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How long are we going to be silent?

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  • Dr. Nalaka Godahewa launches new book Helidarawwa

Helidarawwa (The Exposure), a book written by Dr. Nalaka Godahewa discussing the current social, economical and political environment of the country, was launched on 1 September at the Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Auditorium under the patronage of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  

The book contains a collection of newspaper and Facebook articles published by Dr. Godahewa over the last year. They are a mix of English and Sinhala articles.

Chair of Forensic Medicine of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Prof. Mudhitha Widana Pathirana, introduced the author while the book was reviewed by Venerable Prof. Madagoda Abayathissa Thero. The keynote address was delivered by President’s Counsel Ali Sabri.

Abayathissa Thero in his address remarked: “At a time when most of our educated people shy away from addressing the national issues in fear of the Government, Dr. Godahewa has shown the courage to come forward with an independent critique of the current status of the country. What’s the point of calling yourself an educated person unless your knowledge is shared with others for the greater benefit of society? Most of the university academics today hide behind the argument that one should confine his or her observations and comments to a particular field of expertise. Firstly, this is a weak approach. Secondly, what’s the point of just vomiting what you have learnt elsewhere unless there are some practical applications for the betterment of society?” he asked. 

The venerable thero pointed out that the system was so corrupt today with politicians earning commissions from projects without delivering any output. “Reading Dr. Nalaka’s book is like going to an astrologer to get some predications about the future. Based on your stars the astrologer usually tells you that there could be trouble ahead and you must do everything possible to avoid such trouble. Likewise we all must read this book first and then work hard to ensure that Dr. Godahewa’s predictions will be proven wrong. If the predictions in this book come true, due our own inability to prevent them happening, then we will have no country left,” said the venerable thero.

Sabri agreed with the author that the country could not be left in the hands of politicians alone. “It is time that professionals and intellectuals come forward to do their part too. We all want to live in a country which can make us proud. It doesn’t matter to which ethnic group or religious group that you belong to as long as you love this country. What we need is a Sri Lankan identity. We should learn from history and no one should challenge the esteemed position of Buddhism in this country. Let us not allow anyone to create division amongst us. Who benefited more than the Tamil people when the war ended? Weren’t they the people most badly affected during the war? So why can’t the Tamil diaspora appreciate what President Mahinda Rajapaksa achieved for their own community? Why promote hatred once again? What are they going to achieve with that? We can only become a developed nation by working together and not by having internal conflicts. Let us follow the example of Nelson Mandela who left all the anger and hatred in the prison cell when he came out after 27 years of imprisonment,” said Sabri. 

Prof. Pathirana praised the author for sharing his wide knowledge gathered from diverse fields for the betterment of society. He pointed out that Dr. Godahewa must have great love for the country to give up the opportunity to lead a comfortable life elsewhere and take up a mission to educate his fellow citizens. 

“Throughout his career, Nalaka has developed not just team members but leaders who can serve the country just like him. That’s another service he has rendered to the nation,” he said. 

Concluding the event, Dr. Godahewa drew the attention of the audience to the famous remarks of American human rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. who stated that “history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people”. 

Dr. Godahewa requested the professionals and intellectuals of the country to come forward and share their views in order to educate the general public on the ground realities.  “I tell the youth of this country who may be worried currently about the dismal performance of our cricket team that we can resurrect our cricket once again. But if we let the country lose like this, then what are we going to tell future generations?” he asked.

Pix by Lasantha Kumara


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