Is Sri Lanka a safe country in which to live, visit and invest?
A quest for the answer to what, after all, appears to be a simple query, renders clear the whole gamut of the prevailing situation. If we want to discover the correct answers to what is in fact a complex question, we have to go back to the deadly scenario enacted before 18 May 2009.
Sri Lanka, previously described as the “Pearl of the Orient”, was turned into the “Killing Fields of the Indian Sub-continent” by a bloodthirsty “pathological” serial killer. This murderous character's first victims were his own kith and kin Starting his killing spree with Alfred Duraiappa, he went on to slay A.Amirthalingam, M.Alalasunderam, Nadarajah Atputharajah, M.Canagaratnam, V.Dharmalingam. T.Maheshwaran, Joseph Pararajasingham, Neelan Thiruchelvam, all Tamils. Not even the son of the Indian Premier, Indira Gandhi,who helped build up of this homicidal movement, was spared.
Some interested parties have described these wanton killings as necessary to build the morale of the Tamils, who, according to their lexicon, were the victims of a "Sinhalese State". Hence the conflict between these terrorists and the legal armed forces of Sri Lanka was described as a civil war or an ethnic conflict.
However, this would be simply to whitewash the deranged and bloodthirsty activities of a megalomaniac sadist, who camouflaged his hunger for blood with an appeal to "Tamil Nationalism" and the idea of a separate state for the Tamils. It was purely a bloody exercise by which an entire generation of (often forcibly-conscripted) young people was set on an insane course of mindless violence and brutality.
War is never a pleasant thing. The good and the bad die amid equal gore. The innocent civilian is often a target, unintentional or otherwise. To set a course for bloody conflict is to launch a cycle of violence which it is difficult to stop except by the ruthless exercise of military power. This is what it took to defeat the brainwashed and demented henchmen of the "Living God" of this lunatic cult of violence.
After a massive death toll on both sides, the bad dream ended with the liberation of the North and the East from the clutches of terrorists by the legally constituted national armed forces. With it the nation awoke again. The world too observed how a tiny spark gradually developed into a bright and glowing light. It was a new dawn and again hopes of a bright future arose in the minds of every human being including those living in the North and the East.
The government rehabilitated and released 12,000 LTTE cadres who surrendered, and they were expected to return to the mainstream of politics. However, 4000 LTTE combatants who had escaped and hidden in safe houses and overseas are still at large. For them as well as other overseas interested parties - including the ideological hegemons of the Tamil diaspora, the conflict was never over.
The chance detection of caches of explosives, suicide jackets, landmines, ammunition etc are proof of their mindset, and can be taken as ominous signals of a calamity similar to what we experienced for three long decades.
The most alarming of these signals, complicated by various political demonstrations doused in separatist hues, is the death threat to TNA MP M. A, Sumanthiran. With it we have to ask whether history will repeat itself? Will Sumanthiran end up like Duraiappa, Amirthalingam or Dharmalingam?
Is the threat against the pawns of the Diaspora an ominous sign of a deadly resurrection?
Are they waiting for another bloodthirsty desperado to rise, or has he already arrived and begun planning for the future?
All these questions have to be answered by the powers that be, who knowingly or purposely creating conditions conducive to a comeback of a terrorist leader disguising himself as a supporter of Tamil Nationalism.
It is said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed. This saying was proved by the second JVP uprising in the 1980s.
Another vital aspect, with which we have to be concerned, is the bewildering state of our economy at present. The powers that be constantly stress that we must depend completely on tourists and foreign investors for our survival. If the world at large receives the dangerous signals mentioned earlier, will any of them ever think of Sri Lanka as a conducive place to visit and invest in?
And, mind you, if conditions deteriorate further and the country is forced to a repetition of the grim past, none of the foreign allies, who helped the present rulers in every way possible, will rush to Sri Lanka’s rescue.
The members of the ruling set up, who exploited the Tamil vote by giving false promises, should take serious note of these glaring security lapses and take correct steps now to ensure the safety of all the citizens of our motherland.
By Vijaya Ariyarathne