Some of the southern youth caught up in the so-called nutcracker of terror and counter terror in the late 1980s found an innovative way of escaping death. They took to drinking! For, JVP cadres were teetotalers and the military and the vigilantes did not take drunkards seriously. The JVP, too, saw no threat in someone in an inebriated state, in spite of its aversion to firewater. Thus, the unfortunate youth managed to avoid bullets through their heads at the expense of their innocent livers! Some of them weaned themselves from dipsomania later in life after the conflict, while others ended up being inveterate tipplers.
In the North and the East, the youth employed similar methods to avoid forcible conscription by the LTTE. Some of them entered nuptial knot very early in life and produced children to avoid recruitment. Towards the latter stages of war, however, the LTTE resorted to indiscriminate recruitment to overcome a severe manpower shortage. It did not even spare the aged and mothers with babies, as was seen from many feeding bottles and toys recovered from some abandoned LTTE bunkers in the Vanni.
Now, we hear that a 19-year-old Tamil girl chose to bear seven children in a bid to keep LTTE recruiters at bay! President Mahinda Rajapaksa revealed her plight in an interview with The Hindu the other day. According to anecdotal evidence, there were many other girls who opted for pregnancy as an antidote to forcible conscription by the LTTE.
While that poor girl was in labour prematurely and unnecessarily, the progeny of Prabhakaran, other LTTE leaders and the overseas Tigers who funded terrorism from a safe distance had a luxury lifestyle. A spread of pictures from Prabhakaran`s personal album this paper flashed a few days before his death in a mangrove swamp shed light on their comfortable living.
Pictured were Prabhakaran`s offspring with expensive toys which even children of the super rich in this country would envy. In one of the photographs, a child combatant was holding Prabhakaran`s daughter in childhood! If Prabhakaran had loved others` children too like his own, the war would have had a different ending. It was by sacrificing children of the captive parents that he waged war. Unfortunately, his children, too, perished in a brutal conflict he plunged the country into.
We are not short of human rights activists and foreign journalists weeping buckets for civilians killed in war and calling for war crime probes. Where were they when the Tigers were holding sway in the North and the East and committing numerous crimes against civilians including child abductions? Not even the UN could protect its workers and their dependents against LTTE abductors. But, today, UN bigwigs are all out to avenge the dead criminals responsible for harming UN workers!
The decapitation of the LTTE has put an end to `tactical` pregnancies and child recruitment much to the relief of parents and children alike in the North. Children no longer have to bear children to dodge recruitment into a terrorist army or carry weapons exposing themselves to danger on the battlefront. They can now learn and play happily like children of the shameless diasporic Tigers staging protests in the West. When demining operations are over, children in welfare centres will be able to return home and lead a normal life. If it is not true liberation, what is it?
Leaders of foreign governments hell bent on conferring pariah status on this country for the crime of having successfully neutralised the `most ruthless` terrorist outfit in the world and proved that terrorism can be defeated militarily ought to ask themselves what they would have done if their children had been made to undergo the same suffering as the aforesaid unfortunate teenager at the hands of a bunch of terrorists. Had some terrorist group operated on their soil abducting their children or causing them to get pregnant to avoid recruitment would they have allowed foreign governments to rise in its defence?
President Barack Obama, a proud father of two lovely daughters, must think of the poor girl who had to produce seven children to save her life in northern Sri Lanka, when backers of her perpetrators throng the streets near the White House masquerading as human rights activists and condemning the Sri Lankan government and military which accomplished the biggest ever hostage rescue mission in history.
The blame for that teenage mother`s suffering as well of that of many other hapless children like her must be apportioned to expat terror backers who sponsored child snatchers in Sri Lanka and are trying to revive terrorism.
It is time Obama, Browne and others of their ilk, whose diplomatic hounds have been let loose on Sri Lanka, shed their prejudices against her and acted like caring fathers.
Then only will they be able to see the tremendous benefits that have accrued to children from Sri Lanka`s successful war on terror.