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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

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The primacy of a sense of community

Building a sense of community among the people of this country is as good as laying the foundation for a durable peace. One of the most catastrophic fallouts from the conflict was the physical and emotional separation of our communities from each other, coupled with the severe internal segmentation of these communities themselves. Examples of the latter are single parent families, loss of bread winners, widows and orphans

In other words, the social dislocation resulting from the conflict was as grave as the loss of lives and property. Accordingly, Sri Lanka really needs to fight on two fronts: on the one hand, we need to fight off those external forces which are attempting to exercise a neo-colonial stranglehold over us and this is currently best exemplified in the allegations being leveled at us by hostile sections of the West at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Essentially, this boils down to protecting and sustaining our sovereignty and national independence, along with the preservation of our just pride as a free people.

On the other hand, we need to bring healing among ourselves. This is best achieved through an internal process of national reconciliation and the establishment and solidification of social bonds among our communities and collectivities, besides bringing healing to persons and families who were badly affected by the conflict.

These latter chores are as important as the former and it is to the extent to which this process of inner healing is advanced that one could say that the nation-building effort is being successfully pursued. After all, establishing a united and equal citizenry is what nation-building is basically all about. Fortunately, there are sufficient indications that the state is no less involved in this process of bringing inner healing inasmuch as seeking to neutralize the enemy without.

What tends to give us hope in this regard is a news feature we carried on our Opinion page yesterday which highlighted some community-based initiatives being launched in the North under the aegis of Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha M.P., Advisor on Reconciliation to the President, and a host of other public sector officials and bodies, which are proving quite effective in bringing bonding and healing to the local body-politic in the wake of the dislocation caused by the conflict.

Reading through the report one would find that, among other things, these initiatives are proving catalysts in effecting people-to-people contact which is vital in any effort at national reconstruction and rejuvenation.

It could be seen that these challenges are being faced and to a great extent overcome with the least assistance of and intervention from actors and agencies external to the localities and areas concerned. They are in every sense of the word, community or people-based initiatives which are sustained by the genius and resourcefulness of the local communities themselves.

Of great importance is the establishment of Reconciliation Committees at Divisional Secretariat level and, as could be seen, these bodies are taking on a wide range of issues faced by local communities. Some of these are the well being of women and children, the identification and succouring of vulnerable groups, counseling of those suffering from numerous afflictions, development of educational curricular, entrepreneurship training, the launching of small businesses, cooperative development and so on. In other words, if all goes well we would be having at least relatively self-sustaining communities. This is the direction in which a post-conflict society needs to evolve and we wish more strength to the arms of those who are behind these collective ventures. In fact, this is the true meaning of independence and we hope the political actors of note in our midst would bear these parameters in mind as they go along.

Not only must social dislocations be mended, communities must be aided in the momentous enterprise of cooperating and helping each other in meeting their everyday and other needs. From these united and joint ventures would come into being a sense of solidarity and togetherness which no amount of sloganeering could help foster. This is indeed the sense of community and unity a sovereign country must showcase to the world.

Prof. Paul created pathway for Lankans to learn engineering – Part II:

IESL for practical and open dialogue

Similarly, today after enjoying that freedom for over six decades, and in my own personal view quite disarrayed and perhaps even lost in our focus, we are about to launch ourselves from a middle income level country to a developing country… It is a time that we need more and more people in the calibre of late Prof. Paul. In that context it is most relevant.

Full Story

Do we need a special day to celebrate being women?

International Women’s Day falls tomorrow. Every year, March 8 comes upon the factory worker, the garment worker, the housewife, the student, the teacher, the scientist, the businesswoman and all other women with the kind of fervour and excitement reserved for big holidays. Women being pragmatic and hands-on as mothers and wives, usually take it in their stride. It happens to be just another day - but at least, it gives some of us the opportunity to remind the world that the hand that rocks the cradle does indeed rule the world - when it comes to moulding the lives of the next generation, passing on values and traditions that make life worthwhile and meaningful.

Full Story

An open letter to Ban ki-Moon, Secretary General of United Nations

Dear Mr Ban ki-Moon,

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, mainly on behalf of the youths, the ones affected by war when they were supposed to be enjoying their childhood, the ones who thought they would not make it past their teens due to the civil war, but now can see a brighter future, a better chance at survival. I am writing this letter to share with you my opinion, which I believe is shared among the people of Sri Lanka. The opinion is that we believe our nation has been the target of scrutiny by many powerful states, we find this unjust as it interferes in the path of our development.

Full Story

 

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