Plus - Letter to the editor

I pray that you steer us towards prosperity

A prayer for the President

As the final curtain falls on the LTTE, your astounding military victory over bloody terror will assure you an exalted place in the Great Chronicles to come! To a people, who for three long decades have dreamed of an end to this war, today your words and decisions are shimmering gold and you stand on the threshold of deification! Today, in your hands lies our beautiful island to mould to your every whim and at your feet are her people, ready to dance to the songs you choose to sing!

Today, as you hold this tremendous power, I pray that, you have the wisdom to stand unflinching, by your words that declared a nation without minorities, but divided only as patriots and traitors…and that as you oversee the upbringing of multiple races you have the foresight to entertain plurality in our oneness.

I pray for the confidence you will need to alienate yourself from the pettiness of racists and chauvinists …and that you have the insight to identify them as the traitors they are; for it is they who will rekindle the fires of hatred that will once again tear our nation asunder, if you don't leash them in!

I pray that you are indomitable in your effort to achieve racial harmony as otherwise today's great achievement will be a soon forgotten, brief respite!

I pray that you have the strength to stem the tide of lawlessness and violation of democratic rights, as you scarcely need the burden of errant sycophants, as you ascend the dizzying heights of a statesman loved by his people.

I pray that, you will see the value of rising above the instant gratification of cheap publicity and instead reap the long term benefits of magnanimity and compassion to friends and foes alike.

I pray that you are enamoured with the idea of creating a society that takes comfort in your leadership as doubts and fears of retribution fade… and that you are so secure in your leadership of a democracy that you can entertain varying opinions and not perceive them as treacherous criticism.

I pray that you become the guardian of Buddhism, plumbing its great depths and preventing its downward spiral as a power tool in the hands of irresponsible clergy and politicians…and that you lay the Dharma gently on this land, demonstrating that this faith of the majority is not a philosophy of exclusivity but instead includes the one God of the Muslim, the pantheon of the Hindu, the trinity of the Christian, the ancestors of the Veddha and the songs of the Sufi….

I pray that, you become the champion of the teachings of the Gautama Buddha, encouraging its revival as the epitome of tolerance and compassion… and that you will always find this path to tread if ever you get lost in the back alleys of politics!

I pray that you steer us towards the prosperity that we have waited so patiently for and as we pick ourselves up, that you ensure that prosperity is not disproportionate, where a select few leave the rest behind.

I pray that as you search for intelligence and skills, to rebuild our wounded nation you exercise caution before flattery that may conceal a selfish agenda and instead take the time to seek the finest minds to map our course.

I pray that you extend the full course of law in the face of greed and excuses, mishaps and misappropriations, that we can ill-afford!

I pray that as you commission the modernisation of Sri Lanka, you have the vision to impose the precondition of sustainability.

I pray that you employ great discretion and impose responsibility as you relinquish this land to developers and…that you above all others, cherish the heritage of every valley and the sanctity of every mountain, the richness of each meandering river and the potential of each wide bay; every teeming reef that has sheltered fragile coastlines and shadowy forests that have given refuge to the elephants….

I pray that you have a deep desire to sow fine seeds for generations to come even as you prepare to harvest this land!

I pray that you yearn to become the enlightened leader that the wise yearn to emulate as this will be the key to building an admirable nation and … your immortality!

I pray that at this tipping point of opportunity, when it is you who holds this island in your hands, you realize how precious this tiny piece of land is to so many of us, and that in the quality of its preservation will be the future for the children; both yours and mine!

Sunela Jayewardene, Colombo 7

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