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					                                                                    The Island                      Opinion                                                                                                    9
                                                                                                                                                                                           Monday 27th September, 2010

                                                                                                                                                                                               Ranil should have
Avert                                              Karadiyanaru explosion:                                                                                                                     had green tea
disaster                                              Address the must vital question                                                                                                          T
                                                                                                                                                                                                     he Leader of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Opposition and
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Leader of the UNP
                                                                                                                                                                                               admits that during a visit

    write this on behalf the of resi-                                                                                                                                                          with the President, on his

    dents living at the Katuwawala                     o the Sri Lanka Police who have        loss of human life. Their efforts are         police and other authorities responsi-
                                                       been limping from one disaster to      directed at finding excuses and cover-        ble for handling explosives. Hence, the            invitation, he received a
    Road, Boralesgamuwa near the Sri                                                                                                                                                           cup of black coffee with
                                                       another, the Karadiyanaru explo-       ups. To those who lost their dear ones,       inquiries should have been directed
Chandraratne Marasinghe school.                  sion must be another headache. Close         the fact that the tragedy was just an         first and foremost to see whether these            no sugar. This appears to
This is the only road that has not been          on the heels of that disaster, it has been   accident and not due to sabotage or ter-      procedures had been followed and safe-             have angered several
repaired and so it is in a dilapidated           reported that a police team headed by        rorism gives little solace. To the fami-      ty measures adopted.                               party supporters and oth-
condition.                                       an ASP, dug up a temple land for treas-      lies concerned, it is the loss of a father,       Did the police have the approval of            ers critical of him.
     Unless timely action is taken, a            ures at dead of night only to get            a son or a brother.                           higher authorities to keep such a large                Had the Leader of the Opposition
tragedy is bound to occur on this road           caught.                                          The focus of the authorities should       stock of explosives in their premises,             requested a cup of green tea (which is
                                                    Government politicians and official       be not merely on the possibility of sab-      in the manner it was done?                         always taken without sugar), perhaps
before long as people are exposed to
                                                 spokesmen keep repeating ad nauseam          otage or terrorism but on how and why             Were the police satisfied that the             nobody would have made an issue of it.
the danger of being run over.
     A large tree fell many months               that there has been no sabotage or ter-      the explosion occurred. Those with            people who handled transport, custody
                                                 rorist activity and that the                 some familiarity with government pro-         and storage of explosives had the                                   Jeoffrey Gunasekera,
back, but nothing has been done about                                                                                                                                                                                    Colombo 05.
                                                 Karadiyanaru explosion was just an           cedures would know that there are very        expertise and training to do so?
it. So people fear for their lives when-
                                                 accident. The focus was not on the           rigorous controls and safeguards to be             There is also the larger question
ever they go past this bottleneck.               enormity of the human tragedy but the        observed in the handling and storage of       whether the interests of country and
     I urge the authorities concerned to         need to deflect speculation on possible      explosives, which if observed properly,       local industrialists are not kept in
do something soon to avert disaster.

                                                                                                                                                                                               More on Astrological
                                                 terrorism, or sabotage, or international     would help avert 'accidents'. Of course,      mind when foreign contracts for mega
                                                 conspiracy and to convey the impres-         many of the procedures come down              projects are negotiated.
                  Anandi Kulatilleke                          sion that there was no          from the time of the British 'imperial-           Why should the road construction
                                                                cause for concern.
                                                                    To the public, the
                                                                  more disturbing aspect
                                                                                              ists' but they are meant to ensure safe-
                                                                                              ty of all and sundry; Sinhalese, Tamils,
                                                                                              Muslims and Chinese. Gelignite and
                                                                                                                                            contractors get involved in rock blast-
                                                                                                                                            ing and operating metal quarries?
                                                                                                                                                Why can’t supplies of metal and
Aims of our
                                                                         of the tragedy is    dynamite in their destructive power           other locally procurable materials be

                                                                                                                                                                                                     have read several letters on
                                                                                     the      are no respecters of persons, not even        contracted out to locals?
                                                                                              'those who are with us'.                          That would be a fillip to the growth                 astrological predictions in The
                                                                                                  The most likely cause of the disas-       of local industries.                                     Island of late. I am clueless

                                                                                                  ter was the failure on the part of the                    Bandula Kariyawasam                 about astrology, but I would like to
                                                                                                                                                                         Peradeniya             contribute my two cents’ worth. I
                                                                                                                                                                                                read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in
                                                                                                                                                                                                school and
                                                                                                                                                                                                what I
                                                                                                                                                                                                from that
                                                                                                                                                                                                play has
                                                                                                                                                                                                etched in
                                                                                                                                                                                                my memo-
                                                                                                                                                                                                ry. I will
                                                                                                                                                                                                focus on
                                                                                                                                                                                                what I

         our editorials are both                                                                                                                                                                read
         incisive and thought pro-                                                                                                                                                              which was
         voking. I refer to the one                                                                                                                                                             relevant to
 titled, “Jumbos and 18-A”. That                                                                                                                                                                the subject
 made me realise, as I often do,                                                                                                                                                                men-
 that the aim of almost all politi-                                                                                                                                                             tioned.
 cians is to make hay while the                                                                                                                                                                 That was
 sun shines, feather their own                                                                                                                                                                  the time
 nests and make sure that they                                                                                                                                                                  when the
 and their party return to power                                                                                                                                                                Roman
 at the next election.                                                                                                                                                                          emperor

     This is their primary concern,                                                  t was only after May last      made full use of, as it were,       electorate for an additional            was at the
                                                                                     year, when the ruthless        the dictatorial powers that         term of six years from
 to hell with what happens to the                                                                                                                                                               height of
                                                                                     LTTE was exterminated in       were latent in the constitu-        November 2010, they expect
 country, as long as they and their                                                this country that general        tion of the Democratic              him in his wisdom and acu-              his power.            Julius Caesar
 kith and kin enjoy the fruits of                                                   conditions of peace re-         Socialist Republic of Sri           men to review all political             While he
 power. With the addition of 18-A                                                   emerged. Prior to that for      Lanka (1978) for dual purpose       and governing establish-                was on his way to the legislative
 to the Constitution they are                                                                                                                           ments. In other words, it will          body, he happened to go past a sooth-

 assured of this. We are aware of                                                                                                                       be judicious for him to ratio-          sayer. Seeing Ceaser he warned him,
 how the party in power abused                                                                                                                          nalise the whole gamut of the           “Ceaser beware the Ides of March”.
 election laws and did as they                                                                                                                          structures and their process-           Then on that fateful day, seeing the

 wished at the last two elections.                                                                                                                      es by ruthlessly battling               soothsayer Caesar recalled his
 What did the Elections                                                                                                                                 waste, bribery, corruption,             prophesy, and looking at him said,
                                                                                                                                                        and indiscipline and remov-
 Commissioner do? What did the                                                                                                                                                                  “The ides of March has come”. The
                                                                                   nearly three decades the         of governing the country and        ing deadwood at the national
 losing parties do? In the old days                                                people were on tenter-           defeating the LTTE within           and provincial levels.                  soothsayer was quick to respond,
 election petitions would have                                                    hooks.                            five years of his assuming              In that regard, the fearless        “But not yet gone”. The rest is histo-
 taken the country by storm but                                                      Where previous govern-         duties, in November 2004 as         and discerning citizens will            ry.
 now they hardly interest the                                                    ments failed to bring the          Executive President.                most probably extend their                  This was a prediction proved
 voter and average man in the                                                    LTTE to its knees, President           In that regard, our tribute     unstinted co-operation. The             beyond doubt. As for those who
 street, as they have lost confi-                                                 Mahinda Rajapaksa accom-          is also due to President J. R.      unprincipled political and              believe in astrological predictions, I
 dence in fair play and clean jus-                                                  plished a feat that eluded      Jayewardene, who introduced         obnoxious ethnic and reli-              would like to quote the Bard: “The
 tice.                                                                               his predecessors.              the unique Constitution of          gious approaches and atti-              fault lies not on your stars, but your-
                                                                                      President Rajapaksa,          1978 with a powerful                tudes will have to be spurned.          self ”.
                                                                                       despite various obsta-       Executive Presidency  .
                             G. P J.
                                                                                       cles and protests from           Now that President                               D. Kuruneru
              (A disillusioned voter)                                                  within and from over-        Mahinda Rajapaksa has been                             Moratuwa                               Rex Wijewardena
                                                                                     seas, at critical stages,      re-installed in power by the

        by Basil Fernando               Arthur Koestler's The Darkness        to what the rights to fair trial       humiliation, all these are depri-      the views and the wishes of the         know what that means. Those
                                        at Noon is one such example.          means may not be necessary             vations of freedom. To those           people. With somebody holding           who do not value freedom do

   n an article, which appeared         Similarly, Adolf Hitler did not       when talking to a political scien-     who do not value freedom none          absolute power, having the              not see that anything has
   in the Island newspaper, enti-       kill the German nation. The           tist. But there are many nations       of these things matter. However,       capacity to participate in the          changed at all.
   tled, 'Hardly the Death of           German nation has survived and        in which the right to fair trial       what the death of freedom can          elections the possibilities of a           People who have the free-
 Democracy or the Nation — Ten          has overcome many of the prob-        does not exist. Sri Lanka has          be seen if we observe these            free and fair election dies. Free       dom to breathe fresh air know

              Nations may not die but freedoms do
                                                A reply to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka
                                                                                                                                                                                                    what it means when this free-
 Points from a Political Scientist',    lems he created. However, dur-                                                                                      and fair elections are a part of        dom is taken from them. The
 (September 11, 2010) the author,       ing his lifetime Hitler killed the                                                                                  human freedoms. A political sci-        problem of freedoms are simi-
 Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka wrote the        freedoms of the German people                                                                                       entist who does not value the           lar. The problem of dictator-
 following words: 'Nations are too      and a political scientist who                                                                                       right of people to have free and        ship is of a similar kind. To
 strong a reality to be killed off      does not know what dictatorship                                                                                     fair elections may not believe          discuss dictatorship without
 by constitutional amendments'.         meant to Russia and Germany                                                                                         that anything called freedom has        discussing freedom is to have
     Nations, as someone once           has not understood anything                                                                                         the possibility of dying.               no meaningful discourse at all.
 said are imagined communities.         about political science at all.                                                                                     However, those who value elect-         What was lost by the 18th
 As such, to talk about the death           Discussions about dictator-                                                                                     ing their representatives               Amendment was the capacity
 of nations is to talk about an         ships are a discussion about                                                                                        through the possibility of the          of the people of Sri Lanka to
 abstraction. However, the discus-      freedom. What the death of free-                                                                                    vote are expressing an apprecia-        be free. Many individuals will
 sion about the 18th Amendment          dom means can be seen in the                                                                                        tion of a freedom to have repre-        experience this daily. They may
 which is really about the 1978         actual lives of the people. Take                                                                                    sentatives of their choice.             be ordinary individuals who
 Constitution, is about the killing     the case of Sarath Fonseka,                                                                                             In this article judges are also     want to live their lives without
 of freedoms. Joseph Stalin could       what kind of freedom does he                                                                                        referred to as umpires. The             the favour of political patron-
 not kill the Russian nation.           enjoy? If Sri Lanka had even the                                                                                    umpires can be effective only to        age. They may be qualified stu-
 However, he was able to kill the       limited democracy that it once                                                                                      the extent that their judgments         dents who want to get a job on
 freedom of the Russian people          had he would have enjoyed a fair                                                                                    can be made freely. Within a            the basis of their merits and
 for a long time during his own         trial. The accused in the 1962                                                                                      dictatorship, the judiciary             not on the basis of patronage.
 lifetime and for many years fol-       coup had this right. They were                                                                                      loses the capacity to make their        They will know what it means
 lowing. The full recovery of the       accused of the attempt to over-                                                                                     own judgements on the basis of          to have freedom and what it
 freedom that were lost, due to         throw a legitimately elected gov-                            Hitler (L) and Joseph Stalin                           judicial considerations through         means to lose it.
 Stalin, has not yet happened.          ernment and there was enough                                                                                        the basis of rational discourse.            Those who have built their
 Anyone wishing to know what            evidence to prove their guilt.        become such a nation when it           cases closely.                         There are many countries in             lives behind a political patron
 the killing of a nation really is      However, they enjoyed the rights      comes to political trials. The            With the 18th Amendment             which the judiciary exists in           will see everything as right. As
 would do well to read the Gulag        that any other accused would          possibility of charging people         completing the work of the 1978        name only. Joseph Stalin and            they have the benefits of a
 Archipelago by Aleksandr               have enjoyed and at the end on        purely on fabricated charges and       Constitution, being a member of        Adolf Hitler also had their             patron whatever they get or do
 Solzhenitsyn.                          the matter of a pure technically      thereafter making a theatre out        parliament does not matter very        judges! They are umpires by             not get in life is the responsi-
     Of course, there are many          legal argument, they were             of so-called trials and then           much anymore. With this lies           name only. When the judiciary           bility of their patron. A dog
 other books that explain what          acquitted from the charges.           detaining the person in jail or        the freedom to be able to have         loses its capacity to be free           who is used to his patron may
 the death of freedom means.                Of course, an explanation as      subjecting him to worse kinds of       the representatives to express         then those who value freedom            not know what freedom means.

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