Wednesday, 21 September 2016

President Maithripala Sirisena’s Speech At United Nations General Assembly: Full Text/Speech

1/3 Sinhala Version


2/3 English Version


3/3
Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, where Theravada Buddhism is practiced. There are solutions in Buddhist teachings to most of the problems faced by the people in this world. Similarly, those who follow other religions like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity too can find answers to these problems by these great religious philosophies.

*Full text of the transcription of the speech delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly – 22. 09. 2016

I am extremely happy to take part in this 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I wish to bring to the notice of Your Excellencies the current situation in my country. I have been in power for the last 15 months. There are many problems in my country.

president-maithripala-sirisenas-speech-at-united-nations-general-assembly

We have, in recent months, taken many important steps for socio-economic transformation. Before I came to power, people in my country were living in fear and I ended that period and made the people free of fear, established rule of law and restored democratic rights.

My intention is to make peole of Sri Lanka one of the happiest among the world communities by establishing a knowledge-based society. I am determined to alleviate poverty in my country. For that purpose I have declared 2017 as the Year of Alleviation of Poverty.

In order to improve the living standards of our people, we have to provide better facilities for economic development. I have given the topmost priority to take my country forward by working in cooperation with the United Nations and its agencies and other institutions. We have to make necessary changes to achieve sustainable development. The priority areas of the government include establishment of a knowledge-based economy with new initiatives and creation of a green economy.
As an Island-Nation, Sri Lanka wishes to make maximum utility of sea resources, fisheries and marine resources. All these require new technology and we seek the support of the international community for these purposes. Sri Lanka is a country with free education and free health services and the country has all the basic infrastructure requirements for speedy development.

The world today is full of hate, violence and fear. We must free our people from such hatred and fear and establish a society with moral values. The government is totally committed to reconciliation process to establish lasting peace. That would definitely prevent occurance of another war in our country. Terrorism lasting three decades has ended and now we have undertaken the process of reconciliation among the different communities. We require the support of the international community to successfully face these challenges.

Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, where Theravada Buddhism is practiced. There are solutions in Buddhist teachings to most of the problems faced by the people in this world. Similarly, those who follow other religions like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity too can find answers to these problems by these great religious philosophies.

I am totally committed to eradicate drugs. As the President of Brazil said this morning, illicit drugs have become the most serious challenge faced by our societies today. Unless we take early steps to stop the menace of drugs we will be faced with a catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude. The harm caused to the people, especially the young students by illicit drugs is very serious. We have to eradicate drugs and ensure that illicit drugs would not reach our countries.

We have taken effective steps to strengthen democracy, rule of law and good governance in our country. We want to create a better country for our people. To achieve these, I need the assistance of the international community.

Different countries have their own unique authentic thinking. We too have such authentic thinkings and visions. I want to create a country, in which our people can live as better humans and I need your support for this endeavour.

I wish to take this opportunity to express appreciation about the services rendered by the outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He provided and excellent service to the entire world.
I would like to metion that my desire is to arm the new generation with knowledge and modern technology. I will do my duties and fulfill my responsibilities towards my people and I seek your assistance and blessings of you all for this task.

Thank you

May the Triple Gem bless you!

*Full text of the transcription of the speech delivered by President Maithripala Sirisena at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly – 22. 09. 2016 (Colombo Telegraph)

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

War on Terror and War on Error; by M. R. Mohamed - Sri Lanka



The conspicuous military approaches consequent to the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre and the fierce clashes between civilizations are predominant in the new international order.

In the Dawwa service of Rasoolulla (sal) an entire community structure was established and introduced to the world civilization within 23 years. This has clearly created and divided a great path in today’s world. While the Muslim countries following Islam and the other nations function separately, it can be observed that super powers such as the UNO, USA, UK, EU and Russia are operating on a massive plan against Islam.
It can also be observed that in addition to terrorism, Islam and patriotism, errors are now openly discussed in the Western world. The War on Error is now gaining momentum.
But the people of the Western world are thinking differently. They realize that the United Nations, the political authorities of the super powers and the media are creating and spreading a great lie regarding the Muslims. However, no organization or strong media has been formed to gather and reveal these alternative views.
Bush’s War on Terror has not ended. Syria and Iran are further targets. The attack on the World Trade Centre cannot be approved by any Muslim. That was not an American military centre. It was a place of work and livelihood for people. The attack on 11 September 2001 engendered widespread sympathy within America and the rest of the world. 

Using this sympathy as capital, the Bush administration began a major work plan against Islam, to seize lands and resources of the Muslims.

Ordinary American administrators, the public and the entire military participated in this directly and indirectly. Countries such as Britain and Australia also similarly participated. The war against the Muslims was thus institutionalized globally.
Contemporary activities of Bush are more horrendous than the tyranny of Hitler. The tyranny of Hitler did not affect Islam or the Muslims to this extent. It was different. Analysts say Bush’s war has led to more terrible and greater devastation than the destruction caused by Hitler and in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The grabbing of Muslim land by Bush’s neo-colonialism in the name of war on terror is more cruel than these destructions. Our resources are entirely plundered, and permanent American military bases are established on Muslim lands.
Osama Bin Laden’s unsophisticated war mongering stance against the West by the name of Al Qaida, and bombing approaches are likewise painful in the Islamic view. These triggered Bush’s war on terror against Islam.

The questions asked in the West today are: Who is a terrorist? What is the definition of terrorism? What are the determining criteria?  A public body acceptable to everyone is urgently needed to undertake this. Only through such a body, the totality of the world errors can be understood by all.
Basically, there is no change regarding Muslims in formations and countries such as UNO, USA, UK, EU and Russia. Their intention is to destroy Muslim ascendancy. Faces may change often but there will be no change in this policy. There is deep unity among them in this regard. Therefore, opportunities for realizing their errors or making them aware of the errors are absent. Awareness can be created only by the Islamic Khilafat principle. There is no other course.
The Israeli walls arose in the same century of the destruction of the Berlin wall that divided East and West Germany. Palestine was fragmented. Why did not the Bush administration come forward to give effect to the decision of the International Court of the UN that this was illegal?
The rejection of Hamas (Not in Violence side but their Engagement with Fair Electoral Process), which won a major victory democratically in Palestine, and the acceptance of Fatah under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, which lost the election, to form the government, is akin to murder of world democracy. Although the people desired that Hamas should form the government, the Western world did not allow this. The grant of money in millions, weapons and full international recognition against this desire, is a despicable act. To which institution in the world can anyone complain about this injustice?

The pre-planned entry into Iraq, even before the decision of the UN and the IAEA, breaching international law and justice, norms and boarders, and the destruction of the entire resources, devastating the lives of people, was a great tyranny. The Iraqis have to pay a high price to be liberated from this.
The information that America, Britain and France are united in covering up the historical background of Sudan’s Darfur problem in order to weaken the Islamic state, to transform Darfur into a separate state and to find the Sudanese government guilty, is not new.
They planned and suppressed and restrained leftist and alternative thoughts. By holding the UN veto power in their hands they have placed the Muslim world in a perilous position. It is felt that the veto power is needed at least for one Muslim state. It is said that Malaysia is the appropriate nation.
The failure by both communities (Islam and West) to learn from history and to realize our errors is an indication that destructions will continue. History must be subject to analysis. The results of such analysis must be considered, past errors must be realized and new approaches must be adopted.
Has the world today forgotten the destruction caused by Hitler? Have they forgotten what happened to America in Vietnam and to Russia in Afghanistan? These experiences are sufficient for the UN and the West to institute a new civilized system. It is more beneficial to learn from historical errors and the lessons of history rather than from ideologies.
We now need new Umar Mukhtars with ability to intellectually struggle against colonialism. The role of intellectuals is vital in solving cotemporary problems. This is the basis of the  intellectual jihad of today.

Only the Islamic-ethical intellectual principle of Khilafat, and movement towards it, will provide a solution to the Muslim community to escape the clutches the Western world. It is appropriate to say that the British soil is providing a significant opportunity to intellectuals for such thought.
(Written by: M. R. Mohamed (mrmslttuk@gmail.com), Published in Tamil in Meelparvai-Sri Lanka, on 02nd of November 2007, Issue 138, Page 10)

The Noble Task of a Writer - M. R. Mohamed of Sri Lanka



Synopsis of the keynote address delivered by M. R. Mohamed of University of Colombo, on 30.05.98 at the Arafa National College in Weligama on the occasion of the prize-giving ceremony for winners in the Essay Competition

A writer is a creator of poems, essays, short stories and plays, giving new form to his feelings and thoughts. His community, the times of his life, the problems he faced and the experiences he gained are reflected in his ideas. He always becomes ineligible to express his ideas in an existence beyond his community. There are limits to his wide thoughts and experiences. Research and reading extend these limits.

Compositions, essays and creative writings should not merely treat events sequentially, but convey new substance or a new message to the community. These will enhance the knowledge and abilities of a particular community, and preserve them from the ravages of time. It would be beneficial if these new creative writings become instrumental in the rehabilitation of decaying and devastated communities.

Likewise, every intellectual and literary master would be attracted in some manner by social, religious, political and economic conceptions. It would be difficult for any creative writer to preserve the uniqueness of his creation without traversing philosophies, principles and doctrines.

However, he cannot help but express them.  For example, the poems of the great poet Allama Iqbal inspire Islamic, social and spiritual consciousness and exude divine essence.

On the one hand, a section quoting the Al-Qur’an and hadith, in order that Islamic principles reach the community, may be observed. On the other hand, another section may be seen to convey Islamic thoughts to the community simply and subtly through literary productions such as short stories, plays and artwork. In today’s changing world, and in an environment where many ethnic communities live together, the second category is regarded as stronger. But if they lack an Islamic outlook and vision, their productions may be seem to become controversial and valueless.

There are two basic forces that guide man. The first is ‘feelings’ and the other is ‘thought’. Man largely lives in slavery to emotions. Only a few among them are attracted by ideas based on thought, control emotions and succeed in life. It is worrisome that even those who hold high positions are enslaved by emotions and neglect humanity, magnanimity, humility and patience. They become influenced by racial, religious and regional differences, enmity and intolerance, and live as uncivilized men. Those with knowledge and ability must help the others to lead a good life. Literary masters like the great poet Allama Iqbal, who composed poems in accordance with this precept, must arise.

In his words:

Relishing art is estimable
But worthless is the creation devoid of truth

Valueless is the verse of the poet, or the melody of the musician,
Or the breeze that impairs a garden

The object of art is attaining the brilliance of eternal life


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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Would Sri Lanka Elect A Tamil Or Muslim President?


Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.” ~Marvin Simkin

The Western World, particularly the United States of America (USA) and Western Europe, can well afford to boast about human rights and their vehement protection on international platforms and fora. Especially in the United States, the first ten amendments (also known as the Bill of Rights) to their Constitution talk volumes for the safeguard of the rights of an individual. What is most significant about the US Constitution is, it has been crafted to safeguard the individual from the government and its potential threats to the individual. Freedom of Expression and of the Press is no more the luxury of a privileged class or creed. With their tumultuous history of agitation for civil rights, their intricate complex of immigrant-oriented social coherence and their firm and solid constitutional safeguards for separation of powers, American constitution has indeed stood the test of time. No country, whether in Europe, Africa or Asia other than the US would have elected a representative of a minority (African American) to its highest office. The only exception would be India, yet she would be electing a leader of a minority caste or religion, but not a non-Indian.

Would Sri Lanka elect a Tamil or Muslim President? In the current background, it is more than inconceivable, given the collective mindset of the majority voter-bloc, would Sri Lanka elect any person other than a Sinhalese. She may elect a Sinhalese non-Buddhist, even which is not likely in the context of the brainwashing our majority has been subjected to especially during the last few decades, firstly by the myths and fairy tales of Mahawamsa, secondly by the arrogant and thoughtless assertions made by the so-called modern-day protectors of the teachings of the Great One, Gautama Buddha. Our collective consciousness is too deep-seated in self-aggrandizement. The ultimate test for Sri Lankans as one nation, not as disparate ethnic groups but as one cohesive nation, will be if and when a representative of a minority ethnic group stands for election from one of two leading political entities, the United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

It is beyond all imagination, wild or not, for the SLFP even to nominate a Tamil or a Muslim, how much ever he or she may be qualified, from their ranks for the highest office in the country. Its base is so steeped in ‘Sinhalese-Buddhistness’, it is not in the realm of anticipation of an SLFP-sponsored non-majority candidate for President. The not-so-recent past has a glaring example, when President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s wish to nominate Lakshman Kadirgamar, a Rhodes Scholar and the then Minister of External Affairs for the post of Prime Minister when she was President met an unfortunate abortion and result was the country got Mahinda Rajapaksa who, by virtue of the fact that he was the Prime Minister at the time, got the SLFP nomination for President. The rest, as they is, history, and a very forgettable one.

Would the United National Party have the guts and courage to nominate an eminent Tamil or a Muslim for President? My guess is: it would, provided they could find an exceptionally qualified and suitable choice. The UNP, on the contrary to the SLFP, since the beginning of the Party, has had a liberal mindset at leadership level and its non-myopic, non-doctrinaire approach to social disputes has had their effects on their grassroots too. Its non-socialist approach to socio-economic issues where the individual is not sacrificed at the altar of an abstract society, has been diametrically opposed to the approach adopted by Marxian theorists who propagate that society’s good should always take precedence over that of the individual. The UNP’s thinking has its personal appeal to millions of individuals who at the same time consider that ‘social justice’ is an essential constituent of the overall social fabric. If and when social justice is at the core of one’s fundamental premise, safeguarding individual rights at whatever the costs becomes more palatable and amenable to the general public whose majority is always, in the writers mind, reasonable and not extreme and treacherous.

Many lives, whether of loyalists of the revolution or innocent bystanders, have been sacrificed in the so-called proletariat revolutions that have been embarked upon with some degree of success. The romanticist shade that is often associated with these revolutions has attracted a multitude of followers and sympathizers towards their cause. While some erudite pundits have gone out of their way to defend individual rights, many on the left of the political spectrum who believe in a Marxist dreamland still cling on to fantasies like state-owned economic factors as well as control over the proliferation of ideas could ultimately deliver the ‘goods’. Any ‘means’ to a good ‘end’ theory has fallen flat on the road to democratic capitalism.
Both Capitalism and socialism, if practiced with the sole aim of achieving a noble end and at the same time being devoid of any speck of social justice and catering only for a select few of cronies and henchmen, they are bound to fail. Crony-capitalism as well as crony-socialism has its intrinsic flaws and idiosyncrasies which ultimately direct and determine the path along which each dogma is taking their uninformed pilgrims.

Foreclosure of arguments for individual rights is the greatest danger that humanity faces today. Whether one comes from the Far West or Far East, or from Europe or South Asia, one would understand and acknowledge beyond any shadow of doubt that suppression of individual rights is a cardinal sin, in fact the greatest sin that any person, organization or government could commit against humankind. In Sri Lanka, the fundamentals are same; they hardly change, even an iota, to submerge individual rights and spread state-controlled propaganda. And the most ironical political reality that has emerged, particularly during the last regime of the Rajapaksas, is state-controlled programs wrapped in sugary coating were advanced as leading to achievement of greater good for greater numbers while they in fact were programs and projects that, for all practical purposes, that helped fatten their own financial purses.

Individual rights matter most in the context of a pluralistic, multicultural society such as Sri Lanka. But the collective consciousness of the people whose rights are violated on a constant basis, tends to become blurred in the face of other mundane demands on an average family in the context of increasing living costs and declining living standards. This greater and more pressing demand on the economic and financial aspects of human life invariably results in mass apathy which is the breeding ground for a corrupt and crafty politician to exploit to the maximum and create a domain of comfort zone wherein the average citizen is apathetic to the suppression of human rights and as a result, the corrupt politician is fine-tuned to the weaknesses and susceptibilities of the system. The crucial effect of this brutal process keeps producing a corrupt politician after another, for the system is too busy feeding on itself.

Against such an unkind backdrop, the governing parties of today in Sri Lanka are trying to grapple with an uncommon dynamic in that, having assumed power after a brutal campaign against an insensitive and cruel ruler-clan, the very forces that propelled them to power take to the streets demanding even freer and more liberal expression for better living standards and cleaner governance. The Government cannot afford to be seen to be faltering on this account at all- most of us will remember what happened in 1971 and the revolt of the betrayed children of the 1970 Sirimao Bandaranaike doctrine. The guns of power politics may have silenced the socio-political worriers of a different era, but in a modern enlightened social reality, the use of guns by the State against an unarmed troops for a socio-economic change may prove redundant sometimes and unproductive most of the time.

Tamils from the North, Muslims from the East and Sinhalese Buddhists from all over are powerful stakeholders of this polity. No government can summarily dismiss the crying needs of any of these communities. The Constitution has some safeguards against the rise of any dictator, but the civil leadership in the country needs to ensure that no community, big or small in numbers, can be discriminated against; human rights is no monopoly of the majority and any country that does not look after the interests, hopes and legitimate ambitions of the minorities is as guilty as those who fire bullets against the unarmored breasts of all civilians.

Bigoted fools may keep barking and unfriendly foes may shriek from the top of their lungs, yet the innocent whose only sin is being born poor and helpless in an abject squalid circumstance might lend an unhesitant ear to these fringe men and women for they know not what else to hear or listen to.
The task at hand is enormous and those who mean well will ultimately succeed for their mite too is not too weak nor inconsequential. It is apt to pose the same question Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru whose writings and orations have continued to echo in the chambers of learning: ‘How amazing this spirit of man? (By:

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