Led by that most reprehensible of politicians, the current Minister of Justice, there are assembling on the government benches a motley crew of some of the most unprincipled characters to claim the garb of “representatives of the Sri Lankan people.” Goodness knows we’ve had our share of these types over the years and we certainly don’t need another edition of them at a time that Sri Lanka is inviting what is left of decency in this world to censure us.
One of the terms that is most abused is that of “war heroes,” defined by no less a person than our President.
It is increasingly evident that when he and those he leads in this crusade of ultra-nationalism refer to “war heroes” they refer to every person who donned a uniform of whatever description during the period of conflict with the forces of the criminally insane Prabhakaran.
One has to have taken leave of one’s senses to claim that not one individual among our armed forces which, during the war, totaled half a million, committed a war crime or acted in contravention of internationally-ratified covenants covering human rights and war crimes. That’s right: the numbers I quote for the Sri Lankan security forces approximate those of the entire Russian army!
I am personally aware that there were several individuals in our neighbourhood that no one would entrust with a catapult, leave along provide training in the use of sophisticated weaponry, who were welcomed into an army that obviously didn’t indulge in criminal record checks to ensure that some of the unemployable flotsam and jetsam of rural and urban Sri Lanka were handed AK 47s and told to get on with it! One of these characters from a neighbouring ”colony” kept deserting and being re-arrested and taken back into the embrace of his unit (to learn even more about how best to kill?)
The vast majority of those who enlisted were decent, honourable young people who enlisted to fight what they saw as a very real threat to their motherland. However, to even imply that every single individual to don a uniform was a “war hero” is nothing but to, knowingly, propagate a lie of unbelievable proportions.
Let’s be blunt: there had to be bad eggs among the armed forces of Sri Lanka who were engaged in battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tigers/LTTE) in occupation of territory primarily inhabited by Tamil-speaking people for a very long time.
To suggest that not one soldier, sailor, airman, policeman or member of the auxiliary forces committed one murder, rape or similar crime or deprived a fellow citizen of his or her human and civil rights during three decades of war puts one in cloud cuckoo land and should constitute qualification for swift entry into a mental institution.
Don’t our politicians, the President included, realize that to keep parroting “I will not let any foreigner punish our war heroes” is counter-productive in the court of international decency and does nothing but degrade what we have left of humane behaviour, honour and honesty in our country?
To suggest that those who were responsible for the premature demise of Lasantha Wickrematunge and the outstanding young rugby-player Thajudeen, not to mention the numerous “white van disappearances” and life-threatening assaults of anyone who had the temerity to question the Rajapaksa Regime belong in the ranks of “war heroes” speaks volumes about those uttering such unadulterated nonsense. Mind you, I have chosen not to dwell on such as the shooting of unarmed protesters in the Free Trade Zone and at Rathupaswala and the fact that they were pursued into places of worship and “suitably chastised” in the case of the latter.
This country is sliding back into the trough of conspiracy theories where no one but some servile stooge of the government is permitted to speak to any “foreigner” particularly anyone with connections to an organization involved with human rights issues. Simply put, if you have nothing to hide, nobody can do you damage. The Minister of Justice and the President of Sri Lanka, please note.