Where is the spirit of peace?
Easter and furthering of the peace process have resulted in much euphoria with peace marches and talk of the possibility of the emergence of a consensual government. All this is very encouraging, but at the risk of being called spoilsports it has to be pointed out that mere demonstrations and speeches are not enough but what is absolutely essential is that there must be the determination of all parties to achieve this goal which has proved elusive for almost two decades.
Over the years, peace has been given many connotations in this land. Peace organisations that mushroomed with foreign assistance have for varied reasons been sympathetic with the LTTE, despite it being one of the most vicious and vile terrorist organisations the world had known. Some of these organisations have yet to utter a word against the LTTE. Thus, today to many, peace has come to mean to support the LTTE, despite its terrorism. Any condemnation of the LTTE means anti-peace or war mongering. Pin pointing violations of the Peace Agreement - like The Island has been consistently doing is tantamount to being anti-peace.
But everything is not rosy and fragrant in the garden of peace, as the peace activists want us to believe. The Muslim community is deeply perturbed. The LTTE cadres are a law unto themselves in the Eastern Province with the government forces being compelled to spike their guns in the fear of being accused of sabotaging the peace agreement. The situation has deteriorated and the Muslin Congress leader, Mr. Rauf Hakeem was in the Eastern Province attempting to pacify and assure Muslims of safeguarding their interests. Today, veteran Muslim leader, Mr. M. H. Mohamed, has summoned a meeting of all Muslim leaders in parliament.
In these circumstances, the Norwegian led Sri Lanka Monitoring Committee is expected to take action in accordance with the cease-fire agreement. What this monitoring committee is doing or had done so far is not known. Mr. Hakeem is quoted in weekend papers saying that this committee had not addressed the situation realistically. We are not aware of the attitude of this monitoring committee but they should realise that they are playing about with the lives of the Sri Lankans. This monitoring committee has not notified the public how they could be contacted. They seem to be stone deaf to criticism made by the media. Perhaps they may be under the impression that they are overlords of this country.
Political spokesmen for the government have developed a tetanic locked-jaw syndrome on what is happening in the Eastern Province but mercifully Defence Ministry spokesmen are issuing concise reports of violations of the cease-fire by the LTTE.
The LTTE violations are already having serious political repercussions. It has been reported that the SLMC has now revived its call for an autonomous state in the Eastern Province. The fall out could be that Mr. Arumugam Thondaman of the CWC would revive his grandfathers call for a Malayanadu in the salubrious Nuwara Eliya region. It could leave the Sinhalese, particularly the Kandyan Sinhalese asking: Where is our traditional homeland that the British swore to protect in the Kandyan Convention but destroyed with indentured labour brought in from South India to work their tea plantations? Such developments could reduce the so called peace initiative to shambles.
Meanwhile, the LTTE is reported to be sharpening its knives for its initial pound of flesh: Control of an interim council that will govern the Eastern Province.
We may be sounding Cassandra-like but it is obvious to people with common sense except for the incredibly naive that the spirit of peace must prevail among those who have made war, if peace is to return. Demonstrations for peace in the streets of Colombo alone will not do.
A day of laughter
In this dead serious world, special days have been allocated for various causes: Environment, water, soil, animals, babies, women, love, etc. But of all these days, today, April Fools Day is perhaps the most delightful and equally significant too. Laughter is about the finest form of expressing emotions. It is said that A man who cannot laugh is not only fit for treason, stratagems and spoils but whose whole life is already a treason and a stratagem
History does not record the laughter of horrible personalities of history such as Attila, Genghis Khan or Hitler. We refrain from mentioning the horrible of our present and past .
The good laugh, more so, they can laugh at themselves. Two of our prime ministers, very lovable personalities were able to laugh at themselves Sir John Kotelawala and Dudley Senanayake.
Today, the day of jokers, there will be many practical jokes played on victims. One such joker rang up The Island yesterday requesting us to write a report of a tall silver haired man dressed in white roaming Colombo 7 at midnight and asking for a lift home. When he enters the car he pulls out a gun and robs the good Samaritans of all their valuables, he warned. He wanted us to write this report on the front page. Being jokers of a kind we spotted it immediately and said we will oblige him. Besides, The Island is a serious paper that does not mislead its readers.
Nonetheless, since we want to have a lasting friendship with our readers we wish to warn our readers that laughter could be counter productive as well and that they should be on their guard. Its good to keep in mind the quotation of that great humorist Oscar Wilde: Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship and its by far the best ending for one.
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