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Desist from strike action

CEYLON Petroleum Corporation trade unions are reportedly threatening strike action over what they say are longstanding, unresolved demands, barely days after a bout of industrial unrest paralyzed vital sections of the country's economy.

Thus are we having fresh proof of the short-sightedness and tragic self-centredness of these trade unions. This position could be taken because none but the people suffer in these wild cat strikes which deal the nerve centres of the economy, a paralyzing, staggering blow.

If these trade unions believe that they could acquire a stranglehold over the State or the CPC management, they are sadly mistaken. These parties to their conflict are certain to be hardly affected by these suicidal actions of the trade unions.

However, there is no denying that the people would suffer grievously in these precipitate, mindless showdowns the trade unions have with the Government and the CPC authorities. It would not be an exaggeration to state that the basic necessities of the people and their livelihoods would be placed at a great risk by these trade unions. Life would, however, go on uninterrupted for the more powerful sections of society.

This amounts to, then, putting the people on the firing line. It amounts to seriously damaging the common weal and bringing suffering and hardships to tens of thousands of the poor and the powerless.

Is this the prized aim of these trade unions? We call on them to reconsider their strike plans and put the common good and happiness above their sectional interests which could always be resolved through patient negotiations.

This is a most unhappy moment to heap hardships on the common people. We need hardly elaborate on the security-linked problems experienced in some parts of the country.

The LTTE's maniacal behaviour is worsening in the East and the State needs to handle the resultant issues with a deep sense of purpose and single-minded efficiency. It cannot do so if Southern trade unions take to the streets in a show of destructive defiance. It cannot do so if vital sectors of the economy are facing the possibility of being disrupted.

In fact, the trade unions concerned would be playing into the hands of the Tigers, whose blood-thirstiness seems to be growing by the day. A good example of this is the LTTE's continuing killing spree.

Is this something the trade unions relish? Are they content playing into the hands of the LTTE, whose one desire is to plunge Sri Lanka into demonic chaos?

Think again, we urge these disgruntled trade unions. Seek negotiations and compromise and not anarchy which would help the enemies of the State and those of the people of Sri Lanka.

We urge sanity and common sense in the face of these dangers. The common good could in no way be compromised.

Identity-based conflicts and the case for unity in diversity

Through constitutional systems that create unity through diversity, and through the convergence of grievances about territory and ordinary politics. I think that is one way in which these conflicts could be resolved in the long run. There is not a solution that is available in the short run. But in the long run there is only one way to resolve such conflicts which is through a constitutional system which creates a space and citizenship for more than one nationality within the same borders.

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TNA-LTTE presents the 'civilian' terrorist

In the early days of Tiger terrorism, human rights organisations accused the Sri Lankan State of treating every Tamil as a terrorist. Now, things seem to have taken a different turn. Today it is the Tamil National Alliance and the LTTE that want to convince the world there is no difference between a Tamil civilian and a terrorist in Tiger-dominated areas

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An Intellectual who understood the problems of peasantry

Dr. Kelegama, like most intellectuals of his generation, believed in the role of the intellectual in the transformation of a society from a state of economic underdevelopment and a traditional culture into a modern society.

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