My recent visit to Sri Lanka- Good-Bad and Ugly;
Posted on August 17th, 2010

By. U. B. Gunasinghe, PhD

I am writing this essay to highlight few things I observed during recent visit to Sri Lanka.  First of all let me address the “Reconciliation” process that so many external element, especially so called human right advocates are worried about.  Most of the unsubstantiated comments on this subject coming from people who does not know where Sri Lanka is. Or people who has never seen Sri Lank in years, or basically, the information gathering from LTTE friendly organizations.  In my opinion in Sri Lanka only reconciliation between  the Government and the Tamil community especially living in the North and Eastern region has to be freeing them from the brutal dictator Prabhahran and providing them with basic facilities to live normal peaceful life.  The SL government exactly did that.  As Sri Lankan we are indebted to His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapkasha.  During my stay in Sri Lanka I visited Eastern province and it is amazing to see the development activities taking place in the area.  All the previously abandon rice fields are fully cultivated and verdant landscape running to infinity is breathtaking.  Framers, Tamils, Muslims, and Sinhalese living these areas engaged in farming uninterrupted.  Livelihoods of the people are drastically improving.

The construction of roads in the North and eastern provinces are taking place in unprecedented speed.  One year after end of the conflict it is unbelievable to see this kind of a program.  Habarana-Tricomalee road, Ella- Wellawaya roads were the best I saw.  The government is taking the correct steps by providing infrastructure necessary for travel and inter-provincial commerce so that Onions from Jaffna can come to Colombo and necessary supplies for agriculture can be brought to North and East.  This is the way to reconciliation.

People in Sri Lanka are travelling freely and local tourism is booming. I saw many Tamils traveling all over the island without any fear and they engage in business activities freely.  To me this is reconciliation.  My home where I was staying is near A9 and I saw everyday large number of containers carrying numerous essentials and imports such as three wheelers and cars, tractors are being transported to Jaffna.  This is a simple observation and one can infers that robust development projects are taking place in the North to improve the economic conditions.  Also Tamil merchants travelling to villagers to collect compost (mostly cow dung) were a common scene (this was a very familiar scene when I was growing up in my birth village before the war).  The president is trying very hard to win heart and minds of Tamils who were under the brutal regime Praba for more than 30 years.  Those outsiders criticizing the government for not doing enough to reconciliation is absolute malarkey.  

 I was happy to see the traffic laws in the country are improving although long way to go.  Drinking and driving is a serious offense now and traffic accidents are low in years.  I heard some complains about corrupt police officers (traffic) and this problem need to be addressed.  We have to keep in mind that these kinds of problems are nothing compared to Mexico or India.

Bad:

One amazing thing that saw was when I visited Anuradhapura hospital cancer ward.  My wife and I gave food “Dan” to the cancer patients.  When I was engaging in this benevolence activity I spoke to the head nurse and learnt that the ward does not have simple things like syringes.  I could not fathom the situation.  For chemotherapy, large syringes are a must.  She asked me if possible to donate some.  I contacted a friend of mine and went to local Pharmacy and bought some syringes (to fit into my budget) and gave to the ward.  Problem goes beyond general supplies.  In order to receive some cancer medication the patient has to pay their own money.  It was very sad to see the situation of the hospitals.  I do not know the situations in other hospitals but things I heard from people situation is not good.  President can not look into every aspect.  That is why he appoints Ministers and delegate authority to perform certain task under the purview of their respective ministries.  Health minister must look into this situation and improve the conditions of the government hospitals.

Sri Lankan Diaspora living in out of the country can help their own areas (In Sri Lanka) by involving benevolence activities.  I encourage our Sri Lankan friends to look into this matter.

Ugly:

One really bad thing I observe was the impact of fast development on environment and social behavior.  I will talk here what I saw and therefore I can talk confidently on the subject.  When travel in Sri Lanka what you see is that incessant stream of heavy trucks loaded with sand coming from Pollonnaruwa area going to Colombo or Kandy or Southern regions.  What I heard was that most of these contract are done by influential minister and there is no control over where they extract this sand or any regard for environment impact.  It is well know fact that these wealthy people have insatiable apatite for money.  Their aim is to amass wealth as much as possible when they can.  If the situation like this prevails unchecked the future of the environment will be in jeopardy.  Another disturbing trend I came to know was that the some influential people are trying to rape the “Knuckles Mountain Range” in disguise of development.  If this happens it will be a disaster.  This beautiful range spread from Matale to east coast and portions are connected to Toppigala.  This is the catchment area for most of the tanks which provide irrigation water for agriculture in North Central province.  I hope our President look into matters like this before it reaches beyond control.

Conclusions:

Any way we can not develop a country fought terrorism for 30 years in one year.  It takes time to emerge from economic upheaval to normalized conditions, economically and socially.  When extraordinary amount of money involve in the development process it is unavoidable certain degree of corruption by unruly mangers or politicians.  I hope the corruption will not come to status to qualify to be called “Kleptocracy”.

It is well known fact that powerful external forces are working against Sri Lanka and trying to stifle the reconciliation process and the development.  Most compelling evidence comes from the so called human right organization such as Amnesty International, Human right Watch, and International Crisis Group.  These organizations are being infiltrated by Tamil Diaspora and some Christian Groups.

Recent Rouge ship managed by LTTE carried more than 490 asylum seekers.  They claimed that they left Sri Lanka because of mass murder and extortion taking place Sri Lanka.  The Canadian government is dumb enough to believe this kind of bogus claims and granting them asylum.  Sri Lanka must invite those human right champions to visit Sri Lanka and see the development taking place.  Especially we should invite so called “three elders” (more appropriately three idiots) visit North and East of Sri Lanka.

In conclusion I applaud the President and Defense minister for their courage to take the country into a bright future.

7 Responses to “My recent visit to Sri Lanka- Good-Bad and Ugly;”

  1. Sri Rohana Says:

    Well-balanced article. It is their attitudes that most Anglo Saxons, Europeans, Indians and now some South Africans think that they know everything. They even try to dictate us on every Sri Lankans matters. Tamil terrorists international network openly drag those Down-syndrome persons of HRC, Amnesty International, HRW, NGO’s as well as Elders Parkinson club against Sri Lanka.

    Whole infrastructure in north and east was destroyed by tamil terrorists since 1983. We had air-conditioned trains to Jaffna, Mannar, Trincomalee and to Baticoloa. Billions Rupees worth of trains as well as infrastructure destroyed by terrorists. New estimate for northern railway line is nearly 2 billion rupees.
    We had domestic air service to Colombo- Jaffna, Batticoloa and Trincomalee. Terrorists have planted a bomb in Avro aircraft in Jaffna and exploded in Colombo airport in 1978.

    What tamil racists destructed have to reconstruct within a year by Sinhala taxpayer’s money. This is impossible HRC, AI, HRW and Elders Club. You fallas can bark more loudly but the caravan moves.

  2. Raj Says:

    We need more contributions like this article by Dr Gunasinghe with first hand experiences. People’s memories are short therefore reminding them of atrocities of Prabhakaran, like Sri Rohana above, is essential. LTTE lie machine repeats the same lies over and over again, and to combat that the truth must be repeated over and over.

  3. Keppetipola Says:

    Great article. Changing attitudes of people will take a while, but I think the country is going along the right pathway. Turning every bad thing happened during last couple of decades definitely will take some time to turn around. Healing wounds between communities, changin mind set off of money oriented to being people oriented is also going to take time. I think as Sri Lankans we all have to be patient and support the changes to happen gradually rather than expecting the government to change it over night. We all agree that there are theoriticians who either looking for a political gain or try to resove their own problems just by promoting the problems. That is why we should appreciate people like Dr. Gunasinghe who is looking at the whole through a balanced eye.

  4. Raju Says:

    I am afraid is U. B. Gunasinghe has still got the old mentally enslaved mindset of white know best as evident with this:

    “These organizations are being infiltrated by Tamil Diaspora and some Christian Groups.

    Sri Lanka must invite those human right champions to visit Sri Lanka and see the development taking place”

    Does he not realise that these people are liars? Champions of whatever X are usually a set of deluded extremists believing in bizarre ideologies different from the stated goal (that functions as a lovely mask nevertheless) while exhibiting behaviour on borderline anarchy and extreme intolerance.

    They care nothing for the truth but what their benefactors demand of them and pushing their own agendas.
    Plenty of times Sri Lanka as tried to speak to them, engage with them, and let our side be heard, to only be rebuffed, hounded, attacked, demonised more than usual and ignored. They do it because they know they can (as the truth and a balanced approach would give the realistic picture which is the last thing they want). Best of all they believe they can lecture us because they are “superior”, all these high and mighty human rights groups see people of colour as inferiors, they hate being caught and exposed and are not interest in the truth one bit. When they are caught lying they launch even more vicious attacks and defamation /demonisation campaigns against those who expose them. If they were genuine they would be willing to engage and listen to all sides and when proven wrong alter their argument and “facts” accordingly, but they do not.

    Furthermore these groups are not “infiltrated” by anyone. They are WHAT THEY ARE. The behaviour we witness is what is stipulated and expected from them.

    These people already know what is going on in Sri Lanka, they choose to lie and engage in deceit for that is what they have been tasked with by their donors (aka Western Governments/intelligence) and they do it to excellence using whatever “source” and out right fabrications they can get their hands on. Unlike for other countries and people they are fortunate to have the Tamils, a curse they imported into Sri Lanka and still milk to their advantage to this day thanks to the devout indebtedness and loyalty of the Tamil to their master.

    These groups produce bogus reports filled with their deceptions which they go onto repeat again and again (through Western “free media” who work in unison to give the appearance of “word consensus” on an issue) turning a lie into a “fact”. Western propaganda puts Goebbels to shame –primarily because it has been wrapped up in “higher morals” and “fighting for the rights of people”, “we are doing this for your benefit not ours, honest!”.

  5. Raju Says:

    These groups produce bogus reports filled with their deceptions which they go onto repeat again and again (through Western “free media” who work in unison to give the appearance of “word consensus” on an issue) turning a lie into a “fact”. Western propaganda puts Goebbels to shame –primarily because it has been wrapped up in “higher morals” and “fighting for the rights of people”, “we are doing this for your benefit not ours, honest!” and other overbearing “we really care for you” type nonsense to lower the target victim into a false sense of security. Forever lulled into believing these people are genuine and when we have been “naughty” (i.e not following their “authority” by doing what is in our interests) they are suddenly “worried” and “genuinely concerned for our well being”. However the reality is they are trying to ensure their dominance and interests and keeping us under their boot to be exploited without question. They will use any means necessary to crush their enemy (including the above pretending to care for their targets well being) and have their way.

  6. helaya Says:

    Has any one read the Book BY U.B. Gunasinghe (fiction). I think it is good book which depict the Right wing Christian conspiracy to destry science, Lokk into this. Authorhouse.com and type Assassins of God

  7. sena Says:

    Another “worse’ scenerio the writer did not mention is the abandonment of the rural folks who really carried the burden of fighting terrorism to the tune of 29K dead. Now it seems, no one, either public or officials talk about them. Their women folk with their frail bodies (due to under nourisment) still line up to go to ME for slave labor. The dollars they send are being eagerly awaited by officials, politicians and so called professionals whose existence for more than 60 years since the advent of higher education has literaly made no contributuion to our economy. There should be a moument at every street corner for their sacrifices urging people to work hard and honestly (which is in short supply in SL) as mark of gratitude and honor for a better future

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