[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 May 2010, 17:45 GMT]
May 18. V-day. Day of glory. Day of triumph. Day of freedom. The day we ascended the summit and regained our rightful place as the premier warriors on Earth. Let us take a moment to celebrate our heroes.
A year has passed since the dust settled on the battlefield, drawing to a close what was probably the most violent and heart-rending chapter in our venerable nation’s long history. The challenges that have come before and since that glorious day have been myriad, but we have and we will overcome, as we always do.
What is it about this land that compels her children to happily risk their lives in her defence? Perhaps it is her miles and miles of pristine coastland, glistening in the sun. Perhaps it is her mountains, shrouded in mist as they reach upwards towards the abode of the devas. Perhaps it is her lush jungles, alive with the call of the wild. Or perhaps it is her ability to make us smile, even during our darkest hours.
Whatever the reasons, since time immemorial we have had no shortage of kings and giants willing to raise the golden sword in her defence. From Dhutta Gamini to Vijayabahu to Parakramabahu to Valagamba to Monarawila Keppetipola to Veera Puran Appu and countless other immortals, our pantheon of heroes is vast, and now we can add thousands more of our own brothers and sisters to it.
How can we even begin to describe our heroes? Mere words cannot express how much we owe our men and women in uniform. No other country in the world is home to warriors who first take a handful of earth and kiss it before embarking upon their sacred mission. That is how much they love the land they were born in. We are so blessed to have them as our guardian angels that sometimes one wonders if we really deserve men and women of their calibre.
Dear heroes, no matter what faith or ethnicity you are from, you have defended the cradle of Theravada Buddhism with the strength of the lion, bleeding and even sacrificing your life in the process. As heroes did you fall unto the grateful embrace of Mother Lanka! As heroes will we remember you for eternity! We cannot thank you enough. Never will we forget you whose blood, sweat and tears gave us a country to call our own. We will remember you in our places of worship and transfer merit to you so that you will have the good fortune to be reborn in Sri Lanka and enjoy that most precious gift you offered us: freedom.
We as a people would not have survived for over 2500 years had we been a timid race. Though most of us follow Buddhism, which is a most peaceful religion that abhors violence, there have been numerous times when we have been compelled to blow the conch shell of war and defend our motherland.
We may be a hospitable people, but our history has shown that when provoked we are deadly and unrelenting in the defence of our Thrice Blessed Land. Woe betides he who raises arms against our Mother. This is our land, the most beautiful in the world, and we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees for any invader. Though many other countries and cultures have been absorbed by foreign aggressors, we have still maintained our Buddhist heritage and that is something we can be proud of.
Yes, it is a fact that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist island. But take heed: it is not a Sinhala Buddhist ONLY island. We have welcomed other bloodlines and they are our brothers, and we are grateful for the invaluable contribution they made in our struggle, for it was the struggle of all Sri Lankans against a demonic terrorist group. It would be in our nation’s best interests if we remember this as we move towards prosperity.
As we celebrate, let us remember to give thanks to our President and his trusted brothers and advisors for having the vision to see it through to the end. It is said that ‘one should support your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.’ This government has by and large fully deserved our support. Thank you!
But let us not forget a certain General who took the wrong path. Yes, General Sarath Fonseka deserves as much praise for his efforts on the field as the men he led on the ground. It is a gargantuan tragedy that he took the path he later did.
Why, General, why? You could have been one of the most respected and well loved men in our country, yet you allowed yourself to be swayed by the false promises of a greedy few who sought to use you for their own ends. It broke our hearts to see you walking down this road, it really did. It is as if General Sarath Fonseka the war hero died after the war and we cannot recognize the stranger who has taken your place. Perhaps it is not too late for you to return and turn over a new leaf…
Let us also spare a thought for our enemies who were righteously struck down by the hallowed bullets of our warriors. Though they were a savage horde who wished to separate from us, they were still our fellow countrymen, the majority of whom were brainwashed by the whims of a demented few.
What is so civil about ‘civil’ war? Is it not a war in which the children of the same mother take up arms against their own brethren? It is not Lord Buddha’s way to hate one’s enemy so we wish merit on them, as hard as it may be for they have caused us much suffering, and we hope they will be reborn to a better fate after their time in the planes of hell is complete. However, we bear no such thoughts towards the monster who led them to such a violent end.
Prabhakaran was a mistake which we hope nature will never repeat. He was the bane of our country and seeing him dispatched to hell was perhaps our greatest day. May Kali Amma have mercy on his wretched soul, because we did not.
But we must not rest on our laurels. The enemies of our nation will not stop until they have succeeded in their dark designs. We can trust our diplomats to maintain the unbreakable firewall around the borders of our country. The pen is mightier than the sword, noble men of letters, and now the onus is on you to carry on with the wonderful work you have been doing. Praise also goes to our secretive intelligence agents, the unsung heroes who protect us from within the shadows and hunt down our foes in distant lands. Although we may never know your identities, what you are doing for us is just as important as what our soldiers accomplished on the battlefield.
Remember our heroes and thank them every day, for we are able to enjoy the bounty of our beautiful homeland thanks to their sacrifices. Watch over their families. Donate generously to our injured saviours. Show them how special they are every single day. Honour them eternal.
Finally, let us turn our thoughts to our fallen heroes, the ones who left home with courage in their breasts and did not return. Fallen immortals, you are in the highest plane of heaven now, happily watching over us as we revel in the peace you so lovingly gifted us, as parents watch over their children. You who protected the Buddha Sasana with your lives are closer to Nibbana than any of us mere mortals ever will be even after a thousand turns of sansara.
Enjoy each other’s company in the realm of the devas, for it is a reward no one deserves more. You are in a place where you will remain young, where you will know no pain, where you will laugh with your brothers every day, where we will remember you and give thanks to you for all time.
Where you will go marching…marching…unto the infinite light.
Ayu rakkhanthu awada.
Pohrveeran naamaku saagutain, avan epothum uyirodu irupaan namodu nenjukulle
Long live the soldier who died for us.
The TamilNet Team