26 October, 2020

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Possible Role Of The Senior Sri Lankans In Resurrecting Democracy And Justice

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Seniors in different societies play different roles. Some years back when I first came across the name (Japan) Silver Volunteers (JSV), I wondered which ‘Silva’ had founded that organization in Japan. No, I was mistaken hearing the indistinct pronunciation. It was not Silva but Silver to mean, in our parlance, ‘grey haired’ generation. These JSV people even go overseas for voluntary work and had come to Sri Lanka as well. This generation in Japan exceeds 20 per cent of the population. In Sri Lanka this group is reaching 10 per cent, to mean the generation of over 60s.

What I am trying to say does not necessarily depend on the size of the group, but their experience, knowledge and unique capacity as seniors. In Australia, National Seniors Australia is a large non-profit making organization working for the welfare and recreation of the seniors. I am not even thinking of that kind of an organization. In Belgium, some seniors are running a hidden-camera TV comedy called ‘Benidorm Bastards’ which is of course humorous and also critical of hypocrisy in society. During the Vietnam War some seniors in the US took to the streets and protested alongside the young against that despicable war. In recent times, again the American seniors are voicing their protest against the insufficient Medicare system among other issues.

There were few senior citizens’ organizations in Sri Lanka few years back but except for one or two, others were not involved in social or political issues. Seniors today are also a sector most hit by the current inflation, financial scams, electricity rate hike without any direct concessions given on the part of the government, unlike in many other countries under similar circumstances. They are a sector most neglected.

However, more than the role of such organizations or such issues, what I am proposing here is a role for the seniors who were prominent in public life in the past, either in the public or the private sector as administrators, professionals, academics or even politicians, in defending the country’s diminishing international profile by fighting against violence, corruption and communalism and standing for democracy and justice. This would be a great service for defending the country’s deteriorating democracy, human rights and justice and fairness to all individuals and communities. If someone asks me if I am referring to the elite, yes, I am referring to them without neglecting some of the seniors coming from the working class or the trade union movement.

Seniors undoubtedly can play a major role in resurrecting democracy and on the issues of justice. They were born before or just after the independence (1948) in an atmosphere of much hope and promise for the country’s progress and development. They have experienced the best traditions of this country either in liberal or left politics within all communities; the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims. They entertained differences of opinion, at times heated ones, and knew how to resolve them through dialogue and negotiations. They have had much exposure to the international trends during the Vietnam War, the student’s movements in the 1960s, the collapse of communism and debates on colonialism or the non-aligned movement. Their views by and large are not tainted by narrow East West conflict, nationalism or completely self-centred ethnic or religious interests while conscious about justice in all these issues and areas. They are not narrow nationalist but may be enlightened patriots. They are in essence an enlightened generation although at times had to serve the country or different regimes almost suppressing their genuine views or true conscience some being public servants or judicial officers.

At retirement and without other obligations, they are now free from most of these encumbrances except what they choose voluntarily. In essence they are free. They also may be largely free from family obligations or worries on financial matters except perhaps on health. This is their strength. They can be brave. They can be quite a ‘nuisance’ to a tyrannical regime which is the case in Sri Lanka today. Becoming at least a ‘nuisance’ is a profound non-violent method of struggle.

I have seen some of them writing to this forum as well as to others on public issues of national importance expressing their genuine and frank opinions. Although they have not expressed the same opinion, they have aired their opposition to the three main scourges of this country; violence, corruption and communalism. There are other issues that they have touched upon such as inter-communal justice or injustice. Some of these senior writers are: Rajasingham Narendran, RMB Senanayake, Latheef Farook, Savitri Goonesekere, Jayantha Dhanapala, Austin Fernando, S Sivathasan, CV Wigneswaran, SL Gunasekera, Chandra Jayaratne, Lal Wijenayake and Charitha Ratwatte to mention a few but not in a particular order. I have mentioned their names without their titles. There are others who have always been vocal like Basil Fernando or Jehan Perera perhaps among the seniors, and others who are young that I don’t intend to mention.

My main concern however would be about many others who could make a definitive contribution if they express their views or determination. They should organize. I beg to mention few names with their indulgence. Some of these are Bradman Weerakoon, Seelan Kadirgamar, Kumari Jayawardena, Laksiri Jayasuriya, Godfrey Gunatilleke, Kusumsiri Balapatabendi, Ranjith Amerasinghe, Lloyd Fernando, Chandrasena Maliyadda and KHJ Wijayadasa. I mention KHJ Wijayadasa with some gratification as he was one of my teachers who taught briefly at St Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa, but first inspired me to learn beyond a textbook. They and many others particularly from the Tamil and Muslim communities could play an important role in collectively inspiring the younger generations to fight for democracy and social justice and particularly against corruption, violence and communalism in society. I should also mention another name and that is former President Chandrika Kumaratunga whose contribution to a collective of seniors would be immensely useful.

I have also noticed many commentators to this forum in pseudonyms but appear to be seniors judging from the rapid ‘intrusions’ that they make. I am not referring to the few ‘regime defenders’ but to others who can come in their real names as much as possible and make a collective contribution. Alter all seniors have nothing much to lose, except perhaps their ‘self-inflicted chains.’ I am not proposing anything adventurous but to become an ‘intellectual nuisance’ to the regime and its acolytes. They all do not need to write, but they can get together and write petitions or statements and perhaps gather and mark their protests on issues relevant to democracy and human rights or holding a placard or poster. They can become a bigger nuisance that way. The government would not dare to do anything to the respected seniors, hopefully.

The strength of the seniors is also shown by the LLRC Report. If not for their vast experience, empathy for genuine human grievances, enlightened and democratic values the Report could not have received the national and international acclamation. Those commission members are an example for the others. Seniors should refuse any service to this brutal and tyrannical regime. Even if they have any ‘duty to perform’ it should be in the independent spirit like demonstrated by the LLRC. This regime should be starved of all intellectual support from the academia, public servants or professionals. It should be starved to extinction.

Let me finish this article with this story. People of Geneva every year celebrate a festival called L’Escalade in mid-December. It is about a victory over the invasion of the army of Savoy to subjugate Geneva in 1602. There are many versions to the story or the festival. It is popularly said however that when the hostile army invaded the city, the seniors first asked the youth to withdraw to the jungle for safety. When the troops entered the city they were happy because only the seniors were to be seen with women. Then they started celebrating the victory. Women in the meanwhile were cooking a large cauldron of soup. The seniors created nuisance by cracking jokes and ridiculing the troops. With the help of the seniors, the women then poured boiling soup over the celebrating troops. They were confused and disoriented. Then the city youth came and chased away the invaders. There were no soldiers in Geneva, but free men and women. This shows the power of the seniors and of course women which I forgot to specially mention in the article being a man perhaps.

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    Someone please write a song that would unite the people as a whole for ex like the song ‘God Bless America’- so many races in America but they are all American first and then they are jewish,German Spanish,Italian etc.

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      Good one.

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      Nice points and Seniors have indeed a role but it must be well thought through: The current silver generation in Lanka are in many ways the rot (sorry to say)! This silver generation is and has LIVED LONGER than any other in history, benefited from the post-independence promise and for the most part have clung to power, refused to leave, and hand over to the younger generation, and have GENERALLY RUINED Lanka by entrenching a culture of clinging to power which is the enabling condition of DICTATORSHIP. The dead leftists who support Rajapassa – the military dictator and Ranil Wickramasinghe are a good example of this malaise. Bloody awful role models too!
      The Silver generation never had an EXIT STRATEGY – until they were forced to quit!

      Today Lanka has an aging population like the west, but unlike the west where youth is celebrated and given space to lead in Sri Lanka the silver generation has clung to power and ruined the country – also giving rise to 2 youth insurrections and dividing and ruling the younger generation in academe and in politics. It is the generation that clung to power and some of those names are named above – men and women – that has given provided as role models the enabling conditions for dictatorship within the two main political parties – SLFP and UNP and the overall military dictatorship. Indeed the syndrome of clinging to power of those in their seventies and eighties is the enabling culture of dictatorship. DIVIDE AND RULE THE YOUNGER generation with the power on has has been the motto of several of those whose names are mentioned here – unfortunately!

      Seniors have a welcome ADVISORY role to play in Lanka, but they need to hand over to the younger generation – NOT of course the likes of uneducated political brats like the Rajapassas – but qualified and skilled youth who are leaving the country in a massive brain drain because of geriatric patronage politics in every sphere of life.
      Over to you Laksiri to strategized your role!

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        Quite right Dude – the silver generation needs to stay on the side lines and be a “public nuissance to the regime”!

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        I in general agree with Dude that the ‘Silver generation’ has been culpable of the mess to a large measure. I mentioned that in a milder fashion. But in my view we are in qualitatively a different scenario. Without exaggeration, we might be at the brink of a military or most probably quasi-military dictatorship. It is most plausible given (1) the nature of the military victory (2) the size of the army (3) close connection between the military and the regime (4) weaknesses of the opposition and (5) the emergence of a distinct extreme ideology to support such a regime (i.e. BBS etc.). Therefore, our general reservations on generations or people might not apply in the same fashion although we should not completely disregard them.

        I did anticipate a strong opposition to some names that I mentioned, as Douglas, Don Quixote, Concerned Citizen and some others have expressed. Perhaps those comments should be read by the persons concerned and their explanations or personal realizations might be necessary. At the same time, in my opinion, no one should be left out if he or she is willing to and capable of playing a role in resurrecting democracy and justice in Sri Lanka.

        Some have correctly expressed the view that it is the younger generation that should take the lead. I have no disagreement at all and I wrote a specific article on the theme “Young and the Bright Should Lead Sri Lanka” (Colombo Telegraph, 10 September 2012): https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/young-and-the-bright-should-lead-sri-lanka/

        As for some people questioning my motives or agenda (i.e. Nandana W and also Douglas) I wish to remain silent for the moment. It is completely subjective to answer and whatever I say might be questioned again and again.

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          Hat off to you Dr. Fernando :)

          This article is totally different to any other articles that we get to read on this forum. I have not read this kind of articles any other platforms. I think you have addressed the long awaited issue suggesting how. There are many that would easily criticize but not giving references or alternatives to come out from the current situation, but yours contain more of valid points.

          I wish all other senior lanken professionals to come forward with valuble views that could help saving the nation at this critical juncture of the country. Guidance of Seniors of your sorta are great assets to lanken society.

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      Here’s one attempt:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4cZvmD-vf0

      And here’s another:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn8tjbJj9Ds

      There are many others of course…

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    K MP welcomes Namal’s comment
    May 8, 2013

    UK Member of Parliament Simon Danczuk has welcomed comments made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa that “there has to be a trial” to make sure the people who murdered his constituent are brought to justice.

    He was referring to the murder of UK national Khuram Shaikh on 25 December 2011 in Tangalle,

    Namal Rajapaksa recently told the BBC that he did not know why the accused were out on bail and that “there had to be a trial”. He added that “these kind of incidents should not take place”.

    Pressed on the involvement of local politician Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathiran, who was one of the suspects out on bail, Rajapaksa said he was “shocked to learn that one of my colleagues had got involved in such a thing”.

    Welcoming the President’s son’s comments, Simon Danczuk MP said it was now widely acknowledged in Sri Lankan politics that the murder of Khuram Shaikh had damaged the country’s reputation.

    “There has to be a greater sense of urgency to get this trial moving, it’s no good politicians saying ‘there must be a trial’ while in the meantime the wheels of justice are moving at snail pace,” he said.

    “This is a problem that’s not going away,” he added. “I know most Sri Lankans are ashamed that this terrible crime happened. But it’s time the Sri Lankan Government started taking these crimes seriously and delivered justice for the victims.”

    The government had in March said that the Attorney General (AG) is to forward a direct indictment to the High Court, without a non summary inquiry, relating to the death of Khuram Shaikh.

    It said that a special prosecutor has been nominated by the Attorney General to conduct the prosecution under the guidance of the Addl. Solicitor General who heads the Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Department.

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    How thoughtful you are, Laksiri.
    Hope the seniors are ”prodded” enough to dorm a group or make the Friday Forum bigger.

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    To Dr. Lalsiri Fernando:

    Good proposition. Yet when I noticed that you have proposed the name of Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga and suggested that her contribution to a collective seniors would be immensely useful, it began to send me shock waves within me. I need not telll you to what level she decimated the democratic systems of “good governance” during her tenure of office. Don’t you know how the Judicial system pounced on her and imposed a fine on her and the present Secretasry to the Treasury. Where is her chief advisor Mr. Peris? What happened to the Air Lanka – The National Carrier of Sri Lanka? She sold it’s complete administrative and stock stakes to Emirates and allowed them to change the name to Sri Lankan Airlines, depriving its Traffic Rights that it enjoyed in the name of “Ari Lanka” to a vast number of destinations in the world. Do you know how she made certain “underworld thugs” JPs of the whole island and alloweed them to operate freely.? If you have forgotten all that, please read the book “Chauvra Rajina” of Mr. Victor Ivon the facts brought to light remain unchallenged todate.

    Among other seniors where are the so called “Sahodarayas” of the Left Movement? We all know very well what they are and where they are as of present date. However you brought out a good “pot of milk” but spoiled it by adding a mame like Mrs. Chandirka Kumaratunga.

    Therefore I have to ask you: What is your AGENDA?

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      I completely agree with you.(applauding) Nothing more to add.

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      If you point the finger at CBK and her admin also quoting her as Chaura Rajina, what words you would put to the ruling murderous MR ?

      Secondly, Can you – RAVAYA SUPPORTERS, please explain WHY the same IDIOTIC writer – OF that particular book stay as if he has kirimati gilapu kimbula just observing whatever murderous crime MR and the bunch perpetrate today ?

      CBK^s times were not the best for the country, because she had to deal with hundreds of idiots in her cabinet.. The very same idiots, pal horu being on the CURRENT REGIME make it more hell out of the situation by implementing all their corrupted politics further (SB, GLP, Rajitha WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO THIS COUNTRY?).

      And the crime investigations were not THIS MUCH of low grade under CBK^s rule as it is the case in the country today. No foreigners were murdered by cabinet ministers and their close ones during her times. In her GOVT, current ruler was also as an active member. I WAS NOT IN THE COUNTRY, BUT I FELT SOME SORT OF DIGNITY IN THE LIFE THEN THAN TODAY IN THE COUNTRY. At the time, she was working with Emirates, srilanken airlines claimed profits, but today, I myslef know from the senior management that work for SRILANKEN carrier, instead of profits, they claim only extended debts. All these are covered by ruling thugs putting their family ones without credentials to run the airline.

      Reading the latest that only airline that offered at the begining to work with Mattala has now cancelled their flights to fly through that airport is the great news – to get more about the handlings of current bunch of thieves.

      If there were no CBK, SL would not have recovered from TSUNAMI disaster. I personally know that her foreign ties allowed lankens to recieve more donations int eh aftermath of the disaster.

      I have even facts about the Tsunami donation bodies from EU, America and several others.

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    Due to the present culture of violence and impunity it is not always possible to write under ones own name especially if the views expressed are more forthright or blunt. It is difficult to tone down or moderate what one has to say especially in the face of such blatant impunity and hypocrisy exhibited by the regime today. Some one has to bell the cat. There is a risk of being targeted by the goon squads of the regime who are non other than the police and military attired in civils.

    It is important that people continue to speak up and express their views which will ultimately have some impact on the masses. The masses are subjected to a relentless barrage of lies and misinformation by a battery of self seeking media advisers and spokesman. In addition 90% of media is controlled directly or indirectly by the regime.

    Seniors should play a more active role in shaping the destinies of the nation. It should be possible to join some of the existing organisations such as the Friday Forum, CRM etc I feel that any change will have to come through the existing political system. So it may be neccesary to align with a political party which is again a difficult proposition due to the lack of clear policy in the opposition. There is hardly a party which subscribes fully to democratic values and secularism. All have their own thing going.

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    Excellent idea. Unfortunately because of the chauvinistic policies of
    successive Governments, most of the talented elite seniors, that is those who could, have left the country and making valuable contributions to the countries they have settled in and their children are doing extremely well in various fields without the constraints of caste, ethnicity and religion.
    It is such a pity.

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    It is also the seniors who are responsible for allowing this Country to degenerate into the chaos that we are experiencing now.

    My father used to say that it was up to them “to leave a better Country for their Children than they had been born into” ….have our seniors done that ?

    If not what right do they have to pontificate ?

    The majority of seniors in this Country have simply stuck to their jobs without considering retirement or making any provision for succession, thereby driving the younger generation to leave the Country in disgust.

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      Don Quixote:
      You are dead right about the so-called “seniors” failing to do their duty by the generation that followed them.

      And some of those who Laksiri Fernando names as having at least part of “the solution” in their grasp, are in fact “the problem” by virtue of their deafening silence or their twittering on the sidelines when they should have been up front and centre, making themselves heard.

      That said, one cannot fault LF’s hope of action from this segment of our population, I fear they are not going to produce the kind of fruit that he anticipates.

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    Dr Laksiri Fernando’s idea is excellent. Eminent Sri Lankans such as Bradman Weerakoon, Godfrey Gunatilleke and KHJ Wijayadasa are acceptable but not Kusumsiri Balapatabendi(ex president’s puppet) of course, who did exactly what Lalith weeratunga(present president’s puppet) is doing right now. Sadly the credibility of your article vanished into thing air as soon as you mentioned the name of former president Chandrika Kumaratunga who has done nothing good to Sri Lanka during her 10-11 year rule, as one whose contribution to a collective of seniors would be immensely useful.

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      It is evident that Dr. LF is senior enough to see it correctly.

      That is why he has added the name of CBK to the list. People of the country are brain sick to allow idiots to grow, still attacking CBK for what she was not accountable for. If great Kadirgamar failed to get the banned LTTE activities on EU countriy, US, India and on the rest of the world, MR^s millitary offensives would not have helped to eleminate the LTTE terror within the country.

      And SF reiterated as the forme Army commander, CBK^s govt spent lots of funds for purchase of all the sopisticated weaponaries. MR^s administration just used all them to kill tamils and ltte rebells together to a manner no other previous leader would have done. That is the difference, killing mentality of MR and the bunch defeated LTTE terrorists within the country, but also killing thousands of INNOCENT CIVLIIANS WHOSE number are yet to calculate by them. Latter caused IC to isolate SRILANKA, a country that was recoganized as one with all democratic values before MR being elected to maraud the nation.

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    A very different and a facinating article from the normal writings critisising the doings of the Govt.It is indeed thought provoking.This article takes my mind to the nuclear tragedy in Japan. After the earthquake which destroyed the nuclear plant first to evacuate were the children,women and the youth.Who took over from them? It was the siver haired people who made the premises safe for the others.What is happening in Sri Lanka INJUSTICE,CORRUPTION, IMPUNITY and BAD GOVERNANCE by an Oligarchy is similar to the Fukuyama nuclear disaster.So put an end to your sleep and come forward to save the country for the unborn.

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    Your idea is good and if workable fantastic. Sir, who will safeguard the seniors if their peaceful and meaningful contributions will be set upon by the likes of …..’ Hounds of the Baskervilles ‘. Bones, tend to mend very slow if broken at a senior stage of life.!

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    I am trying to wonder what this doc is upto… not so long ago he was writing praises of the govt and now he is gone anti…

    was he not given what he expected… there is something amiss becos his onslaughts are no different to TG.. and others

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    Mr Laksiri.

    Some of the “Old Silver” on the list,already have done a fab job, to tarnish the image of our Mother Lanka.

    They even appeared in Geneva,with all expenses paid.

    They have given enough free kcks to the West and their ever loving Diaspora, to kick us in the guts.

    According to the LTTE HR commissionr Mr Kirubaharan, Ms Pillay now has total power over us in HR enforcement.

    And its mandated in the 2nd Yellow Card from Geneva according to his latest communique.

    And we are compelled to roll the Red Carpet and Bend over to Ms Pillay when ever she visits us.

    If you want to offer the inhabitants the same with the additional list, then they will say ” Forget it Mate”.

    On the other hand there are a lot of ‘Old Silver” just vegetating, after they have gone past the “Use by Date” in the Wst.

    Many of them who have Medical, Engineering,Teaching,and Financial Management skills may find this a useful avenue to contribute something to the ex Motherland if they want to.

    Free Medical Clinics, English Coaching,Engineering skills training are a few ideas flashing across right now.

    Moneyed ones that you mention , may even give some of that to the poor students in Mullthive, Mullikaval,Valigaman and Nanthikadal, as an interim measure until Mr Sumanthiran makes them Land Lords.

    Dr Narendran Rajasingham and Mr Kumaran Pathmanathan may be the ideal guides to point you in the right direction although the latter is not on Laksiri’s List.

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      Well As usual Leela who writes as Sumanasekerak talks bullshit!

      anyways if anyone wants someone from the older generation on how to be a crook and cheat people of their hard earned money like Sakvithi or Kavan of Golden Key and please learn from LEELA (WHO ALSO WRITES AS SUMANASEKERA)OF LEE POTTER HOUSING FAME (OR ILL FAME) ON BEING A FIRST CLASS CROOK AND THEN TALK OF MORALS !!!

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        Leela is just girl in her puberty.. so she transforms her ideas as a blind would do. But times ahead it will not easy for leela and her ilk… let s see… We stay as if we are helpless but calculated destiny will change the mode soon.

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      aisey Sumane! hell of a fellow no you are… reading one thing, talking something else… ohoma yang, putha, ohoma yang! :D

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    Sri Lankans generally seem to have been born without a back bone. Is there no Leader who can unite all the Professions, the Trade Unions to form a common front against these corrupt rulers?. In the Past we had great leaders who could galvanize the masses into a protest. We now face cowardly dictators who with whip hand are dictating to the spineless masses. The Professionals have lost their dignity, the Trade Unionists their voice and so we have to meekly wait till that Brave Man comes along to grab the whip out of the Tyrants hand. Subha Anagathayak!!!

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      Everyone is born not with courage though the genetics of each even different among the identical twins.
      I have the feeling the CIVIL war took the lives of all brave leaders that produced and now the consequences we face today. Lalith athulathmudali, Gamini Disanayaka, Kadirgamar and many others were the assets to lead the country if they were there today. And the cross over – bunch of thieves from UNP to ruling coalition are the second decisive factor why the UNP is paralised today. It is not alone faults of opposition leader-RW.

      RW is good educated, well cutlured, law respecting leader, but in an enviroment almost everyone is corrupted, RW and his ilk are the minority. By the statements made by him recently, this make further clear. Politicians in srilanka today, under the RULE of Rajapkashes should have criminal qualities to be able to neck and neck with them.

      This is obvious to any 5th grade school going children, but unfortunately some adults seem to be telling bunkem as if they are blind.

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      the professionals never get a chance! look at how the country stood by while Banda and the Left chased out Dudley Senanayake when all he was trying to do was the right thing for the country. Forget it, this country always values the so-called ‘street smarts’ of thugs and lowlifes rather than some contribution by the “elite” “Colombo” “westernized” professionals who have “sold the country’s values to the west”, as one of my acquaintances put it.

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    The idea to provide a role for the senior generation is an interesting one. It has been ‘in the air’ for some time. About an year or so ago Jane Fonda articulated the thought in a brilliant presentation on TED the well known international forum for new and innovative ideas. The gist of it was that life expectancy has increased significantly between the last and this generation causing retired people to spend nearly a third of their lives in retirement doing very little. It was pointed out that seniors had many attributes that are different to youth, such as knowledge and skills gained from experience, patience and understanding, sympathy, forbearance, maybe wisdom but these were not put to use by governments.

    These attributes(there may be more) are particularly useful and appropriate to resolving this country’s current difficulties. They are definitely useful in counselling, advisory, and dispute resolution roles, but those are only the obvious ones. There are many professional competencies as well as the attributes such as integrity, commitment to truth and justice, etc. that may be recognized in the older folk. The need is to devise a mechanism to deploy this vast storehouse of intellectual talent that is now going to waste. Laksiri Fernando has highlighted this need at just the right time. My thanks to him for doing so.

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    The Friday Forum is formed of senior learned men and women from civil society and they have done their duty by issuing statements regularly on issues that affect the public. The regime has in no way shown much appetite to engage them and seek to benefit from their learning and
    experience.

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando’s thoughts are certainly welcome. But are the thinking sections of the ruling set and his thoughts in the same trajectory?

    Senguttuvan

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    Punchirala:- I made reference to Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga, because Dr. Fernando in his presentation recommnded her to be a senior “worthy” to be consulted for setting up a “just and equitable” society (this is as I perceived). If any other presentation dealt with the present “lot” I would have given my opinion without fear or favour. So you will see that it is not necessary to answer your question as regards the “present lot”. I will leave that for a future date and approprate occasion.

    Please note, I am not a supporter of Ravaya. I only relied on the facts given in that book, because up to now Mrs. Kumaratunga has not defended against the “accusations” and as a matter fact, even a case being filed on a “defemation” basis to challange it. So the facts are correct. Also I know where the Ravaya man is today and this is not the forum to discuss it.

    Hope you understood me. Thank you.

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      Douglas:
      First I would like to know what you define “the facts”. If many of the contents in that book are facts, the same writer must NOT be dead silence when things turn multiple times worsened– which is the case for today in the country. That alone tells us the motives of the kind of writers. But for example Dr. DJ and like minded in his caliber would not dare to speak out any time. My question is Ravaya revengeful editor to stay silence further ?

      Moreover, if one would judge based on the silence in given situations, for whatever the issue it is .. not only former president, but the current opposition leader does so. He is being attacked by all filthy for not done issues. They are not bothered by them, because former president and opposition leader RW are both coming from good educated backgrounds. Very lately, Mervin, once upon a time – the driver and house boy to Bandaranaykes came up with “ he could marry to Bandaranayakes then”. So, I really don’t think that the palaces alleged to have bought by CBK abusing state treasury are just stammered lies to hurt her for going against MR and his clans.

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        it should be how you define “facts” by yourself ?

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    Prof. Laksiri,

    Thanks for bringing up an important subject of much relevance to Sri Lanka? What does democracy mean in an operational sense? Who is qualified to lead, who are only qualified to follow and who are only qualified to vote? Does a majority vote qualify a collection of idiots or thugs to decide our fate? How can this perverseness that has become the core of our political system be mitigated? I remember the story of the blind philosopher (Dionocius?) who carried a lighted lamp around the streets of Ancient Greece. And when asked why he needed a lamp, replied that it was for the others to see.

    The learned, experienced , the wise, the proven and the uncorrupt/ incorruptible from all professions and endeavours in life, must be provided an opportunity to enter the political life in this country in larger numbers, in their silver haired years. How could this be done? Should the number of nominated MPs in parliament be increased to make way for them? If a Senate is eventually established, should they be appointed to it also in numbers to equal the numbers of elected persons? How could these be effected without being subverted by politicians and political parties to their partisan advantage? Should the Speaker be such a person? Should the Chair of the proposed Senate be such a person? Their numbers should be such that a 2/3 rd majority in parliament ( and Senate?) could not be got for constitutional amendments without their support!

    Unless what you suggest is institutionalised in some way, it will not get anywhere in this country.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      There was a story when Diogenes, who was going round Athens with his lighted lamp looking for truth, eventually made it to Sri Lanka during the Premadasa days, when corruption and thievery was high. It appears he was forced to go to the Police Headquarters and complain while he was looking for truth all these years in many countries – now he is looking for his lamp – stolen in Colombo. Things have not become better since then.

      Senguttuvan

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        (:-)

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      Dr Rajasingham,

      Thanks. I am sure you have your own answers to the questions you have raised. This is only to reflect on one or two questions only. In an operational democracy if the ‘majority decides to elect idiots and thugs’ that cannot be helped but then if they try to decide our fate then it is not an operational democracy. That is exactly the predicament in Sri Lanka today; the failure or inadequacy of constitutionalism to safeguard human rights and simple decency as the thugs have destroyed and destroying constitutionalism.

      My proposed role for the seniors was to change the situation but your questions are related to a situation after a possible change. I have no disagreement that that the seniors themselves should have a role although I am reluctant to venture on the subject being a senior myself although I have no intention to enter into any formal role. This is a matter the time will decide. But on the question of a Senate, I hold similar sentiments to yours except perhaps on some details.

      On the present situation in Sri Lanka, I like Senguttuvan’s comment that we have to first find Diogenes’ lamp.

      Laksiri

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        Prof. Laksiri,

        Thanks for your response. What do you think of a system like in the US where the president can choose persons of eminence and experience from out the congress to serve in the cabinet. The system has worked well in the US, except for a rare mishap. This may be also one way to achieve what you suggest.

        Dr.RN

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    Someone in another thread has labelled Prof. Laksiri Fernando’s suggestion as elitism. We need the elite- the truly educated, the skilled, the exoerienced, the visionary, the proven and honest to come into politics in larger numbers. We have had enough of the lumpen and their degenerate policies.

    Dr.RN

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    I hope more seniors will engage in this discussion.

    Dr.RN

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