Daily Archives: July 15, 2006
The LTTE and the army suffered heavy casualties in a fierce fight when the terrorists attacked a troop patrol in Vakerni using mortar and small arms fire on Friday. Troops retaliated and reinforcements were rushed to conduct further search for terrorists in the area.
The International Committee for the Red Cross has made arrangements to handover the dead bodies of 12 soldiers to the Army at Iruppachchari in Batticaloa. Security forces said that there were two officers among the dead. The LTTE claimed that it had captured one soldier.
Although pro-LTTE websites named only four of their senior cadres who died in the fight, the security forces believe the casualty figure on the LTTE side could be much higher.
Five solders were injured in the incident and they were admitted o Polonnaruwa hospital for treatment.
Military sources said that the terrorists had used 81 mm mortars and small arms against the troop patrol. The battle in the Vakeneri area of eastern Sri Lanka would be the most bloody in recent weeks in terms of lives lost.
Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, a military spokesman, rejected the LTTE claim that the fighting occurred in rebel-held territory, saying Vakaneri is a no man’s land. Vakaneri is located 37 km northwest of Batticaloa town in eastern Sri Lanka. Security in the area has been strengthened with additional troops.-Department of Government Information
From newspaper delivery boy to award winning journalist
Fourteen-year-old Charles Peter took a Veerakesari newspaper out of the bundle he had to deliver and scanned the front page. His daily ritual was to note the by-lines of the journalists who had scored the top stories that day.
What he wanted more than anything was to see his name on that page one day, and as he made his way to the next paper stand, his determination to be not just another existence but to make a difference and be immortalized in the eyes of the world became stronger.
Thus from newspaper delivery boy to award winning journalist, ten years on, Charles Peter’s dream has become a definite reality. Winning the Editors Guild Award recently for the Social Development Reporter of the Year working for Metro News, Charles said that what really inspires him to write are the less privileged people who are victims of the chaotic political system in the country.
“A journalist is not only a writer but an investigator and also serves the people with his ability. The main concerns are the people of our society struggling to survive a hand to mouth existence. The worst part is that most of them can be found within the parameter of Colombo city,” he remarked. Going back to the past he remembered his childhood days. “Up until I was eight years old I didn’t go to a proper school because of various complications and had my primary education at a learning center run by an NGO close to where I lived,” he said adding that however he got entrance to a Tamil school in Kotahena several years later.
“At around 4 pm after our classes, a few friends of mine and I began taking up delivering papers at the Veerakesari Newspaper as a part time job because we didn’t want to waste our time,”
The need to be a journalist had constantly been on his mind ever since then and as soon as he finished his A Levels he began to pursue his dream, joining the same newspaper as a typesetter, typing out all the articles that other journalists wrote.
“Because I didn’t know the first thing about writing a good story to fit the style of a newspaper I was put to typeset,” he laughed adding that after the Company began the Metro Newspaper, he was requested specifically by the Editor to typeset exclusively for them.
“By this time my constant typing of news stories had given me a good idea of how one should be written, so I spoke to the Editor and got a chance to write small articles,” he explained.
However, as time went on Charles knack for picking up information and his ability to learn fast got him a recommendation by the Managing Director. “I was helped a lot by him to follow a training course in Kerala because I needed qualifications and also at the Sri Lanka College of Journalism,” he continued.
Nominated for the Best Young Journalist of the Year in 2005, Charles said he has been in the field for close to three years at present. He is the crime reporter for the Metro news as well a columnist concerning the underworld, and writes hard to expose the sufferings of the people in rural areas.
“The biggest benefit of being a journalist is unlike a doctor or an engineer who has to stick only to his fields, you can explore all fields in society. Some of his topics he has dealt with range from the people of the shanties and street children under the Maradana Bridge. “Social Development is not only writing but actually working towards a tangible result,” he explained adding that sometimes instead of writing the story he tries to contact the authority in concern to deal with the situation immediately.
“The problem is that government officials don’t acknowledge the suffering or give them any kind of relief, all what they do is use them for their own means.
There are times I have fought with the authorities for the basic necessities of some areas and had to face their wrath as well,” he said.“You have to have a purpose with whatever you write. I want to continue to do the best I can in the field and work towards a better society. This is my dream,” he smiled.
-Daily Mirror By Jeevani Pereira
I ask in all sincerity – Are our leaders Politicians or Morticians?
Now the Tigers are losing international support. NOW is the time for some SOLIDARITY. We will ruin ourselves if we don’t come together now.
Remember, while we are courting the opinion of world leaders, including Indian leaders, the Tigers are concentrating on Tamil Nadu leaders. This is a dangerous trend and the reasons are obvious.
JRJ said when the war started, "There are only about 200 "podians": we will wipe them out". SWRD said when the Satyagraha march commenced, led by Chelvanayagam from Galle Face Hotel end to the then old Parliament site, "Let them walk in the hot sun and come to cool themselves here. We will then see," or as I was told then, in much more deriding terms. I was a witness to the thousands gathered near the Parliament end, as I was in their midst, and saw the few assaults, but I was not a witness to the words spoken. Needless to add, B later signed a peace deal but buckled down to the pressure of the Bhikkus who were against the agreement.
Mrs. B – she maintained her respect and distance and I have no recollection of any harm she caused to any community.
Then came the 1983 episode. The less said about it the better, but it needs to be emphasised that some prominent UNP ministers and members were the prime leaders of this dastardly episode.
Ah, our Premadasa, everyone’s Premadasa, easily the best – but what madness came upon him to strike a deal with the devil himself and offer money and guns, and eventually ask the IPKF to leave the Island. It must be common-sense to anyone interested in politics that the word "RAPE" can be the most volatile "WORD" in a war situation. Did the Tigers use this cry to rouse up their people, or was it one of their grand strategies, or whether based on facts or were some instances exaggerated is of no consequence now. But if the IPKF had been given just one month more to carry on their elimination of the Tigers, we would be living in a peaceful country now. But the Great P got his just deserts from the very Vipers whom he fed with cash and guns.
Please don’t get the impression that I condone rape, but tell me of any single war in which that "word" has not been used. Why, even now the Tigers use that accusation against our forces.
Then came Mrs. Kumaratunga B, better known as Chandrika. For a year or two all communities looked up to her, but she got entangled in the devious maneuverings of evil-minded advisors and the vast presidential powers too enamored her. But she had guts – and maybe, just maybe, if her attempt to appoint Kadirgamar as PM had been endorsed, astute politician that he was, and one who enjoyed world wide respect, the present situation may not have arisen – but then again the Bhikkus said openly that only a Buddhist can be appointed PM.
Then comes the present era and the predicament we are placed in now. I listened to Sirasa News and heard a politician prattle away some nonsense, and the same is repeated in newspapers about coming together, if the govt. dumps the JVP and the JHU. I am tempted to ask, is this the unity your party seeks, by dumping two registered political parties. Don’t you see a contradiction in your words? I have my own opinion on the two said parties, but what UNION would it be if other political parties were left out in this hour of peril of the entire country? Don’t you realise what discomfort they can cause to your ‘UNION’?
Please tell me – when your leader signed that ignominious CFA, did he meet person to person that Prabha then, before or after. In this hour of peril what has your leader been doing in the USA for two weeks and now he is in Germany. Just runs away from a country, which needs his input!
We are with Mahinda now. A good and honest man, a patient man, but what can he do if all parties do not support him in this hour of dire peril facing the country? It is not the stake of the individual parties that one must think of, but of the country itself, including that of the innocent Tamils and Muslims and others who inhabit this Island.
Mahinda has some sound and good ideas and some silly ones too, but he is unable to discuss these at an APC because of the opposition of other parties, which have their own contrary policies. The UNP chaos in the running of the premier municipality in the country best illustrates its own internal bickering. The JVP, though misguided in their policies, is in my view, a party with principles, which has not wavered to please all and sundry. I can safely bet that they can be brought around for the sake of the country. The JHU is a touchy issue – it is for the people to decide whether they should be in parliament. Of course they have a great stake in the future of the country and Buddhism, but is parliamentary politics their proper place?
We are all in deep peril. To take up the challenge, we must forget our own petty divisions, believe sincerely that all Tamils are not Tigers and that the Muslims too are an important group in this country. In fact, we read daily about traitors among the Sinhalese too.
Now the Tigers are losing international support. NOW is the time for some SOLIDARITY. We will ruin ourselves if we don’t come together now.
Remember, while we are courting the opinion of world leaders, including Indian leaders, the Tigers are concentrating on Tamil Nadu leaders. This is a dangerous trend and the reasons are obvious. by S. Dharma
There is a reason why India is our neighborhood ‘giant’. Size is not its’ only qualification to the title. It has much to do with conduct. The July 11 attack in Mumbai is a good example. The government wasted no time in directing the finger of blame. Interestingly they didn’t reiterate a commitment to peace with terrorism, but to treat it with the desired effect.
Sri Lanka has much to learn from India. Twenty hours after reports confirmed 186 dead in the attack, its Cabinet pledged to allow ‘nothing’ to deter them from its ‘firm policy to fight this menace till it is wiped out’. The Congress led alliance maintained that India will ‘not kneel before terror’. The Cabinet resolved to reiterate the government’s ”strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms.’
India believes in a strong Al Qaeda connection to the attack. There have been strong anti-India statements from the terrorist movement since around March this year. Criticism has risen out of the close ties between India and the US of late. The US support to India on the Kashmir issue is cited as one of the critical areas of contention with the terrorists. Analysts believe the strong possibility of a connection on several grounds. Connections are drawn between Indian Premier Singh’s upcoming visit to Russia for the G-8 Summit where he is meeting US President Bush. The date of attack also fell on the first anniversary of the unsuccessful attempt on the Hindu temple at Ayodya by Jihadi terrorists.
"Nothing will break our resolve" said Premier Singh. “India will continue to walk tall, and with confidence. No one can come in the path of our progress. The wheels of our economy will move on". Praiseworthy words indeed. But India’s duplicity stands bare. In a strange twist of fate, the Mumbai attack happened barely days after they extended conditional support to Sri Lanka. India apparently didn’t believe Sri Lanka needs to stand tall as well.
It was disheartening to see how it employs policy towards Sri Lanka. Having trained, provided logistical support and financed the LTTE in its own soil, India is yet to positively move towards a resolution. Ironically today they accuse outsiders of doing the same thing.
Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan did not stand in the way. India expressed anger against Pakistani suggestions that the countries try to resolve disputes to bargain support. They were angered by the Pakistani stand that it could help India fight terrorism if there was ‘understanding’ between them on the dispute.
The Indian government found it appalling that Pakistan sought to link the ‘blatant and inhuman act of terror against innocent men, women and children’ to the so called lack of resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan.
“Terrorism cannot be tolerated on any grounds whatsoever, and no cause justifies the murder of innocent people,” they said. This is the same Indian government that last week advocated Sri Lanka continues to talk to its own terrorists. India expressed support to Sri Lanka on grounds that there is consensus within to a political solution with the terrorists. India did not see a difficulty for Sri Lanka to deal with terrorists. What is they’re own difficulty today?
India asked Pakistan to join them to ‘defeat’ terrorism, ‘based on an ideology of extremism and violence’. Yet, they asked Sri Lanka to strike some political deal with the LTTE which has espoused extremist terrorism for over two decades.
The LTTE exercises ethnic cleansings, massacres entire villages and abducts children for war. Still, India joins the rest of the world in telling its victims to talk peace. Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran last week asked the government to fulfill its obligations to the Ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. The LTTE has recorded over 3754 violations as opposed to that of mere hundreds of the government troops.
The Indian government asked Pakistan to take ‘urgent’ steps to ‘dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on the territory under its control’. They asked for resolute action against groups and individuals, who are responsible for ‘terrorist violence’. But in Sri Lanka they pledged support to a political solution with Indian model of devolution as a base.
There is criticism against the Indian model. The logistics are far too different to draw parallels. Constitutional Expert and Member of the government delegation to Oslo talks this year, S.L. Gunasekera maintained so in an interview with this columnist. He is critical of attempts to reverse a system to find solution. He reiterates that the crucial difference was that India was never a unitary state. Even at independence they were ruled under different princely states. ‘What we are trying to do now is to carve out Sri Lanka from a unitary country to a federal one’.
He believes that the terrorism in Sri Lanka is too unique to fit in any foreign model. ‘We can’t look at any other models.
“No country has a terrorist group as monstrous as this, made this welcome by foreign groups. The LTTE has an army, a sea going force and an air wing. No country in the world has had that situation,” he adds.
The President however clearly welcomes the Indian initiative. His objective was clear when addressing the first session of the Political Representative Committee and Panel of Expert under the All Party Conference. Although he asked the members to formulate a framework for a ‘home grown’ constitution, the Indian link was clearly there.
“It is also important that we study the experiments in political and constitutional reform in other parts of the world, including our region, bearing in mind our own specificities as well as commonalities. We must look to other inspiring examples and draw the appropriate lessons,” he said.
The President seemed undeterred by the refusal of the UNP to contribute to the committees. He could be deriving strength by knowledge of UNP MPs ready to cross over. But he needs not to confuse mere numbers with a clear resolution to the conflict. Such conflict of interests could have long term consequences to the government.
The President can’t avoid criticism that his sudden shift in concentration was to facilitate strength in the Parliament. Analysts question the seriousness of the Presidential move. There is criticism that he is on a move to appease the international community. India is naturally seen as the main contender for appeasement. Greater calculations are drawn- the main among which is consolidation of power in the House. Certainly the need to secure a second term can’t be too far off his mind.
There is heavy criticism against buying off opposition members. While it would justify his need to push a Constitutional change through Parliament, there will be strong opposition to merely buying numbers to weaken the opposition. The President can’t afford to ignore the need for a UNP support. The JVP will only go so far with the government on its war against terror. When it comes to a resolution on ground he will need ‘outside’ support. In that sense the UNP will still prove crucial.
In this scenario his timing could also prove disastrous to him. He leaves a lot of room for his approach towards peace to be questioned. It will be difficult to convince moderate Tamil community that he is genuine about a political resolution. It will be hard for them to believe that he’s buying off opposition MPs merely to facilitate a resolution.
Perfect ethnic representations in the expert advisory group will not suffice. The President needs to be mindful of the crucial need to address the greater issues facing the country. The humanitarian situation in the North and the South can’t be undermined. There is a serious situation of war underway. Playing politics will only take him so far. The President must take to account his duty towards an entire people. Handled tactically this could prove a winner for him in his most difficult of battles; winning over the Tamils. He could negate all tags as an ‘extremists’ and look at the second term with more confidence.
The decision to provide safe passage to LTTE’s spokesman Daya Master for medical treatment is commendable. But it would be very naïve on the part of the President if he believed it would pave the way for peace. Every step the LTTE takes is a move towards its goal. Humanitarian deeds are simply in the way. Certainly, the move would work positively for the President. It could add to his public relations exercises with the international community. Whatever other plans the government has of the move, would prove futile.
In Political Panorama By Shakuntala Perera – Daily Mirror
Peter Smith is the Chief Administrative Officer to the United Nations for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), and the International Right to Life Federation. Speaking to The Island on his recent visit to Sri Lanka he expressed his concern about talk on human rights when there are human wrongs. He recently revealed that Sri Lanka has received abortion machines with tsunami aid from the UNFPA with a reproductive health kit. The machine is used to suck out fetal remains.
An admirer of US president George Bush for his pro-life views Mr. Smith pointed out that since the election of President Bush the UN system has ground to a halt, and if a pro-abortion president is elected next term the UN would go back to promoting abortion "at a thousand miles an hour".
Q: How does your voice go down at the UN with your difference of opinion?
A: I am a great fan of Sir Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt; they were the two main architects for setting up the United Nations. In fact when Churchill wrote his autobiography and talked about the Normandy landing in 1944 he called the allied troops the United Nations, and it’s the allied countries that were instrumental in setting up the UN, Germany and Japan had no place initially at the UN because they were defeated. So the United Nations initially were the winners of the Second World War. On the Security Council you had Britain, United States, Russia and China because they won and France was put because Britain asked them to be included. The Atlantic charter which Roosevelt and Churchill signed in 1948 in Canada is considered to be the founding document of the UN. Soon after the UN was set up Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the meeting that established the universal declaration of human rights. Very early on we had the universal declaration of human rights. I am concerned about all the talk on human rights, because there are human wrongs as well.
There is human responsibility. I am not criticizing this organisation, sadly this rights based approach is used to justify all sorts of things. Since the end of the Cold War you have a huge organisation called the United Nations with lots of very well paid jobs and people want these jobs in New York with a New York salary and a New York pension… alright it’s very attractive. Over 43 per cent of UN positions are country specific.
There is much vested interest in keeping the United Nations operational. America won the Cold War, no question about that, with the help of Pope John Paul the second. Pope I think was instrumental in crushing communism. Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. So in the early 1990s the UN was looking at ways to keep their jobs. There was a lady called Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Q: This was much later on…
A: No in the early 90s Hillary was the architect on the convention of the rights of the child. The convention of the rights of the child is a part of the tactic to undermine parental rights. See when we talk about children’s rights you are then infringing on parental rights, because if parents have a 14-year- old daughter and they don’t want her to go to a night club where there is alcohol or many young men wanting to have sex with her, and if the parents oppose her going she could appeal under the convention of the rights of the child that she has the right to have her own friends. By the child having that right you are taking away what I believe is the God given right to parents. This is the problem with rights… if you have one person demanding their right it infringes on someone else’s right. Hillary Rodham Clinton is one attorney who drafted the original convention on the rights of the child. Except for the United States and an African country every other country has signed the convention.
When Bill Clinton became president of the United States he encouraged the UN to have a whole lot of meetings, especially the Cairo conference on population and development. I got involved immediately after that. The Cairo population and development conference says the reason countries are poor is that they have too many children. The theme of the conference was to have a lesser number of children, more contraceptives, more reproductive health. It was President Clinton’s expressed desire to make abortion a universal human right. So the UN sent this document to all the countries in the world. The UN is now a social engineering factory, its purpose now is to produce a politically correct system and force it on countries. They are trying to impose their liberal, social, humanistic world view on the rest of the countries. I don’t believe that family size is an indicator that a country is rich or poor. The world development bank has given a clear indicator that a high fertility rate does not mean you are poor.
Q: How do you view Africa in this context?
A: Africa has always been seen as a basket case. If you look at countries and individuals why are certain individuals are seen as poor? There could be many reasons somebody does not work, such as mental defficiency, addiction, alcoholism, physical inefficiency. There are many reasons education is also a big factor. Why one country is poor and another country is rich is… take the Scandinavian countries in the world, they are the least corrupt and the richest in the world. You know where the most corruption is, Africa. If only a small number of people like the president or prime minister have all the money and all the good jobs, all the contracts and all the opportunities where will the country go? Corruption is a killer for a country and the other killer is war. I don’t want to point the finger at Africa, two world wars and the European Nation of the developed countries have seen devastations. If you are continually at war with your neighbour or with yourself everything is a burnout. Some countries were better off under British rule, there was rule of law, infrastructure and less corruption. I am not ashamed of what the British Empire was. I come from Australia. The British were the best administrators. My ancestors’ convict records are all well documented.
Q: How does the UN handle your pro-life views?
A: When I come to the UN some pro-abortionists are in tears. Some don’t give me a pass. I did not get a pass for a food summit in 1996. I contacted my good friend at the congress and got passes. So the UN understands where the money comes from. Nothing in the CEDAW convention says abortion is human rights. The CEDAW convention talks about equality among men and women. It’s all nonsense. We are not equal in every sense, but we should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. There is one pro-life expert on the CEDAW committee. The rest, I don’t want to talk about. People are the solution to problems. I don’t think Sri Lankans should be killing their babies and giving contraceptives to their children.
Q: We are have a growing social issue with growing numbers of commercial sex workers, teenage pregnancies and infanticide, how do you view all that?
A: They legalised prostitution in Holland, it did not solve any of their problems. To me it’s the most degrading thing that is done to women. If you asked me about the morning after pill we had a lot of problems in the UK, there is a soaring abortion rate and it has not worked. Well you want my theory as to why it works… I am 56 years old. Trying to have sex with a girl when I was young was very difficult. When my mother married my father she was a virgin… you know why if there were condoms then and had she had sex with my father and got pregnant, she would have been sent to the naughty girl’s home and my father would have not married her. Those days girls who had early sexual experiences were called all sorts of names and you would marry a nice girl. Sometimes studies show that 15 per cent of people who use condoms get pregnant, that’s very high. No one talks about failure of the condoms or the pill. On the contraceptive pill the failure is reported to be 10 per cent. If you don’t have strong religious beliefs a woman is helpless. In Britain there are enough problems. More sex education, more contraception, more promiscuity. The UK is a classic example. The British bars are disgusting. Women behave just like men; they drink like that. I wouldn’t want to be in one of those. More money spent on more morning after pills and more problems. The UN people do not care about all this. Canada is the most liberal country in the world and the first to introduce everything, it is promoting abortion and they decry motherhood. Do you know the dirty word in the UN is father? The hatred against the father is unbelievable. The US does not ratify any of these things.
Q: How does the US respond to this?
A: Americans don’t want to trade their national sovereignty. They have not ratified these conventions. Who is the greatest abuser of human rights? To me it is a country like Britain which conducts 186 thousand abortions a year. The most basic right to human rights is the right to life. Certain American presidents were like them too, I personally like the current one.
Q: You are one of the few people to say that
A: Well President Bush is pro-life. When the first Bush appointed diplomats to the UN during the 10 year review of the child summit, the whole UN system changed.
Q: Was it his pro-life views that won him a second term?
A: He won the second term because the pro- lifists, evangelists and Catholics went out and voted for him. They did not like what the opposition was doing. A lot of people in America want a strong president when there is an external threat. It is crazy to attack the United States; Americans are very generous peace loving people. This is the only super power left. I like President Bush, he is a family man and he promotes a lot of good things.
The UN system has ground to a halt because he is in office.
Q: Coming back to the UN reforms, do you think there will be any great reforms taking place in the future?
A: To continue with the UN it will cost a fortune. I have been in Istanbul at the Habitat summit in 1996 where there were 30,000 government delegates and 20,000 NGOs. We were there for two weeks, which cost a fortune. Did we get one bed of house out of it, well I don’t think so. The United States puts in 22 per cent of the budget, that’s why it is not so happy about the whole thing. Did the UN end the cold war? I don’t think so at all. I think the United States stopped the 3rd world war. If a pro-abortion president is elected next term the UN would go back to promoting abortion at a thousand miles an hour. I am very pessimistic of lasting reforms at the UN right now. The jobs have to go on, issues have to go on.
Q: The UN is the only organisation that exists to protect the values of human rights and the very existence of humanity.
A: That’s just a myth. It’s good to have an agency that can supervise relief and rehabilitation; they can help a positive role. You see the United States has more influence than the UN does. I wouldn’t want to be classified as a terrorist group by the United States of America, thank you very much. The US has the potential to be the policeman of the world. Once it was Britain. Now it is the US. But the UN does have some good people working there, not all of them are bad. -Island by Shyamalee Murugesu