The Health Minister trying out the much talked about indigenous syrup with healing powers
It is not the upcoming solar eclipse on December 14, which will not be seen here, that has brought any new interest, but the major solar eclipse on June 1955 that is now remembered by many; especially with the “Bivva Neda Vadakaha Sudiya” baila beat and the tale of “Emali Paney” being revived in the minds of many from this honey trap of Covid cure. .
Those who take special delight in drinking the new “Kali Amma Corona Paniya” (Divine Corona Healing Honey or Vasangatha Suva Paniya), must be having their own songs and dances, as Covid-19 spreads worldwide and we have a syrup to save our people from this global disaster. This is the height of indigenous syrup era, which has nothing to do with any vaccines developed elsewhere in the world, be it in the US, the UK, Russia or China. We are in the Hela Suvaya era, which may soon take us more than 2000 years ahead from the rest of the world.
With many questions about the healing of treatment qualifications or experience of the Kovil player who has produced the new Kali Amma Paniya, we are now in a situation where none other than the “Reverse” tablet Wimal Weerawansa asks whether anyone questioned about the qualifications or experience of Sir Isaac Newton, when that apple fell on his head, and brought him the knowledge of gravity. He knows nothing about Sir Isaac being a mathematician, physicist, astronomer and author and was the Professor of Mathematics of the University of Cambridge. That is the Weerawansa Reverse. The emerging worry is that we are fast moving to an era when education is not a matter of any importance, if one has the political push with claims of divine or spiritual support. It is the rise of the Reverse Era.
This stuff of Weerawansa Reverse thinking will soon take us to a position when the next great indigenous knowledge on Pleasure, Profit and Power will come from someone who was stunned by the fall of coconut on one’s head; from the tree he or she will be under. It will be the Great Kali Amma Pol Vidyava of the indigenous Hela Urumaya.
The current thinking of politics and governance is that when the Covid-19 keeps spreading in the country, with more than 500 each day and rising deaths, too, there is the need to move away from any Western or scientific thinking, and get to the Rajavasala Kavata Keliya. It is the rise of a wholly indigenous strategy in thinking and action.
We had the pots thrown to rivers, and an offer to be sent out to the sea to save this country from this Covid disaster. That was the stuff of a Minister of Health, and not of any diety. We are now faced with a hugely rising cost of living, increasing protests by those locked up in huge urban flat dwellings, a barrage of meaningless gazettes, whole inability to have price control of essentials, and then prison protests leading to many deaths and destruction. This is certainly the time for divine intervention, to bring new meaning to Pohottuva Politics, the core of which is the rapid ending of legal cases, a huge expansion of the judiciary, and the rising release of remandees, moving soon to convicts.
Anyone who thinks the Kali Amma Syrup or Suva Peniya has no political attachments to it, should look at how it was dispensed in Parliament. We have certainly moved away from the time that the Speaker was brought under physical threat, chairs were broken, chilli powder thrown, the text book on Parliamentary Rights and Privilege and a Bible, too, were thrown. What do we have today … the special privilege of the Speaker and several other MPs, taking deep and delightful sips of the Suva Paniya. Was the spirit of Kali Amma quickly seeping into their systems to ensure prevention from any Covid-19 infection, and give them more strength to carry on with their hoodlum behaviour in the House of Representatives? The question that arises is who do they represent, the people or the deities with Kali Amma power?
The realities in Sri Lanka today is that we are fast moving to the day and age of indigenous spirituals, and rapidly away from modern scientific thinking. We are well into the Age of Kali Amma and Natha Deviyo, keeping alive our great traditions of deity worship. Just think of the number of times that our politicians have gone to devales to smash coconuts to bring political disaster to their enemies or critics. Keep thinking of the gifts that the Kovil Guras receive, especially when elections get closer. An island which is known to be Buddhist, following the teachings of the Buddha, that was based on rationality, we now have increasing numbers of those who wear the yellow robe, with commitment to irrational thinking, and also support the Kali Amma Syrup to cure Covid-19.
There is certainly no hope or promise of an escape from this Rajavasala Kavata Keliya. Those who scoff at the beliefs and religious traditions of those who believe in a deity, are bigger and more active followers and players in the worship of indigenous deities. As Covid spreads, they will await the divine syrup, want more and more doses of this Vasangatha Suva Paniya — this pandemic cure that will soon have a global demand.
I will raise my glass with the usual tot of good spirits that I gladly enjoy. But, let’s say cheers to all – from politicians, crooks and catchers, who will soon be raising their glasses of the Kali Amma Suvaya. The rise of indigenous political spirituality. Hoi, Hoi, Hoi.
Govt.’s choice is dialogue over confrontation
By Jehan Perera
Preparing for the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council cannot be easy for a government elected on a nationalist platform that was very critical of international intervention. When the government declared its intention to withdraw from Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of the October 2015 resolution No. 30/1 last February, it may have been hoping that this would be the end of the matter. However, this is not to be. The UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s report that will be taken up at the forthcoming UNHRC session in March contains a slate of proposals that are severely punitive in nature and will need to be mitigated. These include targeted economic sanctions, travel bans and even the involvement of the International Criminal Court.
Since UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s visit in May 2009 just a few days after the three-decade long war came to its bloody termination, Sri Lanka has been a regular part of the UNHRC’s formal discussion and sometimes even taking the centre stage. Three resolutions were passed on Sri Lanka under acrimonious circumstances, with Sri Lanka winning the very first one, but losing the next two. As the country became internationally known for its opposition to revisiting the past, sanctions and hostile propaganda against it began to mount. It was only after the then Sri Lankan government in 2015 agreed to co-sponsor a fresh resolution did the clouds begin to dispel.
Clearly in preparation for the forthcoming UNHRC session in Geneva in March, the government has finally delivered on a promise it made a year ago at the same venue. In February 2020 Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena sought to prepare the ground for Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from co-sponsorship of UN Human Rights Council resolution No 30/1 of 2015. His speech in Geneva highlighted two important issues. The first, and most important to Sri Lanka’s future, was that the government did not wish to break its relationships with the UN system and its mechanisms. He said, “Sri Lanka will continue to remain engaged with, and seek as required, the assistance of the UN and its agencies including the regular human rights mandates/bodies and mechanisms in capacity building and technical assistance, in keeping with domestic priorities and policies.”
Second, the Foreign Minister concluding his speech at the UNHRC session in Geneva saying “No one has the well-being of the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural people of Sri Lanka closer to their heart, than the Government of Sri Lanka. It is this motivation that guides our commitment and resolve to move towards comprehensive reconciliation and an era of stable peace and prosperity for our people.” On that occasion the government pledged to set up a commission of inquiry to inquire into the findings of previous commissions of inquiry. The government’s action of appointing a sitting Supreme Court judge as the chairperson of a three-member presidential commission of inquiry into the findings and recommendations of earlier commissions and official bodies can be seen as the start point of its response to the UNHRC.
The government’s setting up of a Commission of Inquiry has yet to find a positive response from the international and national human rights community and may not find it at all. The national legal commentator Kishali Pinto Jayawardene has written that “the tasks encompassed within its mandate have already been performed by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC, 2011) under the term of this President’s brother, himself the country’s Executive President at the time, Mahinda Rajapaksa.” Amnesty International has stated that “Sri Lanka has a litany of such failed COIs that Amnesty International has extensively documented.” It goes on to quote from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that “Domestic processes have consistently failed to deliver accountability in the past and I am not convinced the appointment of yet another Commission of Inquiry will advance this agenda. As a result, victims remain denied justice and Sri Lankans from all communities have no guarantee that past patterns of human rights violations will not recur.”
It appears that the government intends its appointment of the COI to meet the demand for accountability in regard to past human rights violations. Its mandate includes to “Find out whether preceding Commissions of Inquiry and Committees which have been appointed to investigate into human rights violations, have revealed any human rights violations, serious violations of the international humanitarian law and other such serious offences.” In the past the government has not been prepared to accept that such violations took place in a way that is deserving of so much of international scrutiny. Time and again the point has been made in Sri Lanka that there are no clean wars fought anywhere in the world.
International organisations that stands for the principles of international human rights will necessarily be acting according to their mandates. These include seeking the intervention of international judicial mechanisms or seeking to promote hybrid international and national joint mechanisms within countries in which the legal structures have not been successful in ensuring justice. The latter was on the cards in regard to Resolution 30/1 from which the government withdrew its co-sponsorship. The previous government leaders who agreed to this resolution had to publicly deny any such intention in view of overwhelming political and public opposition to such a hybrid mechanism. The present government has made it clear that it will not accept international or hybrid mechanisms.
In the preamble to the establishment of the COI the government has made some very constructive statements that open up the space for dialogue on issues of accountability, human rights and reconciliation. It states that “the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka is to continue to work with the United Nations and its Agencies to achieve accountability and human resource development for achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation, even though Sri Lanka withdrew from the co-sponsorship of the aforesaid resolutions” and further goes on to say that “the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to ensure that, other issues remain to be resolved through democratic and legal processes and to make institutional reforms where necessary to ensure justice and reconciliation.”
As the representative of a sovereign state, the government cannot be compelled to either accept international mechanisms or to prosecute those it does not wish to prosecute. At the same time its willingness to discuss the issues of accountability, justice and reconciliation as outlined in the preamble can be considered positively. The concept of transitional justice on which Resolution No 30/1 was built consists of the four pillars of truth, accountability, reparations and institutional reform. There is international debate on whether these four pillars should be implemented simultaneously or whether it is acceptable that they be implemented sequentially depending on the country context.
The government has already commenced the reparations process by establishing the Office for Reparations and to allocate a monthly sum of Rs 6000 to all those who have obtained Certificates of Absence (of their relatives) from the Office of Missing Persons. This process of compensation can be speeded up, widened and improved. It is also reported that the government is willing to consider the plight of suspected members of the LTTE who have been in detention without trial, and in some cases without even being indicted, for more than 10 years. The sooner action is taken the better. The government can also seek the assistance of the international community, and India in particular, to develop the war affected parts of the country on the lines of the Marshall Plan that the United States utilized to rebuild war destroyed parts of Europe. Member countries of the UNHRC need to be convinced that the government’s actions will take forward the national reconciliation process to vote to close the chapter on UNHRC resolution 30/1 in March 2021.
Album to celebrate 30 years
Rajiv Sebastian had mega plans to celebrate 30 years, in showbiz, and the plans included concerts, both local and foreign. But, with the pandemic, the singer had to put everything on hold.
However, in order to remember this great occasion, the singer has done an album, made up of 12 songs, featuring several well known artistes, including Sunil of the Gypsies.
All the songs have been composed, very specially for this album.
Among the highlights will be a duet, featuring Rajiv and the Derena DreamStar winner, Andrea Fallen.
Andrea, I’m told, will also be featured, doing a solo spot, on the album.
Rajiv and his band The Clan handle the Friday night scene at The Cinnamon Grand Breeze Bar, from 07.30 pm, onwards.
LET’S DO IT … in the new normal
The local showbiz scene is certainly brightening up – of course, in the ‘new normal’ format (and we hope so!)
Going back to the old format would be disastrous, especially as the country is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, and the Western Province is said to be high on the list of new cases.
But…life has to go on, and with the necessary precautions taken, we can certainly enjoy what the ‘new normal’ has to offer us…by way of entertainment.
Bassist Benjy, who leads the band Aquarius, is happy that is hard work is finally bringing the band the desired results – where work is concerned.
Although new to the entertainment scene, Aquarius had lots of good things coming their way, but the pandemic ruined it all – not only for Aquarius but also for everyone connected with showbiz.
However, there are positive signs, on the horizon, and Benjy indicated to us that he is enthusiastically looking forward to making it a happening scene – wherever they perform.
And, this Friday night (January 29th), Aquarius will be doing their thing at The Show By O, Mount Lavinia – a beach front venue.
Benjy says he is planning out something extra special for this particular night.
“This is our very first outing, as a band, at The Show By O, so we want to make it memorable for all those who turn up this Friday.”
The legendary bassist, who lights up the stage, whenever he booms into action, is looking forward to seeing music lovers, and all those who missed out on being entertained for quite a while, at the Mount Lavinia venue, this Friday.
“I assure you, it will be a night to be remembered.”
Benjy and Aquarius will also be doing their thing, every Saturday evening, at the Darley rd. Pub & Restaurant, Colombo 10.
In fact, they were featured at this particular venue, late last year, but the second wave of Covid-19 ended their gigs.
Also new to the scene – very new, I would say – is Ishini and her band, The Branch.
Of course, Ishini is a singer of repute, having performed with Mirage, but as Ishini and The Branch, they are brand new!
Nevertheless, they were featured at certain five-star venues, during the past few weeks…of their existence.
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