Making Independence more meaningful
Sri Lanka celebrated its 63rd anniversary of
Independence on Friday with pride and joy as the country is marching
towards new economic horizons after terrorism was eradicated.
Coincidentally, the 83rd anniversary of the Sunday Observer also fell
on the same day. Sri Lanka's flagship English newspaper published its
first issue on February 4, 1928 and on this same day after 20 years Sri
Lanka gained its independence.
The Sunday Observer continues to remain the undisputed market leader
for over eight decades due to the implicit trust reposed by millions of
readers from all walks of life. During this period, the Sunday Observer
made a worthy contribution to the nation and its well-being as a
responsible national newspaper.
We note with a sense of pride that the Sunday Observer, through thick
and thin, backed the Security Forces in its battle against the terror
unleashed by the LTTE. Despite the local media turning out to be firm
supporters of the Security Forces when the final battle was being fought
in the Nandikadal lagoon, those with vested interests attempted to brand
us as warmongers when we supported the battle against terror at its very
early stages in Mavil Aru.
Nevertheless, even those who branded us warmongers in the early
stages of the battle, eventually understood the crucial need and joined
hands with us to fulfil a national obligation by getting all Sri Lankans
to rally round our valiant Security Forces.
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over the reins of Government
over five years ago as the First Citizen, the country was in a state of
near collapse due to the heightening terrorist activities and a
In sharp contrast, President Rajapaksa has now transformed the
country into a booming economy after eradicating terrorism. Sri Lanka is
now triumphantly marching towards achieving its objective of becoming
the Wonder of Asia.
Sri Lanka scored a first and became the only country to eradicate
terrorism due to the valiant efforts of the Security Forces and the
indomitable leadership they received from President Rajapaksa as the
Sri Lanka's Security Forces not only eliminated the scourge of
terrorism, but also achieved all those magnificent victories against the
world's most ruthless terror outfit which had indiscriminately killed
thousands of hapless people apart from political and religious leaders.
The successful battle against the LTTE to end three decades of terrorism
was indeed a landmark achievement in the annals of Sri Lanka's history.
This is all the more significant when one considers the increasing
internal and external pressure exerted on Sri Lanka - both militarily
and diplomatically. Despite all overwhelming odds, President Rajapaksa
directed the Security Forces to step up the battle against terror and
meet the aspirations of the entire nation.
When President Rajapaksa took office on November 18, 2005, people
across the length and breadth of the country sought just one thing - to
liberate the country from the clutches of terrorism which took Sri Lanka
to the brink of disaster.
This seemed to be a Herculean task and only a handful of people
believed that the LTTE and its leadership could be vanquished in less
than four years. However, when President Rajapaksa declared that the
island was fully liberated from LTTE terror on May 18, 2009 Sri Lanka
gained her 'second independence' to unite its people under the Lion
flag. Protecting the territorial integrity is as important as gaining
This paved the way for a new era of development as the President
evinced a keen interest in rebuilding the nation and raising it from the
ashes. The initial task of resettling over half a million people
displaced due to terrorism, was achieved in next to no time, thereby
setting an example to the international community. Following the
liberation of the North and the East and having rescued those who were
held captive by the Tigers, the Government launched mega infrastructure
development projects in the North and the East. Those timely investments
paid dividends for the people in the two provinces to return to their
In doing so, President Rajapaksa simultaneously took on the challenge
of waging the war against terror and embarking on massive development
projects. Development work was not hampered due to the battle against
terror and the wherewithal was found to set up new projects.
This was precisely how Sri Lanka got back to business swiftly and
recorded a remarkable economic development within a matter of months
after terrorism was eradicated. No country which had confronted such a
devastating situation before had bounced back so fast as Sri Lanka did.
The visionary policies of President Rajapaksa and his Government helped
Sri Lanka reap the dividends of peace.
The President not only won the battle against terrorism, but also
ushered in a peaceful environment for all to unite in harmony. The
President is now even more determined to win the economic war as well.
Sri Lanka would achieve that goal as well during President Rajapaksa's
second term in office.
Against this backdrop, this year's Independence Day celebrations were
of greater significance since people even in the remotest areas of the
country are making optimum use of the prevailing peace and are working
steadfastly towards economic development. The results are now crystal
clear and the encouraging economic indicators portray an encouraging
overall picture on economic prosperity.
The future belongs to one and all and unity should be promoted at all
costs. Social injustice is today a thing of the past.
Promoting stronger bonds of unity among communities in Sri Lanka is
the need of the hour. Sri Lankans must work together irrespective of
caste, creed and political affiliations and make Independence more