17 December, 2017

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Accountability, President Mahinda Rajapaksa And The Lord Buddha

 By Hema Senanayake

Hema Senanayake

Hema Senanayake

“Accountability” is an important word in international law and international relations. The effect of this word and the principles that impart by that word is truly important at least to every human being on this planet. The simplest meaning of accountability is the answerability by any person for his or her mindful action. This simple definition differentiates the principle of accountability from the principle of The Rule of Law. The rule of law relates to an institutional system while the accountability relates to an individual.

When President Mahinda Rajapaksa or anybody quotes Lord Buddha to make a point that resonates well with me. But if somebody quotes Lord Buddha to negate the principle of accountability and the accountability to the rule of law it would not resonate well with many true Buddhists, I guess. In his speech at the inaugural meeting of the Commonwealth Head of States president quotes the Buddha and says “Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone.’ (End of quote). He quoted the relevant Pali verse too, but the above quoted English translation of the verse does not give the real meaning of the original Pali verse of the Buddha. This is a different point I just make to caution the speech writers to the president. The point I want to make is; “why the president quoted the said quote?’ Was it to negate the principles of accountability or to uphold the principles of accountability?

The first part of the quote is “Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done.” Does this “saying” negate the principles of accountability? I do not know. I am asking you including the president himself. If this was quoted to negate the principles of accountability then it would not have well resonated with the Heads of States of the Commonwealth who were listening to the speech; because the principle of accountability has no meaning if “one not takes notice of faults of other’s.”

How does the UN Security Council understand the issue of accountability? In a recent report of the Council, it observes “…accountability is a practical tool that can promote peace and security.” Please pay attention to the words “practical tool.” The report further concludes “…promoting accountability is an important tool at its disposal in discharging its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.” Do we in Sri Lanka reject this understanding?

Just imagine a world that removed “accountability” from international law or international relations then you may quickly realize that the world would have been a totally different place than toady with a lot of chaos and mayhem. Do you need any example here? If so, in general colonial era was a period without accountability. Powerful countries literally did what they wanted in the colonial period without any accountability for their actions. That period has gone now. This is the new era of accountability. Sri Lanka is better off in a world that upholds the principles of accountability.

Therefore, I consider “accountability” is an important thing not only in the international law but in our domestic law and in our daily lives. Syrian government held accountable for a recent chemical attack on civilians. International community intervened and UN experts sealed off all the stocks of chemical weapons making them inaccessible to the Syrian government. International community “took notice of Syrian government’s fault” and did the right thing; that is how accountability works. Usually, we Buddhist are being blessed by saying “May the Triple Gem Bless You.” Here, the Triple Gem means the Buddha, his revelations and his clergy disciples with supreme mental qualities. Such blessings resonate with me in a good way since I am a Buddhist. In fact, President Mahinda Rajapaksa ended his solemn speech by saying “May The Triple Gem Bless You.” But, sometimes, I feel that it might also appropriate to say, “May the Triple Gem upholds Accountability” – An important tool in the maintenance of the international peace and security by the UN Security Council.

Terrorists reject “accountability.”  International community holds terrorists accountable for their crimes. LTTE was held accountable. LTTE is still a banned organization in the United States, Canada and in many more western countries. LTTE’s bank accounts and assets were frozen. Their operatives were put in jail. Should the other side of the warring party be held accountable for the alleged violations of human rights during the war and now? This is the question that international community is asking. The learned answer to this question cannot be; “We have nothing to hide.”

During his speech our president Mahinda Rajapaksa raised three important questions. Let me quote him.

“Your Royal Highnesses, Fellow Heads of Government, Excellencies, and friends, Faced with tough challenges, we, in the Commonwealth, need to ask ourselves, a few questions.

First, Can we realistically say that the need for basic facilities, healthcare, education, productive employment, access to food and safe drinking water, eradication of poverty and hunger, are of lesser importance than political concerns?

Second, Should not the Commonwealth, collectively strive towards the realization of development goals, to enable its member countries to reap economic benefits?

Third, Shouldn’t we be addressing more vigorously the issue of ‘common poverty’ before we talk about ‘common wealth?” (End of quote).

The answer to all these questions, is “Yes – but subjected to the principles of accountability.”

In fact LTTE is still being considered as a ruthless terrorist organization which did many crimes against humanity. Due to this very reason my observation is that still many powerful countries are sympathetic towards Sri Lankan government. They understand the legitimacy of the war. I feet that they do not hold Sri Lanka accountable in the same manner that they held Syrian government accountable in recent chemical attack.

Even after visiting North, British Premier David Cameron did not ask all out international mechanism to investigate alleged human right violations that happened during the time of war and are happening now. In his own words this is what Cameron suggested; “Let me be very clear. If an investigation is not completed by March, then I will use our position on the United Nations human rights council to work with the UN human rights commission and call for a full credible and independent international inquiry.” This is exactly the same thing that the United States suggests.

In other words those countries just want Sri Lanka to use “the practical tool” of accountability through a domestic mechanism rather than through an international mechanism. Those who reject this call might appear to be great patriots now, but in fact they put our country and the military at large at a greater risk. I think president might need to break and come out of the ideological cocoon spun by those advisors who refuse to see the big picture. After I watched the interview given by Dr. Chris Nonis to the CNN, I felt that he should be one of those advisers. He argued as he was doing a debate in a high school.

A while ago, I remember one child of grade 4 came victorious after a debate in his school. The topic was; “The pen is mightier than the sword.” He had to take the side of “sword.” His rival had a lot of facts to defend that the pen is mightier. The child who defended the “sword” uttered a few lines that were not compelling but the last line made him victorious. He questioned his rival and the school audience as follows: “If the pen is mightier, then why the lion in our national flag is not holing a pen instead of a sword.” The child won the debate and like the child, Dr. Chris Nonis came victorious after the CNN interview.

But one thing is sure, the UN Security Council or any other international institution that take care of human rights and good governance has not yet accepted the Dr. Chris Nonis’s “restorative justice” as an practical tool that can promote peace and security. Reconciliatory justice has a role to play but it still falls within the parameters of the principles of accountability.

However, before I finish this essay let me translate the true meaning of the Pali verse of the Buddha which was quoted by President Mahinda Rajapakse during his speech so that he may use it in future with correct perspective. Premise of incorrect meaning of the Budhha’s words might possibly do a disservice to Him. The quoted Pali verse is as follows:

“Na paresaa vilomani – na paresam katakatamAttanova avkkheyya – katani akatani ca”

The meaning of this Plai verse is translated into English as follows:

“Do not pay attention to anybody’s blame or what others have done or not done. Yet be concerned about what you have done and what you have not done.”

Isn’t this about accountability or taking responsibility for one’s own action?  My answer is yes. In fact the Buddhism, we know is all about being accountable for our own actions. Let us accept the principle of accountability in national and international level. The best starting point is being accountable to the Rule of Law now, because the international community knows how to differentiate a “rent a mob protest” from a true people’s protests even though our High Commissioner to U.K. Dr. Nonis could not.

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    Religon is the last resort of the scoundrel. People tend to misquote religon to justify their unjust actions. There is no doubt that all the major religons uphold equality, truth, justice and human rights. Yet we are faced with discrimination, falsehood, injustice and tyranny.

    Every person is responsible and accountable for his own actions. The shepherd is responsible and accountable for his flock. The father is responsible and accountable for his wife and children. The head of state is responsible and accountable for every one of his subjects, irrespective of race, religon, caste or creed.

    Pointing fingers at others and cannot detract from ones responsibilities. Nor does any religous saying support such irresponsibility.

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      Agree with you Safa. The problem with Rajapaksa is his inability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad. In other words his penchant for political decisions at the expense of moral ones, is what is making him lack credibility.

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    Sub-stanadard behaviour the Mahinda Rajapaske govt has gotten used to bribing, intimidating and deception is no longer condoned or exused.

    LLRC has identified 2 areas that is sorely lacking across the board at every level of govt. This is accountabiliy and transparency. The state must be accountable to its citizens and more so when foreigners are involved.

    The murder & rape by the Tangalle thug of a British citizen in case in point. The state dragged its feet for so long. Mahinda Rajapaske can either adapt to world standards or perish really isnt it?

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      Accountability is the main issue of the Canadian PM Stephen Harper to boycott the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo.

      But Canada dragged the terrorist attack of Air India flight in 1985 for decades and the victims families tired. Some of them left Canada forever. The Sikh terrorists planted the bomb at the Vancouver air port.

      Why did the Canadian governments dragged the case for decades? Because of their involvement and support for terror against India.

      Human Rights violations of Canada is a big story. Natives of the land are still face oppression and land grabs from the white invaders. Native women are continuous victims of rape by whites. WHITE police always treat those natives as second class.

      But this Harper bark about accountability and human rights in Sri lanka for the interest of the LTTE hooligans who are free to do anything against Sri Lanka.

      From Sri Lanka no one strongly responded to Harper.

      Once Harper barked about the same against China but China retorted with many issues and joked that China will teach about Human Rights to Harper. Harper gangs shut their mouths there after.

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        Tadpole(゜゜)~ Why did the Canadian governments dragged the case for decades? Because of their involvement and support for terror against India.-(゜゜)~ Once Harper barked about the same against China but China retorted with many issues and joked that China will teach about Human Rights to Harper.(゜゜)~ tadpole

        To take the “Crispin Crunchy Gaas-Geemba Curry” right out of your mouth you need surgery. ;)

        Canada, China is a subtle love story from the days of the first rail lines to today’s sister status thanks to the AngloFranco nerve and technology.

        Harper can effectively bite you not from just the other side of the road but space too.

        We are discussing Lanka not your itchy amude, skunk!

        Clubs are Clubs not wayside kassipu.

        Gota “Gooo”ta “Booo”ts :) Mugabe loves you Lankets

        Seoomb I’ve a Big Un O:-)

        (o|o) (o|o) ☆彡^5 ☆彡

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          You are a useless fellow for anyone.

          Sri lanka is not part of Canada. That is true. Tell Harper to shut his ass and mouth together on Sri lanka if you can.

          As a Canadian citizen, I have more rights to express my views than you.

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            Tadpole (゜゜)~ I have more rights to express my views than you (゜゜)~

            Je Ne Pas Asile!

            Ding Dong said her Majesty to Nan-than mutal porkki poo! ;)

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        Is Canada part of Sinhala Buddhist Nation? Even China now calls for international investigation of human right violation of Sinhala Buddhists.

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          All of you have ignorant about the meaning of Buddhist. Please remember a Buddhist is non other than WHO ENTERED NOBLE EIGHT FOLD PATHWAY. Such a person will never violate human rights.

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          You are joking and can you show evidence?

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          Ajith

          Is Scarborough in Canada ?

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            Just one borough and in the outskirts of Toronto.
            Canada 14 million folk

            Latino pinochet had none of diaspora but he walked in hell like you are.

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        When saw the caption me and my cousin Fathima Fukushima thought Mr. Hema has come out with the connection between hon mahinda and lord Budda.
        After all a famed catholic actor turned historian confirmed that Don Alvin family root connected to Suddodana via Dutugemunu.

        This is the reason I dont get angry with some people commenting here calling hon mahinda as Malabari mahinda.

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        Sivanathan:

        Thank you you Sinkalam. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate fact from Fiction. But its is so easy to identify you as Sinkalam from your message message. Are you ashamed to write under your Sinlala Name. Are you a reincarntion of Shankar the Sinkalam. I take it that you have Directory of Tamil Names.

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    (゜゜)~ Do notpay attention to anybody’s blame or what others havedone or not done.Yet be concerned about whatyou have done and what you have not done.(゜゜)~

    It is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.

    The abuse of power, that rock on which good governments, and the people’s rights, have been so often wrecked.’ Don’t talk about what you have done or what you are going to do.

    We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.-Thomas Jefferson

    Rational or not it is a blasphemy against Sinhala Buddhist to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason.

    Mahawamse is all but poppycock- the truth lays in China and the Hindu kingdom. om mani pemi hung.

    :っ) :っ) :っ)

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    All the hypocrites hide in the Religious tent?

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    An end to impunity an end to the subversion of the independence of the judiciary and an end to the increasing ideological collusion between the government and the opposition. This is what I want to see.

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    What more bad publicity can a religion get with a scoundrel like MR not only quoting verses from that religion but also professing his guardianship of that religion. Buddhism, like any other religion, has its pages bloodied. Even the monks who should have guarded the religion from political interference have themselves become so politicised and even very violent. What is there to talk of the triple gem blessing when it blesesses a bloody murderer?

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    Kudos to Hema for being upright, honest and clear; The twisting of the true meaning of the Buddha’s Pali Stanza by a leader of a nation to attack his critics in the presence of those who have no knowledge of that Great Religion is unpardonable.

    Also the poor Dr Nonis who has won the school debate for the day and started celebrating his victory through his blind followers on FB!

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    PERFECT ! couldn’t have said it better myself, Safa !

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    The billion dollar question is not just accountability, it’s the accountability of the ruling hierarchy right from the top.

    When the top is alleged to be culpable, how can you expect the top who holds the judicial system in his palm to take any meaningful action?

    Will anybody help knot the noose for him to be hanged? Therefore, internal investigation is futile: Let’s not pretend otherwise.

    One need not be a Buddha to figure this out.

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    “how to differentiate a “rent a mob protest” from a true people’s protests”; in Jaffna?

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      Tiran,

      It is easy rent a mob is Sinkalam and the other peoples protest is Tamil

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    THOS WHO BELIEVE IN GOD AND A LIFE HEREAFTER.
    WE MUSLIMS WILL STAND BEFORE ALLAH WHEN WE WE WILL HAVE TO ANSWER FOR ACTIONS; THIS IS ACCOUNTABILITY !!!

    In the Quran God says:

    {We will set up the scales of justice for the day of resurrection, and no soul shall be treated unjustly at all.

    And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountants} (Al-Anbiya’ 21:47)

    {Let every soul see what it sends on before it for the day of account} (Al-Hashr, 59:18)

    Caliph ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, said: “Call yourselves to account before you are called to account.”

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      Saudi Arabs and other Muslims know very well their ALLAH is very weak in front of the American dollar and guns. That is why they dance to the tunes of USA. Pakistanis do the same.

      So far Saudi Arabs never beheaded any American or WHITE but simply cut off the head of a Rizana Nafeek.

      So, dont bring your damn allah here.

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        Tadpole(゜゜)~ So far Saudi Arabs never beheaded any American or WHITE.. So, dont bring your damn allah here.(゜゜)~ tadpole

        Moosala MS,

        Didn’t Malaysia hang unto death the white trash from down under on conviction of drug smuggling kuudu nan.than??

        Nan.Than like you give me voodoo! G`ooo`ta, ;)

        :っ) :っ) (o|o) (o|o)

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        ARABS AND MUSLIMS WHO DANCE BEFORE THE DOLLAR ARE ACCOUNTABLE AND
        WILL HAVE TO FACE THE CONSEQUENCES.

        I WILL NOT RIDICULE OR INSULT YOUR GODS SINCE I AM COMMANDED
        BY MY RELIGION.

        let me quote the relevant Quranic source: “Do not insult their Gods, lest out of ignorance they insult Allah” (6:108)..

        THIS QURANIC VERSE WAS REVEALED SINCE THERE WERE STUPID IDIOTS LIKE YOU
        EVEN THEN.

        SIVANATHAN,I WILL NOT STOOP TO YOUR LOW LEVEL

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    Why bring the Buddha into this ? Have not the Sinhalese Buddhist in Sri Lanka manged to do maximum damage to his teaching living memory. No one has manged to demo that Philosophy of non-violence better in gloabl TV than the Sinhalese Buddhist of Sri Lanka.

    Please leave the Buddha out of this. His teachings have been savaged adequately.

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      Buddha did not tell much about politics. That may be a reason the mighty empire of Ashoka was collapsed in two generations of Ashoka.

      Political power is an untold issue in Buddhism. That is why many Buddhist countries opted leftist politics.

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    What a spotlight on accountability in Buddhism !!
    Thank you, author.
    Let’s send this to the President’s speech writers and Dr Chris Nonis.

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    “why the president quoted the said quote?’ Was it to negate the principles of accountability or to uphold the principles of accountability”

    To tell you the truth our President quote the said quote without knowing the meaning. Advisors and Speech writers are under the impression that it is the right of our President to quote what Lord Buddha said to his advantage as he has blood relationship with King Suddodhana Family as revealed by non other than Mr. Jackson Anthony, the great Historian.

    Can anybody point out what our President has done so far in the country with any meaning.

    1. Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksha International Port – No ships are going out as no ships are coming in.

    2. Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksha International Air Port – Only Sri Lankan Air operating.

    3. Ranminithanna Tele Village – Now Cattles and Dogs are occupying.

    4. Nelum Pokuna – This was meant for Artists but now they are not allowed.

    5. Greek Sovereign Bond – ???????

    6. Hedging Deal – ???????

    7. Express Ways – With recorded cost per KM just for Commission.

    8. CHOGM – Show Off – Mo Meaning for 33 countries out of 54

    Also any meaning with Titles given to him,

    9. Sri Rohana Manaranjana/ Sri Lanka Rajawansa Vibhushana/Keerthi Sri Sambuddha Saasana Chakrawarthi – any body knows the meaning????????

    You know Mr. Senanayaka, our President can’t quote “Nahee Werena Werani…” from Dhammapadaya as he can’t forget what he has done to Gen. Fonseka, Dr. Mrs. Shirani Bandaranayaka, thousand’s of Tamils in the north, Katunayaka Roshen, Halawatha Anthony, Waliweriya 3, Lasantha Wickramathunga and 32 others, Prageeth Eknaligoda and many others.

    Therefore, we should not look for any meaning of anything from this uneducated, uncivilized Madamulana Thug.

    He is doing certain things with meaning like holding elections, creating BBS Rawana Balukaya and all Deshapre Balukayawal, creating problems within oppositions political parties, creating White Van Brigades and Para-military forces etc. etc. just for his survival.

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    The much hyped Commonwealth heads of governments conference (CHOGM) 2013 created an ignominious record as the CHOGM with the least number of participating heads of governments , in its history. Though the foreign Ministry revealed that 23 government heads were to arrive , 21 only of the 53 scheduled commonwealth heads came for the CHOGM thereby creating a record as the CHOGM that was attended by least number of heads of governments in its entire history – a poor reflection on the lawless Rajapakse regime hosting it. The number of heads of governments who participated in the previous CHOGMs are as follows :

    2011 in Perth – 36 heads of governments
    2009 in Trinidad – 34 heads of governments
    2007 in Uganda – 36 heads of governments
    2005 in Malta – 38 heads of governments
    2003 in Nigeria – 38 heads of governments
    1999 in Durban Africa – 47 heads of governments
    1997 in Scotland – 42 heads of governments

    Meanwhile a sum of Rs. 1700 million was distributed earlier itself among the print media, broadcasting and television channels across Sri Lanka to publicize that the CHOGM is a roaring success by the pro Rajapakse media. Hence these pro government media coolies have turned blind to the flops and failures, and are not making any adverse reports. All these coolie media Heads are deaf and dumb after their pockets ,pot bellies and foul smelling mendacious mouths have been filled to the brim with CHOGM lump-sums .

    In addition, it has been assessed that 1000 local and foreign journalists participated in this CHOGM , and towards them a sum of Rs.980 million has been set aside towards their expenditure. It is media secretary Charitha Hearth alias ‘Heeralu’ Herath and shaggy hog media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who are in charge of this sphere.

    The breakfast that was served to the media personnel who were loitering about the venue from early morning 5.00., after Heeralu Herath and bearded Keheliya getting together and spending Rs.980 million was only a roll and a cutlet.

    The contract to provide food had been entrusted to Testa Bake house, Avissawella .This same Bakery is providing meals to about 18000 security personnel throughout the period of the conference.

    Let us see how ‘Heeralu’ Herath who abandoned robes and bearded Keheliya ‘kalliya’ teamed together and took everyone for a ride in this colossal food supply scam.

    The sum set aside towards 1000 media personnel was Rs. 980 ,000,000 ! That is Rs. 980000 per journalist. If the conference is to last for 10 days, the sum spent per day is Rs. 98000 towards each journalist for their meals.

    In other words, ‘Heeralu’ Herath and (bearded ) ‘Rewula’ Keheliya ‘gahapu heti’(swindling duo) is very obvious based on their spending Rs. 98000 (nearly a lakh) per journalist vis a vis the roll and cutlet.

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      Does it matter, Silva ?

      We got the photo op :)

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    Friends

    Lets take the country out of this mess.

    Lets help the UNP council to get us out of this mess. This is the only hope now. Can SF or JVP help? NO.

    I hate politics. But we must have a country to survive. Lets promote an alternative leadership. We can get out of this mess.

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      Anuruddha,
      I fully agree with you. I dislike Sinhalese politician,most of them are shameless savages. Yes, country need to get out of this mess, and it can.. Just spread your idea, but who can lead…

      Collective power and directions from Rev Sobhita, CBK, with UNP ?? Get help from Sumanthiran, I believe he has vision and intelligence(EQ&IQ) more than any Sinhalese leaders…
      I agree, SF and JVP are useless fools..
      Anura

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    “Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone

    VS

    “Do not pay attention to anybody’s blame or what others have done or not done. Yet be concerned about what you have done and what you have not done.”

    Very similar but yet there is a big difference –

    Not a good sign…

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    I agree with Anurudha. If Rajapakse family continues to handle the Tamil issue like this the LTTE will get through diplomatic channels what they couldn’t get with terrorism. We need a statesman now who can win peace. Ranil Wickreamsinghe is the man!

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      Ranil wickramasinghe was not the choice of the Sungod Velu.

      He chose Mahinda Rajapakse.

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    The winning Debator Dr. Nonis places the blame on the Diaspora. Is it
    reasonable to assume that the largest diaspora in the world will do all
    it must to its own community first?
    With every counter-move by MR & his cabal (ie. Nonis included) against
    the diaspora, they are turning out to be more and more stronger and
    powerful, politically, economically and morally.
    Rubbing salt to wounds has been the motto of MR – he put a hold to dual-
    citizenship applications of the diaspora after the Oxford debacle in
    Jany.2011 in an ad-hoc manner.

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      Yes, my application for dual citizenship was passed I paid the fee 2 years back; it is on hold now!

      Paradoxically, the TNA now occupy the moral high-ground as opposed to GOSL!

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    Interesting analysis. The author is correct. We are told that even ‘the devil can quote scripture’ if it suits his purpose. And this applies to all religions and philosophies-not only buddhism.

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    @Prem

    Ranil was given so many chances and he missed all of those. Let’s give a chance to Karu and see this time. He’s a flexible leader.

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    Recall Buddha Quotes by Politicians in Sri Lanka- It was J.R.Jayawardana who used to recall Buddha Quote “Nahi Verena Verani……means hatred can not be ceased by hatred. It can only be ceased by love. Later on, matured JR stripped civic rights of Mrs Bandaranaike, his opponent to revenge.
    Now it is Mahinda Rajapaksa era. He follows foot steps of JR (victims are Gen. Sarath Fonseka, Mrs Shirani Bandaranaike) and also recalls Buddha Quotes at favorable times.
    Buddha also quoted ” Cetanahm bihikkave kammam vadami” and no exceptions to JR or Mahinda.

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      (゜゜)~Recall Buddha Quotes(゜゜)~

      Sinhala Buddha Quota like GSP + :)

      Original Gautama discourse with the Chinese (ancient chinese transcript) at Loyang valley, Longman Grottoes close to Shaolin Monastery.

      0:3

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    Hema Senanayake, as usual is very topical, and in this essay raises some fine questions for Mahinda Rajapaksa. Even though Rajapaksa, in quoting the Pali verse was ostensibly advising others, in actual fact, as correctly translated by Senanayake, he was telling himself that he is accountable! In a slightly different context one would say seek the mote in one’s eye instead of the beam in another’s. Or even more simply, one could say, ‘The Buck Stops Here’!

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    Lord Buddha’s preaching of accountability is taken not in the correct context in ” the Republic of Rajapakse” ( New Name for Srilanka) Everything here is named Rajapakse This, That,the other, hence the name is changed to Republic Of Rajapakse by the International Community

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    hema Senanayake:

    You are another bankrupt journalist.

    You write about many different topics but you can not make it ?

    How come you compare a politician, a lawyer or simply any man with Lord Buddha ?

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