A momentous New Year this will be to all of us

[April 12, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian] As we celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, we are conscious of the reality that after a period of far too many tragic events that were propelled by extreme racist and religious groups most unfitting for a country like Sri Lanka, we are about to embark on nation building towards peace and harmony in the country.

We also learnt very bitterly that racial and religious dissonance and discord beget on its devastating path all kinds of evils especially corruption. Sri Lanka was further affected by the most brutal kind of terrorism. This would never have happened had the governments immediately after independence accepted that people of Sri Lanka whether they come from a majority community or minority community are all entitled to equal rights. Sadly this did not happen.

There was a time when it was wondered whether Sri Lanka was heading for irretrievable anarchy. The racial riots were intolerable and the perpetrators of the riots of 1983 did a great deal of harm to Sri Lanka. More than any other tragic event, it was this that sparked a terror movement in the country and this has wreaked a terrible price on every aspect of life in Sri Lanka.

Fortunately sense and sanity prevailed and the Government of Mahinda Rajapakse set as its primary task not only to wipe out terrorism in the country but also bring to end all forms of racial and religious discrimination.

His government met the terrorist peril squarely on its face virtually inspiring an Armed Force to become highly disciplined and determined to wipe out terrorism. He was ably and exceptionally well assisted in this quest by the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, and his ministers and committed public servants.

A loyal Armed Force is the most vital element in a democratic state. It must not have any ambitions of its own except to serve the country and be at all times willing to do so even at great sacrifice. Sri Lanka is fortunate to have excellent officers in its armed forces and thousands of men and women serving in its Army, Navy and Air Force.

At this time when we celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year we bow in appreciation to our Armed Forces headed by President Rajapakse and also pay our deepest respects and tributes to all those valiant men and women of the Forces who lost their lives, and their bereaved families.

We know that they have not laboured and given their precious lives in vain and finally terrorism has begun to take flight.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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