A barbaric act
The ceasefire formally ended
yesterday. But the main highlight of the day was the LTTE’s twin
attacks in Buttala which claimed the lives of 25 innocent
An argument has been put forward by some that the LTTE has
intensified attacks against civilians and the Security Forces
only after the Government pulled out of the ceasefire.
Nothing could be further from the truth as the LTTE has
violated the Ceasefire Agreement more than 3,000 times. It
attacked civilian buses in Kebithigollewa twice when the
ceasefire prevailed. Several other attacks were committed
against civilians during the ceasefire period.
The truth is that the LTTE does not need an excuse for its
barbaric attacks. The attack in Buttala once again proves the
Defence analysts have said that the LTTE, reeling from
successive military defeats in the North and the East, has
shifted its focus to ‘soft’ targets such as civilian buses and
unescorted military buses to keep up the morale of its depleting
cadres and also ‘prove’ to the Tamil diaspora that it is still
active despite setbacks.
Another aim of the LTTE to shift the attention of the Forces
away from the main theatre of operations to Southern areas to
stretch their manpower resources.
It is clear that the LTTE also wants to see an ethnic
backlash in order to gain international sympathy, a la 1983. The
Southern population has exercised utmost calm and restraint so
far in the face of such attacks.
No room should be left for such an eventuality. It must be
borne in mind that most Tamils are living among the Sinhalese
and Muslims in absolute harmony. This will be the bedrock of
attempts at peace and reconciliation.
This is why the authorities should expedite the
re-integration into society of the Eastern civilians liberated
from the LTTE in the Eastern Province. The Eastern Resurgence
programme will literally give them a new lease of life.
With the Government and the Security Forces planning to
liberate the Wanni civilians too from the grip of the LTTE,
there will be a new window of opportunity for the country to
achieve peace and reconciliation.
It is in this context that the All Party Representative
Committee must strive to arrive at draft proposals acceptable to
all. We have been told their proposals would be ready by next
Their objective should be presenting a set of proposals which
will drive the people in LTTE-dominated areas further away from
the terrorist outfit and isolate it completely in the
Public vigilance is the need of the hour as terrorists are
waiting to create mayhem in the South, as exemplified by
yesterday’s attack. The Security Forces cannot be everywhere,
all the time and members of the public must keep an eye on what
goes around them.
That parcel kept next to you in the bus may be a bomb. It is
the civilians’ duty to inform the security authorities if they
come across any suspicious persons, parcels or vehicles. Such
cooperation is essential in the battle to eliminate terrorism
from our land.
Mona Lisa. Who hasn’t heard of
Leonardo da Vinci’s famous portrait ? Although the original is
on display at the Louvre in Paris, Mona Lisa reproductions adorn
millions of homes worldwide. The main draw of the masterpiece is
the enigmatic, everlasting smile.
But until now, no one really knew who Da Vinci’s 16th century
‘model’ was. Various names have been proposed by art historians.
The most ‘popular’ candidate was Lisa del Gheradini, wife of
Francesco de Giocondo, a Florentine merchant.
Now experts at the Heidelberg University have conformed “once
and for all” that the portrait indeed depicts Lisa. Another clue
was that the painting is known in Italy as “La Gioconda” (joyful
woman in Italian), which also suggests a link to the merchant.
This is indeed a groundbreaking discovery that should end the
raging debate on the identity of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It was
one of the greatest mysteries of the art world. The final proof
came in the form of notes scribbled by a close associate of the
artist in 1503.
Exactly 504 years later, the world has finally discovered the
woman who flashed that captivating smile.
It is a triumph for the admirers of Mona Lisa all over the
world. There is no doubt that more visitors will be queuing up
at the Louvre in Paris to catch a fleeting glimpse of Lisa, the
Florentine woman who ignited a flame of passion that still
shines brightly, 500 years on.