24 October, 2017

Meetotamulla: A Symbol Of Indifference & Injustice

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

A structure built on human callousness will inevitably collapse in on itself”~ Avraham Burg (IHT – 6.9.2003)

The first omens of the Meethotamulla tragedy appeared in 2011, when several houses became compromised. In January 2013, part of the dump collapsed onto the Sri Rahula Primary school, a presage of the coming disaster.

The first protest against the waste dump took place in 2011. It lasted four days with residents preventing garbage trucks from entering the dump. “The then rulers used the army, police and the STF to chase us away,” Hemamali Abeyrantne, an activist-resident, recalled. “Our people were beaten and hospitalised.” The final protest happened barely a month before the tragedy, on March 7th, 2017. By that time political power had changed hands but attitudes remained unchanged. It took an unprecedented tragedy of colossal proportions for the voices of the residents to be heard.

So the tragedy didn’t come without warming. And it was preventable. Ways and means to resolve the issue could have been found, but there was no political will to make the effort. The political class simply didn’t care.

When Mahinda Rajapaksa claims he couldn’t attend to Meetoamulla because of the war, he is lying. The dumping began the same year the war was won, in 2009. The statement, though preposterous in its mendacity, is very much in character. After all, this was the president who claimed he knew nothing about the impeachment of the Chief Justice until the impeachment motion was presented in parliament.

When Gotabaya Rajapaksa puts himself forward as the only man who can fix Meetotamulla, he is spreading delusion. The dump grew exponentially, in tandem with his programme to beautify Colombo. His much-hyped clean-up programme didn’t pay any attention to Colombo’s two biggest clean-up problems – garbage disposal and sewage disposal. No effort was made to build a plant to treat sewage during the time he was the de facto overlord of Colombo. Raw sewage was released to the sea from Wellawatte and Modera – a dangerous practice which continues to this day.

Though the Rajapaksas cannot be absolved from culpability for the April 14th tragedy, they are by no means the sole culprits. Meetotamulla is both symbol and result of the failure of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration to honour its signature pledge of good governance.

Familial rule and dynastic succession were the raison d’ȇtre of Rajapaksa rule. They wanted to turn Sri Lanka into a neo-patrimonial state, and pursued that goal with single-minded determination. They failed not because they were weak or vacillating; they failed when the gap between economic promises and economic realities grew too wide for the facade of Sinhala-Buddhist maximalism.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration lacks any sort of motivating idea, a unified goal or a common project. It is committed to nothing, not even its own survival. It is more democratic and less racist than its predecessor, but ‘we are not as bad as the Rajapaksas’ is neither a cohesive strategy nor an inspiring slogan. Its flip-flops indicate an absence of vision and commitment. Instead of standing up for the principles which forms the basis of its mandate, the government tends to embrace the path of least resistance.

This craven attitude is obvious in its approach to everything from constitution-making to ensuring justice to Rajapaksa-victims, from fighting corruption to working for progressive social reforms, from reducing economic injustice to enhancing democracy and devolution. There is no official racism, but there is no official anti-racism either. The government doesn’t use religious extremism as a political weapon, but it lacks the political will to resist religious extremism either, be it of the Buddhist or Muslim variety. Instead of fighting for the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable, it gives into special interest groups. It stands for nothing and fights for no one, and consequently is headed nowhere.

The sum total is a form of governance which is myopic, indifferent to its own enlightened self-interest and unintelligent to the point of self-harm. The tragedy in Meetotamulla is the outcome of that governance.

Environmental Injustice: Garbage as Poor Man’s Burden

Pothuwil Kumbura is what the Meethotamulla garbage dump is called in legal documents. That title is the sole indication that the site was once home to lush paddy fields and a stream of clean water, before it was transformed, without the consent of the original inhabitants, into the final resting place for the detritus of other lives. As Nuwan Bopage, a lawyer-activist who had been at the forefront of the Meetotamulla residents struggle against the garbage dump, points out, “It’s not that we decided to house ourselves near a garbage dump, but it was they who decided to dump garbage near our houses.”(Daily Mirror – 17.4.2017)

The unwillingness of successive governments to deal with the garbage mountain in Bloemendhal came to a head in 2009 when several residents sought relief from the courts. A panel of judges, headed by Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, ordered the CMC to stop dumping garbage in Bloemendhal. The CMC proposed Meethotamulla as the alternative site. The proposal was approved by the court, as a temporary measure. The UDA provided the necessary land.

Politicians of all hues use the argument of necessity as a way of escaping responsibility for Meethotamulla. This argument has only a limited validity. However necessary or desperate, it is impossible to imagine the CMC creating a garbage dump in Colombo’s more residential areas, ranging from Colombo 1 to 8, even if the land was available.

In 1983, in a major study, United States General Accounting Office confirmed that race and class were factors in locating hazardous and toxic facilities. (Siting Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation with Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities) The study confirmed a global reality. Discrimination on the basis of class and race are often ingrained in development policies. Governments, including democratically elected ones, consistently favour the rich and the powerful in making spending decision, including Sri Lanka. Though finding a lasting solution to the garbage problem is far more important than building port cities or new airports or veining this small island with costly highways, successive governments ignored the need, because open dumps affect only low-income communities.

The tragedy in Meethotamulla is both proof and result of class-based environmental discrimination in Sri Lanka.

The court order allowing the CMC to dump its garbage in Meethotamulla decreed that the extent of the dump should not exceed 2 acres. This was ignored. The largest expansion of the dump happened during the time Gotabaya Rajapaksa was turning Colombo into a garden city. Socio-economic and environmental injustice was deeply ingrained in Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s beautification project which existed only for those areas of Colombo which were occupied or used predominantly by the wealthy and the middle classes. His notions of beautification entailed the socio-economic homogenising of Colombo by evicting the city’s poor (the plan was to evict 70,000 to 135,000 families, which could have amounted to the forced relocation of 280,000 to 500,000 people) . Though done under the guise of slum clearance and the removal of unauthorised structures, the victims were often long-time legal residents. The best case in point was the eviction of Mews Street residents in a military-style operation, in gross violation of a court order. There was even a plan to amend the UDA Act to ban residents from seeking legal redress against arbitrary evictions.

The only ‘solution’ the Rajapaksa regime had for Meetotamulla was to turn dump into a collection-site and to transport the garbage to landfills in Puttlam. That plan had to be abandoned when wild life authorities pointed out that the landfills were located within the one mile buffer zone of Wilpattu and in close proximity to Kala Oya, an important water source in the area.

The residents of Meetotamulla probably hoped that their luck would change with the defeat of the Rajapaksas and the forming of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s project of class cleansing did come to a halt, but nothing was done to resolve the garbage issue. Promises were made only to be broken. When the people protested, they were attacked and arrested. Like their predecessors, the new rulers too had only one solution to the mounting crisis in Meethotamulla – set up a new garbage dump somewhere else. A court order prevented the CMC from dumping its garbage in Karadiyana, Piliyandala. Public protests prevented the setting up of a new dump in Ekala. Instead of looking for long lasting solutions, the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration allowed the problem to fester.

In the 1980’s the California Waste Management Board commissioned the lobbying firm Cerrell Associates to conduct a study on possible locations for a plant to convert waste into energy. The firm in its report stated that given the environmentally hazardous nature of the project, the locations with least political fallout would be low-income communities, communities of colour, rural and less educated communities. That was what happened in Bloemendhal and Meetotamulla. That is what is happening in the present government’s attempts to sweep the garbage crisis out of sight by creating new garbage mountains in Dompe and Karadiyana.

Business As Usual

When the Bloemendhal dump was abandoned due to judicial intervention, the Rajapaksa regime promised to turn it into a garden. The decision was announced after a meeting attended by Ministers Dinesh Gunawardane, Champika Ranawaka and Janaka Bandara Tennakoon.(Lanka Page – 28.3.2009)Five years later, the dump caught fire, a reminder that the promised garden exists only in the Land of Broken Pledges. Now promises are being made to create a garden in Meetotamulla. Can there be any doubt about the ultimate resting place of that promise?

The government’s declarations about finding a solution to the garbage problem will probably be forgotten once Meetoamulla ceases be ‘the News’. Even as the search for the dead and the disappeared continued in Meethotamulla, Minister Champika Ranawaka laid the foundation stone for a new skyscraper, which at 75 floors is taller than Basil Rajapaksa’s Nelum Kuluna. The warped developmental priorities which created the Meethotamulla dump and caused its deadly collapse continue unabated. Port cities and skyscrapers are being built in a city which has no place to dump its garbage, and is making-do with a sewage system created for 100,000 residents by the British colonial rulers more than a century ago. An ageing sewage system and a population bursting at the seams can create the next point of combustion. Unlike in Meethotamulla, even the city’s rich and the powerful will not be immune to that disaster.

The garbage problem is not limited to Colombo. Across the country, garbage continues to fester in dumps, contaminate waterways and pollute forests. Though the main culprits for this crisis are the Lankan political class, a share of responsibility also falls on us, the citizens. It is our duty to pressurise the political class to seek a serious solution to the garbage problem and to make our own little contribution to that solution in our homes and lives.

In 1977, Sidney Howe, an American conservationist and environmentalist pointed out that the poor were exposed to more pollution while the biggest polluters live in least polluted areas. This too is a global truth, applicable to Sri Lanka as well. For those of us living in Colombo and suburbs, ‘garbage problem’ means a delay in garbage collection. But for those poor communities living cheek-by-jowl with other peoples’ waste, garbage problem is a matter of life and death. And when death comes to those people in singly, as an illness, or on a large scale, as a landslide or explosion, (a potential danger present in Bloemendhal and Meetotamulla) some of the moral responsibility is ours as well.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    8

    A question. If the dumping ground selection is directly related to ethnicity shouldn’t the site be somewhere in Jaffna? If Puttlam was picked this would have been proven without much effort. Looks like this was a great loss of political capital for minority parties.

    • 1
      3

      You are a disgrace to sensible Sri Lankans in the South.
      To satisfy people of your kind, Peace Fellowship trainees from abroad visiting Jaffna were sent only to the Military:
      Group of Rotary Peace Centre at Chulalongkorn University visits Headquarters SF (J)
      [2017-03-27 22:20:41] http://www.cimicjaffna.com/Cimicnews_2017_03_27_01_01.php

      • 0
        0

        The best place to dump Garbage collected in Colombo city is the new Colombo port city. This is within Colombo city and to dump waste collected in Colombo to a place in Kolonnawa, Kotte or Maharagama council areas is grossly unfair. Let Colombo residents learn to live with their own stink. Moreover with the controversy raging about Colombo port city, Chinese will not be able to put up with the stink and run away, handing those areas back to Srilanka without any cost.

    • 2
      2

      Reading about the wretched Sinhala politicians you couldn’t resist drawing in Tamil politicians out of context.

    • 4
      5

      Given that the majority of the people living in Colombo are Tamils & Moslems,it is logical to send the Colombo garbage to Puttalam & the Northern province – to theeir traditional homelands.

    • 2
      2

      Jaffna is dealt differently.

      The essay says in democratic countries, selecting slums is good one to avoid political fallout. But Hitler did not pick Jews from slumps for gas Chambers.

      Chunnakam was selected to dig deep into underground and pour toxic, contaminated oil wastes. This is not to get rid of oil waste, but in Hitler fashion, to get the Jaffna’s Pariah Demelos. This kind of cleaning is necessary because Sinhala government’s agents think that the Tamils are Casteist Racists. It rendered almost all of the peninsula wells non usable. Same selection of Sampur to burn Indian, low quality poisonous coal. Because Demelo area Sampur was contested, Appe Andu decided that no fossil fuel plants anywhere in the Island.

      Meethotamulla is to dump garbage; Jaffna is to burn legendary library. Colombo is for women to throw under garments in music concerts; Chavakacheri is to shoot the Parai Demelo in the middle of carnival.

      150,000 army is wasting where all the waste management systems were dismantled even before 1983. It is said this army population is consuming the 2/3 of the resources of Jaffna peninsula. That is, old residents on third and new residents two third. 300% increase. New King has declared that army is only in bracks. So just don’t worry about 100 year’s old Colombo drainage system.

      Sinhala Appe Anduwa always treats Jaffna with its due dignity!

  • 10
    1

    I am reminded of a line by an African writer, author of THE BEAUTYFUL ONES ARE NOT YET BORN (the spelling mistake in beautiful is deliberate), namely: the trouble with the people is that they are not angry enough.

    One can add: not angry enough; not angry in mature, positive, constructive, ways.

    Pentheus

  • 10
    4

    it was a pleasure to read tissaranees comments particularly after reading dayans nonsenseical stuff over the last few days
    unfortunately even educated people like ranil don’t take good advice from knowledgeable people because they think they know everything
    even when they know nothing so what to do?
    what a life George what a life
    got a knife George got a knife

    • 12
      2

      Nalmen,

      “unfortunately even educated people like ranil don’t take good advice from knowledgeable people because they think they know everything even when they know nothing so what to do?”

      Are you serious? If that is the case the lot who voted for UNP under Ranil’s leadership are dumb idiots.

      • 4
        0

        Was not it proved that those who vote for the UNP are idiots when Paba was returned as an MP from Gampaha.

  • 8
    1

    To ignore the plight of poor people, who are forced to live next to a toxic dump, and do nothing about it, is inhumane, and shows incompetence. Any environmental expert could have told those in power that this was a disaster waiting to happen, and yet the previous and present regimes, had far too many more important matters to take care of, like getting commissions for major projects, and choosing their luxury cars. Shame on all those who did not care to take care of people who are helpless, and at the mercy of the politicians. It is too late now for all those poor souls who died because of the carelessness of those in power. Will the Rajapakse, Sirisena, and Wickremasinghe families live under these appalling conditions?

    • 0
      0

      This is where social economic rights are important.

      This is where we have to question the govt why they did not this garbage pile Colombo 7 or in Wellawaththa or in some Muslim neighbourhood or even in diyawnna oya ?

      In reality the people living around the garbage pile should have sued the govt and politicians for comphensation.

  • 10
    9

    Another writer using garbage crisis for Rajapakse bashing. After continuing with Rajapakse bashing Tisaranee says:

    “The only ‘solution’ the Rajapaksa regime had for Meetotamulla was to turn dump into a collection-site and to transport the garbage to landfills in Puttlam. That plan had to be abandoned when wild life authorities pointed out that the landfills were located within the one mile buffer zone of Wilpattu and in close proximity to Kala Oya, an important water source in the area.”

    At least Rajapakse regime came out with a good solution while the Colombo Municipality controlled by UNP since 1956 which is mainly responsible for handling garbage failed to come out with a solution except dumping in places close to slums.

    “Though finding a lasting solution to the garbage problem is far more important than building port cities or new airports or veining this small island with costly highways, successive governments ignored the need, because open dumps affect only low-income communities.”

    I guess Tisaranee quite conveniently forgot to mention buying duty free luxury cars and bullet proof super luxury cars.

    “The largest expansion of the dump happened during the time Gotabaya Rajapaksa was turning Colombo into a garden city.”

    So Tisaranee you think Gotabhaya should have left Colombo as a shanty city as done by Colombo Municipality?

    The problem with garbage is ‘NIMBY’ (Not in My Backyard). Colombo 7 people do not want in their backyard. Slum dwellers do not want in their backyard. Wild Life people do not want in their backyard. So Gotabhaya would have thought ‘What the hell I am going to do’. Tisaranee, you should have proposed to dump Sri Lanka’s garbage in the Indian Ocean. Oh! I forgot. Even for that idea, the Blue Whales would have said ‘NOT IN MY BACKYARD’.

  • 3
    0

    Garbage has to be dumped somewhere. It is up to us Citizens, to ensure that we dispose of our rubbish in a responsible manner.

    Separate out recyclables, and cut down on the use of Plastics. Turn Food and Garden Waste, into Compost, either at Home in Covered Bins, or in separate Biodegradable Bags/Containers in the Garbage Bins.

  • 1
    3

    Savithri: “Will the Rajapakse, Sirisena and Wickramasinghe families live under these appalling conditions?. NO. The PEOPLE have seen to that they don’t live under appalling conditions. All the citizens of the country, (The Direct & Indirect Tax Payers) have contributed to give all their representatives, their families, extended families and friends, including those mentioned by you, to live in LUXURY and COMFORTS for decades and are continuing to make that contribution for now and future. The PEOPLE of Sri Lanka have made that “SUPREME SACRIFICE”. So, Savithri, why you have to question that?

  • 3
    0

    Tisaranee is obviously unaware how a sanitary landfill at Meepe with full world bank assistance was abandoned owing to the protests of Dinesh Gunawardane and Susil Premajayanth in 1999. Even the tender was awarded to a Chinese company for 800 million. May be the contractor did not oil the palm of the proper people. This landfill would have been enough for the all muninicipalties from Negombo to Panadura. Obviously this could have prevented the Meethotamulla disaster.

  • 0
    5

    a profoundly awe inspiring scrutiny of past lunacy and present deceit. Thank you Tissaranee. “The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.”

    • 6
      0

      BS.

      Same old crap. It is all the fault of the previous govt.

      People voted for a new govt because the old govt was bad. Why these dum and racist journalists cannot understand it.

      Now the incompetant prime minister is travelling around the world and his only excuse is the previous govt. This author does not talk about Ranil wickramsinghe or the president who is the Minister for environment.

      Prime minister as soon as he became PM, he robbed the central bank in order to make his next election campiagn succeessful. Since then they are borrowing by every mean and from every bank or country in the world.

      Why these stupid and arrogant journalists can not understand that people voted out the bad govt and but the good govt is also the same old thieves and pests and they don’t work for voters instead they work for themselves.

  • 3
    1

    The JVP administered Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha had a very effective garbage system in operation which was dismantled by the previous govt: since it would have been politically suicidal to promote it. Till the day the voters decide to vote for educated persons as their representatives this failed system will go on and journalists will have enough of things to write about, till then those of you who voted for both these parties, Enjoy.

    • 3
      0

      Can the JVP please make Public, “The JVP administered Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha had a very effective garbage system in operation”.

      So that People would know that there are More Methods of Garbage Disposal, other than Haphazard Dumping?

      • 0
        0

        It is on the JVP Facebook page. Check it out.

  • 2
    0

    Tisaranee, thank you for another excellent article.

    ”make our own little contribution to that solution in our homes and lives”:

  • 1
    0

    “Meetotamulla: A Symbol Of Indifference & Injustice” is putting it mildly. It is a symbol of unfettered exploitation by the “inner circle” of a certain class.

    There was a time when the Colombo 4,5,6 coastline was used as the waste dump. Suddenly insider traders changed the status of these most undesirable real estates. The garbage was removed in days and taken to Meetotamulla.

    The tragedy shows that the real Lankan divide is class and not language/religion as made out. Compare the media and political coverage of the SAITM issue and the Meetotamulla garbage tsunami. Will there be a single Meetotamullan aspiring to get into SAITM?

  • 3
    3

    For all these Rajapakse govt bashers:

    Rajapakse govt had got money from United NAtions to transport meethotamulla Garbage to Puttalam and they had a program.

    So, this yahapalana govt has neglected that program and has allowed this CRIME to happen.

    As one comment says here Rajapakse govt also had overlooked a good garbage disposal strategy iused in the South. So, the govts have worked stupid and played party politics.

    Contrary to that, where I am living I have seen very often, the governing party uses ideas by the opposition or other govts to fulfill the needs of the country.

    • 1
      2

      Rajapakshe also got the funds from Tsunami donations amounting to OVER 5000 million dollars that the authorities lately found as gone missing. So, according to former CJ SN Sliva – his flawed verdict released him.

      Rajapakshe adiminstration is proved to have no records on the vehicle use by presidentional secretariat – that is the reason why FCID authorities call them each asking about the vehicles. So, what talks about the records on other issues.

      And the fact that became clear that previous adminstration of MR had no independently functional legal department for Central Bank. They worked not repspecting long held rules and regulations in terms of taking decisions on whatever the issues made by CB.

      So Jsofty, you could better go and lick the back sides of MR et al, so that they dont need to use water anymore if you are in the firm decisions to cover up their all high profile mis managements.

  • 1
    2

    Even if the Rajapaksas mismanaged it, this government has had two whole years to fix it.
    It built a Volkswagen factory and at least on paper initiated many other mega projects, higways, port cities, high-rises etc. But not a hum about garbage? But the rajapaksas are Tisaranee’s Bet noire. Now it is high time to point the guns to the present plunderers of the country, let us forget the Rajapaksas, JRJs (or put them in Jail), colonials, Magas, Cholas etc.

    Solution to garbage handling is well known to waste management engineers. Let the professionals handle it. Even a small city like Santa Barbara, California ( a neighbour of LA) makes money out of recycling its garbage and also producing energy since 1984. Paris also uses its garbage to make energy, fertilizer and mine it for metals, plastic etc. The politicians never do anything unless they get their cut, and that is why this has not been given away on a tender to a competent company. So it got delayed since the time of the JRJ government that was willing to welcome robber barons. Each govt., when it comes into power, cancels the old projects as it wants new projects to put out new tenders, and get new commissions. The same thing has happened to coal tenders, and Champika R can tell us all about that.

    • 2
      1

      I have the feeling at the time the current duo took over the debries of previous so called, regime, not just Meethota mulla garbage recycling /management issue, there had been thousands of other issues, that they had to give the priority. However, the garbage mountain related issue and the risk analysis had not been done enough, in retrospect is a greater mistake of the current govt. However, I still believe, the garbage management and getting the people aware about the gravity of the problem has been no easy issue for previous govt for the last 10 years and last years for the current govt respectively. However, even today, I have the feeling, there are over 75% inhabitant near to garbage deposits would not want to move out of the place irrespective of the health hazards that the families would have to face if they continue stay in the place. Not just Dengue related health threats but also various other lung and respiratory system combined chronic disease increase have been observed inthe people in their all age groups. This will have a long term threat for the health of these people as the profesionals point out today.

  • 4
    2

    TG as always tries to play her deceitful politics in this tragedy too. By bashing Rajapakses she tries to minimise the culpability of current ruling junta. When blaming the past, she makes sure that the blame stops at 2005 not beyond because that’s what suit her politics.

    She tries (in vain though) to divert the crucial point that the PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY lies with the GOVERNMENT OF THE DAY.

    Having said that, no one can absolve the culpability of the political class (past and present). The citizens have to continue to fight for their rights because the ruling class will not respect such rights voluntarily.

  • 2
    0

    The Meetotamulla garbage is not to Puttalam. Thats a red herring.
    The proposed site is on the Banks of the Kala Oya and bordering Wilpattu.

    Search for
    wilpattuHouse update wilpattu garbage

    Has info on
    Env Impact Assesmeant (EIA)
    Suggestions

  • 4
    1

    While Tisaranee criticizes the new regime in general terms, she fails to mention that Ranil in Sep 2015 promised a solution to the residents in 6 months !
    Tisaranee, this is simply more than a “signature pledge of good governance” !

    One must not let one’s criticism of the Rajapakse regime blind one to the faults of the new regime.

    Meanwhile, Ranil is off to India, soon after a sojourn to Vietnam/Japan/Europe. As a citizen, I am yet to see one iota of evidence that these trips pay dividends except for the PM and his coterie of merry men/woman!

    The Sunday Times (23/4) indicates that the much shouted about GSP+ will not be granted this year (again despite those fun trips to Europe), and also talks about the plight of citizens affected by past tragedies still living with no solutions to their problems.

    The media will move on from this in a few days and so will the politicians (including the yahapalanaya ones).

  • 1
    1

    why not use the land reclaimed for Port city for dumping garbage and sewage and build a waste recycling plant there as well.

    Another option is to use the Hambantota Airport. More appropriate to dump garbage there. what more light cargo aircraft can be used to shift the garbage from all over Sri Lanka and dump it a Rjapakse’s door step?

    • 1
      0

      Rajash; What a Good Idea. You will be Killing two Birds with One Stone!

      If you dump garbage at Port City Site, no one will want to live there, so there will be no Garbage to dump elsewhere either!

      Once it gets filled up, you could build another Stadium There, rather than Residential/Commercial Premises!

      • 1
        0

        Hamlet – Rajash; What a Good Idea. You will be Killing two Birds with One Stone!

        Absolutely! Port City will be another white elephant like the famous international airport… and will become a desert city…

        might as well use the reclaimed land in a productive manner!

  • 0
    0

    Thank you, Tissaranee for being a truth teller.very refreshing. “Silence in the face of evil,is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak,is to speak. Not to act,is to act’ ( Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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