Shooting down flying Tigers
Can we just ignore the ‘flying
Tigers,’ by calling them a ‘buggy cart syndrome’ in the night
skies of Colombo?
The LTTE’s air-wing appears to be a new dimension in their three
decade long war against the state, aimed at creating a separate
state in the north and east. As far as the LTTE is concerned,
their air-wing is a phenomenal change in their long drawn out
terror campaign against the government. The disconcerting factor
in the circumstances is how the citizenry in the south would
face this new situation.
The LTTE’s intentions are obvious. Their main objective is to
inflict maximum damage to the state through their night raids
and create mayhem in the city.
The three raids carried out so far by the LTTE had caused a fear
psychosis in the people, which, more than the damage to the
country, would have lasting economic repercussions. Their (LTTE)
thinking is that the best way to reap maximum results from the
present situation is to cause economic mayhem, which would lead
to ultimate economic paralysis.
While the LTTE is working on creating economic horrors, the
government, though boasting that it would be a matter of time
before they crush the LTTE’s air power, wasn’t able to do
anything meaningful during the previous raid. They have only
activated the air defence systems randomly, without even
locating the enemy. The cost of this exercise would have been
enormous. Some people sustained injuries and their houses were
damaged due to the fire emanating from various points in the
city. The most important thing under such circumstances would
have been to identify the flight path of the enemy and take
appropriate action, rather than fire at random, which caused
Whatever assurances the Air Force Commander had given the people
of the country, they are wondering as to what meaningful action
the Sri Lanka Air Force would take to track down the low flying
air Tigers. Is the Mig29 interceptor the answer for the ‘buggy
The so called bombing of the LTTE airstrips had not caused
substantial damage to the flying Tigers since they operate light
aircraft, which could be taken off and landed on a tarred road,
or even on a 100 metre strip on the A9.
In the present state of affairs, what is more important is
proper air surveillance and a vigilant air force that will bring
down the flying Tigers. Failing to have these would create a
snowball effect on the whole world.
‘Flying Tigers,’ would create a bad precedence, if allowed to
operate without taking cognizance of the danger it would pose to
the entire region. This is especially because other militant
organisations also can very well acquire such capabilities thus
creating a new dimension in terrorist activity throughout the
region. Such a situation can no doubt cause disastrous
consequences. The pertinent question that arises here is whether
the LTTE would be looked upon as a role model by other militant
organisations in the region.
The matter has to be dealt with appropriately by the countries
in the region, before it is too late and crush the air power of
the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world without allowing
it to grow into a destructive clandestine operation.
Pushing for peace through religion
Last week we had two important personalities visiting our country. Out of the
two, the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Dr. Rowen Williams
bears more significance since Dr. Williams is the Head of the Anglican Church.
The Archbishop’s visit coincides with that of Richard Boucher, the Deputy
Assistant Secretary of the State of the United States of America.
Both visits took place at a crucial stage, when Sri Lanka was facing a tough
time, unable to persuade the LTTE to return to the negotiating table.
Rt. Rev. Dr. Rowen Williams has been quoted as saying, “I’m very much aware of
the continuing difficulties being faced by the country and the present situation
gives cause for real concern. Sri Lanka is a place in which conflict and
violence have become a reflexive response to political difficulty. It is clear
that people are suffering greatly. It is a very difficult situation and one
which is constantly in our prayers. I trust that the witness of Christians in
Sri Lanka will go on helping to provide real ground for hope.”
The sentiments expressed by the Archbishop should be taken in the correct spirit
and all communities representing various religious denominations should act
together and yearn for a peaceful solution, which we badly need today.
The Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all others should take the
cognizance of Dr. Williams’ message to Sri Lanka and turn the searchlight
introspectively to ascertain whether we, as responsible Sri Lankans, have taken
a single positive step to give some hope to the people who are suffering due to
this senseless war. A simple step taken towards achieving peace in our crisis
ridden land will take us a long way.
It is important to understand people and respect their inherent right for life.
A small step in this direction would help immensely to ease off the tension that
has gripped minds of the people and make them think humanely enough to respect
entire humanity. Such tidings would no doubt make Sri Lanka a paradise on earth,
especially because of its bountiful resources.
Indian President Abul Kalam also had made sentiments similar to that of the
Archbishop of Canterbury when he addressed a gathering at the Vesak celebrations
held in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.
Today, several countries are adopting the principles of Buddhism and people are
being attracted towards the values and ideals preached by the great Buddha.
Peace and prosperity would only be achieved in the world by following the path
shown by Lord Buddha.
Sri Lanka being a predominantly Buddhist country would find solace and a path
for peace in the teachings of the enlightened one.
It is time for us to ponder and mend our ways to achieve peace for the sake of
the future generations.