The so-called US resolution on the supposed human rights violations
during the final phase of the LTTE debacle in Sri Lanka seems to have
stirred up a bit of a hornet's nest. It is timely that everyone
concerned takes a good look at the US's own human rights record in the
context that it is trying to impose uncalled for restrictions on other
sovereign nations according to dictates of certain vested interests.
Let's first look at what happened as recently as July 16th, 2009 to
Professor Henry Louis Gates, the respected Afro-American Professor of
the famed Harvard University, while he was trying to open the front door
of his own home. As the door lock was jammed he entered the house
through a back door and was in the process of forcing open the front
door with his driver, another Afro-American. A white American cop
entered the Gates’ house, handcuffed Gates and took him to the police
station, despite identification provided to confirm that he was the
rightful occupant of the house. This was purely on a phone tip-off of a
possible house break-in.
President Obama rightly reacted to the incident by saying that the
police had acted foolishly and that he was more fortunate himself that
there was no need for him to open any doors of the White House. Obama
went on to say that he would have been shot in similar circumstances of
his trying to open a White House door. He however had to retract his
original statement later under pressure, and instead invite both the cop
and the professor for beer at the White House.
Many us know there was racial segregation even in public transport in
many states of the USA, the today's self proclaimed world champion of
human rights and democracy. But we can never forget the real American
champions of basic human rights like Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the
two Afro-Americans who won the gold and bronze medal respectively at the
200 metres at the 1968 Olympics.
Both raised their black-gloved fists at the medal awards ceremony in
protest against the social injustice and segregation prevailing in their
country at the cost of losing the hard won medals immediately
afterwards. Similar examples are too many to be detailed here. We should
all be thankful to the silver medalist of the event Australian Peter
Norman, a white, who too took the opportunity to wear a human rights
badge at the podium in protest against the 'White Australia Policy'.
Norman proved to the world that all whites are neither racists nor
They are the true heroes of human rights, unlike the
‘pseudo-heroines’ of the likes of Hillary's. Just last week, I was
watching a CNN TV programme where a prospective republican candidate for
the forthcoming US Presidential Election was being interviewed. He was
asked how he felt about the burning of the Quran at a US army camp in
Afghanistan. His response was to ask the interviewer to think of the
frame of mind the soldiers would have been in under such dangerous
circumstances as in Afghanistan. The implication was that for a soldier
to change his mind frame according to the situation he is in, he has to
be from the Uncle Sam first and a white next.
That is how the American leaders try to twist situations to their own
Now, turning to our own situation here in Sri Lanka, let us see what
happened during the last few days when the LTTE leaders were cornered by
the Sri Lankan forces. Let us finally not forget that the Americans
betrayed almost all the Vietnamese who faithfully served them till the
very last moment in the so-called largest ever helicopter evacuation,
rescuing only the Americans in possibly the worst betrayal ever
Is there a shortage of the one rupee coin or is it that the rupee
coin has become very insignificant? I am compelled to ask this question
as nine times out of ten, I do not seem to get my due balance of a
rupee. The worst offenders are bus conductors. When I tender a ten rupee
note to travel a nine rupee distance, I never seem to receive the one
The nickle plated one rupee that was in circulation was of acceptable
size, but the copper coin introduced is just the size of the 25 cents
which has now gone out of circulation. That children collect coins in
their tills is true, but if this has led to a shortage of the coin, it
is time the Central Bank released a stock to meet the shortage. After
all, a hundred rupees will not be a hundred, if it is short by a rupee.
Toilet facilities for females at petrol stations:
On behalf of the female population of this country who undergo much
hardship when travelling and the need to use a toilet arises, I make
this humble suggestion and request.
Please make it essential for all petrol sheds all over the country to
have clean, decent, usable toilets with water for the use of female
In all foreign countries every petrol shed has clean toilets and a
small grocery outlet. Why not we also have this in our very own Sri
Lanka? We should begin someday. A nominal charge of Rs. 20 could be
levied from the user to prevent unwanted persons using this facility,
and to cover cost of maintenance. Every shed needs a toilet for their
staff and also someone has to clean it.
Why not improve the facility, and make it available for travellers
and motorists also?
Lazarus Perinpanayagam a parishioner of St. Jude's Church, Mattegoda,
an ex-planter and now a British Council qualified lecturer in IELTS aged
74, was the oldest runner in the 5.5 km run organised by the Rotaractors
of Colombo Uptown in aid of the Cancer Institute, Maharagama. He was an
all-round sportsman at St. Patrick's College, Jaffna and St. Joseph's
College, Colombo. He captained the athletic team at St. Patrick's
College in 1954 and later at St. Joseph's College which he represented
in athletics and basketball, and won soccer colours in 1957. After
leaving school he captained the All Jaffna soccer team in 1961 and
played rugger and soccer for the Uva Province in 1963. He played
veterans' soccer for the Old Josephian Sports Club until 1990 and since
then he has been taking part in almost all the veterans' running and
walking competitions. His grandson Ravin Antonio aged 13, an outstanding
athlete and under 13 rugger captain of St. Joseph's College, Colombo
also completed the run.
‘Soccer Peri’ as he is popularly known keeps fit by daily exercise,
jogging and walking. A Rotarian for 30 years, past Assistant Governor
District 3220 and a great social worker, he believes in the Rotary Motto
"Service above Self"
I wish to bring to the kind notice of the traffic department of the
Colombo Municipal Council that along the one-way road at Dematagoda
where some international schools are situated, the narrow pavement and
the road are of the same level from assessment number 139 onwards. Motor
bikes and three wheelers are very often found to be ridden and driven on
this narrow pavement in spite of it being a traffic offence. As a daily
traveller to this area I see pedestrians, especially school children not
only being inconveniently forced to walk on the road but also running a
risk and facing danger to their lives, because of vehicles running on
It is kindly requested to build the pavements to avoid such vehicles
running over them upto the colour light area that joins Baseline Road.
The opposite side pavements also require repairs. Early action by the
CMC will be greatly appreciated as the road without a pavement is a
hazard to human life.