Sanjiva Wijesinha -writer and physician

Short stories, Travel and Health Information

Lest We Forget

imagesI am sharing this very well researched, well written article by a Sri Lankan journalist that was published in today’s Sri Lankan Sunday Times newspaper. Well worth a read!


Lest we forget

Last week, Paris suffered a terrorist attack when 132 people were killed in the heart of that city by suicide bombers. France is grieving – and the world grieves with her. In 2001, New York suffered a co-ordinated terrorist attack when terrorists deliberately crashed passenger jetliners into the World Trade Center and over 2900 people died. America grieved – and the world grieved with her.

In 1996, Sri Lankan suffered two major terrorist attacks. On 31st January 1996, an LTTE suicide bomber, Raju, crashed his truck through the gates of the Central Bank in Colombo and detonated over 200 kilograms of high explosive, killing about a hundred people, blinding another hundred and injuring hundreds more; on July 24th in the same year, we in this country faced the Dehiwala train bombing when LTTE operatives simultaneously exploded multiple bombs hidden in several carriages, the first time such a co-ordinated technique was used in a terrorist attack.

In those days, Sri Lanka grieved – and we grieved alone. During the years when our country had to face the specter of LTTE terrorism, we faced many, many attacks like the Central bank bombing and the Dehiwala train bombing, not only in Colombo but all over our little island, in places like Kattankudy, Anuradhapura, Habarana, Palliyagodalle, Digampathana and Kebetigollawa.
I remember those days when anyone carrying a parcel onto a bus had to have the parcel checked – as were the schoolbags of little school children. Despite all this security, schools and bus stations continued to be subject to terrorist attacks, none of us felt safe, and many of us lost our loved ones.

And throughout all this time, we grieved and mourned and suffered alone.
Europeans who now have come to face this kind of suicide attack were at that time urging us to sit down and negotiate with the LTTE. Those of us lucky enough to travel overseas would see people wearing T-shirts with the LTTE emblem of the snarling tiger and crossed rifles – and demonstrations being staged for the creation of a separate state in Sri Lanka by diaspora Gelutniks in western capitals.

I wonder what folk in Europe would feel these days if they see people wearing ISIS T shirts freely walking around their capitals – and even being allowed to demonstrate for the creation of a of a separate Islamic State in Syria and Iraq!

It is easy and fashionable nowadays to castigate Mahinda Rajapaksa for the corruption that he allowed to flourish under his watch. But let us not forget that it was he who gave our country the fearless leadership to end this war – and let us not forget the men and women of our armed forces who fought, many sacrificing their lives, their limbs and their mental health, to defeat the LTTE.

After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 in the US, the Americans went to war against those they suspected were responsible – and unleashed merciless bombing attacks on the countries where the terrorists were believed to be “hiding”. The US Air Force undertook what it termed “precision bombing” of Baghdad – and as anybody who knows anything about bombing will tell you, “precision bombing” is a phrase that only sounds good in the media and to a gullible public. Bombs never fall precisely, and they indiscriminately destroy guilty and innocent alike!

After the Paris attacks, French Air Force jets have been pounding targets in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa as well as other Syrian cities such as Aleppo and Idlib.

I am sure there will be many innocent Syrians in Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib who will die as a result of the French missiles that are raining down on their homes. And I cannot help wondering whether the French will be hauled up before the United Nations Human Rights Council to defend their actions – or accused of violating the human rights of the ISIS leaders?

15 comments on “Lest We Forget

  1. noelnadesan
    November 22, 2015

    I agree ,Mahinda Rajapakse was a gift to Sri Lanka ,without him we still with LTTE.

  2. Shirley Somanader
    November 22, 2015

    Nadesan is right. But we should remember a gift is for a specific purpose. In world war II, Churchill was a gift to Europe; Stalin a gift to chase Hitler up to Berlin. But these Gifts ceased to be precious once their work was done. The cartoon below may explain why.

    • You may have heard the story of Cincinnatus in Ancient Rome. He led the Romans to victory against their enemies – and when the war was over , despite him being offered the crown, he went back to his farm .

      • Jennifer
        November 22, 2015

        Cincinnatus defended the city against the Aequi and the Volscians. He didn’t kill 25,000 civilians in the process.

        • Ah, Jennifer- these numbers are relative! There would have been a lot of Volsci,Aequi and Sabini – as well as Romans – who were slaughtered in the battle. Did not Cincinnatus allow his men to loot the camp of the Aequi after the battle of MonsAlgidus? Casualties – whether military or as happens increasingly today – are an inevitable consequence of modern war.

  3. R. Nihal. W. Nilaweera.
    November 22, 2015

    Sanjiva, A great article. You have said a mouthfull. Very precise and appropriate .However, with one correction, It was Sarath. Fonseka andr not anyone else , who was responsible in the main, for winning the LTTE war.


    • sara
      November 22, 2015

      Victory has many a father, If SL lost the war………..?

      • Darshi
        December 5, 2015

        We can keep throwing questions … What if Hitler won WWII?

        What is Confederates won the American Civil War to continue slavery?

        It is more important to discuss what is relevant.

        How to preserve what humanity achieved?

        How to prevent international thugs from restarting the LTTE racist campaign and the war in Sri Lanka?

    • Darshi
      December 5, 2015

      Sarath Fonseka was undoubtedly a good strategist to win battles. If he was, however, at the helm, he would not have been able to coordinate with the Navy, because he had petty issues with them, and the LTTE survived. Rajapaksas brought all required people together, and kept those not required (e.g., international thugs) out. So, Sarath Fonseka was NOT responsible in the MAIN, for winning the LTTE war.

  4. Allan
    November 22, 2015

    So very true. Well written & thank you for the article.

  5. Ed
    November 23, 2015

    In this world might is right. The USA, Russia, UK, France, China and the others can do what they please and the UN is powerless to do anything. Has the UNHCR done anything to bring them to justice?. A minnow like Sri Lanka has to take what is thrown at her by the big boys, even though it is quite apparent that the double standards hurt.

  6. Bahar
    November 23, 2015

    Dear Sanjiva Sir,

    A great article and thanks for sharing same. Just a comment on Nihal.. Wars are not fought alone and won by a individual. All great wars are won with the support of all services (Army,Navy and Air force) and with the cohesiveness of the lowest rank to higher achy in the battle field. When Field Marshal SF was elevated to the appointment of Commander of the Army by Rajapaksa regime the LTTE was in a terrible defeating situation due to the heavy losses in the past and with the turning point of Karuna.

    FM SF was a good leader but do not forget that Rajapaksa regime gave him the fullest support unlike the past regimes and the soldiers in the battle field scarified for the victory….


  7. Darshi
    December 5, 2015

    Sanjiva Wijesinha, thank you for the well written article!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on November 21, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

Book: Tales From my Island