"Sad plight of the East today"

"As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves. We must become the change we wish to see in the world...”

by A. M. M. Naoshaad

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.

(November 07, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Deputy Chairman of Committees, it is a very sad occasion when we have to get up to debate the extension of the state of Emergency as this is an occasion where we recall the cycle of mounting tragedies that seem to be an inextricable part of our troubled history. The proclamation of a state of Emergency has serious implications for democratic governance, the rule of law and human rights.

The Regulations allow you to bypass the public scrutiny of ordinary legislation. These Regulations also have an adverse impact on basic human rights as they derogate from constitutional safeguards relating to freedom from arbitrary arrest and from indiscriminate search and seizure operations, torture, extrajudicial killings and disappearances.

Just look at what is happening in the East today. Speakers who spoke before me have elaborated on the position of the security there. The reason why we opposed the TMVP contesting the Provincial Council Elections, is only because they were an armed group, they are still an armed group and today they are unable to control their cadres. They do not know whether their cadres belong to the Karuna Group, the Pillayan Group or the Velupillai Prabhakaran Group. That is the sad plight of the East today.

In the East we have a bigger problem, the problem of land. The Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress elaborated on some of the issues. But, what we have to remember here is that the people of the East are basically farmers and for over thirty years they have been cultivating lands which they are now deprived of, citing so many reasons. In fact, in my terminology, conservation is preserving what you have and conservation is not grabbing back and planting anew. These are some of the reasons that are attributed to the land disputes in Karango and Rathal Kulam in Pottuvil, Karanga Vattai in Ampara and so many other places in the East. Having said this, I am reminded of what Rabindranath Tagore said. He said, “Truth raises against itself, the storm that scatters its seeds broadcast…”, and he also went on to say, “The deepest source of calamity in history is misunderstanding. For where we do not understand, we can never be just...”. Now this takes me to the statements made by the Commander of the Army and the Hon. Minister of Environment and Natural Resources with regard to whom this land belongs to and the status of the minorities. I do not want to get into a debate on the history of our motherland and about who came first and who came last. I have spoken about this before in this House and made my stand on this and I will state clearly again that this land belongs to all of us, who call ourselves “Sri Lankans”. I think, there is no dispute about that and I am very glad that the Hon. (Ven.) Ellawala Medhananda Thero today, did clarify to say that though this is called the land of the Sinhalese, it belongs to all of us.

I would like to remind the Hon. Minister that history is also the worst enemy of those who are selfish and greedy. History exposes their deception, greed and conspiracy. This is why we have this protracted war that has taken us to the brink of collapse as a nation. You cannot expect to build a nation by suppressing and subjugating other nationalities.

Mahatma Gandhi is on record as saying , "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves. We must become the change we wish to see in the world...” and not the way in which you are heading Hon. Minister, but in building a nation by embracing all the competing nationalities and marching towards as one. That is the change every Sri Lankan wants to see.

Let me conclude my speech by quoting Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who said:

“They call you ‘Little Man’, ‘Common Man’; they say a new era has begun, the ‘Era of the Common Man’... I have never heard you complain: ‘You promote me to be the future master of myself and the world, but you don’t tell me how one is to be the master of oneself.’… Your liberators tell you that your suppressors are Wilhelm, Nikolaus, Pope Gregory the Twenty Eighth, Morgan, Krupp or Ford. And your ‘liberators’ are called Mussolini, Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin. I tell you: Only you yourself can be your liberator! This sentence makes me hesitate. I contend to be a fighter for pureness and truth. I hesitate, because I am afraid of you and your attitude towards truth…”

(The speech made by A. M. M. Naoshaad , member of Parliament on the extension of the emergency on 4th November at the Parliament of Sri Lanka )
- Sri Lanka Guardian