A brutal attack
The LTTE claims to be the sole
representative of Tamils. But a group that claims to be the
guardians of the Tamil community would not even think of doing
what it did in Jaffna on Thursday - killing six innocent Tamil
civilians through an artillery attack aimed at Jaffna.
However, this is nothing new to the LTTE. In addition to
killing Sinhala and Muslim leaders and ordinary civilians, it
has killed thousands of Tamils as well. It has assassinated a
considerable number of eminent Tamil leaders from Alfred
Duraiappa to Lakshman Kadirgamar.
Most of the 18,000 or so LTTE cadres who had been killed on
the battlefield were Tamil youth in the prime of their lives. If
not for Prabhakaran and the LTTE, they would have had a chance
to receive a proper eduction and pursue a vocation of their
choice in a peaceful land.
In fact, the LTTE has been and still is, enemy Number One of
the Tamil community in the areas it dominates. The Tigers take
at least one child in each family for its baby brigades, deprive
the civilians of even basic facilities, pilfer the food stocks
sent to them by the Government and even use civilians as a human
shield. Depriving the young children of their education and
conscripting them is in itself an unpardonable crime.
This is why the Government is keen to liberate the Tamil
masses from the LTTE’s terror. This noble objective has already
been achieved in the East and over and above most people’s
expectations, a provincial council election too has been held to
reaffirm their right to universal franchise. Now they are free
to decide on development and welfare projects in their own
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government have vowed to
liberate the remaining uncleared areas in the North in a similar
manner. The Security Forces are steadily heading towards this
objective on yet another humanitarian mission. The Government
hopes to restore civilian rule and democracy in the North
through this initiative which will necessarily see the defeat of
It has been shown previously as well that the LTTE literally
turns its guns on civilians whenever it faces battlefield
setbacks. This time it is no different. The ethnicity or
religion of its victims does not matter to the LTTE. Only death
and destruction counts. This is why vigilance should be stepped
Life on Mars ?
Are we alone in the universe ?
Or is Earth just one of millions of planets supporting life ?
Carl Sagan adamantly stood by the latter claim and Sir Arthur C
Clarke thought it was magical either way.
Given that life has begun with a simple chemical process, it
is hard to believe that life is confined to Earth. ‘Intelligent’
life could however be a rarity. But Man will not stop wondering
on this score.
Man has always looked towards the planets in the solar system
for any sign of life. Although the Moon is the nearest celestial
object to Earth, it is rocky and barren. So attention has
naturally shifted to Mars the Red Planet. Eerily similar in size
and with many other common factors, mankind has always
considered the possibility of life on Mars.
Now the scientific community has received yet another
opportunity to look for life on Mars or at least check whether
it can support life. The Phoenix Mars Lander has landed safely
in the ‘Arctic’ region of Mars - this is the first time that
this region is being examined in such detail.
The significance here is the availability of water, an
essential ingredient for life as we know it. There already are
three other spacecraft and two robotic rovers on Mars. When they
complete their missions, we will be closer to unravelling the
If there is any life on Mars - or on the moons of Saturn such
as Titan - it is likely to be microbes. But any sign of life on
Mars or elsewhere in our solar system will prove that we are not
alone, at least in terms of ‘bare bones’ life. It will be the
biggest scientific discovery of this century, nay, any century.
Robotic rovers and spacecraft will be mankind’s eyes and ears
in the quest for life in the universe. Some of the early Pioneer
spacecraft have left the solar system and are on their way ‘to
places where no man has gone before’ to paraphrase Star Trek.
Will intelligent beings one day intercept these probes and
‘call’ us ? Scientists are ready for that too. The Search for
Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programme checks for any
sign of intelligent communications in the vastness of space.
Rest assured, mankind will not rest until this question is