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The world's deafening silence

Brazenly and cold-bloodedly using civilians as a human shield in its confrontations with the Security Forces seems to be increasingly favoured by the LTTE, but the SLMM and the world community, except for the US, seem to be turning a Nelsonian eye on the evil. In fact these sections seem to be increasingly tongue-tied in the face of this brutal tactic by the Tigers.

As reported by us yesterday, civilians in their thousands are being displaced by LTTE artillery fire, directed at Eastern villages, such as, Kallar, Serunuwara and Mahindapura. Just a few days back, LTTE big arms fire directed at Somadevi Vidyalaya in Trincomalee, killed three civilians and injured scores of schoolchildren and a teacher.

Fortunately, the Security Forces are showing remarkable self-restraint and discipline in the face of these revolting provocations. They are certainly taking defensive action of a limited kind but are not falling for the Tiger ruse of triggering a full-blown conflict. We hope the Armed Forces would continue in this vein because a full blown conflict is what the Tigers are hoping for.

Meanwhile, the observer could only be amazed and befuddled by the stony silence of the SLMM and the world community at the outrageous human shields strategy of the LTTE. The gravest danger here is that the Tigers would take this silence as complicity in their heinous conduct.

In fact, the silence may encourage them further in their inhuman acts. Why are you silent? We are prompted to ask the SLMM and the world community. Why is the SLMM in particular shying away form its responsibility of naming and shaming the LTTE for its macabre and inhuman practice of taking cover behind hapless civilians? Doesn't it realise that its silence could be misinterpreted by the LTTE as connivance in its misdeeds?

Even-handed monitoring is what is expected of the SLMM. It cannot be partisan towards either of the parties to the conflict. In this context, the axiom, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, applies most rigorously.

This observation applies to the international community in general too. It too needs to come down heavily on the LTTE for its growing and increasingly glaring recalcitrance. A failure to use the big stick on the Tigers would only encourage the latter to persist with their destructive approach.

It needs to be seen that human well-being in general and human rights in particular are being wantonly abused by the Tigers. Isn't this obvious to the world community? The West in particular acts as the watchdog of the global human rights situation. However, gross human rights abuse by the LTTE seems to be winked at by the West.

The world needs to see that the Lankan State is doing its best to contain the conflict in this land. An experts committee, acting under the aegis of the APC, is trying its best to work out a consensual political solution. The State is going the extra mile to ensure the well-being of the North-East people. Their everyday needs are met on a sustained basis.

However, the State cannot allow the LTTE to inexorably harm the national interest. The Security Forces have no choice but to defend the common interest of the people. Thus the State is beneficially active on many fronts. It needs to be helped in this task by the world community which must hold the LTTE accountable.

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It is very important for the media to be a partner in national missions. They should highlight the positive aspects and provide solutions to difficult aspects through nationwide consultations.

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To: Yoshitha with love

You remind me of your great grandfather D. M. Rajapaksa. He was renowned as the lion of the Ruhuna. He was a challenge to the White Empire. White Government Agents were target of his kicks at the Hambantota Kachcheri and the Hambantota Rest House. He was in the forefront of the Ruhunu Vanguard against repressers of the working class during the colonial era.

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Drinking patterns among Sri Lankans

Toddy has been a popular alcoholic drink among Sri Lankans since the days of Sinhalese kings and has a low alcohol content and had been quite popular among our ancient warriors.

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Oliver Goonetilleke, greatest son of post colonial Sri Lanka

October 20 marks the 114th birth anniversary of former Governor General of Sri Lanka, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, arguably the greatest son of Lanka since the advent of the Europeans into the country.

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