By Mass L. Usuf –
Mr. President you promised to bring prosperity to this country and that was your stated vision. We accepted it with joy and happiness. Now, I am sorry to say this, “it may not happen”. To state the obvious, a country consists of people. If the people are disillusioned, disheartened and their rights suppressed there cannot be space for development. The valuable time, energy and resources reserved for development will have to be channeled to resolution of conflicts. You may have your advisors appraise you about the concept of Utilitarianism. Let me help with the following.
“The three generally accepted axioms of a Utilitarianist State are, that:
1. Pleasure, or happiness, is the only thing that has intrinsic value.
2. Actions are right if they promote happiness, and wrong if they promote unhappiness.
3. Everyone’s happiness counts equally.”
Utilitarianism is “The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals utility, or the greatest happiness principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure.” (Utilitarianism, 1863 John Stuart Mill).
The Rot Deepens
Past governments have allowed rotten situations to pass by due to sheer indifference, insensitivity and callousness. Sometimes out of arrogance and outright prejudice. The country as a whole had to pay the price in proportion to the state of the rot. Mr. President my humble appeal to you, under your watch please let not such things happen because if it is allowed then the rot deepens.
We cannot live in a fool’s paradise by being happy ignoring the potential for serious complications and destabilization of the harmonious social cohesiveness.
My dear Sinhala brothers and sisters stop drawing the battle lines. Do not be in a state of self-delusion. To do so is utter foolishness in a country which has experienced a 30-year damning war and devastation. For those who consider themselves as an intellect, an academic, a medical doctor, a medical scientist, a geologist, a lawyer, a sociologist or belonging to any other discipline? Then stop drawing the battle lines. If you are not drawing it, then stop others from doing it. It is your social and moral responsibility. Forget religion. Stand up as a human being first. Speak to your conscience. Bring out your basic inherent human values of truth, honesty, love, peace and right conduct. Stand up and make your voice heard for the sake of justice, fairness and reasonableness. Please do not seek to gain mental satisfaction by causing pain to others. Again, if you are not doing it, then speak up against whoever is doing it.
Stop Seeing “X” AS “Y”
To all the scientists (including medical scientist and doctors) related to various disciplines. In the study of science, you all very well know the difference between a fact, a hypothesis, a theory and a law. Please do not allow your intelligent brains to misinterpret, misstate, misreport, falsify, distort what is seen as “X” as “Y”.
Then you cease to be a scientist. You have deceived yourself, your expertise, your intelligence, your learning and you have betrayed your other intelligent and reputed colleague Scientists. Overall, you will be a shame, a dishonour and a great embarrassment to the great institution that we humans have valued for several millennia and that is “Knowledge”.
Needless to say, that WHO and ICRC are world renowned, globally accepted and acknowledged institutions where various top-level scientists are sharing their wealth of knowledge and decades of expertise. It has been repeatedly stated, over and over again by these institutions and several other leading scientific and medical institutions in USA, UK, Europe Union that there is no issue with the burial of Covid-19 corpses.
WHO and ICRC guidelines are not to be treated with spite or thrown into a waste bucket. By doing this, you are placing our country in the international scientific arena, to look like those belonging to the ‘stone age’. The world would reckon our Sri Lankan scientists and doctors as a backward and ‘retarded’ community of intellects. By this, bringing disrepute to our highly respected true scientists and doctors. As each day passes in continuation of this drama, those responsible are shaming the entire nation and its intelligentsia.
The abstract to the ICRC guide released in September 2020 states:
“Based on its forensic capacity and experience gained worldwide from the management of the dead in emergencies including epidemics the ICRC has been asked by the authorities … to advise on the planning, preparation and management of cemeteries during Covid 19.”
Further, the document refers how to manage burial sites of Covid 19 dead. Importantly, it also gives guidelines for temporary burials. Obviously, temporary burials mean bodies will be exhumed later and transferred for final burial. It lays out the procedure for burial in order to avoid contamination with water. In relation to burial of unidentified bodies, there is guideline to exhume the body to return to the relatives. Are not the WHO, ICRC and other institutions aware of the dangers of the virus spreading and contamination with water?
The document specifically refers to the fact that the “final disposal of bodies have been duly considered, considering the cultural or religious beliefs of relatives”. ICRC has unequivocally stated, “it is recommended that consultations are carried out with relevant parties – particularly religious and community leaders and relatives. Open and transparent discussions with relevant parties builds trust between authorities and the community.” (ICRC: Cemetery planning, preparation and management during Covid 19, September 2020)
Shame Over Shame upon us
Just take our contrasting situation. I repeat here ‘forget religion’. Think fairly and reasonably. ICRC allows temporary burial for later exhumation and burial in a final place. ICRC allows exhumation of bodies of unidentified corpses later to be returned to relatives. This is the dignity ICRC gives to the dead. This is called humanitarianism. This is called civilized behaviour in a civilized society. This is called cultural and religious sensitivity. This is called understanding, tolerance and accommodation. This is called empathy and compassion.
Other world governments are asking for the advice of the ICRC because of their expertise. The ICRC document states, “the ICRC has been asked by the authorities and other relevant stakeholders in some of its operational contexts to advise on the planning, preparation and management of cemeteries during Covid 19.”
Here in Sri Lanka we are burning the body right away without any strong or proven scientific evidence. Hypothetical imaginations apparently have bedeviled the brain. Cannot anyone see the extent of the falsification of the truth? There have been hundreds of thousands of bodies in all parts of the world buried under different climatic conditions, different soil conditions and with lots and lots of human feelings, love and care amongst the people of those countries. In my motherland, this falsification of the truth continues, even after one year.
Are we not ashamed of ourselves?