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Saturday, 19 September 2009

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The global community's role

Sri Lanka is one of the very few nations in the world that has successfully battled terrorism. The US Federal Bureau of Investigations itself described the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as the worst terrorist group in the world. It is to the credit of our valiant Security Forces that they were able to wipe out such a formidable foe.

Many countries around the world including the US are battling terrorism. The world marked the eighth anniversary of 9/11 just last week. Al-Qaeda and many other terror groups are still active and pose a threat to humanity. Yet, only Sri Lanka has succeeded in containing a terrorist group which caused death and destruction for over 30 years.

This should be a cause for celebration in the civilized world. Sri Lankan Security Forces not only destroyed a ruthless terror outfit - but they also rescued nearly 300,000 people from LTTE tyranny. In other words, it was a humanitarian operation as well. However, certain countries are yet to appreciate this achievement. Instead, they want to impose various strictures on Sri Lanka on dubious human rights grounds. This is ironic, because the mission of the Sri Lankan Government and the Security Forces was to restore the rights of a people oppressed by a terror group.

It is often said that civilian casualties are inevitable in wars. We see the validity of this statement almost every day in Iraq and Afghanistan, where US Forces are battling various terror groups. Nevertheless, Sri Lankan Forces were extremely careful to avoid civilian casualties. It was the LTTE which fired at civilians trying to cross over to the Forces' lines.

It is clear that various machinations are on to discredit Sri Lanka internationally. The Channel 4 episode is a case in point. Several experts have proved that the video is a fake, designed solely to blacken Sri Lanka's image. Several other media outlets have been airing incorrect reports on the welfare villages housing the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The Government has stressed on many occasions that the IDPs cannot be resettled en masse because landmines have to be cleared and certain facilities have to be rebuilt. Resettlement is progressing as we write, but it cannot be done overnight. Security aspects too have to be taken into consideration.

Representatives of international organizations who are supposed to be impartial have been making statements supportive of LTTE viewpoints. These could well be part and parcel of an international conspiracy against Sri Lanka, as alleged by several Government Ministers and impartial observers.

Remnants of the LTTE and certain sections of the Tamil Diaspora as well as some local politicians are also said to be behind this move aimed at destabilizing the Government and reversing gains against terrorism.

We are now told that a report on the conduct of Government Security Forces during the war against the LTTE would be submitted to the US Congress on Monday. Ministerial and Defence sources say this was expected as part of a strategy to pressure Sri Lanka.

As Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said, Sri Lanka is clearly being targeted by a section of the international community for being successful in her war against the LTTE. They seem to have forgotten the fact they themselves had banned the LTTE, which killed thousands of innocents over 30 years. Apparently, all this has been conveniently forgotten.

The death and destruction cannot easily be forgotten. It cannot also be forgotten that remnants of the LTTE are still active internationally. A senior Indian official has warned that LTTE funding lines are still intact. This is not surprising, because the LTTE had a global network. Its members are still active in many countries. Thus it is the moral duty of the international community to help Sri Lanka to root out the LTTE international network, without adopting double standards in dealing with the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorism is terrorism, wherever in the world it occurs. Sri Lanka's successful war should also be considered as part of that global campaign against terror. It is important to apprehend key LTTE operatives (Sri Lanka has already nabbed KP, the self-proclaimed new leader of the Tigers), investigate the LTTE international arms procurement and funding network and expose its links with other terror groups.

Sri Lanka is emerging economically after defeating terrorism. It is on the threshold of achieving lasting peace and reconciliation after 30 long years. The North and the East, which bore the brunt of the conflict, have to be re-built. The IDPs have to be resettled. Sri Lanka needs the assistance of the international community for these noble ventures. Recognizing Sri Lanka's achievements and endorsing the Government's plans for peace and prosperity are vital at this crucial stage.

Development through rainwater harvesting

Sustainable social and economic development for resettlements in North and East through rainwater harvesting:

Sri Lanka’s three decades of conflict leaves the Northern and Eastern Provinces most affected, with infrastructure and institutions non-functional, homesteads in disrepair, livelihoods destroyed and most people unsettled and many traumatized.

Full Story

The Morning Inspection

Getting a grip on ‘fear psychosis’

‘There is an atmosphere of fear and lack of freedom in Sri Lanka,’ Chandrika Kumaratunga is reported to have said in Kerala recently. She says that even though ‘it is a government of (her) party in power,’ she doesn’t feel safe. Implying of course that people who are not members or supportive of the party in power would feel even less safe.

Full Story

On My Watch

Alston sings on lying channel

Among the types who are known to rush in where even angels fear to tread is Prof. Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur of the UN on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Full Story

 

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