"I ask all political parties including the opposition, and various other organizations not to betray the victory we have won as a nation. If anyone tries to destroy this, it would amount to destroying a great mansion built upon the aspirations of the people," said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his address at the National War Heroes Day celebrations at Sri Jayawardenapura - Kotte, today (June 07).
He called upon the people to "look at the great commitment and sacrifice of our troops, and calmly and courageously extend all your support to the security forces, the police and the government."
The President also said that today even innocent children who know nothing of race, ethnicity or caste are being attacked by terrorists. The unarmed and innocent civilians are attacked. The terrorists are trying to get us entrapped. They are trying to provoke the people, fan communalism and benefit by it. The terrorists have plenty of time to plot how they can delay the day our troops move into Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. That is their great need. We have the need to give the Tami people in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu their democratic rights, as we did for the people in the East. But because the terrorists do not want that, they seek to create trouble in other areas and gain time to their advantage.
Here is the text of the President's address:
Today we celebrate National War Heroes Day near the parliamentary complex at historic Sri Jayawardenapura. We considered it important to have this memorial to our War Heroes located near our supreme legislature because of the service rendered by our War Heroes to safeguard parliamentary democracy and the rights of the people. The importance of having this memorial near the legislature is understood when one realizes the service of our War Heroes to safeguard justice and fair play in a country that was about to be subjugated by terrorism and the law of the jungle, in place of democracy. Now, the representatives of the people will also have the opportunity to pay their respects to the heroes who are protecting democracy before they enter the shrine of democracy.
The time is not very far when our War Heroes will be honoured not only in our country but throughout the world. Our War Heroes are fighting with sacrifice of their lives to mark a full stop in Sri Lanka to international terrorism. Wherever in the world terrorism is defeated militarily it is a defeat for international terrorism. There was a time when no one thought our War Heroes will be able to give this example to the world. Our War Heroes are not only engaged in battling terrorism, they are also engaged in a great operation to ensure and provide the human rights and the necessities of the people.
When the first humanitarian operation to free Mavil Aru was launched, many said that our troops will not be able to free the area from terrorists without blasting the anicut. Having won at Mavil Aru when they proceeded to Sampur, we were told that even if Sampur is captured, we will not be able to fully govern it, because of the lack of support from the people of the area. Having liberated Sampur when our troops moved to free Vakarai, we were told that because of the fall of an important fortress of the terrorists, Prabhakaran will teach us a very good lesson. When Vakarai was won and our troops moved to clear Thoppigala, there were some even in this parliament who said that our troops were stranded in the jungle of Thoppigala.
Now, when we have liberated Thoppigala and also held provincial elections in the east, it is said that the eastern election was corrupt. They are opposed to the war to save the country and to the election that expresses the will of the people.
Friends, it is possible, if necessary, for us to use the armed forces to erect fences and barricades to protect the country, but how can we fence or barricade the mouths of those who hate the country? We are politicians and representatives of the people. We are able to reply to these allegations. We have a right to issue statements in response to these charges in parliament, in accordance with the rules and privileges. But at the theatres of war at Jaffna or Muhamalai, the troops who come forward ready to sacrifice their lives facing up to enemy bullets, and their officers, have no opportunity to respond to false charges and allegations. Often they do not even have the chance to have their meals in the midst of battle. I have often been told that much pain of mind is caused by these charges to the troops who are ready to sacrifice their lives.
When we began we had to make a great commitment to build the morale of our troops. It is not possible to win a war with weapons alone. For this it is necessary for the soldier who goes into battle to have trust and confidence in his leadership. In order to build their morale we had to resolve many problems affecting then, such as service conditions, weapons training, suitable housing, and education for their children.
By facing up to the international forces that were attempting to make us withdraw the steps we had taken against terrorism, and by replying to the false charges they made, we showed that we were not ready to betray our troops. From the time it began, the battle against terrorism, against Eelam; this battle to develop the country, has been pulled back to serve the interest of various forces. This was due diverse pressures such as international opinion or the interest of those in this country who seek to profit from the slogan of peace. But we have not made our troops take a single step forward for political reasons and also they have not taken any step back due to any such interests or pressures, and will not do so in the future too.
Friends, today even the innocent children who know nothing of race, ethnicity or caste are being attacked by terrorists. The unarmed and innocent civilians are attacked. This is what we saw in the past few days. They are trying to get us entrapped. They are trying to provoke the people, fan communalism and benefit by it. That is their present necessity. The terrorists have plenty of time to plot how they can delay the day our troops move into Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. That is their great need. We have the need to give the Tami people in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu their democratic rights, as we did for the people in the East. But because the terrorists do not want that, they seek to create trouble in other areas and gain time to their advantage. It is to gain time that they seek to overthrow the government, use human rights and various other means to psychologically weaken us, and seek to defeat us by cutting off aid. All this is done to gain time for their purposes. But we do not have the time. We have to finish this battle against terrorism soon.
I call upon you to look at the great commitment and sacrifice of our troops, and calmly and courageously extend all your support to the security forces, the police and the government. I ask all political parties including the opposition, and various other organizations not to betray the victory we have won as a nation. If anyone tries to destroy this, it would amount to destroying a great mansion built upon the aspirations of the people.
Today, when faced with increased costs of goods, a high cost of living, being killed by mines and bombs, what these mothers of our War Heroes and our people ask is that we free the country, and create the conditions for all to live in a society without fear and mistrust. We are not ready to hand the menace of terrorism to the next generation. We look at these mothers who have given their children to the armed forces; the wives who have sent their husbands to the forces and give them all strength and encouragement, the children of our War Heroes, and we know that they have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of this country, to safeguard democracy in the country.
These mothers deserve not only honour from the entire country for the great sacrifice they made when they gave their children to save the country. Their children too deserve an entire country for their great sacrifice, So, I ask you not to criticize these Heroes of War and fool around with the children of these mothers.
As much as we have built this monument in granite for our Heroes of War, we must all have a monument to them in our own hearts, which will also be a monument to the mothers of these Heroes of War. I am certain that our people will always have these heroes in their hearts and minds.
As we remember and honour our Heroes of War, on behalf of the country and the nation, we pledge to complete the task of safeguarding democracy and restoring peace for which they sacrificed their lives and assure you all that the day is not far when we shall accomplish this.
Courtesy : Presidential Media Unit
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