22 September, 2018

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‘We’ Need An ‘Ethical Revolution’

By Rishard Najimudeen

Rishard Najimudeen

Reforming a society is not an easy and convenient process as many of us think, but it requires a long term and perseverance from each and every one of particular society without any exception. As an initial step, the society must be educated continuously on the concepts of “pluralism and diversity” due to its consistency of various groups, approaches and interpretations. It is impossible to march forward in the reforming progress unless a society instils in its people the value of accepting ‘others’ and ‘Non-’. The society will be able to take further steps if it could initiate and operate a new “we” successfully that includes all people irrespective of the religion, ethnicity, race, caste and status. Taking this very basic understanding into our consideration, we move to some fields where major crises exist in order to come out with a very comprehensive framework.

For several decades, our country has been struggling with major issues in various disciplines. Particularly, after eradicating the three decades of war, the governmental institutions and private organizations funnelled all their efforts to uplift the country. But, it is unfortunate to see our country to be stagnant at the point where we used to be during the civil war without finding proper mechanisms by which primary obstacles should have been uprooted. For instance, Mass-Media with its different dimension deems one of the power institutional spaces in our country. However, number of problematic questions over its reliability is still prevailed without having a serious discussion on it or long term strategies in order to find meaningful answers.

Some statistics related to internet usage have revealed a negative and unhealthy trend of our nation, particularly trend of our youngsters. Sri Lanka, for the fifth consecutive year, topped the list of countries that searched for the word “Sex” in Google. Interestingly, the search shows a spike during the months of August and December, which are obviously school holidays. This information clearly points out that the collective mentality of our young generation on gender relationship is very dangerous as well as unhealthy. In psychological perspective, it would be very difficult for a student who gets addiction to pornography, to concentrate on his or her studies. The question how we are going to deal with this issue is one of the key questions of present days.

Similarly, environment related issues have predominantly grabbed the attention of several groups due to its recent phenomena and deadly impacts on human life. We can summarise the problems as follow: Deforestation, soil erosion, wildlife threatened by urbanization, coastal degradation, freshwater resources being polluted by industrial waste and sewage runoff, waste disposal and air pollution in cities and suburbs due to emissions from vehicles, factories and other industrial establishments. In the early period of 20th century, Sri Lanka had a 49 percent forest across the island but by the year of 2005 this percentage had fallen approximately by 20 percent. Within a decade particularly between 1990 and 2000, Sri Lanka lost an average of 26800 hectares of forest per year. This amounts to 1.14 percent of average annual deforestation rate. During 2000 and 2005 periods the rate increased yet further until 1.43 percent per annum. These statistics and data clearly illustrate the fact that the whole nation is likely to encounter a great challenge in near future if we do not pay proper concern on environmental issues. It is worthy to ask again how we are going to deal with these issues.

It is very obvious that the economic issues of Sri Lanka, is pathetic. Debt burden and corruption are two transparent evidences. Initiating new projects such as highway, port-city and airport in order to develop the infrastructure of the nation has plunged Sri Lanka into a pit of debt, pushing the country to the brink of bankruptcy and prompting an IMF to bailout. According to a statement which was revealed last year, the official estimate of what Sri Lanka currently owes its financiers is $64.9 billion – $8 billion of which is owned by China. The country’s debt to GDP stands around 75% and approximately 95% of all government revenue is currently going towards debt repayment. Conversely, corruption and Bribery have emerged as one of the big issues in Sri Lanka. According to Transparency International, Sri Lanka is ranked 79 amid other 174 countries in the corruption index for last year. Particularly, most corruptions and briberies are carried out by the officials who are in respectable positions. It is also very sad to state that whenever we read a local newspaper, there would be a case related to either corruption or bribery. As we all know that corruption distorts the democratic process as well as violates the basic human rights. Working against the corruptions is not only limited to one or two organizations, but media, organizations, academics, journalists and civil society should involve in this process and come forward even to minimize the frequent occurrence of such crimes to certain extent.

As such, our country has witnessed a dramatic behavioural change in social sphere such as drug addiction and wrong gender relationship. According to some records, Sri Lanka’s daily consumption of drugs amounts to 450 million rupees and it is estimated that there are more than 250,000 youths addicted to drugs, as said by the Dangerous Drug Control Board. A valuable research, conducted by Dr Silva and P Fonseka, reveals that a majority (70.1%) started using drugs when they were in the age group 10-20. It is a clear indication that drug addiction has become a glaring problem of the country and negative consequences will be appeared if we do not involve in protecting our young generation from drug usage and drug mafia.

Above statistics are just random instances when comparing to other major issues that we have to deal with as well. All citizens of this nation have the responsibility, according to their level of status and intellect, to take necessary steps in order to minimize the problems gradually. Apart from researches and studies that have been conducted by intellectuals and professionals on respective fields , we should create a wide range of awareness among the general public on ethical revolution, in which all fields must be discussed within the frame of ethics. Religious movements and leadership of each ethnic group prevailing in our country could play a pivotal role in reforming communities by emphasising their respective ethics and values. Moral values should be centralised in our whole discussions and projects. This is the right time for “Sri Lankan citizens” to work together to reduce and minimize the above mentioned crises.

Finally, the reason why I have pointed out all these facts is, creating unwanted new problems such as ethnic clashes and violations for mere political as well as personal interests, will definitely ruin entire efforts towards an ethical revolution in our nation. Let’s create new ‘We’ which includes all diversities without any discrimination and dissention to carry on an ethical revolution in all fields and to make our country a wonder of Asia in its real meaning. 

*Writer is a MPhil Student in University Teknologi PETRONAS- Malaysia

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    Can you get the Muslims to start it please?

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    rishad: where I am living, after the school, and during the School holiday periord, there are baby sitting centers establishe din the school itself for children under 12. Srilanka can increase that for school going girls until parents arrive. School should ask a small fee and the govt can subsidie it. On the otherhand, govt should ask mother of gorwing up femleas children to stay home and look after children. HEre there are programs whoch pay for pregnent mothers and mothers who have infant kids upt o some years. Many stay home until children grow up. that is where SAHANADARA should go and not for other things which give votes.

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    Mr. NAjiimudeen: With respect to your Ethical revolution, I heard in Sri lanka, certain family names are disappearing. for Example the sinhala name Edirimanna had been replaced by the muslim name sudeer. So, sinhala people have so many concerns other than what we talk day to day.

    • 0
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      Jim, for a moment I thought you have grown up, but I was wrong, again you proved that you are bigoted

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    Dear Rishard, Thank you for a very comprehensive “checklist” for all the household in the country to have.

    They can talk to each other and understand the content within neighbourhoods. We should all have town-hall meetings to discuss each topic in the check list customised to meet the local communities needs throughout the country weekly or monthly basis. We can get our school/college/university children to spend time on the net to learn a given topic and write articles in the media and on a website we create for “One Lanka project”. This way we will connect village after village, towns after towns, city after city for knowledge exchange, learn each others problem be it social, economical,racial,religious, cast and ask the respective authorities, elders to intervene to explain “One Lanka” priority list/check list and the need for change/respective elected bodies then be responsible to close out the action list accordingly.

    We can also us the same check list/a customised life document which will be updated as required through out of its life time until we reach “certain developed/organised and more educated voters” to bench mark each political party manifestos as to whom to vote in each election – Local government, divisional, provincial, parliamentary and the Presidential elections.

    Time for change in a very organised manner. The foundation is where no place for racists elements does not matter where they come from…….a comprehensive “One Lanka” policy to take care of the entire nation to be published/discussed by the respective departments. We also desperately need a BBC “Question Time” program where we invite all the elected representatives/think tanks/community workers to participate in the panel where invited audience ask question. Should be held in each electorates/districts through out the year. It will go around capturing every cross section of the community. thank you

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