This is Apartheid: Terror Suspect Tissanayagam has Freedom of Expression, but not the Law Abiding Army Commander

Dilrook Kannangara

General Sarath Fonseka is undoubtedly the greatest hero in over 400 years. His foresight and skills have totally trumped the world’s most ruthless terrorist organisation. He is a world hero since he is making history by doing what was termed undoable. He made a factual statement to the National Post, a Canadian newspaper. He said, “Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese who are 75% of the population and we treat people of other communities as our own”. Of course Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese. And of course Sri Lanka belongs to Tamils and Sri Lanka belongs to Muslims and also to Malays, Chetties, Burgers, Veddhas, etc., etc. Just because he said Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese doesn’t mean the others are not rightful owners!

Discrimination, the worst kind

Those who went to town over Tissanayagam’s freedom of expression are dumb about General Sarath Fonseka’s right of expression. What’s worse is that there is enough evidence to frame Tissanayagam for breaking the law whereas General Fonseka has conducted well within the law. Those who are vying for the blood of the good General clearly have an ulterior motive. They are either driven by the Vellala Apartheid policy of discrimination or they are naïve supporters of the LTTE who are too scared to come out in the open and fight in Vanni for fear for their petty lives; yet they want the General out!

These champions of discrimination want to do what a pregnant LTTE suicide bomber failed to do on 25 April 2006. Interestingly a pro-LTTE Muslim political leader who was not voted into parliament but managed to creep in from the UNP National List has also criticised the General. Suffice it is to say that there is an active MoU he signed with the LTTE in 2002 handing over Muslims to the LTTE; he accepted the LTTE as the sole representative of Muslims living in the East. Obviously peace loving Muslims rejected not only his MoU but also his suitability to represent them. His run-up to the post of Chief Minister was a classic disaster and no wonder he holds such humongous grudge against the good General under whose command LTTE terrorists were beaten out of the East.

Apartheid against the Sinhalese

The gamut of disproportionate and racist remarks in response to the statement by the Army Commander is only the tip of the iceberg. Sinhalese and Muslims are unfairly discriminated against in Sri Lanka. While Tamils live in all 25 districts, Sinhalese and Muslims have only 22 districts to live in; Mulaitivu, Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts have no Sinhala or Muslim settlers thanks to LTTE’s acts of genocide. However, administration work, free education and free medical facilities in Mulaitivu, Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts are carried out with taxpayers’ money (approximately 90% of taxpayers are Sinhalese, Muslims and upcountry Tamils of which 75% are Sinhalese and they live outside these three districts). Some jokers allege genocide of Tamils whereas in effect it is the Sinhalese and Muslims in the North that have been the subject of genocide by Tamil Tigers.

Similarly, university education is carried out by what the taxpayers pay and once again 75% of taxpayers are Sinhalese. It is unbelievable how Tamils are in each and every university of this country whereas Sinhalese are not allowed to study in two of the main universities in spite of the fact that they finance 75% of these universities! Muslims are also barred from pursuing higher studies in the Jaffna University owing to ethnic cleansing initiatives by the LTTE.

These are home truths not accepted by ungrateful extortionists who challenge the right of Sinhalese (along with others) to own Sri Lanka. Heaping mercy upon the underserved has had an unintended outcome. Mistaking kindness for weakness has been a common ailment among race-based political elements of this country.

Using Buddhism to extort sympathy

Use of Buddhism to extort sympathy for dying terrorists is despicable. It shows the level of desperation pro-LTTE elements have fallen. Sri Lanka had many exemplary Buddhist leaders including King Dutugemunu, King Mahasen, King Vijayabahu and King Parakramabahu. They had no sympathy whatsoever for the enemies of this country. They completely annihilated Tamil separatists; simply put it they were merciless in war. Their exemplary lifestyle and governance reflected true Buddhist values. Compared to them, modern-day politicians are not at all Buddhists! Its time modern-day leaders learn from exemplary Buddhist leaders who annihilated separatists ruthlessly.

Therefore trying to milk sympathy from generally compassionate Buddhists is not going to work this time. They have put the horse before the cart now after years of undue concessions; no amount of beggary can change that. Buddhist teachings were imparted to the islanders after an intelligence test by Mahinda Thero over 2,300 years ago. The simple test is still valid. Those who concluded that General Fonseka said Sri Lanka belongs only to Sinhalese when he said Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese would surely fail that test!

Appeasing the demands to sack/retire the General on rubbish allegations endorses these false allegations

There is absolutely no need to take any action against the capable General. He made a factual statement and he has the right to express himself. Appeasing the demands for action against him only justifies their false allegations. Those who said many times this government has no credibility, have now endorsed a great deal of credibility on the government which they claim is at risk if the capable General is not sacked.

Sri Lanka has marched the longest victory march under the highly skilled guidance of General Fonseka, hence he should be allowed to complete what he started and succeeded. LTTE terrorists are running amuck; their leaders are digging deeper into the earth to hide and begging for international mediation. Why should we stop now?

Political moves by the then government in 2000 turned a good general bad; this type of short-sighted decisions should be avoided at all times. Politicians may arbitrarily promote military personnel although at times it seems awkward (for instance when the cricketer was promoted five ranks), but they should not demote or retire them at will.

Continuation of the Army Commander is the wish of every peace-loving Sri Lankan. Let him do what separatists fear most - total annihilation of the LTTE.

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