Sunday, 20 April 2014

Never Say No

Wall painting of Dutugemunu- Elara war from Dambulla Temple

Never say No,  is a streak of the character of the Sri Lankans, from the President to the ordinary peasant in a Sri Lanka village.  They never give up hope.  It was seen recently with the Sri Lanka Cricket team winning the T20 world Cup.  Within them was the  flickering spark of hope because of which despite several losses they would Never say No.

When the vote of the Tamils at  the north PC elections, despite all that the government with its Armed Forces did to rescue them from the inhuman lives they lived under terrorism, was likely to be for the remnants of the terrorists the TNA, the President  never wanting to say no to the Tamil people to have their freedom of choice in a democratic election what ever the outcome  would be, called for PC elections in the  North.

The vote was as expected to the anti government TNA, but yet there was the hope that an educated man who had been a judge by profession would as the Chief Minister of the NPC  see the wisdom of  reconciling the Tamils with the rest of the Communities to make one Nation of Sri Lankans.  But yet it was not to be, the Chief Minister Wignesvaran chose the separatist camp of the  Tamil terrorists. The President and the rest of the people were disappointed, still they would never say no, for things could still change tomorrow. The change has to come from the Tamils, and the Muslims, as the ground for reconciliation had been laid by the Government.

There is at last a gleam of hope of the changing mentality of more intelligent Tamils. “Nearly five years after the extraordinary defeat of the LTTE, the Tamils in Sri Lanka and overseas are taking a tough stand against the LTTE. Tired of intimidation, assault and killings, ordinary Tamil civilians are beginning to fight back. One such leader is Rajan Mahavalirajan from Canada who is tired of racist Tamil politicians filled with hate and the LTTE remnants. These respectable men and women want to purge the LTTE from their society and community and get on with their lives”, writes Camelia Nathaniel  in “ LTTE Faces Canadian Challenge”        ( Sunday Leader 20 April, 2014).

247 years before the West invented their religious faith,  Sri Lanka was the land of the Sinhala people ruled by Kind Devanam Piyatissa, from the seat of his Kingdom in  Anuradhapura. The great King Asoka of India sent his son Venerable Arahat  Mahinda Maha Thera to meet his friend the King Devanam Piyatissa and offer him and his people the teachings of the Buddha.  The King Devanam Piyatissa accepted the teachings and in appreciation offered  the Land of Sri Lanka of which he was the sole ruler to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Years passed and the prosperous  and peaceful Sri Lanka attracted the attention of the thieves and marauders from South India, and Anuradhapura that was once the seat of the King Devanam Piyatissa , after many invasions  and wars  was occupied by Sena and Guttika two horse dealers who set up a  kingdom of their own in Anuradhapura. Later a Chola Prince Elara invaded Anuradhapura unseated Sena and Guttika and set up his Kingdom in Anuradhapura , while the South of Sri Lanka continued to be ruled by Sinhala Kings. The hope of the Sinhala to bring the whole  country under their own rule remained alive.

In the South lived a young Sinhala Prince, who hoped one day to  re-establish the Sinhala Kingdom in the whole of the Island and bring lasting peace. King Elara had a strong Army and  the Sinhala Kings feared to take arms against him. In the year 161 before the West invented their faith, this young prince Dutugemunu from the South against all warnings waged a  war and  defeated  King Elara and brought the whole of Sri Lanka under his rule.  The impossible was done  because the Sinhala never said no.

The Sinhala rulers thereafter became weak and internal fighting made the country come under the rule of the  conquerors from the west. Finally the British who colonised the country  introduced Indian labour and in order to keep the Sinhala Majority weak and  dependent recognised Tamils as a  Community extending to them special favours sidelining the Sinhala majority, until after independence of Sri Lanka from the British colonial rule, the small population of Tamils  began demanding equal rights along with the Sinhala majority.

Thereafter, the   governments through  democratic system of elections came to be set up by the Sinhala by reason of their majority.  This became a bone of contention over which the Tamils disputed the right of the governments set up by the majority of the people, who were Sinhala. They even began to question the right of the Sinhala people to be the majority claiming that Tamils had been there even  before the Sinhala, some of them even took to rewriting the history of Sri Lanka.

However circumstances kept on changing until conceived by our close neighbour India now a far cry from what it was under King Asoka, a group of Tamil youth from the north of Sri Lanka was trained in terrorism and released in the North in 1980s making them kill in cold blood 13 Sinhala Policemen, expecting a backlash from the South in order to  have the India trained group of Tamil youth  officially recognised as terrorists.

The back lash as it was expected by the Indian secret service  who trained the terrorist group caused a venomous riot which saw the exodus of large number of Tamils from the north to foreign countries as refugees.  

In the mean time terrorism was continuing with many facetted development.  The Tamils who left  Sri Lanka settled down in different foreign countries as wage earning refugees. At the behest of the terrorists in Sri Lanka  pro-terrorist militant groups amoung these migrant Tamils formed into Terrorist Front Organisations and collected funds to help terrorism in Sri Lanka which had as its aim the setting up of a  separate Tamil State

Terrorism continued for decades and  the small group that was trained  by India and sent to Sri Lanka became a considerable terrorist force.  The Sri Lanka army was no match to the terrorists who had by then procured most modern military equipment. Sri Lanka Army was helpless and no government  since 1983 onwards  was neither able to fight against terrorism, nor come to a peace settlement, as the terrorists were persistent in their demand for a separate  Tamil State- a Tamil Homeland.   

Situation was hopeless, all Western Governments on which the Government of Sri Lanka was dependent did not step into help, but seemed on the other hand  bent on helping the terrorists  to have their way . They demanded that the Governments of Sri Lanka should find a political solution to settle the ongoing terrorism. The governments’ demand for peace negotiations ended up with the representatives of the terrorists walking away from  negotiations.

JR Jayawardhane offered to make Prabhakaran the Chief Administrator of the North and Eastern Provinces. Ranasinghe Premadasa presented Prabhakaran with  power sharing offering him arms and money. In 1994 President Chandrika Kumaratunga offered to Prabhakaran the terrorist leader the entire  Northern Province for ten years without elections. Even after Prabhakaran’s attempt to assassinate Chandrika Kumaratunga in  December 1999, she generously offered  Prabhakaran Regional Councils.  All these offers wer rejected by Prabhakaran.  Then in 2002 Ranil Wickramasinghe  signed a Cease Fire Agreement with Prabhakaran giving the terrorists the control of  some of the areas occupied by them.  But Prabhakaran made use of the CFA to build his terrorist Armed Force, in order to set up a separate Tamil State by force.

The Sinhala people would never say no. There was some where in the deep south of Sri Lanka where King Dutugemunu  who also never said no had once come from to defeat the powerful King Elara, a man  who would never say No, and was determined to defeat terrorism.

He would not offer the North to Prabhakaran, nor give him arms or money, or give him Regional Councils, but would meet him face to face to negotiate a peace settlement.  He was Mahind Rajapakse a man from a remote village in Beliatta in the heart of the South.  He was elected the President of Sri Lanka in 2005. 

Mahinda Rajapakse was a determined man who had vowed to  settle the twenty five years  old terrorism peacefully if possible or militarily if not.  Everyone who knew the strength of the Terrorist Force and the weakness of the Government Armed Forces, thought that Mahinda Rajapakse was no match to the terrorist leader the Mahavir Prabhakaran.   But Mahinda Rajapakse did not take no for an answer- Never say No is the spirit of which he is made.

He made no concessions to Prabhakaran, he knew what he was going to do and knew that he would come out of it the winner.  Victory over terrorism, cannot be put to “chance”.  Mahinda Rajapakse meticulously organised the method to end the  now nearly three decades of terrorism, which many Presidents before him with experienced Army Commanders  had failed to achieve.  

He not only eliminated terrorism but also ordered  his Armed Forces to evacuate 300,000 Tamil civilians into safety.  He got the Armed Forces to organise camps to temporarily accommodate the evacuees. He got these IDPs resettled within three and a half years after elimination of terrorism, after progressive demining of lands in the North. Thus he brought civilisation back to the North and East after three decades of  terrorism.  Not wanting to leave things half done, he allowed democratic PC elections in the North and the East.

TNA says that because they won the PC elections the Tamil people are 100 percent behind them and was boastful of the command they think they hold over the Tamil people.  When the Sri Lanka Air Force wanted to use precise bombing to avoid collateral damage to persons and property, the Air Force had to depend on Tamil people to provide them “information”, and it was with such collected intelligence that the Air Force targeted a residential complex where TamilSelvam was meeting  with the  members of the LTTE, which marked the beginning of the end of terrorism.  The ordinary Tamil people trusted the Sri lanka Armed Forces.

Recently when the Armed Forces were searching for Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan, who was involved in aerial attacks on Anuradhapura Air Base and Kollonnawa Petroleum Storage in year 2007, Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gobi, and Navarathnam Navaneethan alias Appan, it was on the information received from the Tamil people, who may even have voted for the TNA Candidates, that the Armed Forces successfully conducted the search operations in Nedunkerni in Vavuniya and killed the three terrorists.

The ordinary Tamil people who suffered under terrorism will continue to help the Sri Lanka Armed Forces  to which they fearlessly turned to be  evacuated from the deathly terrorists.  Hence the USA and the West should take into consideration that all the ploy about violation of human rights and war crimes at the last phase of military operations by the Armed Forces is  made up by the Tamil Politicians and the Tamils of the diaspora who did not know what it would have been to be under the terrorists for nearly three decades.

It is not possible to blame all Tamil people for the vicious political ambition of a few  who tries to  dominate the Tamil people.  We could still harbour the fervent hope that at least  a section of the Tamil population in the North would soon change its attitude towards the Sinhala, and that the  reconciliation would become  a reality.  The President Mahinda Rajapakse, too has still not given up hope that the  Tamils will eventually reconcile with the Sinhala to make the freedom and peace  which he had won for them after thirty years of suffering meaningful.

It is unfortunate that the Tamils in the North have turned  their backs to the President Mahinda Rajapakse without any show of gratitude for  all that he had done for them to be emancipated into an independent free thinking Community divested of suffering under the terrorists who treated them no better than animals driving them hither and thither to keep them as human shield to save their own skins.  Never say no is a streak of the character of the Sinhala.

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