2 October, 2020

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How We Can Once Again Become A Truly Independent Nation

By Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe

The New Year dawned for Sri Lanka with a sigh of relief, with much needed respect for justice and freedom. Currently it seems to be an environment of less and less restrictions, fear psychosis that engulfed the minds of people has moved a side, people are receiving almost daily, the benefits that they had been crying out for many years, fingers are pointed in the direction of the former regime and individuals who ruled the roost, during that period and of course with a sense of relief praises are sung and flowers are offered to the leaders of the new regime. There is definitely a feeling of ‘achievement’ on the part of the simple majority of people. There is also a sense of urgency in respect of many other issues and concerns connected with the people. The cry for good governance, abolition of the executive presidency, actions on those who have been responsible for corruption and interference in the state machinery, establishment of the rule of law, justice and fair play, punishment for those who have been involved in drug trade and other illicit scams and on the whole, the implementation of the one hundred day programme, are very much on the cards.

Sri Lankans have suddenly become very alert and watchful. The media is involved in a very creative competition to make sure the administrators deliver the promises made. The media too appears to be experiencing more freedoms and unrestricted access, enjoying the fearless arena to be truly exercising their right to provide the information for the people. We take the opportunity to thank God for all what we have been able to achieve through the franchise and the peaceful transfer of power that has been ensured, by the creative and faithful actions of some of the administrative hierarchy.

At this time when most citizens are focusing on good governance it is important to highlight the need for post war reconciliation and to finally deduce a sustainable action plan for healing of the history of our nation and that is why we need to stress the same. The challenging and pertinent question at this juncture remains unquestioned. Is this all, that our people have been dreaming, praying, longing, crying and sacrificing their lives and engaging in action for? The commemoration of Independence this year raises the same unresolved issues and challenges with a new sense of urgency and hope. It goes without saying and is important for all concerned to recognize the significant, patriotic, dedicated and the committed role played by the minorities in the country in preserving and safeguarding democracy of our mother land. As much as they played a valuable role in 1948 and before, they have fearlessly displayed a characteristic love for the country and her people and assisted, in a big way, to foster the unity of our people and the nation. We salute them humbly as their action for unity and coexistence in the country has been valuable more than ever at this time. Such action have surpassed the pain, agony, anger and bitterness that every person had to undergo in the past. .

Independence SquareWe strongly hope that the new government is wise and concerned to realize this. Religious and ethnic freedom needs to be fortified with further constitutional strength. Healing of our nation is a priority for the government, as much as providing relief for cost of living. Reconciliation needs special attention in ensuring not only independence, but fostering and creating awareness on inter-dependence of all ethnic and religious groups in the country.

Towards this, it is important to reiterate our repeated requests, to the new government. A democratic government will recognize the signs and indications of the desires, aspirations and the pleadings of our people. Among such signs and indications, the search for a political solution, uniting all ethnic groups through harmony and national cooperation, should take precedence. As witnessed in the past, allowing the minority groups to drift away from the main political dialogue by ignoring and discarding their cries and thereby the emerging of an environment of suspicion and mistrust, is extremely unfortunate and distressing. Such a situation reflects the absence of a clear and an authentic vision and a commitment to peace.

It has become necessary to alleviate the fears of the people in the Northand East and other parts of the country, due to increased militarisation, by also initiating necessary and effective steps to prevent murders, loot, plunder and abductions. It is the responsibility of all concerned to take necessary action based on the evidence brought before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, during the visit of the former United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, the findings of the presently functioning Commission on the Disappeared, the information that has surfaced during the recent visit of His Holiness Pope Francis and in many other ways. This involves providing security to all those who have come before the commissions and eminent personnel and those who are willing to come forward with evidence in the future. Failure to do so will result in paying a bigger price as a nation, in the days to come.

It is unfortunate to note that reconciliation in the past has been limited to infrastructural development in the North, East and also in other areas of the country. It is important to strike a balance between the need to rebuild the lives and livelihoods, together with the psychological development of those internally displaced, due to the conflict or natural disasters and also to provide people with an environment where they can live without fear or suspicion. Also, providing authentic information regarding the dead and those who have disappeared to their relations, which is long overdue, is an urgent humanitarian need.

All political prisoners should be released or legally charged with no further delay. Failure to accelerate this process will enhance the pressure and stress, upon such people and their loved ones. It is important that people across the country receive the freedoms guaranteed to them under the constitution, especially the people in the former conflict areas.

People should receive the economic and social benefits of the post-war era rather than continue to listen to the hope building efforts of those in authority. We hear about major scale financial scandals and corruption, while the people are suffering with heavy economic pressures, day by day. It is important to prevent any uneasiness among people due to all types of economic pressures. Even though it appears that people can be relieved by seeking solutions through effective and proper managerial efforts, it has proved that all efforts have been unsuccessful, thus far.

Thus we see that the challenges are numerous for the new administration, but there is renewed hope that the authorities are conscious of the urgency in dealing with all of these concerns and more. It is only by attending to these needs of the people, that we can once again become a truly independent nation. Let us all join together irrespective of all our differences to rebuild our nation, into a truly integrated Sri Lanka. We extend our solidarity and pray for peace with justice to all, on this significant commemoration of our independence. May God bless our beloved people and our mother land.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    1

    Bishop Illangasinha,

    With all due respect, your hope and your optimistic outlook for Sri Lanka brought about by the change in government from the horrific misrule of Rajapaksas, are opinions and hopes we have heard so many times before. Every change of government gave us all kinds of new hopes.

    The fact is with every change of government we have gone more and more downhill. The light at the end of the tunnel has been elusive or a mirage only.

    The answer to your hope if we can become a truly independent nation is easy – never.

    We are unfortunately gifted with a well established heirarchy of vicious, greedy, racist political donkeys with a well endowed ability to keep pulling the wool over the voters eyes time and time again. We are a country of true modayas.

    The answer to your hope is easy – never.

    • 0
      1

      Very well said. True independence can never be achieved in that island, simply because the communities are very polarized. It’s like a failed marriage.

      For example the people in the island cannot come to terms with war crimes and are very polarized on that issue.

      A issue where justice is denied to one community simple because the perpetrators belong to a different community.

      Like you said the light at the end of the tunnel has and will only be a mirage.

  • 2
    1

    Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe –

    RE: How We Can Once Again Become A Truly Independent Nation

    ….We take the opportunity to thank All the Voters and and others including God ( Because God helps only those who try) for all what we have…

    “Sri Lankans have suddenly become very alert and watchful. The media is involved in a very creative competition to make sure the administrators deliver the promises made. The media too appears to be experiencing more freedoms and unrestricted access, enjoying the fearless arena to be truly exercising their right to provide the information for the people. We take the opportunity to thank All the Voters and and others including God ( Because God helps only those who try) for all what we have been able to achieve through the franchise and the peaceful transfer of power that has been ensured, by the creative and faithful actions of some of the administrative hierarchy.”

    The Key was Expose. Expose and Expose.

    Try to get every Sri Lankan in some kind of internet or social media… Let them know..

    “Let us all join together irrespective of all our differences to rebuild our nation, into a truly integrated Sri Lanka. We extend our solidarity and pray for peace with justice to all, on this significant commemoration of our independence. May God bless our beloved people and our mother land.”

    But Remember,, Man/Women is for himself/herself, and God is for All.

    Sri Lankan voters understood that on January 8, 2015.

  • 1
    1

    A well thought out view point. Most welcome. Unfortunately the ethnic problem is not receiving due attention even though is going to be nearly a month since the election of the new government. It is possible that it is still preoccupied with teething problems of a new government but it should bear in mind the pain that the affected people of the North and East have endured for long and expedite measures to alleviate those pains.

    Sengodan. M

    • 1
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      Do not expect the current or future government to solve the ethnic problem, because nobody from the Sinhala society in that island have the courage or bravery to accept that Tamils are a distinct ethnic group.
      If the English, Australians and Americans can exist as distinct ethnic groups why not Tamils?

      These people are so stupid that they believe accepting this will lead to seperatism, India is good example that is not the case and even the Great Britain is another good example.

      Don’t blame the politicians, media have failed to educate the Sinhala people, it’s too late to start now specially when a whole new young generation have grew upto think ethnic problem don’t exist, LTTE created everything and in their absence all is well.

  • 3
    1

    After 67 years since independence Tamils are still waiting for freedom from oppression in the hands of successive Sinhalese rulers.

    Let’s wait and see if the painful history of the last 67 years for Tamils changes for freedom and fulfillment of the aspirations of Tamils.

  • 0
    0

    Workers unite. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
    On this day of Freedom let us ook ahead. God is already there. It is clear what we have ts do. We must pressurise the Leaders to accomplish the 100 day program. We must agitate what is right. Not cause disunity to slow our progress. It is God who makes and breaks leaders.

    There must be freedom from poverty. The marginalised should be set free.Discrimination because of Gender.ethnicity,race,culture,religion and caste must cease. The widow, tge orphan an the stateless and tourist should be cared for. The differently able must be set free. The mentally ill and the retarded sghould be treated with love.

    We must treat our neighbor like our selves. Sacrifice to correct wrongs and ensure freedom is necessary.

  • 1
    1

    True independence will only become a reality if all the citizen are treated equally without any bias or prejudice by the ruling regimes. Religion should be kept as a private matter without any involvement of government. The country should be secular since we have a number of religions practiced.
    We must take note of developed countries like USA, UK, Canada, Australia and many European countries where equality prevails, secularism thrives, people work hard for themselves and for the country they live in and make their life and the country prosper. They don’t waste time arguing about who are the original owners of the land, who came first, how many years of civilization we have, whose religion or language is superior/inferior etc., etc., and waste their valuable time, without doing anything constructive.

    I don’t think Lankans are ready even to follow the success stories of other nations like Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea etc.,They just want to talk about Majority , minority, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and just waste their time, fight, kill, destroy one another and go no where.
    They are still immersed in the great paranoia of evil people destroying their religion, and about “saving” Mahawamsa and protecting Sinhala Buddhism, and cry fowl of everything else with so much of suspicion and fear. They don’t want to grow up or prosper but only want to dominate, marginalize others without realizing the grave mistakes they are making for everyone. 66 year just gone waste ! There is no sign of any improvements and no visionary leaders in sight. Majority of them are just opportunists and power greedy. people

    We need a complete or gradual change of mentality and mindset to cooperate and grow without cast, creed, race or religion. Unfortunately it’s not going to happen in the near future. We are all still running around like a frog in a well, talking and fighting about god forsaken race,religion, majority, minority, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Kallathoni, India, Saudi Arabia, Orissa etc., and wasting energy and time. Only a new generation of educated bunch of youngsters, who have lived and seen the outside world would make a change. There is NO hope that our same old Lankans will ever do anything good for themselves or for the country. Sad but it’s true and until some one realize the situation and take action, we will just stay here and destroy ourselves and the nation.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Former Bishop,

    Very interesting thoughts coming from you……[Edited out]!

    Sam

  • 2
    1

    True independence is when all the ethnic people break free from their ethnic and religious background and care about each other’s problems. In an island where ethnic polarization takes places over six decades this understanding is simply not possible.

    Sinhala people might understand but the politicians and the media keeps them at dark about the problems in N/E.

    For example the Sinhala media both press and tv chose not to report on the protest on abductions and disappearances held on Monday, this is just one of thousands of incidents where the ruling ethnic community have failed to educate it’s people problems faced by other ethnic people in the island.

  • 1
    1

    You are true the politicians and media misled the country. Media is not in the position of neutral and misleads the country by hiding actual occurrences of the country. World know what is going on in Sri Lanka but unfortunately the Sinhalese within the country don’t know the actual situation of N/E. The media should take the whole responsibility on it informing people in the right path instead this mislead the Sinhala people against Tamils just gaining for own sake.

  • 0
    0

    CT, My thoughts on the former Bishop ,were not at all complimentary [Edited out]

    When you decide to edit, you have no right interpret what my ideas were!!!

    And i was not insulting the former Bishop……..

    What the hell is going on???

    Sam.

    • 0
      0

      Dieudonism.

  • 0
    1

    I wonder whether the Bishop did not suffer a ‘fear psychosis’under the previous regimes led by CBK and RW. Of course he did, except that the fear came from the North (and the East for some time), from the revered Prabhakaran. I hope he does not wish for a return to those days. It was MR and his acolytes who delivered us from that terror.
    MR failed after winning the war against the barbarians. There was revulsion at some things that happened under his watch, and the people threw him out. As Dayan Jayatilleke says we are back to the days of national retreat and humiliation. ‘Independence’ of the kind we are doomed to have is what is now suffered by the people of Libya, Iraq and Ukraine, with our ‘leaders’ abandoning the ONLY true international friend we had during the war for the ones that CBK now works for.

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