By Dr. Levins T.C.Rajaratnam
Mar 11, 2010

The war has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country. The Cold War is now a memory.

Sri Lanka may continue to face a threat: of disorder and chaos born either of brutal activities of terror by the terrorists. Who are the Terrorists ? Terrorists are those who impute fear into the lives and minds of civilians by their chaotic acts and this qualifies not only the LTTE but all other armed militant Tamil groups who are carrying arms like the underworld mafia in Sri Lanka. Both hate our way of life, our freedom, our democracy.

The fear of every citizen, deeply held, based in part on the intelligence that each one of sees, is that these threats come together and deliver catastrophe to our country. These tyrannical movements or militants do not care for the sanctity of human life. The terrorists delight in destroying it.

Some say if we act, we become a target. The truth is, we are all targets. Should terrorists obtain these weapons now being manufactured and traded round the world, the carnage they could inflict to our economies, our security, to world peace, would be beyond our most vivid imagination. Now that the war is over do we need militants carrying arms cloaked with democratic political parties and at random attacking the very roots of democracy ?This threat is real, growing and of an entirely different nature to any conventional threat to our security that Sri Lanka has faced before.

So our choice was clear: back down and leave LTTE hugely strengthened; or proceed to destroy them by force. Retreat may have given us a moment of respite but years of repentance at our weakness would have followed. People in the North even persons like me in Colombo continue to be threatened by Tamil militants in the garb of democratic forces. It is true the LTTE was not the only threat. But it is true also that the best way to deal with future threats peacefully, is to deal with present threats with resolve. But these challenges and others that confront us - poverty, the environment, the ravages of disease - require a world of order and stability.

A proper representation is necessary even on the appointment of Members of Parliament on the National List. It is vital that all political parties selected or nominated people who could speak and contribute in Parliament and with words defend and submit articulate arguments. But to our dismay we find that some of them most all Tamil nominees have either blood in their hands or those who play with numbers who can never make a impromptu speech in Parliament to reflect to the world the contentment of the Tamil people and the Nation as a whole. Their records of treachery and unpatriotic deeds have been rewarded by nomination. The courage and determination of Sri Lankan men and women, serving our country, the fate of the nation rests.

One notable incident is where Mr.Palani Thigambaram (UNP nominee for Nuwara Eliya) was summoned by an infamous Tamil couple living in Colombo-07 who have been convincing people from time immemorial that they have been close to successive Leaders stated that the VVIP was angry with him for getting large amount of votes for his rival in Nuwara Eliya at a recent election and wanted millions of rupees to settle the matter. Mr.Thigambaram related this story to me and stated that he fears danger to his life. Couple of days later Mr.Thigambaram called me and stated that this very person's spouse an ex-banker was on the national list. Mr.Thigambaram was shocked and dismayed that the VVIP's name was exploited for monetary gain. One wanders what the future Parliament has in hold if people such as these are nominated as Members of Parliament. Have they contributed anything towards the Party or the Leader ?

Civilized people around the world denounce the evildoers who devised and executed terror attacks. Justice demands that those who helped or harboured the terrorists be punished -- and punished severely. The enormity of their evil demands it. We should use all the resources of Sri Lanka pursue those responsible for this evil, until justice is done. Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka having been a terrorist has become an inalienable right for political recognition, whilst the Western Countries are shocked and dismayed by the callous interlude of mixed convictions.

We mourn with those who have suffered great and disastrous loss. All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and sense-less taking of innocent lives. We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith.

The Bible says: "Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted." we will find healing and recovery; and, in the face of all this evil, we remain strong and united, "one Nation under God."

A jewish liturgy book ''Gates of Repentance'' states in a passage from the Yom Kippur liturgy:
''Now is the time for turning. The leaves are beginning to turn from green to red to orange. The birds are beginning to turn and are heading once more toward the south. The animals are beginning to turn to storing their food for the winter. For leaves, birds and animals, turning comes instinctively. But for us, turning does not come so easily. It takes an act of will for us to make a turn. It means breaking old habits. It means admitting that we have been wrong, and this is never easy. It means losing face. It means starting all over again. And this is always painful. It means saying I am sorry. It means recognizing that we have the ability to change. These things are terribly hard to do. But unless we turn, we will be trapped forever in yesterday's ways. Lord help us to turn, from callousness to sensitivity, from hostility to love, from pettiness to purpose, from envy to contentment, from carelessness to discipline, from fear to faith. Turn us around, O Lord, and bring us back toward you. Revive our lives as at the beginning, and turn us toward each other, Lord, for in isolation there is no life.''

It is said that soon after his enlightenment the Buddha passed a man on the road who was struck by the Buddha's extraordinary radiance and peaceful presence. The man stopped and asked, "My friend, what are you? Are you a celestial being or a god?" "No," said the Buddha. "Well, then, are you some kind of magician or wizard? "Again the Buddha answered, "No."

"Are you a man?"
"Well, my friend, then what are you?"
The Buddha replied,
"I am awake."
Politicians must be awake!

The Buddhist Teachings further states:
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with an impure mind, and trouble will follow you, as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart. We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with a pure mind, and Happiness will follow you, as your shadow, unshakable.How can a troubled mind understand the way? Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much, not even your father or your mother."
It further states-

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.

We must be able to love our neighbour - all our neighbours - as our selves, to be an instrument of God's peace; to let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our heart and, in the end, the work of our hands, be pleasing.

Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. `

As Sri Lankans we must produce the Sri Lankan reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change. We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom. That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology.

We trust that the international community will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy. But we cannot act regardless. We must observe human dignity and a code of etiquette required of us as a Nation.

We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass democratic, religious, women, youth, business, traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all.

We must have a strong defense budget which reflects the judgment of the best understanding of the experts and specialists about what we and our allies must do to protect our people in the years ahead. That budget is much more than a long list of numbers, for behind all the numbers lies Sri Lanka's ability to prevent the greatest of human tragedies and preserve our free way of life in a sometimes dangerous world. It is part of a careful, long-term plan to make Sri Lanka strong again after too many years of neglect and mistakes.

Our efforts to rebuild Sri Lanka's defences and strengthening must go on. When we requested a major increase in the defence program.

We start by considering what must be done to maintain peace and review all the possible threats against our security. Then a strategy for strengthening peace and defending against those threats must be agreed upon. And, finally, our defence establishment must be evaluated to see what is necessary to protect against any or all of the potential threats. The cost of achieving these ends is totalled up, and the result is the budget for national defence.

There is no logical way that you can say, let's spend x rupees less. You can only say, which part of our defence measures do we believe we can do without and still have security against all contingencies? Anyone in the Parliament who advocates a percentage or a specific rupee cut in defence spending should be made to say what part of our defences he would eliminate, and he should be candid enough to acknowledge that his cuts mean cutting our commitments to allies or inviting greater risk or both.

The defence policy of Sri Lanka like most other democratic countries is based on a simple premise: We will never be an aggressor. We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression - to preserve freedom and peace.

We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression. This strategy of deterrence has not changed. It still works. But what it takes to maintain deterrence has changed.

There was a real question then about how well we could meet a crisis. And it was obvious that we had to begin a major modernization program to ensure we could deter aggression and preserve the peace in the years ahead.

We had to move immediately to improve the basic readiness and staying power of our conventional forces, so they could meet - and therefore help deter-a crisis. We had to make up for lost years of investment by moving forward with a long- term plan to prepare our forces to counter the military capabilities our adversaries were developing for the future.

Are we not capable of demonstrating our peaceful intentions by applying all our abilities and our ingenuity to achieving a truly lasting stability? I think we are. Indeed, we must.

Sri Lankans must strive hard to go ahead. There will be failures and setbacks, just as there will be successes and breakthroughs. And as we proceed, we must remain constant in preserving the dignity of a nation. Whether it will be done or not only time will tell.