– by Shenali Waduge –
May 19th will mark the 4th anniversary of the conclusion of a 3 decade terrorist conflict. The ground realities of terrorism combined with destabilizing efforts are nothing that should surprise us given the visible efforts underway to undermine the victory given to us by our national war heroes. Indebted to them for showing the world that “unwinnable wars” can be won with passion and dedication, civil society and in particular the political establishments now need to play a greater role in fortifying that victory given at the cost of life and limb.
As citizens we need to all be aware that attempts continue to divide the country. This is why international lobbies have chosen to ignore the fete achieved by Sri Lanka’s military in annihilating the world’s most feared terrorist movement while saving over 294,000 Tamil civilians within 3 years liberating both the East and North of Sri Lanka that had been declared defacto LTTE areas sanctioned through the 2002 ceasefire agreement.
The road to victory did not come cheap and it did not come without costs to life and property. Thousands of civilians and armed personnel lost their lives and thousands of Tamils drawn into a worthless fight based on the cunning of a handful sacrificed their lives for no reason. Thousands of children too became prey having been forcibly recruited as child soldiers. The 594 children who gave themselves in during the final phase of the war are now pardoned and reintegrated into society whilst of the 12,000 former LTTErs who gave themselves in save for 200 all others are now reintegrated into society. This is an achievement in itself whilst thousands of combatants languish in secret jails all over the world and their families do not even know whether they are dead or alive. The very nations that point fingers have forgotten that the nations they invaded and the infrastructure they targeted and destroyed still remain ruined and millions of people continue to remain internally displaced or refugees in another country and this too after decades of occupation. As a Third World nation our rehabilitation concluded after 3 years…. as First World nations invading countries on bogus issues they must feel ashamed for not upholding their moral duty to the people they have made homeless.
Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation program now complete within just 3 years of concluding the war people are continuing their lives without bombs, assassinations or suicide missions.
Of course there are many to find fault. It is natural because their livelihood depends on pointing out inadequacies. It is the same with media too. Unless they have a sensational story to tell their papers wont sell. Likewise, the humanitarian agencies to survive need a humanitarian catastrophe. Such is the way of the world. That does not mean that the world must live in chaos for them to thrive.
The development that has taken place post-conflict is undeniable. From absolutely no paved road in the North, the roads are fantastic and a pleasure to travel in. Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu the hub of the LTTE had no electricity for decades because the LTTE blew up the transformers. Today over 50% of the two towns enjoy electricity and can even watch television which these people couldn’t do when the LTTE prevailed.
The Tamil youth can walk out of their homes without fearing they would be kidnapped of course we need to reiterate that the LTTE picked and chose who they made into child soldiers – no Tamil elite or high caste became a child soldier. It was ONLY the children from impoverished and low-caste homes who were made into child soldiers and given a cyanide capsule to commit suicide. This is something that doesn’t get media attention and nothing that the Tamil Diaspora or the Tamil political parties or the Colombo Tamil elite wish to acknowledge. This is why not even the Tamil politicians cared to speak on behalf of these child soldiers. This explains why these areas remain poverty stricken even when money is allocated to the TNA for development. TNA politicians are busy separating the country without looking after the wellbeing of their people!
We cannot also forget the other traitors amongst us and there are many too. That architects of legislative documents that sought to betray the nation and the armed forces giving legislative leverages to a terrorist movement continue to hold key portfolios in governance shows the need for citizens to be not only alert but all the while aware that enemies surround us in all spheres. The influence of money, the promise of power and the power of contacts are three areas that gravitates all and sundry into signing pacts with the enemy or enemies.
As citizens Sri Lanka is our nation and we are beholden to protect it from enemies be they our own or foreign. Our leaders need to be clearly told that Sri Lanka must remain sovereign, unitary and a non-aligned nation. These were the dynamics with which Mrs. Bandaranaike won the respect of the entire world and it is that which is lacking now. Sri Lanka is not a cake to be cut and served keeping its citizens in the dark.
Patriotism and loyalty are not confined to paper or speech alone and certainly has no right to come out of the mouths of those that have aligned with and solicit funds from foreign operators whose objectives are regime change. People need to name and shame them and they deserve no platform of respect from the citizens of the nation whatever their professional standing or qualification.
That 20million people live in Sri Lanka means that for peaceful co-existence and co-prosperity to prevail citizens must not encroach on others or undermine the indigenous cultures by importing new cultures on the disguise of freedom of religion. No freedom of religion can intrude on the freedom of another. Politicians need to be aware of this.
Political parties need to wake up to the fact that the cheap politics that have been part and parcel of the games they have played to entice people now need to uplift their status to one that would demarcate proper guidelines for issues instead of making a drama of things to evade answering what the citizens ask.
The Government must forthwith put a lid to the mythical demands that have prevailed and found basis for the demands for separatism. Politicians are beholden to do what is right by the Constitution and the nation and not to be the nice guys for a handful upon whom they enjoy perks and privileges for their action or inaction.
Whether politician or commoner there needs to be a joint commitment and effort that the material and spiritual wealth of the nation will not be compromised or misused for personal advantage. The country is not meant to be plundered by a corrupt handful.
A greater effort needs to be made to promote education amongst all in a national plan that would provide a sound understanding of the history of the country, the indigenous rulers, the laws that existed prior to the Western laws, the cultures and practices that prevailed etc which builds up not only the knowledge of the past but helps the necessary foundation to feel patriotic and to feel proud of one’s nation. Without a knowledge of the past people do not know their ancestral ties and bonds. We need to know our real heroes, their achievements and not the Western heroes which is not part of our history.
Sri Lankans need to start appreciating our local products and a nation-wide promotion to promote and assist our local producers (farmers, handicrafts, Ayurveda etc) must be launched. How fair is it to import products when internally these are available with our own people. Have we given due recognition to indigenous industries and helped people to sustain their livelihoods? It is time we look at ways and means we can develop every corner of our land and think about how we can contribute in small or large ways towards it. We need to have new goals, new missions and new objectives.
Sri Lanka’s problems are internally solvable
Citizens of Sri Lanka need to decolonize their minds from the subjugation mentality that continues to haunt their line of thinking following over 500 years of occupationist colonial rule. The white man does not have the answers to the world’s ills and Sri Lanka’s future needs to be carved by us – the citizens of Sri Lanka. It is not the international community that needs to decide what is right or wrong for Sri Lanka but the people of Sri Lanka. We need to clearly convey this message. It is when some elements in governance project the need for foreign interference that issues with the capacity to be solved internally have got confused and at times outsourced without our knowledge. We must say NO to NGO-Chintana and the citizens must tell Governments choosing public officials that they should not accept double-crossers and give them portfolios which leave the nation in bigger danger.
International media are finger pointing. Have they raised the issues of compensation due to Third World nations for atrocities committed by White imperialists? When they attempt to teach the majority Sinhalese how Buddhists should behave have they forgotten how the Abrahamic religions have behaved and continue to behave and for which most of the problems that prevail worldwide find their roots to? We are not ready to accept allegations when those pointing fingers have an ulterior motive and are using these issues simply to advance their agendas.
Get rid of the ideologies that divide the nation
If Sri Lanka continues to suffer politically it is because the leaders have failed to adopt the policy of de-nazification following the Nuremburg Tribunals where everything and anyone to do with the Nazi’s were banned and prohibited. Thus, everything and everyone associated with Eelaam ideology must be warned to close shop or face criminal actions against them. The national heroes did not sacrifice life and limb to annihilate terrorism for political terrorism to prevail through the same eelaam ideology. Separatist mentality has to be legislatively and legally dealt with and cannot become a political weapon or political topic to gain votes, voters and campaign funds.
Reconciliation of any kind cannot take shape without the omission of Eelaam ideology for it would become such a farce when the one side pretends to be a part of reconciliation but is camouflaging Eelaam ideology so that he can work out legislatively the goals that the LTTE fought to achieve.
The other area of contention is that the 13th amendment to the constitution is not welcomed by the majority people and the Government is duti-bound to listen to the will of the people and not to international players or foreign nations whatever pressures it comes under. The role of the external affairs ministry is to make sure Sri Lanka’s version is properly articulated. A sovereign nation does not function to the whims and fancies of foreign nation – if so we are ceasing to call ourselves sovereign and politicians and leaders may as well bow down from office if unable to lead a nation with its sovereignty intact and uncompromised.
Is our Government, the same Government that worked towards annihilating terrorism in Sri Lanka foolishly allowing a South Sudan scenario to take shape ignoring the representations made by many on the need to repeal the 13th amendment?
Sri Lankan citizenry must be at all times appraised that Eelaam is actually the quest for a greater eelaam that extends to Tamil Nadu wherein the disintegration of India is already under way under the tacit approval of its foreign party President.
Therefore all political parties/associations/groups or individuals carrying Eelaam signage/name etc must forthwith be asked to remove. Grievances must be clearly defined and articulated and no aspirations are to be accepted. These are the ground rules for all. Parroting of false slogans must come to an end for it has got the ordinary people nowhere except allow for the survival of political parties fooling the masses with fictitious and bogus slogans. The state is therefore duty-bound to make sure that these false claims are done away with for it is not healthy for the country that has a national plan to move forward.
In the meanwhile, the Government needs to put to rest all ambiguities and make necessary changes to all Government documents that should now clearly state that Sri Lanka had a Terrorist problem and NOT an “ethnic problem” and similar other falsehoods that have been used against the State need to be clearly defined and informed locally and to the world to finally put to rest ambiguities that prevail and on which platforms for unnecessary issues are likely to rise if not properly dealt with. Unless these ambiguities are addressed we will be leaving a legacy of lies for future generations to deal with.
Similarly, politicians are voted into power not to make governance a roadmap to personal gain. Therefore, all politicians whether in government or opposition need to take a closer look at the role they currently play and the role they are required to play and bridge the gap.
As we approach the 4th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s victory over the LTTE we salute our national heroes for giving us freedom sacrificing their lives. We also pledge our promise to be alert to all the traitors that prevail amongst us to demean the victory they gave us at the cost of life and limb. While most of us continue to thank our soldiers for freeing the nation of terrorism there are a handful still that continue to want to destabilize the nation – we need to call their bluff and name and shame them.