On June 23, Saturday, the American and NATO supported (and installed)
President of Afghanistan Ahmed Karzai said the following.
He was upset over the deaths of civilians caught in the middle of
fighting between coalition US led troops and militant fighters.
âThe disproportionate use of force to a situation and the lack of
coordination with the Afghan Government is causing these casualties,â
âYou donât fight a terrorist by firing a field gun some 30 kilometres
away into a target. That is definitely surely bound to cause civilian
Those are pretty harsh words coming from a man installed (and
preferred) by the British and the US regimes in their fight against
Taleban rebels and al-Qaeda terrorists.
There have been many innocent civilian casualties caused by the
forces armed with the most sophisticated weapons guidance systems,
intelligence gathering, electronics and best trained forces in the
According to President Karzai, an incident where 25 civilians were
killed occurred when NATO Forces came under fire in a village at around
sunset and then the NATO Forces went and bombed the village late night.
He asked the question âwhy?â Even the US military admitted confirm
that seven children died when they bombed a building in the Eastern
Afghanistan where al-Qaeda fighters were believed to have gathered.
According to International press reports on CNN and BBC, Karzai
stated âThey cannot bring standards from their countries in the West and
try to apply it in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a different country.
It has different values systems. It has a different community
structure. From now onward, they have to work the way we ask them to
work in here. Thatâs the line.â
Karzaiâs remarks reflect growing unease among Afghans at the rising
civilian death toll as foreign troops continue efforts to rid the
country of Taliban.
Will the US Ambassador and the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka
who are critical of accidental civilian casualties be able to spin this
news or explain away/rebut these harsh criticisms from their own man in
There is much discussion about the parlous state of proficiency in
the English language among the students in particular and adults in
There are many English lessons in the print and electronic media.
I happened to watch one such programme telecast over a State TV
channel recently. Several glaring blunders in simple English grammar and
usage were noted by me in these programmes.
In the programme on May 15 the sentence âfloods affects our daily
lifeâ was used to illustrate the use of Simple Present Tense.
In another instant the presenter used the expression, âI hope there
is no any problem.â The programme telecast on May 29, on greetings etc,
the lady presenter obviously presumed the expression âHow do you doâ to
be a question and as a response she used âI am wellâ.
She did not know the difference between âHow are you?â which calls
for the response âIâm wellâ and âHow do you do?â which is a polite
response by both parties on being introduced to each other.
The SLRC lessons are avidly followed by GCE (O/L) students and others
interested in learning English.
Therefore it is imperative that care be taken to present correct
grammar and usage.
These programmes should be conducted and prepared by competent
individuals. Otherwise great harm is done to young learners by
presenting such howlers.
Sometime back too, I had the occasion to write to the SLRC about this
for which they apologised.
Nowadays anybody knows that the fruit trees are full of fruits during
the Vesak season starting after the Sinhala-Hindu New Year festival.
Our countrymen are fond of having a fruit tree in their home garden
and so they get improved varieties of fruit plants from elsewhere and
plant them in the home garden.
A person who walks on rural roads nowadays can observe that the road
under the fruit trees are covered with plenty of rotten fruits such as
mango, jak, rambutan etc. It seems that nobody is harvesting these
fruits and nutritious and delicious agricultural products are wasted.
The problems faced by the community may be that they are unable to
get a person to pluck the fruits and difficulties in protecting fruits
from wild animals such as monkeys and owls etc. I have a problem whether
there is a market for these products as well. Especially there are
avenues for preparing chutney; jam and cordial etc. by using mango.
The country is not making use of the fruits for the said productions
and improves the economy. I see that the raw fruits are purchased only
from large plantation for value added industries.
The perished fruits lying on the roads have caused environment
pollution as well.
The Department of Agriculture and Industrial Development board have
the technology for making use of fruits for value added industries.
The people should be trained and educated on making use of fruits and
shown them the market opportunities by the authorities concerned.
It is very important to create awareness on nutritional value of
locally grown fruits rather than imported costly varieties available in
I refer to an article appeared in last weekâs newspaper regarding the
Age-old people are senior citizens of every country whom we have to
look at with due respect, honour and dignity. Itâs very unfair to treat
them disgracefully since they are old and may be a little nuisance,
People who belong to younger generation and have this mentality must
think that one fine day they too will have to climb the same ladder of
time which certainly makes them also old. How do we regard if a tender
leaf sarcastically laughs at a withered leaf!
The present, overlooking the past, cannot be healthy and helpful in
the long run. Similarly, the younger generation trying to overlook the
elderly people without paying due respect to them is unacceptable and
The article under reference reveals that elderly people are not
allowed to open gates or doors when some visitors arrive.
Because of some exceptional cases, entire populations of elderly
people must not be penalised.
I donât think, in general, we cannot find most suitable people to
receive visitors than elderly folks since they can easily and
comfortably identify the visitors better than others. In conclusion, I
appeal to all concerned to treat our elderly senior citizens with due
respect for they are instrumental for existence of the younger
The ordinary Muslim citizen needs to know the veracity of the rumours
spreading about abductions of Muslim businessmen.
A Sunday Newspaper (not of the Lake House group) even quoted the
exact sums of money paid as ransom.
However the figures mentioned against certain businessmen create
doubts as to the authenticity of the news items as apparently the ransom
money extracted in some cases exceed the businessmenâs networth on the
face of it.
Rumours spread like wildfire even engulfing the Sri Lankan Muslim
diaspora in several countries.
Suddenly Sri Lanka appeared to be a dangerous place and many leading
Muslim businessmen were reported to be packing up seeking greener
The UNP which was in limbo and in a state of slumber awakened to the
smell of a new opportunity to tarnish the Government. They even
threatened street protests against the Government if enough was not done
to protect Muslim businessmen.
On the other hand Government Ministers played down the issue
dismissing the rumours as baseless and unfounded.
The truth is as reiterated by the Minister Fowzi there were a few
abductions but the matter was blown out of proportion by various
interested elements and mischief makers.
The President and others in the Government who matter have assured
adequate security to Muslim businessmen. It is also reported that the
President has instructed authorities concerned to investigate all
complaints regarding abduction and demand for ransom and bring the
culprits to book.
Therefore, Muslims should not panic but trust in god and tie the
camel as prophetic wisdom enjoined.