SRI LANKAN WAR HEROES FIGHTING
TO PROTECT A DEMOCRACY WILL BE ALSO REMEMBERED AS FIGHTERS AGAINST INTL
TERRORISM SAYS PRESIDENT MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA
By Walter Jayawardhana
The Sri Lankan war heroes who are fighting to safeguard a parliamentary
democracy from Fascist agents of terror will be also remembered as heroes
fighting to put a stop to international terrorism said President Mahinda
Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka.
Celebrating the national War Heroes Day near the parliamentary complex
in the historic Jayawardhanapura near Colombo, June 7, the President
said, . The importance of having this memorial near the legislature
is understood when one realizes the service of our War Heroes to safeguard
justice and fair play in a country that was about to be subjugated by
terrorism and the law of the jungle, in place of democracy. Now, the
representatives of the people will also have the opportunity to pay
their respects to the heroes who are protecting democracy before they
enter the shrine of democracy.
Referring back to the time when the current phase of the fight against
terrorism was started when the countrys enemies blocked drinking
and irrigating water to the people at a place called Mavil Aru to the
strategic capture of Thoppigala in the countrys East that instigated
some vituperative politicians to cast unkind remarks against the war
heroes like it was a mere worthless jungle the President said now the
heroes have not only liberated all those places but the whole sprawling
East and very soon would hand back the Kilinochchi and Mulaitivu Districts
to the Tamil people with their democratic rights. Friends, it
is possible, if necessary, for us to use the armed forces to erect fences
and barricades to protect the country, but how can we fence or barricade
the mouths of those who hate the country? he asked.
During his speech the President also paid his great tribute to the
mothers who gave their children to the country to carry on the struggle
against terrorism and free our future generations from the lethal menace.
The following is the full text of his speech: Today we celebrate
National War Heroes Day near the parliamentary complex at historic Sri
Jayawardhanapura. We considered it important to have this memorial to
our War Heroes located near our supreme legislature because of the service
rendered by our War Heroes to safeguard parliamentary democracy and
the rights of the people. The importance of having this memorial near
the legislature is understood when one realizes the service of our War
Heroes to safeguard justice and fair play in a country that was about
to be subjugated by terrorism and the law of the jungle, in place of
democracy. Now, the representatives of the people will also have the
opportunity to pay their respects to the heroes who are protecting democracy
before they enter the shrine of democracy.
The time is not very far when our War Heroes will be honoured
not only in our country but throughout the world. Our War Heroes are
fighting with sacrifice of their lives to mark a full stop in Sri Lanka
to international terrorism. Wherever in the world terrorism is defeated
militarily it is a defeat for international terrorism. There was a time
when no one thought our War Heroes will be able to give this example
to the world. Our War Heroes are not only engaged in battling terrorism,
they are also engaged in a great operation to ensure and provide the
human rights and the necessities of the people.
When the first humanitarian operation to free Mavil Aru was launched,
many said that our troops will not be able to free the area from terrorists
without blasting the anicut. Having won at Mavil Aru when they proceeded
to Sampur, we were told that even if Sampur is captured, we will not
be able to fully govern it, because of the lack of support from the
people of the area. Having liberated Sampur when our troops moved to
free Vakarai, we were told that because of the fall of an important
fortress of the terrorists, Prabhakaran will teach us a very good lesson.
When Vakarai was won and our troops moved to clear Thoppigala, there
were some even in this parliament who said that our troops were stranded
in the jungle of Thoppigala.
Now, when we have liberated Thoppigala and also held provincial
elections in the east, it is said that the eastern election was corrupt.
They are opposed to the war to save the country and to the election
that expresses the will of the people.
Friends, it is possible, if necessary, for us to use the armed
forces to erect fences and barricades to protect the country, but how
can we fence or barricade the mouths of those who hate the country?
We are politicians and representatives of the people. We are able to
reply to these allegations. We have a right to issue statements in response
to these charges in parliament, in accordance with the rules and privileges.
But at the theatres of war at Jaffna or Muhamalai, the troops who come
forward ready to sacrifice their lives facing up to enemy bullets, and
their officers, have no opportunity to respond to false charges and
allegations. Often they do not even have the chance to have their meals
in the midst of battle. I have often been told that much pain of mind
is caused by these charges to the troops who are ready to sacrifice
When we began we had to make a great commitment to build the morale
of our troops. It is not possible to win a war with weapons alone. For
this it is necessary for the soldier who goes into battle to have trust
and confidence in his leadership. In order to build their morale we
had to resolve many problems affecting then, such as service conditions,
weapons training, suitable housing, and education for their children.
By facing up to the international forces that were attempting
to make us withdraw the steps we had taken against terrorism, and by
replying to the false charges they made, we showed that we were not
ready to betray our troops. From the time it began, the battle against
terrorism, against Eelam; this battle to develop the country, has been
pulled back to serve the interest of various forces. This was due diverse
pressures such as international opinion or the interest of those in
this country who seek to profit from the slogan of peace. But we have
not made our troops take a single step forward for political reasons
and also they have not taken any step back due to any such interests
or pressures, and will not do so in the future too.
Friends, today even the innocent children who know nothing of
race, ethnicity or caste are being attacked by terrorists. The unarmed
and innocent civilians are attacked. This is what we saw in the past
few days. They are trying to get us entrapped. They are trying to provoke
the people, fan communalism and benefit by it. That is their present
necessity. The terrorists have plenty of time to plot how they can delay
the day our troops move into Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. That is their
great need. We have the need to give the Tami people in Kilinochchi
and Mullaitivu their democratic rights, as we did for the people in
the East. But because the terrorists do not want that, they seek to
create trouble in other areas and gain time to their advantage. It is
to gain time that they seek to overthrow the government, use human rights
and various other means to psychologically weaken us, and seek to defeat
us by cutting off aid. All this is done to gain time for their purposes.
But we do not have the time. We have to finish this battle against terrorism
I call upon you to look at the great commitment and sacrifice
of our troops, and calmly and courageously extend all your support to
the security forces, the police and the government. I ask all political
parties including the opposition, and various other organizations not
to betray the victory we have won as a nation. If anyone tries to destroy
this, it would amount to destroying a great mansion built upon the aspirations
of the people.
Today, when faced with increased costs of goods, a high cost of
living, being killed by mines and bombs, what these mothers of our War
Heroes and our people ask is that we free the country, and create the
conditions for all to live in a society without fear and mistrust. We
are not ready to hand the menace of terrorism to the next generation.
We look at these mothers who have given their children to the armed
forces; the wives who have sent their husbands to the forces and give
them all strength and encouragement, the children of our War Heroes,
and we know that they have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of
this country, to safeguard democracy in the country.
These mothers deserve not only honour from the entire country
for the great sacrifice they made when they gave their children to save
the country. Their children too deserve an entire country for their
great sacrifice, So, I ask you not to criticize these Heroes of War
and fool around with the children of these mothers.
As much as we have built this monument in granite for our Heroes
of War, we must all have a monument to them in our own hearts, which
will also be a monument to the mothers of these Heroes of War. I am
certain that our people will always have these heroes in their hearts
As we remember and honour our Heroes of War, on behalf of the
country and the nation, we pledge to complete the task of safeguarding
democracy and restoring peace for which they sacrificed their lives
and assure you all that the day is not far when we shall accomplish