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Saturday, 30 April 2011

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Protect our hard won peace and unity

Tomorrow's May Day would be a very special one for Sri Lanka. This is on account of the fact that it will be dawning at a time when Sri Lanka is compelled to fight against a range of hostile external forces which are intent on robbing it of its independence and self-respect. The people of this country would need to focus on this challenge as they celebrate the workers of the world today.

May be for the first time since the attainment of political independence the urgency and importance of being committed to upholding the dignity and independence of Sri Lanka impresses itself on us with redoubled force. In other words, it is absolutely imperative that the people of Sri Lanka, regardless of ethnic, religious, language and other differences, rally round the national flag and swear to uphold the freedom and self respect of their motherland on this day, while recalling to mind the tremendous exertions our working population has been making towards advancing the common weal.

However, it needs to be pointed out that there is a qualitative enhancement in the freedom and independence which we are relishing today. The reason for this is the huge relief the country experiences currently, on account of the crushing of terrorism in May 2009. It was, of course, a long running conflict and the people of this country suffered as one man tremendously and traumatically as a result of the demonic terror relentlessly unleashed by the LTTE, which was obsessively intent on dismembering this country. There is no doubt that the people of this country would have continued to suffer if not for the bold leadership evinced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who, with the solid cooperation extended to him by the security forces and the Police, took the fight back bravely to the LTTE and ensured that they are no more.

Needless to say, this is one of the most momentous victories the country has achieved in its post-independence political history. It is a victory which Sri Lanka is cherishing today regardless of ethnic, religious and other differences and this moment could be described as a most memorable and unique one in the history of this country. Today, finally, the country is free of the wasting monstrous cancer which was terrorism, and the relief which the country is collectively experiencing, makes this victory priceless.

It follows that this peace which is finally ours must be preserved and protected. Never again should we permit the seeds of conflict to get embedded and germinate in our midst. We need to forge ahead into the future as a single, united people and nation and this needs to be the collective prayer of the people of Sri Lanka.

United we survive and thrive, disunited and fragmented we fall.

This lesson and home truth all Sri Lankans need to bear in mind as they step into the future. If there is one thing that needs to be embedded in the collective consciousness of the country, it is the truth that we would only be inviting national ruin once again by sowing differences among ourselves. Such ruin is further compounded when these differences and divisions are opportunistically exploited by those who have a vested interest in a disunited Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, Sri Lanka allowed this process to take hold within herself over the best part of her post-independence years. As a result, division and discord were her lot. Opportunistic politics, for instance, ensured that sections within our major communities were daggers drawn. This stand-off resulted in the 30-year conflict which almost brought Sri Lanka to her knees.

The momentous victory over terror, however, has opened new vistas for the country and the opportunity offers itself for the Lankan people to pick up the pieces and march towards a brave new future.

Social harmony and peace, however, do not offer themselves to a country on a platter, as it were. These are products of hard labour and need to be won with some exertions. For instance, our polity needs to be rebuilt on the basis of equity, inter-ethnic amity, tolerance, justice and good will and this challenge must be met successfully if we are to make good use of the victory over terror.

Eternal vigilance is the price we have to pay to earn for ourselves a future replete with happiness and stability. Those sections which thrive on ethnic tensions and discord, for instance, should never be given an opportunity to raise their ugly heads once again. Besides, outlawing communalism and other destructive political forces, Sri Lanka should ensure that equality and justice thrive forever in our midst. Indeed, the whole of Sri Lanka needs to have a permanent vested interest in ethnic peace and harmony.

The UN network of informers

The internal ‘Crisis Operations Group’ seems to have been on a par with what was termed the Coffee Club, a group of international NGOs that were led by shadowy figures who were very hostile to the Sri Lankan government, and who actively promoted a petition to the Secretary General sent in September 2008 that was deeply critical of the Sri Lankan government,

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K B Ratnayake:

Great sportsman and veteran politician

Versatile sportsman, honest politician, one of the leading lights of North Central Province the highly respected former Minister of Sports and Speaker of Parliament K. B. Ratnayake passed away seven years ago on April 30 2004, at the age of 80 years.

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Sri Lanka’s Independence and the Bracegirdle incident

The Bracegirdle issue had set the ball rolling in the process that was to culminate in the complete independence of Sri Lanka. In 1943, the Ceylon National Congress called for complete independence and in 1945 the State Council passed the Free Lanka Bill,

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May Day rebuff to Darusman cacophony

On May 21, 2009, just days after the final rout of the LTTE, the Wall Street Journal in an editorial comment observed that ‘The war on terror scored a big victory this weekend with the Sri Lankan Army’s battlefield defeat of the terrorist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

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