The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) and the Daham Pahana’s Kandula group this week decided to launch a national movement to save Sri Lanka’s most precious treasures— our mothers, mother earth and the farmer community.
At a meeting held at the Musaeus College auditorium, NMSJ leader the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Nayaka Thera and Daham Pahana pioneer Anton Charles Thomas gave some shocking details of what was happening to about 1.5 million Sri Lankan women, mostly mothers employed for domestic work in Middle Eastern countries. They said there was substantial evidence that in hundred if not thousands of cases the young mothers were forced into virtual slave labour for about 14 hours a day. Worst still, there were many cases where these young Sri Lankan mothers are being sexually abused by the men in those households. At the same time something equally bad or worse was taking place in many of the families where the mothers had gone overseas for work. Often it was the young daughter in the family who looks after the needs of the father and in many cases this also leads to sexual abuse. A senior police officer in Embilipitiya had given the movement many files containing documents of complaints and cases with pictures of 12-year-old girls carrying babies after being sexually abused by the father. While the mother is abused in the household overseas the teenage daughters were sexually abused here and as a result thousands of families are crumbling.
The mother is a precious treasure. She lovingly carries a child in the womb for nine months then allows her blood to be turned into milk to nourish the child for one or two years. Even after that the love relationship between a mother and her child is unique and irreplaceable, not even by the most loving father or grandmother. Until the children grow to adulthood and even after that it is the mothers who selflessly, sacrificially and sincerely serve the children, help and protect and be there for the children in any situation.
Therefore it is a crime and a crying shame that often when we want to scold or curse someone we use the name of the mother in a filthy way. Even more disgraceful and degrading is the fact that such abused mothers and others have become the biggest export earners for our country. According to Central Bank figures for last year, the foreign exchange sent by them was 7,017.8 million US dollars
The two groups decided that they would soon launch a national movement to urge the new government that immediate and effective steps need to be taken to stop the degradation of our mothers. Last week, Indonesia announced it would be banning the export of girls or mothers for domestic work in the Middle East. Sri Lanka also needs to move in this direction and find some other way of earning foreign exchange instead of getting it from the slave labour and sexual abuse of our young girls and mothers.
Another important area where a mass movement is to be launched is the pollution of Mother Earth and the degradation of the farmers who have been a part of Sri Lanka’s culture and civilization for thousands of years. The movement is appealing to the government to take steps to gradually reduce and then ban the use of imported agro chemicals which are polluting and poisoning the soil. As a result most of the food we eat contains poison while in the North Central Province especially, the groundwater has been polluted resulting in thousands of farmers or their family members suffering from grave kidney ailments requiring dialysis. Instead we need to swiych to organic agriculture with natural fertiliser. This movement to protect mother earth and farmer communities will be based on the memorable old song, “Tikiri Menike Embula Genalla, Govi Rala Godata Evilla,”.
We hope millions of Sri Lankans will wholeheartedly support these noble causes to save our mother earth and the farmer community who have faithfully provided our ‘bath patha’ for generations.