A legend of our times - Opinion
(By: Dr. Telli C. Rajaratnam )
footsteps of inspirational leaders
Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a 'born leader' as he has exercised effective
leadership as Secretary of Defence and Urban Development. 'Some achieve
greatness' denotes, above all, those whose greatness is self-made. But
all of the really great leaders must be regarded as achievers, whatever
their advantages of birth and training.
Alexander the Great was born to kingship and inherited
a strong army. With Aristotle as his tutor, he was perhaps the most
privileged person, educationally, that there has ever been.
Nevertheless, what he achieved in his short life was beyond anything
that could remotely have been expected of him. Much the same is true of
fearless speech and absolute honesty are the tenets of Mr. Gotabaya's
success. He cannot pretend. He is forthright with raw honesty and speaks
his mind and heart. This has been advantageous as well as
disadvantageous to him. Of all the qualities required for leadership,
only one is indispensable - courage. Without it, all the others are more
or less useless. Courage has been shown by all who we recognize as true
leaders, from Alexander to Thatcher.
A leader must have the ability to take hard decisions
and calculated risks. Leaders have to give courage to others, while
creating the illusion that they know exactly what they are doing.
Mr. Gotabaya was born great, achieved greatness and
has greatness thrust upon him by his absolutely honesty has not a
popular notion. As all human beings, we have short memories. More so,
for patriotism. People tend to forget the most important factors which
have historical value. The most memorable historical factor was winning
The joint effort of the Armed Forces under the able
directives of the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the
leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was able to rescue the nation
from the evils of terrorism.
the failed assassination suicide bomb attack on 01st
He has commanded many anti-terrorist operations in the
North and East in different capacities. Among them was his Command of
the 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment in the important Vadamarachchi
Operation in 1987 and Operation Thrividabalaya in 1990 respectively, to
rescue Jaffna peninsula and the Jaffna Fort from terrorist control.
He completed his basic officer cadet training at
prestigious Military Academy at Diyatalawa and proceeded to Pakistan to
complete the Young Officers' Course at Rawalpindi and later a mid-career
course at Quetta. He had advanced training in Counter Insurgency and
Jungle Warfare at Assam, India. Later in his career, he graduated in
Advanced Infantry Training from Infantry School Fort Benning, USA.
As a staff officer, he completed his Staff Course at
the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, India in 1983.
He obtained his Masters degree in Defence Studies from
the University of Madras in 1983.
He has also obtained a Postgraduate degree in
Information Technology from the University of Colombo in 1992.
He is a revered figure in Sri Lanka for leading the
military operation which drove out the opponents from the entire Eastern
Province of the country.
He was the ground norm for the victory of the 2009 war
against the LTTE. In recognition to the services rendered to the nation,
the University of Colombo conferred a Doctorate to him.
Victory at war :
escape- 01st December, 2006
Our Air Force Pilots have returned to base. The air
strikes have halted. The Naval boats have slowed their speed. The Army
has slowed its pace. Aggression against innocent people by the LTTE and
the terrorists have been halted.
When the President ordered our armed forces into
combat as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, he had three clear
goals: to enable the Tamil people, the victims of some of the most
vicious atrocities in the North due to terrorists and militant groups,
to return to their homes with safety; to destroy the LTTE; and to deploy
our Armed Forces to protect all the people of the North. Those goals
Unnecessary conflict has been brought to a just and
honourable conclusion. He survived an assassination attempt in December
2006. We have sent a message of determination and hope to the entire
The doctrine of Gotabaya Rajapaksa is discipline,
honesty, effective strategies, straight talk, courage, wisdom and above
all love for the country before self.
Think of all the millions of innocent people who died
in this bloody century because democracies reacted too late to evil and
aggression. Because, the duty of the Defence Secretary was well
performed, the past is gone not with helpless indignation, but with a
hopeful affirmation of human dignity and human rights for the 2010. In a
world too divided by fear among people of different racial, ethnic and
religious groups, he has given confidence to the friends of freedom and
pause to those who would exploit human difference for inhuman purposes.
History tells us that solidarity means strength,
progress and success. Peace, co-operation, development and progress are
what the entire international community is hoping and striving for. The
developing nations must continue to work closely together in the spirit
of solidarity and co-operation and raise their voice and strengthen
their position in international affairs if they are to secure their
Over 30 years or more, we have not been able to solve
this problem. We required a balance between the need to achieve a
military victory and the needs of humanity. In this sense, necessity has
been viewed as a limitation to unbridled barbarity.
The application of the doctrine of military necessity
makes use of the principle of proportionality as a mechanism for
determining the positioning of a fulcrum between these competing poles.
Using proportionality thus gives effect to the recognition that the
choice of methods and means of conducting war or armed conflict are not
The means and methods of conducting war operate to
achieve a particular military objective, which consequently assists in
achieving a larger political objective.
While necessity might determine the legitimacy of the
armed attack, proportionality determines the amount of force that might
be used. In a sense, necessity operates at a macro level, while
international humanitarian law operates at a micro level, though both
might lie on the same continuum given the difficulties in the
This difficulty is most apparent when the principles
of necessity and proportionality have been incorporated into
conventional international law, particularly international humanitarian
The development of these conventions and the
application of these principles require some consideration if one is to
arrive at an understanding of their application in a modern armed
conflict. Military necessity has been described as "a basic principle of
the law of war, so basic, indeed, that without it there could be no law
of war at all."
The acceptance that, while the object of warfare is to
achieve the submission of the enemy, which may require the disabling of
as many enemy combatants as possible, this should only be achieved in a
manner that does not cause any unnecessary suffering or damage.
The UDA :
The Urban Development Authority now comes under the
purview of the Defence Ministry. 'The Development Plan for the City of
Colombo,' the theme of the Sujatha Jayewardena Memorial Speech by Mr.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Sri Lankan Foundation Institute, was presented
in a coherent and scholarly manner and was well-received and ably
strengthened public aspiration for the transformation. Desire to move
toward a sustainable eco-city to optimize quality of life for its
community gained significant momentum soon after the end of the war
against terrorism and dividends of peace in Sri Lanka.
By encouraging the innovation of green architecture
and technology, he lucidly clarified the way in which a coherent
framework for applying sustainable design to all sector of society in
developing Colombo city would enhance the quality of life of the
community, in consequence by making the city vibrant and modern.
The rate of unprecedented population growth over years
increased the urban population while thinning the rural population.
Planning, developing and managing our urban
environments more wisely will benefit health and improve environmental
outcomes: Public health intervention to reduce dependence on motor
vehicles thus improves air quality, locating jobs, services, schools and
shops close to where people live, promoting active modes of transport
(walking and cycling) and providing mass transit options. Good for the
environment because it reduces carbon dioxide emissions and good for
business because it reduces the cost of traffic congestion. Mass transit
is particularly good for young people, the elderly and the disabled, who
may not have access to a motor vehicle.
Inspecting house construction sites for low income
families in Colombo
Beautification of Colombo :
Diyawanna walkway and leisure area
The profile of our population and their needs and
aspirations will also be very different in the future. How can Colombo
continue to be a special place for its community, a home that offers
hope and opportunities, a home that offers a high standard of living and
above all, a city that is socially inclusive, where no one is left out?
Concluding his deliberation, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa appealed for
national consensus to make that vision a reality. This is the moment
when we must come together. Let's commit to share our knowledge in order
to build the 'Grand City'. The scale of our challenge is great. With
courage, with heart and hand and let us all combine to take Sri Lanka
(The writer can be reached through the following