At a time when our security forces were in a state of disarray and the LTTE were taking cover under an ignominious ceasefire agreement and resorting to acts of wanton brutality; when the international community and the so-called “honest brokers”, modern “Vikings”, were talking of the futility of our continuing this struggle, this writer made bold to state that the war would take quite a different turn if fought on strictly professional lines, with a clear strategy and an inspired political leadership (May 14, 2006).
This vision has come true.
Unlike under previous wavering governments, the mandate given by the President to the security forces this time was clear and precise: to destroy the terrorists.
Despite pronouncements to the contrary, the military effort therefore became part and parcel of the final solution.
From Thimpu to Geneva and Oslo, the Government of Sri Lanka was hoodwinked by the LTTE and made the butt end of scorn and humiliation. A terrorist organisation had attempted to dictate terms to a nation grounded in democracy.
Today the nation salutes these heroes of the “Liberation”. Even those who had at one time considered the ceasefire agreement sacrosanct are now loudly praising the government for its stunning achievement, against all odds. “Even the ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer” !
All those associated with this noble and patriotic achievement – from the fearless President to the valiant soldier – have etched their names in the indelible annals of Sri Lanka’s history.
The misguided concept of “traditional homelands” should be discarded for good. Sri Lanka is the common home of all its people.
It is paramount that there be no discrimination whatsoever against any ethnic community. The deplorable events of July 1983 should never be repeated. The well-being of all ethnic communities is a non-negotiable factor.
Finally, all ethnic communities should be encouraged to look inwards and towards each other, and not gaze with longing beyond our shores.
The security forces have accomplished their mandate. Our President now has a golden opportunity to heal the nation's wounds. This calls for a concerted effort.
“A single wheel cannot move a chariot” – Kautilya.
We should all rally under the inspiring leadership of the President to bring peace and prosperity to Sri Lanka.
Brig. (Retd) Harsha Gunaratne VSV,
Security Forces Commander Trincomalee, 1985-’86