I was not born when Sri Lanka got independence from Great Britain in 1948, but I can now begin to imagine how people felt that day.
Today is again our independence day, version 2.0.
Its been just over 60 years since we got independence from Britain. The war with LTTE and other militant extremist groups has been going on for nearly 30 years. Today marks the end of that phase of our history - LTTE is now a done deal. Good bye. Sayanora. Ta ta.
(Well, actually, there's one senior member of the LTTE leadership who's still around. That's "KP" .. the Interpol-wanted chief weapons procurement guy for LTTE. He's now tagged their chief "international negotiator" and was in fact the guy who responded to Pres. Obama's offer to help them out. Too little too late KP. However, we probably need to execute a Mossad-style operation on KP wherever he is to make sure that he doesn't succeed in regrouping the spent force of pussy cats.)
The atmosphere in Colombo and Sri Lanka today is incredible. There are national flags everywhere and there's a genuine feeling of relief and rejoice. There are spontaneous street parties and "dan salas" happening and of course the omnipresent sound of fire crackers. Its gonna be a LOT louder tomorrow morning!
Our President His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse is due to address the nation tomorrow (May 19th) at 09:30 from parliament. He's expected to announce that we have won the war and that LTTE is now finished. What he and his government has pulled off, in the face of STIFF resistence from so many of our "anti-terrorist" / western "friends" has been nothing short of incredible. Hats off to you Sir!
What our military has achieved is nothing short of incredible too. Again despite stiff, organized resitance in many quarters of the world, our military strategists (lead by the tri-forces commanders and Defence Secretary Lt. Col. Gotabaya Rajapakse (Rtd.)) and every one of those young men and women who sacrificed life and limb, have done what the "great" armies of the world have failed at doing. We've done what even the mighty Indian military could not do.
We have defeated terrorism in Sri Lanka. LTTE, which held nearly 1/3rd of the country under its control just 3 years ago, is now kaput.
Now comes the more difficult challenge - of winning the peace. We must of course start by taking total care of all of our fellow country men, women and children who will spend tonite (and many more nites) at a relief camp. They need our help to recover their severly battered lives and to establish some semblence of trust between our people so that the curse of the LTTE will never live again. Yes we do need financial and other material assistance to run these camps and to re-settle these people, but all you foreign "aid organizations" please stay the hell out. We don't need your agendas nor your fake "expertise." We took care of a million-plus people in the days after the 2004 tsunami and we can easily take damned good care of the 250,000+ people stuck in camps today. We're not a rich country - if you want to help we welcome it. However, don't offer it with conditions; keep it instead.
Taking care of people in IDP camps is just the small beginning. We have ways to go to solve the underlying problems and create a trusting sociaty.
President Rajapakse is the first leader we've had who speaks in all 3 languages. I hope tomorrow he will talk about the need to fix our differences and go on. The world is a small, highly competitive place. There is no time nor space for internal squabbling any more! We need to unite and act as one nation in order to compete most effectively and win.
Congratulations, Sri Lanka and all her people. Today we stand proud as a victorious nation. Victorious internally against a violent virus and externally against a nasty bacteria. Onward ho!