Sound proposition for Opposition
ALL well-meaning and peace-loving
persons and sections, besides the State, are likely to be encouraged by
the sentiment voiced by religious and business leaders at a meeting
recently with President Mahinda Rajapaksa that all political parties
must extend their unconditional support to the Government in these
The sentiment was expressed against the backdrop of the President's
invitation to the UNP to cooperate with the Government in resolving the
National Question. It is, of course, our conviction too that the UNP and
the rest of the political Opposition should help the Government in the
task of settling the ethnic conflict by political means.
We are happy to note that responsible sections of our polity - such
as the religious and business leaders - think in the same terms on these
questions. We hope they will help propagate the message over the length
and breadth of Sri Lanka that earnest efforts by the Government to
resolve our conflict should be supported by all.
As in the case of the country's numerous clergy, the business
community too interacts closely with the people. Time and again business
leaders have made it clear that if the best is to emerge from our
people, there needs to be peace and harmony in our country.
A conflict-ridden country not only dampens a society's economic
prospects but kills a people's spirit and has a deleterious impact on
their productivity. A discouraged people cannot be expected to take a
country along the path of prosperity. This is a truth which cannot be
Therefore, we call on our political Opposition to delay no further,
but actively and willingly cooperate with the State in taking the
country to a bright future.
The question is: for how long more are opposition parties in
particular, hoping to exploit the National Question to their short-term
benefit? It should be plain to them that delays in resolving the
conflict by political means only helps the LTTE. The LTTE is in no hurry
because a Sri Lanka which is endemically in turmoil serves their
The Tigers take double-delight in a Southern Sri Lanka which is at
cross-purposes. Such a situation comes about when the major political
forces of the South ruthlessly undermine each others efforts at bringing
Accordingly, if the UNP, the country's major Opposition party,
continues to blow hot and cold on the peace process, it would be only
helping the LTTE - national enemy number one.
Let there be no more dangerous dilly-dallying, is our plea. The major
political parties of the country should close ranks with the State to
work out a lasting political solution to our conflict.
Twenty five years of war and bloodshed should convince our polity
that only Sri Lanka would be the loser from delays to resolve the
conflict. Let us reverse this sad situation and take the country to an
era of prosperity which will make every Sri Lankan a winner.
It should be realised that a bright future awaits us. The
Commonwealth Finance Ministers' Meeting which would be held in Colombo
in a few days time, would help underscore this fact. We are a country
brimming with economic promise but all our hopes would fall asunder if
the conflict is allowed to drag on.
Let there be a united and sustained effort to pull Lanka out of this
THE country is finally being led by a new set of
leaders who wish to assert its sovereignty. Previous leaders did
their best to convince the people that buckling under the LTTE
threats was the road to survival. They failed to say it was their
personal survival that they were thinking of. Our soldiers in common
with other South Asian nations are neither going to Iraq nor are
they interested in chewing gum or religious revivals.
Lankawata mama adarai
I love Sri Lanka. I already miss Sri Lanka. I
have been in Sri Lanka for eight months and planned to be here for
another four. But this morning I received news that I must leave the
country in two weeks.
No, not through religion
Whoever advised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
have a meeting with Muslim religious leaders did not serve him well.
One, there is no recognised religious leader in the community. There
are only a few institutions ploughing a lonely furrow. Two, the
influence of religious leaders is more negative than positive. They
issue too many fatwas which evoke controversy, not consensus.