Friday, November 30, 2012
It is no secret that all UNP policy is determined by Ranil Wickremasinghe wielding sole power over decisions. It is the same with regard to matters pertaining to Parliament as there is no other person who can come close to winning an argument with him on the legal points of Parliamentary privilege and protocol to say nothing of its supremacy even over the Presidency.
So when it comes to the process of impeaching the Chief Justice, he is lead by the fact that Parliament is supreme and he uses the Precedent set by Anura Bandaranayake where he overruled the Supreme Court in dealing with the possible impeachment of the then Chief Justice Sarath N Silva but which did not make it to the final deliberations due to the proroguing of Parliament.
In that respect he believes that the procedure being adopted by the PSC and rights and privileges of that body is inviolable, even though one may have doubts over the fact that it is not sufficiently represented by members of the opposition and technical matters such as the impeachment motion, which none of the signatories were privy to when it was signed are taken into consideration as being legally unacceptable.
In that respect Mr Wickremasinghe is a stickler for rules and protocol as well as precedent. However with regards to the rulings by the Sarath Silva Supreme Court that permitted crossovers whilst he may disagree with, he has had to accept that as law and live with it. If Sarath Silvas ruling was different, our history would also have been very different, and we would probably not be facing this Kangaroo Court in the first place.
It therefore rubs people up the wrong way to think that the UNP stance is also for the ruling of the PSC to stand. The problem is the people are not so upright, as Mr Wickremasinghe would wish. The Govt. members of the PSC will NOT vote their conscience, and instead do as the dictator ordered. In that lies the particular conundrum in Ranil Wickremasinghe’s logic and the dilemma he faces. He clearly has no answer to that, except to hope that the lawyers in the PSC will vote for upholding the Constitution in the way it was meant to be upheld, so that the charges brought by the Government be shown the right direction, namely the dustbin, and throw out the impeachment motion.
That is the only course of action, Ranil hopes will be taken but will it?
Thursday, November 29, 2012
In a clear act to stamp his authority on proceedings, the Speaker has just ruled that
“Any outside entity (even the Supreme Court or even the President!) has NO authority over the Speaker, Parliament or any committee appointed by him.”
So we are firmly wedged in a Banana Republic where thugs and people who are subjected to being paid off to switch allegiances can overturn the will of the people as the Government maintains that ALL the people in Parliament by virtue of the Constitution are executing the will of the People.
The intelligent observer knows the truth in such an assumption, as the Parliament now constituted, both as a result of an unconstitutional amendment, namely the 18th Amendment, and a further bastardizing rule by the Supreme Court permitting MPs to switch sides after being elected from one party, DOES not reflect the will of the PEOPLE.
In short the Speaker has ruled that people, some of whom have prostituted themselves in the face of threats and intimidation, (no different to prostitutes) have total sway over the conduct of the nation. What option have the people of Sri Lanka got, after the Parliament has usurped the rights of the Judiciary in this shameful manner?
They have no option but to defy the ruling of the Parliament. If they impeach the Chief Justice for instance, it is the duty of the Lawyers, along with the Public to refrain from hearing any cases. It is the duty of the Govt. servants to withdraw their service. In short it is the duty of the people of this country to show that THEY, not parliament are supreme.
The problem with that is when one has a dictatorship with all the powers that go with it, including a heavily armed security force, who will kill on order, we may have to witness mass scale slaughter of the innocents before order is restored and people’s will is re instated.
The Govt. has illiterate people on their side, as they cannot read between the lines of the actions taken by the state, they do not posses powers of reasoning, and by keeping the people of Sri Lanka in a state of trickery and duplicity, the needed change will be slow, painful, and involve heavy sacrifice amongst those seeking justice, before sense prevails and the Govt. desists and surrenders to the will of the people.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Religion is a topic I try very hard to steer clear of, but as a result of a racist SMS I received yesterday, which I understand has been sent around to many people, origin unknown, caused me some anxiety. I wish to suppress any race or religion based divisive thinking in Sri Lanka. That only leads to violence, which then becomes uncontrolled, due to passions that are aroused, more than any other single topic. Often this violence is perpetrated by neither party to the cause, but by outsiders who wish to stoke racism and fear where none existed, merely to reverse a country’s success and development or for personal vicarious pleasure at other people’s suffering.
My previous blog entry is self explanatory of its implications, and the comment made by a person is also indicative of what I am trying to avoid spreading to an unmanageable degree, taking a life of its own, which will end in tragedy.
Whilst I am a penniless, free market capitalist with altruistic feelings to all my fellow human beings of whatever race, creed or gender, I believe the Communist ideology deals with this the best, as it treats all people equally and does not look at a person’s class, creed or race in making choices.
I am therefore firmly opposed to race or creed based political parties. I believe they breed racial intolerance and should be banned. Most people join these race based parties ostensibly to protect the interest of their race. However in a truly multicultural and multiracial country there should be NO NEED for such protection, as preserving one’s own culture and religion is a personal choice, as long it does not directly impact on another’s belief in an overt way, I use the more meaningful word in your face.
I implore all sane human beings to accept diversity as a matter of civilized behavior of good neighborliness and prevent every attempt at extremism or isolation on the grounds of exclusion. We are stronger and more tolerant the more we know about others their lives and their behavior. It is therefore best to educate people out of pre-conceived and factually incorrect prejudices that hinder their enjoyment of their stay on earth as well as affect the lives of others. We live in a global marketplace. With tolerance and understanding most of the prejudices will fade away and seem petty and childish. We must concentrate our energies in assisting our friends and making our lives more meaningful by our selfless actions not by selfish hate mongering motives.
There is a hate SMS going around that informs Sinhala people that by 2024 the Muslims will be the majority community in Sri Lanka. It was brought about by the extrapolation from the last census using growth rates of the community. The number of Tamils has fallen substantially due to emigration, do not pose a problem. The Muslim community is now targeted.
The Bodu Bala movement of Buddhist priests recently made a huge outcry about Halal certification, saying many food items cost more due to this, and why should they be given alms in the form of Halal certified food for the local market. The SMS asks people NOT to buy Halal certified products.
The SMS further asks people not to patronize NO Limit and Fashion Bug Stores and that Etisalat is building Mosques, and not to buy from Muslim stores. Further not to sell property to muslims and not allow our female daughters to be married to Muslims. This is pure hate against the Muslim community, by prejudice at their success.
I reject this outright and believe it is yet another step in trying to homogenize this population, by taking every step to frighten this community into leaving Sri Lanka. The racists were able to persuade hundreds of thousands of Tamils to leave, it appears it is now the turn of the Muslims.
Sri Lanka is a multiracial country, where all its citizens have the freedom to live and work wherever they want. It is reprehensible to frighten an inherently minority complexed majority of Sinhala people in this way and it will only further foster racism and a backlash worse than the LTTE will result, from a cornered community with nowhere to go. Remember the Muslims were here for centuries and many of the Muslims today are genetically Sinhala being converted to the muslim faith hundreds of years ago by the travelling muslim traders, and they set up muslim villages all over the country that exist to this day in majority Sinhala areas.
Any attempt to discriminate will further alienate and strengthen this community, and it is the Sinhala people who will further suffer by this boycott. If the Sinhala people want they can behave more like the muslims, by being stronger in their faith, and further with their faith help their fellow brethren. It is simply due to the bad relationship within the Sinhala community that Muslims prosper. It is better to strengthen Sinhala charity, Sinhala togetherness and neighbors helping each other, rather than being jealous of our neighbors to counter any perceived threat.
Minorities in any community stick together to help each other out. It is to be expected. We must learn from those traits and copy them, not discriminate against one community. It very easy for this racism to get out of control and then Sri Lanka will reverse to a period of conflict because this Government did not suppress this new movement.
The Government governs by making people frightened. Not by instillling a sense of patriotism. Muslims are also patriotic Sri Lankans and SHOULD not be discriminated against at all. People must be allowed to practice their faith. People will only follow a religion if that religion gives them something. If Buddhism is not being practiced properly it is up to the Clergy to set an example and stop trying to outdo each other in building palaces in their own temples, but instead use their wealth to help the less well off and the less fortunate. This will strengthen the faith and be an example, which will make others follow it, and not leave it or lapse practicing it because of the bad examples of the practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka which is far from the teachings of the Buddha.
Instead of the Govt. pussyfooting another incendiary time bomb, that will devastate Sri Lanka, they must unite this country and remove the cancers of these ideas from taking hold. We live with a false sense of security because of the intransigence of the Administration, pandering to racist influences within their organization, that appear to be politically acceptable to the present regime, or better thrive on it.
There is a whole coterie of intellectual thinking that is backing this racism and it goes right to the top of Govt. which I believe is even encouraging, perhaps spreading these fears amongst the people. We must STOP it before it takes hold, otherwise mass hysteria will result making July 1983 a walk in the park.
We sadly have a leader drunk with power, unable to see the sordid use of that power to frighten and therefore subjugate people with fear. We who care about the future of this country have a stake to ensure safety and security of all those who live here. If it is compromised in the slightest, it will give rise to fear and then defense of those under threat. There will be a flight of capital, there will be mass unemployment and anarchy will reign.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The Minister of Health announced that a National Health Policy would be announced on December 10th that will cover the next 5 years, more a 5 year plan for the Health Service.
If he is actually launching a Health Policy, he should have consulted all stakeholders before unilaterally making any announcement.
In any case it is admirable that the Govt. has allocated Rs125B in 2013 for the health service. Let us take that as a starting point and determine that the funds allocated are spent wisely.
For example there is no disagreement that the procurement of drugs and consumables for the health service is in a shambles, where corruption is rife and this public money is wasted on a grand scale. Steps must be taken to bring this into order, and unscrupulous tenders and unnecessary and time lapsed drugs not be imported. After all we are all too aware that we import gloves at twice the cost or more, than better quality surgical gloves that we export, because the commissions and fraud is greater in this particular item.
Of course the Minister maintained that the loss owing to this type of behavior is small, but that is just what he would say, and instead of making petty political points such as the opposition when in Govt. spent less than a quarter of that is irrelevant, as the time was different, costs were less than half and wastage was not at a maximum.
Oh what a waste! Is the expression I use all the time. It is because if only we had half the wastage in the Public Sector due to over invoicing, overcharging and payment for work done poorly or not at all, we would be at a different level of growth and return on investment.
It is sad that despite the record amounts borrowed ostensibly to speed infrastructural investment, when much of it is wasted on commissions and shoddy work, there is no accountability on the part of the state. When the debts inevitably have to repaid, it may be in the rule of another government which will have to make difficult and unpopular decisions, owing to the profligacy of the present regime.
Let us hope that for once the people in Sri Lanka will realize why!!
Sunday, November 25, 2012
If this is the proof one needed it is simply slam dunk evidence. After all when the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, proceeded to Parliament on the 23rd as requested/ordered by the PSC, the usually upright police who even salute street thugs who they take orders from, DID NOT salute her. Apparently it is customary to salute judges and so not saluting was noted as a direct order from above to desist.
The police force in Sri Lanka which is notorious for beating up arrested people until a confession is made, have a remarkably lopsided view of justice. One just wonders how many innocent people are convicted once they give confessions for crimes they did not commit just to save themselves from a savage beating.
Using this logic, is our CJ going to face the same music? We now know for a fact that none of the 117 MPs that signed the impeachment motion, actually knew what they were signing as the motion itself had not been drafted at the stage the govt. obtained signatures.
How anyone can justify such tactics must seem surprising to the uninitiated, but it is standard practice of dispensing justice in Sri Lanka especially for the poorer sections of the community who cannot get legal representation to save their butts.
One hopes that in time, the members of the PSC will rise to the occasion and the Government appointees drop their kangaroo clothes and change to a more legalistic mode, giving way to due process, to ensure that there is no stone unturned to ensure fair play. Whilst the proceedings an in camera right now, they will become public one day, and we can only hope that history will be kind to the members of the PSC, especially those doing the beck and calling of the Executive to have dispensed justice fairly before they come up with a verdict.
It now appears, that whatever course the SC adopts, if it is against the impeachment, then it is likely the Speaker will overrule its recommendations and continue with the process, and find the CJ guilty and she will be so declared by Parliament. I don’t know what will happen then. The GOSL will then have to answer to all action from that point. So help me GOD.
In my blog entry here on November 14th I highlighted the issue of inexplicable killings during or after the prison riot recently at the main Welikada Prison in Colombo.
The issue is now getting front and center stage and questions remain. In typical fashion the HRC appointed to investigate can begin their interview work once the CID finishes theirs. What were they doing? Were they ensuring that the prisoners were told that if they give evidence against the Security Forces, that they would have longer sentences, and vice versa?
That is the problem in Sri Lanka. There is no law. Once the law is broken with impunity, then all the courses of justice are also closed to us as the witnesses and evidence has been tampered with. This colossal disregard for the rule of law by the Administration, then prevents ANY investigation from proceeding. Ask any head of commission appointed to investigate any tragedy and the list of barriers will have no end.
What makes the jail massacre even more macabre is that we have timelines on when people were alive and when the riot action was quelled and there is overwhelming evidence that many were simply killed after the end of the riot. I do not know if innocents were killed or those directly responsible for the riot. However it does not matter a damn if they were one or another, it was simply done on orders of a superior who has to be answerable to someone else as the soldiers were obeying orders, and they do so with the threat of their income so they are hardly likely to squeal to an inquiry.
There was an excellent editorial in today’s Lakbima Newspaper about the issues involved, bemoaning the lack of public interest in this behavior or public outcry. It is an indication that public apathy has given way to an increasingly authoritarian regime doing as they please. It is also sad that there are so many people following orders without question, as they are either blinded by the fact that they are doing wrong, or that they just do not have any body to turn to for safety, ensuring an increase in such acts of violence, where there will be NO limit.
A post script on November 26th further report in Lakbima see below for link
A post script on November 26th further report in Lakbima see below for link
Friday, November 23, 2012
The Supreme Court decision last evening, in a 3 judge panel, obviously excluding the CJ (I think it should have been by a larger panel of at least 7)
pleaded for more time in determining the constitutional interpretation of Article 107(3) of the Sri Lanka Constitution, relating to the procedure of impeachment against a judge. That is fair considering the weighty task handed to them. In the same ruling they recommended that the PSC withhold from meeting, (therefore not call the CJ today) until such determination has been made.
What did the Deputy Speaker as a macho gut reaction say last night? That the PSC will meet as planned, with the CJ in attendance to answer questions, as he and Parliament had not received the Supreme Court ruling!!
The Supreme Court registrar is working feverishly as I write this to ensure the ruling is delivered personally by Messenger Service to the respondents to the petitions, who I believe are all the members of the PSC!
Whilst the papers have said that the CJ has handed her written response to all 14 charges to the PSC already, it is unlikely that by 10.30am she would be questioned by the PSC, and instead it would be postponed till after November 28th when a ruling is expected.
If the ruling goes against the PSC, then I am sure the Speaker will use Parliamentary Supremacy over the Judiciary and overrule it, and convene the PSC and continue hearing the case, whilst a number of legal luminaries will argue if it is Constitutional! However if Parliament oversteps the Judiciary, we effectively in Sri Lanka have surrendered our soul and actually our life to a bunch of idiots in Parliament over supposedly learned Judges, who can determine our fate, whether we live or die.
It is for the citizens of Sri Lanka to realize how important their vote is as and not elect incompetent illiterate buffoons to parliament due to some popularity they may have as an actress or sportsman and thereby degrade the whole institution that has ultimate power over all of us.
Personally I would rather leave life and death decision to the Courts, and NOT to Parliament which by definition in the Sri Lankan context comprise people who ARE bought for money and NOT principles.
Sunanda Madduma Bandara – Director General (Development and Communication) in the Ministry of Economic Development. He, therefore is a mouthpiece for Basil Rajapakse, his Minister as well of course for the Government. In today’s (Nov23rd) Lankadeepa Sinhala Newspaper (the paper with the highest daily circulation in Sri Lanka) Sunanda Madduma Bandara writes without disclosing his affiliation to the Government about the possibility of the people’s ownership, in this case of decisions via Parliament (in other words ‘parliament is supreme’) being belittled by the Judiciary taking an approach, and interpretation of the Constitution that goes against the ‘People’s Representatives’ and therefore the people’s choice.
He goes onto make an ASTONISHING STATEMENT about term limits which must be challenged lest we accept asinine statements from a Professor no less, and therefore casts doubts on his whole perspective and statement.
He says and I translate, that “in elections the loser has unlimited chances at contesting, so if a person is elected by popular choice, why should he also not have unlimited chances of contesting using the same logic, instead of only being allowed to contest for two terms”, as provided in the original Sri Lanka constitution, which was amended by the 18th Amendment to remove term limits? Instead of being subjected to term limits. “It was wrong in a democracy to impose term limits and therefore that was why this was removed, to make it right again!” What logic if left unchallenged?
Term limits all across the world are imposed not to all democratic elections in obtaining a people’s mandate, but most especially for Presidential elections. After all the US has a two term maximum. In Russia, it is a one term after which you can re contest after an absence of a term to ensure that continuity is prevented. Hence Putin was President, then Prime Minister and then re-elected President after the one term break, with Medvedev who was the President, and is now PM who can contest the Presidency again.
He clearly does not understand the necessity in a democracy to prevent undue advantage to the holder in office, especially with the power of office that goes with an executive presidency, to have limits to curtail prolonging one person rule. If he does, he is clearly compensated lavishly to make this claim as a seeming scholar!! So readers please not feel betrayed by what you read. Just read between the lines, and know the background of the writer!
THE ARGUMENT AGAINST THE SUPREMACY OF THE LEGISLATURE OVER THAT OF THE JUDICIARY AND EXECUTIVE WILL GO ON AND THIS BLOG WILL COVER THE CURRENT DEBATE
Thursday, November 22, 2012
A turncoat parliamentarian Azwer sometimes deputizes in the Speakers chair in the SL parliament for want of anyone else willing to moderate in the speaker or deputy speaker’s absence. (a turncoat in this context is one who gets votes from one political party constituents, but when elected leaves and joins another for his personal whims and profit, while leaving his supporters who gave a mandate for a different set of ideals, high and dry)
This time he had allotted 5 more minutes for a maiden speech by Tiran Alles who hitherto had not spoken in parliament since being appointed a National List MP under SF’s DNF. His speech was, like his paper, dedicated just to a personal attack on the leader of the opposition and rightly Ranil requested time for a rebuttal as is normal.
Ranil has been in parliament for nearly 40 years, and knows more about parliamentary privilege than anyone else in Parliament and to be shooed off by Azwer was off base. If such decrepit vermin can assume such a chair, God knows what else we have in store for us. RW rightly has protested to the Speaker about this event and we are still awaiting a ruling or statement.
I am not knowledgeable on Parliamentary Privilege, but when turncoats spend their time abusing the leader of the Party from whence they came, took advantage of, and more than likely gagged the person who helped (in this case Azwer) to get to this place in the first instance is very bad procedure. Sadly the Government benches are full of such scum, who have been helped financially and in many ways to get to where they currently are and who now resort to slinging mud at the very person who they let down. To mention a few names in this Johnston Fernando, Earl Gunasekera, Lakshman Seneviratne come to mind. If they happen to read this and have even an iota of conscience in their heart, should at least apologize to the person they have abused, before they meet their maker.
It is this lack of conscience amongst our lawmakers who seem to think that pig headedness and lack of scruples is a virtue that has resulted in this state of wonton lawlessness.
It is time that people with opinions are given an airing so that issues can be debated fairly and minds made up according to one’s own conscience.
It is ironic that in the land of the lotus eaters, their future is being determined today, and 99.9% of the citizens don’t even know about it. Do they wish to know? That too is a moot point!
The Supreme Court today will hear the arguments for and against in one of the most important if not THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION they have had to face. The petition to dismiss a clearly biased PSC from hearing the Impeachment Case, which is clearly unconstitutional in Local and International Precedence as it has not been tested yet.
The Chief Justice by virtue of the Impeachment motion cannot hear the case, but whoever the other judges are of the Supreme Court are, in full court, will have to make a decision whether the Government can at will, make a case because of a particular judgment(s) go against their wishes, to impeach a judge who in this case is the CJ. If they say yes they can. Then by virtue of the procedures adopted and in place for authoritarian rule, we have fallen into the “abyss’’ from where we are unlikely to rise.
“We are dealing with the Otto Adolf Eichmann view of the law. In his defence, when he was tried by a court in Israel, Eichmann, a German Nazi SS lieutenant colonel, took up the position that in Germany whatever the Fuhrer ordered was the law.”
It will be a while for us to extricate ourselves from this Nazi. After all Hitler’s Nazi party’s real name was the “National Socialist German Workers Party” – Did you know that? The Parallels are eerie. “The Moustache uncanny.” The fake exterior and dressing up for effect all too familiar.
The party came into power with overwhelming people’s support, and like pied piper we know how it ended. Do we want a future of Sri Lanka with this in mind?
Citizens of Sri Lanka rise and recognize tyranny before you know it has overwhelmed you and you do not know how to react, outgun, and overcome! The tyrants don’t realize they are such. They think they are saviours. So it needs common sense, knowledge of history, self confidence in doing what is right, ability to galvanize the people, and above all a guiding hand from an Almighty looking after one’s own morality to eviscerate this scourge!!
LET'S DO IT
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Parliament was discussing the budget votes for Education yesterday, 20th November 2012. It is very sad that Education being one of the Cornerstones of Sri Lanka’s growth, and future was given such Step motherly treatment, firstly by incompetent Government Spokesman who need to be educated on what Education means, and the Opposition spokesman who did not add a memorable argument to the debate.
We can excuse the incompetents and morons in Government, after all it is the people who chose them and we have to live with this muck. It is the lack of clarity and direction of the opposition here that I would like to pick up on.
It must be remembered that the Opposition has far too few members, and therefore a lot sits on the shoulders of the spokesmen. Akila Viraj MP is the opposition spokesman on Education, and one cannot fault him for his views being a product of the Sri Lankan University System. However it lacked depth clarity and consistency.
There is no point rehashing that. Let us look at what should have been said in simple and understandable terms.
The amount allocated for education is woefully small. 95% of the Budget allocation JUST PAYS THE WAGES of teachers, academics, and minor staff. That does not need a budget debate. It is why the balance 5% cannot be 50% that should be the argument.
We need more trained teachers, and merit based remuneration for them. We need to beef up the quality of teaching and give the Teacher Training Colleges the Urgency it needs. Better facilities with teaching tools. More overseas teacher trainers using WB assistance and proper management of these schools. None of them have permanent heads, only temporary heads.
We need different syllabuses that are in keeping with current thinking. We need schools equipped with the latest techniques. Distance learning must be made a priority as it is cheap and requires much less investment. The modules of the best teachers in the world must be open to our students.
The English IT emphasis must be real and not like the govt. made a few years ago, just a PR ploy for gullible consumption. JUST A THOUGHT
As if it was bad enough to go berserk in parliament, where Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa http://www.lankadeepa.lk/index.php/articles/78637 made an ass of himself complaining that 135 of his sycophants could not be seated at the same time and be given lunch in the visitors dining room in Parliament, he had to make an ass of himself on the floor of the house too.
After all he got his sycophants to come to Parliament to listen to his ‘ass’ speech he has no idea of what he is saying.http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-17605-0-news-comment-643-of-gdp-for-education-wijithamuni-zoysa.html as evidenced in the article referred to in the link in the Ceylon Today Newspaper of November 21st when he said the govt of SL spends 6.43% of its GDP on Education. Where has he been all this time when the University teachers were agitating for 6%? He probably does not know what it means.
The Govt. of SL spends less this year 2013 on Education (1.5% of GDP) as a percentage than last which was 1.9% of GDP. So when he makes up a figure of over 6% and makes a statement in Parliament to that effect it makes the citizens of Sri Lanka fools for putting him into parliament. It is a basic duty of a parliamentarian, especially when talking about Education in the votes for allocation of funds to the Ministry in the Committee Stage of the Budget yesterday, 20th of November 2012, to get one’s facts especially the elementary ones correct.
Was he inebriated to make such asinine comments? I hope not. As usually the “useless media” especially the pathetic Ceylon Today cannot make an objective comment about this farce, for fear of offending the Dictator. This by a paper, which takes a stand on media independence, and freedom of expression. It is precisely when journalists are incompetent that people must point this out, and tell them to report intelligently and not add to the already moronic state of the ‘Parliament of Morons’.
IT IS IMPORTANT that the public are made aware of the incompetence of our legislators and why, and then present a correct picture for the public to make up their own minds as to who we have in this case making a case for the most important subject of funding allocated for education, not to mislead the public by lying deliberately or expressing gross incompetence in a subject that he must be a master at, if he has been the deputy minister of education for this long in this Administration.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
You once gave us hope that there might be a face of opposition
You once gave people something to hang on to called sense
You once gave meaning to the word stand up for what is right
You once stood tall in the face of retribution, and revenge
You once held us all in awe of what might have been
It ended in you being unable to accept defeat gracefully
It ended in disappointment to you and to us
It ended in the crew deserting the sinking ship
It ended in your lieutenants leaving you with ripostes of incredulity
It ended in your last lieutenant questioning your loyalty
So go gracefully into the sunset
So go to the US where you will be happy
So long for the good times and come back when ready
So enjoy the drives in the open planes and fresh air
So be with family, new beginnings and new ventures
We will fight the good fight in this Country
We will drive the rogues out and install Ranil
We will keep a place for you for old time’s sake
(We do not forget our friends even after they desert us)
Monday, November 19, 2012
An objective person, who reads any of Sri Lanka’s written media will find that there is no remnant of journalistic ethic of objectivity and independence especially as in the good old days of DR Wijewardene’s Lakehouse, where there was no interference on Editorial content, and journalists of the highest ethical standards and pride in their profession were at the helm.
Today’s journalists have to survive in a cruel world to make a living and will prostitute themselves, (with a few exceptions) to their masters both owners and political. Today, politicians have their favorite reporters reporting on their days, this goes for both the government and opposition. With the Government controlling much of the Media, by definition we get a one sided view of the world, which is then fed to the readers, many of whom are unable to read between the lines and understand that they have been had!!
This lack of knowledge of the true face of media by the public who read and believe what they read is what is at the heart of the breakdown of journalism as a proud profession to be involved in.
The fact the Newspaper Ravaya has been able to survive as an independent is purely due to the stature of Victor Ivan who may not be able to pass this mantle to anyone else. Further as the readership is so small, “too many idiots read the papers” that it is not a threat to the Government and therefore allowed, in fact encouraged to print, so that their lie, of a free press can be proselytized to a skeptical world and believed by a gullible local audience.
I alluded to one of the problems with this type of journalism and the abuse of their privileges the editors engage in the previous blog entry. One can read it along with the article I allude to get a real life example of the level of sycophants and toothless fairies we have in the journalistic profession.
It is time we harnessed our youth to understand first what true ethics is and then teach them journalistic ethics and objective analysis. We do not have a good columnist in Sri Lanka today who we can be proud of!!
There is huge scope to change the Fourth Estate in Sri Lanka by ridding itself of the muck that tends to tarnish its every stage and replace it with new blood that is fresh, enthusiastic, objective and patriotic devoid of political prejudice reporting out of the gut of patriotism in the future of Sri Lanka only.
The Editorial of Ceylon Today a few days ago, November 14th to be exact titled, “Ranil an imminent danger to free media” http://www.ceylontoday.lk/e-paper.html (on page 6 after you go to the 14/11/12 date and click on that date in Archives) is just a completely uncalled for personal attack without any understanding of the reason for RW questioning the need for some journalistic self control on reporting, of a responsible press. It has nothing AT ALL to do with an attack on the Freedom of the Press which he like most people in this country value immensely.
I will not go into the content, except for the reader to go on line and read it for him/herself. It was an editorial unbecoming of a sane and objective editor. This from a paper that has steam rolled journalistic ethics to pulp, and then tries to pontificate about Free Media!
When you have NO free media in Sri Lanka, which has been forced by the actions of this Government to practice self-censorship just for survival, it is mighty uppity of a new paper, which has made a name for itself by being one that practices personal vitriolic attacks against the Leader of the Opposition, to use the power of the editorial to sling mud at a perfectly sensible point.
Why the editorial starts with the composition of the PSC and the lack of caliber of the UNP nominees and then goes into the attack is itself mischievous as the former content has nothing to do with the substance of the editorial.
I hope the editor will tender an apology after an objective analysis is done on it by uninterested independent party. The editor’s bias and hate for the UNP leader does not allow him to cast aspersions on his character.
Using the Mont Pelerin Society membership that backs the causes of the Freedom of Expression, to then say RW is a hypocrite is very disingenuous, as the circumstances and comments are non related.
There IS NO QUESTION that SL journalists have not respected objective journalistic values in reporting on the Impeachment motion currently being debated within the PSC’s and therefore who better than the Second Citizen of the land to point this out to these sorry excuses of a FOURTH ESTATE.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
The disastrous diplomatic blunder arising from the UN Petrie Report must have consequences. Whilst ultimate responsibility lies with the Foreign Minister for not immediately reacting to it with force, and the SL Ambassador to the UN being sleep at the wheel, it is the External Affairs Ministry, which has the staff, and the various desks within it managed by its CEO, Secretary to the Ministry, Karunatileka Amunugama who should shoulder the blame.
After all if this department was unable to draw attention to the imminent publication of this report by the UN, then someone should pay the price. Kohona has no competent staff, just a bunch of political appointees, to apprise him of this state of affairs, and GL Peiris is too busy being a sycophant, it is up to the Foreign Service to do its homework and advise GL who is now a little senile.
The existence of this report has been in the press for a week. We have yet to hear one word uttered to challenge its contents by the (EAM) External Affairs Ministry, let alone the President. We do not expect the President’s Office or Presidential Secretariat to be more aware than the Foreign Ministry, so it is yet again the head of this section who must advise his minister to take a stand.
In typical Sri Lanka fashion no one has accepted blame and resigned. It is not the way incompetents in Sri Lanka behave. What can one expect from a bloated bureaucracy, full of yes men, that there is no one who can be referred to as professional? I dare say that many senior foreign service officers including ambassadors in our foreign missions must be embarrassed by the silence from Colombo. There has been NO word to the overseas missions on how to respond to the allegations made in the UN report, which is mainly a self appraisal of the shortcomings within the UN system, but nevertheless clearly refers to the direct complicity of the Sri Lankan Government to the HR allegations, which the Govt. has hitherto to vehemently rejected.
In this instance with no comment, it assumes acceptance of the criticism in a time when the UNHRC has just been reconstituted to a degree, that there will be a damning position taken by the UNHRC in the next March session as it pertains to the promises of the SL Govt. that have not been kept as it relates to the LLRC report recommendations, few of which have been acted upon to date!!
Sri Lanka's friends, China and Russia are no longer in the UNHRC and the US was elected by secret ballot with a record 131 votes. So who says no one gives a damn about the US. Remember a SECRET VOTE. Ravinatha, who did you vote for in behalf of Sri Lanka, I bet it was for the US?
It is time to clean the decks, clear the EAM of dead wood and start afresh. Patriotism is not just a word Mr President to be bandied about for votes. It means something real. Don't abuse it for political gain.
Sarath Fonseka’s recent interview in the Mirror does him no favors – A sorry excuse for a former battle hardened soldier
The tragedy of being a member of the Armed Forces all one’s life is that by the time one retires from it one is just nothing more than a cut and polished soldier without an ounce of intelligence or a mind of one’s own.
We have endured a few years of the super tactician who ruthlessly carried out the express mission given to him, to win at all costs and eliminate the enemy from the face of the ground in Sri Lanka. This he did with military precision and dedication.
His superiors knew, but once he performed he was NOT ready to be put out to pasture, and took on the outward manifestations of a man who thought he could win the peace. There is no one who questions, that it was he himself to blame for the debacle of the 2010 election and the subsequent over the top retaliation and revenge by the Govt. for the incendiary statements he made during the campaign.
The interview in question casts aspersions on the conditions he made for his release not being met. A wholly unnecessary comment, coming now, when he could have said it at the time of release, or immediately after the release when his conditions were not met. To blame the double crossing Tiran Alles now is just sour grapes after he deserted a fading bad dream.
Further on in the interview to question why Arjuna Ranatunge had not visited him in prison more often while being his deputy in Parliament is another croak of a has been looking for some meaning to his days in prison. Many who gave him the benefit of the doubt as a prisoner of conscience would surely rue the day they were foolish enough to believe he was anything more than he showed to the world.
I believe it is better for people who are at the top to know when to retire from their position, dignity intact, rather than fall from glory, fading into the sunset, more like a dried up old prune, with no one left to support their utterances, and even the reporter who covers the story, cannot even pretend to restore some elastoplasts on the self inflicted wound that is further infected knowingly and uncaringly.
The worst is over, or so we hope. There is no future in this soul. Those who slavishly found him to be an alternative source of conscience of the nation, have been badly let down, and the cast of characters who have had to bite the dust because of this creation are left to ponder what might have been. There is no alternative to the truth, and when one lies it always comes home to haunt.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
IF YOU READ ANY OF THE PROPOSALS AND YOU HAVE A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE YOU WOULD NOT VOTE FOR IT - SO WHO DID?
It is yet another sad day in our sunny isle when Law Makers, voted in by the people, who cannot understand the 3 thick volume budget proposals given to them, vote without having a clue what they are voting for! This vote passed this evening in parliament with 156 voting for and 53 voting against.
It is an indication of the state of the Country, when there are none in Government who will vote their conscience for such a huge deficit, financed out of borrowings, throwing caution into the wind.
I have gone through the budget details with a fine tooth-comb and cannot find any justification for any of the allocations except that they are all full of overstuffed expenses and departments. After all the Rs10B allocated to the President’s office alone has Rs650Million allocated for international travel and Rs5 million allocated to both the ex President and the widow of an ex President, namely Hema Premadasa. They do not get enough to even repair their vehicles, let alone afford to run them. This type of meanness in light of the gross extravagance of Tax Payer’s money is NOT tolerated in any other civilized country, especially not in India where even the Governing Party’s MP would question anything untoward, as otherwise they would be answerable to their constituencies.
The fact that our MPs, not answerable to anyone, do not know how to read these reports, come to their own conclusions is a mystery. The Govt. manages to sweep everything under the carpet. Even MPs such as DEW Gunesekera, who one would have in previous lives thought would be the conscience of a Egalitarian State could in all conscience pass such a waste of funds, as he is the Chairman of COPE is beyond my comprehension.
In short it is not voted on by people who know about good and evil and justice and injustice. They are just frightened of losing their perks and their lives, because their leader has got them imprisoned in a gilded chamber. You could not pay me to be a member of this Governing party as I would not be able to answer to my maker if ever there was a day of judgment about why I permitted the wholesale waste of public finances on unnecessary expense, when the nation was struggling and finding it difficult to make ends meet.
Knowing this fact, and knowing that the borrowings exceed total expenditure, it is unconscionable that anyone could permit such excess.
China’s sheer size frightens its neighbors. Most of China’s neighboring countries with large Chinese populations have uneasy relationships with China owing to the economic power of the overseas Chinese people.
Now that China is not just an emerging superpower, but is one, soon to overtake the US, their position changes. The US is studying this change carefully and is in the process of refining its geopolitical influence in the region. We can glean some of this now with the recently announced visit of President Obama to both Cambodia and Myanmar. Let’s face it, the US has very close links with Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, (Obama has a stepfather there) Philippines, and Taiwan. They are now working on Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam so that China’s is more balanced.
Whilst there is no doubt that there is Chinese influence in these countries, a counterweight with US investments to the newly emerging nations here, will help the US relieve the reliance on Chinese pressure that they may feel and the US can benefit from these new friendships, especially as they are emerging from authoritarian and leftist dictatorships.
Where does Sri Lanka fit in this? Well its strategic position in the Indian Ocean means that properly played we can get the maximum benefit from it. There is the Indian counterweight to China, which we currently seem to intensely annoy; a very bad move. Further the US need to get more play in South Asia is also rebuffed in favor of China, which is giving the administration all the answers to their own personal financial needs.
It will only be a matter of time when the canal in the neck of Malaysia is built enabling a significant cut in sea traffic to Myanmar and Thailand, to the Asian Superhighway for benefits of US influence to be met and for Sri Lanka either to play ball or suffer a one sided game of poker if China is favored over a fair balance.
It is well for the UNP NOT to play this one sided game and make concessions for a balanced approach that will help the long term interests of Sri Lanka from the interests of China which are currently fostered by the huge payoffs the rulers receive from China. In that sense it will only be a matter of moments when a more altruistic foreign policy is developed to benefit the people of Sri Lanka over personal interests of its rulers.
When one reviews the public comments in articles in the papers and the internet, one usually found many defenders of the Government. Lately, I am hard-pressed to find any, and I find that somewhat disconcerting.
I like to read comments of people who defend the regime and its excesses, so that I can balance my stance, and look at what others are saying and the angle from whence they come. This enables me to hone in my opinions further and helps me iron out some prejudices from logical deductions.
On the one hand if the actions of the Government are now more and more indefensible, one assumes these people have simply vaporized into thin air, leaving the space open for those who wish to attack everything that is being done.
Then what about the silent people who say nothing? Are they in a state of no man’s land trying to work out what they are to do? Have they been betrayed by those they believed in? These questions can only be answered by these infamous sycophants who would not hear one word against the Govt.
It is time to increase the momentum of attack against the regime, to galvanize the support of like-minded people and remind them that they are not alone in this journey. The sooner we are able to put an end to this atrocity against the people of the country, the more grateful the public will be for saving them from tyranny. It is incumbent upon those who can to defend those who cannot. There are many who for just matters of survival cannot but watch idly by, until the moment when the momentum thus created gives them the courage of their convictions to join for the last push to end the misery.
The citizens have suffered just a bit too long from this state of lawlessness and break of every law in the book. It is time to get out, show our resistance and be able to stop the security forces in their tracks to save the people from the leaders whose orders they now take. Citizens unite join the struggle and take to the streets, and show a spontaneous show of strength which through sheer force of humanity can make the change that is so badly needed.
The time is now, not a moment to lose, just see the light at the end of the tunnel and follow that light through the dark tunnel. It will be worth it.