The dastardly crimes of the LTTE continue unabated despite the EU travel ban, which many thought would compel the outfit to act with some restraint. On Tuesday and Wednesday, it gunned down two school principals, Mr. N. Sivakadasam (59) of the Kopay Christian College and Mr. K. Rajadorai (53) of the Jaffna Central College, respectively, for their opposition to continued conscription of child combatants and the use of children in protests.
Those two teachers were no traitors to the Tamil cause in the least. Instead, they were true advocates of their cause as manifest in their love for the Tamil children, who are the future of the community. Apart from bolstering their numerical strength through child recruitment, the LTTE leaders are also trying to block the emergence of an alternative political leadership by denying education to the Tamil children, while eliminating educated Tamil leaders. The children of the LTTE leaders including Prahbkaran are, it should be recalled, receiving a good education, while thousands of other school children are being abducted and turned into combatants.
A similar situation prevailed in the South in the late 1980s, during the JVP terrorism. The southern terrorists went all out to disrupt education and turn schools and universities into recruiting centres for their killer squads. The South became a veritable Cambodia under Pol Pot. Slogans such as Palamuwa Maubima, Devanuwa Igenuma (Motherland First, Education Second) and Palamuwa Maubima, Devanua Upadiya (Motherland First, Degree Second) were written all over the schools and universities. A large number of Sinhala students perished ironically at the hands of the `Sinhala Army,` `the Sinhala police` and the Sinhala vigilantes. Terror paralysed the south, but fortunately there were some, including the traditional leftists, who had the courage to stand up to the JVP. Lives of those democrats were being snuffed out like candles in a strong wind. But they stood their ground and kept southern democracy alive, until the wheel of terror turned a full circle. The JVP was decapitated in the end and the children were liberated from its clutches.
A few months ago, the JVP, having locked horns with President Kumaratunga over her P-TOMS made an attempt to mobilise school children in their protests. The Island turned its editorial guns, as it were, on the JVP. Later, sanity prevailed and those plans were abandoned. However, the universities still remain in the clutches of sinister ultra radical elements bent on wreaking havoc and they too need to be freed.
The children of the North and East are faced with serious problems. They are without medical care, proper nourishment and thousands of them have no way of schooling either due to the destruction of their schools in war or the severe lack of facilities. It is unfortunate that the sections of the CFA, which require restoring educational facilities, have not yet been given full cry. The government is duty bound to remedy this situation without trotting out excuses. Atop all that, come the LTTE`s child abductions, which have prevented many parents from sending their children to school.
Child abductors may wear the masks of liberators and they may be heroes to some, who may claim their macabre cause in extenuation of their heinous crimes. But to us those who harm helpless children, be it in the North, the East or the South, are a bunch of gender-confused criminals, who must be brought to justice forthwith.
Rajadorai and Sivakadasam are heroes of our times. They have done all of us proud as fathers and mothers, by sacrificing their lives for their students. What greater sacrifice could teachers ever make? It is nothing but savagery to aim a gun at their heads filled with love and compassion and pull the trigger. They are also victims of the silence of the civlised world. `All that is necessary for the triumph of evil,` said Edmund Burke, `is that the good men do nothing. He also said, `When bad men combine, the good must associate else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.` How true it is of Sri Lanka!
From the US, the UK, Japan, the EU and all other members of the international community involved in Sri Lanka`s `peace process` we ask: At least now, will you translate your warnings into action and help put an end to this unbridled terror of the LTTE? Stern action such as the warrants that the International Criminal Court recently issued for five leaders of the Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, are called for in dealing with such barbarians, wherever they operate, unleash terror and harm children.