Now that the war
is gradually reaching an end the Government will no doubt have a
Herculean task to transform a highly traumatised civilian
population of the North to integrate into normal society.
It is not only the mental healing they would have to be
provided with the necessary wherewithal to start life anew.
These are a people who had not enjoyed the things their brethren
of the South had taken for granted for over three decades.
They had not been allowed the opportunities to blossom out
into their true potential. Their talents were wasted in a black
hole of blood and carnage.
This also applies to the LTTE cadres who had been
surrendering in large numbers to the security forces. Hence the
move to provide overseas jobs to LTTE surrendees after
undergoing rehabilitation and vocational training is a move in
the right direction.
This, while freeing them from a sense of ostracisation would
also give them a sense of belonging. It will be an
acknowledgement that they too should be provided with the scope
and opportunities the rest of their countrymen enjoyed.
They were brainwashed and misguided and turned into killing
machines to satisfy the blood lust of a ruthless despot.
Therefore we should all extend our bountiful munificence so that
they could pick up the pieces of life putting back the harrowing
ordeal behind them.
Under a special program devised by Foreign employment
Minister Keheliya Rambukwella these youth will now be trained
and equipped so that they could take up overseas jobs.15 such
surrendees are to embark on overseas jobs shortly.
The program is to be expanded to allow for more such
opportunities to LTTE cadres who surrender.
This is indeed a most welcome development and the Government
should be commended for initiating such an enterprise.
As we have been saying in these columns there is no knowing
the loss to the country which had been the denied this vast pool
of talent all these years.
It is often recalled with nostalgia the contribution made to
the various spheres of national life by the brethren of the
North who were known for their drive and enterprise. Some of the
best doctors, engineers lawyers and teachers came from this
stable and the country was enriched by their vast knowledge and
Sadly they were lost to the country due to the conflict. Most
of them fled overseas while others went into oblivion. The
President’s national reconciliation programme would no doubt
factor in this aspect of the value and importance of the
He has already invited our expatriate Lankans to participate
in the post war development of the country. The invitation
certainly has to include all those sons and daughters of the
North who had left our shores broken and disgruntled.
This, while availing of their talents and skills to rebuild
the country would also pave the way for national unity and
reconciliation when all communities irrespective of race
religious or ethnicity contribute their mite towards a single
The gallant deed
of nine year old Dinesh Sandakelum from Mahiyangana who rescued
four persons, three of them adults, who were drowning in a canal
hopefully would instil in our younger generation the quality of
selfless sacrifice at a time when most of us think only of
ourselves and shy away from risk and danger.
A tractor with five occupants were proceeding along the bank
of the Gemunupura South Bank canal when it toppled over. All but
the 70 year driver were rescued by our little hero who according
his mother was an ardent swimmer.
He was specially honoured by the Principal of his school,
Gemunupura Maha Vidyalaya and held up as shining example of
We feel this deed by little Sandakelum should draw the
attention of even a higher authority and our little hero
fittingly rewarded so as to inspire others of his age to emulate
Most would have taken the easy way out giving in to the
instinct of self preservation but Sandakelum was obviously made
of sterner stuff.
This proves that we have in our midst people who are willing
to even lay down their lives for their fellow beings.
That this heroic act was performed by a 9 year lad from the
rural outback also speaks volumes for ingrained values of
villagers of helping out others in distress.
He may have been only a nine year old but obviously was well
grounded in the unspoilt village ethos. It is hoped that this
example seeps into the psyche of all our youth and instil in
them the qualities of selflessness and sacrifice.