Does nation count for nothing ? Hypocrites all – Remembrance Games in SL
Posted on July 4th, 2015

A. Patabendi Courtesy Island

There was what was touted to be a ‘Remembrance Parade’ at Matara on 18 May 2015. Thousands and not only from the South came to see it, to honour those who had delivered them from the scourge of terrorism and pay tribute to those who had sacrificed their lives for the country. During the 26 year old ‘conflict’ over 21, 000 lives of servicemen were lost and many more civilians died.

Shrewd strategies had been conceived to convince the world again by Imperial powers and their local acolytes that this was a ‘Remembrance’ and not a ‘Victory’ parade as before. The people, quite used to being hoodwinked by politicians, soon thought otherwise. It was also meant to be a half hearted gesture to the Tamils and unconditional surrender to western bullies. The latter pontificate on the joys of HR to small former colonies where the western oriented elites the West left behind, struggle to imitate them. The West continues to invade non nuclear states the world over. They do not apologise for the killing hundreds of thousands from Iraq to Afghanistan. SL had surrendered meekly once before in 1987 while the West watched passively when the present lot were rulers.

In fact the ‘parade’ was actually undiluted hypocrisy, deceit, sham, farce and humbug. Goebbels at least was not charged with treachery or lunacy. The people saw that the government was running with the SL hare and hunting with the (western and diaspora) hounds. The latter knew that any attempt to do away with honouring the forces on the anniversary of that famous victory in May 2009 could have serious consequences. So, they diabolically titled a blatant ‘victory parade’ a holier than thou ‘remembrance parade’. There could not have been a more vile greater deception than this. Those who planned it clearly did not see the difference between government and the nation.

What, except in a cunning change of name, was the difference in this parade from others held before called joyously, unashamedly and proudly but not arrogantly by its adherents -‘Victory’ and by petty critics and detractors from the West, ‘triumphalism’?

If SL is to ‘remember’ the war dead, rolling down tanks, armoured vehicles, all types of artillery guns and infantry with fixed bayonets marching down city streets , is certainly a very ridiculous, meaningless and extremely stupid way to ‘remember’ the dead. The forces reverse arms when they pay tribute to the dead. Only those who dreaded the victorious march of the Army into the terrorist lair in the Vanni in 2008/2009 could have desecrated their memories like this. Did this despicable lot ever really grieve for the dead of the Armed Forces?

After the parade the hosannas were plentiful by the political organizers. Some of it was garnished with political innuendo and bias. Politicians were running around in circles imagining they were scoring points with the West with their myriad watered down descriptions of a historic day. Some even described it as being the beginning of a new era.

But confusion reigned. It was impossible to carry out the bluff which would be called but silently by the people. Ministers tumbled over each other to stir the pot. One (Minister) said it was a ‘War heroes Commemoration day” and that the ‘Remembrance ceremony’ that followed on 19 May was “Civilian Remembrance Day”. Before this year everyone knew what the parade and ceremony was about. Did the government fear the nation they supposedly led and try to dupe them to satisfy their Imperial patrons?

This year for the first time since the conflict ended those who did not object to late President JRJ, (Yankee Dickie) declaring ‘war’ on the Tamils in 1977 were prominently present to suddenly ‘remember’ the heroic war dead at this parade. Was there a 10 year self imposed moratorium, boycott or suspension by these absentees to pay tribute to the nations’ forces? Would it have been extended if there was no change of government? This had to be simulated and contrived grief.

The authors of the treacherous ‘Madawachchi’, ‘Grandpass’ and ‘Thopigala is a insignificant piece of jungle’ mocking force as the nation’s soldiers fought and died, will have their place in history. They will never be forgiven. Their sustained and evil efforts to diminish the affection, gratitude and respect of the nation for its Armed Forces was a sordid episode.

In July 1983 when hundreds of Tamils were killed by government inspired and even organized islandwide marauding mobs, no member of the then government with a 5/6th majority attempted to stop the mobs, expressed sorrow or grief, accepted blame or resigned. The then executive President (JRJ) even tried to justify the actions of the mobs by stating on TV that the Tamils had aroused the fury of the Sinhalese. ‘Koti Friday’ that followed resulted in mass panic in Colombo and the worst of killings until the Army restored the situation beginning at Attidiya. The government leaders, hidden from direct sight, were seen only on TV as now- giving mischievous interpretations to protect themselves. It took over 24 hours to declare a curfew even while race murders multiplied. The capital and other cities burned. Now having waited 32 years without any signs of mea culpa for this atrocity, are the same people actually interested in ‘reconciliation’? Are they not wrapped up in their own self proclaimed virtue? When a President gifted weapons, ammunition and cash to the LTTE to expand their terror, did anyone of them, now holy warriors for reconciliation, object? Did the CFA not equate the government abjectly with the LTTE?

One minister said 19th May was a day to also “remember the JVP killed by the Army”. Coming from this man, it did not shock the Prime Minister who was in the government at the time of the 1989-90 JVP’s reign of terror that had 60,000 Sinhalese killed in just one and a half years. It destroyed infrastructure worth trillions while the country came to a near standstill. Not able to openly denigrate, vilify or desecrate the army as this remark was meant to, what was his aim if it was not to tell the West ‘what a good ‘boy’ he was? It appears that he is hell bent to attempt to make the nation forget its real heroes, if not its army. A former President whose husband was brutally murdered by the JVP kept silent to appease this man with a forked tongue. However not a single other person, not even a politician from the JVP, supported this perverted outburst and shameful agenda.

It would have been suicidal for a government, with delusions of being doled Imperial benefits to attempt to diminish the reality of the 2009 victory. So confusing the nation was the only option. It knew that over 70 -80% of the population would never countenance any attempt at dishonouring or diminishing the memories of the sacrifices made by their sons and daughters. So white washing the ‘parade’ bleating ‘remembrance’ that was actually a mighty show of strength never before seen in the South, was a crude trick. Few were deceived. Certainly not even the Northerners.

Bringing narcotics sniffer dogs on a Remembrance parade was the mindless limit. It was cynical, shameful and cheap political vulgarity.

On 19 May, however, the real Remembrance ‘ceremony’ was held as before at the site of the soaring monument at Diyawanna. This was surely the way for the nation to remember and honour its war dead. Some ‘newcomers’ were seen doing so in a perfunctory and robotic if not guilty way. Sadly however it would appear that no one if any from the Opposition attended.

The people in the government thundered for years in the Opposition about totally irrelevant principles like ‘Latimer House’ to display bits and pieces of what passes as knowledge. It actually exposes its arrogance, ignorance, ills, sins and shocking behaviour – such as the Central Bank bond issue. It was also to exhibit to those it considers lesser folk and yokels in Parliament and the hoi polloi outside, its conceited opinion of its limited intellect.

The 26-year-old so called unwinnable conflict ended in total victory in 2005. SL had thought and acted as a nation. It will remember and honour those who paid the price with their lives and limbs. No amount of manipulation of national ceremonies will change them. Those who fail to see the difference between government and the nation live on borrowed time. Governments change. The nation lives. It will honour its valiant sons and daughters, whatever way parades and ceremonies are named.

A. Patabendi

 

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