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Captured terrorist cadres were rehabilitated and released | (File photo)

“How can they have the arrogance to dictate to us where we should go or which countries should be our friends. Gaddafi is my friend. He supported us when we were alone and when those who tried to prevent my visit here today were our enemies. They have no morals. We cannot accept that a state assumes the role of the world’s policeman’’ (Nelson Mandela – on his visit to Libya for the African Council Meeting- 1997)

Earn Wickramaratne has switched to foreign relations and said that SL would now get back to her “traditional friends in the West” and India as well. SL had never ever gone away from India to begin with.  China it was said would no longer play an important role. They may be taking bets on this during the IPL in India. Some SL ministers have a chronic sense of humor.

Minister (political)  Eran Wickramaratne (EW) on 19th or 20th Aug, in response to a Al Jazeera TV interview question on the plight of the Northern Tamils after the 2015 general elections, dismissively and off the well worn cuff said ’It was the Rajapaksa regime that waged war on the Tamils’ or words to that effect.

Rajapaksa regime
This was the first time that the SL public has heard that it was the Rajapaksa ’regime’ alone that  waged ‘war’ on the terrorists. Successive SL governments, starting with the UNP in 1977, had done it ‘their way’. This included giving JRJ’s relative and not the Commander of the Army the task of wiping out the insurgency in 1979, a dream that ended in a nightmare. It included considering extraordinary methods learned from books like‘re settlement’ (re location of Northerners to the South) as in the 1950s Briggs plan in the Malayan Emergency. One President gifted weapons and ammo etc to the terrorists hallucinating about making friends with the terrorists- treacherously.

Then there was the signing of a much reviled and questionable ‘Cease Fire Agreement’ (CFA) with the terrorists. The CFA elevated them to the same status as the Government. A signatory had been led to believe by an alternative policy planning NGO among others, that the terrorists could not be defeated. It may have led to over one third of SL being under the terrorists had it not been revoked by the ‘Rajapaksa regime’. The concessions in the CFA led to the near decimation of the elite under cover   troops of the Special Forces. Those responsible were not charged with treachery. SL were stunned again when in 2002 they also saw their military officers on TV shaking hands and even saluting the terrorists. This was encouraged and desired by the government!

This conflict was not against the Tamils, but the Northern Terrorists.  However it was President Jayewardene (JRJ) from the same party –UNP- who in 1977 during the race riots that declared ‘war’ on the Tamils. It was not MR 20 odd years on.

The Northern insurgent movement had not resorted to terrorism in 1977.  After the last communal riots in SL In 1983 under JRJ’s watch, tens of thousands Tamils seeking retribution if not revenge were driven out of the South, mainly Colombo. They queued up in thousands in Jaffna to join a roaring terrorist movement. Those tens of thousands that fled abroad began to provide the terrorists with money and propaganda. They looked to avenge their kin in their now desperate search for Eelam (separate state) and to escape any more communal frenzy and lesser national status.  Fortunately the majority, not the government, woke up. Their actions had boomeranged horribly on innocent Sinhalese. They never attacked Tamil civilians again.

SL was called a ‘pariah ‘state for decades by these very same ’friendly’ states less India, but no one else. India believed at that time that SL was becoming a US vassal state and undermined SL’s efforts to overcome the ‘terras’ as the troops called them.

It was the Rajapaksa government (regime?) on 19 May 2009 that brought the conflict to an end suddenly to usher in peace total and complete. Captured terrorist cadres numbering 12,000, being about 30% of the terrorist fighting cadres, were rehabilitated and released within a year. It was a giant step towards national reconciliation. Paradoxically SL was accused by its ‘western friends’ of ‘war crimes’ advised by some local ‘policy’ collaborators. It is a supreme irony that the USA DOD now says that the deaths of civilians used as human shields when attacking defences held by terrorists is not a crime. The original accusation was invalid in international law as repeatedly stated by Dr Neville Laduwahetty and confirmed by Sir Desmond de Silva QC.

What then was this Rajapaksa ‘regime’? Unless of course all governments of SL that are democratically elected and have a 2/3rds majority are called ‘regimes’ when or after combating and defeating terrorists.

One can be vague and wooly, dismissive and derogatory when unable to give credible answers or appear completely clueless, but still offer inane responses.

Eran Wickramaratne‘Traditional Friends’
Earn Wickramaratne has switched to foreign relations and said that SL would now get back to her “traditional friends in the West” and India as well. SL had never ever gone away from India to begin with.  China it was said would no longer play an important role. They may be taking bets on this during the IPL in India. Some SL ministers have a chronic sense of humor.

The Westerners were colonizers at first.   SL was under colonial rule for nearly 500 years. The colonial rulers left behind a well established, rich, English speaking, Anglicized elite it could rely on in the future. In the Philippines it was Marcos. They have done so now
When the SL conflict was ending, the West attempted to interfere and rescue the terrorist leaders. If they had succeeded the terrorists could probably have regrouped and made preparations to continue the fight another day. The Malayan ‘Communist Terrorists’ (CTs) did so  under Chin Peng who had escaped during General Templar’s command (1952-4). Thankfully the western ‘friends’ were rightly spurned in SL by the Army, SLN and SLAF that knew, spoke, thought and  acted totally unlike  the Anglicized elite.

Over the past 5 years SL was also pilloried at Geneva by the ‘friends’. Would that those who pray to Western Gods remember when on TV what 3 gifts they brought to the East. They started with ‘social diseases’ that decimated populations from Asia and Africa to Hawaii.

Subsequently ‘friendly’ India ‘invaded’ SL in 1987. The human rights record of the IPKF equaled that of the terrorists. They were hated in Jaffna, They lost 1,200 soldiers at the hands of the very same terrorists it had ironically trained, armed and supported logistically. Their inept performance gave the terrorists worldwide publicity.

SL’s long time Eastern   friends meanwhile were fully supportive through thick and thin, good times and bad and worse. Especially so when SL was taking heavy casualties, both military and civilian, from 1983 to 2009 during, and at Geneva, after the conflict ended. Pakistan, China and Malaysia stood out prominently as friends. SL survived because of its servicemen and women in the defence forces, political leadership and the Eastern friends.
Ministers are welcome to be selective about what they think the war achieved to boost their Government. So can the citizens who however remember, think differently and care for the nation.