Revisiting an epochal catastrophe
IT IS two years since the horrific tidal
wave disaster, popularly known as the "Tsunami of 2004", wreaked
catastrophe in Sri Lanka and some other parts of South and South East
Asia, while plunging the rest of the world into a prolonged spell of
overwhelming sorrow and mourning.
The State, very rightly, mandated that the country observes two
minutes' silence on the morning of December 26 in memory of the great
multitude of Lankans who were affected by the huge tragedy of December
26, 2004 which is bound to remain an excruciating remembrance in the
collective memory of Lankans for a very long time to come. In fact, it
will be remembered as the most nightmarish of our natural disasters by
present and future generations.
What is remarkable is that the tragedy continues to trigger a great
outpouring of sorrow both locally and internationally. We are expected
to pick up the pieces from the horrors of December 26, 2004 and
persevere on the path of rebuilding, reconstruction and rehabilitation
but it is also important that the dark and troubling memory of the
tragedy remains vividly etched in the collective consciousness of
For, mankind needs to constantly remember that "no man is an island"
and that humanity needs to be of continuous assistance to each other,
particularly in times of great sorrow and suffering. In other words,
humans need to sense that they are in some vital way being "diminished"
by the suffering of their fellow humans wherever they may be.
Sorrow, in other words, should bind humans closer together and
strengthen the ties of interdependence, particularly in this era of
Tsunami 2004 had a cementing impact among societies which were
thought to be geographically, physically, culturally and emotionally
separate and distinct. There was certainly a grand coming together of
peoples from around the world for the succouring of the tsunami-hit in
our part of the globe and none should know this better than us Lankans.
We hope the bonds that were thus established between Sumatra,
Tamilnadu and Sri Lanka - the biggest victims of the tsunami - and the
rest of the world would endure and prove unyielding. The institutions
and mechanisms of cooperation which were thus formed need to be
strengthened and invigorated in the days to come.
To be sure, there is a long way to go by way of rebuilding,
reconstruction and rehabilitation in particularly Sri Lanka. No
impartial observer would assert that the path to these objectives has
been free of bottlenecks and frustrating hurdles.
The State agencies and other entities engaged in this
country-rebuilding effort are continuing to face such challenges but it
cannot be said that nothing has been achieved in terms of bringing a
degree of normality into the lives of the tsunami-affected. Much has
been done and we call on the State in particular, to redouble efforts to
rebuild in full the tsunami-affected areas in Sri Lanka.
In doing so, a degree of self-criticism needs to be exercised by the
State institutions concerned. They need to think in terms of removing
all obstacles to the quick delivery of goods and services in the
The State also needs to rid the rebuilding effort of waste,
corruption and inefficiency. There is no escaping the need to wield the
big stick on wrong-doers whoever they may be.
Point of view: Why Norway has failed as a peace facilitator -
There is no known theory in pluralistic democracy
which has accepted a single individual or party as the "sole
representative" of any community. Solheim showed an extraordinary
inclination to go along with this wild fantasy of Balasingham.
Enjoying the true spirit of Christmas
Leading busy lifestyles many tend to forget the
spiritual preparation of Christmas. Commercialization of Christmas
worsens this situation. Christmas has been polluted by
commercialism. It has altered its true spirit, which is
characterized by meditation, sobriety and by a joy that is not
exterior but intimate.
Commercialisation of Christmas from a sociological perspective
What is commercialisation? Commercialisation is
vague term not clearly defined and in common usage, what is often
meant is the phenomenon of market getting dressed up for Christian
very early and people spending more time and resources in shopping
to the forgetfulness of the meaning of Christmas.