USLA Wellington 7th Annual Ranaviru Commemoration – Lakmadura Tawa , Wellington 19.5.16 – USLA Spokesperson’s Address
Posted on May 19th, 2016

Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM  Spokeperson, USLA

It is my privilege once again to contribute to this meeting , for the seventh year in succession reaffirming our eternal gratitude to the Ranaviru, the brave members  of the  security force for  the sacrifice of their , life , limb and efforts devoted to the successful liberation of Sri Lanka from three decades of Tiger Terror, seven years ago to the day, that has made it possible for all people of Sri Lanka to live in freedom and harmony and for the likes of us to visit at our will and pleasure without fear of Tiger Terror.

The importance  of reaffirming this sense of gratitude was once again driven home to me watching ANZAC commemorations in NZ  a few weeks  ago where Kiwi’s reaffirmed their gratitude to soldiers who paid the price one hundred years ago for the freedom & prosperity they enjoy today.

Ladies & gentleman I would like with you to reaffirm this gratitude to all of the Ranaviru that contributed to this liberation, starting from 13 soldiers ambushed by the Tigers in 1983 that signaled the beginning of this war to the many who paid the heavy price during the many successful and unsuccessful campaigns to the several thousand that paid this price in the final campaign in Mulativu.

It is a fact acknowledged by even the US embassy that the security forces casualties in the final operation at Mulativu would have been significantly less but for the care they were taking to minimize civilian casualties. The irony however is that, the moment the war was lost ,one of the first allegations that was leveled by the Tiger diaspora to detract from the honor and glory of this achievement  of the Ranaviru was that it was achieved and an unacceptably high civilian casualty numbers amounting  war crimes. It was my privilege on your behalf to submit a lengthy submission to the UNHCR commission inquiring into this allegation , showing the absolute lack of any credibility in this allegation and the completely illogical nature of this allegation. Thank fully, the drum beats of this allegation are now less loud and less frequent.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that it s our sacred duty to counter any allegation that would detract from the honor and glory of the Ranaviru ‘s  achievements.

Another such allegation that comes to mind is the Tiger diaspora response to the spontaneous joyous celebrations that erupted seven years ago to   the day today when the news of the end of the war was announced.  Immediately , the Tiger Diaspora was denigrating this spontaneous expression as Triumphalism , causing  aspersions on the outcome of the Ranaviru’ s sacrifices. The media too lapped this up with glee.

The absurdity and fallacy of this claim was driven home to me strongly, when a few months ago I viewed the film, Royal night out. This showed similar spontaneous joyous celebrations in the streets of London by some half a million people who similarly took to the streets to celebrate , on the day the Second World War ended. A day when Buckingham palace took the unprecedented step of allowing Princess Elizabeth  the present queen, and sister Margaret to mingle with these celebrating people un announced.

No one accused  them of Triumphalism or of being offensive to the defeated Germans. But when little Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans do the same this is triumphalism! It is a pity that neither media nor politician was there to point this out then. But we know now, how to respond if the charge resurfaces.

Ladies and gentlemen, I recently   had the privilege of defending the glory of the Raanaviru’s achievements in another event. This was when I was shown , two weeks ago the photograph of a car on the roads of Wellington boldly displaying  the personalized plate LTTE”” . I was shocked and horrified at seeing this.

That very night I emailed Prime Minister John Key, the NZTA and media pointing out that this personalized plate was a brazen declaration of support to a terrorist group , labeled the most brutal by the FBI in US, were the group that invented the suicide bombers vest that is used today, and from whose terror in Sri Lanka many of us had fled. This therefore was  an expression of support for terrorism on New Zealand roads  & I posed the question of whether a personalized plate Al Qaeda” or ISIS” would be permitted. The PM’s office responded with  the PM acknowledging my concerns and referred it to MFAT as the ministry responsible for the subject to make due inquiries.

A few days  later, I along with Mr. Rudra de Zoysa made a formal complaint and a written submission at the Lower Hutt police station to two detectives from the Wellington Crime Squad  , showing a picture of the LTTE” plate and pointed out that it was a declaration  of support in NZ to a brutal terrorist group and hence to terrorism, that it was very offensive to the likes of us who had been victims of their terror or knew someone near and dear who was affected by their terror , and so was provocative and hence threatened the peace of NZ and threatened ethnic harmony in NZ.

These detectives were quite receptive to our concerns and our request to have the plate withdrawn and the owner, of the plate who we explained had a Sri Lankan Tamil name,  placed under surveillance for supporting terrorism. They undertook to explore achieving our requests. That evening I received a call from them explaining that there was already a file on the owner and felt that he was  not a terrorist threat but undertook to speak to him to see if he would be agreeable to surrendering these plates. Two days later I received another call informing that they had a chat to the owner of the plate and managed to get his agreement to surrender the plate but wanted a  few days to a week to secure a replacement number plate. The detectives undertook to follow up to see weather he has kept his word. This morning I had a call from NZ plates, an arm of  the NZTA  that the matter was progressing as we speak and that letters LTTE” would be entered into the computer  as unavailable” so that nobody could use this again in the future too.

Ladies & Gentleman, it I my belief that we owe it to the Ranaviru, that when any attempt are made to detract from the honor of what they sacrificed so much to achieve , we should do our best to counter such attempts.

Ladies & Gentlemen we  owe this to the Ranaviru,. We,  that means  me , you and you.

Thank  You

Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM

Spokeperson, USLA

19.5.16

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