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Problems have to be identified, named and eliminated

VIOLATION OF CFA: A person calling himself S. Elilan and who is supposedly the LTTE's head of operations in Trincomalee, is reported to have asked the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) to clarify whether the Sri Lanka Army has launched a full-scale war violating the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).

The person is reported to have whined, 'We did not fire a single shot against the Sri Lankan troops Tuesday. Hence the air strike by the SLAF, artillery attack by SLA has to be considered a serious blatant violation of the Ceasefire Agreement.'

Now I don't know whether this Elilan fired any shots at the security forces on Tuesday from wherever he is holed up in, but I do know, as the whole world knows and as Elilan knows too, that his pals have been firing more than a few random bullets over the past few weeks.

Since April 7, 2006, Prabhakaran has killed 56 members of the security forces and 32 civilians. Over 150 people have suffered injuries in these attacks. Needless to say, all figures with respect to LTTE atrocities necessarily carry the tag 'and counting'.

No, I don't know whether this Elilan fired any shots at the security forces on Tuesday, but he can't be ignorant of the fact that Prabhakaran ordered one of his suicide bombers to assassinate the Army Commander on Tuesday.

I can't bring myself to believe that this Elilan does not understand the terms of the Ceasefire Agreement and the Joint Statement signed by the Government and the LTTE in February this year.

But Elilan knows, as does everyone (even the likes of Kumar Rupesinghe and Pakaiasothy Saravanamuttu, not to mention Eric Solheim) that the LTTE is in no position to whine about CFA violations. Elilan does not have the right to ask questions.

He has the right to make a statement and the statement/confession that is most appropriate at this point is: 'We, the LTTE, under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran, never gave two hoots about the CFA, we continued to recruit children, assassinate political opponents, rob helpless peoples in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, benefit from the largesse of the Norwegians, and just the other day upgraded the low-intensity war against the security forces to a full-scale war.'

He could also add, 'we took the patience of the Government and the largely peaceful population of Sri Lanka for granted'.

To tell the truth, what Elilan or any other terrorist says won't make me lose any sleep. Terrorists engage in terrorism.

It is their lifeblood. Convoluted arguments about being liberators and crocodile tears shed over the hardships of civilians don't move me when such are uttered by people who have no notion of democracy and have scant respect for human rights (IF they understand the meaning of such things). I am not here to educate Elilan or offer comfort in any other kind of way.

For me, the LTTE was always at war and there is no reason whatsoever to believe that they will change their ways.

They wanted war, want war and will continue to want war until they are wiped out. If anyone thinks otherwise, they are either in Prabhakaran's pocket or are too naive to warrant a hearing. What remains is to figure out ways of wiping them out.

This war has many fronts. I shall not comment about the military aspects because I am not competent, except to observe that an unconventional war as such the LTTE is engaged sometimes requires that conventional methods be complemented by unconventional ones.

In this, a low-intensity war is to be preferred, I would think and the pursuit of specific targets a priority. In all matters intelligence has to be the bed rock of all action. Intelligence, intelligence and intelligence, there is no way this can be disregarded if you want to triumph over an enemy like Prabhakaran.

There are other things that are no less important, however. One of the most important things to consider at this point is the question of who the enemy is. We have to understand that the enemy does not always wear the tiger's stripes, so to speak.

The enemy comes in many forms and the government, security personnel as well as the general public cannot afford to be less than fully informed about these.

First of all those who whitewash terrorism, those who attempt obfuscation by glossing over or ignoring the terrorist character of the LTTE, those who confuse Tamil 'aspirations' with Tiger terrorism.

These are people who draw huge salaries courtesy donor agencies with dubious agendas. They are paid to utter 'expert opinion' in favour of terrorism.

For example, Pakaiasothy Saravanamutt, commenting on the recent escalation of violence, offered that Prabhakaran is probably frustrated due to the perception that the 'peace' process has got bogged down.

He is very careful in maintaining an absolute silence about who is engaged in 'stalling' here.

It was the LTTE that walked out of talks. It is the LTTE that has been the main obstacle to the implementation of the CFA, flawed document though it is.

It is the LTTE that has no regard for human rights and therefore the chief culprit in the inability to obtain 'normality' for civilian life in the North and East. Saravanamuttu can't be dumb, but he does wear a good disguise to that effect, I must say.

Then there is this organization called Asian Human Rights Commission which spoils all the good work it probably does and subverts its own potential by being absolutely blind to LTTE atrocities.

Their brief, like those which people like Saravanamuttu, Kumar Rupesinghe and others have subscribed to seems to go like this: 'bad mouth the government, sanitize terrorism'.

There are others. For example, 'journalists' who take the word of terrorists like Daya Master, Thamilselvan and others like this Elilan as biblical authority. 'Thousands have fled into refugee camps' they scream.

Have they been there? Have they done a head count? I know that civilians suffer terrible depravations during times of conflict. Who is responsible? Prabhakaran. That is not mentioned by these people.

Norway. Let me put it in a nutshell. 'Failed to deliver'. There is one way for Norway. Out. I don't blame them, I blame those who placed their trust in them.

Whether they will do the needful one way or another, I can't say, but the thing about the needful is that it be done. I am waiting.

And others. Briefly, each and every member of the security forces who is not disciplined, who cannot distinguish or does not make the effort to distinguish Tamil from terrorist, civilian from fighter, who subverts the effort to wipe out terrorism by making fast bucks on arms deals or in procurement procedures or even by leaking out information to the enemy. That is also a front, that is also a challenge.

Finally there are those who incite communal disharmony/violence. Dayan Jayatillake's piece in the Sunday Observer of April 23, 'Prabhakaran's war of attrition', should be translated into Sinhala (if it hasn't been done already) because he makes a cogent argument for classing the perpetrators of such action as enemies of the Sri Lankan state, even though I disagree with his brash characterization of the JHU as 'Sinhala ultras'; both the JVP and the JHU have reacted to the attack on the Army General with a maturity and a sense of responsibility that was found utterly lacking in the UNP government in July 1983. Dayan is right in that we should do everything possible to prevent a backlash on Tamils living in areas not held by the LTTE.

The JVP could do a house-to-house campaign to keep the people informed of the consequences of such action. The JHU could call upon its resources to do so too via the temples. This is something that the 'peace' NGO cartel will not and cannot do.

Having said this, if the government does not take seriously the necessity to defeat Prabhakaran militarily then Mahinda Rajapaksa can count on one thing: the overwhelmingly anti-LTTE sentiments in the country will transform into an anti-government state of mind which will pull the rug from under the feet of what people would then perceive to be political complacency on his part.

Even here, Dayan's article offers pragmatic guidelines. Mahinda's advisors would do well to study it.

This country is facing a threat. It is a threat that is faced not just by Mahinda Rajapaksa, his government and the security forces. It is a threat you face and I face.

We will probably have to suffer much for the negligence of our leaders, but that is a price we will have to pay if we want a country for our children, if we want democracy and freedom.

All of us who have faith in the democratic and civilized way of doing things, have a role to pay. Democracy or terrorism, it is a choice, ladies and gentlemen.

We didn't want this war, Prabhakaran did. We can't talk him out of it. He has trained his guns on our children. He must be disarmed, at whatever cost. He leaves us no other choice.

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