“Whatever career you may choose for yourself – doctor, lawyer and teacher – let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man. Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Rulers are the Trustee of a Nation and there is every reason to be cautious in dealing with the rest of the world on behalf of the country in trust-especially when the previous experiences have shown adverse results for not being cautious. The first thing that comes to mind is the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, which was done all in haste. The half-baked agreement was not reviewed and discussed in Parliament properly and was made possible only because of the executive powers of the President. While the agreement and its annexure covered aspects related to the ethnic problem, it was not complete and had many shortcomings. But not much publicity was made of India’s concerns about India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations and its political and security concerns. It resulted in the President taking enormous risks in signing such an agreement to address India’s concerns that were embodied in the agreement and by exchange of letters. The fact the resulting 13th Amendment to the Constitution that was passed was never fully implemented leading to the civil war is another story. It is also interesting to note all the Provincial Councils have of late confirmed this reality, a matter that was almost three decades ago brought to the notice by the then North East Provincial Council. This was from the very start ignored by the government. Also in spite of an agreement on bilateral relations with India the illegal, fishing, poaching, bottom trawling, and raping the seabed is rampant and uncontrolled. The trustees of both countries are not taking this matter serious and affected are the fishing community.
It was therefore not surprising to see open protests by the Government Medical Officers’ Association and many other professional bodies protest against the proposed Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. Fortunately under the present good governance the Prime Minister took steps immediately and informed the House by making a special statement on ECTA that should have removed most of the fears, and now only politically motivated opposition remains. The government had made pledges both at Presidential and General elections to enter into trade agreements with other countries and create a massive market for our products and ECTA was part of that pledge to elevate country’s economy and create one million employment opportunities by expanding the foreign market for our products. The parliament was told that the agreement is on Economic and Technology corporation, where India given the opportunity to invest in Sri Lanka. However existing Sri Lankan laws on employing Indian nationals in different service sectors in the country will remain unchanged and therefore that there would be no threat of Sri Lankans losing job opportunities as some groups are attempting to highlight.
Moral of this story is that one must demonstrate the love for motherland by being part of its political process. Continually strive for a better country for all! You don’t have to love your government to love your country. Study country’s history to know what great things people have done and how they showed their love of their country. Some people may have done things with good intentions but produced poor results. Learn from country’s history in both the good and the bad times. Focus on current events in the world as a whole and see how your country is involved in it. Put country before yourself, Language and Religion are your own; don’t mix it with Nationality for Nation is to be shared with the rest of the citizens.