Building on SL's historic triumph
Three years into
our country's law enforcers' memorable triumph over LTTE
terrorism, we could say that the foundation is being laid for a
future of promise for this country. The military triumph over
the LTTE in May 2009, bestowed on the state and the people of
Sri Lanka a future which is pregnant with interesting
possibilities and the challenge facing one and all now is to
exploit these openings for the collective betterment of all.
The military victory over terrorism was a historical
necessity. The present with its rich possibilities would not
have been possible if the LTTE were still around, striking
terror into the hearts of people, North, South, East and West.
They were given ample opportunities by President Mahinda
Rajapaksa to come to the negotiating table and iron out their
differences with the state, but they preferred to persist in
their savagery and bloodshed. Accordingly, the state had no
choice but to militarily defeat the Tigers. This is the
memorable victory which the Sri Lankan people celebrate today on
Galle Face green along with their War Heroes.
But there is much more to be achieved and 'miles to go'
before we could 'sleep'. That is, we as a collectivity and a
country could hope of winning some respite from our present
labours expended in 'picking-up the pieces' left behind by the
conflict, only after the laying of a foundation for durable
harmony and stability. There is no avoiding the challenge of
working out a political solution to our conflict, and the fact
that the state recognizes this great need is brought out in
current efforts at launching a Parliamentary Select Committee
which would be tasked with addressing the issue.
Finding a political solution which would meet the just
aspirations and needs of our communities would prove to be no
easy task but it is essential that this undertaking is
accomplished within a specific time frame. Sections of the
political Opposition have said 'yes' to this mechanism of a PSC
while others are yet to respond positively to the state's
initiative, but the challenge facing our polity is to place the
national interest above all else. Such policy perspectives are
yet to prove popular in this country and we hope some
soul-searching will be engaged in by those sections which are
finding the PSC initiative not exactly to their liking.
Meanwhile, those recommendations of the LLRC which are
practicable need to be implemented. May be there is a range of
problems waiting to be addressed, but we need to make a
beginning somewhere, lest a sense of complacency sets in and
valuable time is lost. We should by now be aware of the dangers
of overlooking grievances in any quarter with a strong basis to
them. A sense of grievance cannot be allowed to rankle in any
section without being redressed.
In this connection, much comfort could be derived from the
realization that the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration would not
be tolerating communalism in any section of the polity.
Communalism or racism has had a blighting impact on local
society over the decades and we need to outlaw this scourge if
we are to progress as a country. One of the first things those
Miracle Economies of South East Asia did in the process of
laying the basis for their remarkable development was to ban
communalism and all those forms of politics that have a divisive
and destructive impact on national harmony. This is the way
forward for Sri Lanka too.
There is no doubt that a good future for this country
consists in equitable development, among other factors, which
will bind us together rather than separate us. Our economic
indices continue to be impressive despite the dampening impact
of the conflict and we hope things would remain this way. But it
is vitally important that the growth that is achieved is
equitable. That is, the gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots'
needs to be increasingly narrowed and the wealth of the country
distributed evenly among our population segments.
It is also encouraging to note that the Security Forces are
playing an increasingly positive and prominent role in our
development process. This is particularly true of the
North-East. This is proof, among other things, of the
professionalism and people-friendliness of our armed forces. In
a way, the Humanitarian Operation of May 2009 is continuing.