By Basil Fernando –
A senior civil servant who has spent most of his working life on matters relating to the control of financing and also dealing with corruption has written to the Speaker of the Parliament and others holding important positions in the financial sector to grant him the permission to commit suicide as he had been prevented from carrying out his obligations to the nation. He believes that being a public servant carries obligations to the nation. This nation has provided him with opportunities for education training in this country and abroad and now he is prevented from paying his debt to his country by discharging his official duties due to the rule of corruption and other matters.
Some may wish to dismiss it as some kind of triviality. However, the statement this senior civil servant has made carries a profound message to anyone who still has a sense of a social conscience and an idea of moral obligation that a citizen as well as a public servant owes to his nation. To this senior public servant, the nation still exists. For many others, the nation called Sri Lanka may exist only in name but that a real political and social entity called Sri Lanka does not any longer exist in their minds.
That is perhaps what this civil servant is pointing to. The sense of the nation and the obligations that civil servants have to their nation is now a dead idea. So, we have the living dead. The living dead means that this person has already committed suicide in their mind and in terms of their social conscience though they may be physically alive.
It is not only this civil servant who has pointed out to this inner death that has spread into the Sri Lankan public life. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith himself has publicly stated that the conscience of this nation is dead or that it does not exist.
The lamentations heard from ordinary citizens in all walks of life and on all matters of public interest are shocking. All the things that people hear from all around the country everyday clearly illustrates that even those who have tried to understand what is happening in the country simply cannot fathom the extent to which things have degenerated and gone down. This kind of tragedy is beyond the capacity of human reason and the imagination to grasp.
However, what is more disturbing is that from all indications, things that are to come will be even more of a catastrophic nature than what we are seeing and hearing every day.
The problem of great tragedies is that there is a natural instinct in people to wish that it will go away soon and that then the things will get better. Perhaps this instinct to imagine better times to come may be a result of the survival instinct or a psychological defense mechanism. Yet, a rewarding life which has been made by these senior civil servants should be a pricking on everyone to open their eyes and see the slow suicide of the nation. Unless the people and particularly the public servants wake up and resist the pressures which are poured down on them to resist from doing their duties which they owe to the people, then even such warnings will not produce a desired result.
However, the letter by this civil servant is a superb example of a whistleblower’s task. A whistleblower points out a tragedy that is taking place and a tragedy that is likely to get worse. Whether Sri Lankan people will listen to whistleblowers or not, is hard to guess. If they don’t, it will be the people themselves who will have to pay the price.
Captain Morgan / January 27, 2022
Even our President and the Minister of Justice have no conscience. The latter, during a visit to the North has told the relatives of the missing persons that the President is advising them not to concern themselves too much about the fate of the missing persons and instead to accept the compensation and death certificates and be satisfied with that. Bloody jokers, both of them!
Bert / January 29, 2022
What did you expect from racist pigs?
You cannot blame them because they know they still can win an election as majority of the Sinhala Buddhist’s are racists, they will vote for anyone that is willing to abuse the minority.
a14455 / January 27, 2022
Human Touch / January 28, 2022
Let me tell A14455 what the Buddha told Angulimala.
He said if you have nothing positive to do stop being an asshole and try to be human, it is not too late.
SJ / January 28, 2022
Perhaps, but cannot be the exact words.
chiv / January 29, 2022
Do you have a better word to suggest ???
a14455 / January 29, 2022
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Indi / January 27, 2022
Thank you for an article which I perceive as a clarion call to Sri Lankans who love their country and respect the rule of law, to awaken our spiritual soul and ethical mind.
In my inner mind, over the last few months, I have thanked God over and over again that I am a retired government servant.
I would not know how I would have acted or what I would have done, to fight for survival for my inner spirit and conscience.
SJ / January 28, 2022
It is good to hear of government servants with a conscience.
I have come across demands of big bribes to expedite processing death certificates. You pay and the DC is ready the next day and you refuse and you wait months.
I suppose misuse of privilege and lack of punctuality are not matters of conscience– or they may disqualify a lot of people.
nimal fernando / January 28, 2022
Lanka is a nation of drama queens ……… from the president down.
Like Nike commercial ‘Just Do It’ ……… man ……….
shankar / January 28, 2022
why get permission.Its your life andif you want to suicide permission is not necessary. Same as your car or your house. If they belong to you you can do whatever you please.No need of any drama.
ps.I tried to commit suicide twice but backed off at te last minute due to fear.I did not tell anyone.
Nathan / January 28, 2022
Isn’t it comical that a citizen who is drowning is seeking permission to commit suicide!
SJ / January 28, 2022
It is a punishable crime here to attempt suicide, but not to commit.
shankar / January 29, 2022
so you have to only see that you do the job properly.That is why when i wanted to jump from the 4th floor i had doubts that i will be killed,but instead maimedfor life.So iwent away and the feeling passed off in about an hour.It is sad when people commit suicide,because in another hour or so it will pass off.It is impulse behaviour.
SJ / January 29, 2022
Do not be in two minds in matters of life and death.
Decide and stick to the decision.
shankar / January 30, 2022
If you one day come to the stage of committing suicide like me(i hope not)you will realise that your mind has lost its rationality like what you have now to think in one mind,or 2 minds or 3 minds.The mind itself is gone momentarily albeit temporarily.It will come bck to rational lvels agin in an hour or too,that is why whn you see a person trying to commit suicide talk softly to them and ask why,then whe they answer ask them whther it isn’t better to try this or that lke the courts or complaint topolice or treatment at a hospital then they will also start to think about other options.All this is to waste the time so that an hour or so passes and their minds come back to a rational way of thinkng which you are pointing out.You must never say tothem kindly make up your mind to jump or not without wasting our time here as iam sure you would have done.Patience is the key.
Muhandiram / January 28, 2022
He needs No one’s permission to commit suicide. And, most certainly, he KNOWS that.
He must also be Knowing whatever legal remedies that may available to him. But, here again, he must be Knowing how Strenuous, Time Consuming that such remedies are and that they will take him NO WHERE.
So, he is trying a Unique Method, Never Tried Before, to draw the Attention of not only those in Power but also the Caring Citizens with a Conscience, so that they too will think of New Ways to Highlight the Injustices they are Forced to Suffer.
The Caring Citizens of this country owe him a Big Thank You and take a cue to try New Ways to Express the Ordeals they suffer at the hands of Selfish and Greedy Politicians
Raj-UK / January 28, 2022
If this is to be taken seriously, I find it puzzling that any one contemplating suicide would ask permission. If I am unable to perform my duties, I would resign, perhaps giving reason for my decision but I wouldn’t most certainly not commit suicide due to lack of job satisfaction, therefore, it is obviously a sort of a metaphorical statement & not a serious attempt to commit ‘hara kiri’. If my conscience gives me sleepless nights on matters of principal, I would blow the whistle by going public. Anyway, why the speaker? Looks to me like a publicity stunt. Isn’t there no other way of conveying the message without dramatics?
Pon Lanka / January 29, 2022
Public servants are generally honest, patriotic,service-minded, and feel for the country particularly, towards the poor and innocent majority of the Sri Lankans for whom they devote their life whilst in service. However, the majority of politicians are quite opposite, who are self-centered, power-hungry indulge in money-making, and stay in power until their death. The best examples are Rajapaksa-clans. The officer referred to in this article may be one of many who are disgusted by the current political system!!
Good Sense / January 29, 2022
Everyone knows that no public servant in Sri Lanka is allowed to do his job of work, but to please his political master. This has been so for donkey’s years, perhaps even when the chap now wants to commit suicide too was a young recruit to the service. So, I think, that this permission to commit suicide is a stunt to gain some popularity amongst the current opposition. A second factor is he writing to the speaker. The purpose appears to be to make a parliamentary business out of this. If the officer’s disciplinary authority is the Public Service Commission, what must it do?