19 April, 2019

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Looking Down The Road

By Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

It was about 1916 when the freedom fighter, F.R.Senanayake began organizing a response to the wanton killing and displacement of traditional villages, living on the land that businessmen wanted. Agri-business was after land, the people who opposed them and supported the villagers, were accused of being subversive due their ‘public service work’.  As the Hon D.S.Senanayake, the first leader of democratic Sri Lanka stated when taken into custody by the British,   “We prisoners were taken to the Police Headquarters and questioned about our public service work. “ Public Service Work had become a threat to the empire. Working in the interest of the people was frowned upon, working without a financial profit motive, was suspicious.  In the face of all this suppression they strived and helped bring about our current nation.  One would assume that this spirit of ‘Public Service’ that led to our independence, should have flowed into the present and produced a content, equitable society living in a clean, beautiful and healthy land. But looking around the land today, one sees a frighteningly different reality.

Sri Lanka has been betrayed! Our people have been poisoned in both body, as seen from the soaring rates of cancers and organ failures and  mind, as seen from the soaring rates of suicides, murders and violence towards women and children.  No amount of political spin can erase these realities.

There is also a disturbing pattern of media spin on critical issues, matters of serious public concern are trivialized, when media control is complete they are inverted.  As great parts of China are severely affected by choking smog,  a recent  announcement in the ‘Chinese Global Times’, a response this smog, a product of their Unplanned Economic Development, was forcing closure of schools and creating  health issues. So they claimed that smog has its own benefits and offers these (translated) rationalizations as to why smog can be good.

1. It unifies the Chinese people.

2. It makes China more equal.

3. It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China’s economic development.

4. It makes people funnier.

5. It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word haze).

There is of course global astonishment, even amusement at these comments. But it does illustrate the dire need for people to question the inane statements that are offered as a rationale to justify the process eroding our fundamental human right, the right to life!

It is true that today, our wells and groundwater is being poisoned by irresponsible industry.  But rather than accept this truth and promote responsible industry, pipe borne water from great distances and large public costs are promoted.  This means that the irresponsible industries run by political cronies are allowed to pollute our water unchecked.  Is the continued access to established drinking water quality a fundamental right?

The air is being poisoned through the use of high sulphur fossil fuels and coal with its well  known toxic properties. But rather than ensure relatively clean fossil fuel and move to renewables where the commissions and profits are lean, we have opted for highly polluting sources of dirty fuel because the profits to the agents and the traders are high. But the spin-doctors assure us that we have set standards, we are safe. While their masters poison the air for all of our children and us.  Do not be surprised when one of the clowns parrot the Chinese “Smog is good for you” recipe.

Sri Lanka has reached the pinnacle of agrochemical use in 2013 by being the leading country in the word to apply agro-toxins into their environment. Perhaps the spin-doctors would have us celebrating the fact that we are the world’s number one. Perhaps they could say it unifies the Sri Lankan people in suffering unnecessary diseases and that it enriches the hospital industry. That will certainly add to our GDP.

Our environment lies in ruins. The often boasted ‘biodiversity hotspot’ belies the fact that more and more of our species go extinct every year with declining habitat and increasing disturbance. The fragmented forest strips become smaller every year. National statics hoodwink us into thinking that we have more forests than what we really have by counting plantations and village gardens as forests.

The level of social poisoning is fearful and seen in the massive increases in violence, including rapes and custodial murders.  Our society is being poisoned  and all these increases are met with platitudes with the protection of the perpetrators if they are linked to the political machine.

In Sri Lanka the right to life is being violated through the twisting of truth, so that the observation of the Buddha that “ Desire brings pain and suffering”, is turned into ‘Desire is good because it creates markets’. We have leaders demonstrating through their deeds and lifestyles, that lying, stealing and conspicuous consumption is good and we have monks promoting gambling as a virtue.  In such a self obsessed, corrupted , acquisitive and brutal society, the public service ethos voiced by our founding fathers has little space.

The road ahead seems pretty bleak, pretty dark, but hope remains that the spark of selfless public service still remains in the heart of the population. Karuna, Muditha, Upekha and Metta are still values at the core of our being.  However, if we allow the ‘economic developers’ to pervert and encourage the population to become mindless self centered consumers, the essence of who we are will be lost forever.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    1

    Religon purifies the mind and character, while Science can be used to address the physical needs of the human being. Both need to go together to create a healthy society.

    • 1
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      Thanks Ranil – keep it coming!
      Compared the pollution of Night races and Lambughini’s driven at high speed on over carpeted roads with the state of the public transport system and you see the truth about Jarapassa style development through massive corruption.
      Trains and buses and public transport which cater to the masses and are far more economical than cars are a mess.. There is no cafe in Colombo train station for weary passengers and the toilets stink. Yet public transport is far better for the environment and improving it would encourage more people to go on trains and buses and cut down the pollution generated by cars which more often than not have a couple of passengers. But improving PUBLIC TRANSPORT as a means of reducing urban pollution this is not a priority for the corrupt Ministers of the Jarapassa Cabinet of Moronic corrupt clowns who drive around in gas guzzling SUVs. You see how upside down the Rajapaksa development model is!
      Greasy Fast food restaurants – burger king and mac Donalds while non communicable diseases like diabetes and stroke from eating burgers are on the rise!
      UPSIDE DOWN DEVELOPMENT – where the poor subsidize the right, wealth trickles upto Jarapassa cronies..

  • 2
    1

    A good topical article for the times, and one we must take seriously. Sri Lankans are in a mad scramble to improve their lot, become rich, educate the young, and follow the illusory american dream at the expense of every thing sacred and eternal. Ranil Senanayake must start a movement which addresses the consequences of the destructive path we are following. It would seem that we are so cluttered with the hurly burly we are missing the essence of living and there is no institutional arrangement drawing attention to this except in religious discourse, which is not heard by many, nor abided by those who do. The institutions and strong lobbies that existed a decade or two ago seem to be silent now. We are far too pre-occupied with political issues, may be a consequence of the war we experienced, but it is high time we got on to more down to earth issues. Those who were active at the time are far too old to care or they are dead, but what of the young? Why are the young not taking up these issues and driving them?

  • 0
    1

    Good.
    Not good.
    Shocking to see that the way the ‘other'(eg Tamils and Muslims) is treated is not mentioned at all.

  • 0
    1

    When I see the polluted region of Indian Ocean around Sri Lanka I’m reminded of white uniform in SriLankan schools – I’m a teacher.
    I find that many schools in other countries choose a colour(shades of red/blue/green etc) for school uniform. I hope Sri Lanka will let each school choose a colour of their choice and phase out white uniform which consumes a lot of chemicals for ”maintenance”.

    • 0
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      Dear Luxmy

      Your argument that lots of Chemicals are used for the Maintencance of white uniform is not an acceptable argument.

      I agree with you that coloured uniforms are pleasing to the Eye. The White Uniform all over is akin to the uniforms given to the prisoners, Security services, and other rigidly controlled vocations.

      The children are made to feel that they are made stereotype with no motive for innovation.

      I as an octogenarian remember the rigid uniform was relaxed during the period of the second World War with the Governor General himself wearing shorts.

      As regards to use of Chemicals. We use more chemicals for cleaning and purifying our drinking Water than for washing clothes.The extra chemical used in washing white clothes is Chlorine from bleaching powder. The same Chemical used in purifying drinking water.

      Your name suggest that you are a female. Thus I suggest that you take up the greater cause of Gender discrimination in forcing the female to were sarees to come to School as parents. It is great violation of human right and gender discrimination by the male dominated Society in this Island.

      The males are allowed to come into school in any attire they like. Why not females?

      Why force a female to were Saree and deny entry into a school as a parent purely for that reason.

      A female uniformed officer is allowed admission into a school in their uniform that is not a saree.( Short Skirts, Longs and verities of approved uniforms.

      If a parent ware thes thay become indecent when the attend school as a parent but they become very decent when the very same individual attend the School as a nurse, police officer doctor, Ngo donar officer. They are not only admitted but are even garlanded at times and accomodated on Stage escroted by the Head of School.Please give a deep thought.

      You Cry for reform but even your MP was debarred from attending the parliament for not wareing a saree. Whilt There are cases of Male Legislators who attended the very same house in amude on protest. ( Hon. Late W. Dahanayake.).

      Lastly I am with you for a change in uniform colour of children. But I repeat the reason given by yuu is not acceptable.

      Cheers
      God bless
      Levi.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Luxmy

      Your argument that lots of Chemicals are used for the Maintencance of white uniform is not an acceptable argument.

      I agree with you that coloured uniforms are pleasing to the Eye. The White Uniform all over is akin to the uniforms given to the prisoners, Security services, and other rigidly controlled vocations.

      The children are made to feel that they are made stereotype with no motive for innovation.

      I as an octogenarian remember the rigid uniform was relaxed during the period of the second World War with the Governor General himself wearing shorts.

      As regards to use of Chemicals. We use more chemicals for cleaning and purifying our drinking Water than for washing clothes.The extra chemical used in washing white clothes is Chlorine from bleaching powder. The same Chemical used in purifying drinking water.

      Your name suggest that you are a female. Thus I suggest that you take up the greater cause of Gender discrimination in forcing the female to were sarees to come to School as parents. It is great violation of human right and gender discrimination by the male dominated Society in this Island.

      The males are allowed to come into school in any attire they like. Why not females?

      Why force a female to were Saree and deny entry into a school as a parent purely for that reason.

      A female uniformed officer is allowed admission into a school in their uniform that is not a saree.( Short Skirts, Longs and verities of approved uniforms.

      If a parent ware thes thay become indecent when the attend school as a parent but they become very decent when the very same individual attend the School as a nurse, police officer doctor, Ngo donar officer. They are not only admitted but are even garlanded at times and accomodated on Stage escroted by the Head of School.Please give a deep thought.

      You Cry for reform but even your MP was debarred from attending the parliament for not wareing a saree. Whilt There are cases of Male Legislators who attended the very same house in amude on protest. ( Hon. Late W. Dahanayake.).

      Lastly I am with you for a change in uniform colour of children. But I repeat the reason given by yuu is not acceptable.

      Cheers
      God bless
      Levi. .

  • 1
    1

    A 15 year old boy has died when he tackled a Majlisuthul Islam suicide bomber in Pakistan at the school gate.

    The bomber detonated his device, killing himself and Hasan (15) at the school in the district of Hangu. No one else was killed or wounded.

    Unless SL Muslims give up Hindu practices and convert to true Wahab Islam teachings this will be the fate of SL Muslims too. God is merciful. Make the change now.

  • 1
    1

    Dear Ranil
    “It was about 1916 when the freedom fighter, F.R.Senanayake began organizing a response to the wanton killing and displacement of traditional villages, living on the land that businessmen wanted. Agri-business was after land, the people who opposed them and supported the villagers, were accused of being subversive due their ‘public service work’…”

    You are talking of the thing that happened a century back. If you open you eyes and see you will find the history repeating itself after a century in the Northern & Eastern Parts of Sri Lanka. Eastern Parts to a lesser extent than Northern parts.

    It was, in the east and north central, carried out in a similar fashion and has been completed by the successors to you mentioned freedom fighters.

    What happened in 1916 and thereabout was by the British who bought the lands off the local population to establish plantation. Assisted by the British Crown. In the form of land acquisition etc. The Conqueror making his claim on the lands of the conquered.

    Had you only decided to compare ans see what is happening At Jaffna in Valigamam North. You will see parallels. Only if you wish to see them. The conqueror is claiming his spoils.

    As is usual in the History the conqueror always win the war with the help of native betrayers. fight a war to “liberate” natives from tyranny having “liberated ” the liberator chases away the helpers and claims his spoils. In this instance the operation was a “Humanitarian One” and the Natives were chased to all corners of the Earth instead of Bibile. Instead of burning the Villages they were bulldozed.

    The earlier instance the freedom fighters were the descendants of persons who sold out the Natives to get Thousands and Thousands of Acres of Land for helping the Raja, and betraying Natives.

    Your Sentiments expressed about the plight of the Sinhala Buddhist covered with Sugar Coatings to hide the present situation is bad. You are trying to treat the Cancer in the Society by applying Talcum Powder.

    You are talking of Polluting the Water of people who donated blood to the liberator who liberated them from the terror of terrorists. Whils please at least for a moment think of those liberated are still without access to their own wella. Leave alone their homes.

    You are commenting on the poisoning of the atmosphere. Whilst The Power that be are polluting the whole society with their Vengeance in the name of the most venerated Buddha.

    You are speaking of more and more of our diverse species are vanishing and bemoaning the fact. You little realise This island is also making Human sub species in the form of minorities are getting exterminated in stages from 1948 by you freedom leaders.

    You have not even touched the biggest malignancy in this Society that eating away the Whole Nation.

    Sri Lanka has proved over and over again that it is cares more for a dog than a human being. If it is Swiss Dog it cares very much more.

    Buddhu Saranai

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