Unite to bring about lasting peace
As the curtain comes down for 2007 and we approach yet another
New Year, it's time to evaluate how we have fared, be it as individuals
or as a nation on the whole. As the New Year dawns in a couple of days
time, we get a golden opportunity to take stock of our achievements and
failures during this year and gear to face the challenges ahead in 2008.
It has almost become habitual for people across the world to approach
the dawning of a New Year with fresh hopes for a better future. But then
there are quite a few people who dismiss such yearnings with a
considerable measure of sceptism and cynicism.
True it has now been customary to extend New Year greetings. However,
the time has now come for us to ponder whether those greetings are
limited to mere words or we make them from the bottom of our hearts -
whether our wishes for happiness, peace and prosperity are really
genuine and sincere.
However, we in Sri Lanka could only make those wishes a reality by
living in amity with one another and by respecting each others' beliefs,
customs and traditions, irrespective of our race, caste or religious
As it has been during the past two decades, the main hope of the
majority of people in Sri Lanka is undoubtedly peace and harmony amongst
all communities. While eradicating terrorism, we expect the Government
to provide a fair solution for genuine problems of all communities. But
at the same time, the majority of people expect it to be an honourable
peace, fulfilling the aspirations of not only the Tamils, but the
Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers as well.
Though the 'peace agents' and some notorious NGO agents make a big
hue and cry, the majority of people in Sri Lanka do not want 'peace at
any cost', which is relatively easy to achieve. But the 'honourable
peace' which the majority of loyal and patriotic citizens of this
country are expecting may be a bitter experience for a ruthless
terrorist organisation such as the LTTE.
During 2007, the Government gave the right leadership to the Security
Forces. Though many people during the UNP regime thought that the LTTE
terrorists are unstoppable in the East, our forces completely wiped out
terrorism from those areas and liberated the entire Eastern Province.
Those people who were rescued from the clutches of the LTTE's merciless
terror rule, could begin the New Year with hope and confidence as the
resettlement process has almost been completed.
There was no political interference and the field commanders were
given the liberty of taking crucial decisions on the battle field. The
Ministry of Defence, under the able leadership of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,
launched many welfare and awareness programmes to further boost the
morale of the Security Forces and give them better recognition.
But it is not that hard to bring about peace, if the entire nation
stands as one, irrespective of our political and social affiliations. We
could put an end to Prabhakaran's ruthless acts and eradicate terrorism
by the end of the coming year, if we unite.
In achieving that, we may have to face stiff challenges and also make
huge sacrifices. But those are negligible when one compares those with
the benefits that we could enjoy under a peaceful environment. The huge
sums of money that we spent in the nation's battle against terrorism
could be used for development and welfare measures.
However, the Government has not neglected any development work due to
additional spending to defend the nation. Mega ventures such as the
Upper Kotmale Hydropower project, Norochcholai Coal power plant,
Hambantota harbour, Weeerawila International Airport, the Southern
Highway and Moragahakanda reservoir would progress rapidly during 2008
and the nation would soon be able to enjoy the benefits of those
It's just two years ago that President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over
the gigantic task of taking Sri Lanka forward. Most people here believe
that he is the man who could usher in peace. Thanks to the untiring
efforts of our brave Security Forces, the President has proved that to a
great extent. We wish everybody, including our leaders, the requisite
strength and courage to fulfill the aspirations of the nation and build
unity, peace and prosperity among the people to live as one family and
one nation in the coming years.
Last but not least, we must remember our brothers and sisters in the
Security Forces. Though we enjoy the festive season with our loved ones,
there are thousands of security forces personnel on duty to safeguard
the territorial integrity of our country. Unlike us, those guardian
angels of our nation do not have an opportunity to celebrate the New
Year with their loved ones. Many of them have not seen their families
for months. While we enjoy the dawn of the New Year, those brave members
of our Security Forces spend many sleepless nights in bunkers under
trying conditions, keeping a vigilant eye against the terrorists to
protect us all. It is their sacrifices that ensure our security and
protection against terror acts.
In recognition of their dedication and devotion, our New Year
thoughts should always be with those brave men on duty. It's due to
their courage, dedication and sacrifice that we enjoy this freedom. They
are the true heroes who would continue to protect us in the New Year
The foremost wish of the people across the globe is to wipe out
terrorism and bring about lasting peace that would enable all nations to
live in harmony. May sanity prevail among all sections of the people in
Sri Lanka and help to bring about lasting peace to our motherland.