End of separatism
Kilinochchi, once thought to be the impregnable bastion of
the LTTE dreamland, has finally fallen into the hands of the
brave soldiers of the Sri Lankan Army. This indeed is an
important milestone in the three decade old fight against
terrorism. In the context of the present times, it is a historic
development both locally and internationally.
This victory becomes more significant in the context of the many
odds against which the war was fought. On one hand we had the
opponents from within – those politicians, civil society leaders
and even some religious leaders who believed that negotiating
was the only way to conquer the LTTE terrorism. They were of the
view that the LTTE was militarily undefeatable.
Then there were numerous foreign powers that openly backed the
LTTE and its cohorts, and tacitly advocated establishment of a
separate state within Sri Lanka for their own ulterior motives.
Thirdly, there were the natural forces - unfriendly weather,
torrential rains etc which made the forward march of our brave
soldiers almost impossible.
Despite all these odds, the Army backed by the Air Force and the
Navy has proved its prowess by extending the writ of the Sri
Lankan Government upto the all important Kilinochchi town, which
once was considered to be the ultimate symbol of the LTTE
This achievement of the military forces should be welcomed by
all the citizens of this country with pride and honour. As was
evidenced during the last twenty four hours, the people will do
many things to give due recognition to the bravery of the
soldiers who fought for the territorial integrity of the
country, risking their own lives. At this hour we should also
not forget thousands of men and women from the three Armed
Forces and Police, who sacrificed their lives.
No doubt the nation will salute the President, the Defence
Secretary and the three service Commanders for giving leadership
to the war effort without politicising its operation, as was
done often in the past.
As much as the fall of Kilinochchi is an important milestone in
a military sense, it should also signify a new beginning in the
search for a long lasting political solution that meets the
aspirations of the Tamil people. In that sense we should not
consider it to be a victory for the majority community but a
victory for the whole country, which fact the President
emphasized in his Address to the Nation on Friday evening where
he declared that this event was of equal significance to all Sri
Lankans, be they Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher or Malay. It
is a victory for all right thinking Sri Lankans who believe in
The presence of an armed group who only believed in
authoritarianism, has for long been an impediment for
development of democratic thinking in the north east region.
Therefore, successful elimination of the terrorist grip and
control from the north east, should technically pave the way for
re-emergence of democratic institutions.
As the war progresses, to gain control of the territory
remaining under the LTTE control, the duty of our political
leadership should be to fast track the evolution of a
constitutional settlement to the national issue, without
allowing the people to be blinded by the euphoria of this
glorious military achievement.
That is the only way by which this military victory could be
converted into a real victory for the whole nation.
Vigilance: Key to financial stability
As we all wish each other a happy and prosperous New Year, we
must also remind ourselves that the year that just ended was not
a prosperous one by any means. The global economy is officially
in recession, the credit crunch has hurt even the major economic
super powers and we in Sri Lanka are finding it harder more than
ever before to make ends meet.
Nevertheless, the hottest economic news in this country was not
the bleak economic outlook, it was the collapse of two major
financial institutions: First the ‘Sakvithi’ scam and then the
even more shocking, the demise of the Golden Key credit card
company, a member of the prestigious Ceylinco group.
The ‘Sakvithi’ scam highlighted the need for vigilance in the
financial world: it was a swindle carried out by one individual,
who posed as a teacher, won over his victims with his public
relations skills and then induced them to part with their riches
with the promise of a fast buck.
The collapse of the Golden Key credit card company, demonstrated
how even an established and respected institution can be taken
for a ride-using as a key factor- the very goodwill that such an
institution enjoys- if proper financial procedures are not
In the latter, the Central Bank had to intervene to take over
the management of Seylan Bank, allied to the Ceylinco Group, to
allay the concerns of customers and depositors of that bank, and
prevent a run on deposits that would have had a domino effect
and led to instability in that bank as well.
It was an unprecedented move by the Central Bank, and a
decision that drew criticism from some quarters as well.
However, first indications are that the move has paid off, and
prevented catastrophic consequences for the bank concerned, at
least for now.
It is not often that we are inclined to offer bouquets to the
Central Bank but in this instance it seems to have acted
promptly and prudently. A run on the deposits of one major bank
would have been disastrous for the financial system of the
nation, and could have triggered off a series of sensational
events. The action of the Central Bank appears to have stalled
that downward spiral.
But these events bring to the fore an interesting question: Why
is the general public so gullible as to be lured by the promise
of higher returns and heavy advertising, when in fact they
should be smelling a rat and turning a blind eye to such