Only the middle path will bring lasting peace, justice

My dear Mahinda Aiyah

Ayubowan, Vannakam Assalmu Alaikum and wishes for all the blessings from the thrice blessed day of Vesak with additional blessings and significance this year because it is the 2600th anniversary of the Lord Buddha’s enlightenment.

Indeed the country needs showers of blessings because the UPFA government is facing its worst ever international crisis over the United Nations panel report regarding alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the final months of the war against the LTTE in 2009.

The United States and the European Union appear to be taking a strong stand on this issue insisting that an independent international court must probe the allegations of war crimes. The European Parliament at a meeting last Thursday adopted a resolution to this effect, though the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Brussels tried to play down the effect of this move. Most independent analysts believe the UN panel report is likely to be taken up by the UN Human Rights Council later this month. With the UN Human Rights Commissioner. Navi Pillay also taking a strong stand on this issue it is possible that a resolution to appoint an international court may be approved by the HRC by a majority vote. The analysts say India last year led a group of Non Aligned Movement countries in defeating a resolution against Sri Lanka, but New Delhi now appears to have changed its stand due to various reasons.

Last Friday Tamil Nadu’s opposition AIADMK leader Jayalalitha Jayaram won a landslide victory in the state elections. Ms. Jayaram recently called on the Indian government to push for an international court to probe alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan and LTTE leader.

Though the situation is serious, you made somewhat of a joke about it when you addressed an international road safety conference in Colombo on Thursday. You pledged that top measures would be taken against those involved in what you described as “highway terrorism” or dangerous driving. You ended your speech with a quip that war crimes charges might be made against you for eliminating highway terrorism just as you eliminated the most ruthless terrorist movement in the world.

Terrific jokes apart, Sri Lanka needs to take urgent and prudent diplomatic measures to have a constructive dialogue with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon instead of ridiculing him.”

This time of Vesak and the anniversary of the Lord Buddha’s enlightenment provide a good opportunity for rethinking and reflection.

 Our leaders especially need to recommit themselves to the Lord Buddha’s enlightened principles of non-violence and accept the fact  that violence and hatred could be ended not by violence and hatred but by forgiving, love, compassion,  accommodation and dialogue. Our leaders especially need to come to the enlightenment that Crises are resolved not through schools of war but through schools of conflict resolution, where swords are turned into ploughshares. The Lord Buddha, the Lord Jesus Christ and other religious leaders have told us that lasting peace and justice will be achieved only when we love our enemies, bless those who curse us. Help those who hurt us and pray for those who persecute us.

They have also warned us that those who take up the sword or the gun will die by the sword or the gun as we saw recently in the dramatic case of the …elusive Al Queda … Leader Osama Bin Laden. We hope that Vesak reflections and meditation will liberate our leaders from the self destructive course of self centredness, selfishness, the desire for self interest, personal gain or glory. We hope that Vesak will be a turning point for our leaders to come to the awareness and enlightenment that is only the middle path of dialogue and accommodation that will bring lasting peace and justice.

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