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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

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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 this day.

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 independence.

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.


 

Balancing nature and development

When considering development, it is also necessary that we have to provide facilities for development projects. But while giving priority to development projects, we have to think about the environmental aspect as well. We, as the Ministry, have to do a balancing act. While preserving the environment, we have to provide facilities for sustainable development.

Full Story

The Morning Inspection:

We are a smiling nation, thankfully

‘Words don’t come easy to me’ is the title of an FR David song. It’s old and not exactly remembered or hummed often. It is just that I was thinking of how easy it is to smile and how smiles come so easily to some and not to others. The connection? Well, I was thinking that there could be a song that began like this: ‘Words don’t come easy to me, but smiles always do!’ Yes, tacky, I agree. I am thinking of smiles, pardon me, and words are not coming easy this morning.

Full Story

Back to BASICS:

Can we go on defying nature and her ways?

This week Iceland volcanic ash is again unleashed over air-space in Europe. With it blowing off to the Sub- Saharan African continent during the past few weeks; the global media’s attention on the issue was lukewarm at best. Since the disruptions at UK’s airports this weekend, nature’s release of its wrath is once again gaining the world’s attention.

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