by Thilak S. Fernando

The new millennium has been the topic of conversation for the past few years, and more so intensively in the past year or so. It focussed fears on the word Y2K Ethe millennium computer bug. It was assumed that a complete ‘over-runEof the century old working systems would take place as computers would not be able to recognise dates beyond 1999 and consequently aeroplanes might fall out of the skies on 1st January 2000 and perhaps the households will go into complete darkness due to electricity failures and so forth. Certainly a new technology threat was in the horizon from day one of the year 2000.

As the time drew nearer towards the end of the 20th Century some consolatory information emerged that the computer engineers have been able to resolve the problem and assurances have been given that ‘everything should continue smoothlyEwithout any interruption, with one clear warning though - i. e ‘One should be prepared to accept change and adjust oneself in every respect and to move with the timesE

Change is the most difficult function in mortals. But are we given any choice in the matter? Nature has taken care of it all and the humanity will have to just prod along while the professionals, intellectuals and politicians who ‘runEthe world will have to open their eyes wide and minds properly to keep their balance in the right order to blend with the changes that are going to take place in the new millennium. No ruler or country can afford to fall back any longer when everything around us in the world will be changing dramatically.

At this point it is very important to talk about our own mother country E Sri Lanka. She achieved independence 51 years ago, but not unity. The pristine glory of our motherland can only be restored if Sri Lankans achieve equality, integrity, unity and fraternity. These sacred values should be imprinted in the heart of every Sri Lankan, irrespective of any class distinctions or creed barriers and also whether they live at present in their own motherland or Timbuktu. There are many men of sacrifice, highly educated and affluent people, eminent statesmen and politicians and very good administrators in Sri Lanka. But what is the use? We have not been able to see any unity and co-operation among them in the past. This is the reason for the present plight of our country. A good millennium resolution, therefore, would be to give up individual differences and work for the welfare of the society and the country as a whole.

In the past foreigners have ruled Sri Lanka for over hundreds of years treating her people as slaves. At least from now on, in the new millennium, we as Sri Lankans have the right to take care that no foreign force or factions within Sri Lanka can endanger her sovereignty.

Unfortunately in Sri Lanka everyone has been struggling for his selfish ends so far. There may have been individual and party differences and differences in ideology, but when it comes to protecting the country, people of Sri Lanka should stand united giving up all differences. We need to sacrifice all self-interests and develop understanding.

In order to understand our centuries old culture we need to develop broad feelings, become broadminded and expand our love and understanding. As much as we keep on boasting about being a Buddhist county we need to practice what we preach equally. We need to extend our support to those Administrators who adhere to these sacred principles. We must not let ourselves carried away by those who give platform speeches, but practise none.

The message we need to get across in the new millennium is that ‘Unity in the country can be achieved only through truth, non-violence, understanding . Sri Lankans has a right to tell the main political parties that it is high time they unite. Is the lack of unity among the Sri Lankans so far due to fact that our motherland was under British rule for hundreds of years? Past is past. At least in future, we need to get the message across to the rulers and all other political parties that Sri Lanka will never be divided under any circumstances.

A good government should always be supported. People should not hate a government on the basis of individual differences. Since Sri Lanka achieved independence what is that we have achieved? Murders , kidnappings, bombs and suicide bombers! Is this what we dreamt of when our forefathers fought for independence? Today fear and restlessness are rampant. Every citizen, whether Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher, is haunted by fear wherever he is - at home, in a car, in a train or in a plane! What is the reason? It is because our minds are polluted with desire, greed, anger, hate, prejudice etc.

In Sri Lanka from time immemorial Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and Burghers belonged to a ‘single familyEirrespective of their religious or political beliefs and differences. Due to power greed and selfish reasons and party politics hatred and enmity have been on the increase in this single family, which once lived in love and harmony. If and when there is a dispute or difference of opinion within the family we may find one or two on one side and there are hundred on the other. But if there is any internal threat in the form of division of the family then all political parties should come together to safeguard the interests of the nation. Time has at the end of one-century come to give up hatred and enmity and to develop unity because the country cannot progress unless and until hatred and enmity are uprooted.

Colombo is the heart of Sri Lanka where the Administration is based. If the heart is good the whole body will function properly. Likewise, if Colombo is good, the whole country will prosper. So it should be every Sri Lankan’s millennium resolution to see and to carry the message to those in high offices in Colombo that they should stand united. If we have unity, there is nothing that we cannot achieve in the country.

When the safety of the country is at stake, which the world has been witnessing for the past sixteen years, it is high time that all political parties (at least the two major ones) in the country should stand united giving up their individual differences. When a new millennium dawns, therefore, it opens a new page on Sri Lankan politics where no sensible and patriotic Politician or a Leader can turn a Nelsonian eye or a deaf year any longer.