Curbing a global threat
GONE are the days when terrorism
affected only a few countries. Today, terrorism is a truly
global phenomenon. Most terror groups have spread their menacing
tentacles far beyond their ‘home’ base.
They are also closely linked, vis-a-vis training, weapons
procurement and propaganda. Terror groups also ‘learn’ from each
For example, the LTTE’s use of women suicide bombers has been
copied by several other terrorist organisations.
The LTTE is a prime example for terrorism’s global reach. It
raises funds virtually all over the world - even using front
organisations in countries and regions where it is banned - and
scurries illegal weapons markets for additional purchases to its
arsenal. It has even carried out a suicide bombing abroad.
It is known to operate in some remote South East Asian
islands mainly for shipping weapons to the North of Sri Lanka.
The same applies to many other international terror groups
including al-Qaeda and JI.
It is thus vital for Governments to cooperate to end the
menace of terrorism. Sri Lanka has spearheaded a global movement
against terrorism, having experienced first hand its devastating
The late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was a driving
force behind this campaign and many countries banned the LTTE
after scrutinising the group’s record of terror. The events of
9/11 accelerated global action against terrorism.
The US designated the LTTE as a Foreign Terrorist
Organisation 10 years ago and has been investigating its
clandestine activities on US soil since then.
The Sri Lanka Government has extended its fullest cooperation
to the US in this endeavour, a fact highlighted in this year’s
US State Department’s annual overview of global terrorism.
After an extensive investigation that took several years, the
FBI has arrested several LTTE operatives who had been engaged in
The two countries have also worked together on cutting off
terrorist finances, one of the primary means of curbing
terrorist activity. The European Union is also cracking down on
the LTTE, as exemplified by the arrests in France of several
Terrorism anywhere is a threat to civilised life everywhere.
No Government can ignore terrorist activity on the premise that
it is someone else’s problem.
A glaring example for this mentality is the ignorance by many
Governments of the LTTE’s extortion of the Tamil diaspora.
However, the Lankan Tamil expatriates are citizens of their
countries and the LTTE’s methods of coercion pose a danger to
their law and order too. Thus inter-Governmental cooperation is
the only way forward to curb global terrorism.
There must be a total commitment on the part of Governments
and law enforcement authorities to take action on terror groups
regardless of their country of origin and intended destination
of funds and weapons.
Needed: Urgent action
The City witnessed a massive deluge yesterday too, for the
second consecutive day. We deliberated on the pathetic scenes
witnessed in Colombo and elsewhere on Thursday in these columns
yesterday as well, but the extent of the devastation clearly
calls for more words - and more action - on this issue.
What is most alarming is that the floods have led to the loss
of precious lives countrywide, most notably in Colombo.
This is not a good omen for a city that aspires to become an
economic hub of the South Asian region. A city with a creaking
infrastructure cannot hope to compete with other cities.
It is clear that the powers that be in our main cities have
neglected their primary responsibility of properly maintaining
and developing infrastructure.
Young Anoma Induttara lost her life on Thursday after falling
into an open drain at Wijerama, Colombo. Who is responsible for
It appears that the Colombo Municipal Council workers had not
replaced the slabs after attending to some work at the site.
Moreover, several persons were electrocuted by fallen
A huge ‘crater’ was seen near the Roxy Cinema in Wellawatte
as the road virtually caved in yesterday. It is fortunate that
no one was hurt. This incident proves that our roads are also
not maintained properly.
There should be an impartial investigation into these
incidents as well as a wider probe on why Colombo gets flooded
after just half an hour of heavy rain.
The most probable cause is that drains have been blocked and
low-lying water retention lands have been reclaimed.
Some roads have no provision at all for rainwater drainage, a
rather serious state of affairs in a city that receives rain
practically throughout the year.
But this does not mean that the public should be mere
spectators when it comes to maintaining infrastructure
facilities in their towns and villages.
We throw away polythene bags and other litter on the roads
and into drains, without realising that the accumulation of
garbage in drains leads to the inundation of roads and houses.
Some illegally reclaim low-lying lands and constrict
unauthorised structures without realising the implications for
the wider society.
It thus appears that floods can be prevented, if both local
bodies and the public discharge their responsibilities properly.
It is a two-way street.
The Central Government, provincial councils and local bodies
should urgently turn their attention towards resolving this
problem, while creating awareness among the public on the need
to desist from actions that can aggravate the dangers.