Terrorism, no respecter of countries
Last week's bomb explosions at
the Boston Marathon brings into sharp focus again the need for a global
effort to eradicate terrorism, the world over. We condemn in no
uncertain terms the bomb attacks near the finish line of the Boston
Marathon, which killed three persons and injured many, and sympathise
with the families of the unfortunate victims.
Be it the US or any other country, for that matter, terrorism
unleashes untold misery on hapless people. This is precisely why
President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the United Nations General Assembly a
few years ago that terrorism in any part of the world is the same and
should be eradicated likewise.
The President has stressed time and again that there are no good
terrorists and bad terrorists. Terror outfits the world over had
inflicted untold misery on tens of thousands of people. Irrespective of
differences, all countries should unite to face global terrorism.
Regrettably, certain Western countries view terrorism in our part of
the world from a different perspective. While they go hammer and tongs
to destroy terrorists in their countries, terrorists in the East are
often tagged as freedom fighters.
Some Western countries, surprisingly, show more concern for the human
rights of terrorists killed in action rather than the human rights of
civilians who had been brutally killed. Nevertheless, they show no
mercy, whatsoever, when it comes to terrorism on their soil.
We condemn terrorist acts in all parts of the world in no uncertain
terms due to the agony of all those unfortunate victims, irrespective of
their religion or nationality. That Western hypocrisy has compelled
these countries to have a dose of their own medicine is a stark fact.
If the West treats terrorism in all parts of the world with the same
yardstick and demonstrates a genuine concern to defeat terror outfits,
they could have perhaps sought Sri Lanka's proven expertise and
first-hand experience in crushing the world's most ruthless terrorist
outfit - the LTTE, almost four years ago.
Rather than commending the Herculean efforts of Sri Lanka’s valiant
Security Forces, certain Western countries showed more concern about the
human rights of terrorists killed in action when confronting a
legitimate army of a sovereign state.
Just as much as the US, UK or any other country, for that matter,
protects their people from terrorism, Sri Lanka too is duty-bound to
protect its people. When Sri Lankans were subjected to innumerable
brutal terror attacks and thousands of Tamils were forcibly held by the
Tigers as a human shield, the Government had no option, but to embark on
that memorable human rescue mission.
This was a landmark achievement in the world’s history since over
half a million people were liberated from the clutches of LTTE terror.
Those who now make a big hue and cry over relatively small-scale terror
attacks in the West did not even utter a word when Sri Lanka was at the
receiving end and the LTTE went on the rampage, killing thousands of
people in mass-scale bomb attacks.
The West, rather than grabbing Sri Lanka's wide expertise to
eradicate global terrorism, underestimated the gigantic efforts of the
Security Forces and showed bizarre concern over the human rights of
terrorists killed in action. Perhaps, the West would have been diffident
to acknowledge the fact that Sri Lanka's Security Forces had achieved
much more than the forces of the most powerful countries.
What most Western countries did was merely look for ways and means to
undermine the laudable efforts of Sri Lanka’s Security Forces and
levelled war crimes allegations to discredit the true sons of Mother
On the other hand, two successive Resolutions at the United Nations
Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by the US rekindled fresh hopes, not only
in LTTE cohorts, but also promoted global terrorism. In the guise of
security for Americans, the US Government did everything within its
power to protect its people and even invaded Pakistan territory to
launch drone attacks which killed many civilians.
In contrast, the US came down hard on Sri Lanka purely for taking
military action to protect its people. The Government of any sovereign
country, irrespective of its size or military capabilities, has the
supreme right to protect its people. No country or world body could
dispute this stark fact.
Those countries which voted for the US-led Resolution against Sri
Lanka at the UNHRC should bear in mind that the day their action would
boomerang against them is not far off. Terror outfits the world over are
jubilant that certain Western countries and world bodies would focus
more attention on their human rights than their terror acts.
There are striking similarities between the recent bomb explosion at
the Boston Marathon and the Weliweriya marathon just five years ago.
But, strangely, none of those so-called godfathers of human rights even
uttered a word when an LTTE suicide bomber exploded himself, killing
Highways Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle and 14 others including Sri
Lanka Olympian and national marathon champion K.A. Karunaratne and
national athletic coach Lakshman de Alwis. Over 83 people suffered
injuries in the attack.
This was the most brutal terrorist attack at any sports event in the
world since the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Minister Fernandopulle, the
chief guest at the 2008 National Marathon at the Weliweriya Kanthi
Sports Grounds, was about to flag off the runners when the bomb
exploded. This was one of the many LTTE brutal attacks in its three
decades of terror which threatened the entire nation.
The jackpot question is whether vanquishing the leaders of such a
deadly terrorist outfit and eradicating terrorism is an act against
humanity. Didn’t the Government protect the human rights of over 21
million people in Sri Lanka and usher in peace? Can the West label the
liberation of over half a million people from the jaws of terrorism as a
violation of the LTTE’s human rights?
Those who are making a desperate attempt to frame war crime charges
against Sri Lanka must ponder over these questions. The US and its
allies which voted in favour of the Resolution against Sri Lanka at the
UNHRC should also give serious thought and prove their stand.
Terrorism should be condemned in the strongest possible terms as
unleashing terror is a criminal act which causes the loss of lives of
There can't be two types of terrorism, one for the West and another
for this part of the world! Fostering terrorists by projecting them as
freedom fighters and voicing for their human rights is also an act
against humanity. Such despicable acts would only inspire terrorists to
strengthen their operations as they know only too well that the
godfathers of human rights would protect them.
If the double standards of the West on terrorism continue, a
conducive environment would be created for terror outfits to hold sway
in future, thereby posing a serious threat to world peace. This is by no
means a matter of taming Sri Lanka or levelling war crime charges
against the country to appease the whims and fancies of the West, but a
firm decision has to be taken to eradicate global terrorism.
Sri Lanka has set a shining example to the world in eradicating
terrorism. The peaceful environment and coexistence prevailing among all
communities in the country bears testimony to this fact. Resettlement
and development in the North and the East have set new world standards
and have been commended even by UN officials.
The new lease of life for those who had been liberated from LTTE
terror has won high approbation. Moreover, Sri Lanka’s landmark
achievements in development and reconciliation are worthy of emulation.
Those countries which voted for the Resolution against Sri Lanka at
the UNHRC must prove their sincerity to crush global terrorism. They
should exploit Sri Lanka's expertise and ground experience to crush
global terrorism, rather than pontificate over the human rights of LTTE
In eradicating terrorism, Sri Lanka had only exercised its legitimate
right to protect its people, just as much as what the US, UK and other
countries in the West are now doing. This should inspire one and all in
the worldwide battle against terrorism.