US extends GSP plus trade facility to Sri Lanka:
President's uncompromising faith in local garments pays dividends
There was a time the West attempted to take Sri Lanka for a ride,
conveying that they would stop the GSP plus trade facility. During the
height of Sri Lanka's relentless battle against LTTE terrorism, the West
said that they would withdraw the GSP Plus concession if Sri Lanka does
not improve its human rights record.
But what did they mean by Sri Lanka's human rights record? Was it the
human rights of the ordinary citizens? Definitely No! They were more
worried about the human rights of the Tiger terrorists and the LTTE
cadres killed in the battle against a legitimate Army of a sovereign
state than the human rights of the ordinary citizens of Sri Lanka.
The opportunist Opposition politicians too joined the bandwagon,
alleging that thousands of garment factory employees would lose their
jobs and that the Government should adhere to the European Union
requirements and make every effort to secure the GSP plus facility.
But President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a different viewpoint altogether
at that time and it has now proved right. The President was of the view
that Sri Lanka should not dance to the tune of the West to get the GSP
plus facility and that he would never compromise on matters relating to
Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
On the other hand, the President firmly believed that the quality of
garments manufactured here should give Sri Lanka an advantage in the
international markets and that there is no necessity to push the panic
While appreciating the EU's decision to grant the GSP Plus facility
after the tsunami devastation, the EU could continue to do so without
attaching any strings such as human rights.
But the EU's decision to withdraw the GSP plus hardly had any impact
on local garment industry. In fact, there was a greater demand for
quality Sri Lankan garments as the exports increased after the EU
withdrew the facility granted to Sri Lanka. This would have disturbed
several Opposition politicians as well as certain local agents of INGOs.
If Sri Lanka had heeded all those baseless allegations by certain
quarters in the West, just to get an extension of the GSP Plus facility,
we would never have crushed the LTTE and enjoy the peace that we enjoy
But the US did not follow the EU. The United States announced
yesterday they would extend its GSP plus trade facility to Sri Lanka.Had
it not been President's far-reaching decision, against various
assumptions and theories expressed by Opposition politicians and some
business leaders, we would still be totally depending on the facilities
offered by the West and the conditions they lay to grant them from time
It is heartening to see Sri Lanka enjoying the luxury of a leader who
does not bow down to foreign pressure or compromise matters relating to
The masses across the length and breadth of the country have given
him a clear mandate for this and he is demonstrating the true
aspirations of the masses. When certain countries in the West level war
crime allegations against Sri Lanka, we should enlighten them on
numerous LTTE atrocities for almost three decades and that the West
should not appear for human rights of terrorists who had fought against
a legitimate Army of a sovereign state.
As President Rajapaksa time and again pointed out, there can't be two
types of terrorism - good terrorists and bad terrorists! Similarly,
there can't be two definitions to terrorism - one to the West and
another to this part of the globe! If the West is not talking about
human rights of Al Qaeda terrorists killed by the NATO forces, why are
they shedding crocodile tears on LTTE terrorists killed by Sri Lanka's
Once again, we urge the politicians in the West and Colombo-based
diplomats to have a closer look at LTTE atrocities as we highlight
anniversaries of those "acts against mankind" - a phrase often used by
the West to frame Sri Lanka. Exactly fifteen years ago, over 100 LTTE
terrorists wielding sharp weapons, clubs and firearms stormed Erakkandy
Muslim village in Trincomalee and butchered 34 civilians. In their usual
orgy of violence, the terrorists clubbed and tortured children and
infants to death, chopped women including pregnant mothers, and hacked
men and women until they suffered a slow painful death.
On July 6, 1991, LTTE terrorists, armed with firearms and sharp
weapons, raided Puttur Muslim village in Polonnaruwa.
In a house-to-house attack, the terrorists hacked to death 14
civilians including women and children after brutally torturing them.
Over 50 terrorists participated in this cowardly attack at unarmed
On the same night they butchered a Muslim village in Polonnaruwa,
LTTE terrorists attacked Karpola and Manapitiya Sinhalese villages and
hacked 9 civilians to death.
The terrorists first abducted the victims and robbed a van belonging
to one of the victims, and then tortured them.Unfortunately, hardly
anyone in the West talked about the human rights of those Muslims
killed. If the West is extremely worried about rights of Tamils just
because they are a minority in Sri Lanka, they should also realise that
Muslims too are a minority in Sri Lanka.
Not only the Muslim civilians but even moderate Tamil politicians,
who refused to dance to the tune of the LTTE leadership, too were gunned
down by the Tigers. On July 5, 1997, MP for Trincomalee, Arunasalam
Thangathurai was killed by the LTTE in the Eastern Province.
The LTTE also eliminated other terrorist groups which had also
Though their goals were common and both practised gun culture, the
LTTE did not wish to see any other force winning the hearts of Tamil
people. On July 5, 2003, LTTE terrorists killed another rival in
Batticaloa - Mahamad Seyyadu, a political leader of the PLOTE
organisation and wounded his wife.
Two present Ministers had survived LTTE assassination attempts during
the first week of July. On July 4, 1996, over 21 people were killed and
64 others were wounded when the LTTE terrorists attempted to assassinate
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva at Stanley Road, Jaffna using a suicide
bomber. However, the Minister was unhurt.
Minister Douglas Devananda too had survived a similar LTTE
assassination attempt during first week of July. Four people were killed
while nine others were injured when LTTE terrorists attempted to
assassinate Minister Douglas Devananda at Kollupitiya on July 7, 2004.
However, the female suicide bomber could not achieve her target.
These are a few of the many LTTE terror acts we highlight from time to
time as an eye-opener for some politicians in the West.
They should at least now stop intimidating Sri Lanka or show extreme
sympathy for LTTE terrorists now dead and gone. If they continue to do
so, they will be contributing for a resurrection of terrorism in Sri
Sri Lanka cannot go back to that dark era again.
We should not let any force on earth to rob Sri Lanka's hard-earned
peace. All Sri Lankans, irrespective of their religious and ethnic
belongings, should unite to stop external elements attempting to meddle
with Sri Lanka's internal affairs.