|Saturday, 8 November 2003|
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Turn current problems into opportunities
We hope our front page lead story heading, "no return to war" had its desired impact on those sections of Lankan opinion which are seeking to capitalize on the current governmental crisis to raise communal passions and to destabilize the peace process.
It sends out a strong message to these restive sections that there is wide consensus among the different arms of the State on the need to forge ahead towards a just settlement of the ethnic conflict and for the advancement of national reconciliation. Thus have the communalists and the war mongers suffered a serious body blow.
Moreover, we had the statement yesterday that President Kumaratunga is committed to a negotiated settlement within a united country. It also said that she wishes to assure the people that there will be no return to hostilities.
This is gladdening news because the situation on the ground leaves very much to be desired and has turned into a breeding ground of wild speculation and rumours.
A task for the immediate future would be to restore the conditions of normalcy which were tangibly present in the country prior to the eruption of the intra-governmental feud. For instance, a withdrawal of the current state of emergency is likely to be joyfully welcomed by the people.
Chief of Defence Staff and Army Chief Lt. General Lionel Balagalle's assurance that the security forces would be supporting the SLMM in its peace facilitation efforts should strengthen the authorities' resolve in effecting these changes.
While addressing these ground realities, the feuding arms of the State should now seriously explore the possibilities of cohabiting peacefully towards the advancement of the interests of the people. Peace and normalcy are, of course, chief among these requirements and we call on the President and the Prime Minister to cooperate harmoniously in carrying the process of governance forward.
The stark reality is that we have been a bleeding and divided country. We are have referring to not only the divisions the burning ulcer which is the ethnic conflict has opened up. We are also having in mind the searing hatred and violence political divisions in Southern Sri Lanka have bred over the years. As a result of these polarities we are today a much impoverished people - spiritually, morally and materially. As never before in our post-independence history are we poised on the brink of total national ruin.
It is obvious that the issues at the heart of the present political crisis pertain principally to power, prestige and control. The parties to the conflict need to pause awhile to ascertain whether they intend placing power over the well-being of the country. If not, the President, the Prime Minister and their respective parties need to explore ways of cohabiting harmoniously in the name of the common good. We strongly urge that these problems are turned into opportunities.
Produced by Lake House