Another humane decision
The decision taken by the Government to
release all elderly persons over 60 years of age currently
residing in welfare camps in Vavuniya to the care of relatives
or to live independently is most welcome move and a humane act.
This is particularly so given their vulnerability to sickness
and ailments associated with age and deteriorating physical and
There is no doubt a large number of elderly persons among the
35,000 or so IDPs residing in these welfare centres and the
Government agencies alone would be hard pressed to give each and
everyone of them their personal attention given the enormity of
the problem at hand.
According to a front page report in an English daily
yesterday quoting the Government Agent for Vavuniya those
without relatives or guardians will be taken to special homes
set up by the Government. No one will be removed from the camps
against their will.
Already 60 such elderly persons have been released to their
next of kin and 73 others in one camp have been identified for
This is a clear demonstration to the outside world that the
Government is desirous of not just providing food and shelter
and other basic necessities to these unfortunate people who had
braved the LTTE guns to flee to the Government controlled areas
but that it is also keen to see the aged and feeble among them
unite with their families and relatives elsewhere and revert
back to their normal lives.
The Government has also reunited several family members who
had gone missing from each other during the passage from the
LTTE held areas and plans are under way to launch an online
program to gather such information about the IDPs.
All this can hardly be accorded with visions of a
concentration camp which certain Western Media were endeavouring
to promote on the Government’s treatment of the civilians
fleeing the horrors of the LTTE.
There can be little doubt that conditions in these welfare
centres are not the most perfect. But the Government make its
maximum effort to afford as normal an existence that could
obtain under the given circumstances. It has even gone to the
extent of affording temporary schooling to IDP children within
these camps and taken steps to refer students of the Jaffna
University back to their campuses with all expenses paid. Even
visiting UN Under Secretary General Sir John Holmes had only
praise for the Government for its efforts in this regard.
Far from the bleak picture been painted by vested interests,
all this goes to show the Government’s genuine commitment to
rehabilitate these hapless beings and integrate them into the
general mainstream of life as soon as possible.
In this regard it would be ideal if the Government takes
follow up action by inquiring into the welfare of these aged
persons who may go to live with their relatives or homes set up
by the Government action to ensure the welfare. What these
hapless people need is a humane touch which had been missing in
their lives all these years.
Indian success at Oscars
Sri Lanka as a nation no doubt will raise a toast to India
for her mind boggling success at the 81st Oscars, filmdom’s blue
riband, where it swept the board with 8 gold awards bagging the
Oscar for the best film in the process.
British Director Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ with a
predominantly Indian cast,crew and location completely upset
Hollywood traditions and stunned the world of cinema by this
stupendous achievement unrivalled in the annals of world’s
premier film awards night.
It is certainly a feather in the cap for Asian cinema. Most
of all the unprecedented Hollywood success would now elevate
Indian cinema in the eyes of the world and help it shrug off the
‘pot boiler image’ associated with Bollywood cinema.
The film also clinched a double Oscar for best original score
and best song statuette won by ‘Slumdog’ composer A. R. Rahaman
at the glittering spectacle watched by millions across the
This achievement shows that India has moved into the big
league on the global cinematic stage that could act as catalyst
for the Asian cinema as a whole.
True, there have been occasional forays into the Hollywood
bastion before by the Asian countries, and Indians have won
Oscars thrice before. But certainly yesterday was a defining
moment for the country and the sub continent as a whole for its
monumental achievement of conquering the ultimate at world
cinema’s citadel, pulling down the edifice of white dominance in
Hopefully it will continue with the trend and prove to be an
inspiration to countries like Sri
Lanka, which abounds in talent, to one day conquer the stars.