Daily News Online

Monday, 2 January 2012






Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Getting off to a sound start

A new calendar year has opened with the usual expectations in most quarters that the country would charter fresh directions in its public affairs. We do hope that a break would be made with the past, particularly in relation to the gamut of issues facing the North-East and particularly with regard to national rejuvenation and reconciliation.

A challenge is posed to the state and the people of this country in the form of the LLRC report. To implement or not to implement – this seems to be the dilemma facing some. As for those with the interests of this country at heart, there could be no doubt that the LLRC recommendations should be seriously considered by all concerned, including the state, and implemented in earnest, where implementable. There needs to be a vigorous public discourse on the report, but it is our request that interminable debates and arguments are not had on it, in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), or outside.

We are guided by past experience, when we say this. Over the past 25 years and more we have had a multitude of forums on the National Question and the reports, papers, books and publications brought out here and abroad on the subject may have run into the hundreds. All the ‘serious thinking’ that could have been done on the issues facing our communities has already been done and we call for down-to-earth practical measures to resolve the issues at hand. Talks, there need be, but not of the delaying and time-consuming kind. These stalling tactics will ensure a prolongation of the issues facing the North-East and by implication the country.

Prior to the LLRC report, there have been many memorable studies of the conflict, its causes and paths to its resolution, such as the work of the APRC, and we call on the concerned quarters to lose no further time by talking interminably on the issues facing the North-East. It needs to be borne in mind that not all such issues have been looked at and resolved although the state is getting on with the task of developing the once conflict-affected areas of the country and this is a positive development that should be taken note of.

For instance, the government has allocated some Rs. 61,000 million for the purpose of accelerating the development effort in the Jaffna district, besides other substantive development initiatives in the Northern Province and we wish to place on record our deep appreciation of this vigorous thrust to bring material benefits to the people of the areas concerned. As we have time and again pointed out in this commentary, the growth expected from such initiatives should be evenly distributed among the affected population segments, if some of the disaffection of the past is to be eased off, and we hope this aspect of the growth process is being addressed by the government.

The government is doing well to usher in infrastructure development in all the relevant areas of the country, but it should be the focus of the state to ensure that redistributive justice becomes a chief cornerstone of governance. To be sure, the state has not lost sight of this need but it should not lose sight of this objective in the days ahead too because social peace and cohesion depends considerably on it.

When analyzed closely, it could be found that it is constantly denied socio-economic justice that gives rise to those political issues that are subsumed under the head, ‘identity-based conflicts’. It is prolonged material deprivation that drives some sections of the people to believe that they are discriminated against. This will make them acutely aware of their ethnic identity and serve as the basis for ethnic movements.

Therefore, there could be no getting away from the fact that redistributive justice must be constantly striven for by the state. What needs to be aimed at is material advancement that would benefit all equally. This is what past ‘development’ experiences failed to achieve in this country. It should be also noted that political power is sought by some sections, particularly those who believe they are discriminated against, not primarily for its own sake but for the purpose of acquiring what they believe they have been wrongly denied. Therefore, development, correctly understood as growth with equity, is the crying need.

Sri Lanka brimming with promise

Two years after the end of a three decades conflict, the lifting of the emergency rule in late August 2011 confirmed the beginning of a new era for Sri Lanka. With the recent discovery of gas fields off its coast, its future looks bright. Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, the ambassador of Sri Lanka to France, tells us about the opportunities of this renewal for the country’s development and the assets of its strategic positioning at the heart of the Indian Ocean rim.

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Ghanaians need to be aware about climate change

“Earthly things have changed and it is because we have started cutting down trees everywhere,” said middle-aged Lariba Mohammed, a vegetable farmer near Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region, 658 km North of the Ghanaian capital Accra.

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Shake hands with an Angel - meeting with Lt. Gen Romeo Dallaire

After Rwanda, Gen Romeo Dallaire gave leadership in a project to develop a conceptual base for the elimination of the use of child soldiers. In his best-selling book "They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children," Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire suggests to promote Zero Force, an international campaign to eradicate the use of child soldiers. He is determined to fight to eradicate the use of child soldiers in armed conflicts. It is a mission to which Gen Dallaire has committed himself for the rest of his life.

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Walking together to restore the old grandeur

For nearly three decades, Tiger terrorists fought the government forces in Sri Lanka, once controlling its Northern and Eastern regions. In May 2009, the Sri Lankan military finally crushed the rebels, ending one of Asia's longest-running conflicts. The threat of terrorism abated, and for all Sri Lankans, life began to take an unbelievably good turn. People's aspirations triumphed.

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