Short stories, Travel and Health Information
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?