Road to Jaffna
With the capture of Elephant Pass by the
Security Forces, the road to Jaffna is now open. Tigers are now cornered
to a small area, in the Mullaitivu district. The battle for liberation
of the Vanni from the clutches of terrorism is over in the main.
The total liberation of the land controlled by them is only a matter
of time which no longer would be counted in years. It’s a matter of
The Sunday Observer joins the vast multitude of the Sri Lankan people
in saluting the war heroes for this remarkable achievement. It has
shattered all the myths about the invincibility of Tigers and the put to
shame their military strategy.
While full control of the A-9 Kandy-Jaffna Road has great military
importance, its economic significance is even greater. It is the Main
Supply Route (MSR) from the south to the north and vice versa.
Its opening would pave the way for free flow of goods and services
between all regions of the country. Unlike in the days of the Ceasefire
Agreement there would be no extortion of money from its users by
Traditionally A-9 has been the conduit for goods from Jaffna to reach
Colombo. Kilinochchi was the transit hub where southern and northern
traders exchanged their products.
People in the north would have a sigh of relief as prices of goods
and services, including those of essential items would come down
This is the most tangible immediate benefit they would derive from
the recent military victory.
What more, people to people contact would improve tremendously
leading to a better understanding between the communities inhabiting our
land. As before, the door would be open to intermix of cultures.
Clearly, the A-9 opening’s social impact would have a beneficial effect
on inter-communal relations.
The palmyra leaf curtain forcibly erected by the LTTE separating the
north from the south has been torn asunder. People from Point Pedro in
the north to Dondra Head in the South could unite as one nation.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the nation after the capture
of Elephant Pass and the opening of the A-9 Road spoke thus:
“We are now engaged in giving new life to the unitary status of our
country. We are enlivening democracy in our land. The defeat of
terrorism means giving new life to an honourable peace and freedom.”
President’s words summarise the tasks that lie ahead to consolidate
the victory achieved and make it meaningful for the people.
This would involve resettlement of internally displaced persons,
including those Muslims forcibly evicted by the LTTE more than a decade
ago, in their former places of residence, developing the physical and
social infrastructure destroyed by the three decade old war and ensuring
livelihoods of the people, rehabilitating the agricultural `glory of the
These would involve huge capital outlays and it is here the
international community that was harping on the plight of Vanni
civilians could show their true sympathies and solidarity with them by
contributing generously to the relief and rehabilitation effort of the
Stop Gaza genocide
The two-week old air-ground offensive by Israel
against the Gaza Strip has killed over 700 persons, a third of them
What is more abominable more than the Israeli offensive is the
impotency of the world community to do anything to stop this genocide.
Israel is intransigently refusing to honour an immediate ceasefire that
was called for by the United Nations Security Council.
What has irked the international community is also the complicity of
the United States I this act of aggression which was demonstrated by its
abstention from voting for the Security Council resolution.
Similarly intriguing is the silence of President-elect Barrack Obama,
which brings into question his credentials as some one who would follow
a policy different from his predecessor President George W. Bush on
The brutality and inhumanity of Israel is seen from their violation
of rules of war by delaying the ICRC access to the wounded.
It is futile to think that Israel bombs, rockets and tanks could stop
the Palestinian people’s struggle for justice and rights. The
continuation of the conflict carries the potential of engulfing the
entire Middle East in an unwanted war.
A War in the Middle East would mean escalation of fuel prices and
untold hardships for the masses throughout the world who are already
suffering from the adverse effects of the world financial crisis.
It is time to halt the conflict, observe a ceasefire and begin talks
on a meaningful Arab-Israel peace.
The urgent need is to halt the genocide.