|Friday, 14 March 2003|
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The rational choice for Lanka
Predictably, critics of the peace effort have reacted to the recent incident off the seas of Mullaitivu with a plethora of queries but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has highlighted perhaps what needs to be considered the country's sole concerns: should Sri Lanka traverse the ruinous path of war or persist on the road to a negotiated settlement of the conflict which could pave the way for economic prosperity? Should young lives be continued to be sacrificed in the flames of war?
True, the sinking of what has been described as an LTTE arms vessel by the Lankan Navy has raised some troubling issues but is there an alternative to the path of peace and reconciliation? These are not rhetorical questions but posers which go to the very heart of the challenges facing Sri Lanka. As we write, the news is out of continuing youth violence and gangsterism in the heart of Colombo. We have with us today a younger generation which has been born and bred amid the horrors of war. For sections of the young, violence and brutality seem to be natural options.
This is so because of our youths' relentless exposure to the blood-curdling realities of war and destruction.
Violence seems to be the only form of emotional release for the bitter frustrations welling within them. Thus has humanity been utterly disfigured by war. Continuing youth violence, however, is just one distortion bred by war. There are, of course, a multitude of others which we have highlighted and discussed in these pages over the years and with which most readers are familiar. The big question is, do we continue on this ruinous path and court absolute degeneration or do we lay the foundation for a better tomorrow by treading the hallowed path of national reconciliation?
There is no doubt that the sane and the rational would opt for the latter course which would affirm man's innate nobility. The path of savagery, on the other hand, would only debase man and make him descend to the lowest depths of degeneration. The latter condition, it need hardly be said, is synonymous with national ruin.
So, as should have been expected, we are up against some pitfalls on the path to a negotiated settlement of the conflict. However, on account of these lapses, do we return to the path of confrontation and strife or do we address our minds to ways and means of rectifying shortcomings in the peace effort with a view to making it work?
In view of the fact that there is no rational alternative to a negotiated end to the ethnic conflict, we need to persist with the current peace effort. It is our hope that Sri Lankans would enhance their humanity by striving on the road to peace and by confronting its challenges squarely.
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