by Gamini Seneviratne
Over 50 years ago in the aftermath of what is miscalled a six-day “war” through which the heavily armed Israeli armed forces slaughtered tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians and appropriated vast tracts of their land, I wrote “Draft for a Lyrical Ballad” (1968) part of which is given below. It was also a period marked by Robert Kennedy’s battles against Lyndon Johnson and the assassination of that Kennedy as well. It also refers to the twin agitations that shake the world and confront the West today.
America, you’re like me, a tired balloon
Looking up into the sky
On a clear, cold night
Waiting for all human sounds to die.
With the unremitting aid of the principal war mongers on this planet, the USA, Israel has acquired and used against unarmed people a whole array of the most obscene weaponry developed by Man (the caps serves to distinguish that entity from humankind)
In his essay of December 26, 2009, (Information Clearing House) “And What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Gaza? Operation Cast Lead and the Dismembering of a People”, Vincent Di Stefano places before the world some particulars of Israel’s criminal attacks on the people of Palestine. A few particulars follow:
Twelwe years ago Israel already had 180,000 heavily armed regular troops in their “defence” forces, 140,000 conscripts, 4,300 impenetrable Merkava battle tanks, 10,000 light tanks and armoured cars, 500 missile-laden fighter jets, 1,340 helicopters, three submarines, three destroyers and smaller warships. And the full might of Israeli military force was projected into the tiny space of Gaza during the three-week period from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009. (Further details of what the so-called Israeli-Arab ‘wars’ have meant for the people of Palestine were included in my note of 2006 that follows below).
And right now in the midst of (or, perish the thought, in support of?) the carnage being visited on the Palestinians, US President Biden has offered them over $700 million worth of military hardware. Oh, and yes, he has also offered via USAID, a sum of $ 10 million to Palestine. To be channeled through Israel. Naturally. Biden, in whom people located hopes for humanitarian governance has, after all, done no more than confirm that America has no shame.
Let us look at what the engagement of the rulers of America (its military-industrial coalition) with Israel translates into. In February 2009, investigative journalist Conn Hallinan was to describe Gaza as “Death’s Laboratory.” Israel’s new weapons had caused injuries never before seen in the hospitals of Gaza. Many of these were the result of the widespread use of a new class of weapons called Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME). These were initially developed by the US Air Force and scientists from the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in 2000.
DIME weapons consist of a high explosive core around which is wrapped powdered tungsten alloy in a carbon fibre container. On detonation, the tungsten sprays out explosively over a ten-meter radius shredding everything in its field. The resultant injuries are truly shocking. Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert commented: “The muscles are sort of split from the bones, hanging loose, and you also have quite severe burns. . . . Those inside the perimeter of this weapon’s power zone will be torn completely apart. We have seen numerous amputations that we suspect have been caused by this.”
Here follows my note of 15 years ago on The Holocaust in Palestine.
In his Foreword to “The Little Drummer Girl”, John Le Carre reports that in Israel he was repeatedly assured that the “Palestinians are not a people.” What were they then? “A leftover rabble of peasants and layabouts whose only task for two thousand years was to keep the Jewish homeland ticking over until its rightful owners returned.”
That such was far from being the case may be gathered from the following: These are the words of the best-known British explorer of Arabia, Wilfred Thesiger. He was writing in the 1940s, around the time the Zionist ‘state’ was being set up: “I went to the ‘Empty Quarter’ with a belief in my own racial superiority, but in their tents I felt like an uncouth, inarticulate barbarian, an intruder from a shoddy and materialistic world”. How many in the White House, the State Department, the US Congress would understand such words, grasp such realities?
In a thumbnail account of how Israel has acted in that enterprise in the 1970s, Le Carre writes, “Israeli jets bombed the crowded Palestinian quarter in Beirut on the pretext that it was intended ‘to destroy the leadership’, – “though there were no leaders at all among the several hundred dead, unless, of course, there were future leaders among the many children killed.”
They obviously feel that they can get away with this savage treatment of the inhabitants of Palestine in their own land. Israel, in short, is a rogue state built on a violent process of encroachment into Palestine. ‘Legitimacy’ for its operations is traced to a sanction received from yet other intruders: the British and the French. One must begin the story of Israel with a look at the legitimacy of those who ‘sanctioned’ its creation. The so-called ‘Balfour Declaration’ (the caps there, some may think, give it some kind of legality) was no more than a personal letter of one paragraph from Balfour to his friend and creditor, Rothschild.
The most generous account by a Lankan of the Jewish intrusion into Palestine, now a totally unbridled invasion, was published 70 years ago in the ‘Ceylon Daily News’ by its Editor-in-Chief, H A J Hulugalle, an experienced and even-handed commentator. The substance of his report was that “The Jews of the world are concentrating on the gradual buying up of Palestine”. One such purchase, of 16,000 acres of a swamp that yields the water for agriculture in the Huleh valley, was made despite the protests of the Palestinians. It was bought for 200,000 English pounds off a young ‘absentee landlord’ domiciled in Syria, whose interest in the land was not in his fellow Arabs but in the waterfowl for his table. The ‘compromise’ imposed by the British occupiers of Palestine required the Jews to drain the land and render it malaria free; ‘in return’, the Palestinians were to have their land reduced by two-thirds of it! Those were relatively early days.
When Jewish immigration began in earnest in the late 19th century, (long before ‘the holocaust’ they keep talking about), there were only about 15,000 Jews in Palestine. In 1893 the Arabs comprised roughly 95 percent of the population. Even when Israel was founded, over fifty years later, Jews were only about 35 percent of Palestine’s population and owned seven percent of the land. ‘The Palestinian Problem’ today, as it has been for many decades, is that the Jews want as much of the land as they can lay their hands on, the ports, the sites sacred to Christianity and Islam – plus, of course, ALL the water that over the centuries had sustained the people of Palestine and Jordan.
Ben-Gurion wrote in 1941 that “It is impossible to imagine general evacuation [of the Arab population] without compulsion, and brutal compulsion.” In 1947-48, when Jewish forces drove up to 700,000 Palestinians into exile, Ben-Gurion had told Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. . . . We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?”
The current (i.e. in 2006) Zionist leader, Ehud Olmert, came to power on an explicit promise to unilaterally set Israel’s “permanent borders”. The ‘package’ that he took to Washington included, in return for $10 billion he asked for (and received), a plan for the Zionists to withdraw from many smaller settlements – at least 17 in the first phase – in the West Bank and move most of the people in them to larger blocks that they ‘expect to annex’. The man also made it clear that “It will be only a civilian disengagement, not a military disengagement,” The Israeli army will remain in the bits of land the settlers are being moved out of.
Let us look, very briefly indeed, that history being so extensive – at just what the Zionists did. What they continue to do, under cover of the government of the USA, and therefore with apparent impunity is a ‘breaking story’ that may soon explode in their collective face.
The creation of Israel in 1947-48 involved explicit acts of ethnic cleansing, including executions, massacres, and rapes by Jews The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) also murdered hundreds of Egyptian prisoners-of-war in both the 1956 and 1967 “wars”. In 1967, it expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights. Following its invasion of Lebanon in 1982 it also directed the massacre of 700 innocent Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. During the First Intifida (1987-1991), the IDF distributed truncheons to its troops and encouraged them to break the bones of Palestinian protestors. The Swedish “Save the Children” organization estimated that “23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the Intifida,” with nearly one-third sustaining broken bones. The same proportion of the beaten children were aged ten and under.” Israel’s response to the Second Intifida (2000-2005) was even more violent: The IDF fired one million bullets in the first days of the uprising. Future Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir openly argued that, “Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat”.
After the victory of Hamas, in an open general election, in late January, Israel withheld $50 million a month in Palestinian customs and tax receipts, though it continues to pay Israeli companies $5.5 million a month from those receipts for the water and electricity used by the Palestinians.
Israelis are often touted as being the epitome of bravery (almost on par with George W Bush – seen, once, in dim light on an aircraft carrier hundreds of miles away on his ‘visit to the troops in Iraq’; the George Bush who, for the two days he spent in India and Pakistan, hunkered down, respectively, in a fort off Delhi and in Islamabad in the US Ambassador’s residence, heavily guarded within a vast expanse of streets emptied of people).
What do the Israelis in fact do? Israel is using men who have been conscripted to slaughter the Palestinians. Such men aren’t out there ‘fighting for Israel’s right to exist’. Their heart is not in butchering innocents; – their energies are focused on remaining unhurt themselves, no matter how many innocents they murder. Hence the commanders of the Israeli army are committed to guaranteeing that none of the conscripts will be in danger of injury, much less death.
In “Hiding Behind Civilians’ (New York Times, 22 June, 2006), Haim Watzman, who had served as an Israeli infantry reservist in the West Bank in the 1980’s and 90’s, and authored “Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel”, wrote, “Soldiers who had to raid a house or patrol a dangerous stretch of road would grab a nearby civilian and place him in front of them. This civilian had no function other than to protect Israeli soldiers.” Though Watzman says that he has “Never met a soldier who thinks armies ought to be able to maim and kill civilians with impunity,” and that “The practice was not a grassroots initiative. It was an army policy, handed down to soldiers by their superior officers,” he also points out that when the Israeli Supreme Court banned the use of such human shields, (just nine months ago), “many in the army felt they had been robbed of a tool that made their jobs safer, and which helped the commanders protect the lives of their soldiers.”(! ! !)
What have the great warriors of Israel put in its place? Bulldozers. Instead of entering a house behind a human shield, Israeli soldiers turn the house into rubble. Watzman concludes: “Morality in combat is not just an abstract principle. It is an element of an army’s strength. If the safety of soldiers becomes the standard according to which an army designs its missions, an army that does not take risks will be easily beaten by an opponent that does. It’s essential for a society to demand that its army observe moral standards, even if the price to be paid is that more soldiers will be killed.” Tell that to Olmert, – who has “vehemently denied that there was any Palestinian “humanitarian crisis”, adding that, “We wouldn’t allow one baby to suffer one night because of a lack of dialysis,” – or tell it to the marines.
Let’s take a look at them ‘in action’. After warplanes knocked out half of Gaza’s electricity and pounded sonic booms over houses, Israeli tanks, hunkered down inside southern Gaza at the airport on Wednesday, (last week) reported the New York Times.
The impact of this, presumably humanitarian assault (which continues as you read this), is that: “Repeated sonic booms are wreaking the havoc they have wrought before: repeated sonic booms are smashing windows, sending children screaming into the arms of terrified adults, old people collapsing with heart failure, pregnant women collapsing with spontaneous abortions. Mass terror, despair, desperate hoarding of food and water. And no radios, television, cell phones, and no way to get news of how long this nightmare might go on.”
That is from Virginia Tilley’s latest report, as are the following.
“As food in the refrigerators spoils, the only remaining food is grains. Most people cook with gas, but with the borders sealed, soon there will be no gas. When family-kitchen propane tanks run out, there will be no cooking. No cooked lentils or beans, no humus, no bread – the staple Palestinian foods, the only food for the poor. (And there is no firewood or coal in dry, overcrowded Gaza.)
“And, a grimmer fact: no water. Gaza’s public water supply is pumped by electricity. The taps, too, are dry. No sewage system. Word is that the electricity is out for at least six months. The Gaza aquifer is already contaminated with sea water and sewage, due to over-pumping (partly by those now-abandoned Israeli settlements) and the grossly inadequate sewage system. To be drinkable, well water is purified through machinery run by electricity. Otherwise, the brackish water must at least be boiled before it can be consumed, but this requires electricity or gas. And people will soon have neither.
“If cholera breaks out, it will spread like wildfire in a population so densely packed and lacking fuel or water for sanitation.” Over a million people, – yes, people like you and me, – are trapped in that Gaza that the Zionists salivate for. “They are hunkered in their homes listening to Israeli shells, while facing the awful prospect, within days or weeks, of having to give toxic water to their children that may consign them to quick but agonizing deaths.”
That is the Israel that has the effrontery to demand its “right to defend itself”.
DON’T MISSLearning from My Father, Five Years After his Passing
A call for confidence in Rajavasala
The government is highly cheerful about the defeat of the SJB’s vote of no confidence on Minister Gammanpila.
It was able to display its two-thirds power in Parliament. Those smaller parties that are aligned with the Pohottuva such as the SLFP and Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF and others remained fastened with Pohottuva power. The new message after the SJB’s defeat is that the people are wholly supportive of the increase in fuel prices. In fact, they have been voting to support the new fuel prices, and thus Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa does not have to do anything about it. Forget all that talk about how that price increase would not have happened if BR had been in the country, or that he would reduce it in a couple of days in office.
The record of no-confidence motions in our Parliament from 1948 is certainly different. Many such motions have been defeated, but the wider and deeper messages they carried have remained with the voters, who did what was necessary when the time for a larger national Vote of No-Confidence came their way.
This is the first big issue that Sajith Premadasa faced as leader of the SJB. There was somewhat of a challenge to him with the presence in Parliament of his former leader, and continuing UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who did try a green twist to the motion by trying to amend it to read against the whole government. Such twists and turns in politics can only be expected when persons who are wholly defeated by the voters in an election, the entire party and himself included, enters the House through the backdoor of the National List.
What this no-confidence motion brought before the people is much more than the rise in fuel prices. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government’s flagrant misuse of quarantine regulations to forcibly grab and transport trade union, civil rights, and political critics and opponents to a lock down centre in the North, combined with the continuing protests by farmers without necessary fertiliser, there is a rising mood of public discontent with the advancing power of the Rajapaksas. Here are some of the real ‘confidence’’ issues facing the people.
Does Pohottuva think the public are wholly supportive of the presidential pardon to a murderer convicted by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court? What about the three others who were also convicted with the same person? Is the public cheerful about such a pardoned, but not freed of crime – person, being appointed to head a major state institution on housing development? Is housing to be a sector of increasing political manipulation, much more than it was when Wimal Weerawansa, as Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, was at play in that sector, with luxury housing for relatives?
By the way, Weerawansa was a loud and strong opponent to the no- confidence motion against Minister Gammanpila.
There is currently some confused thinking on the silent protest carried out by teachers on distant teaching through the internet. The vast numbers, in several thousands, who participated in the public call for action by the government on the long-standing teacher demands, did show the necessity for action.
The public who may be even critical of the trade union action by the teachers are certainly not supportive of them being called ‘kaalakanniyo’ – miserable, wretched – even by a Cabinet Minister, whatever rank or status he may hold. Minister Rambukwelle could have turned many teachers, who may have preferred to be silent about their dispute on income and rights, to openly join the related trade union action. The Minister’s subsequent reference to teachers as ‘divinities’ certainly had little impact, in a land where there are unholy divinities, too.
The increase in the size of protests today shows a rise in the mood of opposition to the government. The public reaction to the ugly and shameful show of force against citizen protesters by the Police, against court orders, too, seem to have pushed the Police somewhat into the background. But we cannot be sure of that.
There have been many transfers and promotions of key police personnel, and the vacancy in the highest police post is not far away. Will the future actions on police management by the Rajapaksa Handlers send a new message on Police Brutality? Will the suspects brought to show evidence and are shot down, show an increase in the coming months? This is where public confidence in the government’s role in fighting crime and keeping peace will be on display, as the Rajapaksa Handlers move to more Family Power and less People’s Power.
More than two years have passed since that Easter Sunday attack on three churches, the deaths of so many, many more injured, families destroyed, parents gone and children lost, and the government still has to show the people the truth about this massive crime. The Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has now given a one-month deadline for the President and the government to answer several key issues about this crime, which were key electoral promises of the Pohottuva candidate who is now the President, and the SLPP government of today.
The answers to these issues raised will show the confidence in the Sri Lankan government by the people of this country, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or caste; and the confidence in this country by the international community.
The defeat of the no-confidence motion on Minister Gammanpila should not be the stuff of worry for the Opposition in Parliament and the SJB. It is certainly a call to spread the wider message of no-confidence in a government that has failed in living up to its promises to the people.
The government may remain happy with its two-thirds majority in Parliament. But it certainly needs much more than parliamentary numbers to retain and build the confidence among the people. This is the real task of the Rajapaksa Power today. It has to move away from a Rajapaksa Senakeliya or Carnival, and try and settle down to Rajapaksa Service to the people, and not to themselves. A true call for Confidence in the Rajavasala, from those away from the Rajapaksa pack and players.
How rebirth takes place
(from THE BUDDHA AND HIS TEACHINGS by Venerable Nārada Mahāthera)
“The pile of bones of (all the bodies of) one man
Who has alone one aeon lived
Would make a mountain’s height —
So said the mighty seer.”
To the dying man at this critical stage, according to Abhidhamma philosophy, is presented a Kamma, Kamma Nimitta, or Gati Nimitta.
By Kamma is here meant some good or bad act done during his lifetime or immediately before his dying moment. It is a good or bad thought. If the dying person had committed one of the five heinous crimes (Garuka Kamma) such as parricide etc. or developed the Jhānas (Ecstasies), he would experience such a Kamma before his death. These are so powerful that they totally eclipse all other actions and appear very vividly before the mind’s eye. If he had done no such weighty action, he may take for his object of the dying thought-process a Kamma done immediately before death (Āsanna Kamma); which may be called a “Death Proximate Kamma.”
In the absence of a “Death-Proximate Kamma” a habitual good or bad act (Ācinna Kamma) is presented, such as the healing of the sick in the case of a good physician, or the teaching of the Dhamma in the case of a pious Bhikkhu, or stealing in the case of a thief. Failing all these, some casual trivial good or bad act (Katattā Kamma) becomes the object of the dying thought-process.
or “symbol,” means a mental reproduction of any sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea which was predominant at the time of some important activity, good or bad, such as a vision of knives or dying animals in the case of a butcher, of patients in the case of a physician, and of the object of worship in the case of a devotee, etc…
By Gati Nimitta, or “symbol of destiny” is meant some symbol of the place of future birth. This frequently presents itself to dying persons and stamps its gladness or gloom upon their features. When these indications of the future birth occur, if they are bad, they can at times be remedied. This is done by influencing the thoughts of the dying man. Such premonitory visions of destiny may be fire, forests, mountainous regions, a mother’s womb, celestial mansions, and the like.
Taking for the object a Kamma, or a Kamma symbol, or a symbol of destiny, a thought-process runs its course even if the death be an instantaneous one.
For the sake of convenience let us imagine that the dying person is to be reborn in the human kingdom and that the object is some good Kamma.
His Bhavanga consciousness is interrupted, vibrates for a thought-moment and passes away; after which the mind-door consciousness (manodvāravajjana) arises and passes away. Then comes the psychologically important stage –Javana process — which here runs only for five thought moments by reason of its weakness, instead of the normal seven. It lacks all reproductive power, its main function being the mere regulation of the new existence (abhinavakarana).
The object here being desirable, the consciousness he experiences is a moral one. The Tadālambana-consciousness which has for its function a registering or identifying for two moments of the object so perceived, may or may not follow. After this occurs the death-consciousness (cuticitta), the last thought moment to be experienced in this present life.
There is a misconception amongst some that the subsequent birth is conditioned by this last death-consciousness (cuticitta) which in itself has no special function to perform. What actually conditions rebirth is that which is experienced during the Javana process.
With the cessation of the decease-consciousness death actually occurs. Then no material qualities born of mind and food (cittaja and āhāraja) are produced. Only a series of material qualities born of heat (utuja) goes on till the corpse is reduced to dust.
Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth consciousness there spring up the ‘body-decad,’ ‘sex-decad,’ and ‘base-decad’ (Kāya-bhāva-vatthu-dasaka).
According to Buddhism, therefore, sex is determined at the moment of conception and is conditioned by Kamma not by any fortuitous combination of sperm and ovum-cells.
The passing away of the consciousness of the past birth is the occasion for the arising of the new consciousness in the subsequent birth. However, nothing unchangeable or permanent is transmitted from the past to the present.
Just as the wheel rests on the ground only at one point, so, strictly speaking, we live only for one thought-moment. We are always in the present, and that present is ever slipping into the irrevocable past. Each momentary consciousness of this ever-changing life-process, on passing away, transmits its whole energy, all the indelibly recorded impressions on it, to its successor. Every fresh consciousness, therefore, consists of the potentialities of its predecessors together with something more. At death, the consciousness perishes, as in truth it perishes every moment, only to give birth to another in a rebirth. This renewed consciousness inherits all past experiences. As all impressions are indelibly recorded in the ever-changing palimpsest-like mind, and all potentialities are transmitted from life to life, irrespective of temporary disintegration, thus there may be reminiscence of past births or past incidents. Whereas if memory depended solely on brain cells, such reminiscence would be impossible.
“This new being which is the present manifestation of the stream of Kamma-energy is not the same as, and has no identity with, the previous one in its line — the aggregates that make up its composition being different from, having no identity with, those that make up the being of its predecessor. And yet it is not an entirely different being since it has the same stream of Kamma-energy, though modified perchance just by having shown itself in that manifestation, which is now making its presence known in the sense-perceptible world as the new being.
Death, according to Buddhism, is the cessation of the psycho-physical life of any one individual existence. It is the passing away of vitality (āyu), i.e., psychic and physical life (jīvitindriya), heat (usma) and consciousness (vinnana).
Death is not the complete annihilation of a being, for though a particular life-span ends, the force which hitherto actuated it is not destroyed.
Just as an electric light is the outward visible manifestation of invisible electric energy, so we are the outward manifestations of invisible Kammic energy. The bulb may break, and the light may be extinguished, but the current remains and the light may be reproduced in another bulb. In the same way, the Kammic force remains undisturbed by the disintegration of the physical body, and the passing away of the present consciousness leads to the arising of a fresh one in another birth. But nothing unchangeable or permanent “passes” from the present to the future.
In the foregoing case, the thought experienced before death being a moral one, the resultant rebirth-consciousness takes for its material an appropriate sperm and ovum cell of human parents. The rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi vinnana) then lapses into the Bhavanga state.
The continuity of the flux, at death, is unbroken in point of time, and there is no breach in the stream of consciousness.
Rebirth takes place immediately, irrespective of the place of birth, just as an electromagnetic wave, projected into space, is immediately reproduced in a receiving radio set. Rebirth of the mental flux is also instantaneous and leaves no room whatever for any intermediate state (antarabhava). Pure Buddhism does not support the belief that a spirit of the deceased person takes lodgement in some temporary state until it finds a suitable place for its “reincarnation.”
This question of instantaneous rebirth is well expressed in the Milinda Pa
The King Milinda questions:
“Venerable Nagasena, if somebody dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, and another dies here and is reborn in Kashmir, which of them would arrive first?
“They would arrive at the same time. O King.
“In which town were you born, O King?
“In a village called Kalasi, Venerable Sir.
“How far is Kalasi from here, O King?
“About two hundred miles, Venerable Sir.
“And how far is Kashmir from here, O King?
“About twelve miles, Venerable Sir.
“Now think of the village of Kalasi, O King.
“I have done so, Venerable Sir.
“And now think of Kashmir, O King.
“It is done, Venerable Sir.
“Which of these two, O King, did you think the more slowly and which the more quickly?
“Both equally quickly, Venerable Sir.
“Just so, O King, he who dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, is not reborn later than he who dies here and is reborn in Kashmir.”
“Give me one more simile, Venerable Sir.”
“What do you think, O King? Suppose two birds were flying in the air and they should settle at the same time, one upon a high and the other upon a low tree, which bird’s shade would first fall upon the earth, and which bird’s later?”
“Both shadows would appear at the same time, not one of them earlier and the other later. “
The question might arise: Are the sperm and ovum cells always ready, waiting to take up the rebirth-thought?
According to Buddhism, living beings are infinite in number, and so are world systems. Nor is the impregnated ovum the only route to rebirth. Earth, an almost insignificant speck in the universe, is not the only habitable plane, and humans are not the only living beings. As such it is not impossible to believe that there will always be an appropriate place to receive the last thought vibrations. A point is always ready to receive the falling stone.
Dual citizens; shocking rape cases going unpunished
I have a bone to pick with my co-Friday columnist who writes from across the ocean about the Pearl. In his July 16 column, he writes at length on dual citizens entering the Sri Lankan Parliament while retaining citizenship of another country. He lauds it in no uncertain terms, while most of us natives, living in our motherland, oppose the move that was introduced in the 20th Amendment. He writes: “A Dual Citizen is back as a national list member of parliament. Now, this in a country that passed legislation that banned dual citizens from entering parliament. This of course is something I was and am vehemently opposed to …”
The previous ban which he ‘vehemently opposed’ he pins on the Kaduwa syndrome – inferiority complex; frog in the well mentality; “fear of intimidation, fear, and revulsion of learning anything new from others”. Cass labels his reasons tosh! He goes to the extreme of writing: “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less. … Our entire national list should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” The implication here is that all our Sri Lankan citizens holding only Sri Lankan passports are no good against dual citizens who to him are nonpareil, more so legislaters. Thus, he casts aside as useless all those holding higher qualification gained mostly locally and are loyal to the country. They to him are less in ability, qualifications, broadmindedness than those who escaped to foreign countries when the going was bad and now return when it suits them. I present sole citizens like Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickremaratne and Harsha de Silva and very many medical professionals and agriculturists who have shown they are pre-eminently qualified in their several fields, and loyal to Sri Lanka too.
Dual citizens left the country for whatever reason, mostly escaping a sinking ship for better prospects even as second-class citizens. Then they had the bug of nationalism arising in their breasts. This when it suited them; when it was opportune for them to return to their country of birth. They seize the opportunity to be recognised, elevated, lauded; and return from obscurity in a foreign country to hosannas sung by loyalists and promoters of dual citizenship like Rajitha Ratwatte. If they are so loyal and want to serve their mother country, why don’t they give up the citizenship of the country chosen for emigration and become solely Sri Lankan citizens? Oh no, they keep a safety branch handy for escape – to obscurity though – when things get too hot here. Even Basil Rajapaksa took plane to the US immediately after his brother’s defeat at the 2015 presidential election. Now back with several brothers in high power, nephews included; in short, a government mostly by the Family, it is ideal for Brother Basil to return and to boost his return, such loud singing of hosannas and prediction this Knight with superhuman powers will kill the dragon of economic bankruptcy that is poised to devour poor Sri Lanka. He may even banish the virus that has overpowered the entire world. We Ordinaries will wait and watch.
It is no to persons like medical interns who got their entire education- high school plus medical – at government expense and then scooted slyly to greener pastures immediately after getting their MBBSs. This closed door also to those who fled punishments or change of government or jumped the ship they thought was sinking or scooted for whatever expediency. However, those who felt they had no hope of career development in this country or went for higher studies (when local universities were closed for long or did not accept them) and then decided to stay back in the host countries as citizens are welcome back as even dual citizens since their return is prompted by caring for parents and siblings left behind, or wanting to settle down on birth turf and benefit the country with foreign money and expertise gained. Some highly qualified, medical professionals mostly, revisit Sri Lanka and give immense help free of charge. We welcome them wholeheartedly and are grateful. But not those whose motives for returning are purely selfish.
What particularly irked ole Cass were these two statements of Rajitha Ratwatte writing ‘From Outside the Pearl’. “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less” and “our entire national lists should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” I won’t deal with the first statement. How can he judge whether it is the only good move of government until Basil delivers the prediction of saving the country? Then the promotion of dual citizens to Parliament – “qualified with experiences gained from the first world.” I mentioned how some of these come back to help us but never as politicians or into politics. Those who come into the political arena so far have not advertised their higher qualifications and some have experience in petrol pumping if not dish washing!!
Rape rears its medusa head
We have been hearing and reading about a 15-year-old girl sold for prostitution by her mother and used by the many including some high persons. The case is out in the open and due punishment may be meted out. Another case was highlighted about a younger girl and I was told that social media highlighted a father who abused his two daughters and is in hiding now. Words fail ole Cass to express how reprehensible these cases are: unbridled perverse sexual desire and greed for money; two conditions rampant now. Cass nearly fell of her chair when she read the first page news item in The Island of Wednesday July 21. “National child protection policy not implemented for 21 years, says COPE.” Rather usual in this Paradise Isle gone rotten. But what followed both inundated Cass’s heart with deep sorrow followed by raging fury, though useless. A beautiful, typically dressed 16 year old Tamil girl – Ishalini Jude Kumar – is featured in the article “who succumbed to injuries caused by a fire in the residence of lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen at No 410/16, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.” Stunning. Shocking beyond words. Cass believes the rape and suspects it was continuous but never will accept the self immolation.
This particular MP and former Minister has had two previous allegations against him – the destruction of parts of a forest bordering Wilpattu to build houses for his supporters and association with some Easter Sunday carnage suspects.
Rape and molesting children are extra extra-nasty social evils. The perpetrators must be severely punished. In Saudi Arabia it was said that stealing was punished with hands amputated so…
Cass leaves you on that note – to mull over as Sri Lanka is saved by the Hon Basil R and we get back to being Paradise.
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