Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Q&A with John Sifton: Abuse Allegations in the Sri Lankan Military

FILE - Sri Lankan military personnel march during the country's 66th Independence Day celebrations in the central town of Kegalle, about 40 kms from the capital Colombo.
FILE - Sri Lankan military personnel march during the country's 66th Independence Day celebrations in the central town of Kegalle, about 40 kms from the capital Colombo.Frances Alonzo-April 28, 2014 
Startling new abuse allegations have popped up again against the Sri Lankan military. However, what makes these allegations different is that there is mobile phone video of women recruits suffering abuse at the hands of more senior soldiers. The Sri Lankan military has accepted the authenticity of the video and says an investigation is to be carried out by the country’s military police.

Disband Special Police Unit – Make Police Independent: Lawyers’ Collective Demand

Colombo TelegraphApril 30, 2014
The establishment of a special police unit in the Ministry of Buddha Sasana “to deal with complaints relating to religious matters” is unconstitutional and would lead to further deterioration of Rule of Law and escalation of religious disharmony in the country, says the Lawyers’ Collective.
JC Weliamuna
JC Weliamuna
Issuing a statement today the Lawyers’ Collective said; “Sri Lankan Constitution recognizes accountability of the Executive including the police, within a well recognized legal framework. The Government has not established Provincial Police Services and therefore there is only one central Police Department.  Under the present legal scheme, in our view, it is not constitutionally possible to set up external police units under identified Ministries not connected to law enforcement and without introducing appropriate statutes, to deal with ordinary crimes. Practically, such police units,  dealing with ordinary crimes  pose a definite challenge to police accountability, as the Police Department is placed under two Ministries,”
The statement issued by JC Weliamuna on behalf of the Lawyers Collective,  adds; ”The Police Department, being the primary law enforcement agency of the State, is expected to enforce the general law, irrespective of the nature of the crimes and without religious or any other bias. Unfortunately, in the recent past Sri Lanka has seen total lack of commitment on the part of the police to deal with crimes committed against followers of minority religions and their religious places of worship. The Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Law and Order  and the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, all of which are directly under the President have displayed  their  lackadaisical attitude  to control  political hate campaigns and religious  extremism.
“Establishing another police unit, in our view, will strengthen the hands of the extremists to use such a unit to intimidate minority religions and their devotees further. This unit will also be perceived as a license for ordinary police officers to shirk their legitimate responsibilities and pass them on to this unit and get away with their duties. There is a grave danger of this unit becoming a centrally controlled tool to intimidate the followers of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.
“The establishment of this unit amounts to recognizing the inability on the part of the police to deal with general crimes of the country in the present political environment. Thus, we as lawyers committed to Rule of Law, urge the Government to disband this unit and strengthen Rule of Law of the country by making the i police independent of political interference so that every police officer of the state will be able to deal with all types of crimes.”
5 years today - Satellite images confirm shelling of No Fire Zone, over 7000 Tamils killed in 3 months alleges TNA

30 April 2014
Photo: 5 years today - Satellite images confirm shelling of No Fire Zone, over 7000 Tamils killed in 3 months alleges TNA
30 April 2014-30 April 2009 - Satellite images confirm shelling of No Fire Zone, over 7000 Tamils killed in 3 months alleges TNALeaked satellite imagery from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR),
30 April 2009 - Satellite images confirm shelling of No Fire Zone, over 7000 Tamils killed in 3 months alleges TNALeaked satellite imagery from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), revealed evidence of Sri Lankan shelling in the No Fire Zone, where 100000 Tamil civilians were estimated to be, reported the Inner City Press.The Tamil National Alliance, in a briefing to the British Foreign Secretary, alleged that over 7,000* civilians had been killed in Vanni with at least 14,000 injured over the previous three months.Speaking at a press meet, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said,
“Sri Lanka government which had deceived the Tamils for the last 30 years is now deceiving the International Countries. It is killing its own citizens in violation of all the conventions of the UN including the one on Human Rights which the Sri Lanka government has ratified.”

“Why should the international community which had successfully made Kosovo an independent state for the killing of 1500 people remain passive though more than 7000 Tamils have been killed in the last 3 months alone?” he added.
The Tamil Guardian in its editorial wrote,
“Those who think that the LTTE will be destroyed in the coming weeks and that then it is a question of 'peace building' and 'development' for the next few years are gravely mistaken. The foundations for a cataclysmic civil war are being inexorably laid today. The kind of polarisation that sustain not decades, but generations of struggle has become widespread and embedded.”
(*The TNA estimates which echoed published UN estimates were later found to be drastically inaccurate. Anonymous UN officials, speaking to a French foreign correspondent in June 2009, said
"We rang the alarm bells for some months but no-one ever took the Sri Lankan government to task publicly.It gave the government a blank cheque to carpet bomb the whole area."
The United Nations in an internal review panel report later found that, 
'Seen together, the failure of the UN to adequately counter the Government’s under-estimation of population numbers in the Vanni, thefailure to adequately confront the Government on its obstructions to humanitarian assistance, the unwillingness of the UN in UNHQ and Colombo to address Government responsibility for attacks that were killing civilians, and the tone and content of UN communications with the Government on these issues, collectively amounted to a failure by the UN to act within the scope of institutional mandates to meet protection responsibilities.') 

Sinhala military operates US-trained ‘counterinsurgency’ in Jaffna

SL military officers conducting interview at Kokkuvil on Sunday
TamilNetSL military interview[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 22:21 GMT]
Kannan The commander of the genocidal Sri Lankan military in the Jaffna peninsula, Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera, who was trained and awarded in the US Army War College in 2012, after his role as director of SL Army operations in the genocidal onslaught in 2009 followed by counter-insurgency foreign service targeting Tamil diaspora from Malaysia, is deploying new tactics for furthering the structural genocide against Eezham Tamils in his position as the commander of SL military occupying the peninsula. The SL commander has launched a deceptive programme to woo Tamil youth into subservient jobs to SL military by promising good payment through a secret agent known as ‘Tamil CNN Kannan’ who has come from the UK. As the direct campaign to enlist Tamils into the genocidal military has failed, the SL military has chosen to trap Tamil youth through business and media agents. 
Kannan, the chief agent operating behind the scene to deceive people into SL military recruitment drive through a public operative, is said to have returned from abroad to work with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Selvarasa Pathmanathan alias KP.

Sri Lanka Prepares ‘Certificates of Absence’

COLOMBO, Apr 29 2014 (IPS) - Five years after the end of a bloody and protracted civil war, Sri Lanka has begun its first survey of families of the missing in order to assess their needs.
The assessment is expected to lead to recommendations for assistance and, in some cases, bring closure, say government officials and members of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The families of the missing have never been categorised as a special needs group during Sri Lanka’s post-war reconstruction phase.
In January, the ICRC made a proposal to the Sri Lankan government to carry out an evaluation of the needs of families of those who went missing in the last two and a half decades.
“We are doing this countrywide from April. We will approach a representative sampling of families of the missing and understand what their needs are,” David Quesne, ICRC deputy head of delegation in Sri Lanka, told IPS. The ministry of social welfare is the government partner for the survey.
The issue is controversial. Sri Lanka’s sectarian war began in the early 1980s, with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) demanding a separate state for minority Tamils in the north. The rebels were finally defeated by government forces in 2009.
More than 70,000 people were killed in the conflict, and estimates of the number of people missing have varied, with some putting it as high as 40,000.
The ICRC only registers details of missing persons once a tracing request is received. Quesne said right now the ICRC has over 16,000 such requests dating back to the 1990s.
Last month, Sri Lanka rejected a resolution at the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council that requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to launch an investigation into alleged rights violations, including the issue of the missing. Foreign minister Gamini Laksham Peiris said the government would not support any such inquiry.
“We are continuing with national mechanisms,” he said, highlighting the work done with the ICRC and a needs assessment of the war displaced carried out with the U.N.
Gwenaelle Fontana, ICRC protection officer in Sri Lanka, told IPS that the survey would be island-wide and would use a sample selection of families. “The initial idea is to assess the needs of these families. We will assess all the aspects – economic, administrative, legal and psycho-social,” she said.
The sample will include families of members of the armed forces listed as missing.
“It will be a precious tool for the authorities in designing policy in favour of such families,” Fontana said.
The families of the missing have never been categorised as a special needs group during Sri Lanka’s post-war reconstruction phase.
“That is unfair because we have a unique set of needs. We have to look for our missing loved ones while making sure the family is provided for,” said the mother of a missing person from northern Kilinochchi who did not wish to be identified.
Sri Lankan officials have indicated plans to assist the families of the missing. A presidential commission on the missing is set to conclude by August. It has so far has received 16,000 complaints.
The ICRC survey is likely to conclude towards the end of the year, and officials say the report will be handed over to the government for action.
Between late 2008 and April 2009, the ICRC had evacuated around 14,000 people in need of medical attention. But later some of them were reported untraceable.
“We have received requests from families or close relatives of evacuees that they had lost track of,” Quesne said.
The ICRC began looking for the missing evacuees in January in the northern district of Jaffna. By late March, at least 26 cases had been successfully traced.
Fontana told IPS that the government authorities had shown interest in issuing ‘certificates of absence’ for the missing, instead of ‘death certificates’. Such a certificate eases legal and administrative work like pension payments and dealing with legal documents like land deeds.
“The authorities have expressed much interest. But as adaptation of the legislative framework is always complex, the process of issuing certificates of absence will naturally take time,” Fontana said.

Ban Ki Moon urges Sri Lanka to ensure accountability for sexual violence crimes through the proposed TRC

”In the context of dialogue on the establishment of a comprehensive truth and reconciliation commission, I urge the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that such a transitional justice mechanism explicitly seek accountability for sexual violence crimes and that national authorities put in place the necessary services, remedies and reparations for survivors.”
- Conflict related sexual violence - Report of the Secretary General
United Nations S/2014/181; Security Council / 13 March 2014

Sri Lanka:
78. In my previous report on sexual violen ce in conflict, I noted that the action plan launched in August 2012 to respond to the recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation included no action directly providing redress for those affected by sexual violence during the conflict.
During 2013, the Government of Sri Lanka committed itself to incorporating more of the Commission’s recommendations into the National Plan of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. In total, 145 of some 285 recommendations, some of which focused on the security of women and children, were incorporated. In my previous report I also noted the continued vulnerability of women and children in areas formerly affected by conflict, partly due to the continued militarization of those areas. These issues remained pertinent during 2013, as women and girls, especially in female-headed households,continued to be vulnerable to sexual harassment and abuse, including at the hands of military personnel (A/HRC/25/23). The Government reports that the military has taken strict action in such cases. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, however, continued to voice concerns in 2013 with regard to accountability in Sri Lanka , stating that the Government has taken limited and piecemeal steps towards investigating serious allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, and none of these have had the independence or credibility required (see A/HRC/25/23, para. 36). Efforts to investigate such allegations fully and to bring justice to victims of the civil conflict, including those reporting sexual violence crimes, thus remain a priority
79. In the context of dialogue on the establishment of a comprehensive truth and reconciliation commission, I urge the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that such a transitional justice mechanism explicitly seek accountability for sexual violence crimes and that national authorities put in place the necessary services, remedies and reparations for survivors.-Relief web

 Resolution 2106 (2013) Adopted by the Security Council at its 6984th meeting, on 24 June 2013

Opportunistic Alliances & Indo-Lanka Ties

| by Upul Joseph Fernando
( April 30, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) "Among all the countries that attained freedom after the Second World War, in Africa and Asia, only your nation and our nation have preserved the democratic traditions without any interruption.
"We were the first to change our governments by constitutional process. We have done this on several occasions and I have been at the receiving end of several of those changes. Today, I am the President of Sri Lanka by the choice of its people and not by any constitutional or military coup.

Sri Lanka ranked 26th in 2014′s Peoples under Threat index and fell five places from 2013′s ranking.

Peoples Under Threat

Communities at risk-Tamils, Muslims

Peoples Under Threat Data 2014
Peoples under Threat value    
Self-determination conflicts                       4
Major armed conflict                                No data
Prior genocide / politicide    1
Massive movement - refugees and IDPs    8.4
Legacy of vengeance - group grievance     9.5
Rise of factionalized elites                         9.3
Voice and Accountability                        0.598
Political Stability    -                               0.706
Rule of Law    -                                     0.108
OECD country risk classification               6
TOTAL                                                 13.69
 Peoples under Threat index 

The overall measure for each country is based on a basket of 10 indicators. The number in each row is drawn from the source for that particular indicator. The sources of data and calculations used are detailed on the Notes to Table page. 


Sri Lanka ranked 26th in 2014′s Peoples under Threat index and fell five places from 2013′s ranking.

police-religoLF-logobannerBy Latheef Farook-30 April 2014
Muslims as a whole dismissed the Special Police Unit set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 28 April 2014   to handle religious disputes at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs as an “eyewash”. They believe that this new unit is yet another ploy to hoodwink them and the country by the government which remained indifferent to all calls to

Muslim girl challenges school dress order in SC

By Chitra Weerarathne-April 30, 2014

Counsel Manohara de Silva PC yesterday, told the Supreme Court that he would argue before the Court the issues stated in a previous judgement by it pertaining to Muslim students’ traditional dress.

Counsel de Silva appeared for the first respondent, the Principal of Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya, Nawala, the second respondent, the Vice Principal and the third respondent a class teacher of the same school.

The petitioners are Mohammad Hirzi Shahul Hameed and his daughter Fathima Hishana, a Grade 7 student of the school.

The petitioners have complained to the court that the Principal of the School recently ordered the girl not to wear the same uniform as others. The petition says she was also made to worship the Principal of the school though that practice was against Muslim culture.

 The petitioners have alleged discrimination on the basis of religion and a violation of fundamental rights.

The Court fixed May 13, 2014 as the date for the support of the petition.

Counsels Hejiac Hisbulla appeared with Nadun Wijesiriwardene and Hafeel Fareez instructed by Niluka Dissanayake for the petitioners.

Manohara de Silva P.c., appeared for the Principal Nayana Thakshila Perera of Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya, School Lane, Nawala, Rajagiriya. The first respondent is the Principal. The second respondent is the Vice Principal Ms. Hemamali and the third is Mrs. P. de. S. Naotunna, the class teacher.

The Bench of yesterday comprised Justice Chandra Ekanayake, Justice Eva Wanasundera and Justice Buweneka Aluwihare.

The petition will be supported before a Bench not comprising Justice Wanasundera, as she had participated in the previous judgement, pertaining to the issue in question.

Religious reconciliation police, yet another white elephant?

police 1The religious reconciliation unit formed yesterday (28) at the Sri Lanka police to pacify Gnanasara Thera on a proposal by Bodu Bala Sena will be yet another white elephant, said a senior official of the police.
This unit will have an ASP and 10 constables.
It will be the latest addition to the police, after the women and children’s bureau, and the units on archaeology, robberies, anti-narcotics and environment. It has received three complaints within 24 hours of its formation, said the senior police officer.
Of these units, the women and children’s bureau is a very busy place. With a SSP, two SPs, 34 constables and 46 women constables, it has branches at all the 433 police station island wide.
In 2013 alone, the bureau received 16,831 harassment complaints, followed by 1,881 complaints received by the archaeology unit, the anti-narcotics unit seized 843.6 kilos of heroin, while the environmental unit received 3,081 complaints.
Clauses 290 to 292 of paragraph 15 of the Penal Code clearly spell out the offences and the punishment for any act against a religion, and the police are empowered to make arrests without a warrant.
Although the law clearly makes mention thus, the formation of a religious police and empowering extremist groups to give orders will only make the government fall into further serious trouble, the senior police officer added.

Is There A Substitute For Simple Physical Bravery?

Colombo Telegraph
By Emil van der Poorten -April 30, 2014
Emil van der Poorten
Emil van der Poorten
With all the posturing that goes on in this (and other countries as well), one begins to wonder whether the movements of resistance are hamstrung by two factors: their very middle-class composition and their abject cowardice at so much as the suggestion of physical violence of any kind.
Sometime ago, I wrote a piece to the pre-Asanga Seneviratne Sunday Leaderwhich spoke to the fact that the only journalists with intellectual and ethical “cojones”  were women.  Nothing seems to have changed over those years and while the likes of “Forums” of one description or another continue to “tut-tut” their way across the printed pages of English-language journals which are only too ready to use such puffery in order to maintain the absolute fraud that is “media freedom” in Sri Lanka, cojones seem confined to those who are biologically not supposed to have them.  Typically, since I wrote that piece several of these women have been pushed off the pages of the English media and are able only to find publication in foreign journals and/or web publications.  The fact that a media controlled by the launderers of government behavior has contributed to this state of affairs is hardly surprising and the only thing more obscene would have been the recognized (by the public) and cherished (by the government) narcotics barons moving to “front and centre” positions in the print trade.  Ah, well, give them time because, as they say, all good things come to those who wait!
Reverting to the title of this piece, what is evident to anyone with even a tiny bit of intelligence and observational skill is the fact that these women and a (very) few men are, literally, risking their lives in their efforts to “tell it like it is.”  There has been speculation that Mel Gunasekera might have met her most untimely death because she was mistaken for another high-profile critic of the government bearing the same last name.  Stranger things have been known to happen so something like this should hardly be cause for surprise!
But, in a land where the drug baron and the contract killer are the crème de la crème of society and where persuasion’s last journey is conducted in a white van, it does take a modicum of physical bravery to go on record in criticism of the most corrupt and violent government in the history of Sri Lanka                 .Read More

‘Mawbima’ editor Thushara publicly admits he ‘goes to market’ for govt.

 Wednesday, 30 April 2014 

thushara mawbimaWhen the Action Committee for Media Freedom, a collective of media organizations in Sri Lanka, has visited the ‘Mawbima’ office to extend an invitation to its May 05 occasion, to coincide with the World Media Day, of collecting signatures for a public petition to demand the right to information, editor of the newspaper Thushara Gunaratne has said, “We will have nothing to do with such nonsense. Do not invite us for anti-government work. We will not send anyone. If anyone is found to have attended, we will punish them.”
Action Committee for Media Freedom members who had gone there to handover the invitation were Mandana Ismail Samarawickrema, who has lost her job as associate editor of ‘The Sunday Leader’, and ‘Lakbima’ photographer Nimalsiri Edirisinghe.
Taken aback by the unexpected reaction by the editor, the duo had left the newspaper office.
Thereafter, Gunaratne has telephoned the newspaper’s owner Tiran Alles, and asked him to inform the defence secretary about the incident immediately. Gunaratne has especially requested that his name be mentioned to the defence secretary. For reasons unknown, defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa cannot tolerate the ‘Mawbima’ editor, and the latter has fallen to a depth even below that of the ‘Dinamina’ editor to be in the good books of the former. Gunaratne has told several of his cronies that Tiran Alles was responsible for that.
Without stopping there, Gunaratne has telephoned Sumathi Publishers owner Thilanga Sumathipala and complained to him about photographer Edirisinghe, and asked, “Do you pay a salary to him for working for the newspaper, or for doing union work? I gave him a piece of my mind and showed him the door.” Sumathipala has told his management to inquire whether such an incident had actually taken place. He has told a friend, “I am a ruling party MP. But, this fellow is more worried than I about the government. Sajith comes in the morning saying one thing. His media spokesman comes in the afternoon saying another thing.”

Tamil Sinhalese Collusion

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( April 30, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘The Need For Caution And Space To Heal’by Dilrukshi Handunnetti.

The author analyses the effects of the ban by the Sri Lankan Government on Tamil Diaspora Organizations & individuals. As per my observations since the ban, the said groups do not seem to be seriously affected by the ban and understandably so. To be affected – they must share common Belief and/or Administrative systems with the party imposing the ban. Hence in this instance – one would not expect any serious damage to the organizations concerned.
The author writes,  "there are several aspects that make this decision debate-worthy. First, Sri Lanka is said to be pursuing a path of reconciliation. Five years after the end of the war, when there are various programmes that are aimed at achieving that end, it may not be the most prudent path to take. Why? Listing of these organizations as a ‘collective’ can prove counterproductive and alienate those who may feel desirous of making some contribution to post-war Sri Lanka."

The programs promoting Reconciliation – are yet to ‘show’ real effects on the victims and/or would be victims of war. The real contribution to post-war Sri Lanka could come from the Tamil Diaspora only due to their belief in post-war Sri Lanka. Those who are not able to so believe, would continue to focus on their own local Tamil communities to develop a Political and hopefully Administrative system within the boundaries of their current countries of residence. Tamil Community in Sri Lanka is the common nucleus for this ‘development’. The risk in this is that the Tamil Community in India is likely to take the lead at various levels – especially socially.

The ban was used by Sinhalese individuals also – to warn me – a Tamil. It’s not new. I previously received threats of ‘white-van’ abductions from time to time when communicating through the electronic media. The strange discovery I have made is that at the emotional level – both groups collude – albeit intuitively until they have the opportunity to express that natural partnership in exchange for common benefit. This happened when the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka got together against the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) and later when Prabaharan colluded with Mr. Rajapakse to defeat Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe in the 2005 Presidential elections. Such collusion happens when two culturally different groups assimilate instead of integrating. I became the enemy of both Tamil as well as Sinhalese individuals after the ban.

Those of us who have the ‘experience’ due to such measures – would naturally influence outcomes. That is the law of Truth / Nature. To the extent we believe we belong to one side or the other or in common – we influence accordingly. The common ones get attacked by both sides. They are the representatives of moderates at the emotional/voter level.

Those who contribute to their own cultural structures would integrate. They are common owners and they show genuine diversity independent of the other. The diversity shown by them is healthy for the whole. They are natural opposition of each other – and in partnership one would be an Equal partner of the other.

The author states :

Designating these organizations swiftly, appeared, even to the most pro-government elements, as an emotional reaction as opposed to a well-considered decision to curb terrorism.

Assimilation happens with those driven by emotions. The two sides copy each other to alternately separate and collude for benefits. They are not capable of developing structures that would support peace and harmony. One gets these elements on both sides. The word terrorism used in this context is also an example of this emotional expression. That word when used to refer to Tamils would be offensive to the banned groups and individuals. It would be offensive because without the LTTE – these organizations and activities would not happen at the global level. If the LTTE are terrorists to the author then so are these groups that include LTTE supporters. If these groups are not Terrorism promoting organizations – then LTTE are not Terrorists. One cannot have it both ways.

The author states:

By clubbing some of these organizations which have by now, mainstreamed themselves and forming an integral part of the civil societies of Western democracies, would be unfair and this labelling can only cause further divisions.

Countries where Governments have expressly criticized the Sri Lankan Government over war-related conduct – would tend to be more inclusive of these organizations. These organizations give them the mandate to criticize another Government at the global level. These groups are having the last laugh.

How Does A Principle Get Rooted In A Society?

Colombo Telegraph
By Sajeeva Samaranayake -April 30, 2014 
 Sajeeva Samaranayake
Sajeeva Samaranayake
Talking in our sleep
HOW can we embody human rights instead of just talking about them? Most of our political discourse is sitting on a doubtful assumption – that we are a democracy and that we all share some collective allegiance to a set of principles. That is just one way of looking at our society. And that puts a tremendous burden on a state which does not seem ready to wake up from its growing slumber and inertia.
A better question: Are WE the people awake? Do we really have the benefit of these principles today? Did we not live through the past 30-40 years watching them die a slow death? If they were established at some point in history, did they get sufficiently rooted to produce trees and branches and leaves and flowers? Are we all sitting inside a garden that is not only messed up but also badly cultivated? To repeat my first question is there in fact a proper way for principles and values to be rooted in a human society? Exploring this question may be useful for our future – especially if my suggestion that we share no principles today is accepted. But first of all we need to get a preliminary issue out of the way. Where does the basic energy of freedom come from?
Freedom is not dependent
Is self respect, dignity and wholeness dependent on constitutions and other empty promises signed by corrupt politicians in this country or resolutions passed by corrupt politicians elsewhere?  Or does it depend on what the upwardly mobile UN public servant says and does when governments fail or what the International Criminal Court does when everything has failed? Are not all these second rate remedies built on top of a sleeping human being who is yet to ask that question – WHO AM I? The human spirit may lie dormant for hundreds of years; but when it catches fire it becomes the source energy and foundation for all human creativity and free action. As Victor Hugo once said ‘no army can withstand the power an idea whose time has come.’
To understand who we are, we must have a sense of history and learn something about the ideas and values that shaped our ancient society. We can start with a dialogue recounted in the   Samanthapasadika between two founding fathers of the ancient rajarata civilisation – King Devanampiyatissa and Arahat Mahinda.
                                                                                    Read More

Sajith, Dulanjali at Sumathipala home to mollify Lakbima!

sajith thilanga Premadasa siblings Sajith and Dulanjali had gone to the home of Sumathi Publishers owner, MP Thilanga Sumathipala, yesterday (29) to exert influence to sanction ‘Lakbima’ editor Saman Wagarachchi who is constructively criticizing the immature, childish politics of Sajith Premadasa.

At the outset, the duo has told Sumathipala that the ‘Lakbima’ editor was a very dangerous person, and that the president and the defence secretary were very much angered by his conduct. If Wagarachchi is not removed from his position immediately, the owner will face serious repercussions, they had warned. An irate Sumathipala has inquired as to whether they had been sent to him by the president.
Without giving a direct answer, Sajith has asked as to why ‘Lakbima’ was not supporting him in politics, unlike ‘Sirasa’ and ‘Mawbima.’ If such support is forthcoming, he has said, he could recompense adequately, and even get the CID investigation against the editor halted.
With a smile, Sumathipala has replied that he never influences the freedom of the editorial, adding that Wagarachchi is the best editor he has seen for a long time. Before Wagarachchi joined ‘Lakbima’, the newspaper was about to die down, but it has now been revived, he said with many words in praise of Wagarachchi. “You know better than me about the politics of Mr. Saman Wagarachchi. But, he is not a person who gets his politics and journalism mixed up. If you do the right thing, he will do justice to it. Other than that, I cannot tell him to stop criticizing you just because you are a friend of mine,” he has gone on to say.
Sajith and Dulanjali had gone to meet Sumathipala to ask that the ‘Lakbima’ column by lawyer Chandrasiri Seneviratne be stopped. That column is featured in our features segment.