Editorial

Opportunity Benefits of May 2009

Summary

If ‘May 2009’ didn’t happen, these arms may not have been buried at all. They would have been used and they would have accounted for many dead and maimed.

OMG. That’s how a disbelieving world responded to Sri Lanka’s comprehensive military victory over the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). ‘OMG’ because those who wanted the LTTE to prevail had for years carefully cultivated the narrative, ‘The LTTE cannot be defeated.’

The US Government knew, though. Until the last minute the then US Ambassador, Robert O Blake, worked tirelessly to somehow find a way to get the LTTE leadership to safety. ‘They must live to fight another day,’ could have been the thinking. Not because the LTTE was the pawn of the USA, but such outfits serve purposes.

Well, May 2009 happened. The LTTE was crushed. OMG was given a twist: ‘Oh my god, the war crimes!’

Well, as Lord Naseby told the House of Lords when the matter of the ‘Vexatious Allegations’ Bill came up (to essentially provide a carte blanche for errant soldiers: ‘green light for war crimes’), the missives from the High Commission at the time clearly indicated that the military offensive was carried out professionally and with a determination to minimize civilian casualties.

All this is known, although Sarah Hulton, the current High Commissioner wants to feign ignorance. The lady is concerned about human rights in Sri Lanka. Gumption is a word she may have heard!

Anyway.

On the 28th of January acting upon an order issued by the Mullaittivu District Court, nine field Sri Lanka Engineer troops of the 592 Brigade and officers from the Mulliyaweli Police Station jointly unearthed a cache of 110 unusuable 152 mm shells, thirty six 122 mm shells, forty nine 152 mm cartridges, twenty nine 122 mm cartridges and 10 fuses, believed to have been kept buried before May 2009. The order was issued on Monday (25) following a legal hearing and the Police duly turned to the  Engineer troops seeking Army machinery and expertise on arms and ammunition, taking all necessary precautions.

The cache was unearthed from the Vidyananda College, Mulliyaweli.

Suppose ‘May 2009’ didn’t happen. Suppose there was another ‘dhal drop’ of some kind. Suppose Mahinda Rajapaksa backed down, as J R Jayewardene did in 1987. Suppose we still have combat zones. If so, these arms may not have been buried at all. They would have been used and they would have accounted for many dead and maimed. Those who could have died, didn’t. Apart from those who died subsequently of natural causes, the others would be alive.

That’s the ‘opportunity benefit’ of war-end. Anti-personnel mines stop exploding; those who could have lost limbs, still have them. Suicide attacks would have ceased, would-be victims are alive, therefore. Children earmarked for abduction and deployment in battle, are in school. Tamil politicians, long used to reading out statements written by the LTTE, have recovered their voices. Areas formerly reduced to rubble, have seen reconstruction. The displaced have been resettled.

Now, had ‘May 2009’ not happened, could you imagine Ms Hulton what kind of missives your office would be releasing? Think about it.

Postscript: think also about the thousands of people in this island that your ancestors slaughtered, the water bodies they poisoned, the temples they ransacked and how all these helped produce the lifestyles that generations thereafter right down to yours enjoyed and enjoy respectively.  

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