|Sunday, 2 January 2005|
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Editor, Sunday Observer.
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New Year prayer
MAY THE NEW YEAR bring immediate relief to all tsunami victims, provide them with all facilities to speedily resettle in homes of their own and to build life anew with the blessings of their compatriots who are united in grief with them.
MAY THE NEW YEAR strengthen the bonds of unity that are being forged at this time of trauma and convert them into everlasting bonds of amity and goodwill among all communities.
MAY THE NEW YEAR free the children of the traumas of natural and man-made disasters, provide them a contented and happy childhood and guarantee a humane environment devoid of abuse and exploitation, best possible education and health security as well as ample avenues to develop their tender creative abilities and fulfill their innocent aspirations.
MAY THE NEW YEAR see the return to law and order, discipline and sanity in society where each man and woman respects the privacy, dignity and rights of others as human beings, the elimination of the beast in man and the establishment of a humanitarian society.
MAY THE NEW YEAR rein in the vicious forces of communalism, racism and chauvinism that have sown hatred, death and destruction on thousands over the years and are threatening to engulf the people again in a senseless fratricidal war with horrendous consequences for present and future generations.
MAY THE NEW YEAR nip in the bud the ugly forces of religious intolerance and fundamentalism that tend to destroy the century old harmonious relations amongst different religious communities inhabiting our island.
MAY THE NEW YEAR see the emergence of good governance at all layers and the end of nepotism, favouritism, undue patronage and corruption so rampant therein.
MAY THE NEW YEAR strengthen the ceasefire, dispel the threat of war, strengthen the peace process and mark the early resumption of the stalled peace talks between the government and the LTTE.
MAY THE NEW YEAR witness the dawn of peace, peace with justice and honour for all communities and the welding of a united Sri Lanka where all citizens enjoy the same rights and privileges as equals with no discrimination on the grounds of colour, sex, religion, ethnicity, political beliefs or social status.
MAY THE NEW YEAR give courage and wisdom to all our leaders to rise above self-interests including greed for power, parochial party interests and take decisions in the public interest as true servants of the masses neither bestowing privileges on a select few nor vindictively victimising others.
MAY THE NEW YEAR grant our people resilience and will power to overcome all adversities and build a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka.
Friends in need
In the wake of the unprecedented tsunami disaster of enormous proportions that struck our country the international community has come in a major way not only to provide urgent relief to the victims but have also expressed their determination to assist us in the massive rehabilitation and reconstruction effort that costs several billions of rupees.
The United Nations and its various agencies, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have instantly reacted to the tragedy and have sent advance teams to assess the requirements. Canada has called for a moratorium on debts of tsunami-affected countries including Sri Lanka.
The United States, China, India, Pakistan, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Korea and many more countries have already sent assistance and have pledged much more.
On behalf of our people, we say a big 'Thank You' to our international friends. They are really friends in need.
We call upon the government to ensure that this massive flow of international aid goes to the needy and these funds are properly utilised, that no vultures are allowed to pilfer them and no political strings are attached in their distribution.
We also call upon the government to rationally decide on the priorities of aid distribution basing strictly on the requirements of the affected people and areas and desist the temptation of politicians and officials to channel them to 'their areas' as hitherto happened.
Produced by Lake House