People consider miracles as something contrary to the laws of nature and are widely regarded as an act of God. It is not all the time that miracles turn out to be realities.
In similar vein, almost everybody was under an illusion that only a miracle could defeat terrorism in Sri Lanka. Theories hatched in the West also projected such a belief not only among people in Sri Lanka, but also among the international community.
On the other hand, there were innumerable reasons to fall for it hook line and sinker as successive Heads of State in Sri Lanka made an all-out effort to end LTTE terrorism which had plagued the country for over three decades. However, the Tigers were never sincere in their dealings at the negotiating table and moreover, exploited the so-called peace talks to reinforce and strengthen their military capabilities.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as a legislator, witnessed all these peace efforts even during the late President J.R. Jayewardene's tenure. The late President Ranasinghe Premadasa also attempted to do so by pandering to the Tigers' demands but ultimately had to pay the supreme price with his life. Even under the 1994 SLFP-led Government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the LTTE employed the same strategy and she finally lost an eye having narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.
Hence, President Rajapaksa was quite well versed with LTTE tactics even when he was first elected as the Head of State in November 2005. Though he knew for certain that the Tigers had never been sincere in their dealings in the earlier peace negotiations, President Rajapaksa went that extra mile and provided more opportunities for the LTTE to reach a negotiated settlement.
But lo and behold, when the Tigers continued to respond with a series of bomb explosions targeting civilians and going to the extent of closing the Mavil Aru anicut and depriving poor farmers of their basic need for water, the President came to the end of his tether. It was only at this point of time that President Rajapaksa, as the Commander-in-Chief, ordered the Security Forces to embark on a humanitarian operation to provide water to the farmers in Mavil Aru.
This became the turning point of the world's largest human rescue mission and over half a million people were liberated from the clutches of LTTE terror. Most of these hapless civilians had been forcibly held by the LTTE as a human shield. The LTTE used their heavy weapons to attack the Security Forces under the cover of this human shield.
Thanks to the steadfast dedication and supreme sacrifices of the Security Forces and superior military strategies of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the humanitarian operation that began in Mavil Aru turned out to be a massive human rescue mission that eventually liberated the entire country, defeating the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit. People from all walks of life celebrated the third anniversary of that resounding victory with pride and dignity at the Galle Face Green yesterday.
The manner in which Sri Lanka demonstrated to the world that terrorism could be eradicated was an eye-opener and moreover, a shining example to one and all. Only a few friendly countries stood by Sri Lanka and sincerely supported its battle against terrorism. This, indeed, was a tower of strength to President Rajapaksa's indomitable political leadership. Had it not been for his fearless leadership and unmatched political sagacity, Sri Lanka would never have won its battle against terror even if it had the world's best military commander.
President Rajapaksa has made it unequivocally clear that Sri Lanka could solve its internal problems and that the country has demonstrated this in no uncertain terms to the entire world. Regrettably, certain Western countries which barely threw their full weight behind Sri Lanka's battle against terrorism, now surprisingly question about the human rights of LTTE terrorists and pontificate to us the course of action Sri Lanka should adopt to address the grievances of those living in the North and the East.
It is deplorable that certain Western countries seem unable to view this victory in a broader perspective and use Sri Lanka's expertise in its battle against global terrorism. If those who exhort us ad nauseam on the importance of crushing global terrorism are really sincere, they should seize Sri Lanka's offer with open arms to share its battlefield experience. It's the true sons of our soil who really achieved infinitely more than the so-called superpowers by crushing naked terrorism, and that too against the most brutal terrorist organisation in the world. The whole world was held spellbound by that magnificent victory that was finally accomplished at the Nandikadal lagoon exactly three years ago.
The 2006-2009 relentless battle against the LTTE was by no means a 'war' against the Tamils. The heroic troops sacrificed their lives and limb to protect Tamils from the grip of LTTE terror. This is precisely why Sri Lanka's victory in defeating the LTTE becomes a victory for the entire nation, irrespective of one's ethnic background. Tens of thousands of brave soldiers sacrificed their lives to usher in a better today for all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.
The Government has given a more significant meaning to that great victory by ensuring a better future for those who had been rescued from the jaws of LTTE terror. Mega development projects have been already completed in the North and the East and the people in these two provinces have begun a new lease of life. The manner in which the Government resettled over half a million displaced people due to LTTE terrorism was exemplary and no doubt worthy of emulation. It set new world standards in resettling displaced persons.
It is time that the international community took a closer look at the positive developments in Sri Lanka after terrorism was eradicated and the improved lifestyles of the Northerners, who were at one time even uncertain about their next meal.
In the event the international community is sincerely interested in the well-being of the people in the North and the East, they should get first-hand information from those who have been resettled and had embarked on a new journey in life. The West should desist from attempting to exert pressure here in the guise of helping the Tamil community. As President Rajapaksa has repeatedly said, do foreigners have more concern for people in Sri Lanka than its own leaders?