Who are ‘war heroes’?
“In wars, people, the media and politicians refer to ‘war heroes’. The thirty-year war against LTTE terrorism was also a war during which time the country heard the term ‘war heroes’ used over and over again. It continues to echo in our ears even today.
“Acts of heroism are different from acts of bravery. Heroes go beyond what is expected of them. And acts of heroism require bravery, but there are many acts of bravery that are not considered ‘heroic’. For instance a glory-seeking military commander could have exhibited bravery, but his bravery may have been at the expense of men under him. Any ordinary soldier or officer of any rank who gets involved in a firefight is acting bravely, but he won’t be a hero until he does something exceptional to benefit his comrades or members of the public. Indeed such occasions were recorded during the war against terrorism.
Irrespective of whether they can be identified for bravery and heroism, all those of the armed forces who served in the field during the anti-terror war were warriors a worthy accolade for our ‘Veerayos’. This draws focus on high ranking officials in the forces and top politicians who pulled strings in fighting terror from air conditioned offices far away from the thunder of guns, bombs and gruesome sights in the war. An interesting point arises here; were these officers and politicians who ‘directed’ or ordered armed personnel, ‘warriors’ too? This country provides security for high ranking politicians including a president ‘who won the war’ a claim to ponder. During the post-war period, the former President and the Defence Secretary had been provided with security chiefly comprising contingents from the Army ‘owing to the danger they still faced from the disposed LTTE terrorists stinging in defeat but yet supported by the Tamil diaspora seeking revenge’.
To many this so-called danger to an ex-president and an ex-defence secretary is a fragment of a politically laced voluminous bank of imagination. That assumption is sound because the country knows how successfully the LTTE used suicide bombers and gunmen to assassinate former leaders of the country despite heavy security arrangements. The inference is that if the LTTE was burning for revenge it would have done so as efficiently as they had done a long time before.
Consequently, it is also reasonable to conclude that the demand for security for ex-government leaders is not only a political ploy but also to boost their images and fallen egos that were above the clouds not so long ago. Another pertinent question is what warrants the engagement of huge numbers of armed personnel for the security of these ex-strongmen at the tax payers’ expense? And for how long is the public supposed to foot that bill? Is it for as long as there is a supposition the LTTE and the Tamil diaspora are out for the blood of government leaders who led the campaign against LTTE terrorism?”
Is the fuss justifiable?
“Well, that’s what Clinton Aloysius has said in his letter to the editor,” said Perera throwing the newspaper on to a sofa. “He has taken a shot at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother Gota’s security issue where the Yahapalakayas have decided to replace the Army security with police security. I don’t see anything wrong with that; after all only police security is provided to all other politicians in the country.”
“Can’t blame the Yaha crowd, Shelly,” commented Joy. “What’s more the LTTE war was over ages ago. What’s the need for the security of an ex- president or an ex- defence boss or anyone else now? There are no security issues nowadays; it’s all a see-through bluff; the call for VVIP security must be for prestige and show. You know what our politicos are like, no?”
“Quite right; and the ex-president’s security numbers over 200. Hell, why the devil should anyone need so many? And where on earth is a defeated ex-president given so much security when the incumbent president is less demanding in his own security? And what’s wrong with police security? Are policemen less competent in security matters? Of course not! Anyway the ex-president is no longer the president; he is just an ordinary MP. I think he should be given security all other MP’s are given and not special protection. Trumpeting the ex-president won the war is also nonsense; our armed forces especially the foot soldiers won the war for us. I am surprised the Yaha crowd has not dropped the provision of security to self-styled war heroes completely.”
Spiritual security or what?
“Meeooww, that’s the style of our governors’ politics; and unsurprisingly, their funny politics goes hand-in-hand with funny politiccas, jokers in readiness to cross over to greener grasslands at any time,” purred pussy stretched out on a carpet. “But this business over the ex-president’s and his brother’s security is damn rich.”
“Forget the number in the hundreds, but why are they protesting over a decision to replace Army security with police security?” The owl hooted.
“Apparently the interested parties crying over the ex-president’s security have no confidence in police security and that is being spread like butter on hot toast producing a peculiar result. So, about one hundred or so hamudurwoes are getting together to provide security to the ex-president voluntarily; and they are loud about it. That would be a sight to see,” laughed pussy the way pussies do. “I heard one hamuduruwo say from a platform they are raising a hamuduru-led army to protect the ex-president ‘who saved the country from terrorism’. Pussy had been listening to evening news.
“Hamudurwoes on guard duty?” cackled the bird. “Can you imagine our governors’ spiritual reps used to carrying umbrellas, toting guns and things?”
“I don’t think it’s armed security the hamuduruwoes are planning, but spiritual security,” grinned pussy
“Whoooom! Does that mean chanting bana or pirith wherever the former strongmen cared to go?” The bird had missed pussy’s irony.”This is a clear-cut Joint Opposition gundu to create uneasiness in our governors’ minds. And it all began with one professor reporting the surfacing of a suicide bomber kit that was to make its way to Wellapuraya in Colombo insinuating that the LTTE was planning an attack. When thousands upon thousands of guns, bombs, ammunition and stuff that belonged to the LTTE had been unearthed over the years after the war, the professor’s ‘find’ and the song and dance around it have to be taken with tons of salt.”
“Meeoowwyep (Yep), hissed pussy’ “Spreading the story of another LTTE uprising and the insistence on Army security for the ex-president and his lieutenant point to a gundu orchestrated by a bankrupt Opposition running out of fuel. It wants to keep our governors wondering. ‘What the devil is going on?’ ‘Is the LTTE set to make a comeback?’ ‘Is the Yahapalana government hiding the truth?’ When considering the type of politics and politiccas our governors have been landed with, you can’t blame them, can you?”
“Thuhoooot! But don’t they realise that the Joint Opposition scraping the bottom of the barrel to oust the Yahapalakayas is committing political hara-kiri?”