Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Victory Parade, a display of what was, is and should never be

Wednesday’s spectacular display by the Armed Forces, a Victory Salute to the gallant men and women who defeated the vilest form of Terrorism, with much of its support from Global forces is one to savor but I hope for the History Books.

While I am against violence, being a refugee for many years myself from it, I have to sadly admit that a strong defense force is necessary to counter any threat on the territorial integrity of a country from within or without. We must learn that reliance on the international community to help defeat terrorism is forlorn and cannot be trusted as that community has agendas quite different to that of Sri Lanka. It was the will and single-minded determination to eliminate this scourge from within that gave impetus to the final result. Even at the eleventh hour when some in the International community were attempting to broker a ceasefire in the guise of helping the innocents trapped, the government from the lessons it had learned the hard way, namely that such would lead to another regrouping and continuance, just had to lend a deaf ear and finish the job, as they had instructed the Armed Forces. Have we forgotten the screams from every quarter and descending of foreign ministers to tell us to stop?

The UN, which has credibility worldwide, lent their contribution insisting we were to witness a catastrophe of horrendous proportions if nothing was done to intervene. When this proved wrong, it was the Times of London using this UN data, attempting to be a media proxy for them, which tried vainly to butcher the truth, and with that the public opinion of their readership. The semantics of war get clouded in battle. The meaning of words ‘safe zone’, ‘heavy weapons’, ‘collateral damage’, and ‘genocide’ were misused by both sides for their own ends as happens in all wars.

Now all they have left are questions, like “does the end justify the means?” And “violation of the Geneva Conventions and International treaties must be prosecuted”. Whose been taken to task on this yet so it is only the last gasp?

We will in time learn about the complicity of the INGOs in this debacle, as little driblets are now coming out. The Norwegian NGOs in the form of Red Barna and Norwegian Refugee Council appear to have been in league where now it is obvious that their vehicles had been used to continue the suffering. The food aid helped feed the LTTE cadres. It is now obvious that NGOs per se have a vested interest in the continuation of the conflict, as their funding is assured. Their staff can enjoy the perks that come with this. It is obvious that a humungous mistake was made with Norwegians as Peace Facilitators when their delegates, especially Erik Solheim, who could not save Prabarkaran’s skin in the end, were found to be partial towards the LTTE.

I do not wish SL to fight another war, and this lesson should teach us that we will never have to show off the might of the sword anymore. The strength of the forces showed that it is unlikely that there will be another insurrection.

There are two opinions now, with the majority in SL, and I also include the majority of all the minority communities, believing that a lasting peace is possible. The other opinion is a warped one, which continues to be spread by a large section of the Tamil Diaspora that this country is heading into a Sinhala Buddhist Theocracy. It is important that SL foreign missions are beefed up with professionals, who know how to counter these allegations effectively with host country governments. This will contain the bleating of this Diaspora once they realize they have no credibility.

All steps should be taken to weed out the threats within the IDPs. Once the re-education camps are set up, they should be run with a proper plan to ensure those in them are absorbed into the community as equal citizens. The quality of these camps is being improved, and the delay was with NGOs believing they should operate under a different set of rules, having been spoiled all this time! I understand they will now abide by a new set of rules.

The SL people have been generous with their help and I for one have offered to keep one or at a push, two families for 6months until it is safe for them to go home. I wish the government considers this help, which will show the IDPs that people in the South are not the racist monsters, they have been led to believe. I know that a Tamil of a different caste is unlikely to make the same offer, being more caste conscious than Sinhala people. While not trying to make a communal comment I just want to show that there are prejudices within the community that the Diaspora like to ignore. I know children’s education is a factor, but I strongly believe it is better for them to live amongst their fellow citizens in freedom, rather than camps, which are institutionalized and can be demoralizing; demeaning for people who have had assets destroyed. Give them the choice. Don’t forget they are citizens in this country and have certain inalienable rights if we are to show pride in one nation under one flag. That is what patriotism is about. Not just waving a flag or insisting on more celebrations at public expense.