Victory over terrorism
THE annual Victory Parade … took place with the usual military razzle-dazzle…. Commemorating the military victory over terrorism is amply justified but whether all the military trappings evident at the ceremony were justified with the poor and the middle class reeling under … price hikes … is [questionable]. The expenditure involved in holding military parades … [is] never revealed to the public. But the people — rich and poor — have to foot the bill for these social high jinks….
In Sri Lanka, military victory over terrorism has been achieved but it does appear that a complete victory over terrorism has yet to come. If not, why is the strength of the armed forces being increased over and above the strength … at the height of the terrorist war? The allocations for expenditure in the defence ministry budget had been steadily on the rise even after the end of the ‘war’ and such increases cannot be explained away on the ludicrous additional activities undertaken by the defence ministry…. The Rajapaksa regime should … take time to ponder … why they cannot reduce defence expenditure…. The excuse is that the terrorist threat is still not over particularly in the north and some regions in the east. That is the reason given for the strong military presence particularly in the north. They fear re-emergence of terrorist groups…. At least that is what government officials and politicians say.
The great thinkers of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime could not have simply forgotten the basic premise of winning over terrorism: winning the hearts and minds of terrorists. Since the terrorists cannot exist within a community without its support, it is essential that winning the hearts and minds of the Tamil community in these regions is a sine qua non. Whatever Tamil government supporters … may say, the mood of the Tamils towards the Rajapaksa government, at best, is sullen. They may be glad that the juvenile thugs who ruled them for over a quarter century are no more. But to imagine that they have welcomed the ‘liberators’ with open arms would indeed be asinine…. — (May 22)