Sunday, February 05, 2006

independence day

this is a repost
due to some error i have no access to previous independence day post even though it appears/appeared in the main page, nor can/could anybody comment on it . my previous attempts at editing and deleting it to correct the error did not work and my previous clarification post did not appear in the blog though it probably was on the feed until i deleted it
sorry for whole mess.

this is a full repost of the independence day post. i hope it will appear once blogger or myself somehow clear the previous one out of it's prolonged existence.
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today the main independence day ceremony is being held at the galle face green. buffalo's empty rote learned rhetoric is going on as i write.

however, i have to agree that the galle face is better suited for such ceremonies than the rather cramped independence square. (though they could have chosen to hold the rehearsals at night instead of creating traffic chaos in colombo during daytime last week)

i am personally glad that buffalo and co. are going to keep and probably increase the prominence given to the military in the last few ceremonies. our armed forces deserve that. they compare well with the best armies in the world, even though they do not have a comparable budget or state of the art technology. what our forces have is the real world battle experience and the knowledge that they have more or less contained the world's most ruthless and advanced (in terms of tactics used) terrorist force. most other armies with access to better resources, have failed to do that against lessor enemies.

in fact we should honor our forces more than we do at present. most people tend take a condescending attitude towards the soldiers even when they speak well of them. our officer corps are very professional. forces in general have become increasingly professional and should not be dismissed as unemployed rural youth taking the only employment available. that is definitely not the case. we do have a desertion problem (on the other hand we do not have draft) but that does not mean we have a right to judge those who remain loyal. it is about time society jettison such prejudices and give our forces their due place as the most honored profession.

giving military more prominence in the independence day help underline the fact this is a secular ceremony in a mature democracy.

one problem with sri lanka is that the state is very much identified with buddhism. i am not just referring to the special place that buddhism is accorded in the constitution. all our public ceremonies are accompanied by buddhist religious rites. all public officials feel they have to pay homage to the tooth relic and mahanaykes after even the smallest change (for better or worse) in their position. almost all government departments these days have statues of lord buddha prominently displayed, while national flag is hardly to be seen. it is as if sri lanka did not become a theocracy like iran only because of buddhist clergy's internal disorganization (mostly due to caste divisions) and general cupidity of the high ranked monks.

one result is that all non buddhists feel alienated. they do not feel they can or have any worthwhile role to play in such a buddhist state.

fortunately that is only appearance not reality. it is like the so called national dress that only politicians wear these days. it is after all a fact that most buddhists are not at all religious. in my experience majority do not visit a temple even once a month. if we want to remain a united country sri lanka has to be more secular in appearance too. so it's about time our politicians give more emphasize to the secular reality of the country.

for a start we can have more secular holidays.

independence day, along with mayday are the only secular holidays we have, with april new year counting as half a one. that is a pity. if we can get rid of the superfluous ten or so poya holidays, we should increase the number of secular holidays by one or two. how about republic day (may 26, buffalo referred to it today i think), a war hero's day, or a special holiday on d s senanayake's birthday?

anyway do fly the flag, today at least.

5 comments:

sittingnut said...

at last got rid of the previous post.
how?
by turning off and on the option to display the title of posts(!?). the orginal error was probably due to the fact orginal post was published without a title and when i added the title shortly after all access was cut off.
if you do not understand any of this good for you.

Mahangu said...

You should consider moving to Wordpress.com. Apart from built in stats and spam protection, you also have a support forum / IRC channel where the developers actually get to hear your complaint. :)

If you're worried about migration, don't be. WP.com runs WP 2.0, which means it can login to your blogger account and import all your old posts for you.

Either way, and whatever you decide to do - hope these problems get sorted out. Good luck!

Jack Point said...

There are two things that worry me about the army:

1. They have started to make political statements (eg the army spokesman recently said that the army welcomes the news that the LTTE and Government will hold talks)
2. Increasing levels of corruption- judging by the size of some of the houses occupied by officers.

ashanthi said...

I can't say I agree with how well the SL Army is doing - in fact when you've got 7 TRO aid workers abducted right under their noses - they look rather guilty.

With respect to them getting involved with politics - I don't think anyone can call themselves Sri Lankan & not be political.

As for how wealthy the army are getting - well who's going to argue with a gun? They're also selling guns & I think you should ask the people of Jaffna how much money the sergents make.

I hope you don't take offence sittingnut but really mens & guns are nothing but a recepie for trouble & often horror. This is not a specific Sri Lankan thing,

You once spoke about getting the Army out of Jaffna - in the wake of 7 mens sitting in a hole somewhere between a high security zone & the outskirts of Vanni - I'd say the boys in blue have a lot to answer for...

Re flags vs statues - I'm with the statues :-) Re less holidays - oh you are such a workaholic - cut it out lol.

sittingnut said...

mahangu
thanks, that was very gentlemanly of you :-)
i do use wordpress, for my business related blogs, which i keep completely separate from personal blogs. i agree with you wordpress is generally better so far. but this is the first time i had any problem here and it is now ok . blogger seems to have had lots of problems last weekend. check their status blog for more information.

jack point
luckily the two facts you point to do not complement each other most of the time . coup( i am assuming that is what you are afraid of when speaking about political statements) prone armies like in turkey or pakistan are generally less corrupt than rest of the country and highly respected. however, same may not true in nigeria. i am personally less afraid of army attempting a coup than jvp trying to do grab power when war comes and buffalo's government collapse.

ashanthi
how are you?

tro worker case is rather strange, imo to even post about, that is why i haven't written anything about it. too many ppl are assuming too many things about it. we will see what remains in a week or so.
7 mens sitting in a hole somewhere - like the 3 who returned ?

I think you should ask the people of Jaffna how much money the sergents make- :-) by selling guns? so that jaffna ppl can shoot them ?
some ppl in the army are corrupt ( i am not referring to sergeants :-) ) but that is to be expected, corruption is a fact of life.

mens & guns are nothing but a recepie for trouble & often horror - you are right but that is also simplistic. world is complex unfortunately.

You once spoke about letting the Army out of Jaffna - yes as a military tactic when the war starts, and i still think that would be the correct thing, so think does some ppl in the army.

flags vs statues - depend on the statue. i would exchange any number of flags for certain kind of statues :-) but not for buddha statues.