and the fate
Those living in Sri Lanka can see the reality of the 'commercial
X'mas' and the 'real Christmas' being celebrated side by side, despite
the hype that anti-Christian elements sharpening their tools to
destroy the spirit of Christmas.
a classic example of how a section of the so-called independent
western media, namely the Wall Street Journal, has played the bogeyman:
In an article published on December 12, where it says "Many
Sri Lankans celebrate Christmas with shuttered windows and barricaded
doors out of fear for their lives. Those brave enough to celebrate
Christmas in defiance of local Buddhist authorities risk discrimination,
exile, fire bombings, or worse".
requires no comment, except to say in Latin, the language of the
Church -- res ipsa loquitor -- or that the facts speak for themselves.
All people of all faiths must be permitted to celebrate their holy
days the way they choose without offending others. We have had enough
of religious intolerance around the world for too long now. And
those who obstruct such observances do no service to the faiths
they claim to profess.
said that, our hearts and minds this Christmas are with those who
suffered the ravages of the tsunami one year ago. Our features section
has a spread to mark this monumentally sad event.
Lanka lost an opportunity to re-build. The massive inflow of the
world's sympathy and its cash went waste as our energies were sapped
by sheer aimless governmental inefficiency coupled with political
squabbling with the rebels in the north and political allies in
the south. The UN promised an early-warning system which we have
yet to see.
was left to some genuine NGOs and ordinary Sri Lankans -- both here
and abroad -- to muscle in with their help to wipe away the tears
in every possible way they could. But, the long trek to a complete
recovery has miles to go. And all of us, as Sri Lankans should not
rest until such time that the tsunami survivors can truly say they
have put this horrifying tragedy behind them.
Mahinda Rajapakse's interview with Colombo-based Indian journalists
this week betrays a thorough lack of focus on what he wants to discuss
with India when he goes on his first state visit since his election
to the high office he now holds.
example, he says he wants to "study India's devolution".
Surely, that's not something he can do on a three-day state visit.
Or is that some other way of saying he's prepared to move on from
his "unitary Sri Lanka" promise to his people, which is
bound to be a bone of contention with India which stands for a "united
Sri Lanka", a euphemism for a federal Sri Lanka?
President's visit to New Delhi comes quick on the heels of the visit
by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera where more of Sri Lanka's
concerns were not discussed, than discussed.
Parliament, this week during the votes of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the Minister referred to many issues that were the outcome
of his visit to the Indian capital, but said nary a word about the
Defence Cooperation Agreement which India promised at Head of Government
level in November 2004 and has now allowed to go into limbo because
of its internal political compulsions.
there was not a word about the controversial Sethusamudram Canal
project initiated by India without the simple courtesy of a by-your-leave
from Colombo on its concerns for the environmental and economic
impact for Sri Lanka.
recent developments, especially an upsurge in LTTE attacks on the
Government security forces, have seen Colombo's political leadership
scurrying to India seeking succour. That mantra will not work, and
that mind-set of our political leaders needs to be cleared, and
cleared very quickly. India is not going to bell the big cat (the
Tigers) for us.
got a snub when they asked India to directly intervene in the peace
process, forcing the new Government to do a volte-face and re-invite
the "salmon-eating" Norwegians as they were called on
bended knees because the Indians showed us the door, our leaders
should have learnt a bitter lesson by now. Not
so, it seems.
the last few days India's High Commissioner in Colombo it would
seem is being besieged by requests, and the country is witness to
the pitiful display of not just a breach of protocol, but of political
naivety: Almost, like a child running to an aunt saying the neighbourhood
bully is hitting him.
Sri Lanka's new Government would do well to stop falling prostrate
before Goddess India and seeking her blessings -- and her intervention.
India has her own reasons to fight shy of getting her fingers burnt
again in Sri Lanka after her interventionist policies of not so
long ago. And she wouldn't mind her neighbours pot simmering a bit.
has running battles with most of her northern neighbours. And there's
so much (or so little) that India can do. President Rajapakse must
not go to India as if he represents a vassal state, but rather a
nation that wishes to work together for the common good in a multi-faceted
kaleidoscope of common objectives -- and this includes the elimination