STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: NOBEL
PEACE PRIZE FOR LANKAN ARMY
Out of 435 Grama Niladhari divisions in
the Northern Province, a mere 17 are occupied today by the Armed
Forces for security purposes. Yet, it’s about this proportion of
lands that have not been re-vested in their owners, that the TNA
and the non-governmental organization lobbyists are making a
song and a dance, which they hope will be visible all the way to
It’s a small miracle in fact that it is such a minor
proportion of the originally occupied lands that continue to be
in the possession of the military, after a vicious war that
certainly wasn’t a walk in the park. The quoted statistics which
incidentally were given to us by Mr. S.B. Divaratne, Secretary
Presidential Task Force for Resettlement, give the lie to the
big lie that the military in Jaffna and the rest of the North is
an ‘occupational force.’
It is strongly suspected therefore, that it is the continued
good work done in the rehabilitation and resettlement sector and
the highly disciplined and conscientious nature of the Sri
Lankan army, that is the thorn in the flesh of the ever teary
eyed NGO crowd, and their choir boys in political outfits such
as the TNA.
If the army was in fact undisciplined and intrusive, there
would have been real issues that the dissenting pack would have
been able to pick on. But when the Sri Lankan fighting forces
have a close to a sterling record -- under the circumstances of
a no quarter given or granted war that is – it has become the
sad lot of some of the raucous propagandists to in fact invent
stories about the Forces.
But the imaginations of fiction writers often run riot --
particularly the new and uninitiated variety, that are
propagandists primarily, before they are novelists.
So, that is the backcloth to all of these horror movie plots
about the Sri Lankan army going on a rape spree, (Human Rights
Watch) and the other charges about the army maintaining a
thought-police, and all of this type of amateur fiction.
It is also in this backdrop that there are startling
suggestions about the Burmese military junta being somehow more
of a ‘reformist’ bent, compared to the Sri Lankan army which is
portrayed as being ghoulish, disruptive and undisciplined.
This is another case of the angel being asked to learn
scripture from the devil’s copybook. In Myanmar, we have an
incorrigible junta that after going rogue for decades and laying
the country fallow due to tone-deaf military methods, having to
turn the page and wear the garb of democrats in order to avoid
sanctions, and survive.
Our intellectual cretins however, have held up the Myanmar
junta as a model for the disciplined Sri Lankan army to follow,
when we have a military force here that has kept scrupulously
out of civilian politics since the grant of independence!
The odious comparison between Myanmar ‘reform’ and Sri Lanka
is symptomatic of how false narratives are floated, and the
oppressive and despicable is made to look good before the
admirable and conscientious.
The success story of the Sri Lankan army is not confined to
issues of good discipline and victorious ways. The fact is that
having literally rescued thousands of Tamil civilians from a
terrorist who was keeping them hostage, the army, as Major
General Hathurusinghe stated in an interview in these pages
yesterday, has gone on to do unprecedented reconstruction work
in the North, and this has mostly been for the benefit of the
civilian population that suffered under Prabhakaran’s jackboot
War crimes? The Sri Lankan army deserves a Nobel Peace Prize
nomination for peacetime successes and for winning hearts and
minds. Is this hyperbole? It wouldn’t sound so in the least, if
the reader visits the north, and gets a first hand account of
civilian life there from men and women who are beginning to
rebuild their lives. They sound much more authentic too, in
comparison to our regular lounge lizard lobbyists.