Sunday, May 31, 2009

After the dust settles

It would be foolish for Lankans to assume that everything will be tickety boo, as the popular hit song of yesteryear had it, now that the war is over. That is far from reality. The time for raucous hurrahs, hoisting the national flag and indulging in all manner of celebratory acts must now be quickly ended and the serious business of rebuilding the war-wracked country and caring for those who have paid the heaviest price in the decades of fighting must begin post-haste. Caring for the families of the men and women in the armed services who have given their lives and those who have been disabled as well as the tens of thousands internally displaced persons must be the top priority. The figures of military losses, both killed and wounded in action, since the all out effort to subdue the LTTE began at Mavil Aru in July 2006, are truly frightening. Some 6,200 have been killed and over 30,000 wounded and as the defence secretary and the army commander have both stressed, the military has paid a tremendous price for this hard-won victory. These figures must not be mere numbers in the national consciousness. The dead and wounded are real people of flesh and blood and they and their families must be cared for as best we can. Full text