Lanka's Prophets of Doom
INVASION: Pearl Of the Indian Ocean and Paradise are among the names
used to describe our island in the Indian Ocean. The Dutch and the
Portuguese saw its potential and conquered Ports of Lanka. The East
India Trading Company saw Lanka and conquered Kolompure and named it
They took over the other port cities and renamed them.
The Sinhalayas encouraged the British to conquer the rest of the
country and a unified Ceylon under British administration was born. What
ails Lanka ? This story was told to me by a British national who has
lived in Ceylon during the British period as a public official. He is
now in retirement but comes to Sri Lanka every year since 1960 for its
sun and cheap holidays. He is 86.
The biggest curse for Lanka was the ethnic violence of the 50s. It
was a curse when Lankans deserted the land of their birth to other
countries of Asia as well as the West and Australia. The loss of Lanka
was the gain of other countries.
It was a curse during the late 60's and early 70"s when there was no
food, sugar or milk for the babies. It was a curse when a Sinhala
terrorist group unleashed violence on unarmed public officials to take
over power by committing murder just because they held public office.
Young people in their 18 - 25's were murdered to crush the movement.
Then came the terror of 1983 on civilians just because they were born
in Lanka as a minority community and finally the terror of 88 & 89 again
unleashed by Sinhala terrorists in their second attempt to take over
Up to this period there was some respect to humans by humans. Then
came the murder of parents in front of children and vice versa. Lighting
a lamp in the night was enough to be murdered. The heads of the murdered
persons were delivered to the next of kin or placed on the doorstep.
Carrying a dead body for burial on the shoulder was an 'offence'
punished by murder.
Now a new situation has arisen. There is bigger terrorism. The entire
country is under threat. Political leaders of other countries have been
assassinated by our terrorists. International espionage is being
conducted by them.
There was a Ceasefire Agreement and the country got out of the rut
after many years of conflict. But now the country will head back to
shambles unless terrorism is crushed.
Certain sectors of the International community is backing the
Government to eliminate terrorism. What should the people who love the
country do? Back the Government to eliminate terrorism. The Government
is defending while the terrorists are attacking.
Attacks against the diplomatic community too have started. Innocent
civilians are being targeted and due to the civic consciousness of the
public large scale murder by the terrorists is being prevented to a
How many have understood the conflict, which was started by a
politician by the stroke of a pen ? The past cannot be corrected but the
future can. Conflict resolution is an important factor.
Prophets of doom say there is a war on. There is no war. If there is
a war, all above 18 and below 45 must be commissioned to serve the
country. There are various organisations - NGO funded - having talk
shops for peace. How many NGOs or organisations are there to tell the
aggressor "lay down your arms and talk peace".
The defender is being pressurised to stop defending and talk peace.
Our own people and some of the business community look up and spit on
their own faces. They project economic downfall. They say tourism is
affected, tell all the negative stories that can be told to cripple the
economy and bring tourism down.
It is now time for people who want to live and die of old age in
Paradise or the Pearl of the Indian Ocean to act. The word Lanka itself
means prosperity. Get together. Denounce terrorism. Work intelligently,
smarter, invest in the economy and keep the economy and wheels of
Governance oiled to eliminate terrorism. Create employment for the
younger generation. There is a big dearth of labour in the country right
now but there is unemployment and under employment.
The media itself has a vital role to play. Daily the news projects
doom. Doom will never come to the country because it is blessed not to
fall. This country is walking whereas countries less prosperous than us
a few years ago have got up and are running. They have less prophets of
doom and their media do not project the prophets of doom.
I was at a seminar on Understanding Conflict, Building Peace. The
prophets of doom were in full force spreading their message of doom.
They said a war is on. Peace Secretariat Chief Dr. Palitha Kohona said
there is no war, only that the Government is defending the country.
People who love the country should come forward and march for prosperity
and not doom.