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DateLine Thursday, 12 June 2008

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- Nadira Gunathilleke

Be alert and save the country

When a crime takes place, majority of us wait, curse the criminal and stay shocked for few days, may be weeks (rarely) then go back to the normal routine. Only the immediate family members of the victim remember what has happened for a longer time and only one or two of them think about it after three weeks.

It does not matter whether we like it or not, this is the nature of us. One can call it moving on. But 'moving on' does not mean that one should ignore his/her responsibility towards the victims.

How about a total stranger fighting for the lives lost and doing justice risking his own? Then how about a grandmother who risks her own life to catch the culprit who destroyed lives and properties of innocent poor civilians?

We cannot estimate the worthiness of her act. We can only hand over something to her as a token for her selflessness and bravery. In the common society rarely people admire such heroic acts and accept the fact that women are smart just as men when it comes to `men's work'.

This is the story of the woman CDF (Civil Defence Force) member who had arrested the LTTE cadre behind the bomb blast in Dehiwela railway track. She was promoted and rewarded for her courageous act few days back by the Government.

She was promoted to the position, Woman Warden and rewarded with Rs.50,000 in cash. It is significant because the recognition took place just after the country celebrated National War Heros' Day in the Parliament ground, the most ideal place.

Two other women CDF were promoted as Sub Warden and rewarded with cash Rs.10,000 each for seizing 100 GN sticks and arresting two LTTE suspects at the Puliyanakulam checkpoint on February 2.

These women are the golden gifts of mother Lanka and provide a very good example for some other Sri Lankan women who risk their lives not to protect others but to invite danger.

Here are some `bitter stories' related by train passengers themselves after the recent train bomb blasts.

Some women who travel from office trains, just get into the train hurriedly, grab a seat, and close their eyes very tightly. This is not to sleep or relax but to ignore pregnant mothers, elders and disabled persons. What a good way to be cautious about strangers and unidentified parcels.

May be men too do the same. This was revealed by several regular train passengers after the recent bomb blasts.

The same happens very often in the crowded buses. There you can see a lot of men and women especially who are sitting close to the front and rear entrances of the bus pretending to be in a deep sleep in order to avoid sacrificing their seats to a pregnant mother or an elder.

When a clergy get into the bus standing passengers happily wake up the passenger who is pretending to be sleeping. But if passengers sitting close to the entrances close their eyes tightly how can they notice anything/anyone unusual?

It seems when a new person comes and sits in a train compartment the regular passengers scold him/her and chase him/her away forgetting that they are also human beings.

According to some women passengers it is women who do this more than male passengers. When a woman shouts and chases away another woman, can we expect kindness and sympathy from men?

Public transport services are not private properties of anybody. Anyone can get into a train and sit anywhere. That is their right. But how can we expect certain persons to obey one's rights when he/she ignores a pregnant mother? When a woman tries her best to ignore another pregnant woman there is no point talking about being observant.

It is obvious that our social ethics and values are decreasing rapidly. Caring for others can only be started from homes. First parents should care for their children and grown up children should care for their parents. Without this basic step nothing will happen as we expect.

If a parent does not care for his/her child and the child does not care for parents after growing up how can we expect them to care for unknown passengers travelling in a bus or train?

This is not a good trend. Not caring for others is not only bad behaviour but also a hazard to safety. Ignorant persons are in a deep sleep until something bad happens and then put the blame on anyone available.

 

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