Renewed hope in the New Year
Easter is the most significant day for
Christians the world over while the traditional New Year is celebrated
on a grand-scale by the Sinhalese and Hindus alike. Hence, the week is
replete with celebrations for most Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnic
and religious affiliations.
Millions of Christians, worldwide, celebrate Easter Sunday today,
which marks the resurrection of their Saviour - Jesus Christ. The
essence of Christianity lies entirely on the resurrection of the Son of
God. Therefore, Easter Sunday takes pride of place in the Christian
calendar. Apart from Christian-Sinhalese and Burgher communities here, a
section of the Tamils who believes in Jesus Christ, also celebrates
With the Sinhala and Hindu New Year round the corner, this week is
equally important for the Sinhalese and the Tamils. All Sri Lankans look
forward to celebrate the New Year with renewed hope. Each time a New
Year dawns, we tend to make our customary resolutions. Expectations are
generally high, but it's not everybody who realises those cherished
With the traditional New Year taking pride of place, it's time to
take stock of our achievements and failures to face the coming year with
greater zeal and determination. As a result of new values and sentiments
envisioned in the Mahinda Chinthana since November 2005, people of all
walks of life pay more attention today to the country's age-old customs
and traditions. The Sinhalese and Tamils give equal prominence to New
Year customs under the Lion flag.
All Sri Lankans, especially after the country was liberated from the
clutches of terrorism, make every effort to protect its traditional
values and customs and infuse these values among the younger generation.
Undoubtedly, this would be a positive sign as all citizens are cognizant
of the importance of protecting Sri Lanka's true identity.
Be it Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or Burghers, all communities are
stakeholders of this resplendent isle. They are the sons and daughters
of Mother Lanka.
The steadfast efforts of the Security Forces in liberating the North
and the East from the grip of terrorists and vanquishing the LTTE
leadership were indeed the greatest achievements in terms of national
security. It is still fresh in people's minds how the Tigers brutally
massacred the Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils even during the Sinhala and
Tamil New Year. Despite being compelled to spend a colossal amount of
the country's national wealth on its battle against terrorism since
2006, Sri Lanka achieved several milestones in terms of development.
Several mega projects such as the Southern Highway, Hambantota Harbour,
Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, Upper Kotmale Hydropower project,
Moragahakanda reservoir and Kukule Ganga project have already been
The ongoing mega development projects such as the Mattala
International Airport, Airport Expressway, Colombo-Kandy Highway,
Colombo Port expansion project and Colombo outer circular road will be
Moreover, the rate of unemployment has been reduced significantly,
especially with the Government providing jobs to graduates since 2006.
In the Government's cost-of-living battle, it maintains the prices of
essential goods and commodities within the reach of the common man.
Even the Government's political opponents have conceded that the
prices of essential commodities have dropped significantly, thereby
protecting the consumer, especially during the New Year.
Sri Lanka has also attracted a bigger inflow of foreign investments,
which augurs well for the economy. These laudable factors enabled Sri
Lanka to record an all-time high growth rate of around eight percent
during the past few years. More importantly, the people in the North and
the East, who had been rescued from the clutches of LTTE terror opened a
new chapter in their lives and are now contributing to the national
This was chiefly due to the Government's prompt action under the
direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa no sooner the Security Forces
rescued over half a million hapless civilians in the world's largest
human rescue operation. The Government spent billions of rupees to
develop the North and the East to provide a better tomorrow for those
who were resettled under the Eastern Reawakening and the Northern Spring
People have every reason to be proud of Sri Lanka's achievements
during the past six years and the true dividends of peace are now being
enjoyed by one and all.
The right strategy and correct leadership would find lasting
solutions to the genuine grievances of those in remote areas. The
pressing problems pertaining to infrastructure development and
strengthening of the rural economy are now being addressed.
At the same time, Sri Lanka is ready to face all international
conspiracies under the dynamic political leadership of President
Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka has established new friends during his tenure as
the First Citizen and Sri Lanka is capable of facing Western
conspiracies with the help of its friendly countries.
All conspiracies hatched in the West could be thwarted if all Sri
Lankans are united. The New Year is the ideal time to shed petty
political and ethnic differences and work towards one goal, protecting
the Motherland and preserving Sri Lanka's identity. No outside force on
earth could interfere in Sri Lanka's internal affairs if people are
The Government is making a sincere effort in its national
reconciliation drive. There are no instant solutions like instant
noodles for problems created by three decades of terrorism. The West
should desist from prescribing its own dose of medicine for problems
that are unique to Sri Lanka. It is only the Sri Lankan leaders who have
a genuine and sincere feeling for their countrymen. None of the
so-called godfathers of human rights came to the country's rescue when
Sri Lanka was at the receiving end of LTTE's interminable terror
attacks, targeting innocent civilians.
The President's illustrious political leadership and the unflinching
support extended by friendly countries paved the way to usher in lasting
peace. Only a home-grown solution could help in Sri Lanka's efforts in
national reconciliation. Is it fair for the US or any other organisation
to dictate to us what we ought to do?
The democratically elected leaders in Sri Lanka and its legitimate
Government know what suits the country best. The West, under the guise
of the UNHRC or any other organisation for that matter, should not
browbeat a sovereign state. Let's make a determined effort to ward off
any threat to the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the
larger interests of all communities during this New Year.