Making Sri Lanka's Independence more
Sri Lanka yesterday celebrated her 64th
anniversary of Independence with pride and dignity as a sovereign nation
and the country is marching forward towards new socio-economic horizons.
This year's Independence Day celebrations take on added significance
in our nation's history as Sri Lanka is progressing in all spheres. The
annihilation of the LTTE leadership and the liberation of over half a
million people held forcibly by the Tigers ushered in a true
independence for all Sri Lankans.
It was, indeed, most heartening to witness the resettled Tamils in
the North and the East celebrating Independence on a grand scale in a
spirit of camaraderie with their fellow countrymen in the South under
one banner. The people in these two provinces have opened a new chapter
in their lives and have already become stakeholders in the country's
Sri Lanka's future was uncertain with a fast eroding economy until
the country's valiant Security Forces liberated the country from the
jaws of LTTE terror. The Security Forces fought a ruthless terrorist
organisation - the LTTE, which had an unquenchable thirst for blood, for
almost three decades.
The earlier regimes either bowed to foreign pressure or made a
lucrative business out of war. Thanks to the true patriotic son of our
soil, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the fifth executive President of Sri Lanka, all
citizens - Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or Burghers - could now hold their
heads aloft under his illustrious leadership since 2005.
Despite eradicating terrorism, Sri Lanka continued to provide top
priority to its national security and President Rajapaksa would, by no
stretch of the imagination, ever compromise matters relating to the
country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The LTTE's terror rule denied Tamil politicians of the right of
practising democracy. Rather, they were constrained to abandon their
democratic politics and give tacit approval to all the barbaric acts of
terrorists. The moderate Tamil leaders who opposed LTTE terror were
brutally assassinated by the same people who claimed to be the sole
representatives of Tamils.
When veteran Tamil politicians in the North were gunned down, one
after another, like nine pins by the LTTE in broad daylight, the
remaining Tamil politicians had no option whatsoever, but to join the
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) bandwagon - set up under LTTE patronage.
Since then, the TNA leaders, who abandoned their political ideology
following death threats, were more or less remote-controlled by the LTTE
leadership in the Wanni.
The LTTE eventually brainwashed almost all the TNA leaders. The only
moderate Tamil leader who withstood LTTE terror, save Minister Douglas
Devananda, was TULF leader T. Anandasangaree. The TNA continued to be
the Tiger proxy and turned a blind eye to the LTTE's brutal killings.
The TNA, which the LTTE established, is now attempting to disrupt the
prevailing peace. The TNA demands do not reflect the true aspirations of
the Tamils living in the North and the East. The TNA leaders seem to be
living in a world of make believe created by the LTTE and continue to
dance the fandango round LTTE sympathisers abroad, disregarding the
wishes and aspirations of the Tamil community in the North and the East.
The majority Tamils in these two provinces are more concerned about
their economic progress and better living conditions rather than police
or land powers for Provincial Councils which the TNA now demands. The
TNA has a good opportunity at present to prove its sincerity and
demonstrate to one and all that they are genuinely concerned in the
well-being of the Tamils.
Hence, the TNA leaders should grab the opportunity before them and
continue its dialogue with the Government and other political parties,
rather than putting down pre-conditions for talks. All political parties
should make the country's independence more meaningful by setting in
motion a common dialogue, based on the recommendations of the Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
It is only through their joint efforts that Sri Lanka could
successfully face international conspiracies hatched by those with
vested interests on foreign soil. It is abundantly clear that these
'agents' are sharpening their swords to take on Sri Lanka lock, stock
and barrel at the forthcoming United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC)
sessions, perhaps purely for the 'sin' of becoming the only country to
The UN or UNHRC members should bear in mind that Sri Lanka by no
means committed any war crimes as alleged by a certain section, but
merely exercised its right as a sovereign nation to protect its hapless
citizens from terror. Those who pontificate on human rights violations
and media freedom must first and foremost make an assessment of their
The LLRC Report provides the ideal platform for national
reconciliation that meets the aspirations of all communities here. The
international community should exercise patience and give Sri Lanka
adequate time to put in place its own home grown solution, based on the
LLRC Report and the recommendations of all political parties in
Meanwhile, the 84th birthday of the Sunday Observer coincided with
yesterday's Independence Day celebrations. Sri Lanka's English newspaper
with the largest circulation was founded some 20 years prior to gaining
independence from British rule. Coincidentally, this too was on February
4. Hence, the twin anniversaries of the Sunday Observer and Sri Lanka's
independence are celebrated on the same day.
Sri Lanka's flagship Sunday English newspaper has served generations.
Its contribution to the socio-economic development in the pre and
post-independence eras has been immense.
Let's reminisce with profound gratitude all past editors and
journalists on this historic occasion and all those who made a tangible
contribution towards the success of Sri Lanka's No.1 English newspaper
in every aspect, be it circulation, readership, quality or quantity. We
also pause to remember the founder of ANCL, the late D.R. Wijewardene,
with gratitude and commend the role played by him and successive
managements as well as all employees of Lake House in protecting the
country's oldest newspaper house.
Catering to the needs of different segments of the society and people
of all walks of life has made the Sunday Observer the undisputed market
leader. The millions of readers worldwide have been the key to this
stupendous success. We acknowledge your continued patronage as our
valued readers and we at the Sunday Observer would do our utmost to
serve you better.