A national issue
Prime Minister Ratnasiri
Wickramanayaka yesterday told the media the issue that has
arisen due to the United Nations Special Rapporteur calling for
an explanation from the Government on an allegation raised by
former Army Comannder and Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath
Fonseka has to be treated as one concerning the nation as a
whole. It is not a personal issue, he said.
As the issue is national he requested the media to take it as
one that goes beyond partisan politics. In fact, he requested
every one including the media to unite to defend the nation from
the threats that emanate from possible UN action.
He also said the Government is studying the UN communication
seriously and would send its response thereafter.
The media has a great responsibility to give the public a
factual report of the developments as they take place. What the
country needs is to send a considered reply sans emotive
outbursts. It should be both factual and restrained.
Sri Lanka is a responsible member of the United Nations. Its
relations with it are multi-faceted. They range from cooperation
in development to IDP rehabilitation and resettlement, food aid
and many more. Sri Lanka also paticipates in many international
projects of the UN including its peacekeeping operations.
What is urgent is not to be a party to soiling the existing
cooperative relation. The objective is to prevent the world body
from pursuing a vindictive probe on the conduct of the war that
would damage the good name of the country and adversely affect
its citizens and the Armed Forces.
It is na‹ve to believe that the issue would die down with the
retired commander retracting what he told the newspaper or
taking all responsibility upon himself. Even if he were to do so
the issue would not end there.
As the Prime Minister very rightly pointed out the United
Nations does not deal with individuals. It deals with states. It
is the State that is answerable.
Public acrimony between contestants during the current
election campaign could easily foul the atmosphere for
principled handling of the issue. That is why extra caution
should be taken in handling the issue, especially by the media.
Meanwhile, the Government will have to not only respond to
the UN communication but also alert our friends in the
international community and solicit their suport to meet any
threats that may follow if the world body decides to take the
issue further ahead.
The citizens must also know the source of the danger. They
must know which states and organizations are lobbying the world
body asking it to put Sri Lanka on the dock. They should also
find out why they are behaving in that manner.
In this case, it would be beneficial for anyone to look into
their past and see how they have behaved towards developing
countries like Sri Lanka, especially towards those that follow
policies that are not palatable to the Western powers.
Markets are considered the ultima Thule of bourgeois
economics. The market is a great leveller, everything would
depend on supply and demand, they say.
They charge the Government with interference in the holy
market, if it imposes price ceilings or limits market activity
in any manner.
Right now many essential commodities including rice are in
short supply in the market. It is not a case of a reduced supply
but a result of hoarding. Unfortunately those that find fault
with Government interference in the market are silent when the
same market is being manipulated for profit or for political
It is no secret that there exist trade mafias in the
distribution of several commodities such as rice and sugar.
It is time these mafia are controlled in the public interest.
Purity of markets are not so important as satisfying the
basic needs of the public.