Methodology - Sathyagraha (Silent Campaign). Display of posters relevant to the theme and cut-outs.
Venue - Vihara Maha Devi Park, opposite the Colombo Municipal Council.
Date - From 1000 hrs. to 1330 hrs on 28.05.2008
Number of participants - Only 650 participated although the number expected was 1000.
The attention of the participants were drawn to the Sathyagraha (peaceful protest) by Marie Princy of the "Janavabodha Centre" by drawing their attention in a meditative mood to the pressure exerted on the masses by the on-going war and the spiralling cost of living.
· Food expenses should be bearable to the masses.
· The war that destroys the lives of the innocent and enriches the companies owning arsenals should be stopped immediately.
· The plan for the re-establishment of the country should be formulated with public participation.
· Our country should be freed from the adverse effects of globalization.
The Convenor Miss. Padma Pushpakanthi made a clarification that based on the above main themes, the activities taken against them pressurizes the whole community and that the aim was to convince the administrators of the necessity of taking steps to make the methodologies more effective, to exert impacts on the two parties ie. the government forces and the rebel group (LTTE) to stop the war which had created havoc in the affected areas, to convince that as a group which had been experiencing the travails and woes that there are programmes conducive to man and nature that could be implemnted easily on this day as an impact group on the theme "to a land of humanity devoid of hunger, war and killings."
· Placards and cut-outs displaying the opposition to the issues pressing the people on the above factors.
· 2000 hand –bills including information to create an awareness amongst the people were distributed amongst the participants and others in Sinhala and Tamil.
Two Street Dramas were staged to show the participants that in a war situation it is the to ordinary people who have to sacrifice their lives and to show how the ordinary masses are hood-winked by the state controlled media. As per a story in the Bible, placing the responsibility of the rising cost of living and putting a stop to the war on the masses, a continuous struggle should be made in the future and the masses should work as a pressure group to exert impacts on the authorities concerned was shown as a drama to the participants. These dramas were staged by Mr. Roy Rodrigo of Negombo and his cultural group.
Submission of special views
Sheela Wickramarathna of Gemi Kantha Peramuna, Kadawatha explained to the gathering that although her son who was serving in the Army had to sacrifice his life in action that as a mother who is against the war she had no hatred towards Tamils and it was unreasonable to harass the Tamil Community.
Sadhu Jana Ravaya – A musical group which says that peaceful life is a right of the masses. Obstacles could be obliterated through the strong bonds of brotherhood and humanity amongst the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in the North, East and the South.
Let us fall like the rain
Be together like the wind
Our wish is to see that the Sinhala and Tamil communities in the South and North join hands together and be happy devoid of any hostility.
In the North you laugh and be happy my brother Nadarajah
in the South you laugh and be happy my brother Sumanasiri
Mr. Jayantha Bandara of the " Sadhu Janarava" group who was involved in a long struggle regarding the heavy pressures placed on the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslims and stood for peace amidst threats at a time of a severe war participated on this day through the co-ordination of Swarna and Sunil of MONLAR (Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform).
Although plans were made for a campaign of planting trees within the premises of the Municipal Council, it could not be carried out as no preparations had been made as agreed upon by the officers of the Municipal Council.
Plans were made to plant those fruit trees to give effect to the concept that it is essential to implement food production and cultivation in the country as one solution to the escalation of food prices. Girty Ranawaka of the "Kadawatha Sahana Kantha Ekatuwa" of the Mahavali Centre took pains in this regard. The officers of the Municipal Council informed on that day that the tree planting programme was to be implemented on the Environmental day with the intervention of the government. We consider it as a triumph on our part to draw the attention of the government in this regard.
· The B.B.C. News gave publicity to the views expressed by the participants regarding the enhanced cost of living and the travails of war.
· Asia News collected particulars to give publicity to this programme.
· A Short News item regarding this programme with photographs was published in the Tamil News paper "Weerakesari" and an interview was published in the daily paper Lankadeepa.
· "Hiru" Broadcasting Service too expressed views regarding this programme.
· Media Co-ordination was done by Sugala Kumari of the Peoples Planning Commission and sisters of various other organizations.
The full programme was co-ordinated by :-
· Gamini Ruberu of the Savisthri National Movement.
· Jesudasan of the Peoples Dialogue for Peace and Sustainable Development (PPD).
Organization of the Programme : -
· Network of the Womens' Action for Social Justice (WASJ).
· Peoples Dialogue for Peace and Sustainable Development (PPD).
· Co-ordination – Savisthri National Movement.
· Miscellaneous Assistance – taking photographs – National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO).
· Prior Arrangements - Savisthri Staff.
· Rangana Rihart – Peoples Planning Commission.
Vote of Thanks delivered by Nanda Udattawa of Vanitha Shrama Nikethanaya on behalf of the Womens Action for Social Justice (WASJ) and convinced those assembled that they should get together to exert stronger impacts in the future.
Adjournment - 1300 hrs.
Report compiled by the Convenor, Savisthri, 30/4(1/1), Uswatta Mawatha, Ethulkotte, Sri Lanka.