|Friday, 11 June 2004|
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Ashes to ashes dust to dust
It was only recently on the occasion of the National War Heroes' Day celebrations that President Kumaratunga outlined the conception of a strong Sri Lankan State. It is one where its peoples would be united under one banner, disregarding divisions based on race, creed and language.
The country was exhorted to reject these divisions which have proved disastrous - in the name of national unity.
The prime importance of these values for nation - building was underlined once again by Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama who said subsequently that the main aim of the Government was to build a strong and united Sri Lanka. Priority, he said, would be attached to protecting the moral and cultural values of our country.
In view of the primacy attached by Government leaders to the establishment of a strong and united Sri Lanka, it was most disenchanting to find that some representatives of the people are motivated primarily by the greed for power. Their demented conduct in Parliament recently bears this out fully.
While it is true that national decline was the keynote of the UNP years, it is now left to the UPFA Government to pull the country out of the abyss of ruin and discontentment.
Clearly, service to the people should take pride of place in the lives of MPs. Self-aggrandizement and selfish gain should be rejected completely by these representatives of the people as major hurdles on the path to national rejuvenation.
If we are to get back to our moral roots, selfless service and love for one another should take the place of self-centred behaviour, a major sample of which was dished out to the country in Parliament last Tuesday.
The wild scenes in Parliament were glaring evidence that self-interest and megalomania have taken complete possession of some of our MPs. While the most keenly-felt need is cooperation in governance to enable the people to be served, what we witnessed instead was a wild scramble for a toehold in the system of power.
Needless to say, this is no way of getting the country back on its feet. If the representatives of the people continue to be blinded by greed and self-interest, the possibility is that we will sink further into the quagmire of national decline.
It is incumbent on us to remind power wielders that power is an exceedingly fleeting thing. If at all they "strut and fret upon this stage", it is only momentarily because death is the inevitable destiny of us all.
This lesson of the transience of life is taught by all faiths. Why then hanker after the things of this world which would not last? The preferred alternative is commitment to humane values. Our hope is that our MPs would serve the people rather than be goaded on by the self-destructive desire for fleeting power.
We are alive today, gone tomorrow, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. This is something that our boisterous legislators full of pomposity and arrogance must bear in mind. Memories of them will soon be lost in the mists of time. Do they want it said of them as their epitaph, "good riddance of bad rubbish"?
Our legislators must place country before self, put aside their pettyfogging differences born largely of self opinionated, self inflated egos, and answer President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's call to join hands and unite to get this country out of the mess it is in, a mess for which none other than our politicians are to blame. The two year tenure of the UNF Government took Sri Lanka hurtling down the road to ruin.
It went a long way in selling our birthright, leave alone the family silver. It is only right that even at this late stage the UNP should abandon its traditional policy representing the vested interests of a capatalist caucus who have firmly clasped in their tentacles, 70 per cent of the nation's wealth.
The lawfully, democratically elected UPFA Government elected to power by the overwhelming will of the people must not only be allowed to govern without let or hindrance, but also strongly supported in the national interests, by all parties.
So, let our legislators, who strut around like peacocks, humble themselves and start living and working for the people, the people who have elected them to Parliament, for tomorrow may be too late.
Produced by Lake House