Thursday, 24 January 2013

What more are we going to sacrifice in the name of reconciliation ?

 Ananda Samarakoon who composed the Sri Lanka National Anthem

Vasudeva Nanayakkara the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration must stop thinking  that he is a Minister in a Marxist Government. He is only a Marxist in a non-Marxis Government.  He continues with his idea of reconciliation taking away what had been National making them common popular items of no significance.   Vasudeva Nanayakkara now wants to mix Tamil and Sinhala verses in the National Anthem to make it a garbled version of the National Anthem that was written by Ananda Samarakoon in 1940 and recognised as the National Anthem of Sri Lanka in 1951.
 National Anthem of Sri Lanka

Vasudeva Nanaykkara is a Marxist and does not really know the  value of what is National. It will not be surprising  that if it is for the sake of reconciliation he may even propose part of the LTTE flag included in the already mutilated National flag of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka became a Government of the  people, by the people, and  for the people of Sri Lanka,  in reality,  in 1956 after Mr.S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike  formed his SLFP Government. 

SWRD introduced Sinhala Only as the National language of Sri Lanka not to divide the country  or make the Majority dominate over the minorities.  He was an educated man and knew global politics.  He was not a nationalist as many would like to call him.

He knew that Western Nations were rich and influential because they had  built their nations around one National Anthem , one National flag and one National Language. He therefore wanted to unite all communities in Sri Lanka as one nation on that principle.

But it was the Tamil, political leaders like  G.G.Ponnambalam, Chelvanayagam and others who moved into set the Tamils against the Sinhala because they wanted to “rein” in the North as the leaders of the Tamil people.  The Communal Division was therefore created by these Tamil politicians, but never by SWRD Bandaranaike who had good intentions.

It was this extreme political sentiments aroused by these Tamil Political leaders that took greater divisive dimensions until the rise of terrorism in Sri Lanka. It was an exaggerated nationalist demand of those Tamil political leaders  to divide the country  and its people,  demanding equal rights for a 13 percent of a Tamil population against a 74 percent of a Sinhala population instead of  demanding political, social, and economic unity for the  whole of the people of Sri Lanka as one Nation of Sri Lankans.

However, after the elimination of terrorism the Government of the President Mahinda Rajapakse  made the greatest mistake of not immediately banning  the Tamil National Alliance, removing the 13 Amendment, and ban all political parties labelled as representing  a Community.  

 Therefore, today we have more problems with the TNA still representing the defunct terrorism, which keeps alive the Sinhala-Tamil division  hampering the development and the reconciliation of the Communities.

The Government has given in by introducing a three language policy, and starting more development projects in the North and East in order to draw the people from these district into the main political stream.  But still despite numerous efforts to bring about  an understanding  between the two main communities the rift is getting wider.

It is in this situation that Vasudeva Nanaykkara proposes the mutilation of the National Anthem, as another means for reconciliation.   It is time that the People stand against this move as it is the still remaining link  between the past and  the present .

Vasudeva Nanayakkara had said, “…… the national anthem with Sinhala and Tamil verses would be sung at the 65th Independence Day celebration on February 4th if the President approves the proposal. ”

This is what Vasudeva Nanayakkara wants and it is not what the people would like to have.  Therefore, we should appeal to the President to leave the National Anthem as it is, and not to give in to the LSSP Minister Nanayakkara, who wants to further muddle the already muddied situation in Sri Lanka.

If the proposal of Vasudeva Nanaykkara  is unfortunately  accepted the National Anthem will remain garbled and un-national as all  contributions that had been made in the recent past  in the name of reconciliation.

The TNA and the Tamil people following them will  never change their attitude and reconciliation  may remain a distant mirage with a garbled National Anthem becoming a comic song sung for  amusement  rather than as a “…… composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people.”, as a National Anthem should be. - A tribute to Ananda Samarakoon

Ananda Samarakoon - The composer of our national anthem

Who composed our national anthem? I am sure all you readers know the answer - Ananda Samarakoon. What do you know about him? We seldom hear or read about him now. He died 44 years ago, on April 5, 1962.
'Sri Lanka Maatha' was not composed as the national anthem. Samarakoon has put it on record that he composed it in 1940, when he was a teacher at Mahinda College, Galle, to instil patriotism - a love for one's country - in his students.

We had no national anthem to sing, on February 4, 1948, the day we got independence from British rule. The need for a national anthem was keenly felt; so, a competition was held to select one. Many choirs trained by reputed musicians competed. Ananda Samarakoon's song was selected. The Cabinet accepted 'Namo Namo Maatha' as our national anthem on November 22, 1951.
The opening words of the original song were 'Namo Namo Maatha'. Samarakoon knew nothing as he was away in India, holding art exhibitions, when all this took place.
Samarakoon was not only a master musician, singer and lyric writer (verses written to be sung are called lyrics), he was also an artist. His paintings, which were exhibited in North India and in Singapore and Malaysia during 1948-1951 had very favourable reviews in the leading papers of those towns like Straits Times and Deccan Herald.
He showed his inborn talents in the field of music when he was still a schoolboy. The story goes that he hated arithmetic. One day, the master caught him writing some lines of verse instead of doing his sums.
"What is this?" asked the angry master. "A song", replied the boy. "Then sing it for the class to hear", ordered the master, as a punishment. The boy sang the words to a tune he made up on the spot. The class was thrilled. The master's anger gave way to surprise and delight, but he didn't show it. The song was about the beautiful river-side he passed daily as he walked to and from school.
Ananda Samarakoon was born on January 13, 1911 in a small village, Liyanwela, near Watareka in the Padukka area. His parents, Samuel Samarakoon and Dominga Pieris were Christians. The son was christened George Wilfred. His full name was Egodahage George Wilfred Alwis Samarakoon.
He started schooling at the Wewala Government Sinhala school and his daily walk from Liyanwela to Wewala and back, was past the Weraha Ganga, which as it goes downstream, becomes the Bolgoda Oya.
Later, George Wilfred was admitted to Christian College, Kotte. His mother was then a teacher in a school at Nawala. Kotte and Nawala are on either side of the Diyawannawa. While at Christian College, he composed a song for the students of his mother's school, to sing at an inter-school competition organised by the Education Department.
The competition was held at Christian College and young Samarakoon must have been on top of the world, when it was announced that the students of the Nawala school won the first place. It was a patriotic song.
In 1929 he passed the ESLC examination, the equivalent of today's O-Level in the First Division, and in 1934, joined the staff of Christian College, as a teacher of art and music.
It was about this time that Rabindranath Tagore came to Sri Lanka with his troupe of dancers and musicians and staged ballets based on episodes in the Ramayana. This visit marked a turning point in our cultural scene. Many young men and a few women too, were so taken up with the singing and dancing, that they decided to join Shantinekathan, Tagore's School of Fine Arts in Bengal, some 100 odd miles from Calcutta (now Kolkott). Among them was George Wilfred.
He joined Shantinekathan in 1936 and studied art under the famous Bengali artist Nanda Lal Bose, and music and singing under Shanti Devi Gosh. He came back in 1937 before finishing his course, perhaps due to financial reasons, and started teaching again. It is not on record, but perhaps it was on his return, that George Wilfred became Ananda Samarakoon. In 1940, he was on the staff of Mahinda College.
The 1940s were the best years of Samarakoon's career, but he had already made his mark as singer, musician and lyric writer. He recorded his first song for the HMV company in 1939. Soon after, more songs were recorded. They were sung as duets with a young girl, Leelawathy. Samarakoon introduced a new type of song, with simple words, in keeping with the rural scenes painted in the lyrics, and they were set to charming tunes that appealed to the listeners. It was the Gramophone Era and these records sold fast and became very popular.
Leelawathy had an untimely death. His next partner was Swarna de Silva, a sister of the flautist Dunstan de Silva. It was with Swarna de Silva that Samarakoon first recorded 'Namo Namo Maatha' and other hits like 'Siri Saru Saara Kethey' and 'Poson Poho dina'.
When his son and only child, aged 5, died, Samarakoon was heart-broken, and became depressed. He left everything and went to India in 1948 and took to painting, to drown his sorrow.
Returning to his homeland in 1951, he started writing lyrics and singing. He was given a programme on the radio's school service. He produced a pageant of song and dance - Amaraneeya Lanka in 1957. But none of the songs of the 1950s could match the hits of the 40s. Because of his unsettled life and financial difficulties, he didn't have the peace of mind to compose songs like those of his heyday.
Then, in the 60s, he was hit so hard that he never recovered from the blow. Poets, pundits and Buddhist monks began blaming the misfortunes in the country on the national anthem, which they said was unlucky. Two Prime Ministers had untimely deaths; no Prime Minister had been able to complete his term of office.
This, the critics said, was the ill-effect of the unlucky 'gana' at the beginning of the national anthem. A 'gana' is the placing of the first three syllables - how the long and short syllables occur. The opening words of the anthem 'na-mo-na' short-long-short constituted an unlucky gana. With mounting criticism, the Government of the day was compelled to take action. Instead of changing the national anthem, the opening words were changed to 'Sri Lanka Maatha'.
Samarakoon was angry and frustrated. The change had been done without consulting him. A few days before his death, he wrote a letter to 'Timesman', a columnist on the Times newspaper.
He wrote, "The anthem has been beheaded. It has not only destroyed the song, but also destroyed the life of the composer. I am frustrated and broken-hearted. It is a misfortune to live in a country where such things happen to a humble composer. Death would be preferable".
On the morning of April 5, 1962, he was found dead on his bed. The coroner's verdict, "Death due to an overdose of sleeping pills".

Monday, 21 January 2013

Islam and Muslims in Sri Lanka and concerns of new trends in their religious development.

Hameed Abdul Kareem  wrote to the Daily News of the 19 January, 2013 “ Defending Islam and Muslims”  replying  to an article  by Shenali Waduge . She has foreseen such discontentment  in saying in her article  “….. the concerns of Buddhists are never given an unbiased voice in the mainstream media and instead Sinhalese Buddhists are labelled as “racist”, “extremist” and even “militant”.

Hameed Abdul Karim  does just that calling  Shenali Waduge’s article, “…  the latest in a long series of scaremongering…..uncalled for vituperative remarks…..and calling her  a version of Ausrtralia’s Pauline Hanson…”  .

I thank Shenali Waduge for her article , “‘Laws and Religion: Some Concerns of Sinhala Buddhists’  which appeared in the Daily News of the 12 January,2013.   It is time that Sinhala Buddhists make their voices heard without fearing to be called racists. Because it has become necessary  for the Sinhala Buddhists to stand up  to fight for their rights.

It had not been easy for Sinhala Buddhist.  They had been pushed into the background by the Colonialists. Their culture and religion  had been despised mutilated and dominated by Christianity and its missionaries.  The Sinhalese had  taken to foreign ways of living  and education was provided in foreign missionary schools. The Buddhists were converted to Christianity in large numbers by the missionaries who accompanied the  Colonial armies.

After independence the minorities demanded equal rights  along with the Sinhala Buddhists.  Their language was not accepted as the official language, their National flag was  mutilated to make it represent the minorities.   The Sinhala Buddhists had thus to keep on fighting to preserve what belonged to them.

It was under such circumstances  that mostly the Sinhala Buddhists had to sacrifice their youth to preserve the unitary status of Sri Lanka and free the country from 30 years of suffering under terrorism.  Despite that the Sinhala Buddhists are still prosecuted  just for elimination of terrorism and bringing back peace and hope to the country.  

For the Sinhala Buddhists  there are still more fighting to do.  It is now with the so far calm  and a peaceful Muslim Community who had been cooperating with  the Sinhala Buddhists .  The  Sri Lankan Muslims today are showing signs of change from what they had been before.  There is a new trend in their development which shows sign of foreign  fundamentalist Islamic influence gaining ground with them.

A short time back I was in Sri Lanka.  I witnessed this manifestation of “don’t care” attitude of  Muslims acting as  if there are no one in the  Sinhala areas where they have built three or four storied houses. They entertain, receive friends and relatives  who come in their cars vans and three wheelers through out the nights tooting horns , shouting and laughing without caring the least  that they are disturbing  the neighbourhood, the young children and the students who keep awake to do their home work.

The Muslims  live  in  Sinhala Buddhist neighbourhoods and slaughter animals in their homes  on certain Muslim  festive days with  least concern for the sensibility of their Buddhist neighbours.

I was told of a Sinhala Buddhist man who was employed in a Muslim Business establishment who had  to work from early in the morning  to late in the evening while the Muslim employers stop work to pray five time a day.  Yet this  Sinhala Buddhist employee was given only a day’s holiday for the Wesak festival.  He was compelled to  stay at home the following day to take the children to the temple and attend to Wesak festivities.  The day  after when he went to work  he was told that his services has been  terminated.

Having lived all my life until about 1963 in a village next to a Muslim village in the Kandy District, studying with Muslim children some of them  as my best friends, I found  during my  recent  stay in Sri Lanka the change of attitude of the Muslims strange,  and altogether different from what it had been when I knew them a long time ago.

Mr.Hameed Abdul Karim says, “ Ideally in a democracy there is no such thing as minority…..”  Yes of course , there is no reason to treat minorities differently if they do not compete with the majority;  if the minorities accept the same flag,  the same language and the national anthem in the language of the majority.  But it has not been the case with the Muslims in Sri Lanka, they want more  pushing their religion and its ways  unconcerned  of the Sinhala Buddhists.

In this hitherto unknown new trend in the Muslim development in Sri Lanka, the Muslims of Sri Lanka themselves should take note of  unknown forces  of dangerous fundamentalism taking hold of the Muslims and Islamism of Sri Lanka.

In France there are no separate schools for the Muslim children.  France  banned  the use of face covering veils for girls,  and the full body covering  Burqa,  wearing of which is really a denial of the freedom of Muslim women under Sharia law or not,  is also prohibited in France.  In France there are no separate courts for the Muslims, and there is a law  against female genital mutilation of  Muslim girls.

In France there is no blaring of loudspeakers five times a day in  the Mosques to call the believers for prayers. 

In Sri Lanka the Muslims have been accorded all these  facilities as Shenali Waduge had correctly pointed out in  her article against which Hameed Abdul Karim had taken umbrage.   The Muslims are carrying on a silent movement encroaching into   the rights and priviledges  of the Sinhala Buddhists  to their advantage, desecrating  Sri Lanka which had been offered to  the Buddha, Dhamma his Doctrine and the Sangha his disciples by King Devanampiyatissa even before  Islam had come into existence as a religion.

This is what democracy has given to Sri Lanka, an ungrateful minority asking for equality with the majority.  Strangely this democracy Hameed Abdul Karim refers to does not exist in predominantly Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries of the Middle East. Sharia Law, Fatwa and Jihad are a far cry from democracy.   That is what people like Hameed Abdel Karim wants in Sri Lanka.

The Muslims the world over  are using their religion to prepare a political system with a world leadership secretly in view, increase the Muslim population  through births and conversion.

Hameed Abdul Karim does not seem to be aware even of the vandalising of ancient Buddhist sites and bulldozing of Digavapi and  occupying temple land  by Muslims.

Hameed highlights the cases of Buddhist treasure hunters, to down play the  occupation of Buddhist land by Muslims.  There was the recent case of a Mosque being built on temple land in Dambulla.   Racism is different from being concerned about the erosion of the rights and priviledges of the Sinhala Buddhists. 

Jathika Hela Urumaya  was criticised for the Buddhist Monks taking to politics, but  JHU was fulfilling a necessary role  for the defence of the Sinhala Buddhists, Buddhism and its priviledges, which had been left  without protection. The Sinhala Buddhists should be made aware of the  necessity of a Buddhist political movement like the JHU to defend the rights and priviledges of the Buddhists and protect what belongs to the Buddhists.

In a like situation  in 1950 when Buddhism was under attack by the Catholic Church, we had a strong  dedicated Sinhala Buddhist leadership which  lost no time to come forward to defend  the rights of the Sinhala Buddhists by organising  the  Bauddha Jathika Balawegaya..  Today such a Buddhist leadership  has become an imperative necessity. 

The new movement of a Muslim  leadership in Sri Lanka is becoming a  threat to Sinhala Buddhists.  It demands the revival of the Bauddha Jathika Balawegaya.  Even if any Sinhala Buddhist who comes forward to defend their cause is immediately  attacked as a Sinhala racist- a Pauline Hanson, it has nevertheless become a necessity for Sinhala Buddhists to be  alive to  the lurking danger to their existence as Sinhala Buddhists.

Sharia Law,  as correctly pointed out by  Shenali Waduge is perhaps good for  Muslim countries , whose entire social , economic and judicial  processes are dependent on the Quran. But they are not necessary for Sri Lanka or any country in the world with a small resident Muslim Community.   We have had a good example of the short coming of the Sharia Law in the recent beheading of  Rizana Nafeek.  She had no translator to represent her in the Sharia Courts. There was no post mortem on the body of the dead baby. There was a complete absence of transparency. There was no witness. There was no lawyer to defend her.   Is that the Sharia law ?

Hameed Abdul Karim  defends what he cannot defend  in saying, “I am not an expert on Sharia but I think she is absolutely off the mark when she says that a non-Muslim cannot appear in Sharia courts to give evidence. ”

Hameed is just groping in the dark making meaningless  remarks such as “I think she is absolutely off the mark” trying to  defend the Sharia law which he himself admits to know nothing about.  This they call is an argument for argument’s sake.  The Sri Lanka Muslims should remain what they had always been without allowing themselves to be  caught  by the foreign  Islamic fundamentalist forces, becoming pawns in their hands.

Even if all the Muslims in Sri Lanka  were to be  carried away by the  Islamic fundamentalist  forces there will be at least one Muslim family in Sri Lanka which will not give into fundamentalism to accept the Sharia Law - the family of late Rizana Nafeek.

As it had been pointed out in Shenali Waduge’s article we cannot understand why the Muslims in Sri Lanka who  have an identity of their own as Sri Lankan Muslims   suddenly taken to establishment of Sharia Courts  and halaal food labelling.   Even if the Muslims in Sri Lanka followed these from the beginning of time, they had been doing it without  being a “nuisance” to others.  It is only now that they make a hue and cry about it, trying to impose it on non believing compatriots.
These are irksome matters where the Muslims claim a different identity when the need is for reconciliation and living with harmony with all communities.  It is ridiculous to call it “ Islamaphobie” when  some one  sees danger signals  in  new format of  religious evolutions  that  do not augur well for Sinhala Buddhists, and the country as a whole. 

It is normal that people like Hameed Abdul Karim may take offence, but some one has to give warning signals, if there is danger for others.  Hameed Abdul Karim has tried to answer some of the questions , but the situation cannot be settled by taking offence over real facts highlighted in  Shenali Waduge’s article.

These matters are serious,   the article of Shenali W       aduge should not be read and forgotten, as it is necessary that the Sinhala Buddhist Leaders awaken to the danger and begin a movement  like the Bauddha Jathika Balavegaya of  late Mr. L.H.Mettananda, to react to the situation without allowing it to take a larger proportion, and go out of control.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Stephen Harper, Canadian PM violates rights of Canadian Indians by not removing Indian Act, racist relic of 1876 and not removing reserves.

 Hupacasath First Nation Reserve

How easy it is for these  white leaders of the rich West to cover up the garbage in their own yards, and point at  imagined dirt in other peoples yards.  That is a way to cover up their own malpractices.

Mike Blanchfield of the Globe and Mail reported that  “Harper rebukes Sri Lanka over jurist’s dismissal “.    That is referring the Stephen Harper the Prime Minister of Canada. Next time he may do that if Sri Lanka sacks a Hospital cleaner as well, because what Stephen Harper seeks is to be heard as a Prime Minister amoung the rest of the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth  who is interested in fighting against injustice the world over.  He wants  to make a name in the world and leave it for posterity, not ending as an unknown Canadian Trapper.  

Stephan Harper  is no better than the uninformed  President  Barak Obama’s spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who had said : "From our perspective, this impeachment raises serious questions about the separation of powers in Sri Lanka, which is a fundamental tenet of a healthy democracy."  Uninformed,  because she makes statements without knowing what she is talking about. 

Has Victoria Nuland read the Constitution of Sri Lanka and understood that the Judiciary cannot interfere in to the Legislature; that is a well known fact except that in Sri Lanka the Supreme Court misinterpreted the Constitution and forced the Court of Appeal to give a false judgment to override the power of the Legislature.

Another one like Victoria  Nuland is Siobhain McDonagh Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, South London who is an ardent supporter of Eelamist separatist ideology.  She was hysterical in a UK Parliamentary debate and said she has not stepped outside UK but she has become a specialist of the atrocities committed against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lanka Armed Forces. 

In that  UK Parliamentary debate when  she was asked why she does not go to Sri Lanka and see for herself what Sri Lanka is like and  how the Government treats the Tamils having launched considerable number of development projects, she said that she is Constituency Centred and that she need not go to Sri Lanka, because her  Tamil supporters provide her with all the necessary information, and she watched the UK Channel 4 films.  When she was told that the informants may be biased against Sri Lanka , she replied that she believes  her constituents.  Be it,  Stephen Harper, Victoria Nuland or Siobhain McDonagh, they are all the same. They don’t see, they hear, and then they talk.

Who is this Stephan Harper  ? Is he that gloriously just and fair to rake up problems in far away Sri Lanka to accuse her, just because he has about  two hundred thousand Tamil expatriates with lot of blood money collected by them  for the failed  establishment of a Tamil Eelam through terrorism in Sri Lanka  residing in Canada as expatriates providing  a considerable vote banks in several Canadian  Electorates ?

However  Stephen Harper is not without political smears though he tries to make himself heard  rebuking Sri Lanka for the impeachment of a Chief Justice perfectly in accordance  with the relevant Articles of its Constitution. 

If he has any doubts, he only has to ask his Embassy in Sri Lanka to send him a copy of the Speech to the Parliament made on the occasion of the Impeachment by Dr. G.L.Pieries the Minister of External Affairs and a brilliant Professor in Constitutional Law in Sri Lanka.

Mike Blanchfield the reporter says, “  Canada appeared to be one step closer to boycotting this year’s Commonwealth leaders’ summit Monday as Prime Minister Stephen Harper bluntly called on the Sri Lankan government to reinstate the country’s fired chief justice.

“Mr. Harper has threatened to ignore the 54-country summit that Sri Lanka hosts later this year because he has serious concerns about Colombo’s commitment to human rights and democracy since the country’s long civil war ended in 2009.

“The report adds: “Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae called on Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird to press for an emergency meeting of the Commonwealth’s ministerial action group. “It is simply unacceptable that we wait to address this dire situation until the next scheduled meeting, as Prime Minister Harper and Minister Baird would prefer,” said Mr. Rae, who was an adviser to the Sri Lankan peace process from 1999 to 2006.

“Canada has been leading an international effort to press the Sri Lankan government to seriously examine allegations of summary executions, kidnappings and other atrocities by government forces and the Tamil Tiger rebels.”

Canada under Stephen Harper  is loosing its respect. He already participated in the NATO bombardment of Libya, and may we know what it gained from that massacre and what has happened  to Libya and its people after the NATO victory over Gaddafi?

In the light of all this coming from Stephen Harper and his  Canadian Government, let us see whether there  are no  skeletons in  Stephen Harper the Canadian Prime Minister’s cabinet which he is hiding from public view, for which  we in Sri Lanka may one day say about Canada:

“Sri Lanka continues to have serious concerns about the human rights situation, the need for reconciliation, and the democratic deficit in Canada, and that “We will continue to raise these concerns forcefully, without equivocation both directly with the government of Canada and through resolutions at both the United Nations and the Commonwealth.”

Well Canada is not without  its own denial of human rights and discrimination against  minority ethnic groups. Worse than about  what he rebukes  Sri Lanka .

The original aborigine population of Canada is said to have diminished by about, 82 per cent after introduction  of various diseases into their midst from which they had died.   
According to Canadian census of  2006,  the aborigine Indian  population is  found to be around 1,172,790.  Does the Stephen Harper’s Government looks after these original Canadians as well as “ we look after the Tamil population in Sri Lanka ?”

There is a report by Michael Den Tandt to Post Media,  posted not later than 6 January, 2013 on “Indian Act, racist relic of 1876, should be abolished – and so should reserves” , which is very interesting to read, to understand whether Stephen Harper  acts, as he  talks so loud  about violation of human rights in Sri Lanka. 

The report  shows to what extent the Canadian Indi           an aborigine population  has been neglected and in what condition they live. Apparently Stephen Harper while  accusing Sri Lanka for violation of Human rights is himself and his Government are  violating the human rights of its aborigine Canadian Indians.

This is how Michael Den Tandt’s report begins: “ When will Canadians, led by the country’s one million Aboriginal People, face the inescapable? Reserves are incubators of misery. The entire moribund, ramshackle edifice supported by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development needs to be demolished. It is rotten at its core. “

It is about the Indian Act of 1876, that is being asked to be removed as it is a very racist relic of the past still haunting Canadian Aborigines.

“…..conditions on reserves have worsened. In its 2011 status report, the office of the Auditor-General chronicles, in customarily neutral tones, a horror show of civil neglect. 

On reserves, the high school graduation rate is 41 per cent, compared with a national average near 80 per cent. There’s a worsening housing shortage and huge numbers of the houses that do exist are mould-ridden. Children on reserves are eight times likelier than the national average to be in the care of child and family services.

This is not the upshot of one audit, mind you, but many. There were seven, between 2002 and 2008, chronicling the same problems.”

And  it continues, “…….deal decisively and fairly with the backlog of outstanding land claims, numbering at more than 700 – estimated cost, anywhere from $6-billion to $15-billion, at the upper margin. That would require a major effort on the part of the government: It would need to make the case for Canadians collectively taking a one-time only write-down, for the sake of – yes it sounds quaint, doesn’t it, in 2013 – a just society.

At the end of this report there are comments by readers, which shows how grave the situation of the Canadian Indians is.

Of these Will Anderson says "Reserves are incubators of misery. The entire moribund, ramshackle edifice supported by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development needs to be demolished. It is rotten at its core."

I could not have said it better myself. Prime Minister Stephen Harper should take the blinders off and face reality. It is time for every Canadian citizen to be treated fairly and equally! First Nations should have the same opportunities to creating their own wealth and happiness as every other Canadian. "Give a man a fish and you feed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

If Stephen Harper were to continues his campaign to boycott the CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka.  The Government of Sri Lanka should move a resolution at the next UN Human Rights Council in Geneva against the Government of Canada for the denial of  basic rights of the Aboriginal Indian  Population in Canada, demanding the immediate removal of the Indian Act of 1876 and bring the Canadian Aborigine population in par with the rest of the Canadian population, removing the reservations to treat every Canadian as equals.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Another Chief Justice for Sri Lanka

The first Prime Minister of the world was from Sri Lanka. She was Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike.  She turned out to be exceptionally good despite her lack of  high qualification, which  some claims make a good political leader. But it was one or two of those qualified Ministers  who were around her with family connections,  that did not allow her to go forward with her own progressive ideas. 

Appointment of the first woman Chief Justice was a good move.  But unfortunately she became excessively interested in  personal aggrandisement and failed to be independent and have a simple Buddhist outlook.  Those who supported her did not advice her well, thus making her unpopular amoung the ordinary people of the country.  One has to earn prestige and respect, it is not some thing that could be demanded or obtain by force.

If the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake  had not given into the excited coconut dashing black coats of Hulftsdorp and participated in manifestations, she would have averted the consequence of the  Impeachment, and not lost respect and popularity.  She could have either resigned , without demanding a ruling  from the Court of Appeal on the Impeachment Motion.  She attempted do exactly what the former Commander of the Armed Forces Sarath Fonseka did and brought on herself the disgrace of being impeached and hated by the people.

That is the past, now it is looking forward to see how the next Chief Justice is to be appointed. In America for the appointment to high office there is a special inquiry by a Committee of the Senate.  In Sri Lanka  where there is no  such a committee the President should  investigate into  the back ground of the possible candidates for the post . The Minister of Justice is already a Muslim and there are serious allegations of his  influence in favour of the Muslim law students.  This may not be correct but nevertheless such suspicions should not be allowed to happen. If it is another woman that is under consideration every thing about her should be investigated such as her family connections, her past relationships, her political interests, her intellectual capacities, and ability take independent decisions.

If I were to file an FR Application, for instance against the Tamil National Alliance  for breach of the Article 157 of the Constitution , I would expect the Supreme Court Judges to see whether there had been a breach of the relevant Article or Articles of the Constitution  and make an investigation into it,  without  giving  me  moral advise  such as that Sri Lanka is a multi ethnic Society, and that I should learn to live with other Communities in harmony. 

That for me would  not be  good judgment by a good judge.  I as a plaintiff  may have  already considered  the fundamental issues such as Sri Lanka is a multi ethnic Society and that we should learn to live in harmony with every other Community. 

But the TNA if it is working on a separatist Agenda without any respect to the Constitution of Sri Lanka they had taken an Oath as Members of Parliament to uphold, the judges should investigate  whether there had really been such a violation of the Constitution. Because I had taken the trouble to take an action  to stop such separatist moves that TNA is  taking openly making it difficult to unite the Communities or reconcile the Communities after a 30 years of ruthless terrorism

Giving advise on moral issues is good for a lower court taking up divorce cases or land disputes, but not for the Supreme Court which has to decide on more important issues such as the breach of relevant Articles of the Constitution.

I have heard that the Supreme Court Judge Shirani Thilekawardena had in a such a serious case of a FR application gave  the plaintiff  a lesson on morality, advised him to live in harmony with the other communities and asked him to withdraw  the  FR application.   That is bad justice, a case as  described in the paragraphs  above should be decided on facts placed before the judge, without being philosophical looking at it in a spiritual dimension.  That is perhaps for religious dignitaries and respected elders of the Communities to do,  but not for Judges.

There had been lot of talk about  Sri Lanka Government not respecting the  rule of natural law and not respecting  democratic principles.  But in reality Sri Lanka is an example of democracy- not as pontificated by the West or the self interested politicians of the opposition, but as a country risen out of the “ ashes of terrorism” to build a new country, a new Nation with the people of all Communities as partners.

Sri Lanka is a new Democracy,  where we will not  identify ourselves  with our  Communal belonging , the religion we profess, or the language we speak, but as one people of a democratic Sri Lankan Nation , while at the same time respecting each other’s cultural and religious  roots.  

The object of all of us  should be whether  we be Sinhala, Tamil , Muslim or other  is to work together for the development of our country,  our motherland  into a prosperous Nation with its people living in prosperity, peace and in harmony with each other. The Tamil National Alliance if they continue their separatist politics will not belong to  this Sri Lanka we want it to build.

In order to arrive at that we should all make sacrifices, become altruistic, giving up selfish notions of acquiring wealth, prestige, honour and respect individually for each one of us, but give the whole country and all its people  those self  same desires we may have individually for ourselves.

Therefore, in selecting the next Chief Justice, we should have the satisfaction that the choice that has been made  is in keeping with that concept of democracy unique to our country to build a single  nation of all Communities.

That works only if every one works together with that objective in mind.  We should do what is necessary, because it is necessary for our country and its people , and not because of the fear  of being interfered in to by the Western Nations accusing us for not doing things that they want us to do.

It is essential that the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature  remain separated and the Judiciary is independent.  But that independence of the Judiciary should not be to go against the Executive and the Legislature, but to work together to build our Nation that had been denied that independence of taking decision and  developing the country in our own way, since its independence.

The countries of the  West are decadent, they accuse us for violation of human rights, they accuse us for elimination of terrorism, they accuse us for developing our country the way we want, they accuse us because we make new friends, they accuse us because we establish diplomatic relations with countries they do not like. 

The West only accuses us as they have their own agenda of keeping the developing nations poor and dependent on them.  The West accuses us because they want to remain the only leader of the world.  The West  accuses us because they think our relation with China, Russia, Iran, Korea etc, will be detrimental to their own leadership in the world, and that our strategic position in the Indian Ocean will be used by our friendly nations to keep the West in check.

America says, “The United States, along with our partners in the international community, continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to uphold the rule of law and respect the principles of democratic governance.”

And  Britain says, “ it is committed to  support the concept of responsibility to protect, which was supported by all UN member states in 2005.”

They may pass another resolution against us at the UNHRC in Geneva. They are working for their own benefit, with their own Agenda. We are a Nation Marching forward.  We want a different democracy from that  which is professed by the West offering their dreaded R2P, which they offered with success to Libya not so long ago. The West wants to offer their protection sending  if possible drones and NATO Air Forces !!!

The West  which proposes their democracy for others, is utterly undemocratic  towards developing nations.  They want to change regimes to put in place puppet governments which could be manipulated and held under their pseudo  Chritian Democratic norms.

We can be a great Nation, the President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse have  gone a long way forward in developing Sri Lanka.  All politicians of the opposition should get together  with the government in it development projects. 

The Government Ministers and Government Members of Parliament should be honest and should not  leave room to be accused for corruption an malpractices.  If they get Commissions from development projects, and purchases  made abroad such commissions should be declared and use them for development purposes.

The Lawyers, judges, University Professors, Teachers, Students, Trade Unionists and politicians should be aware of the necessity to be independent of the West yet have good relations with the  West without being their acolytes. 

The Judges, Lawyers, University Professors, Teachers, Doctors, Public Servants, Private Companies, Institutions,  Students, Trade Unionists and Politicians should understand the necessity to be united  for the common good of the country and its people.

We all want Sri Lanka to be   a  developed country and a prosperous Nation with its people  living in peace and harmony with each other.      

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Rizana Nafeek we weep for you, and may malediction fall upon Saudia Arabia, its oil wells burst into flames destroying it like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Rizana's Mother and two Sisters

 In a home in Sri Lanka  Rizana was still a little girl, where she would have not been short of tender love and affection.  In a Sri Lanka household a daughter brings untold happiness into the house.  As she blooms into woman hood she becomes a treasure  loved and protected. Rizana Rafeek the little girl that left her home with her little head, now severed by brutes, full  of dreams of a  better future for her father, mother, here two little sisters  and for herself perhaps a happy marriage a  home and children. 

But she bloomed into womanhood in a Saudi Arabian prison and had  her beautiful head severed from her yet growing childish body by a ruthless man worshipping the same god as she, obeying a most savage Muslim Sharia Law which is certainly not of Allah , but of a man who claimed Allah spoke to the people through him many years back in a dry savage desertic land.

Rizana coming from a poor family where her poor father was toiling hard  to keep the home fires burning had seen how some of her neighbours  or relatives had helped their families to make their lives a little brighter from the money they had brought with them after having worked for the rich   

Arab families in the Middle East.   Those who had come back from working for  Arab families some with nails and needles and others  psychologically wounded for ever do not relate their  ordeals  and the  brutality suffered working as slaves for Arab Saudi families..  Rizana ignorant of the brutality of the Arab homes too wanted to help her family  from wages she may earn working for a Muslim family in Saudi Arabia.
Rizna's mother and Father
Rizana’s father and mother may have consented because of the poverty they were faced with and without fear as Rizana would  after all be working for a rich  Muslim family in Saudi Arabia  praying five times a day for the same omniscient Allah  they themselves prayed .

The poor parents of Rizana who sent her daughter  still a child of seventeen away to the people worshiping the same  Allah they worshipped to bring back home happiness and prosperity was beheaded and was denied her parents to even see her  youthful face of  a woman in her twenties before the Sharia sward severed her head from her body, and buried   without even a tear from her loved one’s to accompany her into the warm repulsive  Saudi  earth of sinners.

The Saudi Arabian Government extended its savagery towards Rizana to last five long years in their evil prison cells before she was savagely beheaded still a young girl at 24. Even the King of Saudi Arabia is said to have been unable to go against the Sharia Law.

In the modern world where men are being prepared to be sent into the space in search of life in other planets , the Arab countries rich with their petrol money  follow  a religion  which is old  and decadent.  They spend their time praying  to Allah five times a day, and  follow the Koran dictated by Him, advising the believers  to punish law breakers by beheading, decapitating, and chopping hands and feet following  the savage primitive archaic uncivilised laws of  a cursed divinity. 

What good is a religion if it demands perpetration of utmost cruelty  to  human beings in the name of its God ?

Working in any Arab country in the Middle East is not a  happy and a comforting occupation.  The evidence of   brutality committed against the servants slaving in Arab homes is manifold in Sri Lanka.  Some of our poor women gone for slavery in the Middle East came back with nails and needles in the bodies , others with burnt marks.  Some were decapitated for  minor offences or for carrying a statue of the Buddha.

A domestic aid entering  an Arab Muslim employer’s home  in reality  entering a prison. The first thing  the employer does is to take possession of the passport, then her bags are ransacked removing portable telephones, photos and images.  There after the poor domestic aid becomes their slave.  She is locked up  prohibiting any communication with any one out side the employer’s home. 

They have to work from 3 o’clock in the morning and goes to sleep only after cleaning and washing every thing, which would be after midnight.  The domestic aid has no time to sleep.

The Arab Muslim homes do not differentiate between a Muslim domestic servant or one of another religion.  For them they are all slaves. Many are the Sri Lankan domestic servants that had worked for Arab Muslim homes who have committed suicide jumping from the third or fourth floors of their employers  opulent homes  unable to support  gruelling work  and inhuman treatment  met out to them.

We can understand the ordeal poor Rizana had gone through, and no one would agree that she who had two young sisters to look after in her poor home in Sri Lanka would kill deliberately a baby in her care. 

She would have slaved in that Muslim home in Saudi Arabia from morning till evening rubbing floors and cleaning  toilets, washing clothes and sweeping yards and also  look after the little baby while her “overfed mother  decked in   luxury”  was having her siesta or gone out shopping.  Poor 

Rizana tired working from morning  till late into night may not have been in her best form when she had to feed the little baby.  

Therefore in such a state it is possible that the baby got chocked and there was none at home to be called for help.  No investigation had been made nor an autopsy on the body of the dead child carried out to ascertain the reason for its death.

Recounting all that is of no avail now as nothing can bring Rizana tortured and beheaded in public back to life.

We are all responsible for the cruel untimely death of Rizana,  therefore we should make a determination to fight against sending our women to slavery in Arab Muslim Countries which is  sending living beings to hell. 

If the government takes a determined decision and stops our women going to slavery into these Arab Muslim countries then we could at least draw a breath of  satisfaction that Rizana had not allowed those brutes armed with the Sharia Law and a sward to have beheaded her in vain.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha proposes Rules to prevent Judicial and other Abuses.

I prefer to read the writings of  Rajiva Wijesinhe. Because he unlike Dayan Jayatilleke  is able to write without having to quote from other writers .

Rajiva Wijesinhe  seeks solution to the Impeachment of CJ, saying, “I believe that impeaching the Chief Justice is no solution to anything, and will in fact lead us to forget the actual problems.”

Apparently why he does not want to speak about the Impeachment motion is as he says, “ I realize I am probably wasting my time, since we have developed a culture of addressing problems with sledgehammers designed for other uses. We generally land it on our own toes as well as the toes of those connected peripherally with the problem, instead of the people or the procedures that are the root cause of those problems.”

For him the Impeachment Motion is a “sledgehammer” treatment.  He faults the attack on Darusman Report which could have  avoided UN Secretary Generals’s “selective analysis”. He blames the government , without saying so, for  dismissing Tamara Kunanayagam ( which  the writer agrees with) for Geneva Disaster, and allowing those who contributed to  it to ‘deceive the President about leading lights in India as well as in the Sri Lankan Freedom Party, which should be the President’s closest allies in fulfilling his developmental agenda.”

In presenting his solution to the problems that led to the Impeachment motion, he says , the “same propagandists  ”  who precipitated the dismissal of Tamara Kunanayagam , may  claim  that the “solutions” he proposes are, “ …based purely on personal ambition. But that will be a small price to pay if there is greater awareness of the need for proper procedures as well as clear guidelines for the conduct of public officials.”

Then he analyses the  problems under,  (1) the conduct of the Chief Justice, and (2) the procedure adopted by the Select Committee.

About the first the conduct of the CJ,  he say that, “  the improprieties highlighted do not necessarily deserve impeachment, and certainly not through the present effort….” And for the second as a  solution he says, “ we need mechanisms in place to ensure that the two relatively serious wrongs of which she is accused cannot again be committed, whatever mitigating factors might be advanced in mitigation.”

The solutions he  suggests are outside the Constitution and the Parliamentary procedures  proposed for the removall of a Chief Justice, under the Article 107(3) of the Constitution.

He wants  “ Judicial Norms” instituted with “ binding rules.”    Instead of the proposal of solutions he may as well have suggesting a new “Constitution”  as his solutions do not go along with the present Constitution  which already has  provision to deal with high officials for committing  improprieties.

His suggestions are:

a)     prevent any judge sitting in judgment in cases in which he or she has any interest (To deal with the Chief Justice buying a flat from Trillium while judging their cases. It is clear she understands this was wrong, inasmuch as she withdrew, immediately after the impeachment resolution, from that Bench).

This is a Charge in the Impeachment Motion. A  Chief Justice should know of her responsibilities, writes and wrongs without having to  set them out  as separate rules of what exactly is expected of her as the Chief Justice.

Then he suggest:

b)    remove the absolute power of the Chief Justice to allocate cases, and instead set up a panel consisting of the three most senior judges. No changes should be made except by the panel in consultation with the original bench, and in consultation with the entire Supreme Court if allegations of bias have been made (To deal with the Chief Justice replacing the Bench hearing the Trillium cases with a Bench headed by herself).

It  is absurd to appoint a Panel over and above the Chief Justices to advice her on how to allocate cases .  The Chief Justice should be able to  decide on her own  on such matters and take independent decisions, without erring in favour of one or another. If not she commits a punishable  offence for which she should be  charged and if proved, removed for misconduct.  That is where the Constitution provides for an Impeachment Motion.

Next  he proposes:

c)     prevent any spouse of a judge accepting office from government except in the case of those already in government service. No judge or spouse of a judge should be offered or accept office from government for five years following the judge’s retirement, except for appointments to mediation boards and such task bound assignments (To deal with the appointment to high positions of Mr Kariyawasam.)

This is of course a matter that the President should have been advised by those he consults before making such appointments.  But the charge in the Impeachment Motion  in respect of this is that,” .. she becomes unsuitable to continue in the office of the Chief Justice due to the legal action relevant to the allegations of bribery and corruption leveled against Mr. Pradeep Gamini Suraj Kariyawasam, the lawful husband .”

The reasons for the charges are given  in the Charge Sheet of the Impeachment Motion as follows:

(i) whereas it amounts to improper conduct or conduct unbecoming of a person holding the office of the Chief Justice;
(ii) whereas she had been involved in matters that could amount to causes of action or controversial matters,
(iii) whereas she had influenced the process of delivery of justice,
(iv) whereas there can be reasons for litigants to raise accusations of partiality/impartiality, she has plunged the entire Supreme Court and specially the office of the Chief Justice into disrepute.

Rajiva Wijesinhe, these are matters that cannot be raised in a court of law against a Chief Justice. Therefore it is imperative that there is another way to  charge her for her  misconduct.  That is why the Constitution has made provisions for  an Impeachment Motion  to remove a Chief Justice for the improprieties  committed by her.

Wijesinhe goes on with all types of solutions without making any reference to the Impeachment Motion, the only means we have under the Constitution to accuse a Chief Justice for her misconduct. 

Therefore all that Rajiva Wijesinhe says  is not appropriate in the present case of an Impeachment Motion that is being debated in the Parliament, which  for the good Professor is only  dropping a “sledgehammers designed for other uses.”

Then he proposes a Committee of sort, “…. such as the Auditor General’s Department or the Bribery Commission, though with greater institutional safeguards regarding the independence of those institutions (To prevent accumulation of misleading statements as seems to have been the case with the Chief Justice)”

Finally Professor Rajiva Wijesinhe says, “ Given what has been reported, it is clear that the ‘moral conduct of an exceptional degree’ expected from a Chief Justice that the Committee believes is necessary was not forthcoming. But of course the high standards enjoined by the Committee are expected also from Parliament, and we need measures to ensure that as well.”

The Diplomats,  and the government Members of Parliament should be prepared to defend the actions of the Government when they are taken in terms of the Constitution and properly executed.  In not doing so they invite the anti Sri Lanka elements to interfere into the internal affairs of the Country. 

In order to defend the government and its actions they- the Diplomats of Sri Lanka, and the government Members of Parliament should be conversant with the Constitution and other procedural and administrative documents  used for the  conduct  of the affairs of the State.

This unfortunately is not the case from what we have  read  in the interview Dayan Jayatilleke had with the  Journalist of the Mirror, or read in the article by  Rajiva Wijesinha. 

It is therefore advisable for the government to make it essential for the Diplomats and the Government Members of the Parliament to have a good understanding of at least the Constitution of Sri Lanka.