I know it is easy to be wise after the event. Nevertheless there are aspects in the political life of the country that need to be forever kept in focus and continuously projected on the face of our mercurial politicians and forgetful people. Given below are only a couple of acts of insanity committed by our politicians in the recent past, vis-a-vis the LTTE. Their recall does make one angry. These events are exhumed here from our recent tragic history so that repetition of the same would be avoided at all times in the future.
Bloody strife and ruthless terrorism have torn this country asunder over the past three decades. Our gallant security forces would soon help us to close this dark chapter in our history. Then it should be celebrated by all Sri Lankans, especially the Tamils, because they suffered the most under the LTTE. I shall certainly celebrate it with a bottle of Bollinger and drink to the health and prosperity of our security forces. Let us also be aware that there are a few politicians, anti-Sri Lankan NGOs and some foreigners making preparations to denigrate this great victory and write it down disparagingly in their own twisted terms. Woe be unto them!
We now deserve a land of hope and glory. We do have men and women to deliver to us this state of serendipity Just look at the exemplary dedication the soldiers have evinced and their indomitable courage to overcome all obstacles to deliver the country from terrorism. Such traits of character applied to the politics of this country should surely yield the peace and prosperity we all yearn for this country and its long suffering citizens. Politicians take note. It is time for you to either do or depart!
The "peace process" concocted by partisan Norwegians was imposed on the country and our Security Forces as if it were the new Ten Commandments to be obediently observed by all except the LTTE. This importation of greenhorn Norwegians and the unbridled freedom given to them to literally determine the destiny of the country by ambiguous and equivocal agreements were inexcusable acts of folly of our arrogant political leaders. They ignored our history and the depredations of foreigners for over 500 years in our country. If appropriate punishment is not possible under our present Constitution for these failed leaders, the minimum available is to banish them from politics and deny them any leadership positions in this country. One is already in the doldrums, and I hope the other will soon be dumped there by his political party. He rightly belongs to the political dustbin!
The most obvious solution to our terrorist problem was to fight it to the finish. This was deliberately set aside in favour of many paper solutions purporting to give de facto and de jure recognition to the terrorist gang. Many hours of deliberation at great expense was expended all over the world and as the saying goes it was viperam nutricare sub ala (to nourish a viper in one’s bosom). The terrorist took full advantage of this to fully establish their bogus credentials as "freedom fighters" and "sole representatives of Tamils" in foreign capitals, to establish their international offices and to organize the Tamil Diaspora to fund their murderous projects in the country. So began Pirapakaran’s (VP) ambitious fortress-Wanni-Eelam-project, the forced conscription and brainwashing of the Tamil youth and the acquisition of many lethal weapons and crude aerial bombers, a fleet of ships and trawlers with semi-submersibles and chemical weapons, all necessary to guard and protect his fortress and his dictatorial regime. If the obvious solution had been pursued vigorously and relentlessly from the very start, VP would not have been in a position to do any of the things he has done to-date. Alas, instead, our political leaders preferred to build devolution castles in the air ably supported by the Norwegians, and anti-Sri Lankan NGOs! From what we see and know of the Vanni now, it is quite clear that one more year of this futile pursuit would have been sufficient for VP to establish his Eelam in Sri Lanka. This does really make one angry, does it not?
Our political leaders also systematically debilitated our security forces by uncritically adopting the false propaganda that LTTE was invincible. The corollary was the deprivation of appropriate arms and ammunition to the security forces with the attendant degradation of their morale to fight the enemy. Ultimate humiliation was forced on our military men and women when they were made to act as odd-job workers to the LTTE. To have made these noble soldiers the guardians of the terrorist LTTE, menial porters at the airport for the LTTE, chauffeurs of the LTTE transporting them in expensive vehicles according to their wishes, and providing helicopter transport to venues for their war counsels, were all inexcusable and unpardonable acts of callous irresponsibility towards those soldiers, who were prepared to die for the country fighting against the very same terrorists. Those political morons should even now plead for pardon from those soldiers.
See what these same security forces have achieved today. With new leaders, clear objectives, fresh motivation and unfailing commitment they have knocked the stuff out of the LTTE. They were heavily burdened with thirty to forty kilos backpack, soaked from head to foot, mud splattered all over, had to carry their heavy weapons and its ammunition through all kinds of man made and natural jungle obstacles facing the bullets and landmines of the enemy. This was and is indomitable courage, absolute devotion to duty and country, and admirable display of bravery for all times to come. Tottenham Hotspur football club’s motto audere est facere (to dare is to do) suitably applies to our valiant soldiers. Should we not remain always grateful to them?
One top politician once castigated the head of our Navy, when he reported to him the sinking of a LTTE ship. The very same Navy today rules the waves around Sri Lanka. It has knocked out the LTTE’s sea capability effectively even sailing as far away as over 1,500 nautical miles from our coastline and effaced systematically the importation of arms by the LTTE. It still engages the LTTE as and when they emerge from their hidden coves on to the open sea. It has ensured the safety of sea lines of communication and our harbours. It will soon take on the onerous duty of safeguarding the vast exclusive economic zone. Again proper leadership, motivation and dedication to duty surmounted the bullets, suicide boats and under-water scooters to ensure our island’s safety, security and integrity.
Our relatively small Air Force, too, has co-ordinated and collaborated with the ground forces and the Navy to thwart LTTE’s offensive infiltrations and to bomb their centres of control and command. The well-hidden underground bunkers of top LTTE cadres that we see today are obvious testimony to the efficiency and accuracy of air strikes and the fear those LTTE cadres entertained towards our Air Force. They, too, were ridiculed by pro-LTTE acolytes as being corrupt and incapable of downing the crude LTTE bombers. But our airmen have prevailed, rendered yeoman service, and done their duty by their country. The moral of all these is that one should not put down our soldiers. They are the first and the last line of defence of our country.
What of the future now? Decapitation of the LTTE would deprive it of any guerrilla campaign capacity. LTTE will not have anyone to command and control it. They will not have any geographical space to operate from. The northern jungles are now as well known to the army as to the LTTE. It is most unlikely that the Tamils will support them again, except the few hardcore LTTE laymen. Even these would be soon betrayed by the many grieving parents who lost their children to the LTTE. Certainly, we will have isolated acts of terrorism for a short while from the LTTE stragglers seeking revenge for their defeat. Continued vigilance will be necessary.
Internationally, the country will face hard times from both Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Diaspora. These angry men and women will subject the country to all sorts of unjustifiable and unsubstantiated accusations with the object of preventing the country’s political, economic and social progress. They will certainly seek to carry on a proxy war in Sri Lanka. They have planted their Quislings in important international bodies to advocate their propaganda. They will have ample funds for this from the prosperous billion dollar international business empire of the LTTE. The battle to dismantle this financial infrastructure in foreign lands should begin now and pursued relentlessly in the same way as Al Quieda’s finances were frozen and made inaccessible. Our High Commissioners and Ambassadors should also reach out and pro-actively engage expatriate Tamils to wean them from further LTTE suzerainty and stranglehold.
It will take time to de-mine, to rebuild, to reconstruct and to rehabilitate the displaced people. In the meanwhile they should be treated courteously and kindly even though some of them have been supporters of the LTTE. They should be infused with hope of a stable and prosperous future, if not for them, at least for their children. Many foreign nations are likely to offer substantial help for the reconstruction of the Vanni. Unlike post Tsunami, this time around the government should enact a plan and ensure that all work conforms to this plan and such assigned work is completed within the specified timeframe. The Nation-Building ministry should be getting ready for this now because a properly supervised application of foreign funds for reconstruction would help to assuage the destitute IDPs and would lead to economic prosperity of the country.
A look at the long-term settlement of our conflict, I shall leave it for another article. For now let me remind our readers that what we have endured is very similar to what our ancestors endured for twenty-one years under Kalinga Magha (1224-1235). Vijayabahu ended it and ushered in peace and prosperity to the country. The evil VP has wreaked on the country should be buried with him and we should look forward to that with hope and joy.