True friends, the need of the hour
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will complete six
years in office as the fifth Executive President on November 18. It will
also mark 30 months since Sri Lanka eradicated terrorism successfully
and vanquished the LTTE leadership on May 18, 2009 under the illustrious
leadership of President Rajapaksa.
Had it not been for the indomitable courage and the right political
leadership of President Rajapaksa, the Security Forces would never have
succeeded in their battle against terrorism. During Sri Lanka's
three-decade long battle against the ruthless LTTE terrorist
organisation, the country's valiant Security Forces who were
well-disciplined had the courage to eradicate terrorism.
Former top commanders of the calibre of the late General Denzil
Kobbekaduwa made a concerted effort and were determined to crush the
LTTE. However, their efforts and the supreme sacrifices of the soldiers
at the time bore no fruit as the country lacked the right political
But lo and behold, from the day President Rajapaksa was first elected
as the Head of State on November 18, 2005, there was a dramatic change
and this led to the downfall of the LTTE. On the other hand, Sri Lanka
made tremendous progress after terrorism was eradicated two and a half
Having rescued over half a million people from the jaws of LTTE
terror during the 2006-2009 humanitarian operation in the North and the
East, all of them were resettled in double quick time, setting new
global standards in the resettlement of displaced persons. Most of those
rescued had been held by the LTTE as a human shield and were subjected
to untold misery.
Moreover, these civilians were treated humanely by the most
disciplined Army in the world. They were treated with brotherly
affection and provided the best facilities in camps until they were
given permanent shelter. This was indeed a commendable post-conflict
record for Sri Lanka.
Simultaneously, reconciliation and development programs were set in
motion, thereby opening new horizons for people in the North and the
East. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and only those who had
been rescued and resettled would vouch for it - from the days they were
forcibly held under LTTE terror rule and their current living conditions
in a free environment sans fear and intimidation. Even ex-LTTE cadre
have been rehabilitated and assimilated into civil society and provided
skills development programs.
Meanwhile, the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Commission (LLRC) is due to be released soon. It would be finalised,
having given a patient hearing to all those who were involved - the
civilians who were held under LTTE rule and the Security Forces who were
engaged in the world's biggest human rescue mission and all other
The international community is certainly free to air their views when
the report is out, but they should not get carried away by the insidious
campaigns that have been schemed by a section of the Tamil diaspora and
LTTE sympathisers who would tap a few leading International
Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) to speak in support of them.
Hence, it is the responsibility of the international community and
reputed world organisations such as the United Nations, to study the
actual situation in Sri Lanka in a broader perspective.
The Government recently underscored the importance of the
international community and commended Sri Lanka's achievements in the
field of rehabilitation of former LTTE combatants, reconciliation and
infrastructure development in affected areas in the North and the East.
External Affairs Minister Prof G.L. Peiris highlighted that the
crucial role of the LLRC is a sensitive mechanism which addresses in a
constructive spirit, the pain and anguish of the past and builds the
foundation for a future filled with promise and expectation. Hence, any
sort of presumption would be a reflection of prejudice which will affect
the delicate reconciliation process.
Sri Lanka's reconciliation process has a significant economic
dimension which is amply demonstrated by the fact that the economy of
the Northern Province recorded a growth rate of 22 percent - the highest
ever. This has been mainly due to the Government's rapid action plan
under which a massive development drive was launched in the Northern
Province with particular emphasis on the development of highways and
Large volumes of capital were made available by banks to
entrepreneurs in the area for resettled civilians in the North and the
East to get actively involved in the national development drive to
improve their living standards. This resulted in generating employment
and reviving agricultural activity and fisheries in the two provinces.
Minister Peiris said that the Government was in the process of
integrating former LTTE combatants into society after exposing them to
vocational training which assured them of access to livelihoods and
If the international community is sincerely interested in the
well-being of the resettled civilians in the North and the East, they
should wholeheartedly commend Sri Lanka's efforts and the success it has
achieved, without jumping to conclusions or adopting partisan attitudes.
As President Rajapaksa recently said, Sri Lanka speaks the language
of peace after decades of terrorism that affected thousands of Sri
Lankans of all communities. The Government's primary focus is to ensure
that all citizens, irrespective of their ethnicity, learn the three main
languages to forge closer ties among one another with English as the
Barely two-and-a-half years after terrorism was eradicated, Sri Lanka
is heading towards new economic horizons with the aim of becoming the
Wonder of Asia. It has already carved a niche as a prominent destination
for business, leisure and tranquillity after three decades of LTTE
terror which almost brought the national economy to a near state of
Sri Lanka's hard work has no doubt paid rich dividends. LTTE
terrorism was eradicated by Sri Lanka's Security Forces in an exemplary
manner. In the same vein, the country could find its own home-grown
solution in its reconciliation and nation-building drive.
Sri Lanka only needs sincere and steadfast friends who would lend a
helping hand in a spirit of true solidarity and brotherhood and not mere
arbitrators with vested interests.