Editorial Mr Wasantha Mudalige, who is said to be the convener of a certain student union, is currently in custody and national and international parties are giving priority to distorting the truthMore
The arrest of a lady comedian, accused of defaming Buddhism, has ignited a fervent and contentious debate within our society. This incident exposes the immaturity within our community and emphasizes the necessity of constructive dialogue and self-reflection. Let us delves into the matter briefly, examining the significance of comedy as an art form and stressing the importance of addressing structural issues with sensitivity and understanding.
The arrest of the comedian and the subsequent actions by local media and social media influencers reveal a troubling trend. Instead of engaging in thoughtful discussions, they resorted to personal attacks and publicly scrutinized her family background. These actions exemplify the immaturity prevailing in our society, where individuals seek to humiliate and degrade others for personal gain or ulterior motives.
Comedy serves as a potent tool to criticize and provoke thought, including within religious institutions. Constructive comedy challenges the status quo, encouraging critical thinking and initiating conversations that lead to positive change. We must view the comedian’s attempt to shed light on structural issues within Buddhism through this lens.
While the comedian’s intentions may have aimed to address pressing social issues, it is crucial to approach sensitive topics with care and respect. By using vulgar language and drawing connections between the childhood of Gautama Buddha and present-day parental behaviours, the comedian failed to strike the delicate balance between provocation and constructive criticism. However, it is equally important to note that those offended personalized her message, weaponizing it to attack and frame her. This reaction further exemplifies the immaturity prevalent in our society.
Sri Lanka is not alone in comedy that challenges popular religious institutions. Throughout history, outspoken comedians have often become adversaries of such establishments due to their willingness to address societal issues through their craft. Comedy extends beyond mere entertainment; it serves as a vehicle for social commentary, offering a platform to question and challenge existing norms.
The outcome of the comedian’s legal case remains uncertain, but this experience should serve as a profound lesson for personal and professional growth. It is crucial for her to persevere in her chosen path, maintaining clarity of heart and mind, unaffected by the manipulation of others with hidden agendas. These experiences, though challenging, provide invaluable insights and equip her to approach her craft with greater wisdom and sensitivity.
The reactions to the recent arrest of a lady comedian on charges of defaming Buddhism serve as a glaring reminder of the immaturity that persists within our society. It is disheartening to witness not only the general public but also responsible parties responding with hatred and exclusivism. It is worth remembering that when faced with defamatory actions, Buddha himself never saw them as a threat to his noble teachings but as an opportunity to respond with kindness and compassion—attributes that lie at the heart of Buddhism.
Contrarily, this incident highlights the urgent need for constructive dialogue and self-reflection, particularly when addressing sensitive subjects like religion. While the comedian’s approach may have lacked sensitivity, it is crucial for society to transcend personal attacks and instead engage in thoughtful discussions that facilitate positive transformation. It is through these mature and constructive conversations that we can cultivate a society that not only upholds the value of freedom of expression but also promotes understanding and empathy, the very essence of Buddhism.
Who truly poses a threat to the sanctity of Buddhism? We trust you already hold the answer deep within!
Today, we bid farewell to a remarkable individual whose contributions to the global community have left an indelible mark. Jayantha Dhanapala, a distinguished diplomat, scholar, and advocate for peace, passed away, leaving behind a legacy that transcends borders and continues to inspire us all.
Dhanapala was a true embodiment of diplomacy, known for his unwavering commitment to dialogue, negotiation, and conflict resolution. Throughout his extensive career, he skillfully navigated complex international landscapes, fostering understanding and cooperation among nations. His exceptional talents as a mediator and peacemaker earned him the admiration and respect of colleagues and adversaries alike.
One of Dhanapala’s most notable achievements was his pivotal role as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs. In this capacity, he tirelessly promoted arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament initiatives, advocating for a world free from the shadow of nuclear weapons. His resolute dedication to these critical issues has left a lasting impact on global security efforts.
Beyond his diplomatic endeavours, Dhanapala made significant contributions to academia and intellectual discourse. As an esteemed scholar, he delved deep into the complexities of international relations, enriching our understanding of the intricate dynamics that shape our world. His thought-provoking writings and lectures have stimulated countless minds, encouraging dialogue and fostering a more enlightened approach to global challenges.
However, it is perhaps Dhanapala’s compassionate nature and unwavering belief in humanity’s potential for good that truly set him apart. He possessed an innate ability to bridge divides and foster understanding, displaying empathy and respect for all parties involved. His tireless pursuit of peace and justice served as an inspiration, reminding us of the power of compassion and diplomacy in shaping a better world.
As we mourn the loss of this distinguished figure, we must also celebrate his life and the values he championed. Dhanapala’s unwavering commitment to peace, his profound intellect, and his unwavering belief in the inherent goodness of humanity will continue to guide us as we navigate the complexities of our interconnected world.
In honouring Jayantha Dhanapala’s memory, let us redouble our efforts to promote peace, understanding, and cooperation among nations. Let us draw inspiration from his example and work together to build a world where dialogue prevails over conflict and where compassion triumphs over hostility.
Today, we come together to honour the memory of an extraordinary individual who embodied the ideals of diplomacy, scholarship, and peace advocacy. As we bid farewell to Jayantha Dhanapala, let us reflect on the profound impact he made during his time with us. Although he may no longer be with us in body, his spirit persists within the hearts and minds of the countless individuals whose lives he touched. Through his remarkable achievements, Jayantha Dhanapala has forged a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire and guide us in our collective pursuit of a harmonious world.
In the dynamic realm of artificial intelligence (AI), Sam Altman’s voice resonates with exceptional clarity. As the CEO of OpenAI and a distinguished entrepreneur in the field, Altman offers a distinctive perspective on both the promises and perils of AI technology. During a recent congressional hearing, Altman candidly expressed his deep concerns about the future implications of AI. However, what sets him apart from profit-driven entrepreneurs is his emphasis on collective action and the pursuit of noble goals over mere financial gains.
Altman’s testimony revealed his genuine apprehension regarding the unprecedented challenges that AI may present to humanity. Unlike those who downplay the potential risks, he wholeheartedly acknowledges the profound impact that AI can have on various aspects of our lives, ranging from job displacement to privacy concerns. Altman’s forthrightness is refreshing, particularly considering the immense power wielded by AI and its potential to shape the course of human existence.
Despite these concerns, Altman’s message is one of unwavering optimism. He recognizes that while AI poses risks, it also holds tremendous potential for positive transformation. By underscoring the need for collective action, Altman advocates for a collaborative approach to ensure the responsible and ethical development of AI. Instead of succumbing to fear and uncertainty, he urges society to confront these challenges head-on, working together to steer AI towards a future that benefits all of humanity.
Altman’s approach stands in stark contrast to the profit-oriented mindset prevalent among many entrepreneurs in the AI space. His unwavering commitment to pursuing societal benefits and long-term impacts distinguishes him as a visionary leader. Altman acknowledges that AI’s influence extends far beyond mere economic gains, emphasizing the paramount importance of addressing broader ethical considerations and ensuring that this technology aligns with our fundamental human values.
Recognizing the complexity and scale of the challenges posed by AI, Altman underscores the necessity of collective action. He calls for collaboration among industry leaders, policymakers, and researchers to establish robust guidelines, regulations, and ethical frameworks that guide the development of AI. Altman’s belief in collective responsibility reflects his understanding that the stakes are simply too high for any single entity to tackle AI’s challenges in isolation.
Sam Altman’s presence in the AI landscape breathes new life into the discourse, as he fearlessly illuminates the unprecedented challenges that AI presents, while steadfastly upholding a commitment to collective action and noble goals. His candid and optimistic approach inspires a profound sense of responsibility in others, compelling us to acknowledge the risks while harnessing the vast potential of AI for the betterment of society. Altman’s visionary outlook serves as a resounding call to action, reminding us that through collaboration, we can shape the future of AI to ensure it remains a force that benefits and empowers all of humanity.
In the shadows of Sri Lanka’s history, a tale of manipulation, betrayal, and societal decay unfolds. From the depths of a brutal civil war to the aftermath of its conclusion, the wounds inflicted upon the nation run deep. Today, as we reflect upon the past, we dare to uncover the hidden truths that lie buried beneath a facade of false triumph. Brace yourself for a journey into the heart of a society plagued by lies, where the pursuit of power and the erosion of moral values have left an indelible mark on the destiny of a nation.
Man, burdened by deep-rooted hatred and victimized by systematic discrimination, not only faced by Tamils but also by many underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka, turned into a symbol of violence and terror in South Asia. Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), was killed on May 18, fourteen years ago. Elimination of his terror factory was celebrated by the country, with hopes that it would mark the beginning of a new era where social justice and human rights would prevail.
Prabhakaran was a nihilistic pawn, initially used by so-called high caste Tamil politicians who continued to dominate Tamil politics, and later exploited by those who sought fortune in Western countries. Unfortunately, their fortune was built upon the blood of Sri Lankans. Their ulterior motive was to create social turmoil in Sri Lanka, ensuring their own well-being. This manipulation of conflicts is not unique to Sri Lanka but has been witnessed in many countries. This is the result when wisdom is replaced by blindfolded terror.
Amidst this, there is an untold story that needs to be shared. For years, we have kept it hidden, but today we believe it is time to reveal the truth. During the final stages of the civil war, the parents of LTTE leaders were taken into custody by the security forces, and highly trained intelligence officers took care of them.
Meanwhile, Prabhakaran’s sister, who was living in a Western country, requested to bring her parents along through one of the neighbouring countries. However, the Western country, known for their constant talk about human rights and their blame on Sri Lanka for not taking care of those who surrendered, as well as the neighbouring country vehemently denied the request. Unfortunately, Prabhakaran’s father passed away due to severe illness, while his mother remained under their care for some time. At one point, the security forces offered Prabhakaran’s mother the option to return to her hometown and resume her life, as the situation had normalized. However, her response was shocking. She adamantly said, ‘No, don’t send me there; I am far better off and more secure here, with you my sons (military intelligence officers).’
Simultaneously, in Sri Lanka, many celebrated the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. However, only a few individuals possessed the moral and ethical principles to express gratitude to those who truly fought on the ground. The term ‘Ranaviruwa’ (War Hero) which was shamelessly exploited for political gain, exposed the putrid behaviour of those who wielded power and authority.
We are a poor nation, and our poverty extends beyond the economic sphere. We are impoverished in terms of moral and ethical practices. We lack a sense of social responsibility and collective action. Instead, we excel at pointing fingers and justifying ourselves. Betrayal and backstabbing are our riches. This epitomizes the pitiful state to which our nation has descended, the worst kind of terror one could imagine. As Kurt Vonnegut, a man who lived ahead of his time, said, ‘True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.’
Fourteen long years have passed, and Sri Lanka faces social, economic, and political crises greater than ever before. Our politicians continue to fight like the Kilkenny cats. Some resort to any means necessary to seize power, while others operate under the motto of sabotage if they cannot attain it. In these 14 years, some have come into power, and their associates have lived as if this country belongs solely to them. The social disparity has widened, and for the first time in history, Sri Lanka has declared bankruptcy. Instead of working toward a common goal, those in power offer a series of daydreams for us and urge us to stay alert and work hard. Meanwhile, they continue to plunder. According to reliable sources, some ministers even demand a 30 per cent commission from foreign investors.
A young foreign journalist who spent over two years in Colombo recently witnessed this shameful reality. During a casual conversation, he remarked, ‘You know, Sri Lanka is full of liars.’ Is he wrong? No. From the highest echelons of leadership to the lowliest tuk-tuk drivers, a pervasive culture of deceit poisons every interaction. Our society is infested with a web of lies, weaving a tapestry of falsehoods that have brought our nation to the depths of despair. The rot of dishonesty runs deep, corroding the very fabric of our collective existence, leaving no room for trust or integrity. It is no surprise that our country languishes in this abyss of moral bankruptcy. So, no matter what reality is telling us. It is time to celebrate our victorious triumph over that long-departed soul of the deceitful butcher! Let us name it ‘victory’, and continue the usual game of deception.
Recently, one of the state-run daily newspapers in Sri Lanka printed and circulated a picture of a deceased man who allegedly committed suicide in his rented room, on its front page. Although this newspaper does not have a significant demand in the market, it has been circulated in many schools, public libraries, and other state and private institutions at public expense. Therefore, by default, it carries a social responsibility. In its prime, readers bought it to learn something new and valuable for life, but now it has turned into a collection of rants from whoever is at the top.
The newspaper portrayed the young man as heavily involved in “Aragalaya,” which they identified as an act of treachery. This portrayal was nothing but an attempt to propagate pathetic political propaganda of whoever is in power. The feeble behaviour of the editor of this newspaper proves that he is deeply obsessed with dead bodies of whomever they can portray as anti-government or anti-state.
Unfortunately, the state authority has once again shown indifference to such inhuman actions, and the editor does not seem to feel guilty or accountable for himself. If this had occurred in any other country, not only would the editor have been immediately dismissed from his position which he attained through political patronage, but also been held accountable under the country’s laws.
It is deeply concerning that manufacturing shock and trauma among the general public through crime reporting has become a trend in Sri Lanka. This is not just limited to state-run newspapers but also certain private media outfits, which plant shocks and sorrows through their reporting by exhibiting dead bodies and the tears of their loved ones. This practice needs to stop immediately.
It is time for journalists in every media house, as well as social media superstars who often portray themselves as true social reformists, to reassess their conduct and implement appropriate ethical standards. The media has a responsibility to report truthfully and objectively, without using human tragedy and suffering to manipulate public opinion for political gain. It is high time for Sri Lanka’s media to realize this and uphold the dignity and respect for human life and privacy.
The recent tragic incident in Kenya demonstrates how journalism and reporting can be carried out with a greater degree of social responsibility. The tragedy that occurred at the Good News International Church, where hundreds of people starved to death due to the cult leader Paul Mackenzie’s false promises, is a stark reminder of the importance of responsible reporting. When the exhumation process started, the government and other officials strictly advised all media outlets to adhere to higher degrees of norms and ethics in their reporting. They were advised not to display dead bodies of their fellow men and women, and the areas were declared crime scenes.
It is remarkable to observe that most media channels in Kenya followed these general ethical principles in reporting on this shocking event. This is a valuable lesson for fellow editors and journalists in Sri Lanka. It is time to stop selling sorrows and dead bodies of our fellow men and women, no matter what caused their death. Sri Lanka may be the only country that telecasts dead bodies during times when most households are having dinner. It is a barbaric media practice that needs to stop immediately.
Furthermore, it is important not to provide any CCTV footage to telecast on media on crime scenes as it can have an extremely negative impact on the general public. Footages of this nature should be retained by law enforcement agencies, who can use them to prevent future occurrences and increase public awareness. Allowing media channels to broadcast such footage with the sole aim of increasing ratings or printing it to sensationalize and cause trauma only highlights our society’s lack of ethical standards.
At first, many were surprised that CNN, a well-known anti-Trump media channel, decided to host an extraordinary show featuring former President Donald J. Trump and young CNN journalist Kaitlan Collins in a fiery town hall at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Despite the initial surprise, the programme turned out to be a major win for Trump, who used the hour-long program as an opportunity to make a comeback.
Many viewers were shocked by how Collins, a relatively young journalist, lost her own control as a TV host in a discussion with a man who has beaten many others on stage. In TV shows, unfortunately, many journalists have less understanding, it’s not necessarily about who tells the truth or who you agree with, but who wins the debate and entertains the audience. While the later attempts by CNN and other anti-Trump media channels to downplay the programme may be less relevant, it’s clear that this programme has outperformed the interview Trump gave to Tucker Carlson a few days before his fetal termination from FOX.
It’s unfortunate to see a young journalist like Kaitlan become a victim to this Machiavellian politician who seems to have sharpened his mind and thoughts even more since serving as the head of one of the most influential nations on the planet. Even more surprising was the appearance of Anderson Cooper, one of CNN’s most prominent journalists, to deliver the concluding remarks without actually hosting the show.
Despite Trump’s impressive performance, the interview did reveal his careful approach to conflicts, particularly regarding the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war. It’s sad to see the strength of journalists shattered on a public stage due to immaturity or lack of preparation and prejudices on international humanitarian issues. However, this show has allowed us to realize that the USA is once again entering a remarkable and interesting political drama. While we can’t predict the outcome of the 2024 elections, it’s clear that Trump’s performance in this show has alerted the deep state and ruling Democrats to rethink and redesign their political strategies. If one seeks to neutralize Trump, he shall be destroyed by his own actions rather than external parties. In order to achieve this, one must know how to use Trump against himself, rather than resorting to the arrogant approach taken by politicians like Nancy Pelosi.
Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, has been in operation since 1979. Since then, the airline has grown in size and reputation, with a strong emphasis on providing high-quality service to its passengers. However, like any other airline, Sri Lankan Airlines has faced many challenges in its history and continues to face many more in the present and future.
Despite providing exceptional services to its customers, Sri Lankan Airlines has been subject to a great deal of negative publicity in recent years. Much of this bad publicity is based on accusations of malpractice, corruption, and financial mismanagement within the airline. While it is important for the media to investigate and report on such allegations, it is equally important to ensure that any claims made are based on solid evidence, rather than mere speculation or rumor.
One of the key challenges facing Sri Lankan Airlines is the need to stay competitive in an increasingly crowded and competitive market. The airline has faced stiff competition from other airlines in the region, including Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines, all of which offer similar levels of service and comfort. To remain competitive, Sri Lankan Airlines has had to focus on improving its services and adopting new technologies, such as online booking and user-friendly check-in systems, as well as in-flight entertainment systems. Another challenge facing Sri Lankan Airlines is the need to maintain a high level of safety and security for its passengers. In recent years, the airline has implemented a number of measures to enhance its safety and security procedures, including the installation of advanced screening equipment at its airports, as well as the implementation of strict security protocols for its ground staff and crew members.
Despite these challenges, Sri Lankan Airlines has continued to provide excellent service to its passengers. The airline has a reputation for being warm and welcoming, with crew members who are always ready to go the extra mile to ensure that their passengers are comfortable and happy. The airline’s ground staff are also highly trained and knowledgeable, with a deep understanding of the airline’s operations and procedures.
National carriers play a crucial role in representing the cultural, social, and economic values of their respective countries. They are an extension of the country’s identity and a symbol of national pride. A strong and efficient national carrier is not only essential for the country’s economy, but also for its reputation in the global community. National carriers can have a significant impact on a country’s tourism industry, as they are often the first point of contact for many foreign visitors. An airline that provides exceptional service can create a positive impression of the country and encourage visitors to return in the future. Additionally, national carriers can help to create job opportunities and stimulate economic growth, both directly and indirectly.
To reform and preserve the qualities that make a national carrier exceptional, it is important to focus on transparency, accountability, and good governance. This involves the implementation of strict regulatory frameworks, robust oversight mechanisms, and effective management practices. It also involves investing in staff development and training, to ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge necessary to provide exceptional service.
Another important aspect of preserving the qualities of a national carrier is to focus on innovation and adaptation. The airline industry is constantly evolving, and it is important for national carriers to stay up to date with the latest advancements in technology, management practices, and customer service. This requires a culture of continuous improvement and a willingness to embrace change. By focusing on transparency, accountability, good governance, staff development, and innovation, countries can ensure that their national carriers continue to represent their national pride and identity for generations to come.
Looking to the future, Sri Lankan Airlines faces a number of challenges that will need to be addressed if it is to continue to thrive in the highly competitive airline industry. One of the key challenges will be to attract and retain highly skilled and experienced staff, including pilots, engineers, and customer service personnel. This will require a significant investment in training and development programs, as well as the implementation of competitive remuneration packages and benefits. Sri Lankan Airlines will face the challenge of keeping up with the ever-evolving technological advancements in the airline industry. Staying current would necessitate substantial investments in research and development, and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, such as in-flight Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art aircraft.
In summary, Sri Lankan Airlines stands as a source of national pride with a remarkable legacy in the aviation industry. Despite the multitude of obstacles it has faced in recent times, the airline remains steadfast in its commitment to providing top-notch service, prioritizing safety, security, and customer satisfaction above all else. However, to ensure its continued prosperity, Sri Lankan Airlines must confront a host of challenges, such as remaining competitive in a crowded market, maintaining its strict standards for safety and security, and keeping pace with the latest technological innovations. By proactively addressing these challenges, Sri Lankan Airlines can uphold its reputation for excellence and provide its valued customers with unparalleled experiences for many years to come.
by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor
While Manipur rioters may look to Sri Lanka for inspiration, the Indian government has proven to be much more advanced in its counteractions. Despite the ongoing deadly violence in Manipur, which is a state situated in North-East India bordering Myanmar, neither the American ambassador nor any other European ambassadors have criticized the Indian government’s counter mechanisms for controlling the situation. India has effectively kept foreign diplomatic missions on track without losing its grip on the situation, preventing them from interfering with the country’s internal affairs.
In contrast, in Sri Lanka, the current American lady ambassador and a few other selected foreign diplomats have trained Western thoughts of school, amusing the state and government every time. Most recently, this lady ambassador, while commemorating the fourth anniversary of the tragic event, urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure justice for the victims of the 2019 Easter bombings carried out by lunatic Islamic extremists. However, she seemed unaware or blindfolded to the verdict by her own Justice department based on a thorough investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which ruled out the true perpetrators. The lady Ambassador followed conspiracy theorists in mocking Sri Lankan state and government and cried foul for justice. She did not acknowledge the compensation paid to each victim and the rapid actions taken to eliminate the vicious extremist circle.
Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan government and state apparatus continually remain indifferent, regardless of who talks against the country. Only the current president of Sri Lanka, though he is serving an accidental presidential term, has demonstrated that Sri Lanka is not subservient to Western diplomats. He has taken a straightforward approach, stating that Sri Lanka’s response to the riot in the capitol was similar to that of the US authorities following the defeat of President Donald Trump, albeit carried out in a more humane manner. The rest of the so-called leaders have no idea how to talk with foreigners and continue to maintain a zipped-lips behaviour, as those countries are marinating most of their true wealth.
Returning to the subject of violence in Manipur, after the violence erupted, rioters targeted many politicians and their properties. The latest news asserts that at least 11 people have died, hundreds more have been wounded, and thousands of families have been displaced. Fueling the riots, social media superstars spread misinformation and hate against government officials and other targeted subjects. Not only did the government, but also those who advocate law and order in society, take immediate action to curtail the irresponsible freedom joyfully enjoyed by those social media mongers and initiated every action to eradicate their ultra-motivated actions.
An interesting line from an editorial published in The Sangai Express reads, “As in any trouble in the past, trouble started in a corner of Manipur, a village that lies between Churachandpur and Moirang in Bishnupur district, and thanks to some keyboard warriors and social media superstars, trouble soon spread to other parts of the State. The result is there for all to see.” The editor adds further, “A reflection of the far-reaching impact of the indiscriminate utilization of what modern technology has to offer mankind. Let the ban continue until things improve.”
What happened during the so-called Aragalaya protests in Sri Lanka was a genuine social response against the government, but it was later hijacked by a few NGOs funded by Western embassies and their interest parties, along with social media mongers and some private media outlets. This dragged the entire country into a pool of shame and portrayed Sri Lanka as an uncivilized society before the world. The government’s request to temporarily shut down social media, the main source of misinformation and hatred, was deliberately ignored by the owners. Private media houses fanned the flames of violence and motivated people to rally against the state apparatus. For the first time, the state lost its grip, and the elected leader fled through the back door. If this had happened in any other country, those companies would have been shut down swiftly, and the media licenses of those infamous media-outfits would have been revoked indefinitely. However, in Sri Lanka, a country like no other, social media superstars, keyboard warriors, and others continue to operate, while many state institutions are hindered by an incompetent group of individuals who prevent the implementation of crucial measures that could benefit the country.
In our personal viewpoint, we still believe that the then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa should not have tendered his resignation. Instead, he could have stepped back temporarily until the situation normalized. His resignation was not just the fate of a random individual but that of a man elected by the majority and who served as the head of state. That is where national shame comes into the picture.
While India has been praised for its swift and effective response to the Manipur riots, it is important to remember that each country has its own unique challenges and internal affairs that must be addressed without external interference. Just as India expects its neighbours to respect its sovereignty and allow the government to handle its internal issues, it is important for India to also refrain from interfering in the affairs of its neighbours.
Interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries can lead to tensions and conflicts, and can even escalate to violence. It is important for countries to have mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation to address common challenges.
In addition to respecting the sovereignty of neighbouring countries, it is also important for India to address the root causes of the Manipur riots and to work towards long-term solutions that promote peace and stability. This includes addressing social, economic, and political issues that may be fueling the unrest. Ultimately, it is in the best interest of all countries in the region to work together towards a shared goal of peace, stability, and prosperity. This can only be achieved through mutual respect, cooperation, dialogue, and refraining from interference in each other’s internal affairs.
The bottom line is that the ongoing riots in Manipur may have learned much from Sri Lanka, but the government of India knows how to address the nuances of such issues. A ban on internet use has been imposed for the next five days. Independent media houses are indeed suffering from this shutdown, but it has largely helped prevent the dissemination of disinformation by social media influencers. Despite this, no Western diplomats in Delhi are talking about it. Well done, India! You may teach Sri Lanka how to act promptly and how to silence Western voices on internal affairs.
The mind is everything. What you think, you become. – Gautama Buddha
Today, as we commemorate Vesak Poya Day, it is important to reflect on the state of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. While this day is meant to honour the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha, it is also a time to acknowledge the challenges that Buddhism has faced in the country.
The late Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, was a strong advocate for declaring Vesak Poya Day as an international holiday. He believed that this would be a fitting tribute to the Buddha’s teachings of peace, compassion, and non-violence, and would help to promote global harmony and understanding. Sadly, Kadirgamar’s life was cut short when he was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers in 2005, but his legacy and his vision continue to inspire people around the world. As we pay our respects to this great statesman and diplomat, we can also reflect on the importance of his message of peace and unity, and strive to embody these values in our own lives.
Buddhism is currently like in the past facing challenges both from internal institutional rifts and external threats. One of the greatest challenges facing Buddhism in Sri Lanka is the corruption of its core values by certain Buddhist monks and politicians. Through their actions, they have systematically eroded the true meaning of Buddhism by replacing it with notorious practices of medieval Hinduism such as promoting the caste system and belief in supernatural phenomena.
Unfortunately, instead of unifying towards one goal of Nirvana or emancipation, many monks in Sri Lanka have pursued various political and personal agendas. They have become symbols of polarization, and the temple, which should be a beacon of hope and enlightenment, has contributed to the serious social collapse in the country.
The lack of transparency and accountability in the temple has also prevented much-needed social reforms in Sri Lanka. Despite preaching about the importance of equality and equity, the head monks of the main chapters cannot even sit on the same chairs. This hypocrisy raises the question of how genuine their calls for equality really are.
The state of Buddhism in Sri Lanka has been further deteriorated by the rise of sectarianism, casteism, and a hypocritical political culture. The temple, which should be a place of solace and enlightenment, has been corrupted in an ugly way by these forces. These issues have caused significant harm to the core values of Buddhism and have prevented the temple from being a unifying force in Sri Lanka.
Moreover, there has been an alarming increase in the physical and mental abuse of small novices by the elderly in the temple. It is heartbreaking to see young Samanera Theros subjected to physical and sexual torture. Unfortunately, there is no national program to address and prevent such inhumane practices, leaving victims without a means to seek justice and receive remedies, forcing them to live with the trauma they have experienced. Such practices are not only against the dharma principles preached by Gautama Buddha but also violate basic human rights. The temple should be a safe place for everyone, especially for novices who are in the process of learning about the teachings of the Buddha.
It is the responsibility of both the monks and the responsible people to address these issues and give life to the virtues of the Buddha Dharma. The temple should be a place of equality, where people from all walks of life can come together and practice Buddhism in its truest form. The actions of some monks and politicians have undermined the true essence of Buddhism, and it is time for the responsible parties to take action to restore the temple to its rightful place as a beacon of hope and enlightenment.
Rejuvenating true Buddhism in Sri Lanka requires a collective effort from both the monks and the laypeople. Buddhist monks have a significant responsibility in this regard, as they are the torchbearers of the Buddha’s teachings. The first step towards rejuvenation is for the monks to be mindful of their conduct and to practice what they preach. They must strive to embody the teachings of the Buddha and become a source of inspiration for others.
It is essential for Buddhist monks to engage in continuous self-reflection and self-improvement. They should use their positions of authority and influence to promote unity, harmony, and social justice i.e. core values of Buddhism. They should also actively work towards eradicating the vices that have corrupted the temple, such as sectarianism, casteism, and corruption.
Buddhist monks should focus on educating the younger generation about the true essence of Buddhism. They should provide a safe and nurturing environment for novices to learn and grow. They must ensure that novices are not subjected to any form of abuse and are treated with respect and kindness. By providing a wholesome environment for novices, the monks can help cultivate a new generation of Buddhists who are committed to the values of the Buddha.
The laypeople also have a crucial role to play in rejuvenating true Buddhism. They should hold the monks accountable for their conduct and demand transparency and accountability from the temple authorities. The laypeople should also support the monks who are working towards restoring the core values of Buddhism and create awareness about the importance of unity and social justice.
As Vesak Poya day arrives, let us not only observe the birth, enlightenment, and passing of Gautama Buddha but also take time to contemplate the present condition of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is a crucial moment for us to unite and concentrate our efforts on upholding the fundamental principles of Buddhism, and establishing a temple that is untainted by any form of wrongdoing, mistreatment, or factionalism. We should aim to create a temple that exemplifies the teachings of Gautama Buddha, and fosters harmony and solidarity among all Sri Lankans.
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X
May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day, a day dedicated to highlighting the importance of press freedom and the need for governments to protect the right to freedom of expression. However, amidst the celebrations, it is essential to pause and reflect on the state of the press itself.
The concept of freedom of expression has become increasingly abused in modern times. The media industry, once known for its responsible and accountable conduct, has become a battleground for political propaganda and corporate interests. The press, which was once considered the fourth estate and an important pillar of democracy, has lost its credibility and public trust.
In Sri Lanka, the media has been used as a tool for political manipulation and extortion. Journalists are often threatened or paid off to withhold stories, or conversely, to publish stories that favour a particular business or individual. This type of media is not only damaging to the credibility of the press but also to the wider society as it misleads and deceives the public.
Therefore, it is essential to strike a balance between freedom from press and freedom of press. The media must have the freedom to express itself without fear of censorship or persecution. At the same time, the media must also be accountable for the content they produce and the impact it has on society. As a French Novelist, Marguerite Duras says, “journalism without a moral position is impossible. Every journalist is a moralist. It’s absolutely unavoidable.”
Journalists and media organizations have a responsibility to report the truth in a fair and unbiased manner. They should be free to criticize those in power, but they should also be held accountable for the accuracy of their reporting. The media must also avoid any conflict of interest that may compromise their integrity and objectivity.
Governments, no doubt, have a crucial role to play in protecting press freedom. They should enact laws that promote freedom of expression and protect journalists from harassment or violence. At the same time, they should also hold the media accountable for any false or misleading reporting.
The sad reality is that we are commemorating World Press Freedom Day at a time when the subject has been severely abused and assaulted by its so-called “messengers”. It is disheartening to see that genuine journalists and editors who conduct their duties for the betterment of society and public benefit are few and far between. The profession has been taken over by a selected group of people who have manipulated everything from writing to publishing stories and offering awards, thereby destroying the norms and values of the subject.
The credibility of newspapers, radio & television channels has been irreversibly damaged, and most of them have become puppets of certain powerful elements. It is unfortunate that no one in the industry wants to talk about this bitter reality, as the responsibility, credibility, and pride of this profession have become things of the past. It begs the question, what do we have to celebrate on this day?
The development of social media and Artificial Intelligent tools has further worsened the situation.
In Sri Lanka, it is commonly said that there are two professions to which you need no qualification: one is to become a politician, and the second is to be a journalist. The continued misconduct of the profession and the lack of oversight procedures have led to the weakening of this once noble subject. As a result, ordinary folks are now not talking about how to celebrate freedom of the press, but rather how to escape themselves and their kids from the press. Unfortunately, the slogan of freedom of the press has been replaced with freedom from the press.
It is imperative that we restore the integrity of the press and the trust of the public. Journalists and media organizations must strive to report the truth in a fair, unbiased, and ethical manner. They must be accountable for the content they produce and be free from any conflict of interest. Governments must also play their part in protecting press freedom by enacting laws that promote freedom of expression and protecting journalists from harassment or violence.
On this World Press Freedom Day, let us not only celebrate the importance of press freedom but also reflect on the current state of the media industry. The media must be free to express themselves, but they must also be held to a high standard of accuracy, fairness, and impartiality. Only by striking a balance between freedom from press and freedom of press can we ensure that the media remains a trusted and credible source of information for the public. It is time to acknowledge and address the issues plaguing the profession and work towards restoring its credibility and integrity. Only then can we truly celebrate freedom of the press and ensure that it remains a cornerstone of democracy and progress.