Parade and reformation; help for incarcerated youth



Independence Day celebration 2024

We have watched on TV the parade of security vehicles with flashing lights; docilely trotting horses; luxury vehicles depositing VVIPs and spouses; march past of armed forces and police; crawling of outdated military vehicles and the kaleidoscopic splash of a well-choreographed cultural display of local styles of dancing.

As usual, the students who sang the national anthem brought tears to Cass’ eyes. She hoped the President hearkened unto the prophecy in the chant Dewo wassathu kalena rendered by a bevy of pink-clad girls, particularly the last line which expresses the hope: “May the ruler be righteous.”  It has to be mentioned with respect that Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe kept standing right through the parade of almost three hours. Another laudable feature was the singing of the national anthem in Tamil.

Jets screamed across the skies, a lone ship sailed past and 27 paratroopers landed safe on terra firma, much to our relief. Our thoughts went to the three who were injured during a practice session last week. Nothing was heard of them. We wondered how seriously they were injured. The public was completely shut out. The Prez made no speech. Why? This is one opportunity the Head of Country and State grabs to be upfront and declare what his government has achieved and will achieve.

Did RW have nothing to say on these two points and wisely kept mum Cass is certain the question uppermost in more than 90% of adults in this fair isle was what are we celebrating for goodness sake, when we are indebted to, and dependent on so many countries. Some would ask this question in despair; others with angst; some with determination to change things and many others with murder and mayhem to drastically change things. They would do it for the worse. But there are those who have solutions to the problem of SL being made a failed state while all its neighbours are progressing so well. There are young ones in our midst who are dedicated, loyal to the country and not self-centered. Give them a chance, we plead.

Slogan for 2024

Well, the government too has been having the same thought – let’s change the state of the present country. Its slogan this year is: Hadamu Aluth Ratak – Let’s build a new country. Absolutely necessary, urgent and demanding of concerted, immediate and sustained effort.  But why does Cass remain cold when considering this inspiring, stirring call? One petty reason is that it too closely resembles Donald Trump’s defiance-rousing electioneering cry of ‘Make America Great Again.’ And our past and present Prez-es and PMs share some of his shameless, near insane characteristics, starting from after DS, Dudley, Sir John and Sirimavo.

However, apart from this trivial reason, Cass has many valid, substantial reasons for not being roused to loyalty and determination by our slogan. She can bet her bottom rupee that at least 18 of our 22 million share this view.

To change the country will need a complete change at the top – mainly in Parliament. Then bureaucrats will be disciplined or sacked. This is possible. Then a clean sweep of corruption is needed and that means those guilty of corruption in previous times have to be swept out.

Fair and Square

Everyone must be equal before the law. A man caught for committing a paltry theft is hauled up before courts immediately while a man who signs papers facilitating the import of suspect drugs   is given kid-glove treatment by law enforcers and the Head of Country, too?

   Decades ago, we never doubted or in whispered words criticized a judgement given by a Court. Justices were severely screened and the honest and honourable selected. But then during a Mahinda Rajapaksa reign tongues wagged. The situation has improved remarkably, but as yet not all who are at fault are treated equally. This too has to change to build a new and prospering nation.

   As has been mentioned by many, this country is far from independent. We are dependent for our very existence as a country to many other nations and international organisations. Thus, it would have been prudent not to celebrate Independence from British rule for where we are now? Worse off than when the Brits left our shores so we governed ourselves. We were the best independent colony when the sun set on the British Empire. Nations like Singapore wished to emulate us. And where are we now? Dumped down by our own leaders; betrayed due to greed to garner riches plus power and perpetrate the name in Ozymandian style through heavy borrowing, paving the way to bankruptcy. Then comes a stubborn brother who, ignoring wise advice based on scientific evidence, interferes with agriculture and further pushes the country to disaster. They continue living in luxury provided by the government off taxed money even from the poor.

Hope pinned on Chief Guest

We laud our President for requesting the PM of Thailand, chief guest at our ‘celebration’ of 76 years of ‘independence’ to help rescue Sri Lankan youth trapped in a cyber workhouse in Myanmar. These cyber slave workers must be brought back to their homes as soon as possible. Their crying out for help. We also hope the many agreements signed for cooperation and help with the government of Thailand will bring beneficial results.