We for all, or Land for all?

by Mallika

(December 13, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The picture of Sri Lankan Guardian where the handsome Secretary Defense Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa accompanied by Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera Thursday (11) morning conveying his best wishes to Wanni ground Commanders who lead brave soldiers in the ‘war fronts’ and the Senior Police Officers serving in Wanni areas during his visit to Security Forces Headquarters Wanni (SFHQ-W), is a good photo to ponder.

It also brings back some flash backs when the Jaffna peninsula was captured. Five hundred thousand people left their belongings, dwellings and left a bare land to be captured. In this picture too I see just the bare land in the back ground. Not a single civilian to be seen. People are used to live like wandering nomads since more than two decades. What are we interested in? To capture the bare land in the North or the Tamil people or the LTTE who themselves are Tamils? Another picture shows a hall full of security forces seated for a meeting. My surprise was that the big ceremony in which they had hoisting the Sri Lankan Flag after capturing Jaffna was not celebrated during the visit.

How many of the families of the soldiers ‘missing in action’ live in anxiety especially during the festive season! The famous old Christmas carol ‘silent night, Holy night’ reminds us of the incident that took place during World War 1. In the winter of 1914, on the battle fields of Flanders, an unusual thing in the history of the world happened. The Germans and the British and French were in fierce battle. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches which seemed to stretch forever. All of a sudden German troops lit candles outside the trenches and began to sing song across the way in the “no man’s land”. Standley Weintraub, who wrote about this event in his book ‘Silent Night’, says there were placards saying ‘YOU NO FIGHT! WE NO FIGHT’. The soldiers left their trenches shook hands, buried the dead ones, exchanged gifts, and began to have a good fellowship.

‘The cease fire’ which seems to be long forgotten one becoming a reality seems to be an impossible task for our country at least during these festive seasons. It will take a miracle to conquer the hearts of the people and much harder than capturing the bare land of the North.
- Sri Lanka Guardian