22 September, 2020

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What Can Or Will We Do? 

By Upatissa Pethiyagoda

Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda

The implicit trust that was placed on the Yahapalana (better named the Nethipalana), has betrayed the hopes of some 60 lakhs of voters. This is a very serious matter. Medical Science has yet to discover a pill to cure “stupidity”. But, as with many things, adversity brings out the best of a people. Witness the way our people reacted in the aftermath of dispatching the injured to Hospital. The extremely wise words of His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, undoubtedly calmed people – thus possibly averting a deadly and destructive reaction. The visits of the Maha Sangha to the wrecked churches, the sight of monks sweeping up the debris in the compound of an attacked church, the joint meetings of the Leaders of our major religions, should warm the hearts of us all. But, (Hon?) Mangala Samaraweera, as is his habit, firmly put his foot in his mouth when making public his wish to “report” him to the Pope. At most, he will create a “Papal chuckle. Does our Minister wear oversized shoes or sport a huge mouth, or both? This even tops the howl of protest, when it was suggested to sing the National Anthem in Tamil – this in a country that endlessly repeats its effort to create inclusivity, co-operation, national unity, integration, harmony and an exemplary mosaic that celebrates our diversity. What absolute drivel.      

There is also the valuable lesson that our own folks can handle things much better than any politicians could – that we can get on fine, even when the leadership is abroad (Singapore) or elsewhere. Can’t we get by without separatist political obsessions? Much time has been wasted, bickering about persons to blame, and considering timing and sequence of elections. Should we really care about such trivialities? After seventy years of a failed experiment, is it not time for some “lateral thinking”? Is there no talent in this country, beyond some families and their progeny? Should not the reservoir of talent of managerial experience, now adorning the private sector, be tapped? We certainly have it all. I am not one with experienced politicians, who believe that none outside the two main Parties can succeed in a bid for the presidency.

I think that we can bring about this much needed change in the Presidency and in Parliament. All the major parties have debased and devalued themselves so comprehensively, that I am hopeful. We may see a revolutionary change. In the pre-occupation with what are truly irrelevant, there is still a mood for change. The major factor will be the young, first time voters who realize that the present journey can only take them to ruin. Even if not immediately, in the long run.

I believe that a failed revolution is better than a fully successful one. A 360 degree change will only bring us to the same point, a 180 degree turn is what we ne need. For any success, an aspirant will be called upon to make a complete and public exposure of his assets along with his nomination, and annually thereafter. These should be accessible by the public, and not merely filed away in a locked safe. He should also make a solemn promise that he himself will not jump into the same well of dishonesty and pillage – and will allow for his removal at the mere whisper of corruption. Politics is one profession (I wish I could think of a better word, perhaps “service”) where “experience” is a disadvantage. It is a demonstrable truth that “experience” it only allows them  help in learning the “trade” of deceit by  aspiring entrants. 

Current practices also result in tenacious and inferior products, who are long beyond their “best before date”. Some (very few) do retire, when their time is up, or when their conscience does not allow them to compromise their morals, or they have out-lived their usefulness. We have had times when men acted on principles and conscience, and viewed election as a sacred trust, and not a license to rob. The up and coming generation should render divisive words such as Sinhala, Tamil, Catholic, Goigama, Karawe, Kandyan and all such labels as obsolete. Very soon, it will be only Members who will continue to address each other as “Honourable, Garu or Athi-garu.” Respect, admiration and honour are to be won, and not imposed from outside or by legislation.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    Dr. Pethiyagoda:-

    I think that we can bring about this much needed change in the Presidency and in Parliament. All the major parties have debased and devalued themselves so comprehensively, that I am hopeful. We may see a revolutionary change. In the pre-occupation with what are truly irrelevant, there is still a mood for change. The major factor will be the young, first time voters who realize that the present journey can only take them to ruin. Even if not immediately, in the long run..

    Do you think so? Ratana and Gnanasara had put such wishes to the dust bin. They have saved the day for the insipid, stale and with no vision for this country,.politicians,

  • 4
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    read mangalas article it might enlighten you
    change can never happen as long as these jokers rule the roost

  • 9
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    Upatissa Pethiyagoda,

    You and many other Sinhalese writers come up lofty ways to solve the vexing problem of ethnic/religious animosities in Sri Lanka.

    However, hardly any see the basic need to enforce the rule of law impartially to Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims.

    For seventy years Sinhalese rioters have been rioting against Tamils, and recently against Muslims. The rioters are not brought to justice like what the UK did with the rioters a few years ago.

    Sinhalese rioters (they terrorize the minorities and should be called terrorists) operate with impunity even in the recent riots against the Muslims.

    The security forces don’t bring them to justice, but participate with the rioters as spectators or even attacking the victims.

    We don’t need democracy, but rule of law is a must.

    No point in airing high flown ideas which will not work as long as the minorities know that they are not protected and cannot get justice under Sinhalese racist regimes who don’t enforce the rule of law if the victims are Tamils, Muslims or even Christians in the hands of Sinhalese rioters who come to life periodically.

    Don’t be ostriches with the heads buried in sand pretending not to see the obvious.

    • 1
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      The majority of the DIGs in Colombo when 1983 pogrom occurred were Tamils. In many cases during violence Tamil police offices in positions of power. They did nothing.

      The sinhalese have been very patient.

      When the LTTE killed dozens of monks in Arantalawa, did the sinhalese rush out to kill tamils?

      When the Temple of the Tooth was attacked did the Sinhalese Buddhists rush out to kill the Tamils?

      When the pilgrims in Anuradhapura who were doing sil were massacred by the LTTE, did the sinhalese rush out to kill the tamils?

      When the cental bank was bombed did the sinhalese rush out to kill the Tamils?

      When buses and trains were exploded did the sinhalese rush out to kill the Tamils?

      It is the Tamils who in 1957 held “Sathyagrahas” on the galleface and distributed wooden pistol ominously.
      It is the tamils who tarred the Sri Letters, tarred the sinhale street signs, …..
      I can give an endless list

  • 1
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    What a sad day for the Rule of Law, and yet another step in the direction of the Rule of the Mob. Who decides if people need to be questioned or taken into custody ? The Police, AG’s Department of fasting monks ? Will the government, any government pay attention to the demands of a fasting Moulavi, Priest or Kurukkal ?

    Pity the Cardinal rushed to Kandy to make illogical political statements to the media. He has a habit of shooting his mouth off and then trying to repair the damage. What good he did in the aftermath of 21/04 is being dissipated.

  • 0
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    The second grade fellows that had been ruling the country are responsible for getting the majority blamed for the problems by not enforcing the rule of law impartially and swiftly.
    The first death of the 1915 riot triggered due to the opposition to a traditional (Buddhist) procession passing a Mosque, was of a youth of the majority community by a person from a minority. (Totally over 20 Muslim and over 60 Buddhist casualties, the authorities responsible for the majority of the latter).
    The Sinhala-Tamil problem of course is part of the heritage and is ancient, through to modern times of 50:50 representation, 56, 58 riots and the 83 riots from 13 soldiers to 2000+ civilians.
    Interestingly, the trend is to call these rioters terrorists and not the suicide killers and going by the words of the BBS Gnanasara Thero; ‘Nirvanic’.
    (Rioting is as old as civilisation, suicide bombers are a new trend, perhaps minorities may feel empowered, but is a risky strategy, the once bully and skirmish culture can turn demonic and genocidal).

  • 3
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    Malcolm Ranjith is a Rajapakse man, the way he played the game on the 21st is now very suspicious.
    We all thought he deserves a noble prize.,but its all sweet f**ck all, till we witnessed Rathana theros stage play. Corruption,Corruption ,Corruption !!!

  • 2
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    No doubt it is Nethiplana now ,if you remove the president Gamarala ,We can proudly call it Ethipalana. The fact about the cardinal is, he is another bloody crook ,a Rajapakse man . We all signed a petition for him to win the noble prize , We feel betrayed when We saw him fanning the good for nothing Rathana thero. It was a PATHETIC act.

  • 0
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    Wishful thinking by Pethiyagoda. But is that ever possible? How can anyone change these absolute out dated, primitive, suspicious and grandiose mind set? The biggest problem i see is the feeling of insecurity in the minds of the majority. One cannot blame them for that because history was that. There is certainly conflicting facts about the origin of sinahala and sinhala race. Only truth is buddhsim that came into Lanka around 200 BCE and it made its presence well established in post Buddha Lankan history. Along with Buddhism came Prakrit and pali and then Tamil and sanskrit. Based on learning Buddhsim in pali, etc a new language arose from all the other mentioned base languages that were already flourishing. No sinhala talks of the language and religion of the Lanka inhabitants prior to arrival of Buddhism. The first Anuradhapura kingdom was originally dravidian and then Sinhala and then Sinhala buddhism and then Dravida and so on. Yet religion was not an issue then because Buddhsim has become popular all over india and Lanka. We all know of the thamil Sangam literature around the same period in Tamil Nadu, written by Tamil Buddhists. So there is no fuss about Buddhsim. But sadly when the majority Lankan Buddhists later on in history tried using their numerical number to make a new history based on myths, lies and manipulations the entire system collapsed and led to racial tension. No question that the present day “Sinhalas” protected and developed Buddhsim but that does not mean that there was a separate race called Sinhala aka Sinha-Ley in history. The so-called Sinha-ley are the Nagas, Yakshas and migrants from Indian subcontinent, mainly Thamils, Thelungus and later on Malayalis. Malayalam evolved from Tamil only 500 years ago blending with sanskrit. So why feel shy or scared to accept the fact that Sinhala evolved from pali, Prakrit, Thamil, sanskrit all from india

  • 0
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    Contd……

    There is nothing to feel shy about it. And that is how world and people and traditions and languages evolve. So the biggest curse was the departure of the suddhas prematurely, that our guys got it on a platter. Then they became power hungry and in deed got the power owing to the mockery of the Westminster type democracy and ended up like a monkey got access to a razor blade. Now we are at a point of no return. Greed for power by the greedy sinhals is the cause of this curse. Don’t forget that Lanka post Buddha history is full of infighting, back stabbing, revenge, seeking helps from India to destroy their own people, and even inviting Dutch to get rid of Portuguese to name a few. This perhaps is a gene that evolved in them during the last 2000 odd years when they got isolated in the southern part of Lanka with minimal contact to the main land India.

  • 1
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    “Medical Science has yet to discover a pill to cure “stupidity””
    Are you taking mickey out of Cardinal with God delusion that is been preached by the cardinal and his preachers. Who are preaching people to believe in all powerful creator who loves you so much watch you while you sleep but very willing to punish you for thought crimes unless one say Iam sorry and at the same instance let 21 children under five die ever minute of the day.
    “Malcolm Ranjith, undoubtedly calmed people”
    Really why because he is directly link to the compassionate loving Creator who see over his subject’s misery and get his disciples to preach suffering is good because you get rewarded after your death while collecting hard earn money from his subjects as tiding the God’s share of easy money. Yes stupidity is contagious specially when its come to religion.

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