30 September, 2020

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Mr. President, Let’s Imagine A Sri Lanka Within The World

By Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa,

The President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka,

Office of the President,

Temple Trees,

150 Galle Road,

Colombo 3,

Sri Lanka.

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Liyanage Amarakeerthi, a Fulbright Scholar (1998-2000) and a university lecturer. I am also a fiction writer of some fame and acclaim. More importantly, I am a Sri Lankan citizen who imagines a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka where all its citizens can live without any form of discrimination regardless of their ethnicity, caste, gender and so on.

Usually I do not write letters to political authorities or any person wielding power. As an intellectual I keep a critical distance from all centers of power. I will certainly not write any letter to such authorities to gain personal favors of any sort. However, I often write in order to draw the attention of people like you, Mr. President, towards the important issues of our country. I publish such letters in the press, which is one of the important spaces for freethinking citizens to express their views on matters of national and international significance.  In some of my recent articles to the press I have argued that state funding for education in our country has dramatically dwindled under your presidency. Yes sir. It has gone down. I hope you have read some of those articles.

For the first time in my life, however, I am writing this letter to you because the topic on which I am writing is much more important than my pride and me. The topic is the Fulbright programme administered by the U.S.-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission.

I am writing this letter with a deep sense of responsibility and joy at this moment when the U.S.- Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission celebrates its 60 years of service to the people of Sri Lanka and of the United States. In the first part of this letter I want to focus more on myself than on the Fulbright programme, and please bear with me while I give you some autobiographical information.

I am from a very poor family in the Kurunegala district, and my father was a carpenter whose formal education was only up to grade 3. Having passed grade 10 my mother had a better claim for being educated, yet she was also a day labourer for a good part of her life. And they were driven out of schools for various socio-historical reasons for which they themselves were not responsible. Abject poverty compelled them to work from the early days of their lives. Though they were uneducated themselves they knew the value of education. By the time, I was born in 1968 there were some good schools in and around our village. (Sadly, this is not the case anymore). Though the education opportunities that Dr. C. W.W. Kannangara envisioned with his concept of free education were not fully realized at those village schools, we were better off than our parents’ generation. So, my parents, specially my mother, focused all their energy on giving my siblings and me the best education they could.

After attending three different public schools, all of them rural, I managed to enter the University of Colombo in 1990. That was after waiting for the universities to re-open after nearly three years of closure during the time of JVP riots in the late 1980s. By the time my batch of students entered the university, we had grown old and become even wiser than any other group of first year students because we had seen unimaginable violence, death and destruction. That history, I later came to understand, could not be detached from the geo-political situation of the South Asian region and the world at large at that time. For example, a group of educated youth from Sri Lanka’s south taking up arms against the state to create an egalitarian society and the state’s violent suppression of it cannot be separated from two-polar world of two opposing ideologies represented by the US and USSR. Our generation was trapped between those two major ideologies while the rise of nationalism in South Asia also made us extremist in certain areas. I am sure, Mr. President, you know this very well, and, for me, you are also a product of that history.

During my university days, I had realized that I needed to develop a much more inclusive and cosmopolitan worldview as an educated Sri Lankan and as a writer. Having published my first book when I was a first year student at the university, I entered that long path that would take me to the world of literary success one day, and during that literary apprenticeship I experienced within me the need for a wider vision of the world. As you know, Mr. President, if you are a person born to a poor family or in a remote village in our country, English language skills are hard to gain. That was one of the significant shortcomings of Sri Lanka’s free education: we do not have a quality bilingual or tri-lingual education where students complete their formal education seeing themselves as citizens of the world and feeling at home in the presence of those from other cultures. Vernacular monolingual education, which became a politically-willed norm of the country, had turned several generations of us into narrow nationalists though that vernacular medium of instruction made education accessible to many poor Sri Lankans like myself. So whilst grasping the essentials of my own society and culture through my secondary and tertiary education in Sri Lanka, learning to become a citizen of the wider world was a task I had to accomplish on my own.

As a part of that struggle I started teaching myself English by reading books. During my undergraduate years, the Internet or the World Wide Web was something we never heard of. I had to rely on books. Having worked at a university library, Mr. President, you know more than anyone else that our university libraries were not the best, with the possible exception perhaps of the library of the University of Peradeniya. Therefore, I had to make use of libraries such as the British Council, the American Center and so on to read modern literature from the world. At university I read for a degree in Sinhala literature, and, therefore, I had to acquire most of my knowledge of English by reading books, which were not directly related to what I formally studied. But I kept reading English books. There were some kind people who helped me with my study of English from time to time.

In addition, all this while I had to take up many different part time jobs to put myself through the university because my mother, who did not have my father’s support by that time, could not support me financially. My part time jobs during the university days ranged from a construction labourer to a freelance journalist.

Dear Mr. President, I know you have many other letters to read from other citizens of Sri Lanka. Other university academics must have written you better letters praising your work and asking for directorships, chairpersonships, diplomatic positions in order to help you to do your work better. Therefore, let me cut my story short. By the time, you became a minister in the 1994 government, I had graduated from the university to become an unemployed graduate. Though I had worked and written to defeat the United National Party (UNP) government at that historic election, I did not go behind politicians to find a job. Of course, that government, of which you were a part, gave away many important jobs to those who were pro-state henchmen.  Some of my friends and university contemporaries became government ‘officials’ overnight during the months after the formation of the 1994 government. As for me, I kept focusing on my writing career and my post-graduate education.

Almost by accident, I became an assistant lecturer at the Department of Sinhala, University of Colombo in 1995. After that I began to focus more on my post-graduate education. Then, I realized that Sri Lankan universities did not have ‘graduate schools’ for a comprehensive graduate education in the subject I wanted to study. Mr. President, you might know that the lack of full-time post-graduate programmes with high quality research professors as teachers is something that has a crippling effect on our universities.  And that lack is a major impediment to your own ambitious goal of turning Sri Lanka into a ‘knowledge hub.’ By listening to some old fashioned lecturers on weekends, which is what passes for post-graduate education in Sri Lanka, one cannot be trained to become a quality research scholar.  So, I looked for opportunities for post-graduate education in foreign countries. By that time I had learned that the United States had well-developed post-graduate programmes of study in nearly all subject areas. I started dreaming about having my post-graduate training there.

It was while I was trying to prepare myself in the possible higher education experience overseas that I realized that in Sri Lanka, external migration and education are highly stratified, and that the social class one belongs to matters a great deal even to get access to information on overseas higher educational opportunities available to locals. I am, of course, referring to a time when access to the Internet was not yet existent in Sri Lanka.  This is where the United States-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission comes into the picture.  I came to know that apart from disseminating information on study in the United States, the Commission was actually offering Fulbright scholarships for higher study in the United States for Sri Lankans who possess the relevant qualifications.  Soon I came to know of famous Fulbright scholars in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Some of those scholars came from similar social backgrounds as mine, and that was encouraging news.

Wanting to study Comparative Literature, Literary Theory and other related subjects for my masters and doctoral studies, I applied for a Fulbright Fellowship in 1997. Though my English language skills were still next to nothing and not enough to pursue graduate studies in highly competitive and demanding American Universities, I was ready to face any challenge. Owing largely to the kindness of the selection panels of the Fulbright Commission, I won a Fulbright Fellowship to study for my MA at the University of Wisconsin. After the initial two years of master’s degree studies, the university itself funded my doctoral studies which were completed in 2004. During those years I benefited greatly from the kindness and generosity of my teachers at Wisconsin and of the American people.

Looking back at those years of struggle in search of knowledge and a quality education, I recall with a tremendous sense of gratitude that it was the Fulbright Fellowship that provided me with the initial breakthrough. That has made all the difference.

Dear Mr. President, the education opportunity that the Fulbright programme gave me has helped me think as a global citizen regardless of my special attention to my own culture and people. Yet during my doctoral training, I realized that even what I call ‘my culture’ and ‘my people’ are related to many other cultures and peoples. In our phase of human history, no culture can be understood in isolation. The fate of our own nation and people is intricately related to the fate of many other people, and no issue can be solved by isolating it from other issues and other peoples. We are a part of an intricate human web that stretches through time and space. To understand the beauty and wonder of that human web would be to defeat the parochial nationalist views propagated by many extremist ideologues in our country and elsewhere. And in our country, such parochialism must be defeated in order for us win real peace and harmony within. Among many other good things, this global vision is one of the most important things I have learned during my Fulbright years. In this relatively short letter I do not want to elaborate on the other things that I have learned. After all you are known better as a practical man of action than as a man of letters.

I know that you have many political allies in and out of your government who hate everything about America. Anti-American rhetorical pyrotechnics are visible everywhere within your government. If some of your ideologue-friends read this letter, they might conclude that I am being overly pro-American. Such an assumption can practically destroy my career at a state-funded university. I know that many people fake and show off their anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism, anti-Westernism to survive in an atmosphere of patriotism that has your own blessing. Therefore, dear president, let me say these last few words. The Fulbright programme was initiated by and named after Senator Fulbright who was a relentless critic of imperialist American policies and interests.  In his famous book, The Arrogance of Power (1966) Senator J. William Fulbright warned the American leaders and people of the dangers of self-centered and imperialist policies of superpowers. He always stood for multilateral solutions for world issues. The book and the vision of its author are not only about America or the superpowers; but any center of power can learn invaluable lessons from the work of Senator Fulbright, the visionary leader. As the most powerful man in our country, Mr. President, you will be able to learn important lessons about modesty, humility and pragmatism by paying a little attention to Senator Fulbright’s life and work. On reading his work, I was even more convinced of the value of moderation that I have learned from such Asian sources as Buddhist philosophy, the writings of Rabindranath Tagore and others. That is one of the prime reasons why I am proud to be a Fulbright scholar.

Dear Mr. President, at this historic moment when U.S.-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission completes its 60th year of service, I kindly urge you to work towards supporting more tangibly this fine programme in the years to come. Even though our popular politics is overloaded with the rhetoric of xenophobia, Sri Lanka has been one of the most cosmopolitan places on earth. I think, that is our true national heritage. In re-claiming that forgotten legacy, we need to learn from the insights that people like Senator Fulbright offer and make use of the educational opportunities a programme of the kind provided by the Fulbright Commission. And that is the realistic way for Sri Lanka to seek to become the knowledge hub of Asia. I hope you will have the wisdom and courage to assess the history of US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission in that light.

All the good wishes!

Sincerely yours,

Liyanage Amarakeerthi

*This essay is taken from the book, ‘Letters to Our Presidents’ published by US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission

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Latest comments

  • 0
    9

    Shouldn’t you be sending this to the US senate ?…

    India complies with the GOSL list of LTTE funds and Arms providers.

    Canada and US meet up with them and openly declare that they are good citizens of theirs.

    Think about it..

    Can we afford another 30 years or one and a half generations of non graduates, let alone producing Fulbright scholars…

    • 0
      0

      Sumane, go [Edited out] yourslf.

      • 5
        1

        Mahinda Jarapassa is NO EXCELLENCY!

        He does not know the meaning of excellent and is a common corrupt criminal, so please stop this grovelling Sinhala Modakama!

        Sinhala Modayas love to turn their corrupt politicians into GODS!

        • 5
          0

          That appears to be a typographic error – it should read as follows
          “His Excel-lunacy” !!

          • 2
            0

            Word Lunacy
            Power Point Lunacy
            Access Lunacy
            Publisher Lunacy
            Project Lunacy
            Visio Lunacy
            Age of Empires Lunacy

            etc.

      • 3
        0

        Weerawansa^s 12 point demands are just to show the world that the hardline elements within the country are fully against the newly passed UN resolution.
        This man WW, did not utter a single word even if President sign that Parker^s hotel complex – project, knowing that none of his hotels sofar are without casinos. Dr. Harsha de Silva and several other educated ones have already pointed out, main incomes of the crown hotel already in well function are through casinos. So, all these are known to these so called oppotunistic hardliners. But they just stayed away from voting – to protect their priviledges.

    • 0
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      No one will be arrested and no property will be prosecuted by those so called complying countries merely because SL has listed them.

  • 4
    0

    Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

    “His Excellency” President Mahinda Rajapaksa,-

    The President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka,

    Dear Mr. President
    ******************

    Can you Please the ” His Excellency” Part out. Just stick to Mr. President, as he was elected by the people, whether they were fools, educated, racists, paras, atheists, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or non-believers.

    For somebody who does not follow the constitution, does nor follow the rule of law, tHis Excellency is a Travesty of Justice and Etiquette.

    Even the President of the US, a Superpower, is not addressed that way.

    http://www.formsofaddress.info/FOA_president_US.html

    How to Address The President of the United States

    Envelope, official:
    The President
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, DC 20500

    Letter salutation:
    Dear Mr./Madam President:

    • 2
      0

      Amarasiri,

      almost everyone with sanity would join you in this regard.

      I would better use ” his excellency” when addressing our dog who saved the life of my aged parents not once several dozens of times sofar.

      • 1
        0

        I always respect my Bums whenever I sit on, the best of my friend of a lifetime a friend in need, indeed for a comfortable sitting.

  • 6
    0

    Dear Dr Leyanage.
    It was very much interesting to read your struggle to get education and to get in to your high prolife position.
    It was your hard work and self determination that paved the way to get in to this situation.
    I like your honesty and sincerity
    I like your straight forward approach in life ie not to beg politicians
    There are may be thousands of people like you in SL
    I came same back ground like you
    I did went through more difficult situation
    I escaped death from JVP and LTTE insurgence on my way to my work at universities
    Your advice is fine but do not think that this idiot Prwsident would listen to you
    I think late President R Premadsa had more respect to Education and educated people
    it was reported MR used to work at J. Unveristy as self filling person
    Cleaning and dusting books
    Yet he does not have any respect to knowledge and educated people
    Look university system now
    All academic positions are politically influenced
    A lot of political influence in uni.
    A lot of curuption in university system
    If MR continues like this our education system will go down soon
    What you could expect from this type of person
    Drug dealers are behind him
    Murdarors are behind him
    Robbers of public money are behind him?
    What you axpect from him
    I wish I could write to you more but I do not contact writers at CT directly
    Keep writing and I like your plan English so sweat
    I

    • 2
      0

      Dr. So and So,

      as you said, writer has used simple language to explain his story.

      I think the stories of the many that left the country before or after their undegraduate degrees are more or less the same.

      But my question is: whether writer at all closely studied the very recent incidents where the incumbent president paid only a blind eye again and again. As I read somewhere, the last was MR did not even listened to Mahanayakas lately even if they clearly articulated the danger of passing the casino related bills by sending him a postal letter.

    • 1
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      The author is a true global citizen – he owes it to his mother.

      • 1
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        Does that mean that he is out of this world, I mean Alien.

        • 0
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          No punto,
          he is just one another who wants to see the nation comes forward.

          In today^s context, all barriers are made stood against us since the man in power- MR is a proved failure in place.

  • 3
    0

    I salute a true son of Sri Lanka – whose humble beginning and achievements, in many ways, bears a Lincolnian touch. They are an inspiration to many young from disadvantaged positions. He struggled against great odds and made it.

    It must be a somewhat mentally deranged political leader who will want to deny his people the many faceted benefits of a much-prized Fullbright Scholarship. I hope this does not ruin the opportunities of future Liyanage Amarakeertis waiting to take wings. Sadly, in our confused society this is still possible. We have many strange characters in our system – posing many a danger to young talent. There is that extremist Octogenarian who sent many youth to their graves with his fragile Chinthanas, who has concluded the educational system should be handed over to Sinhala graduates. I suspect he schemes so in order that men of his ilk can easily manouvre them to their demented thinking. Sadly, he and his colleagues, showing equal prejudice against Western education, deny anything good in the West as Judean-Christian influences – whatever that means. Little do they know, today socialist China and Russia lean more to learn from America, its great institutions of higher learning through the English language. Their aim is to charter a course for their emerging great powers – once immersed and backward with such destructive dogmas. These mischievous men of “learning” are shy to admit English is the langua franca of today’s world and will continue this position for many more decades.

    I wish you, Sir, much progress in your academic future. I urge you to spare time to save our educated young, poor and other, from the harmful machinations of senile demagogues. It is men like you who should be in our educational and leadership positions.

    R. Varathan

  • 1
    0

    Hmmmm……….a very good letter. Hope Doctor Amarakeerthi will be given a ministry of his own to implement his Fulbright knowledge for a more cohesive Lankan society, and one which is also internationally savvy. Guess we can trust the Americans on that one.

    • 2
      0

      Fullbright knolwedge has nothing to do with lanken politics.
      However it is commendable that the numbers of this kind of articles are on a rise today than in the past.

      • 0
        0

        As Doctor Amarakeerthi says, it would imprudent for Sri Lanka to alienate herself from the rest of the global network of which Fulbright scholars have made a thorough study of. And it all starts from the political top to implement knowledge of such value (without compromising culture, heritage and aspiration).

    • 0
      0

      Leela, your convoluted jargon is easily understood of what you really mean and where you swill around.

      • 0
        0

        Leela……..Moi?!…….No, not convoluted at all you silly fellow………..We wouldn’t want Fulbright knowledge to be used to split the country into miserable, ancient, Machiavellian, ethnic-niches…….but we would truly appreciate Fulbright ideologies to be used to develop a more honest, robust and modern civilization based on majority Buddhist-Sinhalese decency.

  • 3
    0

    According to the Professional opinion of the Managing Director of the IMF Madame Legard , Education & Health are the two most important ingreadiants necessary to develop a country. As Dr. Amarakeerthi says Fulbright scholarships and higher education is an essential part to develop a country, as the people or citizens with good flexible education knowledge will help to develop a country if they are in good health. But President Rajapaksa and his Cabinet of Ministers, specially the Minister of Hire Education SB Disanayake take a very dim view about educating poor Sri Lankans. It is the lowest GDP allocated for education in the history of Sri Lanka, eg, 2.7 PC . If President Rajapakasa want to make Sri Lanka the Education hum he must take immediate action to develop the Secondry and Hire education in SL, and make good efforts to continue the Fulbright Scholarship scheme and read Senotor Fulbrights book as indicated by the write.

    • 5
      0

      Do you think that if the majority of the Sinhala Buddhists receive a good education they will continue to vote for the medamulana meeharaka? No. That’s the reason for his screwing up education.

      • 1
        0

        This is the question, that many of us (at least majority readers – on CT forum) pose today.
        Having watched the political conversations (Balaya, Wada Pitiya, Satana the like), I thought Southern and Western provincial election results would be more other way around, not ending up again in favour of the buruwa (the incumbent president), but what we got to see was, it did.
        So how can srilanken folks (with the highest literary rates in the country- even comparable to those of a developed country), and their statistics could ever be comparable to those of like minded countries.

  • 2
    0

    Food for thought for our myopic patriots who think that Sri Lanka is the center of the universe. Rata, Jathiya, Agama exist only in our minds. Our minds and thinking may be constricted and self focussed or open and all enveloping.

    We are part of the world and universe, not vice versa. To achieve our full potential we need to think and act as such. No amount of praying, chanting and annointing can substitute for upholding the unversality of the Humam race.

  • 2
    0

    Not sure whether Liyanage Amarakeerthi reads this forum. But, I very much like him to look at the list of Fullbright scholarship recipients from Sri Lanka to see the perdentage of Tamil speakers I have many bright batchmates and from other Faculties when I was in Peradeniya. NONE of them was bright enough to be a Fullbright scholar! Want to have a look at this, Sir?

  • 2
    0

    Dear Liyanage,

    You have very beautifully explained the value of education offered by Fulbright Commission and the importance of supporting such commissions in future by the present Government and especially by the President.

    The present President of Sri Lanka is not interested or focused on education field, he is very much focused on how to get elected as a President for the third time in Sri Lanka and to pass his legacy to his Play Boy son Namal.

    If anyone send him a letter giving a road map showing how to continue his presidency he will happily read such letter.

  • 5
    0

    Dr.Amarakeerthi,

    A thought provoking essay. Unfortunately, can a president who thinks Sri Lanka is the world, adopt the world view that you advocate? I am beginning to suspect that he thinks that ‘HE’ is the God who knows best, Sri Lanka is the only heaven on earth and his immediate and extended family are the Devas, who dwell in a plane different from us, the lesser beings. He seems irretrievably delusional and hence unable to act rationally.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 3
      0

      Finally we read sincere words from you, Dr. RN too. This is a thing to be praised.

      I hope DJ would also come down to express how he feels about the incumbent soon.

      Time has come to call a spade a spade, without any fears. MR is not at all even average candidate to lead this nation. So how can he see giving a place for the education so that people’s of our nature can only then become progress. .

      • 2
        0

        Samare

        “Finally we read sincere words from you, Dr. RN too. This is a thing to be praised.”

        “I hope DJ would also come down to express how he feels about the incumbent soon.”

        In all fairness, Dr.Rajasingham Narendran has considerably changed his position many moons ago when he started living in this island.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran lives in this island whereas Dayan chose his own parallel universe to resides.

        • 4
          0

          as always, you are dead right here.

          Very earlier, RN sounded as if he worked for the govt.

          Now his has changed with the time.
          But we would never be able to see DJ^s becoming that way. He is born chamelian, and will die also as chameleon.

          • 4
            0

            Samare

            “He is born chamelian, and will die also as chameleon.”

            Do you think DJ will ever attain Nibbana if and when dies?

            • 1
              0

              You know NativeV @,
              all I ask myself repeatedly is- what these self proclaimed powerful men go their heads, while just ignoring all unlawful, unethical standards in the current administration to this day ?. Why cant they raise a big voice finally grasping the appalling levels of deterioration of the society to this day ? if not today when would it be ? It is the honesty that lack to them.. than anything else.

              Why cant DJ for example question as to why MR regime fails to re enforcement of the law and order in no civil war situation today ?

          • 1
            0

            Native Veddah and Samare,

            Please read a recent essay by Dr.Dayan Jayatilleke in groundviews:

            http://groundviews.org/2014/04/30/platos-cave-in-the-indian-ocean-elite-failure-in-sri-lanka/

            His philosophical and political interpretation of the current situation in Sri Lanka, indicates that he is responding to evolving events and his thoughts are evolving as a consequence.

            What he thinks of the present regime, the Sinhala-Tamil equation and possible solutions provide valuable insights to the evolving nature of his thoughts, although the presentation is very much an academic exercise in terms of the language used and the quotes.

            Dr.RN

            • 1
              0

              DR RN,
              Thanks.
              We do not need philosophy. We need solution. We all very well know what the problem is.

              Please translate this to ordinary people like me
              “Let us bring the discussion home to Sri Lanka five years after the war, the main theme of my essay, the failure of the elites and the intelligentsia. The young Nietzsche concluded in his thesis ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ that the highest achievement of Greek drama was possible when and because of a fusion of the Dionysian and the Apollonian. The nationalist Sinhala and Tamil intelligentsia celebrated the Dionysian passions of their respective nationalisms, failing to submit them to the cooling restraint of the Apollonian. Conversely the cosmopolitan intelligentsia of the left and the human rights constituencies (my young critic Vangeesa being an example) delegitimize the Dionysian passions of the national-popular and patriotic, celebrating instead an Apollonian universalism. I for one, argue for a 21st century Lankan intelligentsia and elite exemplifying a (neo-Nietzschean) synthesis of the warm militant Dionysian passions of the patriotic and the cool Apollonian aspects of the intellectual, the conceptual, the global and the universal. I see the crisis as residing (philosophically) in the absence of such a perspective, such a synthesis of values and socio-political type.”

              http://groundviews.org/2014/05/06/the-war-philosophy-politics/

              • 1
                0

                This DJ would never learn. He goes on assuming as if CT forum was for academics. Even if the academics would raise the questions, as to why DJ is entwined to world theories. In contrast TG’s articles are cited by going through articles published in the country mostly.
                Any writer should be able to have a healthy picture about the readership. Most of the time, I found DJ’s out of focus (my grannies would call it – simply APABRAMSA -.
                But I wonder why DJ has not YET criticised the Mahinda Rajapakashe.
                I have no doubt, anyone with some knowledge about the way the bugger handled everything during the last 5years, would feel, that he cant be the leader to give life to this nation, instead has become number 01 laughing stock of the nation and among IC.

            • 1
              0

              So, do you mean He’s (Disk Jockey) like a cadaver suitable for a stem cell transplant whenever necessary.

              • 1
                0

                [Edited out], even if he could shine a light on the prevailing situation, DJ seems to be keeping away from that intentionally. At the time CHOGEM was being held in the country, British premier^s attendance to the summit was reported saying ” to shine a light on the country’s human right violation records. So, he fearlessly attended it, even if his could be connected with the influence of tamil diaspora community on his and his party ‘s politics in the UK.
                But our guys, DJ (became known to everyone in 2009), Dhanapala Jayanatha ( recognized UN figure produced by srilanka) and others seniors to stay as if they are made powerless – specially in today’s critical context of the country, is not comprehensible to anyone.

    • 1
      0

      Yea, He seems irretrievably delusional and hence unable to act rationally. Like being with the same DNA of his Tamil cousins?

  • 2
    0

    His actions of the last five years make it clear that our meeharaka President does not have the intellect to understand what Dr Liyanage is talking about. Furthermore his natural born talent for self aggrandizement is a built in bomb proof insulation against acquiring any of the qualities the doctor is extolling. Every waking moment of the meeharaka President’s life is concerned with amassing wealth for himself, his siblings, his children and his larger family. Read Tissaranee’s article CT 4th May how he has married Sri Lanka business to the medamulana political enterprise. To facilitate the pursuit of worldly riches he has raped the concept of an open democracy, respect for human rights, and respect for equality before the law. His over riding concern is money money and more money for himself and his family. The Kannangara free education of which I have also been a beneficiary, is well on the way to oblivion. Education too will soon be turned into a business enterprise providing the meeharaka President and his family vast fortunes. So too health services – the governing caveat will be to tell the patient, “if you don’t have money go to hell”.

    Coming from a poverty riddled background like Dr Liyanage I know that what I have expressed here, albeit so uneloquently, is exactly what Dr Liyanage wanted to articulate, but fortunately or unfortunately he is prevented by the fineness of the culture he has acquired.

    I often wonder about justice and retribution – both divine and human. Is there any such thing? Political criminals have been tried and jailed 20, 30, 40 years after they relinquished or lost power. That gives hope. I have one question for the meeharaka President. Like the Pharaoah, are you going to take the pearls and diamonds and gold you looted from the poor people of the country to your grave? Will you rest peacefully in your grave when billions of dollars you left behind are abused by your family who were illprepared psychologically to handle such colossal wealth?

    • 2
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      “That gives hope. I have one question for the meeharaka President. Like the Pharaoah, are you going to take the pearls and diamonds and gold you looted from the poor people of the country to your grave? Will you rest peacefully in your grave when billions of dollars you left behind are abused by your family who were illprepared psychologically to handle such colossal wealth?”

      I really don’t have time to write comments , but I try to read comments

      Its really a pearl, invaluable.

      They might even prepare a GOLDEN PYRE

      Keep on commenting , Indra

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    Thank you Liyanage Amarakeerthi for that fine letter. From the backwoods of Kurunegala you have now become a world citizen. Well done. That is what we expect from education, not only book learning, but the ability to think critically; not only mouthing pretentious moral theory but actually living a moral and righteous life, and learning the true values of life. The Fullbright scholarship has helped you.

    In Sri Lanka the education system has regressed because the people in charge are those that passed their examinations purely by memorising text. Questioning, and independent thinking was (and still is) not only discouraged, but may turn out to be downright dangerous to your health. I cannot see change in the near future; perhaps an improved post graduate structure, as you intimate, may open our closed minds to wider perspectives

    Liyanage Amarakeerthi, rest assured that your letter has not been read by the President. He loathes reading, even news papers are tiresome. Besides he is busy kissing babies, and distributing ‘laptops’ to journalists. Perhaps you should have addressed your letter to his Secretary Lalith Weeratunge, or to Basil Rajapaksa, even Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the latter of course at the risk of arrest for being impudent.

    To develop our country you need to inspire a spirit of freedom. When you are shackled and intimdated that sprit is subdued or killed. That is what this government has done. In Sri Lanka the citizen is browbeaten to accept Mahinda’s Thought, and do according to Mahinda’s Will. The freedom to think and act are the main cornerstones to spur education and prosperity. Which is why we cannot expect that egalitarian society you dream of in our lifetime. It is your bad Karma to be a citizen of Sri Lanka but then you now have a choice!

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      It isn’t “Fullbright” – or what most assume “Fully-Bright”, a scholarship awarded to the absolute top academic creed of unparalleled superiority and the authority in intelligence. It is simply a name: “Fulbright” and that’s all. “His excellency” is a remnant from the colonial times when the crown and then the crown’s notion -the governor was addressed with. Could be gotten rid of without much fuss I guess. I honestly don’t think that Mr. President would mind.

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    Dr. Liyanage, I read this letter with interest, like you many of us have gone through hardships which you have experienced. Some of us were blessed to have overcome these obstacles but not everyone. If you take many Sri Lankan parents they have sacrificed their life for the sake of their children so that the next generation can indulge in some form of comfort.

    The sad reality is many more parents are doing the same sacrifices even today. Though the circumstances maybe different but it’s still a huge struggle.

    The irony is the Presidents courageous leadership along with fearless battle commanders, soldiers presented all Sri Lankans with an opportunity to truly look forward towards a better future, but 5 years after the end of war what do we have ? we are in a worst off situation.
    COL has sky rocketed, crime is rampant, lawlessness & impunity is norm of the day.

    Who can bring prosperity, peace and sustained growth to Sri Lanka ? I don’t think it’s this regime they had the opportunity but they are using it for self indulgence. They have forgotten the people.

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    Liyanage Amarakeerthi: This pleading letter will do nothing to encourage the President, and those who advise him, to properly fund higher education in this land. You, by perseverance and determination, have reached the heights of success but this should be the norm rather than the exception. The Fulbright (and other scholarships) are in the main an opportunity to exit this hell-hole. We should be demanding that the present government raise and maintain proper funding of our higher education so that we ALL can benefit rather than a select (and lucky) few. This way, we too will be able to build a post-graduate tier of study that will do away with the need to run to other countries.

  • 0
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    Well-said Dr.Liyanage Amarakeerthi. If anyone is interested in applying still can apply. http://www.fulbrightsrilanka.com/?p=3950

    • 0
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      Do you have a list of recipients, Satheesmohan. I heard, hardly any Tamil student gets this award. I am not talking about Jaffna University or Eastern University. There were top top students in Moratuwa and Peradeniya from Tamil background. But….?

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    Today the Daily Mirror shows pictures of a ceremony at Battaramulla where the IGP pastes a Buddhist Poster on a Three Wheeler at the behest of Ven Ella Gunawansa.

    Is this a meritorious act? Are drivers expected to read posters on the preceding vehicle or keep their eyes on the road? What is the relationship between the IGP post and Buddhist Posters? Are all trishaws expected to have this poster?

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      Is this not the link that Gota has created – a Taxi Drivers Association
      with BBS and the IGP in the picture to keep all aware of future tidings?

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    You are to be commended for achieving what your parents most desired, that is, a better station in life than that which they themselves could achieve. That is the wish of all parents. Now you need to help others from similar backgrounds to do the same.

    One needs to distinguish between the US government and the people it is elected to govern. The government and it’s various doings may be despicable, but that does not apply to the people, well, not to most people. You are right to be grateful to the people who were hospitable and helpful to you. You also highlight the importance of English language as an essential element in furtherance of your education, which some of us have long denied.

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      What a stupid comment! The US government can stop the Fulbright programme if they so wish! It is clear from your posts that no matter how much you read and learn your brain is devoid of egalitarianism!

  • 1
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    EXCELLENT LETTER…LOT TO LEARN
    RAJAPAKSHA FAMILY WILL NEVER LEARN….WE CAN ONLY CURSE THEM

  • 1
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    Dear Dr.Amarakeerthi
    Thank you for your honesty and wisdom that has been shown in your messege to the head of state.Some respondents have not assumed the ultimate recipient that you have aimed at.Please keep writing similhatar notes that sheds light on those who are in the dark.Our country,particulapractcerly the Sihala society is badly in need of outward looking scholars who are well versedin both Sinhala literature and art etc.and internationally accepted good practices of co-existence of diverse cultures.

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    Dr.Amarakeerthi’s honesty and integrity is pariseworthy. As a former Fulbrighter I want to make one important point. Thier selection process was abosluteley fair devoid of any political bias or consideration for affluence. When I went for interviews from Peradeniya by CTB bus there were many others from Colombo who came by car and who already had placelemnts in the US (without funds). By contrast, I did not even know the name of a US university to be included in the application form. Yet I was in the final 6 who got the scholaship out of a total of around 1000 applicants. This shows the fairness of the Fulbright Foundation and I hope this continues to date.
    As for the politicians, I am sure that they do not have time to listen to what we say, Amare, they are engrossed in projects which will net them the next billion. They have no time to read any inetlligent writings particularly anything written in English.They will ruin our universities by appointing third class political henchemen as VCs’and ruin our academic culture.

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    Dr. Liyanage,
    It is a very thought provoking article and an inspiration to the youngsters. It is true that our politicians inject the Nationalist obsession into the minds of the youth and they become like the frog in the well. It is when you go out of the shores of Sri Lanka that we come to know how narrow our thoughts have been hitherto. Luckily nowadays the youth have the internet to learn more and improve themselves.

    • 1
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      Felix

      “It is when you go out of the shores of Sri Lanka that we come to know how narrow our thoughts have been hitherto.”

      Look at our fellow commentators Banda, Abhaya, Hela, Nuisance ….. who have been loyal subjects of foreign countries throughout their adult life, (particularly Banda who is a British citizen by taking an oath of loyalty to the queen and country, now spews Sinhala/Buddhist nationalistic thrash without any substantial supporting evidence)seem to continue to propagate the virtues of being great warriors against the hapless minorities.

      I am not hopeful of a future generations.

      Banda either plagiarises or writes stories based on previously published thrash, perhaps he wants to impress his partner.

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        Like a homebred hero and his bedtime bellow.

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