What is wrong with a Victory Day?
Posted on May 19th, 2016

By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana Courtesy The Island


Victory days are celebrated all over the world to ensure memories of just struggles do not fade away with time,despite attempts by some for personal and selfish reasons,to rewrite history belittling battles won at tremendous cost of lives, limbs and wealth.Though the Second World War was over a long time ago, and most who were lucky enough to survive it are fast dwindling in numbers, Victory days are still held, not one but many. When you talk of the Allied victories over Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japan many infer, quite erroneously, that it was the USA that was instrumental in winning the war though there is no doubt that USA joining the war effort, though late and after a great deal of persuasion, ensured victory. Of around 75 million soldiers and civilians who were killed and died due to starvation, the greatest human slaughter ever recorded, only 419,400 were Americans.

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When Russia celebrated Victory Day on 9th May, 71 years after the signing of the act of military surrender by the Flensburg Government of Germany, with a massive parade in Red Square, Putin had a dig at Western Powers for double standards. Though he referred to modern day politics, in a way historically too, it is a fact. Though the Soviet Union paid the highest price of all participants,the role it played and the sacrifices it madeis often underestimated. Of a population of around 188 million, it is estimated that around 26 to 27 million died as a direct result of the war. 10 million Russian soldiers sacrificed their lives, half of all the soldiers that died in the war. Those who started the war lost less,combined; the number of German soldiers who were killed being around 5 million and Japanese being around 2.2 million. Therefore, Putin hailing the Soviet Union for having brought freedom to other people is no hollow claim.

Victory in Europe or VE day is celebrated on 8 May in other countries that contributed to the Allied forces, to mark the unconditional surrender of German forces, ending the war in Europe.Victory over Japan or V J day is celebrated on August 15, the day Japan surrendered, in UK and on September 2, the day on which the surrender documents were signed, in USA. Though they are largely days of remembrance, the continued use the term ‘Victory’ is to stress the defeat of evil.

Hindus have been celebrating the victory of good over evil, from time immemorial, based on the religious epic, Ramayana written by the poet Valmiki. Some maintain that Valmiki was a contemporary of Rama though when exactly Ramayana was written is not established. The play Ramlila is staged annually, depicting the life of Rama and his battle to free Seetha from the grasp of Ravana. Performances last for days culminating in a procession to burn effigies of Ravana, Khumbkharna and Meganath, followed by the crowning of Rama as the king of Ayodhya. UNESCO has proclaimed the tradition of Ramlila ‘a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’. Deepavali, a celebration of Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and wife of Vishnu, is a festival of light, the lighting of lamps signifying the lights lit by the people of Ayodhya, to show Rama the way to the palace on his triumphal return. These victory parades are still going on after centuries.

We concluded a bloody war, the Fourth Eelam war, thanks to the leadership given by Mahinda Rajapaksa, in May 2009. It is only 7 years and is it wrong to celebrate that victory? It looks as if the so called Yahapalanaya government has adopted a policy to make us forget that there was an Eelam War which we all, peace loving Sri Lankans irrespective of race or religion, won crushing (but not eradicating as recent events suggest) a terrorist group that decimated a generation of youth,did ethnic cleansing of both Sinhala and Muslims and set back progress of our Motherland by over three decades.

These thoughts came to my mind when I read the front-page headline in ‘The Island’ of 16 May: No military parade to mark end of Eelam War”. Together with the piece titled Two days of LTTE terror at Sri Lanka Festival in Toronto” by Bandula Jayasekara makes interesting reading. It clearly shows how brutally the appendages of the terrorist outfits operated abroad. When LTTE supporters protested in London, outside Westminster costing the British tax-payer millions of Pounds, they waved the Eelam flag. When it was pointed out to the Metropolitan Police that it is the flag of a banned terrorist organization, their response was that it was the terrorist organization that was banned, not the flag! I did not think I would ever say this but I have to: I agree with Putin, the so-called Western Democracies are rife with double standards.Will the Metropolitan Police in London or the Ontario Provincial Police in Toronto allow the Daish (so called Islamic State) flags to be waved in protest gatherings?

Various self-appointed authorities and commentators try to make the war we won an ethnic conflict or a civil war but it was neither; it was simply a war against terrorism. In contrast to the war against terrorism started by George W Bush which is a failure, this was a war started by LTTE which we, Sri Lankans, won. It was not a fight between Sinhala and Tamil though, even after the defeat, some try to make it so, to give ammunition to the terrorist rump left, mostly overseas, to continue with false propaganda. Let us not fall prey to their tactics.

LTTE, though it claimed to represent Tamils at times but enlarged the definition to Tamil speaking people at other times with some scared but crafty politicians endorsing the idea, it never had a mandate from the people. It killed moderate Tamil politicians, eliminated other terrorist groups that was a threat to them, assassinated Sinhala politicians and killed Tamil and Sinhala civilians alike, mercilessly. They recruited youth under the barrel of a gun and brain-washed them. Their mandate was obtained nothing but through terror. They tried every terror tactic possible including an attempt to provoke Sinhala Buddhists to repeat the pogrom of 1983 by bombing Sri Maha Bodhi and Dalada Maligawa but they did not fall into that trap.

Big-wigs of the LTTE living abroad enjoyed the good life out of proceeds squeezed from the poor, hardworking Tamils as well as ill-gotten wealth from drug trafficking and people trafficking which LTTE was well known for. A General Practitioner from the South of England, who is now in an American Jail, tried to worm his way into the security services with the bribe of a million dollars. In the front of his luxury house were parked two luxury vehicles including a Rolls-Royce, not the sort of thing affordable on a NHS salary, however generous it is. They spread terror through misinformation. Selfish and vulnerable politicians like David Miliband and Erik Solheim helped them but they could not salvage the terrorist Prabakharan nor his mission; Milliband having failed in UK is now an international charity-peddler whereas Solheim having failed in Norway but successful in dividing Sudan is now awaiting the plum-job of the executive director of United Nations Environment Programme. Wonder what his qualifications are but, whatever it is, hope he will purify the environment and stop meddling in our internal affairs.

This is the definition that comes up when you ‘Google’ (what most of us do to get information) LTTE:

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the only terrorist group which once possessed its own ‘Military’ – Tigers (infantry), Sea Tigers (sea wing) and Air Tigers (Air Wing), in the world, began its armed campaign in Sri Lanka for a separate Tamil homeland in 1983”

Thus, there is no doubt that LTTE was a terrorist organization and what happened in Nandikadal Lagoon in May 2009 was the climax of defeat of evil. For proper reconciliation to occur we all have to acknowledge this fact as well as the fact that, in addition to the much talked of minority rights, there are minority responsibilities too. While the majority have responsibilities their rights should not be ignored. Without understanding there is no true reconciliation and let not the do-gooders, who try to pull wool over our eyes, delay the progress.

A gutless government prostrating before the so-called exporters of good governance, who incidentally are the biggest exporters of arms and ammunition in the world, are toning down our victory to appease the rump of the terrorists. Last year they changed Victory Day to Day of Remembrance and this year they have stopped the military parade. If any in the military committed any offences let them be punished after proper investigations but let us not allow the government to tarnish the image of our war heroes.

The government cannot control our thoughts. Let us thank our war heroes for their efforts and sacrifices which has allowed us to live in Sri Lanka without fear. Let us also remember the thousands of lives lost due to acts of terrorism and not forget the misguided youth who laid their lives for the whims of a megalomaniac.

One Response to “What is wrong with a Victory Day?”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    What can we expect from the dumb-witted Aappaya? He will do anything to please his master Don Juan Ponil himself a traitor who is out to dispossess Sinhala Buddhist of their heritage and land. Aappaya does not know that he is being ‘groomed’ by the Western Christian nations to balkanise Sri Lanka in the same way Yugoslavia was balkanised. This gutter snipe will do anything to stay in power.

    May lightening strike his parents graves!

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