Feature Article

Mahinda tells Sri Lankans: "choose your side in the war"

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 December 2006, 11:53 GMT]
Announcing tough new powers for the Sri Lankan military and the police, SL President Mahinda Rajapakse last issued a warning for citizens: “I ask this of all political parties, all media, and all people’s organizations,” he said Wednesday in a countrywide television broadcast asking the viewers to choose their side in the war between "terrorism" and "democracy" in a 'you're either with us, or against us,' patterned speech.

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse
Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse [Photo: AFP]
“You decide whether you should be with a handful of terrorists or with the common man who is in the majority. You must clearly choose between these two sides. No one can represent both these sides at any one time,” Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse said.

He called on the Sinhala polity to actively support his efforts to defeat ‘separatist terrorism’ and warned Tamils “there is no room anymore to assist terrorism directly or indirectly.”

Declaring that the people who elected him in November 2005 gave him a mandate “to defend the motherland,” he said he relished the task and would dedicate his second year in office to it.

“I am aware that more than one year ago, it is with the greatest confidence that you entrusted me with the responsibility of protecting our beloved motherland, and not being subdued by whatever forces that sought to divide it.”

“What satisfies me most about the past year is the ability of our government to gradually extricate our country from the great betrayal it was facing,” he said.

He was referring the Norwegian-brokered peace process began by the opposition UNP party when it came to power in 2001.

“We cannot move an inch forward other than by defeating this cruel terrorism that is intertwined with the common destiny of my country and the Sri Lankan nation. I am happy to be able to be committed to this task. I am happier still by the support extended to us for this purpose by the entire nation.”

“The new century waits for the day when [Sri Lankans] all join as one nation to fight together to defeat the challenges of the future. I intend to dedicate my second year in office to realizing this objective,”

Saying that his government was confronting a dangerous enemy, he called on the Sinhala polity to actively rally behind his efforts to defeat it.

“What our government is facing is separatist terrorism which is the common enemy of us all,” President Rajapakse said.

“It is the responsibility of us all to face it jointly and defeat it.”

“[But] this is not a thing that can be achieved by making allegations and counter allegations against each other. I have already demonstrated that I am a leader who is not ready to kneel before terrorism, but a leader committed to safeguarding the democratic rights of the Tamil people.

“Therefore, in the name of the nation, I appeal for the practical support of all of you to defeat these challenges,” he said.

“By practical support I mean the support that is not confined to words. It is support that is extended to me and to my government.”

“If instead, the decision taken by us at this moment is not properly implemented, its full benefit will go to terrorism. Therefore, I call upon all political leaders to assist us to overcome this challenge, by building a genuine and practical unity for the sake of our motherland.”

He was continuing a long struggle by former Sri Lankan leaders, he said.

“Beginning with Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, all leaders from President J. R. Jayewardene to President Chandrika Kumaratunga sought to face up to this grave threat to the nation and bring peace to our motherland,”

“All steps that we take to build a new Sri Lanka can be made a success only by defeating this beastly terrorism.”

He told the island’s Tamils, however, that they need not fear the draconian counter-terrorism laws he was reinstating.

“I appeal to all members of the Tamil community and all organizations that value democracy not to have any fears about these regulations that are effective from today. These regulations will not affect any rights in the workplace, field and university. I will not allow the violation of human rights in any manner through these regulations.”

“These regulations will only defeat the fascist thinking of the LTTE. What these regulations will do is bring democratic politics to the Tamil political arena.”

However, he said, “We should make a firm commitment not to allow anyone to take these new regulations lightly.”

“Whatever one’s status may be, supporting terrorism is act of enmity towards both the country and the nation. We are not ready to allow that.”

“Similarly, there is no room anymore to assist terrorism directly or indirectly, and talk about democracy.”

This, he said, “is because they use this democratic space to design the destruction of the entire society. The democracy that creates an opportunity for terrorism is a joke. It is no simple joke but a deadly joke. We already reddened our eyes through that joke.”

 

Latest 15 Reports
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=20584