SAME WINNING TEAM that ended LTTE Terrorists will also end COVID-19 in Sri Lanka too
By 2019 the Nation pretty much had enough of “yahapalana” good governance that ruled the nation following a well-planned and well-funded regime change. The entire state apparatus saw appointments and systems as per wishes of the architects of that regime change. This eventually led to Easter Sunday and explains why 97 warnings were ignored. This really seals the failure of that rule and confirms their unsuitability to ever govern. In comparison, the task masters that ended 30 years of gruesome terror in May 2009 returned to the helm in November 2019 at a time when the world never thought it would be experiencing a global corona epidemic in 2020. However, to the relief of all, disregarding politics, under the stewardship of His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapakse, the manner covid-19 in Sri Lanka is being handled gets a thumbs up from all.
He was the Defence Secretary in 2009 – in 2019 he was elected Sri Lanka’s Executive President.
When the decision to scrap the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement brokered by Norway was made, it was clear that this bogus document did not herald any peace but had given pieces of sovereign territory to a terrorist organization. The LTTE were simply buying time manipulating a docile and appeasing government. This explains the over 3830 violations by LTTE against 351 by Sri Lanka Armed Forces documented by the Nordic Monitoring Mission – SLMM. That same docile and appeasing Team eventually returning to power delivered Easter Sunday mass murder.
By 2004, LTTE had according to Jane’s Intelligence made $300m annual profits of which none went to the ordinary Tamil people. UNICEF had also documented rise in recruitment of children and all signs pointed out to LTTE using the ceasefire as an interim relief period to regroup and prepare for their final battle as HRW report showed. Confounding matters was the manner terrorists were posing as ‘political parties’ and setting up offices across the country. It was during this period that LTTE raised its profile by creating a proxy political party TNA and set them to contest elections in 2001 and 2004 where unabashedly the TNA manifestos declared LTTE as the ‘sole representative’ of the Tamil people and insisted any negotiations had to be with the involvement of the LTTE. TNA thus became the spokesman for LTTE at the political level.
It is for this reason that no TNA can cry foul over accusations of its links to LTTE terrorists and the Government that eliminated LTTE in 2009 should have launched an investigation into TNA links to LTTE while denazifying LTTE emblems and logos as was done following the victory over Nazis. These two factors or errors continues to haunt Sri Lanka’s peaceful co-existence.
Also sad to note is that some of the battle steering war heroes have had to retire because yahapalana did not see fit to offer them extensions. Yet, the nation will never forget the services rendered by them to defeating the LTTE. Their names will forever be etched in history and in our hearts.
Be that as it may, the Government planned to eliminate LTTE in 3 years and as assured the military operation that commenced as a result of LTTE’s own folly in closing Mavil Aru reservoir gates resulted in the end of LTTE in May 2009. The East was liberated in July 2007 with the capture of Thoppigala. LTTE retreated North but did not expect a powerful and synergized attack by the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Air Force and the Sri Lankan Navy that played an immeasurable role in the defeat of the LTTE.
While the Armed Forces were battling in the North, the political battles were far greater. The ruling Government under President Mahinda Rajapakse was facing a wave of issues – an unsupportive UNP-led opposition going so far as to even ask loan funding to be suspended. With elections in India, it meant Tamil Nadu was giving problems to the Centre and that required regular diplomatic assurances while the West that used LTTE as their pet poodle to advance their agendas did not take it too well that they were going to lose a key arm-twister against Sri Lanka.
While the Armed Forces braved the LTTE onslaughts bigger battles were happening in Colombo which like it or not the Rajapakse brothers had to weather astutely. The revenge for the May 2009 haunts them still and was transferred to the halls of the UN where Resolution after Resolution with sensationalized accusations were slapped on them. The terrorists became the innocent cubs and the saviors were turned into war criminals via warped publicity pumped by LTTE illegal money and those on LTTE payroll.
That LTTE money bankrolled many a high profile figure who were unabashedly speaking on LTTE podiums, writing books, some counting the dead while others sat on panels.
Ironically, the very parties and individuals that took out the books and were reading to us pages on the rules of war and how to carry out a humanitarian operation, running through templates on how civilians were to be treated, how refugee centres needed to cater to the human rights of people and what not, have made a right royal mess of things in how they have handled COVID-19. The elderly are found in their hundreds dead inside elders homes while the first don’t even have sufficient ventilators to treat their people but ready to pump millions for ‘development’ in other countries. What hypocrisy!
All of the countries that preached and patronized Sri Lanka are today having to eat their own words. All their templates have failed. US, the candleholder of the resolutions against Sri Lanka since 2012 has over 1million active cases and over 81,000 deaths. UK with close to 200,000 active cases has close to 27,000 deaths. All of the countries that voted against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC are in peril dealing with the COVID-19. They cannot even provide basic hospital care. People in their countries are accusing them of racial discrimination in handling COVID-19 patients. In US, more than 55% of cases are blacks and that has raised eyebrows among people.
We call this nemesis or causal effect of karma. Whatever good or bad one does, it returns back and the very countries that stigmatized Sri Lanka, patronized Sri Lanka and found fault with everything Sri Lanka did are today scratching their heads not knowing how to handle COVID-19 in their countries.
They mocked at Sri Lanka’s handling of the military-cum-humanitarian relief operation – from the manner Sri Lanka’s forces saved close to 300,000 Tamils, to accepting surrender of close to 12,000 civilian-clothed LTTE combatants, offering a Presidential Pardon to 594 child soldiers and rehabilitating them, educating them and putting them back to society – everything Sri Lanka did was wrong in their eyes.
They paid NGOs to write report after report finding fault with Sri Lanka and its Armed Forces and some of these local heads were given roles by the yahapalana government and they have done pittance while taking a nicely packaged remuneration from the poor tax payer. Encouraging bogus rights and demonizing the majority eventually led to mass murder on 21/4/2019 – the first such murderous attack since end of LTTE 10 years back in 2009. People now understand that the 2015 experiment was a total failure in all areas of governance.
The election of a new President in November 2019 was no cakewalk. Plenty of obstacles prevailed but the voters delivered an overwhelming victory that silenced the critics.
Nature put nations & people to test in 2020. The world is in a crisis never experienced. Sri Lanka could only sigh with relief that the same team that eliminated the LTTE was back at the helm to handle COVID-19.
Having handled a military-humanitarian operation back in 2009 where the enemy were terrorists, a decade later the same operational team was tasked to eliminate an enemy that had no legs, no ammunition and could not be confined to a territory and there was no safe zone. This was an enemy far different to the LTTE. Knowing the scale of planning that went to defeating the LTTE while also designing an indigenous rehabilitation and reintegration program, the new task was one of ‘proactive action’ which included travel restrictions and co-opting the entities to steer the operation. The identified entities were the Health Services, the State Intelligence Service, the Armed Forces and the Police together with the Public Sector key apparatus. This Team became the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19. The strategic concept paper aspiring to execute the President’s vision was designed Sri Lanka’s State Intelligence Services.
The strategic-vision identified the need to reduce spread of virus via a process of detection, isolation and tracing tasked to the Military, the Police & Intelligence.
The Medical and Health Services was tasked to treat identified patience and continuously monitor those under surveillance.
The President’s team while engaged in the two key operations mentioned above took cognizance of the psychological impact of curfews, lockdowns, economy and food, medicine issues that would become a concern to the community. Information flow and means for people to communicate their views was made available. From the subject-Minister downwards officials were seen speaking on talk-shows explaining to the general public the situation the country & the world was facing. It was a different type of briefing to the daily situational reports that the public was privy to, during the last days of Sri Lanka’s conflict in May2009.
The tourists unable to take flight back home were quarantined where they were holidaying. Overseas students, expats and pilgrims stranded were chartered back and quarantined. 46 such quarantine centres are operational across the country. Facilities and meals all given free and the cost borne by the State. The armed forces took pains even to bake cakes for little one’s celebrating their birthdays while in quarantine, while Muslims fasting for Ramadan also had a special break fast meal
Appreciating the Sri Lanka Armed Forces and the President for the decisions made.
A British tourist praises Sri Lanka’s covid reaction – https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=search&v=711878379655235&external_log_id=8dc13a5ead9d1328194af9178942f781&q=british+tourist+praise+sri+lanka+covid
When a foreign social media website declares “Sri Lanka the most Generous country in Covid19” that is the icing on the cake for all the efforts taken.
“Today, the intelligence agencies are providing exceptional results by promptly tracking and tracing individuals evading quarantine and identifying potential coronavirous carriers, who have associated with confirmed patients,” the Defenec Secretary Kamal Gunaratne declared.
It really brought back emotional memories of how the same army was scorned in 2009 by lies, distortions and for revenge going so far as to call the refugee centres ‘concentration camps’ when the government and armed forces took pains to make the lives of the Tamils saved from LTTE as comfortable as possible.
In 2009 though LTTE terror and bombs went off now and then, the citizens never had to face island wide curfews of the nature they experienced in 2020. This may explain the indicipline of the populace which though have an excellent COVID19 scorecard arrests for indiscipline number over 50,000.
It was due to this indiscipline that the removal of lockdowns has been delayed. The planning that went into intermittently removing the lockdown also deserves praise and mention. The thinking and planning had been such that even tickets had been issued by colour to denote the days of the week for people to travel and giving an exclusive number where the passenger was given a seat number and had to return in that very seat at the end of day. Health guidelines were regularly issued in all 3 languages. All places of work, hospitals etc had been disinfected and offices were asked to maintain social distancing in seating and use of lifts, staircase etc. Operations at hospitals have been halted except for emergency operations and doctors are even coming home where patients are elderly and vulnerable. The children were also given an opportunity through a program arranged by UNICEF to ask direct questions from the Prime Minister “Agamathi Seeya” in all 3 languages.
The President led by the Sri Lanka Health Services, the Armed Forces, the Police, the State Intelligence Service and the Public Officials including members of the Private Sector have done a yeomen service to the Nation. Not only has Sri Lanka kept the death rate to 9 and active cases to just over 500, so far all of the covid-19 cases are from quarantine centres where health services are geared to treat them. With lockdowns slowly being removed, now the task of maintaining the momentum lies with the citizens in following the guidelines, keeping social distancing and most of all discipline. In so doing, it will make it easier for the Government to reopen schools and enable the children to return to normalcy.
What everyone will have to understand from this global epidemic is that we will all have to change the way we think, the way we work, the way we eat and the way we live. COVID has taught us many lessons and brought out amazing talents of youth who have come up with innovative inventions. The Government can now tap into these newly inspired citizens from all walks of life some of whom are now encouraged to grow their own fruits & vegetables. All these are plus points for a Government that has taken care of the people. The people have much to look forward to.
Shenali D Waduge