by R.M.B Senanayake
The President keeps insisting that the family of Sarath Fonseka must ask for a pardon and his release. But that would be an admission of guilt. But he does not think he is guilty nor do many other people who have rallied around his cause. Does the law demand confession? Doesn’t he have a right to act according to his conscience?
The US Government as well as liberal opinion wanted Sarath Fonseka to be tried by the civilian courts which are bound to follow the Criminal Procedure Code and due processes of law in a transparent manner. But the President did not heed this call and instead charged him before military tribunals. But he has been proved guilty and there is no further case for insisting that he must accept his guilt and seek a pardon. Those who are sentenced after a court hearing do not have to re-affirm their guilt. The right to confess or not is available for all those who are charged before courts. So is it reasonable to ask that Sarath Fonseka should accept his guilt and seek a pardon personally when he does not consider himself guilty of the charges on which he was found guilty by the military court?
According to St. Francis De Sales, judgments of men are rash. "Oh, how displeasing are rash judgments to God! The judgments of the children of men are rash, because they are not the Judges one of another, and therefore usurp to themselves the office of our Lord. They are rash, because the principal malice of sin depends on the intent of the heart, which is an impenetrable secret to us. They are not only rash, but also impertinent, because everyone has enough to do to judge himself without taking upon him to judge his neighbour".
Our politics is rife with revenge, mismanagement, corruption, greed and an almost blatant disregard for the truth. Everyone knows this. Everyone has always known it. No one has ever cared enough to do anything about it because we are all cowards and do not want to stand for what is right. Our collective conscience is dead.
History may not look kindly upon the way Sarath Fonseka has been treated.
Whoever is willing to lay down his life for a cause displays an impressive level of dedication, and certainly an attitude that our politicians can never appreciate- something which is alien to them going by how they jump from one political party to another for very selfish and pecuniary reasons betraying the voters who voted for them. A martyr loses his life in defence of his beliefs and his conscience. If he dies in prison Sarath Fonseka would prove himself to be not only a war hero but also a martyr. If we admire the selflessness of a war hero who takes charge and fearlessly leads his troops to victory , we must admire even more his stand for his conscience and for his convictions- something that is unusual in our morally bankrupt nation.
To quote Chester Himes "It is now a dark and dismal time in the history of our country. A man who fought and won a victory is not only being dispossessed but insulted and degraded. Will our people be coerced into accepting what they consider is unfair and unjust? It is self-evident to all who have eyes to see that an evil shadow has fallen across our once fair land.