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DateLine Wednesday, 4 February 2009

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Real Independence

Today's 61st Independence Day Anniversary is of special significance to all Sri Lankans. For we are on the threshold of emerging out of a devastating civil war and uniting the country once again under one banner bringing together all communities, religious and ethnic groups in a common bond as envisaged by the founding fathers of our Independence.

Therefore the nation no doubt today will be captured by the same spirit and the euphoria and spontaneous rejoicing that was witnessed when the country's first Prime Minister D S Senanayake hoisted the National flag 61 years ago, when his 12th successor down the line President Mahinda Rajapaksa unfurls the Lion Ensign at today's celebrations at the sprawling Galle Face Green.

The event would no doubt harken to that first Independence Day when all communities felt belonged and was part and parcel of the rich multiethnic fabric that welded a nation that was even looked upon for emulation by powerful nations in the region.

The countrywide celebrations and rejoicing on such unprecedented scale no doubt is a pointer to a new resurgence among the populace and a determination to enjoy the full bounty of Independence following the defeat of terrorism and a total unification of the nation's territory under the Government's writ.

The jubilation of the entire nation on the defeat of terrorism and real prospect of peace, manifest by the riot of national flags adorning the country's landscape is also a clear symbolism that this independence is vastly different to the preceding ones which were subsumed by the pomp and ceremony. Here we have an Independence Day that gives substance to the true meaning of independence, which is not just the right of sovereignty but the defeat of all forces and elements who had attempted to undermine that very sovereignty.

We say this because it has been the contention of most that what we received was only a nominal independence and that we were continued to be guided by our colonial masters in almost every sphere of national life. Not only that, there were also insidious attempts to undermine the country's sovereignty in various ways by aiding and abetting divisive tendencies to take root in the country which results we see today in the form of a full blown terrorist problem for the self same purpose of dividing the country.

It is to the credit of the current leadership of the country that this problem has been taken cognizance of in it's true perspective and measures taken to strike at the very root of the cancer that has all along kept us as a divided nation.

It goes without saying that the terrorist problem in Sri Lanka had an international dimension designed to undermine the sovereignty and independence of the country. The efforts of our gallant security forces therefore in a way were a wresting back our sovereignty.

It is in this context that this 61st Independence Day assumes historical significance. For we have not only identified the problem that has kept our nation divided all these years but has effectively bottled the genie of separatism that had been hanging over the nation threatening to swallow it up.

It will be now up to the leadership to ensure this genie is shut firmly inside the bottle, by losing no time in alleviating the conditions that estranged a section of our own brethren. The prevailing good will of the majority community should be harnessed to bring about a complete reconciliation between all communities and ethnicities putting behind the bitter acrimony of the past and to live together as brothers and sisters of one nation.

This good will should also be harnessed for the gigantic task of nation building that lie ahead with the cooperation of all segments and groups working towards a single goal. There should be a redoubling of efforts to rebuild the economy. A lot needs to be done. Every single Lankan should lend his shoulder to build on the success achieved by the Government if the country is savour the fruits of victory.

Regrettably we collectively as a nation lack a proper work ethic and tend to shirk in our duties. Our doctors, nurses and now even teachers down their tools for the flimsiest of reasons, which is not the best recipe for forging ahead on the national front. Great sacrifice is called for to put together a nation that has just emerged from conflict and conflagration.

The Government for its part should strive to make every citizen count and give them the necessary incentive and wherewithal to spur them towards reaching its goals. Above all the 61st Independence, which is a watershed in the annals of Sri Lanka, should be made the catalyst for national reconciliation and ethnic harmony and a resolve to defeat all insidious forces trying to undermine the nation's sovereignty.

Let this historic day herald a new beginning for Sri Lanka.

International action against the LTTE

At a time Sri Lanka is engaged in the arduous task of putting an end to terrorism in the North of the country, it is vital to end the capacity of the LTTE terrorists to raise funds and engage in propaganda in Western countries, particularly in Europe.

Full Story

Towards zero

Cumulative effect of the LTTE’s terrorism:

Being a Professor of English may not seem the best training available for heading a Peace Secretariat, but it has certainly proved invaluable in trying to understand the way people function.

Full Story

Treasure in the temple

The visionary, physician, and astrologer, Michel de Nostradamus (Nostradamus) of France prophesied various historic events from his time four centuries ago to the end of time.

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