A Sri Lanka free of hatreds
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resolve to prevent past
enmities from infecting and perverting the minds and hearts of
Sri Lankans of the present and of the future, is a pronouncement
that is likely to strike a responsive chord in many a local
conscience. This is indeed a foremost challenge facing Sri
The state has done well to free this country of political
terror, but uniting the communities of this country into an
indivisible citizenry and marching together into the future from
now on as a closely knit collectivity is a mission of a
different order which calls for capabilities which are entirely
different in nature to military skills.
However, Sri Lanka has not done badly for itself on this
score too, although it is only three years since the LTTE was
eliminated. For instance, one time LTTE cadres are being
steadily rehabilitated and returned to a normal civilian
existence under the purview of the government and this is
something over which the thoughtful among us could rejoice.
It is important that these one time LTTErs are made to feel
at home in this country and this is something the state and the
public must assure them of. If these conditions are not met the
psychological wounds of the conflict would be slow in healing
and the effort to prevent past enmities from being perpetuated
into the future would be very badly stymied.
Those sections of the West which are currently daggers drawn
with Sri Lanka need to bear these considerations in mind. The
fair-minded sections of the world community are firmly of the
view that Sri Lanka should in no way be prevented from starting
anew and that it should be afforded the opportunity of
rejuvenating itself on the basis of its energies and resources,
in complete independence, without being harassed over issues
that need to be relegated to the dust bin of history. Well,
these sections of opinion which are favourably disposed towards
this country need to be listened to because an effort to raise
divisive issues within Sri Lanka would only prevent her from
making that fresh start which she is fully entitled to. Besides
other negative consequences, enmities of the past would be kept
alive and the people of this country polarized along lines that
would make shared living impossible, if divisive questions are
constantly harped on.
It is surprising that the lessons of history are being
strongly resisted by those quarters which are critical of Sri
Lanka because most of them should be no stranger to ethnic
strife, having been saddled with problems of the same nature
over the years.
However, the reported resolution against Sri Lanka at the
UNHRC sessions, if entertained, could achieve just this effect
of rekindling past enmities in Sri Lanka. Apparently, the
ulterior motive of these anti-Lanka sections is to refuel old
animosities within Sri Lanka by raising controversial issues
which would help in pitting one community against the other.
The majority of the Tamil community would be quite content to
forget about the decades long strife which tore this country
apart but it is the aim, apparently, of the enemies of Sri Lanka
to reopen healing wounds and to even make them bleed afresh by
harping on ‘war crimes’ and connected canards which make our
communities view each other with hostility and doubt once again.
So, the game plan of the enemies of Sri Lanka is quite evident
and Sri Lanka should enlighten the world about it.
Meanwhile, however, we in Sri Lanka need to make a concerted
effort to put the nation-building project on track. As we have
time and again pointed out, nothing short of a sense of
community and unity among Sri Lankans would help in bringing
about nation-building. Accordingly, bridge-building among our
social groups should proceed apace.
It is this momentous enterprise which would prevent past
enmities from being handed over to future generations.