- We all need to understand why this happened
- There is a Minister whose name appears everywhere in the ongoing investigations
One week has gone by since the brutal massacre of innocent people on Easter Sunday. Whatever happened, has happened and we can do very little to undo that. Many opinions have been expressed on the fact that everyone who is responsible to provide security to masses whether Political or otherwise has failed the nation. But this article is not about the common blame game. In a previous article I have demanded accountability. Whether the right people have been held to account is another matter.
But how do we move forward in the backdrop of such a failure?
Weakness of Leadership – all relevant sectors
First of all we have to uncover and understand the underlying features that led to this situation. COMPLACENCY OF THE POLICE AND THE SECURITY FORCES WAS THE MAIN REASON ,the security apparatus has been fundamentally dysfunctional. Other contributory factors are the inability of the President, Prime Minister, Cabinet of Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition to comprehend the gravity of a security alert notice, weakness of the general Leadership. It must be said that this is not pointing fingers at one person. However I have written many articles about the weakness of the process, procedures, systems and structures. I have spoken about the lack of values and ethics of the general leadership.The country has continued to tolerate religious bigotry and racism for years.This has led to a complete disconnect between Leadership
We all need to understand why this happened ???? I am not in a position to give an analysis of this whole situation. There is a lot of information that is missing. But one factor is very clear. One can categorically state that there was never a grudge between the Muslims and Catholics to settle. I also do not believe that ISIS had a direct role in this incident. However it may have been inspired by IS propaganda or even the NZ atrocities.
Collecting explosives like toys
For well over 6-7 years, it appears we had a ground situation where massive amounts of explosives, weapons, detonators could be freely collected, transported and stored in safe houses as if one was collecting toys. It was nothing new that weapons were always in the possession of non-military personnel . The politicians are largely responsible, for they were the patrons. Even during the war, there were para military groups which were supported by the State. In post war Sri Lanka, there appears to have been the freedom for this to continue. This apparently was allowed to happen for years. This group has been in existence for over 10 years. The brainwashing has taken many years and a lack of security by the security forces gave them the freedom to operate as
A non- violent majority
The majority of this ethnic minority which the suicide bombers belong to, do not believe in violence and they are coming forward to give information on those extremists. This is a good sign. Extremism is prevalent in all religious and all ethnic groups. We have witnessed robe clad ‘clergy’ with state patronage being violent. If you take a per cent-age of those extremism all sectors, it will barely amounts to 1 % . So we can be happy that 99% of the population believe in non-violence. That should be considered our greatest strength. But right now all ethnic groups have fear. And as a country we must assure protection for all groups. They should be given a sense of belonging to this country. If you marginalize any group, then that is supporting radicalization. We should promote and mobilize the unity among all our people to eliminate extremism and terrorism.
Stop Madrasas and Sharia Universities
First of all, we should correct the flaws in our education systems and institutions. For decades, there has been segregation in terms of gender, ethnicity and language. We have not created opportunities for children of all groups to study together and inculcate that feeling of being ‘Sri Lankan’. But in addition to this we have another issue at hand which needs immediate attention of the Education authorities. In this country all schools should function under the department of Education and follow a national curriculum . But since of late it has come to our attention that Children of a particular religion attend this ‘Madrasa School’ and “do not attend “ any local school. Let us not forget that organizations such as the Taliban were born out of similar religious schools. And hence, the government should take immediate steps to bring them under the Department of Education .
In the same way, Sharia Universities should not be allowed to operate in this country. Any university must be under the control of the University Grants Commission.
A proper Security Council
We need a proper Security Council set up which meets once a week. The President, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and even the Speaker should be a part of it. The Council should introduce a policy on protection of civilians and on National Security which would include carrying out regular checks in Temples, Churches, Mosques, Kovils and any religious institution. We must understand that religious extremism and fundamentalism originates from such places. The Policy should be one for any successive government to
It was evident, while the politicians were aware of the possibility of an attack, the people were in the dark. We have to find a way to keep the people aware of the non-confidential information. A Citizen’s Council should be established and through this the public can be informed.
Political involvement of MPs
I am really sorry to say this but I have to, that some minority MPs and Ministers may have been involved in aiding and abetting certain fundamentalist groups for political gain. The Government has to take action against those who have been involved. We are yet to see the Government and the President Walking the Talk. Also the time has come for them to stand on the correct side and work towards national unity. High time that all MPs realized that they have to have certain ethics and be leaders to their constituents no matter how they were raised.
Against the interest of the country
There is a Minister whose name appears everywhere in the ongoing investigations, he is also accused of the rape of forests in the east, furthermore he is responsible for the destruction of the export market for Spices which Sri Lanka had enjoyed for years. This is because of his narrow vision and lack of meaningful Education. He has in fact worked against the people of the country.The root cause being lack of Ethics and Integrity. It is in his interest to submit his resignation since he has not worked in the best interests of the country .
Foreign intelligence and support
We as an island nation, often have an aversion towards any foreign involvement. That is our island mentality. But we must understand that Foreign Intelligence sources have more information which is useful to us. This will help us to understand the global picture to avert future incidents. Hence establish ties with all possible International Security Agencies. We need the support of all countries hence avoid utterances that destroy good relationships, like how we have antagonized
In a way blocking social media was a good move on the part of the Government. While some are clever enough to go into social media through VPN access, a majority still does not. But we would like to see some control over the Mass Media which seems to create fear among people. Initially they did not show the dead bodies. Eventually they started showing the CCTV footage of the bombings. This created fear among everyone. To give a simple example, ‘back packs’ are now feared. Red cars are also feared. Our Media does not know what should be shown and not. They ideally should study how New Zealand handled such a situation.
Also the media should be prevented from going in to cordon and search operations and giving live updates to the public. What is the value in that except enjoying the violence?. The injured child of the bomber was photographed and shown? Where are their ethics in all this? They continue to promote their political alliance to certain parties.
Appeal to the Public
We received worldwide coverage and empathy for the Easter Massacres.This incident I feel will motivate countries to act vigorously against Extremism, that I feel is the Blessing out of this episode. My appeal to the public is not to suspect and go after your neighbour who is from the ethnic minority group. This is the time to practice your true religion by being tolerant and peaceful. If you resort to violence, this is what the suicide bombers and every other non-peace loving terrorist expects. Do not give into that.
But I must conclude by saying that we need to see unity among the President, PM and Leader of the Opposition and Party Leaders before we expect the public to be united.
May Sri Lanka heal from this pain and rise again.