4 December, 2023


Sri Lanka: The Island Of Despair

By Sharmila Gamlath

Sharmila Gamlath

The Easter Sunday and subsequent bombings pushed our nation into a quagmire of terror after ten years of relative calm. The birth of a new era of terror, unprecedented in its ferocity and hatred, which claimed hundreds of innocent lives and caused injuries to many more, has left the entire world in a state of disbelief. First of all, may all these innocent men, women and children who departed this world due to these cruel acts of terror Rest in Peace, attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana, find Ultimate Happiness in Jannah or achieve Moksha in their Samaric journey, depending on their religious beliefs. 

Nonetheless, upon expressing one’s heartfelt condolences to those affected by these brutal attacks, it is not uncommon for a person to next face a harsh reality check: ordinary citizens can do little else than offer their sympathy to those who were affected by these attacks, and wonder what lies ahead. The loss of agency that comes with being unsure if one’s family members would make it home safely in the evening, having to split up when using public transport in the hope that at least a part of the family would survive if a bomb happened to be planted in a bus or train or live in constant fear of being abducted and joining an expansive list of missing persons is not a path any Sri Lankan would want to walk down again. 

Many hundreds of our nation’s innocent people paid with their lives for the power struggles that trickle from top to bottom within the government and between the ruling party and the opposition. Throughout history, we have been duped by swindlers again and again, the most recent one being the false promise of Yahapalana (good governance). Neither did the present regime instil good governance, nor did the country thrive economically under them. Worst of all, they failed in their fundamental responsibility of safeguarding the country. Terrorists simply capitalised on the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the country’s security and their numerous other weaknesses created by the deep internal divisions, and trained without disturbance until they were ready to unleash pure terror on innocent civilians. 

Well, Minister Rajitha Senaratne was quick to put a price on human lives—a million rupees as compensation for each life lost and between one hundred to four hundred thousand rupees to those injured, depending on the severity of their injuries. The President and Prime Minister did not hesitate to deny knowledge of the warnings while the Defence Secretary admitted that they were expecting attacks but not massive ones. Then, more recently, the Prime Minister asserted that there was no possibility of taking legal action against individuals who engage in acts of terrorism overseas. These are among the top responses from heartless and merciless politicians and their cronies that have absolutely appalled the general public and made the international community lose confidence completely in the Sri Lankan government. 

The truth is that voters are repulsed by the good-for-nothing individuals they brought to power as they have proven to be mere leeches burdening them with taxes while neglecting their primary duty of safeguarding the country’s citizens. Prospects are bleak though, as those in opposition are equally, if not more, corrupt and selfish and there is no viable third option in sight. This leaves people in a deep dilemma for which there is no solution. Any regime that allowed home grown terrorism to thrive under its watch does not deserve to remain in power as they have proven their incapability to safeguard the citizens of the country. Of course, most leaders would step down in the face of such loss in credibility, but then again, Sri Lankan politicians are one of a kind. 

The world is keen to know who the perpetrators and supporters of such extremist terror are. Furthermore, those responsible for this massive breach of the public’s security by withholding and distorting important intelligence information should also be punished. Unfortunately, the present government is too incompetent to round all of them up once and for all and put an end to this cancerous curse as they are too busy misleading the public and appeasing wicked politicians claiming to represent various voter groups. Given the extent of the loss of faith in the government, an independent investigation into these incidents by a group of non-partisan civilians is, in my opinion, the only way to bring all those responsible to justice. Of course, in the face of such a suggestion the opposition would scream bloody murder as they love bringing forth various conspiracy theories to supress important issues being probed. The one thing we need to remind ourselves is that they too, like their counterparts in power, only represent their own interests. 

Our country is now in dire need of a new generation of educated, sensible, sensitive and wise politicians. Unfortunately, politics and these attributes do not go hand in hand in Sri Lanka, and the political dramas in recent years are only a reminder to people that power corrupts, while absolute power corrupts absolutely. So, as ordinary citizens, we are back to square one with a very raw deal indeed.

The time is ripe for a major shift in the public’s attitudes towards politicians. May this calamity be an ultimate warning to voters to shed our foolishness .The public should grow out of their outlook of servitude towards politicians and put them in their place. A good starting point would be to stop addressing them using expressions of reverence such as “Sir,” “Madam,” “Your Excellency” and “Your Honour.” There may be honourable people that deserve such respect, but those we elected to power, who fatten themselves on the blood money poor people pay in the form of taxes certainly do not. Politicians and their lengthy convoys should not be allowed to waste the valuable time of hard working citizens on the road. Furthermore, politicians should be forced to disclose their finances, given clear goals to achieve by way of a performance planning and review system at all levels of government—which we have too much of by the way—and held accountable to the people for their actions. Making the job of a politician as hard as possible to perform would hopefully deter gangsters and worthless idiots from vying for political power.  

Instigating such attitudinal changes and taking the role of a voter much more seriously is a valuable way in which Sri Lankan citizens could pay homage to those who lost their lives, sustained injuries and have been left to face life without their loved ones now. 

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  • 8

    sharmila what you write is 100 % true. every level there is no personal and professional integrity in politician and government and government servant
    for examples
    1) even though the foreign intelligent provided information well in advance about a possible attack on a church, the name of the person who is going to carry out, but no action is taken. (intelligent ignorance, police ignorance, some government minister aware, they neglect. even not to report to media, there is no mechanism to review the foreign report or any ongoing security situation about the country. in this case, what is the daily duty of intelligent or police or defense ministry. they are busy with what? what is the defense beefing? what is the defense minister priority area of focus? what are the established protocol on a foreign intelligence report? if we do not have any such protocol, who is responsible for it? )
    2) Now the government reduces fatality figure by 100. (zero credibility of the information. even you unable to protect them, but you are even unable to count their bodies. what kind of government)
    3) instead of taking full responsibility and commit and declare to ensure similar incident never be allowed to happen during their time as well as in the future, politician as justifying their mistake just pushing responsibility to others like a child in an irresponsible way.
    4) politician has zero value for their citizen life. they simply protect them and how to get advantages from this innocent life loss and prevailing dangerous situation.
    5) country require a visionary, determine, honest and committed leaders like Lee Kuan yee or Mahathir Muhammad.

    • 3

      Good points; Youth of Sri Lanka must lead the change and a Public Education Campaign : be the change, because they will bear that cost of not changing course in this land.

      Time for the Sri Lanka Youth and younger generation to come forward, start a public education campaign, like the European youth are protesting re. Climat change and lead the call for a ban on politicians those over 65 years of age contesting elections, and a minimum university degree to contest and ban on anyone with corruption allegations etc.

  • 1

    people should as the president on the following
    1) what are the action he is currently taking to search and destroy the extremist
    2) how long is going to have lasted
    3) what resources or support he needs from the public to effectively carried out this task?
    4) after completing this search and destroy, how does he going to monitor and control it at the origin?
    5) what is his protocol to handle the forign intelligence report?
    6) how does he is going to involve foreign intelligence to support on this
    7) what training, resources or collaboration or networking he needs to boost intelligent capabilities.
    8) what power intelligent do not have to handle foreign trained fighters. are u enacting laws
    9) how you ensure a forign student to sri Lankan Islamic university are not terrorist?
    10) are u only dealing with a muslim extremist? what about drug smugglers, gangs and another extremist like Buddhist mongs
    11) are you going to conduct awareness propaganda on extremist activities and reporting info to the public. if so how and when? why can not you use weekly brief to the public on security situation and awareness via national TV. why can not you educate about the origin and effect of extremism and how to handle grievances and live with harmony.

  • 2

    Dear Shamila Gamlath,

    Thanks for your article.

    This terrorist carnage carried out by the Devil, Satan, Iblis following Wahhabi-Salafi clones claimed about 300 lives. This was man-made, hatred, based on the Satanic Ideology of Wahhabi-Salafism.

    15 years ago, there was the Tsunami, that claimed 30,000 lives, and that was NOT based on hate, but nature, a natural phenomenon of the Earth’s geology. Some claim that it was an act of God.

    First, there was evolution. Then came Religion to Homo sapiens, invented, to explain natural phenomena.

    Then the priests, monks and Ulama cane along with politicians .Will the terrorists get 72 virgins in heaven? But their dead bodies are here on Earth? Real suckers!

  • 4


    Straight on! The only laudable person from the “old guard” I saw on TV was Sarath Fonseka. He was blunt and pointed out to all the major impediments to a successful security establishment.

    I hope he can lead a younger generation of professionals who get appointed to positions of authority not based on party affiliation, or nepotism, but rather on their merit and fit for the job.

    There are plenty of well-educated and experienced Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka and around the world, who can provide yeoman service to the country. Many who are overseas cannot do that due to the endemic nepotism and corruption in the Sri Lankan workplace – be it public or private sector.

    Time for all of us to re-think. Analyze our culture and see why is it that incompetent buffoons like Hemasiri Fernando and Ranil W. are at the top positions “guarding” our nation.

  • 6

    These extremists were having rehearsals in a small scale by terrorising Tamils in the eastern province for the last few years. Tamil press revealed the incidents of Tamil Hindu girls getting harassed in Kathankudy streets for not covering their head; destruction of statues swami Vivekanantha, Vipulanantha and Gandhi erected in the streets; intimidating Tamil three wheeler drivers not to have a stand closer to Muslim drivers; throwing carcass in front of Hindu temples; converting to Islam by way of threats; In last August the house and three wheeler belonging to S Chandrasekhar at Ismailpuram in Amparai was set fire by unknown people believed to be Muslims who have threatened him and his wife to convert to Islam. Nine people from this family have already been converted under duress but Chandrasekhar refused to do so. Police failed to treat this matter as a criminal act and entered as a civil claim, although the family escaped narrowly from fire. Had the police, human rights activists and elders from all three communities of this province taken proper prompt actions and nipped in the bud of incidents of this nature, we could have had a society free from fear and furthermore saved all those innocent lives from the extremists.

  • 2

    Our country cannot be redeemed by the present set of incompetent, corrupt politicians.
    the print and electronic media do not provide a level field by completely suppressing the views of would be presidential candidate Nagananda Kodituwakku. Only the
    Daily Mirror was sufficiently bold to publish an article by Rev.Fr.J.C.Peiris of Galle where details of the new Constitution were given. People of the calibre of N.K. should be provided an opportunity to be heard through the media if genuine democracy is to prevail that would solve the problems created by the present lot of power hungry polticians.

  • 2

    How did the government and politicians come to power? Did they fall from the sky? Politicians are part of the corrupt Sri Lankan society. It is easy to be self righteous and blame the politicians. Unless we acknowledge that we, the people, are the problem, there worn’t be a solution. Some may say they have no choice but to elected the lesser of the evil. A society as corrupt as we, deserve the politicians and governments we get.

    • 1

      what you wrote is correct. you may notice about current Malaysia. Previous PM and his cabinet and whole party corrupted. 94 yrs Old Mahathir determined to chase the corrupted PM and bring justice. he able to do it and now ruling remarkably in Malaysia. It is all about the leader. see Indian PM Modi. india is a highly corrupted country with a worst corrupted politician. as a visionary and non corrupted and committed leader with great integrity, he makes the system clean and efficient and more real and dynamic. Modi is a follower of former Singapore PM lee kuan yue.
      Mr lee used to say that if he gets convince and believes that some think must be done, he never rests until accomplishing that task. he is a wise, determine, a visionary leader with great personal and professional integrity. in Singapore, you can not talk about religion, race and ethnicity in politics. you have to talk your vision for nation, economic, social, employment etc policies. Unfortunately, sri lankan politician never talk about economic, social and employment policies or issues. but they always talk about religion, ethnic and race. this way they divide the nation and get advantages from the majority. this way, they always harm national unity.
      in Singapore, politician are highly intellectual and professional. in sri lanka , politician are highly corrupted and rude and no value or racist or religiously inclined cheater of themselves as well as the nation. i pray the god to give a good visonery, dedicated and selfless leader to Sri lanka

  • 4

    This country and the people kept silence when true Military leader who lead the military to a war victory against LTTE was arrested and charged under false accusation but they still claim the war victory was happened because of one family. The people of this nation always believed false propaganda, and turned this country into a war field since 1948. National security means the unity of the people. Every citizen should feel this country belongs to them. Unfortunately our political leadership took us to divide the people. Islamic Fundamentalism and its violent terrorism is everywhere. Our political leadership failed to stop the infiltration of Islamic terrorism into this country. We should not forget that it is our political leadership and military leadership gave arms and ammunition to fight against LTTE armed rebellion. These arms and ammunitions are used against Tamil civilians for the past 30 years from 1984 to 2009. Even after the end of war, they were allowed to continue to target civilians for their political advantage. Partly our political and military leadership are responsible for bringing IS terrorism to this country.

  • 6

    Sri Lankans need not worry as Gota has announced that he will stand for Presidency and wipe out this Islamic Terrorism. The truth is that Gota and Basil are responsible fore cultivating this terror group accepting large sums of money in lieu of allowing them to continue their Jihad works. Basil not only allowed to clear thousands of acres to settle them at Wilpattu but also built a road through Wilpattu named after basil. Gota pretended to be blind when these Terrorists started on the Muslim Campus in the East that is the largest of Campuses in whole of Asia. Obviously Gota would have received large sums of money like he made from the MIG deal, Avant Guard deal, Shangrilla land deal, etc. etc. Gota’s boasts that he will stop the bombings will work the moment he is elected President because that is exactly what these Islamist Terrorists want and fighting for now.

  • 2

    I can remember proposing in the comments section here sometime ago that every cabinet minister must hold a review and press meeting once in every three months. The matters to be discussed would be about the work done by the ministry over the past three months, the progress they had made, and about their plans for the next three months, etc.

    It appears that most of the ministers are not doing any real work at all, and many of them are not even present in the ministry much of the time. They draw big salaries, are provided with vehicles, drivers, personal assistants, security staff and many other perks for doing very little work. They simply live off the fat of the land while the masses suffer.

    They remind one of the Old Man of the Sea who climbed onto Sinbad’s back, held fast and refused to get off! We live through a variation of this theme with different men climbing onto our backs at regular intervals – and we choose these men!

  • 0

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  • 2

    Impeach!!!! That is the only way forward!!! If our leaders do not have an inherent sense of shame and the grace to step down – then it’s tine to get rid of them! Sri Lankans cannot and should not tolerate this level of ineptitude and idiocy.

  • 1

    Old timers will tell Sharmila Gamlath that Sri Lanka has been an ‘Island Of Despair’ from mid-forties.
    Bye the way the founding fathers of India (MK Gandhi, Nehru, Patel) never promised Moksha.
    The founder of Pakistan Jinnah never mentioned this ‘Ultimate Happiness in Jannah’. It was the damn Sunni clergy.
    Dalai Lama, like all Buddhist scholars, maintains that to attain the ‘Supreme Bliss of Nibbana’ one must meditate and live a Buddhist. Of course Gnanasaro of SL, Wirathu of Myanmar, Wiraphon Sukphon of Thailand are charlatans.
    None recall meeting Godse, the Gandhi assassin, in Heaven.
    The Modi and the RSS crowd promise the way through eschewal of the ‘Pride of Indian Secularism’.
    PS: It has come down the grape wine. JRJ plays golf with Godse you know where!

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