Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Freedom to Write

The internet is a great innovation. It provides vast possibilities for inventive minds. Within it are immeasurable possibilities of search for diverse information. The internet also provides facilities for personal websites, blogs , forums and chats. There are also websites open for any one to contribute, by way of postings on any subjects, from gardening to politics. There are Forums on all subjects into which members could post their articles and commence a discussion, where other members with like interest may join in. It facilitates writers to find a reading public.

There are also the websites for news and information, where any one has the freedom to write for or against a news item of choice. There are websites that have been set up by Sri Lankans, or for the Sri Lankan community to express themselves on politics, religion or art and culture.

There is the popular Lankaweb, frequented by a large number of writers, both from Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankans living abroad. Some or most of the writers to Lankaweb write against terrorism. But it is open to any one with any political view to express themselves freely. It is one of the oldest Sri Lankan websites in the internet. It encourages writers to express their opinions, what ever they may be, without any restrictions. But for some reason the Lankaweb is now closed to contibuters, and maintains a semblance of a website copying news items from on-line journals. It seems a sad end to a great website.

The Sri Lanka Guardian website accepts articles on any subject of interest to readers. In this website there are articles against the government. And quite a lot of the writers are from the Tamil diaspora, who write strongly against the government. But it does not restrict contributions from others who are favourable to the government. In this website one is free to express one’s point of view, and receive critical and reproachful replies. It is nevertheless a healthy means of expression of one's views. One is free to write on a subject which with some agrees, and others disagree. It is the democratic freedom to write, and to be criticised for what had been written.

These websites as many websites of the developed countries are a healthy means of expression. They allow any one to express their points of view on any thing or any personn, the President, the Ministers or even the Judiciary. If an article does not insult a person or institutions, but criticises to point out errors, and expresses disagreement, there is no harm in publishing such articles.

But if some one takes offence over an article appearing in the website, he is free to write to say so. But to use the privilege of one’s official position to contact the webmasters to demand them to stop publishing articles critical of him or his actions, is attempting to curtail the freedom of expression of the people.

It is unheard of in the Western democracies. The Websites are more often reluctant to publish articles that hurt the sensibility of their readers. That too depends on the nature of the subject treated by it. There are special website for sex and sensuality. This is an aspect largely exploited by the internet and often becomes a nuisance with pop up windows with nude women and men which may disturb the concentration of the more “intellectual minds”. These websites are however subject to restrictions and sometimes in some western countries they are controlled by the police department.

Other than that the police and the judiciary do not interfere in to websites where political issues are discussed. There are articles in some of the websites of the countries of the International Community, where the governments , and the judicial matters come under criticism. But neither the governments nor the judiciary intervene to curtail the liberty of expression.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

JHU and Champika Ranawaka defend the Sinhala Community, and not neo-fascists for that matter.

It is interesting to read our respected diplomat Izeth Hussain, even if one does not agree with him, for his remarkable writing skill. Nevertheless, one feels reluctant to enter into a discussion on a subject he feels has a right to defend. However, he had been carried away with his intellectual analysis to conclude that JHU and Champika Ranawaka are neo-fascists showing their antagonism towards the Muslims Community.

Therefore, without trying to enter into a debate with his pet ideas, I write down some matters which will clear the picture he has painted of them as neo-fascists, and place them as the defenders of the majority community, who is now the target of those taking pen to defend the minorities, attempting to push the Sinhala majority to the oblivion.

It has become a habit for some journalists and feature writers to many websites to attack, call names, insult and vilify any one writing or speaking in defence of the Sinhala people, their culture or language. They immediately become Sinhala Buddhist supremacists, racist, or neo-fascists. Under these circumstances, the Sinhala being the majority, cannot simply put their hands down and accept encroachment into what they hold as theirs for fear of being assailed by every one as the majority discriminating against the minority. The Sinhala, as much as the Tamils and the Muslims have a right to protect their culture, their religion, and what belongs to them.

Since Independence, it is the minority communities that had been blaming the Sinhala majority for not protecting their rights. The governments, after governments despite their Sinhala majority, had allowed the erosion of the rights of the Sinhala people in favour of the other Communities, without making any effort to protect them for fear of being accused as Sinhala Buddhist Supremacist governments.

It was the silent acceptance of every demand of the minority communities, at the cost of the rights and privileges of the Sinhala Buddhist, that resulted in the formation of the JHU. As it was unthinkable that the Buddhist priests would take to active politics, leaving aside their religious vocation, the JHU was attacked in various ways for its political engagement, first as reactionaries, then as racists, even as terrorist, and now as extremists and neo-fascists.

Our scholarly diplomat is attempting to create a non existent deep antagonism of the JHU towards the Muslims, because of “minor scale irritant behaviour” of the Muslims. Of course the behaviour of the Muslims towards the Sinhala had been exemplary, because the Sinhala majority is by nature tolerant, and accepted to put up with any and most of things, even if the behaviour of the minority community had been “more” irritant and demanding.

It was a Muslim Minister under a SLFP government that established the Girls Schools for Muslims. The Sinhala Community did not show any antagonism . The Muslim community dominated in the commercial sector, and often in provincial towns, to the extent of putting the Sinhala traders out of business. The people did not complain. The Muslims some times desecrated Buddhist Sacred areas by opening meat stalls displaying the carcases in public places .

Until recently the Sinhala, and the Muslims had no significant divergent political views, Muslims being adherents of the two main Political Parties the UNP or the SLFP. The separate Muslim Political Parties were a later addition. The Sinhala and Muslims had their own “riots “ , but they were settled and the animosity was not allowed to continue, as there were no extremist Muslim groups in Sri Lanka. The Muslims were not politically over ambitious, and lived in harmony with the Sinhala and Tamil populations. It was that adoptability of the Muslims that created the “exemplary” behaviour and non confrontational existence.

As it was, subsequent to the Sri Lanka Tamil Congress, that there were divisive politics of the Tamil Community, which eventually resulted in ruthless terrorism, it is the Muslim Congress that is responsible for the tension between the Sinhala and Muslim Communities. These are not intellectual rhetoric but mere reflexions going on facts. They could be argued in different ways to suit either the majority or the minority. What is rational from one person’s point of view, may be irrational from another person’s point of view. But what would be wrong is to assert ones own ideas as the “only truth.”

JHU had not denied the Muslim Community being part and parcel of the people of Sri Lanka, as much as the Tamil Community, but the minorities keep forgetting the part the Sinhala Community plays in it to the extent that the Tamil diaspora even goes to the extent of insisting that the Tamils occupied Sri Lanka before the Sinhala.

The assertion that LTTE had been fighting a separatist war with strong Tamil support is not an evident fact. The Tamil diaspora has without doubt supported the LTTE terrorism, with perhaps a number of exceptions as evidenced from some articles appearing in some Websites, (Thomas Johnpulle, Noel Nadeson), but Tamil people of Sri Lanka themselves have not supported the LTTE terrorism.

The Caste System holds no more significance in the present Sinhala Society. And the Sinhala people have learnt after many years of living together, that even the Communal difference is a passing phenomena, and if the minorities accept to live in harmony with Sinhala respecting their cultural and religious values , the ethnic difference will only be a scar of a healed wound, left on the skin of the Nation.

Today the Sinhala Buddhist Youth die in hundreds with the sole aim of keeping the motherland together without ceding any part of it to terrorists for their Eelam State. This sacrifice in large numbers of the majority Sinhala Buddhist youth is not for the sake of the Sinhala Community of which they are a part, but it is for all communities living in Sri Lanka to live in harmony in a unitary country. They do not hesitate to face the terrorist, asking why youths from other communities are not fighting alongside them to end terrorism from their motherland.

It had always been the Sinhala Buddhists, who fought against the invaders from the very beginning to make what Sri Lanka is today. In this respect the contribution of Mayadunna, Ehelepola Nilame, and Puranappu is not insignificant. It was none other than a Buddhist Priest Venerable Wariyapola Sri Sumangala, Anunayake Thero, of the Asgiriya Maha Viharaya, that pulled down the British flag that was hoisted on the 2 Marchn1815 making Sri Lanka a British Colony.

The Buddhist Priests have come forward through out the history of Sri Lanka to protest against the invaders or foreign occupants when matters affecting the Country, the People or Buddhism were in danger. They were not for that matter neo-fascists.

Muslim fundamentalism has caused many a rift in the western society by their insistence to apply religious customs into a lay society. In Sri Lanka too the recent Muslim manifestation, against a Buddhist Girl’s School for not accepting their religious symbols, was a disrespectful effort to introduce the symbolism of another culture into areas of Sinhala Culture, the Sinhala Community would like to preserve, in its pristine glory as one would say. And the other communities should respect it, as much as they expect the Sinhala people to respect their culture.

It is an undeniable fact that people have come and settled down in various countries, as invaders, as traders, as invitees or even as travellers. After some time they become part and parcel of the country’s population. They having acquired their rights, keep their cultural ties and religions, but do not deny the rights and privileges of the people who had been originally living their. That is in a way “ the gratitude” for the ancient inhabitant, for having adopted them as part of their population.

The people of Sri Lanka should learn lessons from terrorism that had taken away the lives of large numbers of their people from all communities, for an ambition of one terrorist to divide the country and establish self rule. In this situation the Muslim Community should not accede to the establishment of separate areas for Muslims. It is time that we say “never again for terrorism”, and get closer to build a united nation of the three communities.

JHU is not against that vision of a United Nation. It can be set up only by a communal understanding. There had been instances of bulldozing temple lands in dighavapi to build settlements for the Muslims. There were also attempts to colonize areas by settling down Muslim families. These activities tend to divide the nation rather than unite it. Therefore, we should learn to preserve our ancient heritage, be it that of the Sinhala Buddhists, Tamils, Muslims, or Christians for our future generations. That should be the common link that binds us together.

We have to face the future not with our differences, but with our similarities, with an understanding of unity and respect for each other after thirty years of suffering under terrorism. Every body is conscious of the fact that the Tamil and Muslim Communities that make up the Sri Lanka Nation have to be given a status of equality with the majority, but at the same time without taking away the rights and privileges of the Sinhala Community. The JHU is today the political party that speaks for the preservation of the ancient Sinhala Buddhist culture in a Sri Lanka which is more concerned with minority rights and devolution of political power, to the exclusion of the rights and privileges of the Sinhala Community.

While the Tamil and the Muslim communities have local and foreign defenders as the communities victimised by a Sinhala Majority, the Sinhala people are made out to be the monster which is destroying the minority Communities. The Sinhala in this propaganda, with Narapalasingham attempting to rewrite the history of Sri Lanka with the Tamil as its original inhabitants, and reducing the Mahavamsa to a sort of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, is defenceless. The few who makes an attempt to stand in defence of the Sinhala Community its culture and religion are immediately “ shouted down”, as neo-fascists or even comparing them to the Nazis.

In this situation the Sinhala people should be grateful to the JHU for taking the challenge to defend the Sinhala Community, before it will be pushed down the precipice of existence by the terrorists, intellectuals, journalists, and scholars who take up the cause of the minorities to the exclusion of the majority.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Judiciary and Human Nature

It is an accepted practice in a democratic system of government to have a strict separation of power of the legislature, the judiciary and the executive, with out any one of them concentrating power to the detriment of another, or allowing it to over lap the powers of another. Nor may one abdicate its power in favour of another.

This is the accepted formulae to make democracy a workable system of government. However, there could be lapses in the system, therefore to avoid facing a dead end in the exercise of governance there are constant checks to avoid the derailment of the separation of powers. This latter checking process is an accepted cause of tension between the judiciary and the executive, as we see it today in Sri Lanka.

This tension is considered by some as an example of a government that functions well. However, the continued tension between the executive and the judiciary, which is more often the case, undermines the trust of the people in the judiciary, and governance difficult. The Judiciary is however not above the people, represented by the house of representatives- the Parliament. The Executive may therefore, seek the legislature to intervene to find a way out, from the judiciary overstepping its allotted power under the governing system.

Apart from the exercise of the judicial power to cheque the executive , the judiciary should use its wisdom not to make the governance difficult by interfering into areas which is not within its competence. The Governing is more difficult, and has more obstacles to overcome, than the judicial function which is to interpret the law, and make judicial decisions to be applied by the executive enabling it to carry out its functions according to the law.

But the Judiciary should not handicap the government with its decisions, which would make governing difficult. The legislature, judiciary and the executive should, on the other hand, be a coordinated system, functioning together supporting each other, in the interest of the country and the people. It is in this that intelligence, human, and the comprehensive nature of the man in the cloak of the judge, contributes for the smooth governance.

A judge who allows human weakness of anger, jealousy, ambition to influence his judicial decisions will hamper the progress of a government, creating conflict between the government and the people.

In the present case of the Judiciary over stepping its bounds to fix prices of commodities is exercising its power in an area not within its competence. The Government as it has correctly explained , has a right to tax in various ways, by sometimes increasing the price of one commodity and lowering the price of another to balance its budget of income and expenditure.

In that exercise the government no doubt takes into consideration, the price of one commodity used by a larger number of the population to be reduced, and that which is used by a few to be increased. This exercise is not the responsibility of the judiciary, and the judiciary exercising its judicial power to disorganise the system of collection of revenue, is certainly over stepping its boundary of power, to make it difficulties for the executive, and also to put the population against the government.

The Judiciary in this case has resorted to a populist exercise without self restraint to keep its judicial power within limits. Pleasing the people or taking revenge from the President of the Country or the government is not what is expected of the judiciary. Judiciary should interpret the law and make decisions to be applied by the executive in the smooth functioning of the government, what ever government it is, even if it differs from the political view of the judge making judicial decisions.

This is what, Lord Woolfe in the University of Western Australia Law Review had said , about occasional tension between the judiciary and the executive, which has to be handled with care not to end in political chaos, “ … no more than that created by the unseen chains which … hold the three spheres of government in position. If one chain slackens, then another needs to take the strain. However, so long as there is no danger of the chains breaking, the fact that this happens is not a manifestation of weakness but of strength.”

It is more apt to mention, as it had been said else where, that the separation of power is not to promote efficiency of the exercise of the executive power, but to stop an abuse of it that would lead to the use of arbitrary power, and an eventual autocracy. That fear of the Present Government of Sri Lanka and its President, making arbitrary use of power with an eye to being an autocracy is certainly out of the question.

The danger of judicial authority going beyond its limit, in a system of separation of power, lies in the civil organisations, which may make use of a populist judicial decision, to serve their own ends by organising the population against the government. In which case the situation would be out of control of the judiciary, allowing the executive to resort to its powers to stop agitation, which would result in an unhealthy political situation.

Therefore to avoid a confrontational situation a wise judiciary, may amend the controversial decision in the interest of the country and the people, if not in the interest of the executive, which it had unthinkingly, or deliberately put into an embarrassing position.

The Government of the President, and the decisions it had taken so far are far from being arbitrary. Its executive power had been exercised in the normal function of the government to fix prices, not to put the majority of the people in to greater difficulty, but with the object of providing financial support for an ongoing “war” against terrorism, that takes priority for a country and a people who had suffered three decades of extreme terror.

The Judiciary in making the decision to reduce the price of a litre of petrol, had not taken into consideration that the Government had already prepared its projects and programmes according to the Budget for 2009, which had already been passed, at a revenue calculated at the then prevalent market prices of commodities. In such circumstances, the judiciary “arbitrarily” reducing the price of an important commodity, that was considered as an item that brings in a larger income, has placed the government in an embarrassing and a difficult situation unable to carry out its already planned projects and programmes under the Budget for 2009.

The Judiciary in making its decision had not taken into consideration relevancy as a matter of judgement, which has put the executive into an unexpected difficult situation. The judiciary has in this case exercised its judicial power without taking into consideration the administrative difficulties that would be caused by the decision.

In reducing the price of a litre of petrol, the judiciary had taken it in isolation of the other consideration, therefore the judicial decision had been taken without the essential relevancy to other matters, considered for the preparation of the Budget.

In order to avoid similar situations in the future, the Parliament may introduce new legislation redefining areas of intervention by the judiciary, thus restricting the judiciary from over reaching matters strictly within the executive power.

This had been done to restrict the jurisdiction of Federal Courts, in the Australian Parliament, in the Migration Act 1958 (Cth),

“………as amended, provides in section 474 that a privative clause decision is final and conclusive, must not be challenged, appealed against, reviewed, quashed or called into question in any court and is not subject to prohibition, mandamus, injunction, declaration or certiorari in any court on any account. The Act defines a privative clause decision as a decision of an administrative character made, proposed to be made, or required to be made under the Act or a regulation. "Decision" includes decisions about the issuance of visas, imposition of conditions on visas, conduct preparatory to the making of a decision and a failure or refusal to make a decision. Section 474(4) lists decisions which are not privative clause decisions – these relate to the purely administrative and mechanical aspects of the migration regime.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

In the troubled waters of politics in Sri Lanka.

In politics friendship are a rare commodity. Though it was good to hear that Wimal Weerawansa of the NFF has accepted UPFA as a lean-against, he seems to have made it clear that it was only for the reason of seeing an end to the terrorism. It is already a wise move which should be emulated by the JVP, and the UNP. It cannot not be said the same for the SLMC as they are a political group of adventurers, changing place from on party to another causing disabilities to governments when support is of dire need. It is better for a government not to have SLMC as a partner even if it is to count numbers in the Parliament for passing a bill or facing a motion of no-confidence.

The JVP as a political party has become a home for a set of noise makers, without a firm foot hold any where in the country. And with their vote base eroding JVP will soon be left only with Somawansa, Anura Dissanayake, Lal Kantha, Tilvin Silva, Vijitha Herath and Sunil Handunetti. It may do well for them to take stock of the situation and join with the NFF to find a lean-against in UPFA.

The same cannot be said of the UNP, though its hope for popularity to replace SLFP seems bleak. They nevertheless, still keeps their old vote base, which may also be strained to the point of snapping, with Ranil Munasinghe unable to score points as a leader, who could guide the party to any victory. Unfortunately, he has not learnt any lessons from his past pranks, to give any hope for the UNP to rise from where it had fallen since he became its “eternal “ leader.

Karu Jaysuriya breaking away from the government for an expected rousing welcome by his old party has done nothing to enhance the popularity of his own image or that of the UNP. In the government Karu Jayasuriya, was doing well as the Minister of Public Administration and Home Affair and won the appreciation of the people to a large extent. In leaving the government to reconcile with the UNP as its Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya did not make a significant contribution either to his own popularity or that of the UNP. UNP will have to change its leadership from Ranil to someone else, if it were to make an impact on the people as an alternative to SLFP.

UNP to make a possible attempt for a political come back has to discipline its “ chorus” made up of Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kirielle, S.B.Dissanayake, and the likes of them and change their present slogans. The people do not appreciate so much the bullock cart riding, tooting horns, and smashing pots and pans, and there for UNP also has to change its tactics to attract the attention of a responsible, and a respectable following.

Though there were many efforts to make the President Mahinda Rajapakse, and the SLFP unpopular, they have gained ground in popularity, not only because of the military successes against terrorism, but also because of the effort the government is making to carry out various development projects, enhanced foreign diplomatic relationships. The President has won respect, and the people he has selected for important ministries, embassies and administrative post have carried out their responsibilities remarkably well.

Every one looks at what ever is negative, overlooking positive aspects. But in the face of all difficulties, and criticism the President Mahinda Rajapakse had been able to steer past all obstacles with remarkable ease and ingenuity. He had not failed in his attempts to ride over problems that had been cast before him, hoping to find him in deep waters of political disaster.

When JVP turned its back to become his most virulent critic, and SLMC left the cabinet to support his rival, and the opposition leader, the President remained unruffled. He was able to wade through to survive under most difficult circumstances. When the JVP turned its back allowing the President to sink in the deep waters of political uncertainty, the UNP broke up and 18 of them joined the government. He had no alternative but to accept them into his cabinet. Everybody criticised him for having the worlds largest cabinet. But he did not bother to retort he carried on showing to all his critics that he had taken the best decision under difficult circumstance.

When he was elected to the office of the President, the country was in an utter mess. The terrorists were in rampage. The terrorist suicide bombs, claymore mines, snipers, pistol gangs, and grenade lobbers had a free run. People were living in fear, not knowing what the next days news would announce. The country was devastated by the tsunami, and NGOs and INGOs were every where. The opposition political parties cried from house tops that he had won by bribing the terrorists to bloc the votes of the rival candidate.

In this rough-and-tumble, the settlement of terrorism was a necessity for any political success. He started by inviting Prabhakaran the terrorist leader himself for peace negotiations. The terrorist leader at the time thought he was beyond any one’s call for negotiations. He refused to meet him but agreed to send his representatives for negotiations if held in foreign venues. The terrorist demand for foreign venues was for ulterior moives, They made each of those visits, an occasion to meet in secret arms dealers and negotiate to buy arms military equipment, and broke off pace talks half way demanding nothing else other than a separate homeland for the Tamil.

The International Community continued to demand the Government to continue negotiations with the terrorists who refused negotiations. The terrorists had already murdered the Foreign Minster. Instead of negotiations, the terrorists resorted to terror. They sent a pregnant woman a “ living bomb” to murder the Commander of the Army Sarath Fonseka. In the attempt the Army Commander was seriously wounded. Yet the President did not lose his patience. Despite the attempt on the life of the Army Commander, the President continued to call the terrorist leader for negotiations.

When finally the President had to resort to the military solution against terrorism, no one was willing to take bet on his success. But nevertheless the President did not succumb to his opponents, and today he has shown that he was not wrong in taking the military solution to end terrorism.

To be continued……..

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Homeland is a divisive concept of Terrorists, which is not accepted by the Sri Lanka Tamil Community.

With Kilinochchi becoming the target, the government forces meeting heavy resistance, minds begin to open, and ink begins to flow on hurriedly collected sheets of paper with open flourishes of discontent against the government, and veiled praise for the terrorists.

The most active “noise makers” in this respect, to the complete exclusion of the Tamils that matter, the Tamil Community of Sri Lanka, from Kankesenturai in the North to Hambantota in the South, are the Sri Lanka Tamil diaspora. The Sri Lanka Tamil diaspora seem to think that they are the only Tamils that matter, as they have commissioned Prabhakaran and his gang of terrorists to carve out a Tamil Homeland for them, for which they pay around 300 million dollars annually.

The real Tamil Community in Sri Lanka avoids all demonstrations against the terrorists. They take refuge in silence for fear of reprisals. If the manifestations were held in the north against the Sri Lanka army they were organised and executed on the orders of the terrorists.

The situation is such that for some members of the International Community, like those in UK led by MP Andrew Peeling of Croydon, only Tamils that matter are those in the diaspora, and they speak for them, and the Tamils in the diaspora speak for the Tamils in Sri Lanka without knowing much about them other than what has been, or is being told to them.

Of course, other than the Tamil diaspora we have the TNA MPs- the proxies for the terrorists, Mano Ganeshan and other politicians whose primary interests are to create mayhem, for their political benefit, and communal dissention and racial hatred as their raisons d’ĂȘtre. They too do not speak for the majority of the real Tamil people of Sri Lanka, poor or rich, working class or upper class.

Therefore, what appears in the websites, as the words of the Tamil people , should be read as the words of the Tamil diaspora.

The Tamils of the diaspora are well read for instance Narapalasingham gives his interpretation of the Mahavamsa, which he knows as that which has made the Sinhala “mindset”. Again it is the dispora who has created defenders of the Tamil people in the International Community, like Bruce Fein, Andrew Peeling, Ramans, and Hariharans. They speak of Kilinochchi as the Stalingrad of the Government Forces, Wanni as the Army Grave Yard.

It is again the Tamil diaspora that claims ownership to territory, without even a “ by your permission”. The real Tamil Community from Kankasenturai to Hambantota do not claim any special territory as their own , because they know Sri Lanka is their mother land, and they have the right to live where ever they want.

Therefore, Prabhakaran’s assertions are for himself , and for his followers in the Tamil diaspora. The Sinhala diaspora has their motherland and do not claim any part of it as their territory-the homeland.

It is said that our ancestors were nomads. They lived by hunting, and did not stay in the same place for long. Then they decided to settle down, diversify their eating habits. Began to cultivate and build huts to live in. All problems started from the time they settled down and staked out their territories. There was then the clans., who lived together. And when the clans became large they encroached upon the lands of the other clansn and their were clan wars with clubs and axes to protect their lands and it continues to this day. It is time we stop delimitating land as our territory, and your territory.

Sri Lanka is big enough for the Sinhala, the Tamil, the Muslim and others to live together. We need no boundaries to separate one community from the other. We can share the land, the food, the water, and shelter and live happily. Why should we allow a big fat terrorist to dictate terms to us, and a diaspora living in clover in their adopted homes to narrate old history to divide our common land ?

There is no historical land for different Communities in Sri Lanka. The Tamil homeland is a divisive plot hatched by the terrorists, and supported by the Tamil diaspora. Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala, Tamils, Muslims and others who were born in it or acquired its citizenship. In the 21st century when the Americans and Russians are planning to have colonies in the Moon, it is absurd for the Tamil Diaspora following their terrorist “Sun God” to claim a historical land in Sri Lanka as their Home Land.

They should come down to earth and reality, and disown the fat terrorist Prabhakaran, and love their motherland and be a part of it’s multiethnic population. Once it has been done let us share our political view to build a united nation without holding allegiance to any foreign land such as Tamil Nadu, with whose Culture, Sri Lanka Tamils have nothing in common, except their language and religion.

The religion and language we could burrowed from any one like Christianity and English, and for that matter, those among us who are Christians and speak English, are not English !

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Democracy, and why the Present UNP Leadership forfeits its right to Lead the Party.

In order to be a real democracy the political parties should consist of real democrats. A real democrat is one who respects the principles of democracy. One ennobling principle of democracy is to respect the decision of the majority, even if the loosing minority believes that the majority is wrong. The other is to allow the government elected on the principle of the respect of the majority vote, to implement its election manifesto, with the support of the minority, which becomes the “democratic” opposition of the Parliament.

If on the other hand the loosing minority-the opposition, from the day one after election, keeps criticising the government of the majority, and does not support the implementation of its election manifesto, it is not being loyal to democratic principles.

Hence, they should either resign en bloc, and allow the government to carry on without them, or be democrats and accept to support the government helping it with constructive criticism, not to make difficulties but to support it to carry on for the specified period of time for which it had been elected, allowing the people to get the maximum benefit from the government in place.

This supportive democratic opposition should go further, to cooperate and be one with the government, in three instances: (1) in the case of a natural disaster, (2) I n case of an enemy attack , and (3) in the case of terrorism. If the government would not commute itself to a National Government, the opposition should stand together with the government giving its undivided support, burying its political differences in the larger interest of the country and the people, until the situation is settled.

Unfortunately for Sri Lanka this democratic principle is a “ rare commodity”. The opposition thinks its role is to continually attack the government, insult and vilify, hoping that it would either gives up, allowing the opposition to take over, or call for fresh elections. That is not democracy, but “anarchy” of the opposition, becoming a traitor to the nation.

In Sri Lanka we have two principle political parties-the SLFP and the UNP, with their respective block votes. Other political parties until they get a majority vote at an election which propels them above the two principle political parties, will remain independently or join up with either one of the principle parties to form a coalitions.

But in Sri Lanka the democratic system does not function as it should because of the continuous antagonism. Each political party vying with each other to discredit the government. The tsunami in Sri Lanka saw the different political parties working independently without joining hands with the government, each seeking to establish popularity among the people. But the NGOs displaced the government, and other political parties in providing aid. No political party distinguished among the affected people as the party which helped them the most.

But in the other disastrous situation of terrorism, where the democratic principle of supportive participation with the government is necessitated more than ever, the collective participation of all parties with the government did not materialise. But instead we find the main Opposition party UNP, taking side with the terrorists instead of being with the government.

The principle political party responsible for this unpatriotic move to withdraw its whole hearted support to the government, and instead extend its support to the terrorists is the UNP, Whatever was the stand taken by the other political parties such as , the JVP, JHU, SLMC, TNA, SLFP (M), WPF, the UNP as the oldest political party with a large vote base has a duty demanded by the democratic principle of supporting the government on a National issue, to have stood by the government in its fight against terrorism.

But, in not doing so the present UNP leadership forfeited its right to be a democratic party of the people. The founding fathers of UNP were democratic, people friendly patriots National Leaders. The present Leadership of the UNP has not honoured either that reputation of the party, nor respected the memory of its founding fathers, thus it has doubly forfeited its right to lead the UNP.

It is now up to the UNP members at District level to coordinate all the members of the UNP from the grass root level, to demand the present UNP leaders to resign and call for a General Assembly of the UNP to elect a new set of leaders.

The present leaders beginning from Ranil Wickramsinghe, Tissa Attanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, Ravi Karunanayake, Michael Perera, Amaratunga , S.B.Dissanayake and others do not represent the UNP membership as a whole, and they do not speak any more for the real UNP vote base, the ordinary people.

With the present leadership UNP has become an unpatriotic party, distancing itself from the general membership of the party, and the great intentions of its founding fathers. They have confiscated the party to promote themselves, and force the members to support them for their official position in the parties Executive Committee.

It is not reforms that is necessary to give back to the UNP its deserved place as the oldest political party of Sri Lanka, but a complete shake up, removing the present leadership as a whole and replacing it with persons who have new ideas, who speak respectfully not as market orators, and who above all abide by the democratic principle of respect the elected President, and his elected government, and support them whole heartedly when the Nation is in danger in the hands of heinous terrorists.