Did the Ranaviruva die for Sri Lanka or for Eelam?
It was inevitable wasn’t it? The moment Sarath Fonseka announced that
he wanted to be President there was bound to be a tussle for
victory-credit. Fonseka, true to form, wants us to believe that he
single-handedly vanquished the LTTE. It is pretty clear that while he
played a keyrole as Army Commander, he was only one in a formidable team
in which every member played his role to perfection.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, to his credit, has not exactly claimed sole credit
for the victory, although he more than anyone else arguably has the
bragging rights, as all powerful Executive President and as Commander in
Chief of the Armed Forces.
His backers have on occasions gone overboard in this particular
shouting match, doing an ‘SF’ on behalf of MR, i.e., screaming ‘It was
our man that did it!’ All they need have done was to say what
Maithripala Sirisena finally said at the launching of Mahinda Chinthana-Extended
Version on Monday, January 11, 2010: ‘Had the humanitarian mission
failed no one would be blamed except Mahinda Rajapaksa!’
But who was the true hero, then? An email doing the rounds these days
of over-enthusiasm, braggadocio, fantasizing and vilification, speaks of
a forgotten individual that brings perspective to this entire and ugly
spectacle: the unnamed, faceless soldier who died to make it possible
for two men and their supporters to argue over who did what and where
and when and how and to whom.
the war heroes. File photo
What of the Ranaviruva today, I wonder. What of the tens of thousands
who perished to defend the Motherland, to ride the country of the menace
called terrorism, to ensure that bombs would not explode, that fathers
and mothers would not have to worry if they’ll ever see their children
again when leave home? Who did they die for? What did they die for?
We are told that they died (apart from what was mentioned above) to
protect the territorial integrity of the country, to keep intact our
sovereignty, to prevent the division of the country and preserve our
freedoms. The true victor, the true deserver of credit is no more.
So when we assess what the dead achieved or helped achieve with death
we have to view the reality they left behind and the reality that
politics may bring about.
I am thinking about our Ranaviruva to whom we all owe so much. I am
wondering what kind of thoughts would go through their afterlife-minds
if they were to cast gaze on the land they died to protect.
Let us suppose that Sarath Fonseka contrary to all opinion polls wins
the election. We would have a President who has pledge to re-merge the
North and East. We would have a President who has given a new lease of
life to the Eelam Project now honour-bound to deliver on promise, the
kappam or ‘pound of flesh’ for having helped him become President.
Our Ranaviruva would find that the proxies of the terrorists who
killed him have secured through Fonseka what Prabhakaran could not
achieve with guns.
He would find that Fonseka the politician has undone everything that
Fonseka the soldier claims to have achieved for the Motherland. He would
find to his horror that the Eelam myth and the notion of an exclusive
Tamil homeland have been legislated into fact by Fonseka the politician.
The Ranaviruva cannot be faulted if he turned around and asked
Fonseka ‘What was that long drawn out war about, General?’ I think he
would say something like this to Fonseka, after saluting him of course.
‘Sir, with all due respect, could you tell me why you made me fight
and die to secure something that you now want to give back to what’s
left of the LTTE? Could you tell me, General, why you got me killed if
you really believed that these two provinces actually belonged to Tamils
and no one else? Sir, if that was the case, why did we fight in the
‘Sir, did you really believe when you ordered us to march into the
arms of possible death that the North and East should be re-merged? Were
you upset Sir when Chief Justice Sarath N Silva determined that the
merger was unconstitutional? Sir, could you tell me what the JVP is
telling now about the North and East, mergers, de-mergers and re-mergers
and what kind of expressions are in the faces of Sarath N Silva, Tilvin
and Somawansa when such issues are discussed? I almost forgot Sir, and
please don’t think I am being cheeky, but tell me if your tongue is in
‘Sir, my wife lost her husband, my children lost their father, my
parents their son. Why did they have to suffer this loss Sir? Why? Do
you have an answer? Sir, tell me, once and for all so that I can live my
death in peace, did I die for Sri Lanka or did I die for Eelam?’