Congratulations to President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse . We wish you well, and may you live long.

By Charles S.Perera

After 60 years of independence, on the 10 of March, 2008 you made the Independence of Sri Lanka meaningful.

Our nation is proud of you Mr. President. Thirty years of an unwanted terrorism devastated our country, took the precious live of many noble sons and daughters of Sri Lanka.

Despite the continued terrorism, massacring innocent civilians, because of your goodness, you were able to restrain a backlash against the innocent Tamils in the South, as it happened in the past.

When many opposition politicians, the so called intellectuals, the journalist, local and foreign media, the UN System, the International Community, and some of your political friends were critical of you, making all sorts of allegation accusing you of embezzlements, your associating with the mafia, fraudulent enrichment through unknown white van kidnappers , practicing nepotism, enriching your self forming a company with your brothers, and violated human rights, you suffered the calumnies stoically. In the face of all that you behaved with dignity, without retorting , or using hard words against your accusers.

They accused you of being a chauvinist, a Sinhala supremacist. They accused you of having diverted tsunami funds to personal bank accounts. They accused you of having bribed Prabhakaran to get elected as the President. The enemies read your horoscope to see when the unpropitious planets will foil your political ambitions. But you neither cursed them, nor retaliated, you were saintly , you were not flustered , you knew that the people will trust you. You had a mission for the country and the people you loved, therefore you patiently suffered the ignominies your enemies showered on you.

You were patient, you kept away from making personal attacks against those failed political enemies who were out to get your skin. There was never an instance when you lost your calm, and in any way, through word or action attacked any one. You respected the high office you occupy , you did not falter in your mission to serve the people. You did not give into anger. Even when you to took extreme action against those who were around you for their failures, you still sympathised with them, you were ready to forgive them.

When you took office as President, Sri Lanka was not politically, economically or socially at its best. Many decades of terrorism had made the country poor, almost on the brink of bankruptcy, people were tired of the rising cost of living, in fear of terrorism, and an uncertain future. It looked as if the "rats were jumping out of the troubled ship" you had inherited. Every one wanted to appease the terrorists. You were dictated to by every one as to what you should do , and how you should do it . All those who were in high places, doubted your ability, they said that you will put Sri Lanka in to further difficulty, antagonising the International Community, increasing the national debt, causing suffering to the people.

Even the West looked at you with amusement, not as a leader who will solves the countries ills. They spoke of you as man with a red shawl round your neck, in an unusual dress. The foreign media called you a hawkish President. Some said that you had no appropriate dress sense, and that you will be out of place in the company of Bush's , Blaire's and other dignitaries. They said you were not fluent in English, and you will be lost in foreign forums.

But you who were silent, knew that each problem had to be attended separately, each solved satisfactorily before attending to the next. You knew that the problem with the terrorists takes the priority, above all the other problems, and that terrorism has to be settled first before attending to others-though they were also close to your heart. The failure or the success of your mission depended on the solution of the first-the terrorism. No one else understood that as well as you. You understood it, because you are in a way a perfectionist, and you knew exactly which way to go, to take the country out of the mess it was in.

You expected Prabhakaran to understand your genuine desire for peace, and accept your invitation for discussions, which would lead to peaceful negotiations avoiding all the unnecessary deaths of many soldiers, terrorist, as well as innocent civilians. Prabhakaran unfortunately understands one language-the language of the gun. But you were still patient with him, you trusted the Norwegians to get the terrorists to come for a negotiated settlement of their problem. You knew the Norwegians were sympathising more with the terrorists. But yet you kept working with them hoping that you will be able to avoid human misery , if the Norwegians could get Prabhakaran to agree for negotiations.

But instead Prabhakaran released his suicide bombs, first to the army commander and then to several other Officers of the Security forces. You were a man for peace, you were patient despite the despicable actions of Prabhakaran. Your patience too had limits.When the Mavil Aru water sluices were closed, and Prabhakaran shot at the army personnel who were seeking to open the sluices, your decided to get the army to open the sluice gates at any cost, and since then there had been no looking back, as the terrorists with their superior military power continued to attack the security forces and the civilians.

You have the qualities of leadership and therefore, you were able to hand over responsibility to those who you trusted with a given task, without your interfering. The Security forces were entrusted with dealing with the terrorists, and your policy paid. The result is that on the 10 March, 2008, you had been able to conduct a successful election in the East which was unthinkable two years back. You had got the East completely under the Government control having chased out the terrorists.

Now you have other battles to fight, mostly set up by a surprised International community, local and foreign media, Amnesty International , Human Rights Watch, theUN System, and your rival politicians. You are accused of human rights violations. You had been fighting for human rights of our people long before the human rights watch, Amnesty International and the UNHRC was not even heard of. They have no lesson to give you. They are merely doing their best to destabilise you, so that they may step into help the terrorists.

The foreign, and foreign funded human right activists know nothing of what they are talking about. You do not sanction the army to torture or waterboarding of enemies as big democracies are doing. You are merely doing your duty by your country and the people to free the country of the terrorists and develop it thereafter, when funds which are now been used for maintenance of the army could be deviated for development projects, and providing people a better standard of living. That the people have understood, but neither the International Community, nor the foreign media and all the do gooders will ever understand.

You have already made your mark in the history of our country. You have walked into International Forums as you are dressed, with your red shawl round your neck and your unpretentious white shirt and cloth. You have met world dignitaries in your simple dress, speaking in you own way. You addressed the World Forums in your own language.

You have met the Norwegians who betrayed you without hatred or anger, you have accepted political leaders from other Political Parties in to your Cabinet of Ministers, and have allowed them to work without interfering into their work. Your one time political partners who forsook you and criticised you, you still count as your friends you embrace them, and invite them again and again to join you. You are a simple man who " walk with kings, without loosing your common touch." You can put your sarong and join other farmers to plough the paddy fields. You take risks to attend the funerals of fallen soldiers.

With the continued war against the terrorists, you have still been able provide Sri Lanka with a 3billion US Dollar foreign reserve. That augurs well for providing the people with a better condition of living once the war is over.

You are good Buddhist in the real sense of the word. You have no hypocrisy either in your religious activities, nor in your political work. You do what you believe is correct. You listen, without criticising. May your future targets for the development of the country run as you have planned. May you have the success to clear the North from the terrorists, as it had been in the East. We are so fortunate to have you as our President. May you live long and may the blessings of the triple gem be with you.

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