New ground-breaking initiative in
For many in this country
today, February has turned out to be the 'cruelest' month of the
year. This is on account of the fact that it was on February 22,
2002, that the controversial Ceasefire Agreement was signed and
sealed between the then UNP-led administration and the LTTE
leadership. We need hardly labour the point that the CFA in its
implementation left very much to be desired and proved a
perilously botched experiment in peace-making.
Much has been said and written about the CFA and it is all
too obvious that it was a huge disappointment. The LLRC report
gives what could be considered a highly authoritative evaluation
of the process which went into the making of the CFA and what is
most obvious about it is that the document was brought out in
demented haste. It was a classic instance of haste making waste
and the inference is inescapable that the parties to the CFA in
the South were dictated to by the principal figures of the North
and their foreign backers.
The Southern architects of the 'accord' apparently gave the
impression that they were 'led by their noses.'
Be that as it may, we did not have any peace whatsoever in
the months following the signing of the CFA, for which purpose
the then Prime Minister was not in a position to visit the
North. The 'ground situation' was so fraught with risks that
even briefly visiting the North at that time was out of the
question. The 'peace' which was to have been achieved was
clearly a one-sided affair.
The present stands in stark contrast to those highly
uncertain times. Today it is possible for the Head of State of
this country and other state functionaries and notables to
fearlessly visit the North-East because a great degree of
stability has been achieved in the region. The security
situation, in other words, has changed tremendously for the
better and normalcy has been achieved a great deal. All this and
more was made possible by the state's momentous military triumph
over the LTTE of May 2009.
But winning in the battlefield is one thing and establishing
durable social peace and stability another.
It is the latter challenge to which the state must address
itself now and prove more than capable of handling. This is not
only a question of ushering material prosperity in the North but
also of winning hearts and minds and the latter enterprise is no
The right-thinking of this country could be glad that the
state is more sensitive than ever to the need to build and
sustain communal harmony. There is a growing awareness among
governing circles in particular that the sensitivities of our
communities need to be respected. These positives must be firmly
built on because, as we have time and again pointed out, there
could be no development without nation-building and communal
amity is the basis of nation-building.
However, there is no denying that socio-economic development
should go hand in hand with this process of establishing and
consolidating communal amity. From this point of view it is very
commendable of the state to initiate development ventures in the
North in collaboration with UN agencies, INGOs and other
relevant sectors. As we indicated in our lead story on page one
yesterday, these sections have launched arrangements to put into
effect what is referred to as a joint Action Plan of Assistance
for the Northern Province this year.
This is a highly pragmatic and down to earth approach to
development, which we hope, would be thoroughly implemented.
Apparently, the initiative would aim at meeting most of the
basic needs of the Northern people. Meeting these needs on an
equitable basis is one of the most effective ways of sealing the
stability that has been achieved in the province.
The CFA was an abysmal failure also because it went over the
heads of the ordinary people and was signed between two sets of
leaders who were generally divorced from the citizenry.
Equitable development would prove a sound catalyst to the
consolidation of social stability and involve the people in