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Last modified on: 12/30/2010 11:41:28 PM An epitaph for terror

An epitaph for terror

(By: Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha)

When the news finally broke of the death of Prabhakaran, predictably enough there was rejoicing in the country. In Colombo this took the form of crowds bearing flags and processing through the streets. Though there was some inconvenience to vehicles, as far as my own experience went this was minimal, and the crowd seemed reasonably disciplined and even polite.

This was a far cry from the vulgar triumphalism one had feared, and which marks even simple sporting achievements, even in Sri Lanka, and certainly so in other lands where alcohol fuels happiness. In our case, though there was inevitably happiness at the end of the terror that had stalked us for so long, there was also sobriety, because we had suffered for so long, and we know that the end of one problem can often lead to another.

Happiness needs then to be dignified, accompanied by awareness of the need to plan for the future. We have to remember that it was Tamils who suffered more than other Sri Lankans at the hands of this false prophet. Though many Sri Lankans of all backgrounds have died, and not least members of the forces, who sacrificed so much in the last few weeks so that civilians could be saved, we must remember that it was Tamil children who were the most prominent victims of the terror, forced to die as well as to inflict death.

We have to follow the example of a President who stood steadfast against terror whilst never swerving from his goal of a political solution to political problems. We have to respect the armed forces who resisted provocation to the end, and succeeded in rescuing a quarter of a million who had been taken hostage while the rest of the world ignored this manoeuvre. And we should salute too those Tamil politicians who resisted the temptation to cross over to terrorism, frightened though they must have been of the fate that befell so many of their number who dared to resist. The end of the LTTE terrorists as we knew them is a triumph for the whole nation, and we must work on behalf of the whole nation to ensure that such terror never recurs.

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