President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s address to Parliament yesterday was reassuring. The defeat of the LTTE, he said, was not a defeat of the Tamil people but a great victory for them. He also answered his critics who doubt his government`s commitment to eliminating the political causes of the conflict. He reiterated his desire to find a political solution but stressed that he did not wish to waste time by experimenting with remedies suggested by other countries and that the solution had to be truly autochthonous and acceptable to all communities. He got it right in that all imported solutions have failed in this country. We have to adopt a homegrown solution with the concurrence of the stakeholders concerned.
With the decimation of the LTTE`s military muscle, President Rajapaksa is now in a position to accommodate all stakeholders in a political process unlike in the past, when the agenda of LTTE terrorists became the be-all and end-all of all peace efforts. For the first time since the inception of the armed conflict, space has been created for democratic parties to engage in a political dialogue free from fear of terrorism.
Whether the government will honour its promises or not remains to be seen but what the President has spelt out is the way forward in achieving reconciliation, rebuilding and national integration. It is not harassment that Sri Lanka deserves from the international community at this juncture but fullest cooperation.
Regrettably, some countries and their propaganda cronies do not seem to have taken kindly to Sri Lanka`s historic victory over terrorism. They are still trying to prop up the LTTE. The western media even refused to believe that Prabhakaran was dead, having described him as invincible. They kept on asking for proof of his death and chose to believe what KP the international racketeer`s claim posted on a terrorist web organ that Prabhakaran was alive. It took only a few hours for them to realise that they had been taken for a right royal ride by that fraudster. Prabhakaran`s corpse was recovered and shown on TV! Strangely, those were the very news organisations that lost no time in beaming LTTE`s claims of civilian casualties etc across the globe without asking the LTTE for any proof.
The North and the East under the LTTE were teeming with humanitarian outfits. And the business community was wary of moving in owing to fear of terrorism. But, today, they are free to make a contribution to rebuilding those parts of the country. Captains of industry should heed President Rajapaksa`s call for investment there. He was right in rejecting mere advice and asking for cooperation to develop the war-torn areas. Tamil expatriates who took up cudgels for civilians in the Vanni can now assist in their rehabilitation if they are genuinely desirous of helping those hapless people. They ought to prove that they were not shedding crocodile tears for the Vanni civilians. The same goes for the international community.
It is a matter for happiness that euphoria has not blinded President Rajapaksa to the sheer magnitude of the challenge his government is faced with. `Time is now raising a new challenge before us,` he said in his speech, `it is the challenge of building the motherland.` He has certainly emerged victorious in war and deserves public plaudits for that feat but he finds himself in an unenviable position where the daunting tasks that lie ahead are concerned. He looks confident and it is hoped that he will succeed on those fronts as well.