Time to restore democracy
A statement from the presidential media unit states that Sri Lanka will celebrate the 2nd May 2009 remembrance from May 19 to 26 with a big military parade in Colombo the next day.
Celebrating Vesak for two days and celebrating independence for one day while celebrating the military victory for more than one week raises some serious questions about the possible militarization of traditionally civilian or non party political dimensions of life.
Along with this statement came the mandatory requirement for all those who sat the 2010 A/L examination and qualified to enter Sri Lankan Universities to undergo a three-week leadership training at a specified military camp. Government leaders say the intention is to give new entrants training in discipline with a dose of English and information technology but opposition critics allege it might be more training in the future programme of the Mahinda Chintanaya. This raises the question as to why conscription was not enforced during the war in Sri Lanka and whether it was because Sri Lanka chose to fight a war mainly using poor boys and girls from villages, while sons and daughters of the rich and famous were able to make money by fair means or foul or eat, drink and be merry.
From May 2009 the world has been told and told again that Sri Lanka had the honour or should be given credit for defeating the most ruthless terrorist movement in the world and in fact an international seminar is to be held next week to brief officials from various countries on the tactics and strategies of defeating terrorism. In that context it is difficult to justify the training of university entrants in a military atmosphere though the subject may be leadership or discipline if not some sophisticated form of party politics.
The streets of Colombo are filled with armed security forces personnel underlining the reality that to win the war Sri Lanka recruited troops in abundance.
Most of the police personnel were recruited hurriedly with little or no training and that may be the reason why some of them do not know how to handle even simple traffic problems or offences.
It is known and seen that wherever VVIPs and ministers go, high security is enforced and the presidential or ministerial security divisions take over even in places of religious worship.
This happened at a solemn ceremony for the consecration of the new Anglican Bishop of Colombo on Saturday May 14. PSD personnel took over the security at the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour three days before the consecration ceremony, disturbing and distracting people who came there for prayer and worship during those days and on the day of the consecration.
Two years after the war with no terrorist incidents reported here, it is time for the Sri Lankan government to restore democracy and repeal most of the emergency regulations. Checks and balances, good governance, accountability and human rights need to be restored. Our leaders can’t be lukewarm. They must be either hot or cold. The war has ended and the government now needs to do justice to all Sri Lankans not only to those who voted for the President or his ruling alliance.
Sadly the undemocratic or dictatorial measures are being enforced in the 2600th year of the enlightenment of the Buddha. It is incumbent and mandatory on the part of the Government, which has proclaimed it would propagate Buddhism, to take the philosophy of the Buddha and the concept of enlightenment seriously. The Government must walk the talk and move towards a peace loving nation where justice is restored and all life is respected.
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