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The light and flame of our country has left us

9 November 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Around 6 a.m. on Sunday 8th. November 2015, I received an SMS message informing that Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera passed away in Singapore though he looked okay  on TV a few days ago.

 That was the most depressing news I got for some time. 

 Popularly called Sobitha Thera, Ven. Maduluwawe, was one person whom I always respected   for his brave and historic role in bringing about the political change in the country though the mood within months today is one of disillutionment among the people. Thus one cannot say he died a contented person.

Instead he may have been deeply disappointed, as the performance of those whom he fought to bring to power to clean up the political system and administration were themselves accused of inaction and protecting those accused of crime, corruption and plundering the nations’ wealth.

In the not so distant past under former President Mahinda there was an atmosphere of fear in the country. People were afraid to speak out. It was under such a frightening atmosphere that Ven. Sobitha Thera  came out and  spoke against the crime, corruption and injustice of the ruthless government despite threats to his life.

 In fact at the early stage his was the sole struggle against injustice, crime, corruption and mismanagement of the country. His leadership was given a much needed shot in the arm when President Maithripala Sirisena crossed over from the government and began his campaign for “good governance” which is in turmoil today.

Thus the tide was turned and the unexpected, defeat of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, took place paving the way overnight for the change of political environment    where jubilant people began breathing fresh air of freedom with great expectations from good governance.

However numerous controversies in the government which Ven. Sobitha helped to bring to power certainly would have disappointed him, as he had indicated by many of his statements and his silence during the past few months.

In him I found great human qualities to emulate. 

In this corrupt, criminalized and communalized political and social environment Ven. Sobitha has been a ray of hope and a rare source of inspiration, irrespective of race and religion, to all those who cherish family, religious and cultural values and firmly believe and dream of   a decent government, corruption free administration and a peaceful country where all could live in harmony.

He left  the scene  and orphaned the country  at a time when there is the  need for  not one   but hundreds of Ven. Sobithas to uplift the country from the morass into which the two main political parties, United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, brought  with their    short-sighted racist politics. He was respected by the island’s Muslim community in view of his liberal policies genuinely representing the true teachings of Lord Buddha.

If history is written in its proper perspective he will remain a legend in the hearts and minds of all those who long for a decent country where civilization could flourish.

This is the reason I always compare Ven. Sobitha to the role played by Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Ayatollah guided the people to remove the American-Israeli backed   oppressive Pahlavi Monarchy in Iran while here in Sri Lanka Ven. Sobitha Thera played the lead role to defeat the corrupt autocratic Rajapaksa family regime.

With his death the light and flame have gone and the country is engulfed in darkness. 


 
Venerable Sobitha was honest and courageous

I was sad to hear about the passing away of Venerable Sobitha Thera.

I did not know the Venerable Thera, I have never met him.

The Venerable Sobitha Thera, in difficult times, courageously and unambiguously expressed views which he honestly believed. He did not expect, nor want any personal favour. He spoke against corruption, nepotism and desired a different political culture. He continued to speak in the same vein after the change of government and up to shortly before his untimely demise. I am confident that there will be detailed tributes to the Venerable Thera by those who knew him.

I salute this brave and honest Venerable Thera who manifested his convictions in word and deed. However, I write mainly to remind all right thinking persons to courageously stand up for the values of the Venerable Thera and to speak for a political culture where honesty and justice prevail.

This is the best tribute we can give to the Venerable Thera.

Romesh de Silva - President’s Counsel
 
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