|Saturday, 7 August 2004|
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A selfless gesture
In another gesture which smacks of statesmanship of the highest order, President Kumaratunga has resigned from the position of leader of the UPFA, to enable her to concentrate mainly on furthering the peace and development processes of the country.
The decision is proof that the President puts peace and development in Sri Lanka far above personal position and prestige, which are the lures of run-of-the-mill politicians. However, for President Kumaratunga, selfless service to the country is priority number one.
The President would, therefore, gladly step down from her prestigious leadership position in the UPFA, to serve the people of this country better.
Contrary to reports that intra-alliance disputes have compelled her to step down, it is her sense of selfless devotion to the common good which has prompted the President's decision.
Clearly, the President had to choose between serving the cause of peace and development and expending her energies on humdrum matters relating to the alliance. Time spent in the latter manner would have deprived the President of the opportunity of pushing forward the peace process and helping in realising the people's development dream.
She has wisely chosen the former course and thereby made herself available to steer the peace process towards its logical conclusion.
The peace process is indeed a full-time job. The mundane matters of governance could easily distract a political leader committed to peace from the "straight but narrow path" of bringing reconciliation to the ethnic groups of the land.
However, by giving her undivided attention to peace, the President could make the country's future bright once again. Besides, no one could question the President's ability to steer the peace effort. She is the longest-serving, democratically-elected Head of State in this region.
Except for the general election of December 2001 and the local government elections which followed, President Kumaratunga led the PA to victory in all the elections it has contested since 1994.
A born leader, all that the President needs is more time to work on the country's number one projects, peace and development.
As Head of State and Government, President Kumaratunga would now be in a better position to represent all sections of the people. In fact, the space now opens for best use to be made of the Presidential form of government.
For far too long, both peace and development have been allowed to be the hostages of fiercely competitive party politics. We hardly need to elaborate on this because since 1948, the principal political parties of the land have been playing "pandu" with the National Question. It has been a pliable pawn of power politics. All this could now be put to an end.
Of Pots and Pans
The manager of a premier hotel in Galle has gone before the Supreme Court for redress complaining that he and his staff were arrested on the orders of a top police officer on charges of possessing offensive weapons despite pleadings that these "Offensive weapons" were in fact kitchen utensils -the tools of their trade.
According to the Daily News report, the Hotel Manager had won his initial battle with the Court granting him permission to proceed with the case.
Now there will be those who will hardly fault our erstwhile police friend for his line of thinking. If he is an old timer, his mind would have raced to the domestic brawls which ended up in his local station.
He would likely recall that more often than not the weapons used were the simple implements found in a common kitchen.
His mind would have possibly taken a trip down memory lane to a famous scene where a coffee grinder was hurled by an irate wife on her two timing husband. His vision would also have captured a bread knife wielding husband chasing his slatternly wife round the kitchen table before the whole matter ended up in his local station.
More likely also is that his mind may have grasped the implications of the pithy domestic phrase "umbata molgahen gahanawa", the molgaha being a permanent feature in any kitchen in the days of yore.
Assuming that our erstwhile guardian of the law was an old timer he would also have conjured up a typical domestic scene of broken crockery and flying saucepans as spouses went for each others' jugular- a typical scenario in those spacious days where domestic brawls hardly spilled over outdoors unlike the present day where death would have ensued.
More than anything his decision to raid this Hotel could have been influenced by the rip-off practised on customers in the hospitality trade and this frustrated hatred would have been directed at the kitchen utensils which were the very tools of this rip off.
Then suddenly seized by a lighter moment our resourceful cop could well have also pictured the famous Jossi Manappuwa comedy sequence in the first Sinhala film Kadavunu Poronduwa (Broken Promise) when Eddie Jayamanne and Jemini Kantha sang in duet danced in the kitchen while banging the pots and pans.
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