Et Tu Brute? Tinderbox, Tick tock tick tock….:
Posted on November 26th, 2009

Muthu Padmakumara

*The nation owes a debt of gratitude to a man who did what had to be done, what nobody else would do. And everyone has paid dearly for today.

*Should this mean Sri Lanka is transiting from one war to another or from war to peace?

In the aftermath of the war, patriotism is dying a slow and painful death. The country is being divided again. Bad blood is being stirred by real conflict-mongers. Was this an inevitable result of the war- could it have been avoided- can the situation still be salvaged?

The nation owes a debt of gratitude to a man who did what had to be done, what nobody else would do. And everyone has paid dearly for today.

After watching years of failure to end a terrible and bloody attempt at secession, Mahinda Rajapaksa sacrificed himself, in more ways than one, and sinned for a vision of something bigger than himself, not for himself, not only his conscience, but for all his countrymen. He didn’t seek the power to do so. For three decades he had been in public service, doing his duty to the nation. But when the country looked ripe for a repetition of a vicious cycle of lull and war, he sought a mandate from the people.

It fell to him to take the reins and he did not balk at the possibility of an end he knew that may come.

And former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka did get his due place. To fight a battle directed by his Commander in Chief. Now the media is painting a picture of an Army General who wins a war and then seeks not the hand in marriage of the king’s daughter but the rule of the kingdom and the crown. Under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s guidance, others were able to deliver their appointed tasks. Attempting to seize power at this point is tantamount to biting the hand that feeds you. So, would the nation’s heroes keep their dignity and pass on the torch gracefully to those who will come after them and take their bow?

A military head, a military state, by definition is flawed with respect to political leadership as history has shown time and time again. And we don’t have to dig too far for a textbook sample either.

You may object with the case of America in the early-mid 20th century, US military leader George Marshall, Director of Army Operations during World War II and the initiator of the post-war European recovery program, the Marshall Plan. Though he was an Army Commander who battled in full, he also received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Note, he did not become a President of the United States. However, General Eisenhower did become the 34th President of the US at the end of the World War II where he was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces that brought about the end of the war. Then we must ask, how many Eisenhowers has the world brought forth? There are one too many Juntas and Musharrafs today.

The world has learnt the hand that held the gun cannot be expected to hold on to the dove of peace.

Should this mean Sri Lanka is transiting from one war to another or from war to peace?

Allow Mahinda Rajapaksa the chance to complete his task. He is a man who delivers. After three decades of division, he put an effective end to it. Previous leaders talked about it. He acted. And throughout, “ƒ”¹…”Opposition’ parties obstructed Mahinda Rajapaksa’s path. Now they are clouding his achievement.

Will they succeed? The people must decide. An Opposition though called an Opposition, should remember, dear reader, to still have the people and the good of the country as their priority. Not objecting for the sake of opposition or to grasp power. Will this be done? How will you be remembered in history- a butcher, a shepherd, a divider, a uniter?

The Opposition is fueling division and unrest with the aid of the JVP who are up to their usual tricks as their dark and dirty history shows. One time terrors- now legitimized political group, rue the day that it became so. Why do the people not speak out? Those voices against the division of the country, those in support of the war, and those in favour of it for unity’s sake – why do they not speak out now? Why do they not rise against a conflict that is being brewed?

This is not to mean that no one may challenge a Rajapaksa. On the contrary, healthy competition is a main component of democracy. One must question though, in this time, in this place, is a new battle necessary? As the nation ends one battle and barely begins to recover, must the people have another conflict? Must they be disheartened in being forced into a choice they would not wish to make? When the head battles it is the body that suffers. When bigwigs butt heads, it’s the people who feel the pain, who get wounded.

It would seem that the country had embarked on such a journey where there is no turning back. But there is still time to cut the losses, and keep on a victorious footing. Sri Lanka has not yet reached the point of no return. After all, the nation has been to hell and back.

Mahinda Rajapaksa warred and ended a long-lived divide. Now he must unite and deliver a lasting peace. Give him a chance.

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