Nation on a new journey
Although the weather may have
proved a dampener to today’s Victory Day celebrations there is
no doubt that the sunshine that beamed on the nation exactly one
year ago when President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared the three
decade long war ended in a historic session of Parliament, still
lingers in the hearts of the people.
It is up to the nation now to work towards reinforcing this
peace achieved with the blood, sweat and tears of many - not
least our valiant men on the battlefield. It is therefore up to
the collective conscience of all its people to forge ahead to
make this hard won peace meaningful by contributing their mite
in the task of nation building and national development.
No time should also be lost in forging a national
reconciliation making use of this unique opportunity. Positive
indications in this direction are already being observed with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointing the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission in an effort to get at the core of the
problem that set apart the communities and suggest the necessary
fence mending structures.
One year on Sri Lanka’s landscape has undergone such a
dramatic transformation that it would seem inconceivable that it
was the same country that not long ago was in the midst of a
bloody war that had the entire nation under seige.
Time was when life was so uncertain that a wife was kept in
pins if her husband’s return home from his workplace was delayed
by even a few minutes.A mother would be on tenterhooks on
hearing of an explosion in the city until the safe arrival of
her offspring from school.
Exactly one year ago President Mahinda Rajapaksa succeeded in
banishing this seige mentality of the nation. Not only that, he
ensured that normal life is restored without delay.
One year on the roads that were sealed to protect a
vulnerable installation are opened and people move about freely
in hitherto no go zones devoid of any security presence.The
North which was cut off from the national mainstream is today a
scene of bustling activity transforming itself into a popular
destination for holiday makers - a scenario which was so unreal
not many moons ago.
Today as the memory of that bloody era fades away from the
national psyche the people also tend to take the prevailing
peace for granted.While this is natural it is well to remember
the sacrifices made by our valiant soldiers who made this dream
possible.It is to highlight this role of our Security Forces
that the Government will hold a victory parade every year on
For, no right-thinking person who lived through that gory
ordeal for 30 long years could fail to understand the
significance of this day when all peace-loving citizens were
delivered from the spectre of a brutal terror that killed and
maimed tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children
across the length and breadth of the country.
But the biggest benefactors during the past year no doubt
would be the innocent Tamil civilians whose harrowing ordeal
under the jackboot of Tiger terror is only too well documented.
Their lives will no longer be in the hands of a terrorist group
and signs are already there they are adopting themselves to the
changed atmosphere where they enjoy human rights and
The active participation of the people of the North in the
just concluded elections is also an indication that they are
gradually inducting themselves into the national mainstream. One
year on they are beginning to taste the fruits of freedom by
being active participants in the massive development drive in
the North - a concept that was alien to them not very long ago
when their destiny was decided by a terrorist organization.
Today the country has been physically united. A whole new
generation from both sides of the divide now travel across the
once artificially demarcated borders, mingling with each other
getting to know their cultures as in the good old days when
people of the South were treated to the famous hospitality of
the Jaffna citizen.
One year on the national economy has shown sure signs of
resurgence with the main obstacle that stifled growth and sapped
the vitals of the nation now totally eliminated. It is time to
build on this foundation on the nation’s new journey to be
Asia’s new wonder.