Let’s rise to the occasion

By Galaboda Sri Gnanissara Thera (Podi Hamuduruwo of Gangarama Temple)

Can we rise again as a nation, protecting and nurturing Sri Lanka’s ancient fame as the then Pearl of the Orient? Below is a short answer to that question.

We have to teach our children how our country faced the many invasions from the sub continent, when armies of the Cholas and Pandyans swept into the country. It is time they are made aware of the indignities and cruelties that our people endured under the Portuguese, Dutch and British. The media must help to feature the historical facts. If the aim of the Government and the Opposition, which hopes to form a government, is to develop the country, they must first develop the thinking of the people, giving them a true historical perspective and a pride in their own people and country.

Many have forgotten that there were international terrorists who helped local terrorists, and armed them to destroy our land. The terrorists bombed the Port and this in turn, caused a hundredfold increase in the insurance premium applicable to ships sailing into our waters, which in turn caused the prices of goods to escalate, starting with the price of a pin! Those international terrorists hoped that in this way they could create unrest among the people, who would themselves destroy our country.

The terrorists attacked the Airport and destroyed tourism. When they attacked the Central Bank we lost the blessings of the World Bank. The Government was hesitant to publicize the atrocities committed by the international terrorists because their network was influential enough to slow aid flowing into our country. Now, instead of crowns and blessings due to us for destroying terrorism we are seen as a human rights violator by the international community. This is the ideal time for Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher people living in this country to rise and be united as one nation. It is a fact that we are divided by caste, creed and political leanings. But there is no development or growth in a country where there is division.

Malaysia was able to stand up to mighty America. We have no such strength and we should not consider such a confrontation with the mighty. But it is time that we try to get the attention and goodwill of the powerful nations with regard to the embargoes and other restrictions imposed on our innocent people. The people and the government must create a future for the nation to stand on its two feet. Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world, but they rose on their own. We have a history where we stood up to foreign invasions. If we wake up as a nation, uniting both government and opposition and work as one, we will be able to achieve what we want as we now enjoy peace.

No one is jailed in place of someone else in the world. So it is not worth misleading the people with such talk. Punishment is meted out to those who break international laws and the laws of the country. Those who desire clemency must ask for forgiveness. It is noteworthy that the leader of the opposition is seeking forgiveness for others. He is a lawyer and knows the law, but begs for mercy which of course is praiseworthy. You cannot, however, develop a country without punishment for wrongdoing. Punishment can bring the mighty and the lowly to their knees. In ancient times we had the infamous thirty two punishments. At that time the Maha Sanga did not protest. Such was the situation even during the time of Lord Buddha.

Good and evil affect all and sundry. All right thinking people must examine why the JVP which came down to one seat from forty, has now donned a white garb and professes piety. We now need peace and discipline. It is no use setting fire to the country like what Hanuman did of old. The people have already passed judgment on that.

The time has come to eliminate robberies, bribes, rape, cheating and destroy those who perpetrate them. Let us instil discipline into our people and maintain law and order. This is what we can bequeath to our future generations.

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