`Our nation that has been a symbol of courage to the world must now stand on its own feet. We must build a nation that is second to none.`
President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the National Victory Parade on June 03, 2009
Threats to Sri Lanka`s territorial integrity have been neutralised militarily. But, much more needs to be done to protect her sovereignty and independence, as evident from a plethora of indignities and contemptible harassment she is suffering at the hands of some aid donors and other international bullies who are smarting from their failure to save the LTTE leadership.
The biggest obstacle to national development was terrorism and its elimination will certainly translate into some economic dividends. President Rajapaksa rightly pointed out in his address yesterday: `I am aware that due to the defeat of terrorism, a reduction in the budget deficit, economic development and an increase in the level of investment are all targets that are well within reach.` However, this won`t be an automatic process like day following night, and there will have to be an effective government intervention to create conditions conducive to economic recovery.
The President stressed the need to rid the country of drugs, corruption, fraud and faineance. This certainly is the recipe for national progress. (He should also have added elimination of violence and waste to that list.) Now is the time for him to embark on an arduous journey to rebuild the economy, which is the only way to regain the country`s lost self-respect and vitality. Now that he has unleashed phenomenal forces of nationalism by achieving a feat defeating terrorism considered impossible even by the world military super powers, he can harness the massive resurgence of patriotism to motivate and inspire people to contribute to the country`s economic development.
For decades this country pathetically failed to achieve national progress because it mistakenly believed her salvation lay outside her shores. She relied on the so-called international community to remove the scourge of terror as well. The inevitable happened: Terrorism thrived! Finally, when President Rajapaksa reposed his trust in the armed forces and people in his effort to liberate the country, the LTTE relied on the international community to protect it. It perished! The moral is that we must not depend on external help entirely to achieve anything, be it crushing terrorism or developing the economy. We may seek others` assistance but they cannot liberate us.
President Rajapaksa has no time to expend on victory celebrations anymore. Now, he must prepare himself for a different war against some insidious enemies such as waste, corruption, narcotics and most of all, listless indolence, inertia and languorousness which this country is notorious for. And that war is sure to be much more difficult than defeating terrorism in that he will encounter stiff resistance from unexpected quarters including the ranks of his government. However, win that war he must if he is to defend his spectacular victory over terrorism against a host of formidable and sinister forces hell bent on ruining the country`s economy in retaliation for noncompliance.