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Sunday, 2 February 2014

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The first Independence Day with Ceylon’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake in attendance

The glory of Independence

“The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.”
John Stuart Mill (1806-73)
British Philosopher

Regaining our precious Independence was our national pre-occupation in the darkest days of our recent history, when diabolical terrorism had our nation in a deadly stranglehold.

Children celebrate Independence Day

Life in our noble land was almost totally in abeyance. The soothing dreams, conjured after our newly-won Independence in 1948, soon turned into reeking nightmares, brought by savage and barbarous massacres and carnages, unleashed by blood-thirsty terrorists.

The lives of innocents at all levels were cut down brutally and with relentless bestiality. Infants, girls, boys, women and men were ruthlessly murdered in cold-blood, in homes, places of worship, on the road, and while they travelled in vehicles.

Pregnant women and priests on their way to peaceful rituals were heartlessly butchered. These crimes were so diabolical, that one would have never thought that a species called ‘man’ would have been behind such acts.

Terrorism lurked in schools, at public places, shrines, in fields. In short, terrorism never allowed even a brief moment of relief to the innocent masses. Living itself became an ordeal, ridden with anxiety.

Heart-rending tragedies

We look back at these days of darkness, not merely to reflect upon a litany of heart-rending tragedies that the people of this land endured-every minute, every second for several decades.

What we need to do here is to wonder in disbelief and dismay, how such unprecedented brutality could flourish, while the whole world looked on.

The first Independence Day in 1948

The global community came together into the United Nations (UN) to see that peace and harmony prevailed unscathed by acts that would harm them, even vestigially. The world was appalled by the carnage of World War II, and the UN was determined that violence would never tarnish human liberty and the right of men and women everywhere to live in peaceful co-existence.

Global funds were used in multi-billions to ensure untrammelled life on earth.

However, the beastly hordes of terrorists in this little island, which was making an effort to forge a peaceful existence fuelled by Independence gained in 1948, went about their gruesome destruction of life, leaving a bloody trail for the whole of mankind to see.

They massacred men and women in the North, in the South, in the East and in the West of this noble island. Presidents, Ministers, Members of Parliament and other administrative bodies were done away with at will.

When all this happened, there was hardly a voice raised by liberty-loving nations and groups and organisations championing mass causes.

On the other hand, at international level, there were bodies, either duped or misled, who saw this terrorists as deserving, and aided the terrorists to pursue their destruction of cherished human values.

The formal ceremony marking the start of self rule, with the opening of the first parliament
at Independence Square by Prince Henry in the presence of D.S. Senanayake as the first
Prime Minister of Ceylon

When law and order, and the right all human beings have to life were being hideously trodden upon, these truth-upholding groups never stopped the blood-soaked hands of terrorists to prevent further brutalities.

We in this country felt ignored, deserted and given up, by all those forces who pronounced in saintly terms that they were on the side of life and were opposed to ruthless killers. High-sounding pontifications were galore, but unfazed terrorists continued their bloody pursuits.

Tragic impasse

We, as a nation, seemed to have reached a tragic impasse. A sense of loss pervaded the entirety of this noble land.

This harsh and shocking reality brought into being a national leader - home grown and populist. Sensitive to the thinking of the troubled masses, he pledged to rid his and our motherland, of this vicious scourge.

The determination was heroic. The diabolical hordes would invariably retaliate. The leader was fully aware that his steady commitment made him a prime target for ruthless terrorists. However, he never wavered. Undaunted, he pursued his aims. He kept on.

This leader, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, true to his pledge, eradicated the threat of entrenched terrorism. Those sceptical naysayers who never thought that such a victory over the beastly terrorists was possible, were stunned into bewilderment.

Tamil victims

Their disbelief was further compounded by the unprecedented ‘Mercy Operation’ he conducted to provide life, relief and hospitality to the tens of thousands of Tamil victims of terrorism.

It is in this backdrop that we celebrate the 66th anniversary of Independence gained and triumphantly regained.

Independence Day celebrations with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in attendance

But a note of caution is essential.

A prime enemy of humanity is laid low.

All liberty-loving millions of the world will hail this victory in one approving voice. But, occasional hiccups occur.

We fully cherish liberty and admire those men and nations who uphold liberty as a noble value. The British, to my mind, have always esteemed liberty. To the individual Englishman celebrating liberty, his home is his castle. We, as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, esteem this love of liberty displayed by the English.

However, if someone were to channel panegyrics to the terrorists, the noble Englishmen who value liberty have an issue to worry about. Such channelled panegyrics might encourage the incipient terrorists in that land, tempting them to resort to acts that trouble the traditional liberty of the independent Englishmen.

While we celebrate Independence, we hail Independence everywhere. It is in a context of universal Independence that we can fully enjoy our own Independence.

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