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Outrageous treatment being meted out by govt. to Sarath Fonseka

by Karu Jayasuriya

Recent attempts by the government to belittle the security forces and former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka in particular calls for condemnation from all sections of civilized society. Many say that we are a nation that has a very short memory span. Yet even the most ardent of the government’s critics could not have predicted how little time it took for the present Administration, which has very little to show for its four years in power other than the military victory, to start ridiculing and sidelining the very same individuals who delivered it to them.

The manner in which government ministers and the state owned media have been waging a smear campaign against General Sarath Fonseka, the chief architect of the war against the LTTE is simply appalling. We in the UNP believe that certain issues are above politics. They are not issues that can be used to merely gain political mileage or make a tiny sound bite in the public sphere. It is due to these reasons that I decided to support the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the time it was fighting the LTTE.

We intended to give it the political support required for the military campaign. It was not a blank cheque of impunity but an expression of support for a national cause that went beyond the realm of politics or personal agenda. We believed that it was our national duty to support the troops at that decisive time in our history, irrespective of party politics. It is in this same sprit that the United National Party has come forward to offer any assistance needed for the Government to safeguard the GSP + concession scheme, since losing these concessions, albeit due to the callous disregard of fundamental human rights by this government, would only result in the suffering of the people of our country. Therefore we have demonstrated in deed rather than word that national interest far outweighs our political interests.

It is in this light that we call upon the government to stop playing politics with the men and women who sacrificed life and limb to safeguard our motherland. We as a nation would descend to the nadir of ingratitude if we treat our war heroes any other way than with the honour they deserve. The current administration has demonstrated it is incapable of this basic tenant that differentiates a civilized nation from that which is not. It is with a sense of dismay that the Sri Lankan people are witnessing the outrageous treatment meted out currently to General Sarath Fonseka. Many government henchmen have jumped on the bandwagon to slander the former army commander. They who belittle him now are singing to the tunes of their political masters. The Ministry of Defence has even announced that it would be in violation of the Emergency Regulations to mention the name of military personnel in the media. It is this kind of suppressive measures carried out to silence not only the military and the media but the whole of society that has landed Sri Lanka amongst the worst violators of fundamental rights. Such measures have contributed in no small way for us to come to the brink of losing the GSP + scheme.

We believe that the government has grossly miscalculated the situation this time. In the hearts of the people, the military led by General Sarath Fonseka takes pride of place as the true heroes of this achievement. These heroes will never die; they will never fade away, whether it is General Fonseka, the architect of this victory or the young corporal who died defending his line in the ditches of the Wanni, the people will keep their memory alive forever.

At the news that Gen. Fonseka is disillusioned and determined to leave office in the near future, I feel like everyone else in this country today – utterly devastated. It is a bitter pill for this nation to swallow, to watch Gen. Fonseka who was so instrumental in the defeat of the LTTE being treated in such an abominable way. The people recall how he survived a deadly suicide attack and returned to work, more determined than ever to finish the job. They kept faith with Gen. Fonseka and his men, as they inched ever nearer the final strongholds of the LTTE.

For many years this administration has called anyone who opposed its line of thinking as traitors. The opposition has taken a brunt of this attack. Yet today the government calls the very architects of the military campaign mere followers of their military strategy. Just as the Opposition wore the cap of “traitor” as a badge of honour we call on General Fonseka and all those who fought for our motherland to consider these insults now hurled at them with a sense of pride, for those who call us names will be judged by the people of this country who will finally differentiate between traitor and hero.

General Fonseka is a product of Ananda College and need not be given lessons in patriotism. As an Anandian, I can say that we were moulded to love our country. That was the first lesson. It is in this sprit of patriotism that we call upon all our citizens to help to undo this great injustice to our valiant heroes. Let us now allow a group of short sighted politicians to define who the true heroes of our time are.

If they say those who fought for the motherland in the ditches of the Wanni and faced the attacks of the suicide bombers are not heroes, so be it, if they say those who ask that a quarter of a million of our own people be released from internment camps are not heroes, so be it, If they say that those who call for the freedom of expression, the freedom to live without fear in equality and have the right to decide on one’s own destiny are not heroes, so be it.

It is far better being in the camp labelled ‘traitors’ than with a few self proclaimed heroes who cannot comprehend the meanings of these words. I am reluctantly compelled to make this observation as an Ex Commissioned Officer of the Sri Lanka Army during the period 1965 to 1972. My party and I join the raised voices of the majority of our people to demand that the government does right by those who have served this country loyally and delivered it from the clutches of the LTTE.

Karu Jayasuriya is Deputy Leader of the United National Party (UNP)

8 Comments

The Rajapakse camp thinks that patriotism and political leadership is their sole monopoly. Anyone who stands in their way is labled a traitor.

Take the case of Muthuhettigama who is a long term SLFPer.Just because he did not approve of the Presidential policies of fielding some of his own favourites hae has been sidelined and now in remand. Such will be the case with many party members when the election comes around. They will have to give way for the high jumpers and boot lickers as well as members of the Royal family and entourage.

Thats another reaason for having the Presidential election first. JVP was also disposed of. So was Mangala and Sooriyarachchi. Rajapakse also undermined Chandrika to come into power. Such are his policies and absolute greed for power.

Posted by: Anon | November 10, 2009 07:32 AM

VP, Sarath and Gotha they are all terrorist. Stop crying for them you stupid fool instead start crying for the IDP's in the North and the innocent unemployed singhalese who sent their sons to die in battle.

No wonder this country has no hope when you got tossers like this as politicians. For god sake stay in opposition!!. We got idiots in power and if we replace them with you lot then people are given the choice "do you want to burn in 100 degree celcius or 110 ? "

Posted by: Aj | November 10, 2009 12:21 PM

Ranil, Karu, SB , Ravi (wrong religion), Sajith et al are not upto the mark. The general may be banned by legistlation how about a blind side move...where is Karannagoda ?

Posted by: Ravana | November 11, 2009 12:28 AM

Gen Sarath Fonseka is a great soldier. I think he is one of the greatest generals in the world. However, he will be a failure as a politician. He should not taint himself in this field. All best wishes to him.

Posted by: Kolitha Herath | November 11, 2009 02:10 AM

General Fonseka have the ability to lead the country rather than Mahinda & Company. Srilanka is the only country having more than 111 ministers in world political history. Also Srilanka is the only country spending money to controll the minsiters expenses more than Development of the country. Majority of Singhalese still trusting Mahinda Regime can do something better than any other leaders. No one in the world has kept more than 60 advisors like Mahinda. I believe mahinda the first man spending more than 19.3 Millions per day for his Presidential expenses. People of poor srilankan beging and struggling to gain their day to activities but president spending public money much for him and his stupid ministers. Majority of Sinhalease must think before voting for Mahinda again and again. We shouldnt give one party to lead the nation more than decade. God Bless Srilankans

Posted by: Mohammed | November 11, 2009 04:18 AM

AJ- Don’t talk like a buffoon. If there is one man who has been consistent with his call for the release of the IDP’s it is Karu Jayasuriya. Sarath Fonseka may be a war criminal but that does not mean that every soldier who fought in this war should be treated as such. The fact of the matter is that Karu J has at least stood above politics when other idiots in his party were ridiculing the military. Therefore he has a right to bring up the issue of soldiers and the shabby way they are being treated by this ungrateful regime and not be accused of playing politics. It is only sad that in the current debate over common candidates and patriots many of our countrymen have been blinded to see an obvious better candidate than the choice of war criminals that we are faced with.

Posted by: Saman | November 11, 2009 10:05 AM

I think AJ hit the nail on the head with his remarks. SL after 61 years is still in the ditches whilst other countries in south east asia are flourishing.We are still tolerent of our corrupt Govt.& those in power. I dont think SL will ever progress if this is the mentality of our people.They still pay pooja to those in power.

Posted by: Ranjith Silva | November 11, 2009 12:59 PM

Dear Mr Karu Jayasuriya. Whatever anyone says, you know it is a fact that the UNP - which is the Grand Old Party of Sri Lanka - has reduced to scrap, thanks to the current leadership. As long as these jokers lead the Party and are being advised by equally dumb buffoons, you guys will continue to lose every election - no matter which third party (like SF) you may put forward as a candidate. Your party needs cleansing - and the only way to do it is to kick-out the current leadership and the gundas who are trying to give their two-cents worth advise to the leadership. All Sri Lankans know who you are and have a lot of faith and respect for you as a much better leader who can turn things around for the UNP. Belive in healing thyself first before trying to heal someone else. Once you get hold of the reigns, kick all these corrupt UNPers out of the party and give it a good image. You can do it - YOU MUST DO IT before its too late and the GOP ends up becoming nothing but a pack of follils who will be forgotten in no time.

Posted by: DEVONECO | December 31, 2009 08:47 AM

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