservation DepartmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s neglect of the network of roads within the Yala NP or with the facilities the visitorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ center provided. The department could easily convert the center to an educational tool through a combination of documentaries and printed literature, including maps. None in our party knew much about Yala or its contiguous neighboring national parksƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚Kumana NP to the east, Lunugamvehera NP to the west, and the small Bundala NP to the southeast; or its extended armsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚Gal Oya NP to the north, Horton Plains NP to the northwest, and Udawalawe NP further west.

Although Yala claims to have 44 species of mammals, including some 35 leopards and more than 300 elephants, they kept on eluding the humans on safari for at least the first hour of tracking. We came to the park so early because everyone thought it was the most likely time that the wild animals came out to roam around for the pleasure of the inquisitive humans. But the fact was that three of the parkƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s five blocs were closed to the public. The trackers were confined primarily to Bloc 1 of the park to do their job.ƒÆ’-¡  No wonder that only a few animals came to greet the meddlesome humans in the open bloc when they could keep their privacy in the closed three!

The unkempt network of roads was unworthy even for jeeps. The trackers were driving their jeeps with tourists in all directions but failed to track any of the rare speciesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚e.g., elephants, leopards, bears, boars, sambar, spotted deer, and othersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”‚for quite some time. And then, voila! The gawkers were thrilled to see a sloth bear crossing the road, and to look at a herd of scattered elephants at very close range. One elephantƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s extended trunk almost touched my body that I, seated on the elevated front seat of the jeep, cringed in mortal fear of my life. Riding on the jeep, we also saw plenty of water buffalo, crocodiles, and monitor lizards.

Among the other mammals that Yala accommodates are the toque macaque, golden palm civet, red slender loris, and fishing cat. The parkƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s 215 species of birds include grey hornbill, wood pigeon, jungle fowl, barbet, babbler and bul-bul. The water birds we saw included cormorants, herons, storks, egrets, pelicans, and ducks. Yala also happens to be one of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s 70 important bird areas (IBAs). The reptiles inhabiting Yala include the krait, keel back, flying snake, cobra, and crocodile.

YalaMap

The 2004 tsunami caused damage to 19 sq. km of the YalaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s grassland, forest and wetland. Our tracker dropped us at a scenic spot facing Patanangala, a rock outcrop on the Indian Ocean beach, perhaps to contemplate the tsunami. By noon, he brought us back to the hotel in time for us to check out. He gave us an unsolicited demonstration of his driving skills when he drove his jeep at breakneck speed mistaking the narrow stretch of road from the park entrance to the hotel as his personal expressway.

After a light lunch, our driver took us to Kataragama, along the Tissamaharama Road, about 43 km to the north of Yala NP entrance. I could faintly recall my childhood visit to this sacred city on the banks of Menik Ganga, to invoke the blessings of the Kataragama Deviyo (also called Skanda Murukan) in the company of my mother and sister. I had to stop there again with my spouse on this occasion as well to seek the godƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s blessings and do the traditional walk to the Kiri Vehera.

Diyaluma

Then, we drove 46 km further north on Sella Kataragama Road to Buttala. This stretch of the highway cuts through the border that separates the Yala NP and the Lunugamvehera NP. If tourists want to see herds of wild elephants freely roaming around without having to pay high safari fees, a drive on this road would do it! The road is well carpeted too.

Our destination for the night was Haputale (pop. 54,989)|, 60 km west of Buttala. As we made our way through the winding road to the islandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s magnificent hill country in the Uva Province, we stopped by to admire the two tallest waterfalls in Sri Lanka: the 220 m Diyaluma Falls in Koslanda, and the 263 m Bambarakanda Falls in Kalupahana.

NY Times with Optimistic Propaganda – Bias Exposed

May 23rd, 2013

From: The Citizens of the United States

To:ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  Ms. Jill Abramson

Executive Editor

New York Times

620 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10018

Please share this with Alissa Rubin and Matthew Rosenberg. Thanks.

Dear Executive Editor of the New York Times:

Today we read this realistic geopolitical analysis based on the ground situation in Afghanistan titled ‘A Novel Idea: Asking an Afghan About Afghanistan’. It refers to ridiculously rosy and almost laughable claims by the U.S. and our General there Joseph F. Dunford Jr. as detailed by your story published with the title ‘Hope Seen for Afghanistan After Coalition Exits’ on May 06, 2013.

We felt that you really think that the American people are retarded in believing such lies in your story!

This comment was included with the eye-opening analysis:

Interesting article, especially the title – reminds us of SL (Sri Lanka) media coverage A message to the western media:ƒÆ’-¡  Why not ask a Sri Lankan (from the majority community & not bribed by Internationals) about Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬¦ this is something they never do!

That’s right! Ask a Sri Lankan who loves his/her country about how safe they are after the internationally backed Tamil terrorists were eliminated. Did you notice that Sri Lanka is now safer than the States, after the Boston bombing, school, movie theater and mall shootings? The amount of LTTE terror- supporting articles published by the New York Times, U.S. State Dept and Liberal U.S. lawmakers attacking the people of Sri Lanka and its institutions are too many to list here.

From the Editorial on Washington Times: Tigers at bay, we quote:

We can only imagine American satisfaction if we had al Qaeda in this position. It is unconscionable for the United States to castigate its Sri Lankan ally for prevailing in its war against terrorism. The Tamil Tigers (terrorists) have purposefully created the conditions for a humanitarian crisis and deserve neither amnesty nor mercy. There are ways to help resolve this standoff that will not allow the Tigers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, such as providing military and intelligence support for pinpoint strikes against the terrorist leadership. Failing that, the Obama administration should mind its own business. The Sri Lankans are winning; we should let them finish the job.

We should give credit where it belongs: LTTE Terrorists/Tamil Tiger Terrorists and their supporters worldwide are terrorists by definition. They earned their medals for sophisticated terror operations.ƒÆ’-¡  They are NOT rebels, as New York Times and other LTTE-friendly media and politicians like to call them.

The full analysis is below for you reading pleasure.

Again we would like to ask you:

Why do you to feed your fellow citizens this muck, over and over again?

Do you genuinely believe that we Americans are clueless and retarded?

Why is it quite difficult for you to be sincere in your reporting?

Our 2 cents: live a little, so visit Sri Lanka, talk to the people, learn the culture, and be honest.

NYtimes1

NYtimes2NYtimes3

 

 

An Appeal by Sri Lankan Buddhists to Thailand PM not to allow its land to be used by foreign elements to destabilize Myanmar (Burma)

May 23rd, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

Buddhist Sri Lanka warmly welcomes the arrival of the Prime Minister of Thailand Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra during this Wesak month. The arrival of the Thai Premier will serve to strengthen the pristine links of Theravada Buddhism to which Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Buddhist communities in several other nations of the world belong. Before Ms. Shinawatra illuminates the Sri Lankan Parliament with her presence to deliver her message to Sri Lanka, we wish to convey to the Thai Prime Minister our serious concerns of alarming reports reaching us via the international media of attempts being made by the Organisation of Islamic Co ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” operation (OIC) to establish an Islamic Jihadist Army comprising BurmaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s so-called Rohingyas or Bengali-Muslims and Muslim Mujahedeen volunteers from all over the Islamic world in the so – called Shan State Army (SSA) controlled territory bordering Northern Thailand.

According to these Reports an OIC-SSA agreement sustained by an initial funding of US$ 100 million (being the first installment) from Saudi Arabia and another major OIC country will soon provide OICƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Islamist Army a firm territory in Burma for its future bases and armed intervention in Burma. It is anticipated that the long porous border between Thailand and Burma will also provide an easy entry for international Muslim volunteers into Burma through Thailand.

It is reported that SSAƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s strategic ally KIA already has a nearly 2,000-strong Yakhine army of Bengali-Muslims trained and ready at Laiza to become a nucleus of that OICƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Islamist Jihadist Army by the Thai border.

Though we have no way of ascertaining the veracity of these reports we are conscious of planned attempts being made in certain international capitals to destabilize and balkanize pre-dominant Buddhist countries by religious extremists funded by oil wealth drawn from middle eastern countries. Recent incidents in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and even in South Thailand affecting Buddhists provide evidence to harbor grave concern.

The Myanmar impasse is more than about people flooding over a period of time from Bangladesh to Myanmar. These Bengali-Muslims also called Rohingyas are now being funded by Islamic jihadist groups to break up Myanmar on one side while on the other USD100million is being used by Wahhabis in cohorts with the West and the Shan State Army (SSA) and the border of Thailand and Burma is in danger of being subject to a new wave of religious extremism which is likely to be catastrophic to both Buddhist Myanmar and Buddhist Thailand in time to come as well.

We implore the Thai PM to take steps to ensure that:

a) Thai territory is not allowed to be used as a beachhead to separate Myanmar,

b) Thai land is not allowed to be used as a foothold to destabilize Myanmar and incrementally work towards balkanizing the remaining Buddhist countries in South East Asia in order to strike their main target i.e. China, and

c) The Royal Thai Army does not collaborate in one way or the other with Shan State army in creating dissent along the Thai-Burma border (Loi Taileng Base).

These incursions are nothing that can eventually be solved through negotiations but would only end following Kosovo, Sudan style divisions that create greater enmity and chaos as time progresses.

In looking ahead, we appeal to Thailand not to allow a fellow neighbouring Theravada Buddhist nation to fall.

Further, we urge Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Thai Prime Minister to join hands with Sri Lanka and other Buddhist nations to establish a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”League of Buddhist NationsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ that will give a collective voice to the aspirations and concerns of the Buddhist world in the interests of world peace and harmony.

 

 

 

LIFE ABROAD ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” Part 28: Adieu Lanka Viththi

May 23rd, 2013

Dr.Tilak Fernando

I was distressed to hear from my friend Daya Ananda Ranasinghe in London, the editor and publisher of the Sinhala tabloid Lanka Viththi, the sad news about the demise of his Sinhala journal after 16 years of continuous publication. In a poignant note he wrote in his email thus:

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Last Saturday, May 5, 2013, we bid farewell and adieu to Lanka Viththi at Wembley which was rather heart-rending but nevertheless a very successful event because I could see the faces of many true Lankan patriots who did not abandon Lanka Viththi, the only Sinhala newspaper published in the UK for 16 long years till the final hour. Their genuine and warm feelings were expressed through tear drops and sad countenance, being unable to express in words ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬”…” needless to say I was extremely moved by the standing ovation given to me by the well-wishers at the finale.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

Brain child

Sixteen years ago on a Sinhala New YearƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s day, Daya Ananda Ranasinghe came up with a brain wave to release a Sinhala tabloid (Lanka Viththi) as an avurudu gift to the Sri Lankan community in England creating history by being the first ever Sinhala newspaper published outside Sri Lanka. This undoubtedly filled the conspicuous vacuum that existed among the Sri Lankan diaspora that was scattered all over the world who could read Sinhala.

Daya Ananda was prepared and determined to sail through rough seas single handed confining to his own resolutions and principles with the fervent hope of expecting financial support and a full backing from Sri Lankan institutions based in the UK who were already advertising in other Sri Lankan publications in London during an era when the country was riveted with terrorist activities.

As the editor and publisher of Lanka Viththi, Daya Ananda had no qualms about calling spade a spade. Being patriotic to the core he maintained a policy of campaigning against all types of divisive ideas and actions which were aimed at weakening the Sinhala nation.

Adhering to the maxim, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Mother and Motherland are nobler than heavenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ he portrayed this caption over the masthead of the newspaper giving a clear and sound message that Lanka Viththi struggled to put records right and safeguard the motherland. This very principle prevented him receiving any advertising revenue from Tamil business houses which abundantly made use of other Sri Lankan tabloids published in London.

Forum

Being a monthly edition, Lanka Viththi presented to the enlightened reader relevant views, opinions, forces and trends. It always served as a forum for discussion and debate on social, political, educational and cultural matters with contributions from the editorial, professionals and specialists. Most importantly Lanka Viththi welcomed the active participation of the readership and always encouraged readers to bring in their creative talents in writing, art, sculpture, poetry, cinema and drama etc., which was evident from many contributions that appeared over the years. Seemingly with the addition of its own website, it became a wholesome Sinhala journal, a sine qua non for every Sri Lankan who could read Sinhala.

During the height of a terrorist war where Tamil Tigers were hell bent on dividing the country with a determined effort to make the Sinhala language disappear to oblivion, Daya Ananda made it a point to select and publish many articles and poems attributing towards the encouragement of soldiers at the battle front.

This Sinhala tabloid published in London reached the soldiers even in deep jungles in Sri Lanka where they were deployed to fight the enemy. Seemingly Lanka Viththi had a considerable fan base around the world giving rise to a new era of Sinhala writing and language in England where true Sinhala patriots declared ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”warƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ against the LTTE bullets with their mighty pen.

Dream fulfilled

Lanka Viththi was distributed free of charge mainly through the Buddhist temples, grocery stores selling Sri Lankan food, Sri Lankan restaurants, Bank of Ceylon and the High Commission in London. His friends who travelled to Sri Lanka on holiday always obliged Daya in carrying a bundle or two of the paper to support him in his struggle to distribute the paper in Sri Lanka.

Moving with the times, Lanka Viththi entered the world wide web within a very short period of time, remarkably with Sinhala fonts where readers could access through computers from the luxury of their homes. Daya Ananda RanasingheƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s resolve to sustain Sinhala language from its fast approaching extinction and aiming at promoting the Sinhala culture and heritage among the expatriate Sinhala diaspora in the UK and other parts of the world had paid off and, this for him was a dream fulfilled.

To publish a newspaper in the UK is not an easy task, the nucleus of which involved the much needed capital, a conclusive dedication and a commitment to see to its smooth uninterrupted operation and circulation. To his delight there were dedicated friends, contributors of various articles and poems from all parts of the world who were national minded and valued the Sinhala culture and the language.

To battle single handed as an individual committed to uphold a nationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s culture and language (and not as a business house with adequate financial backing) was Daya Ananda RanasingheƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s uphill task for 16 long years in a competitive market where there were other numerous ethnic newspapers in a variety of languages, including 15 Tamil language newspapers and journals, printed and distributed in the UK.

His prime ambition, through the columns of Lanka Viththi, seemed to maintain harmony within the Sri Lankan society with the prime aim of developing the intellect of Sinhalese and acting as a guiding shaft of light to the second generation of Sri Lankan offspring by educating the community in a multiple of ways to show the correct path to lead a peaceful life as good citizens.

Daya Ananda Ranasinghe needed no formal introduction as the Editor of Lanka Viththi. He had served as a journalist for many leading newspaper groups in Sri Lanka and bagged decades of journalistic experience. He is a renowned poet and a lyrics writer in Sinhala songs and a scriptwriter for Sinhala films too. In 1982 Daya Ananda won the best creative scriptwriter of the year OCIC Award in Colombo for his film Adhistana (Determination) that represented Sri Lanka in the Film Festival in Manheim, Germany.

It could have been perhaps the film script ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”DeterminationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ which implored within his system to bring out a Sinhala newspaper from a foreign land! Alongside the publication of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Lanka ViththiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ he has been working on a second anthology of poetry, writing novels and translated a collection of short stories to Sinhala.

This versatile journalist epitomised his love for his motherland for decades while living in the UK and became a beacon of patriotic light through his journal Lanka Viththi during the past 16 years brightening up many a Sri Lanka life both in the UK and abroad.

The irony of it all was that, here there was a patriotic Sinhala individual who was fully dyed-in-the-wool in preserving the Sri Lankan culture and language from a foreign land, especially at a time so much of adverse publicity against Sri Lanka was being disseminated from various quarters in the UK media, yet not many Sri Lankan governmental institutions based in London stretched a helping hand to continue his enthusiastic service. It was equally unfortunate that even the government eyes at home were ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”blind foldedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ to see the yeoman attribute this single patriotic individual was struggling to achieve which can only be described in a single word at the demise of the only Sinhala Newspaper as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-abysmalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.

Congratulations to Lanka Viththi and salutations to Daya Ananda Ranasinghe who never asked the country what she could do for him but in return he always asked and showed the country what he could do for his motherland.

Dear Daya Ananda, you can be consoled by the fact that at least some of the expatriates who appreciated your efforts arrived at Wembley, all the way from places like Manchester, Oxford and Wales, along with all erudite speakers, patriotic singers and musicians and a Single Buddhist monk, Ven. Balangoda Ananda Mangala Thera, to represent the whole of Buddhist clergy in the UK, and to make the grand finale a memorable event for your undeterred service to Sinhala language and the Sinhala culture over 16 consecutive years by ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”running yourself alone and simultaneously overtaking yourself at timesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ to reach your expected goal.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-What is a character? It is the personality that defines one, that other than biological factors, the code of conduct that rules oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s actions, the discipline or defaults for what one does and the lifestyle that makes up oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s reputationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.

tilakfernando@gmail.co

DHARMA DAY MESSAGE IS MODERATION

May 23rd, 2013

Prof. Suwanda H J Sugunasiri President, Buddhist Council of CanadaƒÆ’-¡ 

Today (May 24th) is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Wesak DayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’-¡  at the UN, as well as in Toronto, as proclaimed by the Mayor of Toronto. This piece looks at the historical Buddha who is being respected today, and throughout the month of May.

ƒÆ’-¡ DHARMA DAY MESSAGE IS MODERATION

Ears alert, the fawn dashed to the mother as it heard the footsteps of the stranger. Five men in their 30s or 40s continued ascetic silence, in a grove called Deer Park, inƒÆ’-¡  Benares,ƒÆ’-¡  India.

The fawn, comforted by the mother who sensed noƒÆ’-¡  harmƒÆ’-¡  fromƒÆ’-¡  the approaching stranger, frolicked, attracting more deer, who nosed each other playfully. One of the men turnedƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡  towardƒÆ’-¡  the footsteps, but then returnedƒÆ’-¡  quickly to his ascetic practice.

The deer pranced as if in anticipation. A second ascetic, answering toƒÆ’-¡  the lightƒÆ’-¡  breeze nudging his bare skin,ƒÆ’-¡  allowed himself to gaze in the direction of the footsteps. Taken aback but lookingƒÆ’-¡  closely,ƒÆ’-¡  he declared, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Oh, it’s GotamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Gotama? No doubt he’s found himself heading into spiritual wilderness … Pity he didn’t stick with us and the well-worn ascetic path.ƒÆ’-¡  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, replied another.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Let’s ignore him,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ dared a third,ƒÆ’-¡  to everybody’s assent.

But as the quickening breeze enveloped their bodies, the men saw their resolve melt away like snow in the rising sun. Their crossedƒÆ’-¡  legs unfolding, one by one, theyƒÆ’-¡  stood up, although none felt brave enough to let out the feeling ofƒÆ’-¡  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”WowƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ welling up within themselves inƒÆ’-¡  the majestic presence of their former partner-in-asceticism.

Finally, the lips of the eldest of the Group ofƒÆ’-¡  Five parted, saying, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Welcome back, Gotama.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Address not thus,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ came the confident words from the smiling face, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-you’re talking to the Enlightened One.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Haven’t we heard this one,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ was their inner thought, although they must have felt they should say, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-The Buddha?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Yes, the Buddha, the one who has eschewed the two extremes.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

As if sensing the exchange, the deer gathered to bear witness to the unfolding of a great event, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The Turning of the Wheel of DharmaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, as the ancient text ƒÆ’-¡ ƒÆ’-¡ Tipitaka, puts it.

The five now seated in front of him cross-legged,ƒÆ’-¡  the BuddhaƒÆ’-¡  continued, answering his own question, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-What two extremes?ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ TheƒÆ’-¡  first – ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-that which is among passions, practicing the enjoyment of passions, inferior, vulgar, common, barbarian….ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

No surprise there, the celibate group concurred,ƒÆ’-¡  knowing also the life ofƒÆ’-¡  wine and women Prince Siddhartha, the future Buddha, had spent before taking to the ascetic life.

But the next extreme,ƒÆ’-¡  that was something else – ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-that which is devoted to weariness of oneself, unhappy, barbarian…ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬

This ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”weariness of oneselfƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ wasƒÆ’-¡  the extreme asceticism that he himself had practiced with the Group, and was their continuing spiritual bread and butter! How could they bear to hear their ideal practice condemnedƒÆ’-¡  as barbarian?

But what they didn’t know was that Gotama, upon leaving them, had taken the asceticism to its edges. Frustrated at his failure in gaining liberation from the chain of life (samsara), he had not only completely given up eating but had also almost stoppedƒÆ’-¡  breathing in the thought that it, too, was a form of nutriment, and that it was this gratification ofƒÆ’-¡  the body that was impeding liberation.

He hadƒÆ’-¡  given up the extreme practice just in the nick of time to save his life, he explained.

Unconvinced, the Group of Five listened to the Buddha explain how he then returned to normal living and mastered the art of bringing peace and calm within himself through systematic mind-training. It was duringƒÆ’-¡  this process that he came to understand the problem with theƒÆ’-¡  extremes. Both were forms of attachment! Wanting to gratify the senses is an attachment as is wanting to deny the senses of such gratification.

The Middle PathƒÆ’-¡  emerged as a natural concomitant.

The deer pranced around in glee, and the wind pirouetted.ƒÆ’-¡  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Light has dawned, and insight,ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ came the cry, from one, two or more of the Group,ƒÆ’-¡  their attachment to extremes losing its vigour.

It is this event, this Turning of the Wheel, that Buddhists celebrate this month.

(This originally appeared in the Toronto Star, July 6, 1996)

 


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