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Sunday, 12 May 2013

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Remembering the true sons of our soil

President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared the National War Heroes Commemoration Month on Wednesday at Temple Trees after the Ranaviru flag was pinned on him. Moreover, the National War Heroes Commemoration Month will continue till June 8. A series of events will be held to coincide with the War Hero Commemoration including the Victory Day Parade at the Galle Face Green and the special Commemoration Ceremony at the War Heroes Memorial at Sri Jayewardenapura, Kotte on Saturday, May 18.

Four years have elapsed after Sri Lanka's valiant Security Forces crushed LTTE terrorism and became the first country to eradicate terrorism. Many international organisations and a few countries resorted to various tactics to disrupt the operations of the Security Forces during Sri Lanka's relentless battle against terror.

Some countries, which profess to be the Godfathers in the international battle against terror, even attempted to resurrect the LTTE when the outfit was on the verge of being vanquished. To cap it all, when the Security Forces were about to trounce the LTTE leadership in the final battle at the Nandikadal lagoon, some countries spared no pains to pump the last drop of oxygen to the moribund terrorist organisation.

It is an open secret that the LTTE had massacred tens of thousands of people and inflicted untold hardships on all Sri Lankans. Despite the mayhem, certain countries still scream to the high heavens over the human rights of those terrorists killed in action - when confronting a legitimate army of a sovereign state. Two resolutions were passed in successive years at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without letting Sri Lanka fully implement its reconciliation.

Although these countries and organisations, including some INGOs, could not directly support a terror outfit which was violating all accepted norms and international conventions, they buttressed moral support for the LTTE and tried to discredit the Security Forces which rendered a magnanimous and invaluable service.

Certain countries and some international organisations, which shamefully used human rights as an effective tool to exert pressure on the Government in an insidious attempt to bring about a premature end to the operations of the Security Forces, are now trying to take Sri Lanka to task purely for crushing the terror outfit. Regrettably, the self-same countries which often pontificate to the world on the need to crush global terrorism, now wax eloquent on the human rights of the Tiger terrorists.

They, ad nauseum, stress only on the last two weeks of the battle against terrorism. It is indeed strange that they don't touch on the three decades of hell when the LTTE launched a countless number of terror attacks. If these Western countries believe in accountability, why do they turn a Nelsonian eye to those LTTE atrocities that brutally killed thousands of hapless people of all communities?

Fortunately for us, we had President Rajapaksa at the helm whose undaunted political leadership did not succumb to mounting pressure from all quarters, including a handful of local opportunist Opposition politicians who sought to gain petty political mileage.When Sri Lanka was at the receiving end, with the LTTE on the rampage, exploding massive bombs targeting civilians, none of these so-called godfathers of human rights spoke a word in favour of those hapless people. They neither touched on accountability nor uttered a word against the Tigers' barbaric acts.Extremist elements in the Tamil diaspora even made a subtle attempt to discredit Sri Lanka in the eyes of the international community and take the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) away from Colombo. Nevertheless, several knowledgeable Commonwealth members, who are deeply cognizant of the developments in Sri Lanka and its unrelenting efforts to eradicate terrorism, lost no time to shoot down these moves.

Canada's adamant stance to boycott the 2013 CHOGM has been flatly rejected by almost all Commonwealth countries. The support and encouragement given to go ahead with the CHOGM in Colombo by the previous host, Australia are commendable. Other Western countries too must follow the Australian example which is worthy of emulation. If Western nations are sincere in their call to reject terrorism, they should not heed the calls by LTTE cohorts and a section of the Tamil diaspora.

These self-same people helped the LTTE terrorists in numerous ways to campaign for many years through their political activity and funding with their ill-gotten gains. Rather than making a sincere effort to unite people in Sri Lanka, these extremist elements sought to perpetuate a campaign of hatred and division. The LTTE ghouls exploited the sympathetic statements by certain Western countries as a weapon to project a gloomy picture in a treacherous attempt to put the Government in the dock.

Sri Lanka's Security Forces accomplished the biggest human rescue mission in world history on May 18, 2009 by liberating over half a million people in the North and the East who were held captive by LTTE terrorists as a human shield. When the civilians fled LTTE-held areas and sought assistance from the advancing troops, the Tigers fired at those civilians indiscriminately. The Security Forces even offered their food and dry rations to the Tamil civilians rescued and, moreover, provided them with medical assistance and shelter.

Nobody could point an accusing finger at the Security Forces for genocide or crimes against humanity because these same soldiers had rescued over 200,000 Tamil civilians in the North from the clutches of LTTE terror. These hapless civilians had been subjected to untold misery due to LTTE terror in the areas forcibly held by them. Would these civilians have fled LTTE-held areas and run towards the Security Forces for safety had the soldiers committed any genocide or crimes against humanity? This is the million-dollar question!

It is unequivocally clear that the civilians who had been living in the Tiger-held areas had supreme confidence in the Security Forces. These civilians were fully aware that the Security Forces were on a human rescue mission to liberate them from the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world. Would any civilian run towards an advancing Army, abandoning their own race, unless they had absolute confidence in those soldiers?

Certain Western countries and the UNHRC had, true to form, ignored these facts for reasons best known to them. At a time the country is celebrating its fourth anniversary of having eradicated terrorism, the international community should view Sri Lanka positively.

The international community should not fall prey to these scheming extremist elements in the Tamil diaspora, who are still carrying on their campaign to discredit Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world. It is an indisputable fact that Sri Lanka has proved to the world how terrorism could be defeated.

Had it not been for the indomitable and sagacious efforts of President Rajapaksa and the unflagging support by Sri Lanka's friendly countries, we would, perhaps, never have eliminated the scourge of terrorism and liberated the country. Ironically, the same extremist elements which made numerous attempts to protect Tiger terrorists and disrupt Sri Lanka's battle against terror, have again surfaced at a time the entire nation is celebrating the fourth anniversary of the country's liberation from terrorism. Certain Western countries which even kill unarmed people in the guise of national security, question as to why Sri Lanka's Security Forces killed heavily armed LTTE cadres who had indiscriminately massacred thousands of civilians. To hound a democratically elected government, which has every right to defend its sovereignty and protect its people against the LTTE which had bled the nation for 30 years, with the support of certain countries in the West to restore the right to life to its subjects, to say the least, is certainly mind-boggling.

It is patently clear that certain Western countries and their shadow INGOs are staging their latest 'horror drama' against Sri Lanka. These extremist elements, who fought tooth and nail to protect the LTTE and failed miserably, now need a busybody to unearth material to sully Sri Lanka's image.

Sri Lanka has not only set a shining example by crushing terrorism, but also in its resettlement of displaced persons which had set new world standards. Those who are still sympathetic towards the LTTE cohorts must first and foremost visit Sri Lanka and see for themselves the prevailing peaceful situation. Such visits would help them change their mindset when they behold the peaceful coexistence among all ethnic groups.Most importantly, people in the North and the East have received a new lease of life with vastly improved living standards. The Government has completed mega development projects in the two provinces to boost infrastructure facilities. The West should not turn a blind eye to these stark facts any longer!

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