A birthday wish comes true
As President Chandrika Bandaranaike
Kumaratunga reaches an important milestone in her life today - her 60th
birthday - we are certain that nothing would be considered by her as
more welcome than the realisation that she has further strengthened the
foundation for the resumption of the country's peace process. This comes
in the form of the P-TOMS agreement which was courageously and boldly
brought into existence by her for the greater good of Sri Lanka.
The warm accolades the Government is receiving from important foreign
governments, such as those of the US and India, over the P-TOMS, are
further proof that President Kumaratunga is not labouring in vain for
It has always been President Kumaratunga's dream to bring ethnic
peace to Sri Lanka. She made initial moves in this direction along with
her late husband, Vijaya Kumaratunga, who went the extra mile to break
the cold barrier of mistrust which separated the communities inhabiting
North-East and Southern Sri Lanka.
After Vijaya's untimely death, Chandrika Kumaratunga resumed the
protracted and challenging task of bringing peace to Sri Lanka. This
arduous task was on top of her agenda right along. She has fought all
major elections since 1994 as the 'peace candidate' and has won
resoundingly, except in 2001 December, when the PA suffered defeat at
the hands of the UNF in that year's parliamentary elections. However, in
the two presidential elections, since 1994, Chandrika Kumaratunga has
won overwhelming popular mandates to bring ethnic peace. The fact that
she nearly lost her life at the last presidential election, speaks
volumes for her selflessness and courage in the march towards peace.
Some of President Kumaratunga's major peace initiatives have,
unfortunately, fallen victim to power politics. In early 1995, for
instance, the LTTE reneged on a peace plan which was taking shape
between it and the Government. Later, the draft 2000 constitution which
could form the basis of a renewed peace drive, was burnt in Parliament
by the UNP. On both occasions, President Kumaratunga clinched a moral
victory because her earnestness to press ahead to bring peace, could
never be questioned. On the other hand, her antagonists stood exposed as
opportunistic, self-serving and as being diametrically opposed to a just
The P-TOMS opens a new chapter in President Kumaratunga's search for
a just peace. Once again, she stands tall as a leader who is unyielding
to chauvinistic and hegemonic forces who are intent on keeping the
country burning in the flames of war.
May she prevail over these dark forces, is our wish.